Five things you should know before buying new window frames

Are you thinking of replacing your windows? Read our guide to the essential facts before you choose your frames.

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uPVC versus wooden

You may live in an older property which has wooden windows and want to replace them with similar, but you should bear in mind that wooden windows require a lot of maintenance. Because they are painted or varnished, this has to be regularly replaced, because it cracks and chips because of exposure to the elements. If the wood is not looked after, it can rot.

uPVC is now the norm and while it can also deteriorate over a longer period of time and perhaps become slightly discoloured, they don’t require regular maintenance. It is also more energy efficient, as less heat can escape, leading to fewer draughts and lower heating bills. The Energy Saving Trust advises that uPVC frames are long-lasting and can be recycled.

Premium uPVC

If you want uPVC but want to retain a more classic look, you can buy windows which look similar to wooden windows and come in a range of colours to match your home. The beauty of this ‘posher’ uPVC is that you get the look of wood, but without the maintenance.
If you are considering buying uPVC windows in Dublin, you could seek some advice from a company such as

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Double glazed

If your windows are single-glazed, consider replacing with double glazing, which makes a huge difference to your home, including making it warmer and less draughty. This will mean your energy bills decrease and you’ll also benefit from less noise from outside and less condensation. Before installing double glazing, you will need to check whether you live in a conservation area with your local planning office. You’ll also need to check whether your property is listed or if you have what is called an article 4 direction on the home, which removes the right of permitted development.

Listed buildings

Wooden windows are normally the only option allowed by local planning authorities, unless the property was listed with another sort of window.


uPVC tends to be less expensive than wood, and so uPVC windows offer a very sensible option when considering replacing the windows in your home, especially if cost or a particular budget play a part in your decision making.

Which Wines Are a Low-Calorie Choice?

Wine can be a real diet destroyer – in some cases having more impact on your figure than ice cream. There are some new skinny varieties, however, which could help you to indulge occasionally without piling on the pounds.

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Some 250ml glasses of traditional wine contain around 280 calories, which is more than a Magnum ice lolly, and even smaller 175ml glasses can have the same effect on your calorie intake as a slice of Madeira cake.

Thankfully, wine manufacturers have cottoned on to the concerns of dieting drinkers and have started to produce low-calorie versions. One of the latest on the market is a form of pink champagne.

Known as Skinny Rose, the drink from G Tribaut contains only 275 calories in a complete bottle – around half the amount it would normally contain. A traditional 126ml glass of pink Champagne would normally set you back 80 to 90 calories, but the new version has a calorific price tag of under 50 calories.

How Wines Get Skinny

The secret behind the new breed of skinny wines and Champagnes is their sugar content. All types of wine from retailers such as online wine merchants in Northern Ireland contain natural sugar because of the grapes, but most then have more added. Skinny Rose, however, is a ‘zero-dosage’ drink, meaning that no further sugar is added. The result is a tarter, drier drink.

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The amount of alcohol in a drink is also a factor in how many calories a glass will contain. Alcohol has around the same number of calories in a gram as fat (around seven), meaning that the more alcohol a wine contains, the more calories it will have.

Champagne generally has an alcohol content of around 12 per cent, which is less than other wines, making it popular among calorie counters and people looking to minimise their alcohol intake. Information about safe drinking limits can be found at

Choosing Your Tipple

If you’re looking to cut the calories, you should go for wines from suppliers such as containing under 12 per cent of alcohol. These are usual sparkling wines, roses or whites, as most reds have higher alcohol contents.

Grape varieties can also give an indication of how much alcohol a drink is likely to contain. Those which generally originate in cooler climates have naturally lower alcohol levels.

Safety Considerations for Your Climbing Frame

There is something magical about watching kids play outdoors. They can really let their imagination run wild. There is no need to keep the noise levels down, and they can be as boisterous as they like. Outdoor play equipment, like climbing frames and swings, can make it even better and provide hours of fun.

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Accidents in the Garden

We all want kids to be able to play outside in the fresh air and burn off energy. However, it is important that they are safe whilst they are doing so.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), in excess of two million children aged 15 years and under suffer an accident in their own home or garden each year. It is the youngest children (aged 0-4 years) who are most likely to get hurt at home, and falls are by far the most common home accident reported.

Keeping Kids Safe on Climbing Frames

Outdoor pieces of equipment such as children’s wooden climbing frames are a popular feature in many gardens. When you purchase outdoor play equipment from a supplier such as, you know that your kids will get hours of fun and exercise and that you have invested in their health.

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All you have to do is take a few simple precautions to keep them safe. The first part is down to you. Select equipment that will suit the age of your kids, but remember that they grow up fast! Play equipment can last for many years, so think about the future needs of your family and invest as much as you can afford. You can ask your kids what they want – kids have an opinion on this sort of thing.

You can choose wooden or metal frames. Think about which will look best in your garden, how strong you need the equipment to be and how long you need it to last. You must ensure that you have assembled the frame according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes preparing the site and removing obstacles.

Once it is completed, supervision is the key to safety. Very young children will need to be supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Older children can play unsupervised but need to be told the rules of safe play before you leave them to it.

Why choose a tensioned membrane structure?

A tension fabric building is created using a rigid frame, made of aluminium, steel, wood or rigid plastic. A fabric cover is then stretched over the frame. The fabric is tensioned, so that it provides a stable and structural support for the building.

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The benefits of choosing a tensioned membrane structure are plentiful. The materials used are all sustainable and environmentally friendly, and by using translucent tensile fabric, maximum daylight is allowed through, thus requiring less electric lighting and reducing costs. The membrane has high sun reflectivity and low absorption of sunlight, thus resulting in less energy used.

Tensioned membrane structures are available in a wide variety of designs, which can include unique and iconic shapes, because of their flexibility. Depending on the type of structure, there are choices of tensile membranes which will meet the specification required. The various tensile membrane systems all meet with the various building code requirements.

Because of its lightweight nature, a tensile structure requires less structural steel support compared to conventional building materials. This allows for longer spans of column free space.

Tensile structures, such as those designed by Fabric Architecture (, require less maintenance in comparison to a conventional building of the same size. No matter what climate they are built in, from arctic to scorching heat, they are extremely durable and are long lasting.


The common membranes used in these structures are PVC coated polyester fabric, translucent polyurethane fabric, PVC coated glass fibre fabric, PTFE(Polytetrafluoroethylene) fibreglass, ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) foil and PVC foil.

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PVC is most commonly used for creating flexible structures, and it is usually used for relatively short-term applications. It can also be coated with an acrylic membrane, which gives it a lifespan of 15-20 years.

PTFE is extremely durable and weather resistant and has a life expectancy of some 30 years. The fibreglass weave makes the material strong and permanent.

ETFE is an alternative material to glass, often selected for use in skylights, because it does not degrade when exposed to UV light.

There is no carbon footprint involved with these structures, because they can be taken down and rebuilt on a completely new site, reusing the steel structure.

This innovative modern technology is enabling the design of iconic structures which will be a trademark of the new millennium, using sustainable building materials with low energy costs.

What to consider when buying a new boiler

Buying a new boiler may not get the pulse racing in the same way as purchasing a new car or holiday; however, it will be one of the most important things you do. There are many things you must consider before you dip your hand into your pocket and spend thousands of pounds on a new boiler. In this guide, we look at what you should consider before scrapping the old boiler and installing a new one.

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What type of boiler do you need?

This may seem like an obvious question to ask yourself, but you must consider what you want your new boiler to do. Different boilers offer different heating solutions:

Combination boiler – More commonly known as a combi boiler, this eliminates the need for you to own a water storage tank; instead, it provides hot water as and when you need it. This boiler is particularly useful if you live in a small house or by yourself and do not require large amounts of hot water

Conventional boiler – These boilers heat the water, which is stored in a hot water tank or cylinder for later use. System boilers and heat-only boilers are useful if you live in a big house with a large family that requires quite a lot of hot water.

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Consult a professional

Before you decide which boiler is best, it is always advisable to speak to a Gas Safe-registered engineer. They will be able to tell you which type, size and make of boiler will best suit your home and – perhaps more importantly – your budget.

Does your boiler needs replacing?

While a new energy-efficient boiler will save you money on your bills, a service of your old boiler can improve its performance and increase its life span. Companies such as can carry out a boiler service in Guildford and the surrounding area.

Shop around

Always shop around online and look for the best deals before deciding on the boiler you are going to purchase; in addition, get several quotes from tradesmen for the installation of your boiler. It is vital that tradesman who carries out work on the installation of a new boiler is on the Gas Safe Register, as a faulty job on a boiler installation can lead to fatal results.

Tricks and tips to improve your Sky viewing experience

If you’ve got a Sky box, chances are it’s your main source of entertainment. Follow these tips to make the most of your subscription.

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Retrieve deleted shows

Fear not, that premature pressing of the delete button can be solved. Phew! In the ‘Recordings’ menu of your Sky Q box, click on the tab ‘Deleted’. There’ll be a list of any deleted programmes. Press the ‘Undeleted’ button and bring them back to life.

Find that lost remote

Avoid this and press the ‘Q’ on the front panel of the Sky box. If the remote is in the same room as your box, a chime will sound alerting you to it. No more checking the fridge and the toaster! Total time saver.

Always watch in HD

Never suffer grainy quality again by following this easy tip. From the ‘Settings’ menu on your Sky Q box, find the ‘Preferences’ option, then select ‘HD demand default download format’ and tick the HD option. When you next record a programme, you’ll know you’ll view it in the way it was intended. If there’s a problem with the aerial, sort it out with a company such as Cheltenham TV aerial repair, or similar in your area.

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See Facebook pictures on the biggest screen

Sky Q isn’t just great because of its Vevo and YouTube apps, you can view Facebook pictures too.

From your remote, select the ‘Apps’ button, then the app, ‘My Photos’, and go down to the ‘From Facebook’ option. Select this and note the code, then visit and sync your Sky box and Facebook account using the code.

If you’re still having trouble with your reception, use a company such as to give you a hand.

Stop accidently recording huge seasons

Do we all really want to see 56 episodes of Bargain Hunt? I didn’t think so. Don’t press once on the ‘Season Record’ button, double tap it. This will set one episode to record, relinquishing you from tedious deleting time later.

Switch your TV to a sound system

Your Sky Q box can evolve your TV into your home’s stereo system as well as its cinema. Simply go to the ‘Music’ option under ‘Settings’ and then ‘Set Up’. Once your chosen devices are synced up, the party can start!

The Benefits of Team Building

Hear the words “team building” and many people recoil in horror. The thought of spending an afternoon building rafts or clambering over obstacles with fellow workers does not appeal to everyone.

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But team building activities have been repeatedly shown to bring numerous benefits to those taking part. As well as acting as a reward for workers – when they reach a certain target, say – the events undoubtedly promote certain qualities and build on existing friendships.

So what are the main benefits of team building events, and how can you make sure your teams get the most from them?


The most obvious benefit such events bring is the formation and cementing of friendships. If your employees get on well together, they will inevitably work better together.

Of course you can’t force friendships to develop, but you can help them along. A fun event will enable your team members to get to know each other better, outside the work environment. If they learn to trust each other while enjoying each other’s company, they will perform more efficiently when back at work.

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The best team building activities encourage better communication between participants. For instance, they may need to work competitively as a team in order to achieve a goal.

It is important to ensure all members of your team take an active part in the event, not just the most confident. Hopefully, a fun activity will give shyer members of staff the opportunity to have their voices heard in a relaxed environment where they’re not under pressure to perform.

Greater Respect

Seeing your fellow workers excel during team building corporate events, such as those available at, will help team members earn the respect of their colleagues.

Improved Morale

According to The Guardian, team building events are often used as a way to reward staff and boost motivation.

As a result, they can help to improve morale, especially if the event is a big success, and it also gives your staff something other than work to talk about when back in the office. And happy workers are both more productive and more creative.


Many team building activities involve some sort of problem-solving, which is a fantastic skill for everyone to have. Helping your employees work together in a relaxed environment can only have positive consequences when they are back in work.