4 Christmas Home Decor Trends To Use This Year

A favourite seasonal tradition for many is getting out the Christmas decoration boxes from the attic and spending time decorating the home, ready for the festive season ahead. Most people tend to use the same Christmas decor each year, due to the practicality and the longevity of Christmas decorations, but adding new home decor trends to your home doesn’t mean that you need to have a whole overhaul of your existing Christmas decor. 

Each year, there are different home decor trends which come into style, encouraging people to start afresh, but that doesn’t need to be the case with Christmas decor, as it is known for its timeless and traditional look. Here are 4 Christmas home decor trends you can use in your home this year, but ones which can be blended with your pre-existing decor and Christmas decorations. 

Plaid Checks and Patterns

Plaid is a favourite festive pattern and one which we are all used to seeing at this time of year, but in comparison to this time last year, searches for plaid decor have increased by 51%. Plaid is a longstanding Christmas classic, but with the growing popularity of farmhouse and country style, it is becoming more fashionable than ever.

Recycled Materials

This festive season, many of us are embracing recycled and green materials, decor and food choice. Instead of using one-use wrapping paper, fabric is now a popular choice for sustainable gift-buyers and cork and cardboard ornaments are a new, modern way to use recycled and organic materials within the home. These ornaments look particularly effective on an evergreen tree with fairy lights – an easy way to stay on-trend and support the environment at the same time is to choose items made from recycled materials. 

Bohemian Decor

Every year, Pinterest releases their holiday report and this year, they’ve predicted that bohemian Christmas decor pins have increased by 65% when compared to this time last year. Many decor experts are seeing an increase of colour in the home, overtaking the all-white or grey trends which have been popular over the past few years. 

This bohemian trend works well with a lot of furniture and decor choices which you have in your home, such as contemporary furniture, crushed velvet furniture and monochrome accessories. Bohemian Christmas decor works well as you can incorporate handmade accents with bright shades for a more personal look.

Red and White

The red and green colour combination is perhaps the most iconic holiday decor trend ever. Whilst everyone always loves the classics, this year many people are ditching this in favour of a red and white colour combination. There are over 12,700 Instagram posts which are tagged with #redandwhitechristmas and searches for red and white Christmas have increased by 70% in the last 5 years.  

Winter Workout Tips For Exercising Outdoors

Even professional athletes struggle to find the motivation to head outdoors and workout on snowy and rainy days and many of us find that our outdoor workout habits well and truly go into hibernation over the winter months. Outdoor exercise is good for both your mind and body, no matter the weather or time of year and getting outside, even in the cold, allows us to reconnect with nature, get away from the daily stresses and boost our fitness and focus. 

Exercise can help us to find the winter blues, boost our energy levels and prevent weight gain in the winter months. But, when exercising outdoors in the winter, it is important that you stay safe and look after yourself in order to protect your body and prevent injuries and accidents. 

Dress Dry, Not Just Warm

When heading out for a run or cycle in the winter, our first thought may be to preserve warmth, so we dress in warmer layers. Whilst this is important, one of the quickest ways in which we lose body heat is by getting wet and getting caught in the rain will soon make you cold, miserable and irritated. 

When you’re wet and cold, you’re much more likely to cut your workout short and you also risk hypothermia or, in extreme freezing conditions, getting frostbite. It is important that you dress to keep dry as well as warm, so choose clothing made from synthetic fibres, such as nylon and polyester, as they wick away moisture much faster than cotton. 

Opt For Bright Clothing

Whilst black may be chic, bright coloured clothes are much better for outdoor exercise as not only is it colder in the winter, but it’s darker too. Rain, snow and overcast dark skies make visibility much poorer, so people will be less likely to spot you. This applies to whether you’re sharing the road with vehicles or sharing a path or trail with other winter sports enthusiasts. Wear brightly coloured clothing and, if cycling, purchase reflective gear or blinking lights. 

Stay Hydrated

Often, people don’t tend to feel as thirst when doing cold-weather workouts or exercise, but you are still losing fluids through breathing and sweat, even in lower temperatures, and you must replace those fluids by drinking water to avoid dehydration. Be sure to sip water throughout your workout and consider switching to a sports drink if you’re planning a workout longer than 90 minutes. It is important that you don’t overdo it as, no matter how much water you drink, your body is only able to absorb around three to four ounces of liquid at a time. 

Look After Your Body

As with any exercise, it is important that you look after your body before and after your workouts. Sticking to a healthy diet and taking regular vitamins and supplements, such as high strength fish oil and magnesium tablets, will help to keep your body working properly on the days where you aren’t working out. Common sense is also vital when working out in the winter – avoid running or cycling on snowy and icy days to minimise the risk of slips and falls and keep yourself safe and seen. 

3 ways you can deal with workplace harassment

It’s unfortunate to think that harassment in the workplace is still a common occurrence. It tends to be in the form of physical and verbal abuse related to race, gender, religion or sex and whilst it can be considered inappropriate, it is also an unlawful act in the form of discrimination and something that should be taken seriously in the workplace. There are many ways that harassment can occur. Below are some, but not all, examples:

– Name calling

– Offensive jokes

– Physical assault


What’s concerning is that studies have suggested that the majority of employees choose not to report it and prefer to deal with the situation themselves. However, what are the correct steps to take to deal with harassment?

Report it

Regardless of whether you’re too scared to tell someone or prefer to deal with the matter yourself, your first train of thought should be to report the matter. Employers are legally responsible for any actions that take place in the workplace, including harassment. Inform your supervisor or HR representative so they can take steps to deal with the matter internally. You can this privately or through a written request and then keep a record of matters that happens after it.

Keep a record

If you’re being harassed by a colleague or someone within the organisation, the offender may likely make accusations against you to defend themselves. To help yourself in such a situation, keep records of your performance and general actions that you do in the workplace. Keep documents and any achievements that have been presented to you so you can showcase what you’ve been doing in your role. To remain extra safe, keep the records in a safe place and away from work rather than in the workplace where it could be easily found.

Ask for support

Dealing with sexual harassment can be rather stressful and difficult to deal with. Therefore, don’t be afraid to get support, whether it be from friends or family, or professional help through mediation solicitors Manchester based if you wish to take matters further. Talking with others about the situation can help to gain guidance on how to deal with it and provide you with options you may have not been aware of. 

Similarly, you should be there for someone if the shoe is on the other foot. Being a witness of harassment can be extremely important to helping the matter stop, so whether it’s providing guidance to the victim or providing details of your own dispute resolution solicitor, show the colleague that you’re there from in their need of support.

Harassment is a serious problem and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rather than hiding away and dealing with your problems, express your concerns and let it be known by taking the steps above to deal with the matter.

Signing A Lease: A Guide To Renting Premises For Your Small Business

It’s a very exciting time when it comes to leasing your own business premises and shows that your business is progressing in the right direction. Whether you’re moving into your first own office spaces, setting up a store within a retail unit or even just expanding, it’s important to carefully consider the steps which lie ahead of you. 

You want the best deal you can get and it is vital that you work out exactly what you want to gain from this commercial lease. So, before you sign on the dotted line, here are some terms, clauses and conditions you should be aware of before you finalise this huge commitment.

Find The Right Property

Location is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to choosing the premises for your small business. Before you decide on a property, you need to thoroughly research the local property market dynamics, such as rental values and tenant demand. Another important factor to consider is the usage of your property. 

If you’re setting up a store, then you need to ensure there is high footfall. For a warehouse, you need good transport links and for office space, you need a location which is easy for staff to travel to. If finding the right location and property is proving difficult in the city you are interested in, then a commercial property management team will be able to help out. 

Before you sign the lease, you need to double-check whether the commercial property in question has the planning permission for the business you will carry out whilst you occupy the property. You should also carry out a full check of the condition of the property you are renting in the same way you would if you were renting a house or flat and look out for cracks, damp and plumbing issues, as well as other defects. 

Get To Grips With The Costs Of Renting Commercial Property

When it comes to renting commercial property, you need to have a good idea of exactly what you can afford. Commercial rent is usually paid in quarterly instalments, with dates typically falling on or around March 25, June 24, September 19 and December 25. 

Your insurance and service charges will usually be charged and billed at the same time as the rent. If you are taking out a long lease, then rent review will usually be carried out every three, four or five years and this can alter the amount which you pay over time. You and your landlord are also eligible to carry out your own commercial rent review if you feel it necessary or if an agreement cannot be reached. 

Negotiate Commercial Tenancy Agreements

Typically, you will be able to secure a commercial property which is eligible for renting by signing an agreement or lease. This lease is a legally binding contract which also sets out the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement between the landlord and tenant and it also offers a form of long-term stability. 

Leases have become much more flexible in recent years and rent-free periods have become much more prevalent. Break clauses are also more common and give both you and the landlord the option to serve notice at any point during the tenancy without facing penalties. If you were to use a break clause, then you must give your landlord two months’ notice and your landlord is only able to use it if you agree. 

SMS Gateway and Bulk Text Messaging-Benefits For Many

You might have heard a lot about SMS gateway and bulk text messaging. Everyone knows that the number of mobile phones across the globe is rising like anything. It is said that there are more mobile phones in the whole wide world than toothbrushes. Isn’t it an interesting piece of information?

Do you know that consumers take an interest in reading each SMS they receive? This is the reason why more and more businesses are interested in utilizing the platform of SMS gateways to send bulk SMSs to their consumers. This is right now the most effective form of marketing.

What is bulk text messaging?

You might have not heard this same term before but you must be familiar with similar other terms likes mass messaging or bulk messaging. There are many more terms as well but their actual meaning is the same.

This is basically an application of messaging service that is used to send a massive number of messages from one number to many. It is all because of this application due to which businesses are sending a huge number of SMSs with just a click. There are different solutions being used like web interfaces, integrated SMS API, mobile applications, and many more.

The benefits

Although print media, like television and newspapers, are very effective but now their effectiveness and impact seem to be vanishing. And if you talk about social media and web marketing, then it is also effective but these methods require a lot of time and alertness.

Business SMS solutions are by far the most effective way of marketing. This method has the maximum ability to reach the largest number of consumers living in all parts of the world. The businesses have to put the least of the efforts to do marketing through this channel.

1.         Rapidly deployed:

You just have to get configured via a reliable service provider. Once you are configured then you can rapidly start sending SMSs in bulk quantity. In this way, the information is communicated and sent to all parts of the world. The readability of SMSs is much more than any other type of marketing material. When the SMSs are sent right after that they can be read.

2.         Targeted messaging:

There are different types of marketing but most of them just get wasted or unnoticed. They do not reach the targeted consumers or demographics. Bulk SMS cannot be sent to the recipients directly. They are sent through software. This method is target based. The read and open rate of this method is very high.

3.         Easy creation and delivery:

Creating and sending an SMS is far easier and time-saving than creating a full-fledged marketing campaign. The software MXT is very easy and simple to use to send bulk SMSs. Moreover, it is easy to enable contact lists and sending one SMS to millions in no time.

4.         Less barriers:

Bulk SMS services do not get filtered like emails or other social media channels. It certainly means that through this series, any business can reach to anyone just through a mobile phone number.

5.         No errors:

There are many ways to market, advertise or promote products and services. Businesses pay a lot of attention to the marketing strategies. Normally emails and social media platforms are sued to do marketing. Both these ways are timetaking and there are some problems as well. Usuallythere are filters for email messaging. These filters become barrier to send emails to all the potential and actual clients. Moreover, the readability of emails is quite less on the other, social medic is a source for marketing but it takes time and effort. And if you compare these two methods with bulk SMS, then you will come to know that bulk SMS messaging is easy to be sent and there are no chancesof any errors to send the message directly to the recipient.

With all these benefits mentioned in elaborative and comprehensive way, it is hard to ignore the importance and value of bulk SMS services. When business is running and striving to grow then there is no space for making any errors or doing any delays. You have to be connected with your consumers in the quickest possible way. SMSs are by far the most relevant and useful mediums to tell your actual and potential clients about the new offerings, products, services, promotions, and any updatedinformation about your brand. The more you send messages to the mobile numbers, the more your clients will keep your product and service in mind.

Thankfully, this service is quite easy to incorporate in your business’s marketing approaches. There are a large number of mobile network companies, which are offering bulk SMS services to the clients. At the top of every attractive factor-sending messages in bulk is something that is also very cheap and cost effective.

Chatbots Using Digital Media in 2020: Bots in Social Media Marketing

Chat and smart bots have come a long way in the past decade. Gone are the outdated bots that could not understand users and have little to no practical use. Today’s chatbots are smart, useful and sleek – as a matter of fact, more or less 50% of consumers would purchase a product or avail services from this technology.

What does this bot technology do?

This technology help companies and brands improve their customer service, user experience, improve conversion rates and engagement, as well as automate their essential functions despite the ever-changing algorithms of social media or search engines and increased competition. This technology, like people, are very easy to use and do not need any complex setup. 

As a matter of fact, your clients would instead use these chatbots than use other applications. Seeing that its marketing is very unique and is starting to get popular among online users, it is an excellent idea to check its limitations and benefits. But first, it is time to answer a lot of questions about this technology.

To find out more about online marketing trends, visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/02/14/five-digital-marketing-trends-for-2019 for more information.

What are chat or smart bots?

Chat or smart bots are software that acts like an actual person that you can talk to. Some are programmed to answer any relevant client inquiries. Slack bots and other more advanced ones like Eno from Capital One, is a smart personal banker bot that helps people manage their accounts through the application’s chat feature. 

They are powered by artificial intelligence learning. This kind of bot will learn information and details from interacting with clients and improves their services over time. This technology is used all over the Internet; on social media, websites, as well as in messaging applications. Facebook messenger has a dedicated bot host, developed and designed specifically for platforms like SlackBots.

Facebook Messenger smart bots

These types of chatbots are designed and created to boost platform functionalities and help people do certain things without exiting the application they are currently using. 

The advantage of using this technology in your business marketing strategy

Making smart bots as an active part of your business marketing strategy has a lot of notable advantages.

It creates a better consumer experience

Using this technology will let you provide a better-personalized consumer experience that will feel more natural. It is used to guide users to products in messenger applications like Facebook Messenger, help them navigate your website, and help create a personalized client experience with your company, brand, product or services. 

What is digital media? To find out more this, check out the website, social media pages or forum sites related to this topic.

The technology on your website can help people start a good conversation with visitors and provide or offer much-needed help. You can also run certain bots on specific web pages like Contact Us page or and order page to help the users through the whole process and help improve your company’s conversion rates. 

Marketing does not stop with consumer acquisition – you have got to keep every visitor and customer interested. This technology is excellent for keeping the consumers happy by making confusing and time-consuming tasks a lot easier. For example, companies like Capital One uses smart bots like Eno to help their customers manage their banking and finances by texting the smart bot. 

The whole process feels a lot faster and more convenient compared to logging into your bank account or opening up their applications; it is like having your very own personal bank attendant on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also use it to analyze and track consumer purchase date. With an inside look at the behavior, you can re-target and tweak current business campaigns based on certain economic, behavioral patterns and rising conversion rates.

It provides 24 hours a day, seven days a week customer service support

A lot of consumer inquiries can be solved much quicker by using this technology to answer Frequently Asked Questions and guide the users through the conventional process and provide efficient and quick 24 hours a day, seven days a week customer service support. 

Consumers do not need to wait minutes or even hours on the phone or send tons of complaint emails to the company’s support team. All you need to do is get your queries sorted by the bots – in real-time. Some companies answer client inquiries, help people navigate their website and guide them through the process from start to finish. 

It also supports customer service representatives while giving the consumers a quick and easy way to solve issues. By using this technology to take over simple and easy consumer inquiries, you can free up your customer service and sales representatives to deal with more complex issues that need a human touch.

It can boost customer interest in your services and products

Big companies like Disney use this technology way back 2016, to help market their new animated film, Zootopia. They designed a bot version of one of its main characters. With the help of that technology, you can solve a movie-related mystery at the same time watch the teaser trailer based on the answers that you provide. The experience was personal and fun. 

The company believes that the success of the film was due to the clever marketing campaign and the technology’s well-developed character and nature that led to the campaign gaining popularity and going viral. You can use this kind of personality-driven chatbot to match the consumers with precise content or products.

To know more about messaging application, click here.

Create a smooth and cross-platform customer experience

Since social media marketing is starting to get famous, and consumers engage with the company and their brand on social media platforms, chatbots that communicate with social media can keep the in-app experience. Jumping from applications to applications to do what you want to, is not exactly enjoyable, convenient and fun. 

But using this technology that works effectively within the app to help get all types of stuff done will make for a practical and seamless experience. For example, part of WeChat’s success is because of its superb and effective in-app chatbots and integrations. 

You need to find out what kind of messenger application your consumers use and design a bot that can help them navigate your site and order your products or services without leaving the platform they are currently using. It will set your company apart from your competition and can give you a huge advantage.

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5 Best Reasons To Build With Shipping Containers

Shipping containers have become the “in thing” when it comes to building, renovations, and doing something a little different. Long gone are the days when shipping containers are only used for transporting cargo or storage.

Whether you are planning a home extension, want to build an office in the front yard, transform a container into a trendy little cafe, or build a granny flat, shipping containers are the way to go.

So let’s look at 5 best reasons to build with shipping containers.

#1 Much of the Construction Is Already Done

One of the greatest advantages of building with shipping containers is that much of the construction has already been done for you. You already have a floor, ceiling and walls in place. It’s then only a matter of modifying the container to suit your new purpose.

This might involve a major makeover or just some minor adjustments, depending on what you want to transform the container into.

#2 Shipping Containers Are Extremely Strong and Robust

Being constructed from steel, shipping containers are therefore very strong, robust and designed to last many years in the harsh conditions often encountered out at sea.

When you build with shipping containers, you’ll have the confidence of knowing your construction is going to be rock solid. It’s one of the main reasons containers have become such a popular building material for houses and home extensions.

#3 Shipping Containers Are Cheap To Buy

Despite their size and the fact they are made from very solid steel, cargo containers really don’t cost very much, even when they are brand new. Most people opt to purchase a used container that’s in really good condition when repurposing, which means the container is even cheaper again.

The same way people save money by renovating an existing house, when you remodel and rebuild with a shipping container, the entire construction project becomes a lot cheaper.

Compared to building with more traditional and expensive materials such as timber, brick and concrete, using a steel container to form a major part of your construction really does bring the cost down.

#4 Containers Are Super Versatile

Due to the very straight lines and rectangular shape of a shipping container, along with their strength and rigidity, containers are perfect for repurposing and remodelling for so many great ideas.

Apart from building homes and granny flats, shipping containers can be rebuilt as pop-up stores, roadside takeaway kitchens, restaurants, mobile bars and cafes, backyard sheds and workshops, jail cells, emergency accommodation and so much more.

#5 Recycling Shipping Containers Helps the Environment

When people choose to build with used shipping containers, it saves all those hulks of metal from rusting away on docks, in industrial yards or being dumped in landfill. Anything we can do to help save the planet is always a positive, and with millions of disused shipping containers all around the world, the more they are recycled and repurposed, the better.

Rather than ending up as useless junk, used containers can be put to great use in brand new building projects.