Category: Blog

The Best Ways To Spend Father’s Day!

When does a joke become a dad joke? when it becomes apparent!

 

You can’t go through father’s day without a dad joke and they’ll be plenty more where that came from!

father's day Did you know that father’s day was created by an American woman who wanted to honour her father. He was a soldier and raised six children as a single parent.

Additionally, in China, father’s day used to be celebrated on August 8th but has moved to the third Sunday in June. This change was due to a linguistic one as the Chinese for eight is ba and their word for father is ba-ba. Therefore the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to papa.

Father’s Day was assigned as an official holiday by Nixon in 1972 and the most popularly purchased gift for Father’s Day is neckties.

What’s brown and sticky? A Stick!

 

father's day If you are stumped for what to do this Sunday, have no fear as we have 3 ways to spend father’s day!

  1. Camping. The weather isn’t perfect for camping. However, you could stay in a nice log cabin or wooden pod for the weekend. This is a perfect outdoor getaway. since most cabins would come with fire you can get nice a cosy. If you are braving the weather check out our blog on how to prepare for a camping trip.
  2. Build a tree house or indoor den. The tree house may take more time but an indoor den is perfect and it’s not just for little kids, there are loads of gadgets to step up your den making game, for instance, a phone projector perfect for watching movies!
  3. Cook or bake. Why not make their favourite meal? or cook together, a perfect way to spend the afternoon and you get to eat it too!

However, you spend your father’s day we hope its a good one!

 A ghost walks into a bar. the bar lady says sorry we don’t serve spirits!

How Can You Help Our Oceans?

How can you save our oceans?

As tomorrow is World ocean day it is important to know how we can help create a healthy ocean. Since the sea temperature is rising causing coral bleaching and plastic pollution is worse than ever causing marine animals to suffer, we need to do our bit for the environment.

Eat fish seasonally

You don’t have to give up eating fish altogether however to help with overfishing and help certain species avoid extinction, check when certain fish are in season. The marine conservation society has a sustainability guide, green rated [1 to 2] most sustainable to red rate least sustainable [4 to 5].

How can you help our oceansFor instance;

Alaska pollock – 1,2,3,4,5
Mackerel – 2
Atlantic Cod – 1,2,3,4,5
King Prawns -1,2,3,4,5
Brown Crab – 2,3,4
Albacore Tuna – 1,2,3,4
Humpback Salmon – 1,2
European Lobster – 2,3,4
Atlantic Squid – 3
Swordfish – 2,3,4,5
Pacific Halibut – 2
Oysters native, farmed – 1

Overfishing

You might have heard people say to be more sustainable cut-down meat and eat fish instead. However, if you aren’t eating sustainable fish this could be more damaging for our oceans. Catching fish isn’t inherently bad for the ocean but when boats catch fish faster than they can replenish this results in overfishing.

Another problem is the Bycatch. Which is the capture of unwanted sea life when fishing for other species. This is a serious marine threat as many unwanted species die, for instance, sea turtles. Many people who make a living through fishing are working to improve how they Catch the fish and conserve the ocean’s resources. To find out more visit the WWF.

How can you help our oceansHow to BBQ fish

If you do plan on cooking fish this summer here are some tips! Why not use Firemizer to get your BBQ to cooking temperature 20% faster!

1. Prepare the BBQ and clean
To make sure the fish doesn’t stick to the grill make sure you clean the BBQ as the fish will stick to anything you last cooked on it. Oil the grate as this will lubricate the BBQ so the fish won’t stick. Wipe until the grate is glossy.

2. Heat the grill high heat
You want the BBQ to be very hot as this will stop the fish from sticking. If you are using charcoal wait until the charcoal turns grey which indicates it nice and hot

3. Choosing the right fish
salmon, tuna, halibut and swordfish are some of the best to BBQ as these aren’t too flaky and shouldn’t fall apart. You want to use a steak like textured fish as they will hold up to high heat.

4. Prep the fish and cooking
Using any oils and cooking spices to your preferred taste. Place the fillets on the skin side down as this will help the fish hold together. It takes roughly around 3 to 5 minutes per side to cook.

5. Flip the fish and plate up
Use a metal spatula to flip the fish. Once cooked place on a plate and the fish should easily flake when poked with a fork and will be opaque all the way through.

It’s not all doom and gloom

How can you help our oceansSometimes it is hard to see how the small things you do will make a difference so here are some positives;

  • Deliveroo signed the ‘no shark fin’ pledge. This commits to removing ant shark-related products form restaurant menus on the platform.
  • Indonesia pledges $1 billion to clean up the ocean
  • In 2017 new Delhi banned all disposable plastic including plastic bags, cups and cutlery.
  • Sea turtles are making a huge comeback, increasing their populations by 980% thanks to the endangered species act.
  • The billion oyster project uses oyster shells to clean the polluted New York harbour. Oysters are natural purifiers and can cleanse 50 gallons of water per day. The group has restored 30 million oysters to the local waters but that is only a fraction of what was once there.

 

Five Wood Stove Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe

Fact or Fiction? Every product seems to have myths attached to it and wood burning stoves are not exempt from this. As Wood burning stoves have been a part of homes for hundreds of years there are many myths.

Here are five wood stove myths that you shouldn’t believe!

chiminea Stove flue doesn’t need to be swept

If you are using Firemizer in your stove even though it reduces soot in the chimney we still recommend you get your flue swept at least once or twice a year. The best times to have your chimney swept are just before the start of the heating season and after your stove has not been used over a prolonged period. The second time should be after the peak of the main heating season. As well as this, cracks could appear, or animals may nest in the chimney it is better to be safe than sorry as most chimney fires happen when the stove hasn’t been in use for a while. Check out our blog on cleaning your stove!

Stoves are bad for the environment

With the current climate change, emergency people are worried their stove could be harming the environment. However, this may have been true many years ago but as stoves burn off 90% of the fuel meaning this high efficiency leaves very little to up the chimney. In addition, burning wood is carbon neutral as it only releases the same amount of carbon dioxide as it took in.

Stoves burn the best when they glow orange

This is false, if you see a stove with patches of its glowing orange from the heat this is known as over firing. this will damage the stove. It can weaken the body of the stove and burn fuel at a faster rate.

Stoves are banned from cities in the UK

Many UK cities are smoke controlled areas where you can only burn a DEFRA approved stove. DEFRA stand for the department for environment, food and rural affairs, they have set a high standard for stoves to ensure a clean burn. Stoves with a low particle emission and very high efficiency are approved to burn in smoke-controlled areas. If you have an older stove using Firemizer is proven to increase efficiency and reduce particulate emissions by 72%.

coalI can burn anything on my stove

If you have a wood burning stove, you should ideally only burn wood. This should be well seasoned with less than 20% moisture content. Treated wood, for instance, wood that has been painted, creosoted and railway sleepers must not be burnt in your stove. These will release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and could harm your stove.

If you have a multi-fuel stove, you can burn seasoned wood and smokeless fuels. Make sure that your smokeless fuel has less than 20% petroleum content with your fuel merchant before buying. A high pet coke content will overheat the internal components of your stove and will cause premature damage.

Modern stoves are not really designed to be an incinerator, so it is best to recycle your rubbish rather than burn it on the stove. Paper and newspapers can be used to start lighting the fire but never put any plastic on the fire.

 

What Are the Different Types of BBQ Around The World?

BBQ season will be in full swing in a few weeks and to give you some different types of BBQ inspiration here’s a look at how BBQ is interpreted around the world!

Japan

Firstly Yakitori. This type of BBQ style is a popular street food. The bamboo skewers are loaded up with chicken grilled over white charcoal. This burns longer at a lower temperature and doesn’t produce smoke. Yakitori is also a general term for grilled skewered meat but typically refers to either chicken or chicken innards.

South Africa

The South African braai centres on cooking meat, contributed potluck-style, with a wood-burning braai stand, or grill. Popular components include skewered lamb, sosatie, and boerewors, a South African sausage.

India 

A tandoor is s a cylindrical clay oven with a heat source that’s either wood or charcoal. It’s something of a cross between a traditional BBQ and a convection oven that gets hot, up to 900°F. The results are juicy skewered meats that are baked in their own smoke creating a smoky flavour. Bread like naan and cheese or fish marinated in yoghurt in a dry spice mixture are cooked in tandoors.

Indonesia

Ikan Bakar is a method of cooking fish over a bed of charcoals. The techniques vary throughout the islands but the fish is often butterflied, marinated in a spice mixture and placed between two grates or wrapped in banana leaves that go directly on the grill. The sauce often includes shallots, coriander, garlic, tamarind, turmeric and chillies, and can range from spicy-sweet to fiery.

Mongolia

Khorkhog is an ultraportable cooking method. Lamb or goat is put into a metal or sometimes a wooden bucket. Water is then poured into the bucket along with hot stones which create steam. This cooks the meat into something similar to a dry stew.  Alternatively, carrots and potatoes can be added into the bucket. As well as the bucket is sometimes heated from the outside.

Pacific islands

Earth ovens are among the most ancient ways to cook. While most of the world has moved on from using them, they’re still used commonly throughout the Pacific islands. While the cooking methods differ from island to island, cultures throughout the Melanesian and Polynesian Islands. The rest of the Pacific, still bury their meat in a pit in the earth. For this type of BBQ, the meat is generally marinated, finished with a savoury glaze and topped with tropical fruit.

New Zealand

Barbecues are a popular activity in New Zealand. Foods cooked include beef, lamb, pork, fresh fish, crayfish, shellfish, and vegetables. Additionally, sausages are a popular element of barbecues. A New Zealand barbecue is a mix of American, British, Australian, South African and Pacific Island styles. New Zealand’s Maori have the hangi, a type of earth oven, used for cooking on special occasions.

Korean Barbecue

This type of BBQ is a popular method of grilling typically beef, pork or chicken. Dishes are prepared on gas or charcoal grills built into the dining table. There’s no Korean barbecue dish better known than Bulgogi. This is served alongside fresh vegetables, made from thinly sliced beef sirloin and is marinated with sesame, scallions, soy sauce.

United States

Lastly America, there are Four major barbecue styles in the United States that are commonly known. North Carolina and Memphis that represent the oldest styles. Kansas City and Texas, which use beef as well as pork. The U.S. has a range of contemporary suburban barbecue equipment and styles. For instance, these consist of baking, grilling (charbroiling, grid ironing, or griddling), braising (by putting a broth-filled pot on top of a charbroil-grill or gridiron-grill), or smoking various meats.

 

What are the UK’s most endangered animals?

The Uk’s wildlife is declining. 1 out of 10 wildlife species are at risk of extinction. In 2016 the number of critically endangered animals reached 165. The UK is now considered one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.

To learn more about UK’s wildlife check out the Wildlife trust!

These are some of Britain’s endangered animals and some you may not know!

butterfly Tortoiseshell butterfly

Butterflies have been in decline in recent years. However, the small tortoiseshell butterfly was once one of the UK’s most common butterfly species but in 2013 it was reported that there had been a decline of 70% in the past 10 years.

Hedgehog

These cute creatures have seen a dramatic decline in the last 70 years. There were an estimated 36 million hedgehogs in the UK at one point. However, they currently stand at a population of one million. You can help these much-loved animals by being mindful when creating a bonfire [make sure to use Firemizer and Firebuilder] as hedgehogs love to hide in piles of wood. As well as this when raking leaves, check the area first for any hedgehogs hiding in leave mounds.

Scottish wildcat

Already extinct in England and Wales due to habitat loss as well as being interbred with domestic cats they are losing their genetic identity. There’s only 200 left in Scotland and conservationist are planning to release captive European wildcats to try and save the species.

Red squirrel

They have been in decline since the early 20th century and it is estimated they have dwindled to an estimated population of only 140,000. Compared to the American grey squirrel at 2.5 million, pushing the red squirrel out of most areas. Red squirrels are most commonly found in the far north of England and Scotland.

Turtle dove

Since 1970 the turtle dove has declined around 70% since the ’70s and now are on the global red list for endangered species. Scattered around southern and eastern England locations is where you could find them. Farmers were likely to blame for their decline however many are working with the RSPB to create feeding habitats for them. As well as this many turtle doves are shot by hunters in the south of Europe further reducing their numbers.

dormouseHazel dormouse

These dormice have been around for than 10,000 years, they’ve been in the UK since the last ice age. Over the last 25 years, the population has decreased by 75%. However, there have been efforts to repopulate these animals. Breeding pairs were taken to a location in Warwickshire in hopes of introducing them into the wild.

 

 

 

How To Prepare For Your Camping Trip

How to prepare for camping

How To prepare for a camping trip

Before you embark on your camping adventure it’s wise to check out this page from the Woodland Trust all about where you can camp.

Packing

Make sure to pack only essentials, sleeping bag, non-perishable foods, stove, first aid kit, sleeping bag and tent! For making a fire don’t forget to pack Firemizer and Firebuilder, they’ll keep you warm during the night for longer!

Food

When cooking try using the traditional campfire instead of a camping stove. You can use Firemizer in the campfire which will get your fire to cooking temperature much quicker.

Top camping foods
  • S’mores
  • Hot dogs
  • Burgers
  • Fish
S’more ingredients
  1. Cracker, if no crackers use cookies
  2. Chocolate or try chocolate spread, jam, white chocolate
  3. Marshmallows (there’s no alternative get some marshmallows!)
  4. Cracker
  5. Bonus fillings – raisins, caramel sauce, and fruit.
Wildlife
  • Keep bugs away by throwing sage into the campfire.
  • Use lavender or cinnamon essential oil on skin.
  • Sit away from standing water and wear insect repellent treated clothing.
  • Build a fire.
How to build a campfire?

What you’ll need;

dry wood, a handful of tinder, fire ring, matches and a clear area of vegetation.

  1. Place Firemizer underneath tinder bundle and use Firebuilder on top to help light the fire. Place the wood in the form of a tepee around the tinder.
  2. Leave an opening in your tepee so the fire gets the air it needs and will blow flames onto the kindling.
  3. The flame should rise to the kindles and spread throughout the wood bundle.
  4. Add wood to the structure as it starts to fall. Add tinder to maintain the fire.
  5. To extinguish sprinkle water on the fire to put out embers.

Firebuilder is waterproof and is perfect in wet or humid conditions.

 

What To Do At Bank Holiday Weekends?

As there is another bank holiday on the way (Thank goodness). Trying to decide what to do, especially if you have kids can be tough. So to help we have compiled a list of days out and activities you can do over the bank holidays.

MARSHMELLOWGoing Away

If you want to go away for the weekend why not visit the English countryside. Perfect for dog walking, fresh air and a place for kids to run around! You could always try a bit of camping, don’t forget Firemizer and Firebuilder they’ll help you keep nice a warm in the evenings!

Museums, castles and days out

What better way to spend the day exploring with the kids or out walking the dogs in a park. The National Trust has great places to see from castles and stately homes to woods and parks.

Beach

It’s not a bank holiday unless someone mentions going to the beach! Top up on that tan, have a dip in the sea and you can’t forget an ice cream or fish and chips. This could be the perfect way to spend a bank holiday!

Picnic

If you don’t want to spend too much a nice picnic is the way to go! you can use food already at home and find a nice park nearby to enjoy the lovely bank holiday weather (fingers crossed for sun)

Cinema Rainy days

let’s be honest who knows what bank holiday weather will have in store so it’s good to have a backup plan! Maybe create your own cinema, stock up on popcorn and cinema sweets, set up a comfy, cosy seating area full of blankets and pillows and you’re ready to go. Don’t forget the films though!

Whatever you plan this bank holiday or the next we hope you enjoy yourselves and your day off!

How Can You Be More Sustainable? 

In recent months the topic around changing your lifestyle to make it eco-friendlier has been popular and for good reason.

The planet is struggling with pollution; 8 million metric tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans each year, and carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in 650,000 years. You can’t become zero waste overnight living in a plastic heavy world. But there are things you can do to help eliminate single-use plastics, reduce your waste and become more sustainable.

Watching your air miles

Flying contributes to around 13-15% of the UK’s impact of greenhouse gas emissions. On average the British person takes a short haul flight every two years and long haul every five years. Only a minority of regular flyers causes a substantial slice of UK emissions. So it is safe to safe you don’t need to give up your holidays just yet.

fuel saving products Firemizer and Firebuilder

Make your stove more environmentally friendly. Firebuilder is 100% green, made from recycled cardboard, contains no chemicals and emits no foul smells when burning. Firemizer can reduce fuel usage and reduce particulate emissions by 72%

Burning wood and coal

Bio-bean makes Coffee Logs that are an alternative for burning seasoned logs or coal. These logs are made from coffee grounds and are very environmentally friendly. The UK produces hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste coffee grounds every year, most of which is disposed of via landfill where it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. – Bio-bean. You can use these logs with Firemizer, read our review here!

Things you didn’t know contain plastic

  • Biodegradable cutlery – This looks like it helps the environment hence the word biodegradable. However, these contain a mixture of corn starch and plastic. These can’t be composted by bamboo a regular old joe, the bioplastic needs to be broken down using very high heat. An alternative could be bamboo cutlery since these contain no plastic and are easily affordable.
  • Tea bags – Plastic is used to seal the tea bag so they don’t come open in the box or in your tea. This also means they aren’t fully 100% biodegradable so composting them will leave bits of microplastic in the soil. However, not all tea bags contain plastic some use a byproduct of corn starch to seal their teabags. Unfortunately, these are still not suitable to be composted in your home.
  • Coffee Cups – Takeaway coffee cups are hard to recycle mainly due to the plastic lining inside the cup designed to make the cup leakproof. An alternative would be a reusable coffee cup and you normally get money off your coffee for using one.

With all this in mind, it just about doing what you can for the environment whether that’s big or small changes. Everyone has to start somewhere!

References

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/apr/06/aviation-q-and-a

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43739043

https://moralfibres.co.uk/is-there-plastic-in-your-tea/

https://ecolunchboxes.com/blogs/news/when-compostable-is-sometimes-worse-than-plastic

How to keep Your Pets Fire Safe?

dogOn cold days there is nothing better than sitting in front of a warm fire or enjoying summer evenings sitting outside by the fire-pit. What makes this even better is sharing it with your four-legged friends. As it is national pet month we thought to share some tips an precautions you can take for keeping your home fire safe for your pets.

Prevent Fires
  • Pet-proof your home. Check your home for any items that a pet could accidentally trigger a fire, for instance, items that could be knocked over, candles, loose wires, stoves/ knobs and plant lights.
  • Extinguish open flames. You should never leave open flames unattended especially if you have a pet that can knock items over easily. Perhaps use a flameless candle or other alternatives.
  • No climbing. Discourage pets from climbing on work surfaces, especially in the kitchen. Cats tend to be quite curious and placing a stove knob cover could help prevent fires.
  • Chose ceramic over glass. If you leave food or water outside don’t use a glass bowl as this can create a magnifying effect and start a fire from the suns rays. Ceramics are safer and just as sturdy.
Prepare for the worst

cat Practice escape routes with your pets and make sure collars ID tags, microchips are up to date and their leash is readily available if you have to make an escape.

Use pet alert window stickers. These nifty stickers are placed on your windows at the front and back of your house to let firefighters know how many pets are in your home and their names. Should anything happen this can save firefighters time when looking for your pets.

Keep Puppies and kittens secure, since they are so young they will want to explore the house, especially when you are out. To keep them out of mischief, keep them confined to a safe area.

For your older pets, it is best to make note of where they like to hide. This can help save you time if you need to leave the house in the event of a fire.

Animal specifics

Other than using common sense and having the essentials at hand, for instance, food and water. Here are some extra tips to help your pet in case there is a fire.

mouseBirds – get them accustomed to being in a bird carrier, drape a damp sheet over the carrier to block out soot and dust as their lungs are fragile.

Cats – get them accursed to a carrier as this is crucial to get them out the house fast. Keep their collar and microchip updated.

Dogs – keep their collar and microchip up to date and include your contact information. Keep them on a leash so you don’t get separated. If possible install a doggy door so in anything happens while you are out they can escape safely.

Fish – keep emergency supplies, for instance, spare tank, sponge filters, heaters and portable power supplies. Don’t scoop your fish with leaving the house as the shock could kill them. Let the firefighters know where it is so they can prioritise that room for extinguishing.

Rodents and small mammals – either use a carrier or a cloth bag to transport your pet. Keep your pets in separate carries if possible just in case they need to be in there for a longer period of time.

Snakes they are quite comfortable in a cloth bag that has a suitable latch so they don’t escape. If it is cold they’ll need a heat source so prepare a heat pad in your bag.

frogFrogs – have quarantine tanks ready for an emergency, if it is cold it will need heating and insulation. Use a heating pad, towels or extra clothes to wrap around the tank. If you can’t access Clean water make sure you have a few bottles or spray bottles.

Did you know that Firebuilder is pet-friendly as well as child-friendly? As it is made only from recycled cardboard and contains no other chemicals it is perfectly safe if your dog decides to have a chew!

Should you burn coal?

Currently, there is scrutiny over burning wood and coal in people’s homes. This is to help improve air quality in cities across the UK.
They say the domestic burning of house coal, smokeless solid fuels and wet wood is the single largest primary contributor of harmful sooty particles. Our mission is to refine and improve current conditions as using Firemizer can reduce harmful particulates by 72%.

This leads to the question, should we be burning coal in our homes?

 

These are some of the pros and cons of burning coal!

Pros

  • The most common type of coal is anthracite, the dense composition results in high enter efficiency.
  • The production of coal is on the rise and as a result, the stock of coal is abundant.
  • The cost of coal is low and remains stable compared to other heating sources.

Cons

  • Coal is a finite source, eventually, it will run out and damages the environment in a non-reversible manner.
  • Ash from the coal contains harmful metals, handling the ash with care is important and making sure the disposal of the ash is safe.
  • We all know coal damages the atmosphere, the release of carbon and sulphur dioxide makes coal the number one contributor to Co2 emissions.
  • The way to reach coal is environmentally intrusive, mountains become raised and abandoned mines pose a variety of dangers.

coal Coal and Multi fuel stoves

Multi-fuel stoves can burn coal and wood. But not all multi-fuel stoves burn wood as efficiently as a log burner would. This is due to wood needing to sit on a bed of ash with air coming from above. Coal requires an oxygen source from beneath it in order to produce an effective fire, this is why multi-fuel stoves have raised grates.

Never burn wood and coal at the same time. Coal emits sulphuric acid and combined with the moisture levels from wood creates a corrosive substance that can damage your stove system.

Smokeless fuels

They give out a higher heat and can last 40% longer than coal. More heat makes it into the room rather than being wasted up the chimney. Using Firemizer with your smokeless fuel will burn longer and you will use less fuel to heat your homes and spend significantly less money on fuel.

Smokeless fuels are much better for the environment, these fuels were created to make smoke free areas across the UK and improve air quality. Household Coal can create up to 20% more carbon monoxide than a fire that uses smokeless fuels.
Man-made smokeless fuels can be burned with wood. These can actually assist logs as it burns quicker.

We know that coal isn’t the best for the environment and nowadays there are plenty of alternatives if you are looking to make the switch however many people still rely on burning coal as their heating source.

More information on coal and the environment here! 

 

 

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