Advantages and uses of wooden carports

Wooden carports are a great addition to many homes. They’re used to keep cars in, but also have many other uses. Depending on your budget and preference in style, you are bound to find a great design to suit your needs. Consider a few points before you make your choice.

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What can a wooden carport be used for?

The list is really endless. In general, a carport, such as the Oak CarPort, is a covering with open sides. The complexity of the design can vary greatly depending on the application.

A place to leave you car under

This is, of course, the most traditional use. A carport increases the longevity of your vehicle by protecting it, to a certain extent, from the elements. People that invest in luxury cars, boats, recreational vehicles and trucks are very likely to go a step further to protect their purchases, adding to their investment by securing it in a carport.

A great storage solution

If you enclose it properly, the carport will serve as an excellent storage facility. It is very useful to keep big equipment in like bicycles, gardening tools and other equipment that you need to get out of sight, but still in a protected spot. Companies like are able to offer you a solution to your storage requirements at competitive prices.

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More space to live in

With the world population growing at the rate that it is, it is no wonder that people all over the world are tending to look for ways of utilising space more cleverly. For minimum living space requirements, the government has done extensive research into the matter. The trend is towards getting the optimum use out of the minimum amount of space.

Needless to say, converting your attached or stand-alone wooden carport into an extended living area makes perfect sense. It can serve as a play room, office, media room or even an extra studio for living. The important thing is to have a clear vision of what purpose you want your carport to fulfil now and in the future.

Specialist in the field are available to advise you on how to make your carport into anything your heart desires. Once you get your mind past the limited use of a carport as a parking space, you will be amazed at what you can do.

5 Ways to Improve Upon Your Franchise Marketing Efforts

The thing about marketing efforts is that they can always be improved upon – they can always be more effective and garner more conversations. Luckily, with a franchise, most of the marketing is built in for you, especially if you have a particularly iconic logo or franchise name – especially if your parent company already has a multi-million dollar annual advertising budget to promote your product or services. However, on a local level, it is still important to get the word out about your particular franchise outpost, especially if you are a new outpost or off the beaten path. Here are five ways to improve upon your franchise marketing efforts.

  1. Join forces with other franchisees. In most cases, a certain franchise will service a particular community. In most cases, a consumer won’t go out of their way to visit another town’s franchise, so you don’t need to worry about competition. Plus, you are all working for the same team. This is the reason why joining forces with other franchise owners can be such a boon for your marketing efforts. You can pool resources, capital, contacts and even ideas to improve upon your collective franchise marketing campaigns.
  2. Use the power of the local news media. If you are a new franchise or if you have a new product, you want to get the attention of the news media. The news media can be a powerful ally to have when it comes to boosting your presence, especially in a local environment or demographic. So, you may want to think of a clever way to get the attention of the local news – the whole idea is to get the vans parked outside of your business. By taking this route, you will notice growing sales and revenue.
  3. Come up with a viral campaign. When thinking of marketing ideas for your business, you may also want to think of a way to create a viral video that will be shared by millions of people. Viral marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to getting exposure for your franchise. In most cases, all you need is a smart idea. It could be a twenty-second video of your employees dancing or a funny riff about one of your products – anything that will get people’s attention.
  4. Place banners, advertisements and other materials in your store. If you have a new product on the menu or a new service, it will be hard for people to know about it if the product or service isn’t advertised anywhere. So, you may want to think about getting some banners and advertisements made. This can be a great way to boost the sales of a new product or increase sign ups for a new service.
  5. Boost your social media presence. Social media is a powerful medium because it connects you directly with consumers. If you want consumers to be constantly up to date about what is going on with your business, social media can be your optimal portal. In the end, every franchise should have a strong social media presence.

5 Ways to Get Toned Like a Dancer

Dancers are generally renowned for their physiques, including fantastic overall muscle tone and a long, lean silhouette. But in addition to excellent overall form and proportion, dancers are often best known for their muscular legs, not to mention perfectly-rounded glutes. And if you’re looking for ripples of cellulite, good luck finding them on a dancer’s body. The point is that dancers work hard to become the masters of their bodies and it shows in their physical appearance. Luckily, you don’t have to become a professional dancer in order to look like one. All you have to do is adopt the physical fitness routines that dancers subscribe to, or at least develop a regimen that offers similar results. And a healthy dose of dedication will be required, as well. Here are just a few exercise options that will soon have the average man on the street confusing you with a dancer.

  1. One of the best exercise regimens designed to develop the long, lean musculature that dancers are famous for is Pilates. Not only does proper practice ensure that all of your muscles are working together through targeted movements and special attention to form, but the exercises involved are meant to work your muscles in specific ways. The end result is that you’ll experience overall strength and tone. In addition, your muscles will be long and strong, rather than bulky, giving you the lithe look of a dancer. And a focus on core strength will help you to stand taller and improve posture, another hallmark of the dancer’s physique.
  2. A dancer’s body is characterized by overall tone, and this is something that can be difficult to accomplish with your standard exercise regimen. In truth, you’ll probably have to perform a variety of different exercises if you want to accomplish what a dancer does. But if you’re looking for one workout to rule them all, so to speak, you can’t really go wrong with the whole-body resistance training offered by swimming. And the fact that it’s easy on your joints means you won’t find yourself suffering the sprains, strains, fractures, and other impact-related injuries that are part and parcel of a dancer’s existence.
  3. Toning your muscles won’t really make you lean unless you pair it with weight loss (or maintenance if you’re already a healthy weight). And keep in mind that any time you start building muscle you’re bound to gain a bit right off the bat. For this reason, you may want to include cardio as part of your exercise regimen, whether you jog, do aerobics, or hit up the elliptical machine for 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week (or more if you’re trying to lose weight).
  4. Weight training. Many people harbor the misconception that weight training is the same as bulking, but this is not the case. Bulking requires you to incrementally increase the weight you lift in concert with a high-calorie, high-protein diet. So if you don’t want to bulk, you don’t have to. But in order to strengthen and tone muscles, you’re going to have to work them and the best way is through targeted weight training. If you’re not sure how to do this on your own or you aren’t keen to fill your home with equipment, join a gym like Gold’s orFitness 19 that can offer you the facilities, equipment, and personal trainers to help you reach your fitness goals.
  5. Dance classes. The thing that dancers do that most people don’t is dance. So if your health and fitness goals include looking like a dancer, there’s no better way than to add dance classes to your routine. You can sometimes find classes offered at gyms where you hold a membership, but you might also sign up at a dance studio, look for courses at your local community college or through the community center, or simply buy fitness videos that offer dance routines.

5 Important Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be a surreal experience and you’ll often meet more tricksters than people who are actually trying to sell you a decent car. This is the reason why it is so critical to have a few car shopping tips – so that you know exactly what direction to take and how to avoid driving off the lot with a total lemon. The first thing you need to know is that you should always be cautious. Even if a certain dealership has great reviews, you still want to keep a number of crucial factors in mind. Here are five important things to keep in mind when buying a used car.

  1. The true age of the engine. Some consumer reports suggest that used car sellers are placing cheaper engines inside vehicles and then tampering with the odometer to make it look like the car hasn’t been driven that often. This little fraudulent move can cost you a lot of money and time. So, make sure that you have the engine and the odometer inspected for changes. You can also ask quite bluntly whether anything has been altered.
  2. Your instinct will undoubtedly let you down. Buying a used car isn’t one of those things where you can utilize the power of divine intervention – you can never tell yourself that a car “feels” good. A car is a mechanical object and just because you can’t see any major issues, it doesn’t mean they aren’t lurking just beneath the surface. So, make sure that you do a top to bottom inspection. In the end, your intuition is not a mechanic and it won’t know whether a car is a dud or not.
  3. How much will you be driving? This is an important consideration to make, because if you are driving a vehicle for a regular commute, you probably want a newer used vehicle. Some older, classic vehicles may fair better for a weekend jaunt into town instead of the daily grind.
  4. The true value of the vehicle. There is a true value of vehicles and then there is the inflated value. To protect yourself from getting duped by a used car dealer, you want to research the actual value before you head to the lot. There could be minor cosmetic issues that could take the vehicle from “mint condition” to “very good condition” – both have different valuations.
  5. The reputation of the dealer. Many people focus on the condition of the vehicle – whether it’s in good shape or has a fair price – but they don’t often think about the person selling the car. So, make sure that you look up reviews about the dealership, the dealership owner and so on. If everything checks out and the reviews are good, it is pretty safe to say that you are in good hands.


5 Hip Replacement Pre-Surgery Planning Tips

As people begin to age, it’s not uncommon for them to have a decrease in bone density. And when this happens, sometimes it can result in their bones becoming so fragile that certain parts of their body require surgical attention; especially in cases like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis where sometimes it can be painful to do day-to-day activities.

If this is something that you or a loved one has been battling with and a doctor has recommended hip replacement surgery in order to remedy the situation, it’s important that you know about the things that you should do as you prepare for the surgical procedure. So, we have provided you a list of what should be done six weeks to the day before your surgery; just so that you can be well-prepared.

Six weeks before surgery. You might find it interesting that we’re starting out six weeks prior to a hip replacement surgery, but the reality is that even then, there is a lot to do. You should schedule your pre-op visit at the hospital. You should check with your insurance company to confirm what they’ll be covering. You should speak with the individuals who will be assisting you at home during the first couple of weeks after your surgery. You should also start doing some strengthening exercises. It will help to speed up the recovery process if you do.

Three weeks before surgery. Once you reach approximately three weeks before your surgery, it is then time to actually go to your pre-op appointment. It’s also a good idea to start getting your home ready for your recovery. Remember, if you live in a house that has stairs and your bedroom happens to be on the second floor, you’re definitely going to need to temporarily move downstairs. Climbing is something that you’re not going to be able to do for several weeks.

Two weeks before surgery. Two weeks prior to your surgery, it’s now time to stock up on menus/meals that will be easy for you and those taking care of you to prepare. If you have a pet, you should arrange for a family member or friend to care for them. Also, if you’re planning on recovering at someone else’s house, arrange for your mail and newspapers to either be picked up by a neighbor or for the delivery to be temporarily suspended. (Keep in mind that you should still be doing your exercises during this time.)

One week before surgery. If your doctor has provided you with reading material or videos to watch in order to prepare you for the surgery or to educate you further on things like the direct anterior approach , make sure to that you take advantage of all of the information. It will help to ease your mind a week before the procedure. Also, this would be the time to pack your bag for the hospital stay. And, if you happen to catch a cold or flu during this time, alert your physician. You need to be in ideal health going into the surgery.

The day before surgery. The day before your surgery, make sure that you have picked out something comfortable to wear, that you have confirmed who will be taking you to the hospital and that you have followed all of the instructions that your doctor provided about what you should eat or drink before arriving to the hospital. All of these things will make the day of your surgery easier. For more information on hip replacement surgery and all that it entails, visit Web MD and put “hip replacement surgery” in the search field.

Telltale signs that your boiler could be faulty

When colder weather is approaching, it is always comforting to know that your boiler – your source of heating and hot water – is in good working order and can be relied upon to deliver when it is needed most. As boilers age, there can be signs that they are not working at 100 per cent efficiency. Some of these faults are not only inconvenient, but also dangerous.

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Frequent attention

If your boiler seems to be breaking down frequently, this could be a sign that it is wearing out and needs to be replaced. Another sign to watch for is if the boiler needs to be reset quite often.

Is the boiler or the heating making strange noises? This could indicate that the fan bearing may be wearing out or that the boiler’s pump is not functioning as it should. If your heating is on and you still feel cold, this could be an indication that you are not receiving the heat your system should be producing, even though your energy bills probably show you are paying for it.


If the boiler smells odd or there are dark marks around the boiler, these are also indications that the boiler is not burning as it should. A Gas Safe engineer should check this as soon as possible as the boiler may be leaking highly dangerous carbon monoxide. For more on the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, see this report from The Telegraph.

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A carbon monoxide detector is a good idea because it can alert you to a leak, and if the detector is beeping, an engineer should inspect the boiler as soon as possible. If you want to check the safety of your system or find out more about boiler installation in Gloucester, consider consulting experts in the field such as, who can give you suggestions and advice on the options available for boiler installation in Gloucester.

The boiler is a wonderful modern convenience that makes life more comfortable and pleasant, but boilers do wear out and need replacing. An old boiler can cost you a lot of money in wasted energy, but even more importantly, a boiler that is leaking carbon monoxide could make you seriously ill or even claim the lives of you and your loved ones.

Sick of your tired exterior?

If the exterior of your home is looking a little tired then you might be considering quick and inexpensive ways to improve your property’s curb appeal. By taking some time to spruce up your exterior, you can add value, saleability and improve protection from the elements. Here are some ideas:


Increase your living space by adding a porch to the front or side of your property. The perfect way to transform the look and feel of the exterior, it can be as elaborate or basic as space and budget allow. Use it as a classy space in which to welcome guests or simply as a way of freeing up space inside the home by moving coats and shoe racks into the porch. Brick-built porches will cost more, however wall-hung timber kits are another option.

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Clean the masonry

You’ll be amazed by how much better your exterior could look with a simple clean. Brickwork and stone can suffer over time from weathering, the effects of pollution, damp and even bird mess. For those properties that have a problem with a moss-covered roof, a pressure wash can certainly improve this situation. A professional clean will make your property as bright and fresh on the outside as it was when it was new. For more details on Masonry Cleaning Companies, visit

Front Door

Transform the appearance of your exterior with a simple change of front door style or colour. Whether you buy a brand new one or repaint an existing one, it’s an easy way to brighten up your home’s façade. If replacing with a new door, there are many styles to choose from including modern doors in a traditional style. If you live in a period property then think about visiting a reclamation yard. You can often find vintage, original fixtures for a fraction of the normal cost.

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We often view windows like the eyes of a home and as such, depending on the style we choose, we can totally transform the appearance of a house from the outside. Think about the personality of your home or the one that you’d like to project and decide if this can be achieved by replacing or renovating the windows. Modern properties can have the window openings widened, changed or moved without the need for planning permission.


If you’ve a larger budget available then considering an extension or conservatory will drastically change the exterior look of your home and provide with you additional living space. Some smaller extensions don’t require planning permission, such as a single-storey side or rear extension. Another option could be a loft or basement conversion. Whilst not making any difference to the exterior of your home, repurposing space inside the home will give you that much-needed additional room for your family.


You don’t need to make any changes to the bricks and mortar, instead focus your efforts on the garden space. Landscaping an outside area can make a dramatic difference to the appearance of your property. Whether you choose a contemporary feel or a cottage garden look, add a path or water feature, the only limit is your imagination and budget.

Do you fly a plane for work or pleasure?

In either case, you always need to make sure that all of your equipment is in perfect working order. Otherwise, you might find yourself in very big trouble in the event of an emergency. There is a popular misconception that all airplane equipment is basically the same and the manufacturer does not matter. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. It is very important that you learn a great deal about the equipment you buy for your plane. Here are some ways you can go about finding a dependable unit to start your airplane.

1. Research the manufacturer

The manufacturer really does matter when you are buying technology that will be used with your airplane. Generally, you want to have the latest and most advanced airplane equipment. This will often not be possible because of the high cost involved. You should then try to get the newest equipment you can afford. This is especially true when you are going to buy an airplane starter unit. This is a device that can literally be the difference between life and death if you are forced to make an emergency landing in a remote area. Some companies have a much better reputation when it comes to making airplane starter units that have a high rate of dependability. Needless to say, these are the units you should be looking at. Start Pac is one of the companies that is known to make an extremely reliable airplane starting unit.

2. What do other pilots think?

It is always wise to get some input from other professionals in the aviation industry before you invest your money on a piece of equipment. What do these people think about the item you are going to buy? Try to find some people who have used the item you are interested in. Did it work well for them? What was their experience when they used it? Would they recommend it to you?

3. Is it covered by a warranty?

You need to be sure that the equipment you buy for your plane is covered by a warranty. Mechanical items will break down occasionally. A warranty will guarantee that you will not be forced to foot the bill for the repairs if something goes wrong with it.

How to deal with a horse and rider on the road

Estimates show there are approximately 3.5 million horse riders in the UK so it’s highly likely that drivers will meet them on their journeys around the country’s network of roads. It’s important to know, therefore, how to react when behind the wheel and encountering a horse and rider as, sadly, failure to drive sensibly around horses can lead to fatalities. Over the last 5 years, there have been 36 riders killed through accidents with vehicles and motoring and horse associations are campaigning for improvements in driver and rider awareness.

All drivers will come across horses and riders on the roads at some point. Knowing how to drive around horses is vital for the safety of all parties. Horses are potentially volatile animals and, along with their size and power, an incident with a car can be very serious. Even those horses deemed to be ‘bomb proof’ can be scared in certain circumstances and, as ‘flight’ animals, they’re prone to sudden and unpredictable behaviour.

Noisy and speeding vehicles, colourful flapping distractions, and barking dogs are just a few of the events that can frighten a horse and their natural instinct is to escape from their source of fear. Should this happen, a horse’s reaction can be sudden and violent and could send it careering across the road and colliding with a car. No matter how experienced a rider might be, controlling a horse that’s determined to flee is a near impossible feat.

Most riders avoid busy roads and stick to lanes and bridle paths but, occasionally, it’s necessary to cover some distance on a main road or access a lane or pathway. Drivers need to be aware that country lanes can often be twisty so it’s likely a motorist could come across a horse and rider quite suddenly and unexpectedly.

The vast majority of horse riders are highly responsible and aware of the dangers of riding on the roads and so they’ll usually maximise visibility by wearing bright or hi-viz clothing, sometimes with slogans such as ‘Slow Please’. These are, however, no substitute for slow and careful driving, particularly when negotiating bends with poor visibility or roads with narrow sections. This helps drivers to take evasive action should they spot horses and riders ahead.

It may seem like common sense but the actions that need to be taken when encountering a horse must be detailed:

· Slow down to a crawl in line with the ‘Dead Slow’ campaign you can read about here;

· Be prepared to stop if necessary;

· Give them plenty of space when passing; good practice suggests at least the width of a car;

· Steer clear of any actions that could frighten the horse, such as revving the engine, playing loud music, sounding the horn or splashing through puddles;

· Stay alert to signs and signals from the rider and be prepared to slow or even stop;

· Don’t be offended if riders fail to raise a hand to indicate thanks for careful driving. Taking a hand off the reins can be a risky business on a road but riders normally nod or smile in appreciation.

It’s also important to be aware that horses and riders on the roads can often be novices, so therefore inexperienced or nervous. Drivers also need to understand the manoeuvres made by riders, for example when turning right off a road. Unlike a motorbike or bicycle, which will move to the centre of the road when turning, a horse will stay on the left until it’s time to turn. They then signal their intentions and check it’s safe to make their manoeuvre when it’s time to do so. Speeding motorists can, therefore, be an unforeseen factor in this and so it can be extremely dangerous.

Horse riders normally steer clear of busy and tricky junctions like roundabouts. In the rare cases when they do cross these, they’ll keep to the left and use ‘right’ hand signals when passing an exit they don’t intend to leave by so it’s important to slow down and give them a wide berth.

Rule 215 of the Highway Code states that motorists must be especially careful with horse riders and also horse-drawn vehicles. The advice is to pass wide and slowly. Also, since riders can be children, additional vigilance is necessary and drivers should look out for riders in pairs, e.g. when a more experienced rider is escorting a younger, less experienced rider. Finally, the rules state that drivers should look out for rider signals and always respect their requests to slow or stop. The bottom line is that great care must be taken and horses should always be considered as a potential hazard.

The Highway Code also issues guidance for riders, which they should respect. Rules 49-55 say that riders should wear visible or fluorescent clothing by day and reflective clothing by night or in poor weather conditions. Riding after dark and during poor visibility is not recommended. Inexperienced horses and riders should be accompanied by more experienced companions. They should always keep to the left, follow the flow of traffic on one-way streets, and not ride in groups of more than two abreast, ideally in single file especially when traffic needs to pass. If roads are busy and when tackling bends, single file is always preferable.

If all parties stick to these rules, the country’s roads will be a safer place for horses and riders, keeping accidents and fatalities to a minimum.

How to Cater to the Corporate Customer

Any caterer with a degree of experience in the competitive catering market will be aware of the need to maintain a steady stream of work. This regular work, whilst not creating huge profits for the business, does bring in the bread and butter income that keeps the business ticking over, pays the staff’s wages and many of the business’s running costs. It can also lead to more profitable work from the same source. The type of contract that best fits this bill is the contract to provide catering services for corporate clients. The phrase “corporate catering” implies that it is one entire genre. In fact, there are various types of corporate catering service, all of which the successful caterer needs to be able to fulfil if valuable ongoing contracts are to be won and retained. In this article we will look at some of these different corporate catering disciplines.

Breakfast Buffets

It seems appropriate that the first topic that we should cover is the first meal of the day. Time is so scarce, especially in the business world, that working breakfasts, which used to be a rarity, are now a frequent component in the corporate day. It is essential that breakfast buffets for business clients are prompt. In fact, the need for timely delivery to the corporate trade is of the essence generally. A smaller breakfast buffet can include Danish Pastries & Croissants, muffins with butter and preserves, fruit juices and tea and coffee. If something more substantial is required, the menu can be augmented with eggs and toast, whilst, if a substantial breakfast is required, a complete selection of grilled food can be provided.

Business Lunches

Once again, there is a wide variety of catering services for the business lunch. For many corporate clients, a selection of sandwiches is sufficient for an internal luncheon meeting. However if the lunch is intended to entertain their business contacts (or potential contacts) it is probable that a much fuller menu will be required. This may even involve more than one course and the provision of beverages in addition to the food.

Corporate Catering is an essential part of a catering business


Business Dinners

Because the business dinner does not happen during the course of the working day it is likely to involve some special occasion or celebration, such as a retirement or to mark an important event for the business. The caterer is likely to need to provide the full range of dinner services for such an occasion, including the provision of beverages.

AGMs and Board Meetings

Once again, the caterer is likely to be required to produce his entire repertoire of services and menus for annual meetings, extraordinary general meetings and meetings of the board of directors.

Great Corporate Catering for an important business meeting can help clinch the deal!


Christmas Parties

The annual company Christmas party is an event which, although happening only once a year, is an extremely valuable contract to have, whatever the size of the business. Along with wedding celebrations it really can represent the “cream” for a catering business. Because the work is repeat work, unless the firm decides against future Christmas parties, it is essential, once a contract has been won, to deliver everything to the satisfaction of the customer. One of the realities of “special occasion” catering is that customer expectation is higher and the disappointment with poor catering is felt all the more keenly. A poorly fulfilled Christmas party contract for a corporate client is almost certain to lose not only the following year’s party but also any other periodic work throughout the course of the year. Conversely, a corporate client who is happy with the catering provided for a Christmas party is likely to use the caterer again.

Impromptu Requests

If a caterer has an ongoing relationship with a corporate client it can often entail having to provide catering services on a single isolated occasion, sometimes with little warning. If a meeting becomes more difficult than envisaged, the client may well make an urgent call for provisions to be delivered. Although it may not always be feasible to meet such a request the more prepared the caterer is to at least try to do so, the more he will be held in esteem by the client.


Corporate catering does, indeed, cover a wide range of services. The successful catering company will need to be able to satisfy all of the needs of the corporate client. That way, not only will the regular “bread and butter” contracts come in, the occasional helping of “cream” may also be served!