New ways to enjoy Caravan Holidays

airstream caravanLet’s face it – camping and caravanning holidays are just not for everyone. But what do you do when you are desperate to stay in a caravan yet a friend or family member just won’t budge? Well, there is now a way for you to compromise! Hotels are starting to look at introducing caravans into their rooms (or on top of their buildings!) so that guests can have the fun of staying in a caravan whilst having all the little luxuries that you get from staying in a hotel, such as breakfast in bed. Here we look at two hotels that have changed the traditional camping holiday:

The Huttenpalast – Berlin, Germany

For those that like to camp on the continent, The Huttenpalast (or ‘Hut Palace’) offers a full campsite complete with caravans, trees, hanging lights and washing lines – all inside a hotel! The hotel provides a range of caravans, from static to touring, and even has communal ‘outdoor’ areas where you can meet fellow campers/guests of an evening. This hotel will be sure to entice even the most anti-camping family member, as they will get to experience the sense of fun and community that you get from a caravanning holiday without having to worry about the weather!

The Brooks Guesthouse – Bristol, England

For those wanting to go on holiday a little bit closer to home then why not visit The Brooks Guesthouse in Bristol? This bed and breakfast has recently gained planning permission to have four vintage Airstream caravans on their roof overlooking the St Nicholas marketplace. Furthermore, each caravan has been modified so that they are state of the art and completely luxurious, whilst the surrounding rooftop has been decorated by local Bristol artists and the garden has been designed by a local landscape gardener. The city of Bristol is known for its quirky sense of style, so why not join in and stay on a rooftop caravan for your next holiday?

Many people have misconceptions about caravan holidays, but hopefully these new hotels will entice even the most reluctant family members. And even the most dedicated caravanning enthusiast enjoys staying in the lap of luxury every now and again – and at least it saves money on petrol and caravan insurance! But who knows, maybe visiting one of these hotels could be the start of the whole family enjoying caravanning and going on more holidays in the future.

How to decorate your Buy-to-Let Properties

Paint Tin and BrushWhen investing in buy-to-let properties you will probably find that they will need a bit of a revamp before you put them on the market. But what is the best way to decorate your properties? You may think you have quite an artistic flare, however sometimes less is more. On the other hand, you don’t want to make the properties look too simple, otherwise potential tenants may find them unwelcoming. Here we give you some advice on the best ways to decorate your buy-to-let properties.

Warmth and Light

Many landlords choose neutral colours when decorating their properties in order to make it look light and airy. However, if you choose a colour that is too stark it can make your property look cold, so make sure you choose a colour that has a warm tone to it such as cream or a very light beige. When it comes to carpets it may be wise to go for a colour a few shades darker than the walls, as this means that they will be easier for you to clean once the tenancy is over. White carpets are a recipe for disaster as even the smallest stain will mean you will have to have the entire carpet replaced!

Add a little bit of Colour

When you have tenants come visit your house you want them to feel like they could live there – they want to see a home and not just a property! Show them how little touches can make the house seem even more inviting, such as investing in coloured curtains, some fun cushions or a fashionable clock. Just make sure that you explain to them what changes they are allowed to make, you don’t want them to think that anything goes!

Replace old Appliances

You would be surprised how many potential tenants can be put off by little things such as a lime scale encrusted shower head or an oven that looks like its seen better days. Most of the time, these things can be easily and cheaply fixed, however if you are planning on doing a whole revamp it would be wise to invest in landlord insurance that will protect your property against any damages made by your new tenants so it can stay looking well maintained for years to come! Decorating a property can really let you show off your creative side, and if you have some family and friends you can round up to help you can also do it quickly and cheaply! And remember, the better your property looks the more likely you are to rent it out.

What to do if you become an ‘Accidental Landlord’

landlord booksMany people across the UK are becoming what are known as ‘Accidental Landlords’ – people that somehow come into properties and then decide to rent them out yet have had no previous experience in the lettings industry. Here we discuss what to do if you find yourself becoming an accidental landlord, as if you play your cards right you could even find yourself with some extra money!

Make sure you can pay the Mortgage

Whilst renting out properties can ultimately increase your income, this often takes time and you need to make sure you have the resources to keep up with the mortgage repayments whilst you are looking for tenants. It is therefore important to invest in unoccupied property insurance that can help cover the cost of the mortgage whilst you are waiting for it to become let out. Remember, you may be ready to enter the landlord industry, but that doesn’t mean you will be successful straight away!

Get the Property up to Scratch

In order to successfully rent out your property you need to make sure that it is up to a certain standard. Make sure that the furnishings are clean and that there are no loose floorboards or dodgy electrics in the house. Also, you need to make sure that your house is safe for your future tenants, so make sure that you have a gas safety certificate, have fitted smoke alarms, and have applied for adequate landlord insurance to cover any damages that may happen to the property whilst it is rented out.

Keep an eye on the News

If you have never been a landlord before then it’s highly unlikely that you have an in-depth understanding of the private rental sector, so make sure you brush up on your knowledge by reading news articles concerning landlords and the industry. There are many changes coming up concerning legislations for landlords, such as Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for all landlords to have to sign a register and make sure their properties are up to a certain standard. Don’t get caught out by any upcoming changes, it may prove to be costly!

Becoming an accidental landlord is not easy at times, but if you put in the work you could find that you have a flare for it! Remember, there are many places you can go for advice on letting out properties, and if you really think you won’t be able to handle it you can always pay a letting agent to deal with the property on your behalf.

Opening a Restaurant in 2013

restaurant kitchenThe restaurant market has always been quite a tricky one. If you are successful then you can make a huge amount of profit, however if you aren’t it could lead to you losing a large amount of money. So how can you make sure that you are going to be safe whilst embarking on your culinary dreams? Here we look at some of the most important things to consider before you think about opening a restaurant:

Time is Money

Running a restaurant is extremely hard work and time consuming, so should only be embarked upon if you truly have a passion for the business. And it’s not just knowledge about food that you need – you also need to brush up on your accounting skills, social skills, and even marketing skills. If you aren’t ready to sacrifice evenings, weekends and even holidays then you should think again before investing. Only the best restaurants have owners that are constantly working on their businesses.

Check the Market

You may be the best chef when it comes to a certain type of cuisine, however there is no point in opening your restaurant in an area which is already saturated with the same type of food. Make sure that there is demand for your type of food in the location you decide to open your restaurant in, and also make sure that it is easily accessible! No one wants to travel for miles to eat, no matter how good the food is!

Protect you Livelihood

There is no way that one person can run an entire restaurant, so make sure that those you hire have the same amount of passion for the industry as you do. Make sure you support your staff, pay them on time, and always discuss with them your plans for the business so they can help you achieve your ideas. Also, make sure that your building complies with health and safety laws and protected by restaurant insurance – even successful businesses are affected by disasters such as fires!

Running a restaurant can be stressful at times, but for those with a true passion for food then it can also be the most rewarding job that there is. If you are planning on opening a restaurant in 2013 make sure you plan everything carefully – but don’t forget to have fun!

Lorry driver taken to hospital after vehicle tips over on A8

A LORRY driver has been taken to hospital after his vehicle tipped over on one of the country’s busiest commuter routes.

Emergency service crews including an air ambulance were dispatched to the A8 at the Shawhead flyover of the A725 in North Lancashire.

Firefighters used hydraulic cutting equipment to free the casualty from the lorry before he was taken by ambulance to Monklands hospital. The air ambulance was not required.

Two other casualties were checked over at the scene but did not travel to hospital.

The A8 eastbound was shut and diversions were put in place.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: “We were called shortly before 9.45am Wednesday morning to a lorry that was on its side on the A8 eastbound at the Shawhead flyover.

“An air ambulance was dispatched and fire crews also attended the scene. Traffic diversions were put in place.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “An air ambulance was dispatched but it was not utilised.”

“The male casualty from the lorry was taken by ambulance to Monklands Hospital. Two other casualties were treated at the scene but did not travel to hospital.”

A spokesman for Strathclyde Fire & Rescue said: “Fire fighters extracted a casualty from the lorry using hydraulic cutting equipment.”

Situations like this highlight how vital it is that you have a good lorry insurance policy ,as without it you would have to personally pay for the damages caused to your own and others’ vehicles.

Tips on Keeping your Motorhome Maintained

Motorhome InsuranceSo you’ve researched the market, invested in a motorhome, bought motorhome insurance and are ready to take your new purchase out on the road. But what about all those little extra things that will keep your motorhome running for years to come? Due to the nature of motorhoming, you need to make sure you maintain your motorhome regularly so that long journeys and muddy caravan parks don’t take their toll. Here are some tips on keeping your motorhome in tip top shape through the years to come.

Make sure you Perform Pre-Departure Checks

Before you even think about taking your motorhome onto the road, it’s essential that you make sure you have done your pre-departure checks. First things first, make sure that your tyre pressures are correct, as if they are too flat then you could end up skidding on the road, and you could also have to pay more for petrol. After this, check under the bonnet to make sure that your levels are all correct as it may be too late once you find out they are too low after you have set off. Don’t forget that if your oil levels are too low the engine could become damaged and you will have to claim on your motorhome insurance in order to pay hefty repair costs.

Give your Motorhome a bit of TLC

Once you have returned from your motorhoming holiday, make sure you treat your motorhome to a bit of TLC. By cleaning your motorhome after every journey you will avoid a build-up of dust and grime that will eventually wear down the upholstery. Also make sure to clean the outside of your motorhome! It may seem like a huge job but here are a range of products you can buy that can help get the job done quickly and easily. Also, why don’t you make sure that you restock your motorhome with essentials such as toilet paper and washing up liquid as soon as you return from your trip so that next time you want a spontaneous day out you are ready to go!

By looking after your motorhome before and after every journey you will be safe in the knowledge that it will remain in top condition in the years to come, and that you can get the most amount of use out of it as possible!