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Tips on Designing Your Home

April 18, 2021

Your home is your own space to relax in after a hard day of work, get ready for a brand new day in and go through life’s ups and downs in. With so much time being spent at home, decorating it to suit your own style and creating a space for you to unwind in can make all of the difference. 

Knowing where to start when it comes to designing your home can be challenging. Whether you’re looking to just give your walls a lick of paint or are searching ‘architects near me’ in an aim to transform your property completely, take your renovation one step at a time, going from room to room until you achieve the results you’ve been dreaming of. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite ideas to help you take it step by step, working towards turning your house into a home.

Put your own stamp on the place

When you first move into a property, it can struggle to feel like your own. There are no right or wrongs when it comes to interior design so take pride in having all of your prized possessions on display. From framed photos of your loved ones to textiles you have picked up on your travels, making a space your own will see you surrounded by your fondest memories for a trip down memory lane.

Pick a colour scheme to work with

To pull your pieces together and introduce some consistency to a room, decide on your favourite colour scheme before you get to work. Whether you head to your local hardware store to browse through paint magazines or head online to get some inspiration from others, see what colours will work for your home and choose decorative pieces to compliment this. If you’re unsure, using neutral shades for your walls and flooring will allow you to change up your decorations as and when you desire for full creative freedom.

Add a splash of colour throughout

Bright colours are a great way to inject some energy into the home and boost your mood throughout the day. We absolutely love yellows and pinks over the summer months, bringing in a cute new rug or even a simple vase of flowers to brighten up the space. During the colder, darker evenings, we love reds and deep blues to help give a cosy feel for those cold nights in. Look for new cushions, bedding or blankets to get your home winter ready for those lazy mornings.

Give your furniture a well needed refresh

The thought of a costly investment is enough to put many homeowners off of a home revamp, but that doesn’t have to be the case. A simple lick of paint can go a mile, transforming old pieces into a contemporary focal point of your room. Whether you’re looking to bring your old wardrobe unit up to date with a fresh new coat or want to try your hand at upholstering your run-down sofa with a vibrant new fabric, a little effort can go a long way.


Revamp Your Health with These Lifestyle Changes

November 16, 2020

Everyone gets to a point where they feel restless about their health and fitness. These are normal thoughts, and should be used productively to motivate yourself to make healthy changes to your habits and behaviors. Here are some great decisions you can make to benefit your health and really shake up your routine.

Get Fit!

Maintaining a healthy balance between rest and exercise is important – but in order to see progress or get fitter, you need to start testing your limits and pushing your potential. This can be really fun and exciting. In recent times, the perspective surrounding exercise has morphed into a chore or a source of stress – when in fact it should be the opposite! Exercise releases endorphins and is the best way to blow off steam through a productive and healthy approach. Not to mention it can be great fun, especially when you incorporate social aspects like team sports. 

For those who want to take their fitness more seriously, independent workouts can also be a time for introspection and focus – some have even compared it to a meditative state. Joining clubs or environments like the CLUB4 Fitness are really rewarding investments into your health journeys, whether they be independent or cooperative.

Try Veganism

Vegan diets are exploding at the moment, as the industries of plant protein, as well as meat and dairy substitutes are becoming increasingly popular. There is a myriad of health benefits to becoming vegan, mainly because the diet is focused towards complete nutrition (and often the ready meals and convenience food which ruin healthy diets are removed from the equation). Take time to peruse vegan recipes, and enjoy the new realms of possibility for healthy home cooking. 

Being vegan puts you in complete control of what you choose to eat, making you more mindful. We recommend making small steps to transition into a fully vegan lifestyle, as it can be hard to immediately switch. Substituting products one at a time to vegan alternatives is a great way to do so – and don’t let others influence your decision one way or the other.

Commit to Healthy Habits

This is a really simple, yet supremely effective way to jumpstart your health and make real, easily accomplished goals for yourself. Going for a daily walk – it could be ten minutes or an hour – is a great way to increase your daily steps which will automatically make your cardiovascular health improve. Buying a liter water bottle and drinking it twice in a day is the easiest way to ensure you have the correct hydration needed daily. We think bottles that have a straw lid are the best for absent-minded sipping throughout the day. It’s best to casually drink rather than gulp down large volumes of water – the latter may only make you need the bathroom while the former will ensure adequate levels of consumption.

Try out these changes today to see a real difference in your health. Progress is a long journey, but starting healthy habits ensures future you will be grateful and appreciative of the efforts you make now.


Our top 9 most treasured first issue comic books

August 22, 2019

For many people comic books can arouse that sense of pocket money nostalgia — back in the day when you saved up all week to buy your favourite title. There are people that have treasured their copies since childhood, vowing to never part with them. But there are some folks opting to find value in rare first issues of a series. Here’s our guide to some of the most valuable first issues out there (as long as the condition of the comic is impeccable!) — could you be harboring one in your attic? Take a read below and find out.

  1. Avengers #1, 1963 — £210,486

The ever-popular Avengers series had quite the humble beginning, and these once glossy pages feature the likes of Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Ant-Man. If you could uncover one of these from your own collection, it could do as well at auction as the staggering price tag it currently has. 

  1. Fantastic Four #1, 1961— £230,460

There’d be no Marvel if there hadn’t been a Fantastic Four to pave the way! This one was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and it sets a precedent of hundreds more adventures to follow. It was sold for a staggering £230,460 in 2011. 

  1. Incredible Hulk #1, 1962 — £250,433

Did you know that due to ink issues, the Hulk was grey before he was green? Written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, this duo created one of the most prolific comic book figures, a first edition copy was sold for 250,433 in 2014. 

  1. Captain America Comics #1, 1941 — £263,536

Jack Kirby teamed up with Joe Simon to produce this masterpiece, and it certainly stood out on the newsagent shelves; the cover features Captain America swinging a punch towards Adolf Hitler?! It sold for a huge £263,536, so it’s definitely worth unearthing from the depths of your collection! 

  1. Beano #1, 1938- £17,300

A true British icon, the first ever issue was just 28 pages long and there are only 25 known copies known to still exist. It was sold for 2 pence originally, but it fetched a startling £17,300 at auction in 2015.

  1. Marvel Comics #1, 1939 — £268,870

This first issue created the Marvel that is loved globally nowadays. In the comic we were introduced to The Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner for the first time. 

  1. Flash Comics #1, 1940 — £345,690

This icon was written by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert, and readers were introduced to the likes of the Golden Age Flash and the Golden Age Hawkman. It auctioned for a six-figure total in 2010, and at the time it was the second most-expensive comic in all time. 

  1. X-Men #1, 1963 — £378,674

These notorious crime-fighting mutants took on Magento in this issue, another Stan Lee and Jack Kirby collaboration, which sold for an enormous fee of £378,674 in 2012.

  1. Superman #1, 1939 — £389,861

Of course, Superman would make an appearance on this list! Nowadays known as a star-studded role to portray in his various blockbuster films, this self-titled debut broke away from Action Comics where he had originally appeared. Early in 2018, it sold for an impressive figure which is just as impressive as his fictional crime-fighting career. 

  1.  Batman #1, 1939 — £436, 049 

Batman’s standalone career in comic book fame began in this issue, and his prolific counterparts the Joker and Catwoman were in tow. A well-kept copy sold for £436,049 in 2013. 

So, if you can get your hands on one of these, you could be in for a heathy profit, up to as much as six figures! 

Article brought to you by Where The Trade Buys, a leading booklet printing company offering their printing services to businesses across the UK.



Creating a Green Office Environment

August 21, 2019

Going green is the best way to conserve resources and ensure a sustainable future. Right from saving electricity to using less paper, there are several ways that can help your work space become a Green Office.

There has been a lot of research into this topic. This has resulted in establishing the effectiveness of these methods and enable wide scale adoption. A survey conducted by showed what are the things that makes your office green.

Here is a list of 10 ways on how you can transform your office –

Become paperless

This is one of the easiest ways to make the offices green. You can store the work in digital format, use digital devices for meetings and use modern technologies to substitute paperwork. The survey showed that 20% of the people feel this should be implemented.

Label recycle bins

Recycling is one of the most important factors and 18% of the respondents felt it has a strong impact. You can label your waste bins to segregate recyclable and disposable wastes. It will make the employees aware and help them contribute in making the office green.

Install solar panels

You can install solar panels at locations which receive direct sunlight. This will help you provide power to the electrical appliances and lights in your offices. Solar panels was preferred by 14% of the respondents.

Installing LED bulbs

The survey showed that 12% of people feel that the use of LED bulbs is an important practice. The most striking feature of LED bulbs is that they can save up to 75% electricity in comparison to halogen bulbs. This helps in conserving energy and also save your costs.

Green Heating

Green heating techniques like Solar heating and Geothermal heating can help save energy by a great extent. In addition to that, these are cheaper in comparison to conventional methods. 9% of the respondents were optimistic about the benefits of green heating.

Reusable water bottles

You can encourage the employees to bring their own bottles and cups to prevent wastage of paper cups and plastic bottles. This will have a great impact on the environment in the long run. 7% felt that encouraging this practice will have a positive effect.

Bike facilities

The survey by SeaReach 6% of the respondents felt that making provisions for bike racks would encourage employees to cycle to work. This will help save energy and also reduce pollution.

Charging points for electric cars

Electric cars are going to play a pivotal role in energy conservation. They will help in saving up to 85-95% energy over Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) driven cars. The poll showed that 6% of the audience felt that providing charging points would help in making the office green.

Motion detection lights

Light systems like Philips Hue have redefined how we operate the lights in our homes. Motion detection lights automatically switch on and off by detecting the movements. This helps to save energy when no one is present in a room or a community hall. 5 % of the respondents felt that this should be installed in offices.

Plants and natural light

3% of the respondents said that having plants in the offices would enhance the beauty and provide a cool environment to work in. Moreover, making provisions for natural light to come in can help save electricity.


5 Summer Activities to Keep Little Hands Busy

August 5, 2019

And just like that, spring is officially over and we’ve finally welcomed summer. And with the change in season many families will also be counting down to the beginning of the much-anticipated summer holidays. 

To ensure sanity is kept by all, while boredom is kept at bay, parents and guardians need to make sure that little hands are kept busy.

A recent study by Kiddi Caru Childcare discovered that 31% of children aged two-five years old are spending less than three hours outside, limiting their exposure to vitamin D and harming their development.

This is why we have put together some fantastic activities perfect for little ones, each involving being outside for some of the time, giving you the perfect opportunity to teach them about nature while they have fun. 

1. Paper Tube Bird Feeder

This is a brilliant way to re-use a waste product and benefit wildlife at the same time. These easy to craft bird feeders will keep little ones entertained during the making process, and once hung in the garden, they can eagerly watch their new visitors arrive to reap the rewards of their efforts. 

Here is what you will need:

  • Craft/ice lolly sticks
  • Peanut butter
  • Bird seed
  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • String or twine

The first step is to lay out everything for your little one. The seeds should be placed in a flat shallow container, such as a roasting tin. Peanut butter can be put into an airtight container to avoid seeds getting into the jar.

Next little ones, using the ice lolly sticks, should be shown how to spread the peanut butter along each side of the toilet roll cardboard tube, making sure the whole of the outside is covered (it will get messy!)

Once no bare cardboard is visible, ask your child to place the tube in the container of seeds horizontally and roll the tube back and forth. The seeds will stick to the peanut butter on the outside.

A grown up will then have to thread the string through the middle ensuring there is enough either side to tie a knot at the top, making it easy to place the feeder on a tree or fence post.

All that is left is for little ones to enjoy watching their new feathered friends come and go, until all the seeds are gone.

2. Bee Friendly Flower Ball

It’s important the parents of the next generation teach them to respect and look after bees instead of fear them. The bee population is in steep decline, which is why a fun craft that also provides a way of saving bees is the perfect way to get children passionate about these important insects.

A flower ball is a bit like a bath bomb, but instead of fizzing and releasing glittery soaps, it’s a ball of seeds and soil, promoting and spreading the growth of wild flowers in green spaces, giving bees plenty of flowers to collect pollen from.


  • Flour
  • Compost
  • Mixing bowl
  • Water
  • British wildflower seeds

Take your mixing bowl and combine ten-parts compost to one-part flour, this helps the ball keeps its shape when formed. 

Get your toddler to mix slowly while you gently add the water, you will be able to tell when you have added enough as the mixture will become sticky like dough. 

Now the messy part, get your little one to roll the mixture into a golf-ball size ball.  

Next, fill a tray or shallow tub with wildflower seeds and roll the mud balls around until they were covered. 

Leave the finished product to dry for a day or two, then let them take the balls into the garden and throw them into empty patches of your garden and wait for the flowers to grow. 

3. Juice Carton Boat

This simple craft will help transport children from being bored in a back garden to pirates sailing the high seas. Grown-up help will be needed along every step, but every good sea captain needs their first mate anyway. 

By the end of this activity you’ll be able to transform an empty juice carton into the finest vessel ye landlubbers will have ever seen.

What you need:

  • One litre juice carton
  • Skewer
  • Blu tack
  • Card squares 
  • Felt tip pens
  • Scissors 

Firstly, a grown-up will have to cut one of the long sides off the juice carton, while this is being done, little ones can decorate their flags using the felt tips.

When you have the boat base, place a blob of the Blu-tack in the centre of the inside floor. Use the skewer to poke two holes in the card flag. Then once threaded, cut the sharp end of the skewer off and place a small blob of Blu-tack on the end to avoid any splinters. 

The skewer, or flag pole should then be stuck into the Blu-tack already inside the carton. This gives your little ones the perfect boat. It can be used in the paddling pool, puddles and even shallow streams, but remember children should always be supervised near any source of water. 

4. Summer Sensory Tray

Like every season, summer brings with it a range of new smells, sounds, sights, textures and even tastes, so it’s important to introduce toddlers to these new experiences as the season arrives. 

The best way to do this in a controlled space, is to create a summer sensory tray.

All you need for this easy activity is a plastic tray or storage box to fill with a range of different objects that represent summer. 

For example:

  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Cut grass
  • Petals
  • Smooth pebbles 
  • Water (this can either be in a jug so they can see how the textures change when wet or in a separate tray)
  • Bird seeds

This tray is exclusively to touch, sight and smell, but a lunch time activity could involve making one around taste, a large food container could have different summer fruits that children can dip their hand in and try. 

Try not to stick to every day fruits, throw in some new textures and tastes for them to experience, asking them to name the food if they can.  

5. Nature Faces

Nature faces are perfect for those at the older end of toddler. It gives them the opportunity to adventure outdoors and find the materials need to create their own nature self-portrait. 

Encourage them to find the perfect materials for the eyes, nose, mouth and hair. 

They can use grass, twigs, flowers, leaves and even soil. Once they have collected a range of materials it is time to take them home and form their nature faces. 

Cut out a few oval shapes from card to give your little ones a base in which to stick their facial features onto. 

Ensure you have a few adhesives available. PVA glue will stick to most things, but may struggle with thicker twigs and stones, in which case a bit of sticky tape can be used to secure these to the card oval used as the base of the face. 

Get the children to explain which parts of the faces they are making as they are doing them. It encourages them to use their imagination and learn about feature placement on the face.

Make sure that any glue is dried before the finished product is picked up and moved.

These are just some of the activities that can keep the little one’s busy during the summer holidays, encouraging them to spend some of that important time outside. 


Ways to Save Money on Home Renovation Projects

July 4, 2019

Most people here the word renovation and gasp knowing that the cost will consume not only their entire savings but more than likely a lot more money that they don’t have. While many renovations can run well into the tens of thousands, especially if it’s a kitchen remodel, DIY projects don’t have to cost even half of the estimate you may receive from a contractor. 

Do Some of the Work Yourself 

If you are willing to do some of the work on your own you can cut the cost of a remodel by better than half. However, when it comes to updating the actual plumbing or electricity, for a bathroom or a kitchen, unless you know someone who is a plumber or an electrician, you’re better off hiring a professional. 

A Fresh Coat of Paint 

In any room, a fresh coat of paint can change the appearance completely and give it a new look. And, if you want, you can create a border, or a two-tone wall to add contrast. All you need is the paint, rollers, brushes, tray and painters tape. 

Hardwood Floors 

Nothing beats the look and feel of a home with hardwood floors. They add beauty and character and are surprisingly easy to maintain versus carpeting. If your floors are less than desirable, you can use a buffer and then a couple of coats of finish to restore your floors to like-new condition. This is a project that you can do in a single weekend, and acquire long-lasting results for a nominal fee. 

Kitchen Upgrade 

If your kitchen is outdated and you want to bring it to the 21st century, you can do so by adding new appliances and countertops. If you don’t have the cash or you don’t want to part with your savings, you can opt to rent and then own appliances for a lender. This way the payback amount is small monthly and you get brand new appliances. If your existing cabinets are in good condition, as in most cases, you can simply apply your desired color of paint and then change out the hardware. Add a new hand-applied tile backslash and your kitchen is complete for just a few thousand dollars. 

Don’t Discount Second-Hand Offerings 

Many people want a new piece of furniture or accessories for their home. And, while somethings certainly should be new-to-you like a mattress, furniture is one of those things you can buy used. Visit the local thrift shop or google online second-hand stores that sell used pieces in good condition. Even if you need to change the color and replace the hardware to coordinate with your existing decor, it will save you money. You can also check the local paper to see if anyone is having a garage or an estate sale. 

Creating Additional Storage 

Lack of storage is a problem for many homeowners. If you have a basement,  you can build storage shelving units instead of paying for prefabricated kits that can cost upwards of five hundred dollars each. The nice thing about this DIY project is that you create a customized storage space, designed specifically for your home. You can do the same thing with any existing closet. By simply measuring the space and then acquiring the supplies, you can design storage that suits your needs. 

You work hard for your money, and spending it wisely should be a goal you look to achieve. The good news is that even when you need to overhaul a room in your home or create added storage space if you are willing to do the work on your own, you can do it for just the cost of the supplies.  


What are the top tips for saving money?

June 27, 2019

We’re always on the lookout for ways to save money, especially after our bank balances have taken a hit over the festive period. Of course, there are the traditional ways of saving such as budgeting and setting aside a certain amount of funds each month. But, without overly restricting your leisure activities, what everyday changes can you make to spend less?

  1. Spend less on your energy bill

Make small everyday changes to lower the cost of your energy bill. 

Did you know that 4% of your energy bill is attributed to cooking? Work on lowering this if you can. Your oven stays warm for a long time after you’ve switched it off. Try turning it off 10 minutes before you’re finished cooking to save on energy. 

Instead of turning your thermostat up during the colder months, layer up instead to save on pennies! Switching down by just one degree Celsius can save you £85 per year — it all adds up. When it comes to showering, cutting your shower time down to 5 minutes instead of 15 minutes can save you £98 per year — less singing and faster washing!

  1. Storing food properly 

When we’re packing food away in the fridge or freezer, we usually don’t think about how it’s stored. But, the way that you put away your goods can have an impact on your energy bill.

If you pack your freezer more tightly, this keeps more of the cold air in when you open the door. This means that the appliance doesn’t have to work as hard to lower the temperature again. The same applies for the refrigerator too — a full fridge requires less energy to stay cool than one that’s empty. If you’re struggling to pack your fridge or freezer full, filling it with newspaper can do the job. 

  1. Save money booking holidays 

Even when we’re trying to save money, we all deserve a holiday now and then! The good news is that you can save money by following a few top tips the next time you book a vacation. 

Try and fly out on a Friday if you can, this can save you 18% on your airfare compared to if you flew out on a Sunday. Taking into consideration the average cost of a flight and the fact that the average Brit goes on holiday three times a year, you could save £85 annually by following this top tip. 

Be calculative about when you book your holiday too. You can save £36 per year by booking your trip on a Monday as flights are 5% cheaper. 

Consider packing more economically too. You can save £144 per year by only taking hand luggage on your flights. Squeeze more into your suitcase by rolling clothes and packing garments in your shoes.

  1. Meal prepping 

Being prepared when it comes to grocery shopping and planning lunches for the week can help save on cash. 

Even making a shopping list before you head to the supermarket can help. In fact, 60% of people who take a shopping list to the supermarket said it saves them money. It stops you buying things that you don’t necessarily need and helps you stick to your budget. 

Create a meal plan for the week too. This means that you’re only buying what you need and don’t need to spend money on unexpected lunches out. Statistics have shown that you can save an impressive £1,300 per year by preparing lunch at home rather than eating out during the week. 

  1. Eco-conscious coffee drinking 

There are a few ways that you can be eco-conscious about your coffee drinking while saving money. 

First of all, you can start by making your coffee at home when you can. You can save £507 per year by making your coffee at home instead of buying one each day from a retailer. If you prefer coffee from the store, why not take your own cup? This is helping the environment and you can save £150 per year as many high street retailers now offer 50p off coffee when you present your own cup. 

Make the small changes above and watch your pennies turn into pounds this year! For more saving tips, check out True Potential Investor’s Life Hacks interactive. 



Where to go for spotting Royals in the UK

May 7, 2019

If you’re hoping to spot some members of the British royal family while you’re visiting, then you might have more opportunities than you think. Most tourists head straight to Buckingham Palace, but there are plenty of alternative places to visit as well. Even if you don’t see the Queen, you’ll still get to experience some of the most beautiful spots in the UK. No matter your reasons for visiting Britain, if you want to have a greater chance of spotting a member of the royal family, then these are the best places to head to, and what you can do while you’re waiting for that cheeky look at one of the most famous families in the world.

The Queen’s Home

As the Queen’s official residence, you might assume that you’ll see her majesty fairly often if you just hang out by the formidable gates. Unfortunately, chances are very slim that you’ll see the Royals coming and going. However, it’s well worth the trip because it’s a stunning building that just oozes elegance and class, and is the perfect starting point to your royal tour.

Wonderful Windsor

You stand a much better chance of spotting a royal in Windsor. The current monarch uses Windsor Castle as your weekend residence, and you’ll be able to tell if she’s home by looking for the Royal Standard that will be on the main mast. If you spot the Union Jack, it means that she’s elsewhere. If that’s the case, don’t panic too much, there’s plenty to do in Windsor, and it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the UK. Walk the gardens of the castle and then head to the Corner House Pub Windsor for some craft gins that the Queen would approve of.

Head North

If you’re visiting in the summer, then you should always take the time to visit Scotland. There’s nothing quite like it, but you might also get to see some royals there too. Balmoral is one of the Queen’s favorite summer retreats. You could even spend your time in Scotland as her neighbor, because you can actually rent cottages on the grounds of the vast Balmoral estate! If you fancy vacationing like a royal, then Scotland and Balmoral should definitely be very high on your itinerary.

Birthday Celebrations

With more birthdays than most people, it’s no surprise that your number one best option for spotting the Queen is during the festivities. Trooping the Colour is an annual event that marks her ‘official birthday,’ and it takes place every June. If you can get a good place to stand somewhere along The Mall (tickets are notoriously difficult to snag), then you’re definitely going to see her majesty enjoying the birthday spectacle.

You probably won’t get to see a member of the royal family unless you make it a priority. You aren’t likely to bump into them as you shop or sunbathe, but if you plan your journey around their calendar, you might get closer to them than you think.