Are you on a tight budget but want to give your home a fresh new look? It’s perfectly possible to redecorate at low cost as long as you follow these simple tips.
The most important thing to do if you want to save money on your remodel is to do the work yourself. The minute you hire a contractor your price will go up dramatically. Some jobs may require the services of a professional plumber or electrician for safety reasons, however simple jobs like painting can be tackled yourself at a fraction of the cost.
Perhaps the simplest and quickest way to get a new look on a budget is to simply move around your furniture. Take a look at each room and decide how the flow of the space could be improved by rearranging the furnishings. It’s a completely free way to get a new feel in your home. If you feel like there’s something you really need in one particular room, don’t go out shopping until you’ve checked your other rooms to see if there’s something you can move from another area or swap. Maybe you have a room that is too cluttered. The solution is to take some furniture away to get a more spacious feel and a stylish new appearance.
Paint Your Walls
A cheap and easy way to transform any room is to simply apply a fresh coat of paint. In just a few hours, outdated décor can look new and modern again, and a room can change color completely. If you’re painting yourself rather than hiring a decorator to do the job, you can paint a whole room for under $100 – a bargain! In fact, why stick to just walls when it comes to painting? Cabinets and wooden floors can also be painted to achieve a stylish new look. For a low price, you can get a new-looking floor or upcycled furniture in hours.
Make Your Own Artwork
If you’re keen to add some stylish artwork to your home but don’t want to spend a fortune, why not have a go at making your own art? There are lots of ways in which you can decorate your home yourself without breaking the bank. Acrylic pouring, for example, is a very simple yet effective art form that will bring a contemporary look to any room of your home. It only requires a few simple supplies to get started and within a couple of days you’ll be producing stunning paintings for your walls. Visit https://acrylicpouring.com/basic-supplies-get-started-acrylic-pouring/ to find out more.
Create A Feature Wall
Feature walls are as fashionable today as they ever were and are super easy to create yourself. Simply buy a roll of cheap wallpaper and use it to make a focal point of one area of your room. Good places to begin include the back of shelving units, natural alcoves in your room or the chimney breast wall.
Switch Up Your Textiles
If you’re getting bored of the look of your home, one very simple way to get a fresh new appearance is to switch your textiles. Replace your cushions, your bed linen, your curtains or blinds, and your rugs. You can buy low cost items that are colorful and stylish and which will bring a touch of vibrancy into your spaces.
Focusing On Details
A quick and easy way to renovate on a budget is to simply change the hardware in your home. Your door handles, cabinet knobs, faucets and showerheads are all simple to replace yourself without needing to call in professional help and can make a big difference to the appearance of the room. New hardware can be inexpensive too, saving you money. Replacing your toilet seat and shower curtain are two other simple and cheap DIY tasks that you can do to make your home more appealing and contemporary.
Follow these helpful tips for redecorating your home on a budget and you’re sure to be amazed by how stylish and modern your house can be without needing to spend a fortune. By making a few simple changes by yourself, you can have a fashionable home on a shoestring.
Be Protected by Nature: a Garden to Combat Air Pollution
At the start of the year, the Guardian reported how London had reached its legal limit for air pollution for the entire year in less than a month. Sadly, 40,000 deaths every year have been attributed to air pollution in more built-up areas of the UK.
Living in a city or urban area, no doubt you’re concerned about air pollution levels. But don’t worry — there are things you can do to clean up the air around your home. Head out into the garden and we’ll show you how!
For a splash of color: the wallflower
A great place to start with your air-cleaning garden is the colourful wallflower! Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for its particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.
Conifers to shield you
Hedges make a great natural barrier against air pollution, and conifers have been particularly noted for their ability to protect against pollutants. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an ideal conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.
Gerbera daisies to keep things bright
Just like the wallflower, gerbera daisies can bring so many colours into your garden and look great in a flower bed with some play bark. A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air. Gerbera daisies are bonny, beautiful blooms that come in many different colours; white, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden. Plus, NASA states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.
There’s something quintessentially British about ivy crawling up the side of a house or tree. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to. The plant offers benefits for wildlife and for the air – Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.
Best air-cleaning practices
You’ll want to make sure your gardening techniques are green too. SmilingGardener offers five great ways to reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers:
- Get composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
- Stay away from gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
- Opting for quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
- Lower pesticide use. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.
- Look indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.
The All New Shoppable Instagram Feature – How Will it Affect You?
The social media world is becoming more of an important asset for retailers. A few months ago, Instagram announced that it had launched a shopping service on its platform, which means that retailers can tag products in posts and sell directly. In fact, 42% of small businesses said that they would rather point a customer to their Instagram profile than their website. Together with Angelic Diamonds, retailers of marquise diamond rings, we explore what this means for players in the jewellery industry:
What exactly does this feature do?
The feature, known as ‘shoppable Instagram’ allows businesses to add a link to an item into their posts. Such “shoppable posts” allow users to click-through these links straight to the website.
Amy Cole, Instagram’s head of business development, tells Marketing Week: “Brands tell their story in the same way an individual person does, so it creates a direct relationship and levels the playing field for small and big businesses.” Instagram currently has more than 800 million users, including 25 million business accounts and two million advertisers, Instagram has a strong following that can take advantage of the new concept. It’s an ideal platform for brands to connect with their consumers in a way that they once couldn’t.
When we conducted this research, 600,000 businesses were reported as using Shopify, and more than $63 billion (£48 billion) worth of products has been sold through the platform. But, how can jewellers in particular make the most of the feature?
The introduction of Shoppable Instagram
Shoppable Instagram, or ‘Shopify’ as some know it, means that you can advertise your products in a more natural way, by introducing your items on your followers’ feeds without it being too advertorial. This is unlike the other options of Instagram advertising where you choose from photo ads, carousel ads (with multiple pictures), video ads and Stories ads.
More recently, bigger brands have been provided with a feature to offer shopping through their Stories too — hinting that this could be rolled out to all Shopify businesses soon. Currently, 30% of the most viewed stories on Instagram are from brands. This suggests that people enjoy seeing what a business is up to and connecting with their favourite brands in this way. Plus, one third of messages sent through Instagram Direct each month begin with an Instagram Story. Keep your Stories updated and maintain a connection with your customers through this feature as preparation for Shopify on Stories. For instance, why not show your consumers what goes into the making of the latest piece?
Use Instagram in the way that you currently do — to connect with your audience. But, encourage users to click-through into the image with a call to action in the caption, such as encouraging them to learn more about the item by following the Shopify button or offering them the option to see more detailed images.
What specific impact does this have on the jewellery industry?
Whether it’s an engagement ring, a wedding ring or a gift for someone close, it’s usually not a quick purchase decision. The interaction that customers can get with their brand through social media therefore plays on this, as it allows them to build a relationship and connect with a brand by following what they do online. In fact, 80% of people follow a business or brand through Instagram and more than 150 million people have a conversation with a business through the platform’s direct messaging feature (Instagram Direct) each month.
Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social media users can leave comments when they like a piece, or tag someone who they think it would make a nice gift for. Perhaps the purchase won’t happen straight away but situations like this, which wouldn’t occur without social media, start to increase brand awareness.
One jewellery brand attributes 59% of their sales to Instagram and they say this is because it’s an option for people to discover the brand over the platform — they may not have been exposed to it otherwise.
Influencer marketing too, is predominantly on Instagram. This is where individuals on Instagram with a high number of followers talk about or feature a product in their post — influencing followers to purchase it too. Jewellers can use this strategy and encourage people to feature their products in posts, often leading to an increase in following and interest in the product.
As we can see, social media already plays a great part in connecting jewellery brands with their audience. But, with the introduction of shoppable Instagram, keeping in touch with your customers through the platform could mean more sales as well as increasing brand awareness.
The Future of Fuel
Due to the levels of Nitrogen Oxide it emits from our vehicles, diesel has received a lot of scrutiny lately. In fact, it’s received such a backlash that the UK government plans to ban the sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 in an attempt to keep the air quality across the nation cleaner. This has led to the electric vehicle market experiencing in increase in sales, with 2017 being a record year for sales.
So, as the government tries to encourage the public to begin the transition to electric and hybrid vehicles, what does this mean for traditional fuel sources? Lookers, retailers of used cars, explores what the UK’s future looks like for fuel:
Electric fuel stations
A lack of charging points led to the electric vehicle market previously coming under criticism. However, could a transition towards electric and hybrid vehicles see us say goodbye to traditional fuel? In the past 12 months, our EV charger installations have increased and evolved substantially to suit the lifestyles of many drivers. Following in the footsteps of other countries around the globe, like New Zealand who are rolling out easier-to-find charging stations, the UK has over 20 companies and organisations installing and running nationwide or regional electric car charging networks.
Back in May 2017, at least another 3,000 rapid charging points were set to be introduced to fuel station forecourts across the UK. Some researchers have also claimed they could have developed an ‘instantly rechargeable’ method that recharges an electric battery in the same time as it would take to fill a gas tank – a solution to one of the biggest headaches of electric vehicles.
BP confirmed that they added more rapid charging points for electric vehicles across their UK stations in the first few months of 2018. Oil firms are also recognising the potential for growth into the battery-powered vehicle market. A decision that follows in the footsteps of their rival, Shell, who have already invested money in several electric car infrastructure companies to install charging points at their service stations. According to The Guardian, the British oil firm, BP, is also investing $5 million (£3.5 million) in the US firm Freewire Technologies, which will provide motorbike-sized charging units at forecourts to top up cars in half an hour.
BP Downstream’s chief executive, Tufan Erginbilgic, commented: “EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving.”
On a global scale, 2017 was a record year. In November 2017, global figures hit three million for the number of electric vehicles collectively on the roads – with China proving to dominate the market. Whilst oil firms such as BP expect the electric market to continue to rise, they hope the oil demand is not seriously affected – by cutting themselves a slice of the electric vehicle charging cake though, firms are covering their back if traditional oil demand does take a dip in line with the government’s plans to reduce harmful emissions and cut back on crude oil prices.
The fluctuation of fuel prices
The UK’s fuel prices have been up and down in recent years, with many factors influencing the economic state of fuel – from Brexit and harmful emissions to UAE conflict, fuel prices haven’t been steady for some time now – and a plan to eliminate petrol and diesel cars will not help steady the cost of fuel either.
Simon Williams, a fuel spokesman for the RAC, said: “Both petrol and diesel are now at their highest points for more than three years which is bound to be making a dent in household budgets”. Following the three-year high in the cost of petrol and diesel on UK forecourts, the RAC and other industry experts have been encouraging supermarkets to cut their fuel prices to make them more affordable. So far in 2018, three of the UK’s leading supermarkets have listened to the RAC’s call for lower fuel prices, and have reduced fuel prices by up to 2p per litre as of February 2018.
With the UK remaining in negotiations over Brexit agreements, we could see fuel prices continue to fluctuate throughout the process. Following Brexit, what will that mean for fuel prices? In 2014, the OPEC made a decision to increase the level of domestic fuel production in the UK, which led to a price drop to 98p in January 2016 — the lowest price of fuel per litre since the financial crisis in 2009. However, the UK still heavily relies on imported energy and fuel – around 38% of the UK’s total energy consumption is reliant on imported energy. Could our trading relationships be at risk after Brexit? And, of course, we must also consider how the uncertainty around the value of the pound could affect fuel costs following Brexit.
Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the value of the pound experienced an immediate fall of 20% against the dollar. This caused fuel prices to increase by around 10p per litre and experts to raise concern that Brexit could mark the end of cheap fuel in Britain.
Higher crude oil prices and the devaluation of the pound combined could mean that Britain should expect higher fuel prices become the norm. The cost of fuel looks to remain uncertain in the near future, though thing that appears to be for certain is that both the high fuel prices and attempts to improve air quality in the UK will have a positive impact on the EV market, with success forecast to continue to surge in the years leading up to 2040.
The Latest Technological Advancements in Waste Management
As we know technology is rapidly evolving and has been for the last few years however, for the waste management sector there has a slow up take on technology, and it uses within the industry. Going off leading figures, it is all set to change as various technologies, apps and methods are being introduced to the waste management world.
From science to smartphones, food waste to recycling, join us as we take a look through the latest technologies that are supporting the waste management’s progress.
Automated waste collection
First we start with a potential solution to waste management, pollution, and traffic issues, it was reported by Greener Ideal that the use of Automated waste collection is growing. Essentially, the process would see an underground network of tubes linking homes and designated outlets to a waste collection centre. People would have a bin for general waste, organic waste, and paper waste, and would sort their rubbish and recycling as is standard today. When the bins reach a certain limit, the bottom would open to “flush” the waste out through vacuum tubes. No more putting the bins out!
This system is already being used within parts of Europe and Disney World. There are plans to make it more mainstream, but this has been held up at points by concerns over larger items of waste not being able to go into the automated waste collection outlets.
Two major issues are battling the world: fuel and waste. Landfills cannot sustain us forever, and the worry about greenhouse gasses has pushed the need for solutions to both problems. With anaerobic digestion, we may have found one answer for both questions.
In fact, Waste management World, speaks about the process being potentially the best technology developed by the waste management sector in recent years. The process sees waste matter being broken down by microorganisms in an oxygen-less environment. The remains left over can be used as fertilizer, and the gas it produces is used for energy. The process is an improvement upon previous methods used to create compost from organic waste.
Organic waste, can be dealt with by anaerobic digestion while at the same time, it can provide gas-based energy. Plus, as humans will always create organic waste, the energy anaerobic digestion creates is classed as renewable energy
The downside of the technology, is that it’s expensive because in order for anaerobic digestion to work on a commercial scale, a huge investment in large tanks and process vessels is required.
A similar process to anaerobic digestion according The Guardian – enzymes are used to convert cooking oil into biodiesel. Novozymes has launched Eversa, an enzymatic solution available for commercial use. The process can turn lower grade oils into biodiesel, which in turn, lowers the cost of raw materials for biodiesel producers.
As well as converting used cooking oil as a raw material, Eversa rids the requirement of sodium methoxide, which is one of the most hazardous chemicals used in biodiesel plants. Removing such hazardous substances is a benefit to both human and environmental safety.
The waste management companies, have embraced the world of apps, with many developing and releasing them to help businesses and residents manage their waste in a more efficiently, environmentally friendly manner.
Reconomy, the UK’s leading provider of outsourced waste management and recycling services released this app that allows businesses to hire, exchange, off-hire, or reorder a range of skips, from hazardous waste skip to wait and load skips.
Users are also able to respond to any on-site issues or note developments quickly and efficiently – without any delay from phone calls or waiting to book an order. It works alongside Reconomy’s online portal too, which will store a full audit trail.
Too Good To Go
This app has been developed to enable people to buy food that restaurants are going to throw away at the end of the working day for cheap. The app is currently active in eight European countries and plans to expand further.
Connecting with over 5,000 stores, 3 million users, and claims to have save 2.5 million meals’ of excess food, you can find this app available on Google Play and the Apply App Store.
Weird and Wacky Fitness Fads From the Last Decade… Go Try Them!
Weird fitness trends are fun and provide motivation to exercise and enjoy moving their bodies. In the press, there’s always something new that a celebrity or your local gym is promoting. Can you recall these four strange fitness crazes — or did you get involved in any of them while working out?
Have you heard about barefoot jogging?
Some runners adopted an alternative style, wearing the running sock instead of classic running trainers at the beginning of the decade. Those who supported the fitness fad said that running in trainers or running shoes can make you more prone to injury, as it encourages running with unnatural form. It’s also said that running barefoot strengthens the tiny muscles found in feet, ankles and legs which can also reduce the risk of injury.
The popularity of this alternative jogging style has lessened but there are still specialist clubs supporting the trend, if you want to give it a go? Experts have said that switching to barefoot running without properly transitioning makes you prone to injuries though. Therefore, only try this one if you’re willing to practice walking barefoot before running.
Classical ballet and heat: hot barre
To briefly explain hot barre, it involves doing classical ballet moves in a room heated to 40 degrees, and it took off around 2015. Advocates of the fad say that hot barre encourages you to gain a deeper stretch while helping you release toxins and feel detoxed. It can also help with muscular issues and has become a treatment method for knee pain. Then, as the body has to work hard to cool itself down, you can expect your metabolism to boost and number of burnt calories to increase.
Hot yoga is also based on the same concept. This is where classic mindfulness movements are performed in a heated pod — a guaranteed sweat simulator!
A Scandinavian concept: plogging
Who would have thought that a trend encouraging people to pick up litter while out running, would come about? The new trend improves both health and the environment. How did the word come about? Plogging a mixture of the word jogging and ‘plocka upp’ — a Swedish phrase which translates into English as pick up. The exercise part comes from running with intermittent squatting and lunging so you can pick up rubbish from the ground. It is an effective calorie burner too — fitness app Lifesum estimates that a typical user will burn 288 calories from 30 minutes of plogging.
Grab a peek at some ploggers in action by checking out your social media feeds. Head to Facebook or Instagram and don’t be surprised to see images of people in running gear with plastic bags ready to fill with litter. Could we see this trend become widespread sometime soon?
Why not try working out in your high-heels
Who knew exercising in high heels would provide health benefits! Research has suggested that even walking in high-heels (below three inches) can shape the calves and improve muscle tone and shape.
Look out for classes in your local gym or simply give it a go in the comfort of your living room? Perform a set of squats, lunges or a few lifts of small weights to feel the benefits. It is likely you’ll begin to see your balance get better. It hasn’t been fully determined whether wearing high heels for a workout can result in weight loss, but it can help you learn how to walk better in them.
With 2019 almost upon us, we have to wonder just what next year’s strangest, yet popular fitness trend will be…
Could cloud technology help take your business to the next level?
It’s by no means a new trend, that businesses big and small are taking to the cloud. In fact, 95% of businesses are already adopting it in some way (RightScale), whether that’s for storage, application or even infrastructure hosting. Reasons for moving to the cloud include benefits such as added flexibility, reduced operational costs and scalability (Cloud Industry Forum).
Browse the Infographic from UK IT support company, TSG to glean the key benefits of moving to the cloud. The piece works to uncover some of the jargon surrounding the cloud, demystifying terms like ‘hybrid’, ‘public’ and ‘private’ clouds.
How Technically Confident are the Elderly Population?
Some grandparents are more confident with technology more than others – they are using smartphones, interacting on Facebook and skipping. But does it depend on what country they live in, on whether they a more confident with technology? Global stairlift retailer investigates the latest figures:
Tablets and Smartphones
The usage of smartphones and tablets, is widespread thanks to them having quick access to the internet. Many of us have these tiny touchscreen devices at hand which can answer to our queries, connect us with friends and provide us with useful information at the tap of our fingers. Has the older generation realised the potential of these devices?
In the UK, it was revealed that 45% of over 55s used a smartphone in 2016. This seems like quite a significant figure, however, when you compare it to the fact that 97% of under 25s used a smartphone, it’s clear to see how age affects behavior.
A report in the US, revealed that 32% of those over 65, and 20% if those over 80% said that they owned a tablet computer and 19% said that they owned a e-reader.
It’s important, for older people to be educated on how ot use the latest devices, should they need to. Around three-quarters of Americans over 65 said that the statement, ‘When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it,’ describes them very, or somewhat well. Also, only 26% of older internet users said that they felt very confident.
Although there may be some that assume that the older generation don’t understand technological advancements and are not willing to learn how to use them, findings have suggested otherwise. In fact, 58% of adults aged 65 and over said that technology has had a mostly positive impact on society. Of course, it can depend on annual income and disposable income as to whether an elderly person owns a smart device — 81% of older Americans who earned over $75,000 said that they owned a smartphone while only 27% of those who earned less than $30,000 owned one.
When we picture the internet, many of us would find it difficult to live without. You probably use it to read the latest news, check the weather forecast or use it hourly at work. But, is the older generation as reliant on the World Wide Web?
According to research, 41% of adults aged 75 and over had recently used the internet when they were asked in 2017. This illustrates a 20% increase since 2011, showing how widespread the internet has become over the past seven years.
In comparison with the older generation in the US, figures show that 64% of over 65s over 65s were internet users in 2016. There was also a 46.4% growth reported in US internet users over the age of 55 from 2014 to 2017, with around half of American seniors say that they now have high-speed internet at home. This is a 4% increase on 2013.
There are still only 44% of those aged 80 and upwards said that they used the internet, and just 28% said that they had a home broadband service.
In Germany, there are only 29.6% if those aged 50 and over, that used mobile internet, and in France, 48% of people aged over 70 were internet users in 2016. Compare this to the 100% of internet users who were aged 12-17 and it’s clear to see the generation gap when it comes to getting online. In Belgium, 35% of the population that were aged between 65 and 74 admitted that they had never used the internet at all.
What about in the aging country of Canada, where there are now more over 65s than under 14s? In 2019, experts forecast that 53.4% of over 65s will be internet users. And, in the technological hub of Japan, 44.3% of over 80s who accessed the internet said that they did so at least once a day, along with 48% of those aged 70-79.
Much of the younger generation has welcomed technological advancements to help them with banking and quick payments in restaurants and stores. With one simple tap of the debit card, something can be paid for instantaneously.
In the UK, Barclaycard said that 20% of contactless users are 65 and over — suggesting that they are welcoming the new system. More people are jumping on board too, 55% of over 65s have used the tap to pay service, up 3% from 2016. Saga supported this research too, saying that one in five over 50s use their contactless cards up to three times per week.
For many of the younger generation, the internet is the main way that they stay ‘connected’ with the rest of the world. Through Twitter and Facebook, people can read instantaneous news from their local area and worldwide. And, with downloadable apps, smartphone users can receive notifications of the latest headlines. Is the older generation accessing news in the same way?
In the UK, 21% of over 50s said that they get their news daily from social networks. This could mean logging onto Facebook to see what the latest status’ are or checking what’s trending on Twitter. In the US, this number rose to 26% with 70% of older Facebook users saying that they log in to the site daily. In fact, there has been a reported change in the demographics of Facebook users — with the number of 12-17-year-olds who use the site declining by 9.9% in 2017.
How do these figures compare to elderly people across Europe? In Germany, only 9% of those over 50 said that they get their daily news from social networks and 34% said that they get their daily news from the internet. In France and Italy, 13% of the mature generation stated that they went to social media sites for their news.
In Canada, these figures were relatively high — with 25% of over 50s heading over to social networking sites to find out the latest headlines.
So, as we can see, the technological habits of the mature generation changes from country-to-country. Eventually, it’s likely that the majority of the older population will understand the benefits of technology and come to accept it as a way of life. In the meantime, younger people should be educating their elders on how to use the devices and how it could enhance their daily activities.
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