The Green Pages: Top 10 Things to Do in Carmarthen

So, it looks like you’re looking to explore the historically rich and scenic town of Carmarthen. (Or, if you want to show off and flex your Welsh, Caerfyrddin.) We can certainly understand why you’re so keen to visit. With stunning views from the river Tywi and more historic landmarks that you can shake a stick at, Carmarthen is the perfect place for all the family. 

If you need a bit more of a nudge, we’ve got 5 fun facts all about Carmarthen. You’re sure to be packing up your car and heading out the door, en route to Carmarthen, by the end - we guarantee it!

Footie fan? How about cricket? Carmarthen is the birthplace of both!

Talk about a double whammy. Sports historian (there’s a job title you never knew existed) Martin Johnes theorises that the earlier recorded game of cricket was played in 1783 on Court Henry Down, Dryslwyn. Likewise, the earliest recorded game of football was said to be invented in West Wales and was called cnapan. Both games have evolved from their earliest iterations (which both involved wooden balls - ouch) but their origins remain in Carmarthen.

The trees are magic. Er… Well… Sort of… 

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Merlin the wizard. We don’t mean Colin Morgan from that old BBC show. We’re talking about the real Arthurian legend. Apparently, Merlin was born in a cave just outside of Carmarthen. That’s not all, either. Legend states that there was a tree named ‘Merlin’s Oak’ (pretty original) and if it ever fell, the town would fall too. Ominous stuff! When the tree died, the town dug it up to prevent it from ever falling and pieces of it still remain in the local museum to this day.

The Mayor of Carmarthen killed a king on the battlefield. Take that, England!

The last English king to ever die on a battlefield, Richard III, was killed by Sir Rhys ap Thomas - the future Mayor of Carmarthen! Initially, Sir Thomas had sworn loyalty to Richard III, but switched sides and dealt the final blow during the heat of battle. That was probably a tense day at the office.

Fancy a BrewDog or a Stella? You’ve got Carmarthen to thank for them.

Football. Cricket. And now beer too? All great things come from Carmarthen! Whilst we can’t take the credit for inventing canned beer, we can definitively say that Carmarthen was home to the first canned beer brewed outside of the United States. Two local breweries were the first domestic sites to use beer cans in the 1930s: Felinfoel and Buckley’s brewery. 

Carmarthen is the site of an Amelia Airheart crash. No, not that one.

The other one! Amelia Airheart is best known as the world’s first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic ocean. The fate of that infamous voyage is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. We can safely assume that her plane crash-landed somewhere. But before that crash-landing, she had been a passenger on a plane flying from Nova Scotia in Canada. During their flight, they made a pre-mature arrival to Burry Port - right here in Carmarthen.

Carmarthen Castle

And that’s not even half of it! There are so many reasons to visit Carmarthen. More than we can count! But, to save time, we’ve put together the top 10 best things to do in Carmarthen. 

1. All the castles! (Kidwelly, Laugharne, Carmarthen…)

We heard you like castles. Luckily, we’ve got loads for you to choose from. These roman forts have stood the test of time and towered over Carmarthen for centuries. They’re the perfect place to take the family for a bit of historical appreciation or to see the stunning countryside from an incredible vantage point. 

2. National Botanic Gardens of Wales

You haven’t even comprehended the meaning of the phrase ‘natural beauty’ until you’ve visited the National Botanic Gardens of Wales - not that we’re biased, or anything. There’s a wide array of gardens to visit. Stop by the apothecary garden and discover the fascinating world of healing herbs. Or drop by the Aqualab on the river and learn all about the wonderful, if soggy, world of the river. Every exhibit in these gardens centre around green technology, learning and fun. Sounds like a perfect day out, if you ask us.

3. The British Birds of Prey Centre

If you’re visiting the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, you’ve got to stop by this centre. You won’t find another hands-on education like this. At the British Birds of Prey Centre, you can expect a once-in-a-lifetime experience with majestic birds of prey. From Golden Eagles to Red Kites, Snowy Owls to Peregrine Falcons, you’ll be lucky enough to watch these amazing birds up close as they soar through the sky. Feeling brave? You can even have a go at flying a bird yourself. Just make sure you’ve got your gloves on, first.

4. Llanelli WWT National Wetland Centre

Now, granted, ‘wetland’ doesn’t sound like the most appealing day out, but let us finish! This stretch of protected wildlife is teeming with unique nature and exciting scenery. And, they’ve got (wait for it…) flamingos! That’s right - Flamingos. Pink. Stand on one leg. You know the ones. We can confidently say this is the only place in Wales that you’ll find a ‘mingo wandering about. If you’re after a peaceful trip with beautiful sights, the Llanelli WWT National Wetland Centre is the place for you.

5. The Creative Cafe

Whilst you might need to hop into your car to visit this attraction, we definitely think it’s worth the trip. The Creative Cafe is a quaint little shop that’s full of excitement and creativity. There’s over 100 ceramic creations for you to choose from and an even wider array of paints, so you can let your imagination run wild. This is a pottery studio with a difference, perfect for kids of all ages - from little ones to teens. 

6. Carmarthen Market

For over 800 years, Carmarthen Market has been a hub for food-lovers and craft collectors alike. From meat fresh from the butchers to local fruit and veg, you can come and sample the best that Carmarthen has to offer all within the modern hall that houses it all. The friendly vendors are always looking to welcome new foodies to their flock, so get yourselves down to the hustle and bustle of the Carmarthen Market.

7. Llansteffan beach

British beaches tend to be a little disappointing. Grey skies. Pebbles instead of sand. Llansteffan beach is different! This beach in the south of Wales has sandy shores as far as the eye can ‘sea.’ (Sea what we did there? We’re here all week, ladies and gentlemen.)  Whether you’re a sandcastle builder or a sandcastle smasher, you’re bound to have buckets of fun in the sun. 

8. The Escape Game

This one is for the older kids and the kids at heart! Escape rooms have dominated the rainy-day activity scene in recent years - and for good reason. They’re an incredibly engaging way to spend an afternoon that is sure to make you feel like Sherlock Holmes after. You’ll have five different themed rooms to pick from. Did someone say space adventure? Underwater submarine? And different difficulty levels, these escape rooms are great for everyone from escape novices to puzzle experts. 

9. Creepy Carmarthen Tours

There’s nothing like a bit of a fright to keep you on your toes. Creepy Carmarthen Tours are guaranteed to spook and delight with tours that are accurate and entertaining. Discover Carmarthen’s seedy underbelly (okay, maybe we’re being a bit dramatic) and find out about all the horrible histories that happened long ago.

10. Carmarthenshire Museum 

Who doesn’t want to go see some bark from an ancient tree? The Carmarthen museum is housed inside a beautiful historic house that’s chocked full of interesting artifacts that display the rich history of Carmarthen. It’s a must-see for any history lovers... or Carmarthen lovers! 

After your jam-packed visit to Carmarthen, you might need to find somewhere to store all your new goodies like your newly glazed pottery, castle trinkets or seashells from the beach that the kids just had to take with them. If you’re struggling for space, why not get in touch with Beyond Storage?


Hereford countryside

The Green Pages: Top 10 Things to Do in Hereford

With a rich historical background and the most beautiful rural landscapes this side of the M50, Hereford is the perfect place to visit all year round. We’ve got over 350 acres of ancient woodland with dedicated wildlife trails that are absolutely brimming with life. We’ve got an epic cathedral with the largest library of chained books - you heard us right, chained books - in the whole world. We’ve got the scenic banks of the River Wye. We’ve even got distilleries and cider museums for mum and dad. (And, we’ve also got the one and only Beyond Storage!) 

Maybe you’re not sold on Hereford just yet. That’s okay! We’ve got 5 fun facts about our town that are sure to knock your socks off. 

 

1. Hereford is the birthplace of 2 iconic green frogs: Yoda and Kermit.

And Miss Piggy, the Cookie Monster, Fozzie Bear… You can thank Hereford for pretty much every Muppet! Award-winning voice actor and puppeteer Frank Oz was born in Hereford in 1944.

 

2. Arguing with a Welshman? Come down to Hereford and settle it for good!

Technically, under an ancient (and apparently unrepealed) law, you can finish off a Welshman under very specific circumstances. You have to be in Hereford, it has to be a Sunday, you have to use a longbow and it must all take place within the Cathedral close. We don’t recommend trying this one out, but it’s always good to know your options!

 

3. Find the inspiration for your next hit West End show at Hereford - just like Andrew Lloyd Webber did.

Back in the 60s, co-creators of Jesus Christ Superstar Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice finished the main bulk of their hit musical from the comfort of a Hereford country inn. We think Hereford’s beautiful countryside is a great backdrop for any creative geniuses. Maybe it’ll inspire your next best-seller!

hereford countryside

 

4. If you’re a fan of exciting footie, you’re in the right place. Hereford United set a record in 1992.

Now, we’re a little proud of this one. What was the record you ask? The most amount of goals in a season? The most sportsmanlike conduct ever seen on the pitch? Not exactly… In 1992, Hereford United set the record for the most amount of players ever sent off a pitch from one team.  4 players were sent off, and we still drew 1-1. Not too shabby, if you ask us.

 

5. Vegetarians beware! Hereford is home to one of the world’s most popular breeds of cattle.

All the way back in ancient times, cattle breeders were looking to create the biggest and most efficient beef yield ever. And so, Hereford cattle was born and has taken the world by storm ever since. And we really mean they took the whole world by storm. Originating in our town, there are over five million purebred Hereford cattle out there in over fifty nations worldwide. That’s a lot of steaks.

hereford cattle

Fancy swinging by yet? There’s so much to see and do in our county town, but we’ve selected the very best things to do in Hereford that have to make your to-do list whilst you’re in town.

 

1. Hereford Cathedral 

Hereford Cathedral is probably the most famous landmark in Hereford - and for good reason. This incredible archaic place of worship has stood for over the town since 1079. Its extensive history is full of intrigue and political machinations that are perfect to fill an afternoon with. From its tiny crypt to its massive chained book library, the cathedral is full of interesting, unique quirks to keep kids entertained. The real crown jewel of Hereford Cathedral is the Hereford Mappa Mundi. It’s the largest medieval map in the whole world! Any budding historians will love visiting the Mappa Mundi to get inside the minds of ancient cartographers and their view of the world.

 

2. Chase Distillery 

From the fields, all the way to the bottling, discover each step of the distillery process at Chase Distillery. This in-depth tour of your favourite spirits should definitely be on the list of any adults that love to indulge. Chase Distillery’s talented guides take you step-by-step through their award-winning gin and vodka making process. That means discovering the wonderful world on mashing, fermenting and distilling spirits. It all takes place in the gorgeous Hereford countryside on their own family farm. After thoroughly learning about the distilling process, you even get a tutored tasting session! Anyone else thirsty for a G&T suddenly?

 

3. The Weir Garden (& River Wye)

As we move into spring and summer, there’s no better time to visit the Weir Garden. It’s a spectacular riverside National Trust garden that’s absolutely stunning and overflowing with natural beauty and exciting fauna. It’s a woodland wonderland. There are daffodil meadows, winding cobbled paths and a gorgeous view of the River Wye - just to highlight a few of this park’s natural beauties. Whether you visit for a simple stroll or indulge in a relaxing picnic, there’s no way you can go wrong with a visit to the Weir Garden. 

 

4. Manic Ceramics 

For the crafty at heart, Manic Ceramics is the place to be. This family-run independent business has been at the heart of the Hereford community for over a decade now. It’s great fun for people of all ages (because who doesn’t love pottery?) Their specialised paint is totally non-toxic and non-staining. Not to mention, their glaze used is 100% lead-free and dishwasher-proof. It’s totally kid-proof. For rainy days or for whenever you’re feeling artistic, Manic Ceramics is the perfect place to flex your Picasso-like skills and let your creativity soar.

 

5. The Hereford Buttermarket

Worry not, lacto-free visitors! The Hereford Buttermarket certainly sells more than just butter. This historic indoor market is located in the heart of Hereford. It’s a hidden gem, generally reserved for locals, but we’ve got you covered. Each individual stall offers a unique little something. From indulgent doughnuts to fresh produce, you’ll find a range of treats all year round.

 

6. The Cider Museum 

If your trip to the Chase Distillery wasn’t boozy enough, you’ve got to visit the Hereford Cider Museum. This absolutely beautiful museum is an autumnal haven with its apple harvest and foliage-covered front. You’ll definitely adore discovering the surprisingly historic tradition of cidermaking. From harvesting apples all the way to fermenting their juice, you’ll truly appreciate the art of making a quality cider after this experience. You’ll also have the opportunity to walk through the museum’s fascinating champagne cider cellars and find out how two 19th century brothers created the Bulmers empire. We certainly wouldn’t mind a sample of their bubbly right about now.

 

7. Green Spider Climbing

We all need to have a little adventure now and then! If it’s excitement you’re after, you’ll definitely find it at Green Spider Climbing. This awesome climbing and bouldering centre is right in the heart of Hereford for easily accessible, indoor fun. You’ll find over 200 roped routes and over 60 boulder problems set by some of the best route setters in the country. Their climbing and bouldering routes change every 8 weeks, meaning you can return to Green Spider again and again to refine and test your skills!

 

8. Broomy Hill Miniature Railway

Constructed entirely by hand by the Hereford Society of Model Engineers, the Broomy Hill Miniature Railway is an adorable set of model trains for train enthusiasts of all ages to ride in. With an elevated and a ground-level track, there’s plenty of exciting rides to take part in as you chug along the beautiful Hereford countryside. 

 

9. Haugh Woods Butterfly Trails

It doesn’t get much more magical than butterfly trails. Float alongside over 600 species of butterflies in Haugh Woods’ incredible woodland trails. Established by the Forestry England and Butterfly Conservation, these two amazing trails are incredibly important for butterfly conservation. See them in all their majesty in their natural habitat as you wander around over 850 acres of easy grade trials. These simple paths and gentle slopes mean everyone can come along to see the butterflies - small children and pushchairs included!

hereford butterfly trail

 

10. Hereford Museum & Art Gallery

The Hereford Museum & Art Gallery isn’t your average local museum. No, no! Not only is our museum housed within a stunning Victorian gothic building, but it’s chocked full of local history that’s engaging for the whole family. Ever wanted to see a hive of live bees? How about a two-headed calf? Or a two-metre-long fish? Swords of every shape and size? You’ll find these amazingly bizarre and interesting exhibits and more from the Hereford Museum & Art Gallery!

After your jam-packed visit to Hereford, you might need to find somewhere to pop all your newly glazed pottery, bottles of gin and tiny model trains. If you’re struggling for space, why not get in touch with Beyond Storage? We’re the real highlight of Hereford (but don’t tell the cathedral we said that!)

 


Four walls, endless possibilities: why everyone could benefit from self-storage in 2021

What if we told you that a self-storage facility is cheaper than a home extension? What about if we called it an office? An art studio? A time capsule?

In this blog post, we explore the benefits of our wonderfully versatile containers. Some are self-explanatory, but others will surprise you:

 

1. Create more space at home

Self-storage freeing up space in the home isn’t news to anyone, but there are so many reasons why less cluttered, more considered spaces are beneficial.

The flow of a space can impact your whole experience of being at home, from where your eye is drawn to, to how easily you’re able to access things, move around the space or from room to room (why is there always so much in the hall?).

If you aren’t blessed with lots of light in your home, making some changes like reconfiguring the room or updating pieces of furniture altogether can have a huge impact on how you feel. With self-storage, stow away your old furniture until you find another use for it or want to sell it on, so nothing goes to waste for guilt-free interior upgrades.

 

 

2. Easy on the pocket

Self-storage really is the sum of its parts: four walls, fully insulated, dust and damp free with electricity, lighting and WiFi. Sounds like a Room 2.0 if you ask us!

But how much extra would it cost you to have a space like this in your home? We can say with absolute certainty that a self-storage facility is considerably cheaper than upsizing, a home extension, renovating, renting an office to work from or hiring a warehouse for your business.

 

3. There’s little to no commitment

The other advantage of self-storage over home extensions, upsizing and renting an office or warehouse is that there’s so much less of a commitment: we only ask for 7 days notice if you no longer need the facility. Up until that point, it’s all yours!

We even offer to refund the outstanding amount if you leave us mid-month, or we can donate it to charity on your behalf.

 

4. A versatile solution

Like we said, until you decide you no longer need your self-storage facility with us, the space is all yours to do with as you please (within reason of course!). Your storage container can constantly be repurposed depending on your circumstances, whether that’s seasonal storage for your Christmas decorations one year, helping you move home the next or creating your very own personal office after that. Self-storage adapts to your requirements.

 

Self-storage facility, versatile

 

5. Preserve the memories

Over the years, we all generate lots of ‘stuff’, especially families, but that’s not to say this ‘stuff’ isn’t important or without value. You may have either your or your children’s old school work and drawings, sentimental belongings that you’ve inherited, mementoes from your wedding, souvenirs from your travels.

These items can take up a lot of space, and because they aren’t generally used or looked upon for long periods of time, many feel they have to part with them in the pursuit of less clutter.

Self-storage offers you the best of both worlds: more space with no memories spared.

 

6. Peace of mind

The other advantage of storing your sentimental treasures in a storage unit instead of the loft or garage? Climate-control technology.

You won’t find any dust, damp, mould or pests in our self-storage containers.

Oh, and no trespassers either! Access to all of our sites is controlled by a fingerprint scanning system. There’s also 24/7 CCTV and a high-end padlock and key for every unit.

 

Secure self-storage facility

 

7. Room to explore your hobbies and interests

We believe a shift in perception of what's possible with a self-storage facility can enrich our lives in ways we’d never considered.

Of course, we’re always going to need this space during those big life events, but these four walls can be so much more than that.

Would you love to work on a classic car but don’t have the garage space? Perhaps you love to paint, but you’re unable to explore those larger artworks you dream of creating? What about those collectables tucked away in boxes, with no room to expand on your collection?

We offer up to 4 different container sizes to house your passion projects.

 

8. A base for your business

While starting a small business often begins in the home, operations very quickly outgrow it. Increased stock levels, materials and equipment to keep up with demand can leave your at-home business hub feeling cramped and chaotic.

Employing a self-storage container doesn't just give your business space to expand; it can also improve your work/life balance as you’re able to switch off, if only for a while, when you’re at home.

As we touched on in point 2, self-storage also comes at a fraction of the cost of warehouse storage or renting somewhere.

 

Outdoor activities with self-storage

 

9. An excuse to get some fresh air

Is this point a bit of a cop-out? Maybe. Is it true though? Oh yes.

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s the value of being able to get out of the house (safely!). Having a space to call your own separate from your home might serve a practical purpose, but the benefit of being able to get out of the house and stretch your legs can’t be denied. Since March 2020, we’ve installed hand sanitising stations at all our sites for peace of mind when you visit.

And hey, when we’re able to, what not make a day of it? There’s lots to do in the locations surrounding our storage sites.

 

10. Community and support

From our Beyond Lounges to the supportive local community and friendly site staff, Beyond Storage camaraderie has continued to thrive in spite of the changes we’ve all had to make during COVID-19. A simple smile and a wave, even socially distanced, can make such a difference to your day.

 

 

Have you learnt anything new about self-storage as you’ve read this blog post?

If you have any questions regarding our site facilities, or want to discuss with our friendly team how our storage containers might add value to your life, get in touch today.

 


Could you be the next Storage Hero? The Great British Box Off 2021

After weeks of dropping hints and clues, we’re finally able to shout from the rooftops about the launch of our exciting new competition.

We’ve been working on this project for some time as it was important to us that we got it right; 2020 was incredibly challenging for everyone, and while we’re not quite out of the woods yet, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we wanted to make sure there’s something great waiting for us when we get there.

We also believe self-storage is the answer to not only creating more space during life events, but providing the mental space we need to improve our homes, support our lifestyles and explore our interests. 

So we created The Great British Box Off 2021!

The mission is simple: let us know how you’d use one of our storage containers, the more creative and surprising the better, and we’ll give the winner Storage Hero status and everything they need to make their dream-space a reality.

The winner will receive £500 towards the container contents to help them realise their vision, a period of free storage and a whole team for a day to help them set up.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. You may have spotted our Storage Heroes circulating on social media, so we thought it only right to formally introduce them:

 

The Taxidermist 

Marvellously eccentric, the Taxidermist loves to collect the weird and wonderful. Our climate-controlled units keep his treasures in tip-top condition so that they can be admired for generations to come.

The Taxidermist - The Great British Box Off 2021 Storage Hero

 

The Gym Guy

A familiar face at Beyond Storage, the happy-go-lucky Gym Guy loves nothing more than breaking a sweat at his very own personal gym a few times a week. He’s also into his running, so loves the site’s access to some great countryside paths. You’ll find him at local Fun Runs or raising money for his annual marathon. A true Storage Hero!

The Gym Guy - The Great British Box Off 2021 Storage Heroes

 

The Costume Designer

From Hamlet to Hamilton, The Costume Designer is the first point of call for all your dramatic wardrobe and tailoring needs. The unit is both a time capsule of theatre performances gone by and perfect for quick and easy access to current projects: long opening hours mean she’s able to access her container when it works for her, while being able to drive up to the unit allows her to load and unload costumes safely.

The Costumer Designer - The Great British Box Off 2021 Storage Heroes

 

The Dirt Biker

Adrenaline is The Dirt Biker’s middle name. He’s semi-professional, but really he loves nothing more than visiting the site every weekend to take his bike out with some mates and let off some steam. He knows his bike and gear are safe with us: 24/7 CCTV, fingerprint scanning access to the sites and individually locking units make sure of it.

 

The Family

A Mum, Dad, Son and Daughter - the quintessential family! But that’s where their predictability ends. They’re all about having a great time and getting the most out of life. Their storage unit is filled with fun, from the golfing gear they love to take out on Sundays to their collection of antique pinball machines. You can find them a couple of times a month, especially in the summer, curled up on their unit-sofa watching a film projected on a pull-down screen. Snacks and laughs are non-negotiable.

The Family - The Great British Box Off 2021 Storage Heroes

 

Our Storage Heroes have been created as ambassadors of the versatile storage container and to inspire you on your own storage journey.

While we strive for the very best storage facilities and customer service at Beyond Storage, the clue is in the name. We believe that self-storage can be so much more than a way of facilitating a move. As our motto says: don’t just make room for stuff. Make room for life!

So if you live in or the surrounding areas of Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Leicester, Carmarthen or Stratford-upon-Avon, tell us - what would be in yours?

 

To enter The Great British Box Off 2021, click here and tell us all about your container of dreams!

You can also find out more about the competition in the T&Cs here.

Good luck Storage Hero!

 


The Great Escape to the Countryside: How Self-Storage Can Get You There & Make the Most of Country Living

Thinking of ditching the city and moving to the countryside?

With the exciting pace of life and competitive career opportunities, cities draw many from their hometowns and villages in search of their slice of the cosmopolitan pie.

But as lockdown stilled the buzz in cities and people found themselves trapped in four walls, working from home and cursing their absent garden, it seems they got to thinking.

In the first week of May, the number of searches for homes in rural locations on Zoopla was up 68% compared with the first week of March, not to mention a recent survey found 32% of Brummies are looking to move out of the city.

 

Can you relate?

Now that more people work remotely, calmer environments, better access to outdoor spaces and a bit of peace and quiet are closer than you think. Unless you're fortunate to have friends and family close by however, you're going to need all the help you can get on your mission to live a little slower.

City dwellers, meet self-storage: our sites in particular are conveniently located in areas with great access to countryside towns and villages surrounding cities in the Midlands and South Wales.

Not only is self-storage great at making the moving process a little easier, increasingly they're being used in more creative ways, such as personal gyms, an office, or general extensions of the home.

So whether you’re looking for temporary storage while you plan your great escape to the countryside or want to keep it up after deciding you definitely need a space devoted to your new-found love of mountain biking or painting landscapes, Beyond Storage can get you there.

 

Moving to the countryside - moving home.

 

Here’s a summary of what you can expect with Beyond Storage:

  • Different unit sizes to suit your needs.
  • Beautifully kept outdoor sites, so you can drive straight up to your unit for easy loading and unloading.
  • A secure fingerprint scanning system for site access and 24/7 CCTV surveillance.
  • A high-end padlock on the unit itself.
  • Insulation and a dehumidifier for a climate-controlled environment - no damp or dust in sight!
  • Beyond Lounges on-site with free tea and coffee, biscuits, somewhere to take a breather and toilets.
  • Helpful and friendly staff always available.
  • Opening hours from 6am-9pm to fit around your schedule.
  • Only a week’s notice required.
  • Competitive rates and great value for money - yay!

 

Now that the logistics are out of the way, on to the fun stuff! We actively encourage people to get creative with how they use our storage containers and make it their own, so here’s how a self-storage facility can help make the most of your new life in the countryside:

  • Space for hobbies galore! And with long opening hours, you’re free to come and go when it suits you.
  • Downsizing? No problem! Consider your storage unit an extension of your home.
  • Our sites are surrounded by gorgeous countryside, so save yourself some cupboard space and keep your chunky raincoats, walking boots, wellies and any other walking gear you need in your unit for a quick grab-and-go solution for spontaneous walks in the country.
  • New to the area? There’s a great sense of community both in the locations of our sites and at the sites themselves, and with so many of our brilliant customers doing interesting things with their units, you’re sure to strike up a conversation and start building a network of great people.
  • Did we mention we do free tea and coffee in our cosy and stylish lounges? I think we did, but we’re so proud of it that we’ll mention it again!

 

Moving to the countryside - making the most of the outdoors with self-storage.

 

So if lockdown got you re-evaluating your current living situation, we’re here to facilitate your your transformation from city-slicker to country-bumpkin!

Get in touch with our friendly team to learn more about how we can find the perfect storage solution - or container home extension - for you.

 


Fabric wrapped gifts for eco christmas wrapping

New Christmas Traditions: Eco-Wrapping Ideas for Extra Special Gifts

We all have our own ways of showing friends and family just how much they mean to us, but this Christmas is the perfect time to double up on caring gestures; not only is putting an eco-spin on your Christmas gift wrapping better for the environment, an extra level of care, attention and detail goes into each gift - and it really shows!

So whether you’re an eco-novice or veteran, or you’re simply looking for ways to add beautiful personal touches to your gifts this Christmas, we’ve put together a handy guide full of thoughtful ways you can add an eco-spin to your annual present wrapping.


Step 1: Conceal!

1. Brown recycled paper

If you aren’t quite ready to give up the satisfaction of opening a paper-wrapped present this Christmas, brown paper is a happy meed-in-the-middle option. It’s also easy to come by and inexpensive - a great way to get started! Keep the paper plain and focus on the decoration for a sophisticated look, or add your own patterns, drawings and stamps for wrapping paper that’s completely unique to you.

TIP! The brown paper you get in some Amazon boxes? You know what to do!

 

Eco-wrapping with newspaper

2. Newspaper

Before binning your daily, weekly or monthly newspaper, have another flick through and pull out the black and white sheets. Another great compromise if you’re keen on paper wrapping, the print looks really striking against red, white and green accents, which you can add with ribbons, gift tags and natural foraged bits like pinecones and winter sprigs.

DON’T FORGET!
Swap out plastic tape for paper tape.

 

3. Reusable fabric wraps

If you have fabric lying around or would prefer to purchase fabric wraps, this is a smart way to get the whole family involved with your new Christmas eco-wrapping tradition. The receiver of your beautifully fabric-wrapped gift keeps the fabric until next year, which they’ll in turn reuse themselves. Alternatively, there’s no shame in them returning it to you! Neutral cottons and linens are perfect if you’re after that Scandinavian Christmas look (this also makes them good to use for Birthdays), or go full Christmas with festive prints and tartan.

 

4. Drawstring sacks

Take the fabric wrap a step further with reusable drawstring sacks. If you’re feeling crafty this Christmas you can find some great templates to follow online, but there are also lots of options on places like Etsy, too. Personalise the bags with names to create the Stocking 2.0, and get kids on-board by pitching them as special Santa sacks just for them!

eco-wrapping fabric wraps and foliage

 

Step 2: Decorate!

1. Forage

Make the most of the next crisp winter’s day for a forage in your garden or walk in the local park to collect nature’s eco - and free - gift adornments, such as acorns, winter sprigs and foliage, dried leaves, holly and hardy winter berries.

 

2. From the cupboard

You’ll be surprised at what you already have in your kitchen cupboards that are perfect for decorating gifts with. Cinnamon sticks, dried orange and apple pieces and tough herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage and star anise not only look beautifully rustic, they’ll also provide a divinely Christmassy perfume as the receiver opens the gift.

Fabric wrapped gifts for eco christmas wrapping

 

3. Collect

The real trick to acing Christmas eco-wrapping is to keep an eye out throughout the year for anything that could be twined to a future gift: lots of gift sets come with ribbons and bows that you can repurpose, even on things like packs of pyjamas that you normally wouldn’t think twice about throwing in the bin. New shoes? Hold onto the box and tissue paper!

 

4. Get crafty

If rustic neutrals aren’t your thing at Christmas you can be forgiven for feeling that eco-wrapping looks a little bland, but there are loads of ways you can spruce it up and get festive:

  • Use wooden stamps and different coloured inks or paints to create prints on plain brown paper or add colour and texture to newspaper wrapping. You can find packs of wooden stamps, Christmas or otherwise, and easy to use ink pads from places like The Range, but you could take it one step further and make your own good old fashioned potato stamps.
  • Dye present wraps and sacks quintessential Christmas colours (or red and green tie-dye!), and/or use iron-on Christmas patches or gold lettering to personalise with names.
  • From red and white candy cane stripes to full on Christmas prints, pack a loud and proud festive punch with colourful patterned bows, ribbons and twine - and don’t forget to save them for next year!

potato stamps for decorating wrapping paper

 

Step 3: Make it a Christmas tradition!

 

1. Devote a box to your eco-wrapping materials and supplies

We don’t blame anyone for not being a huge fan of having to hold onto bits and pieces of ribbon, paper, bows etc for a whole year, so having a box for this that can be stored away will keep everything neat, tidy and under control. This is also really handy to have if you come across useful wrapping bits throughout the year; chuck it in the box and forget about it until December!

 

2. Make durable personalised gift tags to use every year

Making name tags out of durable materials like cotton, felt or wood can be used year after year and will eventually become staple pieces of Christmas nostalgia for your family. Lots of presents for the little ones? No problem! Signpost the pile with a giant tag!

Eco wrapping presents with family

 

3. Get the whole family involved

It’s up to you how far you want to extend the eco-wrapping invitation, but after a couple of Christmases of switching and swapping your new bank of reusable wrapping materials with family and friends, you’ll wonder what you used to use in the first place!

 

What are some of your unique family traditions? We’d love to hear them!

Is that extra box of Christmas eco-wrapping just one too many? Our varied and affordable range of storage containers could be the extra wiggle room you need, so get in touch to see how we can help!


“Have you seen the new neighbours?!” 8 ways to welcome garden wildlife into your outdoor spaces.

Creating a welcoming environment in our gardens for wildlife such as birds, insects and other animals not only benefits our friendly neighbourhood critters, it can also be a fun and rewarding activity - both the creating and subsequent garden watching! Here are our 8 favourite ways to become garden wildlife’s new best friend:

1. Let it grow!

The uncut lawn: one of nature’s rarest and richest wildlife habitats. But before committing to jungle life, a small area of overgrown lawn will do! Cultivating this mini wilderness will be a big draw for little mammals like shrews and voles because it offers a banquet of tasty insects and protection from predators.

If you want to entice some larger foragers, a pile of dead wood encourages beetles and grubs which will do just the trick!

Take it one step further and leave a patch of flowering weeds like daisies, buttercups and dandelions - they’re great food sources for butterflies.

long grass

2. Hungry beasts

The way to any garden mammal’s heart is through their stomach.

Badgers and squirrels will eat unsalted nuts and seeds, fruit and root veggies. Hedgehogs are a little pickier, but you can buy special feed from most garden suppliers.

Believe it or not, milk and bread are big no-no's when it comes to feeding wildlife as they cause digestive problems!

3. Wildflower Power

Bees and butterflies alike love wildflowers and they’ve never been easier to introduce to your garden! You can purchase readymade wildflower packs which you can sow straight into soil, and pre-seeded mats that make germination even easier.

Big or small, any patch of your garden will do, and the best time to sow these little gems is in April.

Just remember to water them every now and then should the British weather pull a blinder and bless us all with an actual summer!

4. Just add water

One of the best things you can do for wildlife in your garden is provide them with a water source.

A pond, even a small one, in a not-too-sunny, not-too-shady spot will be the best and quickest way to diversify your garden ecosystem. It’ll make a welcoming home for frogs and other amphibious wildlife (who enjoy shallower water than you think) and beautiful insects like dragonflies. Add plants like water lilies and pondweed to develop your underwater habitat and help prevent it from going stagnant.

And don’t think your tap or hose will have to do overtime. Collect rainwater in containers to top up your pond, or leave them as is! Water sources are essential for all wildlife, especially for birds in the winter.

5. Don't lock them out!

Leave gaps in your fences that are small enough to keep the dog in but big enough for animals like hedgehogs and frogs to discover your lovingly-made wildlife habitat - simple!

6. Make it their home

Another surefire way to draw wildlife into your garden is by introducing nesting boxes and houses, whether that be for birds, bats, hedgehogs or insects. You can either put something together yourself as they don’t need to be complicated, or buy something purpose build.

Store bought or DIY, even the simplest of shelters become safe homes for many animals that struggle to find natural nesting sites in the winter when conditions are harsh (I’m talking about the British weather again aren’t I?).

Hedgehogs especially need a safe place to hibernate through the cold months. Fancy taking on a DIY project? The Wildlife Trusts have a fantastic step-by-step guide of how to build a hedgehog home.

For bird boxes, make sure they’re installed in a high, sheltered area away from common predators such as cats, and provide them with fat balls in the spring and seeds in the winter to keep them safe, fat, and happy.

Insect houses provide nesting sites for solitary bees and insects. You can make your own simple bee house using reed or bamboo of varying lengths between 4-10cm tied together, or you can buy a commercially-made bee pad.

Insect house bee house

7. The Hedge, Birds Nest Lane, Birdville, BB1 1RD

Not in the mood for DIY? Let nature build a home instead!

Hedges offer great sheltered nesting areas for birds and small animals. There are loads of suitable hedge plants to choose from, but winter honeysuckle and hawthorn not only make great hedges, their perfumed blooms are perfect for bees, too.

8. Bee-utiful flowers!

Most people are now privy to the importance and the plight of our bees, so do your bit by planting some of their favourite flowers.

Bees can see blue and purple more clearly than other colours, so blue and purple varieties of rhododendrons, alliums and chives, geraniums and lavender are great places to start! Not only are they all hardy perennial (they’ll bloom every year) plants, they’re relatively easy to grow.

Geraniums also form good-sized clumps of flowers in a short space of time, which is sure to get pollination off to a buzzing start.

Top tip: wild windowsills!

You don’t need a garden to befriend garden wildlife. All the flowers mentioned above can be grown in containers to adorn a small outside space or reside on windowsills.

 

What are your tried and tested garden wildlife hacks? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

More about the aesthetic? Check out our blog post for smart ways to brighten up your garden.

And if you’re keen to bring the jungle indoors, we've got a blog post for that too! Read all about the benefits of plants in the home here.

 

 


Better Together: 10 Home Activities to Entertain the Whole Family

When you’re stuck at home for any reason, be it the weather, school holidays or to save money, keeping the kids busy and entertained can be a challenge - and adults need some stimulation too! So the Beyond Storage team has come up with 10 ideas to entertain children and adults alike, all the while bringing the family closer together.

 

1. Take online classes together

Learning and growing as a family unit can be really rewarding. With so many free online classes and tutorials available to us now for just about anything, there’s no better time to expand on your skills and knowledge - together!

Whether it’s yoga to find your zen and up your fitness, baking to have fun and fill tummies, or art classes to inspire you and get creative, you’ll definitely find something that everyone can enjoy.

 

2. Junk crafts

You would be astonished what kids can make out of things that would ordinarily be on their way to the recycling bin. These items can include toilet and kitchen roll tubes, cereal boxes, sweet wrappers, crisp packets, and basically anything you can rinse/give a wipe down ready for crafting!

We especially love the idea of making mosaics, collages and stained glass window designs out of wrappers. Just chop them up into lots of little pieces and shapes and provide the glue sticks and paper. Their imagination will do the rest!

Junk crafts for home activities

 

3. Run an in-house restaurant

Set up your own restaurant at home and bring dining out in. It’ll be the first time ever that kids enjoy setting the table!

Even if it’s cushions on the floor around the coffee table, you can make a space special. Hang some fairy lights, put some music on and even dress for the occasion. For that extra touch, kids can design the menus or you can work on them together, and don’t forget to include a starter, main and dessert (and if you have a laminator, it’s time to put it to good use!).

Now, I know you’re thinking “wow that’s a lot of cooking!”, but it doesn’t have to be. Pick a rough date in advance so you can freeze leftovers in re-heatable portions ready to serve.

Most importantly, keep the food simple: as long as bellies are full and spirits are high, it’s all about the novelty of the occasion!

 

4. Treasure hunt

The humble treasure hunt is by no means a new concept, but it’s easy to set up, fun, can cost nothing. If you’re fortunate enough to have private access to an outside space, it's also a great opportunity to get some fresh air.

Do you know what’s possibly more fun than watching kids frantically hunt for treasure? Watching dogs hunt for treats. We really did mean it when we said “the whole family”.

 

5. Create a family tree

This is a great way to feel closer to family that you aren’t able to see very often, or if they’re sadly no longer with us.

Dig out some old photographs and reminisce together, or alternatively you can print them out. Stick them to a family tree that you’ve designed and drawn on a piece of paper, or even devote a whole wall to it if you have the space!

You can even add extra detail such as a phrase they always say, favourite holidays you went on together, where they live and what reminds you of them.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to take a picture and share it with your family, especially those who might be on their own!

 

6. Make a blanket fort

Another classic, but there’s no beating a good ol’ blanket fort!

Once you have a few chairs or other stable objects to drape blankets and duvets over, it’s up to you how elaborately or simply you furnish it. Use blankets, cushions and fairy lights to make it extra cosy.

This little space is great for reading, playing, watching a movie or even having some downtime. If you’ve grown-up and forgotten the wonders of the blanket fort, try it for yourself, we won’t tell!

Blanket fort home activities

 

7. Play dress-up

With a new season upon us, it’s as good a time as any to declutter and organise your wardrobe, but think again before casting out your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories.

Take the dress-up box to the next level and get your craft on to redesign the clothes, come up with fun costumes using them or even put on a fashion show. Dressing up and being silly never goes out of fashion.

 

8. Make a home cinema

Who doesn’t love sitting down with the family to watch a movie? Make this time extra special by turning your living room, or any room, into a home cinema. It'll be just as exciting as the real thing but infinitely cheaper!

Pick a film in advance that no one’s seen and shuffle some furniture around as best as you can so that you’re all snuggled up together in the middle of the room. All that's left to do is grab the popcorn, switch off the lights, and enjoy the cinema experience from the comfort of your own home.

If you want to go all out, there are some relatively affordable mini projectors on the market that might be worth investing in. Even after two uses they pay for themselves with the money you would have spent on otherwise going out to the cinema!

Fancy watching your film alfresco? Check out our guide on how to create your own outdoor cinema!

Home cinema for family activities

 

9. Watch live zoo cams

You can now watch all your favourite animals live from zoos across the globe! You’re able to tune into a variety of different animal enclosures and see what they’re up to right this second.

Make a day of it and include other activities, such as dressing up as your favourite animals, finding interesting facts or drawing which animals would be in your perfect zoo.

Our current favourites are the San Diego and Edinburgh Zoo and Cincinnati Zoo has a great page of activities for when the kids are at home.

 

10. Stargazing

Clue up on all the constellation and asterism greats such as Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper, wait for a clear night and set your gaze upon the sky.

To make the most out of your stargazing night, check beforehand which constellations and star clusters will be visible in your location and if there might be astronomical events taking place. You can find lots of tips and visual indicators online to help you spot the starry figures.

If you have an outdoor space where you can lay down blankets and cushions, even better, but clear nights can be chilly, so wrap up in something comfortable and warm. Bring along snacks and a round of hot chocolate for a Spring night to remember!

 

 

Whatever you decide to get up to, the most important thing is that you’re able to spend quality time with your family in the safety and comfort of your home. Let us know if this inspired you to try one of the activities, we’d love to see your family’s take on it!

Looking for grown-ups-only activities? Check out our blog posts for handy living room storage hacks, 3 brilliant ideas to create the perfect outdoor space and some kitchen storage tips for the perfect cooking environment!