Analysis Lite – Better For Your Big Investments

Analysis Lite – Better For Your Big Investments

If you’re trying to live off your investments or to supplement your income with them, then you probably do quite a bit of investment analysis to better inform your decisions. This is a wise thing to do, of course, and no one could really argue with it. Many private investors justifiably pride themselves on their in-depth analysis an overall market insight. But when it comes to the really big decisions, this isn’t always the right approach.

In some situations, when looking at the bigger macro picture, and the big investments, instinct can be superior to detailed knowledge.

Let’s start with property. Had you been a keenly analytical investor in property, you probably wouldn’t have invested in the UK market since somewhere around 2003-2005. Based on multiples of average income, or rental yields, most properties haven’t made much fundamental sense. Yet they’ve generally continued to rise. And according to the source on HSBC newsroom – comparing “property haves” with “have-nots”, the financial outlook for today’s 25-36 year olds who have managed to take the first step on the property ladder is generally a lot better.

That isn’t to say that if you haven’t invested in property over the last decade or so you’ve lost out. You may have made better investments elsewhere, in the stock market for example. But here again – it’s often the big instinctive decisions that play better in the long run than the detailed numbers analysis – particularly when it comes to the largest blue-chip companies.

In these situations, there’s often not much point really careful analysis etc. It’s more or less impossible to get any particular insights as all the information pertaining to a company is already in the public domain and is very heavily analysed by many, many professionals.

So if you can zoom out a little and trust your own instincts, particularly when it comes to being a little contrarian and running against the herd of popular opinion, it often pays off in the long run.

In other words, it’s usually wise to try and ignore the relatively short-term details concerned with today’s news – and instead to look at the absolute basic long-term value of companies. This often involves buying on the “glitch” – i.e. having the courage of one’s convictions that bad news is temporary and the long-term value will come out over sufficient time.

So, for example, investing a lump sum into the stock market at the end of 2008 or early in 2009 when the financial crisis had had its biggest impact on the markets would have been a wise thing to do. The same can be said for buying shares in BP shortly after its Gulf of Mexico disaster. But it can be a dangerous game and they don’t all come off.

Nevertheless, in such cases, a lack of detailed knowledge can be a positive boon. Ignorance can be bliss and focussing one’s horizons on the very long term and ignoring the current day to day “noise” can pay dividends in the long run … literally.

Handy Tips for Quitting Smoking

Handy Tips for Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is quite possibly one of the most difficult things to do. It is not easy, it takes a lot of perseverance and needs a lot of willpower and mental strength. At times, many feel that they simply cannot do it. Hang in there, it will get easier and you can kick the habit.

As everyone knows, tobacco is a physical addiction as well as a habit hence making the quitting process incredibly difficult. As nicotine leaves your system, you will experience withdrawal symptoms:

  • Cigarette cravings

  • Irritability, frustration, or anger

  • Anxiety or nervousness

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Restlessness

  • Increased appetite

  • Headaches

  • Insomnia

  • Tremors

  • Increased coughing

  • Fatigue

  • Constipation or upset stomach

  • Depression

  • Decreased heart rate

Let’s be honest, the withdrawal symptoms aren’t entirely pleasant. That said, many of us smoke out of habit and because these habits are ingrained into our daily schedule, these little habits are the ones that seem even harder to break. Hang in there, you can do it!

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 So, pick your quit date and stick to it. Once you get to your quit date, throw out all smoking paraphernalia; lighters, ashtrays and cigarettes, and start as you mean to go on: smoke free.

 Some people find it easier to quit by going ‘cold turkey’, others feel that they need the support of nicotine replacement products. Nicotine replacement products include gum, patches, tablets and other such prescribed medication from their doctor. Others have successfully quit using Eliquid vapour cigarettes, in which cartridges are installed and vapour is inhaled as a replacement for cigarettes. They are proving more and more popular and many people have heralded them as a great way to kick the habit.

 Once you have a plan in place, do stick to it and do bear in mind that there are smoking ‘triggers’. Triggers include drinking alcohol, which ultimately results in people falling off their smoke free wagon. It may be best to avoid alcohol for two weeks, while you are working hard to quit smoking. Likewise, if you are around other smokers (or happen to live with other smokers) quitting can seem virtually impossible. Hopefully your colleagues, housemates, spouse or friends will be supportive of your decision to quit. The key thing here is to inform them of your plans to quit and tell them you would appreciate their support. Many smokers don’t actually want to smoke so you will find that they will be incredibly supportive.

 Managing cravings can be difficult, so do try to distract yourself from wanting to smoke. As difficult as this may seem, you will ultimately feel better in the long run when you eventually ditch the cigarettes. Many ex-smokers say that they missed the feel of the cigarette in their hands, so find something to busy yourself with. Go retro and invest in a Rubik’s cube, keep a straw handy, do the dishes, text a friend. Whatever you do, don’t smoke!

 Quitting is hard, but hopefully these handy tips will lead you into a smoke-free, healthy future. Good luck!

Why You Should Avoid Asbestos When Visiting Old Ships

Why You Should Avoid Asbestos When Visiting Old Ships

Asbestos is a group of minerals made of microfibers that do not conduct electricity and are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals. These properties have made asbestos particularly useful across a wide array of industries and it has, consequently, been mined extensively. Shipyards have been one of the major hot spots for asbestos, and the United States has been the leader in ship construction for most of the twentieth century. Though the industry has always been heavily regulated, wartime spending and government subsidies allowed asbestos exposure to take a toll on workers. To this day shipyards and old ships present the danger of asbestos and should be avoided.

Dangers of Asbestos

The main danger of asbestos is inhaling the microfibers, which become trapped in the lungs, remaining for extended periods of time because of the body’s inability to destroy them. Shipyards and old ships that contain asbestos are particularly risky places for exposure. Over time, aging, water damage, continual vibration, and impact make asbestos increasingly friable, where it easily crumbles to the touch and releases the fibers into the air. Disease from asbestos exposure primarily involves the lungs. The three main diseases associated with asbestos are asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Asbestosis

A condition that causes inflammation in the lungs, with symptoms that include coughing, shortness of breath and, in the long term, scarring of the lungs. Cardiac failure is possible from asbestosis in later stages.

Mesothelioma

This type of cancer is rare and nearly all of the 200 annually diagnosed cases are from asbestos exposure. It affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen. People who work with or live near shipyards that use asbestos have an increased risk for mesothelioma.

Lung Cancer

Asbestos exposure can also lead to lung cancer. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and bloody mucus are all symptoms. It is the most prevalent cause of death from asbestos exposure.

Other Diseases

Asbestos exposure has also been linked to various other cancers, including those in the larynx, esophagus, oral cavity, stomach, colon, and kidney. It is also linked to pleural plaque and pleural effusion, which can cause fluid buildup in the lungs.

Determining Factors

The severity of the asbestos exposure depends on several factors, including the amount of exposure, your age, whether or not you smoke, and the properties of the specific asbestos. There is no safe level of asbestos, but the more you are exposed over long periods of time the worse your symptoms will be. Young people are more susceptible to asbestos and workers’ children have been known to contract mesothelioma from dust brought home on clothing.

Resources and Treatment

It takes several years for many of the diseases related to asbestos exposure to manifest. For those who have worked in or visited shipyards in particular, Shrader & Associates, L.L.P., a resource for people with shipyard asbestos exposure, offers a variety of information and help.

Though there are no treatments that reverse asbestos exposure, those available can help relieve the pain and reduce its severity over time. Treatments for the diseases caused by asbestos exposure include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy. Smokers who have been exposed to and contracted a disease from asbestos are highly encouraged to quit smoking. Difficulties related to breathing can be eased using oxygen therapy.

This article was contributed on behalf of Shrader & Associates, L.L.P., a respected law firm you should consider when looking for representation for cases involving asbestos and mesothelioma.

Do You Want To Be An Actor? Start When You Are Young

Do You Want To Be An Actor? Start When You Are Young

Many people take up acting when they feel that they have a natural aptitude for it. Children will often display this talent when they are very young but lose it as they get older. Some, however, will continue to act in school plays or other productions and this is a good indicator that they enjoy performing in front of others.

If a person is not self conscious, they could be ideally suited to acting. Most people cringe at the thought of standing on a stage and singing, dancing, or performing in any other form. If you would like to become an actor, or you have a child who is showing encouraging signs in the art, maybe you should read on and see how to take the idea further. Maybe one day your child could be a star in new hindi movies or the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

The best way to become an actor is to start when you are young by joining an amateur theatre company. These companies will educate and encourage while teaching further, the art of acting. Valuable experience can be gained here, in ways of how theatres function, and the working practices of being a professional performer.

Experience comes in many forms. By being around other actors and watching the way they conduct themselves, acting etiquette can be learned. Actors are notoriously difficult to work with so paying close attention to diplomacy in the wings will benefit you in the future.

Attending a drama school is the best way to learn your craft. Here you will be taught, in depth, about all types of performance. If, however, you are restricted to a standard school for your education it is still possible to gain a GCSE in Drama. This course is not on the curriculum of all schools so maybe it would be wise to check all of them in your area to see which is best for you.

When you feel you are ready to act professionally, it is time to begin attending auditions. These auditions can often be found by contacting theatres, film companies, television production companies, or on the internet. Once the auditions start, your character will be tested. It is likely that you will attend many auditions before you land even a minor role. This can be soul-destroying for many people, who give up long before that. If you have that first role, your career is on the move and your CV has begun to build. Some extremely brave budding actors pack their bags and head off to foreign countries to seek their fortunes, by auditioning for big movie production companies directly. A few of them have succeeded and are big names in the business now. Are you that brave?

Before you will be allowed to act professionally, in any form, you will be required to join an actor’s union. If you refuse to do this you will never work as acting is pretty much a closed shop and all other actors will refuse to work with you.

Lots of people manage to hold down a career in acting. You may not be a world famous star as luck plays a big part in that. There is no reason you should not be able to make a living from acting and enjoy it however, if you are determined.

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The Joys of Glastonbury

The Joys of Glastonbury

There is no better place to spend the last weekend of June than Worthy Farm. If you are unfamiliar with the name, you are bound to be familiar with the event, Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.

Since the first Glastonbury in 1970 the festival has turned into the best and biggest music festival in the world and one that should be experienced by anyone who gets the chance.

There is no other festival that can match the music on offer at Glastonbury. This year’s headliners are Kasabian and Arcade Fire, whilst heavy metal legends Metallica are odds on favourites with Paddy Power to be named the third headliner. No festival can match the eclectic mix of Glasto. This year’s acts range from Dolly Parton to Chance the Rapper, with the music spread across 20 stages. There really is something for everyone.

If you ask anyone who has been to Glasto then you’ll know it isn’t just about the music. The overall atmosphere takes centre-stage rather than the music. You and the 170,000 others who make the trip to Worthy Farm make for an electric atmosphere. With everyone in high spirits it is difficult not to have fun. There’s no place on the planet that sees this many people make a musical pilgrimage and once you’re there you’ll realise why so many people make the effort.

As the festival’s name suggests, it is a place for Contemporary Performing Arts. Yes, music takes precedent but there is also open-air theatre, local artists, poetry and independent movies. There really is so much to do that you will find yourself stimulated and occupied for the whole of your time there.

Value for money is a key factor for many people’s choices and in terms of value for money you would be hard-pressed to find somewhere better than Glastonbury. For £210 you practically have a week at the festival. What holiday or excursion can match that for value?

If you get the weather on your side, you will have an unbelievable time. If you don’t have the weather on your side then you will have an unbelievable time.

Glastonbury is an experience that everyone should undertake if possible.

The Transformation of Castelfalfi

The Transformation of Castelfalfi

Located nearby the historical but contemporary vibrating city of Florence, Castelfalfi welcomes their visitors with its charm of a village that has never been affectedby the busy modern world. Surrounded by olive groves and with an amazing view over the sparsely populated typical Tuscan landscape, even unromantic people can only be touched of this small, medievalItalian bijou.But different as one would expect, Castelfalfi has always been a village of change.

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Founded by the Lombards in the 8th century by the della Gherardescas, which was one of the most prestigious Pisan families and therefore also particularly loyal to the emperor, were the first owners of this beautiful village. But after a failed try to gain the sovereignty over Pisa, the Gherardesca lost the trust of the other parties and were forced to sell Castelfalfi in the year of 1139 for the small price of 100 Lire to the bishop of Volterra. From 1370 when it was directly controlled by the city of Florence, the blooming period of Castelfalfi began, in which it possessed up to 476 inhabitants. 

But in 1554 the ownership swapped again, when Piero Strozzi, a military leader and son of one of the richest Florentine families, and his troops invaded the small town as part of the war between Florence and Siena. Due to plundering and partly destruction, Castelfalfi was shortly later originally rebuilded and enjoyed a time of peace and calmness.

With the end of the 2nd world war and the urbanization in the 1950s, many people left the town to find work and it turned into a medieval ghost town. Today thanks to a farsighted project, Castelfalfi has come back to life preserving its unbeatable charm. The renovated Tuscany villas and country houses maintained their ancient foundation and attract many new people to inhabit this enchanting region again, which always stood for a good cuisine, great wine and the possibility to leave all one’s cares behind. Still some of the country houses and other estates are for sale, but with the desire to leave the stress behind and the good infrastructure with prestigious golf courses and the small distance to the city of Florence, the old houses of Castelfalfi will soon be fully populated again. If you want to travel to this romantic and charming village we suggest to stay at the Castelfalfi.

 

The best sights to see and wine to drink when visiting Istanbul

The best sights to see and wine to drink when visiting Istanbul

Turkey is the only country that occupies two continents; Europe and Asia. This makes the country very varied, with both Eastern and Western influences conveyed in their culture and history.

 This contrast also applies to its food and drink, with this mix becoming more popular with visitors to the country than ever before.

 If you do plan to visit Istanbul, it is recommended that you try and sample the local food, as well as the locally produced beers, spirits and wines.

 One recommendation is to try:

 Solera Winery

This place is great if you want to enjoy a little conversation with your glass of wine. Unlike most other places in Istanbul, the Solera Winery provides the perfect setting for you to try an abundance of different varieties of locally produced wines, and discuss each of them at length with your friends and family. Solera Winery provides over 1,100 varieties of wine that you can sample at your leisure.

 There are plenty of places to go and try the local cuisine, with each restaurant or bar offering their very own variety of locally produced wine. Try visiting the below sights, as each has a great selection of bars and restaurants nearby. Check here to find the best hotels in Istanbul.

 Basilica Cistern

This sixth century system that bought drinking water into Istanbul from Thrace, is now one of the city’s most romantic destinations. It was largely forgotten about up until recently and has been modernised with light fittings and a music system. Around the 336 bases of the columns, which supports the ceiling, you will find fish swimming in harmony to their new surroundings. There is also an upside down head of Medusa on one of the column bases, which provides proof that the Byzantine builders saw Roman relics as reusable items that could be used in their very own constructions.

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(Image courtesy of Esther Lee, via Flickr)

Aya Sofya

Emperor Justinian’s sixth century Byzantine structure, this famous building has had many uses over its time. First a church, then a mosque and now a museum, is simply beautiful. There has been plenty of restoration work though, and for good reason. The building offers visitors a chance to visit the tombs of early Ottoman sultans, as well as their slaughtered sons. You will also find a stunning collection of glittering mosaics that are present in the galleries.

 Topkapi Palace

This has to be one of the ‘must sees’ in the city. The Topkapi Palace has been home to plenty of the countries sultans, wives and families. Here you will find courtyards fit for sultans (a little obvious, but they are comparable to those found on some English estates) and stunning views over the Sea of Marmara. Topkapi Palace also has a wonderful Turkish bath, which you can visit. However, the palace does get busy, so it is best to take in all the wonders of Topkapi Palace in Mid-Season, or when the cruise ships are not visiting.

 Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam

If you are looking to visit a traditional Ottoman bathhouse, then Istanbul is the place to be. The city offers several bathhouses, which you can visit, and these include: Çemberlitaş, Cağaloğlu, Galatasaray and Sülemaniye baths. You will already have an image in your mind of what these bathhouses look like, and you will be right in assuming that they are furnished in marble, big domes that are supported by lavishly decorated internal walls, with the sound of running water all around. See out the day with a massage, with experts on hand to ensure that you have the most relaxed evening of your life.

How To Cook The Perfect Sunday Roast

How To Cook The Perfect Sunday Roast

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect Sunday roast, right? Most of us think our mothers or grandmothers made the best meals, but today I thought it would be a good time to take a look at how to perfect this dish. You’ll obviously want to slightly alter my advice to pander to your own preferences, but I’m pretty confident if you follow this guide to the letter, you’ll create something all your friends and family members will love. After all, British people have been eating this dish on a Sunday for generations, and so it’s important we all understand how to create it. We wouldn’t want yet another of our traditions to fall to the wayside now would we?

These days, a lot of people don’t bother sitting down to eat together at the weekends, and I think that’s a real shame. For that reason, you should print this guide off, and any recipes you find online to ensure you have the right information and motivation to get your clan together on this most special of days. So, without any more delays on my part, here’s a short guide to cooking the perfect Sunday roast. Enjoy!

Choosing Your Meat

Traditionally, the great British Sunday roast would have either chicken, pork, beef or lamb. However, I firmly believe (and so do many others) that chicken or roast beef should always be the meat of choice. It doesn’t really matter where you get it from, as it’s possible to get good quality free range chickens in supermarkets these days, but you should definitely go down this path.

Cooking Your Vegetables Properly

Very few people actually manage to cook their vegetables properly and so I thought it might be wise for me to give you some handy tips. Always check your greens before serving, as this is the only way you’ll know if they need more time in the saucepan. You want them crispy, but not too crispy, and you need to ensure they’re not soggy in any way. If people wanted to eat soggy veg, they’d get it out of a tin!

Making Your Mash

Lots of people simply boil their potatoes, and then mash them until there’s no lumps left. While this is a great way to start, there’s a lot more you can do to make them taste fantastic. For instance, you can add a knob of butter and some milk to make the potato more creamy. This will obviously make it taste a little more like instant, but in the view of many people, this is far tastier.

Serving With A Smile

Like it or not, the goal of a Sunday roast is to put as much on your diners plates as possible, and so you’ll need to learn some adequate stacking skills. Even so; service with a smile is nearly always welcomed, especially with a dinner so delightful. So, when you reach this stage, just put the food on the table and call the family down to start tucking in. Watch their faces!

So there you have it my friends. Now you know how to cook the perfect Sunday roast, I don’t want to hear you’ve settled for one of those microwave meals ever again.

Cheers!

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It’s football frenzy time again

It’s football frenzy time again

It’s that time of year when the football-loving people of the household (we can’t say “men” as that would be completely sexist of course) become really obsessed with the game. That’s because we’re getting into the final stages of the Champions League, the FA Cup is down to the last four participants and the race for the Premier League title really begins in earnest. The same can be said of the three Premier League relegation spots, of course, to say nothing of who’ll be replacing those three from the Championship – and all the other promotions and relegations from throughout all the other league and non-league divisions.

In short, we’re really getting into the business end of the season.

Now usually, in June, those of us who aren’t obsessed with the beautiful game breathe one long sigh of relief and we’re in the clear until late August when the whole merry-go round starts all over again.

But not this year of course – because there’s a bit of footballing completion being organised on Brazil!

But even those of us who take precious little interest in football for the rest of the four year soccer calendar often perk up our interest when it’s World Cup time. And as this one is being hosted by the nation that has been more successful than any other on the international stage – it gets really interesting. You just can’t think of Brazil without thinking about football at the same time. The two go together like fine food and great wine, Morecambe & Wise – or any other double act you care to mention.

Of course, Brazil are favourites to win the World Cup at slightly better than 3-1 with Betfair, which seems to be the biggest price available. And a small punt on the overall outcome can really inject a little fun into proceedings for those of us who aren’t particularly devotees.

Italy are a long-shot 26-1, which looks a bargain price when you think that they’re second only to Brazil in the history of the tournament. Then there’s Germany who always seem to do well, holders Spain who are in fine form, perennial nearly men Holland – and, of course, Roy Hodgson’s men if we can dare to dream.

So there we are – it really is football frenzy time again – then there’s the World Cup. So you know what they say; if you can’t beat them, join them!

 

Combining your kitchen and dining room

Combining your kitchen and dining room

The combined kitchen/dining room is one of the most popular home improvements around now, and with good reason.

The trend for spending more time at home, which really began with the new millennium and was perpetuated by the later economic recession, is showing no signs of abating. Householders are spending their time and some money on making their homes as comfortable and welcoming as possible. However, the old-fashioned kitchen/dining room divide does not lend itself to home entertaining: somebody always ends up isolated in the kitchen, preparing the food, while the guests wait in an entirely different area: not very sociable. Therefore it is hardly surprising that so many people are blending their kitchen and dining rooms into one big open plan, walk-through space. A light, airy kitchen, combined with an inviting, relaxing dining area, perhaps equipped with an attractive round dining table, is the modern householder’s ‘must have’.

Structural alterations

However, because the kitchen diner is a relatively new phenomenon, many people live in houses or flats that still have the traditional separate cooking and eating/socializing areas. Many have to undertake large-scale structural alterations in order to merge these into a kitchen diner – having to remove a wall or build an extension. Thankfully, recent changes to planning laws have made this much easier – from an administrative point of view at least. As a precaution it is always a good idea to check with the local authority building and planning departments before beginning such work, because there may be issues around party walls, load-bearing walls, building regulations or local conservation laws, that must be sorted out before such major changes are made.

Convenience

In today’s open plan kitchen diners, guests and hosts can chat as the food is prepared and as they are eating in the same room. After the meal they might linger at the table with a bottle of wine before retiring to the lounge. While this is very convenient, it does mean that the room must be very carefully laid out and equipped. The kitchen diner has to be a utilitarian and a social space, all at once. For many, the easiest way around this problem is to create a series of zones, which can be subtly marked using furniture and spot lighting.

For example, a kitchen island or peninsula can be used to suggest the division between cooking and dining space. The cook can then carry on cooking, without tripping over, or being interrupted by stray guests as he or she does so, but because the room is open plan the cook can still chat away to anyone else present. The kitchen island can also be a source of extra storage space, which is very useful if cupboards and other wall-mounted storage units have been sacrificed in the creation of the open-plan room.

Furniture

Furniture is often used to mark the social area of the space, as well as to create a sense of style and ambience. A great example is the use of contrasting or brightly colored furniture to draw the eye away from the cooking area and into the social space. Black sofas, for example, will contrast with pale colored walls and units, allowing guests to see immediately where they are able sit and relax. Lighting, too, can mark the practical from the relaxation zones: typically, the cooking area is brightly lit, while the relaxation or dining areas are lit in a more subdued fashion.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a popular and practical choice of material for the modern kitchen. It imparts a professional look to the space. Cooker hoods and sink units, and particularly splashbacks, look very good in the material and are very easy to keep sparkling clean. Installing stainless steel features is not difficult and if you need to know how to install a stainless steel backsplash sheet there is plenty of advice available online.