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Browsing All Posts By Clare Louise

What do you need to know about home automation systems and security?

With increasing connectivity and technological advances, the ability to remotely control areas of your home using just a smartphone is no longer a concept that only exists in the distant future.

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Just a few decades ago, the concept of a smart home didn’t even exist, but innovative technological advancea and accomplished feats of engineering now mean that the option to protect our homes with advanced security and safety features is becoming far more accessible.

Knowing your home is secure and protected can be hugely comforting, and whether you want to ensure your home is warm for when you get home, keep a watchful eye on your pets, or switch on your security lighting system, home automation systems are becoming more integrated into our daily lives with each passing year.

Selecting your system

With home automation companies, such as Digital Interiors (http://digitalinteriors.co.uk), producing a variety of different products, selecting the right system for your needs can seem like an overwhelming task. However, ensuring you fully understand the features you require will ensure the process isn’t as daunting as initial impressions may suggest.

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Outsmart intruders

When thinking about protecting your home, keeping intruders away from your premises is likely to be at the top of your list. Smart technology is now capable of sending an alert directly to your smartphone when windows are opened unexpectedly or doors are damaged, alleviating concerns when you’re away from home.

Thorough surveillance

Protecting your home with surveillance cameras can also provide additional peace of mind, ensuring that there are no potential intruders lurking around your property looking for possible areas of entry.

Alerting the emergency services

As this article indicates, gas leaks, flooding, and fires are all serious concerns for homeowners. Advanced security systems will immediately alert the relevant emergency services should an issue be detected, potentially saving your home, your possessions, and even your life in the process.

Interior functionality

Controlling your thermostat, turning lights on or off, or drawing the curtains while you’re away from home may seem like a bit of a luxury, but these simple functions can also boost the security of your home, creating the illusion of someone being inside even if you’re stuck in traffic or you have had to change your plans at the last minute and need to leave your home unattended.

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Try these ideas for the perfect breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed must be up there as one of the best ways to start your day. No jumping out of bed at the first sound of an alarm clock, no dashing to work with only a slice of cold toast for sustenance – quite simply, you have nowhere to be.

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Now the days are colder and shorter, it’s even more tempting to stay beneath the covers, so follow our top tips for the perfect breakfast under the duvet.

What You’ll Need

The key to a great breakfast in bed for yourself or a loved one is organisation. That doesn’t sound particularly relaxing or indulgent, but a few key items will make all the difference. You’ll need a tray large enough to hold everything, cutlery to eat with and napkins to catch the crumbs. Flowers are optional but add a nice touch.

Where You’ll Be

Of course, you can enjoy breakfast in bed in the comfort of your own home, but why not make the most of it and whisk yourself off to a luxurious hotel or stylish boutique apartment such as no. 8 Waterloo Street apartments, which will afford you all the privacy of home? The beauty of venues like these Birmingham serviced apartments is that they are like a home from home, complete with fully equipped kitchen and sumptuous surroundings, but you won’t have to do the clearing up.

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What You’ll Eat

Thankfully, the nation’s best-loved chefs all have their own take on the perfect way to indulge in this favourite leisurely pastime, continually creating an array of mouth-watering recipes. From Angela Nilsen’s healthier take on the full English to James Martin’s Spiced Bloody Marys, there’s no shortage of delicious ideas. Why not try your hand at one of the recipes, or even better get someone else to try them for you?

You don’t need to be a culinary master either. Dip delicious pancetta-wrapped avocado into your soft boiled egg, or add nutritious matcha powder and maple syrup to some natural yoghurt. Top with kiwi, peach, blueberries and coconut flakes – delicious yet simple.

So now that we’ve provided you with all the ingredients for a fabulously lazy breakfast in bed, there’s no excuse. Choose your venue, stock your fridge and hit the snooze button as you snuggle down under the duvet for some you time.

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Themed Cake Ideas for Best Friend’s Bridal Shower

We all have that one special friend in life who knows us inside out. From bunking classes together to going for shopping, having the first drink of life together to screaming at the top of the lungs, we all have done this with our best friend in life. And when our best friend decides to get married, it gives us immense pleasure, and we just can’t hold our excitement together. If your best friend is getting married and you want to do something special that she remembers for the rest of her life, then plan an exciting bridal shower for her. It would be the one last stroke of fun in her single life. To make the event magical, you can order a themed cake online for your best friend’s bridal shower.

If you can’t select the theme to get a customized bridal shower cake, we are here to help you with some excellent ideas.

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Designer Brands Customized Cake

If your friend loves shopping and is a huge brand freak, then order a designer brand customized cake for her bridal shower. It would be the most innovative and delicious cake she ever had in her entire life. If you live in Kolkata, then you can order online customized cakes in Kolkata according to your choice.

FRIENDS Themed Cake

Is your friend a huge FRIENDS fan? If yes, then a ‘FRIENDS’ themed cake would be the best cake for her bridal shower and bring back the memories of all the episodes of the series that you two watched together. You can order cakes online in Kolkata from a cake delivery website or get it prepared at a local cake shop.

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Mickey Mouse Cake

No matter how old we grow up, we all love to binge watch our favorite cartoon characters from childhood, every once in a while. So, while your best friend gets ready to enter the new phase of her life surprise her with a Mickey Mouse themed cake on her bridal shower or some other cartoon character that she loves most. She will relive the sweet memories from her childhood once again. You can get the online cake delivery in Kolkata right at your doorstep without actually going to the market.

Make this pre-wedding celebration a miraculous one for your best friend. Along with a perfectly decorated cake, add some exciting games in the event to take the celebration to a notch higher.

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Top ideas for organising your garage

An organised garage is a happy garage and whether you’re using yours as a workshop, storage area or mainly as car storage, you’ll still want to make the best of the space that you have. Read on for some top tips when it comes to organising your home garage.

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Don’t put it off

Garages can quickly become dumping grounds, especially when you first move into a new place and need somewhere to leave bits and bobs. Avoid this by sorting out your garage as soon as you move in. This will give you more space to manoeuvre and see you start as you mean to go on. Organise your garage as efficiently as you can.

Stay on top of it

A garage can easily get messy again, especially if you are using it every day as a workshop. Clear up all tools after every visit to the garage. Make sure tools are put away properly; an important health and safety step if you live with children.

Shelving

Use dedicated garage shelving equipment such as garage racking systems. These are easy to put up and take up far less space than shelving units or bookshelves. Good sturdy garage shelving will mean you can store a range of tools, equipment, materials and even old books, games and collector’s items up off the floor, and increase the floor space and work space that you have at your disposal. Ensuring all goods are up off the floor will also prevent damage from flooding.

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Cubbyhole shelving

Make a small shelving unit for small bits and bobs, such as screws, nails and fittings. You can make a cubbyhole shelving unit yourself with just a few pieces of three by one, a jig saw, nails and some brackets.

Ceiling racks

Ceiling racks are another great way to make use of space and put items that you rarely use out of the way. These can be installed in flat roof garages, although garages with a sloped roof can make even more use of the loft space, storing large sporting equipment such as sails, canoes, oars and paddles up there.

A garage can be a valuable bit of floor space in any home, doubling up as a workshop or storage area. Make the most of the walls and ceiling and remember to clean up after every use.

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What does your front door colour reveal about you?

According to psychologists, there are meanings behind colour choice; they tell you something about the person. When you look at a colourful door, do you automatically wonder who lives there? If so, you wouldn’t be the only one. The front door is the first thing you notice when you look at a house. According to research carried out by Dulux, people living in the UK will pay 25 per cent more for a house that is freshly painted.

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If you are hoping to sell your house and are going to paint it in preparation, what colour are you going to choose? Keep in mind that your colour choice will lead people to make a judgement about your personality. Here are some of the findings about colour to help you decide.

White

The most popular colour for a door is white as people associate it with peace and calm. If you wish to associate yourself with a calmness and give the impression that your house is a sanctuary, this is the colour to choose. When perusing the windows and doors Dublin houses have, you’ll notice many attractive properties with clean, white paintwork.

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Blue

This is the second most popular choice for doors. Blue is considered a conservative colour. People who are successful tend to favour this colour. It is a shade that is also associated with serenity, promoting calmness. It is also thought to promote intellectual thought, making it an appropriate choice for a university town. Ask the experts such as http://www.keanewindows.ie/ about what shade to choose as the wrong blue can be unwelcoming.

Red

Red is always associated with passion, energy and adventure. Use this colour if you like a little danger in your life and are generally quite sociable. Don’t use this colour if you are trying to promote calmness. This colour is also not for shrinking violets as red is a confident colour.

Lilac

Lilac is associated with spirituality and the area between the sky and heaven, so it’s a suitable choice for a person of faith. It is calming colour that is also a little mysterious.

Black

This colour is associated with death, eccentricity and drama. It is good for people who are mysterious.

Purple

If you are wealthy and powerful, this is the door for you.

 

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How to deal with fussy-eaters

Coping with a fussy eater is never an easy task and it doesn’t just involve toddlers either. Fussy eating can last well into adulthood. Most families look forward to the prospect of sitting down together and enjoying a mean but sometimes it doesn’t end up being a relaxing or enjoyable experience. Here are some helpful hints to help you cope with mealtimes in a fussy household:

  1. Don’t stop serving up a wide variety of food. Introduce as many different types of food as you can early on in a child’s life. Hiding veggies isn’t always successful, as kids are too smart and see right through this one. Be upfront about serving fruit and vegetables, explain why they are good for you and where they come from. Maybe try something new on a small plate as a starter before their main meal, so they get a new surprise to test out each mealtime.
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  1. It’s easy to get frustrated and annoyed but this could be compounding the problem. Focusing only on bad behaviour still gains the child attention so no matter how hard it is, try to praise them for what they have eaten. It won’t be easy but you might find that mealtimes become a little less of a battlefield. If you’re struggling for inspiration and want some new ideas to bring to the table, take a look at some Food Recipes from http://food-tales.com/online-food-recipes/
  2. If you think there is a disconnect between your child and food then consider bringing them into the kitchen while you prepare food. Most children absolutely love helping out with cooking tasks, cracking eggs or stirring sauce. Encourage them to help where it’s safe and practical to do so and you might find they’re more willing to eat something they’ve helped with. Being involved at this stage might stimulate their appetite enough to try something new as well!

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  1. Having fussy eaters means that little tums get hungry at awkward times, especially if they’re not eating much at the dinner table. Don’t be tempted to rely on snacks like crisps and biscuits to tide them over but be prepared with a variety of quick ‘go to’ snacks like small cut-up chunks of fresh fruit. Keep salty and sugary snacks out of their reach but maybe store the fruit on a lower fridge shelf so they can be encouraged to help themselves.
  2. If your family only wants to eat junk food then consider making your own healthier versions of their favourite fast foods. Making lean burgers is simple, bake a homemade pizza with healthy toppings and coat fish in flour, eggs and mashed up cornflakes to make your own delicious fishfingers. Children love making pizza and placing on their own toppings so try this instead of ordering one in for a change.
  3. Sometimes food just needs to look attractive too. Why not put ingredients into different bowls and let them build their own wraps? Or you could cook their meal in a separate mini dish that belongs to just them. Thread fruit onto straws or make funny faces with their food. Be creative but don’t get frustrated.
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US blocks usage of Russian cyber security software

Federal agencies in the US have been banned from using security software from Russian company Kaspersky Lab.

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The US government has given agencies up to 90 days to identify, uninstall and replace the software amid concerns about the relationship between Kaspersky Lab and the Russian government.

Keeping information secure

Security software comes in different shapes and forms depending on the systems they are protecting, but they all have the same goal: keeping files and information safe from cybercriminals.

For example, endpoint security solutions, as defined by Techopedia, make sure that the endpoints, such as laptops, mobiles, or any other device trying to access a network, have the correct authorisation and administrative rights before granting them access. Often used as a component of a larger IT security strategy, this type of solution, obtained from vendors like promisec.com, is commonly used to control malware threats and unauthorised access.

The concerns raised by the US government are that ties between officials at Kaspersky and the Russian government pose a risk that the Kaspersky security software could be used to open a back door through which federal information could be accessed. The Department of Homeland Security said in its statement that there was a concern that under Russian law, Russian intelligence agencies could force Kaspersky to assist them and that this would have a direct impact on US security.

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Chilly relations

Kaspersky Lab has denied any ties with the Russian government and said that the concerns about how Russian regulations might affect them are based on a misinterpretation of Russian law. Kaspersky said the law did not affect them as it applied to ISP or telecommunication companies. The company then went on to voice its concern about being considered guilty until proven innocent.

However, Mr. R. David Edelman, who works at MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, said that the Departmant of Homeland Security’s decision was serious enough that it couldn’t have been made without there being some form of hard evidence of security exposure behind it. He suggested that it indicated that relations between the US and Russia have entered a chilly period. He also noted that this decision could prompt US companies to be wary of co-operating with governments and shy away from approaches made by US authorities in the future.

 

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Sainsbury’s launch men’s tailoring range


Supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, has just announced the introduction of its very own range of tailored men’s clothing. But will its Tu Formal brand be impactful enough to compete in this crowded marketplace?

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Bold entrance

What should set Sainsbury’s tailoring range apart from the pack almost immediately is the fact that quite a few items in the 29-strong line-up are fashioned from fabrics that make use of UK-sourced wool. So rather than going overseas for its materials, the supermarket chain is looking to home-grown produce to flesh out its formal jacket and trouser combos.

Much of the wool comes specifically from a pair of mills based in Yorkshire and the various items in the range will be sold both online and in-store at 250 locations nationally, meaning not everyone will be able to see the Tu Formal fabrics in the flesh immediately.

Woollen suits and tweed jackets are amongst the items on offer, as well as ties costing from as little as £6 apiece. Of course, with sites like http://www.ejmenswear.com/brands/farah selling mens Farah shirts at competitive prices online, Sainsbury’s is not just having to take on other bricks and mortar retailers, but online stores too.

Future plans

As the Tu Formal range touches down this month, Sainsbury’s is already outlining its intentions to expand further before the end of the year. As the winter season gets into full swing, it will start selling slim-fit suits, thicker jackets and a number of other pieces to round out the offerings.

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Company spokesperson, Seth Harrington, explained that no other supermarkets had attempted to enter this market segment before, in spite of the fact that there is clear demand for this type of fashion line, and with rivals like M&S suffering clothing-related setbacks, now is the right time to pounce.

Next month, Sainsbury’s will be debuting Tu Premium as part of another expansion of this brand, bringing with it things like beanie hats and overcoats which factor in a whole range of different sizes, from small to triple XL. While the name suggests that these will be prestige items, in reality, the supermarket is seeking to keep them affordable and in line with customer expectations, meaning that firms like Next will need to redouble their efforts and address their own prices if they want to avoid being eclipsed.

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Met Police Criticised for DBS Check Delays on Job Applicants

The government have said that delays to DBS checks from the Metropolitan Police are of “great concern” after thousands of delays across the UK.

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Every day hundreds of people in Britain apply for DBS checks for their work. They are essential if you will be working with vulnerable people or children, which means that employees can’t start their new jobs until a DBS check has been received.

This isn’t a problem if the check arrives in time, but the London force currently has around 50,000 outstanding applications, which is down from 83,000 in April. This indicates that tens of thousands of people are unable to work, even though they are fully qualified for the role that they have been applied for.

Long Wait Times

A DBS check should take up to eight weeks to arrive, but many people are reporting that they have been waiting for their check to arrive for months. Statistics have revealed that just over half of the cases are dealt with within eight weeks, but on average it takes 107 days to be resolved – that is nearly double the estimated timeframe.

Some nurses have even reported that they lost their jobs while waiting to be cleared. This is frustrating for both employees and employers, as no-one wants to go through the hiring process just to let someone go due to delayed credentials.

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It is also a huge source of worry for people who are waiting for their DBS checks to arrive, as they don’t know if the check will takes weeks or months to arrive. In the meantime they have no choice but to wait – even though they may be unable to work or earn money during this period, so they may actually lose money.

If you want to find out more about getting a basic DBS check for work visit http://www.carecheck.co.uk.

According to Gov.UK, the DBS and MPS are currently working hard to help resolve any delays in processing checks, but many people are still reporting long wait times.

The Cause of the Problem

The delay is apparently caused by a surge of people who need DBS checks and staff shortages. This means that the delays may continue until the Metropolitan police are able to hire more staff to deal with the influx of DBS check requests.

 

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How to convince a sceptic of the value of good web design

Even in this day and age of digital dominance, there are some business owners who shy away from getting a website because they fail to see the virtues of having one. There are plenty of ways to turn a sceptic into a converted web owner, however, and make them realise the value of good web design.

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Build credibility and trust

The reality is, if you don’t have a website, it impacts negatively on your trust and credibility. People expect businesses to have a website these days, and if you don’t have one, there’s a good chance that customers will look elsewhere to businesses that do.

With a carefully designed website, you can implement elements such as adding reviews and customer testimonials, or displaying your industry credentials, to build trust and respect for your brand.

Brand building

When a website has been well designed by experts, such as https://www.redsnapper.net, who are a web development company in London, they can incorporate specific elements into the design scheme that represents your brand. This can reinforce your identity and the image that you want to get across to others.

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Worthwhile investment

Website sceptics may be put off by the investment in time and money that is needed to create and maintain a site. They may argue that these valuable resources are better spent elsewhere on their business. This is a short-sighted approach, however.

The investment you make for your website can yield much wider and longer-term benefits than you had imagined. According to Forbes from traffic, branding and conversion rates to SEO, your complete internet presence is affected by your site design.

Increase sales

Importantly, good web design can help to boost your income potential. By attracting traffic to your site, you can grow your customer base in a much bigger way than just having a bricks-and-mortar store. With a website that has an ecommerce function, your sales will not be restricted by your physical location. If you implement SEO techniques, this can also help to make your website easier to find on search engines, further widening your reach to bigger audiences.

Good web design also allows you to remain competitive in a saturated market, and stay one step ahead of your rivals, who themselves may have failed to appreciate the benefits of great website design.

 

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