Category Archives: Bathrooms

5 Bath-tastic Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

With Mother’s Day coming up in the UK on Sunday 30th March, we’ve taken a look at 5 fabulous bathroom-related Mother’s Day gift ideas for you to pamper your mum.

Go on… she deserves it!

1.) Cath Kidston New Rose Bath & Body Gift Bag

cath-kidston-rose-bath-body-gift-bag

Available from John Lewis.

2.) Lavender Handmade Soaps Gift Selection

lavender-gift-selection-handmade-soaps

Available from Notonthehighstreet.com.

3.) Set Of 2 Decorative Perfume Bottles

decorative-perfume-bottles

Available from Matalan.

4.)  Personalised “Mummy” Floral Cosmetic Bag

mummy-wash-bag

Available from Notonthehighstreet.com.

5.) Bathtime Pamper Gift Set

bathtime-pamper-gift-set

Available from Notonthehighstreet.com 

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How To Deal With Unexpected Guests This Christmas

We’ve all been there, you’re getting ready for a quiet family Christmas at home and everything is organised, and then the phone rings. An unexpected family member or friend is now coming over to stay for the Christmas holidays. Suddenly, there’s so much to sort out!

Have extra presents ready

Imagine the horror. Your long-lost cousin/friend/auntie turns up with a handful of presents for you and your family and you have for them… absolutely nothing. And you can’t use the excuse that you’ve left them at home, because you’re at home!

The best solution to this is to have a handful of “stock presents” wrapped and ready to go should anyone unexpected turn up. Choose a selection of generic gifts – bathroom sets, nice bottles of wine, food baskets, or chocolates, for example – and make sure you cover men, women and children’s gifts just in case. Wrap each present with gift tags (left blank of course) and if you can’t remember which present is which, use post-it notes to remind you, which you can swiftly whip off once you’ve written the gift tag.

Christmas Presents

(Here’s a tip – choose presents that you and your family will like, so that if you don’t have the need to give them away, you can quite happily enjoy a relaxing evening of bath salts, Hotel Chocolat slab and a nice Sauvignon Blanc!)

Extra space at the table

If you need to squeeze a couple of extra people in at the dinner table, then an extending dining table could be a godsend. If your table doesn’t extend, find a smaller table to add on the end of your main table and stick the kids (or yourself) on that one. It’s all part of the fun and you’ll laugh about it afterwards! If you haven’t got enough of the “good china” to go round, then make sure that it’s you and your partner that use the everyday plates and cutlery rather than your guests.

Christmas Dinner

And of course, make sure you’ve got plenty of crackers and table gifts for more than you need, and always make extra food – everyone will gladly eat the leftovers on Boxing Day! If you don’t have enough food to go round, consider turning your sit down meal into a buffet.

No guest bedroom? Invest in a sofa bed

Sofa beds and futons are fantastic for housing those last-minute overnight Christmas guests. As well as providing extra soft seating, you’ve also got an extra bed whenever you need it. Keep some extra bedding in the airing cupboard and within 5 minutes you’ll have another bed made up and ready!

Check the bathroom

If you’ve got guests staying over this Christmas, the worst thing to happen at the last-minute is to discover the bathroom is in need of some much-needed TLC! Don’t panic, you can soon have a bathroom to rival a hotel in next to no time.

Get rid of old shampoo bottles that have been hanging around for too long, and clear surfaces of anything unnecessary – it will instantly lift the room. Get the rubber gloves out and start cleaning until everything sparkles!

Make sure guests have fresh towels to hand and if you want to be really attentive, provide them with little shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles.

If your shower has seen better days, there are some simple steps you can follow. Firstly, check out our shower cleaning tips to get rid of some of that limescale build-up!

However, if your shower is beyond saving with white wine vinegar then perhaps you need to buy yourself a new shower spare part. Whether it’s a shiny new hose to keep your shower looking shiny, or a new shower head to make sure performance is as good as new, a new shower accessory could be just the thing to make your bathroom ready for guests this Christmas.

If your shower is beyond saving, then our next working day delivery could be your Christmas saviour, but make sure you get the shower delivered with enough time to get it installed and up and running before Christmas!

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Revealed: Bad British Bathroom Etiquette

We Brits have a reputation of being polite, courteous and of course, having perfect manners. But is this representation just a smoke screen? Research conducted recently by Villeroy & Boch has revealed some of our worse bathroom habits… and the findings are a bit grim!

The bathroom company surveyed 2,000 people  and found out some of the most common bad bathroom behaviour – and the arguments that result from it.  Unsurprisingly, leaving the toilet seat up is one of the most common bad bathroom habit and 29% of women have had arguments with their partners about the toilet seat! Not replacing loo roll is another area for arguments with over a third of respondents claiming they have argued with family members or housemates about this matter.

And if you think women are squeaky clean, think again. According to the survey, 3% more women leave towels on the floor compared to men! 

It sounds to us like it’s time to start improving the British bathroom etiquette. According to Debrett’s, the modern authority on etiquette, you should:

“Leave it clean, always flush and never discuss”

And when in a group, and nature calls, you should always follow this advice:

“Either slip away quietly or excuse yourself from the group.”

What are the worst bathroom habits you’ve come across?

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Should you replace a bath with a shower?

It’s one of those common dilemmas among home owners planning bathroom refurbishments – should I get rid of the bath and have a stand-alone shower instead? While there is a common perception that a ‘bath-room’ should contain a bath, showers are much more popular for everyday use – they’re quick and fuss-free – perfect for our busy lives.

Of course, with any major household decision, there are advantages and disadvantages. Here we’ll take you through some of the main pros and cons of replacing your bath with a shower:

Advantages

1.) Increased space
Generally, when you replace a bath with a showering enclosure, you will free up some space in your bathroom. And with bathrooms frequently being the smallest room in the home, space is valuable! Showering enclosures are normally placed in the corner of the room, leaving you the rest of the room to arrange how you like.

2.) Time saving
It’s a fact that showers are quicker than baths. There’s no need to fill the bathtub and then spend half an hour sitting within the increasingly lukewarm water. Showers give you a burst of energy – just what you need in the morning to wake you up. And in fact, digital showers will even indicate to you when the water is heated to your preference and the shower is ready to go – preventing you from having to test the water with your arm. All in all, using less water will also save you money and be better for the environment!

3.) Greater choice
Today’s showers offer such a huge choice – from the different types of technology (electric, mixer or digital), through to different colours and designs, so there’s something to suit every household’s needs. While there is a great choice of different of different bath finishes, there is much more variety when it comes to showers and showering enclosures.

4.) Extra features
From dual shower heads, massaging body jets to LED lights that change the colour of water, modern showers are available with a whole host of features that baths can’t really compete with!

Disadvantages

Replacing the bath with a shower may be suitable for many people, but it may not be the right solution for everyone. Here are some of the potential drawbacks:

1.) Families prefer baths
It’s much easier to wash a child (or indeed, children) in a bath. Children can have playtime with their toys in the bath, so it’s much more appealing than a shower, and therefore much easier to work into a bedtime routine.

bath time

2.) Baths are relaxing
There’s nothing that can compare to a relaxing, steamy bath when you’re stressed or a little bit run down. So while a shower is fantastic for day-to-day washing, baths really are in a league of their own when it comes to relaxing.

3.) May struggle to sell your home
When it comes to sell your property in the future, you may find that it is not as appealing to families if you remove the bath. As detailed above, families, particularly those with younger children, will require at least bath in the property. Of course, if you are not planning to sell your property for some time, and replacing the bath with a shower suits your lifestyle more, then this is something you will need to weigh up.

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Are You Ready For Christmas?

Tomorrow is the 1st of December – the countdown to Christmas has truly begun! With less than a month left, may of us are starting to think about getting our homes ready for the arrival of Christmas guests and relatives. So, whether that’s putting up extra beds and getting bedding down from the loft, or making sure that the freezer is stocked with food, one area we tend to forget is the bathroom.

With extra people staying in the house, of course, there’s going to be increased pressure on household appliances, and showers, particularly electric showers, can often struggle if they’re old and getting a bit tired. Electric showers have to work much harder in the winter anyway (the incoming mains water is colder, and it takes more energy to heat it to the desired temperature), so unfortunately this means that shower breakdowns often occur over the winter. During the Christmas break it can be a nightmare to try and buy a replacement shower and then there’s the hassle of getting a plumber in to fit it!

christmas

Is your home ready for Christmas?

So if your shower is nearing the end of its life – don’t wait until its too late! Upgrade your shower today and make sure it’s prepared for the onslaught of Christmas guests and relatives.

If you have an older Gainsborough model that’s now obsolete, our replacement shower page should help you find a suitable retro-fit shower. The page lists each shower model with a handy link to each replacement product, all of which are available to buy online with free delivery. There’a also helpful advice about replacing electric showers and what can be involved in reducing or increasing the kilowatt rating.

Image courtesy of Beverly LR

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Organise Your Shower Clutter!

Have you taken a look at your shower enclosure lately? Is it more ‘Clutter-full’ rather than ‘Beautiful’? (sorry)

Typical shower cubicles are only a few square feet big, so why waste what precious space you have with clutter? If you need some inspiration, head to your nearest bathroom showroom to take a look at how the professionals display and store their showering essentials.

De-clutter your shower!
Although we use them to wash everyday, shower areas often get neglected when it comes to de-cluttering.

Check all of the shampoo and shower gel bottles you have – throw away any that are empty, or make a concerted effort to use up the last of any product in the bottles. Do you have any duplicated products? Get rid of anything unused and have only the regularly used products on display. Use this opportunity to have a good clean up as well. Do you really use that old sponge? That’s right, throw it away. Now let’s evaluate what storage options you can have…
Shower Space Saving Ideas

Shower Caddies
Shower caddies are great space-saving features, and are also easy to install as well as being affordable. Shower caddies come in plenty of shapes and sizes and usually have space to store shampoo bottles, soaps, and shaving accessories. Some are designed to fit into corners of rooms to maximise space if your shower enclosure is in the corner of the room. Look for one that won’t rust and is adjustable, like this simplehuman model, which is available from Tesco.

Shower Caddy

Shower caddies that hang over the door are also exceptionally handy at creating storage whilst not taking up at lot of space. They’re also ridiculously easy to install! This is a typical stainless steel model:

Over the door shower caddy

Shower Niche

Requiring slightly more work, but a great idea all the same, shower niches are recessed areas in your bathroom wall which can be used to store items. Adding a niche to your bathroom would probably be part of a much bigger bathroom refurbishment and not a simple weekend job. By using decorative tiles, you can really make a niche stand out in your bathroom, or by using the same tiles you can add a more subtle effect. Here’s a mosaic tile style niche:

shower niche
So this weekend, if you’re looking for something to do – clear out that shower clutter!

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Kids Back at School? Time To Clean Up!

Well, the summer holidays are now well and truly over – the kids are back at school and already getting ready for harvest festival and thinking about Halloween at the end of the month. So, now that the summer craziness has subsided, don’t let the Back to School Blues get to you – it’s the ideal time to have a good tidy up and complete some of the tasks you weren’t able to do over the summer.

back to school

The bathroom lends itself perfectly to an autumn renovation. After a busy summer of kids running in and out, jumping in the shower to wash off sand and dirt, it’s not difficult for a family bathroom to suffer and be in need of a little TLC. And now the kids are back at school, there are fewer distractions around to allow you to really crack on and get some work done. And what better place to start than with the bathroom shower?

Cold Weather Problems

Autumn is a sensible time to buy new showers. Many older showers tend to struggle in the winter so it makes sense to upgrade before the cold weather kicks in. This is because the incoming water becomes much colder, and as a result, electric shower flow rates will typically decrease as the shower struggles to heat the water to the usual desired temperatures.  If you think your shower is coming to the end of its life, it may be simpler to upgrade now.

Electric Showers – great for all budgets

So, if it’s an electric shower you’re after, you can find some fantastic bargains at the moment that will really make an impact on your bathroom design. Our new range of GSX electric showers currently start from only £79.99 – not likely to blow anyone’s budget. But this is a limited time introductory offer so you’ll need to act fast! Check our website for full details.

The GSX range prides itself on sophisticated gloss white finishes and chrome detailing making them ideal for any style of bathroom – either contemporary or more traditional. There are 3 models available, varying in price and features, so there’s bound to be something to suit every home. Our GSX showers come with 8.5kW engines – our most popular engine size – and every model has four heat settings, adjustable spray patterns, and family friendly height-adjustable rails. All of the features can be found on the Gainsborough website.

Mixer Showers – sophisticated and stylish

Or perhaps you’d prefer a stylish mixer shower for an instant bathroom refresh? We love our Ambassador range of mixer showers – there’s one designed specifically for each type of plumbing system, whether gravity-fed, high-pressure or combi-boiler. And whether you prefer exposed or concealed designs – there’s a style to suit you. What’s more, the Ambassador range is currently on offer – reduced from £152.00 down to £120.00 so snap yours up today!

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Hard Water, Limescale and Showers

When reading through our customer feedback and online plumbing forums, we see a lot of comments relating to hard water and limescale and the problems that can be caused for showers. Those who live in hard water areas may find a lot of issues are encountered with their showers, as well as other household appliances such as kettles and washing machines.

What is Hard Water?
Hard water has a high mineral content (when compared to soft water) and is found in many areas of the UK. Please see the map below for areas affected by hard water:

Hard water is not harmful to our health, but it can cause serious problems for equipment that handles water e.g. boilers and showers because the minerals in the water form deposits that can clog plumbing. This hard, off-white, chalky deposit is called limescale.

Limescale
Limescale is often found around the home, on kettles, taps and shower heads. We’re all familiar with a kettle that has been affected by limescale (please see picture below), and the need to descale our kettles – but did you know that electric showers can be affected in exactly the same way? If you’re finding that your electric showers are failing after 18 months/2 years, there’s a very strong possibility that it could be down to limescale.

How To Remove Limescale
Descaling agents can be used to remove limescale, and there are many products available in shops, but two of the best methods are lemon juice and white vinegar, both of which are acidic and will break down the alkaline properties of the limescale. Lemon juice will leave behind a lovely smell, but vinegar can often work best on more stubborn deposits.

Removing limescale is not as straight forward as simply wiping it away, it needs to be soaked in the acid, and it therefore necessary to make sure the appropriate acid stays in contact with the limescale for a long enough time to do its job. With a shower head, for example, it may be necessary to remove the head from the hose and submerge it in a solution overnight to break up the limescale.

Please note: Before using any products, make sure they are suitable for use on the materials in your household.

Solutions for Hard Water
But, removing limescale from the outside of your products will not solve your hard water problem, and there is still the chance that the shower will have problems, and possibly even breakdown. Electric showers in particular work in a very similar way to a kettle – imagine how the element in a kettle can be damaged – that could be happening to the element inside your electric shower.

Water softeners are commonly used in areas of hard water to reduce the adverse effects caused. There are many different types of water softener s and descalers available. Your local water board or plumber may be able to recommend the most suitable system for your home.

Gainsborough Showers and Hard Water
Some of our showers have a phased shutdown feature. This is an intelligent feature which flushes residual hot water from the shower once it is turned off. Not only does this protect the next user from potentially scalding themselves, it also helps to cut down on limescale build-up. If hard water is a problem for you, look for the Phased Shutdown Feature on your next Gainsborough shower.

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Add Some Luxury To Your Bathroom (Bling Part 2!)

We love to explore the web in search of weird and interesting bathroom oddities, and our latest find is this extravagant ‘Chandelier Shower’. Slightly OTT in our opinion, but we may put the idea forward to our R&D department and see how it goes down! 

Chandelier Shower

Image courtesy of trendir.com

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a chandelier shower, then why not check out our less extravagant ideas…

We all like to pamper ourselves now and then, but while we may have to limit the luxury spa breaks to special occasions, we can definitely inject a ‘touch of luxury’ into our daily lives! Making some changes to your bathroom is an easy way to add some luxury to your daily routine:

  • Think about Lighting

Interior lights can play a major part in a room’s atmosphere. If you’re adding a new bathroom suite, or giving the room a fresh coat of paint, why not add some complementary lighting to make the room look its best? It will make such a difference to the room to add some strategic lighting points. And if you have the budget/capability – add a skylight to improve visibility further whilst adding a source of natural light.

  • Upgrade the fixtures

By simply changing some handles and taps, you can make a huge difference to the bathroom. Stylish chrome is always a popular choice as it complements most bathroom designs. Adding accessories to match your theme can also make an impact – think about towel racks, shelves and hooks to complete the look. In addition, think about what bottles and lotions you have on display, and make sure they fit in with your theme.

  • What about Warmth

No-one likes a chilly bathroom, and certainly, anyone wanting to achieve a luxury spa feel would fall at the first hurdle if the bathroom was cold. Have you got a heated towel rail? If not, consider installing one. It will keep your towels lovely and warm, and will also add some heat to the room, making it a cosy and warm environment. If your bathroom is especially cold, then it may be worth installing a discreet room heater that won’t detract from the bathroom decor but will create a lovely, warm atmosphere.

And last of all, don’t forget – fluffy towels, candles (be safe!), some relaxing music and a good book!

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Which Shower Is Best For You?

Buying a new shower can be a difficult task if you don’t know where to start. You may be looking for a shower as part of a bathroom or home refurbishment, or you may need a new shower as your current one has broken in which case you need to find a suitable replacement.

There are many different types of shower available, so it can be tricky to know which is the right shower for you. Showers can vary depending on which type of water system is used, the power type used, as well as the design and appearance.

The most important thing to note is that there are two main types of shower available: Electric and Mixer. The type that you choose may depend on the plumbing available in your bathroom so check what shower you currently have, and also speak to your plumber to get their advice on your options.

Electric Showers

An electric shower uses cold water which is passed through a heating element and then supplies hot water at your desired temperature. Electric showers usually come in three power types 8.5kW, 9.5kW and 10.5kW. The strength of shower you go for will depend on the power cables you have currently (higher wattage requires larger cables). The higher the wattage, the faster the shower is able to heat the water meaning that the flow rate will be stronger on a higher wattage shower. However, it’s also important to bear in mind that as the temperature is increased, the water flow becomes slower. This is because the water must pass over the heating element for a longer period of time, which ultimately slows down the flow rate. 

Electric showers are generally an economical and eco-friendly choice, as they only heat the water that is required, so this makes them appealing to many people. They are a fantastic choice for families as they provide hot water instantly, day or night.

Our Electric Showers

Our popular cse range of electric showers is currently on offer (May/June 2012). These satin chrome showers give a contemporary twist to the traditional electric shower design.

Choose from the following showers:

  • 8.5 cse – our most economical shower in the range;
  • 10.5 cse – our most powerful in the range;
  • 9.5 cse – for a middle of the range choice.

Mixer Showers

Mixer showers use water from both your hot and cold water supplies. They combine the two and blend them to reach your desired temperature. You control the flow and temperature with a dial or handle. Although mixer showers are usually the simplest type of shower to use they do require a good supply of hot and cold water, so may not be the best option for larger families. The type of water system in your home (low-pressure/gravity fed, combi boiler or high-pressure) can play an important factor is deciding which model you choose.

Many people prefer mixer showers over electrics as the shower valve which is mounted on the wall is often smaller and neater than an electric shower box. There are also options to have concealed mixer showers, where the shower valve and pipe work is concealed in the wall to give a neater and more stylish finish. Concealed mixer showers need to be mounted on a wall which has a cavity or space behind, such as an airing cupboard.

Our Mixer Showers

The Ambassador mixer shower is one of our best-selling models, and we have options for low-pressure, combi boiler or high pressure household water systems. Take a look at our range of mixer showers.

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