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By: Josie Prestwood

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Friday, 20-Jul-2012 16:46 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Repair or customise your speaker grills with acoustic fabric


Speakers can be expensive and sensitive pieces of kit. Most come with grills or covers which protect the speaker itself from dust and damage, but there are a number of situations in which you might want to make your own. Whether your grill is damaged or you want to make a custom cabinet, acoustic fabric is a great material to help you create what you need quickly and easily.

Speakers are designed to emit sounds, which are essentially vibrations in the air. When speaker grills are designed, special fabric or mesh has to be used which will allow sound to pass through it, while providing some protection for the speaker. This fabric is usually stretched over a frame to keep it taught.

If your speaker grills get damaged, it’s easy to repair them. The first step is to remove the old ones, which may be pinned or screwed in place. While screws are easier to remove, pins can be pried loose with a screwdriver. The next stage is to remove the existing cover by taking out the staples or sliding a blunt knife under the glue. Finally, new acoustic cloth can be cut to size and attached to the frame. Staples are often the easiest thing to use.

Changing the cover of your speakers can also be a great way to update their look. Speaker fabrics come in a range of colours and textures, from the traditional black to grey and silver. The cabinets themselves often last better than the grills, which get dirty, faded and torn. Re-covering them can make your speakers look new again.

You might be planning something more involved. A lot of people like to put new speakers in their car and build custom cabinets for them. While these could be left uncovered, adding grills to the design can make it more attractive, as well as giving the speakers more protection. This applies to custom projects at home, as well. You could make a chair with speakers built into the headrest or use the cloth to hide your speakers away entirely. This is especially useful if your speakers are looking a little dated but still sound fantastic.

An alternative to speaker fabric is acoustic foam. This also lets sound through, but is more rigid. It’s great for creating a grill from scratch as you don’t need to build a frame out of wood. A lot of companies also sell grommets for attaching it to the cabinet.

If you’re interested in audio quality it’s important to get high quality materials. Just as a cheap phono cables affect the performance of your hi fi, using substandard fabric to cover your speakers will deaden the sound.

Nexxia sell a huge range of audio and home cinema equipment, from phono cables to acoustic fabric. Their cloth is available in a number of sizes and colours, and has great acoustic transparency for great quality sound.
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Wednesday, 11-Jul-2012 17:15 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Key to a Great Fitted Kitchens – Being Informed


Information. That's the key to getting a fantastic new fitted kitchen for the best possible price. Even if you’re only planning a kitchen remodel, better information will help you make a better choice. Before talking with suppliers, you should work out as closely as you can what it is you are looking for in your new fitted kitchen or kitchen remodel.

List Your Individual Needs

People who bake pies might wish for a slab of marble for rolling out dough. Couples who entertain frequently may need to make space for a chilled foods unit. Families with younger children who do homework at the kitchen table might like to include a special storage area for their school supplies.

Identify the Kitchen Type

Kitchens can be fitted or free standing. Fitted kitchens give a smooth and seamless look. They increase the value of a property. Free standing kitchens allow for new fittings to be incorporated with old ones. It’s also possible to blend in furniture pieces to create a unique look.

Create a Good Design

Good kitchen designs maximise space, minimise “traffic jams” and are aesthetically pleasing. If the only way to get to the fridge is via the sink, anyone doing the washing up will have to move to give access. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, then spend some time considering what annoys you about your current kitchen arrangement.

Websites offer online planning tools so you can arrive at the best design. You can choose the style of your fitted kitchen and arrange units to see how different layouts would look in practice. If you are planning a kitchen remodel, then you could use it to recreate the current layout of your kitchen and then move units around or change styles.

Select Materials and Colours

Modern fitted kitchens incorporate materials such as wood, stone, laminate, and stainless steel. The range of available colours is simply amazing, and styles covering everything from the rustic to minimalist modern. Take a look around some kitchen planning and quotation websites to see what sort of deals, materials, styles and colours are available.

Work Out a Budget

Think carefully about the amount of money you want to spend. Shop around on the Internet to get a good idea of prices. Then, estimate the cost. Too much? Consider choosing a less expensive material or changing the design.

Check Out the Market

Shop online. Websites offer free same day quotes on your new kitchen. Finding out exact costs puts you in the best position to evaluate offers from retailers or make an offer yourself.

Kitchens for Sale work closely with a wide range of kitchen suppliers across the UK to supply you with the best quotes for a fitted kitchen or kitchen remodel. Contact them today to have a look through their huge selection of styles, layouts and appliances.

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Monday, 2-Jul-2012 18:19 Email | Share | | Bookmark
London’s pest control woes: why prevention is better than cure


Some pest problems are seasonal. Clothes moths tend to do their damage in the spring, when their larvae hatch out in search of food. Rats and mice tend to enter houses for warmth in early winter. In some cases, however, unusual weather can cause problems at unexpected times. A particularly wet summer can bring rats into contact with people in big cities as water levels rise and the rats seek higher ground. If the sewers of London are flooded, the rats are forced to the surface.

Unfortunately, infestations of any pest can be difficult to predict. It’s fairly certain the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs didn’t see it coming when their London headquarters were invaded by clothes moths, despite being the department in charge of pest control. The building had to be fumigated, and although no information on the cost has been released, it is likely it ran into thousands of pounds.

It’s not just the cost of fumigation that makes clothes moths expensive, either. As the name implies, they eat clothes and their fondness for natural fibres means they prefer expensive materials to cheaper ones. Cashmere, silk and wool are some of their favourites, and it is not uncommon for an entire house to be infested. Replacing damaged woollen carpets, wedding dresses and designer labels doesn’t come cheap.

Other pests can be costly, too. Pigeons are a nuisance as their droppings are damaging to stonework and statues. They also make emergency exits slippery and can cause allergic reactions and disease. It is estimated that it costs around £15 million a year to clean up the mess.

Rats and mice can be expensive due to their propensity to chew on furniture, skirting boards and cables. This is a particular problem if electrical wiring is gnawed through, as the house will need to be rewired or may even burn down. They can also chew through lead pipes, causing water damage. Peter Priestley, president of the British Pest Control Association, said that he once saw the whole first floor of a house collapse due to rats eating through the beams. As rodents are sometimes considered an ‘act of God’ by insurance companies (presumably like a biblical plague), not all damage is covered.

Making a claim on your insurance probably isn’t the best solution, in any case. Prevention is better than cure and is relatively simple with some pests. Clothes moths like natural fibres that have been left in dark places for long periods of time. Periodically taking clothes out of the back of the cupboard, making sure they are put away clean and using cedar moth balls and sprigs of lavender can make all the difference. With rodents, the key is to make sure that food spillages are cleared up and block any entry points into the house. Pigeons are a little more difficult to deter, and in this case it is best to contact a professional pest management company. Nets and spikes can be installed to stop the birds settling on a particular property.

If you already have a pest problem, though, the best thing you can do is act – sooner rather than later. Contacting a pest control service is the best thing you can do, as without professional advice, pests can come back.

Terminex are a reputable pest control company, known for their high levels of customer service and knowledgeable staff. They even contract an entomologist from Imperial College London to help combat clothes moths. Contact them today for advice how to protect your home from pests or to remove an infestation.
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Monday, 2-Jul-2012 16:04 Email | Share | | Bookmark
How to stay stylish in maternity and nursing wear!


Pregnancy is a great excuse to treat yourself to some new clothes! With such a wide range of maternity and nursing wear available, there’s no better time to be pregnant.

Maternity and Nursing Tops and Dresses

Say hello to your new best friends: the wrap, smock, tunic and empire line! These are great because they highlight the thinnest part of your body above your bump, proudly showing off your new impressive curves. Look out for solid block colours; black and white staple tops and flirty purples and pinks for something more eye-catching. A bold print or brightly coloured wrap dress will keep you cool in summer and warm in cooler months when worn with leggings.

You don’t have to spend a fortune if you’re saving for the birth of your little one. Many maternity tops and dresses can be worn throughout the nursing period too, with cleverly concealed openings for discrete feeding. Maternity feeding tops, also available in plus sizes, are an ideal money-saving option as they can be worn throughout both the pregnancy and nursing stages.

Invest in natural fabrics like cotton and bamboo as they will keep you cool and comfortable, and mixes containing a small percentage of elastane (sometimes called spandex) will stretch to fit your changing bump. Comfort and support doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style!

Luxury brands like Mothers en Vogue, Annee Matthew and Paola Maria use high quality organic materials to create exceptional nursing top and dress designs. You’ll have a choice of concealed openings such as empire line, side seam, neckline or drop cup access, each specially designed to offer convenient feeding while maintaining privacy. Quality is important when buying maternity tops – a well-made maternity/nursing combination top can be worn for years!

Trousers and Skirts

As you reach the later stages of pregnancy, you’ll probably find your trousers or skirts no longer fit. Invest in a belly band to cover up open zips and buttons and provide extra support, before you move on to elasticated maternity trousers and skirts.

Nursing Accessories

It’s impossible to have too many handbags! Complement your new maternity and nursing wear with a new design, big enough to carry all your baby’s belongings.

Koochu’s luxury changing bags look like regular designer handbags, and can be used as one, but they also come with clever concealed practical features like a removable and washable lining, water resistant double sided changing mat, thermo-insulated side pockets for baby bottles and even a nappy compartment. When style is this practical, you have no excuse to carry a bright plastic Winnie the Pooh changing bag!

For extra coverage when feeding your baby, a wide scarf can be a great addition to your nursing wear. Other than this, accessorize as normal. A belt may be uncomfortable, but how about treating yourself to a chunky necklace to compliment your new maternity feeding top?

Buying maternity and nursing wear isn’t rocket science. Stay comfortable with well-designed pieces, and, most importantly, have fun with your style!

A Beautiful Mummy is an online boutique specialising in maternity and nursing wear. Visit their website to browse tops, dresses, skirts and trousers and accessories from the world’s leading designers.
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Saturday, 30-Jun-2012 16:28 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Give your Kent-based business a boost with branding, marketing


With the double dip recession seemingly never ending, times are tough for UK business owners. While the large corporations and chains appear untouched, it is the small and medium businesses which suffer. Kent’s once bustling town centres have been replaced with rows of empty shops and closed down pubs and restaurants.

But don’t despair. Whatever your business sector and whether you offer a service or a product, there is help available. If you believe your business offers strong, honest products or services which people still need, your prospects can be vastly improved with minimal investment.

Branding, marketing, graphic design, website design and advertising offer business owners the potential for a generous return on investment. A Kent-based graphic design agency will have local knowledge and the time and care for a personal service, with creations perfectly tailored to your requirements. They understand the needs of an SME like yours – they are one, after all.

As people say, you have to spend money to make money. It is common knowledge that exposure and branding can make or break a business. After all, if nobody knows about a business how will it ever get custom? Similarly, poorly designed websites, leaflets, brochures, fliers, exhibition stands and presentations will be at worst ignored, at best, forgotten.

You have a variety of options to consider to improve business:

Branding and Marketing

All successful businesses are intelligently branded. With professional guidance your brand image and strategy can be transformed or updated, giving your business an unforgettable personality which is consistent across all your communications.
Marketing experts can think up creative and attention-grabbing ways to get your message across in a way which suits your business.

Advertisements, Websites and Graphic Design

A new or improved website has infinite potential to increase sales, and a cheap logo redesign can make people notice your business again. HTML emails and well-designed printed newsletters ensure your business stays in the forefront of customer’s minds, and a professionally designed PowerPoint or Flash presentation will boost confidence and impress at your next sales pitch or conference. Why not make finding, contacting or buying from your business convenient with an app, and watch sales increase? Or create an annual report or brochure which really says something about you?

There are plenty of graphic design agencies in Kent which offer website design, online marketing and on and offline advertisement design, in addition to traditional graphic design services. The wider the range of services on offer, the better understanding they will have at promoting your business across the board.

In addition to this, a Kent-based agency which offers a variety of services can also be used for future promotions materials and marketing literature. This can help keep your brand consistent across all media.

Don’t accept the current economic climate and poor sales. Be proactive and hire a local graphic design agency in Kent to get your business noticed!

Open Water are a branding, marketing and graphic design agency based in Kent. Their team offer world-class designing services, tailored to your business to ensure your message gets heard.
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