Keeping in touch with friends and family when apart

In years gone by, keeping in touch with a loved one who was living a distance away from you was through letter and before that the telegram. During the Second World War, soldiers who were away from wives and girlfriends would be kept motivated through the receiving of love letters which reminded them that they were being thought about even though they were many miles away.

Today, people are separated for a number of reasons; the armed forces still being one of them. Other reasons are parents and their son or daughter who has moved to study at university, a couple who have to live a long distance relationship due to work or family commitments, members of the family who move to start a new life abroad and those who have made friends whilst on holiday and want to stay in touch after they return to the respective lives.

There are a number of ways to stay in touch and to keep up with all the news. This can include email, social networking such as Facebook and Twitter, text, telephone calls and of course, sending letters through the post.

Keeping in touch with friends and family when apart

A great way to stay in touch is through conference calling. This is where more than two people can be involved in either a phone conversation or a video conversation and is a great way for families to all talk to each other at the same time without the need to pass a phone from one person to another.

Conference calling is really straight forward to set up and use and whilst many applications are for use in business, it’s just as useful in a domestic situation. You can arrange a conference call service through one of the many providers if you have a long term need for this kind of communication or you can use a number of internet related services. Call plans and associated costs aren’t expensive for this kind of technology, there’s often the option of having a free conference call with screen sharing for those who want to use video facilities as well as the phone.

Conference calling was invented in 1956 and whilst it fell out of favour in the 1960s not long after its launch due to the cost and the problems with the initial technology, the birth of the digital era has meant that it’s now a part of everyday life with excellent audio and great video quality generally. For those who think it is something just used in large organisations and busy businesses, think again. It’s the perfect tool for the family who are spread far and wide across the UK and beyond and they are just as much part of the whole ethos of why conferencing calling was invented as the busy professional who is looking to save time and money on travelling to a meeting.

Conferencing calling can be used with normal telephones and it’s even easier with a smartphone as you can call the first person, use the Add Caller button and then just tap ‘Merge’ when the next person is on the line. You can even add as many as five people using a smartphone so if you’re out and about and have some great news you want to share, you can do this just as easily walking along the street as sitting at home watching the TV.

Some companies will require you to have specific hardware such as their own handsets, but many don’t and so you can use your own home phone. It’s often just a case of calling a specific number and then having a password or PIN to hand to enter and this activates the conference call service.

Being apart physically doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch so if you’re away from someone you love today or want to chat to a group of friends and feel you’re all in the same room together, check out call conferencing to bring you all that little bit closer together.

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Cute guestbook ideas for your baby shower

A mum-to-be’s baby shower will be an event that she wants to remember forever. Why not help to preserve her fond memory by creating a guestbook to give to her as a memento of her special day? A guestbook featuring kind messages from the mum-to-be’s friends and family is sure to warm her heart and let her know that she has a lot of support behind her during this exciting, yet life changing time. Here we have provided a few cute guestbook ideas for baby showers.

Ask guests to take photos of themselves at the baby shower to put inside the guestbook.

Photo guestbook

Photo guestbooks are becoming more and more popular at baby showers. To create one you will need an instant camera, pens and a scrapbook. Basically what you need to do is get guests to take a photo of themselves at the baby shower, stick them in the scrapbook and write their own personal message to the mum-to-be or her new baby underneath their photograph. This will ensure the mum-to-be remembers exactly who was at her shower and will be able to look back on the pictures with fond memories with her child in the future.

Blown up photo guestbook

Alternatively, you could take a photo of the pregnant mum-to-be and have it blown up onto a large canvas. You could then lay it out on a craft table at the baby shower and ask guests to sign their name or leave a message somewhere on the photo canvas. To make the baby shower photo guestbook extra special you could have it framed afterwards so the mum-to-be can hang it in her home.

Charm bracelet guestbook

This idea will work better for intimate baby showers where the guests are close friends and family of the mother-to-be. Basically the baby shower host will buy a charm bracelet for the guest of honour and ask each guest to bring a charm that they have picked out to put on the bracelet. During the baby shower, each guest should go up to the mother-to-be and present her with a new charm for her bracelet. It may be a lovely idea for them to explain why the charm was chosen, to give it more of a special meaning.

This is a lovely alternative to a traditional guestbook and will provide the mother-to-be with something that she can wear and cherish forever. Of course, it is much more expensive than our other scrapbooking ideas, which is why we have suggested it for intimate baby showers only.

Customised onesie guestbook

Another great idea is to place a baby onesie on a flat table and ask guests to sign it with their special message using permanent markers. You can then have the onesie framed (similar to how people have football shirts and jerseys framed) so that the mum-to-be can hang it proudly on her wall at home.

Ask guests to write a special letter or message to put inside the baby shower time capsule.

Time capsule guestbook

A truly special guestbook idea involves creating a time capsule at the baby shower. Simply ask guests to either write a special message for the mum-to-be’s child or bring a token gift to put inside the box. Bury the box in the garden (or alternatively put it in the loft) and tell the mum-to-be that she must open it with her child in ‘x’ number of years. This will give the mum-to-be something to look forward to doing with her child in the future and will also make the perfect keepsake of her baby shower.


So there we have five cute guestbook ideas, perfect for baby showers. Guestbooks can be as simple or creative as you like. Either way, the mum-to-be is sure to be overwhelmed at the thought and effort you have put in to making her day truly memorable.

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5 Best Places to Visit in USA

United States of America is regarded as one of the most developed countries in the world. As far as travelling and beauty is concerned it offers many locations for the visitors to come and enjoy the beauty of life. When you think about United States of America tourism many places come into your mind such as dazzling lights of the New York, palm tree of the Southern California and the Disney World. But you might not have heard of certain cities that are much more exciting than the few you know.


Nashville, Tennessee:

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee State and it has got almost everything you are looking for, the lush green space such as the Park and Recreation of Metro Board that manages almost the land of 110,200 acres that include almost 99 big and small parks. It also contains the urban culture and offers the great food. The city of Nashville was also named as the best city for live music by the Atlantic cities and giving the Nashville the honor of “Music City”. The is also known as the Country Music Hall of Fame due to its record store all along with the Music line. There are international couriers available as well. So if you are party maker and love doing parties this place is for you.

Ocean City, Maryland:

So if you are planning to visit the United States then Ocean city is the ideal place for you to enjoy the Eastern coast as this city is known as the Eastern Shore by the mid-Atlantic locals. If you are visiting Washington D.C or Baltimore this place is close to both cities. These are much food stuff popular in this city especially at night time American national loves to eat the Dumser’s ice cream as well as Thrasher’s fries. If you want to send a parcel to USA especially in this area do prefer something food related. Also you can enjoy Ferris ride as well. At the day time you may go to Assateagus land mass where horses wander the beach.

Honolulu, Hawaii:

Have you ever gone to Honolulu? It is the capital of the American state of Hawaii and has been called the greatest city of United States of America. You will experience the uniqueness of the American city with a number of different cultures being mixed in single amazing city. There are international couriers available for your help. Near to the Waikiki Aquarium centre you will see the great beaches. You will find affordable hostels and community centre at this city if you aren’t seeking of any luxury place for sleeping.

Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Minneapolis city is one of the finest cities of America. It is the major metropolis Minneapolis which has a huge number of museums, performing art centre as well as the Renown University of Minnesota.

Eugene, Oregon

This city is a lively one having lovely art scene, strong culture and lifestyle. There is no deficiency of activity. If you are going in July season then you must visit Oregon Country Fair.

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Trends Being Reflected In The Office Furniture Of 2014

The way that desks, chairs, partitions and other items of office furniture have changed over the years is a result of the way that workplaces are evolving to accommodate new technology and discoveries or to make the lives of employees more bearable. What trends are we likely to see reflected in the furniture of 2014 and beyond, however?

  • Collaboration
    With hierarchy becoming less important in many workplaces, office furniture is being designed with collaboration in mind. This will be clear in the presence of more modular pieces, which can be arranged and rearranged depending on your needs.
  • Work Everywhere
    It seems that people are spending more and more time working, such as during lunch breaks and whilst waiting for a meeting. This will lead to the inclusion of comfortable seating with armrests so that employees can work wherever they happen to be at the time.
  • Creativity
    With the focus on creativity on the rise, offices are trying to encourage this sort of thinking through the inclusion of bright colours and other artistic pieces. Coloured desks and chairs will become quite common, as will artwork and other accessories.
  • Technology
    It seems that some new piece of technology is being launched every single day; we now use computers, laptops, tablets and even smartphones. This will mean that desks are designed to accommodate these additional items via cord grommets, hide away drawers and larger surfaces.
  • Spontaneity
    It seems that many businesses are encouraging meetings to be conducted on the fly. This means that furniture needs to be more versatile – it will be used by a single employee one minute and thrown into an ad hoc meeting with a handful of people the next.
  • Environment
    With people growing more concerned with the effect they are having on the environment, workplaces will also need to reflect this. Furniture with low chemical emissions and made from recycled materials will continue to grow in popularity in the next few years.
  • Homebodies
    It seems that the number of people choosing to work from home even a few days of the week is on the rise. This will lead to an increase in the number of hot desks, which are used by whoever happens to be in, and in furniture that is designed for home use.
  • Employee Focus
    There is an increasing focus being placed on the importance of employees, so companies need to work harder to keep them. This will be reflected in more ergonomic furniture, which fosters employee health and helps to avoid injury and other health problems.
  • Time
    With more people spending longer hours working – they arrive early, work through breaks and leave late – it is becoming increasingly common for comfortable office furniture to be introduced. This ensures that employees will be happy to work longer hours.


If you are in the market for some new office furniture, it is likely that you will see many of the above trends being reflected in the pieces that are available. Whilst you may not see the point of them straight away, we are sure that, with time, you will begin to see this furniture as being invaluable to your operation. What trends do you think will crop up in 2014?

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A Guide To Discolouration In Outdoor Paving Stones In Melbourne

Have you looked out the window one day and suddenly realised that some of your outdoor paving stones in Melbourne have become discoloured? Unless it has been sealed with epoxy, polyurethane or another non-breathable material, natural stone is incredibly porous. It will absorb whatever it comes into contact with, often leaving a collection of ugly stains and discolouration behind. Salt and dirt from the underside of the pavers is also known to carry through.

Many homeowners decide to seal their paving stones in order to protect them from accidental staining and to reduce the risk of algae and lichens taking root in the gaps. Even with the use of a sealant, however, discolour may still occur due to the way that the pavers are made. This is partly due to the fact that most people only seal the surface of the stones, whereas they would need to seal all six sides (including the edges) in order to offer full protection.

Silicone and acrylic sealants are not recommended for natural paving, as the thick film of polyurethane can actually change the way that the surface reflects light and can make it slippery. Urethane sealants will minimise transmission, as well as reduce moisture and efflorescence release. They are also not overly recommended for natural paving. Many homeowners have also found that these sealants alter the appearance of their paved area.

What you should be using is breathable and penetrating sealants, as they leave the surface colour and slip resistance of your paving intact. The latter is often recommended for use around swimming pools and other wet areas. They help to avoid staining and discolouration as a result of both manmade and natural causes, as well as allowing the passage of moisture into and out of the stone as required. The former is used more commonly indoors.

Some of the natural reasons that discolouration can occur include:

  • Reacting with the mortar that has been used to lay the stones;
  • Scaly and powdery deposits (known as efflorescence) due to water loss;
  • Light reflecting and dark/damp patches due to changes in moisture; and
  • Leeching from substances within the concrete base.

It doesn’t matter what kind of paving stones have been used or what technique has been used to lay them – these pavers are a wholly natural product and, as such, there will be an inherent variation in porosity, colour, texture and grain size. It is actually not unheard of for one stone to become discoloured whilst its neighbours remain unaffected. This does not mean there is something wrong with the particular paver, it’s just a natural process.

We now hope that you understand the reasons behind outdoor paving stones in Melbourne becoming stained and are aware of the fact that it is not always something that can be prevented. Whilst we certainly encourage you to seal your pavers with an appropriate sealant, we must stress that there are plenty of natural causes for staining, too. Fortunately, it is possible to remove or clean this discolouration when you are trying to make a good impression.

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Modern Gazebo Design Ideas To Help You Choose The Best Location

There can be no denying the beauty and versatility of having a covered gazebo somewhere in your backyard – it’s a place where you can sit quietly and catch up on your latest novel; a place where you can nap without being disturbed by the kids; and a place where you can enjoy a meal with friends and family. This is why it is essential to find the perfect location, and we have provided some modern gazebo design ideas to help you achieve just this.

The best way to choose your gazebo’s location is to take a walk around your backyard and view the garden from different angles and spots. Some people even choose to take photographs of each potential location so that they can view them all together at a later date and choose the best possible view. It is also important to consider each of these questions, as they will ensure that you have selected the best possible gazebo location:

  • Do you want a view or do you want seclusion?
    Some people like to have spectacular views of the surrounding gardens from their gazebo, whereas others like the structure to act as a secluded hideaway in a niche somewhere.

  • What kind of sun exposure would you prefer?
    This will also play a role in the kind of roofing and walls that you choose for your structure. Think about how much sunlight and warmth you would like to penetrate the space.

  • Is the site level or will it require some work?
    If the site is already level, drainage will be much easier to arrange and install. If the site will need some preparation, you can expect the project to take long to complete and be more costly.

  • Are there any setback or zoning laws at play?
    Most local councils require gazebo designs and plans to be submitted for approval before work can commence. It is of the utmost importance that you are aware of any applicable laws.

  • Do you need it close to the kitchen for access?
    Some people like their gazebos to be located nearby to the kitchen for easy access, especially if they intend to use the structure as an outdoor entertaining area. Keep this in mind.

  • Do you need it poolside for shade and access?
    Some people also like their gazebos to be located nearby to the swimming pool for shade and easy access. This is, of course, only applicable if you have a swimming pool or spa.


By answering each of the above questions, taking a walk around your backyard and considering modern gazebo design ideas, you can rest assured that you will have chosen an ideal location. If you are unsure whether you have made the right decision or you are tossing up between a few locations, it can sometimes help to have someone else take a look – sometimes, a fresh eye is handy. You can then begin preparing for the gazebo to be built.

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Top Things to See and Do When Visiting to Turkey with Family

A trip to Turkey will afford you an array of exciting activities to do for you and your family. Turkey is a fascinating and exciting country that has a rich blend of history and modernization. With many things to do and see in this nation, you need to have precise plans in place so that your family does not get carried away on arrival. Having a family vacation in this pristine nation will ignite lasting memories in your life.

What to do when in Turkey?

If you have ever visited Turkey, you have all the reasons to do it again. However, if you have never had a family vacation in Turkey, then this location should be at the top of your preferred locations. Some of the activities that your family will enjoy doing in Turkey include shopping, visiting historical attraction sites, outdoor gaming activities, not to forget the robust entertainment and night life. Looking at each of these activities in detail will offer you much insight into what you need to plan for when you are visiting Turkey.

· Historical attraction sites. Taking time to visit historical sites will not only leave you refreshed, but it will offer a nice bonding and family time. Historical attraction sites form the greatest wealth of this medieval and modern nation. Some of these sites include Ephesus, a city that lay in ruins. This city has a rich history and beautiful structures that take you back to the ancient world. In addition, at this site you will have a chance to experience what it feels to be a 2,000 year old public toilet.

· Turkazoo and Istanbul aquarium. These are popular family locations that offer a unique experience with the dolphins. Turkey’s extensive water parks are key attraction sites that ensure you have a memorable family time. This country has warm and sunny Mediterranean beaches that are comparable to no other location in the world.

· Adventure at Cappadocia. An adventure at this location will give your family a glimpse of beautiful natural mountains. This two hour trek though the picturesque Pigeon valley leaves an aura of inspiration and appreciation as you reminisce at what nature has to offer. The magical experience is heightened by a hot air balloon that offers strategic aerial views.

· The cotton castle. Locally, this site is known as the Pamukkale. It is a natural wonder that has amazing hot springs and beautiful cotton like minerals cascading down the valley. This breathtaking experience will leave a memorable time in your family’s trip. You should consider taking photographs and experiencing the refreshing hot springs in the shallow waters.

· The cosmopolitan Turkey. Your family trip to Turkey will not be complete without taking your time in buoyant city of Istanbul. An experience in this Turkish city offers a glimpse into the Turkish culture and refreshing cuisine.

In order to secure a family time to remember in Turkey, you need to have Turkish travel visa. This visa will ensure that you access the beautiful and captivating sites that this magnificent society has to offer.

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5 Reasons To Consider Refurbished Commercial Gym Equipment

Whether you operate a fitness club, personal training studio or some other kind of gym, it is important to ensure that you have the right sort of commercial gym equipment on hand. After all, these pieces will form the bread and butter of your business – without them, your memberships would be down and you would lose money. It is also important to keep your budget in mind, as this equipment can be quite expensive, which is why many people opt for refurbished pieces.

  1. It often comes from other fitness facilities
    It is important to keep in mind that refurbished equipment doesn’t come from a junkyard or random garage sale – it often comes from clubs or gyms who have decided to upgrade to the latest model. This often means that the apparatus is in extremely good condition, as it may only have been used for a few months.
  2. It often has little to no damage
    It is also important to note that people get rid of gym equipment for a number of reasons – their patrons may have found the computer complex and hard to use, they may have found it too expensive to run or maintain, or they may have decided to upgrade. On the odd occasion, you will come across apparatus that has a couple of scratches or even a superficial dent.
  3. It often has some warranty remaining
    It is desirable to have a warranty on commercial gym equipment, as it ensures that any problems will be dealt with quickly and free of charge. If you have purchased refurbished apparatus that is still relatively new, you will actually find that much of it still has a valid warranty. Make sure that the previous owner hands over all warranty information.
  4. It often has a lower cost to brand new
    It is possible to find a bargain and make some real savings when buying refurbished equipment. Many people find that they can purchase top of the line apparatus and big name brands will within budget, whereas they would only be able to afford cheap pieces if shopping brand new. Even if the equipment is fairly new, many people are eager to get rid of it.
  5. It is possible to furnish an entire gym
    It is actually possible for you to furnish your whole gym with refurbished equipment, as advancements in technology and updates are being released all the time. Providing that you don’t mind using apparatus that is slightly out of date or has been pre-owned, you could actually establish your gym on quite a small budget.


If we have convinced you to give refurbished commercial gym equipment a shot, the only other piece of advice we have to offer is to ensure that you thoroughly inspect it before purchasing. This will ensure that the equipment is still in relatively good condition and that any damage will not affect its operation or ability to serve your patrons. And, if you ever have any doubts about a particular piece, walk away and look elsewhere!

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Top Tips For Hiding Hydronic Radiators In Your Home

Regardless of whether you have purchased an older, traditional home with character or a newer, contemporary home with a blank slate, it is likely that you are paying an aesthetic price for keeping warm in winter – the radiators used in hydronic heating are rarely pretty. Whilst it is possible to find some that are quite unobtrusive in this day and age, once you know they are there your eye is often drawn to them and you start to loathe even their appearance.

You could certainly consider switching to another form of heat (such as ducted vents in either the ceiling or floor), but this doesn’t always offer a suitable alternative. Firstly, the cost of such a change is often more than many people can afford. Secondly, forced air heating comes with many negatives (including dry heat and the spreading of dust and allergens). If you have decided to stick with your hydronic radiators, you might be interested in hiding them instead.

  • Custom Paneling
    Some interior designers have discovered that custom paneling is a great way to hide radiators. These specially designed covers are installed right over the panel and appear just like part of the millwork (effectively helping them to disappear). The covers can even be replicated for areas where there are no radiators for a sense of continuity. They can even be modified to provide storage space, small though it will be.
  • Built Into Furniture
    Other interior designers have found that building the radiators into an item of furniture, such as banquette seating, that has been equipped with air vents is another viable solution. Not only are you gaining an additional item of furniture for your home, you are effectively hiding away your ugly heater whilst still keeping the space warm! Just keep in mind that these furniture items will be permanent.
  • Screens
    Some interior designers prefer to set up screens that simply block the radiators from view. In some cases, these screens can only be used when the heater has been turned off – during winter, they are simply folded away so that your home can enjoy warmth. In other cases, the screens are a permanent fixture of the home – the heat provided by your system can effectively pass through them into the room beyond.
  • Replacement
    Other interior designers recommend that homeowners with incredibly unattractive radiators replace them with sleeker versions. These are often available in a range of powder-coated colours, enabling you to find the perfect match for your wall colour, and can feature a depth of just 3 inches. If you still find the panel a little on the obtrusive side, you can employ one of the other tips provided here.
  • Recessed
    One of the great things about hydronic radiators is that they can be recessed into the wall. For the sake of airflow, you will need to leave a inch gap around the perimeter of the panel. The opening can be covered in a variety of ways (just make sure that the heat will be able to pass through). Laser cut wooden grilles, for example, are a popular choice that allow you to customise the design.

If you are interested in hiding the radiators in your home, it could definitely help to speak with the company who installed them (if possible). They will be able to provide you with more information on the types of materials that can be placed over the panel without creating a fire hazard and that still allow heat to pass through. It is also a good idea to speak with an interior designer who has experience dealing with these sorts of requests.

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Five Effective Parenting Techniques a Parent Can Follow

Every parent dreams to be the best parent in the world. However, raising a child is not easy and people tend to mess it up on plenty of occasions. There have been plenty of instances, when parents tend to expect the child to fulfill their ambitions. Some may have nurtured a dream to be a doctor, but has failed in achieving it. There has been this tendency to force it on the child. This does no good to him/her. To be an ideal parent, one must stress on effective parenting techniques. These are some effective ideas of how as a parent, one can bring up the child in the best manner. Let us now carefully analyze them.

Nurture the child’s self-esteem:

The little one starts developing a sense of self-esteem at quite an early stage. As a parent, one must look to nurture it. Actually, it is those minor things like praising accomplishments however small it may be. It makes the child feel proud. The idea on such instances to totally do away with loaded statements. This may affect the child’s self esteem in a major way. One must let the kid know that mistakes are common and in spite of any mistake, they are still highly adored.

The reward must be more than scolding:

 effective parenting techniques

There is no harm, if a parent scolds a child for some mischief. However, the general rule states that rewarding should exceed scolding. Actually, the rule is similar to an office set up. No one will relish if the boss criticizes more than rewarding. It will lead to negative output and productivity. It is the same set of rules applicable here. Excessive scolding has a negative impact on the little one. On the contrary, praises tend to lift his/her spirit.

Be consistent with discipline:

Now pampering the child does not mean one has to compromise on the discipline issue. In fact, discipline is an essential aspect of a child’s upkeep. The focus should be to teach the child of what is acceptable behavior and self control. It may be a problem at an early stage. However, the parent must stick to it, as the issue is essential in the little one’s upbringing.

Give time to the little one:

Modern day corporate sector demands employees spend long hours at the office. However, in spite of that, it is essential that as a parent, one spends some time with the little one. Going out on a family dinner on weekends is a great idea for people keen to spend time with the kid. In fact, one need not even go to a restaurant. Having breakfast everyday with the kid can make a huge difference.

Be a good role model:

It is no secret that any child looks up to parents as the perfect role model. Therefore, as a parent, one needs to be that perfect role model in the eyes of children. One needs to be aware that the child is watching every step. Experts will tell that if there is a role model back home most children tend to shine in life.

These are some effective parenting techniques, which if followed has a positive effect on the child. Hence, the idea is to be careful and make proper communication a top priority. One more area of focus should be flexibility. A parent must realize that the little one may not feel comfortable with a certain behavior pattern. Holding on to the rigid stand may not be ideal. Therefore, in such instances, a parent must look to be flexible in his/her behavior. These are small issues, which affect children in a large manner.

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