Green Cities of the Future


With an increasing focus on environmental issues and sustainability, today’s town planners are thinking carefully about the future. Increasing urbanisation, growing populations, changing patterns of work and transport and increasing concern about the environment are all combining to force innovation in the field of city planning.  More people are trying to utilise their existing space by creating places to work like garden studios from places like  to work from rather than commuting to work saving both time, money and fuel consumption.


Image Credit

And with the right infrastructure investment, future cities could look incredibly different to those of today, with sustainable, clean operations and an overall enhanced quality of life. So what will the future look like?

Self-Driving Electric Cars

Hybrid cars are already a reality, but self-driving cars that use electricity are likely to be the next step. As with modern hybrids of today, they will power up from the grid to supply electrical energy to the battery, but they won’t require additional fuel. There will be no petrol stations, carbon-dioxide emissions and smelly exhaust pipes. And with self-driving auto technology, accidents should also become a thing of the past. Google is one company looking to move ahead in this field.

Green Buildings

Urban design advice and consultants are looking at how green buildings will play a role in tomorrow’s cities. Green homes will almost be alive themselves, with intelligent applications that monitor our resource and energy usage and adapt in real time to our needs – saving on emissions, energy and money. Living accommodations are likely to become more compact but ever smarter in design, with quirky options that allow a single space to be used in a multi-functional way through flexible furnishings.

Solar-Powered Buses

Future cities will also make use of solar-powered transport such as buses and trams. Adelaide in Australia has already moved ahead in this field with the first solar-powered electric tram. These systems will be extremely fast and may be elevated above dirtier road systems so that they run on rails above the cities.

Smart Grids and Solar Surfaces

A new wave of smart grid solutions will use fibre optics to allow power sources and users to experience real-time communication. This will lessen the risk of blackouts, save money and increase energy-efficiency. At the same time, renewable energy installations will begin to appear in surprising locations. Solar PV panels will cover building exteriors and transparency developments may also see solar panels doubling up as windows on offices and in public transport. Pavements and roads that use kinetic energy from pedestrians and traffic may also be used to develop green energy for the city to use. Technological advances may see floating wind turbines, floating turbines that can hover in the outer atmosphere and also solar technology that allows the sun’s energy to be harvested from space and then transported safely back to Earth.

Changing Work Patterns

A shift towards flexible working, remote working and digital roles will also see fewer people being obliged to physically commute to an office each day – saving carbon emissions, stress on public infrastructure (and individuals), time and money. People will work using digital applications from their homes or from networking hubs in an increasingly flexible way that supports a cleaner and greener future for all.

Composites Have Room for Growth in US Automotive Industry


The Adhesives and Sealants Council of the US met recently in Indianapolis and heard a paper by Marc Benevento.

Image Credit

Benevento works for Industrial Market Insight and his presentation described the outstanding potential for growth of composite materials in the automotive sector.

It seems that most vehicles are initially manufactured as stamped metal bodies in one part. This is in contrast to designs which feature the placing of the vehicle body on a frame. These are mostly used for lower volume parts of the industry, such as high-quality sports cars and heavy trucks.

Drive to Reduce the Weight of Automobiles

However composite bodies, especially if they use adhesives like and similar appropriate sealants and adhesives, have enormous potential for growth. Automobiles are getting heavier, partly from consumer preference and partly because of the influence of safety rules. However at the same time manufacturers are under pressure to reduce the weight of vehicles in order to make them more fuel-efficient.

This need to reduce the weight of the vehicle could drive an increase in composite designs. These designs, in which the vehicle body is bonded using metal bonding adhesives, can also be much quieter compared with metal vehicle bodies. Bonding welds can help extend the life of a number of automotive parts. And another advantage is that tooling costs are often lower for the composite designs than they are for metal union body unibodies.

Challenges in Using Composite Designs

However there are some challenges in using composite designs for vehicle bodies. Benevento explained that car manufacturers can find it difficult to simulate designs that use welding in composite bodies. Unibody designs are much easier to simulate.

And another complication is painting. Because the composite bodies are made of different materials assembled before they are painted, you can get uneven thermal expansion of the different parts. During painting the materials that have been used to build the vehicle are exposed to high temperatures – this is often the part of the production process that uses the most energy.

Apparently, mild steel is becoming less popular than aluminium and high-strength steel in vehicle bodies and more cars are being built from multiple materials. This may have the beneficial effects of increasing the use of composites, with all their advantages of lightness and noise reduction.

The Best Time of the Day to Take Iron Supplements


If you take any type of vitamin, mineral or supplement, it’s essential that you receive maximum benefit from it. One of the ways you can ensure you enjoy all the advantages of a supplement is by taking it at the correct time.


Image Credit

Depending on the type of supplement, you may need to take it before meals, after meals, at the start of the day, or near the end of the day.

Understanding Iron’s Purpose

In the case of iron supplements, taking them at the correct time each day can make a huge difference in their efficacy. Iron is an essential mineral that transports oxygen to the cells in your body, and people who are iron deficient are susceptible to developing anaemia, which can cause weakness and fatigue. Iron can be taken in many ways, including as capsules, chewable tablets, tablets and liquid iron supplements.

The liquid iron supplements from Blueiron or any other type of similar tablet or liquid can be used to improve a person’s iron levels and ensure that they do not become anaemic.

Include Iron in Your First Meal

The best time to take an iron supplement is approximately one hour before meals or two hours afterward. Iron is easy to take, and you can swallow a tablet or take a liquid supplement at a time that works best for you.

Your body might respond differently depending on whether you take iron prior to or after eating. At worst, your stomach may be upset or you may feel nauseous, and this can be impacted by how empty or full your stomach was as the time of ingesting the supplement.

Importance of Supplements

Although trends regarding vitamins and supplements change over the years, the importance of iron remains unchallenged.

Anaemia or any type of iron deficiency can affect people of any age. Children, the critically ill, the elderly and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to low iron levels. Anyone who has lost blood may also experience temporarily decreased iron levels, and often patients who have been in accidents require intravenous infusions to ensure they retain their strength.

Before you take any type of supplement, it is essential that you consult your health care professional. If you do need iron, you’ll find you have plenty of options available.

The Traits of a Good Caterer


Catering is a highly popular career that takes a broad range of skills, experience, hard graft and passion to succeed. Although on the face of it, caterers have similar roles to chefs, they actually have to manage a range of additional business challenges, including customer relations, marketing and accounting.

Image Credit

Culinary skills

At heart, a good caterer has excellent skills with food. Clients basically want beautiful food – and ultimately this is the thing that matters at an event, no matter how beautiful the place settings or venue decoration. A caterer also needs to be able to make menu plans, substitute for recipes and safely prepare, transport and reheat food.

Keeping guests safe

Caterers must comply with food safety regulations to ensure that food is served safely and that guests aren’t at risk of food poisoning. They will need to go through courses to receive necessary accreditation and be periodically tested.


From ordering the right catering supplies from online retailers like, to providing excellent customer services, caterers need to be multi-skilled and ready to deal with last-minute challenges. They will need to be able to demonstrate diplomacy, tact and a  courteous nature, with excellent people and communication skills. Smart caterers know that their reputation and business is built upon client recommendations, and they will work hard to ensure their clients are happy with their service and ready to recommend them.

Creativity and flexibility

Caterers will often need to adjust recipes to deal with missing ingredients, food allergies and other requirements such as dietary or religious food preparation needs. A good caterer will have the skill and flexibility needed to meet these challenges at short notice, and ensure they instil confidence in their clients.


A caterer will often be managing a large team of support staff, including cleaners, servers, cooks and dishwashers. This requires a lot of organisation, to sort place settings, schedules, food safety regulations and service customs. They may also need to direct and advise clients.

Proactive and motivated

A good caterer will be naturally proactive and enthused about their line of work, knowing that this passion will result in repeat business. They must remain motivated in the face of long hours and unsociable assignments which will often coincide with personal holidays. The best in the business will also typically invest in ongoing education and training, ensuring that they attain higher level vocational qualifications which show off their experience and skill.

Business and financial management

All caterers experience times when business is slow, and when they must have their finances well enough organised to survive these periods. They must also know how to run a successful and profitable business, dealing with everything from people management and schedules through to accounting, ordering equipment and supplies, and from taxation to pricing and marketing.

Attention to detail

Essentially, caterers provide a full experience and must have excellent attention to detail. Everything from the catering brand, through to careful marketing, table arrangements, flowers, food presentation and staff uniforms must be carefully considered and managed to ensure that the experience stands out for all the right reasons in the customer’s mind.

What Is A Responsive Site?

Responsive website is a term that you will probably have heard over the last few weeks. In fact, you will probably have heard it a lot. Some time early in 2014, the number of people accessing the internet on mobile devices overtook the number who were accessing it on computers. It makes perfect sense then that the importance of making your website accessible to the mobile audience is a hot topic.


Image Credit

What does responsive mean?

As Wikipedia explain, the idea of a responsive site is that it fits to whatever size device the user is accessing it from with little or no action needed from the user. Take a basic blog for example. The main focus of the blog is the text. There will also be photos included and maybe the odd video. Most blogs have a sidebar with some information that is useful but not critical. It allows you to navigate around the blog itself and learn a bit about the user, but it adds nothing to the article you are reading at the moment.

So, if you are accessing a responsive blog from a mobile phone, you see just the text and a the main photographs. The sidebar is not visible, but is usually accessible through a menu option. Access the same blog from a tablet and abridged version of the sidebar is likely to show. Access on a large desktop and you’ll have a band of colour (or white) to either side of the text and sidebar. It serves no purpose, so it is the first thing to be cut to make the site more accessible to smaller devices.

Why is it such a hot topic?

Not a company to be seen to be behind the times, Google have updated their approach to websites in line with the likelihood of people accessing them from mobile devices. As this Guardian article explains, the Google search results now reflect how mobile friendly a website is. That means that if your site is responsive, it will rank higher in search results than if it isn’t: it’s as simple as that.

If you are designing a website, this is critical information to take into account. For an existing site, you may unfortunately need a whole redesign if the site is not responsive. To avoid dropping off the radar while this takes place, you could consult with a Digital agency such as Cardiff web designers Ambercouch to update your site and put a digital campaign in place to keep you in people’s minds whilst you make your site responsive.

If you have designed your website yourself, you can get templates that will automatically make it responsive, so it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. If you have a web designer, you will need to get them to make the changes.

Mrs Claus’ Top Christmas Tips


Hello dears – and Reindeer! Mrs Claus here – if you are reading this, then something is telling me that you are looking for advice on how to make your Christmas magical. Well you have come to the right person! I have an enormous task on my hands in the run up to Christmas, with my husband busy in the workshop and preparing the sleigh for Christmas Eve, and then of course there’s all the hungry elves to feed, and the reindeer! So, here are a few ideas to make your Christmas as magical as the North Pole itself… » Read more

5 of the Most Popular Italian Desserts


Along with pizza and pasta many Italian desserts have become an important part of the international food culture scene.


Image Credit

The modern versions we enjoy are often quite different from the original recipes, when ingredients like sugar were unknown, and they are still generally less sweet than European desserts.

Let’s look at five of the most popular Italian desserts.

Panna Cotta is basically cream heated gently with gelatin and sugar. The result is a rich, soft-set pudding with a silky texture. Serve your Panna Cotta with pieces of fresh fruit, or a fruit coulis/puree for a touch of sweetness to balance the cream. This quick and easy dessert is also incredibly versatile as it can be adapted to suit all diets, including vegan and lactose intolerant. That pretty much makes it the perfect pud, right?


This started life as a layer cake, rather than the trifle-like dessert served in many of Dublin’s Italian restaurant areas today, but the ingredients are the same: ladyfinger (savoiardi) sponge biscuits dipped in espresso, then topped with a custard made from eggs, more espresso, mascarpone cheese, cocoa and Marsala wine. Cocoa powder or shaved chocolate tops this decadent dessert.


A light and fluffy soft custard-like dessert made from egg yolks, sugar and more dessert wine! It is whipped to create a light and fluffy texture, and some versions add cream or soft cheese).


Definitely a superior form of ice cream. Made with lower fat milk and a process which requires much less whipping it stays soft and creamy, free of those pesky ice crystals regular ice cream can develop due to the volume of air that is added. Gelato is an indulgent tasting yet light and refreshing dessert, especially when made from fruit, and is a pudding especially popular in many a Dublin Italian restaurant.

Semi Freddo

This is a delightful dessert with a texture somewhere between mousse and gelato, with base ingredients of sugar, eggs and cream which can take on most ingredients and be transformed into endless flavour combinations. This is the perfect dish to serve at a dinner party, when a light but classy pudding is required.

These five popular dishes showcase some of the best elements of Italian dessert cuisine, but of course there are hundreds more. Which one is your favourite?

Market Growth Predictions of the Aerospace Sealants Industry


It’s good news for those in the aerospace sealant and adhesive industry, as predictions for growth are looking incredibly strong over the next half decade. According to an Aerospace Adhesives & Sealants Market report by Market & Market, the industry can expect at a growth of more than 5% over the next five years. This is driven largely by the commercial aircraft industry and applies on a global scale, with demand coming from all over.


Image Credit

Market Growth

The report broke down sealants and adhesives into resin type, technology, end user marker industry and user type. The report made predictions that by 2021 the aerospace sealant and adhesives industry will be worth $2.14 billion. Currently, in 2016, the industry is worth $1.84 billion. This growth represents a CAGR of an impressive 5.5%.

It’s expected that one of the main drivers for this increase is the demand that comes from across the general aviation industry, commercial aviation and military sectors. In these industries the demand comes from both OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) driven demands.

Commercial Aviation

Of these sectors, commercial aviation is the biggest driver in demand for adhesives and sealants, with demand for global air travel at a record high. In fact, the industry is seeing a backlog of orders for planes, with Boeing and Airbus together awaiting 9000 orders of aircraft.

Epoxy Sealants

The full report, which can be downloaded via the Market Watch website, has also found that epoxy resin and liquid polymers are the fastest-growing sealants in the industry. This is thanks to their effective adhesion, strong physical properties and protection from corrosive elements. Other products in demand include the kind of metal bonding adhesives such as polymer hybrids that you can find at

The huge growth in demand for sealants such as reactive liquid polymers and high-performance epoxy resins has been experienced across the globe. Global applications include concrete coatings, automotive and industrial maintenance as well as aerospace. The kind of sealant characteristics that have increased in popularity include flexibility, cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly credentials.

The market predictions from Market & Market of over 5% growth over five years come as excellent news for those in the industry and appear to be driven mainly by the demand for commercial aircraft.

5 More Useful Websites for Free Financial Advice

When looking for financial advice on pensions, investment planning or debt solutions, it can be hard to know where to go for trustworthy and impartial guidance. Thankfully, there are many websites that offer excellent help with financial matters – and all for free. Here are five suggestions for independent advice centres that can give free guidance on all matters financial.


Image Credit

1. The Consumer Credit Counselling Service

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) is an independent charity that works alongside a range of banks and lenders to help consumers generate a sensible debt management plan so they can clear any outstanding mortgage repayments.

2. National Debtline

National Debtline offers a free 0808 telephone service that gives confidential and independent debt advice without charge to everyone in Britain. The website also has a number of useful fact sheets.

A trusted debt solution provider, such as, can help customers to organise their money through useful schemes such as an Individual Voluntary Agreement to restructure debt into affordable manageable repayments.

3. Unbiased

Unbiased is a fact-filled website operated by IFA Promotion. This useful service helps you to find a local independent financial advisor (IFA) out of the 16,000 registered IFAs in the UK. Many people require an IFA to help with major financial decisions such as organising investments and pensions.

4. Pensions Advisory Service

The Pensions Advisory Service is an independent non-profit organisation that gives free advice on all the types of pensions available, including state pensions, personal pensions, company pensions and stakeholder schemes. You can also use this service to help check your pension forecast. This can help you to see exactly how much money you are predicted to receive from your state pension, so you can plan for your retirement accordingly.

5. The Energy Saving Trust

The Energy Saving Trust website has a range of free calculators to help you determine the best way to reduce your energy consumption and bills. It can also give information on the most cost-efficient appliances and discounts for home improvements.

By taking advantage of all the useful financial advice centres online, you can find free advice on all financial matters, whether you need help organising your savings for retirement, planning investments or getting out of debt. There is always a free website that can give you independent unbiased guidance on any financial matter.

8 of the best UK salvage retailers


More consumers than ever before want to furnish their homes in sustainable, environmentally-friendly ways, and this often includes using recycled materials.

Organisations like GreenChoices are helping Britons to become educated on “eco living” and salvage retailing has also seen a record amount of business. They provide customers with unique and striking pieces that have been reused or refurbished at a range of price points.


Image Credit

Below are some of the best you will find in the UK.

Yew Tree Barn

This Cumbrian-based business not only has breathtaking ironmongery and reclaimed items, it has an art gallery and restaurant for visitors too.

ARC Reclamation

The people at ARC are perhaps especially well-known for the excellent advice they give on restorations of vintage desks, fixtures, and cast iron baths. If you want to try your hand and get inspired, view a cast iron bath here.


A particularly respected and knowledgeable business that is regularly staffed with history of art graduates, prepare to find a hidden gem here at a slightly higher price point than average.


With a passionate owner and a variety of garden antiques as well as home furniture available, Mongers has rapidly become known to collectors for its wide range of items and the use of local experts for restoration and repairs.


This enormous business is located within a charming repurposed pub, and also features an online catalogue for potential customers to browse. As a result, clientele may be from far and wide, so be prepared to ring well in advance or visit to avoid disappointment. Items can go quickly, and may be one of a kind.

Retrouvius Reclamation and Design

Well known for a discerning collection that favours quality over quantity, this London-based business began in Glasgow. It became instantly popular for its quirky finds and also offers an interior design service. The owners’ backgrounds are in architecture.

Masco Salvage

This business has made a name for itself not just with its wide selection of both interiors and building materials such as timber, tiles and more, but also for its on-site shop that produces replicas of the industry’s most popular items.

Cox’s Architectural Salvage Yard

One of the nation’s largest salvage yards, Cox’s has the impressive selection that you might expect and also a well-maintained website that is perfect for perusing new arrivals.

1 2 3