Category Archives: Tips and Ideas

Four Considerations When Selecting Upholstery Fabric

Choosing upholstery fabric is not quite as simple as it might first appear. There are various factors that need to be taken into account before you make your final decision, as this is often something you will be living with for the next few years.

Four Considerations When Selecting Upholstery Fabric

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This is frequently the first thing we look for in a fabric, as it is important that the colour you choose complements the room and other furnishings. According to Science Direct, colour influences many areas of our lives including moods and emotions, so it is important to select a colour that keeps us in harmony with our environment.

The size of the room is also important, as bright and bold colours can be overpowering and hard to live with. Go for something you feel comfortable with and do not be swayed by current fashions, as they change from season to season. On a more practical note, if you have pets or small children it is probably best to avoid light colours and those that will show every little mark.


The style of your chosen fabric should complement the style of furniture and the room generally. A rustic feel, for example, might be enhanced by a fabric such as linen look cotton in a gingham pattern, whilst a more formal piece of furniture could benefit from a velvet or another more traditional fabric. If the room is small, do not be tempted to pick a large striking pattern that would be incongruous in that setting.


Depending on the amount of wear you expect the fabric to take, choose something that will suit. Heavy wear by children might call for a dense, high thread count fabric. A woven pattern will probably stay looking good longer than a printed one. You will need something that wears even better such as leather or microfibre if pets will be using the furniture.

Other Considerations

Choose fabric according to the room. If you are furnishing a nursery for example, you may like to check out in a variety of printed fabrics. Ensure you pick something fade resistant if it will be placed in a sunny room, especially close to a window.

If any members of the family have allergies, you may benefit from a fabric such as microfibre which does not attract dust and is lint free.

As of May, Irish retail sales were up over 8pc within year

With headline retail sales volume back within 3% of their peak in January 2008, the strong showing for Irish retail rates is being driven by books, clothes and hardware. Personal spending looks set to continue to rise, thanks to low deposit-interest rates, meaning more disposable income.

As of May

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The Brexit Effect?

Though there are worries that the effect of Brexit and a possible return to cross border trading, coupled with a possible devaluation of sterling against the Euro, may slow sales growth, sales momentum remains strong. However, retailers are being warned to be aware of potential short and long term effects of the vote to leave the EU.

Retail Ireland director, Thomas Burke, has voiced his concerns about the short term impact of economic uncertainty but headline retail sales seem to be heading towards 2015 levels.

Driving Retail Growth

Figures for growth were particularly strong for hardware, paints and glass, which showed a 14.3% month on month increase, followed by paper-based media including books, newspapers and stationery at 10.1%. Clothing, footwear and textiles showed similarly strong growth at 9.7%

Although retailers are advised to be cautious of any potential Brexit effect, Ireland is still regarded as an excellent place to do business, boasting the strongest economic growth in
Europe in 2015.

With consumer confidence high, now is a good time to think about making an investment in your retail bricks and mortar, by using a company like to restyle your premises. Optimising your retail store design is proven to increase sales, by creating that valuable first impression. In the capital, with retail outlets in key locations at a premium, good shop design in Dublin can drive retail customers to your door.

The Celtic Tiger

Despite the continuing uncertainty around the timing of Brexit, Ireland looks well placed to weather the short term effects, even allowing for decreases in sales of electrical goods, cars and food, beverages and tobacco, which all fell by less than 2%. Alan McQuaid, economist at Merrion Capital is confident: ““Even allowing for a slowdown in spending in the second half of 2016, we think that headline retail sales volume growth for the year as a whole will be in the region of 7.0 per cent as against 8.2 per cent in 2015,” he said.

Northern Ireland’s Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Has Overspent By Millions

According to the audit office, a scheme for renewable energy run by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has experienced serious failings and is set to overspend its budget by millions of pounds.

Northern Ireland's Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Has Overspent By Millions

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The Renewable Heat Scheme

The scheme was launched in 2012 with a £25 million grant, the idea being to encourage both businesses and domestic properties to switch to a biomass heating system. In a shocking turn of events, however, up to £140 million could be taken out of Northern Ireland’s budget to cover the deficit which has been created, most of which will be paid for with tax payers’ money.

The failing scheme was highlighted by a whistleblower, who revealed that some organisations and individuals were abusing the system in order to receive large amounts of payment. This was made possible because uncapped payments were offered, meaning the more energy created the more money received. To take one individual example, a firm in the UK using a boiler for energy could earn up to £192,000, but a firm in Northern Ireland doing the exact same thing had the potential to earn £860,000.

What Happens Now?

When it comes to solar panels Northern Ireland still benefits from the government’s ROC Scheme, meaning users can earn money through generating green power. Solar panels in Northern Ireland are a popular source of renewable energy and are easy to install in both business and domestic properties.

According to Ofgem the DETI have now suspended all applications to the scheme as of February 2016.

External consultants have now been employed to check those on the scheme match the relevant criteria needed and are not abusing the system.

Those involved are now under scrutiny, as it is believed the huge failings of the scheme could have been remedied sooner if those in charge had taken action as soon as flaws in the scheme had been identified. Many still believe that the underlying premise of the scheme was well founded and could have been successful, but that the fraud which has taken place is inexcusable and should result in prison sentences.

For the sake of Northern Ireland’s taxpayers, it is vital that lessons are learnt so that schemes which could benefit our planet are still able to go ahead under the right guidance.

4 Tell-Tale Signs your Air Ducts need Cleaned

Air ducts can gather and accumulate a lot of debris such as dust and dirt particles. Since the air duct will try to circulate clean air, it can do nothing but push the dust particles back out into the atmosphere, which can lead to poor quality indoor air and an increase of unfortunate allergies. The most common of these symptoms include itchy eyes, runny noses and breathing problems. It is important to regularly check and clean your ductwork system to ensure they are performing to the best of their ability. Here are some tell-tale signs your ducts and vents need a good cleaning:

4 Tell-Tale Signs your Air Ducts need Cleaned

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  1. Signs of Bug Infestations

It’s not a particularly pleasant sign, but it is pretty easy to deal with. If you notice signs of insects such as droppings inside the ducts or even tiny scratches, it could be a clear sign of a possible rodent or insect infestation. Dirty air vents are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites, who thrive in humid temperatures. They feed off dead skin cells and live in our beds, carpets and even the duct vents. Noticing any signs of their presence is a definite way to tell that your ductwork system needs cleaned.

  1. Mould Growth

When your ducts are covered in dust and have become quite moist or damp, it can lead to the development of mould on the ceiling, walls or inside the walls of the vents etc. Mould is a clear sign of moisture problems, so make sure you have your ducts cleaned as soon as possible to stop the problem before it gets any worse.

  1. Excessive Dirt

If you notice that the building has begun to get a lot more “dusty” that usual, it could be caused by the ventilation systems needing a good cleaning job. According to this article, clogged ducts can not only directly affect airflow efficiency, but inject these harmful pollutants throughout the home or workplace. Places with carpets will be even more prone to excess dirt and dust. Hoover the area regularly and consider having your carpets cleaned on a regular basis to coincide with the clean ducts.

  1. Air Duct Inspection

If you are unsure whether or not your ducts need cleaning, it is safer to schedule a professional ductwork inspection. Kent Duct cleaning companies such as, will not only carry out the required inspection, but will also provide expert duct cleaning services to ensure that only clean air is circulated within the building.

Event Planning 101: keep the Adrenaline, Lose the Stress

Planning an event is stressful, whether you’re an experienced event planner or doing it for the first time. That adrenaline, however, is paramount to the successful running of an event: it’s what you need to spin all those plates and execute the actual event. Read on for this simple and short guide to keeping your cool whilst embracing the pressure to help get your event off the ground.

Checklist and Timeline Planning

Before you do anything, make a checklist. This checklist can include everything from the vital (venue) to the seemingly trivial (napkins). Once you have your checklist, split it into things to buy and things to do. Then draw up a timeline of events, with deadlines for each item on the list. Refer back to this list on a daily basis to ensure that nothing has been left behind. Leave space to add new things into the list too. Budget at this point too, and try to factor in a 10% contingency overall.


The venue should be the first thing you book, especially if your event is a wedding, as you are often more limited on dates, season and days of the week.

Think carefully when picking a venue, as it needs to tick a lot of boxes. Check whether your venue has enough covered areas. Would you need a marquee too? If you need marquee hire in Kent or London, it’s worth organising this early on. Established firms such as provide marquee hire in Kent.

Event Planning 101

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Staying Cool

Accept the adrenaline as part of the job and work with it; you need to feel a bit pressured to get the event actually off the ground, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also stay calm. Keep your cool by sticking to your checklist, the timeline and the budget. Hold regular meetings to ensure everything is going to plan.

Evaluate and Reflect

Take the time to listen to feedback from those that attended, as well as those that were part of the planning. Hold an evaluation meeting as soon as possible after the event and reflect on everything that’s said.

Staying cool in the face of event planning is essential, but never stay quite so cool that you miss vital things. Planning is key to successful event planning, as is evaluation.

What to Look for in a Clinical Research Associate?

Clinical trials need to be carried out by a professional and experienced team of researchers. One of the main roles belongs to the clinical research associate (CRA) is to help test new treatments such as drugs for their safety, effectiveness and health benefits. More often than not, a clinical research associate is employed by a pharmaceutical company via organisations such as G and L Scientific, to get involved with various stages of the clinical trial. When searching for ideal clinical research associates, it can be difficult to know what to look for, which is why we have included the most important qualities and skills every CRA should have.

What to Look for in a Clinical Research Associate

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Trained in ICH/GCP Guidelines

Proper training is required in both ICH and GCP guidelines. In top of this, additional training is necessary in the Code of Federal Regulations, EU Clinical Trial Directive and sufficient knowledge in the associated local regulations.

Excellent Development and Protocol Writing Experience

A professional CRA is required to both develop and write trial protocols. The clinical trial protocol is important because it describes the purpose and methodology of the trial at hand. In order to correctly steer committees, the CRA must also be able to present trial protocols and design case report forms concerning the clinical trial.

Directing with Ethics Committees

It lies in the hands of the CRA to coordinate with the ethics committee. This is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the volunteers who are participating in the trial.

Managing Regulatory Authority Applications

The right CRA will be more than able to manage regulatory authority applications and approvals. According to Prospects, these documents are used to oversee the “research and marketing of new and existing drugs”.

Identifying and Assessing

There is a great deal of close assessment required in this line of work, including the identification of suitable trial sites, the selection of a responsible investigator and reviewing competitive landscapes.

Setting up Trial Sites

The process of setting up trial sites involves ensuring that the right trial equipment is available in each of the centres involved. The investigational medicinal product should also be available. In addition to this, each member of staff on site should be trained to meet the trial-specific standards in the industry.

An Introduction to Premarket Notification 510(k)

Premarket Notification, otherwise known as a 510(k) is required when a person wishes to market a device intended for human or animal use. Submitting a 510(k) to the FDA is necessary in circumstances where a Premarket Approval is not required. Such devices that may require a 510(k) to market in the United States include Class I, Class II, and Class III devices. You may assume that submitting a 510(k) involved filling out stacks of official FDA forms of some sort. However, this is actually far from the case. Continue reading An Introduction to Premarket Notification 510(k)

London prime property market dominated by BTL and investors

Property prices are at their peak, with no sign of things changing anytime soon. As if this wasn’t making things hard enough for first time buyers, especially in London, landlords and investors are dominating sales in and around the capital.

London prime property market dominated by BTL and investors

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In the first quarter of 2016, 36 per cent of all sales in London were procured by buy to let (BTL) investors, who also boosted the recorded number of cash purchases. The second highest procurer of property was second homeowners. This type of buyer almost doubled since the previous reporting period, accounting for 23 per cent of all purchases.

Cash buyers

In total, 59 per cent of London property was acquired by landlords or second homeowners, with this figure rising even higher in central London to 79 per cent. 40 per cent of these purchases were completed by cash buyers. Investors will always hold a prime position in the property market, as it is a great way for them to get high returns; however, the increase in the number of second homeowners was not expected. There is speculation that much of the most recent activity is due to the additional layer of stamp duty for both types of buyer.

With changes such as these, landlords and homeowners wanting more than one property, such as those available from property buying experts, are naturally going to rush out and buy what they can before the amendments come into effect. Property buying agents in London are naturally happy to help.

Supply and demand

It is all about supply and demand, with the rates varied across the capital. In outer London demand has soared to 19 per cent in a year, while in central London it has fallen by four per cent in the same period. The number of properties for sale in these areas has also changed. In outer London supply has dwindled by 12 per cent each year, with homeowners preferring to stay put, while in central London it has risen by 11 per cent. As a knock-on effect, this has seen property prices soar.

While there is still a significant price premium for purchasing property in the centre of the capital, landlords will continue to snap it up while first time buyers are pushed further afield to find their dream home.

Trump card: what would a DT presidency do to investors?

The inconceivable now seems to be near inevitable, as Donald Trump lines up to be the frontrunner Republican candidate and sets his sights firmly on The White House. It’s a staggering state of affairs for many reasons, not least the fact that the billionaire has never held an elected office.

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From a political perspective, this means that two of the least popular candidates on record are now going head to head – Clinton and Trump. Polls do currently point towards Clinton, but Trump has the lead in economic polls, with his new campaign pledge to make the USA ‘Great Again’.

Concerns for investors

What about investors? Nervous investors across the world are already dealing with the uncertainty of China and Britain’s Brexit vote, so the spectre of a Trump presidency simply adds another layer of concern to the mix – all of which affects market prices.

The effects of this have been seen by Robert Stones Target Markets already. Fluctuations in financial markets continue on a daily basis and Robert Stones Target Markets has been observing these developments carefully.

However, would the news be all bad? Trump’s hardline views on immigration have made headlines – but his economic views also represent a significant departure for the party that has traditionally supported the free market economy. Trump, however, has protectionist views, seeking to bring trading tariffs into play.

Instability beckons?

Trump’s economic plans could indeed pose a danger of instability, especially if trade wars began as a result of heavy tariffs. Other measures however, such as planned tax cuts, can look pro-growth. This could, of course, just be a campaign headline, but the US government system is very different from the EU’s, with Congress having already greatly limited Obama’s moves during his term.

On the plus, America does have its powerful central bank, and the Fed is the primary liquidity provider to the world’s entire financial system, with its monetary policy decisions having knock-on effects for currencies worldwide.

British investors therefore needn’t wait to see the outcome of the US election, as market indicators already suggest that American shares are overpriced. Regardless of who gets the presidency, investors can continue to make their investment decisions based on underlying fundamentals, and may well decide to look elsewhere for better prospects for the time being.

Useful Tips Reveal How to Write an Unforgettable CV

Looking for a job can be difficult, especially when competing with dozens of other candidates for the exact same job. The mere thought of writing a CV can transform even the most confident person to a timid shadow of their former selves. So, how can you defeat the self-doubt blues and bag your dream job? The first step is to write an impressive CV your employer won’t be able to put down.

Useful Tips Reveal How to Write an Unforgettable CV

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According to the BBC, employers receive around 60 applications for a “low-skilled” job, and 20 for jobs requiring candidates with a lot more skills. With so many people applying for the same position, it can be difficult to make yourself stand out from the crowd. After all, how many times have you heard a career advisor say things like, “You need to make yourself stand out from the rest,” and “make a lasting impression” etc. But how can you do this with just a piece of paper? It’s simple, follow these 7 tips for writing an unforgettable CV and it won’t be long until you receive a call back for an interview:

  1. Make sure that your CV uses proper spelling and grammar. Use commas where necessary and whatever you do, don’t repeat the same mistake twice. An employer will notice your blunders and assume if you can’t provide an error free CV, you must not be that keen on the position.
  2. Focus attention on your notable achievements. Did you win any awards in your school days? Have you done something you are especially proud of? If you can, quote figures where possible to add an extra level of substance to your CV and to act as evidence of these achievements.
  3. Put the most important information first. If you don’t have much experience, but did well in school, position your grades closer to the top of your CV.
  4. Include relevant and key information such as personal contact information (address, phone number and email address) and any professional social media channels you may have such as your LinkedIn profile etc.
  5. Tailor your CV. Instead of sending out the same generic CV to any job going, tailor it to suit the specific job that you are applying for. Make sure that it is relevant and reflects your passion for the said position.
  6. Include other relevant skills that could give you a keen advantage over the competition. These skills could include anything from great IT skills to languages etc.
  7. According to Jobs, it is important to appeal to your online audience, you can do this by “including relevant keywords in your CV”. This can help you to grab employer’s attention on sites such as LinkedIn.

It can be difficult to write a “perfect” CV, and nobody expects you to! Just make sure that your CV provides the right information and is an honest representation of who you are as a person and potential employee. You may wish to drop your CV with a Recruitment Agent in Belfast such as