• The benefits of energy efficient windows


    Everyone wants to save money on their energy bills, with energy efficient windows also making your home a quieter, more peaceful place in which to live.


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    Energy efficient windows look smart and aesthetically pleasing, eliminate unpleasant draughts and chills and could save you as much as £160 per annum, and your green credentials will be pretty impressive as you will be reducing your carbon footprint. Insulated windows also mean less condensation, which in turn leads to fewer damp issues. Less condensation on your windows will mean less damp in the house and also makes cleaning your windows less arduous due to fewer water marks.


    Insulated windows can be double or triple glazed and can have a layer of gas such as argon, krypton or xenon between the layers. The level of efficiency depends on a number of factors, with the regulator BFRC (British Fenestration Rating Council) grading products according to how successfully they will insulate your property. Low-E glass is usually the most effective, as it incorporates a metal oxide coating that prevents heat loss.

    Frame options

    Different types of frame bring different benefits to your property. uPVC frames are completely recyclable; therefore, these are a great option if you have environmental concerns. They are incredibly durable and will be a cost effective investment; in addition, uPVC frames are weatherproof and require little maintenance to keep looking great. Aluminium and steel frames are another durable and recyclable option.

    Timber frames have a lower initial environmental impact and are an aesthetically pleasing option. They are particularly suited to period homes; however, they are more high maintenance. Composite frames combine the beauty of timber on the inside and the convenience of uPVC on the outside, providing the best of both worlds.

    Double or triple glazing should improve the levels of condensation within your property; however, period properties can be poorly ventilated and can require specialist input. Companies that install windows and doors in Dublin and double glazing in Dublin can advise you on the most appropriate options for your home.

    Period properties

    Historic properties that are listed or located in a conservation area usually have restrictions on the type of replacement windows you are allowed to install. In this case, your best option is to contact your local council for advice.

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  • 4 Simple Ways to Look After Your Lawn


    Now that winter is coming, many of us will be hanging up our gardening gloves until spring. But your lawn still needs a little care and maintenance over the colder months.


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    A report from the BBC highlights the importance of seasonal ‘pick-me-ups’ for your lawn, so now that we are in the throes of autumn with winter in touching distance, here are some of the ways you can prepare your lawn for the colder months and give it the resilience it needs to be lush again come spring.


    Fertilising your soil before winter is the optimum time to give your lawn a pick-me-up and replenish it with nutrients that may have been lost during the drier months. Once the cold weather hits, the soil will retain this last dose of fertiliser and use it and feed the grass roots throughout the winter. Use natural fertilisers instead of synthetic ones – not only are they better for the environment, but they have also been proven to create greener, healthier grass.

    Mowing Techniques

    During winter the grass will barely grow, so you’ll have one less chore when it comes to garden maintenance. However, you should now be adapting your mowing strategies to prepare your lawn for this period of inactivity. It’s important that your grass is as short as possible, as long grass will attract mice and other burrowing animals seeking shelter in the cold. They can cause damage to your lawn. But don’t do one last dramatic chop: instead lower the cutter on your mower to gradually reduce the length. Hand propelled petrol lawn mowers from http://www.chiffchaffoutdoor.com/tiger-tm4016hp-40cm-16-hand-propelled-petrol-lawn-mower.html and reel mowers are good for this.


    Aerating the lawn is something you should do all year round to improve drainage and allow more air into the soil and root system. During winter this is particularly important, as the colder weather will lead to soil compaction even more. Use a fork, spike or aerating tool to prod holes into the soil and allow it to breathe.

    Give It a Rest

    Try to keep off the lawn as much as possible when it is cold or frosty, as grass plants will become brittle and break. Remove any toys or garden furniture from the lawn before the first frost unless you want to see an imprint of it there in the spring!

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  • Could This Be the Kitchen of the Future?


    The Sky Is The Limit

    Belgian designer Xavier Bonte has collaborated with the company HI-MACS and come up with a truly inspiring “pod” style kitchen, aptly named “The Sky Is The Limit”. Bonte states that his idea for the design came from a dream about a cloud and it was certainly a big hit at the 100% Design Festival at Earls Court in London, where it was named as being among the top 20 designs to watch.


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    Essentially, the pod unfolds to reveal hidden units and appliances including a hob, sink and tap. Everything you need in a kitchen is concealed in this amazing, cloud shaped island; ideal for modern accommodation where space is at a premium. You can see this futuristic design at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29376759) .

    Green Issues fundamental to future kitchens

    It is very probable that environmental concerns will be one of the driving forces behind what the kitchen of the future will look like, indeed domestic appliances and the way they consume energy are likely to need to be redesigned completely as we go forward. Retailer Ikea have carried out recent research into what consumers will require from a dream kitchen in 2040; and as well as the room being the “hub” of the whole household, the survey confirmed that energy efficiency is a key concern for householders. Recycled materials are likely to feature heavily in the kitchen of the future and the lines between the kitchen and garden will blur, with more home grown, organic food actually being produced inside.

    In fact, all domestic and commercial catering companies could be selling fridges of the future that will actually allow food to be grown inside them (rather than simply stored) as a standard feature, using a clever combination of hydroponics and nutrient supplies. Of course, land and resources will be under ever increasing pressure in years to come; and coupled with climate change, consumers will be forced to rethink the excesses of past lifestyles.

    Beer and drink fridges have in the past had a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions. If older models are replaced by more modern, energy efficient ones (which you can see at http://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk) consumption can actually be cut by up to 75% just for this one appliance. These figures go to show the importance of more environmentally friendly kitchen appliances in the war on climate change and how they can contribute to conserving our ever depleting natural resources.

    But more eco friendly appliances are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes we will see in the kitchen of the future. In fact according to the Guardian, the whole design of our living spaces will need to change in order to accommodate lifestyle changes and pressure on resources. The main feature of this, they predict, is that homes will not actually have separate, designated rooms for bathrooms, kitchens etc but rather will have movable walls to allow householders to make the most of limited floor space, as well as making more use of materials which would previously have gone to landfill such as agricultural waste.

    All this is certainly food for thought as we look to the kitchen of the future.

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  • The benefits of team sports in schools


    In recent years a sizeable number of people have been of the opinion that taking part in competitive sport is not good for children. There have been many stories about schools banning sports days and not allowing children to be ‘winners’ or ‘losers’.


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    According to the Telegraph, however, the benefits of team sports far outweigh any potential downsides.

    How do team sports affect young people?

    Although some very physical sports, such as rugby, will always carry some risk of an injury, they also encourage a real sense of bravery in young people. The health benefits of regular exercise are invaluable, of course, and playing a team sport at school can help to set up healthy habits for life. Whatever the individual background of pupils, taking part in a team game such as rugby, football or hockey can foster a real sense of cooperation and respect for each other. These character-building aspects can have a really positive influence on a young person’s personality and the way in which they will tackle other challenges as they go through life.

    The positive influence of a good coach

    Some children may lack the helpful role models they need in their home environment and a strong and positive relationship with an influential adult such as a sports coach can be just what they need; in fact, according to the BBC, children’s experience of sport at school can affect their attitudes for the rest of their life. Hockey is a really popular example of a team sport that fosters all the right attitudes in those who play it. If you are a hockey coach, you may like to review field hockey training videos from sportplan.net. One of the most challenging aspects of your role as coach will be to keep your team interested in your field hockey drills; therefore, it is important to keep your training regime fresh and interesting so that your players will keep giving their best.

    The positive attitudes that are often instilled in children by taking part in team games can make all the difference in the way in which they will approach adult roles later in life. This can be especially true for young people who do not come from the type of home that encourages these skills within the family.

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  • Biggest month for new car registrations as the 66 plate launches


    In September, the desire to have a 66-plate car exceeded previous years, with the number of new car registrations setting a record.


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    Increasing by 1.6 per cent on last year, the total number of new cars registered in September was 496,696, indicating how healthy the car industry is. Drivers were encouraged to splash out on new cars with the release of the new 66-plate being a very tempting prospect.

    Consumer confidence is up

    These new figures demonstrate that Brexit hasn’t had an impact on the industry, as many feared that the economic uncertainty would prevent people from buying new cars. Speaking about the results, SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said that for the new car market in Britain, September is always a big month.

    With new technology in cars and the 66-plate combination, many buyers have been drawn into the showroom. Teamed with low-interest finance options and attractive leasing deals, there’s plenty on offer for consumers. For example, car leasing is available at companies such as http://leasing.totalmotion.co.uk/ car leasing.

    However, Hawes also explained that the majority of deliveries sent out in September are normally booked in advance, which means that for the record to continue, the car industry will be depending on the government to overcome political uncertainty and to safeguard the conditions that consumers rely on.

    Alternatively-fuelled cars rise in popularity

    Figures also show that cars that are alternatively-fuelled and electric vehicles are continuing to rise in popularity, with the sales of these increasing by 32.6 per cent to 16,060. However, this is still a fraction of the overall market (3.4 per cent).

    Automotive partner at PwC, Phil Harrold, commented that the rise in vehicles that are fuelled by alternative means is a notable point and this has been assisted by manufacturers trying to meet the emissions rules laid out by the EU, and these are likely to remain unchanged following the UK’s decision to leave.

    Petrol-engine vehicles saw a decline of 1.1 per cent, whilst new registration diesels rose by 2.8 per cent. However, Volkswagens recent “dieselgate” disgrace seems to have affected their total market share, as this was down 14.1 per cent last month, declining to 7.2 per cent. Over the year, the total shares Volkswagen has in the market has fallen to 7.6 per cent from 10.7 per cent.

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  • The Five Greatest Christmas Songs Ever!


    That time of year is approaching fast – so get ready for the oncoming Christmas songs – But what are the five best Christmas songs ever? Continue Reading…

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  • Getting Married on the Jurassic Coast


    With so many locations and venues available for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, the choice can be bewildering! There are many areas of the UK with a whole array of suitable places to tie the knot; one of these is the Jurassic Coast area of Dorset.  Continue Reading…

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  • How much electricity does the average kitchen use?


    One of the biggest expenses a restaurant will incur on a daily basis is the energy used in the kitchen. With a range of electrical appliances running alongside one another to prepare dishes along with the dish and glass washes ticking over to keep the dining room in plates, dishes and cutlery it is little wonder that many restaurants have a huge carbon footprint. Similarly, many restaurants use an inordinate amount of gas for ovens and hobs.


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    According to a 2013 paper published by the University of Reading, commercial kitchens can use as much as ten times the energy used by other commercial buildings. It is estimated that 21,600 million kWh of energy is used each year by the UK’s catering industry, with around a 50-50 split between non-commerical catering such as schools and hospitals, and the commercial industry including restaurants, hotels and pubs. The restaurants included in the study used an average of just under 300 kWh of electricity per day, where around 10% of this was background power such as the refrigeration units.

    Reducing this consumption

    Given that the UK is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 80% in 2050 compared with the emissions from 1990, it is clear that restaurants and the rest of the catering industry as a whole has some work to do in order to reduce this. Intelligent planning on the part of businesses should see their energy consumption fall, and their profits rise, whilst helping the environment.

    Improving efficiency

    Research carried out by the Energy Saving Trust estimates that only around 40% of the energy consumed in the preparation of food is actually used for that purpose, with the rest wasted. Most of this wasted energy is dispersed into the rest of the kitchen, heating the room rather than cooking the food. Keep the windows closed and get them looked at on a period basis.  Should you encounter an issue Leicester emergency glaziers NandU can be around to help, if you’re outside that area find another glazier who is highly reputable you can trust.

    Managing this electricity effectively and introducing more efficient food preparation practices can help to reduce the energy consumption, increase profitability and help make the kitchen a more pleasant space for your staff to work.

    Energy can be saved by implementing some of these strategies advised by the Energy Saving Trust, including ensuring that you are using the correct sized pans for the hob, using lids to retain heat when you are cooking using saucepans and switching off appliances as soon as they have finished being used. Similarly, always turning down the heat on a pan once it has reached boiling point will reduce energy consumption, while making no difference to the cooking time.

    While use of refrigeration units does not cost as much as cooking equipment, it is important to ensure that as your commercial refrigeration will run all the time it should be as efficient as possible.
    The Energy Saving Trust also suggest that you should be able to talk to the supplier of your appliances regarding how much they should cost to run, and if your supplier can not give you the information to approach a new supplier!

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  • Considering software testing as a career? Things to know


    What is software testing?

    Software testing is the process of checking a program or application in order to find bugs. It can also be described as validating a program or application to ensure that it meets the specifications of the business developing it.


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    Skills required for a career in software testing

    If you are wondering if software testing is a suitable career for you, here is some information to help you to make the correct decision. Firstly, it is important to know the entry requirements for a career in software testing. A degree in Computer Science will make it easier to find a software testing job, but you can also sign up to a course in order to gain a certification like ISTQB, which will qualify you in software testing and other related methodologies.

    Volunteering to gain experience is a great way to increase your chances of being hired following your graduation, and could help you to make important business connections for the future. Someone entering the field as a graduate can expect to earn between £18,000 and £24,000 as a starting salary, but those with 3-5 years of experience could earn as much as £35,000 to £50,000.

    In addition to the above qualifications, a successful software tester will have strong analytical, technical and problem-solving skills, a positive attitude, a readiness to learn, a high rate of productivity, as well as great verbal and written communication skills. Some knowhow in the field is desirable but not essential, such as knowledge of tools like QTP and Loadrunner. Most importantly, however, is that you have a passion for software testing. Software testing service BugFinders (https://www.bugfinders.com/), for example, is passionate about its clients and brand and invites testers to join their community and develop their expertise.

    What will happen once I’ve been hired?

    A typical day in the software testing industry involves looking at documents, creating test cases, executing test cases, testing and reporting on bugs, attending meetings and working within a team. You should know that reaching the position of Senior Test Manager usually comes with at least 14 years of experience, but you can expect to progress every three years or so. Should you want to try your hand at other related roles, you could consider Performance Testing, Business Analyst or Automation Testing as possible career paths.

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  • 10 websites to save you money


    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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