How to choose the right sewing machine

If you’re in the market for a new sewing machine, it can seem like a bit of a minefield. Whether you’re looking to make simple clothes or something more complex like curtains, it’s important to make the job as simple as possible by choosing the right machine for you. Here are some questions you want to answer in determining which one is the machine for your needs:

For Beginners or Occasional Use

A basic model is probably all you’ll need if you only plan to create small, easy projects, are just starting out or intend to only use it to mend items. A model with a variety of foot attachments will be useful if you want to complete tasks like inserting a zip. Foots like buttonhole and ones for delicate fabrics are also useful to have. A choice of several different stitches is a minimum requirement, even for beginners.

Image credit

Machines for Dressmaking

If you want to use a machine for dressmaking or you think the machine will be subjected to a lot of use, you might want to consider a mid-range machine. If you plan to make more complex garments or soft furnishings, for example, you’ll benefit most from a machine with a wider variety of features and settings. You’ll need to ensure your machine has a free arm, an over locking stitch and a machine that can cope with heavier fabric. You’ll want a bigger selection of feet and if your budget allows, a computerised machine can be really useful. For a wide selection of Dressmaking Fabric, provide a range of dressmaking fabric.

Machines for Embroidery

For those who are serious about creating beautiful embroidery and have a sizeable budget, you’ll probably want a computerised, top-end model or even a specialised embroidery machine. Machines like these can operate three different thread colours at the same time but can cost in excess of £800. For downloading stitch programs, you’ll also need access to a computer and memory card.

Image credit

High-Use and Professional

A machine that will be in almost constant use or needs to produce professional quality items, a high-end model is the only option. A computerised model is essential, particularly for repetitive work as stitches can be programmed. You’ll need a machine capable of handling heavy duty fabric, so you can make anything and everything. Running a business requires considerable investment and if this is your main machine, you won’t want to skimp on the features and settings you need to make your business a success.

Four Ways to Retain Existing Customers

Many business strategies are often focused on acquiring new customers, and while this is an important aspect of company growth, it neglects the notion of retaining customers. Whether you have a small or large business, existing customers are more likely to continue buying from you – not to mention it costs more to find new customer rather than concentrating your efforts on the ones you have. The question is: how to do it?

Image Credit

Invest in Customer Services

Ensuring that you have good customer service and in store music is essential for getting customers to interact with a company. Providing answers to their problems and listening to what they say is crucial to knowing what they expect from your company. When choosing brands, customers rely on an efficient service, and this is one of the reasons they’ll return to a company. Additionally, good customer service will create brand ambassadors, who will vouch for your company’s products and how good they are.

Get Personal

Treating customers as individuals is likely to impress them and make them feel that they matter to your business. You can do this by sending messages that are tailored to their experiences rather than an automated email that reaches everyone.

Image Credit

Create Micro Moments

Micro moments are those times when a customer instinctively turns to a mobile device in order to fulfil an instantaneous need. Subsequently, this will help your business to enhance a connection with customers so that they’re given what they need. Micro moments include ‘I need help’ or ‘I want to buy’ and can improve your understanding of what the customer is experiencing and how to make this better. Engaging with your customers in this way can be helped further by employing the services of companies such as to ensure you maximise your customers’ experiences.

Reward Loyal Customers

You can provide your customers with a reason to continue being loyal by offering them discounts or offers or by adding value to the experience they receive from you. There are many different options to consider when targeting customers who have stayed with you the longest: think about introducing a loyalty scheme or, alternatively, start a club so they have access to information or events that wouldn’t be available to new customers. Whatever you decide, it’s guaranteed to make your loyal customers feel good about your business.

How will voice search affect your SEO?

Smart assistants are on the rise, moving from mobile devices to in-home devices. This means that more people are using their voice to make search queries than ever before.

Image Credit

Analysts predict that Amazon’s Alexa alone could be worth $10 billion (£7.6 billion) by the end of the decade. This poses a problem from an SEO perspective, forcing sites to think about how they optimise to account for these changing search habits that are reshaping the industry.

So how can you get ahead of the curve and leverage the voice search trend effectively, rather than being outmanoeuvred by better prepared rivals?

Pinpoint appropriate customer questions

Voice search encourages a long form approach to question-asking, rather than the concise methods favoured in the past by Google’s text-focused solution. This means that rather than considering keywords that will be impactful with your audience, you need to establish the more expansive questions they are likely to be asking their smart assistants.

This is effectively a return to the early era of internet search, before users had been trained into minimalism. Content created with key questions in mind will be more impactful in the age of voice search.

Optimise for snippet inclusion

With Google’s own voice assistant, questions asked by users are often answered from the Featured Snippet on the search engine, since the old list-based ranking system is not useful when an answer is being delivered by speech.

Image Credit

Actually getting your content into a Featured Snippet may be tricky, but you can start to think about making this achievable by formatting it in a way that will appeal to Google’s algorithms and ensuring that it can be replicated effectively as an answer to a spoken question. Working with experts in SEO, like those at London SEO agency Elevate UK, will help you begin this process.

Avoid rigidity

An obvious but important point to consider when gearing up for voice search dominance is that this remains a fledgling area of the wider search market, and so should not yet be considered a defining element of SEO, nor something with a fixed set of rules to be followed.

Because of this, you should not get sucked into early claims about how algorithms behave now, or will do in the future. Just focus on crafting quality content that caters to users’ needs.

5 more essential work items to keep in your van

Anyone who wants to make their van the most effective working environment available on the move will need to add these five items to their wish list.

Image Credit

Snow emergency kit

If the white stuff piles up unexpectedly and leaves you trapped on a motorway or country lane without easy access to assistance, being able to help yourself out with a cold weather survival kit will be a welcome relief.

You will need clothing and blankets to keep warm if you simply cannot get your van on the move again. If you need to achieve traction in slippery conditions, an old piece of carpet or a welcome mat placed under each wheel will overcome the worst of the winter. Also, add a scraper to the glove box so that snow and ice can be removed if they have formed while you are stuck. A pot of Vaseline, applied to the rubber seals which rim each door, will keep them from freezing, while WD-40 will do the same for locks.

Image Credit


You never know when you might need to spend more time in your van than you would like, so keeping food and water onboard makes sense in every season of the year. This is not just about fighting hunger, but ensuring you are mentally prepared for driving.

First aid supplies

Compact first aid kits designed for use in vans and other vehicles are widely sold, so snap one up and familiarise yourself with its contents. If you have purchased products like plylining from sites including then you should know where to look for safety products and more.

There was actually a rise in road deaths last year, even as accidents fell, so a first aid kit could make a big difference.

Backup clothing

Aside from being useful in colder weather, having a change of clothes to hand in your van can be crucial in other settings. For example, if dirt, grime and other stains spoil your getup, you can slip into clean duds when you arrive at your destination.

Writing material

Relying on your mobile or tablet computer to take notes is all well and good, but with a pen and a notepad in your van you can make doubly sure that relevant information is always at your fingertips even in the event of a battery failure.

Be Kind to your Breasts

Apart from pushing them into a bra every day, how much do you really take care of your breasts? Breasts are one of our finest assets as females. They help us to feel attractive, form an important part of a sexual relationship, feed our babies and in many ways, define a great deal about who we are. Without some self-care though, they can cause us problems. Here are some ways to ensure your sending some love to your breasts:

  1. Moisturize

The area of skin on your chest is some of the body’s most sensitive and it’s also quite thin. The best thing to use is a thick lotion with ingredients that bind water to the skin. A cocoa butter is ideal for this. When out in the sun, don’t forget that sunscreen is important in this area too. It’s not just about the protection from skin cancer but sun damage also causes the elastin and collagen in your breasts to breakdown, causing sagginess.

  1. Correct Support

Gravity is the enemy of our breasts. Connected to the chest wall with ligaments, if these ligaments are not correctly supported, they can overstretch resulting in sagging. The bigger your boobs, the more important this is as excessive movement and bouncing will also cause overstretching. Posture plays an important role in how good you look too so make sure you’re standing up straight as this will elevate your breasts and make them look better. Every woman needs a selection of good bras which shape and support, keep the breasts held up against the chest wall and have well-positioned cups. For a super supportive full cup bra, take a look at the WHITE PRIMA DONNA DEAUVILLE BRA at

Image credit

  1. Weight

We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for a host of reasons but it’s good for your boobs too. Exercise is great and while it won’t do anything to make them bigger or prevent existing sagging, it will help them to keep their shape. Having toned pectoral muscles in the upper chest makes breasts look fuller and better. Push-ups and chest presses are perfect for toning your upper body. Wearing a proper bra designed for exercise will ensure you’re getting the support you need.

Avoid yo-yo dieting if you can as your breasts will undoubtedly suffer. Gaining weight quickly forces the breasts to enlarge which stretches the skin. Losing weight quickly then results in overstretched skin that won’t miraculously pop back into shape. Breasts are left looking saggy.

Image credit

  1. Avoid Soreness

We all experience tenderness at different times and supplements can help alleviate this, including Vitamin B6 and evening primrose oil. Keeping an eye on your intake of salt, alcohol and caffeine is also beneficial, especially limiting alcohol intake as this could decrease your risk of breast cancer. Alcohol increases hormone levels which can cause a slight increase in the risk from such a cancer.

Christmas gifts with a difference

We all get that warm, fuzzy glow as we give our carefully chosen gifts to loved ones each Christmas. But every year it seems harder to find that perfect present for family and friends, who, let’s face it, seem to have it all. Their alcohol store is overflowing, they’ve already overindulged on the chocolates and they’ve got more socks than you can shake a stick at, so it’s time to think outside the gift-box.

Image Credit

Finding something a bit different to place under the tree is the holy-grail for festive shoppers, but we are on hand to help you find something with a quirky twist.

Gifts with a difference

One of the most unusual gifts on the market has surely got to be the Ancestry DNA gift from Living DNA, to help budding genealogists trace their family history.

For bookworms, you can’t go wrong with a handwritten copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, The Great Gatsby. Available from SP Books, this is one hand-picked gift that will certainly hit the mark.

Image Credit

Gifts for thrill seekers

For a gift that your lucky recipient can enjoy well beyond Christmas, consider giving them an experience they’ll never forget.

From flight experiences and supercars to the thrilling slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For something completely different, try a tank driving experience. Somewhere like Armourgeddon supplies a number of activities for those all-action heroes amongst us, including tank paintball battles, quads and air rifle shooting.

Gifts for party lovers

If you’re buying for someone who loves to be the life and soul of the party, there are plenty of gift ideas to make sure the celebrations go with a bang.

Prosecco Pong is perfect for getting any party started, while a set of Tipsy Wine Glasses from IWOOT will make you feel quite wobbly from the off. Why not even go the whole hog and purchase a drinks trolley? Your host will never know how they managed without one.

Gifts from the heart

If all else fails, there’s always the homemade option. Although this can be risky, take a look at for inspiration.

Follow our tips for perfect gift buying and you’ll be the toast of the party come 25 December. But good luck next year; you will be expected to do it all over again.

What you need to know about hi-tech glass

Most people are familiar with the wonders of the microchip, but not so many appreciate that high-tech gadgets would be impossible if not for advances in the technology of glass. Smartphones, laptops, flat screen TVs, 3D headsets and wearable tech all require types of glass with very specific properties, which are achieved through controlling pigments, refractive index, glass chemistry, electrical properties and lamination techniques.

Image Credit

Flick of a switch

A type of high-tech glass entering the market can switch colour and opacity at the press of a button. Smartglass International is currently providing privacy smart glass for the windows of a demonstration car in San Jose, California. Other companies have developed similar glass that changes from clear to dark blue, such as Wonderlite™. This will be used to control the degree of sunlight that enters car roof windows. Similar glass will be available for domestic homes, both for privacy and climate control.

One place where needs for natural light, privacy and security issues collide is in prisons. Smartglass is discussing supplying security versions of its switchable glass for cell walls.

Smart displays embedded in or reflected on windscreens are already used in aircraft. Valtra, a division of the AGCO corporation, is bringing the technology to agricultural machines and this will arrive in lorries and cars very soon.

Image Credit

Eco glass

Research has long been concentrated on glass for climate control, both to keep buildings warmer and cooler. In tall buildings, maximum sunlight is needed to illuminate the interior but must keep the sun’s heat out. Without solar control and air conditioning, many high-rise buildings would be uninhabitable. Solar control glass allows maximum sunlight to enter a window while reflecting away most heat.

Many people choose this glass for conservatory roofs; however, UK householders are mostly interested in letting light enter and preventing warmth leaving to minimise their bills. Double glazed solar glass panels provide excellent insulation at cooler times of the year. Advice on double glazing in Hereford is available from companies such as

Better insulation is achieved through better glass and through better design of the double and triple glazed units. You can now have glass to keep you extra warm, extra cool, for peace and quiet, and to frustrate burglars. You can even have glass that repels dirt, making your windows virtually self-cleaning.

Where to find an antique bargain

Want to fill your home with stunning antique pieces for the ultimate vintage glam? Then you’ll want to do it as cheaply as possible. Timeless antique ornaments or furniture need not cost the earth if you know where to look. Whether you’re searching for rustic cabinets, period coat stands, authentic doors or art décor lighting, these are the places you should be looking:

  1. Charity Shops

People are often amazed at what can be found in the humble charity store. You can often find lower-end antiques from house clearances. Many items might have been checked over by a local dealer before making it to the charity shop but just as likely, some items might just slip through the net. They are always worth a browse and of course, it’s all for a good cause too.

  1. General Dealers

Many towns and cities have more than one local antique dealer’s shops and these are another great place to look for the perfect piece. If the dealer has house clearances then there could be items he or she has minimal professional knowledge about. If you know your stuff in a particular field then this can play to your advantage. These shops are a great place to barter on the price too.

Image credit

  1. Reclamation Yards

The perfect examples of recycling in this age of increased focus on sustainable living. These places can be a veritable Aladdin’s cave of hidden treasure. Taking other people’s scrap and the remnants of deconstructed or demolished buildings, you can anything from antique sinks, fireplaces, vintage doors and even chandeliers. A browse round a salvage company could find that unique piece you’ve been looking for to make your interior complete. For Antique Chandeliers Dublin, visit

  1. Car Boot Sales

Never underestimate the possibility of stumbling across a unique find at a local car boot sale. Most sellers are not traders but amid the household junk, there is sometimes a gem of an antique waiting to be snatched up. The perfect place to bargain on price so don’t forget to take some cash with you. The best time to arrive is as soon as sellers start to pull up and unpack so you can be the first to nab that antique vase or lamp.

Image credit

  1. Auctions

There will often be house clearances featured at general auctions and the beauty is that in amongst the mass-produced items there could be an intriguingly unique antique that you just have to bid on. In auction terms, items like these are called ‘sleepers’ as nobody recognises the value or worth of an item. An item doesn’t even have to be worth a great deal. If you fall in love with an old piece because it’s unusual or unique then bid on it for your vintage décor.

  1. Antique Fairs

Many such fairs are held throughout the year, up and down the country. You’ll find hundreds of dealers with stalls offering anything from large furniture items to fabrics and vintage glass. One of the biggest is held at Newark with an impressive 4,000 stalls.

A look at the key bridal fashion trends for 2018

Designers have really been bringing some fantastic new creations into bridal fashion and here we review those trending for 2018 from Paris along with some of the beautiful colours and designs seen in bridal shows. Keep reading to see what the trends in colours, details, and designs are set to be for 2018 bridal attire.

Image Credit

Keep it simple

Some designs have been simple in shape and look such as Valentino. Traditional designs have such as traditional A-line that gowns have been modified to give them a modern twist. Soft silk material has helped create this soft, feminine simple look.

The suit

Trouser suits have always been presented as an alternative for bridal wear and again they make their appearance. There have been wide-legged trousers (by Antonio Grimaldi) and cigarette pant trouser suits (by Viktor and Rolf) appearing on the catwalk.

Choosing your outfit is one piece of the puzzle and it requires careful planning to make sure the venue, your accessories, the decoration, and the whole setting all complement the overall look you wish to achieve.

Image Credit

Romantic styles

Designs from the likes of Chanel and Dior showcased bridal outfits with full skirts and column gowns, focussing on the bride’s physique, creating a romantic and feminine look.

Something different

Brides looking to add glamour only need look at designer Ziad Nakad to see top to bottom marabou or hemlines adorned with feather rosettes by Ralph Russo. Also, Fendi and Zuhair Murad have shown floral and botanical patterns as new emergents in bridal fashion.

Dress to match

Your venue is important when choosing your dress so that the setting lets you stand out or fit in just as much as you wish. For example, if you are looking for a wedding hotel venue in Gloucestershire and choose somewhere such as, you will want to make sure that you and your bridesmaids are complemented by your surroundings rather than clashing with it.


Nudes have made an appearance as a shade for bridesmaids, as in the mushroom tea dress by Christian Dior. Shades can be chosen to complement different skin tones. Inky blue is another trending colour and Elie Saab has a wonderful teal coloured design perfect for summer. A darker toned design like navy would work well for winter, like that by Chanel.

5 reasons to book a city break

A break in the city can do us a world of good. Even a couple of days experiencing a change of scenery can make a huge difference. Here are five top reasons to book that city break today.

Image Credit

1. Because you work hard

If you work hard, but never get the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labour, what’s the point of putting in long, hard, gruelling hours at the office? A city break lets you take a pause from your busy schedule and realise what the benefits of working hard are all about.

2. Stress reduction

Getting away for a long weekend in the city is the perfect antidote to kicking stress and anxiety into touch. Stress is a continuous and rising problem in our daily lives, and long-term health problems can arise if we don’t learn to tackle it. According to Huffington Post, a shocking 44% of us suffer from long-term stress.

Image Credit

3. Change of scenery

Doing the same old thing day in, day out can become monotonous, and can leave us feeling unmotivated in our personal and professional lives. Taking a city break can help to break that ‘groundhog day’ feeling, giving us a whole new lease of life and fresh perspective on things. You don’t even need to travel that far to make a break from the norm. Simply head to your nearest city and make a list of the things you would like to see and do there.

4. Step away from online communication

For a city break, staying in serviced apartments Birmingham is a great choice, with apartments such as No.8 Waterloo Street apartments allowing you to get away from your computer and leave the online world behind for a few days. By heading to the city and taking in the cultural sights and entertainment options, you can connect with people in real life, instead of just online.

5. Encourage creativity

When you don’t get a break from the norm and every day is a long, hard slog at work, your mojo can rapidly diminish. A short trip to the city, however, can be enough to inject creativity back into your life. By allowing yourself time to unwind and relax in a new place, your brain can recharge its batteries and put your motivation and inspiration back into top gear.

1 2 3 5