Lucy

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Preparing for a winter road trip

Preparing for a winter road trip

With Christmas in touching distance and 2018 drawing to a close, we’re in the middle of winter weather, bringing wet, windy and icy conditions across the country. During the festive season, many people hit the roads to travel short and long distances to visit friends and relatives all over the country. With this in mind, traffic is inevitably increased, meaning busier roads and the increased risk of bad weather. For anyone travelling over the Christmas period, it’s important to stay as safe as possible on the roads, by following a few simple steps and making sure your car is in the best condition possible. To help with this process, we’ve put together a few areas you should be focusing on, if you’re planning a winter road trip.

Look after your tyres

Your vehicles tyres are one of the most important parts of your car and can reduce the risk of a collision, during the winter weather. Looking after the tyres on your vehicle is extremely important. You should be paying close attention to any damage or wear and tear which could potentially affect how your vehicle drives on the road. The winter months usually mean one thing and that’s bad weather conditions. With rain, snow and ice hitting the roads, stopping distances need to be increased and your tyres need to be in the best condition to help aid this. If your tyres have been on your car for a while or they look damaged, it’s best to get them replaced. With companies like TyrePlus, you can have tyres fitted at your home via their mobile fitting service; meaning it shouldn’t be something you put off.

Don’t forget the simple checks!

With all the excitement of Christmas and visiting friends and family; it’s easy to forget about the checks you should be carrying out on your vehicle, especially the obvious ones. Making sure the oil and screen wash are topped up are checks which should be carried out on a regular basis anyway; but it’s even more important during the winter months. With bad weather conditions comes reduced visibility, meaning it’s important to be able to clear your windscreen at all times. Without oil your car’s engine will slowly start to shut down, which can cause significant damage and can be extremely costly. We all know how important it is to check the oil level on a regular basis and the last thing you want to happen, is to be stuck at the side of the road waiting for a recovery truck to take your car away; all because you forgot to check the oil level.

Making the most of the Christmas holidays…

For many of us Christmas is the best time of the year. Whether you have to travel or not, spending time with family and friends is what makes the festive period so special. If you are planning on travelling by car over the holidays then it’s important to remember all of the checks to carry out on your vehicle before you set off; especially because there’s an increased risk of bad weather conditions. Making sure your car is in working order means your journey will run as smooth as possible and you shouldn’t find yourself waiting for a mechanic to come out and fix your vehicle.

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Bringing Your IT Contractor Business Back to the UK Post Brexit: What You Need to Know

Bringing Your IT Contractor Business Back to the UK Post Brexit: What You Need to Know

With the Unstable economic climate in the UK following the referendum that voted 51%for and 48% against Britain leaving the European Union, the future for small, medium and even large-scale businesses may no longer be business as usual

March 2019 will signal the end of the UK being part of the EU and a lot of changes are certain to occur.

These changes may be immediate or gradual depending on whether Britain is able to negotiate a deal, or if the current impasse ends at a no deal agreement with the EU. Changes to the UK legislation will most likely impact the way businesses are run, changes in immigration laws, for instance, may see them becoming stricter at the borders to other EU countries; trade across the border could also be radically affected by possible Increase in tariffs large-scale international businesses in the UK are already thinking of relocating outside to other EU countries so their businesses can thrive post Brexit

What is the impact of these changes in the economy on independent UK contractors both within and outside the Country

UK contractors based in the UK and other small to medium businesses, within the country, may not witness significant changes to their business operations. However, for UK contractors working in the EU countries, post-Brexit will have a foreseeable impact on their businesses, as the possible changes to legislation involving tax, tariff and immigration laws may make increase the cost of doing business for them. We may begin to witness an exodus of talent from the diaspora as happened in other countries like China and what this will mean is that the UK labour market will likely be affected by the post-Brexit changes.

As an IT contractor bringing your business back to the UK, what do you need to know, to thrive the post Brexit economy?

There will definitely be a need for your expertise as the change in legislation will involve the use of IT technology with a lot of companies preferring to use independent contractors rather than permanent staff while there is still uncertainty in the business climate.

However, you are still bound to be in a highly competitive market as the prime minister recently announced that the migration laws for skilled workers into the UK will not be impacted by this secession so you will need to up your game, offering only the best in services to your clients. You also need to start thinking of innovative methods to get more business as well as retain existing clients.

You need to be aware of the UK Criminal Finances Act which introduced a new clause that makes the facilitation of tax evasion by association, anywhere it is illegal, a criminal offense .what this means is that as a contractor, you and the client you work for are liable should you choose less expensive tax evasive means to beat down your prices in a bid to retain your market share whether this is done by employing services outside the UK, as long as tax evasion is illegal in that country .

You will also need to get a professional indemnity insurance to protect yourself in the event of lawsuits from your clients. This policy offers you certainty in the event that you are sued for errors mistakes and negligence on your part. In an economy such as is expected following Brexit, the relationship between customers and businesses could become fractious as people look for justification for every penny spent. This could mean lawsuits for situations that would have been ignored in the past.

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How Technology Brings Efficiency to Small Businesses

How Technology Brings Efficiency to Small Businesses

The rapid growth of the technology niche in recent times is changing the face of every business irrespective of size, organizational form and industry sector. The role of technology in relation to productivity and efficiency cannot be underrated.

According to KPMG’s 2018 Global Technology Innovation report, “the UK tech sector had another strong year in 2017 with businesses posting robust earnings and strong cash flows that led to continued investment in R&D and acquisitions.” The small business sector is also seeing a rapid growth and immense benefits from the adoption of technology in the market, as it has brought the participants to the limelight. Small businesses now have access to various customers and partners in different locations through the use of technology.

The benefits and the impacts of technology are enormous for small businesses to tap into. Some of these benefits include;

High level of Automation: Technology has reduced the long processes that revolve around operational efficiencies for businesses through cloud computing by saving, managing important information, sharing and keeping data and files for businesses which can easily be accessed through cloud computing.

Information Management: Managing inflow and outflow of messages has never been easier and more efficient than before; through the use of technology you can develop efficient processes that manage the flow of messages in your business; one of those includes email management through different applications.

Time Management: This level of advanced technology also helps you save time and work efficiently, with such technology being time tracking software. With this software you could track the progress of your business, measure the performance of each resource allocated to different projects.

Financial Management: Another important benefit of technology to your business is that it can help you manage transactions such as online invoicing services to reduce stress and cost of collecting payment from your customers, budget tracking to help you measure actual cost with expenses, overheads, taxes and so on.

Effective Marketing: To successfully target your audience, you need to be dynamic and understand who they are through effective planning and execution. You could leverage the use of technology to create a marketing plan for your business through the use of marketing tools such as Marketo and hotspot, while you could also leverage on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. to promote your business, products, and services.

Logistics: in the past one of the major problems associated with distance trading was logistics. The stress of transporting goods from seller to buyer was a chore; now delivery services are way more efficient and even the farthest locations can be reached with the added bonus of goods being track-able. Technology eliminates logistic problems allowing potential clients to purchase with you regardless of their location.

Technology also provides different avenues for you to develop your business through learning; this could be online training, holding meetings with your team through teleconference calls or attending international seminars through webinars.
These and many more are ways in which technology has changed the face of small businesses, increased efficiency, profitability and productivity and reduced expenses.

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Living in a big UK city? Here’s How You Can Save Money

Living in a big UK city? Here’s How You Can Save Money

Living in any city is expensive enough, but if you live in a big UK city, you will agree that living expenses can be overwhelming. It is no surprise that residents of big UK cities are always on the lookout for the best ways to reduce expenses and save money.
While there are some things that cannot be avoided, such as rent, food and clothes, there are a few ways you can save a few pennies if you live in a big UK city.

Reduce your household expenses

Living in a big UK city, you will find that you spend a whole lot of money on household expenses, but if you can cut these costs a little, you will be making tremendous savings.

Energy is the highest consumer of funds in the house, and the cost can get really high, especially in the winter when you have to turn up the heating, but changing your energy supplier can help you save a lot on energy expenses. Because of the huge competition in the energy industry, you will be able to save as much as £350 in a year, when you change supplier. And if you feel guilty about moving away, know that being loyal is not always profitable.

Keep track of your expenditure

If you live in a big city like London, you will agree that sometimes it can be hard to know where all the money is going to. After splitting your paycheck, you realize that it is not enough to go round and you are left with bills unpaid. A smart solution is to try keeping a record of all you spend money on. The old fashioned style of pen on paper can work, but there are bank apps that can automate this for you.

When you have a list of what you spend money on, you can identify those items that won’t be too difficult to cut back on.

Eat in as often as you can

When you live in a big UK city, you can be tempted to try out as many local restaurants and eating places as possible. Unfortunately, this will only incur you more expenses. What you may not know is that the amount of money you will likely spend in a restaurant for a day’s meal is more than enough to last you for a week if you cook and eat in. But apart from saving money, studies have shown that cooking and eating your own meals is great for the health.

Keep an eye out for deals and discounts

When you are living in a big city, one of the best ways to save money is to be on the lookout for deals and discounts. Fortunately, there are lots of these, from discounts on cabs and trains to meals, movies and groceries. And with the internet, it has become very easy to source for deals and coupons that will help you cut down on your spending.

When you pair the deals you find with rewards like loyalty cards, you will find that you are spending less than you used to.

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Four bedroom interior design ‘facelifts’ that will breathe new life into your room

Four bedroom interior design ‘facelifts’ that will breathe new life into your room

We’ve all been there, faced with the same décor that’s been staring at you for the last few years, overwhelmed by clutter and wondering whether or not that trusty chest of drawers or wardrobe is going to be able to take another year of rough-and-tumble.

A bedroom is supposed to be a sanctuary for sleep, a place to switch off and drift away at the end of the day. With this in mind, it is important to keep your ‘sleeping zone’ tranquil, calm and easy on the eye. This means letting plenty of light into your room, clearing away those old clothes and making it a haven for catching quality z’s.

Here are our four bedroom ‘facelifts’ to help keep your bedroom fresh and airy, clean and clutter-free.

Have a clear out and say goodbye to hoarding

One of the age-old, tried and tested methods of creating space is the simple clear-out. The rules are even simpler. In fact, there’s only one rule: if you haven’t used it in the last 12 months, throw it out.

From tatty t-shirts to old books and broken tech, neither of those things need to exist in a home. Long beyond their sell-by date, it’s simply a hoarder-mentality and attachment to sentimentality that keeps us hanging onto those cherished items. Banish them for good and enjoy the extra space you’ll gain!

Invest in a fitted wardrobe

A quick tip to save space whilst giving your bedroom a makeover, is to invest in a fitted sliding door wardrobe. Why? By utilising sliding wardrobes’ horizontal opening system, you’ll notice that you’re immediately taking up less space than you would if you had a swinging door system.

Better yet, the aesthetic aspect of a set of sliding wardrobe doors adds a modern touch to the look and feel of your bedroom, doing away with that tired, old wardrobe you’ve been meaning to throw away for the last few years.

Better yet, try out a mirrored sliding wardrobe. Mirrored sliding wardrobe doors reflect the light in your bedroom, creating a sense of extra space and openness, which will put your mind at ease and wash away any previous claustrophobic feelings that clutter ultimately brings with it.

Redecorate for a cheaper way change your décor

If purchasing new bedroom furniture seems a little extravagant, then there are ways to create a sense of revitalisation in your room that require a significantly reduced upfront investment.

One such way is by taking the path of a simple redecoration. Sometimes it isn’t the clutter in your bedroom that can so easily bring you down, it could be the fact that you’ve been staring at the same colour palette for too long now, and just fancy a change.
Inject new life into your bedroom with a few new cushions, some modern blinds or a new lick of paint on your walls to match the current season’s trends – you never know, it could be just what you needed to refresh your décor.

Banish technology for a refreshing, clutter-free room

Now I know what you might be thinking, doesn’t this fall into the same category as clearing out your clutter? While yes it does sit similarly to the point made earlier, it also has a number of health benefits.

As you may be aware, thanks to the recent research covered in wellbeing publications over the past few years, having technology switched on and in the bedroom late at night can keep you awake and interrupt your sleep patterns. So whether it’s your phone, your handheld games console or your smartwatch, keeping them out of the bedroom at night will give your mind a ‘facelift’, which in turn will help you to feel better about your bedroom.

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