The beginner’s guide to home audio


So you’re sick of listening to the lo-fi sound supposedly coming out of your computer speakers or those cheap headphones that came with the phone? Well, you are not alone, there is a growing movement amongst consumers of the world to move away from the attractive prices of the low end audio devices on the market and get back to the idea of quality sound. We can see this in the massive popularity of certain brands that trade on their superior sound quality and even in the vinyl revolution, where people want that warm sound that used to be the norm.


Hardcore sound nerds will talk to you forever about audio and if you get seriously into it, you may never be heard from again. But for those who just want a bit of quality without the serious outlay of time, there are a few easy things to look for in a good sound system.


Where are the beats going to be?


It is really important to think about where the speakers are going to be as this can have a massive difference on the sound. If you are just going to put them in the lounge room and blast them while you sit on the couch then your set-up is going to be more straightforward. But if you’re looking at having a set-up that runs throughout the house, using wireless speakers might be your best bet. Consider obtaining a professional opinion to get the most out of your system.


Technical terms


You are going to want to spend some time getting to know the lingo that is used to describe the different features of an audio system and their technical capabilities. You don’t need to be an expert, a little research will go a long way to make sure you don’t end up with the wrong device or paying way too much for a system that’s going to be too loud and just get you into trouble with the neighbors. So do you know your receivers from your amplifiers and your tweeters from woofers? These terms have nothing to do with pets or social media, but are the names of the two main components of your speakers that produce the high and low frequencies that come out of your stereo. The woofers provide the base and the tweeters deal with the high and medium frequencies.


In the shop vs online


You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a drive and the same should go with a sound system. It’s important to get into the shop and hear what the speakers actually sound like and don’t take the advertising material at their word. Take some music with you that you know well and will be able to differentiate the differences on various systems. You will also be able to have a conversation with the staff that know what they are talking about and can give you valuable advice. Once you know exactly what you’re after, you have the choice of purchasing in-store or alternatively, take comfort in the joys of shopping online directly from your lounge room couch.



Can I mix and match brands?


You can absolutely, but it isn’t always a great idea. Brands design their systems to work seamlessly together and even though mixing, say, an amp and a set of speakers will definitely work, there is a chance of unexpected results and diminished sound quality. So it’s best to stick with one brand for the whole set-up. The exception though is with sub-woofers, where specialized brands will have a better product than brands that design entire systems.


5 Quick and Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Shower

Think about how many hours a week you spend in the shower. Then consider how many hours this adds up to in the course of the average year – thousands of hours spent within a shower you probably don’t particularly like or appreciate. Since you are spending so much time in this bathroom essential, consider a timely upgrade to enhance your shower experience and get your day off to the best start. Take a look at these home shower improvements – they don’t cost the earth, and they can be surprisingly effective.

  1. Switch Your Shower Cabin

Take a look at your bathroom and what do you immediately see that needs an improvement? Chances are it’s the shower cabin itself. An old, tired shower enclosure doesn’t inspire you when you get in. On the contrary, new shower cabins come with super-sized doors, frameless enclosures, high-power water jets, and well-fitting doors to minimise annoying leaks and drips. Take a look at the examples at for inspiration. The trend is towards large shower enclosures and modern fixings, so you won’t go wrong if you go big.

  1. An Easy Way to Increase the Pressure

If you normally have good water pressure but lately your showerhead has been lacklustre, give it a wash with vinegar and baking soda. The best way is to leave the shower head in the baking soda and vinegar solution overnight – secure a plastic bag around the shower head with an elastic band. The next day you’ll have a much more powerful shower.

  1. Or Change Things Completely

But often if your showerhead is old, the best way to revive your shower experience is to replace it. A number of different styles of showerhead are available nowadays that are affordable and easy to fit. Take your pick – it could make a huge difference to the quality of your morning or evening wash.

  1. Go Tropical

If your fittings and fixings are all working well and you’ve upgraded your shower and bath, take a look at the details – put in more plants and flowers into the bathroom.  Potted plants and hanging plants are excellent for the bathroom, bringing freshness, vitality, and beautiful scents. Make sure you choose plants that thrive in damp conditions, and minimise the need for soil by choosing plants that grow well with shallow roots. Bunches of fresh flowers or even fresh herbs bring an inviting scent to the bathroom which is particularly pronounced when the shower gets steamy.

  1. Add Little Extras


The smallest details can make a big difference in your shower, for example new fluffy towels and a heated towel rail to keep them cosy, a better shower organiser to keep your bottles of shampoo and shower gel under control, and a better bath mat or wooden bath stand. Changing old, rusting accessories and putting in new, sparkling items gives your shower and your mood an instant boost and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.


Image courtesy of zirconicusso/







The evolution of cranes

A familiar sight on the skylines of many cities is the image of cranes – many if not dozens, in some thriving metropolises – punctuating the horizon; whether they’re perched atop buildings or lofty ground-based cranes building up the skyscrapers. Indeed, I once heard that you could tell how successful or how well the city’s development and economy was going by counting the number of cranes that it had rising up. I know when I was recently looking for crane hire in Melbourne that it was almost impossible to find someone who wasn’t booked for at least a couple of weeks. Business is certainly booming in Melbourne.


Cranes signal growth, building and size, and it’s staggering to think that without them, it would be impossible to construct the incredible structures that we have today. It’s even more interesting to think that we as a race have been using a version of cranes since the Egyptian times, and probably even before, albeit in crude forms. I wanted to take a look at the evolution of the humble crane, as a way to pay homage to this builder of cities and thankless worker in the building and construction industry.


Cranes themselves rely on a range of pulleys, levers, weights and ropes in order to lift a heavy item and move it from one place to another, while the crane needs to be heavy enough or have enough weight in its base so as not to topple over while lifting and moving. So when was the first crane recorded or invented? The first record of a crane being used was in Greece in the sixth century BC.


Greek Cranes

The Greeks – enterprising lot that they are – built cranes by stacking blocks and then securing the beam mechanism. While they didn’t incorporate a pulley system into their setup, they did have a set of large ‘tongs’ which they used to move things around. The pulley and winch set-up didn’t come into play until some time around the age of Aristotle (and we know this because a crane was featured in a book of his). After the pulley and winch set-up grew in popularity, it spread like wildfire throughout the land. The Romans then discovered the Greek crane and made some typical Roman tweaks, and made it more efficient. At its peak, their crane was capable of lifting objects over 13,000 pounds. After the fall of Rome though, it was some years before cranes got going again in Western Europe.


Western Europe

Around the 1200s, cranes started popping up again, particularly in France. England jumped on the crane bandwagon in the 1300s and the world saw use of cranes in building, mining and harbours for loading and unloading ships. As time went on, the crane was adapted to make loading and unloading ships easier and the first early Gantry cranes were created where a fixed crane was built into a rotating platform or roof. The floating crane was also pioneered in this time.


Industrial Revolution

The Industrial revolution brought with it a whole host of new materials, including metals and steel and cast iron supports which in turn served to further strengthen the power of the cranes and their lifting power. In the early twentieth century, we began to see the use of electric motors.


Today’s Cranes

Nowadays, we see lots of different kinds of cranes across a lot of different industries, including lattice boom cranes, crawler cranes, rough terrain cranes and gantry and side cranes. We wouldn’t have the incredible buildings, industries and structures that we have today, as well as the amazingly efficient transport industry that we have, without cranes.


Cranes are the backbone of the construction industry and it will be exciting to see where we are in another decade’s time as far as developments go.

Storage solutions once the kids have flown the nest

The kids are all grown up and they’ve finally decided that they want to move out of the family home to start a life all of their own. With all the emotional upheaval, this can be a tough time for parents, especially for those who are used to seeing and being with their children every day.


But once the move has taken place, and most of their possessions are in their new house, you’re often left with a bit of a mess and a lot of clutter still in their old room.


Ill-fitting clothes they don’t want, furniture that looks worse for wear and old school books that haven’t been used for years. There can be a lot to sort through once the kids have moved out, but where do you start?


According to a survey carried out by Lloyds TSB, three out of four parents are left to look after their children’s possession’s after they leave home, but is it easier to leave the clutter in their room in case they return? Should you put everything in the bin and turn the room into the dream dining room you’ve always wanted? Or maybe you want to put your child’s possessions into self storage instead?


Do you want to make the most of this new extra space you’ve acquired in the house? Let’s look at some storage options available to you.



Leave their room how they left it


Save for the essentials like removing any mouldy food or dirty plates, why not leave the room as they left it? What if they want to come home after a month because they couldn’t fend for themselves? It’s entirely up to you when you want to change the house for your own benefit. And they might need somewhere to stay at short notice. They certainly can’t stay in that new home gym you wanted to install.



Give away all clutter to charity


There are lots of incredibly worthwhile organisations that would appreciate some of the items young adults leave behind when they leave home. A lot of these could make a huge difference to the people that these charities support. And with parents chucking out an average of £285 worth of stuff when their children fly the nest, you’ll be doing your bit for charities to help people less fortunate.




Put their clutter into self storage

If you don’t want to put things in the bin or give away your child’s possessions to charity, there is another way; self storage. Putting items into self storage means you can reclaim the space in your home quickly and easily, without the worry of putting things in the bin that your child will want later, or having to make any rash decisions.


39% of young adults that move out of the family expect their possessions to be untouched, and certainly not recycled or given away to charity. Self storage is a solution to this issue, as you may even choose to store your child’s possessions at a self storage location close to their new home.


If you want to reclaim that spare room in your home but don’t have the space to store your child’s items, Safestore could help. Safestore offers self storage at a price that makes sense. Committed to bringing you a range of different options to suit every storage need, Safestore offers individual, clean, dry and secure storage that will keep your belongings safe from damage and theft all year round.

The long overdue bedroom overhaul: Creating a luxurious retreat



With the majority of us having a busy lifestyle, it is ever more important to be able to come home and relax, and your bedroom is the place where that is the most significant. It is the place when you retire from active life and indulge in your own thoughts, and set yourself up for the day ahead. Therefore creating a bedroom that can be your sanctuary is a must for any busy critter.


To allow yourself to run the day, and not let the day run you, it is vital to buy a mattress that will give you the comfort and luxury your mind and body deserves. With sleep allowing your body to rejuvenate and your mind to process the thoughts of the day, it is the one thing you can do to maintain a balanced lifestyle, and allow you to be healthy and happy.


Another key component to creating a bedroom retreat is choosing the right colour to decorate your room. I personally find that neutral tones are a great basis for creating a relaxing space. By using calm warm tones, you have the flexibility to pull out integral colours to develop the overall look and feel of your room. These colours can be in artwork or bedcovers as these will create a personalised style to your special space.


Mood lighting also helps me to relax at home after a long day. Scented candles really help with unwinding after a busy day of hustling. Therefore, purchasing a lamp with subtle lighting and burning a fragrant candle whilst you soothe your weary body, really helps you to breathe and soften your hard exterior. Plus, having too bright a light in the evening stops your body from realising that it is time to sleep. A good book paired with these lighting tips can be a great way to chill out.


Soft furnishings are also a nice addition to any room, although I’m a huge fan of the industrial and minimalist look, I think it only truly works when you have some homely textured furnishings to allow you to snuggle up in your pjs, and prepare for tomorrow. Crocheted pillow cases or throws add colour and also warmth to any bedroom, plus a nice heart warming rug placed where your tiny cold toes would normally hit the floor is a great addition to allow you to get out of bed on those frosty mornings come winter.


One thing I couldn’t be without is a good doona and bed furnishings. A winter and summer doona are necessities which I would not (and could not) be without. Therefore, during your bedroom overhaul these are crucial buys, especially if your eye is on some beautifully crafted egyptian sheets and bedding sets. In my eyes, there is nothing better than changing your bedding and knowing when you do finally hit the hay, you’ll be immersed in the fresh crisp bedding. As an added extra, spraying lavender on your pillowcases before you go to sleep is a great way to relax you. Studies have shown it can help with insomnia and stress, plus it is a damn good smell to fall asleep to.


With these key tips on your bedroom makeover, hopefully it will be a fun and smooth process to create a bedroom sanctuary that you rightly deserve. By taking the time to design your bedroom properly, it will make a massive difference in your life, as this retreat is where you wake up every morning, and will allow you to rise with a positive outlook on the day ahead. Everyone needs a slice of comfort in their lives.

Design Projects That a Are Easier to Do Before You Move


When you’re working around someone else’s design aesthetic, it can be difficult to imagine making your own mark on a home. It’s equally difficult to redesign a home when you’ve already moved all of your own belongings into spaces that are essentially work sites. From basics like painting to totally renovating a kitchen, most design projects are easier to do before you move in.

Here’s a look at some of the design projects that are easier, quicker and cheaper to complete before moving.

Removing Wallpaper, Repairing Walls and Painting

Painting is simple and cost effective, but when the rooms are full of furniture it slows things down and adds labor to the project. You’ll spend a fair amount of time moving everything far enough away from the walls to use rollers. Removing wallpaper and repairing the plaster or drywall also requires a clear working space. Fixing the walls before the move in will save you time and guarantee that nothing gets damaged during the process.


No matter what type of flooring you are putting down or refinishing, nothing can be in the room while the work is being done. If you take on a flooring project after moving in everything will have to be moved right back out.

Radiant Heat floor

Bathroom Renovations

If you only have one bathroom in your home, or you plan to renovate all the bathrooms, you’ll quickly realize this project is best handled when you aren’t living there yet. You can always eat out or buy ready-made meals if your kitchen is under construction, but there’s no way to get around showering and using the restroom. The water may also have to be turned off, which will make things that much more inconvenient.

Ceiling Fixes

Unattractive popcorn ceilings are high on the renovation list for most homeowners. Ceiling fixes create huge messes that get all over everything. Unless you plan on keeping everything covered and moving it out of the way, it’s best to complete this project before moving in.

Electrical Projects

Lighting is one design element that can completely change the mood and look of a room. Many electrical projects require turning off the power for safety, which means the entire home could be affected. It’s also much easier for electricians to work in a vacant space if they are rewiring, cutting into drywall, or replacing fixtures.

There are two things that can help you get your redesign projects done in the middle of a move. First, create a master plan that prioritizes your projects within your timeline. If you are purchasing a home, typically the first mortgage payment won’t have to be made until the month after you are handed the keys. This gives you about four weeks to make improvements without having to pay for two homes at once.

The second sanity-saver is enlisting the help of a professional mover. Hiring a moving company always makes a move easier. If you are considering several redesign projects, they can also be a huge stress reliever. The movers can handle the logistics so that you can focus on getting everything ready before the move-in date. Another great benefit when you hire a moving company is that the movers can help you get your furniture in the perfect position even if it takes a few tries. If time becomes a factor, these companies can also provide storage solutions for your belongings while you finish up your design projects.


Unique pendant lamps that make a stunning addition to your décor

Pendant lamps are one of the trendiest options to decorate your home in an innovative and unique way. With unique and stylish design, these lamps simply revitalize the look and feel of living room or bedroom. Here are some interesting and vibrant pendant lamps that may inspire you to change your lighting and beautify your home. Check out the following pendant lamps that look no less than a work of art. Continue reading Unique pendant lamps that make a stunning addition to your décor