Five DIY Mistakes All First-Time Homeowners Make

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by Russ

First-time homeowners will know that after the stress of scraping together a deposit and securing a mortgage, finding the perfect home and moving all of your belongings in, it’s very easy to overlook the home improvements which invariably crop up.

Unless you’re very lucky, something is likely to go wrong within the first few months. But never fear – we’ve put together these five common mistakes first-time homeowners make and how to avoid them:

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by  Julie Jordan Scott

  1. Incorrect Door Installation/Reinstallation

When you move into a new home, there is a good chance you will have to remove some doors to move large pieces of furniture, or lay new carpet. You may even need to install new doors full stop! While the actual task of replacing a door is pretty simple, there are a few potential pitfalls.

When installing a door, make sure there are no obstacles which will interfere with its opening and closing (see picture) and ensure the door opens the correct way. Doors should always open into the room which will have the least footfall, to reduce the chance of accidental collisions.

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by   Alan Cleaver

  1. Ill-Prepared Surfaces

Tasks like painting skirting boards can seem minor, but you should still prepare properly for them. This multi-surface masking tape can be attached to carpets and walls to protect them from dripping paint and accidental smudges.

  1. Insufficient Safety Procedures

Even small scale jobs can bring with them risk of injury. Always make sure you and your family are protected from potential hazards with the help of safety equipment and a healthy respect for safety. Manchester Safety Services stock professional-standard pieces of safety equipment – everything from googles to protective gloves.

  1. Inaccurate Measurements

When measuring something for a DIY job, make sure you check, double-check and triple check before starting work or buying a replacement. Inaccuracy of just a few millimetres can lead to disastrous results. You may be left with a patch of wall uncovered by wallpaper or a door which sticks when opening.

Precise measurements can help ensure accurate and effective DIY tasks. Don’t use the plastic tape measure you got in a Christmas cracker, invest in an accurate unit from a trusted, specialist store such as Measuring Lines.

  1. Poor Storage

After a long day of grafting in your new home, it can be tempting to put your feet up, crack open a beer and order a takeaway. However, it is important to thoroughly clean and properly store all of the materials and tools you have used whilst decorating.

Poorly stored materials and tools may not be usable next time you need them, and nobody wants to do a mad dash to the local DIY store on a Friday evening. Clean and dry all of the tools and materials thoroughly before storing in a dry place.

Top 10 Places to Visit in London

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London enchants everyone who comes here. This is a place filled with fun and entertainment and it also has a history to bank on. Palaces, parks and museums are there in good number. So let us start our journey and explore London.

Tower of London: Located on the north bank of river Thames, this is marvelous palace to go for. Recently it has also been included in UNESCO world heritage list. Earlier this place was known for torture and great misery.

Buckingham Palace: Visit this place for the changing of guards. It is quite funny to look at the guards with big black hats. This place attracts millions of visitor every year.

St Paul’s Cathedral: Built in 1710, this is a beautiful church. St Paul’s Cathedral has awesome interiors and go to this place for men and women who risked their lives for its safety. Also look out for acoustics because it is very interesting.

West End: This is art capital of London and has many theatres. Enjoy plays and musical shows which run throughout the day. There is every chance of meeting your favourite actor because they are also regular visitor here.

Westminster Abbey: This place is one of the tourist attractions of London. There are many big names buried here. Visit this place for the architecture and rest assure about cherished memories you will carry home.

Trafalgar Square: This is a place once visited for feeding pigeons but that is not allowed these days. Go there for many monuments and you will not be disappointed.

Clock Tower: Often referred to as Big Ben this is one of the most pictured tower. Visit this place for having fun and taking snaps of the world largest four faced chimney clock. The whole experience will be amazing.

Harrods store: Any vacation is incomplete without shopping. Harrods store is world famous and you can get many things for near and dear ones back home.

London Eye: Take a ride of this London Eye and you will say why I did not come here earlier? London Eye gives you a panoramic view of London.

Hyde Park: Spread over more than 300 acres, this is one of the parks that give London a greener look. You can check this one and also since it is closer to many other attractions, this is a must for your London visit.

How To Dress Sleek For That Next Corporate Networking Function

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If you want to get ahead in the corporate world, it’s important that you dress sleek and stylish. Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t just about who you know – you also have to look the part as well. Follow this handy guide to dress sleek for that next corporate networking function and enjoy the limited increase in salary and substantial increase in responsibility that come with the joys of corporate life.

Ties

Unless your corporate networking function is for a company that does children’s parties, it’d probably be the wrong idea to wear a bow tie or one of you novelty ties. On the other hand, if you find an understated business tie with a stylish base colour and a good material that complements the rest of your suit you can’t lose. Brands like Politix do base colours along with high quality fabrics really well; take a browse through their online store to see what’s currently available for men.

Accessories

A European carryall might be taking it a little bit too far, but a little bit of time spent on your accessories can really make a big difference in the long run. Get a nice watch, some stylish cufflinks, and even a little bit of bling. They say you should dress for the job you want, but don’t go overboard with the bling otherwise it might look as though you want to be a pawnbroker from the eighties.

Blazer

Consider your blazer as the statement piece of your outfit. A stylish blazer really shows your boss you look the part and implies that you’d be an asset to the company. Put your boss in a position where they could visualise you delivering the critical section of an important presentation to investors. You never know, that corporate gig you’ve been working your butt off for might just fall into your lap.

Classic Sweater

Unless it is Christmas and your boss has given you the all clear, that reindeer sweater should be considered a bad option. Choose a sweater that say, I’m not clinically insane; something that matches the rest of your outfit and adds an extra understated element without taking away from the whole.

Black Shoes and Belts

This is one of the most important elements of the outfit. If your shoes and belt aren’t matching, there really isn’t any point in showing up in the first place. This is one of those obligatory investments for men looking to be taken seriously in 2014, so make sure you take the time and effort to have a set of footwear and a nice belt that looks the part.

What do you think of this list? Do you have any other suggestions? Do you agree with everything on the list? Be sure to leave any comments, questions or suggestions in the section below. And head to sites like Politix to find a great selection of corporate wear for the eager professional. It might just give your professional career the kick it needs!

Great Ways to Ensure Your Home Sells Faster

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With the recent news that houses across the UK are selling at their fastest rate since the economic crash in 2007, you might be thinking about selling your property to find somewhere new while the going is (relatively) good. The trouble is, however, that although houses are selling quickly compared to the past half decade, selling your home won’t be a trivial process. This means that if you really want to ensure you sell your home, you might ant to follow the advice below, as we’ve scoured the web for some straightforward yet comprehensive strategies that are sure to put you ahead of your house-selling competitors. So without further ado, here are some of the best ways to ensure your house will sell when you put it on the market. 

Easy DIY/Craft Projects to Spruce Up Your Home

Although when people come round and visit your property, they like to be able to imagine their furniture and possessions in your rooms, this doesn’t means that you should totally rid the property of all personality during the viewing. In fact, some simple crafts and a bit of basic DIY can help you to really sell your home. Mason jar candles, a bespoke suitcase side-table or a family photo wall give your house character, and it’s this that will stick out in a potential buyer’s mind. 

Be the House-Viewing Host You’d Want to Experience

Next, it’s important to remember that when it coms to the viewing, the way that you present yourself is almost as important as the way you present your home. After all, you’ll be the one the potential buyer will be dealing with if they decide they want the property. Therefore, do your best to make your guests feel welcome, offering them a drink and responding positively to any questions they might have about the property. The more viewings you do, the better prepared you’ll become.

 Alternative Selling Options

Ultimately, you might find that simply put, people just don’t have the money to be able to afford your property within the timescale that you’re looking to sell it in. If this is the case for you, don’t worry. There are a variety of non-traditional house selling methods that you could use, including companies like House Buyer Bureau that can purchase your home for a cash sum and in as few as seven days. This means that there’s always a way to sell your home, and although you might not get as much money through a house buying company, it does mean that you’ll be able to take advantage of a good buyer’s market.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can put yourself ahead of the housing market. So follow the above advice and you’ll soon be in a position to purchase your next property.

How to Make Your Home Attractive to Buyers

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Selling your home can be a stressful experience. Why are so many people looking around your home, but no one is making an offer? There are two answers to this question, one, it could be that your price is too high, and two, it could be that your home just isn’t doing enough for them.

So, we’ve set out to answer the ultimate question: How do you make sure that my house is as attractive as possible to buyers?

The Basics

The first stage is to de-clutter. Not only will this help in the long run when you come to pack, it will also mean that your house looks bigger and airier. However, don’t get too impersonal. Leave carefully edited accessories, photo frames, etc, to make sure your home looks like a happy one.

A fresh lick of paint can help neaten up your home. Changing the colour scheme to more neutral colours can help your viewers imagine your home as a blank canvas, ready for their furniture and style and not yours. However, if you’ve already put your home on the market – this may not be the solution for you.

First impressions really do count, so make sure that your front garden, drive and door all look tidy.

Don’t forget to think about all the senses when it comes to taking people around your home. Make sure that your home smells good by making sure it’s clean and fresh, and by playing soft music will make your home more inviting.

Home Improvements

If you have yet to put your house on the market, but you’re worried that you won’t be able to get a good price for your home, then consider home improvements. Things like refreshing the paint, or a new kitchen or bathroom, a conservatory or well-kept garden can really increase the amount that you can ask for.

If you are adding more space to your home with the view to increasing its value, always be careful about overdeveloping, and spending more than the value being added to your property.

You might decide you’d like to improve rather than move. If so you could consider a secured loan, like the ones from Nemo Personal Finance, if you lack the capital to pay for the home improvements. However, make sure that the value increase is likely to cover the costs, and to ensure that it’s worth it. A secured loan means that if you do not keep up with your repayments, then your home will be repossessed.

Home improvements can really make a difference to the value of your home, so it could be well worth it.

So there you have it. Follow these tips for house selling success, or improving instead of moving!

The best shopping spots in Berlin

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KaDeWe by Roman Lashkin (CC BY 2.0).

Berlin is not just one of Europe’s best cultural hubs, but also one of the prime shopping cities. At first glance you wouldn’t think of the city as a place to find great fashion and trends. However, the capital of Germany boasts some of the best up and coming boutiques, designers and incomparable used clothing stores.
Berlin also has some wonderful areas and streets to shop in, making it a great destination for any avid shopper or fashion lover. Should you get inspired by reading this post and come to make some shopping in Berlin, you can check this website and find a nice place to stay even in the town center and keep close to the shopping areas. You can even base your search on city areas and be sure, you will stay near to the best shopping spots described in this little guide. You will see, Berlin has everything from elegant boutiques to awesome avant garde menswear. On top of the many exciting things to do in Berlin, shopping is surely one of the best.

Berlin has some great pedestrian areas with endless selections of great shops. First off Potsdamer Platz, built on the site of the old wall, has some quality chain stores and outlets in the Arkaden. The more chic area to go shopping is definitely Friedrichstrasse. This street is the main shopping area and includes sleek modern stores such as Galeries Lafayette, Donna Karan and Saint Laurent.
It is the high end shopping quarter and also has some fine dining around the area to top it off. The area of Kurfürstendamm boasts flagship stores of Chanel, Prada, Burberry and Louis Vuitton also making it one of the best places to find couture items. For amazing small boutiques and independent designers go to Neue Schönhauser Strasse where you will find modern Scandinavian styles among the numerous cafés.

Some of the finest boutiques and stores can be found in Berlin. Happy Shop, designed like a jewelry box, has styles that are very colorful and fun much like the name of the store. Any piece of clothing from here will surely brighten your day as well as your wardrobe. Chelsea Farmer’s Club offers custom designed retro English countryside wear. From incredible jackets for cocktail parties to 60’s hunting outfits, the store has everything for this type of style. Next is Darklands which has unbelievable avant garde styles for men. It has great clothes from designers such as Damir Doma and Carol Christian Poell, making it a truly unique shop. And then there are also some specialty department stores in Berlin.
KaDeWe is great for clothes and Harry Lehmann is the best place for cosmetics and health products. For sunglasses the place to go in Berlin is Lunettes. This boutique has an amazing collection of used and new sunglasses to go through making it a perfect place to find vintage sunglasses or new styles. For elegant and chic clothing a must see is Departmentstore Quartier 206. This place is where you have to go for high-end brands and styles. Second hand shopping is a big deal in Berlin and Colours is the perfect place to find a bargain. With clothes ranging from retro 60’s wear to modern clubbing styles, this store has anything you need.

Ready for your shopping trip to Berlin? What are you waiting for?

 

 

The best summer styles that’ll change your frowns to smiles

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 Whether you’re run off of your feet at work, under pressure at home or just generally feeling in need of a little TLC, nothing can turn a frown into a smile quicker than when the sun comes out and you can dip into your summer wardrobe once more.

Like all seasons, this summer has seen a huge variety of trends and styles hit the catwalks, inspiring fashionistas across the country and getting everyone in the summer spirit.

Here we look at the best summer styles and trends that are catching eyes and turning frowns upside down!

Orange

You may have already noticed more orange hues appearing in clothes and accessories on the high street than in previous seasons and with orange apparently the new black, this is a trend that’s set to continue.

If you want to make a real impact with your outfit, choose a dress or skirt in a bold block orange. Alternatively, pick out some accessories that that have orange tones running through them for a subtler look.

Loose shapes

Forget tight dresses and skinny jeans, this summer is all about loose shapes and comfortable fabrics. Perfect for wearing out in town or for visiting your loved ones in a McCarthy and Stone retirement home, this floaty summer look makes a welcome change from the tighter, less comfortable looks of previous years. It’s also a great option for older stylists to try.

White blouses

This smart summer look is great for both the office and the high street and can either be dressed up with dark trousers and heels or dressed down with jeans and sandals. Look for white blouses with a necktie detail or other embellishment to add an extra touch to your summer look.

Pastels

Pastel colours have always been a popular choice for summer and 2014 is no different with a range of pastel coloured outfits appearing on the catwalk. Easy to match with your existing clothes, pastels are the perfect choice for warm summer evenings, beach holidays and hot days in the office.

Long skirts 

Another style hitting towns and cities across the country this summer is the long, full-bodied skirt. Giving the wearer a voluptuous silhouette, these 50s inspired skirts are great for all occasions.

 

If this has got you in the mood for summer, now’s the perfect time to hit the shops, restock your wardrobe and make sure that all your outfits are right on trend for the summer season. After all, we all deserve to have something to smile about!

Go Mad For a Midi Skirt

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When it comes to skirt lengths, we’ve been used to going to extremes with mini or maxi skirts interspersed with the occasional knee length when we need to look smart. This means some of us feel inclined to shy away from the new midi length. But rest assured, it’s easier to wear than it looks, and fantastically versatile with heels, boots or flats for all kinds of occasions. Once you’ve tried one it’ll soon become a wardrobe staple and you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without it!

Everyday Chic

 When it comes to easy, effortless school gate style, you won’t do any better than a denim dirndl skirt with button detailing to say a stylish hello to the new school year. When teamed with slide on sandals and a long-sleeved stripy tee, you’ll look casual but cool as you rush around doing all the various errands the day throws at you. As the days turn colder, wear it with boots, tights and a brightly coloured jumper for an on-trend autumn/winter look.

Work It

 Whether you opt for a flared floral midi skirt or a sleek sophisticated black tube skirt, your new midi skirt will be your best friend when it comes to looking sharp and switched on in the office. Wear it with heels and a pretty patterned blouse tucked in for the ultimate in polished, professional workwear chic. This is a look that will take you straight from the office to a cocktail bar with friends.

Holiday Style

 A flared denim, floral or brightly coloured midi skirt is an essential part of your to-pack list this summer. Wear it with a simple white T-shirt for family strolls to the ice-cream parlour, low-key dinners under the stars and shopping expeditions in unfamiliar cities. This easy-to-wear skirt length is also a much more comfortable alternative to jeans for travelling in style in hot weather.

Date Night

 If the man in your life is more used to seeing you in skinny jeans and heels when you’re going for a dressed-up look, surprise him into holding the door open for you by unleashing your ladylike side next time you go out together. A midi skirt from George at ASDA will give you an instant style update and the great prices at George will leave you with enough money left over to still enjoy drinks and dinner.

Hot Mama

 Just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to massive T-shirts and leggings. Lots of the midi skirts in the shops come in a super comfy and stretchy jersey fabric, making it a no brainer for the designers to make a maternity version. If you pick up one of these skirts, you’ll sail through your pregnancy in style.

So go on, be the first of your friends to pick up a midi skirt and you’re guaranteed to have everyone asking you where you got it and emulating your super switched-on fashion savvy style!

3 Different Ways to Rock a Crop

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Let that midriff show! Gone are the days of playing it safe, it’s time to be daring and show some skin. A crop top is the perfect way to beat the heat and its versatility is unmatched. Dress it up, or play it down, it doesn’t matter! No matter how you wear it, the crop can be fit for any occasion. If you’re new to the crop style, here are some tips on how to break into the trend. Crops can come in varying lengths and styles depending on what you’re looking for. Check out the ones at Universal Store to stock up your closet with the best picks.

Pencil it in

The pencil skirt is timeless and can have as many uses as that old pair of thongs you can’t seem to get rid of. Pencil skirts can be a part of the corporate hustle, but pair it with a great crop, and you’ve got a chic look that is ready to grace the red-carpet, or be unveiled on date night! The pencil skirt and crop combo shows just that little bit of skin, leaving so much to be desired by the imagination. Play it up with mix-matching colours, or go down the Emma Watson road, by pairing the same colour together. Whatever way you wear it, the pencil skirt and crop combination is instantly sexy.

Choose comfort

Not in the mood for tight and sexy? Not a problem. Remember, your crop top doesn’t have to be tight and short. Find one that’s breezy and falls just over your belly button for ease and comfort. Bust out those comfy denim shorts you’ve had for forever, and break out the crop! A slouchy crop is perfect for weekend errands, a day trip to the beach, or fun outdoor activities that keeps you cool while you sweat! Planning on staying in this weekend? Not a problem, the slouchy crop is the ultimate couch surfing top of choice for movie marathons and popcorn for dinner.

Let it flow

Can’t decide between a more fitted look, and something a bit looser? A crop is perfect for a high-waisted maxi skirt with a little bit of flare. This combo screams good-girl with a little bit of an edge. It gives you a put-together look that also lets you remain comfortable. A crop paired with a maxi is the ultimate in boho chic. Wear it to a picnic, or a shopping trip out with your girlfriends. No matter what, you’ll look amazing while also staying comfy throughout the day!

When you pick a crop top, chances are you’ll be able to find something in your closest to wear with it. Word of advice: find a few crops in varying lengths and colours, then you’ll have every type of look sorted from here until forever! What it comes down to is that your closet needs at least one crop to be complete. What are your favorite crop top looks? What lengths do you find go best with everything?

A garden full of flowers

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Everyone loves a flower, no more so than actress Goldie Hawn who points to the Lotus Flower as her favourite. Whether you live in the town or city, our lives feel better with foliage in it.  No matter where your garden is there is something to suit.

 Here are some tips on creating a garden full of flowers and plants to inspire and add interest. Once you get started it’s alot simpler than you may think.

Creating colour

 Of all the senses, colour can play a big part  in our outdoor spaces. At this time of year, dahlias come into their own as well as the Michaelmas Daisies in white and purple. The larger daisies add a splash of colour as the other flowers fall away.

Leaves start to change colour and bear fruit. The rowan tree is renowned for its lovely bright orange berries. Pop a note in the diary to take care of your trees  during this time as a specialist arborist can help keep your trees looking good.

Creating interest

Group plants together and stagger their spacing as this is better than in rows which can look a little forced!  If you’re stuck for space plant mass plant bedding to create interest quickly. Good plants for this are lavenders mixed in with roses. A section of wild garden with grasses and meadow flowers can work well too, it attracts the bees and insects too.

Creating all year interest

Evergreen shrubs can form the structure of a garden, depending on garden size. Numerous choices of silver and variegated shrubs offer all round interest. If you’re starting out, try mixing up bulbs and bedding plants with a couple of evergreen shrubs such as “red robin”, privet or a holly bush. Another evergreen is the japonica with its white flowers and large leathery green leaves.

 Create a haven for your senses

 Colour, texture and sound all play their part in making for a great garden and perhaps the most important of all is the smell or perfume of a plant.

Jasmine – with its small white flowers, the perfume from this wondrous plant is beautiful, perfect for around a door frame. The vining varieties require a support structure as some can get 15 feet tall. All jasmine plants prefer sunny sites and a well drained soil.

Lilac, evocative and romantic, it’s a certain winner. Honeysuckle is another which is easy to grow, giving great value to any garden.