Category: My Blog

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!

Is It Easy To Change Your Accountant?

When It’s Time For Another Firm To Handle Your Books

Switching accountants might sound like a headache but it’s actually astonishingly simple so long as you make changes at the right time.  

There comes a time for many businesses when they assess their relationship with existing outsourced professionals including their accountancy team. If you decide that it’s time to end your ongoing relationship with your current accountant and switch to a new firm or even bring your accountancy tasks inhouse, then there are a number of considerations and steps to take.

Why Move To A New Accountant?

If your business has grown or changed since you began using your existing accountant to handle your books, then it’s natural that you might want to switch to a different firm who is more suited to a business of your current size. Equally, if your accountant’s business focus has changed, perhaps to concentrate more on a niche sector which you don’t belong to, then moving to a new accountant would be entirely understandable.

Unfortunately, you may also have concerns about the standard of service that your current accountant is offering, and that you’ve been paying for. If you consider that they’re charging over the odds for the work they do, or potentially have made mistakes or haven’t been ahead of the game in the way you’d expect, then it could be time for a change.

Finding Your New Accountant

It’s important to find a new accountant before you part company with your existing firm, but make sure you don’t rush into a new relationship until you’re 100% happy that they’re the right firm for you. Ask questions about their communication methods and preferred software programs to see if they fit in with your expectations. You should also find out about their charging methods and what’s included in their services.

Time of Year

When you’ve decided to make the move to a new firm of accountants, it’s important to do so at the right time of year to minimise any disruption to your business. Switching at key points in the tax year such as the middle of January are likely to cause you a headache. The best advice, as guided by a professional firm of accountants in Peterborough is to find an appropriate time for your handover, from old to new, to occur.

Informing Your Current Accountant

When the time is right, send your current accountant a message to let them know that you no longer require their professional services. At this point, you should tell them the name and contact details of your new accountants who they’ll need to hand over your books to. There are three legal steps that need to be taken at this stage. Your current accountant will provide your new team with a disengagement letter which will include details about any recent work they’ve completed and the stage they’re at. Your new accountancy team will also create a professional clearance document to request paperwork from your old team and it would be typical to be charged a minimal fee for this service. Finally, you should appoint your new team with the authority to handle your books and speak to HMRC on your behalf in terms of your tax affairs.

Moving to a new accountant is simple, so long as you stay on good terms with your previous accountants and don’t rush into any major decisions. Remember that switching can save you money and provide you with a better service which is more appropriate for your business in the long run.

The Importance of Hygienic and Dignified Washrooms for Everyone

Hygienic and dignified washrooms are something that everybody should have access to and whether it is in a workplace, restaurant, school or public area – there is no excuse for inadequate bathrooms.

It is the responsibility of the owner, designated manager or employer to ensure that all washrooms provide suitable facilities for clean and hygienic use of the toilet and handwashing as well as appropriate feminine hygiene units.

Failure to provide facilities with these in place can not only lead to poor hygiene but unhappy employees, customers, visitors and additional environmental, legal and financial consequences.

What is a sanitary bin or unit?

Sanitary bins encourage the discrete and hygienic disposal of sanitary products in washrooms. These usually come in the form of small, enclosed bins that sit beside the toilet and come in a range of styles such as manual, automatic and pedal.

They need to be emptied regularly by an accredited, licensed company to ensure that all disposal is properly regulated and that there is a comprehensive paper trail.

Why are sanitary disposal bins so important?

  • Sanitary bins are crucial for the comfort, dignity and hygiene of females using the washroom to ensure that they have a clean and discrete way to dispose of sanitary products.
  • When there are no alternative means of disposal, most women have no choice except to flush it down the toilet. This can be harmful to drains and sewers causing issues with plumbing that are costly to repair.
  • Flushing sanitary products is not environmentally friendly because they often end up in the sea polluting the water. Even tampons which most people believe are fine to flush actually take around 6 months to dissolve. Sanitary pads or towels can take anywhere between 500-800 years to fully break down. 

Are sanitary bins a legal requirement?

As a building owner, manager, business owner or designated facilities manager it will be your legal responsibility to provide and adhere to sanitary waste disposal regulations. These include;

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulation 1992 – This recommends that all female toilet facilities contain an appropriate bin or unit for sanitary waste.

The Water Industries Act 1991 – States that sanitary waste should not be flushed down the toilets due to the harm it can cause to the sewer system or drains and that a suitable alternative (bin) must be in place to prevent this happening.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 – This imposes a ‘Duty of Care’ on individual, businesses and organisations, holding them responsible for the correct management of their waste, right up to the point of final disposal.

There is a risk of significant penalties for businesses, owners and individuals who do not take the necessary steps to conform to the required legislations.

No female should have to worry about disposing of their sanitary products and it’s important to put in place necessary measures to provide a clean, discreet, hygienic and convenient method of disposal no matter where the washroom is, be it an office, school, restaurant or high street.

5 Tips To Choose the Right Pilates Class

How to find the best exercise class for you

Pilates classes come in all shapes and sizes, but our top tips will help you to find a class that is right for you.

With its ability to improve posture, strengthen the core and create long, lean muscles, Pilates has soared in popularity in recent years and continues to be a favourite amongst celebrities and regular gym-goers alike.

If you’re keen to try out the trend for yourself, read on to find out our top tips for choosing the right Pilates class.

Start with the basics
Pilates comes in all different shapes and sizes – from basic mat work to complex classes that use lots of different equipment, and even Pilates for pregnancy. We would always recommend starting out with a ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ Pilates performed on the floor (also known as mat Pilates) so that you can get to grips with the basic concepts of movement and breath. Once you are confident with the basics, you can then experiment with more advanced classes, such as Contemporary Studio Pilates or Reformer Pilates.

Find a good instructor

Finding an instructor that you like and whose teaching style you gel with is perhaps the most important element of choosing a Pilates class, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different classes until you get it right.

All instructors will have different approaches – from soft-spoken and gentle, to hands-on and energetic. But, whatever their teaching style, you want someone who pays attention to the class and is able to make adjustments and suggest modifications to ensure that people of all skill levels are able to get a great workout. It’s also important that your Pilates instructor is appropriately qualified, so do a bit of research to make sure that they are certified through a reputable Pilates training programme.

A great vibe

You are much more likely to stick to an exercise programme if you actually enjoy it, so take the time to find a studio and class with a great vibe. Ideally, you want somewhere with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, clean and pleasant surroundings, energetic and supportive instructors, and friendly classmates – it may take a bit of time to find the right place but, when you do, it will make all the difference to your Pilates workouts.

A thorough induction

As with any exercise, Pilates carries the risk of injury if not performed properly, or if you have any underlying problems that your instructor is unaware of. With this in mind, any good Pilates studio should carry out a thorough induction that asks you about your exercise goals as well as any conditions or injuries that they need to know about. If your gym or studio fails to do this, you should probably consider finding a new one.

Consider convenience

Last, but certainly not least, when looking for Pilates class, try to find one that fits around your current schedule and that is convenient for you to attend. Think also about the location of the studio – if you have to drive for an hour in rush hour traffic in order to get to your class, you’re much less likely to attend on a regular basis, so look for a class that is relatively close to your home or place of work.

Finding a Pilates class is a very personal decision, but hopefully our tips will help to set you on the right track, enabling you to develop your skills and enjoy the benefits of this hugely effective full-body workout.

How to Lose Weight Well For Your Big Day

Walk down the aisle looking and feeling great

From weight loss hypnotherapy to intermittent fasting, finding the right dieting method will help you to lose weight and feel great on your wedding day.

Everyone wants to look and feel their best on their wedding day, and for many people this means shaping up and losing any excess weight. If you’re looking to shed the pounds in time for your big day, these dieting methods may help you to achieve your weight loss goals.

Get active

Losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume, so upping your activity levels is key to helping you shed the pounds. This doesn’t have to mean pounding the pavements every night (unless you want to of course); start out slow and increase the intensity as your fitness and confidence levels increase. Not only will regular exercise aid your weight loss, it will also help you to tone up, and get stronger, fitter and healthier – so it’s a win-win all round.

Count the calories

Combining exercise with a calorie-controlled diet is a tried and tested way of losing weight but try not to be too restrictive as this can often result in you falling off the dieting wagon altogether. Instead, follow a healthy but tasty diet that is full of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, and lean protein. Having a source of support can really help you to stick to a diet, so, if you’re finding it difficult, you might want to try joining a slimming club or roping in your spouse-to-be.

Intermittent fasting

Another dieting method that has sprung up in recent years is intermittent fasting. There are a few different variations, but the most popular seems to be the 5:2 diet, which involves eating normally for five days of the week and consuming just 25% of your normal calorie intake (500 for women, 600 for men) on the remaining two days. It can be quite an effective dieting tool, enabling you to lose weight quickly as well as potentially offering additional health benefits. However, while this may be great for a quick fix, you may well find the weight creeping back on once the wedding is over and you return to your usual eating habits.

Weight loss hypnotherapy

Having said all that, conventional weight loss methods don’t always work for everyone – particularly if you’re looking to see fast results in time for your wedding day. If this rings true for you and you find yourself struggling to reach your goal weight, you may want to consider trying hypnotherapy for weight loss.

By delivering talking therapies and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy alongside traditional hypnosis and visualisation techniques, this type of hypnotherapy offers a holistic approach to weight loss, examining your relationship with food and enabling you to identify and address any underlying issues that may be preventing you from losing weight.

When combined with nutrition and diet advice, this approach allows for meaningful weight loss and a permanent lifestyle change, enabling you to keep your wedding body long after the celebrations are over.

When it comes to losing weight for your wedding, there is no one size fits all – you need to find the dieting method that works best for you. And with a bit of willpower and some sensible life choices you’ll soon find yourself walking down the aisle looking, and feeling, a million dollars.

Tips to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo

How to Avoid Tattoo Regret

If you are considering your first tattoo, you probably have a thousand thoughts rushing through your mind. A methodical approach is vital.

Most people spend a lot of time thinking about their first tattoo. That’s as it should be, but the problem is that more often than not, they are not thinking about the right things. Sure, the overall cost and the amount of pain involved need to be considered, of course they do. But these are relatively simple matters that the artist will discuss with you.

There are more fundamental considerations that are actually far more important. After all, look at it this way, nobody ever started to explore phrases like tattoo removal London on Google because their tattoo was too expensive or had hurt too much. If you spend too much time focused on things like these, you are missing out on the bigger picture.

It’s all about the meaning

The single most important thing is the meaning behind your tattoo. This is over and above the image itself, the cost, how long it takes or anything else. Why do you want a tattoo, and what will it mean to you? Be clear on this, discuss it with your tattoo artist, and you will be amazed how many of the other things fall into place.

Choose your artist with care

A tattoo is, for the most part, a lifetime commitment. This is not a time to be going for the cheapest option and hoping for the best – but more on cost in a moment. The point here is that you need to choose an artist who has skill and experience, but also it needs to be someone with whom you connect and who understands what you want to achieve and why.

The cost factor

We have already said that cost should not be the defining factor of your tattoo. But unless you have millions tucked away in the bank, it will inevitable still be a consideration. A good tattoo by a talented artist is not going to be cheap, and that holds true whether you are in the middle of London or on a tropical island paradise like Bali. When your artist understands what you want, he will be able to provide an accurate quotation. If it is outside your budget, you have some tough decisions to make. Compromising on what you really want to get it on budget will only lead to regret, so that leaves two choices. Some people get the initial outline work done and then finish off when they have saved up the money. That’s OK, but ideally it is best to get everything done at once. The best solution is to find out what it’s going to cost, and start saving!

Will it hurt?

Anyone who says a tattoo will not hurt is lying to you. Of course it will hurt. Whether that is a significant problem really depends on your pain threshold. Most people are able to “tune out” the pain, which can be likened to being scratched by a cat. It’s not a pleasant experience, but it is nowhere near as painful as stubbing your toe. And as long as you take the right approach, the rewards are well worth it.

After applying the outlines, the tattoo artist removes the rest of the non-inserted ink from the skin using paper towel soaked with alcohol

How to make your used Canon Camera Look New Again

Sell your second-hand camera more easily

To get a quick buyer and a good price for your used Canon camera, you need to make sure it’s in the best possible condition

Photography can be somewhat of an expensive pastime; for good quality photos you need good quality equipment, and buying the latest ‘must-have’ bit of kit can often prove costly.

Selling your used and unwanted camera can help you to raise funds for a new and improved model, but with a lot of competition out there, cameras that are in poor condition will often get overlooked by potential buyers. If you’re looking to sell a used Canon camera, there are some steps you can take to help get it looking its best.

Give it a good clean

You don’t really think about cameras getting dirty, but it’s surprising how much dust and dirt your photographic equipment picks up through everyday use. To get your Canon camera looking like new again, it’s important to give it a thorough clean. Start by giving the camera body a wipe down, and use denatured alcohol and an old toothbrush to tackle any stubborn stains. Smears and finger marks on the viewfinder and screen can be eliminated with a microfibre cloth, and you can use a Lenspen, brush or air blower to help remove bits of grit, dust and sand from the gaps in the camera body.

Dust can also collect on your lens and this can be tricky to remove without scratching the surface. Experts recommend using a blower to remove as much dirt as possible without having to touch the lens. Any remaining dirt can be tackled with lens cleaner and non-abrasive lint-free cloths.

Find the original packaging

Packaging your camera in its original box may not make the actual camera look new again, but it can make a big difference when it comes to attracting potential buyers. Cameras in their original packaging tend to sell more quickly and for a higher price so it’s worth taking the time to find the box. While you’re at it, try to find the original components that came with the camera, such as manual, straps, and any software or cables. Placing your equipment in a pristine box with all its accessories enables you to present it in the best possible light, increasing your chances of success.

Prevention is better than cure

All of these steps can help to improve the appeal of your equipment, but when it comes to having a camera that looks great, prevention is always better than cure. With this in mind, it always pays to take steps to protect your camera as much as possible from dirt and damage.

Always carry your camera in a protective case or bag, and use a screen protector along with lens and body caps to guard against any dents or scratches. You can protect your lens further by keeping a UV filter fitted at all times, and some photographers even remove their rings in a bid to avoid scratching the body.

Alongside these common-sense steps, it’s also worth sending your equipment in for regular servicing to help ensure that it remains looking and operating at its best.

Of course, these maintenance tips may well be too late for you this time, but it’s worth keeping them in mind to ensure that you can keep any future equipment in peak condition.

With a bit of elbow grease you can soon get your Canon camera looking like new again, and the hard work will all be worth it when you get the money you need to buy your newest piece of equipment.

Replace Your Old Banger This Spring

old banger ready to be a scrap car

Old banger ready to be a Scrap car How to dispose of your old banger in a quick, easy, environmentally friendly and profitable way using a specialist car disposal company in one day or even less.

Give your old faithful an honourable retirement and make money

It may finally be time to bid farewell to your old motor; it’s served you well and by now probably doesn’t owe you anything but perhaps the ravages of time are ultimately catching up with it. The good news is moving it on these days can be quick and convenient and also profitable as money can be made on your old wheels.

Goodbye to the scrapyard

Time was when disposing of a very old car with no real sell on value could be something of a time consuming chore. You’d have to get it over to a scrapyard – especially awkward if it was a non-runner – and then be at the mercy of their price offer. If you didn’t think it was a fair price then you’d have the hassle of taking your old motor away again.

That’s thankfully a thing of the past with the advent of car disposal companies who make the process quick, easy and maybe even profitable for you.

The efficient way of car disposal

Whether your car is too old to keep on the road in terms of repair costs being uneconomical, or it’s simply reached the end of its life, then environmentally friendly disposal is expected as part of the EU’s ELV (End of Life Vehicle) Directive. This lays down ground rules for the way vehicles should be broken down and disposed of.

A specialist car disposal company is registered with relevant environment agencies and connected to a fully authorised treatment facility so as to enable the proper disposal of your car. They also take care of notifying the DVLA your car has been scrapped and will issue you with a COD (Certificate Of Destruction) as proof.

Vehicles in all sorts of condition and types are usually considered, so even if you have a non-runner rotting away in a shed or a field somewhere there’s no reason not to dispose of it.

Various models of cars, vans, commercial vehicles and even motorbikes can likely be handled by your car disposal company and the process is extremely quick; your vehicle could be bought and taken away by the company with the money in your account all on the same day you approach them.

The process

Disposing of your car is simple:

  • Visit the disposal company’s website and enter your registration number and check the correct vehicle comes up
  • A price will appear once you’ve added a few extra details and preferably uploaded a photo
  • If you’re happy with the valuation, contact the disposal company to arrange the sale of your vehicle to them
  • They will arrange to come and collect your vehicle often the very same day; if it’s a non-runner that’s no problem as they’ll remove it on a flat bed truck
  • The company will pay you immediately direct into your account

Other details

You’ll need to ensure the V5C (registration document) and all keys and locking nuts (for alloy wheels if applicable) are present. If it’s a non-runner and all keys have long since been lost, the disposal company can still take your vehicle but do notify them in advance.

If you haven’t got the V5C then this can be overcome but you’ll need to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle.

The disposal company will pay you by bank transfer that will clear funds into your account before the vehicle is taken. They can’t pay cash as this is illegal for the payment of scrapped cars.

Disposing of your old wheels in this manner is quick, easy, profitable and environmentally friendly.

The Four Best Villages in Hertfordshire Within A 40-Minute Commute of London

The Four Best Villages in Hertfordshire Within A 40-Minute Commute of London

The Four Best Villages in Hertfordshire Within A 40-Minute Commute of London

If you work in the big smoke but fancy relocating to somewhere more peaceful and travelling into work each day, then Hertfordshire boats plenty of quaint and beautiful villages to visit.

If you’re visiting Hertfordshire for the first time, why not book into a relaxing hotels Hertfordshire to set you up for a weekend of exploring?

 

Aldbury

Noted for its picturesque setting and “chocolate-box” village, Aldbury is a village in Hertfordshire, bordering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. For a two-to-three-bedroom cottage, prices start at around £400,000. Commuting into London Euston each day would take just 35 minutes, and there are excellent village primary schools and secondary schools here.

Barley

The village is an early Tudor town, with a 12th-century Norman tower, two pubs, a shop and a school. You can travel into London in just 35-minutes via King’s Cross, and an average two-bedroom period cottage costs around £300,000. There are a steady flux of people moving into the village, but Barley remains relatively untouched, with a number of long-established families living in the village.

Wheathampstead

Wheathampstead is the perfect destination for those seeking the tranquillity of Hertfordshire countryside, with a splash of urban convenience. The village has a number of heritage trails and beautiful landscapes to explore, making the village a fascinating and welcoming place to live in. If you’re commuting here into London each day, you can expect the travel time to be around an hour via bus and train.

Much Hadham

Formerly known as Great Hadham, Much Hadham is a village in the district of East Hertfordshire with two churches and many listed buildings, including four listed at Grade I. A three-bedroom house costs around £450,000 and the average travel time into London by train is 39 minutes. Much Hadham is ideal for retired couples and young families who enjoy village life. The village is set in the open country, with cute thatched cottages, Georgian manors, local pubs and farmers’ markets.

Cold Food Courier Companies Keep Prices Low

Cold Food Courier Companies Keep Prices Low

Cold Food Courier Companies Keep Prices Low

Figures released this week show Aldi raked in over £10 billion in sales last year for the first time after soaring record sales over the Christmas period as festive shoppers snapped up luxury products and cut-price vegetables.

The German supermarket keeps costs low by running a very efficient logistical network that includes cold food couriers UK to provide fresh food from cheaper producers in Europe to the supermarket shelves, allowing them to undercut the established British supermarkets.

The budget chain’s “specially selected” premium range did especially well, with sales rocketing by 30 per cent, with mince pies, Aberdeen Angus beef roasting joints and Irish cream liqueur among the top-selling products in December.

Despite the rise in luxury food prices, Aldi have been able to provide consumers with great quality produce at more affordable prices, as shown by their record breaking sales over the Christmas period.

The festive boost pushed Aldi’s sales through the roof, with total sales in the UK and Ireland during 2017 over the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

Indulge at Christmas

The recent figures show a clear indication that shoppers knew they were able to indulge in Christmas treats and festive essentials thanks to Aldi, at a fraction of the price they would pay elsewhere.

Aldi excelled in the food and drink departments, selling over 6.8 million bottles of wine, champagne and Prosecco during December, and over 4 million mince pieces and more than 100 million packs of vegetables during the seasonal period.

Christmas can often be a tricky time for discounters, they tend to lose a little market share compared to earlier in the year as more and more shoppers return to traditional supermarkets in search of old favourites.

Aldi and Lidl collectively rose to the challenge and managed to attract nearly one million additional households during the past three months.