Category: Kitchen


To give you an idea, I can take our personal situation as an example: We live in a small house built in 1980, so our insulation is far from perfect. With the pellet stove we heat an area of ​​approximately 126 cubic meters (a rough estimate).

With an outside temperature of 5-10 degrees, and allowing the stove to burn for a whole day to keep it at a temperature of 20-22 degrees, we use about one bag of pellets every two days. At a price of around 4.5 euros per bag, that comes to just under 70 euros per month. That is about  0 euros less than what we pay in gas per month top pellet grills, in similar circumstances.

Unfortunately, this cannot simply be answered. It mainly depends on:

  1. your insulation
  2. the size of the room that you want to heat
  3. Over time I try to refine this calculation

Pellet Grills Uses

  1. Most pellet grills do not get piping hot, you can still touch them without burning. If you have children or pets, this can be much safer. If this is important, pay attention to the type of material the grills is made of at the time of purchase. A grills made of cast iron will retain more heat and may be too warm to touch in certain places.
  2. No burning smell. The first day your grills can smell a bit ‘new’ when it starts to burn, but after that you will have no problems anymore. You will not notice anything like ‘campfire smell‘.
  3. Safety: the chance of CO poisoning is non-existent. And all other things that could happen (power outages, impure combustion, not enough air supply, etc) are all provided and the pellet grills will respond automatically as it should. There are countless safety features built in. I trust him more than my gas boiler 🙂
  4. Enormous fun. That sounds corny, but that is something that makes us shy of how important it has become for us. A constant cozy fire in your living room with a seat or chair next to it quickly becomes the favorite place of the whole family to stay. I say that from experience 🙂

For nature

I put this in a separate chapter best pellet grills under $1000, because for some people this is not really the main issue (and I don’t blame you at all)

  1. You do not release extra CO2 into the atmosphere. The co2 that is released during combustion is just as much as the original trees have incorporated into their lives. Not ideal, I know, but much better than the extra CO2 that gas and oil throw into the system
  2. You heat yourself with a renewable energy source. Trees can (fortunately) be replanted as much as we want. Gas, coal or oil on the other hand is very finite. Again, it feels a little sub-optimal, but at the moment there is simply no better alternative to warm up with. So then I’d rather do something with something that we can repair the damage to nature.
  3. Pellets are mainly made from waste wood and sawdust. No trees are felled for it. Although one has to be careful with this: due to the great interest in pellets nowadays, there are manufacturers that are starting to do so. But you can protect yourself against that by only buying pellets with the good quality labels.


My weathered old ancient leather sofa. It’s a wonderfully comfortable item and I’m loath to replace it so I decided to look into extending its life with some simple techniques from those in the know and which I pass on to you lovely readers.



Like wood, leather is natural and so breathes and expands and contracts over time and no two hides will ever be the same so caring for them is varied, especially for the more obscure types out there (I have sat on a horse leather sofa which was lovely and a friend has an ostrich leather cushion). Leather is durable, timeless, comfortable and gets better with age in my opinion gaining a patina over time which can only serve to add to its character, and with these few

Tips you can rest assured that yours will outlive you to be enjoyed by your ungrateful kids.

  • Keep all leather furniture out of direct sunlight as this will fade the colours, even white. Bright sunlight will also age leather quicker not to mention give you an almighty shock when you leap on it on a summers day wearing just your Speedos.
  • Liquid spillages should not be rubbed with a tea-towel or cloth as this will make matters worse. Use absorbent paper kitchen towels and dab the area several times using fresh paper each time to lift fluid from not only the surface but any that has been absorbed.
  • There are several manufacturers of leather protection creams which should be applied when new (unless the retailer has already done so) and repeated 4-5 times each year. Use a wiping method rather than a rubbing one.
  • Always ask the retailer what kind of leather you have and purchase the proper care products and don’t just grab any generic supermarket brand as this could damage your furniture irreversibly.Most ‘regular’ leather sofa’s and chairs will be protected with some form of cream as mentioned above but there are exceptions to this for items covered in Suede, Aniline and Nubuck.
  •  And back cushions should be regularly turned and plumped to maintain their shape and comfort. And flatten creases to stop them becoming permanent.
  • If zips have been used in your suite, do not open them. They are to ease manufacture and not so you can change the covers.
  • Baby wipes make for a general all round cleaner for leather goods (not just furniture) and are cheap and non evasive. Get non-fragranced ones to avoid smelling faintly of infants and always remember to test your cleaning products on an unseen area before you apply to the more visual parts.
  • Pets and children chew leather. Give them something else to chew on as bite marks cannot be repaired!

Stick to these few simply do’s & don’ts and your leathery loveliness will feel and look beautiful for years to come. Unlike ancient Moroccan women flogging oil!…


Maximising the space you live in can not only be a rewarding lifestyle change but can add real value to your home. So will the government’s recent plans to ease planning restrictions for a number of years to boost the building trade bring economic benefit? Or convince us to improve rather than move? You can only add so much to your property before you hit the ‘ceiling price’ making further additions financially unsound. If all the houses in your street are £200k then fitting gold doors and crystal windows will still make your house worth the same as your neighbours so don’t go over the top hoping for a massive profit!



The best ways to improve your home financially are the most obvious areas such as kitchen, bathroom and extensions but a conservatory and drive can also be beneficial. This can add up to 25% to the value of your home. Consulting a structural engineer is a must as you will need to ensure that the existing walls can take the additional weight and consider where to add the new staircase so as not to cause obstruction.

Bathrooms are worthy of updating if you want that wow factor and even if the budget is tight, simply brightening the walls and removing any window obstruction will allow light to fill the room making if feel fresher. Replace taps, re-grout tiles and pop in one of those fancy radiators to really give the room a lift. Just a few hundred pounds spent here can potentially add a couple of thousand to your home.

Similarly, the kitchen, once refreshed can boost the value of your property considerably. Kitchens can be at the very heart of a home providing meals, party venue, a place for the kids to do their homework and somewhere you can practice your culinary skills after absorbing all the programs on the food network.

But don’t go crazy with it. If you spend £10k on a new kitchen, you may be adding around £20k to the overall value, however, adding a £30k kitchen may only yield a similar £20k return thus making a significant loss.

Stick a conservatory on your house and expect anything from a 5-15% increase in the overall value of your property so long as you do it right. Get one with good quality fixtures & fittings and call it an Orangery or summer room rather than conservatory for that added wow factor. And most folk won’t need planning permission either so what are you waiting for?

But if all that still sounds a bit excessive or you just can’t be bothered, a lick of paint and some decent furniture, smartly arranged will greatly improve the place you live. If your chipboard TV unit is lob sided or cluttered with wires and DVD’s get a new one with space for all your items, and hide the things you don’t need on show. Clean lines are what everyone wants so bin the tat and add some slap…and value.