Ditch The Decking – Why It’s Time To Scrap This Outdated Garden Trend

garden decking and wooden furniture

Replace Your Decking With Artificial Grass Before Autumn Sets In

It’s out with the decking as homeowners are becoming increasingly fed up with their high-maintenance timber platforms and prefer the functionality of a fake lawn.

It’s easy to see why decking has become such a popular choice for gardens in the UK. Made famous by makeover shows such as Ground Force in the early Noughties, decking is an attractive and cost-effective solution that is easy and quick to install, transforming a drab garden into a functional living space in a couple of days. The problem is that since decking experienced such a surge in popularity at the turn of the millennium, the novelty has now worn off.

The Downsides of Decking

Unfortunately, decking may be affordable, but it’s also quite high-maintenance if you’re looking for a look that lasts. As with any wood-made materials, it doesn’t handle the elements well and can quickly become damaged following a spell of either sunny or rainy weather. In fact, homeowners will need to regularly re-oil their decking to keep it in good condition, but depending on the type of wood used, bending and bowing are both problems that can occur.

Perhaps of more concern though, particularly if you have young children or elderly people living at home, is that decking can easily become a treacherous and slippery platform, particularly in winter following freezing conditions or even when wet leaves or other foliage falls on top of it. It’s important to keep children safe and stop them running on it in the colder seasons, which can be easier said than done. If your decking is in a dark, shaded part of the garden you are likely also to have to deal with moss cropping up which will need to be dealt with as this can also be a hazard when wet.

Pest Control

Raised decking areas also attract some rather unwanted guests to your garden in the form of rats and mice. Particularly where decking is raised up off the ground, the space between the timber and the ground can provide a cosy resting place during the winter months for rodents to hole up in and build their nests. Pest controllers advise blocking off all access routes and laying traps where appropriate to discourage and eliminate such a problem if it exists beneath your garden decking. However, a better option still would be to tear up this outdated garden material and replace it with something that is much more durable, functional and aesthetically-pleasing all year round – artificial grass.

Benefits Of Artificial Grass

According to a Suffolk artificial grass installer, a fake lawn can cope perfectly with the ever-changing British weather. As it is both water resistant and self-draining, there is no need at all to worry about an artificial lawn becoming swamped during a rainy season, nor will it be scorched during the hotter weather.

Fake grass can be enjoyed by all the family whatever the weather. If you have energetic family members who use your lawn as a football pitch or play area for their swing set and slide, then there will be no patches around a goal mouth or beneath any play equipment. Additionally, you can rest assured that no mud or debris will be trampled inside as the fake grass will stay dry.

Once installed, your artificial grass needs very little in the way of maintenance, aside from a bit of regular raking and the use of a leaf blower to remove any fallen foliage.

So, if you’re looking to revamp your garden space before the cooler season arrives and renders your decking unusable, then it’s time to fight back against this outdated trend and consider replacing it with an artificial lawn that can be enjoyed all the way through winter.

Keep Your Lawn Green All Year

beautiful home with luxury lawn

How To Banish Those Dry Patches On Your Garden Lawn

If you long for the green, green grass of home, then here are some tips to help you eradicate those problem patchy areas and achieve a luscious lawn.

Many things can keep your lawn from looking less than desirable. Whether it’s taken a beating from the British weather, or experienced some heavy usage from energetic kids, your garden lawn can quickly become thin and patchy, yellow or overgrown with weeds. Some give up entirely on their lawns and switch to artificial grass instead. However, if you prefer to look out over an authentic grass lawn, then follow these tips to keep it green all year round.

Neutralising Yellow Patches

If you suffer from unsightly yellow patches on your lawn, then this may be because you’re mowing too much of the grass blade. Instead, try and mow more frequently, but set your mower to a higher setting, so that it never cuts off more than a third of the blade. This will ensure that the greener section of the grass is not removed and the colour of your lawn should improve.

However, sometimes if you find that that the blades are yellow in the vein area but not in the leaves, then this may be indicative of an iron deficiency. This is easily treatable by spraying the area with a liquid iron supplement designed for use on lawns. Take care not to over-apply any type of supplement or fertiliser though, as this can end up scorching the grass. If this happens, give your grass a good drink to remove any excess residue and wash it down into the soil.

Aerate Your Lawn

It’s important that the soil beneath your lawn receives a steady supply of nutrients as well as air and water, to allow the grass to grow and provide a healthy lush appearance for your garden. If your lawn experiences heavy usage from children and pets, or if it dries out easily, then it may be suffering from soil compaction. This is an easy problem to fix by using a simple aeration method to deliver oxygen to the root of the grass. You can use either a plug aerator or a spike aerator to perforate the lawn with small holes. This will allow deeper roots to develop and creates a stronger and more vigorous lawn.

Reinforce Your Grass

Most areas of your garden lawn will have sections that experience heavier usage than others. These might be spaces near a football goal, beneath a swing or even wherever there is a pattern of natural footfall, such as close to the front door. Areas such as these can benefit from some grass reinforcement. Suregreen grass protection for instance, works by fixing a layer of plastic mesh to the ground. The grass roots and sward will then grow between the gaps and also intertwine with the mesh itself, to create a strong and stable reinforced surface which is perfect for handling extra heavy traffic.

Regular Mowing

Little and often is the best way to cut your lawn. Always mow when it is relatively dry to enable you to get a clean cut. You should always check that your mower blades are sharp and use a mower with a mulching plug. This will return the grass clippings back to the lawn as a valuable nutrient to encourage further growth.

With regular care, there’s no reason why you must continue to look out onto a dry and patchy lawn. Follow these tips and you’ll have a green healthy lawn in no time at all.

Give Your Outfits an Italian Edge

Italian handbags

Italians have the best dress sense, and with a few handy tricks and tips, you can too!

When it comes to clothes, Italy are renowned for their quality, craftmanship and design. It’s hard to pinpoint what sets Italian women’s dress sense apart from the rest of us. What is it about the way they update classic outfits that works so well? How do they achieve that distinctly Italian look, that’s been carelessly yet artfully put together?

Well, here are our tips on how to add a touch of Italian to your personal style, including intricate details like sleeve lengths, and big details like fabric and colour choices.

Accessories

Build outfits starting with a statement piece – be it your favourite pair of stilettos, a shiny pair of diamond earrings or a leather bag – and go from there!

Italian fashion accessories are an effortless way of injecting a little Italian-esque into your outfits. Their pieces are crafted with the latest trends in mind, but will always remain timeless thanks to their clean, elegant styles and the excellent quality of materials used.

Italian leather craftsmanship is the gold standard when it comes to handbags – and for a very good reason! They use soft, durable leather and create beautiful bags with intricate details, perfect for use at both day and night. Another key piece that an Italian woman wouldn’t been seen without are a pair of sunglasses. A pair of chic sunglasses are a final touch to an outfit, like Ray Ban aviators for the younger generation, but for a more classic look, the favoured brands are Emporio Armani, Miu Miu and Fendi.

The Finer Details

Italian women know how to splurge on basics that will last a lifetime, so it’s time for you to invest in quality basics that you’ll have for a lifetime! The basis should include clothes like smart black pants, a crisp white designer shirt and fashionable shoes, like handmade backless loafers.

Glamour doesn’t always mean having to look “over the top” and dolled up, sometimes a pair of perfect fitting jeans and a slick of red lipstick is all you need! It’s also important to not save the good stuff for special occasions, because in Italy – every day is a special day! Have a signature va-va-voom look, whether it’s a black gown and red lipstick, or an off-the-shoulder kaftan and big earrings, something that can give you a signature glamour look ready!

Work With Textures and Fabrics

Lace is the preferred choice of fabric for Italians. And that’s no surprise, considering Italian woman stockpile the style! A hint of lace is popular on dresses and shirts, and can make women feel empowered and even a little sexy! Tailored blazers are staple items in Italians wardrobes too. A well-made blazer can make denim dressy, party dresses polished and cover slim the figure down by skimming past the body! It’s even said that a tailored blazer is as synonymous with Italy as pasta – so who are we to argue?

Popular designer brands with women include Prada and Versace, so you’re guaranteed to be investing in a timeless piece that will work with every item in your wardrobe.

How To Brighten a Shady Garden

shady garden

Here Are Some Ideas On How To Make Your Garden Lighter!

We’ve put together ideas on how you can make small changes to your woodwork, plants and landscaping materials to achieve maximum light exposure in your garden!

One of the many pleasures of summer is being able to sit outside in the warm sunshine. Plants need the sun’s light just as much as we do; the nourishing sunbeams provide energy needed for a garden to flourish and grow.

Sadly, a house cannot be moved around in order to achieve maximum light exposure. The sad truth is, a north-facing garden will always be a north-facing garden. But alas, not all is lost! There are certain things you can do that will help you to increase the amount of light your garden gets.

Paints Walls And Fences White

Do you have any old walls? Or any timber structures like sheds, pergolas or rose arches? A great tip for these would be to paint them in white or cream. The white surfaces will reflect and diffuse light in many different directions. This increase in light will be a benefit to nearby plants and will immediately brighten up your garden.

Carefully Choose Hard Landscaping Materials

The colour of your paving, if you’re thinking about laying a path or patio, is certainly something that needs to be thought about. If you’re going to use hard landscaping materials, then stick with warm, pale-honey colour tiles or silver granite paving to help reflect light.

Try to avoid dark grey or khaki tiles, or slate chipping. Darker colours do not reflect light very well and in a dark garden, they can look quite sad, especially when wet!

Highlight With Plants

A shady garden can be brightened up using white flowers and variegated foliage, or some Spring coloured woodland plants. This creates the illusion of light, and as the sun sets the white will stand out.

It’s important to choose plants that can help to create the illusion of more light, and help to brighten your garden up with their beautiful colours. The flowers of choice for this could be the Pulmonaria or Dicentra, both of which are delicate, dainty flowers that vary in vibrant colour and can help to jazz up a shady garden.

Mirrors

Mirrors are an increasingly popular way of creating an illusion of space in a garden, which can also reflect light and heat from the sun. To do this, place a mirror in the brightest area of your garden, and direct it towards the darkest area; this will improve the light your garden gets.

Make sure not to use a magnifying mirror, or direct multiple mirrors to the same spot, as in some cases this can cause an accidental fire!

Water features

A water feature can bring sounds of nature to your doorstep, attract natural wildlife and can adapt to fit in any size space. They’re a great feature of a garden, and can give people something to talk about!

Glass garden sculpture

A glass garden sculpture can help to reflect light around a garden. Pick a coloured glass sculpture and you will add some all-year-round colour to your garden, with beautiful bright colours being reflected around the space.

If you’re thinking about a glass sculpture, or any kind of sculpture, make sure the area it’s placed in is clear and not at risk of falling onto something else or being shattered by overhead factors, such as dead or damaged branches.

Follow these easy steps and ideas to transform a shady garden into a brighter garden!

The Top 5 Facial Treatments

facial beauty treatment

Range Of Skin Care Facial Packages Explained

Do you long for youthful, blemish-free and radiant skin?  We give you the rundown on five top facial packages and the benefits they can provide to you. 

Facial treatments are a real luxury, but actually they do far more than offer a little bit of relaxing indulgence. Some deep clean, others hydrate while numerous facials destress and detoxify the skin, reducing nasty conditions such as acne. By booking in regular facial treatments, you can tone and nourish the condition of the epidermis, resulting in a revitalised and youthful appearance.

If you’re looking to book into a spa or beauty salon, the choice of pampering packages can sometimes seem a little overwhelming if you don’t know quite what you’re looking for. Here are 5 top facial packages that are guaranteed to improve the condition of your skin, while making you feel entirely relaxed throughout the treatment.

Vitamin C Facial

Studies have discovered that vitamin C plays a vital role in assisting the skin’s fight against ageing. Free radicals are known to damage the skin and cause wrinkles, but the presence of vitamin C in the body neutralises their effect. The nutrient also assists in collagen production which keeps the skin looking plump and hydrated. Unfortunately, the ageing process, as well as exposure to UV rays reduces the concentration of vitamin C that is present. Choose a nourishing vitamin C facial to top up the amount of this vital nutrient and you’ll look rejuvenated in no time at all.

Microdermabrasion

If you suffer from an uneven texture of skin on your face, then this is the treatment for you. Unfortunately, environmental pollutants and UV-damage cause harm to the upper level of skin cells. The microdermabrasion technique is an effective way to remove these dead cells and create a smoother texture which radiates good health.

Lymphatic Massage

The drainage of the lymphatic system helps to eliminate many toxins from the body; and with them stress, anxiety and nerves are all alleviated. The massage includes a facial pump which gently works on the lymph to move the toxins along towards the thoracic area, leading to efficient removal from the body. The result is a more relaxed mind and skin which exhibits less puffiness.

Chemical Peel

If you suffer from fine lines, age spots, or acne then your skin is crying out for a chemical peel facial. It targets debris, oil and pollutants that have been left in the pores, clogging up your skin. A peel uses ingredients such as lactic acid, beta salicylic and glycolic acid to improve the condition and texture of your skin resulting in a supple quality that you probably haven’t experienced for years!

Hydrafacial

Bad habits, hormones and a stressful lifestyle can all contribute to the dehydration of skin. Unfortunately, this problem can often take more than drinking an extra glass of water to sort out. The Hydrafacial works by using a vacuum type tool to suck all of the debris and excess oil out of your skin. It then replaces it with a serum which is packed full of nutrients. Your skin will look simply radiant after this treatment, which is surprisingly painless.

If you’re been inspired to book any of these facials Chelmsford has a number of quality beauty salons that offer a range of luxury treatments. What are you waiting for? Book yourself a nourishing and relaxing facial today!

Spanish Holidays For Solo Males

Barcelona city beaches

Your Ultimate Barcelona City Break

If you want to book a solo trip to Spain, make sure you check out the gorgeous city of Barcelona and its equally beautiful escorts.

With sun, sea and sexy women (oh and sangria too!) Spain really is the perfect place for single men to holiday. If you’re looking to get away from the gloomy UK weather and spend a few days partying, catching some sun and meeting gorgeous girls – then why not book yourself a flight to Barcelona? Spain’s most popular travel destination really does have it all, and you’ll have the time of your life. How to make it even better? Well, by hiring a stunning escort to spend the night with of course!

 

Exploring the city

Barcelona  Camp Nou

Barcelona is a great place for single guys to holiday for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s got plenty of landmarks that guys like you will find interesting – including the Nou Camp, home of FC Barcelona. Or you can hit the beach! Barcelona has lots of them, including a nudist one for those who feel particularly daring. Remember, your escort can accompany you while you explore the city or just help you to wind down after a long day back at your hotel room.

Letting your hair down

If you want to have a wild night out on the town, then why not treat yourself to a dance or two at one of the city’s strip clubs? Bacarra, 208 and Darling are some of the city’s most popular adult bars – although there are plenty more to be found too. Barcelona is full of sexy señoritas strutting their stuff, whether that’s on stage or just on the dancefloor. So make sure you visit some of the city’s clubs and bars too! Your escort will be more than happy to accompany you on a night out – and remember, she’ll be just as adventurous as you are. So there’s no need to hold back on the partying!

Travelling as a single guy can be exciting, liberating and at first, something of a novelty. After a while though, it’s normal to crave some female company. So why not hire an escort while you’re enjoying your Catalan city break?

With some truly gorgeous Barcelona escorts out there, you can be sure to have a lovely time while on holiday. You can choose a beautiful girl, arrange your date at a time and place that suits you and call the shots during your time together. When we say call the shots, we really do mean it. After all, men have needs and being single doesn’t mean that you need to miss out! So whatever it is that you desire, your escort will be able to satisfy you.

Go on, it’s time to have some fun!

As you can see, Barcelona really is the ultimate city destination for single guys. With a great nightlife, a fantastic sporting heritage, brilliant beaches and of course, gorgeous women, it’s got so much going for it. So why not treat yourself to a little bit of downtime and book yourself a trip to the Catalan capital in 2017? With a gorgeous escort on your arm and total control over what you do during your trip, there’s no reason why travelling by yourself can’t be fun!

Add Value To Your Home With A Luxury Sun Room

Caulfield conservatory

Maximise Your Living Space With A Modern Conservatory Extension

The best luxury sun room extensions complement the style and interior of the existing property, using building materials and décor that blends in seamlessly.

If you’re looking for a way to extend the living space within your home, whilst opening it up to the garden, then a sun room is an ideal investment for your property. According to the Telegraph, a conservatory extension costing in the region of £4000 – £10,000 could increase the value of your home by 5% in the current economic climate. However, it is important to ensure that this luxury sun room is designed and built well, otherwise cheap extensions can actually put buyers off when it is time for you to sell.

Blend Your Living Spaces

Modern living has seen an increase in homeowners opting for large open-plan areas which combine kitchens, dining and living areas into one huge space. Many are now utilising their outdoor garden areas and choose to create a free-flowing environment with a sun room acting as that transitional space between the joys of nature outdoors and the comfort of interior living. If you wish to add a bespoke conservatory to your property, then it is essential that it complements the existing style of your home. It may be exciting to design and decorate your new space, but try to keep the same flooring as the rest of your downstairs area to ensure that it blends well with your current interiors. Similarly, choose tones that add balance to your existing colour scheme.

Matching Materials

In order to add value to your home, it is also vital that your sun room looks attractive from the exterior of your property, and is seen as a structural addition to the home. This means using building materials that match the existing components of your building. Naturally, you would expect a sun room to feature more glass or uPVC than other exterior walls of your house. However, it is still possible to blend the extension seamlessly with a similar style of timber, bricks, roof tiles or cladding.

Heating and Cooling

One aspect of sun rooms and conservatories that has been a problem in the past, is the ability for these spaces to retain an ambient temperature. Unfortunately, many sun rooms have a tendency to overheat during the summer, yet are too cold to enjoy in the winter. This can render this type of additional living space unusable for large portions of the year, if the extensions have not been built with a consideration of temperature in mind. When planning your conservatory extension, it is important to choose a design that avoids overheating by installing an air-conditioning unit, ceiling fan or specialist conservatory blinds. Similarly, you must consider ways to insulate the space in winter, by building the extension with double-glazing and potentially underfloor heating.

Always choose a reputable building company and designer that is willing to discuss various design options with you. A sun room will only add true value to your property if you can use it to maximise the living space in your home. Many luxury sun room extensions fall under the ‘Permitted Development’ regulations, so as long as you adhere to these various standards, then it should be very easy for you to create that dream extension in 2017!

Self-Catering Holidays In Essex

felsted

Rural Retreats And Seaside Stays For Your 2017 Holiday

Consider Essex for your UK holiday this year. It offers a wide range of self-catering holiday ideas, which are flexible to your needs.

If you’re looking at a staycation for your next holiday, then look no further than the historic county of Essex. This large region has plenty to offer all holiday-makers, whether you’re looking for a culture trip, rustic rural delights or a seaside retreat. Self-catering holidays offer flexibility in that you can eat what you want, when you want. Instead of being confined to a hotel’s set menu on a half-board basis, you can dine out at local pubs at whatever time of day suits you. It is also an affordable option for those who prefer to prepare their own meals. Here are some of the best self-catering holidays in Essex.

Panfield House

This self-catering holiday let in Braintree is perfectly placed for those wanting to visit the beautiful surrounding Bardfield villages, as well as Colchester Zoo and Hatfield Forest. The cottage is fully serviced and has a luxurious kitchen `with underfloor heating.

Walnut Cottage, West Mersea

This break is the perfect solution for looking for dog-friendly accommodation. The property is a spacious stylish detached cottage for up to 5 guests. Spend your time wandering around this quaint island, or perhaps crabbing or feasting on fresh oysters.

Willowbeach Caravan and Beach Hut, Walton on the Naze

This is a unique, but truly idyllic location to enjoy a short break on the coast. This old-school way of holidaying brings back childhood memories with board games and a rope swing to play with. Nature enthusiasts will also love the opportunities to spot seals or go bird-watching.

Pond Cottage, Clacton-on-Sea

If you’d like the opportunity to become fully involved in rural life, this accommodation is ideal. The self-catering cottage is an annexe to the attached Victorian farmhouse. It is a working farm which offers a chance for woodland walks next to ponds, beef cattle and sheep. The seaside towns of Clacton, Frinton, and Walton are all close by.

The Lodge, Felsted

This accommodation is suitable for up to 4 people and features a garden area with its own barbecue. Felsted is a beautiful village that won Essex Village of the Year in 2015. It also hosted the Tour de France in 2014 and attracted 6,000 visitors. The village has a handful of pleasant pubs, restaurants, and shops.

Grain House, Halstead

This romantic setting is the perfect getaway for angling fanatics as it permits coarse fishing from the river bank. The property is a self-catering farm which features two sitting rooms and sleeps up to 8 people. Log fires keep the place cosy in winter.

Scarlett’s Cottage, Colchester

This modern and chic accommodation is within walking distance of central Colchester, where visitors can enjoy the Mercury Theatre, Colchester Castle Park, and the oldest town centre in Britain. The luxury accommodation includes a games room and sitting room with piano, darts board and flat screen TV.

Chelmsford Serviced Apartments

If you wish to base yourself in beautiful accommodation, within easy reach of London and its wide range of entertainment options, then Chelmsford is a great place to be. There are a range of apartments to suit your getaway, including a penthouse for extra luxury. The apartments also include access to a fitness centre.

Many people have already started planning their 2017 holidays, so if you’re hoping to get away to Essex later this year, then book soon to avoid disappointment.

 

Sewing Machine Buyers Guide

Janome sewing machine

There are many things to consider when choosing the perfect sewing machine. It can often be a confusing task, especially if you’re new to sewing or needle craft, or if you are looking to buy one as a gift for someone. We suggest trying out one from the Janome sewing machines range, here are some handy tips to help you.

Machines for Beginners

First of all, you need to establish whether the sewing machine is for a beginner or a more experienced sewist. A beginner will need a machine with a basic range of stitches, whereas an experienced sewer may require more features.

Sewing Projects

You need to have in mind what kind of projects you want to use the machine for, whether it be for dressmaking, repairs and alterations, home furnishings and upholstery, embroidery and quilting. A basic machine would be more suitable for those who want to do dressmaking, crafts, repairs and alterations. A machine with a wider range of stitches however would be better suited for projects such as embroidery, crafts, quilting and upholstery.

How Often Do You Sew?

Will the machine be used often? If the machine is for occasional use, then it wouldn’t be worth your time or money in investing in a large sewing machine with a large range of stitches and accessories, because they will never be needed.

For those who are looking to invest in a sewing machine that they know will be used regularly, it would be a good idea to look into ones that are sturdy with a metal frame inside.

Weight and Storage

Sewing machines can be bulky appliances, so you need to consider where you are planning on storing it. Will you put it away after each use, or will you be taking it to classes? Consider the weight and whether it’ll be too heavy to lift alone.

Many sewing machines come with accessories, so you need to consider where you can store them if you have limited space available.

Invest in a sewing machine that comes with a soft or hard cover to protect your machine from dust and dirt. The cover can keep the sewing machine safe and make it easy to transport.

Different Types of Sewing Machine

There are three different types of sewing machines; an electronic sewing machine, a computerised sewing machine and the overlockers.

An electronic one works by sending an electrical impulse into the needle from a single motor; you operate the machine via a foot pedal.

The computerised sewing machine is good for beginners and experienced sewers. You can manually control the functions of the machine, the speed and needle functions.

Overlockers are finishing machines, used to create hems and seams but can also have decorative stitching options. They’re great for sewing knitted fabrics too.

Confused by the Jargon?

There are plenty of technical terms that you’re bound to come across as a sewer, such as ‘bobbin’, ‘free arm’ and ‘feed dogs’. These technical terms can seem completely baffling but, we’ve found a list of sewing terms to help you understand them!

If you need any help with choosing the perfect sewing machine, what the machines functions mean and any general sewing queries, you can always speak to an expert – we recommend Franklins, who are always happy to help.

The Best Outdoor Ice Rinks in the UK

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Winter is setting in and the Christmas effect is in full swing – be it 2 months early! – but it’s time to start planning a Christmassy day out at some of the best outdoor ice skating rinks in the UK!

Canary Wharf Ice Rink

This year’s Canary Wharf ice skating rink theme is LuminoSity; over 8-thousand LED lights will be sparkling under the ice and illuminating skaters in colour. There will be a bar serving drinks and season snacks. For those who fancy watching their loved ones’ skate and don’t fancy trying it themselves, there will be a heated outdoor viewing terrace to relax in.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Parks Winter Wonderland ice rink is the largest one in the UK, set around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand under sparkling lights and festive décor. You can skate during the crisp winter mornings, the afternoon sun, a romantic twilight setting or under the stars. There will be live music playing and a bar serving hot drinks and festive drinks.

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

The 1,000 metres square ice rink is situated in the grounds of the Natural History Museum buildings, with rows of trees covered in fairy lights, and a Christmas tree in the middle of the ice rink. There is also a slightly smaller course for younger skaters to practice in. There is also a Café Bar overlooking the ice rink, with live music and a traditional fairground carousel.

Skate at Somerset House

Somerset House is the most beautiful backdrop to see whilst skating around the 18th-century courtyard. The 900-square-metre outdoor rink will be open for hundreds of skaters this year, and it’s sure to be the most Instagrammable destination this Christmas! Alongside the skating, there will also be a bar, private dining area and posh pop up shops, creating the most relaxing Christmassy vibe this year.

Nottingham Winter Wonderland

Set in the heart of Nottingham, this year’s Ice Rink is at its biggest size yet, decorated with LED lights and a large decorated Christmas tree in the centre. New for this year will be a ski-lodge themed boot room!

Despite their glitzy and simplistic appearance, ice rinks are complicated things to set up and maintain! Ice rinks require good quality and reliable diesel powered generators to power the coolers to maintain the ice rink and make it last as long as possible.

They’re also time consuming to make. Water has to be applied carefully and slowly, in order to make sure it is all the same thickness. An ice surface that is too thick requires more power to keep it frozen, which in turn can make it prone to going soft on top. However, if a surface is too thin, it can be dangerous for skaters as they could cut straight through to the ice.