Monthly Archives

January 2019

Lifestyle

A Guide to Staying Safe When Hiking

January 28, 2019

Hiking is a brilliant way to enjoy the outdoors and experience the beautiful countryside. It’s also a good way to stay fit and healthy. Wherever you live in the world, there will be hiking trails you can follow. There are also plenty of more remote locations you can visit, but of course, there are increased risks. Even if you’re hiking just down the road from your home, it pays to be prepared. If you don’t plan and pack carefully, the shortest of hikes can prove to be a dangerous outing. Before you get out your hiking boots, bear the following safety tips in mind.

  • Don’t Go Alone

Hiking is a fun activity, but it’s something that is better done as a group. The chances of getting lost or injured increase significantly when you’re on your own. Even if you are planning a short hike, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return home.

  • Physical Health

You need to be relatively fit and in good health if you want to go hiking. This also applies if you want to head outdoors for any type of expedition, be that trekking, fishing or hunting. You’re going to be walking over varied terrain and for long distances. Carry a first aid kit with you as you never know what might happen. At the very least, you might need a plaster for any blisters that develop on your feet. Never try to push yourself too hard and take regular breaks.  

  • Learn to Read a Map and Use a Compass

You’re going to have your mobile phone with you for emergencies. You might also decide to bring along a GPS device. Electronic devices, however, can be unpredictable at times, so it’ll pay to bring along a compass and map. If you’ve never used these before, then you’ll need to learn how to read them.

  • Stick to the Trail

This is one of the most important safety rules and reduces the chances of you getting lost. It will also help people find you should you not return home when expected. Popular hiking trails tend to be well marked.

  • Wear the Right Gear

You’re not going to be wearing sneakers, and you’re not going to need to worry about being fashionable. You will, however, need to find hiking gear that’s comfortable, waterproof, breathable, and well-fitting. Outdoor Wilds has some great reviews of the latest hiking and hunting gear if you want to know more.

  • Stay Hydrated

To stay healthy when you’re hiking remember to keep hydrated. Yes, the bathroom facilities are going to be limited, but you should aim to drink 1 litre of water every couple of hours.

  • Protection

If you’re hiking in the summer get yourself some sun protection to put on any exposed parts of your skin. You can get sunburnt on your face, ears, and neck even when it’s cloudy. Make sure you re-apply it throughout the day as it does wear off. Also be wary about mosquitoes and ticks. You can protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing an insect repellent.

  • Be Prepared for the Weather

Before you set off check the weather report. We all know how quickly the weather can turn bad. Even if the forecast is for sunshine all day carry some rain gear, just in case.

Lifestyle

Changes with a Big Impact on Your Quality of Life

January 24, 2019

If you want to refresh things at home and improve your current living conditions, you generally have many options available. Of course, those with access to more resources will understandably have more to pick from, but everyone generally should have at least a few options available for keeping things fresh and interesting. If you want to make a big impact on your current lifestyle, there are some things you should probably prioritize above others.

Desk and Reading Area

If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, or doing some reading, you’ll want to pay attention to the environment you’re in. The mood effects from a poorly configured reading area can quickly stack up over time, and considering how easy it generally is to improve this aspect of your home environment, you should put some thought into it if you haven’t yet. Even if you have a more limited amount of space to work with, there is usually a lot you can do to utilize it in a more productive manner.

Bed

Sleeping poorly can be extremely detrimental to the quality of your lifestyle, and the effects might not even be noticeable until it’s too late to make any serious corrections. Something as simple as picking the best mattress you can afford with the help of a guide like this one at mattressnerd.com, sorting out your sleep hygiene, and sticking to a proper schedule, can often completely turn your life around and help you see things through a new perspective. Treat your body right and don’t let the effects of bad sleep hit you in your late years, as this is not a rare problem among people who live busy lifestyles and don’t pay attention to how they are sleeping.

Workout Zone

Taking care of your body is more important than ever with the way most of us live today, but unfortunately, a busy schedule does not exactly make this easy. If you have some extra space in your home, you might want to look into converting it into a dedicated workout zone. This can be done in multiple different ways depending on what type of physical activity you enjoy and find engaging, but even something as simple as a treadmill and a workout bench can be enough to get you started. And of course, if you happen to find the impact on your life enjoyable, by all means look into expanding the space with new elements.

These are just some simple suggestions to get you started – if you put your mind to it, you can probably come up with even more interesting ideas that will work even better in your specific circumstances. Remember, you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money to make some serious changes to your lifestyle, and the most impactful moves are often completely within your reach. All it takes is planning and preparation, and of course, a little bit of reading. With the amount of learning materials available on the Internet nowadays, you have no excuse for sticking to your boring old lifestyle!  

Lifestyle

How to get rid of a large unwanted tree in your garden

January 21, 2019

Keeping your yard up-to-date is work that is both hard and rewarding. When planning out space for your garden there may be obstacles in the way that prevent you having access to certain areas. While large items on the surface can be removed, getting rid of trees that are in the way can prove to be a lot more difficult.

Before removing a tree from your yard you may need a tree risk assessment to make sure that there are no hazards that are in the way during the removal process. This is important because underground pipes could be located nearby and could be easily be damaged when the tree roots are pulled out. A risk assessment can also be used in order to help predict how much force will be needed in order to remove the tree. Knowing this can help prevent damage to nearby structures that are prone to cracking.

Before removing a tree, it is important to have the necessary tools for the job. For the removal of a small tree it might be possible to dig out the roots with a shovel. A spade can be used to remove roots that are smaller and harder to dig out. To make it easier to dig out the stump it might help to add water to help loosen up the soil in the surrounding area. If the tree stump is too large to dig out but still small enough to be safe to remove than it might help to use stump remove. This chemical can be used to rot out the stump. This process usually takes 4-6 weeks and can weaken the stump roots enough for it to be dug out.

For a larger tree, it may be best to hire a professional service for removal. Before removing a larger tree it is important to know which way the tree is leaning naturally and the slope of the area. This can be used in order to help predict which way the tree will fall when it is cut down. A handsaw should suffice for trees that are smaller but a larger tree will probably require a more powerful cutting tool such as a chainsaw.

When cutting down a tree it is important to start cutting with a smaller incision on the direction of which you want the tree to fall. This is called an undercut. It should be at about a 90 degree angle that goes about 1/4 of the way though the stump. After the undercut is made, a second cut called a back cut should be used to cut down the tree. It is very important that the back cut should be made above the undercut or else the tree could end up falling in the wrong direction. Always try to get out of the way as soon as the tree is cut down. There is a chance that the tree could end up snapping back and falling in an unexpected direction when it is cut down.

Business

Reading for entrepreneurs: for a prosperous start-up business

January 16, 2019

Arming yourself with knowledge is paramount when launching a business of your own, but what sources should you seek first, to help stay ahead of the competition?

Beginning with building your knowledge with fundamental aspects, from how to interact effectively in the business world, to making informed decisions that will see your new business go from strength to strength.

Take a look at the recommendations below, from Where The Trade Buys Print, a book printing company for small and large businesses. Their list features some top books you need in your possession if you want your business to flourish in 2019!

The Upstarts

From Brad Stone’s intelligent and insightful book, you’ll learn from two of the globe’s biggest businesses: Uber and Airbnb. You’re now an entrepreneur and this book will help you make a standout brand that people will remember. From how people travel to what they expect from accommodation, Uber and Airbnb are true innovators that have altered consumer behaviour. What can your business do to change the world?

Conscious Capitalism

What is your view on capitalism? This book may help you to develop and question your views on capitalism. Can it actually be a good thing or, is it always just a way for the rich to become richer? This read looks to dispel the theory that capitalism is only for the ‘people at the top’.

Learning to relate better with people you meet in the business world is critical, and a skill you can hone. With details about UPS, Google and Amazon, Conscious Capitalism looks at infusing your business with positivity and a good workplace culture.

There’s a lot to be said for boosting the creativity and innovation within a new tech start-uo. Conscious Capitalism will help you achieve this and steer your business to a positive future that not only turns a profit, but also attracts quality employees who are looking for a positive place to work and develop their skills.

Sources:

https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2017/08/best-books-to-read-for-small-business-success/
http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/30-must-read-books-on-business-technology-and-productivity-as-picked-by-entrepreneurs-2552123/
http://uk.businessinsider.com/must-read-tech-books-2017-9?r=US&IR=T/#lean-in-women-work-and-the-will-to-lead-by-sheryl-sandberg-6
https://www.forbes.com/sites/mnewlands/2017/02/24/13-must-read-entrepreneurial-books-for-tech-founders/#1b08967a56b9
https://www.rocketspace.com/tech-startups/top-6-books-for-tech-entrepreneurs
Business

Is it possible to increase sales through visual appeals?

January 16, 2019

Although the death of the high street may be upon us, there is still a lot of opportunity for brands to boost revenue through their retail stores. Don’t be put off with the way some big stores are heading!

When it comes to visual merchandising, this has influenced sales for centuries. However, the problems dominating retail in 2019 make executing a successful visual merchandising strategy especially important if you want your retail brand to survive and prosper.

We’ve created a guide on how you can implement a successful visual merchandising strategy. Want to find out more?

An insight to the retail sector

When it comes to putting a visual merchandising strategy in place for retail businesses, it’s all about creating a smooth customer journey. This includes mapping out the entire shop floor and creating enticing product displays.

There’s a science behind why certain presentations, structures and even colours deliver a better experience than alternative arrangements, and it’s been established that a strong visual display can raise turnover and strengthen your brand; even inspiring customer loyalty in the process.

“Visual merchandising is everything a shopper sees at your store that hopefully leads to a remarkable shopping experience. It is the unspoken language retailers use to communicate with their customers” was one comment from Bob Phibbs from The Retail Doctor.

What do your customers want?

Next year, it’s estimated that retail sales around the world will hit US 27.73 trillion — so there’s opportunities available for you to boost profits, you just need to be clever about it.

What products are most appealing to your customers? A tip here is to go for what you think your customer wants — not needs. According to a study by Raj Raghunathan and Szu-Chi Huang, emotional responses are influential in our purchasing choices — which is why you should focus on giving the customer something to desire.

One way to attract people to come into your store is put your latest products front and centre; this will increase chances of conversions. You could also use outdoor signs alongside these displays to present promotional offers for luxury items that you want the consumer to take notice of — and buy!

Grouping products

The way you group products will have a significant impact on how your customers perceive your brand. A recent report found that exposing your shopper to the maximum number of products is a tactical method when carrying out visual merchandising. However, don’t make your displays look crowded. Utilise different display furniture, such as mannequins, racks and shelves — whichever suits the product you’re merchandising — and bear in mind that focal points boost sales by a reported 229%, so ensure that you effectively direct your consumers when they enter your store.  

There are two main concepts that you should think about when grouping though, but what are they? The Pyramid Principle dictates that you create a triangular display, with the biggest item in the middle and the smallest on the outside — which ensures that your display doesn’t look flat and boring. Instead, it will catch the eye, as the products seem to ‘fall’ down towards the viewer. Equally effective is the Rule of Three. Within this, you create attractive asymmetry that shoppers will find engaging. Apparently, humans see asymmetry as normal — which means they pay less attention. By placing product in groups of three, you can create a noticeable imbalance that forces the eye to take in each product individually, as opposed to the display in its entirety — excellent for effectively advertising each item.

Selecting colours carefully

Contrasting colours at the opposite side of the colour wheel can help grab attention — think black and white or scarlet and jade — but creating a multi-coloured display of uncoordinated colours may turn people away.

Consider a quiet zone

No one wants to feel overwhelmed when their shopping, so always create a decompression zone. This area of a shop is found just a few feet inside the main entrance and is believed by psychologists to elevate a shopper’s mood, acclimatise them to the store’s surroundings and get them ready for the shopping experience.

An effective decompression zone will help transport your consumer from the hustle and bustle of outside to a calmer, more focused environment that encourages browsing. Here are decompression zone tips:

  • Minimum of 10-15 feet.
  • Based at shop entry with a full view of store.
  • Created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside area to signal new atmosphere.
  • Use mannequins, attractive stands and specialised lighting to highlight your newest ranges.

Did you know that 98% of people turn right after entering a store? This information is extremely useful when it comes to considering a layout. Why not use your decompression zone to create a ‘circulation route’ from the right side that leads around your store for a smoother customer journey? Or, try placing your best products at the right of your decompression zone, if this is the most likely route consumers take.

Considering the senses

You really don’t want to miss out on targeting shoppers’ senses either. Reportedly, 75% of emotions come from smell and our mood is meant to enhance 40% when we detect pleasant aromas. If you run a fragrance, soap or food retail establishment, are you harnessing the power of smell when it comes to merchandising?

If you run a bakery for example, and want to evoke a feeling of warmth, cosiness and home-cooking; ensure that your customers can distinctly smell your products baking from the kitchen by setting up the area to waft aromas into the main shop. Similarly, if your brand specialises in soaps and toiletries, place these strategically around your shop floor to avoid clashing aromas. For example, put all the citrus products together to evoke a sense of energy and rejuvenation and keep these far away from lavender and camomile scents, which are more relaxing.  

Switch things up

You may have nailed the perfect look with your shop floor, but you must consistently change it up so that customers feel refreshed when they enter. A major part of tactical visual merchandising is moving your presentations as new stock comes in. Don’t let customers get bored of visiting you — keep changing things up and you can make it look like you’re constantly replenishing your stock and bringing in new and wonderful items (even if you’re not).

Don’t let your customers think that you’re lazy. Change your visual merchandising displays every month and retain the perception of innovation.

With visual merchandising, you can ensure that your shop offers something engaging to keep consumers interested — so why not start planning out your shop’s next visual merchandising campaign today?

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/uk-retail-sector-sales-ms-use-fraser-trouble-online-amazon-business-rate-a8367081.html
Business

When Do You Need Electrical Service or When Can You Do It Yourself?

January 15, 2019

We have all been there one time or another. It’s not until you don’t have power that you go into a crazed state of mind wondering what to do. On an every day basis you don’t consider that power is a luxury that you take for granted until you no longer have it. When you can’t do something as simple as watching TV, you could find yourself going stir crazy with the silence the darkness makes.

What just happened?

When the power goes out we tend to go into a panic. We cannot turn on any lights or even use the microwave. Our brain starts racing like did we forget to pay the power bill? Did we have too many electronics on at one time and trip a breaker? Did a storm just roll through and knock out the grid? Like what just happened? Do we need to call for electrical services?

Crazy strikes

When the electricity goes out, the environment within the home goes chaotic. Husbands can’t watch their sports channel, kids can’t play their games or watch cartoons, and wives/mothers can’t cook or sit by their favorite lamp to read a good book. When these people get out of their designated areas, the complaining, the whining, and the anger all show up for a visit. So what do we do now? Well, we can either fight about not having power, or we can stumble through the darkness pick up our cell phone and call someone.

Who do we call?

I know when my power goes out, the first people I call is my neighbors to see if they are without power or if they know of a downed powerline. If that’s not the case, then I would call family to let them know what is happening and see if they have any ideas as to what might be going on, all while checking the breakers to see if those are the cause of the power going out. If I can’t figure out what it is on my own, then I would have no choice but to call for electrical services to figure out the problem.

Calling an electrical service company

For most power outages, the electrical service company will ask a series of questions to help walk you through all the possibilities to come up with a conclusion as to why the power is out. Once they have cleared the fuses and breakers of being the cause they then will work through all other possibilities, including main lines or those big electrical boxes that send the electricity out to everyone. Those are call substations, by the way.

Steps the electric company takes to restore order

Electricians know that being without power is frustrating and causes a lot of emotions to run within homes that do not have power. They work really hard to restore power so that everyone can go back to their normal routines.

Here is their check-off list to find the source of the power outage.

  • Substations
  • Main lines
  • Spurs
  • Individual lines
  • Special lines

We only need to call an electric services company when the problem is bigger than just a fuse. If it’s just a fuse or tripped breaker, we don’t need to waste an electricians time over it. We can just turn those back on ourselves by flipping them to the on position. And if that doesn’t work, then we need to replace the fuses. However, a down power line is a bigger problem. That downed power line could still be live and cause serious injury or death to anyone who touches it or anything it is touching.

The bottom line is having no power is no fun. We have come accustom to having power. We tend to go a little crazy without it. We are fortunate enough to have power that we take for granted every day. It is a luxury we no longer pay any mind to until we don’t have it.

Lifestyle

5 Tips On How To Look After Your Vape

January 15, 2019

To enjoy a high-quality vape experience, it’s essential you take the time to learn the best ways to keep your vaping device in the best condition. By maintaining your equipment, you reduce the need to purchase a new one frequently. What’s more, by developing a vape cleaning and maintenance routine, it’ll become second nature to look after your device. With that in mind, below are five tips on how to look after your vape in the best way, from checking the battery to how to clean it safely.   

1. Purchase a New Device

Looking after your vape begins the moment you buy it, which is why you need to take the time to research the best device for your needs. There is a vast variety of vaping pens and equipment on the market, so it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed at the choice. However, you can visit retailers such as Njoy.com to find your new vape pen.

2. Check Your Battery Regularly

Your battery is an essential piece of your vaping device, so it makes sense to take care of it and ensure it’s working correctly at all times. By being aware of how to best protect and maintain the battery, you reduce the risk of having to replace it sooner rather than later.

To maintain your battery, ensure the power is drained completely before you recharge it. Doing so will help the battery last longer. Never charge your battery and leave it unattended. Ensure the battery you purchase is the correct voltage for your specific vaping device. Always store your battery in a cool, dark place, especially if you’re storing in for an extended period. Most importantly for vape battery care, always turn it off when you’re not using it.  

3. Clean Your Vape Device Correctly   

Learning how to clean your vape device correctly is one of the most crucial steps of looking after your vape. As water and electronics do not mix well, cleaning isn’t as simple as washing your vape in warm water and cleaning solution. What’s more, if water gets into the battery, it can significantly damage it. The safest way to clean a vape pen, especially if you cannot detach the battery, is to carefully use a cotton bud tip to wipe the inside of the tank using distilled water.

4. Avoid Overusing the Device

While vape devices are created to be used regularly, overuse will cause wear and tear on the equipment quickly. Plus, if the device overheats, it can lead to a burning taste, which is highly unpleasant when you use it. If you feel your device becoming too hot, take a break from using it until it cools down.

5. Invest in a Case

The best way to look after your vape and keep it in the best condition is to invest in a handy case. Not only is this ideal for storing your vape, but it also ensures you can transport it from place to place safely. It reduces the risk of your device becoming scratched, damaged, stepped on, or misplaced.

Lifestyle

Top Roofing Trends For 2019

January 13, 2019

Your home’s roof is not only for protection, but it can also quickly enhance your property’s kerb appeal. As a homeowner, it’s never a bad idea to be aware of the latest roofing trends, especially as you head into a brand new year.

2019 is filled with a lot of wonderful surprises and appealing solutions that you’ll likely find quite interesting. A new roof is a significant investment, so it’s best to get up to speed with the latest developments in this area before you go spending a lot of money replacing yours! Let these ideas inspire you to try a new approach, material or colour and then sit back and enjoy your new roof.

Solar Panels

These days, more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious. It’s not a bad idea to keep in mind how your home and structure impacts the planet. One roofing trend that continues to be popular in 2019 is installing solar panels. You’ll save money on energy bills and will be helping out the environment at the same time! The newest designs are sleek and will be attractive to buyers if you chose to sell your home in the future.

Dark & Mysterious Hues

One of the trendiest colours for 2019 is a dark and mysterious black mixed with hints of grey. It is certainly one look that catches your eye because of the contrast it makes against your home exterior. It’s a rich appearance that delivers a sense of class and sophistication to onlookers. You can’t go wrong when choosing to install a dark roof that’s sure to add that pop of distinction between the roof and the rest of your house. If you’re in the market to replace your roof, then turn to Windsor roofing experts to assist you.

Composite Roofing

Composite roofing is great because it looks like wood shingles but doesn’t come with the hefty cost. The beauty and quality of this type of roofing resemble slate but at a much lower price. The texture delivers a smooth and striking roof that you’re sure to fall in love with at first sight. This option is made of plastic and rubber, so they’ll last you longer than wood or asphalt as well.

Durability

Another top roofing trend for 2019 has to do with the durability and how long this new investment is going to last you. Homeowners are looking for a solution that’s appealing to the eye and also won’t have to be replaced for an extended period of time. Also, the climate is always changing, and one desire is to have a roof installed that can handle heavy winds rains and snow.

Attractive Designs

Not all roofs are flat anymore, and so another 2019 roofing trend is to play with and install attractive designs. This means more angles and curves and not just going with your standard and typical level roof design. It’s a chance to be creative and make your home stand out in a positive way. You can also feel free to think outside the box when it comes to patterns and finishes for your roof.