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Keeping your children safe at home

According to NHS statistics about 2 million children under the age of 18 are taken to A&E as a result of an accident in and around the home, with over half that number being under 5 years old. So it is definitely worthwhile reviewing your home, and any house you are viewing, for potential hazards so you can keep your little ones safe and sound.

Fire spreads quickly so it’s a good idea to have fire alarms which meet the current regulations, one or more carbon monoxide detectors, a working fire extinguisher and one or more fire blankets. Test your alarms regularly to ensure they are in top working order. It is worthwhile having a comprehensive first aid kit handy.
Safety in the Kitchen

Most families spend a lot of time in the kitchen and the trend for open plan living means easy access to all the appliances and utensils. Fortunately most new ovens have cool touch doors and many fridges have lockable doors.

Children are naturally curious and want to join in and the kitchen is one of the areas in the home with the most hazards and where adults are busy so cannot always see what’s going on.

Here are a few tips for safety in the kitchen:

  • Keep all knives and sharp utensils in a lockable drawer
  • Place glass objects in a high cupboard
  • Turn pan handles towards the back of the hob when cooking
  • Keep stools and chairs away from the cooking and food preparation areas
  • Medicines, hazardous cleaning products, matches and lighters should be out of reach, preferably in a locked cupboard
  • Consider a cover for your cooker knobs and for your dishwasher if it opens easily.
  • Childproof latches on base units will also stop little ones from accessing the contents
  • Move small fridge magnets up and out of reach from toddlers.

Open plan living has its benefits as the whole family is likely to be in the same area where they can keep a watchful eye over the under 5s and steer them away from danger.
Keeping children safe around electrical items

Children are fascinated by electrical appliances particularly TVs, DVD players, and computers. These should be placed against the wall and all the wires positioned out of reach. Unused sockets should be covered with safety plugs and small electrical items should be switched off at the socket.
Safety upstairs

There are three main safety considerations in bedrooms (and numerous minor ones). Firstly, check the windows are locked. Secondly, ensure tall bookcases and wardrobes are fixed to wall so that they cannot topple over. Thirdly, keep all blind cords are out of reach and conform to regulations and that drawstrings are removed. It’s also worth checking toy boxes, sliding doors and window stops to avoid children trapping their fingers.

Unless you are buying a new cot, it is advisable to check the age and condition of a second hand one very carefully. Specific advice is beyond the scope of this blog post but there is very good information on the NCT website https://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/sleeping-safely-cot

In adults’ bedrooms all small and/or sharp objects should be put away and beauty products and medicines out of reach.

On the stairs a safety gate is essential at the top and bottom and if the rails on the stairs have wide gaps consider covering with a guard until the children are big enough. It is also a good idea to keep the stair free of toys.

Water however shallow and babies don’t mix. For toddler and small children the main advice is to keep the temperature of hot water at hand hot and to place a mat in the bottom of the bath or shower to prevent them slipping. Needless to say, all cleaning products, medicines, razors and electric hair styling products should be kept out of arms reach and the toilet lid left closed.

With regards to garages and sheds, the easiest way to remain safe is to keep them locked and out of bounds.

In summary, keep a watchful eye on babies and toddlers so their natural inquisitive nature doesn’t get them into trouble. They can have fun exploring without getting into danger if time has been taken to minimise the risks. For more information take a look at the Child Accident Prevention Trust website http://www.capt.org.uk/

All the fun of the fair at the St Albans Christmas Market

There is a just a couple of weeks until St Albans Cathedral plays host to a wonderful Christmas market in the walled Vintry Garden in the grounds of the Abbey. In traditional European style, there will be the whole range of Christmas goodies to buy from over 60 stalls selling gifts, decorations, a hot toddy or two and a vast selection of foodie fare for young and old.
There is plenty of entertainment too with street performers and Carols on the Hour in the Cathedral on the last Saturday before Christmas from 11.00am to 4.00pm.
Starting on Thursday 26th November with a launch party, the Christmas market is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am to 6pm, Thursdays 11am – 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am until 6pm until Sunday 20th December.
The regular market in St Albans has taken place since the 9th century, so the City has one of the oldest markets in the UK and a tradition of welcoming visitors from far and wide to the heart of the historic town. We know this year’s Christmas market will add to the Christmas spirit.

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Remember, Remember the 5th of November!

With Halloween over, next Saturday, 7th November, Verulamium Park plays host to the largest public firework display in the south of England. Tickets can be bought from the Alban Arena or on the door and cost just £5. Proceeds go to local charities so everyone benefits from this spectacular family event.
The gates open at 6.00pm and the fireworks get off with a bang and a swoosh at 7.30pm. To keep everyone in the party spirit there will be lots of stalls with your favourite food and drink. Remember that parking will be tricky on the night, so plan your journey beforehand.
Why not wrap up warm and join in the fun!

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Tips for Packing up your Home

Whether you choose to use a removal company, tackle the move yourselves or do a combination of the two, this guide will give you some useful tips for making the job much easier. The most important piece of advice is not to leave everything to the day before the move.

Step 1.

Consider what you do not need to take with you. Give items away to a local charity or to friends and family, do a car-boot or garage sale, recycle what you can, sell more valuable items online, take rubbish to the local tip and then you can start packing with a clean slate.

Step 2.

Work out how many boxes you will need if you are going to pack yourself. These can be bought or gathered from supermarkets. Even if you are having a removal company pack for you it is usually a good idea to put some items together in smaller boxes or plastic bags so they are easy to find when you unpack. You will also need strong tape, bubble wrap, tissue paper and old newspapers for lining boxes and wrapping up delicate items. Don’t forget labels and marker pens.

Naturally a removals service will provide all these items for you. There are also moving packs which can be bought online to suit your property size.

Step 3.

Separate out the following hazardous items which some removals companies may not transport:

  • Boxes of paint
  • Cleaning products containing bleach
  • Pesticides
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent tubes

You may need to move these items yourself, so pack with care and look up with safest ways of disposing of those items you no longer need.

Step 4.

Pack an essentials box with all the items you are going to need on the first night. It should be the last box loaded onto the van. These might include:

  • overnight bag with change of clothes
  • tea, coffee, milk
  • snacks, canned or boxed food
  • can opener
  • eating utensils and plates
  • pans and pots
  • towels and dishcloth
  • toiletries
  • baby supplies
  • toilet paper
  • pet food
  • first aid kit and painkillers
  • tool box.

 

Step 5.

 

Start your packing early as it always seems to take longer than expected. If you have a large number of possessions give yourself about six weeks. Begin at the top of the house and work downwards. If you have an attic then begin there. Start in the least used rooms and do one room at a time. Do not overfill boxes and spread out the weight so that each one is not too heavy to lift. Put heavy items at the bottom and top up with lighter ones. Label each box. Make sure valuable documents such as birth certificates and marriage certificates, passports and driving licenses are packed carefully.

 

Finally, if you are considering using a removals service, ask us for recommendations and obtain quotes well in advance as you need to be sure they are free on your chosen moving day.  For further advice about moving house, talk to one of our team.

Get ready for summer with our seasonal gardening tips

May is simply the best time of year to spend a few hours in the garden making it ready for those long summer evenings and warm weekends, so you can enjoy it with the family and friends. Here at Cassidy and Tate we know how important it is to make the best of your garden when you are thinking about selling you home. A fabulous garden is a high priority on most buyers’ lists as there is nothing more off-putting than a knee-high lawn and overgrown flower beds full of weeds.

Here is our top 10 checklist for the perfect back garden whether you are going to ‘Love it or List it’.

  1. Keep your lawn mown. A weekly cut is best at this time of year. There is no need to set the blades too low as closely clipped grass suffers in very dry weather and goes brown very quickly in drought.
  2. Keep the edges of your lawn neat with a regularly trim with edging shears.
  3. Weed frequently, digging out perennials weeds such as creeping buttercup and dandelion and hoeing annual weeds before they take a hold.
  4. Fill pots and containers with colourful annual bedding plants such as geraniums, marguerites, busy lizzies, lilies and fuchsias – whatever takes your fancy. Keep well watered and dead head fading flowers frequently to ensure summer long blooms.
  5. Add a couple of hanging baskets either side of the front door. Fill with trailing annuals. Water and feed regularly to keep them looking at their best.
  6. Early spring and summer flowering shrubs can be pruned before the end of June to keep them in shape. These include lilac, forsythia, amelanchier, philadelphus, exochorda and ribes.
  7. Plant colourful bedding plants to fill up gaps such as lobelia, petunias, begonias, cosmos and daisies.
  8. Pressure wash patios and decking taking care not to blast away the pointing.
  9. Clean your outdoor furniture giving wooden tables, chairs and benches a fresh coat of wood stain.
  10. Give the shed a coat of exterior preservative. There are lots of shades which complement shrubs and flowers and don’t forget to check the roof felt.

A well-tended garden not only shows off your home but is also a sign that you care for your property. After all the front garden is the first thing your prospective buyer will see. You don’t have to be a Monty Don or a Chris Beardshaw to succeed. There are plenty of experts at your local garden centre only too happy to help and give you all the right advice. Fortunately there are some great places to buy plants in and around St Albans and for that impulse buy there is always St Albans market.

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