Category: My Blog

Planning Tips To Prepare For A Coronavirus Economy

How Small Businesses Can Survive The Pandemic

From cashflow and communication to power and planning, what must small business owners do to ensure they stay afloat?

82% of business decision makers are anxious about the impact of the coronavirus on SMEs, according to research complied by Opinium. There’s no doubt that small businesses have felt the hit of closing their doors or reducing output for several months this year. Some are uncertain about their chances of surviving the pandemic altogether. Unfortunately, there was little warning about the Covid-19 disaster which gave business owners few opportunities to put the necessary strategies in place. But now we have a better idea of what the future holds, it’s time for business owners to prepare for coming out the other side of a coronavirus economy.

Reliance on Power

Technology is key to the vast majority of industries, which is where your backup strategy is essential. Loss of power is a major threat to your systems and UPS units will only provide you with a limited amount of uptime. Generator hire will allow you access to temporary power if you need it in an emergency situation and can be in place quickly.

Adapting Your Technology

SMEs can also benefit from utilising cloud services which are both secure and cost-effective. Particularly for home working, the cloud offers the ability for your teams to carry on with their workloads as all their projects are kept in the cloud environment. If you’ve never offered home working before, then you may have faced some teething problems in bringing your teams together. Collaborative tech tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom and Trello were all created with togetherness in mind, and have been adopted on a large scale by companies across the globe.

Strengthening Your Leadership

Effective leadership has never been more important than in this pandemic. It’s important for all SMEs to realise that leadership should be a team effort. If you tend to operate as a lone wolf, then you’re exposing your business to a single point of failure if you were to fall ill or have family commitments to take care of. Entrust your team members with helping you to make key decisions and strengthen your relationship with important employees, suppliers and customers to put you in a better position to move forward. You should also use this time to determine where any vulnerabilities lie within your organisation and take steps to overcome them.

Protecting Your Revenue

Although small businesses have been offered government relief during the pandemic, you’ll also be concerned about the security of your future revenue. It’s important to target customer segments who are thriving during the lockdown, and make sure that your product or service is very much within their view. Remember though not to neglect customers or B2B contacts who have had their own difficulties to overcome during lockdown. Stay in contact with this group as well, so that you’ll be their first port of call once normality resumes for them.

You’ll want to keep a keen eye on your numbers throughout this period. Make sure that you understand your cashflow situation and you may wish to include cancellation or service suspension clauses in your future contracts. Equally, if you have a longstanding relationship with suppliers, then try to negotiate credit lines if this will help to keep you afloat.

Getting through the coronavirus economy as a small business is all about being resilient and staying organised for as long as it takes.

Booking A Home Removal During The Pandemic

What Challenges Are There When Moving During Lockdown?

Social distancing has produced some challenges when it comes to moving home. Find out how removal firms have adapted.

The government reopened the housing market on the 13th May, when they made it clear that people are allowed to move house once again, so long as they do so safely. This means abiding by social distancing guidelines as far as possible. If you’re wondering how this works with regards to hiring a removal firm, then you’re not alone. Many home movers are worried about the challenges of removal personnel traipsing through their house and touching all of their belongings, whilst trying to observe safety requirements. On the other hand, few people are able to commit to moving their own goods, particularly with the absence of helpful friends or family members to lend a helping hand.

The good news is that removal firms are still available for hire during the pandemic, but there are some changes to the services on offer.

Virtual Quotes

Traditionally, a representative from a removal firm would visit your house in advance of the move to conduct a pre-move survey and provide you with a quote. The assessment includes identification of any access issues, listing everything that needs to be moved and addressing any challenges including fragile items. An estate agents Chadwell Heath firm explains that many removal firms are now happy to carry out virtual surveys via your smartphone or tablet to minimise face-to-face contact.

PPE Equipment

Social distancing should be practised where possible to keep crew members 2 metres apart. If this isn’t possible, then PPE equipment is commonly used amongst removal firms, particularly where two or more people are required to lift heavy items. If you plan to be at the property on removal day, then check with the company as to whether you and your family members can also be provided with PPE kit to offer full protection during your move. It may make sense for you to source your own where possible.

Hygiene Practice

Handwashing and advanced levels of hygiene are essential in combatting the spread of Covid-19. Before you book a removal firm for your planned move, you should ask questions about what hygiene practices they have put into place. This might cover how regularly they wash their hands, how often they change their work uniform as well as how they clean and sanitise their vehicles. You should also be sure of their requirements for you before moving day. Ask if they require you to clean anything down or provide handwashing facilities or sanitiser to be used as the crew carries out their work.

If You Have Symptoms

It should be made clear that if you or any of your family members are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, then you must speak up and not risk being in contact with removal personnel. Even though this may mean a slight delay to your house move, being honest about your symptoms will prevent the spread of the virus and could save lives.

It’s a good idea to book a removal firm as soon as you’ve confirmed the date as many crews are operating at a limited capacity. Good luck with your move!

Experiencing Postpartum Hair Loss

Why Is Your Hair Falling Out In Vast Quantities?

If you’ve noticed an unusual amount of hair loss between three and six months following childbirth, you’re probably experiencing postpartum alopecia.

As many as 90% of new mums experience postpartum alopecia in the months that follow childbirth. Shedding unusual volumes of hair can be quite distressing at a time where lack of sleep and radical changes in hormone levels can cause emotions to feel unbalanced. When you start to notice bald patches too, it’s only natural to wonder what on earth is going on.

Wearing hair toppers is a great way to cover up any bald spots that appear and will help enormously to restore your confidence as you lose your hair. But if you’re still uncertain about what is happening, then it might help to understand a little more about the science behind hair loss.

Is Hair Loss Normal?

Throughout pregnancy, your body experiences high levels of both estrogen and progesterone which place your hair cycle in a stage of ongoing growth. Where usually it would fall out and be replenished simultaneously, pregnancy hair just keeps going which produces those luscious shiny locks you loved whilst you were expecting. Unfortunately, once baby is born, even though you may be looking forward to regaining your figure, it’s also time to say goodbye to that extra hair. Where a non-pregnant person usually sheds around 80 hairs a day, a new mum could expect to lose up to 400 hairs a day. If you’re noticing them clogging up your hoover or shower drain, then you’re not imagining things.

What If The Hair Loss Doesn’t Slow Down?

For most people, you would expect the shedding stage to have largely completed by about six months postpartum. You will still be losing hair at this stage, but it should have slowed down to shedding within the typical range. If this is not the case, then your first job should be to speak to your doctor who may need to book you in for a thyroid function test. If this important gland is not working correctly, then this could have a knock-on effect on your hair cycle. Similarly, they may also want to test the levels of ferritin in your blood – this is a protein which regulates how your body stores iron.

Treatment for Hair Loss

If your bloodwork highlights a problem, then you may be prescribed medication to assist in balancing your body, which may in turn level out your hair loss. In the case that your blood test results do not return any abnormalities, then you might turn to alternative therapies for assistance. Heightened stress levels caused by the arrival of a new baby, plus the lack of sleep and endless hours of nursing can leave your body starved of essential nutrients. Taking a multivitamin is important to keep your reserves stocked, but you must also eat a diet full of fresh foods and minerals.

There are also treatment options to target follicle growth and to reduce inflammation around the follicles themselves.

Relaxation is also tremendously important postpartum. This might seem easier said than done with a little one in tow, but accepting help from family members and taking time out for yourself is essential.

The great news is that hair loss is not known to increase with each pregnancy, which will leave you free to continue with growing your family just as you had planned.

How To Attract Wildlife To Your Garden

Allow Wildlife To Thrive In Your Natural Home Environment

Why not welcome birds, butterflies, bees and bugs into your garden this summer season?  

With the sunny weather arriving early this year, and Brits spending plenty of hours at home, there’s a great opportunity to attract different kinds of wildlife to your garden this season. Domestic gardens in the UK account for more than 10 million acres, which is greater than the combination of the country’s nature reserves. Gardens are therefore essential habitats for a wealth of wildlife including birds, butterflies, bees, bugs and mammals.

If you’re interested in supporting the survival of the UK’s wildlife population and enjoy them thriving in your own garden, then follow these tips.

Attracting Birds

There’s little as satisfying as inviting birds into your garden and watching them feed and frolic in the spaces you’ve provided for them. Bird feeders are popular for homeowners and birds alike. You can make your own using basic recycled materials such as a cardboard toilet roll tube rolled in peanut butter and covered in sunflower seeds. Alternatively, you could invest in a store-bought bird feeder. Some designs are squirrel-proof too if that’s a problem in your garden. You can buy bird seed in bulk, but many birds also love scraps such as bacon or grated cheese too!

Birds will flock to drink and wash in a bird bath. In the summer, all you’d need to do is sit back and watch, but remember during winter to pour boiling water over your bird bath regularly to prevent frost.

Beckoning Butterflies and Bees

Wildflowers full of pollen and nectar are simply delicious to bees and butterflies. They’re also beautiful for gardeners to enjoy during the summer. Plant stunning shades of bluebells, foxgloves, hyacinths, cornflowers or crocuses in black planters to offset the vivid tones against a dramatic backdrop. You should also keep your flowers generously watered, as those that are struggling for fluid will not produce as much nectar. Remember to plant them in warm sunny areas which butterflies and bees will naturally be drawn to. Patio spaces make excellent spots as they also provide room for them to spread their wings and fly.

Make Room for Wilderness

If space allows, it can be really interesting to provide an area which you allow to purposefully overgrow. By creating territory which closely resembles the natural environment, you could attract a wide variety of bugs and smaller mammals such as shrews or voles who are seeking a meal or shelter.

Avoid Pesticides

As a general rule for all gardeners and homeowners, if you’d like to attract wildlife and allow it to thrive on your property, then it’s critical that you avoid the use of pesticides or other chemicals that could damage the health of your guests. If you have any pest problems, then there are always natural alternatives to the use of pesticides, including garlic sprays or other types of herbs that can dissuade problem creatures from returning.

Many of the UK’s wildlife species are enjoying the quieter pace of life created by the nation’s lockdown. Start attracting wildlife to your garden today and you’ll be able to enjoy your new neighbours for months before autumn sets in.

End of Life Care Can Help You to Get the Most Out of Your Loved One’s Final Days

Finding The Right Care Provider

No one wants to talk about end of life care, but doing so will really enrich your loved one’s final days with you.

Arranging end of life care is a difficult step to make – but one that will really benefit you and your loved one. Here’s how great end of life care can help you and your loved one to make the most of the precious time that you have left together.

Making them comfortable

The main objective of end of life care is to make someone as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Whether they have been battling a long illness such as cancer or dementia or their decline has been more sudden, everyone deserves the best possible care at the end of their life. An end of life carer will assess someone’s current situation and see what needs to be done to make to make them as comfortable as possible. This will make their last days so much more positive for everyone.

Stay in their own home

End of life care allows a person to stay in their own home as they come to the end – and this has so many benefits. They will remain in a place that is familiar to them, which will take a lot of fear away from their situation. They’ll also be able to continue to see friends and family without the restrictions of hospital or care home visiting times.  Plus, they will be able to look back on so many wonderful memories.

Takes the pressure off you

It can be incredibly hard to care for someone at the end of their life, and the pressure this puts on a person can actually mean you miss out on so many special moments together. If you hire a carer, then you will be able to take a step back and just focus on creating some beautiful final memories with your loved one. There’s no need to feel guilty about hiring some extra help – your loved one will really benefit from you not having to juggle too much at once.

Expert care

It can be hard to know if you are doing everything right when you are caring for a loved one in the final weeks and days of their life. This can lead to insecurity and worry on your part, which of course will impact on the time you’re spending with your loved one. Enter an experienced end of life carer. They have worked with a great deal of terminally ill people, and have the experience and skills to make the right decisions and quickly solve problems. Your loved one will be in safe hands.

Finding the best care

Of course, you need to find the best providers of end of life care. Fambridge Care have developed a really great reputation in the field. Tailoring their services to the unique medical and emotional needs of each individual, they provide care that’s thorough and compassionate. With live in care available for those who need round the clock attention, there’s going to be an option that’s suitable for you and your loved one.

Beneficial for everyone

Saying goodbye to someone is so sad, but having the right end of life care in place for them will ensure that their final days or weeks are filled with love, comfort and the opportunity to make some beautiful last memories together.

Can You Paint a Car at Home? Yes You Can!

Where to Find The Best Car Paint

If you’re unable to visit a garage during the COVID-19 crisis, you can tackle your car paint job yourself.

If your car is need of a fresh coat of paint, in normal times your first instinct would have been to get in touch with your local garage. However, the coronavirus pandemic means that a lot of people aren’t able to or don’t feel comfortable leaving their homes to visit a garage just yet. There’s no need to neglect your car though! By shopping for car spray paint online, you can do it all yourself.

Find the right location

The first thing that you should do is find an appropriate location for repainting your car. It goes without saying that the great British weather can be unpredictable. So even if the weather looks good right now, it might not stay that way for long! If you can, set aside an area that’s under cover, like a garage. If you can’t manage that, invest in a canopy or similar covering so that you can easily undertake the work outdoors.

Give yourself time

It’s really important to give yourself enough time. You’re not going to get a good result if you have to rush, after all. No two cars are the same, so be sure to closely examine your car and see just how extensive the work needs to be. A car paint job can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weekends. If in doubt, give yourself more time than you think you will need, so you’re not under any pressure.

Start shopping online

Now it’s time to start shopping! If you’re going to achieve a truly fantastic finish, then you need to shop for your equipment and materials from a trusted retailer. Car Colour Services have become a firm favourite with customers all over the UK. They have an extensive range of products for you to choose from, including paint for vintage cars. So no matter the age of your vehicle, you’ll be able to find everything you need.

Prepare your car

Before you start painting, you need to prepare your car. Stock up on sandpaper and a high quality electric sander so that you can make the surface as smooth as possible. You’ll need primer too, as well as a spay gun to apply it. There are lots to choose from, so take your time while you are shopping to make sure that you have just the right one for your project. Be sure to pick up a mask and gloves too, so that you can protect yourself while you work.

Apply your paint

Finally, the part that you have been waiting for! Once you have properly prepped your car, you’re ready to apply that first coat of paint. Be sure to mix the paint with the thinners using the ratios specified on the pack instructions. You’re probably going to need 3-4 coats, and you’ll need to allow for drying time in between those. Before you apply each coat, make sure that the car body is free of any dust or debris.

What are you waiting for?

So there you have it – your guide to painting your car during lockdown! You’ll be able to save lots of money compared to what you would pay for the same service in a professional garage, and you can do it in the safety and comfort of your own home. What’s not to like about that?

What Percentage of Body Fat Do You Need To See Great Abs?

Craving A Six-Pack? What Should You Be Aiming For?

If your abs are somewhat hidden, you may need to reduce your body fat to show off a six-pack to be proud of.

Six-pack abs have become one of the defining features of a person who is deemed to be in great shape. We all have abdominal muscles of course, but those that are visibly on display tend to highlight the fitness of the individual, proving that they’re both strong and lean. If you’ve been struggling to produce that chiselled torso that so many crave, it could be down to your percentage of body fat. So, how much body fat do you need to allow those abdominals to shine?

What Is Body Fat?

When you step on the scales, the number you’re looking at is your overall weight which of course includes fat, muscle, water and bone mass. Body fat is just one of these measurements and the way in which it is stored and distributed across the body can make all the difference to your abs.

Body fat can be divided into two categories, namely essential fat and storage fat. Essential fat assists in vital physical functions including keeping you warm, maintaining hormonal balance and protecting your organs from damage. Storage fat is the type that you’ll see distributed across your body and it is this that many people wish to minimise to gain that six-pack stomach or even drop a dress size.

Losing Body Fat

Working out regularly is certainly part of developing a toned and sculpted torso. But unfortunately, you could do hundreds of crunches a day and it wouldn’t make any difference to your abs if they’re covered in a thick layer of body fat. Therefore, crunches and other fitness work such as cardio is best carried out in combination with eating a clean and healthy diet. Your physical efforts can also be supported by mental techniques such as gastric band hypnosis to motivate you towards achieving your fitness goals.

What Percentage To Aim For?

The first thing to note, is that body fat is handled very differently on men and women. Men with between 6-17% body fat should have noticeable abs on display, whereas the range for women is more like 14-24%. At the upper end of each scale, your abs may be visible, but as you cut your body fat lower, you’ll notice them becoming leaner and more sculpted, perhaps creating more defined oblique muscles along the way.

It’s important to realise that there is no set percentage to aim for, as each individual will store body fat differently. If you tend to store your excess weight around your stomach, then you may need to get to a lower percentage of body fat in order to achieve those killer abs you’ve been dreaming of.

Don’t Go Too Low

Remember that body fat is essential and if you lose too much of it, this can have a negative impact on your overall health. For women this could mean the absence of a menstrual cycle, and for both sexes, too little body fat can cause brittle bones.

Stay within a safe range and lose the fat gradually – a rate of around 1% every 1-2 months should be fine for most people.

Five easy ways to freshen up your living room

Your living room should be a light, clean space that can be used for welcoming guests or simply relaxing in after a long day at work.

However, as the most lived in room in the house, many people find the lounge quickly becomes an all in one – as well as a living room, it’s often a dinner table, office space and storage solution.

From dry cleaning rugs to putting up shelves, here are five quick ways to freshen up your living space.

Get rid of unused furniture and furnishings

Over time, people often add to their furniture and furnishings without getting rid of any old items. What starts as a new cushion soon turns into six cushions, two throws and a bean bag. Sit down and decide which items you truly want and give the rest to charity.

Any leftover furnishings, such as rugs or cushion covers, should be thoroughly cleaned. While they may not seem dirty, it’s amazing how much grime can build up over time. Giving these items a vigorous wash can make them seem as good as new.

Make the most of your wall space

Swapping sideboards for floating shelves is a simple way of making more space without needing to get rid of any of your homeware and accessories. Choose white shelves for a cool, minimal look, or natural wood for a more rustic vibe.

Paint your skirting boards

Repainting the walls is an effective way of brightening up a living room, but it can be time consuming to DIY and expensive to go down the professional route. Freshening up the paint on your skirting boards, windows and door frames takes less than half a day and makes a huge difference to the overall brightness of the room.

Invest in a statement art piece

If you find your living room lacks personality, but you want to avoid the clutter of having too many wall pieces, invest in a singular piece of statement art that takes up space and draws attention. This is a good way of adding personality to the room without overloading the senses. For rentals, it has the added benefit of only needing one or two nails to hang, rather than dozens.

Get a new lightshade

While it seems like a small detail, the lightshade acts as the focal point of the room and if you have one which is bland or does not compliment the rest of the décor, it can leave your living room feeling flat. Finding a lightshade that ties your décor together can turn a room from meh to amazing. You may also want to upgrade your lightbulb to something brighter, as this really opens the living space. If you love the look of a rustic bulb, invest in some industrial style lamps where they look best.

The living room is really the heart of the home, and periodically reviving it can make you fall in love with your house all over again. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be an expensive job – just a few tricks and its good as new.  

Photo Booth Hire for Every Occasion

Photo booths have become increasingly popular over the years for all types of occasions and are a fun, affordable and amusing way to keep people entertained. Also depending on the type of photo booth, they give guests the chance to take their memories with them in the form of a photo strip, a great memento that they can look at, laugh at and display for years to come.

With ever evolving technology there are now many different types of photo booths to choose from whether it’s a traditional booth with funs props, to GIF makers, slow-mo video booths, flip book creators, green screen booths and open air studio booths.

These innovative photo booths are capable of printing photo strips right on the spot, generate digital pics and share and upload instantly to social media. Photo booths are also extremely versatile and depending on the type you get quite often the skin, exterior and props can be customised to suit your event.

Here are some of the many occasions that can benefit from the amusement, laughs enjoyment and delight that photo booth Essex hire can provide.

Weddings

Weddings can be a long day for both adults and children and by the time the evening has come round everyone is looking to relax and enjoy themselves. Photo booths give couples and their guests the opportunity to let loose, be childish and enjoy themselves!

One of the great things about photo booths is that they are suitable for all ages which means that absolutely nobody is left out – providing great pictures of everyone from great grandmothers to little nieces and nephews dressed up in silly props, being silly and having fun! 

Prom

Prom is a big deal to teenagers who are leaving school and moving onto college and the next steps in their lives. This selfie mad generation love nothing more than posing for pictures which makes photo booths the perfect entertainment for any prom or school leavers celebration.

It also provides them with some great keepsakes in the form of photo strip pictures of them with their friends that they will be able to cherish as they go their separate ways.

Parties

There is absolutely no party that can’t be made better by a photo booth.

  • Birthday party
  • Hen party
  • Baby showers
  • Graduation party
  • Engagement party
  • Anniversary celebrations
  • Retirement party
  • House warming party
  • Halloween Party
  • Welcome home party

Whether it’s for young children, retired adults and everyone in-between, a photo booth is a sure fire way to make your party a huge hit and something everyone will remember.

Corporate Events

Whether it’s a black tie dinner, brand promotion, an office party, award ceremony, social media event or launch party – a photo booth is a great way to entertain, enthral and amuse your staff, guests, clients and customers.

Don’t miss a great opportunity to jazz up your corporate event and engage with your attendees with this fun yet subtle addition everyone will love.

Christmas

Photo booths at Christmas parties are always a huge hit, injecting fun and laughter into any seasonal event with festive layouts, themes and props to help inspire your guests to strike a pose. These are a guaranteed way to spread the Christmas cheer and provide a real wow factor for your party guests.

Exploring Suffolk’s Constable Countryside

A Relaxing Break In Rural Suffolk

Why not follow in the footsteps of one of England’s most admired artists and visit the region which inspired so much of Constable’s spectacular works?

Are you looking for a breath-taking escape for your next holiday? How about Constable country in rural Suffolk? The area is lovingly named after the artist John Constable who was born in the Stour Valley in 1776 and spent his life painting the villages and scenery near his home and to which he felt a strong affinity. Art enthusiasts amongst you may be familiar with some of his most famous paintings, including Dedham Vale and The Hay Wain.

Much of Constable Country still looks strikingly similar to the scenery in the paintings, so if you are a fan of these works, you’ll feel a particular joy when you amble across a familiar scene. However, you don’t need to know anything about art to enjoy a visit to the area – when you arrive here, you’ll realise that there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of the world.

Dog Walking

Of course, you can’t come to a location such as Constable Country and leave your dog behind. The region is a walker’s delight, with a wide variety of trails available depending on how much of a challenge you’re looking for. A pet friendly cottages Suffolk provider explains that The Essex Way and the Stour Valley Path are the two main long distance paths running through the area, but there are also multiple shorter circular routes which will allow you to see the highlights of the area, perhaps taking in Willy Lott’s house or else Flatford Mill.  

Golfing Holiday

If golf is your thing, then you’ll want to visit The Stoke By Nayland Hotel which offers two championship golf courses, as well as spa facilities including a pool. You might start the day by hitting a few balls on the range, perhaps taking a private golf lesson or even having a go in the golf simulator before heading out onto either the Gainsborough or the Constable courses which are both based around scenic woodland, lakes and pretty streams.

Biking Around Constable Country

Cyclists will love the freedom of taking a ride through Constable Country. And if you’re an artist yourself, then you could combine your two passions by taking along your paintbrush and cycling The Painter’s Trail. This is a 69 mile long trail through the Dedham Vale, crossing the River Stour and following the valley down to the estuary near Manningtree. There are plenty of farms and public houses along the way where you can stop for refreshments or stock up on traditional local produce.

Constable Country By Boat

If you prefer the idea of a relaxing boat ride in this picturesque location, then Dedham Vale River Trips are available from Dedham Lock either as a non-landing return trip or else a one-way boat trip enabling you to get off and enjoy a walk before returning later in the day.

If you’re ready to walk in Constable’s footprints and marvel at the scenery that was the driving passion behind his many artistic creations, then now is the time to book your trip to rural Suffolk!