Your health is your wealth! Alternative ways to keep your mind and body healthy from Bark.com

We live in a rat race. It’s a lifestyle where we’re constantly exposed to stress, with increasing workloads, hectic schedules and an expensive cost of living. Long work hours, unpaid overtime, stressful jobs, less time with loved ones and the length of time spent commuting has led to emotional exhaustion. Commencing burnout in 3…2…1…

According to British psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman, the overall pace of life has increased by 10% worldwide since the 1990s. You may even find that some places have seen an increase of 20%! Advancements in technology have contributed to a rise in the collective sense of urgency. The rate at which we communicate and work has increased, contributing to more stress-induced illnesses. A vicious circle, you may agree!

At Bark.com, we believe in working hard. However, we also see the importance of a more harmonious work-life balance. With that, we’ve taken inspiration from a variety of our Sellers to compile a list of alternative ways to fix ailments and keep your mind and body healthy – particularly in this hectic world we live in.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine and is most commonly used to treat pain. Acupuncture is a technique where thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points, to manipulate the ‘flow’ of energy or Qi. Like blood in the circulatory system, Qi goes through the body via pathways, which are called meridians. According to the University of Miami, when factors like stress, injury or poor nutrition disrupt the regular flow of Qi, health issues follow. Acupuncture can also sometimes provide a boost in your immune system, which is key if you lead an unforgiving and fast paced lifestyle. Not only is Acupuncture good for pain, it is also a natural way to treat anxiety. Experts claim that it works faster than therapy, while keeping you drug-free at the same time. If this alternative treatment is for you, why not search for an Acupuncture specialist in your area?

Acupuncture in practice
Let the Qi flow…

Reiki Healing

Taking inspiration from Asia once more, next on our list is Reiki Healing. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. But how does it differ to Acupuncture? Reiki is based on the principle of ‘laying on hands’ to activate healing and restore physical and emotional wellbeing. During Reiki, a therapist can channel energy into a patient by means of touch, so it is once again a natural healing process. Reiki is a very spiritual type of healing, but there is no religious belief associated with its practice. Reiki has become very popular recently with therapists practicing across the UK. Need to find the balance? Then find Reiki Healing practitioners near you.

Reiki Healing in Practice
Channel your energy with Reiki

Hypnotherapy

What do you think of when you think of Hypnotherapy? Do you see hypnotherapy as something that is associated with comedy? Do you see hypnotherapy as a way to end an addiction? What about stress relief?

Hypnotherapy is more frequently being used for stress and anxiety treatment. So if life is becoming too exhausting, maybe now is the time to search for a hypnotherapist who can help you through it. Like many alternative treatments, hypnosis can help you relieve and manage your stress levels, but it also aims to eliminate or reduce the problems causing the stress internally. Oftentimes, for example, there are things that have happened in the past that we have not dealt with. Hypnotherapists claim that they can help you change the way your mind tells your body to deal with certain situations – ultimately helping you to stay relaxed and in control.

Hypnosis treatment in practice
Take control of your mind…

Massage Therapy

If Reiki, Acupuncture or Hypnotherapy are not for you, then why not choose to go down the Massage Therapy route instead? Massage has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, you can choose from among 80 massage therapy styles with a wide variety of pressures, techniques and movements e.g. Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports and Hot Stone Massage. Similarly to the other therapies, massage can provide stress relief as well as help with certain medical conditions. Before you find your Massage Therapist and get booked in, you might want to ask yourself why exactly you want the massage. Do you simply want some ‘me time’, some relaxation or do you need relief from a health condition? Be mindful of this to make sure you’re getting the best massage for your needs.

Therapist doing massage
We all need some ‘me time’…

Have you tried any of the above, or do you have a favourite alternative treatment? Let us know!

For other top tips and advice from Bark.com, why not check out our other blogs?

From one hit wonder to Wonderwall – top tips for picking up the guitar

Time to busk your way to fame
Time to busk your way to fame. Picture: Phil Gray

So – you have your first guitar and your dreams of being the next front man of Pink Floyd are almost too much to handle. But how to progress from air guitar or awkward clunky chord changes to be the guitar strumming, heart-stealing star of the show? Like anything worth doing, time and effort is involved – but there are also some basics that are often forgotten and can make the difference between the one hit wonders and the wonderwalls. Professional singer and guitarist Dan Crisp shares his top tips for guitar learning:

Set-up: First thing’s first, have your guitar checked so you’re not getting frustrated by the instrument going out of tune or the strings being too high – top culprits for quitting early on. Get off on the right foot and it will make things much easier further down the line.

String check! If the strings are dirty and hurting your fingers, the answer is simple – change them. If you start to associate playing the guitar with getting rusty fingers, you’ll be put off from picking it up. Playing the guitar should be a pleasure, not a chore.

Replace your strings to avoid rusty fingers
Replace your strings to avoid rusty fingers

Learn songs that you love: Like rocking out to some AC/DC or chilling with some Ed Sheeran? Find a simple chord version of your favourite song to help you learn chords and chord changes. It’s great to learn basic chord shapes by themselves, but this will also make the task a lot more fun and keep you motivated!

Scales are important: Do you know what a pentatonic scale is? Time to up your game! Knowing scales inside out is a must if you’re interested in playing solos. Learn the major scales, minor scales and pentatonic scales until you can do them in your sleep. The pentatonic scale will be your first port of call when playing blues and rock solos and can really expand your repertoire.

Patience: Like with any new skill, you’re not going to write your Magnus Opus overnight. Enjoy the small victories, like learning something new or playing a pleasant sequence of chords. When learning, every piece of progress should be celebrated. Jimi Hendrix didn’t learn overnight, and you won’t be able to either – it takes time and effort.

Jimi Hendrix, the legend of legends
Jimi Hendrix, the legend of legends

Most of all, remember that practice really does make perfect.

If you’re ready to dive in headfirst and put your passion for music into playing an instrument why not make it the guitar! There are professionals tutors based throughout the country, so why not start your search for guitar lessons here. If you’ve got a budding band behind you that could also do with a little tuition, why not find them bass guitar or drum lessons?

For more Bark.com tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?

Ultimate Cleaning Checklist: 176 Things You Should Clean at Home [Free Download]

Whether you are a mum, running around like a headless chicken tidying up after everyone, a dad with a treasure trove of tools and equipment or a student looking to move house, you will always need a hand have someone asking you to clean up!

We have spent many hours quizzing our cleaners and stay at home parents about every nook and cranny of cleaning to compile the most comprehensive checklist for you.

Which type of cleaner are you?

Do you sweep everything under the carpet with Mont Blanc piling up under the coffee table or do you prefer to tackle the dirty stuff head on?

If you have a burning desire to tackle head on, or you just wish you did, here is a powerful list for you to get stuck into.

If you wish you started doing things instead of actually doing them, you’ll already know that it’s not always easy to break out of our habits, cleaning being no exception. You have most likely mastered your muscle memory for your current routine and changing that might take a little time.

But take heart!

Our planner is a great place to start, full of golden nuggets of information to carry you on the road to clean.

Using The Cleaners Checklist

The checklist helps you break down cleaning tasks into a manageable pieces.

  • Light: 1-2 times per week
  • Medium: 1-2 time every 3 months
  • Deep: 1 time per year

You can even add family members to each task to help you out and slash cleaning times. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not give a price for each item and watch how eager the children become to earn their pocket money!

Cleaners Checklist (Excel)

House Proud?

Show us your best cleaning moments by uploading them to Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram with the hashtag #barketer. We love to see what inspires you and be house proud. If you have any extra cleaning tips, please let us know in the comments below and we may add them to the printable list.

Cleaning aficionados, do you think we have missed anything? Please let us know and we will update the list!

Download The Ultimate Cleaning Checklist (Printable)

Get the customisable Excel spreadsheet here

P.S. Did we mention it’s free to download? We’ve spent many hours creating this cleaning planner, if you have found it useful please bookmark it and share with your friends and family.

P.P.S. If you can share it by Facebook and Twitter, we may even send you a free Bark goodie bag!

DIY disasters

DIY, that classic British pastime. There’s nothing better than working hard on something in your home on a nice relaxing Sunday, then being able to smile proudly the fruits of your hard labour.

Sometimes, though, it is worth getting an expert in to offer a helping hand. Courtesy of the internet and other people’s home disasters, we’ve been able to find a few snaps of eager DIYers who might have benefitted from a little outside assistance…

The Electromaniac

Badly wired doorbell
How to save on electricity bills. Photo courtesy of wonderfulengineering.com

We can’t help but wonder what might happen if you’d been caught in the rain… If you’re not so keen on a shock to welcome you home, perhaps you’d be better off looking for a local electrician.

The Elastic Bands Enthusiast

Tap attached with elastic band
Don’t leave the tap running… Photo courtesy of gfjamesplumbing.com.au

Let’s face it, if there’s any way of putting that ball of elastic bands sitting on your desk to good use, this isn’t it. If you value being able to turn on your taps, find a plumber here.

The Divorcee

Home repair clock
What’s the time? Time for a new clock. Photo courtesy of Daily Mail

Anyone think this is reminiscent of the German man who cut all his possessions in half when breaking up with his long-term girlfriend? It may be time to invest in a new clock…

The Acupuncturist 

Sustainable gardening…. Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail

Sheer genius or pure laziness? If you’re sprinkler’s on the blink, and you don’t fancy getting this arts and craftsy, you can find sprinkler repair specialists who can help to end your garden drought.

The Tetris Champion

A creative approach, sure… Photo courtesy of Danielbrewer.co.uk

Some blocks were just not meant to fit together – time to find a door fitter.

The Baker

Roof tiling disaster
No one will notice! Photo courtesy of ThereIfixedit.com

Note to self, gingerbread houses are not fit for real life purpose. Or is it processed cheese? Either way, find a roofer here.

The Scouts/ Brownies Graduate

Badly fixed wall
How knot to repair your wall…. Photo courtesy of ThereIfixedit.com

You spent hours learning how to master the Sheepshank and the Clove Hitch, so damn it, you’re going to find a way to use it! Or, accept that neon blue doesn’t quite match rock red and find yourself a bricklayer.

DIYers, we salute your valiant efforts, but there is no shame in defeat. Some things are simply better left to the professionals.

For more Bark.com tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?

Get Inspired, Get Fit This Autumn

To put elite sport into some sort of context, the England Rugby World Cup squad have been in a training camp for almost ten weeks in attempt to get fit and focused for the upcoming tournament, which gets underway in just under two weeks. That’s almost three months of fine tuning fitness and ensuring each squad member is at the top of their physical game once kick off comes on 18th September, a process described as ‘grim’ by Saracens Back Row Billy Vunipola. England Coach Stuart Lancaster is adamant when he says: “If you are not fit, everything else falls apart”.

Obviously, we are not all elite athletes at the top of our game. To some of us, just getting to the gym or putting some sort of effort into exercise is an achievement in itself. Nonetheless, if sporting events like the World Cup or the US Open have got you inspired, here are some useful tips to help you get fit and in better shape this autumn.

Rally Your Fitness

The US Open got underway last weekend, so what perfect time than to delve into your cupboard, dust off your racquet and don that Fred Perry polo? Sport England estimates that there are 4,118 places to play tennis in England, Scotland and Wales. That’s 21,186 courts in total, so ample space to get involved. What’s more, tennis is great for improving your health; studies show that playing for three hours a week can halve your risk of death from any cause. In a fitness context, tennis is a real whole-body workout, and just 30 minutes of serving, rallying and arguing over touchline calls with the umpire can burn 300 calories.

Of course, not all of us are the second coming of Roger Federer when we take to the courts, but that shouldn’t put you off. There’s loads of ways to get into the sport and Bark.com help you if you’re looking for tennis lessons to get started.

Tennis Lessons UK
Serve yourself into shape
Brace yourself, Rugby is coming

In around a fortnight’s time, just about everybody in the UK will proclaim themselves an ardent rugby fan and profess to know everything there is to know about the game. In all seriousness, the Rugby World Cup, getting underway from 18th September in the UK, will generate major interest within the country and may well inspire many to pursue their new found interest in the sport. If your one of those looking to join the scrum and kick-start a belated rugby career, the sport is seriously good for building strength and endurance. Just remember that the game is as tough as it looks.

With that in mind, if you don’t fancy the challenge of facing off against a brick-wall of a forward every Saturday, there’s always touch rugby, an ever growing spin-off of the game.

And if you’re a seasoned pro about to kick of a new season of rugby, you’re likely going to need a physiotherapist or require massage therapy at some point during the year, so bare us in mind when the time comes.

2015 Rugby World Cup inspired
Tackle your fitness head-on
Different Strokes

If you fancy something a bit more tranquil, there’s always swimming. Perhaps the easiest sport to participate in alongside running, swimming is regarded as perhaps the most rewarding form of exercise.

Swimming is great for muscle toning, a perfect way to increase your lung volume and it takes away the stress of impact on your joints that exercises such as running brings. Surprisingly, according to a recent article in The Guardian, one in five UK adults cannot swim. It seems to be one of those things that of you don’t learn as a child, you’ll likely never learn as an adult. That is not to say that you’re never too old to take to the water; the same Guardian article states that 2.3 million adults are keen to learn to swim. If you’re one of those keen to learn, or even if you’re interested in taking the next step and fancy yourself as the new Michael Phelps, find a swimming teacher now.

Swimming exercise strength fitness
Mould a swimmers body
Inner Peace, Outer Strength

Of course, getting fit and improving your lifestyle isn’t all about immersing yourself in competitive sport; there’s a growing demand in the UK for a ‘mind over matter’ disciplines of yoga and Pilates. Around 30,000 yoga classes are taught each week, with around 460,000 people practising yoga in the UK each week. What’s more, the likes of yoga and Pilates aren’t solely about improving mental focus, it can be very beneficial to gaining core strength and flexibility that will only aid other sports you partake in as well. Just ask Ryan Giggs, the legendary Manchester United and Welsh winger that attributed his absurdly long career to the benefits of yoga. There’s even talk of the discipline becoming an Olympic sport.

So next time you wake up after a gruelling rugby match or a strenuous run, stiff as a plank and cursing your advancing years, why not try your hand at Yoga or Find Pilates Classes and keep yourself forever young?

Yoga Lessons UK Pilates
Channel your energy

For other top tips and advice from Bark.com, why not check out our other blogs?

Keeping cool with Back to School – top tips for kick-starting the Autumn term

Get ready for the school run!
Get ready for the school run!

Just when you thought you had enough on your plate trying to keep the kids busy during the summer holidays, Autumn term comes running round the corner, bringing with it a long to-do list to get them focussed and back into study mode.

We know there can be a lot to remember and little things that can easily slip your mind but not to fret, Bark.com are here to help with five top tips for preparing for the return of the school run.

  1. Prep the kit: It’s no secret that the start of a new school year involves a lot of additional costs, whether that’s the all-essential new uniform and shoes, funky stationery or a rucksack to help them carry their books home. So make sure you plan ahead and look out for those great back-to-school deals to keep costs down. If you’ve got a particularly long check-list, why not make a day of it? Going with another parent may help ease the stress to it too!
You never know what they might need...
You never know what they might need…
  1. Clear out and organise: Spring cleaning is fairly common place, but what about a Summer spruce? As the warmer months draw to an end, it’s also time to start thinking about packing away the summer dresses and getting out the woollies. It’ll make the morning rush far less stressful, especially for those with big families, if you can avoid wardrobe mix-ups from the outset, as well as keep your little ones happy and sniffle-free. And if you need an extra helping hand, why not look for a local cleaner to ease the load?
  1. Find homework help: For both schoolchildren returning to the classroom, and Mum and Dad at home, the new school year means new level of work to tackle. Being a parent often requires you to also be an ad hoc tutor – but if the thought of racking your brain to remember what an iambic pentameter is, or what SOHCAHTOA stands for, maybe consider a private tutor to help bridge the gap. On Bark.com, we have a range of specialised professionals available to help children achieve the best grades possible, with backgrounds in subjects including:
  1. Expand their horizons: While keeping on top of studies is vital, we all know the importance of hobbies and work/life balance, so why not look for fun and creative extra-curricular activities to keep your child active and entertained. Whether you’re looking for piano lessons or guitar lessons, dance instructors, martial arts classes or even sculpting teachers, there’ll be plenty of things they can take up in the local area to give them some variety as well as new skills.
DISCLAIMER - Sunday mornings may be sacrificed
DISCLAIMER – Sunday mornings may be sacrificed
  1. Have fun! While the summer holidays may quickly seem like a distant memory, there are plenty of festivities to get the children feeling motivated and excited throughout the autumn months. From harvest festivals, to Bonfire night and, of course, Halloween, there’s family fun to be had all around so get ready for the trick-or-treating! Why not even find a local sewing class and see how creative you can get with your costumes?
Pumpkins, broomsticks and sweeties galore!
Pumpkins, broomsticks and sweeties galore!

For more Bark.com tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?

September is the new January… improve yourself and your skills with Bark.com

Forget New Year, September is the perfect time for new beginnings. Summer has been and gone, the days are getting shorter, the evenings are getting darker and the air is cool as winter slowly sets in.

There’s something different about September, which makes it more of an annual turning point than January. September sees the start of a new academic year, and even though the Bark.com team have been out of school for quite a while, we always feel a sense of renewed determination and eagerness as September sets in. We think of September as a clean slate, a time of self-evaluation and a time to start a new project. With that, we’ve put together the top ways to improve yourself and your skills this September – all with the help of Bark.com!

Learn a language

Have you ever thought about learning a second language? Learning another language not only opens your mind and teaches you about different cultures, it also makes you stand out in a competitive job market where skills are key; think amazing job opportunities and salary increases! Need more convincing? Research the cognitive benefits. Many physiological studies have noted that the brains of bilingual people operate more efficiently than single language speakers, particularly in the areas of decision-making, multitasking and memory. Find French lessons, German lessons, Spanish lessons or even Chinese lessons, you’ll at least have some fun bragging rights by the time you become fluent!

Find language lessons
The world is your oyster!

Conquer the fear of public speaking

What’s your greatest fear? Do Spiders scare you? Are heights not your thing? Do you avoid deep water like the plague? All of the above are amongst the top 10 greatest fears across the world, but what was number one in the USA? You guessed it – public speaking! As Jay Leno once said ‘I guess we’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy’. If you’re one of those people who can’t stand the thoughts of speaking in front of a group, then take the fear into your own hands and find public speaking lessons this September – you won’t regret it!

Find pubic speaking lessons
Get ready to take the mic!

Channel your creativity through photography

Are you Instagram crazy, a filter fanatic so to speak? Did our latest photography blog inspire you to unleash your inner photographer? Search for photography lessons this September and go from amateur to pro. From shooting to editing, this is a fantastic creative outlet to explore before the year is out. You’ll have your own studio before you know it…

Find photography lessons
Channel your creativity through photography

Protect and empower yourself with self defence

Feeling empowered is a great feeling, particularly when it comes to safety. I’m sure many of us would like to feel safer on our streets as we go about our daily lives. The numbers of people, especially women, taking the necessary steps to feel more secure is increasing. Self-defence classes are popular, as students can learn how to predict, prevent, identify and avoid violence. When we think of self-defence we immediately think of just martial arts, but the crucial difference is that self-defence combines situational awareness into the mix. Find the self-defence classes which teach you the skills you need to keep yourself safe in this big bad world!

Find self defence classes
Be prepared, protect yourself!

Dance like no one’s watching!

Looking for an activity that is good for personal fitness and is enjoyable at the same time? Get your dancing shoes on! Creativity is one thing that dancing can provide that regular gym exercises can’t. As Contanze Mozart once said: “Dancing is like dreaming with your feet”. This type of exercise is also both aerobic and anaerobic, so you will always get a full body workout. Whether you like ballroom dancing, tap dancing or hip hop dancing, there’s a genre for everyone. Side step to Bark.com to find the best dance lessons in  your area.

Find dance classes
Express yourself through dance

We hope we have motivated you to improve your skills this September. If none of the above are for you, then browse our lessons and training page for more inspiration. Let us know which one you choose and remember; Orange is the New Black, Tuesday is the new Thursday, and September is the new January.

For more Bark.com top tips, why not check out our other blogs?

Gone with the Wind – how to make the most of your autumn garden

By Andy McIndoe, Gold Medal winning Chelsea designer for the last 22 years

The highlights of the autumn garden are some of the most heart-warming and surprising and can represent a great opportunity for garden projects. Maybe it’s the rich fall colours that seem to glow even on dull days. Or perhaps it’s that lush burst of growth of the grass, encouraged by morning dew and more frequent rainfall. The gardening and landscaping year is far from closing, there’s plenty that you, or your gardener can do to make the most of the season and prepare for the future.

Grass Blades morning dew
Morning dew in the garden

There is a treasure trove of seasonal plant material on sale in garden centres and nurseries. Even if it’s still alive, get rid of summer bedding from those patio containers and pots. There are lots of wonderful autumn and winter container plants that will really brighten up the patio and doorstep: violas, pansies, heathers, heucheras, cyclamen and a host of foliage subjects. Many of these will stay looking good through winter.

There are also all those lovely spring flowering bulbs to plant in preparation for another season. Plant any small bulbs such as snowdrops, iris and fritillaries as soon as possible; they deteriorate quickly if left out of the ground for long. Hold off planting tulips until late autumn as if planted too early they can suffer from frost damage or the disease ‘tulip fire’. Daffodils and narcissi can be planted at any time.

Spring daffodils plant anytime
The signal of springtime!

Leaves are falling, so keep gathering them regularly and do not leave them lying on the grass. It’s best to mow them up with the mower on a high setting if possible. This chops the large ones coarsely and adds a few green grass cuttings that help the composting process. It is certainly much less backbreaking than raking – quicker too – so if you don’t have the right equipment, ask your local lawn care professional for advice.

Remember, if you’re looking for help around the garden, autumn is often the best time for planting trees and shrubs, and can be a good time of year for general garden maintenance, as well as removal projects once barbecue season is over. Some shrubs will give instant impact if planted now and they can also benefit wild birds that visit your garden. Cotoneasters are a great choice – tiny white flowers in spring that attract bees and other pollinators, scarlet berries in autumn and winter that the birds really enjoy. If you are thinking of a planting a tree, think beyond spring blossom. Sorbus and malus both have colourful fruits that provide winter food for birds, if you can tempt them to something organic away from the bird feeder.

Red Pommes of firethorn Pyracantha
Autumn Beauty

If you choose just one shrub to plant it has to be a hydrangea: these have gone from being old fashioned to super-trendy in the past couple of years. They are at their best in autumn when their brighter colours fade to something far more sophisticated and beautiful, before they turn parchment in winter. For flower arrangers this is the time to cut them and dry them to preserve their faded beauty.

Whatever you have planned for your garden, ground preparation and careful planting gives the best results. So fork over the ground and mix in plenty of garden compost or shrub and tree planting compost. analysis of website . Dig a hole that’s plenty deep and wide enough and plant firmly. Always stake and tie any new trees securely.

While summer is unfortunately drawing to a close, this is certainly no time to abandon your garden. Taking care of your garden now will reap rewards all through autumn and winter and give you the chance to play host when others can’t!

Andy McIndoe
Andy McIndoe

Follow @AndyMcIndoe on Twitter for more expert insights.

Andy is MD at Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres, as well as a tutor and blogger at the online gardening school MyGardenSchool.

 

 

Want to leave it to the professionals? Leave it to us to get you gardening quotes now

For more Bark.com tips and insight, why not check out our other blogs?

The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY: When to Leave It To The Expert

Let’s be honest: We all fancy ourselves as a bit of DIY genius. No job is too complex or great. When it comes to doing it yourself, any danger of causing serious injury or seriously botching up a job goes out the window; it’s all about ego and proving that not every job requires calling ‘The Man’.

In the real world, however, there is only so much the common homeowner can achieve when deciding to do a touch of handy work around a property. More often than not, it pays to get the expert in. Here’s a list of some household tasks that shouldn’t be too difficult to handle, and those that most definitely require a professional. If you’re one of those who thinks you’re a DIY jack-of-all-trades, look away now…

Don’t Get Wired On Electrics

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Anything electrical in your home that requires attention is best left untouched. Not only do you skirt with the obvious risk of electrocuting yourself, meddling with the wires behind that dodgy plug socket could wreak havoc on your home’s entire wiring. The appeal of deciding to fix a light fitting without the costly expense of calling in a professional may seem alluring, but just think about the potential spiralling costs in the event you botch it up and need to find a professional electrician to rewire your whole home. Bottom line: Don’t fiddle with electrics.

Electrician expert wiring plug socket
Leave electrics to the expert

Different Strokes

Moving on to something a little safer, there’s nothing wrong with attempting painting inside your home. Obviously there’s more to it than simply taking a pot of paint to your walls, but it’s certainly one of the more ‘doable’ DIY projects. As Interior specialist Gemma Cheney writes in the Guardian, there are tricks to adding a professional touch to your painting: “preparation is everything”. For ease and for covering a larger area, a roller is probably best, but for the more intricate jobs, a paintbrush is more ideal. The beauty of it all is that even if you do somehow manage to make a hash of it, you can always hire a painter and decorator to save the day.

Painting DIY indoors property
Unleash your inner painter

Avoid the Waterworks

When it comes to plumbing, there are a handful of simple jobs that do not require a plumbing service: a leaky tap, installing a new shower head or unclogging a drain are all perfect and scalable jobs to keep you occupied at the weekends. However, the more complex tasks will require a professional plumber. Much like trying to fix a problematic wire, fiddling with your home’s plumbing could have disastrous consequences that could leave you more out of pocket to fix than if you called the plumber in the first place. Moving away from the job at hand, hiring a plumber has other benefits. He or she will help you stay within your planned budget and will likely get the job done within your envisioned timeline.

Plumbing expert DIY
Time to call in the Plumber?

Take it Outside

Of course, DIY isn’t just contained to your home; the garden represents a wide range of DIY jobs you can do yourself, from mowing the lawn and painting the fence, to the more difficult bricklaying or pond installation. You may laugh, but there is a method to mowing the perfect lawn, but it’s probably not worth calling in the man. However, installing that nice, new water feature or building a new shed is probably better left to the professional – Bark can help you find local Bricklayers if you need them. Regardless of perfecting the bricklaying when building a new shed, there are also legal complication such as obtaining planning permission that a professional will know inside out and offer guidance. On top of all that, there’s the slight issue of landscaping. We’d all love a garden that wouldn’t look out of place at the Chelsea Flower Show, but left to your own devices you could just as likely end up with the garden from hell. Again, probably best to hire a landscaper for that major redesign.

landscaping gardening expert DIY
Shaping your dream garden

Inspired to Do It Yourself? Consider calling in a local professional first. Bark.com has a wide range of house and home services to help spruce up your property.

For more Bark.com tips and insight, why not check out our other blogs?

Plumbing Conundrums – five things to think about when getting work done on your pipes

In our first of a series of guest blogs from experts across Bark.com, Charlie Mullins, Founder and Managing Director of London-based Pimlico Plumbers, the capital’s biggest independent plumbing company, shares his top tips for healthy waterworks.

Whether you’re boiling your kettle, doing the laundry, having a soak in the bath or warming the house on a cold, crisp evening, we do use a lot of water simply going from day to day, with our plumbing quietly working away in the background to transport it from A to B.

kettle boiling
Cup of tea anyone?

But making sure we get the most from our pipes is not always that simple – if you’re working with existing networks, they aren’t always as flexible or adaptable as we’d like them to be, and if you’re starting from scratch, there are a number of building regulations to consider. So if you’re thinking of doing any tinkering, here are a few top tips to help you ask the right questions, get the right solutions and perhaps most importantly, the right quotes for your plumbing.

1. Where’s my water going? – Out of all the rooms in the home, the kitchen and bathroom – in other words, the rooms that involve the most plumbing work – are the most commonly renovated. So before you read up on your feng shui and start rearranging layouts, think where you’re going to put all your water items (by that, I mean sinks, bath, washing machine, loo, dishwasher etc.) as their position may well be determined by where existing waste and soil pipes are. It is often extremely pricey to move them even a few inches, so make sure you factor in their exact locations when discussing your design. If you’re not sure what’s possible and you’re looking for a tradesman to do the job, why not ask your local bathroom or kitchen fitter for advice before buying? It could save you a lot of hassle further down the line

2. I don’t understand my water pressure – We’ve all experienced the disappointment of a bad shower, whether that’s the embarrassing trickle that drips from the showerhead or the vicious spikes and drops in temperature when someone turns a tap on elsewhere. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you carefully consider where your water tank is positioned and match the shower to suit it. Generally, your supply will come from one of three places – a header tank in the attic, with a hot water cylinder in an airing cupboard; a pressurised system using the pressure from your mains water supply in the road; or a combi boiler system heating water on demand. Again, it’s worth consulting a specialist shower installation professional before you get too attached to the idea of a ceiling mounted rain shower head – beautiful in theory, but not always practical.

Rain shower head
Spectacular, spectacular – but only if you’ve got the right tank!

3. How do I get the most from my boiler? – Boilers can take up a lot of precious space in a crowded kitchen or bathroom, so many people opt to move them somewhere more secluded in the home. If you’re thinking of doing the same, there are a few things to consider – firstly, how readily accessible will your boiler be? Unless you have a converted loft, bunging a boiler in the attic will only give you and your (CORGI registered) boiler engineer headaches when it needs to be serviced, so aim for somewhere on the ground floor like a shoe cupboard or utility room. Then, think about how far any heated water needs to travel – the shorter the distance, the quicker you’ll be able to run your bath. Finally, don’t forget about the flue (the vent for the boiler) – there are several building regulations that can limit where it can be positioned, and therefore where your boiler can be installed.

4. And my radiators? – If you haven’t replaced your radiators in a while, you’ll probably find them situated under windows or on external walls – and there is some logic to this as before double glazing came into play, this helped cancel out cold draughts entering the room. Nowadays though, radiator positions don’t need to be so prescriptive, so feel free to play around with locations (perhaps with the help of a handy heating professional). Just watch out for blocking them with furniture or hiding them behind long curtains as that will trap the heat.

5. What about the pipes themselves? – Going underground seems to be a growing trend with all manner of piping to keep rooms looking clean and clutter-free. And that’s fine – but make sure you find yourself a plumber you trust because the move will be delicate. Any drilling or notching to floor joists needs to be done with care to ensure they can still support weight, any pipes buried in concrete floors need to be protected from potential chemical reactions with tape or plastic casing, and pipes shouldn’t be randomly placed anywhere – otherwise, tradesmen further down the line could easily hammer a nail in to your network or make an incision accidentally.

Burst pipe
Water in the hole – or is it hole in the water?

Whatever your plumbing need you can find the best local plumbers on Bark fast and free.

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Have you got your own plumbing tips to share? Have you ever been caught out by the above? Give us a Bark and let us know!