Aug 14

Working At Home: Making Your Home Office Productive

Image 2

Summer is nearing its end and we all must refocus our attention towards work. Children returning to school must now open up their exercise books and their parents really should send that email. With telecommunications now at the centre of many businesses, we now often have the choice to work from home. In the first three months of 2014 it was estimated nearly 14% of the workforce were working from home. Even if we don’t decide to, we may bring work home out of hours or run a blog or webpage. The need for a work space that allows us to work from home is vital.

1. Make it an officeImage 3 This is your home so you probably won’t opt for the full time secretary and vending machine but you must create an environment separate from the rest of the house. You don’t have to spend the earth but invest in a nice chair so you’re comfortable and a whiteboard so you keep track of ideas and schedules. A pot plant would be nice too.

2. OrganiseImage 4

The most basic and perhaps most vital of steps is to keep things organised. Again, the beauty of a home office is that it is your space and you should decide how to organise things, you may not need a seven foot filing cabinet but try to keep your work tidy and easily accessible. Scrabbling for a report through piles of children’s drawings and newspapers doesn’t scream professionalism.

3. Set RulesImage 1

Set working hours for yourself and try not to break them. A survey from 2013 showed that around one in seven Londoners spent between one and two hours on non-work related sites each day. When you are working. Make sure everyone at home knows. If this is nine to five, then stick to it, if you only have an hour after you get home from your office job then put a note up on the door to remind everyone. If your child needs to do their homework in the office then make sure they adhere to the rules too, there’s nothing worse than a chatty colleague/child when you really need to get some work done.

4. PrioritiseImage 5

Without a manager or superior immediately available you have to prioritise your time, which tasks are most urgent and which can wait. Make a ‘to do’ list each morning and check up on each aim throughout the day. If you complete a task give yourself a reward.

5. Enjoy the Freedom

Having made all of these points it might be worth disregarding all of them at some point. You probably wouldn’t have decided to work at home if you didn’t want to mold your own environment so enjoy being flexible. You can probably afford to take that ten minutes extra for your lunch every once in a while.

Image 6

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27694938

2. http://www.canadalife.co.uk/media/32428/motivationproductivitypr.pdf


Aug 14

Curtain Pole Hacks

We have dived deep into the depths of Pinterest and Instagram to bring to you the 14 of most creative and of course interesting curtain poles hacks on the web. We’re all familiar with the use of the everyday curtain pole but for those frugal folks a curtain pole can be used in more than just the traditional ways as you you will see in the photos below.

Should you have any hacks that you would like to share on the blog please do leave a comment and we would be more than happy to add them into the post and share it on our Twitter and Facebook page.

Curtain Poles Paper Scroll

Source: pinterest.com/pin/344243965238385601/


Source: traditionalhome.com/design/bedrooms/decorating-ideas-beautiful-neutral-bedrooms

ribbon curtain poles

Source: etsy.com/uk/listing/83638474/

Duvet Curtains

Source: blog.studiopebbles.com

no doors hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/242068548695096831/

camping hacks

Source: pinterest.com/pin/194569646374897393/

sink hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/113504853081762880/

garden plant pot

Source: theownerbuildernetwork.co/easy-diy-projects/diy-garden-projects/diy-shoe-storage-vertical-planter/


Source: pinterest.com/pin/100768110387673258/

shower hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/131871095313907638/

art hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/288793394828788755/

fashion hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/214835844699408101/

cushion hack

Source: 1001pallets.com/2013/04/creative-pallet-corner-idea/

hide hack

Source: athoughtfulplaceblog.com

Jul 14

My DIY Confession- Win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!

How many of us have spent our evenings and weekends hopelessly attempting to finally put together that flat-pack cabinet for the bedroom, or somehow get that shelf up on the wall? Unfortunately not all of us have the know-how to make every DIY project perfect, but here at Poles Direct we believe we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

What we’re looking for from you

Poles Direct are looking for bloggers from a wide range of backgrounds to confess to their DIY disasters.

We want you to write a confession detailing how and why you failed to complete a home-based DIY project properly. We then want you to take a photo of your failed DIY project with your confession in plain sight and upload it onto your blog for your followers and the whole world to see, with the title, ‘My DIY Confession.


What’s in it for you?

The winning entrant will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and two lucky runners up will get to select a new set of blinds for their homes!

Not only will you get the chance to win some great prizes but you also get the chance to talk about something different and hopefully make a few people smile and feel better about their own failed DIY and decorating projects.

How to get Involved…

 Create a blog post and add the title “My DIY Confession.

Take a photo of a written or printed confession detailing why you failed the project (what’s wrong with it) next to your failed project.

Upload the photo to your blog and add it into your post.

Give your readers the background to the DIY fail.

Include a do-follow hyperlink to Polesdirect.com in the following or similar text:

“This is my entry for my DIY confession to Polesdirect.com’s ‘Changing Attitudes and Values DIY Blogger Challenge.’Publish the post and share it via twitter – be sure to include the hashtag #DIYconfession – don’t be afraid to post your confession on twitter as well!

Once you have blogged and tweeted drop me an email with the link to your entry.

Once the deadline passes (August the 31st), the winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

Best failed project

Best excuse

Most hilarious fail


Remember to send your completed entries to:

Sean McMahon


Good luck!

Jun 14

When Thieves Go Window Shopping: A Guide to Student Security

It’s summer, and A level students are pouring out of schools and colleges across the UK. For those heading to university, this could be their final summer of freedom. But when summer winds up and Freshers’ Week begins, they’ll receive a barrage of counsel from concerned parents and earnest lecturers alike. It’s true that your bedding needs to be washed, and it’s important that you buy the requisite textbooks (even if they bankrupt you), but one freshers fundamental that often falls by the wayside is home security.

The National Union of Students (NUS) recently estimated that 90% of student burglaries are caused by insecure doors and windows. A large proportion of these burglaries are entirely avoidable, and so we have put together this cheap and easy guide to house security.


The facts

Student houses and halls of residence are often located in high-crime areas. Whilst this makes rent more affordable, it means students are targets for opportunistic burglars – with a startling one in three students falling victim to crime during their time at university. Student houses are easy targets for the following reasons:

  • Occupants are often in class or asleep during the daytime;
  • Similarly, occupants are often out until the early hours;
  • Houses are likely to contain portable electronics such as laptops and consoles;
  • Cost-cutting landlords may use the cheapest and bare minimum of locks;
  • Student houses are rarely equipped with alarm systems;
  • Bedrooms are often located downstairs, meaning quick access to belongings.

How can students deter theft?

Choose carefully: If you haven’t already chosen your accommodation, opt for a place with sturdy locks, doors and windows. Deadbolts and Yale-style nightlatches (the kind that automatically lock when the door is closed – see picture below) provide an extra layer of security. Double-glazed PVCU windows and doors provide the best security, but if doors or windows are wooden then check for rot and loose fittings.

Make a pact: Twice as many private renters fall victim to burglary as those in halls, so make a pact with housemates to ensure that everyone is on board. It only takes one sloppy housemate to leave your house open to thieves.

Lock up: Thieves rely on students being careless, with propped-open windows and unlocked back doors providing the simplest routes of entry for spur-of-the-moment burglaries. For this reason, it is important to keep windows and doors locked at all times unless absolutely necessary for ventilation.

Cover it up: The simplest and cheapest precaution is ensuring windows are kept covered by curtains or blinds when rooms are not in use. By preventing would-be thieves from being able to see into the house, “chancers” will be unable to see valuables on display. Ensure small items such as cash and car keys are kept in a designated safe place.


Insurance: The average cost of a student burglary is £900. Insurance is a cheaper alternative. At the very least, consider cover for big-ticket items such as bikes, laptops and TVs.

UV pens and serial numbers: Use an ultraviolet pen to mark your stuff with your address. Most student unions stock them but they’re often given out for free at Freshers’ Week, so keep an eye out for the police stall. Keep note of the makes, models and serial numbers of your valuables so that police can return them to you in the unlikely event that they are recovered.

Safety first: If you suspect a break-in, stay out of the house and call the police. If burglary is obvious – for example a broken window – then 999 should be used in case the offender is still on the scene. If you are unsure, call the 101 non-emergency number and ask for advice.

Home for the holidays: If you can’t take valuables with you during the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, arrange for them to be held in secure storage (simply do an online search for ‘online student storage’) or leave them with a friend.

Recommended reading:

Interview with a former burglar on what makes a house vulnerable

NUS advice on securing your property

May 14

Top 10 home decorating and interior design apps

The re-designing and decorating of a room is something we all think about but, often, it can be hard to envisage what will work well in the space or what colour would fit best with what we already own. Luckily there are thousands of useful tools to aid us on our DIY journey , available at the touch of a button.

So, whether you’re planning a new project, measuring for new bay window curtain poles, renovating your loft or redecorating your kitchen, we’ve rounded up some of the best home interior design and decorating apps to help you plan and complete your next DIY home improvements with ease.

Top 10 home decorating and interior design apps


Digital Dimensions (£5.99)


Udecore  (Free)


Homestyler (Free)


Colorchange (£0.69)


 myPANTONE (£6.99)


Sun Seeker (£3.79)


Craftgawker (Free)


Home DIY with Craig Phillips (Free)


iHandy Carpenter (£1.49)


Houzz Interior Design Ideas (Free)


Apr 14

Attitudes & Values: A Visual Guide to DIY

The UK has a historic passion for home improvement. Whether this is redoing dated décor, piecing together a bookcase or building a new birdhouse from scratch, Brits love getting stuck into home DIY home improvement projects.

One of the reasons us Brits have become so passionate about doing DIY is that we want our homes to not only look fantastic but to also increase in value. Through recent economic uncertainty many  - thus seeing the love affair with DIY flourish.

Here at Poles Direct we often have customers purchasing new curtain poles and accessories for a room they have just updated. Since many of you will be diving into a DIY project this year we thought we would give you an idea of what the UK’s attitudes and values were towards home improvement:

Attitudes & Values -  A Visual Guide to DIY in the UK

 Key Statistics

Men’s attitudes towards DIY:

  • 90% of men are happy to use a power tool
  • 77% of men will finish any DIY jobs that they’ve started
  • 70% of men aged 25 to 33 years are happy to undertake DIY projects in the home

DIY is no longer the sole domain for men only:

  • 25% of women aged 25 to 33 years would do any DIY work themselves
  • 62% of women would finish any DIY projects they started
  • 49% of women are happy to use a power tool

Statistically, Britain is still a nation of DIY lovers:

  • 59% of people are happy to take on any DIY projects themselves
  • 33% of people have spent £500 or more on DIY

DIY injuries and disasters

  • More than 200,000 people end up in hospital each year from DIY accidents
  • 80,000 people have open wound injuries
  • 25,000 people break one or more bones in their bodies
  • 17,000 people complain of sprains or strains

Mar 14

Proud to support the Prince of Wales Hospice

Here at Poles Direct we’re very proud of our Yorkshire roots and are always on the lookout for ways to support good causes in the area. The Prince Of Wales Hospice are one local charity we have been working closely with recently, helping them fit-out several vital rooms with new window coverings.
Gemma and blinds 2

The Hospice based in Pontefract, cares for patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses with the majority of our patients returning home after their symptoms have been managed – as well as supporting patients family and friends.

The PWH care for local people within the ‘Five Towns’ community, offering round-the-clock care 365 days a year. The Hospice offers a variety of services to help families through difficult times. They even have an in-care unit, a day therapy suite and offer support to carers. They help nearly 1,000 local people of all ages each year.
photo 4

Recently they’ve been working with Roundabout, a youth housing charity that provides a range of support for young, homeless people, in and around Sheffield. Who Wooden Blinds Direct have recently supported with another donation of window coverings.

The Hospice have used the window coverings to replace old worn out blinds in their reception area and also had window coverings put up in their newly refurnishing their rehab room which officially opened at the beginning of March.

Amanda Darley, Facilities Manager at The Prince of Wales Hospice was delighted to receive blinds donated by us for several key areas within the hospice and said,

“The window coverings, donated by Poles Direct, have been installed in our new Rehabilitation Room, the reception area, clinical office spaces and staff dining room . They’ve certainly made a difference and I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the staff and patients at the Hospice. We’re very grateful to Interior Goods Direct Group for their kind donation.”

“The support of companies who provide us with gifts in kind, funding through sponsorship, match funding of their employees fundraising efforts or other resources is extremely important to us. It costs more than £6000 a day for us to provide the care and support to patients and their families at a time when they need it most. ”

The staff at the PWH were kind enough to send us over some pictures of their staff alongside our donations:
photo 1

photo 3tht

To find out more about The Prince of Wales Hospice work and the ways in which you can help, please visit their website by clicking on the logo, below!


Feb 14

Decorating & House-Work: The Calorie Killers

The average British home-owner spends more than 16 hours a week cleaning their home – that’s the equivalent of 2 hours and 23 minutes a day!

So ditch the gym membership and pull out the feather duster – cleaning and decorating your home can be just as beneficial as jumping on the treadmill. You’ll never have to feel guilty about missing a workout again as research suggests you can burn as many calories around the house, undertaking the most common cleaning and decorating jobs, as you can in the gym.

Housework is a cheaper and more productive way to burn loads of calories, so find out what you can do around your home and how it compares to working-out at the gym:

Decorating & House Work - Calorie Killer

You can add the infographic to your own site by coping the code below:

<a href=”http://www.polesdirect.com/blog/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1363.photobucket.com/albums/r710/polesprolesdirect/DecoratingampHouseWork-CalorieKiller_zps773d62a4.png” border=”0″ alt=”Decorating &amp; House-Work: The Calorie Killer photo DecoratingampHouseWork-CalorieKiller_zps773d62a4.png”/></a>

Jan 14

Room Decorating Cost and Quantity Calculator

Here at Poles Direct we know that many of you will purchase new curtain poles and rails before or during a redecoration project. We also know that many home-owners begin their projects without calculating an estimate of the amount of materials they will need as well as how much the project may cost.

Our simple Room Decorating Cost and Quantity Calculators help you figure out exactly how much paint, wallpaper or tiles you will need to buy to finish your project, as well as providing an estimate of the materials’ cost. Click on the image below to get started:

Room Decorating Cost and Quantity Calculator IMG

This year UK consumers are estimated to spend over £27 billion on home improvements, maintenance and repairs. Experts predict that 2014 will see more people than ever investing their own time and money into home renovations and decoration projects – with an estimated sixty per cent of home improvement work costing £1,000 and sixty-seven per cent of maintenance and repair costing less than £500.

Before you begin your project make sure you watch some of these video guides so that you know the best techniques to follow and how you can avoid those common costly pitfalls:

How to Hang Wallpaper

How to Paint a Wall Using a Roller

How to Tile a Wall

Dec 13

Christmas Safety & Recycling Resources

xmas home

The holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year for households across the world. The festive season can bring friends, family, neighbours and communities closer together, often with food, presents and decorations aplenty. Christmas is different from all the other holidays in the sense that, in the UK, we pride ourselves on amplifying the holiday spirit through the erection of festival decorations inside and outside of our homes: trees, signs, tinsel, baubles, crèche, fairy lights, and candles.

Decking the halls is an essential part of the holidays, a tradition that dates back many centuries, when people believed that decorating bushes in the winter time could make them attractive to the spirits, which they believed had fled for shelter from the harsh weather.

In Britain the date in which decorations should be erected is still widely debated every year, and socially it seems that any time after the 29th of November is acceptable. With the holiday season approaching, we may not pause and think about the dangers associated with the holiday season as much as we ought to. But, considering that an estimated 88,000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the holiday season, what dangers should parents be keeping an eye out for this holiday season?

Throughout the festive period your home is likely to be full of family and friends, and in the excitement of the season accidents can easily happen.

An accident could occur at any time and in any place, not just during the obvious activities such as cooking or hanging decorations. Read the following advice to keep your family safe this Christmas:

Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree has been at the centre of Christmas celebrations since the early 16th century. The Christmas tree plays a vital role within a household; housing presents and supporting the stories of Santa that parents tell to their children whilst they grow up.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) report that every year 1000 people are injured by their tree, and that the accidents usually occur when people are putting up decorations. The Norwegian spruce is therefore not as innocent as it looks; you often hear and see stories in the local media about house fires around the holiday season.

Decorating the Christmas tree in the UK is an exciting family activity and for those that are taking part there are a few things that can be done to ensure that the worst doesn’t happen:


It is unwise to over-stretch in any situation as not only can you potentially pull muscles but you could also fall over and injure yourself and others in the process.  At Christmas it is common to see people with muscle related injuries as they over-stretch to hang wreaths or dress the tree. If you cannot reach the top of the tree then you should consider using a step ladder to reach those tough spots – you don’t want to be responsible for ruining the family’s hard work by either crushing the tree or falling on top of a relative!

Tree Anchors & Bases

Before the family adds all the decorations onto the Christmas tree it must be checked to see if it’s secure; and if it is easily moved then it should be weighted. You do not want the tree to fall and crush a family member if knocked or pulled, so remember to invest in an appropriate tree anchor/base when buying a real tree this Christmas.

Weighting the appropriate foundation with heavy objects and making sure it is installed correctly should help reduce the chance of the tree being knocked over this Christmas.

Tree Types

Freshly cut trees are usually well resistant to ignition; however it is when the tree becomes old and begins to dry out that it becomes less resistant to ignition. One of the best methods of stopping a tree from dying and becoming more “flammable” is to water the tree regularly if you have an openly accessible base.

Tree Size

If you don’t have the luxury of space in your home for a large tree then it is highly advisable to avoid investing in an oversized tree.  A taller tree that is harder to reach has the potential to cause problems as, when the time comes around to decorate, it won’t be straightforward and will likely have awkward to reach spaces.

Larger trees in smaller spaces can be easily knocked over when there is little room for movement. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide to the right tree size for your home but it is wise to think smaller rather than larger if you want to encourage a safe environment this Christmas.

Christmas Plants

Parents might not be aware of the fact that in the festive season they will be housing some potentially poisonous plants:

  1. Mistletoe – Kissing under the mistletoe is a holiday tradition we have become accustomed to. The berries on mistletoe contain toxic proteins that if consumed can cause vivid hallucinations and slow the heart rate down.
  2. Christmas Roses – The Christmas rose is the best known and certainly the showiest of the species hellebores; it has long been associated with Christmas, the New Year and a longing for spring. Often given as a present over the festive period the rose can cause diarrhoea if consumed.
  3. Christmas Cherries – the winter cherry is used in a variety of dishes at Christmas dinner. It is highly recommended that orange cherries not be consumed as they can cause severe stomach pains.

Festive Lights

festive lights

In the UK it is estimated that 350 people a year will be hurt by Christmas tree lights. A wide range of injuries are recorded each year from people falling from their ladders, children swallowing bulbs, people receiving electric shocks and burns from faulty lights.

Handling, fixing, untangling and erecting lights can all be a challenge regardless of your knowledge and experience of fairy lights.  One of the most common reasons injuries occur is through the use of broken lights. Usually families will keep hold of their festive lights for several years and in that time wires can become deteriorated and damaged making a once safe product unusable.

Testing all the lights before they are used is essential and will usually aid parents in finding faults (Exposed wiring, broke or cracked sockets, loose connections, etc…) that wouldn’t necessarily be picked up once added to a Christmas tree, wall or building. Any fault that is found should be fixed, following the manufactures instructions and using high quality bulbs, wiring and or fuse.

In recent years new innovations in lighting have led to products becoming of a higher quality, producing less heat, brighter lights and costing less money. New higher safety standards in production mean that new lights will reduce the risk of accidents in your home as they will be less likely to be broken, deteriorate quickly or need replacing.

Overloading Sockets

Plug-sockets are regularly in demand over the festive holidays as both parents and children alike battle for socket space for their phones, tablet computers and toys.  During the festive holiday sockets can become overloaded as parents try to use extension leads and adapters to power their decorations and presents, potentially creating a ticking time-bomb.

The common myth is that it is safe to use four appliances from one socket because they have the capability to, this is wrong and a dangerous myth to believe in. Different appliances require different amounts of power; to avoid the risk of overheating and possibly fire; you should never plug appliances into an extension lead or socket that together use more than 13 amps or 3000 watts of energy.

If you are unsure about how much power different appliances draw though different plug-sockets then you should visit Electrical Safety Council, where you can find a wealth of advice on how to make the best use of your sockets in the holidays. If you are curious to see which household appliances a four socketed extension cable can take try the Electrical Safety Council’s socket overload calculator below?

The Socket Calculator has been brought to you by the Electrical Safety Council. For more safety information visit www.esc.co.uk

Christmas Presents

Recent research from YouGov suggests UK households will spend a total of £822 on Christmas this year, an increase of £54 from last year. As the gifts children receive are becoming more expensive and fragile the packaging and protection accompanying the items are becoming stronger and harder to open.

Taking care when opening presents is paramount, and you should avoid using anything but scissors if you find a particularly stubborn package – the NHS sees accidents from parents accidentally stabbing themselves with, blades, knives and screwdrivers which they’ve tried to use when opening gifts. Not only do people tend to stab themselves around Christmas but they also tend to trip over toys and electric cables left lying around the house.

As toys have become more innovative and accessible, the popularity of the toys that have the capabilities of flight and rapid movement have led to more injuries in the home. Remote control helicopters, even though small in size, can cause severe damage to a household and individual: cuts to the body and eyes are becoming more common in A&E.

These flying toys, if allowed to be operated inside, have the potential to break windows, decorations, televisions and your everyday household objects. If broken, a person might become injured by the toys as they might have to move quickly to avoid danger, resulting in a slip and potential broken bones and bruises.

Before you give your children toys that could potentially cause damage to your property please read the manufacturer’s instructions before use. If you do decide to allow your children to fly toys around the house ensure it is supervised, vulnerable items are moved and members of the household are informed of the activity.


Synonymous with Christmas, candles have been symbolic during religious holidays around the world since their creation. Candles used for religious, ambient or decorative purposes can be a hazard if left unwatched or in the reach of children.

With the increased use of candles throughout the holiday season it won’t be surprising to hear that half of the fires recorded in London in December will be due to a candle related incidents. Having a naked flame is exceptionally dangerous around the holidays as there are additional flammable objects littered throughout the home: tinsel, Christmas tree, tableware, etc… and a greater footfall increases the chance of a family member or friend accidentally coming into contact or knocking the flame in some way.

Battery operated candles have now become popular amongst parents with small children. Battery operated candles can often provide greater light without the heat and danger. For those that like the scent of a Christmas candle these can easy be replaced with a plug-in or standalone air fresher.

If your household is to use candles in some way shape or form these holidays make sure you read the following before you light the wick:

  • Always use a heat resistant candle-holder
  • Never burn a candle next to anything that can catch fire: blinds, paper, wall-paper, etc…
  • Always keep a burning candle within the sight of an adult
  • Never place a candle where a child or pet can reach or gain access to
  • Trim wicks to ¼ inch each time before burning (Larger wicks cause uneven burning and dripping)
  • Take care with votive or scented candles. These kinds of candles turn to liquid to release their fragrance, so put them in a glass or metal holder.
  •  Never allow the pool of wax to house wick trimmings, matches or debris
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before use
  • Never let the candle burn down to the end
  • Never touch or attempt to move a hot or lit candle
  • Place candles three inches from any objects and each other
  • Make sure a candle is completely extinguished and the wick ember is no longer glowing before leaving the room.
  • Never leave a candle to burn overnight or use one as a night light
  • Always place a candle on a stable table

In the year 2000 alone, there were over 2,000 house fires in the UK due to candles. As a result, 10 people died and over 900 were injured. Keeping candles out of the house is the best way to protect your family and friends from accidental candle fires.

Christmas Cooking

The kitchen is usually the hot bed of activity after the presents have been opened on Christmas day. Your kitchen will likely house dangerous objects that could cause serious injuries should they either get into the wrong hands or be handled incorrectly.

Sharp knives and meat carvers make a large contribution to the A&E figures with people of all ages experiencing cuts of all sizes and depths around the festive season. It is advisable to only keep out what you are using for your Christmas meal; once you have used the sharp objects place them in your sink, dishwasher, box or holder as soon as possible.

A significant portion of fires result from people getting distracted while cooking,  and it’s not only the sharp objects that can be a danger to those in the house; boiling water, hot fat and slippery floors all contribute to the injuries caused when cooking the traditional family Christmas dinner.

The advice is to keep children out of the kitchen until the food is cooked and served,  avoid alcohol until you have finished cooking and serving the food and clean/wipe up any spillages on any surfaces as soon as they happen.

Accidents are likely to happen in the kitchen and it pays to be prepared should the worst happen. If you haven’t done so already then you should have a first aid kit kept under the stairs or in the kitchen just in case of an accident.

Food Poisoning

The Christmas Dinner is renowned as one of the hardest meals of the year to cook, not only because you have to cater for your nearest and dearest, but also because you have to cook several different dishes in a short space of time.

Juggling the Christmas dinner can be considerably stressful for the chef responsible; ensuring that all the food is correctly cooked and ready at the same time can be a worry for those cooking. This Christmas, a whopping 10 million turkeys will be sold in the UK, weighing a massive 55,000 tonnes – that’s equivalent to more than 620,000 Santa’s weighing an average of 14 stone each!

The Christmas turkey is usually the food that is most worried about as incomplete cooking can led to people contracting salmonella poisoning, which can be life-threatening for vulnerable people.

The advice is to follow the cooking instructions of all the foods you cook over the festive holiday and thoroughly research the dishes you plan on making. The Food Safety Organisation have created this fantastic infographic telling you everything you need to know about selecting and cooking your turkey this Christmas:



Homes across the British Isles will be awash with tinsel, home-made paper chains, snow globes, religious armaments, plastic cut-outs of Santa and Christmas cards come the weeks running up to Christmas day. Commercial and home-made decorations can present tripping and choking hazards in your home if not put up correctly.

Children will often pick up and find the smallest of objects should they be left on the floor. For households with children it is strongly advisable to consider the decorations you put up this year. Even the glitter from the tree can attract the attention of the children, and so it is wise to remove all the smaller decorations that can pose a risk and either store them away until next year or move them out of reach of the children.

Decorations inside the home if not put up correctly can fall down and become a trip or strangulation hazard. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines whenever possible and, when erecting home-made items, ensure that you use the right materials to guarantee the decorations are as secure as possible.

As mentioned previously, the common household decorations are extremely flammable and parents should be advised not to erect decorations in areas where candles are intended to be lit.

Window Coverings

Over the holiday season people can be encouraged to go the extra mile when decorating their homes. Windows are often an area of decoration which families tend to focus on decorating, with fake snow, fairy lights and hanging decoration being used to create a great spectacle for the world to see.

It is ill-advised to use your hand operated curtain rail and or blinds to hold or tie your decorations onto. Attaching decorations can comprise the function of the coverings and damage their foundations. Blinds and curtain poles are not manufactured to hold excess weight and if used for that purpose can become loose from their original fittings. Comprising the fittings could cause the covering to come out of place and fall, which is not something you would want to happen should you have children and friends close by.

Not only can decorations break and comprise window coverings, but they can also attract children to play and climb around windowsills. Loosely hanging blind cords can become a risk to children should they become caught up the blind cord; blind cord strangulation and deaths is a real concern in the UK with the RoSPA reporting that there have been 27 deaths across the UK since 1999.

Removing the temptation to play near windows and investing in a blind cord safety clip should be enough to protect the children in your home over the holiday season against blind cords.

For more information on blind cord safety please visit Roman Blinds Direct for our Blind Cord Safety Guide.

Clutter (Trip hazards)

Your home will likely be scattered with presents, furniture and toys over Christmas. With less space in your home than usual, taken up by your tree and decorations, you might look to store items in places you usually wouldn’t, such as on the stairs.

The stairs can often become littered with a wide variety of objects around Christmas, making your stairs a potential hotspot for danger.  Considering that your family and friends will likely be tired and would possibly have had something to drink, having your stairs littered with gifts is not a good idea.

Keep your stairs clutter free by clearing up objects after they have been used. This is a family effort and parents should remind their children about the dangers of leaving gifts housed in places that they shouldn’t.

Smoke Alarms

Regardless of how much you plan for Christmas, you can never be prepared for the unexpected, so don’t leave fire safety down to chance. You should have at least one smoke alarm installed on all levels of your home.

The Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service recommends that “all households should test their smoke alarms once a week”.

They also recommend that all parents should avoid removing batteries from fire alarms to power presents over the holiday season. In recent years this has become a more common problem as more and more toys require power and batteries have become more expensive. Parents can forget to purchase batteries before the big day and then feel bad for their child that is at a loss on Christmas day.

The advice is to always stock spare batteries in your home, not only will they come in handy over the holiday period but they will also prove handy in an emergency should the power go out and you need a torch!

For more information on how to install and test a smoke alarm watch this short video and or visit the National Fire Protection Associations website for more information:

Recycling Decorations

Once the holiday season is over households across the world will be taking down their beloved decorations and putting them into storage for next year. Like the debate around when to erect the Christmas tree in the home, the taking down of decorations is also widely debated topic in the UK. In the UK decorations tend to be taken down between the 1st and 6th of January!

During the festivities it is inevitable that something will get damaged or be broken and end up as being unable to be used again. Many of the decorations that households have become accustomed to are fragile – tinsel, baubles, plants and even the trees will take a good battering.

As well as the usual broken fairy lights and tinsel, as a nation we tend to waste a significant amount of food as we overindulge on the finer things in life which we wouldn’t usually consume throughout the year.

With a considerable amount of excess waste collected over Christmas, families can play their part by recycling many of the items they throw away. We have put together a list of ways you can reuse or recycle those leftovers or wasted items once the holiday season is over:

Christmas Clothes

Clothes are a popular gift to give and receive over Christmas for all member of a family, young and old. Once a household has received an influx of new clothing it is usually the case that older clothes, usually ones in good condition, will become neglected, thrown away or tucked in the back of a cupboard or wardrobe never to be seen again.

Parents should take it upon themselves to identify these items of unwanted and unused clothing in their household and donate them to a local charity shop or national clothing initiative. Not only can households make a difference by donating old clothes but they can, if they choose, get money for donating their old clothes by contacting local cash-for-clothes schemes.

Local cash-for-clothes schemes will usually arrange a day and time to come to your home and collect and weigh your bags. The business will give you cash for the weight of what you donate, and should you have a significant amount of clothing you can make a little bit of cash which you can keep or donate to another charity.

Households should also consider using the fabric from their old clothes to create new clothes and accessories: head bands, hair ties, bracelets, slippers, belts, etc… winter accessories like hats, scarf’s and mittens, patches, toys, book covers, pictures frames and other fantastic items.

For more information on how to reuse clothes to create some of the above items, check here.

Christmas Cards

xmas cardsAccording to the Greeting Card Association, people in the UK send around one billion Christmas cards every year. Though Christmas cards are lovely to receive, you probably won’t want to hold on to them all year.

Cards can take up a considerable amount of space on household surfaces. Households can dispose of their cards by adding them to their paper and cardboard waste collection (blue collection bins), find card collection bins in shops and out in the local community, or use the cards to create Christmas tags for next year.

Reusing the Christmas cards you have received is a great way of recycling the cards and saving money. We have found this fantastic video that talks you though, step by step, how to create fantastic Christmas tags:


Real trees are recyclable but artificial ones are not. Local councils often arrange special collections of ‘real’ Christmas tree in early January. You can find out when and if your council are collecting trees in your area by visiting the Recycle Now website and typing in your postcode.

For those of you curious about what happens to those trees once they have been collected then you should know that they usually shredded into chippings which can then be used locally in parks or woodland areas. Also other local charities and organisations use them for mulch, erosion protection, habitat creation and shoreline stabilization.

For those of you that have damaged or unwanted plastic trees you will only be able to dispose of them at your local waste disposal centre. Opening times of waste centres differ throughout the country and the holiday season so, to find out when your centre will be open in January, please visit your local authority’s website for more details.

Unwanted gifts

It is almost inevitable that someone in every household this year will receive one or two gifts they aren’t particularly fond of. If you have presents that are unwanted you can do several things:

  1. You can donate them to local charity shops
  2. You could give them to friends, family, neighbours, schools or local community projects
  3. You could also sell the gifts on to others or look into present exchanges
  4. You could even ask for the receipt and exchange the gift online or in-store – many stores will offer a product exchange without the receipt!

Wrapping Paper

You might be surprised to hear that you can recycle wrapping paper through your local council. You will find that several councils will send you advice on how and where to recycle paper, and if you haven’t received anything through the post or via email don’t worry. You can get onto their website to find where and how you can drop off used wrapping paper.

Households can also reuse wrapping paper for next year, neatly folding leftover paper and storing it flat in a box will ensure it keeps thought to next Christmas. For those that are a little more adventurous why not consider trying the Japanese Furoshiki style of present wrapping to eradicate the use of wrapping paper at Christmas:

Gift bags have become a popular way of gifting presents as they are cheap, easy to get hold of and stress free, unlike wrapping paper. Households should not be afraid to reuse and pass on gift bags, for those that are a little damaged consider recycling them through your local council or using the material to create more gift tags!

Food Waste

Chances are you’ll have quite a few leftovers from the Christmas period and, if they can’t be made into a soup or frozen, you can either take them to your local Food Bank, your local food waste collection scheme or consider adding the scraps to your compost pile.

Composting is a fantastic way to recycle your food, not only does it reduce household waste but it provides a household with free fertiliser. If you wish to find out more information on how and why you should compost, use this How to Compost Guide to get started.

Christmas Lights & Electronics

Resource.uk advice parents not to throw broken lights away with the general waste. Lights and electrical products can be recycled through the Household Waste Recycling Centres throughout the country. Councils may also run a kerbside WEEE collection service. Check with you local authority for more details.

For more information on recycling collection points and what you can recycle, either contact your local authority or enter your postcode into www.recyclenow.com.