Is Decking The Right Option For Your Garden?*

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*This is a collaborative post*

With Summer fast approaching, now might be the time to re-invigorate your garden space and there are many ways that you might wish to do so. From planting beautiful flora and fauna, to selecting some rustic garden furniture or even just mowing the lawn; time spent in the garden is a great way to unwind from the daily stresses of life. 

In the US companies like Decks and Docks Lumber Company have been catering to the decking needs of the masses for years. Of course, here in the UK we aren't blessed with the climate of many of the States, but that does nothing to dampen our optimism once we experience a day or two of 60 degree heat in April. Timber decking in the UK is fast becoming one of the go to's for many a garden lover seeking to enjoy their home to the maximum.

Decks can be a great addition to any garden and there are a few reasons why I would consider investing in some good quality decking if i were you. There are numerous benefits of using timber decking for any kind of landscaping structures in your garden when compared to other more traditional hard patios and terraces.

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Some Of The Benefits Of Decking

Timber decking provides a much more comfortable surface for walking, sitting and even lying on. Therefore it is much more forgiving on the lower limb joints than if you were to be pottering around on concrete, brick or paving slabs.

Timber decking can be very aesthetically pleasing, while I can't deny that I love a well designed patio, there is something very natural about using wood for any decking in the natural space of the garden. It helps to create a more harmonious space, whereas the harshness of traditional patio designs can often be quite a harsh contrast in an otherwise natural looking garden.

As well as looking great, decking can also be used to conceal unsightly necessities. such as manhole covers and drains, which is a bonus.

One of the current trends within the sphere of British contemporary landscaping is the concept of the 'new garden' in which the exterior is to be treated more as an 'outside room'. In this context , timber decking can be an excellent method of 'extending the living space of a building-outdoors'. Also it adds a definite warmth to the space, more so than with traditional hard terrace surfaces.

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Decking is also highly flexible and it can be a safer alternative for the space particularly for those with children. Whether dining, entertaining or relaxing with a glass of wine, whatever your reason for creating a deck, it is one of the most attractive additions which can be made to a home's exterior space. Decking can also harness the potential of terrain which isn't perfectly flat. This is handy to know as many people have gardens which often feature undulating type terrain or sloping gradients.

A well designed and installed deck can be a beautiful as well as functional addition to your garden, thereby extending the potential usage of your garden space in general. Decking is also fairly easily modified and extended and even the installation of decking is less intrusive in terms of the scale of ground work preparation and excavation.

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Environmental Benefit Of Using Timber Decking

Wood is a much more beneficial material to make use of in the garden when compared with others. This is due to the harvesting and conversion of timber which creates less pollution than for the harvesting of other man made materials which are often from non-renewable sources. The by products of timber processing such as sawdust and wood chipping can also be used efficiently.

How You Should Close The Business Year*

*This is a collaborative post*

Every year you’re in business there will be a beginning and an end. It just so happens that, the start and finish are pretty much going to occur almost at the same time. It's called closing out the business year, whereby you tie up most if not all loose ends. These loose ends could be something to do with employees such as making cuts or hiring new staff. It could also be finishing a deal with clients, investors and distributors so that everything is ready for the new chapter of your business.

It could also be making vast changes to the internal structure of your hierarchy, promoting and or demoting people. Every business whether large or small does this because as you can imagine, things get incredibly hectic and can pile up. Getting rid of the waste and unnecessary extras that are weighing your processes will greatly help to make you leaner and meaner. Here are a few areas which you should start closing out the business year from.

Those That Have Earned It

Promotions don’t happen every year. However the possibility of promotions is accessed every year. Who has shown themselves to have earned your growing respect? Some employees that might have been junior could have done something amazing during the year to help the business succeed to new heights. For example, an employee that was covering for their manager while they were sick, could have created a report that is on par or better than the manager themselves. How you go about promoting an employee can be done in several ways but there is a tried and tested technique. The employee getting the promotion should be trained for a new position and then evaluated. If they score a good result on their manual and written tests that are normally done by directors of departments and human resources working together, then they should be promoted only at the beginning or end of the year.

Reassuring The Government

The best time to close out a business year is simply when you file your taxes. When businesses pay their corporate tax they need to access all four of their financial quarters. Hence why, this is a natural time to close a financial business year and begin a new one. However you no longer need to print off forms and signs them by hand. You no longer need to print of evidence that shows you’re obeying the laws and paying what you should. As of 2020 HMRC is making tax digital via MTD software. Certain companies like Free Agent have been working closely with HMRC to create the software which will be accepted by the government. Using this software you do all of your taxes online, uploading files, filling out forms and also providing a digital signature. You can be helped through the software or if you have a business accountant they can do this for the business.

Promotions and demotions are something to consider just as the business year is ending. You’re making sure that next year your business performs better with the right people in the right positions. 

*Contributed by Sam Jones. *Photo source Pexels

It's Okay To Spend Money*

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The prospect of spending money is typically accompanied by a warning.

You need to check your balance before taking any decision.
Are you sure it’s a good idea?
Can you really afford that?
You’ll have to save next month.

More often than not, the recommendations are silent. But you can hear them clearly enough. It’s your inner voice telling you to spend less or to think twice before you buy. Ultimately, the warnings act as a budget advizor, keeping your bank account in the green and make sure that you don’t accidentally dig yourself into a debt situation. However, when the thought of spending has a paralizing effect on you, it’s time to get back control over your inner voice. The fear of money is a real condition and it’s called chrometophobia – it can be debilitating in your everyday life. Unfortunately, more often than not, the fear of spending is self-inflicted. A lot of people feel ashamed to spend money they have worked hard for in the first place. Others are concerned about the risk of buying more than they can afford, and often ends up creating multiple emergency funds to tackle their fear of running out of money. And finally, some are too confused about money management strategies to deal with expenses. They don’t understand how to handle their financial matters and, as a result, prefer to limit the risks of biting off more than they can chew.

The truth about money is that caution should remain a priority. Indeed, you can’t afford to drain your finances during an enthusiastic shopping trip, for instance. However, you should make peace with the idea of spending money. It’s okay to buy things. In fact, it’s even what having money is about:

Because It’s An Emergency Situation

It doesn’t matter how careful you are with your budget. When an emergency lands on you, you need to adapt and get things sorted out as soon as possible. Whether your car broke down by the side of the road or the boiler died in your home, you sometimes face situations in which you can’t afford not to spend money. If you want a quick and effective solution, you’ll have to pay for the repair. Ideally, that’s what your emergency fund is about. But more and more households struggle with building saving funds and prefer to rely on a fast loan instead, as it provides an immediate solution to their problem. Ultimately, it’s never a good idea to delay or ignore an emergency situation. The quicker you act, the more likely you are to get it safely sorted. Delaying the decision or trying to cut down costs can be detrimental to your health or lifestyle in the long term. Imagine trying to get your car fixed on the cheap because you don’t want to pay for a professional repair at the time. Sure, you’re saving money at first. But the car is more likely to break down again.

Because You Deserve It

Life is too short to forbid yourself any pleasure. Even with the best intentions at heart, following a strict budget that doesn’t leave you any room for self-indulgence can have dramatic consequences. You deserve to put your interests first – within reason. Being selfish is not a mistake; it’s an act of self-preservation. When you decide to spend money on you, you ultimately tell yourself that it’s okay to relax and enjoy life. Whether you’re indulging in a shopping trip to your favourite shoe shop or you’re booking a spa appointment, you have to give yourself the right to reward yourself. After all, life is stressful in many ways. The work environment is hectic. You’re feeling drained from helping others. And you’re trying to stick on a no sugar diet. Yep, things can get a little tough. So buying yourself a gift is an excellent way to de-stress.

Because It’s A Once In A Lifetime Experience

There are some opportunities you can’t bear to miss. Travelling is one of them. If you had the chance to visit a foreign country and discover its culture, you should go for it. Imagine that you’re travelling to Peru for work, for instance. Wouldn’t it be a pity to miss out the opportunity to visit Machu P├»cchu? On the one hand, it is going to be an expensive trip. But on the other hand, it’s unlikely you’ll get another chance to visit this iconic site. Seizing the unique opportunities that arise around you is all about knowing when to spend.

Nothing Comes For Free

As Dean Kamen states: “Nothing that has value, real value, has no cost.” The American engineer, inventor,  and businessman understands the value of objects and experience very well, as he’s made his money by maximising the value of his inventions – from the Segway to the first drug infusion pump. But more importantly, what Kamen means is that you can’t go through existence without spending money in the things you need, from food to skills. Spending is the more logical conclusion to leading a life as fulfilling as possible.

Money Exists To Be Spent

While money might seem like a concern of our times, in reality, people have been using cash currency for more than 40,000 years. Trade and exchange have been part of human interactions since the prehistoric times, with individuals learning to swap items as part of a deal. Money is a natural evolution of bartering, enabling groups to trade even if they didn’t have an item to give in exchange for a desirable object. Money facilitates the act of exchange by providing a measurable value. Civilizations have rapidly understood that to progress they need to be able to give something for everything they took. People used shells, stones, live animals, and minerals as a form of currency until the Mesopotamian shekel – silver and gold coins – was first invented. In essence, history lesson aside, money was solely created for the purpose of spending. It’s always been its function to be spent, and not harvested to no use.

In conclusion, it’s time to make peace with your chrometophobia. Spending money is not only a necessity, but it is also part of the natural interactions in the history of humanity. So, give yourself a rest and allow yourself to indulge a little!

*Post contributed by Sam Jones*

On The Lookout For Bargains And Giveaways??*

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*This is a collaborative post*

If you are struggling financially at the moment, then this might be worth looking at, a site which offers vouchers, notifications of bargain buys and even some free stuff, which just sounds too good to be true doesn't it.

For most people life can be a real struggle when it comes to our own finances. Money is hard earned and seems to disappear before you've even had a chance to treat yourself to a bottle of wine.

There are so many bills to pay, letters through the door, prices rising and the general cost of living on the up. Yet again the national wage rise is below the line of inflation rendering everyone poorer. So with all that kind of fiscal doom and gloom about, this post ought to bring some cheer to some of you I hope.

It's definitely worth checking them out, there are deals on all kinds of items from toiletries to electrical goods, and currently there's some free Easter Eggs on offer at the moment as part of some company's promotion.

There's all kinds of things on offer and you can sign up for the daily newsletter by providing your email address so that you don't miss out on any great bargains or freebies as and when they arise.

Lviv: A Beautiful Travel Destination On The Rise*

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*This is a collaborative post*

Lviv is a beautiful, historic, cultural gem of a city in Western Ukraine! With an eclectic mix of the old and the new, there has been a tremendous rise in the number of foreign tourists flocking to make the most of the attractions on offer in this lovely city which is fast stamping it's mark on the tourist industry.

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A Brief Introduction To Lviv.

Lviv is located roughly 70kms away from the border with Poland in Eastern Europe. It is the 7th most populous city in Ukraine. It is a city steeped in history and it was first founded in the 14th century as part of the Kingdom of Ruthenia.

The city then became a hub of commercial and political activity during the middle ages. You can see for yourself the physical reminders of this colorful history as you roam around the city.

Lviv offers visitors a wide range of landmarks, activities and great food to revel in, it is also a rather romantic city and many couples come here to enjoy the romantic ambiance and feel of the town. Although it doesn't have the high level of tourist numbers that some of the other cities do, such as Donetsk, Odessa and Kiev, (the Capital of Ukraine) which are better known, Lviv is well worth a visit.

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Things To Do in Lviv

From titilating the tastebuds sampling hand crafted chocolate creations, to chilling out in Rynok Square watching the world go by, to shooting a Kalashnikov; there's fun to be had in Lviv. Rynok Sqaure is the 500 year old market square, for centuries it has been (and remains) the centre of city life. It has actually been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The square has a city hall and is surrounded by 44 houses which exhibit all the creative and artistic flavour of four hundred years worth of architectural one-upmanship. The buildings ranging from the 16th and 17th century right up to the twentieth century provide an ever intriguing vista. Lviv offers a rich culture and is regarded as the cultural capital of the country.

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There are museums and galleries, eateries and beautiful fountains to enjoy, in particular the High Castle Park features a very tranquil park located on a hill which overlooks the city and offers a tremendous photo opportunity with some tremendously scenic views including castle ruins.

The nightlife in the city is good with some fantastic restaurants bars and clubs. It is growing in it's appeal to the 'Stag Party' market too, and guys from across Europe are travelling to Lviv in order to enjoy their last few nights of 'freedom'. If you are looking for a cool destination to have a lot of fun then you might want to check out this site for more information.

Image Source Pixabay

One of the great advantages of visiting a country such as the Ukraine, is that the financial  exchange rate is in our favour and therefore you can have a great breakaway and enjoy so many of the cities' delights without feeling like you are going to bankrupt yourself and your entire family. Spring and Summer is the best time to visit in terms being able to enjoy a much more temperate climate during your stay. 

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