Protect your palace and save BIG with these simple tips

insurance

An Englishman’s home is his castle but such grand buildings require a lot of upkeep and maintenance! Whether you live in a humble palace or a grand estate, it’s important that you do everything you can to protect it while keeping an eye on the family silver. Here’s how …

Take no chances

You never know what’s around the corner so take no chances when protecting your home and opt for a suitable insurance policy that covers everything you need. There are many different policies available today – all of which can come with cost-effective quotes – so you’re sure to find a perfect fit for your home.

More Than offers a great range of policies that provide a great range of cover levels so it’s worth investigating all options when making your decision. Click here to get a More Than home insurance quote today and find out how much you can save.

Replacements, reparation prices, damages, personal injury, emergency assistance, protection against the safety of personal belongings and the contents of your home and legal services are all features you can expect with some of their policies so you’re sure to find everything you need.

Calculate carefully

When receiving quotes for your home insurance you need to make sure that you are as accurate as possible with the information you provide. Submitting false or incorrect information can actually invalidate your policy or push up the premium once the error is detected.

The most important things to get right are:

  • Your personal details, employment status and salary (if requested)
  • Your homeownership status: do you own your home, have a mortgage or rent? This will affect the type of policy you need as in rented properties the building itself should be insured by the landlord not you
  • The value of rebuilding your property: this is not the same as the amount you paid for the property if a homeowner
  • The value of the contents of your home: selecting a lower amount may lead to a cheaper premium but if you need to make a claim then it will be insufficient to replace all the items in your home, leaving you out of pocket in the long run

You may be asked to itemise the contents of your home – allocating appropriate individual values – for specific items so it’s important that you are prepared for this and consult receipts where possible. It is interesting to note that a study reported in The Independent this September revealed that the item we’d be most likely to save during a home fire was not electrical items or luxuries but rather important documents and sentimental photos.

In the poll, men prioritised important documents with almost a quarter (24%) choosing to save them first while women opted for sentimental photographs (around 33%). Tech items like laptops and mobile phones were the second choice for men, voted for by 22% of respondents, while women shunned these items as only 12% made technology a priority.

Renewable suburban energy: Why it’s here to stay

Solar

Green power is being increasingly adopted by UK households, and considering the announcement of government “plans” to shrink solar energy costs, it’s time to have a look at how renewable energy is transforming neighbourhoods in other countries.

If ever you need a reason to believe the positive impacts of renewable energy in Australian suburbs, think of this: in Queensland alone, the combined generating capacity of all solar panels is almost one gigawatt. What does this mean? That is enough electricity to power a city of the same size as Cairns. Put another way, the twenty per cent of Queensland homes that are connected to solar power produce sufficient electricity to power 150,000 homes.

Solar power booming in Queensland:

Just ask the experts at Australian Solar Quotes, renewable energy is here to stay. In fact, the number of renewable energy certificates held in Australia shows that one-third of the total solar power capacity in Australia is in Queensland. In other words, the suburbs of Queensland have become the fourth-largest power station in the state.

Impressively, Queensland households were paid $242 million for their solar power by the power distributors of the state in the 2012-13 financial year.

Capitalising on solar power in the Sunshine State:

Ever-increasing energy bills have prompted many Australians to invest in renewable energy, through the installation of solar panels on the roofs of their homes. In Queensland, solar demand has reduced since the Newman Government decreased the solar feed-in tariff for new customers for the power generated and contributed to the grid from 44c/kW to 8c/KW.

However, in the Sunshine State, a great many people are financially benefiting from the use of solar energy. One resident of Ashmore has said that while approximately four kilowatts of energy is used in his home each day, this is negated by the capability of his solar system which produces in excess of 32 kilowatts per day. The upshot of this is that he is unlikely to receive an electricity bill again.

But aren’t solar panels incredibly expensive?

Of course, the purchase and installation of solar panels is far from cheap, but the long term benefits more than make the investment worthwhile. It is also reassuring for homeowners with solar panels to know that they can operate all of their systems and appliances without concern for the costs that are increasing exponentially. They can also take solace in knowing that the energy they use is environmentally-friendly.

It is little surprise then that so many people with solar panels, environmentalists, and policy makers recognise that solar energy is a wonderful energy solution.

And the rest of Australia?

The cumulative solar power generation capacity across Australia is now in excess of three gigawatts, which represents 9.3 per cent of demand for electricity.

With the success and effectiveness of solar power now proven in Australia, there is no reason at all to think that solar power will not stay. Dwellings in many parts of Australia with solar panels on their roofs are reaping financial rewards through generating enough power for their own needs. Many of these owners of solar panels are also benefiting from the payments they receive from the excess power they generate and send back to the grid.

You may argue that Aussie lands receive way more exposure to sun light than their UK counterparts, but that’s a fraction of the equation. Government subsidies and economies of scale in UK’s solar panel installations could allow the island to produce about 6% of its annual electricity needs from solar power as suggested by The Guardian early this year.

What do tech firms need to do to attract more interest?

A big problem for any company is ‘market saturation’ and this can be particularly true for tech firms.The annual cycle of new models and upgrades has been the bedrock of the mobile phone industry since Apple unleashed the iPhone back in 2007.However, pressures brought on by the recession mean people are hanging onto a range of different devices for longer before upgrading, so the challenges of attracting customers is causing a change in market behaviour.

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Demographics

Consumers over the age of 50 years are feeling overlooked when it comes to the tech sector, according to new research from High50. Their study found that 66% of consumers between the age of 50 and 64 years thought marketing and advertising were too biased towards the 16 to 34 year old age group in nearly every tech sector. Major players Apple and Samsung were among the brands found to target the over 50s the least, with 95% of respondents in that age group feeling they were not targeted at all. Chief executive of High50, James Burrows, said: “It is clear that existing preconceptions about the over 50s is significantly outdated, and it’s time we acknowledged that for many, becoming 50 is the start of the better half of their lives.”

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The image of ‘silver surfers’ being huddled around a shared desktop is very wide of the mark, as brand new retirement homes from McCarthy and Stone are as likely to have residents who are owners of a tablet, smart TV and any number of latest generation smartphones as any other home in the country. The fact is that as the population of the UK increases to feature more elderly people than ever before, technology can play a major part in making day to day activities such as online shopping and communications far easier for many.

Tech savvy generations

The latest figures from Ofcom show that the number of people over 65 years old using tablets jumped from 5% to 17% between 2012 and 2013 and the number of people aged over 65 using tablets to access the internet rose also to 17% in 2013. Their report, Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes, found that this increase in tablet usage alone fuelled a wider boost in the proportion of people over 65 that are going online, a rise of 27% year-on-year to 42%. However, the research also found that, within this age group, computers, laptops, or notebooks are still the most popular way to access the internet, with 78% doing so with these devices. All of this data points towards the existence of a largely untapped market for the tech sector, and certainly one that will become an increasingly important demographic in the future.

Hire Space Review

Hire Space is the UK’s leading provider of venues for hire. Revolutionising the way that spaces are hired in the UK, Hire Space is the brainchild of two friends, Will Swannell and Edward Poland. Will used to work as a teacher and his school had to accept emergency funding, although the facilities at the school were going unused in the evenings. His friend Edward was working on saving local authority venues from closure once the recession hit. The pair formed a plan to help venues hit by the recession market their spaces on a limited budget and Hire Space was born. The site grew so quickly that it soon attracted the attention of spaces that did have a marketing budget, as well as those that didn’t. Now, Hire Space is one of the UK’s leading provider of venues for hire, but they’re also passionate about building communities around shared venues and spaces.

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A Space For Every Occasion

With a vast range of spaces for every occasion, Hire Space has you covered, whatever your event and wherever you’d like to host it. From promotional event spaces, like Broadgate Circle and meeting rooms like the Pestalozzi Boardroom at Bloomsbury House to community spaces like the Sports Hall at Harrow Club and unusual event venues like Studio 4 at Loft Studio and much, much more, Hire Space really has it all, with venues starting at just £12. Whatever your budget, Hire Space can help you find the perfect venue for your next event.

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Free to List

If you’re a venue looking to get extra exposure, here’s the best thing about Hire Space: it’s completely free to list your venue. It’s really easy to list your venue and Hire Space makes it easy for you to attract further business. You have the option to accept or deny bookings, read feedback on customers, earn great reviews from your customers and receive online payments. No longer will you have to chase payments. The Hire Space team will also make sure that your venue is search optimised and will offer free online advertising. They even reward their happy customers – simply refer another venue and you’ll get a commission-free month. Plus, if you reply to queries quickly and efficiently and get great reviews, you’ll also be rewarded with lower commissions and increased prominence on the site. All you have to pay is less than 10% of the hire cost when your space gets hired out and not a penny before.

Industry Leaders

Hire Space are backed by some of the top businesses in the country, including TopTable.com. LastMinute.com co-founder Baroness Lane Fox of Soho says that “Hire Space is a smart idea for using spaces more effectively”, while Lord Adonis calls it a “win-win idea”. Not only do Hire Space bring together customers and spaces, but they also hope to bring communities together. A win-win indeed!

Jewson Review

Jewson is at the forefront of the building industry and is the UK’s largest retailer of sustainable timber and building supplies. Founded in 1836, Jewson now has over 600 branches across the country, with nearly half of the branches offering tool and material hire. They’re part of one of the biggest construction businesses in the world, Saint-Gobain, allowing them to design, manufacture and distribute innovate products, sourcing new sustainable materials for a better tomorrow.

JEWSON LOGO Creative

 

Sustainability

Jewson is at the very forefront of the sustainable building industry and is the largest retailer of sustainable building products within the UK. They’re passionate about searching for sustainable solutions to common building problems, and because the construction industry and the development of building materials contributes to around 10% of emissions within the UK, it’s now more important than ever to develop cheap, environmentally sound construction methods and materials.

Hire Tools

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Because Jewson is so passionate about sustainability, they offer the opportunity to hire tools and materials at 280 of their branches, allowing customers and builders to hire items for use over a day, weekend, week or longer, instead of having to fork out paying the full retail price for a tool that they may never use again. Jewson also understand that the construction trade is fast moving, and builders and workers will often need tools within the same working day. That’s why they offer same day delivery on all tools that are in stock, and in many cases, will deliver goods within just four hours. For items that aren’t in stock, they’ll deliver within 24 hours, subject to the time of order. They also offer discounts if you hire goods online rather than in-store and are always on hand to offer advice and tips if you pick up your item from a store.

Tools to Suit You

Not only do Jewson offer a wonderful range of tools and materials through their hire service, but they’ll also drop off and pick up tools at a time and convenient location for you – so if you’re stuck on site and can’t get away to a Jewson store near you, there’s no need to worry as their friendly team can deliver it right to your door. Full instructions and safety equipment are provided with each and every hire and an Accident Damage Protection scheme is also offered, which will provide cover should there be an accident during the hire period or whilst you are using the item. Accessories can also be bought to accompany the tool at the time of hire or return. Even better, if you’re a credit account holder, Jewson will do their very best to find tools or materials for you – even if they’re not available in store or through the website. Credit account holders also get additional benefits, and so if you think you might hire tools from them regularly, it’s definitely a worthwhile option.

Smiley Booth Review

Smiley Booth were one of the first photo booth companies in the UK. In the last 12 months, the photo booth industry has exploded, and Smiley Booth pride themselves on being at the forefront of the industry. They’ve also won a number of industry awards and are the only company to provide a “smiley” guarantee.

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Custom Service

Smiley Booth offer a uniquely tailored service, delivering custom booths to each individual event. They cater to everything from children’s parties to weddings, small parties to television shows and corporate events to office parties and have a fleet of booths to suit each individual event, as well as the only fully accessible sit down stand up booth. Smiley Booth also let you personalise each and every part of the process, such as the photo backdrops, props, photo booth style, layout of the photos, print outs, guest book and much, much more – letting you make the most of your photo booth experience.

Top Quality

Smiley Booth were one of the first photo booth companies to start trading in the UK, and as such, have some of the most up-to-date equipment and technology in the industry. Photographs in the booth are produced using top of the range DSLR cameras, while video messages are recorded in full HD and edited into a movie before being sent to the recipient. Background images can also be provided in HD, or, you can provide your own background images. If there’s a backdrop you really, really want, just ask Smiley Booth and they will do their very best to provide it.

The Hire Process

The hire process couldn’t be simpler – all you have to do is fill out the enquiry form, providing your name, the date of your event and what type of event you want to hire the booth for. Or, you can just give them a call. Once Smiley Booth have established that they are able to cater your event, you’ll then pay a deposit. A number of payment plans are offered, too, which means that you can pay for your Smiley Booth whatever your budget.

Suitable for Every Occasion

Smiley Booth photo booths are the perfect way to add something special to your party. Choose a photo booth for your wedding and Smiley Booth will put together an extra-special guestbook, providing you with a unique and lasting reminder of your special day. For a corporate event, Smiley Booth can provide guests with mementoes branded with your logo and company details, and for children’s parties, cute flipbooksguestbooks and individual photographs. Whatever the occasion and whatever your needs, Smiley Booth can help.

Smiley Booth are one of the most innovative photo booth companies in the country, used by some of the biggest companies, including Disney, Clothes Show Live and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis.

Dawsons Music Review

Dawsons are the oldest musical retailer in the UK, having been established in Warrington in 1898. The story began with John Dawson, a piano tuner who wanted to give his customers the opportunity to buy their own pianos. John soon started offering a wider range of musical instruments and today, Dawsons has 12 stores throughout the UK, an online store, music schools and even an education department, selling a vast range of musical instruments as well as the latest in musical technology.

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Dawsons are unique amongst other musical retailers in that their stores are staffed by musicians and ran for musicians, meaning that staff have a real passion for music and can advise and guide customers in a way that non-musician staff might not be able to.

Not only do Dawsons sell a wide range of musical instruments as well as providing in-store tuition and instruments for students in schools through their Education Department, but they also regularly host in-store events offering jargon-free tips and advice to musicians of all abilities, as well as competitions and the chance to win some amazing freebies. They strongly believe in supporting local musicians as well as would-be musicians and will offer as much help and advice as they can, in-store and through their music school scheme. Dawsons also have very strong links to local music venues and will often support local gigs, too.

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They also offer a musical instrument hire scheme for all school-aged students. Almost all entry-level woodwind, brass and a selection of string instruments are available for hire through the scheme. Parents can hire out an instrument for up to 24 months, and if they make 24 payments, the instrument will then be owned by them. You can also choose to put some of the rental payments that you have already made towards a better or more expensive instrument, or you can decide to buy the instrument outright within either the first 12 months or the second 12 months, minus an administration charge. Dawsons offer free maintenance for regular wear and tear, but they do require you to buy a £15.99 maintenance kit alongside the instrument to ensure that you maintain the instrument properly at home.

As for their online presence, Dawsons always make sure that they offer the very latest in musical instruments and technology. Not only is the site the place to go if you want to buy a new musical instrument, but it’s also the perfect place to learn everything you need to know about the latest technology, products and news from the music world. The online team pride themselves on always having the latest music instruments and tech in-stock, with many items being delivered the next day.

Dawsons is a unique music retailer and is the perfect one-stop shop for all of your instrumental and educational needs.

Sixt Car Hire Review

Sixt car hire is one of the fastest-growing car hire companies across Europe. They’re an international company, offering their services in over 4,000 locations across 105 countries. With a range of cars in their expansive fleets, from practical 7 seater family cars to vans, small economy vehicles and even limousines, they really have thought of everything.

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Sixt have a huge number of branches up and down the country – making them the go-to hire car company wherever you are in the country. With 20 London van and car rental locations alone, they also provide car hire from some of the UK’s biggest and busiest airports, including Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted. They also offer hire car in cities throughout the UK, including Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds plus many more – wherever you are in the UK, you won’t be too far from Sixt Car Hire!

If you’re looking to hire a car abroad, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Sixt have offices throughout Europe in popular tourist hotspots like Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Tenerife – and they even have rental spots in America, too. To help you on your journey, they also offer a number of driving regulation guides for countries all over the world.

Hiring a car with Sixt is incredibly easy. Go to their homepage, then simply input your pickup location and date and drop-off location and date. A huge range of cars will then be displayed, ranging from vehicles on the budget end of the scale right through to the priciest. Each price displayed is exactly what you pay – no hidden costs or charges, the price includes 300 free miles (you’ll pay just 6p per additional mile), loss damage waiver, third party insurance, registration and road tax. You can also choose additional extras, such as a SatNav, baby seat, car seat, booster seat, tire and windscreen protection or an additional driver. You can also choose to lower the excess on the loss damage waiver by paying a little bit extra, and you can choose whether to pay up front or on arrival.

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Sixt also offer a range of optional extras for loyal or regular customers. The Sixt Express card lets you jump queues, picking up the keys to your hire car as soon as you arrive at the hire location – or to go straight to the front of the queue should you not have booked your hire car in advance. There’s also an automated check-in option if you’re an Express card holder – all you have to do is input your details and the keys will be given to you via a secure safe, a little like a vending machine, letting you grab and go. If you’re hiring a car from an airport, tell them your flight details and they’ll make sure that the car is waiting the second you get off the plane – meaning that you don’t have to hang around.

Wherever you are in the world, hiring a car is easy with Sixt.

Classic Volks Review

Classic Volks, owned and directed by Kate McCarthy-Bedward, is a growing resource for all things Veedub. Whether you’re a new VW owner or have loved Volkswagen vehicles since the very first Beetle, you’ll be welcomed with open arms by Classic Volks and by the York Classic VWs Owner’s Club.

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Classic Volks advertise a range of VW hire companies for all tastes, budgets and occasions. Whether you want to hire a classic VW campervan to potter around the UK countryside, to explore the chic resorts of the Cote d’Azur, France or the stunning surroundings of Andalusia, or for a special event, prom, party or even for a music festival, Classic Volks has the answer. They even advertise for companies that hire out chauffeur-driven campervans for your wedding or civil ceremony – the perfect way to make your grand entrance. Whatever the event and wherever you want to hire a VW, Classic Volks can help.

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As Classic Volks is run by self-confessed Veedub enthusiasts, their main aim is to provide tips, tricks and advice to other VW lovers. They have a restoration page with tips, advice and a range of advertisers and also promise to pair you with a classic Volkswagen specialist should you not have the time, knowledge or ability to restore your beloved Volks yourself.

CV has also launched a brand new VW show called Field of Dreams, open to lovers of VWs across the country – whether you own a VW or not. The show is for aircooled VWs, but watercooled and mixed vehicles are also welcome. The show is set up a little like a music festival, with live music all weekend, plenty of food and drink stalls and a wide range of shopping stalls selling all things Veedub, making it the perfect weekend away for VW fans.

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Love to natter? There’s also a VW forum, a Classic Volks Facebook and a Twitter (where Kate will post updates, advice, news from the industry and respond to questions and enquiries). They also post and share all of the latest news from Volkswagen, along with brand new VWs and concept cars.

CV also aims to be the online resource for those looking for VW parts and supplies, so if you’re looking for that difficult-to-find dashboard accessory, drop them an email – they’ll do their best to help. Plus, they advertise for a range of VW gift suppliers, so take a look if you’re searching for a unique, quirky gift for the Veedub lover in your life.

Classic Volks is the online resource for all things Volkswagen. Whether you’re looking to hire a restored classic VW camper for your wedding or are after some restoration advice – or whether you just want to look through pictures of classic VWs – Classic Volks is the place for you.

Girl Meets Dress – The pioneer story behind renting dresses online

Girl Meets Dress was the very first company to hire out luxury fashion online. Co-founder Anna Bance first came up with the idea for GMD while working as PR manager for Hermès, lending the latest dresses, gowns and accessories to celebrities and those in the fashion industry. Anna thought, “wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all borrow dresses for just one event, and wear a different designer for every event in our calendar?”, looked into the market, found that no-one else was doing anything quite like it, and after partnering with strategic co-founder Xavier de Lecaros-Aquise, Girl Meets Dress was born.

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The idea behind GMD is to allow millions of women to rent over 4000 fabulous dresses, accessories and gowns from over 150 designer brands for as little as £39 – saving from buying expensive party dresses on the high street to use them occasionally. Buying designer pieces outright is out of reach for most of us and for the cost of a cheapy high street gown, you can rent a stunning designer frock and be the belle of the ball. Plus, it’s almost guaranteed that no-one else will be wearing the same dress!

Made In Chelsea's Millie Styling Session

Not only do Girl Meets Dress offer gowns, dresses and accessories for all occasions, including weddings (you can even rent wedding dresses!), proms, black tie events, date nights, work events, the races, New Year’s Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but they also let you filter dresses by size, color, style, designer and price to choose your favourite. As well as their huge range of dresses, they also have bags, hats and jewellery to hire and they sell a brilliant range of designer cosmetics, hosiery and shapewear to complete your look.

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If you’re a fashion lover with at least one event every month, there’s also a nifty membership option which lets you hire any gown once a month, every month for just £39. Some dresses cost three times that and so if you’re likely to be renting a dress that frequently, it’s a great option. You can carry over dress credits for a few months, too, if you have a quiet month – which means that you can “save up” a few credits for months where you’re a little bit busier!

To make your life even easier, there are also a number of helpful extras, including the ability to try on up to three gowns to ensure the perfect fit, dry cleaning (so you don’t even have to worry about getting the dress cleaned before you send it back), delivery to your home, office or to the event, hire periods of 2 or 7 nights and stylist recommendations if you’re feeling a little bit spoilt for choice. And if you fall in love with a dress? There’s even the option to buy certain dresses and jumpsuits if you can’t bear to send it back.

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Girl Meets Dress is the perfect location for anyone looking for a gown for work or play. Whether you’re a fashion lover or a fashion novice, GMD can help you find the dress of your dreams.