When the nicer weather arrives, you need to make the most out of your decked space — but the last thing you want to find is pests around your area.

As we’ve entered the colder months, pests will begin to look for shelter and your garden is the ideal space. In London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day. Although this doesn’t mean that you’re at risk, it’s worth making a few quick and simple preparations to stop potential pests from making your garden their homes.

You need to prevent pest invasion across your compostite decking boards — this includes birds and mice.

Lower the appeal

You need to remove the appeal of your decking. Pests, such as rats and mice, will scout out places before deciding on where to settle down, so try and make your decking as uninhabitable as possible.

If you eat in your garden, make sure that all rubbish is cleared so pests don’t make their way to your space. If you have a get-together on your decking, make sure you thoroughly clear up and clean the decking so that no sauces or dropped food remain which could entice rodents and other critters. Remember; rats, mice and hedgehogs will also eat birdfeed, so make sure to opt for a birdfeeder that isn’t placed on the floor or a table and put it away from your decking.

You should also be regularly trimming your hedges to reduce the number of sheltered locations for pests to live. If your main pest problem is birds, movement is a great deterrent. Try hanging something that moves — like a wind chime or wind spinner — to help prevent birds from making a mess on your decking.

Barricade the space

Have you considered barricading your decking? Pests won’t be able to make a home under your decked areas if they can’t get in to begin with, so investing in extra materials to create a barrier is worth it.

Beneath your decking is the perfect location for pests to protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. To stop this happening, use wood, mesh or chicken wire and run it along the entire edge of your decking between the boards and the ground. If you’re worried that this will ruin your decking’s aesthetic appeal, you can install a wooden trellis and have the mesh running behind it. Then, arrange potted plants or flowerbeds around your decking to mask the mesh further.

Believe it or not, rats and mice can squeeze through some of the smallest spaces (as small as half an inch) so your area must be tightly secured.

Seal your space

Woodworm is a pest you’ll likely encounter. Unless you have composite decking that doesn’t rot, you might want to take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest.

You may have heard of the three types of common woodworm. The common furniture beetle is usually what people mean when they say ‘woodworm’, but the house longhorn and deathwatch beetles are far more destructive — although thankfully rarer.

The first step is keeping your wooden area dry. This might be difficult for large areas like your decking, but your tables and chairs should be relatively safe under a waterproof cover. Sealing your wood with varnish is a good shout too. This creates a barrier that prevents female wood-boring beetles from laying eggs in the pores of the wood.

Have you encountered a pest invasion already? If you can see small holes across your decking and furnishings — these are usually in a cluster and often about 1mm wide — there might be woodworm present. Although this is treatable, you first need to identify which type of woodworm is doing the damage, so it might be worth seeking professional advice. Common furniture beetle problems can be treated yourself using products that you can buy online. However, if the culprits are house longhorn or deathwatch beetles, you may need to treat by injection.

Non-lethal traps

This should be your final step if necessary. If you already have pests in the garden and need help getting rid of them, you could consider using non-lethal traps or scent repellent. Alternatively, try spices — pests hate the smell. Plant a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points to deter vermin from nesting. Of course, there are also plenty of commercial rat and mice repellents you can buy that will work to keep pests at bay.

But forget cheese; sweet treats work best to lure mice. Place these around your decking and make sure to release the rodent at least one mile from your home once caught. If you prefer, buy an ultrasonic pest repellent. Compact and discreet, these devices are ideal for placing by your decking and emit high-frequency sound waves that rodents can’t stand — and we can’t hear.

Sources:

http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/15700482.Pest_authority_wants_greater_emphasis_on_tackling_rat_issues/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/08/messy-bird-droppings-ruffling-womans-feathers/

http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/woodworm.htm

https://dengarden.com/pest-control/5-Simple-Ways-to-get-rid-of-Mice-without-Killing-Them

https://www.rentokil.co.uk/blog/rodent-proof-decking/#.WkuPjN9l-Uk

https://www.westernpest.com/pest-control/tips/decks/

Cuddle Fairy

Blogs are extremely powerful, or at least they can be. Whether you started your blog as part of your business or as a hobby that has now grown into so much more than that, it’s important to understand how much potential your blog actually has. The fact is that today blogging is big business. While just a few short years ago it was nothing more than a hobby, blogging has made a huge impact in the past few years and has the potential to be extremely powerful.

If you run a blog, then you most probably want to ensure that it is reaching its full potential. After all, blogs can be great tools for success, but only when utilised effectively, of course, which is why it’s so important that you know what it takes to ensure your blog reaches its full potential. The question is, what can you do to do that – how can you ensure that your blog is as successful as it could be?

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Below are some useful tips and advice for ensuring that your blog is being run in the most effective way possible.

Create a blog schedule and stick to it

If you want to build a solid blog following, it’s crucial that you create a schedule for blogging and stick to it. Your followers will only come back to your blog if they know when to expect new blog posts to go live, which is why establishing a posting schedule is so important. It’s better to set a schedule of only posting once a week and meeting that schedule than setting a more unrealistic schedule and letting your followers down.

Ensure quality content

One of the most important factors when it comes to blogging success is quality. Blogging is highly competitive, which is why you need to be able to create high-quality content for your readers, to ensure that you are able to build a strong following. Your content should be interesting, informative, unique, and highly personal – if it’s the same as everyone else’s you’re going to limit your chances of success. It’s also vital that your content is optimised properly and is not stuffed full of keywords – an SEO checker can be a good way to check that your content is properly optimised.

Market your blog

Think of your blog as a mini business; if you want it to succeed it needs to be well marketed. You can’t expect to build a blog if you aren’t taking the time to market your content to people, as otherwise, you will most probably have very few readers. So take advantage of social media and effectively market your blog. Post regularly sharing content. Communicate and build connections with other bloggers. Join virtual networking events and get to know other bloggers.

If you want to give your blog the very best chance of success, you need to treat it like a mini business from the get-go. It might purely be a hobby right now, but taking a professional approach to it can have a huge impact on how successful your blog becomes.

 

Confessions of a New Mummy

Cuddle Fairy

I have organised a number of training events and sizeable conferences over the years. I have also contributed as a speaker and trainer in events run by other people in the charity and public sectors. I am going to share what I think makes an effective breakout session.

What is a breakout session?

It involves splitting the audience or participants into smaller groups. Often this happens after a number of speakers have delivered presentations. They can be used simply for networking or ideally to enhance learning and develop action points to take forward after the event.

Breakout sessions need to have a purpose

Although people may want to just chat, I believe breakout sessions should have a purpose otherwise they become mere talking shops often with people talking over one another. Having a clear purpose and desired outcomes from the session helps energize the group. As an organiser you can impose these or be creative and ask the group to formulate them at the start of the breakout session.

Logistics

All too often I have seen attendees not able to find a breakout area at all or turning up late because clear directions were not given to a breakout space. Visit your venue in advance to check on practical things like acoustics, stewarding and heating. Furniture is another thing to consider as it can set a tone for the session. Would desks and  office chairs work or are you looking for the opportunity for attendees to slouch more?

Facilitators

Select your facilitators carefully. You can find people who will do it for free but they may not be the best choices so if you have budget use it. Also ensure that learning from the group is captured by a note-taker so that key points can be shared with other event attendees and online if appropriate.

Creativity

There is not just one way to run a breakout session. Could you have a quiz or a speed dating type session? How could you harness social media during the session? What team-building activity could you incorporate? Don’t force fun but allow it to happen. People tend to remember information gained whilst enjoying themselves. Consider London office furniture that meets your type of session if you are meeting in the capital.

Finally, always make efforts to learn from the event itself by asking participants for feedback either at the event or shortly thereafter whilst memories are fresh.

 

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Run Jump Scrap

My big reason to be cheerful this week is that I am letting myself off the hook. In fact, I am letting  myself off several hooks. I have always worked hard, striven for more in just about every area of life and too often for poor rewards. I have started to realise I am not on the planet to do every job, to have every skill or quality or to serve everyone on demand.

Here are some areas where I am slacking and I think it is doing me the power of good.

  1. It is the first anniversary of my brother’s death today. I actually thought it was tomorrow so was all geared up for that date. My other brother emailed me today and referenced the anniversary and then I checked my brother’s funeral order of service. He died today a year ago. I got the date wrong and that’s OK. In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter. I loved him and cherish so many memories of a very special character. I have now emailed his widower and will go to the bar to drink in his honour tonight.
  2. Home education has stayed in the children’s own hands for about a week with little input from me. I can beat myself up about this or I can get real and recognise that  most children are still on school holidays so we can have a relaxing time too. We can get back to learning any time we choose.
  3. My 17 year old is still not sure exactly what he wants to do but would like to work in theatre, film, gaming or politics. He also has a key hope for next year that he will work towards. I walk and talk with him. I am recognising that he really does need to work out his own future. I can advise and support but ultimately he must live his own life his way.
  4. I was just offered a bit of work to do today or tomorrow. I chose tomorrow which  is so unlike me. Normally I would do anything to meet the tightest deadline. It is not necessary to do so. There are more important matters to attend to today in terms of marking my brother’s passing.
  5. I am going to tread less carefully of other people’s feelings around my adoption. I want to trace my family tree and although I will try to be sensitive I am not going to run away from contacting people or asking questions. My adoption was not my fault so I refuse to suffer any more as a result of it.
  6. Finally I am letting myself off the hook of seeing myself negatively. Recently I have looked in the mirror for possibly the first time in my life and actually liked what I see. I am OK. I should have realised this a long time ago but now I have I am going to revel in the new and improved me.

Highlights

I have lived in a lot of houses and just about every type. Until very recently, I had never lived in one with a conservatory. I like to call ours the sun room but of course the winter months are just around the corner. I am considering how to warm up my conservatory when the sun is not putting in an appearance from painting UPVC doors to starting a cushion collection.

I like the conservatory partly because there are no screens in there of any kind. It is my view is that phones, computers and televisions are taking over our lives way too much to the detriment of making good family memories. So I definitely want to use the room all year round especially as it has beautiful views over the garden and forest. What are the options for making a sun room have a warmer feel when the freezing temperatures strike?

Window shutters

I have found out that so much heat is lost through our windows and of course we have lots of these in the sun room I am considering the benefits of window shutters both for keeping us warm and also because some look really good. They can be pricey though so I may not be buying them anytime soon.

Spray painting doors and windows

Why are so many sun rooms so white? Ours if basically glass or white everywhere which does not add a warm feel. I like the idea of restoring our sun room with some warmer colours by arranging for the spray painting of the doors and windows. If I used the services of The Restoration Group I would inject some comfort but also express our individuality more.

Lighting

The sunshine gives a lovely light in the summer but I plan for the conservatory to be a cosy hideaway in the coming months. I am going to look for some lovely lamps to give ambient light. My husband has also suggested us using candles and I guess these would give off a little extra heat too.

Floor

We have a white tiled floor in the conservatory so it will need the addition of warmer colours soon.  I like the floor in the warmer months so I don’t want to invest in carpet and underlay. However, I think some rugs in oranges and purples may be in order.

Cushions and throws

I am going to go on a shopping spree to invest in some seasonal cushions. I quite fancy some with deer on them for some reason. I will add in some vibrant colours including reds. Finally whether my husband likes it or not, there will be some fleecy throws in the mix. I will drape some over the wicker furniture which can look harsh in winter and also snuggle up with the children under some others.

Do you have any tips for using your conservatory in the colder months?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

div align=”center”>My Random Musings