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Smart Construction: What Does the Future Hold?


As the world of technology and construction develops, we are edging closer to the future science fiction envisioned. We may not be gliding around on hoverboards quite yet, but if the construction industry is anything to go by, there are some breath-taking innovations on the horizon.

Smart technology, or “Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology”, is currently transforming the construction industry and informing how we will live our lives for years to come. Built around connectivity and analytics, smart tech allows devices to link up with one another and share information, whether this is about the wearer, the location, or pretty much anything else. We’ve all become accustomed to smart technology in our day-to-day lives — where would we be without our mobile phones, our tablets, and our smartwatches? But as our cities and infrastructures grow, the construction industry is building smart technology into all walks of life.

From smart fridges to smart metropolises, let’s take a look at how smart technology is set to keep transforming our world and how the construction industry is utilising it.

Smart buildings

Imagine a building that could react to its residents, slightly alter itself to suit your every need, and do all this without even the flick of a switch. Smart technology has already made this possible. Within smart buildings, a specifically designed wearable device can transmit information to and from the building and make adjustments according to your needs.

Smart buildings are designed around the ideas of comfort and wellbeing, with a focus on peoples’ contentment. If, for example, you started to feel a little too hot, your wearable would transmit this message to the air conditioning system, and it would adjust the temperature for you.

However, there are complications to this design of course. For instance, how can one building react to the needs of each and every person within it? One option is to take an average reading for each inhabitant and create a reactive ‘average’ atmosphere. Or alternatively, highly accurate sensors could be installed that are able to locate and react to specific individuals accurately.

Drones and AI

Drones and artificial intelligence are also set to play an integral part in the future of the construction industry. Drones are already being created to map construction sites, plan work, and guide autonomous vehicles such as cherry pickers around the worksite. In fact, it only takes drones around 15 minutes to scan a site and maps its terrain. In comparison, this job normally takes humans several days.

Smart technology works to share data collected by drones, from their bird’s eye view perspective, with the autonomous vehicles on the ground — which then allows the vehicles to act on their own, without the need for human intervention.

Smart cities

It doesn’t stop at buildings and certain construction sites — smart technology is set to transform entire cities, creating incredible webs of information and analytics everywhere. In a similar way to smart buildings, smart cities are designed to monitor systems and citizens while trying the improve the flow of the city, thereby improving general wellbeing.

Many cities across the globe are already turning to smart technology and experimenting with ways that they can improve traffic systems, energy usage, and public safety. Amsterdam, Boston, and Baltimore are three of the forerunners in smart infrastructure, which has so far proved helpful for many things, including ‘smart trashcans’ which can determine the most efficient route for sanitation workers.

These smart technology methods are also being tested on a smaller scale. University campuses, for example, often function as a micro-city would, and are therefore the perfect testing locations for smart city technology. Within a ‘smart campus’, each student’s smartwatch could alert them to their next class, make them aware of library books that need returning, keep you up to date with assignments, and much more.

The future for the construction industry is certainly bright and beginning to mirror everything sci-fi envisioned. Smart technology will allow our infrastructure to reach dizzying new heights, as we embrace a whole new ‘smart’ way of living.





Under Pressure: Top 3 Rules to Safely Deep-Sea Dive


Deep sea diving is an exhilarating career — being able to explore the world’s deep and mysterious oceans is certainly a privilege. The same goes for those seeking to push their limits by adventuring down to the depths below for recreation. Certainly a fascinating place, given we know more about the surface of the moon, Venus, and Mars than we do our own oceans, if you have a bucket list of places you want to explore or are interested in pursuing a career as a saturation diver, then it’s worth noting that they come with innate dangers.

Sure, diving is an incredibly fun and fascinating experience, but the dangers aren’t always ones you can see. Those who plunge the Earth’s perilous waters must respect the rules put in place to save lives besides making sure your diving equipment and piston rings are airtight. Here, we’ll discuss the top rules to safely deep-sea dive, including knowing your limits, practising safe ascents, and looking after your teeth.

1.    Don’t Beat Your Bubbles

When diving, you can be injured if your body doesn’t have time to adjust to the fluctuating pressure of your surroundings, whether this is in water or the air before and after a dive. Slowly ascending is as important as breathing constantly — if you ascend too early, the nitrogen in your body from the deep sea won’t have time to exit the body through the lungs and will expand at such a rate that would subsequently lead to a range of dangerous problems.

Barotrauma is when the tissues near places in your body with pockets of air will be damaged, such as sinuses, dental roots, lungs, and ears, and can cause lots of pain or rupture your ear drums or lungs, making it incredibly hard to breathe. As you ascend, water pressure decreases and vice versa — when ascending, follow the bubbles you breathe out. Don’t ascend faster than your bubbles or things will get sticky.

Decompression sickness occurs from premature ascension, where the pressure can result in nitrogen forming bubbles in your body, causing nerve and tissue damage that could end up being fatal or causing paralysis.

Nitrogen narcosis is when too much nitrogen builds up in the brain and causes you to feel delirious and make bad decisions as if you’ve drank alcohol. For example, you could end up removing your regulator because you think you can breathe underwater or end up being unable to read your gauges and instruments.

It’s recommended to ascend safely and maintain a steady rate no quicker than 30 feet per minute.

2.    Know Your Limits

What may seem like an obvious rule may be forgotten when caught up in the moment of adventure. The most important thing to remember is that diving should be fun, not competitive. Dive within your limits. If you think that you might feel uncomfortable or if the conditions don’t seem safe, don’t be scared to cancel or rearrange at a different site or day. Never attempt something that you know you’re not mentally or physically prepared for because this puts you at risk before you’ve even started.

Likewise, if you’re planning on pursuing a saturation diver career, assess your claustrophobia limits. You’ll be kept in an underwater compression chamber for roughly a month, where you won’t be heading back up to the surface until your time is up. Don’t overestimate your abilities because you could end up in a really uncomfortable situation!

3.    Look After Your Teeth

It sounds like a terrifying prospect for all of us, but yes, it’s possible for fillings and crowns to blow out of your gum. Saturation diver David Beckett commented: “After a couple of hours of being in the chamber, one of my fillings blew off. Thankfully for me, when it blew off there was no pain, just a hole left where the filling used to sit.

“Others aren’t so lucky. I’ve seen one guy have a crown blow off, taking part of the tooth and gum with it. Painful stuff to have to endure for the next three days.”

Forget sharks and barracudas — a survey of recreational divers found that 41 per cent of divers reported intense toothache, caused by fluctuations in water pressure build in air pockets at the roots of teeth. This is often made worse by divers who are inexperienced and clench their teeth or if they have underlying dental conditions, cavities, fractures, or poor fillings.

Book a trip to your dentist to make sure you won’t damage your teeth when diving.

Make sure you stay safe while exploring the deep blue seas — there’s plenty to see but also plenty of rules to follow to make sure you’re as safe as possible.

Top 5 Fastest-Growing Renewable Energy Sources


Renewable energy sources are important when trying to win the fight against climate change. They allow us to stop relying on fossil fuels for our energy. The UK Government has pledged by 2050 we will have net zero emissions, and renewable energy sources are a way this can be achieved. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 per cent lower than they were in 1990, which proves the introduction of these energy sources is helping.

You may have already made changes in your home, such as getting an electric car and having an EV charger installation. But there are other things you can do to make your home eco-friendly, such as getting solar panels and having a more economical form of electricity. Every little helps on the way to a greener UK.

Of course, it’s not just in the UK where these electricity sources are being adopted. Renewable energy sources are going to account for more than half of global electricity production by 2035. But what will be powering this eco-friendly future?

In this article, we will show you five of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources across the world and how they are being used.


Hydropower is the most widely used form of renewable energy in the world, producing 1,295 gigawatts of energy. This amounts to 54 per cent of the global renewable power generation capacity. The most common hydropower comes from water in dams. The water gets released from the reservoir to drive the turbines which generate the power. However, it can also be used by the natural running of a river or tide to drive the turbines.

In the UK our biggest hydropower station is the Dinorwig in Wales. It produces 1,728 megawatts, which is enough to power 2.5 million homes. Plus, because hydropower can be generated quickly, it is used as a pumped-storage plant that can provide backup energy at short notice.

In the UK, hydroelectric power is also used as our main backup power source. When there are big TV events on in the UK such as the World Cup or a Royal Wedding, during breaks in the events millions of people will use electricity at once to make a drink. This is when hydropower can be used to deal with the spike in demand as pumped up power stations can be used in these moments.

China has the biggest hydroelectric generation in the world. The Three Gorges generate 22.5 GW. China has made large investments in hydropower so that they are not as reliant on coal. It gets around 15 per cent of its energy from hydropower. In Southwest China many of its rivers are high above sea level, and China knows that hydropower is the only renewable energy they can use on a big scale, therefore they make big investments in the sector.

Wind energy

Wind turbines are normally used to get kinetic energy from the wind to generate energy. Wind energy is the second most used renewable energy source in the world, producing 563 GW and produces 24 per cent of the world’s total renewable energy generation capacity.

The UK is a big producer of renewable wind energy which makes us the sixth biggest producer in the world, producing 13,603 megawatts. Offshore wind farms are constructed in bodies of water, and in the UK, wind farms power the equivalent of 4.5 million homes. Onshore wind farms deliver less energy for the UK, only providing around 10 per cent of UK energy by 2020, despite being the most cost-effective alternative for new electricity in the UK compared to traditional fossil fuels.

Solar power

Solar power works by converting light from the sun into energy. These days you will see many people have solar panels on their homes. In fact, the UK is installing solar panels faster than any other European country.

Even though it can be dark and rainy a lot in the UK, solar panels still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by the clouds. In fact, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that an average four kilowatts peak solar power system can help save you between £85 and £220 a year on your energy bills.

Solar power has an annual average growth rate of 25 per cent over the last five years across the world. Spain is a major producer of solar power, contributing 75 per cent of the global concentrated solar power.

The biggest solar power plant in the world is located in the United Arab Emirates. The Noor Abu Dhabi solar project produces 1.17 GW. It produces enough electricity to power the demand of 90,000 people. It will reduce their carbon footprint by 1 million metric tonnes a year, which is the same as taking 200,000 cars off the road, proving the UAE is making good progress in the fight against climate change even though the country is still oil-dependent.


Modern biomass includes biofuels and wood pellets as well as traditional ones that were already used, such as agricultural by-products. These products are then burned to create steam, which powers a turbine that generated energy.

China, the UK, and India accounted for more than half of the world’s total bioenergy capacity expansion in 2018.

Bioenergy provides 11 per cent of the UK’s energy and bioenergy. Biomass boilers have provided 96 per cent of non-domestic renewable heat in the UK. It is also the biggest contributor to the decarbonisation of heat, which helps the UK’s pledge to be net carbon neutral by 2050.


Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the earth. Global Geothermal production exceeded 13.2 GW in 2018. One-third of green energy that is made using geothermal sources is electricity. Iceland is one of the world’s biggest producers of geothermal electricity, producing 26.5 per cent of the country’s electricity and 87 per cent of their housing and building needs coming from  natural hot water sourced underground.

In the UK, geothermal energy is not the best viable option as the ground is not hot enough. But we have increasingly been using shallow resources from the upper crust of the earth that is heated by the sun. With the help of ground source heat pumps, the energy is extracted.

Overall, it is great that the world is using more renewable energy sources. The UK is making great progress towards achieving net zero and becoming carbon neutral by 2050 as can be seen by the Government announcing they will phase out the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. From the examples in this article, you can see that many countries across the world are making the effort to change their energy sources to be renewable and help combat climate change and move away from traditional fossil fuels.

















Why You Should Do a Social Media Detox


The past year has redefined the meaning of ‘busy doing nothing’. Between lockdowns, cancelled holidays, and exercise limitations, people have flocked to social media to divert their attention away from the adversity that 2020 brought. This year is looking slightly more optimistic, bringing hope that we can return to a near-to-normal existence sometime soon. The opportunity to reinvigorate our lives and prepare for the year ahead must be taken now. Plan the year ahead and put down your mobile phone, and the benefits will flow.

If you’re dragging yourself through hours of TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram every day, find out why you need to stop social media and re-join the real world in 2021.

The damage of social media

The effects of social media on our mental health is known. Our favourite apps are often fuel for anxiety, depression, and isolation. This is because the feeling of getting a notification or like can release dopamine to the brain. This drug creates a happy feeling, similar to food, drugs, or gambling. While in the short term this happy feeling may be considered positive, over the long term the need to get this dopamine fix increases. We become addicted to social media, desiring the next like or retweet. Over time, it becomes difficult to get the same satisfaction from anything else other than our phones.

The same satisfaction can be created through alternative and healthier methods, such as education, exercise, and social interactions. Although some of these aspects are limited by social restrictions and stay-at-home instructions, there are some positive virtual alternatives to social interaction. Plus, we can plan activities for when life returns to normal.

Using our time for something better

Did you know that the average Brit spends 110 minutes on social media every day? This means that every year, we spend nearly a month dedicated to our online lives. Ask yourself if you want to dedicate a full month to scrolling through Facebook. At the same time, there are a variety of better activities you could be doing.

If you’re looking forward to a holiday in 2021, you could become a ski instructor over a four-week course. Education, exercise, and adventure are key to recreating the dopamine feeling that social media demands. With the added benefit of adrenaline, this is certainly a more productive use of your time than sitting on your phone. Even more, this is an opportunity to get away when life returns to normal.

You can prepare yourself for this adventure by beginning an exercise regime. Despite gyms being closed for a portion of 2020 and at the start of this new year, alternatives such as yoga and running are vital for your mental health and will make giving up social media easier. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins which relieve pain and reduce anxiety. They also create a happy feeling similar to morphine, making sure that your start to 2021 is as positive as possible. The long-term benefits of exercise are more than that of social media.

Staying in touch

Social media cannot replace real social interactions. Though these are presently limited, there are better ways to stay in touch with the real world. Video calls with friends, although virtual, are the best alternative to seeing your friends during the pandemic. The beauty of video calls is that it allows you to see a face, interact with your friends, and practice real verbal communication while protecting yourself, your friends, and everyone’s families.

There are also opportunities to volunteer, which can help take time away from social media antics. The Office for National Statistics has measured that Brits spend on average one hour and seven minutes a day completing unpaid work such as care or volunteering. There are opportunities across the country to help those in need, particularly during the lockdown and colder months. Shopping for elderly neighbours is one simple way to help out and makes a real difference in the world, something which is more difficult to do on social media.

While the start of 2021 hasn’t been all too exciting, we can plan for a productive year ahead. This starts by ditching social media to help your mental and physical health, your social life, and your community. Whether you want to take on an adventurous course or volunteer for a noble cause, the new year is the best time to dedicate yourself to becoming a better version of yourself.





Brain Injuries in Sport: The Role Medical AI Can Play


It feels like barely a week goes by without a head injury in sport. And, with many of us experiencing a lockdown and all but elite sports cancelled, we’re engaging with football, rugby, and other televised sporting events more than ever to keep ourselves entertained. This laser-focus on high-profile head and brain injuries has led to a better public understanding of the issues, as well as more focus from the medical community on preventing the neurodegenerative after-effects.

This article will explore the recent incidents that have turned both public and scientific attention to brain injuries in sport.

High-profile incidents spark discussion

Football followers were stunned when Wolves’ Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull following a clash with Arsenal’s David Luiz in December. The striker has since undergone surgery, leaving him with a large scar, and is slowly working on rehabilitation. The Premier League has since implemented “concussion substitutions”, allowing teams to make an extra substitution if a player has to come off following a head injury. Further, the Football Association (FA) updated its guidance on treating head injuries, mandating players be removed from the pitch until treatment is complete and creating the tagline “if in doubt, sit them out”.

Our understanding of the impact of head injuries has increased in recent years because of a number of these high-profile incidents and diagnoses. Several former international sports stars were diagnosed with dementia in late 2020, including ex-footballer and 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton and rugby internationals Steve Thompson and Alix Popham. Additionally, Rugby World Cup winner, Kat Merchant, was diagnosed with a “lower cognitive capacity” as a result of her long career at the pinnacle of women’s rugby.

Thompson is leading a group of former elite rugby players in filing a brain injury claim against English and Welsh rugby authorities, as well as international governing body World Rugby. The group is arguing alleged negligence from the governing bodies and states that repeated blows to the head sustained during their years of playing the sport have led to brain damage. The group’s lawyer claims there are up to 80 former players between 25-55 years of age, who are exhibiting neurodegenerative symptoms, prepared to back the group.

These diagnoses also prompted the formation of a new charity, Head for Change, to provide support for ex-football and rugby players who have been diagnosed with brain injuries as a result of their career. Registered in December 2020, the charity works with leading scientists to make a positive change and lessen sport-related neurodegenerative conditions.

The medical community jumps into action

Sobering research from the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in 2019 found that footballers are three and a half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative conditions compared to the general population. Further, there was a strong link found between playing professional football or rugby and the onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain condition which affects memory, focus and speech, amongst other things.

The good news is that as interest and engagement in this topic continues to rise, so does the medical research and treatment. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in trials to predict injury risk in a number of sports including football, basketball and American football.

Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge recently developed an AI algorithm that can be used to detect brain injuries and identify several types of brain trauma. The tool analyses CT scans to quickly identify lesions associated with brain injuries and trauma, with the potential to cut hours of work from manual analyses. One of the goals, according to Cambridge Department of Medicine’s Professor David Menon, is to use CT scans quantitively to build a full picture of common brain lesions.

He said, “Often, much of the rich information available in a CT scan is missed, and as researchers, we know that the type, volume and location of a lesion on the brain are important to patient outcomes.”

The machine learning tool was trained using over 600 CT scans with brain lesions of varying sizes and types and, as a result, can now identify key parts of the image and determine if they are normal or not. It’s expected that the tool will help doctors create treatment plans that are tailored to each individual’s condition. “We hope it will help us identify which lesions get larger and progress, and understand why they progress, so that we can develop more personalised treatment for patients in future,” Menon added.

In-play assessment

Following a lawsuit from ex-players and a subsequent settlement costing over $1 billion, the NFL implemented measures to not only assess the impact of injuries sustained in the sport, but to prevent them. The addition of strain gauges to players’ helmets records the impacts sustained, with a lot of g-force exertions already recorded. The NFL has further collaborated with Amazon Web Services to analyse the data from the helmets, as well as video analysis. According to the BBC, this technology could be extended to football, but it’s unclear how this will be applied.

In 2019, sensors were implemented in rugby players’ gumshields to assess the impact of head injuries. Because the jaw moves when the head is impacted, it’s an accurate way of measuring the force the skull undergoes. This data is fed back to medical staff on the touchlines in real time, allowing for a quick intervention and substitution, if necessary.

The future of brain injuries in sport

Brain injury charity Headway has called for more action from the Premier League and FA regarding the introduction of concussion substitutions in football. The charity used the incident between David Luiz and Raúl Jiménez to highlight how poor current protocols are. David Luiz returned to the field having had his head bandaged – with visible blood from his injury – before being substituted at half-time because he couldn’t continue further.

Though the introduction of concussion substitutions allows teams to take injured players off the field for immediate assessment and treatment, Headway has highlighted the league and governing body’s inaction on preventing these types of injuries.

Equally, while the introduction of wearable technology in rugby can help limit the impact of injuries sustained in-play, more action needs to be taken to prevent brain injuries as a result of the sport in the long term.

High-profile incidents on the pitch and devastating diagnoses of former players have catapulted brain injuries in sport into the spotlight. Medical AI and wearable technologies are being implemented to assess the impact of sport on brain injuries, but we still have a long way to go before these injuries are prevented. We’re not sure what those preventative measures look like yet, but the future looks promising.















5 reasons why Battersea is the best place to live in London


Situated on the southern banks of the breezy and sparkling River Thames, Battersea is best known for the widespread blanket of greenery, social housing estates and its enviable geographic positioning. Battersea is the perfect blend of a robust residential feel and a lot of green and open spaces. Most of the areas are calm while other places are a little crowded with people. With this kind of environment, people can experience a balanced way of living. Battersea ranked No.2 out of 101 London regions on the Best places to live in 2019. The nightlife out in Battersea is active and energetic, just like the vibrant daytime. People who are house hunting can take help from the Battersea estate agents and gear up the process. With the transformation of the Battersea Power station into a community place with restaurants, parks, shops and other amenities, Battersea saw more visitors to this particular place. 


Battersea is in the south-west part of London at the southern end of the River Thames. With so much open space to enjoy the serenity or get along with the happy crowd on the streets, Battersea has got everything to make people feel content. It is easy for families to find a place near schools with the help of letting agents in Battersea. There are over 55 schools in the Wandsworth borough to pick from, out of which 40 of them are Ofsted rated schools and colleges in Battersea. The performance of students located in this region is above average compared to that of the other areas in London, making it more appealing to the parents. People can travel to Victoria, London Bridge, Wimbledon and other parts of London easily. Surprisingly, Chelsea is quite near to Battersea, which many people don’t realise. The town is surrounded by clubs, cafes, pubs and more that are few strolls away. Those planning to buy a property at Battersea usually wonder how much is my property worth before coming to a decision. 


Though Battersea underground is under construction currently, it is one of the best places to live and commute comfortably in and outside the Battersea town. The transport links of Battersea are connected well due to which people opt for public transport more often. The famous Clapham junction station is situated in Battersea, the fastest and the primary mode of transportation for most of the city’s inhabitants. Through this, people can easily reach Victoria within 4 minutes. Battersea Park Train Station provides convenient access to stops Waterloo, Croydon, Wimbledon, London Bridge, Hounslow etc. Water Taxis via River Thames is equally popular among the residents that operate between Putney and Blackfriars and stops by the Wandsworth Riverside Quarter. With an additional option and availability of buses that functions throughout the day commutation are more comfortable now.


With so much green and open spaces available, Battersea is a great place for joggers and cyclists. The Battersea Park is a commonplace of a visit that is about 200 acres adjacent to a large lake. Water rowing is quite popular among people living here. Battersea Arts Centre is yet another prominent spot for art and culture enthusiasts. Performance arts, community events and various art-related workshops take place regularly hosted by the BAC Beatbox Academy. Not only for adults, but even children also have their own space for entertainment. The Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is the favourite spot for all the children where birthday, leisure walks and educational tours are the most popular. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is the best spot for pet lovers where abandoned cats and dogs get rescued daily. This place makes sure that the animals get a kind and beautiful home at the earliest. 



The town is well known for its friendly community, and most of the people living in Battersea adore the way they receive love and support from the fellow residents. Just like the vibrant night pubs and cafes for partying, there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants and places that are so welcoming and comfortable. Apart from this, there are many child-friendly leisure centres and venues in- and around Battersea like soft play facilities, swimming academies and more to keep them entertained. Battersea is a great place to raise children with a great choice of schools and is also a pet-friendly neighbourhood.


There are plenty of restaurants, clubs, cafes, pubs to keep youngsters and families entertained. People looking for adventure sports can head to Go Ape, where they can enjoy high ropes, zip lines, treetop adventures, forest segways and more. Battersea is also known to have many local markets where fresh food and groceries are available. Northcote road market, markets located by the Battersea Power Station, Battersea Boot sale are quite popular among the residents. If you’re impressed with these fantastic amenities, the Orlando Reid South West and central London estate agents are the right property professionals who can guide you through the best properties in the area.

Washing Wise: What Your Laundry Labels Mean


We’ve all made laundry mistakes at one point in our lives, often unintentionally sacrificing our favourite clothes. Whether it’s a red sock with the white towels, or your favourite jumper in a wash that is too hot leaving it ten times smaller, we’ve all fallen victim to not reading the care label and ensuring that we are cleaning our clothes correctly.

But for those instances when we do take the time to find out the best practice for keeping our clothes clean, you may be left confused by the Aztec-style symbols ingrained on the silk tag. Squares, circles, waves, and dots seem like an indecipherable hieroglyph rather than a handy set of instructions to keep your best garments in good nick.

But in fact, once you understand the signs and symbols, it’s easy to keep your clothes lasting longer than you think and will make them easier to care for. Here we look for the tell-tale tag symbols, what they mean, and how you should wash your clothes.


Triangles represent bleaching instructions for your clothes. There are usually three triangle symbols to look out for.

  1. A blank triangle means you can use a dilute solution of bleach to clean your clothes.
  2. A triangle with two stripes means you can only use a colour safe and non-chlorine type of bleach.
  3. A triangle with a cross through it means that you should not use bleach on this particular garment.


A lot of fabrics are better suited for dry cleaning. Following care label instructions for clothes that need dry cleaning is essential to ensure their longevity. However, most intricate details are for the dry cleaner themselves – just know that if there’s a circle, you should get it dry cleaned.

  • A circle means that this item can be dry cleaned.
  • Letters in the circle represent the chemicals and methods for dry cleaners to use.
  • One line on the bottom means it requires a gentle clean.
  • Two lines on the bottom means it requires a very gentle clean.
  • Of course, a cross through the circle means you should not dry clean the item


This can often be a difficult step to get wrong, especially when we are used to quickly unfurling clothes from the washing machine to the tumble dryer. The square represents drying.

  • A square with a swooping line means the clothing can be dried outside on a washing line.
  • You should allow wet clothes to drip on a rack indoors if the square has three vertical lines in it.
  • One short horizontal line within the square means that you should lay the garment flat to keep its shape.

A tumble dryer is represented by a square and circle:

  • A plain circle and square means that it can be tumble dried.
  • The symbol with a cross through it means that it should not be tumble dried.
  • The symbol with dots within represents a heat recommendation. One dot means low heat and two dots means medium heat. Simple enough.

Some tumble dryers give you further detail, expressing which materials are suitable for each drying cycle. This can vary between cold and hot drying, how you intend to iron the garments, and whether they are made from cotton or wool. Check your tumble dryer’s manual for more help.


Buckets signify how your clothes should be washed. Lines represent the harshness of the wash and numbers will represent the recommended temperature that the clothes should be cleaned at. 3

  • A plain bucket and water symbol mean that clothes can be washed and spun on normal settings.
  • If the bucket has a hand in it, then you should consider hand washing the item. Alternatively, some washing machines will feature this handy symbol, meaning they can be washed in the machine. This is mostly for woollen goods. Machine washing your hand wash items in a good washing machine with the right programmes will also help your delicate items to last longer as you won’t be wringing them out.
  • If there’s a cross through the bucket, it cannot be washed. It may likely need to be dry cleaned — but check the other symbols on the label.

Quite simply, if the bucket has a number inside, it indicates which temperature that the clothes should be washed out. ‘30’ means 30 degrees. Not too difficult.


Your washing machine will have a range of settings, and you should match up these symbols to their settings. For example, selecting ‘Delicates’ on your dial will often give you cooler temperatures. Selecting ‘Dark garments/Denim’ will give you medium temperatures. However, most machines will allow you to create custom wash cycles.


Ironing is one of the more arduous steps in the washing process, but it’s essential to get it right to prevent your clothes from burning. The ironing symbol is often paired with dots, representing which materials and heats should be used.

  • A plain iron symbol means you can iron the garment at any temperature.
  • An iron with one dot means that a low heat should be used as the garment is delicate, with materials like wool or silk.
  • An iron with two dots means that you should set your iron to a synthetic setting.
  • An iron with three dots represents a setting for linen and cotton.
  • A plain iron with a cross through it means you should not iron it.
  • An iron with a steam cloud below it and a cross means that it should be ironed on a dry setting.


If you see what look like a knot on your care label, this symbol indicates if you can wring your clothing or not.

  • A plain knot means you can wring your clothes.
  • A knot with a cross through it means that you should not wring your clothes, as you may damage it.

Maintaining the longevity of your clothes has never been so important. While saving you money, good cleaning can also help to save the planet by preventing damaged clothes from being thrown away. While the symbols may appear complicated on first sight, this guide should have cleared up any confusion. Now, you’re able to wash with confidence and wear your clean clothes with pride.

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What Can the Retail Industry Do to Reduce Unemployment?


Unemployment is always a pressing issue for the government. The pandemic and the temporary closure of businesses has caused significant stress for workers and business owners. In the world of furlough payments, we can forget the financial significance of unemployment payments. Simply put, fewer people out of work means fewer people claiming allowances and a rise in overall disposable income, both advantages for the state of the economy.

Arcadia’s Topshop and Topman is a recent victim of the high street. The recent acquisition of their brands by ASOS and BooHoo represent a loss of 13,000 jobs in the UK. The closure of high street stores is set to continue in 2021, and retail workers now face record levels of unemployment. However, a return to work is coming, intending to end furlough and recover from the unemployment caused by the pandemic. This is an opportunity to create a forward-thinking workforce beyond the pandemic. Successful retailers must do what they can do reduce unemployment in the industry — but how?

Employment and disability

In order to reduce the number of people who are out of work down to a disability, The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work launched a campaign in 2018 which retailers can voluntarily opt in to. It is called the “Disability Confident” employer scheme which provides employers with the skills, examples and confidence to recruit and develop disabled employees.

The government aims to see one million more disabled people in work by 2027 and this is a great opportunity for retailers who are doing well in the industry to expand their workforce. By looking at the Disability Confident list of employers that have signed up, we can see that branches of big names such as Asda, Barclays, and B&M Bargains are all committed.

Encouraging a diverse workforce

In 2017 it was reported that retail companies in the FTSE 100 are ahead of other industries when it comes to gender diversity. Retailers should focus on broadening their selection process when it comes to the recruitment process. This can ensure that those who’ve lost a job in a retail position face equal opportunity when it comes to finding a new role.

Encouraging diversity in gender and cultural background when hiring is not only beneficial for employees, but also for the business itself. Ultimately, when a workforce is representative of a customer base, it can lead to a better understanding of the target market and an improvement in business performance.

Charity collaboration

Another way to reduce unemployment levels is to collaborate with charities who are there to help those who are struggling to find work.

Partnering with a disabled or mental health charity for example can help you reach those who are out of work because of a disability or health issue and encourage them to apply.

One example of this is men’s shirts retailer, CT Shirts. This company has a long-standing partnership with the Prince’s Trust which involves fundraising and a mutually beneficial relationship. This charity works closely with vulnerable young people who need a helping hand to get their lives back on track.

Like many retailers that The Trust works with, CT Shirts took advantage of one of their “Get Hired” days — a day of greetings and interviews with young people who have been through The Prince’s Trust Programmes to get to know some potential employees.

Cross-discipline training

It’s true that for many retailers, while the jobs of their in-store employees may be at risk, often recruitment in their digital marketing and e-commerce teams are still growing. Therefore, an important consideration to make is whether retail employees should be trained in other areas of the business too. Or at least should their knowledge of the company and its products or services be valued so that they’re allowed to progress in another area of the business after redundancy?

There are advantages and disadvantages to this idea, but it’s certainly something for retailers to think about before making mass redundancies across the business. Cross-discipline training can also encourage more loyal employees and therefore those who are more invested in the performance of the retail business as a whole.

As we can see, there is a range of considerations that retailers are currently making or should think about when it comes to reducing unemployment. As some companies pave the way, it’s down to other industry players to make big changes too.







3 Top Concerns For Dog Owners


Lockdown certainly fuelled our desires for pets. Being stuck indoors is made significantly better with a furry friend to lower our stress levels and give us something to care for day-to-day. The surge in people welcoming dogs into their families has however been met with criticism, with many being given to animal shelters when owners realise that they can’t care for them. While it is positive that more families are seeking pets and keeping them, there are those that are rejected and end up in an animal shelter, where it might be harder for them to be rehomed due to a higher demand for puppies.

Many owners believed they were prepared to be a dog parent but weren’t actually aware of the responsibilities having a dog brings.

Here, we explore the issues dog owners have had, so you can be informed and decide whether you have the resources and time to buy or adopt a dog as well as answer any questions to may have about your own. After all, giving up a dog can be emotionally, so these considerations shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Barking and loneliness

We looked at Google search data from January 2020 to December 2020 to find out what dog owners were searching for the most online.

The searches with the highest average monthly search volume were “dog barking”, “dog separation anxiety”, “dog noise”, “dog anxiety”, and “stop dog barking” with 27,100, 6,600, 5,400, 4,400, and 4,400 searches respectively.

All dogs bark, this is normal – when dogs bark, it can be their way of communicating with us. They might be trying to tell us that they’re hungry or thirsty, are feeling lonely, or need to go to the toilet.  Understanding the different types of dog barks will let us know whether our dog is being a nuisance or needs something in particular. If your dog is barking excessively, the first step is understanding why.

  1. Prolonged, non-stop barking, with intervals in between can signal loneliness and feeling unhappy
  2. One single yelp or a high-pitched bark can signal unexpected pain
  3. A series of yelps or high-pitched barks can signal fear or pain

If you’re getting reports from neighbours that your dog is barking a lot when you’re out, this is a sign of separation anxiety. They will also pace, act out repetitive behaviour, destroy things in the house, and will go to the toilet in the house. However, you don’t see this because it occurs when you’re out. To find out if your dog has separation anxiety, you could set up a camera to monitor your dog’s behaviour.

If your dog displays these symptoms, it’s a sign that they’re struggling being left alone so much, so you need to avoid leaving them alone so frequently and so long.


According to Google search data, “anal glands in dogs” had 14,800 average monthly searches. In dogs, the anal glands sit inside the bottom, and are used to release a liquid to mark territory. This liquid smells unique to other cats and dogs. Anal glands that are healthy will be empties naturally when a dog poos, however can become blocked.

Like people, dogs can become obese if they aren’t given a healthy and nutritious diet or frequent daily exercise. Obesity can impact the functioning of anal glands, preventing them from emptying properly. Although it isn’t life threatening, it can be painful, and if untreated can result in costly surgical repair. To help dogs with anal gland problems, exercise and weight loss are essential.

If you’re struggling to find the time to walk your dog, you should look into seeking help from a dog walker. Don’t feel anxious about leaving your pet with a stranger, dog walkers often have a business protected by insurance for dog walkers, so they provide top care for your dog.

Aggressive and negative behaviour

Searches for “dog biting”, “dog behaviour”, and “dog aggression” had 6,600, 5,400, and 2,900 average monthly searches, respectively.

If you suspect that your dog is acting aggressively and is exhibiting bad behaviour, this will need attending to immediately to keep others safe.

Most mouthing, which is light biting without applying pressure, is expected in dogs, but if a dog is biting and nipping, this can indicate fear, frustration, or problems with aggression. If your dog is being aggressive, you will notice that their body is stiff with a wrinkled muzzle and exposed teeth. Aggressive behaviour to look out for is:

  • Growling
  • Standing stiff
  • Exposing teeth
  • Snarling (growling while exposing teeth)
  • A guttural bark
  • Lunging or charging at people
  • Mouthing
  • Snapping or nipping
  • Biting and bruising or puncturing skin
  • Repeated, rapid bites

Having an aggressive dog may be a scary concept, but it can be remedied. You need professional help from someone qualified – start by speaking to your vet. They will guide you in the right direction. Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) registered professionals can identify issues with your dog and create a plan to teach them good behaviour.







5 Customer Service Mistakes Your Business Can Avoid in 2021


From being on hold to question-dodging, there are plenty of customer pet-peeves that your business needs to avoid. A survey found that 86 per cent of people will pay more for better service, which in the long run will be beneficial towards your business because you will get loyal customers.

The coronavirus pandemic has created adversity for many organisations, meaning that customer service is more important to your business’ survival. As the crisis continues into 2021, we explore the importance of customer service. We’ll tell you some of the most common customer service mistakes and how your business can avoid them.

1.    Poor training

Giving your customer service team the right amount of training is not just beneficial for them but for your customers. You don’t want your staff struggling to think of an answer or fumbling through manuals to try and find out. Do proper customer service training with your staff, prepare them for any situations that may happen, and if they don’t know the answer, explain to them what they should do in that instance so they aren’t lost in front of your customer. Furthermore, this will make your staff feel more valued and comfortable in their working environment because you are putting time into them to make them the best they can be.

2.    Availability

Not many companies have their customer service teams available 24/7, and you aren’t expected to. Usually, customer services are open during normal nine-to-five office hours. But have options available for customers at all times, especially on your website. This can either be in the form of an automated chatbot that can pop up on your website asking for their question or by having a list of FAQs. Having your contact details in an easy to find place on your website will also be helpful for your customers if they do still need to contact a member of your team.

3.    Making promises you can’t keep

Customers value honesty. If you promise the world from your product but it doesn’t do half of the things you have said it does, that is not good customer service and customers will mistrust your brand. If you have promised a customer a product or delivery by a certain date and there will be a delay, tell the customer. They will be angrier if they have waited for something without being informed.

4.    Being passed around

Your customer services staff should have the knowledge to be able to answer a query confidently. If they do need to pass a customer to another department, make sure they are passed to the right department first time. Most customers are in a rush just to get their problem answered and won’t appreciate having to speak to five different departments before getting the right answer.

5.    Please hold…

We have all heard that automated voice telling us to hold over a thousand times. She gets annoying. But being on hold is not just exclusive to being on the phone. Social media is a form of communication this is increasingly being used for customer services. But a survey has found that 32 per cent of customers expect a response within 30 minutes and 42 per cent within 60 minutes. This proves how valuable it may be to employ or move staff to the social media side of your customer services to be able to answer queries quickly while also balancing having enough staff to man the phones.

Overall, your customer service can always be improved, and we hope these tips help you. Whether that just making sure your staff’s name badge is in a visible place for a customer to see or just having enough staff to answer questions, each change will be beneficial for your business and your customers.