Getting Inspired By A DIY Competition

I never thought I’d say it, but Peter Andre has done me a favour. Yes, the pint sized Aussie, famous for a questionable pop career and failed marriage to a loud ex model caught my attention with his twist on ITV favourite sixty minute makeover. Now, I remember the show from my student years, with any excuse to watch a bit of trashy daytime TV to avoid getting some studying done. As I recall, they did up a house in an hour, while an unsuspecting home-owner was out visiting a friend or doing some shopping.

In 2015, though, it seems that the sixty minutes have mysteriously been relaxed, so much so that they start stripping wallpaper and doing other odd jobs a few days early. The weird thing is, they’ve still kept the name of the show the same, so it bears no resemblance to what actually happens. I suppose some might claim that can be put down to artist licence.

Anyway, a show a few months back took on a house remarkably similar to my own, not only in terms of layout, but also the dated eighties (OK, seventies) décor.  It got me thinking – they allegedly only spent around £12,000 on the makeover, and updated almost exactly what I hate about my own humble abode. Why not copy their blueprint, and make the same changes, if I know in advance I can afford to do so?

So, I quickly discovered it’s not as simple as it seemed in that hour’s worth of TV (perhaps that’s the sixty minutes they’re referring to?). A good example is the seemingly simple task of arranging skip hire in Doncaster. My home town is hardly known for it’s ability to keep up with the rest of the world, but I didn’t really expect things to be so hard to get right. After trying to get hold of a company called Quick Skip who didn’t appear to answer the phone, and CH Middleton who didn’t seem to want to come all the way across Donny, I ended up just getting a quote on-line, and to my amazement, the company quoting me was the latter of those two, who suddenly could get to me after all. Weird.

I quickly realised that tasks I thought would be simple, were in fact going to take me longer than I’d hired the skip for, such as stripping back the crumbling plaster. Perhaps one room at a time would have been a better plan, but I’d already got the plasterer booked for a few days later. In the end, I had a few of the rooms done properly, and the less dated ones skimmed over, so I could get on with decorating myself.

I’d not realised that fresh plaster was so hard to paint either – I’ve redecorated rooms in a day before, but after a couple of coats it was clear that a third was going to be required to get an even finish on the walls. It was fast developing realisation that costs were starting to spiral, and I’d not even finished painting the walls. On the TV show, their budget kitted out the place with all sorts of accessories too!

Inevitably I finished up the immediate job and did what every other man in the country does faced with a difficult choice. I downed tools and went to the pub. And that is how the state of play remains today. After a few days hard graft, the walls look great, but everything else is pretty much the same as it was before.


Win A Car, Holiday And Bigger Bank Balance With

I love TV. It’s one of the few things I can rely on to help me relax. Ever since the kids went to school, I’ve had it on in the background to make the place feel a little less quiet, and it’s taught me a thing or two along the way. If nothing else, it’s helped me to understand just how many fruit loops there are wandering the streets out in society. You just need to see who Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby are interviewing each day to get a real sense of how much weirder you really could be.

What I particularly like, though, is the interaction of the shows. ITV are particularly good at it, whether that’s with tweet’s to the ‘loose ladies’ at lunchtime, or chatting to the nation via Rylan in the hub. They’ve got a really good grasp of how to get the nation talking, and at the same time to get the debate fired up about the big news stories.

Better still, they’re always giving away amazing prizes, which is usually a big fat wad of cash. Failing that, there’s cars, holidays and gadgets up for grabs, if you stick around long enough to see the question on each show. I do that by having it on in the background while I’m doing the housework, and lodge my entry through my phone. If you do miss them though, you can catch up at the website in their ITV section:

They religiously update the videos on their site every week to show you the latest questions, even though it’s getting more common for them not to have a question at all:

While I’ve not won anything yet, I’m ever hopeful that my name will appear on the list of winners at I hear you find out via a phone call, so make sure you double check the phone number you type into the entry form!

Irresponsible Waste Disposal

We’ve talked previously about how easy it can be to carry out home improvements, and arrange skip hire to dispose of the waste. That’s a great way to do things properly, but I’m increasingly getting concerned about the number of times I’ve been seeing hazardous substances put into skips that really shouldn’t be. For example paints should never be put into a skip, as they need to be treated carefully to avoid damaging the environment if they end up in landfill.

Recently there was a much more serious example, though, of a homeowner hiring a skip and filling it with ACMs – asbestos containing materials. Although asbestos was banned in the late nineties, it still exists in many homes around the UK, and as a result that’s gradually being removed at a very slow pace. A lot of people know that the garage roofing used in the sixties and seventies would sometimes be made from asbestos, but it’s also present in other places too. The materials in the skip in question looked like an artexed ceiling that had been removed. Artex has fallen out of favour since the time a few decades back when it was in fashion, as a cheap solution for decorators. The problem is that some artex contains asbestos, so removing it is dangerous unless you know how to safely handle it, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. You can often find a local contractor, or alternatively use a national company to help.

Getting the job done properly is essential – it’s not just about your health, it’s also about the health of those around you. Someone innocently walking past that skip could inhale harmful dust, and if that becomes lodged in their lungs there’s going to be a significant chance that they develop incurable diseases like lung cancer or asbestosis later in life, usually decades later. Of course, disposing harmful materials in this way is breaking the law, but there’s no penalty the courts can hand out that will make up for causing someone to die prematurely.

That’s an extreme example, and naturally far more serious than dropping a crisp packet. However, we do have a serious problem with people in this country failing to dispose of waste correctly, so we need to change behaviour before we end up living in one big landfill site across the UK.

GMB Fire Alarms, Easter Weekend Chores And More…

You know the world is about to go a bit mad whenever bank holidays roll around, especially those around Christmas and Easter when you get a couple in quick succession. As you’ll know if you’ve read elsewhere on the site, we love competitions, especially the ones on TV like Good Morning Britain and other mind numbing shows that don’t take a great deal of thought, other than lodging our entry to win a massive prize.

So, imagine the confusion, when after an evening of indulgence in alcohol to welcome in a four day Easter weekend, I wake up to not so current news on ITV, waiting for news of their competition. It became clear pretty fast, even in my half zombielike state that something wasn’t right, as there didn’t seem to be too much particularly new about the news stories. It didn’t take long to figure out that the show wasn’t live on air, which turned out to be due to a fire in the studios, with the obvious immediate evacuation getting in the way of their usual rolling latest news.

It wasn’t quite the start of the day I was hoping for – namely no competition to enter in sight, but it’ll at least save me a walk to the post box to lodge my free entry.

The chores are now beckoning – some of you might already know that I spend a lot of time driving my truck down to central Europe and back, and as with most long distance lorry drivers, I don’t clean it as often as I should, so the rest of the day is going to be spent with the petrol pressure washer getting rid of months of dirt I’ve picked up from various parts of Europe.

It’s not exactly the most fun I could have over the Easter weekend, but it’s probably time to take action before I get pulled over when my plates become completely unreadable. Having said that, the reluctance to get started is only because it’s a work related job. A couple of weekends ago I remembered just how much fun it really is to unleash a high powered hose, and how satisfying those jets are, as we took to cleaning the local skate ramps. As you might have picked up on from our talk of skateboard brands recently, we’re quite into pretending we’re still teenagers when we think no-one is watching, even though the occasional trips to A&E always result in getting looks from NHS staff as if we really should grow up.

With the skate ramps, it really is down to owners of petrol pressure washers to get the job done, as there is nowhere to plug in anywhere in sight around the skate park, even thought those wimpy imitations wouldn’t be up to the job even if you could find power. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Eighties Extreme Sports Brands Still Going Strong

A lot of us remember the eighties with fond memories of the dodgy electronic music and the birth of a lot of extreme sports into the main stream like skate boarding and BMX. Many of these brands associated with skateboarding and BMX had a really good run and dominated the sports scene but then died off. Some are now making a come back and over the last 10 years have built up a large brand following re introducing the retro styles.

Lot of brands have held onto their status as a major brand over the years, adapting to the changes in the market and staying up their through the various fashions.

For many people who are now hitting there forties and fifties disposable income is getting bigger and the ability to revisit some of the things we loved in the 80’s is now a possibility. Some of the very modern styles just wouldn’t look right so trying to stay fashionable is a mix of buying some retro stuff and balancing it with modern clothes that are not too out there.

Brands That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Here are some of the brands that have lasted the course to beat out the competition and have stayed strong within some of their sporting arenas. Some of them have become icons of the sports over the years and look like they will continue well into the future.

Independent Truck Company

This skateboard company is legendary in sport. It is the most popular producer of trucks now and has been since the eighties. They still look very similar as they did and just a well engineered component that works so well nobody wants to change it. Not only have the trucks themselves stayed popular the clothing and logo have become synonymous with skateboarding. You would be hard pushed to find a skater that has never owned an Independent product.

Bones Skate Products

The Bones Brigade were the biggest thing in the eighties skateboarding scene with so many of the best skaters in the world on the brand. There videos including Animal Chin helped to build a brand that was so popular that they sold decks, wheels and clothing by the bucket load. Nowadays they are still producing some of the best skateboard wheels on the market that are ridden by thousands of skateboarders. Even the Bones logo on the skateboard wheels is the same as it was back then and is instantly recognisable.

Vans Shoes

The classic design of Vans shoes are a really main stream style of shoe these days with the retro look and tight jeans. They are worn by all ages and even by people that have never been involved with surfing, skateboarding or BMX. They also make very popular modern styles of skate shoes. Vans is a big brand that now has a lot of clothing available as well as shoes and even has some of its own skate parks like the Vans Pool.

Haro BMX

These were the bikes to have in the eighties with the Haro team gracing the cover of so many magazines with amazing tricks that were really pushing the sport to the edge. The bike are still very popular and Haro BMX’s can be found at many parks and tracks all over the world. With so much experience in building tough bikes that can withstand an absolute battering they have a great name in the market that continues to stay with them.

What Makes These Brands Last?

These brands have become such a big part of the sports that they are involved in that they sell their products by reputation as the most reliable and effective in the market that they are in. As these extreme sports become more popular with the mainstream the brands get seen by many people and they grow and grow. Having been around for so long the brands have time to evolve and grow. Being able to sponsor some of the biggest events in the extreme sports world they have an audience that covers the whole spectrum from young teenagers just getting into the sport to the veterans that have relied on the brand for many years.

Will They Last?

Well this is the big question with all brands. It can be a very fickle market with trends changing quickly and new brands popping up all of the time. The brands need to be able to move with the times and create a product that appeals to the market at the current time. For some of the old brands that lead the way their product is at the top of the market but they cannot get complacent. Innovation is important and making sure they stay close to all of the movements in the trends will be the only way that they can survive. With so many of them out there jostling for position only time will tell.