Devil Sticks For Beginners

Devil Sticks

Devil SticksLearning a new juggling skill

Learning to use devil sticks is both challenging and interesting, providing excitement for beginners and experienced jugglers alike.

Juggling as a performance art form has been around for thousands of years. It’s difficult to trace its exact origin, but the first evidence of juggling was discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb which dates back to around 2,000 BC. References to juggling have also been found in artefacts from Ancient China, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, indicating that the art form has enjoyed long-lived and widespread popularity.

The word ‘juggle’ comes from ‘jogelen’ – a Middle English word which means to perform or entertain. And juggling has certainly kept people entertained throughout the ages. This popularity has continued to the present day, and juggling acts can frequently be seen in circuses and street performances. Juggling has also evolved over the years with new variations coming to the fore, such as the use of diablos or fire-juggling.

One juggling variation that has gained popularity in recent years is the use of devil sticks. Although not strictly counted as juggling, ‘devilsticking’ is commonplace in many juggling clubs and is an interesting and challenging skill to learn, both for those who are new to juggling and more experienced jugglers who are looking to expand their repertoire.

Originating in China, the basic idea behind devil sticks is to keep a large tapered stick in the air by hitting it alternately with two smaller handsticks. Once the basic elements are mastered, practitioners can move on to more complex patterns and tricks, often using multiple sticks at once.

Starting out

To start out in devil sticks, you first need the right equipment. Devil sticks can be purchased from most providers of juggling supplies, and are available in a range of colours and materials, so it’s easy to find something that suits your needs.

If you’re brand new to the sport, you might want to start out by using flower sticks. These have weighted ends which provide a slower spin, making them easier to use and enabling you to hone your technique before graduating to devil sticks.

The best way to learn the art of devil sticks is to join a juggling or circus skills club. However, if that isn’t for you, there are plenty of online tutorials available which, with a little patience, will help you to master the basics from the comfort of your home.

Learning the tricks

As your confidence builds and your skills improve, you can move beyond the basics, and start building up a repertoire of different moves. There are a number of different skills you can master to add flair and interest to your devil sticks routine. These can vary from fairly simple but still impressive-looking tricks, such as full spins, under leg, and behind the back, through to more complex routines including helicopters, propellers, and double leg rollovers. You can also use clever body moves and balances to help make your tricks look even more impressive.

Showcasing your skills

Once you’re confident in your abilities, it’s time to show off your devil stick skills to an audience and for this you need the right devil sticks. When starting out, cheap yet durable sticks are usually your best option, but as you progress you will probably find that good quality pro devil sticks will serve you better.

When it comes to performance, don’t underestimate the importance of appearance. Even a fairly basic routine can be given a little extra pizzazz with the right sticks – fluorescent or glitter sticks, for example can really help your performance to stand out for the right reasons.

For those whose devil stick skills are more advanced, or who are feeling especially brave, there is also the opportunity to use fire devil sticks which, as the name suggests, can be set on fire to add excitement and drama to your routine.

With so many variations available, devil sticks is a really interesting new skill that never gets dull, and is great for improving balance and hand-eye coordination. So what are you waiting for? Grab some sticks and get practicing – your future audience awaits.

Industrial Cleaning Product Market Set To Explode

industrial cleaning productsCleaning Product Market Growth of 5% Forecast Over Next 4 Years

Rise in population, better education regarding sanitation and pricing awareness has led to a forecast of 5% growth in the industrial cleaning product industry.

The cleaning product market is expanding rapidly on a global scale. A market research report conducted by analysts at Technavio forecasts that there will be a growth of 5% in the industrial cleaning product market between now and 2021.

Population Expansion

This increase can be partly attributed to the rise in worldwide population figures, particularly in regions such as Asia Pacific. This area is the largest market in terms of both domestic washing and industry cleaning products, which is helped by the expanding populations of China and India. These emerging countries are closely followed in the industry by accumulative sales in North America and Europe.

Health And Hygiene

Particularly in developing countries, there has been a rapid rise in education about the importance of proper hygiene in the prevention of infectious diseases. Therefore, the increasing usage of cleaning products to concentrate on personal hygiene, communal hygiene and food sanitation has contributed towards the growth of the cleaning products market overall.

Consumers are applying this knowledge and are paying additional attention to the safe storage of food, the sterilisation of meal preparation areas, and the thorough cleaning of bathrooms as well as other household surfaces. Buyers from all regions are also controlling the disposal of their rubbish and recycling materials with extra care. Even a small increase in the usage of cleaning products per family, can cause an explosion of growth in the cleaning product industry when looked at on a global scale.

Price Matters

Many people have busy, fast-paced lives. Consumers don’t have time to use sub-standard cleaning agents to scrub away at surfaces, when there are products available that can get the job done in half the time. Individuals and companies alike are choosing higher quality brands that are more efficient. Continued steady economic growth in some areas means that more is being spent in the industrial cleaning market, and this is predicted to rise over the next four years.

However, in developing countries, price is a determining factor over the efficacy of the product, as consumers have less money to spend. This doesn’t mean that there is no money to be made from this industry in these regions. However, cleaning product manufacturers will need to price their brand lines accordingly to gain a market share in these poorer nations.

There are strict government regulations in many countries that can prevent the growth of the market from reaching its full potential. However, significant increases in research and development before bringing a product to market, are certain to see some incredibly innovative and advanced merchandise being introduced into the industry. This, coupled with the mounting interest in cleaning and hygiene tips, particularly within the healthcare sectors, mean that this industry is one to watch over the next few years.

How Food Label Design Boosts Sales

Wine labels

Wine labelsEasy to Read Labelling Means Increased Purchases

The food and drink market is more competitive than ever. The design of the label could have a greater impact than you think on boosting sales.

According to the UK Department for International Trade, there are approximately 10,000 new food and drink products introduced in the UK every year. As the market becomes ever more saturated, it becomes increasingly difficult to get noticed and steal a march on the competitors.

Attractive packaging has always been an important part of the marketing mix that gets plenty of attention from designers and marketing gurus, as they work day and night to outdo the competition. Yet you might be surprised at just how important the clarity and design of your food label is when it comes to influencing buyer behaviour.

Research in France

Grenoble Ecole de Management is one of the top business schools and research institutes in Europe. Research conducted at the institute under the leadership of Associate Professor Caroline Werle suggests that labels that are uncluttered and easy to read win hands down over useful information and gimmicks in terms of increasing consumer purchases.

Professor Werle carried out two in-depth studies that assessed the buying preferences of 584 participants. She asked them to consider a wide range of products, which she had previously mapped according to two parameters: Whether they were healthy or unhealthy, and whether the labels were easy or difficult to read.

The results showed a marked consumer preference in favour of products with easy-to-read labels – in fact, this was the main deciding factor on whether the participants would buy a product or not, and was certainly of far greater influence than whether it was healthy or unhealthy.

Simple label equals simple purchase

There are a number of possible explanations for this interesting result, the most probable being that a clear food label that is easily read makes for a straightforward, uncomplicated purchase decision. This in turn gives purchasers a positive overall reaction, and the subconscious idea that they will enjoy the product.

Implications for the food labelling industry

These results have certainly raised some eyebrows among designers and marketers involved in food and drink labelling. If the “less is more” approach really has such a big impact on buying decisions, we could soon be seeing a whole new generation of minimalist label designs.

However, it is not just the sales and marketing teams that are interested in these results. Regulators and health watchdogs will be quick to notice other implications that could also have an impact on the industry.

Specifically, the evidence suggests that a clear, easily read label is more likely to make consumers think they will enjoy a product, even if it is unhealthy. It is no great leap of logic to conclude that a healthier alternative with a more detailed, and therefore less clear, label, will actually turn potential buyers away by providing more information as to its benefits.

If this is the case, then regulations that standardise all food labelling could be closer to reality than we think – however, there can be little doubt that a great deal more lengthy and detailed research must be carried out before such a step receives serious consideration.

Garden Makeover Ideas For Spring 2017

landscaped garden

landscaped gardenGarden makeover ideas based on requirements, commitment to garden care and limitations of the space such as too much shade or being overlooked. Choosing help wisely.

Transforming an outdoor space to suit individual tastes and requirements

Creating a garden to suit specific requirements and complement the look and feel of a property is a highly popular home improvement. In the wake of various garden and home makeover television programmes, magazine articles, and the growth of specialist landscape gardening specialists, more people are becoming inspired to make better use of their garden.

From simple and inexpensive alterations to major overhauls, there’s much scope regardless of garden size.

The decline of the ‘flat grass’ garden

The time honoured garden, often the type laid down in new build homes, is the bog standard lawn with maybe a little hard standing somewhere near the back wall of the house and a few borders around the perimeter of the garden.

Many find this somewhat limiting; for one thing, a lawn is out of action for large parts of the year when heavy rain and frost strikes, and it can be a rather uninspiring look compared to what’s possible with some imagination and design expertise.

Deciding on a change

Choosing from a wealth of options for a garden makeover can be narrowed down when deciding what is wanted from a garden and how much time will be devoted to its upkeep.


Is creating a genuine outdoor space to spend time in desired? If so, hard surfaces such as decking, patios and paths may be worth considering along with types of garden furniture.

Is low maintenance required due to lack of time (or even interest in spending time tending to the garden?). If so, ‘low maintenance’ plants and shrubs should be considered – and this makes an even stronger case for removing all or part of a lawn that requires mowing, seeding, watering and fertilizing, from time to time.

Are there any limitations? For example, is the garden in the shade much of the time, thus precluding certain types of plant from flourishing or preventing grass from getting enough sunlight? Is the garden overlooked? Is so, is it practical to improve privacy with taller plants, young trees or building a wall?


This will obviously determine how far a makeover can be taken. It’s important to direct funds where they’ll make the most difference. For example, if planning some hard standing or paving, then top quality stone is important. Once down it will be there for years, and compromising on quality is a false economy.

Finding an experienced, specialist supplier of popular stone types such as limestone paving, as opposed to the off-the-shelf route via DIY stores is key.

Levels and pathways

A popular and effective way to transform a garden is through the use of different levels and the use of paths to make more use of what may have been just a large lawn. A good garden designer can soon show you what alternatives are possible and, along with making for a space more adaptable and enjoyable to spend time in, make your garden look more interesting. This can be achieved by perhaps the use of curves in pathways, maybe a water feature if you’re prepared to maintain it, and careful positioning of certain plant types so the colours complement each other and the space in general when they bloom.


Carefully placed lighting can make a difference and make your garden usable in the evening during the warmer months. A wide choice of lights to accentuate water features, outdoor sculptures and certain plants or small trees is available, and a good designer can suggest where might be a good place to position them.

Choosing help wisely

There are a number of garden designers and landscape gardeners around, but choosing a suitable one needs careful attention. Recommendations from friends and people you trust is an ideal starting point, but if that’s not possible then online research and checking their websites – they’ll often have a web presence with photos of their work is the ideal way forward.

Kent Wedding Venues

Wedding in Kent

Wedding in KentThe Perfect Wedding Venue Might Not Cost as Much as You Think

Choosing the right venue is one of the most important wedding preparations. By hiring in what you need, you can have everything just as you want it.

Every wedding planner will tell you that choosing the venue can be among the most difficult and sometimes frustrating decisions that you have to make. With such a wide range of choices, depending on preference, budget, availability and the number of guests, some couples can feel completely overwhelmed before they even start.

After the information overload, most couples come up with a “wish list” of what they want from the venue, and then find that the choice has reduced from hundreds to zero. Nowhere seems to tick all the boxes, or anywhere that does so is far too expensive.

However, there is an alternative. Once you have found the perfect location, you can then add the extras that you need. There are specialist suppliers from whom you can source the right caterers, DJs and even hire a bar in Kent and the home counties.

Reviewing the venues

There are hundreds of wedding venues throughout the county, from Leeds Castle, in its 500 acres of grounds, to small secluded barns and outdoor venues dotted around the Kent countryside. You will start out with an approximate idea of the sort of venue you want, along with an idea of budget and the number of guests, but even this will bring you a short list that is far from being short!

Now is the time to open a spreadsheet and collate some key information. The following list is not exhaustive, but these are the points you are likely to want to consider and compare:

  • Name
  • Website / contact
  • Location
  • Type (e.g. barn, hotel, etc.)
  • Price – this will be approximate at this stage
  • Availability
  • Capacity
  • Facilities on site
  • Accessibility (for example, what is the parking like, is it near public transport)
  • Restrictions (e.g. relating to children, end time, etc.)

Narrowing it down

Reading through the information you have gathered above will allow you to start narrowing down the options. Some might be immediately discarded for practical reasons, for example if the price, size or availability does not meet your requirements, and others will fall off the list for the simple reason that you do not like them.

This is more important than anything. If it does not feel right, rule it out. As mentioned above, most things can be tailored by bringing in external suppliers, but one thing you cannot change is the overall “feel” of the location, so it must be right.

The final decision

Once you have narrowed down your selection to a manageable size, you can start visiting some of the sites. This is where the fun really begins, and you will feel like you are getting somewhere. While practical considerations such as price and facilities are important, do not lose sight of the main consideration – is this the place where you and your partner really want to celebrate your wedding?

This is also the time to meet up with other suppliers, such as entertainers, caterers, mobile bar suppliers, DJs, etc. and to bring it all together for the wedding day of your dreams.

Brexit Britain Prompts Return of Home Sewing

Viking sewing

Viking sewingWhy You Should Get Stitching

In the face of uncertainty, we’re finding enjoyment in traditional pastimes and hobbies like sewing again.

A few years ago, making your own clothes and home accessories was nowhere near as popular as it is now. With the rise of shows such as The Great British Sewing Bee, craft TV channels and sewing publications, there’s so much out there for amateur sewists to engage with and be inspired by. The world is now changing rapidly, and more and more of us are finding enjoyment in hobbies like sewing. Is it a way of escaping the uncertainty of the world around us, or a nod back to that great British tradition of making do and mending? Whatever the reason, we just can’t get enough of it!

Sewing boosts your mood

Gaining a skill can renew your optimism and confidence. For those who are feeling a little unsure of what the future holds politically, picking up sewing is a no brainer. On the other hand, the new opportunities that could lie ahead of us post-Brexit are making many people feel excited about the future. Whatever your views on what’s going on in the world, gaining a skill is a really good way of channelling all your passion into something productive.

How to start

Getting started is easy. There are so many different tools and resources out there to help you out. Whether you like to watch tutorials on YouTube or prefer to practice with the use of books and patterns, you’ll have so much to learn from and enjoy. Social media is full of sewists too – so you can get inspired and make friends. It’s worth investing a good machine too. Bernina sewing machines are some of the most popular ones on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. A brand with a long history, their machines are reliable, easy to use and really help you to unleash your creativity.

Easy on your wallet

As we all tighten our belts, we become more conscious of what things cost. Thankfully, sewing is a pretty cost effective hobby. Once you’ve bought a machine, you’ll find that the cost of fabric and other materials is much less than you’d pay for something from a shop. Yes, it may take more time to make a dress than it does to buy one, but you’ll have something that costs less, suits you more and really stands out.

Building your skills

Why not try a few small projects and then go from from there? Customising your clothes is a great way to get started, as you can be as ambitious as you like. Things like cushion covers and pincushions are really easy little projects that will equip you with vital skills too. Just have a look online and see what catches your eye. Whether you’re making something for your home or for you to wear, the only way you’ll get better is with practice.

Make 2017 the year you start sewing

Right now, it looks as if our national obsession with sewing is showing no signs of abating. Along with baking and other crafts, this traditional hobby is a great way to not only indulge your creative side, but gain a valuable skill too. So if you’ve been wondering whether you should give it a go, just do it! You certainly won’t regret it.

The Best Wood Burners for Conservatories

wood burner in conservatory

wood burner in conservatory

Why You Should Invest in One

Wood burners are great for those who want to keep energy bills down, and they’re a super stylish addition to a room too.

We think of conservatories as places to enjoy during the summer, but there’s no reason why they can’t be utilised all year round. Yes, they do get chilly in the winter – there’s no getting around that. While they don’t retain heat as well as the other rooms in your home, they can be heated though. If you invest in something like say, a wood burner, you can keep your conservatory warm and toasty all throughout the colder months. So, to help you get the most out of your conservatory this winter, here are some of the best wood burners out there.

Flavel Arundel Wood Burning Stove


Now, when you picture a wood burner you’ll more than likely have a traditional piece in mind. The Flavel Arundel Wood Burning Stove is far from old-fashioned though. The large glass pane and sleek, minimal design give this wood burner a really modern feel. It will fit right in with a more contemporary conservatory as well. The result? You get the best of both worlds!

Mendip 5 SE Claret Enamel Stove


Want to bring a little bit of retro charm to your conservatory? Then go for the Mendip 5 SE Claret Enamel Stove. The most eye-catching aspect of this wood burner is the traditional hand enamelled finish. Available in a wide range of colours, the most striking of which is bright red, this will be a really stylish talking point in your conservatory.

Morso 7648 Wood Burning Stove


If you’re trying to add a little Scandi style to your conservatory, then you’ll love the Morso 7648 Wood Burning Stove. This stylish cylindrical stove is ultra-modern and will look great in the centre of a room thanks to its eye catching pedestal. It’s DEFRA approved too, making it the perfect addition to a conservatory with serious style and efficiency aspirations.

Chesney’s Shoreditch XLS 4 Series Stove


Last but not least is Chesney’s Shoreditch XLS 4 Series Stove. This stove is the perfect combination of modern and traditional designs. The log store in the base gives it a rustic feel, but the clean lines and cool grey colour are very much contemporary. As a result, this is a wood burner that would fit into any design scheme.

Why choose a wood burner?

Wood burners are great at warming up a room quickly – and you just can’t beat a real fire for that cosy feeling. It’s important that you have your wood burner installed by a professional and that all current regulations are adhered to. If you live in a smoke-controlled area, be sure to check that your new wood burner is DEFRA approved. As long as you pick carefully, there’s no reason why you can’t add one to your luxury conservatory.

Which one is right for you?

Investing in a wood burner for your conservatory means that you can heat the room quickly and efficiently. They’re also incredibly stylish, and make for a great focal point to build the design scheme for the rest of your conservatory around. Whether you’ve got a traditional conservatory or a modern glass winter garden, there’s no reason why keeping it warm means sacrificing on style. So, which one will you go for?

How To Build Your Cleaning Business

cleaning equipment

cleaning equipmentPoints to consider when starting and growing a cleaning business. Assessing the market and marketing, considering franchising and ways to expand and diversify.

Starting and establishing your enterprise and moving to the next level

“Where there’s muck there’s brass” is an old saying very appropriate to the cleaning trade. It’s a huge industry with one national franchise operator estimating it to be worth in the region of over £2.8 billion a year; it’s an expanding industry with no signs of a slow down.

Expanding market

Indeed, with more people having less time, albeit with more income, many domestic chores are being sub contracted, with cleaning high on the list. Commercial cleaning is booming, too; the need to comply with ever more stringent health and safety requirements means cleanliness levels in the workplace must be of a high standard.

There’s scope for newcomers to the industry; some research undertaken amongst householders revealed that, of those who don’t use an outside house cleaner, some 20% say it’s simply because they can’t find one.

Getting started

Cleaning is a relatively simple business to make a start in; a handful of cleaning products and some flyers and you’re good to go – but it’s not quite as simple as that. Some pointers to consider:

Competition is rife: there are many involved in cleaning, from one person doing it part time for a handful of friends’ houses, to major national companies operating through a franchise model.

Demand: can people in your locality afford a cleaner? Assuming you’d look to start locally, check if there are potentially enough households to be your customers. If you’re leaning more to offering commercial cleaning, are there enough businesses of the right size locally?

Be aware that larger businesses probably use an established, specialist commercial cleaners and may not consider using a startup. Smaller businesses might though.

Set prices carefully: research the competition by posing as a potential customer and asking for prices, and maybe ask a few friends to do the same.

Budget carefully: while initial costs can be low, you’ll still need to invest to a degree – and don’t overlook marketing costs. Looking professional will be a big help so properly printed flyers and business cards are basics.

Marketing: while you may get a start with a few people known to you letting you clean their homes, the hard work is building up a sustainable customer list. Some activities you might consider:

  • Flyers – put them through the doors of your targeted homes and maybe businesses – and repeat regularly. Doing it once is counter productive
  • Classified advertising – worth a go with your local newspapers but, as with flyers above, you need to advertise consistently before judging it as people often need repeated exposure to advertisements before taking action
  • Online presence – a website is worthwhile and adds credibility. It needn’t be expensive. Also set up a Facebook page for your business.
  • Online advertising – your website could help you be found when people are searching online for cleaners, and options such as pay per click advertising may be worth considering (especially if you’re offering a niche service such as carpet cleaning)
  • Door knocking – fills many people with terror, but it does work and some people may respond better to at least putting a name to a face
  • Branding – not restricted to multi-million corporations, good branding and a business identity will help you to establish and grow your business. Logos and a consistent typeface you use in your printed materials is a good move – and good quality designs are available very competitively priced online through freelance sites such as Fiverr.

Once you grow a little, branded clothing such as polo shirts and so on can reinforce your professionalism and joining trade organisations requiring a certain standard from its members shows competence.


If the idea of setting up from scratch doesn’t appeal and you have some money to invest (or can borrow some) then the franchising route may appeal.

Franchising is a popular business model in the cleaning industry with many options to choose from, including specialised cleaning sectors such as oven cleaning, kitchen hygiene cleaning, heating duct cleaning and chimney sweeping. If you invest in a franchise, you operate under the franchise name using their corporate identity and running a business often exactly to their prescribed ‘blueprint.’

Along with the initial costs there are usually further fees to pay in the form of a share of your profits along with maybe having to buy certain items such as marketing materials through them or their suppliers.

You may find it attractive from a business ‘done for you’ point of view, but you’ll still likely have to find your own customers. The franchisor should help with marketing support in terms of printed materials, maybe a centralised mailing campaign and online help such as providing you with a website.

Question of price

It’s tempting to focus on price especially when starting up, but this isn’t the best course to follow. In most businesses there’s always someone willing to ‘do it for less’ and it’s important to have a business that makes a realistic profit.

Once your business gains some momentum, you’ll require support from professional suppliers and service providers. For example, you’ll need access to and fast delivery of supplies and equipment, so choose a supplier of professional cleaning products carefully.

Legislation and licenses

There are no specific licences or stipulations required to start a cleaning business, but it’ll show professionalism and put your potential customers’ minds at rest if you undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. If you go on to employ others at some stage, then getting them DRB checked will be worthwhile.

Developing and growing your business

If you start off providing domestic cleaning you may be happy simply expanding your customer base and recruiting more cleaners as business grows. Alternatively, you may seek to move into other areas – maybe offering commercial cleaning services – or operating in certain niches such as carpet cleaning.

How you grow and maybe diversify will likely be informed by what your local market needs. As you become known and knowledgeable about the local market conditions, maybe you’ll be aware that people are crying out for good carpet cleaners and it’s an under-served market, for example?

You may prefer to be more of a manager than a hands-on cleaner in time, so might look to expand to the point where you’re recruiting and running a team of cleaners.

Tough but worthwhile

Starting any business is tough of course, and a cleaning business even in a high demand area takes some hard work. The low barriers to entry often mean many individuals and one or two person startups ‘have a go’ so you’re up against them along with the established local and national companies.

After a while though, if you build a solid reputation and become established then you could have a profitable enterprise with interesting possibilities for expansion and diversification.

Pancake Day 2017: 5 Gadgets You Need to Make the Best Flipping Pancakes


Pancake Day is a day for gorging on the sugary, fried batter goodness, but did you know there are gadgets out there to make your pancake experience easier? We’ve rounded up the best pancake-making gadgets for you to use this Pancake Day:

A Quirky Stem Juicer

A stem spray is just the gadget for those who don’t like peeling zesty limes or citrusy lemons! To use this nifty little gadget, simply pierce the fruit and then press down on the top of the stem spray to mist your pancakes with a delicious hint of zest. It’s mess-free, quick and easy!

Egg Cracker

Crack or separate eggs in one easy squeeze of the handle, this egg cracker allows you to crack eggs easily, without having to fish out those annoying shell pieces. It’s a good little gadget if you’ve got a bunch of eggs to crack, and your hands will stay super clean in the process.

Twin Pan

We’ve all been there – you’ve got the perfect looking pancake, but it’s time to flip it to crisp up the sides. You flip the pancake and suddenly, it’s dropped out the pan and splashed everywhere.

Well with a twin pan, you won’t have that problem any longer! The non-stick coating will allow your pancake to crisp up evenly on both sides, and save you the hassle of having to do a messy flip.

Flexible Pancake Turner

If you do fancy flipping your pancakes this Pancake Day, why not try the OXO flexible pancake turner? This handy little tool is an essential for flipping and transferring your pancakes from pan to plate in one piece.

Pancake Creator

If you fancy getting creative, why not try a pancake creator? Bring out your inner artist and design unique pancakes for everyone to enjoy! There are plenty of YouTube tutorials if you fancy following a detailed design.


Hopefully these gadgets will help your Pancake Day run smoothly and leave the kitchen in a much cleaner state than last year!

12 Month Jail Sentence For Landlord Who Failed To Provide Fire Safety

slade lane - manchester evening news

slade lane - manchester evening newsManchester Landlord Put Lives at Risk in “Death Trap” Flats

A property landlord has pleaded guilty to 14 fire safety breaches relating to a network of flats above commercial premises in a deprived area of Manchester

The Manchester Evening News reported an interesting case of a landlord who was fined after failing to provide adequate fire health and safety in his properties.

Kamarat Hussain owns a number of connected properties on Slades Lane in Longsight, Manchester – these are commercial shops housing travel agents, a butchers and other small businesses, with eight residential flats above them.

Fire safety officers found numerous problems, including an absence of fire escape signs, missing or broken fire extinguishers, blocked fire exits and faulty wiring.

Child at a window

A hearing took place at Manchester Crown Court in December, at which Prosecutors reported that a fire officer was passing Hussain’s premises by chance in July 2015, when he noticed a child at an upstairs window and became concerned. On entering the building, he immediately saw numerous dangerous problems, prompting an official investigation that would last for months.

The officer issued an enforcement notice within weeks, and over the subsequent 14 months, he made 12 follow up visits in an attempt to bring the building up to standard. Despite this, little had been done when he made his last visit in September 2016.

Hussain was also unable to produce a fire risk assessment, despite repeated reminders and the fact that he claimed to have spent £700 on having one conducted.

Cost cutting

The Prosecutor described Hussain’s “flagrant disregard” for the safety of his tenants through cost cutting measures, that placed them at risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire. All this, in spite of the properties generating more than £7,000 for Hussain in rent every month.

Hussain’s defence lawyer pointed out that he has had recent health and financial difficulties. He also stated that Hussain recently spent £2,000 on improvements and had not been deliberately cutting costs.

The ruling QC, Judge Patrick Field, disagreed and said there had been deliberate cost-cutting. He noted Hussain’s previous convictions for food safety breaches, and remarked that he has a “tendency to disregard the law regarding the safety of others”.

Hussain was ordered to serve a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, with 200 hours’ unpaid work and £11,025 costs.

In agreeing to the suspended sentence, he remarked that Hussain was fully aware of the consequences for him if he failed to make the necessary improvements.


Hussain was bullish in his own defence after the hearing, although his word of choice was slightly different.

He told the Manchester Evening News: “This case is 100 per cent bull****. They’ve done this to me because I’m a young man with a big building. I have done everything they told me. This building I’ve bought is a very big building, and I’ve worked hard for it. I’m not worried about prison because I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s a 100 per cent bull**** – and I’ll come back and prove it.”