A Few Tips For Budding Entrepreneurs*

*This is a collaborative post*

Surround Yourself With Like Minded And Positive People

In my opinion this is a really crucial element in anyone's quest for success in business or in other avenues in life generally. I am a big believer in creating an environment in which you feel inspired or which motivates you to actually push yourself further than you might have first thought possible. The people we surround ourselves with can inspire us to achieve, but they can also be detrimental to one's plans if you haven't the right mix of people around you. Seek out people who share your interests and curiosities and network with people who get you thinking which brings me to my next point.

Make An Effort to Network

This is both as important and simple as ever it has been, with the resource of the internet a quick search can reveal a whole host of online groups and organisations as well as information galore on whatever niche is of relevance to you specifically. In the early days of any business operation it is of paramount importance for you to become the biggest ambassador, salesperson and tout for your business, and by networking, you can help to spread the word about your venture.
We all need people to help us to achieve anything in life and it is especially true when speaking of business success. Ask for advice from people and try and educate yourself through developing business relationships with people who you respect, admire or whose opinions and experiences you value. If you can learn from the mistakes of others, this will help you infinitely too.

Develop A Good Business Plan

This is the first thing any budding entrepreneur should think about prior to taking any physical steps towards setting up a business or forming a company. As the old saying goes, 'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail'. If you are unfamiliar with how a business plan might look or if you like many others are a little daunted by the thought of compiling your own in depth business plan; there is much free assistance available online with sites providing useful business plan templates in order to help you through this process.
A good business plan can identify potential strengths and weaknesses, and by identifying such issues before they occur you can save time and money in the long run. Also it is at this stage whereby you can develop contingency plans for when things might not be going so well and it is crucial to think about such negative elements of a business. In my opinion this realistic approach to business will help you to develop a more resilient business and you will have a better chance of success.

Get After It

Do not over-think, do not over-analyze, you can do it, with a combination of hard-work, persistence and dedication anyone can achieve success. You just have to put your mind to it and follow through with proaction. Most business ideas die before they ever get going as people lose the confidence or heart to want to even try. After-all starting a business venture does have some semblance of risk attached, no matter what the industry, but by following these tips you will be better prepared to withstand some of the pressures which go hand in hand with running your own business. Check out Adrian Rubin as an example of someone who put action before analysis and followed his entrepreneurial dream.*

Photo via Pexels

How To Replace The Domestic Chemicals In Your Home*

*This is a collaborative post*

Many of us are now becoming more increasingly aware of the effects of chemicals. You may even have heard discussions in recent news about this very topic and the effects chemicals can have not just on ourselves, but on the home and in the garden. Some chemicals indeed look set to be banned in the near future due to their impact on air pollution. Many of my friends are now making the switch to chemical free products and completely natural makeup. Chances are you're using products that contain domestic chemicals and although you may not be aware of this, they can actually have negative effects on your well-being. According to a recent study, regular household cleaning products such as shampoo and oven cleaner can contribute to up to half of VOCs found in the atmosphere. 
In todays post we're exploring the effects that domestic chemicals can have and how you can replace them with safer alternatives.

The fight against chemicals

Education is the key to change and as the results of more studies are being revealed, it's becoming more apparent just how harmful domestic chemicals can be. Although some of these are on their way to being banned, there are still others that remain on our supermarket shelves. Examples of these include:
  • Hand soap — some of these often contain the chemical triclosan which has been found to affect thyroid hormones in animal studies and possibly contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs.
  • Researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that some kitchen cabinets emit PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), chemicals which are under investigation as causes of cancer.
  • Pesticides — neonicotinoid pesticides put both honeybees and wild bees at risk. Although, the UK government has said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of bee-harming chemicals.
As mentioned above, many brands of hand soap have been found to contain the chemical triclosan which has been linked to health implications. It is also a resilient compound that is not destroyed on its way to the ocean and can therefore destroy bacteria and intervene with the food chain.
Scarily, researchers from the University of Iowa have revealed that some kitchen cabinets emit PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), chemicals which have been found to cause cancer. These compounds occur as sealants breakdown in kitchen furniture. 
Neonicotinoid pesticides put both honeybees and wild bees at risk when used in any outdoor setting. The UK Government has already said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of these three bee-harming chemicals
Joost de Gouw, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and co-author of the study, said: Many of the organic compounds in these products are reactive once in the atmosphere and can contribute to formation of two major air pollutants, ozone and fine particle. In that sense, they contribute to air pollution in a very similar manner as cars.
  • benzene (which is found in detergents and plastics)
  • formaldehyde (in varnishes and floor finishes)
  • xylene aerosol paint concentrates, automobile body polish and cleaners, nail varnish
The combination of some domestic chemicals can be harmful too. The mixture of bleach and rubbing alcohol for example can create toxic chloroform and make you unconscious.

So... What can you use instead?

As strange as this sounds, pineapple plants can actually improve air quality and can help to reduce snoring or so was reported by NASA. Peace Lily can reduce toxins such as benzene, ammonia, ethyl and acetone and can prevent the toxins from spreading across rooms. Research found that this plant can improve air quality by as much as sixty percent!
Red-edged Dracaena rids the air of chemicals including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde (found in varnishes and gasoline) which causes lack of concentration and increased anxiety.
Formaldehyde levels in homes can also be reduced by ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, and reduced humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers. 

*The research in this post was gathered by Compost Direct, suppliers of garden bark mulch.

*Photo via Pexels

Holiday Season How To Cope With Being Unwell Abroad

The holidays have once again quickly come around, and many people are getting ready for festivities. Every individual, as well as family, has unique things they do during the summer holidays and for many, that is travelling abroad. While some resolve to go to the same place every year to visit family, others may decide to try somewhere new. If you happen to be amongst the many people going abroad this holiday season, you should begin planning ahead and thinking about how to take necessary precautions. On that note, this article is going to explore ways that you can cope with being unwell abroad.

Ensure You Have Medical Insurance

When travelling abroad on holiday, nobody hopes to get sick, but at times it happens. It could be as a result of a virus going around or simply due to you not taking necessary precautions. Whatever the case, it’s essential that you have medical insurance, or you could be facing exorbitant medical bills. Some tips for getting the best deals on medical travel insurance when abroad include never buying from a travel agent, tour guide or airline, checking what’s already covered by your bank or home insurance policy, and getting an EHIC travel card if you’re going to Europe. These tips should help you save a considerable amount of money on travel insurance in case you’ve been avoiding getting it because of the cost.

Seek Local Care

Another tip for coping with being unwell on holiday is to consider seeking local care. In the case that you got travel insurance as recommended above, you should contact your travel insurance company immediately to find out what illnesses you’re actually covered for. Your hotel management can then direct you regarding the nearest and most reliable hospital or pharmacy that you can go to for quality care. It is key that you do so to avoid any serious or progressive health challenges.

Try Not to Worsen Your Situation

If you happen to become ill while you’re on holiday, another thing you should consider is avoiding doing things that could worsen your situation. You can do this by ensuring you take it easy, get enough rest, and make sure you’re getting the adequate care you need. In addition to this, a balanced diet is also essential to try and eat the right foods. Since you don’t have the luxury of home cooked meals, it’s also important that you look out for food poisoning. In an instance that you do happen to suffer from such, you could consider exploring the option of food poisoning claims with the-compensation-experts.co.uk. Overall, managing your health the best you can and taking precautions while unwell is a great way to cope.
The summer holiday should be a time of fun and excitement for you and the family. However, you can’t always predict when you’ll fall ill, so learning coping mechanisms in preparation for such events is key. By doing so, you should better be able to deal with any negative turn of events that come your way. 

How To Create The Right Ambiance In Your Home*

*This is a collaborative post*

A home should be your haven, a place of refuge that you can escape to no matter what sort of day you've had and as such creating the right ambiance in each room is essential! Whether your taste is for all things bling or alternatively pendant lights and cosy furnishings, adding the little touches to your interior design can really help to create a room filled with character, atmosphere and mood.

Let texture play its part

Forget matching your cushions to your curtains because textures around the home need not be uniform. If you're after a relaxed cosy setting then don't be afraid to play around. Many textures marry well irrespective of their feel or material. Mirrors and glass objects are a good accent to any texture or if you're looking to create a brooding feel then consider rich, dark veneers. Silk upholstery along with velvet floor length curtains brings a softer touch and why not also incorporate hints of aged brass and copper?

Colour your home pretty

Yes it's true, colour has long been associated with our feelings and can indeed influence our mood. You'll no doubt have your own particular favourite colours which make you feel happier and as such you may want to incorporate them in your interior design plans. However, before you consider introducing colour to any room you'll need to assess the size of each space. 
Adding dark colours to a small space will only make an area seem smaller. If your kitchen is small, opt for lighter shades not just on the walls but also when considering the cabinetry as this will make the kitchen appear more spacious. If you're someone who follows trends then try personalising your space by adding splashes of colour to an otherwise pale palette. Lovers of all things unicorn will love the latest ‘Unicorn-inspired’ trend as featured on Ideal Home. Think glossy white kitchen units teamed with pale pinks and blues and even glitter wall paint. Larger open plan kitchen diners can pull off darker hues as they can take a stronger palette without the room feeling too restrictive or oppressive. According to House Beautiful, dark blue cabinets are set to be the most popular colour choice for modern kitchens this year.
The second factor you’ll need to consider is the lighting in each room, so, consider where and how natural light may shine. Of course the personal palette will vary from client to client and it's important for kitchen designers and interior designers alike to use their expertise to help their clients make informed choices about colour schemes. Bear in mind that if you opt for hand painted cabinetry, you'll also have the chance to experiment with changing trends. If you're still unsure then do your research. I personally love Pinterest and it's a great platform if you're looking for inspiration. Before you do commit to an idea or colour scheme, why not play around with a physical mood board? This will really help you to visualise your end design. Start by cutting out pictures from magazines and pay a visit to your local DIY store for wallpaper samples. When putting ideas together, keep a few questions in mind such as How do I want to use this space? What impact will lighting have on these colours? Or What is the psychology of this colour? 
Always try to start with the largest rooms in the house as these are likely to be your most centrally located rooms and all other palettes will branch off from here. Paint the larger rooms in a bold colour, and work around the home either complementing the first shade, contrasting it or matching with a soft, neutral hue.
With each colour, comes a different mood as it helps stimulate a particular feeling:
  • Pink: connotations of love and peace – suited to a restful space in the home, such as the bedroom.
  • Red: connotations of passion and danger – suited to a warm, sociable environment such as the dining room.
  • Orange: connotations of stability – suited to a lively space in the home such as the living or dining room.
  • Yellow: a warm and positive colour – suited to a bright and lively space such as the kitchen or dining room.
  • Green: a calming colour resembling nature – suited to a restful space such as the bedroom or living room.
  • Blue: a calm, soothing colour – suited to a cool and relaxing space such as the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.
  • White: a bright colour opening up a space – suited to a light and airy environment such as kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

Lighting can make all the difference

Don’t underestimate the impact of lighting. Bear in mind that we carry out various tasks and activities in each particular room and as such each room will require a different type of lighting. What works for you in the kitchen isn't necessarily what you'd want in the bedroom. You also don't have to stick to just one type of lighting per room, in fact it's vital that you mix it up if you want to achieve any sort of ambiance. Take the living room for example. This is an area which would perhaps be dedicated to watching TV. You'll want ceiling lights of course but possibly on a dimmer so that the right light can be achieved not just throughout the day but also in the evening when the curtains are drawn. One corner may serve as a dedicated reading spot; if so, then a floor lamp that provides a softer light closer overhead will make a world of difference.
Pendant lights are a great investment for the kitchen and plinth lighting is also a clever way to add warmth as well as a focal point to the design. This has a particularly striking effect on an island, giving the illusion of ‘floating cabinets’.

If you're on a tight budget then you can still improve the ambiance in your home by using room sprays, scents and candles. Even these little inexpensive things can completely transform how a room feels. Hopefully this guide will give you some ideas but remember that there is no right or wrong, simply choose what feels right for you and your home. 

*Photos via Pexels 

Simple Design Ideas To Transform Your Living Area

Making more space might seem like a difficult task especially if you don’t have the budget to extend. In many cases, there’s a range of things you can do to make more room in your home without tearing down the walls. These ideas often use your original living spaces to give the illusion of more room, and with strategic interior design, you can make clever use of your home without spending too much money. As homes vary in style and size, it can often be difficult to know where to start and what might work for your property. Open plan living can make the illusion of space appear more apparent, but in this space, clutter is more noticeable. With many rooms, you have the issue of feeling like specific areas are closed off from the other living spaces. So take a look at some of the things you can do to save space and make more room for your family.


One of the first things you need to do before anything in your home is to have a massive clear out. You will probably accumulate tons of stuff over the years, and this will start to protrude into the liveable areas in your property. Decluttering offers you a fresh start and a whole new perspective of a space, which gives you a better chance of updating it without distractions. It’s not just the small things that should be sorted either, as significant, bulky furniture that is no longer needed can be removed to free up more space.

Opt for light colours

Dark paint can make a room feel smaller especially if you already started with a small room. Lighter colours bounce light from the walls and make it feel airy and fresh without overwhelming the space. Other features that can make a room feel fussy are wood panelling or wallpaper with large patterns. These can often overcrowd a small room and subconsciously make you feel like there is less living space.

Blend your heat sources into the design

Radiators are often a significant feature in a room so incorporating them into the design makes them appear less noticeable and bulky. There is a vast selection of traditional and contemporary horizontal radiators to choose from and merging this into your d├ęcor will create the illusion of more space.

Add mirrors

Mirrors are a great way to bounce light around a room and this, in turn, will help create the illusion of space. If you have a particularly small room, putting a mirror on the opposite wall to a window will make sure optimum light is reflected back into the space. Mirrors can also make a room appear warmer as there is more light getting into the area, which makes it a cosier and welcoming place to be.

Just changing some simple things around the home enables you to work with the space better and create a comfortable environment for you and your family. 

*Photo via Pexels

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