• 10 websites to save you money

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    Everyone likes to get the best deal and to save money wherever possible – after all, why pay more than you have to? With so many websites and voucher codes now available, you can find many bargains and great deals on everything from your daily shop to the annual holiday and your insurance! We’ve found our top 10 websites to save you money on a variety of products.

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    Everyday Shopping

    Before going anywhere, look at dealslands.co.uk for the best offers and vouchers on many high street brands, including beauty products, clothes, holidays, electrical items and white goods, leisurewear and food.

    For thousands of free voucher codes and discounts, head to vouchercodes.co.uk and type in the name of the store you are visiting to get the special offers.

    You can join the community forum at couponshop.co.uk to get the latest online codes, deals and even free stuff at many different stores.

    Household Goods and Insurance

    One of the best known money-saving websites is moneysupermarket.com, where you can make the most of your money on insurance, energy, holidays, credit cards and loans. However, sometimes there comes a point when it is impossible to juggle money and the loans and credit card bills keep piling up. In these circumstances, you might want to consider taking out an IVA, where you can consolidate debts into one monthly payment. You will need to contact a specialist such as https://www.carringtondean.com/individual-voluntary-arrangement-iva/.

    Another popular website is gocompare.com, with comparisons on insurance, savings, loans, motoring, travel, energy and broadband, to help you find the right product without spending hours researching online.

    Similar items are also available at kelkoo.co.uk, which is one of the biggest price comparison companies in the world.

    Pleasure and Leisure

    You can get more than 50% off when you use groupon.co.uk for leisure, personal services, health, beauty, fashion and holidays as well as many other items. Often the coupons are loss leaders and have an expiry date.

    For flights, hotels and car hire, skyscanner.net takes some beating as it compares all the major companies.

    Similar holiday and flight deals can be found at lastminute.com, which additionally offers holidays, theatre and other leisure attractions.

    Also rooms or private homes can be rented through airbnb.co.uk, where you also have the chance to live like a local. You can even let your room to make money too.

     

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  • How to Pick the Right Financial Adviser

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    If you’ve decided you need financial advice, finding the right person to provide you with impartial information is vital to ensure you make the right decisions for your money. There are various factors to consider when deciding which financial adviser is the best for your specific requirements.

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    Type of Advice

    According to The Money Advice Service the key to finding the right financial adviser is working out what type of advice you need.

    You’ll need different advice if you’re planning on getting a mortgage, compared to wanting to invest your savings, or preparing your finances for retirement, so find an adviser who specialises in an area appropriate to your needs. If you require general advice or a complete financial plan, choose an adviser who offers a broad range of services.

    Reputation

    Look for a financial adviser with a good reputation. Ask friends and family for recommendations, but use this as a guideline for decision making rather than a determining factor. Recommendations of a good mortgage adviser may not necessarily be suitable if you need advice about pensions, for example.

    It’s always worth doing some research online to see who offers what services, and if they come with any testimonials. Make sure the financial adviser you choose is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and check to see what qualifications they have.

    Impartial and Personal

    When choosing a financial adviser, it’s essential that you find one that understands exactly what you need and can offer you independent, impartial advice. Some advisers may be keen to sell you their own products or offer products that might not be right for you, so weigh up your options and don’t feel forced to make any on-the-spot decisions.

    A good financial adviser will offer you a personalised, tailored service using specialist financial adviser software, supplied by firms like intelliflo.com, rather than giving you generic advice that could be given to anyone.

    Fees and Documentation

    You may be asked to pay fees for obtaining financial advice, and if this is the case, do your research to check that what you are paying is appropriate. Don’t be afraid to negotiate if you think you should be paying less.

    Get all the information you have been given down in writing, so you can look through the recommendations at your leisure, before making any important decisions.

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  • 4 ways to keep ants out of your home

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    They may be fascinating little creatures, but ants can soon lose their appeal if they are migrating from the great outdoors and choosing to take up residence within your home. Ants can be unpleasant guests at the best of times, but never more so than when they descend in large numbers, and relocate in kitchens, scurrying in and out in procession.

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    The good news is, just like other forms of pest control and nuisance bird management, controlling ants is not as much of a challenge, once you have the right tools and approach. Whether you opt for a heavy-duty pest control approach, or natural methods, you can quickly banish these unwanted guests.

    Seal all cracks and crevices

    According to the British Pest Control Association, ants are determined little beasts, and they tend to have a knack for discovering even the smallest cracks to wander in and out uninvited. Use a high-quality caulk or sealant to ensure that all cracks, no matter how small, are filled effectively. You can soon spot entrance and exit points, as ants tend to wander in a set pathway, so a few moments observing will identify how they are accessing your home.

    Use salt

    Ants are not keen on salt, as it has a drying effect and can be detrimental to the nest once the little guys carry it back home with them. As a result, a liberal sprinkling of salt on the pathway used by the ants can be highly effective in deterring them from taking that route again, and proceeding into your home.

    Use a sticky tape barrier

    Double sided sticky tape is an extremely effective and non-toxic way of stopping determined ants in their tracks. As they wander over your barrier, they will be unable to progress, which will stop the intrepid leaders, while deterring any of the ants following them. If all else fails, call in pest control experts such as Van Vynck Envoronmental, http://www.vvenv.co.uk nuisance bird management services for a swift and effective resolution.

    Use boric acid

    Boric acid is a highly effective bait for ants, which is toxic when they carry it back to the nest. Mix it up with something appealing such as maple syrup, and your uninvited guests will be attracted to the sugar, and happy to transport it back home.

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  • Online Dating Tips for the Newly Single

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    If you’re newly single and want a relationship because you can’t face life alone, you may consider setting up an online dating profile. Some people want casual fun, which makes sense after a long-term relationship ends, while others want to find a life partner. Here are some useful online dating tips on how to impress your potential dates.

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    Play It Cool

    When you receive your first message from an online dater, it may make you nervous. Play it cool and don’t message them back straight away. Many people don’t like game players, but dating is a game anyway. People often want someone who plays it cool, so remember to message back in a few hours or perhaps a day later. If you appear busy to your potential date, you’ll immediately appear more attractive. Games are immature, yes, but they often work.

    Meet Sooner Rather Than Later

    Waiting for messages can be tedious, so what’s stopping you from meeting up with a potential admirer? Instead of exchanging messages for days or weeks on end, request a meeting early on. When you meet your date, you can see if you feel attracted to one another and share common interests and whether you want to see him or her again. If the chemistry is there, don’t delay. Lean in for a kiss and book the second date.

    Find a Like-Minded Date

    Going for coffee on the first date has become the new way of doing it, but what about being a bit different?  Why not go to a zoo or a museum or go to a fair and go on a few rides like a Tornado Sweeper Arm Game.  It will give you a lot more stuff to talk about and on a common interest.
    No Chemistry?

    If you’ve ever experienced a date with no chemistry, it can feel awkward. Explain your feelings from the start. No chemistry often makes the dating game feel dead. It is important that there is some type of attraction on your first date.

    Don’t Get Obsessed with Your Profile

    If you find yourself checking your account several times a day, take a break and practise the art of patience. There is no fun in continuously logging into your profile only to find that you have no new messages, especially if you have your eye on a few potential dates.

    Have No Particular Type

    Some people can throw away a potential relationship because a certain person does not fit their usual ‘type’. Remember the Friends episode with Monica and millionaire Pete? One kiss is all it took to push their relationship from friends to lovers. Take a risk, because you never know.

    Read Profiles

    It is thoughtful to read a message that makes reference to your hobbies and interests. This shows that the messenger has read your profile and genuinely shown an interest in it. You should also make an effort with that guy or girl who makes you laugh.

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  • Splash Your Wedding Cash

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    There are few moments in life that can live up to the excitement of an engagement; from the proposal to sharing the good news, announcing a wedding is a thrilling proposition. But once that has died down, the reality of the all-important budget can hit hard. There are the unavoidable expenditures such as the dress, the venue and the flowers but knowing how to spread the remainder of your budget can be tricky.

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    With marriage on the up, as reported here, it can be easy to get carried away with the competition of it all, but focusing on the following three areas and prioritising your money in a way that is right for you can ensure you have a day to remember.

    A Must-Have

    No matter what your budget allows, employing the talents of an experienced wedding photographer is a must. Yes, snapshots taken by your guests can be candid, fun and representative of the day but nothing beats the expertise a professional brings to the table.

    The best photographers will be with you from early on in the planning process. Services through professional photographers will provide expert advice not just on the day itself but throughout your preparations too.

    With your wedding album lasting long after the guests have gone home, the confetti has been thrown and the cake has been consumed it really is worth investing in a top quality wedding photographer to help you savour the fun, romance and magic of the day itself.

    For your consideration

    Although catering at a wedding can be considered as much of an essential as a photographer, the style of the food and drink served will be very much dependent on budget. Whether you are aiming for luxury, such as champagne and more courses than there are guests, or something a little more straightforward, such as these Hong Kong couples, getting the catering right for your theme and personality is the most important thing.

    If your budget allows, a provision of free drink can work wonders at loosening up your wedding guests whilst also making them feel they are in for a treat. If you can stretch to a free bar then it is worth making sure there are snacks for guests to graze on in order to counter-balance the alcohol consumption! Do bear in mind though, it is your special day; your guests are there to see you get married and anything else is an added bonus.

    If the budget allows

    If there is money left over once the essentials are covered, having fun with your wedding transport can be a memorable way of spending those last few pounds. As with everything else, your mode of transport needs to fit in with your over-riding theme but there are a number of options for any couple’s personality.

    You might choose to tandem from your wedding venue to your reception venue, perhaps a vintage bus for you and your guests is more your style or maybe a blinged-up tractor will fit in with your country wedding theme.

    Perhaps you may choose to do up a certain room in your to be marital home?  Essex bedrooms supplier http://www.rgcole.co.uk could offer you a great deal, especially if you mention you’re a newlywed! J

    Whatever you do, sticking to your budget is an absolute must if you are to make your wedding day one to remember.

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  • Great Ways to Dress Your Windows Beautifully

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    How you dress your windows can make such a huge difference to the look and feel of your home.

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    Curtains

    When it comes to curtains, there are so many options to choose from.

    Plain fabrics in neutral colours melt into the background, acting as an anchor to a space. They don’t command attention, but they allow other features in a room to shine, and this can be an excellent way to add texture into a space. Rather than going with a heavy cotton, look at mohair or velvet for a luxurious finish. You can easily amp up a plain fabric by adding a contrasting trim, which gives a bit more interest but still won’t overpower a room.

    Patterned curtains can add a lot of colour, texture and interest to a room instantly. Use them to make a statement in an otherwise neutral room, or incorporate clashing patterns throughout your furnishings in a space for a quirky and cosy feel.

    Screens, Shutters and Shades

    If, during the day, you want to make the most of the views out of your windows and let in as much natural light as possible, opting for a shade, screen or shutter is the perfect choice.

    Screens and shutters can be very detailed, containing intricate patterns within the design which add an extra element of interest to a space. They also allow for a certain level of privacy, whilst still letting valuable natural light and air through. If you’re into gadgets, smart shades could be the perfect option, allowing light to flood in at the touch of a button.

    Unexpected Touches

    With so much inspiration available online, including at http://reliable-remodeler.com/, the limitations of creative decor for creating a beautiful house are seemingly endless. Experimenting with unexpected touches can result in a truly unique space.

    Stained glass windows can bathe a room in beautiful colours as the light changes outside and shines through. If you’re lucky enough to have very high windows in your space, try experimenting with hanging art directly in front of them. You could juxtapose a painting of a cityscape against the countryside views of your home, or vice versa for a really quirky feel.

    Whatever you choose will act as a finishing touch, really unifying the overall aesthetic and transforming your house into a home.

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  • Which Companies Does Britain Love Most?

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    Do you have a company that you absolutely adore? Have you discovered a brand or product that makes you want to rave about it to your friends, your family and even to complete strangers? Is it because the service you received has been completely outstanding, or is it just that it gives you a warm and fluffy feeling inside?

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    Poor Service

    We Brits can be hard to please at times, but other countries often denounce us for providing dreadful customer service. In an interview for the BBC, Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr bemoaned the levels of service in the UK – not just in restaurants but also in shops.

    Traditionally, we have a reputation for putting up with bad service, but according to the Guardian, we are doing our best to overturn the situation. Apparently, social media and email have made us quicker to voice our opinions, both good and bad, spreading the word about the rights and wrongs of the service we receive.

    Nowadays, you can name and shame a company in less time than it takes to locate a stamp. With just a few clicks we can spread the word about bad, inefficient or downright incompetent service, making it harder for companies to hide behind advertising slogans.

    Favourite Brands

    With a history built on tradition, it’s no wonder that some of our best-loved companies are those which have stood the test of time – many of them celebrating the best of Britishness dating back over decades. The BBC, for example, despite all the griping and moaning about the cost of the licence fee, remains one of our favourite institutions and even today is a byword for quality when it comes to costume dramas and wildlife documentaries.

    ITV is another popular British institution, despite the plethora of adverts which interrupt the programmes, but it still seems preferable to many of the younger and more frivolous TV stations which currently abound.

    Cadbury’s chocolates can be identified just by a glimpse of a particular shade of purple and retain a fond place in the nation’s hearts, despite being owned by a huge international faceless corporation. Walker’s crisps are another perennial favourite, as British as fish and chips and with a long and illustrious history.

    We love Kelloggs, which has been a staple of the British breakfast for decades, and what meal would be complete without a collection of Heinz sauces on the table? Clearly, we are creatures of habit, loving easily identified brands even when the original owners have long since sold out to global conglomerates.

    We went off Starbucks when we discovered that the company was employing tax-avoidance tactics to reduce payments in this country, yet we have decided to overlook the same behaviour from other companies such as Google and Amazon, which remain on the list of favourite companies in Britain.

    Meanwhile, Boots and Tesco also make it on to the list of favourites, despite regular media reports that the British high street is losing customers by the day. Clearly, we Brits have our favourites.  Whatever the business be it fashion, finance, crafts like http://www.higgsandhiggs.com/christmas-shop/christmas-fabrics.html who sell all kinds of materials like designer Christmas fabrics, or technology giants like PC World, we all love our brands and supporting the heritage they share with us.

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  • What does your fridge say about you?

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    If you want to get a real insight into the way someone lives their life, how they operate as a family, the standard of living they keep and how busy they are – all you need to do is open their fridge!

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    When you run a business that depends on the use of commercial refrigeration units, you will need to ensure that you keep the fridges clean, hygienic and running efficiently and a health inspector will be able to judge your health and safety standards largely based on what they find inside your commercial refrigeration units.

    Scientists will need to keep specimens cold in their fridges, while chefs will use a fridge to keep their ingredients fresh and what you use your fridge for will affect how many gadgets you need your fridge to have. According to the BBC, people all over the world use their fridges for different purposes from storing breast milk to save money in the long run through to freezing scientific specimens.

    For example, if you buy a fridge from Fridge Freezer Direct ltd or a similar company, you can choose a fridge that can text you if the temperature falls below a certain threshold.

    And then there’s the age-old debate about whether eggs should be stored in a fridge or not, and according to The Guardian, eggs will likely last longer in the fridge but are more prone to cracking and breaking when you cook with them – so it really is just a personal preference.

    What you keep in your fridge says a lot about your lifestyle. If you keep ready meals and fast food items in your fridge, it’s likely you are busy, you work long hours and probably don’t have a family. However, fridges that have snacks and fresh vegetables show that you probably have children and that you like to cook with fresh ingredients. Of course, commercial refrigeration units will store a mixture of items but you can still recognise what type of business it is from the contents of the fridges.

    Fast food outlets

    If you keep lots of freezers with frozen packaged food, it is likely you run a fast food outlet. Items like chicken nuggets, pre-made burgers and French fries are commonly found in fast food freezers and the fridges will store condiments like sauces.

    High-end restaurants

    If you run a high-end restaurant, your fridges will likely have fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, carrots and onions that will be used to create fresh dishes that command a higher price. Meats and seafood will be stored in the fridge rather than in the freezer to ensure it retains its fresh taste and you won’t find pre-made meals in good quality restaurant fridges as everything will be made fresh.

    Bars

    Bars will need to use fridges to store drinks and garnishes, as well as snacks. You will find bottles of beer, alcopops and mixers such as fruit juices in bar fridges, while the freezer will usually be used to store ice and sometimes snack food like chicken wings and burgers. If these are made fresh, then the meat will be stored in the fridge rather than the freezer.

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  • 5 top Christmas party event ideas

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    There’s no better way to reward your team than throwing a great Christmas party. A recent poll suggested that staff were motivated to work harder with the promise of pizza (other choices were alcohol or a text from their boss!).

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    If you’ve been put in charge of the Christmas work nights out, don’t fret as we have found five of the best events for you to consider. Party poppers (not poopers) at the ready!

    1.      Shared Party Nights, throughout United Kingdom

    If you have a small team but don’t want them to miss out on a big celebration, why not join forces with other corporate groups and share a night to remember? Not only does a larger group create a fun and animated environment, staff will be able to meet new people and potentially build valuable business relationships.

    2.       Christmas Grotto, East London

    Get your valued team in the Christmas spirit by taking them on a trip to Santa’s Grotto. Amongst the promoted winter festivities are movie nights, festive bingo, club nights and many more. If you like the idea but want to bring Santa to your own town, why not contact a corporate event planning organisation such as Davis Events, who can bring your ideas to life.

    3.       Bloomsbury Big Top, nr Russell Square, London

    Bloomsbury Big Top will be hosting exclusive Cirque Extraordinaire parties this winter with space for 300-700 guests. Groups can enjoy three-course dinners with a variety of drinks, whilst entertainers roam between tables and acrobats perform above them. They can also benefit from a game of roulette and blackjack or have a boogie on the dancefloor.

    4.      The Casino Experience, London and the Home Counties

    A fun casino party is a brilliant way to boost morale whilst having a fantastic time. With a glitzy setting and professional roulette tables, you and your team will need to dress to impress! If you have the cash to splash on your corporate bash, why not hire a James Bond lookalike or, even better, hire Daniel Craig himself!

    5.       The Masquerade Ball at Battersea Evolution

    For an extravagant and mysterious party, consider a Venetian Masquerade ball. With a beautiful décor and elegant canapés, your group will quite simply be wowed. Though it isn’t all that Christmassy, it’s a great occasion to dress up and have some fun!

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  • Things to know about pallets and international shipping requirements

    Things to know about pallets and international shipping requirements

    Wooden pallets are a common sight in any warehouse or logistics company. As the packaging platform of choice, pallets ensure that goods arrive at their destination safely and securely.

    Things to know about pallets and international shipping requirements

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    Businesses using pallets to ship goods internationally must ensure that the wood used to make the pallets complies with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM15), as the standard used by most countries. In addition, businesses must ensure that their pallets comply with the requirements of the destination country and also those of the country where the pallet was manufactured or repaired.

    Consequences of Non-Compliance

    ISPM15 certification is vital to prevent the use of potentially contaminated pallets from moving between countries. In countries reliant on logging or agricultural industries, bringing in non-compliant wooden pallets could lead to the spread of diseases through wood-borne insects. This could have a devastating effect on these economies and as such, pallets that are found not to be up to the required standard may be quarantined or even destroyed and disposed of.

    EU Versus the Rest of the World

    For businesses operating within the European Union, the basic requirement is that pallets made domestically are created with wood that meets the European Community’s plant health regulations. There are also special requirements currently in place for pallets destined for Portugal due to the outbreak of Pine Wood Nematode in that country.

    For the rest of the world, however, businesses are obliged to determine what the destination country’s requirements are, and whether additional measures need to be taken above those required by the ISPM15 guidelines.

    Whatever the destination, it is also important that you ensure the pallets you choose are fit for purpose, bearing in mind that not only are the pallets a means of packaging your goods for transit, they may also be stored in pallet racking in Ireland and other countries in and outside of the EU. For instance, companies such as https://www.duffydiscount.com/Pallet-Racking offer racks that enable warehouses to store palletised deliveries until they are needed. As such, the pallets must be robust enough to bear the required weight in the racks.

    Exceptions to the Rules

    Pallets made from wood less than 6mm thick or from manufactured wood products may sometimes be exempt from any regulations, however the onus is still on the shipper to check whether this is the case.

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