New Home Furniture – Choose Carefully

One of the best things in life is choosing new furniture. The type of furniture you choose says a lot about you as a person. You can transform a plain home into one that is welcoming and warm. Your likes and dislikes will influence the type of furniture you buy. Some of you will want to change your furniture frequently. Others are happy to live with the same furniture for years. Your budget will usually determine what you can buy but today there is a wealth of styles, colours, woods and fabrics to suit all budgets. As a general rule, the more expensive the furniture the longer it will last but this doesn’t always apply.

If you have young children you will probably need robust furniture that will stand up to wear and tear. On the other hand, retired people are often in a position to indulge their love of fine, delicately constructed furniture. If you dislike classical or traditional furniture you may well prefer modern, contemporary styles or opt for the minimalist look. Those who dislike reproduction furniture often have a love for the real thing, that is, antique furniture which comes with a high price tag.

Whatever your preference, whether it’s mahogany, limed oak, yew, pine, cherry wood, teak or glass, your choice will often reflect your individuality. It indicates that you are making a statement about yourself.

Whatever you decide to buy can make your home look smaller or larger which is often worth bearing in mind. This doesn’t really matter unless you have small rooms, in which case the lighter the colour of furniture and furnishings the better, as these help to make the room look larger.

Buying furniture gives me a buzz particularly when buying sofas and/or armchairs. There are so many styles, fabrics and colours it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Do you want plain, patterned, striped, flowered, velvet, silk, tweed, cotton, leather or chintz fabric? Then again do you want a 2, 3, 4 seater or corner sofa? Perhaps you’d prefer two sofas and no armchairs or a combination of both. Once those decisions have been made you can then think about the style you want – ie traditional, modern, country house style etc. At this point you’re almost there ! This is my favourite part – actually getting to choose the furniture after giving it so much thought !

You’ll then want to concentrate on other furniture such as coffee tables, occasional tables, lamp tables and maybe mirrors.

Your initial choice of sofas and/or armchairs will have a considerable impact on the rest of the furniture you choose for the sitting room. You’ll no doubt want these other pieces to complement each other which can be fun and fascinating to arrange. If your sitting room is small, glass topped coffee, occasional and lamp tables will give a feeling of space and light to the room but can look equally stunning in much larger rooms. In particular, glass topped occasional tables with brass legs usually look extremely good with most furniture.

Next may want to think about furniture for your dining room. Again, the style of your home will influence your decision. If you want your dining room to look elegant you’ll very likely consider a classic, highly polished dining table and matching chairs. For a more `homely` look pine may be your choice. If your dining room is large you’ll want matching dressers or corner tables to complete the picture.

Your following concern will probably be the kitchen. Most are completely fitted these days so you may only need to buy a kitchen table and chairs. The existing units and counter tops are generally a good indication of the type of kitchen table you need which helps considerably when making a choice. You’ll find the range is huge !

Now it’s on to the bedrooms where you can let your imagination run riot ! Your first task will consist of selecting the beds if you’re furnishing throughout. I’m sure you know the mattress is the most important purchase when making up your mind. This is one item which really is worth spending as much as you can afford for obvious reasons. The better the mattress the more comfortable it will be and the longer it will last. The style of bed you choose will be personal which shouldn’t present a problem as this narrows the choice tremendously.

It there are no custom built wardrobes or chests of drawers you’ll need to add these to your list of furniture to buy. Once more, the range is endless including rich wood finishes such as mahogany, light limed oak, teak, pine or a white matt finish to name but a few. It’s also worth remembering bedside tables. Here again your lifestyle will have an effect on your choices. Very young children or teenagers will be crucial to your decisions.

You may have a conservatory in which case you can’t go wrong with pine or white cane furniture plus deep, comfy cushions in whatever colour or pattern takes your fancy.

Should you have a family room, how you furnish it will be dictated by how many people use it and how often. If it’s used frequently the furniture you choose obviously needs to be hard wearing. Leather or tweed covered sofas usually work well in addition to being hard wearing and looking good.

For those of you who have a study or office remember that it, too, needs to be and look comfortable. So yet again you’ll want to buy the best you can afford. Apart from a good desk and office chair, a really comfortable armchair is always useful and gives a cosy atmosphere. A matching bookcase will be functional as well as attractive.

Finally, the garden! Garden furniture is a must and is now much more comfortable than it used to be. Tables, chairs, sun loungers in matching or co-ordinating fabrics look inviting and create a relaxed atmosphere for the whole family. Last but not least don’t forget the canvas garden umbrella and stand.

Oh, I almost forgot! You might like to add a couple of garden benches.

Pre-Departure Travel Planning

Make sure you’re healthy before you start traveling. If you’re embarking on a long trip, make sure your teeth are OK. If you wear glasses or contact lenses take a spare pair and your prescription. If you require a particular medication take an adequate supply, as it may not be available locally. Take the prescription or, better still, part of the packaging showing the generic rather than the brand name (which may not be locally available), as it will make getting replacements easier. It’s wise to have a legible prescription or a letter from your doctor with you to prove that you legally use the medication to avoid any problems.

Health Insurance:

A travel-insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is a wise idea. There is a wide variety of policies available and your travel agent will be able to make recommendations. The international student-travel policies handled by Harvey World Travel and other travel organizations are usually good value. Some policies offer lower and higher medical-expense options but the higher ones are chiefly for countries like the USA which have extremely high medical costs. Check the small print. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’, including scuba diving, motorcycling and even trekking. If such activities are on your agenda then you don’t want that sort of policy. A locally acquired motorcycle license may not be valid under your policy.

You may prefer a policy which pays doctors or hospitals direct rather than you having to pay on the spot and claim later. If you have to claim later make sure you keep all documentation. Some policies ask you to call back (reverse charges) to a centre in your home country where an immediate assessment of your problem is made.

Check if the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home.

Medical Kit:

It is sensible to carry a small, straightforward medical kit. A kit should include:

Aspirin or paracetamol (acetaminophen in the US) – for pain or fever.

Antihistamine (such as Benadryl) – useful as a decongestant for colds and allergies, to ease the itch from insect bites or stings and to help prevent motion sickness. There are several antihistamines on the market, all with different pros and cons (eg a tendency to cause drowsiness), so it’s worth discussing your requirements with a pharmacist or doctor. Antihistamines may cause sedation and interact with alcohol so care should be taken when using them.

Antibiotics – useful if you’re traveling well off the beaten track, but they must be prescribed and you should carry the prescription with you.

Loperamide (eg Imodium) or Lomotil for diarrhoea; prochlorperazine (eg Stemetil) or metaclopramide (eg Maxalon) for nausea and vomiting.

Rehydration mixture – for treatment of severe diarrhoea; this is particularly important if traveling with children.

Antiseptic such as povidone – iodine (eg Betadine) for cuts and grazes.

Multivitamins – especially for long trips when dietary vitamin intake may be inadequate.

Calamine lotion or aluminum sulphate spray (eg Stingose spray) to ease irritation from bites and stings.

Bandages and Band-aids – for minor injuries.

Scissors, tweezers and a thermometer (note that mercury thermometers are prohibited by airlines).

Insect repellent, sunscreen, chap stick and water purification tablets.

Cold and flu tablets and throat lozenges. Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (Sudafed) may be useful if flying with a cold to avoid ear damage.

A couple of syringes and needles, in case you need injections in a country with medical hygiene problems. Ask your doctor for a note explaining why they have been prescribed.


For some countries no immunizations are necessary, but the further off the beaten track you go the more necessary it is to take precautions. Be aware that there is often a greater risk of disease with children and in pregnancy. Leave plenty of time to get your vaccinations before you set off: some of them require an initial shot followed by a booster, and some vaccinations should not be given together. It is recommended you seek medical advice at least six weeks prior to travel.

Record all vaccinations on a International Health Certificate, which is available from your physician or government health department.

The Fate of Small Businesses on the Arrival of Big Brands

Running away when you find yourself in a competitive environment without a single effort or even a failed trial to see if you can make it can be termed the worst form of failure.

What defines you as a success story, are those efforts you made on your way to success and not the success itself. Your ability to take the bull by the horn and make concerted efforts to make a mark when everything seems blurry is what the definition of yourself should be.

Small and growing businesses tend to run into hiding when the “Big bull” (the big business) comes to town.

Some go as far as closing up even before the arrival of these big businesses. They surrender at the mention of the arrival of big businesses not minding the fact that they (the small businesses) have existed for a very long time.

This is as a result of the self-inflicting pain and fear that they bring upon themselves due to poor orientation and insufficient grooming. As a small business owner, you should be able to adapt and change with changing market conditions. When the market is shaky and unstable, your agility and stance must be firm and resolute.

A proper mindset, a proper thinking pattern and a good success orientation and grounding would help you to adjust and face the competitive business world confidently and bravely too.

It would not be much difficult for any small business that has been doing well in the past to retain its market despite the presence of big brands/businesses.

All you need to do is believe that you can make it and retain your company’s image along with your value driven products and services.

Nevertheless, a small business that have not been living up to expectation can still put up measures to weather the storm at the emergence of big businesses.

You as the owner of a small and growing business should possess a reasonable certainty and resolution devoid of relying on weak hopes to take your business to the next level as you aim at achieving success. You do this by putting in place, a good marketing system that directs and helps you to achieve reasonable amounts of profits and success.

The big mistake that most small and growing businesses make is that they are unsure of themselves and end up using excuses to cover up. They fail to realize that their business is meant for some people and those potential consumers would come looking for them if only they can distinguish themselves and offer something substantial and valuable.

You have people that believe in you and in what you have to offer. Remind yourself of this always and you will conceive that driving force you need to propel you further for more profitable actions.

When your mindset is constructed and built up with the thought that, “if anyone can do it, so can I”, all your actions and strategies would be based on energy and hard work aimed at hitting your target and reaching your goal.

It is therefore left for you as a small business owner to decide to stay put even if you are surrounded by the big businesses and create products and services that would help you sustain and grow your business.

Your products and services have to possess greater value to the customers.

As a small business owner, you have an edge over big businesses because;

Your operational costs are low.

You have direct contacts with your customers.

Due to your closeness to your customers, you can get to know what they think about your products and services and how you can serve them better.

You can come up with a very dynamic and targeted marketing plans and systems that cut across your target audience.

Some of these advantages are not always available to big businesses due to their administrative bottlenecks and wide (sometimes unnecessary) market coverage.

Putting some of these ideas and recommendations in place will obviously give you an edge over those domineering big businesses you are competing against.

Online Education Degree – How Can Getting an Online Degree Change Your Life?

Are you a professional yearning to go back to school for further learning and just cannot get the time? Education is never wasted you know but your family obligations, work and other pressures of life cannot just allow you enough time to ever go back and acquire that elusive degree that you know you are capable of getting if only you had the time. How frustrating but is it a dead end? I say no because it is precisely with you in mind that online degrees for education exist. This is surely the key to your problem.

How will this degree change your life? A good education is always beneficial regardless of where you are and so an online education degree would ensure you remain gainfully employed and in line for a bigger salary and promotion. So many have improved their lives by going back to school online and gotten their education degrees online. This is of course a degree where program where you don’t need to go to class and attend lectures, all the learning and assignments are carried out online which saves you a lot of time and allows you to do all the other things that may be occupying your time.

Education degrees can now be found in several areas and at all levels from bachelors to doctorate degrees in a large variety of fields like adult education, teaching to name a few. Therefore, with such facilities, it is inexcusable for one to be stuck because of lack of a degree. If this is your situation, don’t waste any more time, choose a course and register for an online education degree and your chances in life will improve tenfold. Ensure however, you are dealing with an accredited college as not all online degrees recognized universally but the “stigma” so long held about online education is now slowly fading and they are gaining wide acceptance worldwide because even major colleges now offer online education.