The move towards gender fluidity in fashion

It has been less than 100 years since women first donned trousers, and now it seems as though the gender divide is becoming even blurrier.
Men in skirts is becoming more of a trend, and fashion designers are combining men’s and women’s collections, creating a gender-neutral style that is flawlessly fluid.

Gender fluidity has become a major buzzword, and the days of clothes labelled as men’s or women’s may be long gone. Instead of being assigned a gender, clothes are being designed to suit both sexes.

A Unisex Generation

While mens designer clothes such as those available at will always remain incredibly popular, it seems that women won’t mind shopping in the boys’ department now. While gender-neutral collections are all the rage, women are also increasingly opting to shop at men’s stores to find the fit and cut they prefer.

The gender neutral fashion trend may seem to be a new one, but designers like Calvin Klein have long been promoting the androgynous form. Calvin Klein’s CK One scent was launched in 1994, and it blew people’s perceptions of perfume out the water. Klein also opted for far more androgynous styling in his clothing and in many ways was the pioneer of gender-neutral style.

The Menswear/Menswear Divide

When Louis Vuitton put Jaden Smith in a skirt in their Spring/Summer womenswear campaign, it seemed like the gender divide had finally fallen away. Men in skirts is a sight far less common than ladies in trousers, but there are a brave few who have tried it and are vociferous in their praise.

Many men have said that a skirt gives them more freedom and that they do not feel any less masculine when wearing one. When you consider that kilts, often the staple wear of burly Scotsmen, are essentially skirts, it is hard to imagine any more of a masculine figurehead.

Stars in the spotlight have largely broken down the gender divide in fashion. Whether it is Harry Styles’ signature skintight skinny jeans or Jaden Smith’s skirts, the world is sitting up and watching. In the future, men’s and women’s wear labels may fall away and be replaced simply by the brand and the size, leaving the wearer to decide what they want rather than having their gender determine it.

Four benefits of installing hardwood flooring

Inherently warm, gentle underfoot, and with a stunning visual impact, hardwood flooring is hard to beat and works well in any style of home. What are its main advantages when compared to other types of flooring? Here we set out four of the benefits you will see if you install hardwood flooring in your home.


Hardwood engineered flooring can be purchased in a wide range of styles and a variety of hues. For this reason, it suits different styles of decoration. From a pale-coloured ash to the red tones, you can find something that will fit in with your home.

The natural patterns and the variety of grain mean that every hardwood floor is unique. You can also experiment with having the floor laid in a herringbone pattern rather than vertically.

Take a look at suppliers’ websites, such as, and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised by the wide choices on offer.


Hardwood floors are very easy to maintain and clean. Regular sweeping and mopping will ensure that the floor will continue to look beautiful for many years. For those more difficult marks, it can be swiftly sanded and varnished or waxed to restore it back to its former glory.


Trees that produce hardwood are slow-growing. For this reason, the trees’ cellular structure becomes more dense, ensuring that it is very strong. This strength means that hardwoods are extremely durable. However, different types of trees produce wood of different strengths. Oak has impeccable strength thanks to its slow growth. Iroko is a lesser-known West African hardwood that is also very durable.


Hardwood floors are not cheap. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives on the market, including veneers and laminates. However, if you consider the long-term cost, there is no comparison. Mahogany, oak or mango woods are extremely tough and will withstand scratches and other types of wear and tear for many years. It is a lifetime investment.

In terms of costs throughout the lifetime of the floor, you should expect to have to re-sand and varnish or wax it on occasion. However, there should be no need to replace the floor as a result of ordinary wear and tear. In addition, a well-laid and attractive hardwood floor can enhance the value of your property.

Five things you should know before updating your central heating system

A central heating upgrade is one of the first things people think of when they start to consider making their homes more energy efficient. However, there are some key factors you need to take into account before you start.

Size matters

The size of your home is important when it comes to selecting a new boiler. If you only have a small property, then a combi boiler – that generates hot water on demand – is likely to be the best choice. For larger properties, you’re likely to be better off with a regular or system boiler that stores hot water in a cylinder. Remember, all new boiler have to be condensing types.

Count the bathrooms

The number of bathrooms you have is usually a good guide to the kind of boiler you need. With one bathroom or shower room, a combi will be fine, but if you have extra bathrooms or en-suites, you’ll be better off with a system that has a hot water cylinder.

Radiators and pipes

You might be thinking of just changing the boiler, but you need to consider the rest of the system too. Old pipe work and radiators may not be up to the latest standards and could lead to leaks if you just install a new boiler that works on a pressurised system. You may also take the opportunity to swap to more stylish designer radiators, from a supplier like apolloradiators, to update your system.

Freeing up space

An advantage of switching to a new boiler could be that you free up some space. Changing to a combi means no hot water cylinder, so you can reclaim the space it used to use. However, if it was located in an airing cupboard, think about how you’ll air clothes and household linen – fitting a small radiator in the airing cupboard may be the answer. New boilers are often smaller than old ones, so you may actually be able to locate the boiler in a cupboard.

Lofty ideas

Regular boiler systems have a header tank in the loft. If you’re thinking about a loft conversion at some point, you may prefer a system that has no tank or switching to a smaller one. Also consider if the boiler is able to feed extra radiators for future extensions.

5 reasons to invest in double glazing for your home

Some people still ask why double glazing is a good idea for any home. There are many reasons why it’s an excellent idea to install double glazing, from improved heat retention to easy maintenance. Read on to explore why double glazing is always a good idea for any home.

Noise insulation

The first obvious benefit is improved sound insulation. You will find street noise significantly reduced, and in some cases, eradicated, by double glazing. This means that voices and music will be easier to hear inside your home. Neighbours’ noise will also be reduced and you will find sleeping much easier, especially for weekend lie-ins!

Heat retention

Double glazing can reduce noise, but it can also stop heat loss from your home. This means you can set the thermostat lower on your heating and save money. The extra pane of glass acts as an insulator to prevent heat escaping your home, which is especially useful in winter.

Easy maintenance

Double glazing makes windows easy to clean. You can use standard glass cleaner to wipe them down and cleanse with soapy water. You can enjoy shiny windows for many years with double glazing, while dated windows get dirty and misty much more quickly. Double glazing is also easy to install, by experts in windows and doors in Dublin and other cities. You can find expert glass specialists online, such as, to install double glazing quickly and without fuss.

Reduced condensation

Another problem with dated windows is they attract condensation. Double glazing attracts much less condensation due to their heat retention properties, meaning temperatures remain more constant inside. The risk of cold and hot air meeting on the inside pane of glass is significantly reduced with modern double glazing, so condensation is less of a problem.

This is good news, because condensation can cause damp and stale smells. The problem of condensation can be a particular concern in kitchens and bathrooms. Many people open the window to release moisture and protect wallpaper, but with double glazing, this would be less necessary.


Double glazing is hard-wearing and durable. Single pane windows can be weak, whereas double panes are much stronger. Double glazing also normally comes with a 20 year guarantee, and that gives you peace of mind that they will last a long time.

Six common interior design questions and answers

Interior design can be a tricky thing to master. With interior trends constantly changing and evolving, styling your home can feel overwhelming.

For this reason many people hire interior designers to craft their visions for them. After all, your home should be a representation of your personality, life and interests, so working alongside a professional can be the best way to bring these to life. But with a report in Saga suggesting that a good interior designer can come with an hourly rate of nearly £200, this doesn’t come cheap.

Some basic knowledge, tricks and hacks can be all you need when it comes to understanding interior design. Here are just a few of the things you should know before you start designing your dream home.

Hidden or Open Storage?

While many people prefer to hide their belongings away, a gradual shift towards open storage (such as shelving and cupboards) is definitely happening. For example, using industrial shelving in Ireland from Rackzone in your kitchen is a great way to showcase your stainless steel crockery. Rustic wooden shelves can also be a good way for food lovers to display their jars and tins. If you feel like it can add to the decor and style in your home, don’t hide it.

How to Nail a Feature Wall

Feature walls are not a new trend – they create a focal point in otherwise bland rooms and have the added bonus of requiring significantly less wallpaper than if you were to decorate the whole room. Think outside the box, though – it doesn’t have to just be a feature ‘wall’. Why not try using patterned wallpaper on a chimney breast, ceiling or the inside of a cupboard?

Carpet or Hardwood Flooring?

This really is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy the comfort of a plush carpet underfoot, while others favour the timeless charm and low-maintenance nature of hardwood flooring. It is worth remembering that hardwood flooring can reduce allergens in the home and can also be accessorised with decorative wood.

Is Industrial Lighting a Good Choice?

Industrial lighting is a contemporary and stylish choice, particularly in kitchens and hallways. But it doesn’t need to stop there: metallic lamps above a dining table can give an effortlessly cool effect.

Contribution of Peter Max in American Pop Art

The Pop Art movement started during the 1950s and 60s in Britain and America that revolves around the products of the mass media.  This art in America has evolved in a slightly different way from that of the British pop art. This artwork went on to become one of the United States’ main artistic movements in the 20th century.

Contribution of Peter Max in Pop Art

Regarded as the icon of pop art, Peter Max is an American Artist and is the authorized portrait artist for the welcome banners at the U.S. Ports of Entry and Statue of Liberty. Born in Berlin, Max and his family fled to Shanghai where he spent the first ten years of his life. Peter has received his formal art training at the Art Students League of New York in Manhattan. He has created works for six US presidents and he has been the official artist of the World Cup, five Super Bowls, the US Open, the World Series, the Grammys, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to name a few. As stated by Peter rightly, pop art has evolved at a vital time in society, typically after World War II, which experienced a huge economic growth. This artwork wanted to bring back the art in the everyday lives of the people.

About American Pop Art

American Pop art has a tendency to be symbolic, mysterious, and violent; while on the other hand, British Pop tends to be more idiosyncratic and referential and it somehow expressed a romantic view. American pop art has been basically a reply to the culture at the time, which has been delayed in commercialism and advertising. Even though pop art does not tend to condemn openly the state of affairs, but it is deeply prejudiced by it. The pop artists of the past have been influenced by religion and nature, while the modern pop artists are influenced by the subjects that they have been constantly exposed to. This is why, pop art reverberated very intensely with the mass population and the art has been able to incorporate subject matter and techniques that a varied audience has already very familiar with.

Some important facts about Peter Max’s art

The art of Peter Max earlier has been characterized by cosmic ambiguities, dark line work, and intense bursts of colors which at that time served as an essential part of the psychedelic and counterculture movement up until new printing methods allowed for his work to be copied on product commodities. This is why, Peter’s art has been ultimately licensed to around seventy two corporations and his status has been escalated to celebrity rank. His art still continues to influence today’s fashion as in the recent times American apparel has started a product line by the name Neo Max which features his artwork and his designs. At present Max stays in New York City with his children.

Thus, it can be said his contribution to the American Pop Art is huge.

Will Mamma Mia! The Party Restaurant open in London?

Björn Ulvaeus is a name known to people the world over for being one quarter of the most famous Swedish pop group ever: Abba! Although Abba hasn’t released any music for years, people are once more talking about Ulvaeus, and this time not for his songwriting.

He plans to open a branch of his ‘singing theatre’ in Waterloo – where else – and residents are feeling that they ‘couldn’t escape if they wanted to.” The site is beside a housing co-operative in a much coveted part of the city, and the locals believe the concept will disrupt their tranquillity.


Mama Mia! The Party Restaurant, the themed venue based on the musical follows a successful branch in Stockholm, but those against the idea coming to this part of London fear that each night there will be several hundred revellers spilling out onto the streets, loudly singing Abba hits.

Ulvaeus proposes that when the restaurant is not being used for Abba party nights, it could be community space used for various other initiatives.

The fit-out would be key to that, so it’s important that the space has the right equipment for a variety of uses – not just a fully equipped kitchen out back, but things like a display counter in the public-facing space. Specialist retailers like Fridge Freezer Direct can advise and supply various options.


The residents’ objections are not to Abba themselves – many thank them for the music – but rather to the impact on their lives. These normal people on normal incomes are increasingly finding their voices drowned out by metaphorical noise and they want to be sure their homes are protected from actual noise in the evenings.

Residents have pride in their local area and are keen to preserve it as far as possible. The team behind the Mamma Mia! The Party proposal are keen to stay out of debates surrounding social housing, and whilst they will not comment directly, they have stated that they will try to address community concerns.

Mamma Mia! is not confirmed yet, but if you can’t wait that long, check out The Londonist’s list for the best themed restaurants serving now.

Housing is such a hot topic in London at the moment, so only time will tell whether Mamma Mia! The Party will overcome the residents’ opposition.

Tom Colton provides an overview of Investment Analysis

Investment Analysis is an umbrella term which includes various types and aspects relating to investing. From scrutinizing the previous returns to making calculations of the future returns, all comes under the process of investment analysis. Each investor has their differentiated goals and thus identifying the investment tool best suited for each of their needs is also a vital aspect of investment analysis. Evaluation of securities, like bonds and stock to calculate their proper valuation comes under this term.  Determining the extent of profitably and risk in an investment and making an informed decision about its suitability to a portfolio requires a competent analysis.

Tom Colton lists the important points of Investor Analysis

While investing in a portfolio, a person spends a considerable amount of his money on it. Thus it is of utmost importance that he should have a proper idea about what to expect from it. Not every investment is suitable for all investors, nor do all of them yield the same percentage of returns. Thus, here is when the process of investment analysis comes in. They assist in determining how a certain investment is expected to perform and if it suits the needs of the investor. These analyses examine the historical investment decisions in order to study their pattern and to avoid any mistakes made in their cases.

Not everyone can be suited to make an investment analysis reports. It takes a deep knowledge about the market, as well as specialized expertise in order to perform these functions. As a highly experienced financial professional, Tom Colton has been dealing with investor analysis for a long time. With the help of his valued knowledge, he lists out a few points which should be listed in an investor analysis. These points are:

  • Investor Objectives: Determining the goals of the investors and understanding his expectations is the very first step of forming an investor analysis. Each investor has their distinguished tolerance for risks and requirements about the revenue. Few may even need the income in a certain time period. The investment options are fashioned in accordance to these needs.
  • Check the Suitability: Even if an investment fulfills all the investor goals, it is not necessary that it is perfectly suited for them. If the investor is not much financially stable then investments having high risks should be avoided.
  • Qualitative approach: A proper qualitative research should be made on each the investments before deciding on any one of them. This research includes the examination of real estate demographics, the history of the business and the trustworthiness of its management, identification of the main competitors of the business, and so on. All these background facts are extremely relevant as it add more contexts to the investment proposal.
  • Performance Estimates: A proper performance estimate should be made so that the investor knows what to exactly expect from his investment. This includes the estimated returns, the period of payback, expected growth rates and information about the tax deductions.

By preparing an investor analysis with the assistance of an expert like Tom Colton, one can ensure in the minimization of their risks and maximization of their returns. They help in identification and selection of the investment plan best suited for you.

Significant growth predicted for silicone sealants market

Silicone sealant has been the subject of almost constant innovation for the past few years. No longer the basic stop-gap for sealing leaks around the bath, sealants have come a long way, particularly in the building, automotive and technology industries.

Innovation has developed this generic product, extending its physical properties way beyond the simple function of filling gaps into a versatile product with many specific uses.

Types of Silicone Sealant

The broader categories encompass heat, including extremes of temperature, microbial and weather resistance, and water and vapour permeability. These properties extend further to UV resistance, enhanced strength against splitting and cracking, vibration mitigation, dirt repulsion and general improvement in the longevity of the useful life of the bond. The market generally is supported by byproducts such as silicone sealant remover because it is not an easy product to clean off.


The applications are almost endless. In the building industry, for example, with the trend to design buildings with large sheets of glass, silicone sealant has now become the primary way of bonding glass to the structural frames of the building. The weatherproofing characteristics of sealant are essential for the external application and the structural hold. Specialist providers for the construction industry such as ct1ltd have a unique range of sealants for different purposes.

In the automotive industry, silicone sealants have a proven record of reducing component failures, which has a knock-on effect on the cost of warranty repairs and improved customer satisfaction. Reductions in driving noise, vibration and sharpness extend the durability of gaskets and, by extension, vehicle performance and reliability over the longer term.

The advancement of sealant technology is increasing the types of applications and the market for the whole range of products. Other industries that are heavy users of silicone sealants are furniture, footwear and electronics, providing further global growth opportunities.

Global analysis of the overall market supports the general upward trend over the next decade. Specific growth areas are identified in China and India’s automotive industries, with construction, automotive and packaging industries in the forefront of European markets, closely followed by the US.

Japan will be a key player because of its automotive and technology industries. There is already M&A activity at a global level as corporations seek to consolidate their positions in this growing market.

Rugby fan’s collection of 400 Groggs figures

Avid collector, Andy South, credits his impressive collection of Groggs figures to giving up smoking a decade ago. Investing the money he would have spent on cigarettes into more than 400 individual figures, his impressive collection is estimated to be worth £100,000.

An overview of Groggs figures

John Hughes, who passed away in 2013, began making the models in his garden shed in Pontypridd, Wales, in 1965. JPR Williams and Gareth Edwards were some of the first stars to be depicted in model form, and some of the rarest second-hand figures now regularly sell for hundreds of pounds.

Richard Hughes, John’s son, began sculpting in 1976, and says that it is impossible to estimate how many individual figures have been produced in total.

Impressive investments

Before the popularity of Groggs increased, Mr Hughes would produce limited runs of just 10 figures. Figures produced during this time are now the most sought-after, with collectors especially keen to snap up rare examples, often scouring the internet and car boot sales for elusive models missing from their collections.

An exclusive Shane Williams figure in his Japanese club kit, which sold in a charity auction for an impressive £1,500, is thought to be one of the most expensive Groggs models ever sold so far.

Encouraging participation

As avid sports fans, the Hughes family would be delighted if their work inspired people to get involved with sport. If you’re keen to start training, there are many services available, including Sportplan, who has put together a selection of rugby drill training video programs to encourage participation, develop skills and boost confidence.

A snowballing collection

Knowing he had always enjoyed Groggs, Andy South’s wife suggested that he invest the money saved by stopping smoking into building his collection. One of his most valuable figures was a £5 charity shop find, and the model, depicting Jonathan Thomas, is currently worth around £500. The most he has ever paid was at a charity auction, when he snapped up an exclusive figure of Craig Bellamy, a former Wales footballer, for £350.

Consistent demand

Many companies have offered to mass produce Groggs figures over the last decade, but it remains a small, family-run operation. Richard Hughes spends around eight weeks sculpting each model and has a team of five painters painstakingly colouring and finishing each figure to the highest standard.