The Most Popular Uses For Self Storage

The popularity of self-storage has been increasing in the UK with more and more commercial and domestic customers taking advantage of this. Self-storage units are now being used for a number of commercial and domestic reasons. If you are considering self-storage, you should consider the different ways that it can be used.

Commercial Uses Of Self-Storage

There are a lot of businesses that use self-storage as a means of extending their workplace. Self-storage is often used as a secure storage facility for removal companies. Self-storage facilities will often have warehouse space, convenient access for lorries and forklift facilities. This makes them ideal for any removal company.

Another commercial use is for excess stock. There are a lot of businesses that find renting self-storage to be more cost-effective than moving to larger premises. This is due to the fact that storage facilities are flexible and you will be able to increase or decrease the amount of space you hire based on your current needs.

Heavy commercial users often find that Grade B containerised storage is ideal for them. These units will generally be older than the standard ones, but they will be available for a lower rate. This means that the storage of tools and equipment will be more cost-effective for the business.

Secure self-storage facilities are great for builders, engineers and construction companies because they can store building materials there. In these facilities, these companies will be able to not only store their materials, they will also be able to load and unload the materials with ease.

There are times when a company will outgrow their current premises and have to move to somewhere larger. During these moves, it is important that the company is able to run smoothly. To ensure this, many companies will temporarily store office furniture, stock, and equipment in self-storage units.

Market traders and car boot enthusiasts should also consider using self-storage for their commercial needs. This is a great low-cost storage option which allows easy access to all of their stock.

Companies will have to legally retain certain records for a set amount of time. Short and long-term storage of paperwork, archives, and records can all be done in self-storage units. This will often be more secure than storage in an office building.

Small businesses that sell on eBay and other online portals can also make use of self-storage units. This is a great choice for storing and distributing the stock they have. Commercial users can also store vehicles in self-storage units. There are many facilities that have units designed to hold vans, lorries, cars and busses.

The Domestic Uses For Self-Storage

Self-storage has long been popular with people who are moving home, but there are other reasons why you might want to use self-storage. The short-term storage of items during a home sale is one of them as well as during the move. Most self-storage contracts are flexible and you can keep the unit for as long as you need even if this is only a month.

Long-term storage when you downsize is also a potential use for self-storage. Moving to a smaller home does not mean you have to get rid of everything and there are a lot of valuables or sentiment items that you will want to keep. Self-storage is a great solution as you will still be able to access them when you want. You will also be able to use self-storage to free up space in your garage.

There are a lot of people who have specialist hobby equipment that is expensive but not used for long periods of time. Storing the items in a self-storage unit will ensure that they are safe and not taking up space in your home when not in use. You can also store sports equipment in the unit to keep it safe.

Self-storage also offers you a secure place to store your motorhome or caravan. Putting your caravan into storage during the winter is often better than having it sitting on your drive.

Is a Fixed or Variable Mortgage Best for You?

Every homebuyer faces a tough decision before they purchase property, and that question is about choosing the right type of mortgage.

There are two main types of mortgage, and these relate to the type of rate that is charged. The rates are known as fixed rates and variable rates.  Read this guide from Curchod & Co for more information.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

The selling point of a fixed rate mortgage is that no matter what the Bank of England decides to do with its base rate, the fixed rate does not change within a specified period. The specified period will vary depending on what you negotiate with your mortgage lender, but some companies will lock in a fixed rate for up to a decade.

A borrower who signs up for a fixed rate knows precisely the amount their mortgage will cost during this period. There is no need to stress about an increase in mortgage payments if the interest rates around you rise while your rate is locked in, and this means there will be no impact on your budget.

However, there is a negative, and that is that fixed rate mortgages normally have repayment fees attached if you want to pay out early. So, if you did come into some money that you would like to use to repay your mortgage, it would cost a lot to do so. Ask your prospective lender how much extra you can put against your mortgage before a penalty is charged. There may still be some small flexibility of overpaying up to 10% of the amount owed.

Variable Rate Mortgages

A variable rate mortgage is one that can constantly change. This means that yes it can rise, but it can also fall too.

A discounted deal is when you are offered a rate that is lower than the standard variable rate being offered by the lender. A discounted deal can be offered because the lender chooses what their variable rate will be and has complete autonomy to do so.

However, a tracker mortgage is a mortgage that has a variable rate that changes in line with the base rate advertised by the Bank of England. Therefore, every time there is a change in the base rate, this variable rate will change too.

The positive of a variable rate is that it may start out lower than what is being offered for a fixed rate mortgage. However, there is no certainty that it will remain lower in the future.

So, who benefits most from a fixed rate mortgage?

If you need the certainty of knowing what your mortgage is going to be during a set period, then a fixed rate mortgage is for you. However, you must be aware that if the interest rates go down, you are still going to be locked into paying your set amount.

Buyers who are purchasing their first home often find a fixed rate suits them best while they get used to paying a regular home mortgage payment.

Who benefits from the variable rate option?

Because the Bank of England base rate is at an all-time low, people who are prepared to take the risk-benefit most from a variable rate, but fixed rates are more attractive to borrowers at present.

However, if you can find a variable rate that is lower than a fixed rate and you have faith it will remain low, then you will save money by signing into a variable rate mortgage. Just make sure that you can absorb the extra mortgage cost if the rate does rise in the future.

You will also find that as a general rule lifetime tracker mortgages do not incur fees if you choose to repay early, and you may want to have this flexibility.

While there is no crystal ball that will tell you what interest rates are going to do in the future, using this advice you should be able to choose the mortgage type that will suit you best.

Is A Fixed Or Variable Mortgage Best For You?

A big question that a lot of homebuyers will have is what kind of mortgage is going to offer them the best overall deal. In more simple terms, it really comes down to variable or fixed rates, where both do exactly what they say.  Below are some guidelines from commercial property agents in Surrey.

Fixed Rates

With fixed rates, they are not going to fluctuate over a specified period of time, regardless of what may happen with the Bank Of England base rate. Various deals will allow the rate to be fixed depending on different time periods, which will usually be between two to five years. In some cases, it can be as long at ten years.

What this means is that a borrower will have foresight as to what they will pay for the length of the fixed rate. The main benefit to a fixed rate is that budgeting can be easier it offers freedom from the worries that your monthly payment will climb along with the interest rates when they rise.

The major downside here is that a lot of the fixed rates can end up putting you into a deal that has early repayment charges. When you need to repay the mortgage, it could result in charges that could be thousands of pounds. Most lenders will allow you to pay over a certain amount without having any sort of penalty, which will usually be about 10% of the outstanding balance of the mortgage per annum.

Variable Rates

A variable rate will be linked to, or offer, a rate that could be moved up and down. This will cause the mortgage payment to rise and fall accordingly.

Some of the variable rates will have a certain margin that is below the standard variable rate with a lender and will sometimes be called discounted deals. Lenders will have complete control of a standard variable rate and have the ability to alter rates when they want and as often as they want.

A tracker mortgage is another variable rate option, which is pegged to the base rate of the Bank Of England. These will move up and down in direct relation to changes in this base rate.

Overall, the benefit of a variable deal is that you will have an initial interest rate that could be a bit lower than fixed rates. The downside here is that your rates will climb, making your payments rise.

Who Should Have A Fixed Rate?

If you are looking for the security of having payments that are not going to increase, then a fixed rate is for you as long as you are okay with being locked into a deal. Any first-time buyer and home buyers that will have a bigger mortgage will usually prefer the stability of a fixed rate, especially when you look at all of the other costs that come with buying property.

Who Should Have A Variable Rate?

Because the base rate is at record lows and a fixed rate is rather competitive right now, variable rates have only been able to attract a smaller percentage of borrowers in recent years. However, variable rates can be lower than fixed rates, making them attractive to people who want to be able to save. It is also best if you are able to have some wiggle room in your regular budget that will allow you to handle an increase in your mortgage payment should the rates rise.

Lifetime tracker variable rates are usually free of repayment charges, which will add more flexibility for some buyers. It can always be difficult to second-guess things that may happen to future interest rates. The good news here is that you should be able to tailor a deal to meet your needs just as long as you have some good advice.

Accentuate Your Home With Door Handles And Knobs

Though small, door handles are, without a doubt, some of the most important parts of any office or home. Not only do they play a very practical yet crucial role, but they also, in more ways than one, add value to the overall feel and look of a building’s interior. Be it in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, dining or living area, nothing looks complete without door knobs and handles.

Since door handles and knobs have become a fashion statement, they’re now being used to add some glitz and glamour to the overall look of offices and homes.

External and Internal Door Handles

When it comes to door handles, it is important to note that these features are available in two main forms: indoor/interior handles and outdoor/external handles. Exterior or outdoor handles are generally installed on all main entrances into a home or building like back doors, front doors, service doors, or side doors. Interior or indoor handles, on the other hand, are used on doors found inside a home or building like toilet doors, bedroom doors, and kitchen doors.

In recent days, external latches and lever-type external door handles have become increasingly popular along with triple glazed windows. However, these are not the only ones that are taking the market by storm. Here is a look at other door handle designs and types that are quite popular right now:

  • Stainless-Steel T-Bar handles
  • Glass door knobs and handles
  • Contemporary door knobs and handles
  • PVC handles on plate
  • PVS door knobs and handles
  • Victorian lever on a Rose knobs
  • Classic handles on a rose
  • Traditional Mortice knobs
  • Rim door knobs
  • Centre door knobs
  • Black antique knobs

Traditional/Contemporary Door Handles

Many people today are opting to decorate their doors, including cabinet doors, with contemporary-styled door handles such as the attractive chrome finish handles fashioned with modern straight lines. And then, there are others who prefer having traditional door handles with polished antique brass finishes mounted against eye-catching back plates.

Fancy Door Handles

If you have little ones, you will be glad to know that there are door handles specifically designed for children and are available in different colours and beautiful cartoon designs. If you want something fancy for your kitchen doors, you will be surprised to learn that there are door handles in the market designed to look like fruits.

Kitchen Door Handles

If you want to give your kitchen a touch of class, installing nothing but the best of kitchen accessories and features is imperative. You’ll be glad to know that there is a very wide range of kitchen cabinets that come with built-in sliding trays, organisers and dividers. If you’re looking for tastefully-designed kitchen door handles, consider getting Hammered knobs with Shell handles or back plates, Cage handles, Hammered Bow handles, or Twister T handles.

What materials are door handles made from?

Different door handles are created using different materials like metal sheet, wood, sheet aluminium alloy, and cast brass. Cast brass door handles may be nickel or chrome plated, copper finished, antique finished, and bright satin finished. Sheet aluminium alloy handles, on the other hand, are available in finishes like satin bright, natural, dyed or Matt.

Metal sheet handles are normally given a stove-enamel, copper-oxidised or black finish. Wooden door handles normally come as level-latch types with ornate and intricate carvings on a base plate. However, most people prefer buying door handles made from metal and brass as they last longer and are more permanent.

To attain a more lasting impression, make sure your door handle’s design and colour match your overall interior. As such, when choosing a door handle, make sure that it matches and accentuates your office’s or home’s interior. To accomplish this, it is important that you match styles and finishes well. Some of the most commonly used finishes include brushed nickel, satin chrome, polished brass, polished chrome, stainless brass, stainless steel, and Florentine bronze.

All in all, when choosing a door handle, style, pattern and colour along with latches, spyholes, knockers, locks, fittings and other fixtures should be given enough consideration to make sure that you choose handles that compliment your exterior and interior doors.

Forensic Analysis of Blood Evidence

When it comes to solving crimes and determining what precisely happened and who is to blame, the process of locating and analyzing bodily fluids where such events take place can prove pivotal. The very existence of bodily fluids, where they are found and the DNA information extracted from them regularly give law enforcement entities the evidence necessary to move forward with an investigation.

The downside is that the analysis of bodily fluids obtained from crime scenes is a painstaking process. At the site of a crime, it is customary to use visualisation methods as a means to spot bodily fluids. Alternative light sources, for example, employ a range of wavelengths to highlight staining that would otherwise elude the naked eye. Such a technique can even reveal stains that someone has attempted to paint over or scrub clean.

But, alternative light source tactics does not facilitate the making of distinctions between types of bodily fluids. After questionable fluids are found at a site, testing is used to narrow the likely identity of the substance, and further DNA assessment can be used after that. Regrettably, no single test exists for assessing every kind of bodily fluid, and it is often that case that numerous techniques are required to get a concrete answer.

Blood Analysis

Known as perhaps the most frequently spotted bodily fluid at a crime scene, blood is made mostly of water mixed with minerals, cells, proteins, metabolites, glucose, and hormones. Because blood plays a major role in terms of forensic assessments, a number of testing methods exist for learning more about blood evidence. Presumptive testing tends to be done at the crime scene itself to conclusively establish if a stain is actually one made by blood. Often Luminol is used to produce a recognizable blue-tinted luminescence when blood is present. This happens due to oxygenation of luminol produced by haemoglobin.

Much in the same way, Fluorescein’s mechanism has to do with the heme-triggered oxidation that is viewed with the aid of an alternate light source. Phenolphthalein is another presumptive testing method for blood, and it is also referred to as the Kastle-Meyer test. This test works by causing an alkaline substance to turn pink when blood is present.

LMG, also known as leucomalachite green is also widely used for presumptive testing, as it causes a notable green hue to develop in the presence of heme from blood. On top of these options, there are many other commercially obtainable tests for identifying blood through immunological means, such as ABAcard, Heme Select as well as HemaTrace. So many different presumptive testing methods for blood exist today, including liquid filling machines and different jurisdictions are free to use the ones they prefer. Of course, these tests remain merely presumptive in nature, and it is often necessary to engage in additional analysis to make final confirmation of a bodily fluid’s true identity.

Other Methods

An antibody-centered testing method designed to confirm blood’s presence by detecting glycophorin A is known as RSID, or the Rapid Stain Identification Test. It is also possible to use an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to identify blood and also to make distinctions between blood groupings. The Teichman Test, one that centers on hematin formation, and the Takayama Test centered on hemochromogen crystal formation are among them. Microscopy and other analytical options also exist for blood identification efforts, as can spectroscopic techniques including UV-vis and fluorescence varieties.

An impressive array of methods have been devised for identifying bodily fluids for forensic purposes, from immediate, presumptive tests to more complex lab-based options. The fact remains, though, that none of these are perfect. Many feel that presumptive tests are not specific enough and tend to produce too many false positives because they react with a number of substances besides the suspected one. Other tests are thought not to be sensitive enough, causing false negatives when samples are especially small. Furthermore, many criticize both presumptive as well as confirmatory methods because they often require destruction of the fluid sample itself. This is problematic for law enforcement when the sample was quite small to begin with and nothing significant will remain after the testing is done.

The Benefits Of Having Your Property Marketing Images Edited

It has been said that a photo can speak a thousand words. That is even more appropriate when it comes to property marketing. The images that you use for your property marketing are not only a reflection of your business, brand, and the way you would like to be perceived, they are also a critical element that helps to market a property. Property images offer immediate connections to buyers and help to draw them in and clinch the sale.

We strongly believe that well taken, high-quality property marketing images can make a big difference when it comes to marketing a property. Property portals have statistics that provide evidence of that. It is a fairly straightforward process to take the right photos, but provide them with the right finishing touches so that the property stands out from all of the others in the area that can provide your property marketing with significant improvements.

Why should your property marketing images be edited?

With major social media channels like Instagram highlighting the importance of taking high-quality images of even simple things like your breakfast, it definitely brings the question of why aren’t we putting as much effort into getting out property marketing images edited into the forefront. A potential buyer is drawn in by aesthetically pleasing images, so it will pay off over the long term to edit your images properly.

The Guardian recommends that 95% of property searches are done online now, with an increasing number of buyers searching website and social media listings before going in physically to see an estate agent. Although this method is easier and faster for buyers, it does eliminate estate agents being able to “sell” a property and encourage viewings of properties that might not hit the brief of the purchaser initially. If a property has just image online for selling it, making sure that you have enticing and well-edited property photography for drawing in buyers, will lead to more viewings and a sale ultimately.

There are a number of benefits that come with editing property marketing images. You don’t need to be an editing wizard to achieve high-quality images. There is a wide range of techniques that can be applied to property images in order to improve their quality. When you pay attention to those small details it can help to increase your property’s appeal. You might think that clothing appears on the edge of a shot or a car parked on the outside of the property are insignificant details. However, they can really jump out at prospective buyers like flashing red warning signals. If you take the time to edit your images it can make a big difference, we promise!

Hire a studio

Hire a studio that is skilled in producing stunning and exquisite property images. They should follow a standard where each image goes through a set series of techniques in order t ensure they get the absolute best out of every image. The things that really matter to buyers include straightening the image in general, incorporating blue skies and reducing highlights and shadows, removing any scratches or dust, and improving the brightening or contrast of the shot.

Numerous estate agents have their own in-house photo editing style that helps them make their photos distinct from competitor agents. We understand that bespoke editing requirement and can work with you to make sure our photo editors do their editing according to your in-house style.

When it comes to the world of property marketing, the saying of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is one that definitely doesn’t apply. The cover is exactly what buyers look for, and aesthetics is everything. The benefits that come with having your property marketing images editing far outweigh anything else people might say. Ultimately, great images will definitely help to sell your property more effectively and quickly.

Top Tips for Getting Maximum Advertising Impact From Voice-Overs

Voiceovers have long been an important tool used by advertisers and marketers to strongly convey their messages to potential customers and other audiences. It should be noted, though, that the use of voiceovers is not without hazards, including alienating listeners and the production of comparatively uninteresting ads. The following paragraphs contain some useful advice for optimizing ads that use voiceovers and getting top value for the money spent on them.

Where They Succeed

The best voiceovers are those that assist with regard to communicating a message. Voice overs artists are most effective when employed as a means to strengthen what is being shown in a visual form or perhaps just as a way to articulate a key phrase or motto of the brand. Though simply stating a brand’s tagline may seem superfluous, it actually is quite powerful.

Congruence Matters

A voiceover will be most successful if it flows naturally with the visual elements it complements. It is never good for the voiceover to have to compete with what the audience is seeing, because the end result can feel scattered and unfocused, with the overall message lost of the shuffle.

This is a common scenario if the visual elements are supposed to explain a storyline, but the voiceover is trying to carry the burden of the full message. Viewers’ attention is typically divided to severely by such a technique, and the message usually is not retained. Ads capable of blending the sound and sights of a message will generally be the most useful in terms of getting the desired message across.

Selecting the Best Voice

Choosing the perfect voice for a given ad can be a challenge, but the time invested is certain to pay real dividends. There are a couple of things to keep in mind, however, including:

Consistency: Research suggests that audiences react more positively when a single voice is used in a series of ads. Try to find someone who can become the hallmark sound of the brand and stick with that individual if at all possible.

Target Group: Cater to the specific people you need to be reaching. Thus, it makes sense to narrow the candidates to just a few and ask a focus group to offer critiques of each. This will help identify the right voice to use across numerous spots.

Do Not Overdo It

Skillfully utilised voiceovers are wonderful mechanisms for ad professionals. However, they can sometimes backfire when not done well. While an ad that lacks a voiceover may be seen as interesting or different, it may not make its point fully heard. It is necessary to find a happy medium in terms of when and how much of a voiceover should be used.

There is no denying that voiceovers can be memorable, valuable and an integral part of an ad campaign. It can be tough, though, to avoid falling victim to the deceptive ease that comes with simply stating directly what the message is supposed to be. Of course, there remains a risk of using so much voice work that the outcome is one that is muddled and noisy.

By paying attention to the guidance presented above, it really is possible to use voiceovers to their greatest possible advantage and maintain the artistic integrity every ad strives to achieve. Audiences of all descriptions will assuredly appreciate the careful amalgamation of visuals and sounds.

Trends to Watch for in Kitchen Countertop Design in 2018

We all know that the countertop is one of the most essential elements to any kitchen. This happens to be center stage in the kitchen. In addition, the countertop is typically the one design element that is going to set the stage for everything else in the kitchen. It is the one element that is going to set the tone for the entire room, that is a lot of pressure! With this in mind, a kitchen showroom in London, Zen Kuchen has created the following list of the hottest trends for 2018 in countertops.

1) Quartz Remains King

Quartz was introduced to the kitchen arena as a high-quality option to granite. In the past, homeowners who wanted a solid countertop that looked good, always went to granite, it was the traditional standby. However, granite is a porous rock, which is bad for kitchens. What this means is that all of the liquids you have the chance of spilling in the kitchen can stain the countertop. In addition, it has a dangerous side, it has the ability to collect bacteria and allow it to breed, which is highly unsanitary.

There is some good news, the porous effect can be solved by sealing the granite with a non-porous sealant. However, over time and use, this non-porous sealant will wear off and the counter will need to be resealed.

Whereas quartz is not a porous rock and will never require any form of sealant. This means that it is resistant to staining as is one of the most hygienic countertops on the market. In addition, it is just as durable as granite, which is one of the reasons we have seen quartz become the go-to countertops for homeowners across the country.

2. Understanding Textured Finishes vs. Polished

The design world has seen a continual shift toward the use of tactile and textured surfaces, so it should be no surprise to see them being used with countertops. Leather and honed surfaces have become quite popular as they have the ability to be used with several different materials like marble, quartz, and granite. While polished remains the most popular, there are advantages to the other two.

A honed finish is a matte finish that offers little to no shine. The finished look is determined by the type of stone that is used, however, it typically offers a smooth surface and low sheen. The use of a honed finish works incredibly well with marble, as the low shine is going to be able to conceal any imperfections or scratches.

3) Choosing the Bold Pattern

As with many other objects in the house, individuals are looking for more character. With new advances in technology, there are several new solutions for the kitchen countertop. Many of the countertops that are available on the market come in a wide variety of patterns that simply were never available before. No longer do countertops contain the round particulates but now feature realistic veining.

We are now seeing rock materials like quartz being manufactured to resemble slabs of natural rock like marble and granite. This type of process begins with creating veins in various patterns that are swirled into the countertop slabs. This form of countertop is going to bring that “wow” factor into your kitchen. If you are looking for something that is going to be even more realistic, consider leathered and honed finishes as they are going to offer a durable surface with flair to give the kitchen visual appeal.

With various finishes, there is an infinite number of ways to create the kitchen of your dreams with varied flooring, backsplashes, cabinets, and walls. Having an incredible looking kitchen is one of the best ways to enjoy cooking and social activities even more!

4) Neutrality Takes Center Stage Once Again

Recent changes in design have brought the return of soft neutral tones being used for the theme of house decor. Many people are covering up the bold and bright colors from past years with colors designs to relax and offer a laid-back feel in the kitchen.

No longer will you find black or bright blue countertops, they have been replaced with white, beige, and grey in 2018. The focus has changed to highlighting various individual components through the use of neutral backgrounds. A good example of this would be a beige countertop with a unique mosaic backsplash behind to allow the counter to stand out.

It would look like the relaxed look for countertops is the way to go for 2018 and beyond. It is time to seek out neutral colors with natural slabs of rock with integrated sinks for the ultimate in kitchen design. It would seem that this is going to be the trend for the next several years, so take the time to go ahead and get a head start.

Top Kitchen Countertop Design Trends In 2018

Countertops are an essential component of any kitchen. Apart from being where all sorts of preparation take place, countertops are the foundation of a kitchen’s décor when doing a renovation. They bear the burden of setting the feel and tone of the space. In this article, we’ve put together some of the hottest countertop trends and ideas for 2018. If you are looking for ideas for your kitchen, then read on.

1. Quartz Forever

It is worth noting that Quartz was brought into the market as a higher-end granite alternative. To learn more about quartz and granite, click this link. Granite, which as a natural rock, has for many years dominated the countertop world especially for homeowners looking for something good looking yet strong and durable. However, this option has a downside to it – it’s porous. As a result, liquids like wine, oil, and water can easily seep through its surface causing it to stain. Worse yet, it supports the breeding of dangerous bacteria, something that could make your countertop a bit unsanitary.

This problem can be fixed by sealing the surface with a quality non-porous sealant. However, most of these sealants wear off as time goes by. As such, the countertop will need to be resealed all through its lifetime.

“Quartz, unlike granite, is non-porous and, therefore, requires no regular re-sealing. Quartz is quite resistant to staining, making it one of the most hygienic countertops in the market for homeowners,” says Zen Kuchen, a kitchen showroom in London.

At the same time, it is extremely strong, which makes it a super durable material. Considering the unique qualities quartz has to offer, it is easy to see why this low-maintenance material is the top choice for most homeowners and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

2. Polished vs. Textured Finishes

Since we’ve been going through a design movement involving more tactile and textured surfaces, why not consider it when it comes to countertops too. Leather and honed surfaces are some of the most common options on the market currently and can be applied to different materials like quartz, marble, and granite. While polished is still the top finish, the two options mentioned here still do have some advantages to offer.

The honed finish offers a matte appearance that has very little shine. The final look of a matte finish will vary depending on the type of stone it’s being applied on; however, it should create a smooth surface with low sheen. This finish works well with marble as its lack of shine masks scratch marks and flaws more readily.

3. Patterns and Veining – Countertops With Character

A lot of people are looking for countertops with a bit more character. Thankfully, advances in technology are now offering some very creative solutions. Today’s countertops are available in a variety of patterns and are worlds apart from the plain styles of yesteryears. With the options available, say goodbye to the round, dull particulates of olden countertops and say hello to more realistic veining.

Materials such as quartz are now being designed to look like slabs of natural stones like marble and granite. This process involves creating veins with interesting patterns spun into the slabs. This unique touch coupled with your creative personality should wow. If you are looking for something even more realistic, do not go for a polished piece, instead, go for a leathered and honed finish as they offer the sort of durability needed in a kitchen but still add a unique touch to your space.

Varied finishes such as these make for very interesting matchups when assimilated with other kitchen elements such as backsplashes, cabinetry, walls, and flooring. They also add a twist to your cooking since they create very nice visual backgrounds and backdrops for the different kitchen activities.

4. Neutral Tones are the Norm as Brighter Colors are Falling Out of Favor

A preference for softer neutral tones is becoming the common theme all through the upcoming home décor trends. Art Deco’s bright bold hues and mid-century styles are slowly losing their place in kitchens as people are now favouring more laid back tones.

It is highly likely that you will find white, beige, and grey tones, instead of jet black or bright blue countertops in the kitchen from 2018 onwards. The focus is now on highlighting individual components using a more neutral background. As such, you are more likely to find a beige or a ‘greige’ (a cross between beige and grey) countertop that has a ceiling-high mosaic pattern backsplash that stands out against it.


For now, laid-back countertops are definitely winning. The kitchen in 2018 will definitely feature more neutral-coloured countertops with sleek integrated sinks and thin ‘delicate’ slabs. From the indications, these trends are likely to extend beyond 2018.

Girls Are You Getting Ready For A Holiday? Check Out These 5 Packing Tips

You really cannot contain your excitement anymore, can you? You’ve been planning the perfect holiday for months, and now it is right around the corner.

You know what you might wear while on the holiday and have found the perfect bikini to wear on the beach.

Yet, you know there is one element of a holiday that you hate…packing. You may be a super organized individual or one impacts in the middle of chaos, yet you have a task ahead of you in which you have to pack everything that you need for your holiday within airline regulations. Of course, you could pay the excessive travel fees and take everything you need, or you can pack smart.

Your five brilliant tips offered by Elle Courbee that are going to ensure you do just that.

Travel In The Right Clothing

One of the best ways to keep the weight down on your checked luggage, stay as warm as possible on the flight and travel in your warmest clothing. This clothing you can wear on those cooler evenings as well as the journey home. You may also want to consider packing travel essentials in your carry-on and ensure that they are under 100 mL to comply with travel regulations as well as a change of clothing for any “just in case” emergencies.

Make Your Suitcase Your Best Friend

You want to invest in a suitcase that is not only light but offers four wheels which will allow you to roll the suitcase by your side helping to create the journey that is less strenuous and stressful. In addition, you find that you’re going to be traveling in the United States, you may want to invest suitcase with TSA locks. This is to ensure that if your suitcase is selected for a search, it can be done so without the locks being broken.

Bring What Is Not Supplied

When you are preparing to pack, ensure that your only packing things that are not going to be supplied at the hotel or resort, like shampoos, conditioners, towels, even hairdryers.

Take Only What You Need

Before you begin packing, you will want to check the free checked bag allowance, as this will be different with every airline. Once you know how much is allowed you can begin thinking about what you’re going to take. It is not uncommon to take almost every outfit in our wardrobe in only where a couple during the duration of the holiday. Typically, many resorts also offer a laundry service on-site. While this may be an expensive option, it does help to keep the packing to a minimum.

Making A List And Checking It Twice

One of the most common mistakes us girls make while packing is bring into many of the wrong items. We focus on bringing 20 pairs of shoes and forget a hairbrush. In order to be better prepared for our holiday, we want to make a list and stick to it. Below are just a few of the essentials you want to bring with you on your holiday.

Items For Carry-On Luggage

  • A valid passport.
  • Boarding pass and/or booking confirmations.
  • It is essential to have all financial matters including currency and bank cards.
  • Traveling with your phone, travel chargers, and headphones are essential.
  • If your phone does not have a good camera, you may want to bring one for better shots.
  • A travel insurance policy and if you are traveling in Europe you will want to have your EHIC.
  • A change of clothing as well as emergency toiletries and medicine.
  • For those naps on long journeys you may want to have a travel pillow, your plugs, and possibly and I’m asked to blur out the light.
  • For times when there is no Internet access, you may want to have a book or magazine for reading.
  • Bring an empty water bottle to fill up after you have passed through security.

Items For The Suitcase

  • Full-size cause medics and toiletries.
  • If your hotel does not supply a hairdryer you’ll want one of these as well as the straightener.
  • You may want to include a beach bag or use one as a carry-on luggage.
  • A small bag that can be used daily while on holiday.
  • That sweet new swimwear and a cover-up.
  • To protect yourself from the sun you will want sunglasses, hats, bandannas, or a scarf.
  • A few pieces of nice jewellery, but nothing too sentimental or expensive.
  • Several T-shirts and camisoles.
  • A sweater or fleece for those cooler evenings.
  • Of course, you will want to have a few pairs of shorts and skirts.
  • Be sure to include a pair of trousers or jeans if you did not wear those on the flight.
  • A couple of dresses for either day or evening wear.
  • For those cooler evenings, you’ll want to have at least one pashmina.
  • Of course, some pajamas and underwear are always valuable.
  • You may want to include some shape where if you are in need of a foundation garment.
  • An assortment of shoes such as sandals, heels, and trainers.
  • If you’re going to be traveling out of your home country you will want to have various electrical chargers and plug adapters.
  • For a little bit of added security, include a money belt.
  • For beach holidays, you sure you have a supply of sunscreen, insect repellent, and after sun care.

We truly hope this list is going to make your girls holiday the best, these simple packing tips are going to ensure that you bring everything you need and nothing you don’t.