Gifts for the Kitchen & Home

Gifts for the Kitchen & Home this Christmas
There are many who simply love coking and their kitchen represents their pride and joy. So with Christmas now rapidly approaching how would you ‘Christmas shop for a cook’. Options would include the giving of a single spectacular piece of equipment that will get used three or four times a year and sit in the cupboard alongside the electric knife the rest of the time.  Or, with everyone watching their budgets this year, save some money and look at one of several relatively inexpensive kitchen gifts available that will probably get used on a regular basis.

With this in mind, I wandered over to the online store, the Home and Gift Shop, to see what I could find. These might not include the larger kitchen (and more expensive) purchases, but for very little money, you can certainly help make most cooks happy this Christmas.  While browsing the store I discovered the following gifts for the kitchen, here are more than a dozen of my favourites, some costing no more than £10, and most guaranteed to brighten up a kitchen this Christmas.

Oxo Good Grip Peelers
A Set of two peelers, sharp, stainless steel blades for peeling. Swivel peeler and Y peeler. Handles are easy to grip and comfortable to use.  An ideal gift for those who may be having some difficulty opening jars and the like.

China Mugs
Select from Wayside Flowers, Red Poppies or mud dogs china mugs. All fine bone china and include four mugs. Also on offer, and an excellent gift for the gardener in your life, Gardeners Mugs. These mugs based on the shape of a plant pot, with a cover for the lid or to use as a coaster. Choose from either the Lawn Ranger or Rain Drops. Individually gift boxed and a great idea for Christmas.

Cake Stand
A cake stand with a fashionable vintage rose’s floral design, 2 tier ceramic cake stand. Plates measure10 1/2″ and 8″ and the stand comes packed in a decorative box.

Luxurious Tablecloth
Ideal for the Christmas feast or party, luxurious chenille tablecloths in pure cotton or Damask.

Shopping online for home furnishings and gifts is also great way to get decorating ideas and the perfect way to find a huge selection of products. And, by shopping online, you will often also be able to find high quality items at bargain prices, something that every homemaker will appreciate!

So, be creative and have fun when choosing the home furnishings and giftware for your new kitchen or home. Kitchen gadgets are always a hit with the cook, excellent as a gift or stocking fillers, to complement another gift, or as a gift in their own right. Kitchen tools and gadgets also make great wedding or ‘new home’ gifts.  And remember, you can browse an ever growing range of gifts for the home and garden twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at the Home and Gift Shop.

Business:             Home and Gift Shop



Promoting Children’s Fitness

Promoting Children’s Fitness
A lot of adults start the new year with a resolution to lose weight and/or get fit – is it any wonder in a society in which 1 in 3 of us are classed as obese. We recently highlighted a study on our facebook page which stated that over a 1/3 of children end primary school overweight. This figure is rising each year, children don’t appear to start primary school over weight – in reception classes 19% of children were classified as overweight by year 6 this had risen to almost 34% (

Kidz R Fit aim to help tackle this figure we want to introduce the concept of FUN fitness into schools and the home. We offer courses and classes which are aimed to engage children and keep their attention, helping to educate them in health and fitness but at the same time have fun and learn new skills which they can take to other areas of their lives!

We have lots planned for the new year including some new and exciting classes we have added to our website; take a look at our all new little Jigglerz class for the under 5s!

If you are a school looking for something unique and different to motivate your pupils to be more active why not book a Hoopstarz day

The benefits to your setting: •· A fantastic cardio workout (addressing the rise in obesity) •· Builds confidence and self esteem •· The most difficult pupils to engage in PE cannot fail to enjoy it we have seen this first hand. •· Fresh new ideas for your staff to use in PE lessons very easy to implement •· Sustainable activity: on your Hoopstarz day Kidz R Fit will give you and your staff lots of ideas of how to use the programme to your advantage.

“Having the Kidz R Fit guys in school lifts everyone’s spirits every time. We always leave school buzzing. The children are enthusiastic and engaged and the staff have them eating out of the palm of their hands. The team are always punctual and flexible and are happy to work around our time constraints or any last minute changes. The professional attitude from the staff ensures all children, whatever the ability, can take part at their level.

Now the children have had expert training with hula hoops they use their skills everyday in the school yard, keeping fit and having fun!!”

Mrs N James, Front Street community Primary School, Whickham, Gateshead

Kidz R Fit is an established business dedicated to building confidence and respect through fitness. Now widely known, Kidz R Fit deliver confidence building children’s fitness and dance packages within schools, nurseries, playgroups and communities, throughout the North East of England.

Business: Kidz R Fit


Tesco Tablet Launch

Tesco Tablet Launch
Tesco tablet expected on 23 September – and may be very low-priced, Analyst forecasts £99 price point as tablet market in UK set for growth of more than 50%.

Tesco will unveil a new device – expected to be a low-priced own-brand entry into the tablet market – on 23 September. It has sent out invitations using the phrase “We’ve got something to show you” and using Tesco’s new “Hudl” trademark.

Ben Wood, mobile analyst with research firm CCS Insight, suggested that Tesco might try to price the device, expected to have a 7in screen, at £99. “Obviously it’ll be Android, probably 16GB and attempting to hit the £99 price point, in my mind that will have to be the price,” Wood told the Guardian.

Tesco might be able to hit the £99 price using a cash back-style promotion, Wood suggests: “I can see Tesco using substantial discounts on other services such as bundled media from Blinkbox, or vouchers for discounts on petrol or groceries through its ClubCard loyalty scheme.”

The tablet would take on competitors from the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon, and will be tailored to online shopping and video viewing – both areas where Tesco is looking to capitalise on its position. Wood said: “the tablet market is unbelievably competitive with extremely narrow margins, but that’s something Tesco is used to.” The 8GB Amazon Kindle Fire costs £99 from Amazon, while Google’s newest Nexus 7 costs £199 for the 16GB model, while a 16GB version of Apple’s iPad mini currently costs £269.

The tablet market within the UK has exploded in the last few years, with tablet sales dominating the run up to Christmas. CCS Insight says that 8.3m tablets were sold in the UK in 2012, with more than half of sales coming in the last quarter of the year alone. The UK was Europe’s biggest tablet market.

Almost 6m tablets were sold in the first half of 2013, and demand is expected to accelerate into Christmas. A September launch would put Tesco’s tablet device in prime spot for the Christmas sales, although price is likely to be a key issue, Wood said.

Sources have previously indicated that Tesco’s device will be a 7-inch device made by a Chinese manufacturer, and compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7. It would probably also include quick access to the Tesco-owned Blinkbox video-on-demand service, and Tesco’s online shopping services.

Tesco applied for a trademark in February for the Hudl name to cover a wide range of goods, including tablets and accessories. The anticipated announcement, set for 23 September, follows a move to withdraw consumer electronics sales from Tesco stores, after the retailer’s chief executive Philip Clarke said that it would be scaling back on sales of products such as flat-screen TVs, as they “quite frankly take up a lot of space and [don’t] take a lot of money.”

Wedding Inspiration For Brides & Grooms

Wedding Inspiration For Brides & Grooms
A couple’s wedding day will be one of the most important days of their lives, so of course they’ll want to make it a truly memorable occasion full of special touches. However, this can often mean that brides and grooms get swept away in the finer details and the budget can become a forgotten entity – an irrelevant thing of the past.

Whilst planning an extravagant fairytale wedding akin to something found in Hello magazine can be exciting, and definitely romantic, it can leave couples in financial hot water after they’ve said ‘I do’ and the thrill of planning a celebrity style wedding has died down. Fortunately, it can be easy to plan a budget-friendly event that’ll still live up to expectations. Many couples choose a DIY wedding in order to save cash.

The Popularity of DIY Weddings
DIY weddings are very popular at the minute, which isn’t surprising in the middle of a recession, but they also come with a number of advantages besides the ability to save money. A wedding day filled with little details created by the bride and groom as well as their families and friends can create an intimate wedding that’ll create memories they’ll treasure forever.

Whilst it can be easy to get carried away when planning the big day, transforming it from low-key to completely over-the-top (think ice sculptures and love birds flying overhead), it doesn’t exactly give a wedding that personal touch. A wedding should represent the two people getting married and so should reflect their two individual styles. Easily done via a DIY wedding.

DIY Ideas
There are many great ideas for couples looking to plan a DIY wedding. One popular idea is to decorate the venue with photo strings complete with photos of the bride and groom or even family and friends. Not only will the photo strings add personality to a wedding but they will certainly create a talking point among guests! They can also be kept long after the wedding to create a lasting memory of the special day. As an alternative to bunting, hanging love hearts can create a vintage look for couples after timeless style.

Many couples spend a fortune on costly table decorations but this really isn’t necessary when you opt for a DIY wedding. A popular option is to choose tea light holders made out of old jam jars or even from wooden boxes with heart cut outs. Home-made tea light holders for table decorations aren’t just cost effective but they also look great, helping to create a chic yet rustic feel.

Many DIY weddings use lanterns to create soft lighting. Affordable and effective, they can give a wedding a beautiful glow – perfect for a day of romance. Lanterns are ideal for outside weddings, used when the sun goes down to create a magical atmosphere. For indoor weddings a little short on greenery, realistic bay trees can be purchased at little cost to decorate the venue. Good quality artificial trees will even fool many of the guests into thinking they are real!

Business:         Wedding Invitations


Sound Testing Terminology

Sound Testing Terminology
Air Pressure Testing limited offers consultancy services for aspects of environmental acoustic and sound disciplines and specialise in noise and vibration testing.  As a small company we are able to make decisions quickly and effectively and respond rapidly to our Clients’ requirements and requests, with one of our key strengths is to combine the proven technical expertise using our experience of a large company with the lower costs and overheads of a small company.

One of our core services is that of Sound Testing and we were recently asked by a client to outline some of the respective terminology used within the industry. The client suggested that this might help them better understand the process and aid understanding.

The terminology behind Sound Testing can be fraught with complicated names and calculations, this article will help to explain the main items in simpler terms.

The Decibel, dB

The unit used to describe the magnitude of sound is the decibel (dB) and the quantity measured is the sound pressure level. The decibel scale is logarithmic and it ascribes equal values to proportional changes in sound pressure, which is a characteristic of the ear. Use of a logarithmic scale has the added advantage that it compresses the very wide range of sound pressures to which the ear may typically be exposed to a more manageable range of numbers. The threshold of hearing occurs at approximately 0 dB (which corresponds to a reference sound pressure of 2 x 10-5 Pascal’s) and the threshold of pain is around 120 dB.

Frequency, Hz

Frequency is analogous to musical pitch. It depends upon the rate of vibration of the air molecules which transmit the sound and is measure as the number of cycles per second or

Hertz (Hz). The human ear is sensitive to sound in the range 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (20 kHz).

For acoustic engineering purposes, the frequency range is normally divided up into discrete bands. The most commonly used bands are octave bands, in which the upper limiting frequency for any band is twice the lower limiting frequency, and one-third octave bands, in which each octave band is divided into three. The bands are described by their centre frequency value and the ranges which are typically used for building acoustics purposes are 63 Hz to 4 kHz (octave bands) and 100 Hz to 3150 Hz (one-third octave bands).

White Noise and Pink Noise

Noise sources, which provide a continuous spectrum over a wide frequency range, are normally used for test purposes. White noise contains constant energy per unit of frequency.

Pink noise contains constant energy per octave or one-third octave band.


Reverberation Time

Sound wave fronts are repeatedly reflected from room surfaces and, as a result of absorption, gradually grow weaker and weaker. The reverberation time (RT) of a space is a measure of the rate at which the sound dies away. It is defined as the time taken for the reverberant sound energy to decay to one millionth of its original intensity (corresponding to a 60 dB reduction). The reverberation time is often proportional to the volume of the room and inversely proportional to the quantity of absorption present.

Airborne Sound Insulation

Voices, hi-fi systems, television and radio sound and musical instruments are all sources of airborne sound. They excite the air around them and the vibration in the air is transmitted to surrounding surfaces, such as walls, ceilings and floors. This sets these constructions into vibration and this vibration is radiated in neighbouring rooms as sound. Energy is lost in the transmission path and this is referred to as transmission loss or, more generally, sound insulation. The most simple measure of sound insulation is the sound level difference, D, which is the arithmetic difference between the sound level, in dB, in the source room and the sound level in the receiving room.

Other Measures of Sound Insulation
Other measures of sound insulation include the sound reduction index, R, which is a measure of the acoustical performance of a partition, obtained in a laboratory, and the standardised level difference, DnT, which is used mainly in the sound insulation of domestic separating walls and separating floors. The relevant test procedures are laid down in BS EN ISO 140-4. A single figure “weighted” result can be obtained from one-third octave band test results by using a curve-fitting procedure laid down in BS EN ISO 717. The subscript “w” is added to the relevant descriptor (e.g. DnT,w).

If you would like more information on sound testing to Part E of Building Regulations please contact us at: or call us on: 01525 303905

Business:             APT Sound Testing


‘Cyber Plot’ to Steal from Santander Bank

Arrests over ‘Cyber Plot’ to Steal from Santander Bank
Police found a device fitted to a computer in a branch of Santander which would have enabled the suspects to download data from the desktop machine. Police arrested 12 men, aged between 23 and 50, in London on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.

A Santander spokesman said a man pretending to be an engineer had tried to fit the device to one of the computers in the bank.

Several addresses in Hounslow, Brent, Hillingdon, Westminster, Richmond and Slough were searched and property was seized. The arrested men, who were detained on Thursday, remain in police custody.

The Metropolitan Police said its “time-critical, dynamic response” had thwarted a “very significant and audacious cyber-enabled offence”. The force said the operation had helped avoid “multimillion-pound losses” from the branch at the shopping centre.

A a KVM (keyboard video mouse) device was fitted to a computer within the bank which allowed data and contents of the desktop to be downloaded over the network, police said. This would allow the remote takeover of the bank’s computers, they added.

Det Insp Mark Raymond said: “This was a sophisticated plot that could have led to the loss of a very large amount of money from the bank, and is the most significant case of this kind that we have come across. “I would like to thank our partners from the industry who have provided valuable assistance throughout this investigation.”

A spokesman for the bank said: “Through this co-operation, Santander was aware of the possibility of the attack connected to the arrests. “The attempt to fit the device to the computer in the Surrey Quays Branch was undertaken by a bogus maintenance engineer pretending to be from a third party. “It failed and no money was ever at risk. No member of Santander staff was involved in this attempted fraud.”

Staircase Parts Direct Online

Improving your Home with a New Staircase
The staircase is very often one of the most essential parts of nay home, also having a very significant impact on the feel of the property. It is one of the most significant elements that give the home a character and a complete look.

For houses which are a little older, stairs and the staircase are often likely to wear out through time and frequent use, thereby needing to be improved or for those who would like to redesign their staircase, if the original design is not appropriate for the house or they just fancy a change, then staircase replacement may also be done to improve its look.

Location of the stairs
The first thing to consider is do the stairs or staircase needs a complete overhaul or if just requiring improvement. These changes may include updating some or all of the staircase parts such as spindles, newel posts, caps, bases or handrails. To choose appropriate staircase parts it is important to take note on some things so as to prevent buying the inappropriate stair parts.

An obvious first step is to consider the location of the stairs – if the stairs is located inside or outside the house or property. Staircases located outside of the house need staircase parts that will withstand the weather, particularly in climates such as the UK, where they may be exposed to the elements. Moreover, one of the most important stair parts for outdoor staircases would include the handrails, bases and newel posts, which should provide protection and safety to prevent falls.

For interior staircases, consider using a specialist supplier such as Stairparts Direct who specialise in the manufacture and supply of high quality stairparts, offering staircase spindles, newel posts, caps, bases and handrails, as well as offering expert advice and support. Using a specialist supplier such as Stairparts Direct l very often saves time, money and reduce levels of stress with any staircase renovation project.

Type of Material to be Used
Staircase parts may be made from different materials; the most common is metal and wood. Metal stair parts may be steel and wrought iron. These types are a good choice since these are strong and durable. These staircase parts are also suitable for both indoors and outdoors.

Wooden stair parts are also a good choice for a more classic look. These may be made of hard wood or soft wood, available in wood such as Pine, Sapele, Ash and Oak.

One of the latest trends in home improvement and renovation of a stair case is to mix of both materials such as wooden steps and iron railings. This affords an elegant feel that jives with any home décor. Some also incorporate glass to stairs for a modern look. Wooden spindles may be replaced with glass panels.

Staircase Colour and Design
One important thing design aspect when fitting a new staircase is that the staircase parts and accessories should complement each other. For wooden stair parts, there is a choice of staining them or painting them. Staining the staircase parts gives a warm and rich atmosphere while painted ones are lighter and airier. Darker stair parts look more formal while painted ones are more casual. People may also opt for customized ones. No matter what stair case parts design homeowners choose. The important thing is that it complements the house design and furniture.

People now have a lot of options available to them when looking to improve their home with a new staircase or other DIY improvement. There are many staircase part designs available nowadays which are ready made and companies such as the UK online staircase parts provider, Stairparts Direct are likely the best place to start for most people.

If you are planning a new staircase project and would like to include help in the design and planning, then send staircase parts your plans and we can offer you a quotation for stair treads and the required components to suit your theme. Simply contact us via the Stairparts Direct website or email us on

Business:             Stairparts Direct



UK Unemployment Rate Drops

UK Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.7%
The rate of unemployment in the UK dropped to 7.7% between May and July from 7.8% in the previous three months. The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has said that interest rates are unlikely to be raised before the rate falls to 7%.

The number of people unemployed fell 24,000 in the period to 2.49 million.

The official figures also showed the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance fell 32,600 to 1.40 million, its lowest level since February 2009.

“It’s another set of impressive figures on the job market with positive signs on all three main indicators,” said Victoria Clarke at Investec. “It suggests the jobs market is recovering, much like the broader economy.” “It reinforces our view that unemployment will come down to 7% more quickly than the Bank of England expects.” Mr Carney said he expected the fall to 7% to take at least three years.

Average pay rose by 1.1% compared with the same time last year, which is well below the 2.8% rate at which prices are rising.

Christmas Gifts 2013 – Planning Ahead

Planning Ahead for Christmas 2013
Are you starting to think of what you might give as gifts this Christmas? It seems that the pre-Christmas period starts earlier each year, with this year being no exception.  Several of the more popular TV shopping channels have already started to promote their range of gifts for the home, Christmas card making kits and wrapping paper etc.

These TV shows and the fact our local shopping malls are staring to prepare their Christmas displays will without doubt make many of us start to think about our plans; who we are thinking of buying gifts for, planning the family event, generally making plans to ensure that we have a great Christmas. Christmas is the time of year associated with love, joy and goodwill toward men. Until we approach the holiday and reach a level of stress we didn’t realise a human being could reach!

Online shopping is a perfect way of reducing this stress and in choosing your Christmas gifts, with many people shopping online as it offers both a convenient way to shop and will often save you money. Plus, by choosing to shop online you will also be able to enjoy many benefits, some of which are self-explanatory, others that are not quite so apparent, for example, offering the convenience of shopping at a time that suits you and avoiding the typical festive rush.

Many people will look to try and make someone in your life feel special by treating them to a personalised gift for the home and online stores such as the Home and Gift Shop offer a diverse and high quality selection of personalised gifts for everybody you may need a gift for.  Offering a personalised gift service across the Internet, their website contains great gift ideas for Christmas, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, retirements and many other special occasions.

But what sort of gift to buy? Many of us will buy an item of clothing for a close relative, perhaps a ladies blouse or some Shetland knitwear.  The Home and Gift Shop offer these ladies and gents clothing items in a wide range of sizes and materials, allowing you the opportunity to browse the range from the comfort of your own front room should you so wish.

Let us help you get Christmas 2013 sorted out early this year and help you make sure this Christmas is just that little bit extra special. There can be no better way to show your friends, relatives or loved ones just how much you care.

If you have not joined the ever growing population of online shoppers, then Christmas 2013 is your opportunity. With online shopping, you save money, time, and effort all with the click of a mouse. Online stores such as the Home and Gift shop offers everything for the home including kitchen gifts, bedroom furnishings and much more.

Remember, nothing says, “You’re Special” like a personalised Christmas gift from The Home and Gift Shop. It shows you went out of your way to find the perfect gift and to personalise it to make it theirs alone!

Business:               The Home and Gift Shop


Searching for Property in Newcastle upon Tyne

Andrew Lawson Estate Agents
The flats and other properties available for rent in Jesmond and the Newcastle region are known for their very competitively price tags compared with the much of the UK. However, the benefits of living in the Newcastle with so much to see and do on your doorstep, as well as many prestigious job opportunities, it’s no wonder so many people, including students attending the local universities, want to rent property in Newcastle.

At Andrew Lawson Estate Agents, we’ve brought together a wide range of property in Jesmond and Newcastle upon Tyne for sale or to rent. Andrew Lawson are a very well established independent estate agency located in the highly desirable Jesmond area of Newcastle, who provide a personal and professional service of the highest quality. As well as residential sales Andrew Lawson Estate Agents operates a commercial sales and letting’s department that incorporates land acquisition and development appraisals. To search for your ideal property, simply visit our website and we’ll show you a list of property and apartments for sale or to rent throughout Jesmond and the North East.

Finding flats to rent in Newcastle upon Tyne
Choosing flats to rent in Newcastle upon Tyne can be tricky, especially for those new to the area, so if you would like any help or guidance on the area then contact us on (0191) 212 0066 and we will be happy to help you. Newcastle has a UK wide reputation as a party city but it is much more than that. Those wanting to experience the excitement of the Quayside or city life should choose a central location for a property, dare we say – Jesmond being an ideal situation. With great accommodation and fabulous shopping, this will place you right in the centre of all that Newcastle has to offer!

Student Accommodation in Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle and the surrounding areas boast a number of the UK’s leading universities and colleges. There are many options when choosing a flat to rent let in the North East, and the right choice will depend on your living situation and your budget. There are plenty of apartments, one-bedroom flats and two-bedroom flats to rent, many of them perfect for students. The best way to start looking for one of these apartments to rent in Jesmond and Newcastle is to visit our comprehensive website and view the large range of properties on view. For those who are seeking to share a flat to rent in Jesmond and Newcastle, or rent a room, we can recommend a number of flat sharing sites.

Andrew Lawson Estate Agents are one of the leading estate agencies operating in the Newcastle areas. All members of staff have a wealth of experience and a comprehensive knowledge of the Newcastle upon Tyne and North East property market. We can guarantee that, from instruction to legal completion, your transaction will be handled with professionalism, confidentiality and efficiency by senior members of the firm.

Business:             Andrew Lawson Estate Agents