In 2014 interior design, a very diverse mix of styles emerged, including darker colours such as navy blue on walls and shiny, metallic accessories with individual pieces of vintage furniture adding focal points to rooms. You may remember that floral patterns made something of a comeback and some designers favoured a return to more traditional, comfortable styles. Here are a few tips for trends that are likely to be popular in 2015.

Room makeover ideas

Colours are always a talking point and the 2015 Pantone colour of the year is Marsala, which, in case you didn’t know, is a sort of deep terracotta colour with less red and more brown added. The jury is still out on this one - some designers remain firmly attached to the blue spectrum of last year, however Pantone believes its 2015 choice can be used on walls, accessories and accent pieces to create a stylish, tasteful and elegant look. It’s such a strong colour you could change the entire ambience of your home just by using it in different ways in each room.

Another colour trend in 2015 is not for walls, but for window trims. The idea is to outline your window frames in a darker colour than the walls, thereby drawing attention to them - think eyeliner for windows. This is really very effective and works particularly well if you have window shutters, creating strong, clean lines and no need for curtains. Internally fitted window shutters are a very practical and environmentally friendly alternative to drapes and can be used to control the light as well as to ensure privacy.

In with the old and with the new

The larger shiny modern metallic items that were sought after in 2014, such as contemporary dining chairs, are set to be paired with traditional, rustic dining tables in 2015, giving a whole new look that emphasizes the contrasts and qualities of both. Reverting to simple, rough tables is part of the continuing trend to mix and match retro, vintage and ultra-modern furnishings in the home.

Comfort is king when it comes to decorating your living areas and matching furniture such as the three-piece suite seems set to disappear as sectional sofas come back into vogue in a big way. Look for deep and comfortable designs and then add contrasting cushions and throws to make lounging around with a favourite game or book even more inviting.

Talking of books, home libraries are also making a comeback, with some innovative approaches to shelving - once again mixing and matching high-tech with vintage to great effect. If you are a keen reader and like the real thing as an alternative to your e-reader, you’ll need to plan how to remodel your chosen room to make space for your books. Make sure to add comfortable seating and appropriate lighting.

Finally, don’t forget about the statement pieces to give your 2015 home the finishing touches - grid-like light fixtures are increasingly popular, while four-poster beds are enjoying a revival. Versatile vintage candlesticks continue to have a place alongside contemporary furniture.

The housing market in the UK has seemed inhospitable to many buyers. However, this volatility is overemphasised. Getting on the housing ladder is an important step in your financial future. Choosing a location that is worthy of investing in can lead to a greater return on your real estate investment. The discrepancy between wages and housing prices has prevented many people from becoming first-time buyers. The credit market has been tight but it has got better, with more mortgages becoming available for those that don't have a large down payment. Here are some tips for first-time buyers.

Be aware of opportunities – always look for opportunities

It takes time for an area to develop. If you see an opportunity to invest in a developing or revitalized area, you may do well to invest some capital. This allows you to buy property when prices are low. As the area improves, values can skyrocket. Some may choose to sell when this happens, while others may be interested in renting and using the proceeds to pay the mortgage and pocket or reinvest the difference.

Milton Keynes

With ample green space, good schools, and a burgeoning population of young professionals, Milton Keynes is gaining popularity. Now is a great time to invest in real estate in this beautiful location.

Dartford

With the charm of a village and ample real estate at a reasonable cost, it is no wonder that Dartford is popular with first-time home buyers.

Bexleyheath

With the excessive cost of real estate in London, many first-time homebuyers find themselves turning to pleasant, reasonably priced suburbs such as Bexleyheath. It allows first-time buyers to harness the economic activity of London without the high cost of living in the city itself.

Crawley

With a population of 100,000, Crawley has some small town appeal. First-time homebuyers like the fact that many homes have good-sized backyards. The town centre provides ample shopping, and it is easy to find your way around. Gatwick Airport, Virgin Airlines, and more have offices in Crawley that provide numerous jobs.

Getting the best mortgage and asset protection

First-time buyers often feel a bit overwhelmed with all the options available to them. This can lead to the temptation of using an agency that offers help to buy services. While getting help of this sort may seem reassuring, it can cost money that could be used for a higher down payment and more favourable terms over the life of the mortgage. It is good to plan for the worst case scenario when taking on a long-term commitment such as a mortgage. What would happen if you were to pass away unexpectedly? You don't want your spouse or loved ones to struggle to pay an existing mortgage. Life insurance can provide the financial security they need to pay off your debt in the event of your death. Locking in a good life insurance rate is easy and one of the smartest things you can do for your family’s financial future.

Are you a small business owner? Do you constantly find yourself wishing you had more time to devote to the parts of your business you most enjoy? Do you sometimes feel that the reason you created your company in the first place is getting lost in the shuffle? If you answered “yes” to any of these three questions, you may want to consider enlisting the aid of a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO.

What Is a PEO?

More and more, small business owners are turning to PEOs to handle many of their business and human resource needs. Essentially, the PEO serves as an off-site human resources provider, and handles any number of tasks, including, but not limited to:

  • Payroll processing
  • Hiring and training new employees
  • Managing HR-related employee claims (workers’ compensation, etc.)
  • Ensuring compliance with federal rules and regulations
  • Purchasing of insurance and benefit plans

In other words, the PEO takes the mundane tasks off of your plate, enabling you to focus and concentrate on matters of immediate concern to your business. You probably didn’t launch your business thinking you’d spend a healthy chunk of your time pouring over payroll and by enlisting the assistance of a PEO. You don’t have to.

The infographic below details many of the benefits a PEO offers small businesses. If you seek faster growth, lower employee turnover, and more time to focus on what you truly enjoy, a PEO just may be right for you.

Benefits of Using a PEO Infographic

Benefits of Using a PEO Infographic Presented By FrankCrum

 

Switchweb, a website hosting company which is based in Shropshire - offers professional, reliable and affordable website hosting solutions - which are perfect for companies of any size, across the UK.

To kickstart the new year, Switchweb are offering superb value hosting packages - which start at just £19 a year!

The hosting is a fantastic option for any businesses who are launching in 2015 and need a low-cost yet quality answer to their hosting requirements.

Pete White of Switchweb, says “There are so many hosting companies and offers out there across the internet, that it can often be quite difficult for users to find a reliable company, in an efficient and cost-effective way; that’s the gap which Switchweb aims to address!”

Switchweb has a proven track record of success, having started in 2003.

For more information on the hosting that’s available, visit www.switchweb.co.uk

 

Finding a Job in 2015

By Pete | @kingpetey | 15 Jan 2015

Quite a few of my friends are re-entering the job market for the first time in a decade. Talking to them it struck me how much finding a job has changed over that time.

The last time I applied for a job I found an advert in the newspaper and sent the firm my CV via the post. A clunky and long-winded process, which it appears, from what my friends say is definitely not how firms recruit these days.

Today, firms rely almost exclusively on the internet for their recruitment. Most jobs are now advertised online, which means if you are looking for a job in 2015 that is where you are going to need to go to find jobs. Here are a few tips to help you to find and apply for jobs using the web.

Set up a separate email address

My advice is that if you are looking for a job online is to set up a separate email address from which to manage the process. This makes it easier to keep track of everything.

The recruitment process moves very fast because it is online. If you send in an application and match the criteria, you can be asked for an interview in under an hour. Naturally, this does not happen often, but you need to stay on top of all correspondence relating to job applications having a separate account makes it easier to do this.

Update your CV

It is sensible to update your CV before starting the process of looking for a job. The vast majority of applications will be done online, so you will be able to cut and paste.

That makes it easy to apply for a lot of jobs. However, make sure that you take the time to tailor your CV to each job that you apply for rather than simply using the same information for every single job application. You want to emphasise the skills and qualifications that best match the role you are applying for.

Fill out all of the fields

I found out on CIPHR's website that many firms manage their recruitment process using software that includes a database of each candidates CV. It was interesting to see that the software has the capability to match candidates not only with the job being applied for, but also with other positions within a company.

The fact that firms use software to manage the recruitment process means that you need to be careful to fill out all of the information asked for and follow the format. Not doing so could mean that your application cannot be added to the database, so this is an important tip.

Update your social media

Bear in mind that employees are no longer reliant on your CV for information. They will go online to find out more about you, so you need to go through your social accounts and make sure that they present a good image of you.

If you do not have social media accounts, my suggestion is that you set some up. Employers are used to people having social accounts, so an application from someone who does not have them is likely to end up on the rejection pile. At the very least, you need to get yourself a LinkedIn account. 

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