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Archive for January, 2019

Down Jacket Repair Tips And Tricks

January 29th, 2019

Down jacket repair instructions

If you have ripped your favourite down jacket then there are a number of options available to fix the tear. Our down jacket repair tips and tricks are quick and easy to follow without being onerous on your pocket.

You can of course do nothing, but over time the down insulation filling will billow out and you will be left with a very expensive windproof!

Preparing The Down Repair

Before you do anything you must ensure that the down filling is pushed back in to the hole. If the rip is small then use something thin and blunt such as closed tweezers or the end of a pen.

Try and avoid using items with a sharp tip that could push through the fabric if you slip, or a finger, as they often make the hole bigger.

If the fabric is dirty around the hole then you will need to clean it before applying an adhesive patch or tape.

Tweezers used for down jacket repair

Duct Tape Fix

Good quality duct tape is a quick way to prevent any further loss of down insulation from your jacket. Just cut the required shape and apply it. If you spend a bit of time pressing down the edges then they will not peel away very easily.

A lot of people use this technique as a permanent fix, but if you want something more aesthetically pleasing then you could use this as a temporary measure.

Duct tape used for down jacket repair

Down Jacket Repair Tape

Repair tape is similar to Duct Tape but it is a bit more refined in appearance and is easier to cut in to the required shape. These tapes come in both an adhesive form and an iron on system in both fabric and plastic materials.


If you are handy with a needle then you can always stitch the rip in your down jacket. This can be a very permanent solution if done correctly. However, it can look very messy as you need to pull in a lot of fabric around the tear.

Stitching used on down jacket repair

Down Jacket Repair Patches

This is probably the best looking fix for small to medium sized tears in down jackets. The self adhesive backing on these waterproof flexible fabric patches is very sticky, allowing for good coverage over seams.

Most packs come with both oblong and circular shapes to avoid patches lifting off when edges are caught.

Down jacket repair patches

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Keeping Warm If Your Boiler Breaks Down

January 21st, 2019

Top Ten Tips For Keeping Warm Without Heating

If your boiler gives up the ghost in the middle of winter then you are going to be cold unless you take some practical steps. Our ten top tips for keeping warm indoors are easy to follow and require very little preparation.

Get It Fixed 

A no brainer you would think but a lot of people procrastinate over important decisions like this. The truth is the sooner you contact a heating engineer for a call-out, the quicker your boiler will be fixed. Always check your home insurance policy first as you may be covered for emergency breakdown cover.

Cuddle A Loved One

We have all seen it in survival movies and documentaries, and even Luke Skywalker used a Tauntaun to beat the cold – although he was technically inside it rather than cuddling it – but sharing body warmth with a partner or a loving pet is a great way to keep warm.

Wear Extra Layers

Before your house starts to cool down, apply more clothing layers to trap body warmth. You don’t need to go over the top and look like the Michelin Man, but digging out your thermal base layers and woolly jumpers would be a good start.

Be Active

Standing still in a chilly house will soon lead to you getting cold. Do something active such as hoovering and cleaning to generate body heat and take your mind off your predicament, plus you get a gleaming house in the process.

Stay In One Room

Heat rapidly dissipates through an unheated house so close all the doors and concentrate heat in to one living area. If your house is relatively draughty then think about blocking the bottom of doors with a towel or old coat.

Light A Fire

If you are lucky enough to have a wood burner then now is the time to light it! Burn it hard to start with to warm up the fire and the room, and then reduce it for a steady release of heat.

Emergency Heating

For those people without a log burner, getting instant heat needn’t be difficult if you have an electric ceramic, halogen or fan heater. They are relatively inexpensive to buy these days and are always handy to have as a back-up.

Eat and Drink

Try and keep yourself well fed and watered to ensure your bodies internal heat supply works at maximum efficiency – mainly through digestion. Avoid foods that will chill your body such as iced drinks and frozen foods, and try and consume foods you can warm up.

Boil Water

Electric kettles are not the most energy efficient of devices, but they can be used to fill hot water bottles for a quick heating fix, as well as providing a hot drink – just remember to check the bottles rubber seal before use.

Close Your Curtains

Windows can be one of the biggest areas of heat loss in your house. Even double glazed units will allow warmth to be lost. To prevent unnecessary cooling of your room, ensure your curtains are closed at night.

Keeping Warm Conclusions

Obviously prevention is better than cure, so ensure your boiler is serviced regularly to avoid preventable breakdowns. Should you be in a situation where you heating is not available in cold weather, common sense is often the best remedy.

If you are struggling to heat your house and pay your utility bills then speak to your supplier or get further advice and help from Citizens Advice

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Driving In Snow Top Tips For Success

January 7th, 2019

Driving in snow can be perilous unless you are well prepared

There are no dark arts to driving in snow and ice. It is just a matter of being prepared and reacting to the weather conditions. Our comprehensive top tips should be useful to any driver, from the experienced to the inexperienced.

Road Worthiness

The first thing you should do before even attempting driving in snow is to check whether your car is road worthy for winter conditions:

  1. Treads on tyres should have at least 1.6mm but 3mm is recommended in the winter for extra traction and grip
  2. Ensure your car battery is working properly by getting it checked at a reputable garage or doing it yourself with a car battery tester
  3. Top up your engines antifreeze to prevent it from freezing in the cold
  4. Add a winter additive to your screen wash reservoir to prevent it from freezing
  5. Check your wiper blades to make sure they clear your window effectively. Old or worn blades should be replaced
  6. Store spare bulbs in your car and wipe the light glass regularly so you can see and be seen
  7. Keep your fuel tank regularly topped up to prevent unnecessary breakdowns

Be Prepared

Once you know your car is ready for driving in snow, you need to think about what kit you should store in your boot for an emergency. The amount you take with you will be dependent on the route and the length of the journey, but you should consider the following:

  1. A torch with spare batteries
  2. Stout shoes or Wellington boots – Never drive whilst wearing these
  3. A warm blanket or winter sleeping bag
  4. Thermal hat and insulated waterproof gloves
  5. Waterproof jacket and spare warm clothing
  6. Snow shovel
  7. Bottle of water and emergency food such as a chocolate bar
  8. Flask filled with a hot drink
  9. Fully charged mobile phone with a charging cable
  10. An old rug or sacking for placing under car wheels if stuck

Driving In Snow And Ice

  1. The first thing you should assess before driving in snow is if your journey is actually necessary. Speak to your employer to see if you can work from home or take the day as holiday. If your journey is necessary and unavoidable then follow these tips for driving safely:
  2. Research your route. All the major breakdown services will have up to date information of road conditions on their sites
  3. Get up early to prepare your car. Remove all snow and defrost windows thoroughly. Ensure your lights and number plates are clean and visible
  4. Leave earlier than normal and be generous with your expected journey time.
  5. Tell a family member of friend your intended route
  6. Dial your radio in to a local radio station with weather and road reports
  7. If your wheels are spinning in first gear when starting out, try pulling away in second gear
  8. Stick to main roads as they will more likely be ploughed and gritted
  9. Drive Slowly and anticipate breaking. On snow and ice covered roads the breaking distances can be up to 10 times further
  10. Apply brakes gently to help prevent skidding
  11. When coming up to a hill, leave enough space between yourself and the car in front to prevent breaking or stopping half way up
  12. Coming downhill, keep your engine in a low gear to slow your car down rather than applying the breaks


If you should find yourself broken down on the roads or stuck in snow then the first thing to remember is not to panic. There will be other drivers in exactly the same predicament at yourself.

  1. If possible, move your car off the road to prevent other drivers form getting stranded
  2. Notify friends and family members of your situation and contact your breakdown provider
  3. If you are stranded in snow it may be possible to dig yourself out. Place a rug or old mat under the tyres to give extra grip
  4. Do not abandon your car if you do not know where you are or if you are not within easy walking distance of help
  5. Cars loose heat very efficiently due to the high metal content and low insulation so keep warm by adding extra clothing layers
  6. Try and keep your engine running if you want to use electric items such as heated seats and lights. Turn it in for at least five minutes every hour
  7. Ensure the exhaust is clear of snow before turning on your engine

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