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Home-made fire lighters

Home-made fire lighters

Nothing can beat a nice BBQ on a sunny day with your friends. But sometimes it is quite challenging to get the fire started properly. Therefore most people will probably use fire lighters. They simply are convenient and get the matter started within a couple of minutes. But at the same time they contain a vast variety of artificial additives and substances, which you wouldn’t want on your steak. Trust me.

fire lighters BBQ

They literally are small, chemical bombs containing a wide range of by-products of mineral oil processing like kerosine or even petroleum. That’s one reason why some people are using liquid fire starter or gasoline as a helper. But this is even worse. It is absolutely dangerous and not advisable at all!

To avoid all that hassle, just make fire lighters by your self. It is actually way cheaper and done in no time. All you need are the following things:

  • an empty egg carton
  • sawdust or wood shavings
  • wax or some old remains of candles

Fill each single slot of the egg carton with with the sawdust. Mark sure you to press it slightly. Instead of the sawdust or wood shavings, you can use other flammable materials such as wood wool, nutshells, scraps of paper or even oat flakes and Cornflakes.

Next use a small pot to melt down the wax until it is totally liquid. If you are using small tea candles, just put them directly onto the stove. Finally pour the wax slowly over the sawdust, so it can soak it up properly. Let it cool down for about one hour and you are ready.


Once made, using them is quite easy. Just tear off one or more pieces of the carton and light them up. The sawdust in conjunction with the wax burns long enough to fire charcoal and wood.

Interior design trends for 2017.

Hi everyone, welcome back to home and garden blog.  How’s everyones January’s going so far?  I’m loving the winter feeling in the air, especially with the albeit-small amount of snow we got last week over here in the UK.   January is also one of my favourite times of year.  I know everyone talks about that clean spring feeling, and having a spring clean, but I much prefer to have a good January clear out.  And finish off my Pest extermination!

This year I’ve been throwing away old pieces of furniture.  I’m planning on re-doing my living room over the next couple of weeks so am making room for all my new purchases.  MY first purchase?  A beautiful new sofa I bought for pretty cheap  from an online sales website; The reason I’m redoing my living room is that I’ve been so inspired by the Interior Design trends for 2017, and I wanted to share my favourite trends with you.


My Favourite Interior Design  trends of 2017.

  1. ‘Greenery’ The Pantone color of the Year for 2017.
    I’m loving the vibrancy and fresh feeling of the color chosen for 2017.  There’s been some great colour schemes knocked up by Pantone as well showing the versatility and ease of use that this beautiful colour has.
  2. Butterflies.
    As seen designed by Sasha Bikoff in his SoHo department and in some beautiful butterfly print containers by Pols Potten, butterflies are fluttering back into all of our lives.
    interior design butterfly
  3. Mixing patterns.
    First seen in the fashion world at New York fashion week for Fall/Winter 2016, this trend will be found all over interior design elements and I can’t wait to see the different mixed pattern accessories and textiles that invade all our living spaces.
  4. Different Textures.
    An interesting revival set to steal customers back from online shopping to showroom shopping is through different and unusual textures.  This year expect to see a lot more fabric manipulation in individual pieces.   Think Pleats and folds , and intentionally large stitching.  Velvets, Heavy Cottons, Leathers and Luxe Yarns.
    interior design velvet
  5. Navy, navy.
    Where black has in previous years been the common accent colour or finishing touch, this year will be all about Navy.  Unlike Black, which by now feels slightly dated, Navy feels modern yet traditional, pairing well with nearly any colour scheme and helping to make rooms feel less small.
  6. Put down the Tools.
    2017 will see far less DIYs flooding your social media.   This year designers are moving away from Pinterest, and Etsy and moving towards more high end artisanal items.
    Craftsmanship is the name of the game, and you should be expecting to see a high level of expertise and a high quality in the pieces you buy this year.  Think Investment rather than quick fix.

Have you guys checked out one of my recent blog posts about Hosting a Dinner Party in a small flat?  If you haven’t checked it out please do, and give me your feedback as I love reading the comments from you.

Tips for household pest control

During different seasons of the year we are generally visited by vermin in our homes, from cockroaches, mice, ants or bed bugs. However calling out professional companies in the field to deal with your problem can be expensive. Tips for household pest control

Prevention is obviously the superior strategy. You can start by purchasing detection monitor traps or even using more traditonal methods, such as garlic to stop mosquitos. Garlic can also be used to keep ticks and fleas from any household pets you may have. If you only get the odd mouse visit your kitchen occasionally just set a standard mouse trap or glue board, they are not the brightest animals! For insects you can purchase a light system that will attract them and put a few volts through them to do the job for you.

In more serious infestations you may need to call a professional company, who will spray pesticides inside and outside of your property to remove the unwanted pests. Depending on how bad your problem is, and particularly if you have small children you may want to move out until the job is complete.

Bed bugs can be a big problem in many countries and can be resolved with spraying standard insect spray available in any mart. After treating the mattress, leave outside in the sunshine for a few hours.  Lastly, ants can be stopped by blocking and sealing all entrance points, putting down ant killer at any points on entry into your home for the ants. Finding the ants actual nest and removing it would be the best conclusion, however not always possible.


household pets

Top tips for throwing a kick ass Christmas Dinner Party

Hi everyone, welcome back to my home and garden blog.  I’ve just been looking online for some new dinner plates, as we’re hosting our annual Christmas dinner party for the first time in our new house today.  They just arrived and I love them.  I bought some vintage mix and match plates for a bargain price online from a second hand goods store here:

dinner party

Before me and the missus moved into our new house we lived in a tiny little flat in London.  We had a small kitchen, barely big enough for us both to fit in to cook a meal, and an open planned living/dining room area, that we used primarily as a living room.  However one of our favourite things to do is to have friends around our house, and in particular to whip up a fantastic menu and have a little dinner party.  Now that we’ve moved into our much bigger house it’s so much easier, but if I’m honest I do miss the fun and collaboration between us and our friends as we put on a special dinner.

5 ways to make a fabulous dinner party even if you don’t have much space.

  1. Throw that dinner party!

    So many people will see that there space is small, or unfinished, or not quite as well decorated as they’d like and simply stop right there and not throw the dinner party. No matter where you live, how big your apartment is, or how unfurnished it is you can always plan a lovely dinner party in your home and work out the details around it.  You might only be able to hold a dinner party for 3 or 4 people, or somehow manage to squeeze in 10 people or more, either way it doesn’t matter.  Throw that dinner party!
  2. Move things around.

    You might have a designated kitchen dining area that works great for day to day life, but having the dining table in the kitchen during a dinner party can be a nightmare.  Look at the space you have in your apartment and don’t be afraid to move thing around to create more space, and more areas.  Move furniture into the other rooms in the house, your sofa might be able to fit right next to your bed.  Maybe you can’t get into bed now, but it’s just for now, and you’ll be spending no time at all in there.  Bring some orchids in and place them around the room.
    dinner party
  3. Camera, Lights, Action.

    Mood lighting is a great way to set up the atmosphere without having to change to much around.  Overhead lights might be great with their energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs, and their bright white lights but they are terrible for setting the mood and creating atmospheric lighting.  A great way to create this atmospheric lighting is to bring in all of your lamps with warm yellow light bulbs.  Combine these with fairy lights around mirrors, strung over the table, it’s christmas so who cares!  Place some candles and tea lights around the room and on the table and you’ve got yourself a great atmosphere.  You can buy some cheap candlesticks online at

    Check out Elle Decor for more details on lighting ideas.

    The other great thing about using mood lighting is that not only is the warmer lighting more cosy and inviting for your guests, and everyone’s skin looks hella better underneath it, but it also helps to hide any little imperfections and blemishes around the apartment.  You might have a couple of stains on the floor and the curtains could probably do with a wash but no-one will ever know the difference.
    dinner party
  4. Get everyone to join in.

    The main reason why I miss our old dinner parties is that they are a great way to get everyone involved.  Get a few people who are coming over to the party to spend the day with you getting everything set up.  If you’re feeling fancy you can get friends to help you design a wall menu so that everyone can see what they’re eating.  More hands on deck means more people to help so that things get done quicker, leading to more time to relax and have fun.  
  5. Have fun, don’t stress

    My final piece of advice for anyone setting up their own dinner party, regardless of whether it’s in a small apartment or a mansion is to make sure that everyone has a good time.   Don’t stress the small things as anything can happen.  Friends are friends for a reason, and they will still be your friends is things go a little wrong.  If the timings for the meals are a little late, or the meat comes out a little overcooked, or if you run out of drinks at the end of the night.  It’s okay! The point of a dinner party is that it’s a great way to spend time with friends and loved ones and have fun!


Did anyone go to the Christmas Show I spoke about last week? I did and it was amazing, bought so many Christmas gifts for others as well as myself! Whoops.

Also remember to check out



Hi everyone, welcome back to CodexGeo, Jon’s home and garden blog.  I’m Jon and today I wanted to talk about my favourite plant, the Orchid.


Orchid species.

There are over 700 different genera of Orchids.  With between 25,000 and 30,000 different species of Orchid, and over 100,000 hybrid varieties.  Over 10,000 of these can only be found in the tropics.  They have Although they all follow the same patterns, and genetic make up, Orchids come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours.

The most common species of Orchid is the Phalaenopsis Orchid, otherwise known as the Moth Orchid.  This variety can be found sold in supermarkets, and comes in either white, or a purple pink shade.

Another common species is the Dendrobium orchid, typically found in Thai restaurants.

Orchid Care.

Looking after Orchids is not quite as hard as some people think it is.  There are a few rules you need to remember when caring for your orchid, and it does differ depending on the type and variety.  For example when caring for a Paphiopedilum or a Cymbidium, you would want to keep the soil surrounding the orchid moist at all times, but when looking after a Phalaenopsis or Ascocenda you would want to soil to be almost dry between each watering.

One of my favourite Orchids is the Vanda Orchid.   It’s similar in shape to the Moth Orchid, but has a white top, for the upper 3 petals, and the lower 2 petals are a light burgundy.  In the Centre of the flower there are red speckles.   Absolutely stunning.

RHS London Christmas Show.

Hi everyone, welcome to my first actual blog post on my Home and Garden blog.  I’m really excited to have my own blog, and be writing about my favourite subject, gardening.

I started gardening with my Mum, back when I was just a wee boy.  She would go out in the afternoon, after collecting me and my siblings from school and sometimes I would go out with her and help her weed, or sow seeds, or climb up ladders and cut down the lilacs from the lilac tree.  Basically anything which she couldn’t manage or she got bored of easily.  I wasn’t too fond of gardening from the get go, and only went into gardening as a way to make money helping out neighbours and family friends.   I grew to love gardening and now own my own Landscape gardening company, which I absolutely love.

One of my favourite activities all year are the RHS gardening shows.  I always go to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the Chelsea Flower show.  This year there is a new addition to the gardening line up. The RHS London Christmas show, which is held in Lawrence Hall in Westminster over the weekend before Christmas.  It’s free to attend for all members, and 6 pounds if you book in advance, or 9 pounds on the door.

RHS Christmas Show

There will be lots of different items available for sale, including many different varieties of plants and flowers, as well as different foods and sundries.  Perfect for some last minute Christmas shopping opportunities, as well as being a great place to buy yourself a christmas present, I know I will be!

Are any of you planning on visiting the RHS London Christmas Show this year?  What are you hoping to find or see? I’m hoping to find a new orchid for my collection.  Jon.

Welcome to my Home and Garden blog.

Hi everyone, my name is Jon, and welcome to my Home and Garden blog.

I’m a long time blog reader and have been following many different home and garden blogs for years, getting some great tips and tricks on things to do with my home and garden.  I’m constantly passing on some of these great tips to friends, plus telling them other tips and tricks of my own.  Recently I was reading aloud a blogpost and turned to my wife to comment on a different tip they could use when she asked me why I didn’t just create a blog of my own to share these tips with the world.  And voila Codexgeo – Jon’s Home and Garden blog was created.

I have recently just finished helping a friend renovate their house to sell, and used to work as a landscape gardener, so I have lots of experience to share with you. However I also want this blog to be a community blog where everyone can join in and share ideas, tips and tricks.  So if you have any great ideas or want to guest post please let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading, Jon.