Tips for moving to a new house in winter

There is a reason why moving to a new house in the winter is cheaper – fewer people want to make such a move with the cold, the ever-present risk of snow and ice, and Christmas smack bang in the middle. This does not mean it is an impossible task, but it does take some extra thought and planning. Here are our top tips for anyone planning to move home in the winter.

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Pack things in sturdy, weather-resistant materials

Old-fashioned tea chests – once the top choice for moving home – are invaluable for bad weather moves; however, sturdy, thick cardboard boxes with fully closable lids will do. Avoid banana boxes and anything made of flimsy cardboard. Check the mover has tarps to protect your carpet and your furniture before it is taken outside.

Time things carefully

There are fewer daylight hours in winter, so an early start on loading is a good idea, especially if you are not moving too far away and can arrive, unload and start unpacking the essentials while it is still light enough to see. Always carry a torch in case there are any issues with utilities at your new place. If possible, arrange to have these turned on a couple of days before you move in – you could even have the new place heated for your arrival.

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Check the weather forecast

If ice is expected, it is helpful to have some rock salt handy to grit the paths at both ends of the move.

Keep an emergency bag separate

Apart from the usual things you need to hand at all times, include a couple of changes of clothes in case you get wet on the day.

Use a local company

Local companies drive around and beyond the local area every day, so there is nobody better for knowing the roads and particularly which are safest in bad weather; for example, for the best moving experience in Bristol, choose a Bristol removals company such as

Moving to a new house in the winter may not be as straightforward as doing the same thing in other seasons; however, with a little advance planning, it can be just as easy and is generally cheaper. You also get to enjoy cosy evenings in your new home without having to tackle chores such as gardening.

Enjoying the delights of a non-alcoholic Christmas drink

Christmas time and the New Year can be a time for people to enjoy an alcoholic drink or two, but that doesn’t mean that non-drinkers should have to miss out. There are many drinks that can be enjoyed at Christmas that do not involve alcohol and there are also so many great mocktails that you should definitely have a look at. Even if you are having a party that is going to be catered for by Mobile Bar Hire Gloucestershire company you can still enjoy some tee-total delights.

Why not start the festive season off with some alcohol-free eggnog?

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Made from the following ingredients this drink is a popular one around Christmas time and is relatively easy to make:




Condensed Milk

Egg Yolks


Whipping Cream


Vanilla Extract

You essentially combine all of the ingredients in a pan over a moderate heat to create this beautiful smooth drink. Dusting with some nutmeg is a must. If you are looking for a step by step recipe then take a look here.

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Another seasonal favourite is the Blackberry mocktail made from a selection of blackberries mixed with orange juice and lemon juice with a small dash of cinnamon syrup to give it that Christmassy flavour. It is one drink that smells incredible and will have you wanting to drink it over and over again whilst you enjoy your Christmas meal. It is also a great option to prepare in advance for New Year’s Eve. If you find it difficult to find cinnamon syrup you can make your own by infusing cinnamon with water and white sugar. You should have equal parts water to sugar in order to make a syrup of any kind. You boil all the ingredients together and then strain to get a smooth, bit free syrup.


A favourite of mine to have with the evening food on Christmas day is the Cranberry Spice. This drink is incredibly easy to make and has a wonderfully fresh flavour that gives me a much-needed pick me up towards the end of the day at Christmas. The ingredients include cranberry juice, water, a bitter or tonic of some description, fizzy apple juice, fresh cranberries and an orange wedge to garnish. You simply place all of the ingredients in a glass including the fresh cranberries, stir it around and then decorate with a nice wedge of orange and enjoy.


The uses and benefits of silicone

Silicone – we have all heard of it, but what actually is it, where is it, and what does it do?

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In brief, silicones are specialised materials that include silicone polymers, silicone fluids and reactive silanes. They are super-high performance materials that can be found in all kinds of places, from aerospace to health care, personal care and cosmetics, construction, transportation and electronics. Let’s take a look at the most common uses and benefits of silicone.

Why is silicone used in so many things?

Silicone can add many useful properties to a material. It enhances moisture and flexibility and increases resistance to cold, heat and ultraviolet light. Silicone can be liquid, solid, semi-viscous, rubber, oil or grease. Where might we find this amazing material?

Personal care and cosmetics.

Ask any makeup artist about primers and you can be sure that they will mention silicone. Silicone helps products to spread more easily and retain their colour. Silicone imparts shine on your hair and builds good SPF into skin care.


Sturdy silicone makes up the outer casing on many phones, laptops and home entertainment gadgets. The interiors of these electronics also consist of silicone – the high thermal stability and dielectric properties make silicone perfect for electrical transmission.

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Silicones are key to the construction of buildings large and small and are essential for energy efficiency. Silicone sealants and mouldings from companies such as prevent moisture getting where it should not.


Because silicones are so heat resistant, they are perfect for solar panels and photovoltaics. Being so durable, using silicones makes solar energy more cost-effective.

Kitchen kit

Silicone offers flexible, easy to clean, non-wearing kitchen equipment, from baking trays to cake cases. The silicone moulding does not impart any flavour to the food and is safe to use in freezers, microwaves and ovens.

Aviation industry

Silicones can withstand intense heat and also stress, making them perfect for the aviation industry. Silicones seal doors and windows and are used for wings, hydraulic switches, fuel tanks, landing gears and black boxes.

We are sure that silicone and developments in materials will continue to improve the world around us, from tiny chips in our smart technology to wondrous skyscrapers in the cities of the future.


SEO Tips For Real Estate Agencies

As with all industries, SEO plays a huge role in enhancing the value of your real estate site. Many
realtors are realizing the importance of search engine results in bolstering their sales growth and investor base. Here are five ways to improve your SEO campaigns:

Research keywords

Use Google Analytics to track both global and local keyword trends. You can also you social media sites
like Twitter to track keywords through trending hashtags. Use the keywords you generate in order to enhance your webpage’s blog post titles.

Use media intelligently

This includes social media sites, especially location-based ones like Foursquare, and multimedia, even
newer augmented reality applications. On a more basic level, the inclusion of images is crucial for SEO. Each image should contain a URL that links to one of your keywords. But don’t just rely on images, use video as well.

In fact, the vast majority of successful real estate sites are using virtual tours as ways to give prospective homeowners a chance to assess the property in advance. The property doesn’t even have to be completely finished. For example, you may not have even installed the exit sign in a new coffee shop that’s under construction. In this situation, while technically you can’t really bring investors in to the shop you can keep them glimpses through a virtual tour.

Use inbound links

It’s hard enough finding authoritative sites to link to your content, the least you can do is link to
yourself. Each of your blog posts should contain relevant links to other articles and posts found on your website or blog. Inbound links works wonders for search engine optimization and keeps people searching through your content. Be careful not to link too much though, as link over-saturation can be construed as spamming, which hurts your Page Rank.

More content!

One of the most common mistakes made by bloggers is not posting enough content. Search engines gauge your
recent content activity as a major actor in SEO rankings. Especially in the constantly changing world of real estate, there’s no excuse to not have multiple posts a week.

Get backlinks

Backlinks are links to your site from authoritative sites and they are extremely valuable in the SEO world. They are also hard to get. Getting quality backlinks will require reaching out to online publishers, networking with heavy hitters in the real estate industry and possibly guest blogging for other sites.

These five tips—keyword research, media usage, inbound links, content generation, and backlinks—are extremely important in growing your SEO campaigns from the ground up.

The real estate market is increasingly being dominated by agencies that utilize technology and online tools effectively. Position yourself to be competitive!

5 Tips for Bringing out the Best in Your Employees

Being the boss is a position that puts you in charge of the careers of many employees. When it comes to their performance, it’s up to you to make sure they work to the best of their ability. If they don’t, it will only reflect poorly on you. Therefore, it’s important that you understand how to bring out the best in your employees through human resource management. As long as you can do that, you’ll experience all the benefits and pride being the boss should provide.

Be Positive

You expect your employees to be positive so why wouldn’t you lead by example? Even though it’s important to reprimand employees when necessary, it is even more important to make sure they know they are doing a good job. Everyone enjoys positive reinforcement. Therefore, instead of only talking to your employees when they do something wrong, make sure you’re giving credit where it’s due. You don’t need to pat them on the back for every little thing, but a “nice job” or “good work” every now and then will keep spirits up in the office.

Good Communication

Good communication is an important element in any work environment. One of the best ways to foster this with your employees is to implement an open door policy. Make sure your employees know they can always come to you with any problems without having to worry about negative repercussions. You want your workers to feel confident when coming to you with any new ideas or problems they are experiencing. Emphasize that you’re always looking for feedback and ways to improve to encourage your employees to share ideas. Always be willing to listen so your employees feel heard. This will help them come forward and talk to you.


Creating a sense of being a team among your employees is an important factor in bringing out the best in everyone. Your human resource management team can help you with team building exercises. Learning to work together to solve problems and complete complex tasks will allow each of your employees to make use of his or her strengths, while allowing someone else’s strengths to overshadow their weaknesses. When your employees can work as a team, each using their own strengths, you will see an increase in productivity, as well as quality of work. Keep track of successes and challenges with human resource management software, as well as any promotions, raises or warnings. If you see patterns of positive or negative behavior, you can help your employees see what circumstances they do best in.

Don’t Place Blame

No one wants to work in a hostile environment. When your employees feel as though they are being blamed when things go wrong, it can make for a difficult work environment. Therefore, it’s important to avoid blaming others, even if it is their fault, when you’re approached with an issue. You should take it up with the person who is at fault, but it won’t help anyone to simply point fingers and place the blame on someone else. Instead, help the person understand what was done wrong and help to resolve the issue. Let him or her know that you understand mistakes happen so you don’t make your employee afraid to try for fear of making a mistake. This doesn’t mean you have to let mistakes slide, though.

A Proper Fit

As you get to know your employees better, you’ll get a more accurate view of their skills and interests. When employees are challenged and allowed to complete tasks they enjoy doing and are good at performing, they are more likely to work more efficiently. Employees who are confident in their abilities generally do better work.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to bring out the best in your employees. You want them to enjoy coming in to work and to do a good job while they are there. If you use these tips with your employees, you will improve their productivity and have happier employees.

How Tarmac is laid

If you’re considering having new tarmac laid on your property, it’s really a job for the professionals. The skill level involved is considerable, plus the expense of getting all the right machinery and equipment and knowing how to use it all. Here’s how to get a good job for your tarmac needs:

Although tarmac is cheap, probably the most cost-effective hardstanding available, it only works out economical if you’re tarmacking a big enough area. The cost is mainly for all the machinery involved and getting on site. It can be worth considering clubbing together with neighbours if there are multiple driveways that could benefit from a new surface. This will make the job easier and cheaper for the contractor who can pass those savings onto you.

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When it comes to laying tarmac on drives, there are several layers involved. The first layer is the foundation. A typical driveway will need excavations going down to about 18cm. Next, a layer of sub-base consisting of crushed hardcore will be laid. This is then rolled by a road-rolling machine. If you have chosen kerbstone edging or decorative stone, these will be laid on either side and supported during the laying of the tarmac.

Tarmac is laid in two layers, the base and then the top surface known as the ‘wearing’. The base layer consists mostly of aggregate delivered in a heated lorry and once laid, the tarmac can be spread over it and levelled with rakes. Back comes the roller to compact all the layers together and it will continue until no marks are visible on the surface.

The top surface contains smaller bits of aggregate, giving a finer appearance and offering strength and durability. If a good, professional job has been done, in future the driveway can be refreshed by skimming this top layer and putting down an overlay of tarmac.

A freshly laid drive will set relatively quickly and after a couple of hours will be available for careful use. For the first week, it’s a good idea to avoid any sharp braking, acceleration or turning the wheels when the car is stationary.

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The best way to get a really good-looking driveway that will last for many years is to find a reputable company. For Tarmac contractors Yorkshire, visit

Always check to see how long a firm has been in operation and ideally, ask to see examples of recent work they’ve carried out. Never let anyone offer to tarmac your drive who has just knocked on your door out of the blue. You could find yourself dealing with unscrupulous traders who will likely overcharge you and supply you only with a thin layer of tarmac that won’t last more than a few weeks.

How to deal with (and prevent) frozen pipes this winter

As the temperature falls outside and everyone is running around buying last minute gifts, the last thing anyone needs at this time of year is frozen or burst pipes. Frozen pipes can stop your heating working, and worse, frozen pipes can burst. As the water running through the pipes cools due to very low temperatures, it can start to turn to ice. Ice of course expands, so causing the pipe itself to fracture and burst. Here we look at how to prevent your pipes from freezing, and what to do in the event that they do burst.

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The best thing to do is insulate your pipes. You can get pipe lagging material from your local DIY store. Insulate your pipes with it, being careful to not miss any bends, fittings or valves. Keep the temperature in your home steady, and if you go away for the holidays this year, be sure to leave the heating on low. Set the thermostat to at least five degrees.

You should have a check of your home insurance too. Be sure to comply with the directives of your policy. Should the worse happen whilst you are away, you need to make sure that you are covered by your insurance.

What to do if your pipes freeze

Gently warm up the pipes to get the water inside flowing again. Gentle is the key word. If you heat up the pipes too quickly they might crack. Use a hairdryer on its lowest, coolest setting. Or you could wrap a tea towel that has been soaked in hand hot water around the pipe.

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If the pipes do burst, locate the stopcock and turn off the water. Next you need to call the experts. If you do need emergency plumbers Dublin has many excellent services like www.plumberservicesdublin that can help you.

Open all of the taps in your home to reduce any flooding, and soak up any water that is leaking from the burst pipe as best you can with towels.

Whilst a cold and white Christmas is the stuff of children’s dreams, it can be problematic for pipe work. If you look after and monitor your pipes, and know what to do in an emergency, you will be able to relax and enjoy the winter.

Why invest in quality furniture?

For those who have an instinct for quality or are concerned with how things are made, investing in quality furniture is a no-brainer. Here we look at why it makes good economic sense to invest to high quality furniture, not just from an emotional or nostalgic point of view.

Furniture is often far more important to people than they would admit. Whether you have an old much-loved tatty sofa that has served different generations of the same family or you grew up in a home where the furniture was so expensive that it was unusable or covered up, furniture forms an important part of our lives. Why would anybody want to buy furniture that you didn’t want anyone to sit on? Conversely, it you grew up with hand-me-downs and second-hand furniture, you might desire an expensive item.

Whatever our childhoods, as we grow into adults, decisions need to be made about buying real furniture for our real homes. This is when we need to look with reason and diligence about what to spend our hard-earned money on. For the classic Egg Chair, visit

When we begin building a family home, most of us do not have the funds to decorate and fill every room at the same time. We might opt for piece-by-piece purchases or choose cheaper alternatives. Quality doesn’t always have to be synonymous with expense, but it normally does correlate. Here are some reasons for investing in quality:

  • You will be less likely to have to replace furniture as quickly if you invest in better quality to begin with. A single piece that is crafted beautifully and looks timeless can last a lifetime for your family. A lesser piece might only last a few years on the other hand.
  • It’s not about buying expensive things, investing in quality means something slightly different. Investing means the hope of your item meaning something or being worth something when you die. It means you get more out of an item than it originally cost you.
  • Top quality furniture makes an amazing statement for guests entering your home. You’ll be making a statement about your personality and how you live. This is why many people spend a great deal of time in choosing the perfect piece.
  • The statement we make to ourselves is equally as important. It’s a boost to the ego to know that we consider our environment important enough to warrant investing in. Returning home to rooms furnished with quality furniture is a reward for our hard work and makes us feel

Which home maintenance tasks to do each month?

If you want to save a fortune in repairs you need to keep your property well maintained. Taking care of those niggly little jobs every month can help your property to realise its maximum resale potential and make it a more comfortable place to live.

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Want to keep your home at its best? Try these monthly maintenance tasks and don’t forget to hoover, check the smoke alarms and boiler pressure and clean the fluff out of the tumble dryer, too! By doing little and often you’ll keep your home safe, warm, secure, tidy and comfortable all year round.

Spring cleaning

Now’s the time to give your home a thorough check, so schedule in a gutter clean and roof check in March. You need to make sure your drains are functioning properly, so clean and check in April. As the weather warms up in May give the house a deep clean and get the boiler serviced. Clean windows and have any urgent repairs done by trustworthy emergency glaziers in Leicester.

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Summer fun

Now’s the time to get outside in the garden, so cut the lawn, clean your garden furniture, repair any fences and even give the house a new coat of paint. Give your patio a deep clean and treat your decking so it stands up to the rigours of those busy outdoor summer months.

Autumn essentials

This is one of the busiest times of year for home maintenance and one of the best times to get to grips with jobs like bleeding radiators so your heating system is ready to cope with the winter. This is also the time to get on top of those niggling repairs so contact a company like emergency glaziers in Leicester to sort out those dodgy double glazing units and have your drains and gutters professionally cleaned. That way you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your home will stand up to any severe weather that’s on its way. And if you love a real fire, don’t forget to have the chimney swept.

Winter warmers

Winter is a good time to catch up on those indoor jobs like cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and getting rid of any out of date tins. Clean or change the filter in your cooker hood and give the oven a thorough clean ready for the turkey!

Some of the best-selling vinyl albums of the last 20 years

Vinyl has experienced a resurgence in recent years. There’s something incredibly satisfying about listening to music with the original crackles and having to move the needle. If you’re a fellow lover of vinyl, here’s some trivia for you. Here are some of the best-selling vinyl albums of the last 2 decades, just when we all thought vinyl was a thing of the past:

The Beatles’ ‘Anthology 1’

Sitting at number 20 in the Official Charts Company best-selling vinyl albums of the last 20 years is the Beatles’ Anthology I. It was released in 1995 and was the first of three albums containing a fine mix of unreleased music, live recordings and their biggest hits.

DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’

Things in hip hop changed significantly on the 1996 release of DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’ . Although the album used a great deal of samples and was produced fairly basically, it has been lauded as a landmark album in hip hop culture.


Oasis achieved colossal fame during the 1990s, described as the second coming of The Beatles.
Their 1997 album ‘Be Here Now’ was the band’s third album and highly anticipated by fans. It takes 17th place in the top 20 albums of the last 2 decades. To get your hands on your own Vinyl Records, visit

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The leading band in the Britpop movement, Pulp’s ‘Different Class’ of 1995 rocketed the group to instant stardom. This was actually their 5th album and featured hit singles ‘Common People’ and ‘Disco 2000’, both reaching the top 10 in the UK charts.


Nirvana were in the middle of taking the world by storm before Kurt Cobain’s untimely death. Their live album ‘MTV Unplugged in New York’ was the first album since his death and it’s touching, pained and beautiful vocals won it a Grammy for Best Alternative Music album in 1996.

Blur’s Parklife

This was the album that propelled Blur to the top of the Britpop movement in 1994. The album certified 4 times platinum as the battle commenced between Blur and Oasis for hit singles during the 1990s.

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Paul Weller ‘Stanley Road’

The third album from Weller, it took its name from a road where he lived as a boy in Woking. He has said that it was the most perfect album he has ever created.

Prodigy’s ‘Fat Of The Land’

As of 2012, the Fat of the Land album by the Prodigy had sold 10 million copies across the world, although it was released in 1997. With the success of just this album alone, the band must be enjoying living of the ‘fat of the land’ too.

‘What’s The Morning Story Glory’ – Oasis

Oasis make the list again and this album makes the top spot for the best-selling vinyl albums of the last 2 decades. It was released in 1995 and was winner of the Best British Album of the last 30 years at the Brit Awards in 2010.