Great ideas for using raspberries

The recent spate of sunny weather has left many people yearning for summer and all the delights that the season brings. Raspberries are definitely one of the best things about summer, as there are many fantastic ideas to try out.

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Start the day off in the best possible way – add a few to cereal in the morning, pop some in your porridge or make a fresh fruit smoothie with raspberries as one of the star ingredients. Growing your own raspberries is a great way to get the freshest possible fruit and the plants can yield a lot of fruit. This article from The Guardian has some tips for two crops of fruit in the growing season.


There are so many ways to bring raspberries into your baking. If you’re a fan of brownies why not try adding a handful, folding them in to the batter before baking? A squidgy dark chocolate brownie with sweet, melting raspberries in the centre is a thing of beauty!

If cheesecake is more your thing then try a baked raspberry cheesecake, which would be ideal for a summer dinner party. Alternatively, match the fruit with almonds in a raspberry and almond cake and if you want raspberries out of season, then this sort of cake can be made perfectly with raspberry food flavouring, such as that from In fact, as fresh fruit can make baked items act a little oddly, raspberry food flavouring can even work better than the real thing!

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Another way to help keep the raspberry flavour throughout the year is to make your own jam. If you’ve never made it before, then jam may seem a bit fiddly, but it can actually be very easy and leaves you feeling like a domestic god or goddess!

Cool down

If the weather starts to heat up, then we’ll all need ice cream. Raspberry ripple is the creamy classic from childhood that can be surprisingly easy to make yourself and it’s ideal as there are many recipes that don’t even require an ice cream machine.

Perhaps an ice cold drink would be a better way to cool down? Try making homemade lemonade with added raspberries then serve the beautiful pink drink over piles of ice. Whatever happens with the weather this summer, bring on the raspberries!

10 essential items for every classroom

Every infant and primary school teacher knows that budgets are tight in the classroom, and not every school will supply all the items that you might need. As we move into the summer term, it is a good idea to make a list of the most useful items for the classroom.

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Why not plan ahead for the autumn term too, to ensure that you put in requests for all of the essentials?

You may not mind dipping into your own funds for pens and pencils, but most teachers would hesitate to supply their own magnetic dry wipe boards for schools.

Here is a list of 10 essential classroom resources that you really should not run out of:

1. Felt tip pens and sharpies in bright colours

It is impossible to imagine any primary school lesson which does not involve getting creative with pens. Make sure you also have some good spray cleaner for wiping desks afterwards.

2. A box of tissues

These are essential for those runny noses and moments when children are feeling fragile and tearful.

3. Storage files and magazine boxes

You need to have an efficient storage system for keeping children’s work easy to find and in good condition.

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4. Velcro dots and sticky tac

For fixing up posters and artwork.

5. Crayons and coloured pencils

For creative children, these are much better than felt-tip pens, as they allow for shading and variations in colour; for the artistic children in your class, they are essential, and also last longer than pens.

6. Scissors

You need a box of small, safe scissors suitable for small hands, and something sturdier for use by teacher and the teaching assistant, to make life easier.

7. Books

An essential part of any classroom. If you are lucky enough to have a school library, make use of it. For ideas for using literature, getting free books and celebrating World Book Day, see

8. Portable whiteboards
These are so useful in the primary classroom for flexible working. They can be purchased from

9. Stationery and note cards for writing thank you notes to parents

If you get parents on your side, you may find you have willing volunteers when you need them for events and trips.

10. Glue sticks

Great for classroom papercraft projects.

Good Photography

Photos are not just about the product, whether for fashion or a corporate setting, they are about the message sent. A good photo is pleasing a provocative photo is what sells. When you gloss over a magazine the model showing off the photo should be portrayed to be human yet perfect.

What does that mean? If you have ever looked into a mirror (of course you have but humor me here) say under fluorescent lighting you notice how different features are enhanced or downplayed, certain lighting flatters or destroys a photo and its intended subject

Good makeup, quality products and a picturesque place are an advantage but a good photographer uses his/her knowledge to their advantage to portray a message within the picture and make it something to look twice at or thought provoking as stated earlier on.

The person behind the lens should know how to handle the subject, whether it is a building or a person. A good photographer listen’s to the client and works with what they are given to produce a high quality photo.

For the corporate look the most common photos are during events such as a cocktail party, seminars and office parties. A professional photographer knows how to blend in and work with the given lighting (most corporate events are indoors with low lighting so do not be surprised to see an external flash on the photographer). A good corporate photo is an advertisement opportunity for the company, both to clients and future employees, so picking the right photos show what type of a place the business is.

When employing a photographer, pick one that portrays professionalism. You do not want a photographer who appear in scruffy clothes and flip flops for your wedding. Look at their portfolio and read some of their reviews, you can contact past customers; a satisfied client is one of the best referrals. Take a peek at their website. The Michal Kriesch studios with extensive experience, over 10 years, in the photography business, offer quality photos for every occasion.

The website contains some of the photographer’s best work ranging from portraits to weddings and corporate affairs. The quality of work is superb. His portraits and choice of backdrops and lighting make for exquisite photos.

Free Project Management Software You Should Consider Using

Any good manager knows that in order for a project to succeed everything must be organized properly for everyone. This is where project management software comes in. A lot of this popular software usually comes at a premium price tag which is often beyond the budget of small to medium-sized businesses. The good thing though is that there are also free project management software’s available that can do the same job.

Open Workbench

If you are familiar with Microsoft Project then you may want to take a look at its free alternative which is called Open Workbench. The main focus of this application is project scheduling and it does a great job. You can access several features such as resource management, scheduling, planning, and reviews.

This is highly recommended software for startup companies who are looking for an effective solution in managing their projects that isn’t complex and expensive.


One other software to consider in managing your projects is OpenProj. This free task tracking application has several features comparable to that of paid versions. It is compatible with Microsoft Project files and uses less resource. Project managers who have tried this software find it a very useful tool for task management.


GanttProject is cross-platform software that works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It has basic project management features that will help you oversee your project to the end. Some of its features include

  • Creation of a Gantt chart
  • Assigning of human resources
  • Generate a PERT chart from a Gantt chart
  • Save charts as .PNG
  • Generate .PDF and .HTML report
  • Import and export projects to Microsoft Project


This is web based project management software that helps you in your project layout and control. It has extensive features that make it the choice for company’s who are particular in task management. Some of its features include

  • User Management
  • Email based trouble Ticket System, (Integrated’sticketsmith)
  • Client/Company Management
  • Project listings
  • Hierarchical Task List
  • File Repository
  • Contact List
  • Calendar
  • Discussion Forum
  • Resource Based Permissions


Managers love to use this tool because it is highly configurable and versatile. It packs in several powerful features such as a planning module, time module, reporting module and even a questionnaire. It is also web based so you need to be connected online.

In times when companies everywhere are making budget cuts it is time to make the smart decision. Even if funding has been reduced any manager can still manage a project by using these free project management software. Although they may differ from the paid versions that some of you are used to it still provides the same end result.

Different Procedural Methods of Liposuction

There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding the different procedures involved in liposuction. Many people even remain oblivious of the fact that there is more than one way to perform this procedure which a lot of people are very eager to try out.  Here you can find all the details and information regarding non-invasive procedures for liposuction.


The different procedures of liposuction have various costs depending on which specific area you want to get liposuction performed upon and how long that procedure will take. Different plastic surgeons have different costs and the location of where it is performed also affects its cost. The prices of liposuction can vary from $1500 up to $15,000 with reference to the more modern methods that are used now. The modern methods, however, are cheaper than the traditional ones as they do not require as much anesthesia, are less invasive and have a shorter recovery period.

Non-Surgical Liposuction

This form of liposuction does not require an invasive procedure and is mostly performed without anesthesia. Various procedures come under this form of liposuction such as laser-based procedure, Smart Lipo, to sound-based Ultrasonic and Vaser treatment. Although these procedures may be referred to as non-surgical, they do involve the use of surgical instruments to some extent for incision. However, when compared to the older more traditional methods, non-surgical procedures are considerably less invasive.

Due to the perks of including less recovery time, cheaper rates and lesser side effects, it won’t be long that this form of surgery will be identified as simple and plain ‘liposuction’. However, before that happens, the less invasive option is one to be considered by anyone looking for cosmetic surgery.

Ultrasonic Liposuction

This sound-based procedure involves the use of a gel that is injected into the fat cells, which is then caused to move in reaction to the ultrasonic sound waves. The movement the gel leads to the tearing of the fat cells; they are flushed out of the body in a natural way, with a minimum amount of pain or discomfort caused during the process. The procedure is carried under local anesthesia and modern machines make the procedure much safer than previously used machines which were scrutinized and their safety questioned.

Vaser Liposuction

This procedure is becoming increasingly popular and attracting a lot of attention after having been introduced within the last decade or so. This form of relatively new cosmetic surgery is the least invasive of all procedures where only the localized area is numbed while the patient is still very much awake. This is also based on ultrasonic laser methods where the ultrasound breaks up the fat cells and flushes them out without affecting any adjacent tissue around the cells and the treated area. On top of this procedure has minimum side effects and very good results, it is also more affordable as compared to other forms of cosmetic surgery.

Smart Liposuction

This form of liposuction, which can also be referred to as Laser Liposuction involves the use of “smart laser” to melt the fat away and naturally flush it out of the body. It is relatively low impact and thus is also very popular amongst those who want an alternative to ultrasonic liposuction.

Choosing Modern Fireplaces

You may find yourself in a situation where you want to buy a modern fireplace but you have no idea of where to start. In order to choose a suitable modern fireplace, there are tips that you can apply and they include the following:

There are there different types of gas fireplaces and so you need to know which one you need in order to have a modern fireplace. The three types of gas fireplace include the natural vent, the direct vent and the vent free. The natural vent requires a chimney and is hard to install and so it isn’t very common. The direct vent doesn’t interfere with the indoor air and so it keeps you warm. You can install it anywhere you want. The vent free doesn’t need any vent. It, therefore, saves you the cost of installation.

The next step is deciding the particular kind of gas fire you want. There are different styles of modern fireplaces. There is a type that is long and lean and hangs on the wall like a picture. These come in direct vent or vent free gas fireplace styles. It is advisable to go for a vent free one because it is just plugged and play. The second type is built into a wall. These are fresh and pleasing to the eye. It looks like a torch and so it is known as “the torch.” It is small and therefore doesn’t offer much warmth. The third type is the multi-sided one. It is used for dividing rooms, for example, a living room and a dining room and peninsula and island styles.

The third step is choosing how hot you want your gas fireplace to be. You can decide whether you want it to heat your entire home or maybe just one room for example your guest room. This will help you decide on the type of modern fireplace you need.

Choosing modern fireplaces is not a very difficult activity but it should be done carefully in order to help you get one that suits your needs. This kind of investment is almost permanent and so you should choose something that serves your needs and also one that you love. You can consider putting it in a place where it will be seen by a lot of people in order for them to see the beautiful view. You can find Ecosmart Ethanol fires and also modern fireplaces by Ecosmart Fire.

Holiday Home Improvement

There may be some ways to show friends and family that you have made some improvements to your home since last year’s big get together. With a small budget and a crafty mind, you can make your home look like a before and after episode of This Old House. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and take on these projects by yourself. Spend your weekend making a difference and know that it will not go unnoticed.

Projects that Won’t Hurt Your Wallet

First off, you can start by ripping up that old nasty carpet that has been bothering you. Head to Lowes, Home Depot, or Menards to and take a look at their vinyl flooring. Everyone loves hardwood floors, but vinyl flooring is fairly inexpensive and looks extremely high end for the cost. Start with one corner using a crowbar and peel it off like a band aid (you’ll probably want to get the furniture into another room for this one).Take some basic measurements of the room, giving you the square footage of the room. You can find calculators on line that will give you a good estimate of the square footage or just ask customer service at your local hardware store. You will need a saw for this one, but cutting is pretty minimal. For more tips and tricks for installing your floors, visit Pete’s Hardwood Floors.

Paint your walls. Choose a color that goes will with your furniture and accents the features of your home. Choose complimentary colors and don’t be afraid to paint more than one room.  With motivation of Holidays right around the corner, you can tackle multiple walls in one day. Choose textures and colors that reflect you and your personality. Painting is a great option for making a big difference on a small budget.

Shop second hand and don’t be afraid to get thrifty. Now-a-days with this hipster movement, you can find great retro pieces with a wow-factor that make your home more trendy. Don’t’ overdo it, though. Keep it simple with minimal key items in your spaces. Look for old furniture with good bones and a solid structure. A little paint or new upholstery might be enough to make it a statement piece with the ideal “wow” factor.

Whatever the project may be this year, call in the friends and family to lend a hand. Sure, you could probably do it yourself but it’s always more fun in the company of others during the holiday season. That’s what the holiday season is all about –helping others. Please exercise caution and be safe! Be careful of ice while climbing latters and hanging Christmas lights. Most importantly, have fun!

Creative Home Decor Projects For Repurposed Shutters

You have to admit that old, wood shutters have an irresistible pull. There is something about their link to the past that adds allure to their somewhat rustic appearance. But what do you do with those shutters from your grandparents’ old homestead or the ones you discovered in the dusty corner of an antique store? Check out these great ideas for repurposing those charming shutters and creating something both beautiful and useful for your home.

Home Office Organizer
There is nothing classy about those plastic mail sorters. Let’s be honest; they just look boring. If you want to add a little charm to your home office while getting rid of some of that paper cluttering your desk, hang a couple of shutters on the wall over your desk. Use the slots to sort bills and outgoing mail and display a few of your favorite photos. Clothespins are a great way to clip papers to the shutters if you have trouble keeping them in the slots.

Magazines, Anyone?
Another fantastic way to use a shutter is as a magazine rack. Simply hang a shutter on the wall, and then slip one magazine over each slot, creating an orderly, eye-catching display for your favorite reads.

Funky End Tables
If you find four matching shutters, you can create a fun and eye-catching end table. You will need a square countertop piece to top the creation and a way to keep the pieces connected and strengthened. Good Housekeeping offers some easy-to-follow instructions for this project.

Stunning Headboards
Find at least two sets of matching shutters, one taller set and one shorter set. Combine with some crown molding or other wooden decoration, and fit the shutters together over the bed with the two taller ones in the middle. The effect is simply amazing. Simpler headboards can be created with four matching shutters all lined up in a row. The options are limitless.

A New Twist on Consoles
Perhaps you have seen tables created from repurposed doors. Try creating a console or buffet table out of shutters. It is not as hard as it sounds, and the results are truly unique. If you are at a loss for the how-to of this project.

Frame It Up
Shutters can create great frames or backdrops for other decorative items in your house. A single round clock may get lost on a large wall; place it on a shutter to create a little extra pizzazz in your room. You can also try attaching a spray of flowers to a shutter or hanging a row of shutters with framed pictures of your friends and family attached to each one.

Preparing Shutters
Many old shutters look fantastic just the way they are, but if you are trying to combine several shutters to create a single look, you may want to match the colors. Traditional painting is the easiest method, but many people love a more distressed look on their shutters. A simple Internet search is sure to result in instructions on how to transform your old set of shutters into a remarkable work of art. If you have an artistic flair, you can also custom paint your shutters to match another household decor.

Rented Apartments – Furnished Or Unfurnished?

Rented apartments are becoming readily popular in the United States, especially in highly populated states like New York. This is because these states are a home to several people who come here looking for work. Also, there are thousands of international students who need to rent apartments. Regardless of the sphere of life you belong in, renting an apartment can be a tedious task. This is because several considerations need to be made. For one, you need to decide whether you want a furnished or an unfurnished apartment. Here are a few things to help you make the decision.

Your budget – Before setting out to look for an apartment for rent, you need to sit down and draw up a rough budget. You need to decide on the amount of money you will be willing to spend on an apartment. In several areas of New York, furnished apartments are available in affordable prices. This means that while they certainly do cost more than unfurnished ones, there is not a great margin in the prices.  If you do not have a lot of cash to spend on buying furniture as well as other equipment for an entire house, it would be appropriate to buy a furnished apartment. If, however, you can afford to invest in household equipment, you might as well go for it.

The length of your stay – How long do you intend to stay in your rented apartment? If your work requires you to travel from time to time, it would not be appropriate to buy new furniture for an unfurnished apartment. This is because you will have to manage the transportation and settling of this furniture every time you relocate. If, however, you have found the perfect unfurnished apartment and intend to stay in it for a long time, you might as well as choose your own furniture and equipment. Decorating a house yourself can make you feel a lot more comfortable with living in it, especially if you are planning to stay for years.

The reason you are renting and apartment – Renting an apartment does not only mean that you can not afford a house of your own. There are several other reasons people might be looking for apartment rentals. If, for example, you are a student and need an apartment to live in, it would be advisable to go for a furnished apartment. This is because furnishing can be a lengthy and tough process, which you might not have the time or resources for. Moreover, you might need to move to another apartment as your affordability and need fluctuate. In such a case, you almost certainly would not want to have to deal with furniture.

All in all, both furnished and unfurnished apartments have their advantages. The choice between the two entirely depends on your needs as a dweller. Therefore, you need to consider certain factors so as to make sure which one is the best for you.

Rich Tenants Are Chronic Late Payers

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Do you know why? If you do, you must be one of the rich. If you don’t, good luck to you. We don’t know the secret either, but what we do know is that many of the world’s richest people watch their pennies. Some watch their pennies so closely that they’re very reluctant to let go of any of them. According to a recent announcement by TPN Credit Bureau, some wealthy folks are so reluctant to part with their money that they make a habit of paying their rent late.

To be honest, the very rich are not the only late payers; the very poor are also guilty, but that makes more sense, doesn’t it?

If you’re looking for stats, TPN Credit Bureau found that 17 000 of tenants in the high-income bracket pay their rent late. When we’re talking about rent as high as this, we’re talking about a significant cash flow problem for landlords.

Buying high-end property with a view to rent
If you want to take on risky high-income tenants then your only option is to have a very posh house. On the lower end of the high-end market, monthly rent is in the region of $3500, but it really depends on location. reports that a high-end two-storey, two-garage property in Virginia Beach goes for about $3500 per month, but in Los Angeles, super-high-end property can go for over $100 000 per month.

The high-end rental market is also interesting in New York, where property has always gone for a premium price. Back in 2010, reported that studio apartments went for around $3000 per month (compare that to Virginia Beach), while three-bedroom apartments (not houses mind) could fetch around $23 000. Would you like to guess at what the rental prices are now, two years and plenty of uncertainty later?

According to Luxe List Home, there is an increasing demand for luxury home rentals, which the COO, Alan Shafer, attributes to the property market’s continuing shakiness. The wealthy don’t want to be laden with a fantastically luxurious home that they don’t have a prayer of selling; at least not if they want to recoup their costs.

On the other hand, if you are wealthy and willing to take a property risk, you could always buy something big and fancy and rent it out to your more cautious peers.

If you’re worried about going too big, you could buy a house that is not quite a true-blue mansion but which still offers single families and even single professionals the chance to live the high life. You could rent it for around $14 000 per month. At the very worst you’re looking too boost your monthly income by around $4000, right?