Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products From Shorrock Trichem

I am trying to make positive life choices these days and one area I have a keen interest in is sustainability. Besides recycling, I am trying to buy less fast fashion, reuse and upcycle and also buy products that are more eco-friendly.  So today on the blog I am trialling two products from Shorrock Trichem that are friendly to the environment. This is a review in conjunction with Shorrock Trichem but all opinions are my own.

cleaner

The products I was sent were the Enviro Shot Bathroom Surfaces Cleaner and the Enviro Shot Toilet and Urinal Descaler. 

cleanerEnviro Shot Bathroom Surfaces Cleaner £9.46

The Enviro Shot Bathroom Surfaces Cleaner comes packaged in full compostable cardboard and contains 20 capsules per box which you dilute with water. Each capsule when diluted fills a 750ml container. The surface cleaner is 100 per cent biodegradable and free from all phosphates. 

cleaner instructions

You need a clean trigger spray container which they also sell, to which you add the capsule and fill up with warm water. These can be bought to be reused time and time again from Shorrock Trichem, so no single-use plastic. You then need to shake the spray for it to dissolve.

bathroom cleaner

To use you spray on a cloth and then apply it to your bathroom surface. 

taps before

These are my bathroom taps before I cleaned them with the Enviro Shot Bathroom Surfaces Cleaner.

taps after

These are my bathroom taps after I cleaned them with the  Enviro Shot Bathroom Surfaces Cleaner. As you can see they are much cleaner and shinier too.  The cleaner has a nice fresh smell and is easy to apply. It cleaned up dirt, mould and soap scum and is a great degreaser.

toilet cleaner

Enviro Shot Toilet and Urinal Descaler £12.45

The next product I tried was the Enviro Shot Toilet And Urinal Descaler. 

Now I don't know about you but there is something reassuring about using household cleaners containing bleach to clean your home, after all, it kills bacteria doesn't it? But many people are concerned about the potential damage of bleach when it gets into the water and its harm to wildlife.  Bleach is from the organochlorine family of chemicals, compounds rarely found in nature and which can take centuries to decompose as well. So an alternative to bleach is something I really welcome. 

The Enviro Shot Toilet and Urinal Descaler is designed to remove soiling and limescale and keep the toilet or urinal fresh. Again you add one capsule to a bottle of warm water and wait for it to dissolve. There are 12 capsules in the box and the box is biodegradable. You then apply to the area, especially under the toilet rim. Wait a while and then you can flush. This toilet cleaner is acid-based and is biodegradable and free from phosphates. It is kind to the environment and can be used on porcelain, stainless steel, ceramic and chrome surfaces.

toilet bowl before

toilet bowl after


toilet after flushing

I think I should have probably shaken the container a little more as the blue capsule had small particles and hadn't dissolved properly. It smelt nice though, not overpowering like bleach.  It definitely cleaned the toilet and is a decent alternative to bleach without damage to the environment. 

You can buy more eco-friendly household cleaning products from Shorrock Trichem. I feel they are good cost-effective cleaning solutions with the added benefit of being kind to the environment. Let me know, do you look for eco-friendly alternatives to cleaning products?

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What Activities Should You Do To Enjoy A Cosy Night In?

Sometimes, it can be great to be able to slump on the sofa at the end of a hard day’s work. Just having an evening doing something that we enjoy and not necessarily get too much time to do all that often is very underrated.

Indeed, whether you are simply too tired to think about anything other than getting food and crawling into bed or whether the day that has just been had has been one of the toughest, and most challenging to have happened in recent memory, we all need a moment where we can unwind and relax.

A cosy night on the couch at home can be a great way in which this can be achieved and it is one that can sometimes be rather underrated by those who wish to do something with every available minute that they have in their lives.

However, if you have the chance to enjoy a moment relaxing and not have any stress or care in the world to worry about, what can you do to help ensure you have the best cosy night in. Let's have a look at the different activities you can do to help you unwind.

Enjoy a gaming session


One of the best ways for someone to help relax and unwind is to spend it playing games. Playing games online can help you switch off when you really want to forget about the stress and strains of everyday living. Indeed, there are a host of different games that can be enjoyed, with many of them all available to play via the use of a smartphone.

For instance, perhaps one activity could be to play Monopoly Live online as this classic board game has been brought to life and those that enjoy it at Unibet are able to potentially turn their cosy night into one that could become potentially rewarding in more ways than one! Monopoly Live is a wheel-based game from Evolution Gaming that sees a live dealer spin the wheel once bettors have made their predictions about where it will stop.

Failing that, why not play one of the many other games that are available on your smartphone device? Perhaps a game of Candy Crush Saga could help you relax? Or, maybe it is time to try and get the word of the day when playing Words by unscrambling the puzzle and working out which word is being hidden.

Binge-watch

If games are not quite your fancy, then why not load up one of the many TV subscription services available and binge-watch one of the many series that are available?

Indeed, a cosy night might be the perfect time to be able to catch up on one of the biggest dramas to have recently aired that everyone else is talking about at work or on social media. Personally, I would avoid a crime drama late at night though! TV help an individual to unwind and perhaps help them to have a better night’s sleep compared to going straight to bed stressed.

It does not have to be a TV series, though, as there are a number of great movies, documentaries and even sports that are typically available 24/7 on streaming services, with viewers literally having the power to watch whatever they want at any given moment. With Smart TVs being everywhere these days, the world has certainly changed in the realms of entertainment in the last 10 years as you no longer have to rent a film from the video store.

If watching something is not quite the order of the night, then perhaps listening to music or a podcast can be worth considering. There are some great podcasts around these days and topics range from sport to politics to comedy.

Binge eat/drink


popcorn


Go on, you know you want to!

For some, a cosy night simply is not complete unless there is a range of snacks and drinks to enjoy, with many leaving the guilt of binging out on these until they wake up in the morning the following day.

Indeed, we all have cravings and we often can't resist a piece of chocolate or cake and whilst we all know that they are not the best for our health, there is no denying that they will make us feel a whole lot better in an instant. However you could make a healthier option like making your own popcorn with the corn kernels, and no added sugar or salt, or have breadsticks or raw vegetables with salsa. Both of these provide the crunch without the calories.

Read a book

Regardless of how much that we actually do, we all say that we need to read more and a cosy night perhaps offers you the best opportunity to do exactly that.

An individual can decide to curl up and read a good book whilst on the sofa or in bed for the night and can unwind at the same time as they get around to reading the book they said they would years ago.

*Collaborative post

Estate Agents In Hoylake - Compare The Best Agent In Your Area

When it comes to finding an ideal agent in your area, it requires considering many things. Buying, selling, or letting out the home is regarded as one of the most significant financial decisions to make, and that is why comparing the best agent is important.

house sale
Here, I will share some helpful tips on how you can easily compare the ideal agent in your area. Let's explore this in more detail. 

The Agent Must Have A Solid Plan

Your agent must have an idea and a solid plan of how to buy, sell or let your home. Whether you will buy or sell or let, your agent must have a clear communication strategy, making it stand out from other agents in this area. Ask who they consider to be their prominent competitors. Ask how they will market your home. Will the details of your property be online as well as in their office? Do they advertise in local newspapers or magazines? 

Find Whom You Can Trust

Make sure that you choose the right Letting Agents in Hoylake by paying much-needed attention. Look at respected and successful agents. Ask about how many houses they sell or let. Experience is key. What is their selling rate? 

The best agents put their best efforts into making your property get seen. The experienced ones always try to understand and work to achieve particular goals. However, do not make your decisions in a rush. Take time to decide who is your ideal letting agent.

Art Of Communication

Good communication is at the forefront of any business. Moreover, it is pretty important in real estate. People get emotionally connected when it comes to buying or selling any property. So if a letting agent is good at the art of communication, he is worth choosing. If you have a rapport with an agent and get on with them well that can certainly help.

The ultimate goal of an ideal agent is to make their clients happy. A perfect letting agent communicates with their client in a timely manner and updates you on what is happening quickly.  Ask if you will get a weekly update by email, phone or text. Ask if they have an idea of how long the procedure will take to buy, sell or let your home. 

Must Be Expert Regarding Local Real Estate Market

The agent you choose must be an expert regarding the local real estate market. They should know their area - the quiet neighbourhoods, the area with young families, the area with older people, the bustling areas with lots going on. This information is vital to their clients especially if the client doesn't know the area they are moving to. 

Wirral Homes agents should be aware of the different adjacent areas.  A knowledgeable expert must be able to recommend the perfect areas for their clients so that you can make the right decisions. They should know the good schools in the area, the desirable neighbourhoods, or areas where you can get a bargain. 

Find Someone Who Aligns With Your Interests At Heart


You should contemplate if your real estate agent holds your interest at heart or not.  Then, keeping in mind what you're looking towards, deal with the one who seems to be open and honest. If they can understand your goal, why you want to work with them you are halfway there.  

Conclusion

So, what are you waiting for? It is time to go with these points to make sure you choose the right estate agents.

Stuck At Home, Bored? Here’s Some Ways You Can Entertain Yourself With Your Computer.

It’s the start of 2022 and the ‘staying at home, bored’ vibe is becoming more common than ever before. We’ve been going up and down with health regulations and laws forcing us to stay in and avoid public contact, as well as shutting down businesses and places to go all around the globe. This has led to many people having to spend more time than usual in their homes, and by nature, these people are going to eventually get bored and have nothing to do. If you’re one of those people and you have a computer laying in your house, this article is for those who need help finding something entertaining or even productive to do with their home computer.

Surfing The Web And Researching Something Of Interest


When there’s a hot topic which you can’t seem to find enough information about locally, it’s a great idea to keep in mind that the internet is the biggest database of knowledge on the planet. When you know where and how to search, you can find any information about any topic that has ever existed, both across the planet and even in someone’s head. There’s no known limit when it comes to how much information there is or can be on the internet, and as they say, knowledge is power! The internet offers informative content in numerous ways; one could easily find e-magazines & news sites about the topics they desire if they like to read, and for those who aren’t so keen on analysing texts, there are plenty of video streaming sites like YouTube, where you can find podcasts explaining all that you need to know through the medium of sound and even videos to be able to visualise hands-on approaches and demonstrations.

Playing Games Online

The online gaming industry has grown massively over the years and will keep increasing until the foreseeable future. There are a lot of games one can play on a computer nowadays, the selection is almost never-ending. Mostly what games you can run depends on your computer’s specifications, so if you want to run all the new video games released by Microsoft, you need to have a beefy computer with relatively modern peripherals and specs, however, there are some games which do not require anything special, as they can be streamed through the internet. For example, one can try out one of many online casino games like Monopoly Live and many more from any computer, given that they have a stable internet connection as well as documentation that states they are of the appropriate age to gamble.

Watching Movies & Discovering New Music

Netflix

If you’re a fan of the film industry and you have a computer, you’re in luck. Thanks to the internet, you have the whole movie industry at your fingertips. Not only can you find information, trailers, and reviews for pretty much every feature film that ever existed, you can also find sites that stream them for free. If you don’t like the ad-filled environment that comes with free streaming, you could always pay small monthly fees to get premium, ad-free streaming services. Also, let’s not forget about the blessing we have with all the music streaming platforms out there, giving us access to so much music from all around the world we could listen to something new from all across the globe every day.

Mobility Scooter Safety Tips

Enjoying a mobility scooter in safety is important whether you are a new rider or a pro. Here are some of the top tips for mobility scooter safety:

Top Tips For Scooter Safety


Yourself

  • You should be able to see well enough to drive a mobility scooter safely.
  • The seating position should be comfortable so that you can have proper control of the equipment.
  • Keep your personal possessions such as the mobile phone, wallet, and handbag tucked away safely and out of sight.
  • Get some training before you ride the scooter for the first time.
  • Make sure you are confident of steering the scooter well, going backwards, turning around, stopping, and going up and down safely.

Your scooter

  • Know the range of your mobility scooter, and don't try to push its boundaries.
  • Don't overload the equipment with shopping or any other goods.
  • Check the lights and tires of the scooter regularly. Keep the tires at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer to be safe and the tires to last as long as possible. Replace the tires when they are worn. Use the lights whenever it's overcast, gloomy, or in the evenings/nights, and replace dead bulbs immediately.
  • Don't store anything on the handlebars as they are only for steering. The scooter will become unstable and difficult to control if you hang bags on the handlebars.
  • People like Jossie Solheim prefer to pimp their ride. In fact, Jossie's "Speedy McNipster" is shown below in Christmas regalia. But decorations shouldn't get in the way of scooter safety. Don't add anything to the scooter that could get caught in the wheels or any other part of the equipment. You should also make sure that you are not going to get tangled up or trip yourself.
  • Even though insurance isn't compulsory, it is still a good idea to protect yourself. It can protect you in cases of accidental damage, theft, or any negligence claims that may arise. On the other hand, some policies include breakdown insurance to get you home if the mobility scooter lets you down. This website has a large blog section with plenty of helpful info,

Your driving style

mobility scooter and dogs

  • Class 2 scooters are designed to be driven only on footpaths and pavements. Class 3 scooters are designed to be driven on the road while 4 mph is the maximum speed on pavements, and 8 mph is the maximum speed on the road. If you own a road-going Class 3 scooter, you should switch it to 4 mph maximum speed when using it on the pavement.
  • Even though 4 mph is the speed limit when riding on pavement, it doesn't mean you should ride at that speed at all times. In crowded, cramped, or unfamiliar places, you should ride the scooter slowly.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way, and you should always give way to them when riding the scooter. Be aware of children that may not be paying attention to you, and they may run into your path. In fact, older people and kids probably can't jump out of your way.
  • If you are riding on the road, you need front and rear lights, indicators, and a horn. Since you are travelling a lot more slowly than other vehicles, you should use great care and common sense at all times. You should have enough time and space to complete any manoeuvre and should never go on a motorway.

Winter hazards
  • Make sure that you take extra care during the winter. The pavements and roads may be converted by ice and snow and be slippery.
  • Dress warmly with a waterproof top layer. Some mobility scooters provide a weather cab to protect the rider from the worst of the winter.
  • Use the lights of the scooter to be visible in gloomy weather. Get some highly visible accessories such as strips to attach to legs and sleeves. You may also consider gilets & bags made with reflective material.
  • Have a mobile phone in case of an emergency. Make sure the mobile phone is fully charged before you leave the house. You should also have all the important numbers you need during an emergency. Get a GPS tracker so that your rescuers know where to find you in an emergency.
  • The range of your scooter will be less in colder weather.
  • Even if you are not using the mobility scooter during the winter months, have the battery charged. If the battery becomes completely discharged, it may not charge up when you want to use the scooter in the spring.
  • Protect the equipment from winter weather if it is left outdoors. Use a waterproof cover since dampness can play havoc with the electronics of the scooter.
*Collaborative post


5 Ways To Use Your Spare Room


If you’ve got the luxury of a spare room, it’s too easy to end up using it as a dumping ground. Our spare rooms become graveyards for all the boxes we haven’t got around to unpacking yet and stuff we hang on to in case it comes in handy one day (although you and I both know it never will).

You could, of course, use your spare room as a guest room, but if you rarely have overnight guests, there’s no point wasting all that floor space with a bed that never gets slept on by anyone other than the cat or dog.

So, if you don’t want your spare room to be a dumping ground for stuff you never use or a guest room that no guests ever stay in, here are 5 ways to use your spare room for something enjoyable and useful.

Home gym

If you’d love to keep fit but you’re one of the thousands of people with a gym membership going to waste and you don’t live in an area that’s particularly pretty or suitable for walking, running or cycling, you can set up a gym in your spare room.

Depending on your budget and your floor’s foundations, you could buy a treadmill, spin bike, rowing machine, elliptical trainer, kettlebells, weights and a yoga mat, which will allow you to exercise whenever you feel like it.

For added motivation, mount a large screen smart TV to the wall and train away to online programmes such as Les Mills On Demand or Yoga With Adriene on YouTube.

Writing room


If you’re a writer, when you were hunting down estate agents in Hammersmith for a new home, you might have looked out for properties with an attic room. We all know attic rooms are perfect for the budding author with visions of penning a bestseller while looking pensively out of their garret window.

In reality, however, we all know that writing consists of 80% being distracted by Facebook, 10% looking out of the window and 10% actually writing.

Also in reality, however, we all know attic rooms can end up being used for storage, so sort those boxes out, get a writing desk, lamp, pot of pens and shelves of books, and at least you’ll look the part.

TV room

Most people’s living rooms have the television as the focal point - not necessarily because they want the TV to be the focus of the room but because televisions are big and black and take up a lot of space.

To reclaim your living room for living in, move the television out of your living room into your spare room and create a television room with comfy chairs and sofas, a large-screen TV and surround-sound speakers.

Craft room

If you usually get creative on the dining room table, you’ll love the luxury of a craft room. You can leave all your crafty bits out and won’t have to pack everything away each time you want to eat your dinner.

Line the walls of your spare room with shelves and pegboards, invest in some Kallax units and create the craft room of your dreams.

Dressing room

A dressing room isn’t as indulgent as it sounds. Building a fitted wardrobe and other storage into your spare room to house all your clothes, accessories, make-up, jewellery, shoes, boots and bags means a clutter-free bedroom. A messy bedroom can lead to sleeping problems, so moving everything into a dressing room will create a healthier sleeping environment.

There are just a few ways to make the most of your spare room. Too many spare rooms are neglected by being full of boxes that never get opened or beds that never get slept in. Bring some life back to your spare room by using it to its full potential.

8 Best Practices For Social Media Lead Generation For Your Startup Or Business

The advertisement and marketing scenario has changed forever with the rise of social media platforms. Social media leads and marketing tactics are a top priority for every startup or business. Every new business now understands the benefits of using social media leads and brand influencers, and they want to take full advantage of them.

Leads will allow you to have a close relationship with your customers and gain more followers to grow your customer base. Today, we look at how to take your social media game to the next level. Listed here are eight best practices and tips for social media lead generation.

Eight Best Practices and Tips for Social Media Lead Generation

Run Contests on Social Media

winner

Social media contests are one of the most used techniques for lead generation. It is overused because it works. Running a contest on social media benefits your small business in two ways. It generates a lot of leads, and as more and more people participate, it increases the reach of your post. You can promote the launch of your content using videos. Making videos using a free online video maker helps you craft platform-specific content to get the most engagement. It also helps increase your brand's followers. However, not everything is as favourable as it sounds. The leads that you gather are not always relevant. So, you will need to filter for genuine leads.

Geo-targeted Search

These days social media platforms offer geo or location-based targeted options to marketers. This allows a marketing agency to target a particular group of audiences for promo materials based on their location data.

For example, each state or county has its festivals and uses location data. You can customise the marketing materials according to each state's or county's festival. Marketing agencies trust a well-executed social media content marketing campaign to propel your company into the spotlight and transform your followers into fans.

Use of Landing Page

The use of landing pages has seen a considerable boost in recent years, and every other company is focusing on developing and using landing pages for promotions or product launches. They use the landing pages to create a social media buzz before the product's launch, and by the time the launch date nears, they manage to garner a huge fan following.

Suppose you are selling cloud hosting services; you will need to develop a landing page, whether Magento Cloud Hosting or WordPress Cloud Hosting. The use of landing pages is even more important if you don't have gated content ready at hand for social media promos. Also, sometimes people don't like to get interrupted by promotions when they use social media. Unfortunately, a landing page promo is a type of abrupt promotion, so using paid/sponsored landing page promo might be a good idea.

Run Social Media Quizzes

social media


While every marketing agency or video maker tries their best to make their content engaging, it may not turn out that way every time. Interactive quiz content has a 70% higher boost rate, and almost 50% of the participants willingly subscribe to a mailing list, and that's a big win for any agency or business.

Social media quizzes can have a psychological effect on our minds as it compels us to solve the quiz and find the answer. The more people engage, the higher are the chances of gaining more participants, followers, and potential subscribers. Quizzes are one of the most engaging content on social media platforms, and they can generate a lot of leads and increase your brand's value among your user base.

Social Media Advertising

Almost every social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, have the "Lead Generating Ads" option. This is like a gold mine for every marketing agency. With the help of the "Lead Generating Ads" option, you can directly target a customer base with targeted and customised content developed just for them. The whole process is quite simple.

All one needs to do is click a button, fill out a form and submit it. That’s it, and they don’t even have to click on an ad or anything. Since they chose to fill out the form, you can provide them with an ebook or gated content for free as a thank you gesture. While people can hate abrupt promotions, they will never hate gifts, making them so perfect.

Use of Gated Content

Who doesn't like valuable content full of valuable insights about a product? Your marketing agency or video maker can take advantage of valuable content and put them behind a gate. You may experiment with social media likes or follows in exchange for content, which is a valid but underutilised method.

Live Videos, Hangouts, and Webinars

live video recording

While there are a lot of strategies to generate leads, they may fail to get many relevant leads, and irrelevant leads are a potential waste for the business. Hangout sessions or webinars have advanced registration options, and so only those who are genuinely interested will be ones to follow through with such a registration.

While you will lose when it comes to the number of total leads, the ones that do get will be legitimate, and those are the leads that you should be focusing on. Instead of just uploading a pre-recorded product announcement, you can do a live session where your customer base can interact with you when you make the announcements.

Paid Promo

While all of the strategies mentioned above are excellent, they may still fail to attract the expected number of responses. This is where paid promotions come in. Paid promotions offer various options to customise content in ways suitable to specific needs. It helps to reach a broader audience that you will not get using other promotional methods or strategies.

Conclusion

With the proper implementation of these eight practices, your business is bound to see a significant boost, especially with social media contests, quizzes, gated content, and paid promos, among others. You can also combine two or more of these strategies to get even better results.

*AD

How to Choose An Architect For Your Dream Home

A dream home is a project on which one cannot afford to compromise. If you are planning a dream home from scratch one of the most important things to do is to employ an architect; they are indispensable to plan, design and build your home.

As a future homeowner, you should know how to choose an architect to guide your dream house to completion. This can be an uphill process, especially when it is your first time building a house.

How to Choose an Architect: Understand Your Goals

house build


Of course, the main goal is to build a dream home; it will be a modern home that will serve your needs and stand out aesthetically. However, if you want to know how to choose an architect, you should break down your goals. 

Here are some of the questions that will align with your goals.

· How big is your family? – This will help you know the number of bedrooms you need to accommodate each member of your family and some guests.

· What amenities do you need? – If you work from home, you will need an office. You might also need a gym if you want to work out from home.

· Do you entertain regularly? – Additions like a bar, movie room or rooftop terrace are entertainment options that will determine the size and the design of the house you are making.

· What is your budget? – The budget of your dream home will impact the design and the size of the house.

Ultimately, you will need an architect who will help you meet your goals perfectly. Architects can guide you but it's useful to know what you want from the start.

How to Choose An Architect: Determine The Services Offered

Most architects offer design planning and drawing as the main function, but reputable ones go the extra steps and offer more services. The best way to know how to choose an architect is by looking at the services they offer.

Here are the popular services offered by experienced and reputable architects such as Humphreysandsons in the UK.

· Design planning and drawing – As mentioned, this is the main function of any architectural firm. They discuss what the client wants and draw it in a professional way. These drawings are used during the construction of the home and when seeking permissions and approvals.

· Permission and approval applications – It is best to choose an architect who will help you during this process. Architects who offer these services are usually experienced and make it very easy for you.

· Legal arbitration – Another popular service offered by architects is arbitration during any legal dispute or agreement processing. This includes a party wall agreement or any other construction dispute.

· Project supervision – Do you want to have an easy time with your project and ensure that construction is up to the standards? Then, choose an architect who will also supervise the work for you. They work in collaboration with the builder, engineer, and other service providers to make sure that your work is done to perfection.

Investigate Their Qualifications

architect plans

By now, you have important insights on how to choose an architect. But it's worth researching their experience to evaluate if they will deliver. First, check their architectural qualifications to know if they are supposed to practice or not. This will vary from country to country. 

Also, confirm their practical experience. The best architect should have enough experience and you can see their past projects.  If it is a firm, pick one that has been in business for a long time and have experienced professionals alongside the trainees.

Also, check their endorsements with other companies, big and small so you know they will deliver quality work. You can understand all this by checking their portfolio and reading reviews on their website or other platforms.

Ask About Their Availability

The best architect should be available for meetings and work supervision, this is an important factor to consider.

First, you need to know how often they are available for meetings to prepare the plans and drawings.  Some charge per hour but they should always create enough time for their clients.

They should be available to meet other service providers and supervise the work. With home construction, this can take up to 2 years. Both of you should understand how long it will take to build your dream home. Then, plan how often you need to dedicate time for the project. If you are comfortable with an architect this is generally a good sign, after checking their qualifications, reading their reviews and looking at past projects, then you can hire their services.

Understand Their Fee Proposal

You already know how to choose an architect from the above points, however, there is one more important consideration to make: their fees. The norm is that highly qualified and experienced architects will charge more for their services than those who just entered the market. But you can save a lot of money with big architectural companies in the long run. They often work within your budget and ensure there are no costly mistakes during the project execution. They have the experience. 

On the other hand, you could find a young architectural company with highly skilled architects who will also save you a lot of money. So, choose carefully after doing research and consultation to determine how to choose an architect. One of the best approaches is to ask for a quote from any architect you have shortlisted and check the value for the money on each.

Make Any Other Considerations

To know how to choose an architect, you should make all the above considerations and more. For instance, you should check if they can connect you to other service providers who are equally qualified like them. They usually team up with the best builders, interior designers, roofing experts, and landscapers to mention a few.

With this in mind, then you can rest assured that you will choose the best architect for your dream home. There is no reason to compromise when you have such insightful content to help you know how to choose an architect.


* Collaborative post

5 Tips And Tricks for When You Are Ordering Flowers Online

Ordering flowers online can be a risky business when you don’t know where you’re buying from. You need to make sure you’re buying from the right place, and that the flowers that get to you are fresh. Additionally, you might also want to make sure your flowers are sourced ethically (and locally), especially if you’re getting something delivered on the same day.

But if you do it how you’re supposed to, flower delivery can be one of the best ways to make sure you get the right bouquet delivered at the right time, to the right place. If you’re just starting to look into flower delivery, don’t worry. Getting same-day delivery in New York for flowers isn’t hard, and we’re going to tell you all you need to make it easy for you to make the right choice of vendor for your needs.

Compare Prices

two women buying on phone
When you first start looking, you’ll notice that there are countless places all over that offer the kind of services you’re looking for. Each flower shop will have its own designs and signature bouquet arrangements, and you might see bouquets priced high and low.

Usually, it all comes down to a few things. Flowers that are in season and locally sourced will be cheaper than those that might be imported. You might also have to pay extra for certain kinds of floral arrangements than others, and flower shops that use better quality material for packaging will charge extra as well. Then there are also delivery charges and other factors.

When looking for flowers within your budget, you will be stuck having to find a balance between value for money and superior services, and there really isn’t any wrong choice here as long as you’re getting what you were promised.

We suggest looking closely at how much different businesses are charging and then make your decision accordingly - you might be able to find two businesses selling identical bouquets for different prices.

Talk To Customer Service

Talking to customer service at a flower business can be a great way to get a feel of what your overall buying experience with them will be like. Most will be able to help you with selecting the right flowers, provide you with different options, assist you in buying bouquets made of flowers that are in season, and tell you when there would be a discount for certain flowers and what their refund policies are.

If you feel like you’re not being assisted properly, it might be a sign that something is amiss in the company and you might not get the best service or product. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to do a little extra research either.

Check If They’re Eco-Friendly

It might come as a surprise, but a lot of flower delivery shops aren’t very eco-friendly. You might be wondering how that’s possible when they’re selling plants, but most of the flowers you might be buying at big stores are imported and flown into the country on aeroplanes - the vast carbon footprint for the flight aside, there can be a lot of other things wrong with the flowers you’re buying.

Imported flowers might be grown in fields using unethical labour - the farmworkers might be underpaid, overworked, or badly treated. This is actually very common and a big issue. There are also other environmental factors to consider, like how harmful the chemicals used (like fertilizer and pesticide) are for the environment - mainly the native plant life and the marine life of the areas.

To avoid contributing to any of these issues, try to buy from locally sourced sellers, and do some research about what kinds of plants are in season. There are more chances of flowers being eco-friendly when you’re buying ones that grow around your area.

Buy From Small Businesses

flowers small business

Bigger corporations have more chances of selling unethically sourced flowers than smaller businesses. On the other hand, small businesses are usually ethical, local, and value your money more than bigger corporations will.

They might also be able to better assist you when it comes to important questions, custom requests for certain arrangements, and in seeking information that you need. In case you received the wrong order, small businesses will take your claim more seriously and usually help sort it out for you faster than larger corporations will.

Check Online Reviews

Even when buying from small businesses, you should never underestimate the importance of checking what the customers have to say about a place. If there are notable issues in the way a company does business or a particular complaint about a seller that’s popping up frequently, avoid it.

You can check reviews on independent review sites as well as Facebook groups or other social media platforms, don’t rely solely on the reviews posted on the seller’s website - they’re meant to paint them in a positive light.

Alternatively, you can ask someone in your circle of friends and family to help you find the right seller or online flower shop to do business with. Simply start by asking your friends if they’ve bought any flowers online recently and if there’s a place they recommend for you. Recommendations received like this from a trusted source are some of the best and more recommended ways to find a new place to get stuff from.

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What To Do With All Your Garden Waste


Like many people in January, you’re trying to keep yourself occupied and looking ahead to happier times. So, you’ve been out in the garden getting things ready for the spring months. As a result, there’s a lot of garden waste that you now have to get rid of - or at least do something with. Some of the waste is natural - we’re talking twigs, weeds, plant trimmings, leaves and so on. But, you may also have some waste that’s not natural - like rubbish that’s blown into your garden, old broken plant pots, etc.

gardening


What do you do with all of this waste? Well, here are some ideas:

Separate your garden waste

As we just mentioned, you’re going to have different types of waste in your garden. Generally speaking, you can separate this waste into two categories:

  • Green waste
  • General waste

Green waste is anything that’s naturally occurring in your garden. This will include some of the things we already spoke about: grass cuttings, twigs, weeds, plant trimmings, leaves, wood chips, soil, shrubs and so on. All of these things can technically be reused or recycled in one way or another, so you should avoid chucking them in a bin.

General waste is anything that’s not naturally occurring in your garden. Alongside the rubbish and plant pots mentioned in the introduction, this can also include bricks, plastic bags, etc. You need to keep all of this separate from your green waste as it will be dealt with differently.

Create your own compost

Organic compost is used to help infuse your soil and make plants grow nice and healthy. It’s pretty expensive to buy, especially when you can make it yourself. If you have any old soil or leaves and twigs, you can leave them in a little compost bin in your garden. Some people will add their food waste to this as well, and it’s a smart way to recycle your waste and reuse it in your garden. You won’t be able to turn all of your garden waste into compost but you can get rid of a lot of it this way. Effectively, all of the green waste you separated earlier can be used as compost.

Collect the rest of your waste in a skip

Using a skip to store all of the other garden waste is a good idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it saves you from making numerous trips to your local waste disposal centre. Secondly, you have companies like Sheridan Skips that will dispose of your waste for you, trying to be as eco-friendly as possible. In essence, these companies are waste management experts, so they know what can be recycled and what has to be thrown away. When you make individual trips by yourself, you can often throw things away that can be recycled or chuck things in a recycling bin that actually can’t be recycled. So, using a skip just ensures that all the general waste from your garden gets disposed of correctly.

After these three steps, your garden will be clean and tidy. Any green waste will be reused as compost - give some to your neighbours if you have too much - and all the other waste will be nicely recycled or thrown away.

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What Clothes To Pack For New York In Spring

New York is one of those destinations that many people have on their bucket list. It's an iconic destination, with so much to see, from the Empire State Building, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square. 

New York

If you are thinking of visiting New York in the Spring then you've chosen a great time to visit. Now the weather in New York is known for its extremes, think hot muggy summers and freezing cold winters, but Spring and Autumn are the best times to visit for more ambient temperatures, that are better for sightseeing. The weather can be unpredictable though so it's good to be well prepared on what to wear. So let's have a look at what clothes to pack for New York in the Spring.

Comfy trainers

New York is a huge city and you will be walking miles. Ditch the flip flops and open-toed shoes, instead pack some comfy fashionable trainers to cover the miles walking. The last thing you want is for your feet to be aching and for you to get blisters. Protect the trainers with a waterproof spray so you don't get wet feet.

Long sleeve cotton tops

Layers are a great idea for the Spring weather in New York. It could be cold in February whilst April will be much warmer but still showery. Make sure you pack a selection of cotton long sleeve tops that will also be breathable when it gets warm. Neutral tones are always good for a capsule travel wardrobe but personally, I like a splash of colour with bright blue florals or pink or red designs.

Lightweight waterproof coat

9/11

No packing for New York would be complete without a lightweight waterproof coat. It won't take up much space in your suitcase, can go in a backpack when you are wandering around the New York streets and provides much-needed protection from the showers you will get in the Spring.

Dark denim stretch jeans

Stretch jeans are my go-to for every day where and dark denim stretch jeans are comfy and are smart enough so they can be worn day or night. Pair with a long sleeve shirt for those spring days or a camisole and sparkly top for nights in the New York bars. 

Evening tops

New York has an abundance of great restaurants and cool bars and people do make an effort to visit the theatre too, so pack some smarter clothes for the evening. Most places don't have a dress code, I even saw someone super casual in simple jeans in a Michelin star restaurant in New York.  I personally though feel better if I make an effort to dress smarter when going out to a nice restaurant or bar.  

Stylish trench coat

In the evening you want something smarter than a lightweight coat. Pack a stylish trench coat in a neutral colour so it will go with everything. A trenchcoat provides another layer of warmth but a waterproof layer when you are walking to that cook bar or restaurant. 

Classic boots

Classic boots are a wardrobe staple that can be worn day or night. Again go for comfortable boots and avoid high fashion designs with tiny heels as you will be walking a lot. If you pick the right style, a classic boot can be worn with jeans or dresses.

Woolly knitwear

top of the rock

Remember I mentioned layers? Well, it's important to pack a cardigan or sweater for those chilly days. Also New York in February will be must colder than New York in April so when you are thinking of any knitwear to pack, then pack accordingly, 

Essential Accessories

The weather changes a lot in the Spring so pack some of these accessories for the different climates. Pack some cool sunglasses for those sunny days with a good sun protection factor.  Pack some woolly gloves for those cold mornings and evenings. Pack a scarf for those windy days and trips on the Staten Island ferry. 

Anything else?

Just add some socks, underwear, nightwear, and a folding umbrella and you are good to go! Lastly don't forget a backpack or day bag for your essentials and an evening bag for those smarter places as well as a couple of pieces of your favourite jewellery.  Let me know, have you visited New York in the spring?

Check out my post on how to use the New York Citypass for inspiration. 

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Understanding The Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment containing female hormones used to replace the estrogen (also called oestrogen in the UK) or estrogen and progesterone that the body stops producing during menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is mostly used to treat commonly experienced menopause symptoms such as night sweats, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood shifts, weight gain, and sleep problems.

Hormone replacement therapy is also a good way to prevent bone loss and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women. However, there are some risks associated with the use of HRT. These risks depend on the hormone therapy that one uses, the dose, the period the medication has been taken, the age a woman starts it and the individual health risks.

It is generally thought that the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks, however, to have the best results on HRT, you should ensure that you evaluate your hormone replacement therapy often in collaboration with a doctor.

The basic hormone replacement therapy types

woman

Hormone replacement therapy mainly focuses on replacing the estrogen and progesterone that the body no longer produces after menopause. The two main types include:

• Systemic hormone therapy

The systemic hormone therapy comes in a skin patch, pills, ring, cream, gel, or spray form typically containing a higher level of estrogen that is absorbed all through the body. It can assist in treating the common symptoms of menopause.

• Low-dose vaginal products

Low-dose vaginal products come in tablets, ring, or cream forms. It helps to minimize the absorbed amount of estrogen in the body. Due to these facts, low-dose vaginal preparations and normally used to treat urinary and vaginal symptoms of menopause.

Benefits of hormone replacement therapy

HRT may:

  • Relieve night sweats and hot flashes
  • Help with better sleep
  • Ease itching and vaginal dryness
  • Relieve pain when having sex
  • Prevent fractures that are caused by osteoporosis
  • Reduce the chances of heart diseases in some women
  • Lower the chance of dementia
  • Lowers the chances of depression

The risks of hormone replacement therapy


Research has proven that in most cases the benefits of hormone replacement therapy typically outweigh the risks; however, HRT may raise the chances of:

• Endometrial cancer brought about by taking estrogen without progesterone while still having the uterus.

Blood clots

• Stoke

• A slight increase in breast cancer with combined HRT 

The risks vary depending on:

• Age

Women who started hormone therapy at 60 years or older or more than ten years from the start of menopause have a more significant risk of getting the above conditions. However, if the hormone therapy starts before 60 years or before ten years of menopause, the advantages should outweigh the risks.

• Type of hormone therapy

The risk of hormone therapy depends on whether the estrogen was used alone or with progesterone—the dose and also the kind of estrogen matter.

• Health history

Your personal and family medical history and risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, blood clots, osteoporosis, and liver disease are essential factors in determining if HRT is suitable for you.

Who can benefit from hormone replacement therapy?

The advantages of HRT may be more than the risks if a person is healthy and:

• Has average to severe the hot flashes

Systemic estrogen therapy is still the most suitable treatment for the relief of hot flashes and night sweats.

• Has many different symptoms of menopause

HRT can relieve vaginal menopause symptoms like itching, dryness, discomfort with intercourse, and burning as well as low mood, aches and pains, dry skin, and low sex drive.

• Needs to prevent fractures and bone lose

Systemic estrogen assists in protection against the bone-thinning illness called osteoporosis.

• Has estrogen deficiency due to a hysterectomy or experienced early menopause

If your ovaries were surgically removed before 45 years old, or you stopped receiving your monthly periods before this age, then your body is exposed to a lower amount of estrogen than women who experience normal menopause. HRT is indicated to help prevent symptoms such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, mood changes, and dementia.

This post is for information purposes only and does not offer medical advice. As always research is ongoing into the effects of menopause and treatments. Always see a menopause specialist for further information and a treatment plan.

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How To Make A Small Business More Sustainable

Many consumers these days are changing their behaviour in the pursuit of a more sustainable lifestyle. A recent survey by Deloitte of over 2000 adults discovered that 85% surveyed were making more sustainable life choices than previously and 31% actively seek out brands with a strong sustainability and ethical focus. 

As a small business you may have already thought about how to make your business more sustainable for the benefit of the planet but it makes great business sense too. Why? Well, it can drive consumers to your company especially if you actively promote your eco-credentials. 

You may have already been looking at what actions you can do, but let's have a look in more detail at how you can make a small business more sustainable. 

Source sustainable products 

protect the planet

Source products that are ethically made and use sustainable practices. For example, Fairtrade produce where workers, farmers and artisan craftspeople are paid a fair price for their goods. It's important to look at the supply chain too. When I had my own jewellery shop, we always sold diamond jewellery that adhered to the Kimberley Process, which helped prevent conflict diamonds.  We knew where the diamonds were coming from and could trace the source. 

Use eco-friendly packaging 

biofriendly
Use eco-friendly packaging when needed and don't overpack or use too much packaging. The world could do with less packaging that ends up in landfill, don't you think?  Seriously avoid plastic bubble wrap, styrofoam and plastic wrapping. For sustainable packaging that literally won't cost the earth then check out companies like Tyler Packaging, which make affordable sustainable packaging including compostable, biodegradable and recyclable packaging. 

Conserve energy

light bulb
Buy low wattage light bulbs to conserve energy. Consider motion sensors for corridors to only see light when needed and that will turn on only when dark. Turn down the thermostat in the office or workspace. Switch off computers at the end of the day. Encourage staff to turn off lights when not in use. Smart meters can help you keep track of how much you are spending. If you have a kitchen in the work environment, only use the dishwasher when it's full. Consider creating your own energy by having solar panels installed. 

Transportation 

green car
If you have a company car, then a hybrid or electric car should be considered, and avoid a diesel car for its pollution. Encourage cycling to work by installing a bike stand in your office or workspace. Encouraging working from home, even part-time can help prevent pollution from car fumes.  Maybe you can car share and give other workers a lift?

It's the little things

recycling
Small things that you do can really count. Rather than print everything out go paperless. If you have to print,  set the printer to double-sided to conserve paper and use recycled paper.  Use eco-friendly ink or refill your cartridges. If you have to give a traditional business card, use a recycled card.  Be sure to make the recycling bags clear and in an obvious place so everyone knows what to recycle.  It's the little things that matter. 

Write a sustainability policy

go green

Write everything you are putting into practice down into a sustainability policy. You and your staff can see what you are aiming to do, the action plans and how your business is helping preserve the planet. These eco-credentials should be on your website, in your literature and promoted when you advertise. This will then attract customers who want to buy from a business that has eco-friendly practices. 

So here are some ideas on how to make a small business more sustainable. Do you have any ideas? Is it a selling point to you, if a business is eco-friendly?

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How to Style Your New Home Layout With An Architect

Having your home renovated or changed can be a big investment, and you want to make sure that it is absolutely perfect before walls get knocked down and the floors come up! The design stage of any home renovation project is the important phase, as this is what will determine how your home looks and feels when construction is completed. Working with your architect during the design process will be key in ensuring your project is perfect for your tastes and your budget.

You can personalise your home in several different ways, fitting to all budgets and styles. If you need more space, for example, a new bedroom, then a loft conversion is usually the best way to add an extra bedroom to your home. It is essential to have an architect involved in the loft conversion process, as you are going to be changing the structure of your home – and you will be spending a lot of money!


architect plans
For a loft conversion, there are many ways you can style your new space with help from your architect. You can choose to have in-built storage placed under the eaves, which would normally be wasted space. Your architect can split your new space into multiple rooms, including an ensuite bathroom, walk-in wardrobe or even a roof terrace! Adding multiple rooms to a property can improve its value, especially when they are beautifully designed and laid out by a good architect.


loft plans


Of course, a loft conversion may not be viable for your home, in which case you may be considering a home extension. Extending your house can either add width to your property, length or both. Extensions come in different shapes and sizes, and there is a lot of room for artistic license. You can work with your architect to style a glass extension or an extension that creates multiple rooms in a creative format. The best way to approach styling a home extension with your architect is to think of what you want from the space and how it will be used. From that, your architect will be able to propose viable ideas and architectural plans for your new living space.

Now, if you have a big budget, a great home renovation idea is to add a basement. Whilst costly, a basement adds a whole new level underneath your home – and the design options are endless! Have you ever thought of having an indoor balcony? This is a mezzanine and can be created to allow you to look down from the ground floor down to the basement level. You can have a basement kitchen, basement swimming pool and sauna – anything your heart (and budget!) desires! Your architect will be the key to making your dreams a reality.


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