High school home essentials

High school home essentials

As you get older and graduate from middle school, everyone is going to expect you to take on more responsibilities. This might mean helping out more at home, taking a weekend job or helping out at church or in the community. Plus, you’ll have more work to do now you’re going to high school and all the pressure that goes with that. So it’s only natural that with all this additional responsibility, you should have more independence.

Depending on where you live, you might already hold a driver’s license. If you don’t already have one, you’re probably aching to get it! One of the most recognizable steps that youngsters take on the path to adulthood is being able to drive an automobile. You’ll get the respect of your parents and your peers if you can take Grandma home after church, pick up the groceries and never have to rely on other folk to get around.

Once you’ve got your license and you’re enjoying your new freedom on the roads, it won’t be long until you’re ready to get your first car or pick-up. You can’t always be borrowing your daddy’s ride – he probably needs it more than you do, and it is, after all, his and not yours! Now the best way to do this is to save up some money from your job and looking at buying a used car, maybe a good old Dodge Charger or a Chevy Silverado, preferably from a friend or someone in the family or your community. That way, you’re likely to get a better price and fewer questions about the condition of the vehicle than if you went to a used car dealer.

Now that you and your friends are mobile, you’re going to want to be able to reach each other no matter where you are, and for that, you’ll need a cell phone. Lots of people will automatically go for whatever is coolest at the moment and whatever style they like. But remember, what’s cool now is going to old news in a few months. If you play that game, you’ll find yourself blowing all your money just keeping up with the latest trends. Instead, talk to people who have owned their phone for a year or so about its performance. Can it run multiple apps at the same time without slowing down? Is it sturdy enough to survive being accidentally dropped? Find someone who is happy with their phone and then go out and buy the same model. I bet you can find it in the store for half the price is was sold for when it was new.

You’re also going to need a laptop. The way the world is going, this could actually be number one on some teenagers’ lists. Today’s laptops aren’t just used for surfing the net, chatting with friends, gaming and updating your Facebook – they can help you with everything from schoolwork, home accounting, shopping and just about everything else – whether you want to learn how to make the most delicious boiled peanuts or just find the location of your nearest animal shelter or gun store. Finding the right laptop for you will be similar to finding the right phone – do a lot of asking around and find out about the terminology used to talk about computers – RAM, processors, video cards and all that. Only in this case, I would say you’re better off buying new and from a local dealer that offers a good warranty. Laptops don’t have a great lifespan and sustain damage to their components easily. As a result of this, they get slower and more unpredictable relatively quickly. If you do have a problem with your laptop you don’t want to have to wait months for it to be sent half way around the world to be repaired – you want a local service who you can trust to get it done as soon as.

You might already help out in the kitchen and be familiar with the kitchen appliances. No doubt some of you can serve up some real treats – cheese balls rolled in nuts, fried Twinkies, or perhaps even some delicious shrimp and grits. You can’t always be spending all that time in the kitchen when you want a snack, especially with all the schoolwork you’ll have to do. That’s why you’re going to need a toaster – perfect for breakfast and snacks throughout the day – make your grilled sandwiches chock full of bacon, egg, jalapenos, maple, ranch and of course all that extra sharp molten cheese, wow! They’re great for making other stuff, too – pizza anyone? Fried bologna and mayo sandwich? Yum!

These are just some of the essentials that you’re going to need in high school. Of course there’s going to be an even longer list of things you need which are more specific to you. Depending on who you are that may be sports apparel, headphones, gym membership, games consoles, rod and reels, ammunition, sneakers… the list is as long as you want it to be. But make sure you’ve got the essentials locked down first!

The internet is full of interests!

The internet is full of interests! (asiaricecookers.com)

What are the things you struggle with most in this world? Some people are never going to be able to climb Everest, some may want to become a professional football player and fail miserably (I’m not bitter at all with regard to that one, honest), and some may just struggle with the small things in life like cooking. Now it is safe to say that absolutely everyone worldwide has something they just can’t do and it probably bothers you no end. Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is something that can be done about this and: it is incredibly easy to do, 99% of people have some sort of access to it, and all it involves it is little bit of effort from yourself. The answer is the Internet.

Since the turn of the millennium the Internet has really taken off. What was once a thing designed for purely military purposes for internal communications has blossomed into the most powerful learning tool the world has ever seen. If you want to learn how to become a better basketball player then watch a YouTube video, want to increase your psychology knowledge? Then find and listen to a podcast on the subject, even if you want to find the best rice cooker on the market there is a website for that and it is called asiaricecookers.com. It really doesn’t matter what you want o learn, you can do it.

So why isn’t everyone an expert in everything then? Well, the answer is quite simple. There isn’t enough time. From starting with a few very scientific pages the Internet has blossomed into a fountain of knowledge and it has gotten to the stage where there is simply too much information for my one single person to digest. You have to be testament to the tricks of the trade if you want to truly utilise the Internet. Concentration is key as it is so incredibly easy to be distracted when on the Internet so you have to stick to your goal and break it down into manageable targets. Rather than sitting through an entire episode of how to learn Chinese in 10 hours you should break each lesson down into smaller half hour long segments. This may sound completely contradictory to the earlier point about not getting distracted but it is not. If you break things down into smaller chunks then you are less and less likely to get distracted and leave them ongoing. You will go back to the task at hand and finish it. It is simply human nature. This is one of the main, small, but very useful tricks you can use to focus when on the Internet.

The other may seem incredibly self explanatory but it is still well worth mentioning. This simple but effective technique is to pick a topic or subject you like and stick to it! Whilst that won’t set the world alight as ideas go, it is a very important one nonetheless. If you do something you love then it won’t feel like working at all. You may always have wanted to learn more about dogs. Go and do it. If you are more of a cat person and have been planning the best way to build little mittens cat palace for years now, go and find out how to on the Internet and as it is something you love you are sure to see the job through to the bitter end, no matter how unappreciative mittens is at the end of it…. Long term projects are always a labour of love, and if you love doing it then this labour will become that bit easier.

So what have you learnt today by reading this piece? Hopefully you don’t say nothing and you go with something along the lines of “a few different lessons!” You should have been given a bit more confidence that if you want to take on a big and potentially life changing project then you have the tools to do so sitting in your hand right now. The Internet is easy to use and can help you to better yourself in so many ways that they would all struggle to fit in this article. Go and learn now! It’s never too late.

The different ways you turn people

The different ways you turn people off and what to do about them

Whole industries have grown up around making ourselves more attractive to people. Sometimes this is for the purposes of finding a partner, at other times it’s to help us sell a used car or make ourselves seem electable. While we may be aware of the basics of attraction, we make actually be doing more to turn peopleoff us, rather than to attract them.

One of the most common ways people get turned off is by having to put up with your bad breath. This is especially true of those who smoke, drink too much alcohol or consume a great deal of smelly foods such as fermented bean paste or kimchi. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to clean your teeth after eating. Using an electric toothbrush is a real smart choice as manual brushing can miss areas in which bacteria can build up and produce foul odors. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by acid reflux from the gut. In this case, cleaning your teeth won’t help – the answer lies in addressing your acid reflux.

Chewing gum can be used to reduce reflux and improve your breath, but it’s best to do this alone as many people find chewing gum to be distasteful and disrespectful. Try to avoid foods which trigger acid reflux, eater smaller meals more often and use antacids if necessary.

Another way in which you could be turning people of is by being rude. Many people have been told that assertiveness is a good thing and that they should always be assertive. Assertiveness certainly has a time and a place but it is not all of the time. It can make people unable to relate to you. Sometimes you may overdo it and show that you are not listening to others. Interrupting and talking over others are sure-fire ways to turn people off and make enemies as people view you as arrogant and small-minded – believing that what you have to say takes precedence over what others are trying to say, and believing that it doesn’t matter if you and everyone else miss out on hearing what others have to say. Listen to others and consider what they are saying. Being right and winning arguments all the time actually drives people away from you.

Another thing that will cause people to avoid you is if you are a bore. It’s likely that nobody in the world thinks that they are a bore, but a clue could be if you consider yourself to be passionate about something. For example, being passionate about political issues, could mean that others regard you as always harping on about politics which they’re not interested in. Rather than persuading these people to come around to your point of view, you are likely driving them away. If you just love cars and engines, no amount of talking about them and showing photos of them to others is going to make them interested. They will just think you are boring and think twice about hanging out with you again.

The other side of the coin is equally irritating. If you don’t talk about yourself or your interests at all, and simply ask one question after another about other people, they will become uncomfortable around you. It is presumptuous and invasive to continually ask people questions without even pretending to volunteer the corresponding information about yourself. Break up the interrogation with your own anecdotes and observations. If you feel you must ask sensitive questions, explain why and apologize in advance.

Sometimes you can turn people off simply by acting ‘normally’. This often happens when people cross cultural boundaries. For example, the American who goes to Britain and wishes everyone to ‘have a nice day’ is likely to be regarded as superficial or even sarcastic, rather than friendly and genuine. The British tourist who tucks into a sandwich on a train in Japan may be viewed as uncouth and selfish by the locals, whereas back home nobody would bat an eyelid. It’s always worthwhile familiarizing yourself with local etiquette in order not to cause offence. Many times people will be understanding as you are not from the same cultural background but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to look as good as a movie star

How to look as good as a movie star

Have you ever wondered how people in movies look so much better than people in real life? Even the actors look better in movies than they do in their day to day lives. So how do they do it? And, more importantly, how can you get the same effect and get the movie star look? Here, we’ll take a look at the tricks of the trade and insider secrets that can give you that Hollywood look, no matter what you happen to be doing, whether you’re picking up some groceries, going to see the doctor or just relaxing in front of the TV.

First off, you’re probably going to have to do something about your hair. It’s not possible to give one-size-fits-all advice about hair as your hairstyle should complement the shape of your face and your physique. For guys, if you look like Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson, you’ll be able to save money on a stylist by simply shaving your hair off. For men and women who don’t have the physique to pull that off, a trip to the salon is in order. So, here’s our first insider tip: when stars are invited to the Oscars, they’re asked to turn up with unwashed, dry hair. The reason for this? Unwashed hair holds its style much better than recently-washed hair. It’s then styled with a wet brush, dry shampoo, spray and a blow-dryer. Apply extensions and highlights to get the look you want.

Makeup makes the biggest difference between how someone looks on the big screen and how they look when they’re lying in bed with a hangover. Again, there isn’t one solution to fit everybody – it really depends on what image you want to portray. Take a look at the movie star you’d most like to resemble and try to mimic what they do. Be realistic about who you choose, too – if you want to look like Park Min Young but you closely resemble Robbie Coltrane, you’re going to need a lot of surgery before you even think about makeup.

For women, the basic rules are to accentuate the lips (lipstick – go red) and eyes (mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner), and soften the skin (foundation and blusher). The whole idea is to appear healthier and more youthful. For men, the big thing is ‘no makeup’ makeup. You want to hide bags under your eyes, wrinkles, blemishes and scars while subtly accentuating your jawline, chin, nose and eyebrows. The colors you use should not differ greatly from the natural colors of your face.

It’s very rare to see anyone on the big screen with less than perfect teeth. If you’re young, you can save yourself a lot of money down the line by acting now and taking good care if your teeth for life. Use fluoride, don’t smoke, floss your teeth and use a brush with adjustable settings (something like this: http://www.toothbrushbest.com/philips-sonicare-diamondclean/) to clean your teeth after every meal. Orthodontic treatment is usually cheaper and quicker for young people. For those who are less fortunate, the most extreme option is to invest in a completely new set of piano keys. Short of that, look into straightening and whitening and start taking your oral hygiene more seriously.

It’s almost impossible to think of a movie hero who wasn’t in good shape. Even those who make it onto the big screen with a few extra pounds are given quirky or buffoon-like ‘fat person’ roles. The fact is that the actor who plays the ‘average guy’ spends a lot of his time with his personal trainer at the gym, getting leaner and more pumped than you’ve ever been. The same goes for the nerdy girl in films. Take off the glasses and cardigan and she actually looks more like a cheerleader. The message is clear: if you want to look like a movie star, you are going to have to get into good shape. Cut out the beer, nachos and pizza, put down your games controller and start crushing it and sweating buckets five times a week. Don’t forget to adjust your diet accordingly.

The last thing we need to look at is your clothing. Firstly, choose a style and stick to it. Don’t go mixing up hipster and hip hop. Don’t try to wear a Panama hat with bling and a pair of Nikes. Whether you want to look like James Bond or Tank Girl, choose the appropriate clothes and stick with them. It’s essential that your clothes are clean all of the time. If they start to fade or look worn, replace them. Hollywood doesn’t do dirty, stinky or worn out, and that’s nothing new – why do you think people buy brand new ripped clothes for hundreds of dollars at a pop?

Once you’ve got the look down, it’s time to get into persona, get out there and start turning heads! Whether you’re sitting down at church or just mowing the lawn, you’re bound to make a big impression!

What you can do for your village

What you can do for your village

Those of us who choose to live in villages often do so because of the things that village life offers that cities and towns don’t – a sense of community, knowing your neighbours, helping each other out, peace, tranquillity, home-made produce, proximity to the countryside and so on.

As our villages offer us so much and enrich us in our daily lives to such a great extent, it’s only fair that we should offer something back. In fact, one of the things that give villages their character is the fact that they are run and cared for by the people who live in them.

Keep it beautiful 

One of the most obvious things you can do for your village is to keep it tidy. This means ensuring that you and your children avoid littering at all times and dispose properly of cat and doggy do. If there aren’t adequate litter bins, recycling points and dog waste disposal points around your village, make it your duty to raise this with the parish council to get it fixed. If your village is popular with tourists and visitors, find discreet and polite ways to discourage littering. If you see litter or anything else that needs scooping up, take it upon yourself to do it.

If you have any gardening, painting, sculpting skills, etc., volunteer to use them to make certain areas of your village prettier. A bus stop with a flower garden is much nicer than just a bus stop. A sculpted ‘Welcome to’ sign is much more appealing than a standard village name sign along with the speed limit accompanied by some condescendingly sarcastic along the lines of “30. Had you forgotten?”

Share your talents 

The whole point of living in a village is to get involved with the community. Even if you’re not particularly talented at anything, this doesn’t mean your contribution won’t be appreciated. If you’re not good enough for the cricket team, you can still help out with organising the kids’ team.

There are plenty of ways that you can get involved. Try paying support visits to the elderly and disabled villagers, organise the village fete, start a book club, organise the neighbourhood watch, get involved with the scouts, put on a village pantomime – the list is as long as you want it to be. If you can make the commitment, join the parish council or even stand as a district councillor.

Take care of the environment 

Some of the most attractive villages in the country have been spoiled by the amount of traffic that passes through them. This is mostly blamed on commuters, tourists and people passing through, but quite often, the villagers are to blame themselves.

If you have to drive out of the village, whether it’s for work or leisure, look into carpooling options – if you work in a nearby town, it’s probably that some of your neighbours also do. If you follow a football team in a nearby city, you’re unlikely to be the only one.

Stop driving your children to school and stop getting in the car to ‘just’ pop down to the bakery/ off-licence. If it really is too much to walk or cycle there, have a look at motorised options which don’t cause congestion or pollute the air, such as electric bikes – you’ll be surprised at how they can really benefit your family, your wallet and your village – read more about them at The Electric Rider.

Community spirit 

The most important thing you can do for your village is to make community spirit a priority in your life. Be prepared to help your neighbours out, take care of their pets, call on them when they’re sick, watch their houses when they go on holiday. Don’t speak ill of other members of the community and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Bake a cake when a new family moves into the village. Raise money for community good causes. Cheer on your school sports teams.

The most important things to remember are the more you put into village life, the more you’ll get out of it. Take care of your community and your community will take care of you.

Special Dietary Requirements

Special Dietary Requirements – Can Rice Help?

I was turning 30 in a week and I decided instead of sitting around in my house and just hiding away depressed, I was going to see out my twenties in style.

This was going to be a big party and I wanted to do everything properly.  I bought invitations, new plates and cutlery, a few bits of equipment for my kitchen including a bread maker, electric wine cooler and a rice cooker.

I was determined to cook everything from scratch. So the menu would need some planning.

The list of guests was sorted and invitations sent out. Two of my friends have special dietary requirements.  One of my friends has a gluten free diet and the other is a vegetarian.

What to cook?  One of my pet dislikes is treating people with dietary requirements like the poor relations. It really isn’t fair. This party was going to be different, I love my friends very much and I want them to enjoy the food as much as everyone else.

I planned to have a table where everything was clearly marked up. I would make enough of the gluten free and vegetarian food, so that everyone else could eat it too.

I decided to make gluten free flat breads with avocado and feta, vegetable sushi rolls, 8 veg tagine, spinach and cheese falafels, along with the usual dips and chips.

I also put together the following gluten free recipe (this went down so well with everyone at the party).

Gluten-free Party Food: Wild Rice Salad 


  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 2 cups of vegan/veggie stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsps sea salt
  • 3 rainbow carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup raw organic walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

The Dressing:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • zest from one large orange
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (may also use rice or balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tbsps finely minced shallot
  • 4 tsps honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt (to taste)


Follow the package directions to make your rice with the broth, water, and salt.

While the rice is cooking, make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and whisking to combine. Check the seasoning and, if needed, adjust to taste. You may need to add more lemon, vinegar, or honey, depending on your ingredients.

Once the rice is cooked, as mentioned earlier, I invested in one of the best rice cookers online, allow the rice to cool a little, then add the carrots, diced apples, pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries. Toss to incorporate all the ingredients. Dress while still warm with the citrus dressing, spooning it a few tablespoons at a time to be sure it’s dressed to your liking. Add the chopped toasted walnuts at the end.

The main vegetarian dish I made was as follows:

Leek, Cheese and Potato Pasties


  • 2 small potatoes, approx. 300g/11oz), cut into 1cm cubes
  • knob of butter, split in half lengthways and finely sliced
  • 3 thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • Gluten free flour for dusting
  • 500g block shortcrust pastry
  • 140g


Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water for 5-8 mins until tender, ensuring they are still holding their shape. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and thyme and soften for 10-12 mins. Drain potatoes and add to the leeks with the mustard and plenty of seasoning. Stir in the cream and leave to cool a little.

Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a 10 cent coin. Use a side plate or a bowl as a template to cut out 6 x 15cm circles. Mix the cheese with the leek mixture and pile a mound of the mix onto the center of each pastry circle. Brush around edges with a little egg, then bring edges together and crimp with your fingers to seal.

Place pasties on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, brush with the remaining egg and bake for 40-45 mins until golden brown. Serve warm or leave to cool.

I served up all of the food as planned and it went down so well.  I spent half of my time at the party explaining the recipes and the fact my gorgeous friends with dietary requirements didn’t feel singled out was brilliant.

The party was amazing.  What a lovely way to spend my birthday, with all of my favourite people.

Pressure Cookers

So Many Different Pressure Cookers

When looking for a new pressure cooker, you will find many different makes and models available. Here you will find a guide to which types of cooker are available, and a few pro’s and con’s for each. Make sure you research the model you are interested in, and be sure to read plenty of pressure cooker reviews.

Stove Top Pressure Cooker

A stove-top model is one that the user places on the stove and manually sets the temperature to achieve the correct amount of pressure. Then, once the desired pressure is reached, the cooker must be removed from the energy source, the time must be monitored.

The pressure inside the cooker must be released before removal of the lid. These models can be very time consuming because the user must continuously monitor the pressure, cooking times and the pressure relieving stage.

Electric Pressure Cookers

The electric pressure cooker allows the user to prepare all of the ingredients and place them into the pot, set the timer and the cooking will automatically start at any desired time.

These cookers automatically heat the liquid inside the vessel until the desired pressure is reached and then it automatically maintains that pressure for the specified time. After the time has passed, the cooker automatically turns the heating element off, and allows the steam to drop until it is safe to open the lid of the cooker.

The electric pressure cooker allows the user to prepare meals without having to monitor the process. This is of huge benefit because all the user has to do is prepare the meal and set the timer, no monitoring has to take place. One disadvantage is that the internal heating element takes a little longer to reach the required temperature, also, the cool down time for the electric models is significantly longer because the cooker cannot be removed from the heat source like a stove-top model.


You will find models that are made from aluminum and stainless steel. There are advantages and disadvantages to both materials, so the user must determine which one is best for their use.

A big advantage of the aluminum pressure cookers is the weight, they are significantly lighter than the stainless steel models. The lower cost makes them attractive to consumers, and the heating process is generally more uniform because of the good heat conduction properties of aluminum.

Aluminum pressure cookers have a few disadvantages. They will usually stain and pit with heavy use, although this will not have a detrimental affect on the way it works.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel pressure cookers have certain advantages too. They are not porous so they are less likely to stain and pit, they have a beautiful shiny surface. Stainless steel is also very durable.

Some of the disadvantages are that they are a little heavier, and more expensive than aluminum cookers. Stainless steel does not conduct heat as well as aluminum, so it may take a little longer to reach the desired cooking pressure. Buying one with a triple wall bottom that has an aluminum core will help reduce the problems that the solid stainless steel bottom would cause.


There is a multitude of makes and models for both stove top and electric cookers. The most common sizes you will find when researching cookers are 4 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart liquid capacities.

When choosing a model, you must remember that the capacity that you can cook with is around half to two thirds of the pot, this is to allow room for the pressure to build. The needs of the user will be related to family size and normal meal size.

Preserving Foods

One thing to remember is that not all pressure cookers can be used as pressure canners. If you require this facility, ensure the model you are looking at has a canning option.

Pressure canners are used to preserve a food, which is also commonly referred to as canning. Canning is when food is put into glass jars that are specially made for food preservation. A lid is then placed on the mouth of the jar and a ring is screwed over the lid. The jar filled with food is then placed into the pressure canner and processed for a specified time and pressure, depending on the food being preserved. Once the processing time is fully complete, the pressure is reduced and then the jars are removed from the pressure canner. As the jars cool, the lid seals onto the jar and the food will then last for several months without spoiling.

Using pressure canners to preserve food has been done for many years. In fact, when a person thinks of a pressure cooker, preserving foods in jars probably is the first thing to come to mind, but there is a definite difference and a pressure cooker may not be suitable for canning. Home-canned foods have a better flavor and are more nutritious than commercially canned foods.

If you grow your own vegetables, you know if any pesticides have been used and which type of fertilizer has been used to grow the produce. The same can be said when buying vegetables from a dedicated store.


When looking for a new pressure cooker, simply assess your needs, read some reviews and look at the specification for each model. With such a wide variety of makes and models, all of which have different features and functions, there is a model that is suitable for everyone.


The Different Features of your Cordless Drill explained

By understanding the different features of a cordless drill you can make an informed decision when purchasing. For more information on Drills and Drivers click this link.

Your new cordless drill will be made up of;

  • A trigger
  • A keyless chuck
  • Chuck jaws
  • Clutch
  • Speed switch
  • Forward and reverse switch
  • Handle
  • Battery (either Lithium Ion or NiCad) and charger

The trigger

You can control the speed with the trigger button; the trigger controls the rotation speed

Keyless chuck

  • Locked chucks are mostly a thing of the past now (so no more “Lost the key?” excuses!
  • New chucks are known as ratcheting keyless chucks and are easy to use manually doing away with having to use a key

Chuck jaws

The jaws are the metal parts that hold the bit in place, as you tighten the chuck you can see the jaws moving towards each other and squeezing the drill bit tight, thus holding it in place

The clutch

  • The clutch is the part that connects the chuck to the body of the drill.
  • You will find some cordless drills come with multiple settings for the clutch to change the resistance or torque or twisting force
  • This feature is used for precision drilling or when you do not want to drill too far into something, for example a drywall, it also allows for consistency in drilling

Speed switch

  • 2 speed settings means dual speed transmission which work to set the maximum rpm, usually 300 rpm and 800 rpm
  • Both settings will also depend on the amount of pressure you place on the trigger
  • When you need a slow steady drilling action for fastening you can use the slower speed
  • When you want to bore a hole you can use a faster speed

Forward and reverse switch

  • For the most obvious actions of putting screws in and taking them out
  • For the less obvious action of wriggling the drill out if it gets a bit stuck

2 types if handle

  • Again, fairly obvious but look for an ergonomic handle with good grip
  • Look for one that is easy to hold and grip
  • Original handles were like pistol grips which does allow you to apply pressure higher up allowing more force to be used


  • New T-handles are considered to be a better shape for most handling
  • The t-handle base flares to prevent the hand slipping and also accommodates the battery
  • It provides better balance
  • It can be easier to get into tight spaces because it means the hand is not in the way


  • The battery is placed at the bottom of the handle
  • The battery is the power of the drill
  • They come in different voltages and this will be reflected in the price of your drill
  • The more volts the battery has the more power the drill will have
  • Look for an absolute minimum of 9V or better still 12V of power

2 main types of battery


  • The latest technology dictates Lithium-Ion batteries and they;
  • Hold charge a lot longer whilst in use
  • Are more compact and lightweight
  • You can charge them regardless of how much charge they have
  • They charge quickly (look for a “fast” charger)


  • They are more expensive than NiCad batteries
  • They do not like to work in cold temperatures
  • The shelf life is currently only 2 to 3 years regardless of how much or how little you use it
  • Look out for constant improvements on this technology


  • Are bulkier and heavier than the newer lithium-ion
  • It can be overcharged if left too long on the charger, causing damage


  • They do work well in cold temperatures
  • They do have a long shelf life

Remember that it is a lot easier and cheaper to get the whole package including a drill, batteries x 2 and charger together, rather than deciding later that you need a spare battery.

If you have to dispose of old defunct batteries make sure you comply with local authority guidelines or check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website for further information on battery disposal.

Batteries cannot be thrown in with garbage, they are toxic and they can explode!

Your new cordless drill will come with an instruction manual and it will explain how to charge the battery. Following the instruction manual will mean your power tool will last its maximum shelf life without letting you down.



How to Install a Salt-Based Water Softening System

For the first time and hopefully the last!

TypicalSoftenerSystemBearing in mind once again that you need to check the instructions carefully as this guide is designed to give you an idea of the work involved.

Building codes can insist on bypass or shut-off valves to be installed, so first check your local town hall for this.

Some units will come with a pre-installed bypass valve.

Tools & Materials needed

  • 54c80145b9d28_-_tb_9808hihwa-deTape measure
  • Pipe cutters
  • Pipe wrench
  • Tee valves
  • 2 compression fittings
  • Tubing or copper pipe
  • Flexible tubing
  • 2 union fittings
  • PVC solvent or flux
  • Teflon tape
  • Torch and solder

Ready, steady, go;

  1. first_rosys_clip_image004Shut off the mains water to the property. Drain the pipes by opening the lowest valve.
  2. Shut off the hot water heater and turn of the power
  3. Locate the area along the main line where you are going to install the water softener, this needs to be before the line feeds into the water heater
  4. Cut into the main line using a pipe cutter. Grip the cutter onto the pipe; rotate it around until the pipe is cut.  Keep a bucket close for any water coming from the pipe
  5. Install an elbow fitting in the line. This will allow for feed to the filter and have a bypass valve that will let you feed water around the filter if need be
  6. Measure the unit and measure the pipes that will lead to the bypass valve. Cut the pipes to fit, solder on any nipples and fittings before you connect the pipe to the bypass valve.
  7. water_softener_systemAttach the pipes to the unit using the compression fittings which should come with your unit
  8. Clamp the hose to the unit and feed it to where it will drain. This could be a floor drain, utility sink or sump pump. The end of the hose should be at least two inches above the drain hole to prevent any back siphoning of water and make sure the hose is well and truly clamped.
  9. Connect the overflow tube to the brine tank. Check your unit instructions for the height and placement
  10. Turn the valve to the bypass position and flush water through to remove any debris
  11. Plug in the unit and set the valve to the backwash position. Open the valve very slowly to let water in while releasing any air in the pipes.
  12. Follow the instructions with your unit to set up the flushing schedule, cycle of adding salt to the tanks and so on.

N.B Any water pressure problems should be addressed before you install your system.

A few tips regarding cutting, joining and soldering pipes

RidION-HD-SoftenerMeasure, measure and measure again making sure you leave room for connectors, elbows, tees and any other fittings.

Work in sections, measuring, cutting, dry-fitting first

  1. Use a tubing cutter, different types are available but all involve clamping the pipe and rotation until pipe is cut through
  2. Use a round file, then steel wool to smooth and roughen the end of the pipe fitting
  3. A wire brush is an excellent tool for scouring inside the fitting from the end to shoulder
  4. Use gloves! Use a small stiff brush to apply soldering flux to outside of the pipe end. Place fitting onto the end of the pipe, turn the two parts back and forth to spread the flux, position the fitting, when they are ready you can solder them together


  1. Su-Yumusatma-Uniteleri-598Turn on the control valve of the gas torch, light the nozzle with a match, BE CAREFUL, if it does not light immediately, turn it off and let the air clear. Take care of flammables; if necessary use a flame guard.
  2. Adjust the flame so it is strong and steady, and READY.
  3. Apply the heat all the way round the pipe. When a solder wire melts on contact it is hot enough and ready, keep applying heat all the way round until it is completely molten.
  4. Keep the nozzle 4 inches from the fitting, moving back and forth for even distribution of heat.
  5. It needs to be hot but not so hot as to burn off the flux!
  6. It will take a few seconds to cool, use a damp rag to wipe the flux.
  7. Do NOT touch the pipe with bare hands, use your soldering gloves
  8. Wait a couple of hours for the solder to completely harden before making the connections.

If I lost you somewhere in the first paragraph then I guess you know you need professional help, Water Softeners Now has the experts in-house to assist you with that!  If nothing else you know what to expect when the time comes for your water softener installation.


What exactly is a patio heater?

Explaining the different parts of the different types of heater will help you understand the workings of patio heaters.

61bfoVv54yL._SL1500_“Heat transfer through radiation” is a good definition of an IR patio heater.  This of course refers to infrared heat.  The very same heat we get from the sun but in the middle of winter.

As most heaters work on the principle of convection, blowing heat around, patio heaters with infrared heating technology emit the heat in electromagnetic waves directly to the area or people in the area. Convection heat is not ideal when it is literally blown away with the wind.  Infrared will not blow away; it will be there to keep you warm.

Patio heaters are designed to heat up small outdoor spaces like patios and home porches.

The main two options being i) dome shaped and ii) wall mounted

They can be powered by electricity or propane combustion

Dome Shaped heaters also known as mushroom heaters as their shape resembles a mushroom.

How do these work?

77They are designed with a pole connected to a propane gas cylinder. The dome being circular means it can radiate the heat in all directions in a uniform manner so the immediate space is warmed.

If you already have propane for use in your home a propane patio heater would be the obvious choice although they can be run on bottled propane as well.

Parts of a propane patio heater are:

  • Disposable propane bottle
  • Pipe to propane tank
  • Reflector assembly and reflector cap (top part of heater)
  • Heater burner screen
  • Cylinder for propane tank
  • Gas hose

And this type of heater is;

  • Easy to assemble

Parts of a gas patio heater

lightfire-patio-heater-night-flameNatural gas patio heaters are great for natural environments are very similar in construction to the above propane patio heaters.  They also have a centre reflector surrounded by a four piece reflector cap.

So whilst they are very similar they are slightly more complex and do require professional installation.

Advantages of natural gas patio heater

  • Very fuel efficient
  • With longer lasting parts compared to propane and electric patio heaters

The parts of an electric patio heater

outdoor-patio-heaterConvenience is the key to electric patio heaters.

Parts are;

  • Metal rod or quartz for the electromagnetic radiation heat source
  • Reflector
  • Automatic shut off
  • Thermostat
  • Connection cord

These electric heaters are less expensive for initial outlay and far less expensive to run. But they can only be used where there is easy access to electrical socket so they are good for smaller spaces although they are slightly less mobile than other more portable heaters.

More information

poseidon_patio_heater_twinDeciding between the different types of placement is the most fundamental decision, do you want a table top, ceiling mount or permanently mounted in the ground.

For outside dining table top must be considered as the most convenient and most intimate type of heater.  A ceiling mount is ideal if you have an outside porch, and permanently in the ground is good if you are more likely to be playing outside.

Don’t forget a cover for you heater, and don’t forget to put it on when it is not in use!

Check out the article on http://patioheatershq.info/ to give you a very full explanation of how the electric “quartz” heaters work and why you may want to go for that option.

There is no reason why you should not have safe and cosy warmth all year round in the home and outside.