Five great hot chocolate variations

The humble hot chocolate – a stalwart of chilly days and cosy evenings and loved by small and big children alike. This traditional winter treat has evolved over recent years, moving away from the spoonful of drinking chocolate stirred into hot water or warm milk. As cafe culture has spread from mainland Europe, it has brought with it a whole host of new and exciting ways to enjoy our favourite hot drinks. Here are our top five ways to perk up the classic hot chocolate.

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Mexican chilli

We are not suggesting a drinkable version of everyone’s favourite chilli con carne; instead, we are suggesting the warming and soothing effects of chilli and cinnamon. Inspired by the fabulous traditional Mexican chilli and chocolate savoury dish, this hot chocolate will warm you to your very bones. When warming the milk, add some cinnamon and a dash of chilli powder. Make the hot chocolate as normal and feel the warmth.

Vegan coconut delight

For the dairy-free, use coconut milk – found in the dairy-free aisle with almond and soya milk – as the base for your hot chocolate. The coconut offers a wonderful rich sweetness when combined with a raw cocoa powder mix. Delicious.

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Hot chocolate stick

A Swedish favourite and great for children, these cubes of chocolate are stirred into your mug of warm milk. This is perfect for when sitting in front of a wood burning stove Northern Ireland and the gloomy rain will simply melt away. Are you feeling the Nordic inspiration? Get inspired with stoves from specialists such as

Viennese sophistication

For a rich addition, blend an egg yolk into your hot chocolate for a silky, smooth and decadent drink. Be sure to add a small amount of the warm drink to the yolk separately, stir, and then add this to the rest of the drink. In this way, you won’t scramble the yolk.

Minty fresh

Mint and chocolate is a classic combination for an after-dinner sweet and works fantastically well in drink form; however, be aware that this one is just for the grown-ups. Add a shot of your favourite mint liqueur to the hot chocolate once it is made and finish with a dash of fresh cream and some after-dinner chocolates grated on top.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy these hot chocolate variations.


The thirteen best exercises in the gym that help you in Sunday’s soccer game

Surely if we talk about football and the importance of the muscles in it, almost everyone could think first of the musculature of our lower train as a key point, but this is not entirely true. Despite being a sport in which the lower train predominates, the musculature of our upper body and, above all, our core, are equally important when it comes to having a good performance in games with friends. Read more

Your top financial resolutions for 2019

Set a budget and stick to it

2019 brings a new year and with it comes new resolutions. Before you can set any financial goals, first of all, it’s essential to identify what exactly they are and what benefit they will bring you. Perhaps you want to buy a new car, a new home, or pursue a course of study? A budget must be set, otherwise, it’s too easy to get carried away in the excitement.

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There are a number of apps which will allow you to track your spending each month. You can easily see from the results what unnecessary costs you can bin, and you will be able to ascertain if you are frittering cash away on items you don’t need.

A check on your credit report is a good way to begin. Tackle any debts, credit card balances or overdrafts and dispute any listings on the report that appear incorrect.

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Make a resolution to have a no-spend day or weekend each month. Ensure no money leaves your purse or bank account and that way you won’t be tempted by coffee shops, takeaways and store bargains.

Ditch the gym membership and aim to get in shape by copying exercise videos online, or even running, or walking and hiking in local beauty spots.

It’s the time of year when you feel motivated

Speed up your debt pay-offs using any money saved, and this can reduce payments. It’s an ideal element to pack into your new year resolution as this is the time of year when you are feeling motivated and fresh. For those looking for professional help and an independent financial advisor Wroughton based advisors can assist in tidying up your finances. provides professional independent financial advice to individuals and small businesses.

According to Yahoo more Americans are taking financial planning seriously, states Fidelity Investments’ tenth annual New Year Financial Resolutions Study.

It’s easy to get carried away by subscribing to entertainment packages. If you want to reduce outgoings, consider replacing an expensive television package with cheaper options like Netflix or Amazon Prime or even buy a digital antenna.

Finally, aim to save money by carrying out preventive home maintenance, re-evaluating your investment portfolio and making an appointment with your financial advisor. You can also sharpen up your knowledge by subscribing to a finance podcast.

Germany asks manufacturers to update their older diesel cars, but the industry does not want

As promised Germany will be the industry that pays the diesel bill , either through updates or through incentives. As for the hardware modifications, the German Ministry of Transport published a few days ago the document that establishes the guidelines for obtaining the permits to carry out these modifications in the oldest diesel cars .

But this operation brings a B-side: higher fuel consumption , higher CO emisiones emissions and in some cases reduced performance. Brands like BMW have refused to do so. Read more

The Environmental Impact of Nappies

Let’s face it: nappies aren’t particularly pleasant for anyone who has to deal with them. For the first few years of their lives, babies generally rely on these before they learn to use the toilet like the rest of us – most parents would probably consider them a godsend (despite being none too pleased when having to dispose of them). But when you consider the environmental impact these little garments have, you might view them in an entirely different light.

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Non-Renewable Components

Most disposable nappies are made up of polymer and cellulose fibres. These are non-renewable components, which essentially means they require a lot of energy to make and take an even longer amount of time to break down when put in landfill. This is obviously a problem when you consider the existing waste issue we have – when trying to cut down on our waste, disposable nappies are ones to avoid.

Hazardous Waste

Given that nappies enable babies to do what babies do best – namely relieve themselves – it follows that they can be classed as dangerous waste both to humans and the environment.

With the above in mind, it’s clear we need to put in the extra effort to cut down on harmful nappy waste where possible. So just what can we all do to make that change?

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So What Can I Do?

There are a few things everyone can do to help. The first thing is to consider a suitable nappy disposal system, particularly if you manage a business or public-facing establishment where it is often required. Companies such as simplehygienesolutions are among the top washroom supplier Gloucestershire and surrounding South West areas have to offer and can provide a more environmentally friendly manner of disposal.

Another method of cutting down on waste is to switch to reusable nappies. These are nappies which can be washed and used again and again, somewhat like actual underwear. Of course, whilst this would cut down on waste, parents should be aware of the increased energy costs involved in cleaning these routinely. With this in mind, it’s been estimated that around £800 is spent on disposable nappies, and this cost could be saved by cutting them out.

What do you think? Will you make the switch to reusable nappies to help reduce the amount going into our landfills?

Utilizing Mobile VPN for Your Employees

With business and mobile technologies growing, employees are no longer tethered to their desks. Mobile phones are allowing business to be conducted in places technology wouldn’t reach before. If you have employees in the field, there are mobile solutions that allow them to utilize all the resources of the office, without actually being there. One of these solutions is the mobile virtual private network or MVPN. Here are a few of the benefits of utilizing a mobile VPN for your employees.


Of course the number one benefit of a mobile VPN is mobility. By utilizing technology, your employees can be further from the office than before. Without the need of constant trips back and forth from the office to the off-site locations, your employees can spend valuable time getting things done rather than constantly commuting back and forth.


Imagine a world where everything you need is in the palm of your hand. With mobile VPN you don’t have to imagine. Everything you need will be a finger tap away. Using a WiFi connection or your mobile internet connection you have the convenience of having what you need when you need it. Never be without your important files again.


Along with convenience comes access to everything you need from your office. From documents to presentations, you will never show up to an appointment unprepared. You can also upload and download files as they are created. This will keep you up to date on any changes made to your documents.

All of your office’s resources will be available to you without having to be at the office. You will have the ability to connect to the files that are important to you when you need them. With mobile VPN you won’t worry about forgotten presentations or spreadsheets. You will always be prepared for your meeting no matter where the meeting is being held.


One of the biggest concerns with mobile VPN’s is security. When the idea and implementation first launched, there were holes. Connection and permission problems stopped those attempting to connect from actually connecting.

Now security has been improved and it is more secure, better built, and easier to use. With security measures such as one time passwords for login, multi-level access, and heightened encryption. Now users can access their office from anywhere without the worry of low level security.

The mobile world and the business world are converging, making it easier to connect to the networks you need to connect to. Whether you are on your way to a client’s site, a business meeting or just a lunch with co-workers, mobile VPN will allow you to stay up to date without being in the office.


I know what you’re thinking: list season is way over. I already listened to the best albums of 2011, read the best books of 2001 and enthusiastically stumbled through the best drinks invented in 1898. I’m exhausted, too.

First off, let me explain. This is not a list based on science or statistics. I can’t refer you to a Harvard study that will validate the findings here. These are simply what I have determined based on anecdotal evidence have been the technologies that have steered our society in the deepest ways over the past decade. It is a list, and that means you can disagree. I have a feeling some people will attack the “mainstream” nature of these “innovations”, but no matter! This is the Internet! We can discuss things with civility, can’t we?


Arbiter of doom, or basic tool of the modern first world? When global positioning systems first hit the scene, they presented a solution to the age-old problem of people who just don’t know where they’re going. Qualcomm was instrumental in the large-scale implementation of GPS (a fact evident in their continued efforts toward fleet management. They are also responsible for GPS in mobile phones, something I personally use. Now you can find GPS devices everywhere that help poor saps like myself who never eat shredded wheat get where they’re trying to go. Some argue that the proliferation of GPS technology is destroying our natural sense of direction, and while I’ve certainly turned down some One-Ways at the suggestion of the old Droid phone, I’m sure that it will take a lot more than buggy GPS to correct.


These devices came all the way out of left field before eventually warming our hearts with their pixel-dense screens. While tablets are still pretty niche devices, their popularity has altered the course for computer development. The focus moved from powerful desktops and laptops to lightweight, cloud-powered devices. The Kindle Fire brought the price of tablets down considerably and spearheaded a popular movement to get information off of devices and into the cloud. We can expect to see a lot more of this in the future.


Ostensibly in the same boat as tablets, eReaders are more important to the way we consume print media than to tech trends. Sure, they were expensive to start, but falling prices have made eReaders very popular with a demographic that traditionally doesn’t engage with new tech: the middle aged and elderly. By jump-starting the desire for tech in that demographic, eReaders have opened up a whole new market to technology that did not previously exist. Similarly, eReaders have thoroughly shaken up the publishing market and forced the industry into a seismic shift that appears to have no end. Depending on whom you ask this has been both good and bad. Tech innovation is a necessity, but many beloved publishing and print media entities have failed to keep up, swallowed up by the murky waters of change.


If you still have cable, then you know that DVR is the only way to fly in the 21st century. On-demand networks cropped up as a way to deal with an audience that was more diffuse than it had ever been. DVR created a way for us to create our own programming by recording the shows we want and watching them when we pleased. DVR laid the ground work for the eventual state of personal programming – that is, what you want to watch, whenever you want to watch it – that we are quickly moving toward.

MP3 Players

Mobile media would not be where it is without the introduction of the iPod and the players it spawned. The media format cycle was completely disrupted by the proliferation of mp3s and led to the slow, groaning death of CDs. While CDs are still sold, iTunes, the sister software for the iconic iPod, basically runs the digital content world and showed companies like Amazon, Google and countless others that selling a file was much easier than selling a plastic disc.

How to read the gas meter.

Of all the exciting and interesting and jobs that you can do around the home then surely the reading of the gas meter is right up there. You get an enormous sense of achievement once it is done and the results emailed to your energy supplier. It’s almost as good as radiator bleeding or cleaning the PVC window sills, or painting them if there wood, that’s a ladder job and a half. It’s made even more fun if the gas meter is stuck outside or in a tricky part of the house to get to. What of those that do not have your level of skills though? This is a quick look at how to read the gas meter so you don’t send some nonsense to the provider giving them an excuse to up your direct debt.  Let the quest begin.

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First off you must find the oddly shaped key, it’s usually got a triangle in it, so that you can open the gas meter box and learn its dark arcane secrets. You’ll usually find it stuffed in a draw somewhere. You know the one; the one where you keep stuff that you know might be really useful at some point but you can’t be sure when. This is the moment and that keys time has come. When you get to the box it might be an idea to actually look at the state of the thing before you procced to open it. If you need another one never fear as Gas Meter Box at can provide you with one. Holding the key firmly you insert it around the triangle and turn.

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What do the innards reveal! Depending on how old it is you might be looking at some kind of dialled up Steampunk arrangement or something out of the international Space station requiring a PhD in gas tectonics (if there is such a thing).  It’s not as hard as it first appears. If you have a digital meter you just need the five digits reading from the left to the right. Don’t worry about the numbers after the decimal point the providers don’t really need them as they are only a part therm of something. If you have a non-digital meter two things apply. One, you should look to getting a digital one and two to read it you just need the numbers form left to right. Again, forget the red numbers. If you have a dial meter you really have an old one and these needs to be updated.  It looks a bit complicated but you need to go from the left to the right again and right down the number the pointer is closets to. If it’s in the middle then go with the lower number. The only exception to  that is if it’s between zero and nine. If it’s that one go with nine.

Harnessing the power of water.

One of the most exciting features of North Devon is its extremely hill and rugged coastline. It isn’t much fun for the inhabitants as they try and navigate their way around it. The locals of the Village s Lynton and Lynmouth are a prime example. Lynton sits on the high hills (hence ton) and Lynmouth sits at the bottom (hence mouth as it’s at the bit where the river Lyn flows into the sea). It’s a tough climb so the locals have a George Croydon Marks to thank for a funicular railway that runs them to the top and back down. The best thing about is it’s powered by water! Perhaps some Plumbers Forest of Dean could have a word as the residents there have a fair few hills to get up and down. Maybe a visit to Boiler Installation Forest of Dean will see if it’s on the website but I doubt it.

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Lynton and Lynmouth are beautiful places but the hills were a bit of problem as most goods came into Lynmouth via the sea and were then carted up to Lynton by carthorse and packhorse plus donkeys. This took ages and not only that it was very intensive on the horses and mules that didn’t last very long doing this every day. Not only that but the late eighteen hundreds saw a rush of tourist to the villages and they were not prepared to go up that hill so the Donkeys and horses got even more work. By eighteen eight one it was clear that a lift on rail system was the only way forward and a traditional steam powered one was proposed.

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In stepped the George Croydon Marks whose design of using the flow of the Lyn water to power the railway, saving millions and also being environmentally friendly as we would understand it now, put in his bid. He was backed by a local business man George Newnes who had supported other railways in the county and who also had an arteria motive as he lived in the top of Lynton and was sick to the back teeth of bumpy Donkey rides. The whole thing took three years to make and was done non-mechanically.

It’s a listed monument now and was also able to carry cars at one point. It is still going strong and is quite the draw for tourists still. It’s a simple system. Large tanks under the Rail car fill with water until it is heavier than the lower car. The brakeman guides the heavier car down pulling the lighter car up simultaneously and after the 3 quarters point he slowly releases the water so that that the cars switch. Ingenious.


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