Value Added Residence

Adding value to your home is an investment that can reap considerable rewards when it comes to selling and moving up the chain to your dream home. You need to know how to maximise the value of where you currently live and consider all option from cosmetic enhancements to structural repairs too. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to increase the value and desirability of your home.

Structure – before you start thinking about renovating bathrooms and kitchens, you need to fix any major structural issues as you’re unlikely to be able to hide these for long from anyone valuing your home. Problems that need addressing include:

  • Unstable chimney
  • Structural cracks in walls
  • Missing roof tiles
  • Rising damp
  • Leaking roof
  • Bowing walls
  • Insect infestations
  • Rotten roof timbers or joists

These repairs can be time consuming and costly but in terms of adding value, they are absolutely necessary.

Cosmetic – there may be small problems that on their own don’t add up to much but taken as a whole, might be enough to put off buyers. Superficial but easy to fix issues include:

  • Peeling paint
  • Loose tiles
  • broken windows
  • Creaky floors or stairs
  • Cracks in ceiling and plaster
  • Mouldy bathroom sealant
  • Broken door latches

Windows – new double glazed windows can really add significant value to a property. For uPVC Windows in Dublin, visit These windows require little maintenance, are energy efficient and offer good security. They are available in many styles to most  property types and will make vast improvements to look of the house as well as making it much more energy efficient.

Kitchen – a shiny, new, hygienic looking kitchen is a major selling point. Before replacing a kitchen, think about shape and position, whether you want to relocate the room structurally or just complete a makeover. Most kitchens can be given a breath of fresh air with little cost and effort. It could be that only cupboard doors need replacing and not the entire unit. Adding new doors, handles and worktops will make a good impression. You might need to improve the lighting using halogen bulbs and under unit lighting looks great and isn’t prohibitively expensive.

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Bathrooms – just like a kitchen, bathrooms need to be spotless and clean, with adequate lighting and painted in neutral light shades. Make sure at least one bathroom has a shower and try to make the room as luxurious as possible. Think about replacing old fashioned suites with a plain white suite and remove any carpet for vinyl or tiled flooring instead. Adding touches such as a heated towel rail will also make a room much more inviting.

Exterior – remember your kerb appeal and that most people will have made judgements as they pull up outside. Don’t forget the garden and make sure that you don’t overlook any of the following:

  • garage door
  • Doors
  • Cladding
  • Porch
  • House names and numbers
  • Brickwork
  • windows

Science says that this is the perfect working space

The prefect workspace means better creativity and increased productivity. There are many ingredients in creating the prefect office, including high ceilings and plenty of plants. Read on to find out what else science dictates will create the perfect working environment.

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Ceilings and colour

High ceilings give a feeling of space and freedom, even if the room is small; conversely, low ceilings can feel oppressive and hinder creativity. High ceilings make people able to link complex ideas with other concepts and improve abstract thought.

Another important part of office organisation is colour. Having bright and bold colours can help to ignite a spark of passion for your work. Although neutrals look calming and sophisticated, using bright colours for splashes of colour can really help you to concentrate and love your work more. Science says blue and green are ideal for creativity, while red is perfect for increasing attention to detail.


Light is equally important. We need bright and clear lighting for screen work, ideally with daylight bulbs that are easy on the eye and cause less eye strain when we spend long periods staring at the screen; however, dimmer light can improve creativity, helping us to feel freer psychologically to express ourselves.

Rounded furniture

Rounded furniture has been found to aid the work space by making people feel more collaborative and comfortable. Office furniture that is softly designed with curves rather than straight lines is more beneficial to contentment in the workplace. Think carefully about the furniture in your office and explore various work stations from suppliers such as to find the best for your office space.

It is equally important to consider the furniture in your home office so that you can be as productive as possible in your work.

Plants and a view

Plants connect people to nature and are ideal for the office. Not only do plants lower stress levels but also they help to purify the air. Ideally you would be able to see the natural landscape from a well-placed window, such as trees or a water feature. Views of delicate and complex architecture can also give a similar effect. If you can’t have greenery in view, take a stroll to a green space at lunchtime to recharge your mind and you will find your afternoon is more productive.

10 legal requirements of starting a catering business

The regulations in place for catering businesses are formulated to protect the employer, the business and the employees, as well as the customers. The following guidelines are worth your attention!

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1. Register with the local authority

Wherever your business is going to be based, it is absolutely essential to register your catering premises with the environmental health service department at your local authority 28 days before you open for business.

2. Get a licence!

If you intend to sell or supply alcohol, sell hot food and drinks between 11pm and 5am, or provide some form of entertainment you will need to obtain a specific licence from the relevant authorities.

3. Comply with local regulations

Your self-catering business premises must be suitable for your business, and allow you to prepare food safely. Catering equipment suppliers such as provide products that are easily kept clean and in good condition.

4. Fire risk assessment

You must carry out a fire risk assessment and carry out recommended precautions that vary dependent upon the size of your premises and the catering equipment that you use.

5. Health and Safety policy

If you employ five of more people you must ensure that you have a written health and safety policy.

6. Food safety management procedures

Food safety management procedures will ensure that up to date procedures are in place with regard to the production of food in your work place.

7. Contact HMRC

Whether you are going to become self-employed or wish to take on staff, it would be prudent to contact HMRC for advice regarding tax and payroll issues.

8. Label food allergens

Since December 2014 it has been a requirement for caterers to label pre-packaged food and supply information regarding potential allergens in a legible format and obvious place.

9. Make a VAT decision

If you have a turnover above a certain threshold you will need to be registered for VAT, which means that on certain items you must add VAT to your prices.

10. Comply with employment laws

If you hire employees you must ensure that any relevant employment laws are complied with. Such requirements range from ensuring that your wages comply with the national minimum wage to demonstrating that you are aware of equality laws.

Why Bad Dental Hygiene Could Lead to Wrinkles

Did you know that avoiding regular visits to the dentist can give you wrinkles? By not visiting your dentist, you could be speeding up the ageing process and adding to those unsightly wrinkles around your mouth.


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This is because worn down teeth, grinding your teeth and clenching them at night can all cause loss of support to bone density in the jaw and cheeks. Here are a list of ways to keep those wrinkles at bay.

Teeth Grinding

Overworking your jaw muscles can cause skin sagging around the jawline. Being aware of this habit and actively trying to stop yourself from grinding may help to break the habit.

Night Clenching

Speak to your dentist about a mouth guard which should help to prevent this when sleeping. This will also maintain soft lines around the jaw typically associated with a youthful appearance.

Worn Down Teeth

You will start to see horizontal lines forming in the corners of your lips caused by a closed bite from worn down teeth. If your teeth start tilting inwards you may also become aware of a thinning upper lip. You may want to visit a Dublin dentist for regular dental check-ups and cleaning to ensure your teeth stay in good shape.

There are some foods that can wear your teeth down. Crunchy foods such as whole almonds are the main culprits. Best to slice almonds and break down nuts so you get the health benefit but not so much damage to your teeth and jaw.

Other Habits

Not only is smoking one of the worst culprits for staining teeth, you will see vertical lines appearing around the lips if you are a regular smoker. Did you know that using straws has a similar effect on wrinkles and should also be avoided?

Another habit which can lead to wrinkles is nail biting. This habit can result in worn down front teeth which we know leads to horizontal lines around the mouth.

If you are concerned about how dental hygiene can result in wrinkles, you may want to discuss cosmetic dentistry or use of braces with a local Dublin dentist,

What are you waiting for? Just follow the above advice, and you will discover how good dental hygiene will slow down signs of ageing and prevent unwanted wrinkles.

Your body during pregnancy

If you’ve just discovered that you’re pregnant, maybe for the first time, you may be curious to know what effects this will have on your body. Along with the usual morning sickness and backache, what else can you possibly expect?

A rather unusual side effect that is experienced by some pregnant women is an excess of saliva. Called Hypersalivation, it quite often occurs with cases of very bad morning sickness. Brushing teeth or using a mouthwash can ease symptoms, as can sipping drinks. Nasal congestion can also occur and is linked to hormonal changes in the body. Tips to combat this include, keeping your head elevated during sleep, plenty of hydration, warm showers and care when blowing your nose.


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You may notice changes to the colour of some area of your skin. This is called Melasma and is a brown discolouration which usually goes after pregnancy. Towards the end of your pregnancy you may also notice a dark line appear running down your stomach. This is called Linea Nigra and is caused by abdominal muscle stretching to give your baby more room.

Women’s feet tend to swell as the levels of fluid in your body increase during pregnancy. Ligament pain can often occur and feels like a sharp pain in the abdomen, groin or hip area. Changing position, taking a rest or lying on your side will help ease this condition.

You may not realise that pregnancy and lack of iron often go hand in hand. If you feel unusually fatigued at any point in your pregnancy then it may be worth getting a blood test done to check you do not have anemia. This is quite normal in pregnancy as your body works harder supplying nutrients to your baby and you will use up your iron stores much quicker than normal. It can be difficult under these circumstances to get enough iron from diet alone so why not think about liquid iron supplements.


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Constipation and increased urination are also associated with pregnancy. Constipation can occur due to changes in hormonal balances and food slowing down in the digestive system. Make sure to eat high-fibre foods and keep well hydrated.

Five ways the digital age is changing our behaviour

The digital age has already dramatically transformed the way we work, shop and access entertainment. But many scientists believe it is also having an impact on our behaviour.

Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing to Our Brains believes that the internet could be re-wiring our brains, providing us with so much information that we are losing the ability to concentrate.

It is not all bad news, however. The internet is also giving us new skills such as information gathering and analytical skills, which may help us in the workplace.


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It is also helping to generate more jobs, including those directly linked such as online marketing, software engineering and web designers, including who provide web design in Dublin.

The internet is changing our behaviour in a number of ways, We socialise online, makes friends differently and the skills we are in danger of losing will be replaced with new ones. Here we take a look at some of the ways the digital age could be having an impact on our lives:

We develop friendships differently

The latest smartphone apps will alert you when there are people close by with the same interests.

Your circle of friends may expand, but they will be drawn from a smaller cross section of society. This could mean we are less exposed to people with different interests or beliefs.

We socialise differently

The digital generation socialise differently. People communicate by text and on social media and skills such as reading facial expressions and eye contact or learning how to navigate social situations may be lost. We may be in danger of creating an environment for the next generation where basic social skills relating to body language become redundant.

Our memory is deteriorating

According to recent research some of us can’t even remember our own phone number. The digitisation of our contact books means that contact details are ready to access and we no longer need to memorise phone numbers or addresses. Sat navs are destroying our ability to map read.

We procrastinate more

Being online encourages procrastination. Although this can’t be blamed entirely on the internet, it is easy to get stuck on Facebook, YouTube or texting, when you should be working or writing that essay.

Video games are teaching us new skills

According to Forbes video games are good for our health. Tests showed that people who played first person shooters showed ‘faster and more accurate attention allocation, higher spatial resolution in visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities.’ These skills are comparable to those developed in formal courses designed to teach the same skills. Another study found that one hour each day on a Nintendo Wii a day improved the surgical performance of Italian Medical Students.

The digital age has transformed us all. As mobile technology evolves, our time spent on the internet increases which has an impact on our behaviour. While it is not all bad news, we could be losing out on those essential social skills that we have developed since the evolution of man.

What You Need to Know About Carpet Beetles

Are Carpet Beetles Really a Thing?

Yes, they really are. None of us really wants to think about having a house full of bugs, but these minuscule creatures really could find their way into your home. Carpet beetles are usually attracted to dark areas like the inside of cupboards or spaces under furniture. While they are largely harmless, you will see evidence of them if things aren’t kept in check. Carpet beetles can create small holes in your carpet and could even cause you to come out in a rash. They don’t bite, but you could suffer an allergic reaction to their skin.


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Basic cleanliness is one of the best approaches to keeping carpet beetles at bay. If you are worried about their presence in your home, make sure to vacuum regularly, especially in hard-to-reach spots that they are likely to love, like behind or underneath furniture. Washing any items you are worried about, such as rugs or blankets, in hot water with some soap will also help get rid of any beetles and their eggs.

If you want to find out more about carpet beetles and how to prevent or get rid of them, you can get advice from the British Pest Control Association.

What Are the Flooring Alternatives?

You might find the very notion of carpet beetles puts you off having carpets at all. If so, there are plenty of other stylish and affordable alternatives out there. You could consider laminate or wood flooring or vinyl. Another great option is cork flooring. It is probably the most under-appreciated type of flooring, but it is growing in popularity and is well worth a look. Cork is environmentally friendly and provides a beautiful finish in your home. You can find out more about its sustainability from

Another great benefit of cork is the distinctive look it gives compared to other wood floors. It is also available in a variety of colours to suit every home, ranging from the traditional brown shades of wood to pink, olive, black and white.

Carpet beetles are a part of life and shouldn’t cause you any real concern if you know what to look out for. But if you would rather not take the risk of giving them house room, there are plenty of other options out there.

Inspecting Pallet Racking: What You Need to Know

Pallet racking systems are most typically used in the warehousing industry but also found in manufacturing and other industries with large storage areas. Because these industrial storage systems can be large, heavy and unwieldy, they can potentially be dangerous. This risk is amplified in a busy industrial environment, where staff will be carrying out manual handling activities and automated equipment such as forklifts may be operating in the vicinity.


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Regular Inspections to Ensure Safety

In order to ensure that pallet racking and lin bins storage systems are fit for purpose and compliant with legal standards, an inspection process should be carried out regularly by someone trained to review the safety of the system. There are various courses available to facilitate this, which should be accredited by the Storage Equipment Manufacturers’ Association and the Institute of Occupational Health (IOSH).

Those trained in pallet racking inspection will understand how warehouse pallet racks can be maintained safely through regular risk assessments carried out to set standards and the latest H&S legislation.

What Inspectors Will Check

The inspector will be able to understand the different parts that make up a racking system and be able to name them. He or she will also know the legal responsibilities that employers need to be mindful of when allowing staff and machinery to operate near pallet stacking racks.

The inspector will understand the different risks that can arise around these systems and the most common causes that lead to a collapsed rig. He or she will know how to put recommendations for preventative measures into place to ensure that this doesn’t happen, as well as identify any potential hazards that are affecting the structure’s safety. You can find out more from companies such as

The racking inspection should be in accordance with the legal requirements of occupational health and health and safety legislation and be done regularly, with full records kept of the inspection and any recommendations, along with an action plan for implementing any changes.

The inspection process will be carried out as part of a wider regular review of the operational environment as part of business continuity management and health and safety processes to ensure the the business is operating as it should and in line with all relevant standards and legislation. Workers should also be trained in standards and safety.

Why the Taxman Is Getting a Share of More Family Inheritances

More people face being presented with a bill for inheritance tax (IHT) as house prices rise and people’s estates increase in value.


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Three-fifths of those surveyed by insurance company Canada Life didn’t realise their estate would be liable for IHT when they died, while over half did not know the tax is charged at 40%.

The current figure of £325,000 has been in place since 2009, but rising house prices have taken many people over the limit. IHT is no longer a tax on the rich, who are likely to protect their assets.

Families paid £4.7bn in IHT in the tax year 2015/16 – up 22% in one year. Experts warn many people are unaware of IHT or do not realise that all of their assets, including investments and savings, are added to the taxable pot.

Help on the Way

In order to lessen the number of people hit with an IHT bill, the nil-rate band – the threshold for IHT – will stay frozen until the year 2021 at today’s rate, and there will be a new IHT allowance for those who want to leave their main family home to their offspring. It’s being phased in from April.

By the year 2020 this will mean, for parents, IHT will not be payable until the estate is wroth £500,000, or £1m for a married couple.

Avoiding IHT

There are several ways you can avoid leaving your beneficiaries with a whopping tax bill. Firstly, everyone is advised to make a will and keep it up to date. If your assets are likely to be affected by IHT, consider setting up trusts – speak to an independent financial advisor for help.

You can also make gifts to people before you die, but these are subject to certain rules and depend on how soon after giving a gift you die. According to HMRC, gifts made three to seven years before your death are taxed on a sliding scale.

If you have debts, consider setting up an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) to help you pay them off and let you leave more of your assets. There are plenty of companies who can help with an IVA.

Whatever your assets, there are steps you can take to ensure your family doesn’t lose out when you die.