What is a packaged bank account or value added bank account?

Where do we start?

Packaged bank accounts and value added accounts come with all sorts of names but in principal offer a deal to account holders for a monthly fee, the norm is to package mobile phone insurance, travel insurance, breakdown cover and charge a monthly fee for the extras. So what names do these accounts go under? There are literally hundreds so lets start with just a sample from the main high street providers.

RBS Royalties gold account £12.95pm

Lloyds Premier Current account £25pm

Natwest Advantage Gold £12.95pm

Halifax Ultimate reward current account £12.50pm

Santander Premium current account £20pm

Barclays Additions active £15pm

How do you decide what is right for you? The big thing with packaged bank accounts and added value accounts is to firstly figure out what you need and then establish the level of cover that is offered through the relevant account type. Just to make it more complicated each bank listed above has a variety of fee based accounts.

Checking cover is extremely important, what you don’t want is to cancel your mobile phone or breakdown cover to find that you cant make a claim when you need it. On the otherside of packaged bank accounts you may find that paying no interest on your packaged account overdraft is a real benefit!

Typical products on offer within packaged bank accounts: –

  • Mobile phone insurance, including iPhones
  • Car breakdown cover for on the road or your driveway
  • Annual worldwide multi-trip travel insurance –  may include winter sportsand may not
  • Home emergency cover with a 24 hour helpline for assistance
  • Dine out at over 700 UK restaurants for 25% less
  • 10% off selected holidays and flights
  • Save up to 60% at over 21,000 hotels
  • Complimentary access to UK airport lounges
  • 25% cash-back on top gigs and live shows
  • 10% off home and car insurance
  • Extended warranty cover on domestic electrical goods
  • Tailored rates on your credit card, personal loans (except online loans) and mortgages
  • Interest free or reduced interest overdrafts
  • Discounts on loan interest rates
  • Discounts on credit card interest rates
  • Shopping discounts
  • Airmiles / other points schemes
  • Cashback incentives
  • Free ATM use abroad

As you can see the list feels endless and can either offer very good or very bad value for money. The message is to check what you want out of an account.  You can also claim back your fees at http://bankaccountability.co.uk and your PPI claims  at Claims Winner PPI Claims

Gazebos and Party Tents

You will be amazed at the wide variety of gazebos for sale that are available online and right for your budget. It can come in a specific shape, material, and style that complement your garden scenery and your impeccable taste. If you are looking around for a perfect gazebo for you, do check out this guide first.

What is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a structure that provides shelter or a place to rest in a landscape such as in a park, garden, or any outdoor space. It can be a tent-style or a pavilion structure that is open on all sides for sufficient ventilation. Aside from providing shade to its occupants, a gazebo is also used as a focal point or ornamental feature in a backyard. It blends well with your well-manicured garden and exquisite flowers.

Benefits of Gazebo

A gazebo is the perfect spot to relax and commune with nature. You can bring here your favorite book read and enjoy the quiet moment with yourself. It lends a great ambiance for barbecue parties and special night out which could be just right outside your backyard.

Types of Gazebo

The gazebos for sale in the market can be created depending on your objective for desiring one or the type of occasion. It comes in different shapes such as round, octagon, hexagon, rectangular, or square. The size of the sides will vary based on the style that you will choose. The color would again depend on your chosen design. Colors such as green, white, or natural wood are some of the usual choices.

The canopy of a gazebo can be made with heavier materials (wood or wrought iron) or with other lighter materials (canvas or fabric).

With modern innovations, you can now purchase the components of your gazebo in precut or ready-to-install panels. Building one type of a gazebo should not really be that challenging because a gazebo kit is bundled in with the required hardware and instructions that you can follow. It is a nice DIY (Do-It-Yourself) project that you can complete in a weekend or two.

Here are the eight (8) types of gazebos for sale that are familiar with the home and garden enthusiasts:

1) Pavilion

This type covers a big area and typically has a 12-sided opening and tiered roof design. The materials used can be wood (cedar, pine, or redwood) or polyester canvass for stability. It is enjoying outdoor living in great style. With its wide space, it can also serve as an extra room during an outdoor camping.

2) Hexagonal

This is the most common type of gazebos for sale that you would find in a normal backyard. It has 6 sides and is usually made of wood. It is a free standing structure and you can add another tier of roof to its existing one. Installing benches and railings will ensure that you have comfortable bonding moments with your family and friends during backyard parties.

3) Wedding

Most couples are opting to hold their wedding ceremony at the beach or in a whimsical garden. It is just the right backdrop to say your wedding vows. A beautifully decorated wedding gazebo adds charm and elegance to a wedding ceremony. You can either rent this gazebo or build it from a kit. It may be as small as a hexagonal gazebo but you may consider getting a bigger size if you wish to also hold your reception in this gazebo.

A wedding gazebo that is getting popular with modern couples is the wrought iron gazebo dome. It looks fantastic when you decorate it with fresh flowers, garlands, or ribbons. Adding some garden lights provides that special spark for the evening. This gazebo is made of wrought iron from top to button so this is something to consider if you wish to have some extra protection or shade during the ceremony.

4) Rotunda

There are some great rotunda gazebos for sale that can serve as a sort of summer house for your family due to its large size. This type of gazebo is circular in shape and has a domed roof.

5) Pop up

A pop up gazebo is a free standing structure that can lend you the much needed shelter in a matter of minutes. It serves as a temporary protection especially when the rain comes down in the middle of your garden party or a big outdoor event. They are designed to be portable, with ground stakes and carrying bag bundled in the kit.

When choosing a pop up gazebo, make sure that the material is of quality and waterproof. Stay away from the cheap canvass canopy. One style can have screens or walls that can be rolled down to completely enclose the gazebo space. This feature keeps the bugs out which is good.

6) Hot Tub

Simply imagining yourself in a hot tub after a long day at work is pure bliss. It is made more special by bringing the hot tub outside to enjoy the beauty of nature and the gentle caress of the wind. Relaxing back with a champagne flute in your hands is the ultimate height of luxury. A hot tub gazebo is usually designed with a flat wall on one side and an oval wall on the other.

7) Pergola

A pergola gazebo is a long covered walkway that is supported by pillars. The ceiling is framed with an open lattice and vines are weaving in and out of the lattice for a romantic touch. It serves as an awesome passageway or shelter to cross over between two buildings.

Pagoda

If you love the structure of a Pagoda Temple then you can extend this similar style to the Pagoda gazebo that you will be creating. It mimics the pagoda roofs from ancient eastern culture and you can set it to have multiple layers to serve as towers. Adding a Temple Pagoda lighted fountain and Solar Pagoda lights in this gazebo would complete your ultimate Zen experience.

It is fun choosing the right type for you among the available party tents for sale that you can see online. Within the intimate space of a perfect gazebo, you are provided the chance to create more fond memories with your family especially on summer days.

Plevin PPI Case – Can you Claim again?

In 2009, a lady called Susan Plevin successfully recovered her Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) in relation to a facility she had with Paragon.  Once Mrs Plevin had received her PPI refund, she became suspicious regarding another transaction that she became aware of, which was that 72% of the premium went to a third party by way of a commission.  She then began a legal challenge regarding this commission, which had not been disclosed to her when she took out the loan facility in 2006, which went against other rulings in the past.

Susan Plevin took out a loan of £34,000 in 2006 to which was added £5780 premium for PPI. Of that premium £4910 was taken in commission by the firms that arranged it leaving £1630 as the actual cost of the insurance. So nearly 72% of the premium went in commission. None of those figures were revealed to her and she brought a claim in 2009 that the PPI deal was unfair because the amount of commission was not disclosed to her. The Supreme Court agreed. http://paullewismoney.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/fca-is-wrong-on-plevin-redress.html

What the Court agreed

Eventually, through the various court processes that Mrs Plevin had to follow, she successfully won a Supreme Court ruling (so basically it cannot be challenged) and Paragon agreed to it.  This overturned a previous court decision and agreed with Mrs Plevin that the commission paid by the firm should have been disclosed to her.  This ruling was made in November 2014.  Whilst we do not know the specific details of Mrs Plevin’s case, we do understand that she received a refund of the commission that was paid to the third party because the firm did not disclose it at the time the loan was taken out and it was not disclosed within the paperwork that Mrs Plevin signed.

There is one area that the Court did not cover and that is the level of refund that anyone in this position is entitled to.  This has led the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to become involved and decide how the ruling regarding Plevin v Paragon should be addressed.

In Plevin the Supreme Court considered whether non-disclosure of the commission paid to a lender or intermediary out of a PPI premium could make the lender’s relationship with the consumer unfair under s. 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA). It concluded that although there was no regulatory requirement for firms to disclose commission there might be a tipping point where the commission becomes so large that the relationship cannot be regarded as fair (taking into account all circumstances) if the customer is kept in the dark. In Mrs Plevin’s case 71.8% of the premium she paid was taken as commission. The court regarded this as “beyond the tipping point” but did not indicate exactly where the tipping point lay. Mrs Plevin’s case had to be remitted to the County Court for that court to decide what relief if any should be granted taking into account all of Mrs Plevin’s individual circumstances and the specific facts of her case.
https://www.dlapiper.com/en/uk/insights/publications/2016/10/banking-disputes-quarterly/ppi-complaints/

What the FCA have decided

Since the Court ruling of Plevin v Paragon in November 2014, the FCA has attempted to work out how to deal with the consequences of any hidden commission being paid to third parties by lenders where PPI has been applied.

Get a Free PPI Check

Whilst the Court has decided that it is unfair, it did not decide within its ruling at what level any commission payments should be addressed.  Therefore, the FCA is looking at this further and working out how best to deal with it.  There are of course arguments that all of the commission paid should be refunded because none of it was disclosed.  The FCA has initially come back and stated that it believes that probably between 40% to 50% of it is acceptable and that the balance should be refunded.

However, there are bound to be further challenges regarding this and lenders will probably treat these claims on a case-by-case basis.  We believe, however, that any commission that was not detailed should be refunded, together with statutory interest as, let’s be honest, the lenders should not have been making this payment and, if they were making this payment, they should of course have disclosed it within their documentation at the point of sale!

Following feedback off the back of a consultation paper published in November last year, the FCA has now settled on a proposal package regarding PPI complaints. These proposals aim to bring about a definite and satisfactory conclusion to the PPI issue, by addressing the following:

Commission: profits made from the sale of PPI policies will be readdressed and included within the framework of what constitutes fair consumer treatment, as large profit shares cultivate an unfair relationship between the lender and client.

Rebates: refunds made to customers upon cancellation of a PPI policy will be taken into consideration when calculating redress for a complaint, likely leading to reduced redress amounts.

Varying commission rates: new regulations will clarify how to ensure fairness and calculate redress in situations where commission rates or profit shares have varied throughout the duration of the PPI policy.

https://www.grovelands.co.uk/news/financial-conduct-authority-update-on-plevin-vs-paragon/

Bluehost Review – Best WordPress Hosting Providers 2017

Although the aim of this post is to provide an honest, independent review of Bluehost, there was obviously a reason I wrote this review in the first place. What is that reason you may ask? Well, because I love the company of course.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to review five aspects of Bluehost that I love. Some of these points will be obvious to people who already use their services, others will be new and you might want to explore (point 2 for example). If you are researching bluehost before you decide to join with them then I hope this post helps with your decision.

1. Support

There are literally thousands of hosting companies out there these days that it can be hard to know which company to use. However, whether you are a professional webmaster or you want to build your first site, good support is a must.

Bluehost offer support via:

  • Live chat
  • Toll-Free telephone calls
  • Support tickets (email)

This is a standard for most high quality hosting companies, but the different with bluehost is that they actually know what they are doing. You won’t get some pubescent teen on the end of your live chats who doesn’t know what you are talking about, instead you’ll be faced with an experienced professional. On top of that, the live chats are always available, in fact I’ve never seen a time when there was nobody there to speak to you.

This point in itself is the most important reason to choose a host in my opinion.

Affiliate Program

Not only do bluehost offer a great service that you naturally want to shout about, they also give you the opportunity to do that shouting. Their affiliate program offers $65 for every sign-up you can get to their service. In honesty, this is actually lower than the likes of Hostgator who will pay $125 per sign-up if you can get them 21 sign-ups in a month. However, you only receive $50 from hostgator unless you send them more than 5 people in a month which is rare for the average person.

I have been in touch with bluehost personally about their affiliate program, even when I was not a member and they got back to me very promptly with some great advice.

Trust

Bluehost keep online over 800,000 domains which probably means they have over half a million customers. Talk about social proof. Knowing a company can keep over 500,000 people happy month after month is a great sign that you can trust them. Not only that, but my personal experience tells me that I can as well. They constantly deliver quick answers to me and I have never had any problems with backups or database crashes.

Problems common with other hosting companies.

Experience

As I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this post, you always receive people in their support area who know what I’m doing. What I also mentioned was that there are literally thousands of hosting companies to choose from and new ones cropping up all the time. The reason for this is that it is very easy to become a reseller of these larger, professional companies like bluehost and make money if you can get some clients, then rely on someone else for all the server upgrades and support.

I can tell you right now, not many hosting companies can genuinely claim that they have been around since 1996. Well…bluehost can. That’s right, probably before you or I even had decent access to the internet, bluehost were starting their company and hosting websites for thousands of people. The bottom line is simple: they know what they are doing.

Prices

The final thing you have to love bluehost for is their prices, who can complain at a $6.95 per month price tag when you get to host unlimited domains? I’m putting my neck on the line here but you will actually find people in webmaster forums selling hosting with more space for even $2-3 per month.

The problem with this is quite simply that these people are over-selling. If they received 1,000 clients very quickly there is no way they could scale and still offer their solution. Or if you started getting some great traffic to your site they would crumble. You wont have this problem with a company like bluehost.

So, there you have it…5 reasons I love bluehost. Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Are they Reliability, Affordability and Support ?

 If yes, Then you’re on the right track. Bluehost is Highly reliable and perhaps the cheapest on hosting industry with great Service and their 24/7 Customer Support.

Hosting Plans:

Bluehost comes up with three different hosting plans –

  • shared Hosting
  • VPS Hosting
  • Dedicated Hosting

and also

  • Optimized WordPress Hosting

If you are a beginner or going start a new blog or website this Shared Hosting is perfect for you. If you already have a website or blog with heavy traffic then you can go for VPS or Dedicated hosting. They also Offer Optimized WordPress Hosting if you have heavy traffic around 100 million or more.

Shared Hosting Packages:

They have three different shared hosting packages according to your need and One Free Domain with each package-

Details of those Packages:

Basic: Basic package gives you One Website with 50GB disk space with unlimited Bandwidth. Also allows 25 Subdomain and 5 email ID with your domain extension (example@yourdomain.com) each with 100 MB storage space.

  • If you want to create only one website, Basic Package is for you.

Price: $3.49/month (See more info)

Plus: 10 Website with 150GB disk space with unlimited Bandwidth. 50 Subdomain and 100 Email with 500MB per email storage. It also includes global CDN (Content Delivery Network) and 1 SpamExperts .

  • If you have multiple domain and you want to add them into one hosting, go with the “plus” package. It allows to use up to 10 Addon Domain.

Price: $5.59/month (See more info)

Business Pro: Actually This package Offers Everything is Unlimited. Unlimited Websites with Unlimited Disk Space and Unlimited Bandwidth. With Global CDN (Content Delivery Network) , 2 SpamExperts, 1 SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), 1 Dedicated IP, 1 Domain Privacy, Site Backup Pro.

  • If you need to use HTTPS,  go for the business pro package which i included with one dedicated I.P and SSL.

Price: $13.95/month (See more info)

Service Detail: 

Bluehost gives the users some Special facilities like One click WordPress Installation, Custom Control Panel, and 99.9% uptime guarantee. You can upgrade or downgrade your plan anytime you want. 24/7 Customer support for users via Chat, email and phone. Bluehost also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, if you are not happy with their hosting, you can cancel your account within the first 30 days and get a full refund!

Yeah, there are some bad review about there customer support. But remember who offers 24/7 customer support every single day of the year?

If you’re looking for cheap hosting with great service, you’re definitely looking for bluehost. $3.49 per month which is less than a cup of Coffee or a bottle of beer. This is one of the cheapest hosting with one of the best service provider in the field of web hosting and also offers a free domain.

How can a hosting be unlimited!

Actually its not unlimited. Yeah, I mean it. They also have fair usage policy but the space and bandwidth they provide is approximately unlimited.

Once I had a online photo blog with huge collection of photos. But surprisingly I wasn’t even close to the limit. Even if you have heavy load of traffic on your site at a time it won’t go offline.

There are over 2 million websites worldwide hosted with bluehost that’s enough to show their level of trust. and if you search on google about bluehost review, you’ll find around 8,00,000 search result and almost everyone suggests to go with Bluehost.  Their hosting is trusted by most of the webmasters and bloggers because it has been providing hosting service from the year 1996. Over the years it has kept gaining customers which is mainly because of the quality of its hosting the amazing customer support and also for their policy and price.

Is it suitable for you ?

Compare with other hosting providers and then go for your decision . The link below contains a discount coupon if you’re interested.

Get all the other info and contact info on their official site here.

Guide to Cheap Stock Photos for Blogs in 2017

A source of high quality stock photos is an essential tool for all WordPress bloggers. From illustrating web pages to accompanying blog posts, they form part of the visitor experience and are an essential part of creating a WordPress site that looks authentic and professional.

With research showing that images alongside content help to hold the attention of the reader and maintain their concentration span, it’s even more important that they are utilised in order to push key messages and to engage with the target audience.

There are a wide number of sites which hold millions of images; some are available for download at no cost, and for others there is a charge per photo or through a subscription package.

With this in mind, it was decided to carry out a review of 11 of the most popular stock photo sites to see:

How wide a choice they offer when popular search terms were used
The quality of the results for commercial use
Whether there was a cost attached
All of these sites could provide stock photos for your WordPress blog.

Our Stock Photo Search Criteria

To ensure consistency, the same search keywords were used each time. We used a mix of popular digital marketing phrases, and then two general terms where the results may be required for the needs of a particular client.

They were:

  • Blogging
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • Portugal
  • Healthcare

The results aren’t ranked in any way, but give a comprehensive overview of the range and quality of the findings at the time of the review.

Our Stock Photo Resources


Site: Flickr

Cost: Free – but ensure that the copyright holder has given permission to download

Flickr is the first choice for many bloggers searching for royalty-free images. It’s a service which is constantly evolving.

With a new image recognition tool used now as standard, all user photos are tagged with keywords and geo tags. This makes searching more straightforward. The images are presented in a beautiful layout, and the simple search function means it’s a one stop shop for general use.

Flickr requires a Yahoo account, but once you’re a member, you can follow photographers and gather your own favourite images. You can also share and download them, if the member permits.

It’s important to only download images legally available, by applying the correct filter. On the screen where Any License is displayed, clicking on this will reveal a number of options. Be sure to select Commercial Use Allowed.

Flickr is great for generic searches, but sp,e niche keywords yield limited results.

Site: StockFresh

Cost: Monthly packs, Pay as You Go credits or Daily Subscriptions

StockFresh provided excellent results for all our test keywords, including high quality stock photos and vector graphics. Signing up is free, quick and easy and there are some really useful search tools to narrow down the results; image type, size and even the number of people in the image.

Bloggers can purchase images quickly, and all choices were clearly described as to the cost per image. It was also good to see that when flicking between the different packages, the price per image changed accordingly.

big stock

Site: BigStock

Cost: Daily and monthly subscriptions, with free trials available

With over 28 million images available, BigStock delivered good results on the review keywords. The pricing for photos is good value and the range of packages available is easy to understand.

Vectors can be a little more expensive, so we’d recommend trying some of the other sites first if you are looking for illustrations. But for photos to accompany web pages or WordPress blogs, this is an excellent site to choose.

Bigstock says its staff pride themselves on their high level of live chat customer service.

getty images

Site: Getty Images

Cost: Various subscriptions, including exclusive rights

Known for many years as a premium provider of stock images, Getty Images has a fantastic array of consistently relevant and high quality photos. Every keyword produced thousands of results and it assists by offering autofill options as you type in the search box.

The website is easy to navigate, and as they have localised sites for many languages, it’s a great choice when working with clients in other parts of the world. There are over 35 million images available, and it’s possible to purchase the exclusive rights of an image to ensure it’s not used by anyone else in any kind of media.

The only main issues are that pricing varies per image, and the way in which the image is used. It’s not possible to know the cost unless logged in and an account has been created; you then have to click Calculate to work it out. For a blogger, this could be a little too time consuming.

google images

Site: Google Images

Cost: free

Google Images is popular image search engine the world over, but care must be taken to use it legally. There’s no charge for any images here, but it’s important to filter correctly.

Before searching, click on Search Tools, then Usage Rights and finally Labeled for Reuse. Almost any generic keyword will result in a good choice of images, but because they are scraped from Google’s search results, the resolution or photographic quality isn’t guaranteed.

We got good results for all of our test words and phrases. More unusual searches yielded limited results, and very popular words can often serve up non-relevant images.

If you have the time, this is a good way to source blog images for free.

Site: iStock

Cost: A small number of free images, as well as Pay as You Go and subscription plans

iStockPhoto is run by Getty Images and is a great choice for bloggers wanting royalty-free low cost images. Using the keywords produced a huge range of fantastic images, although the site was a little more challenging to navigate for general searches.

The fact the images are often lower resolution is reflected in the prices, but they are more than adequate for use on a WordPress blog. Small resolution can actually be desirable, since you’ll eat up less of your web hosting space.

The pay as you go pricing means there’s no need to commit to buying iStock credits up front, so you aren’t tied in to a huge spend. Each month there is a free photo and a free illustration to download; these may not be of use immediately, but they are well worth grabbing for a future project.

Site: Fotolia

Cost: Various; credits, daily plans and monthly subscriptions available, as are corporate packages

Fotolia has expansive selection of photos, illustrations and vectors available for all the keywords in our test.

As well as a straight forward selection of purchase packages, multi-user subscriptions are available for companies that have more than one person sourcing images. They also offer a choice of licenses; standard or extended depending on the intended use.

The images can be found through searching for keywords or by browsing their three collections; Core, Infinite and Instant. Each one gathers certain groups of images together, although searching this way didn’t seem to enhance the user experience to any particular benefit.

shutterstock

Site: Shutterstock

Cost: Three packages; Basic, Professional or Team

With 10,000 new images added to their library every day, it’s no surprise that Shutterstock is one of the most popular royalty free stock image sites on the net. All the keywords returned excellent results; the search term communication offered an immense selection of over 2.7 million photos, illustrations and vectors to choose from.

Shutterstock also provides related keywords, which is good if you’re looking to expand on specific topics and are a little stuck for ideas. They also have a rather interesting tab called Undiscovered where you can be the first to download images which match your search. This would be a great way to diversify your WordPress blog.

With three basic plans to choose from, this is a site where you can be downloading very quickly rather than spending precious time picking through the numerous options offered by other sites and wondering which really is the best value.

stocksnap

Site: Stocksnap.io

Cost: Free and no attribution is required

Whilst images are free at Stocksnap.io, searching was a disappointing experience. The image library is updated weekly, but it is rather thin. At the time of review, there were no images at all for one of our test terms (communication).

Whilst blogging gave us 12 results, the images were of laptops, or a person making notes next to a laptop – not entirely releant. The images felt dated, too, although all were high quality.

stock up

Site: Stock Up

Cost: Free

SiteBuilderReport is a website builder reviews site. It has its own aggregaged search engine for images, called Stock Up. The tool searches 26 free for use image sites, which sounds like a dream find for bloggers.

Stock Up is a great idea in concept, but there is a way to go before it offers a breadth of results. On the search terms used the results were fairly fuzzy. Our search for blogging served up results of trees cut down; logging.

For some bloggers, this could be a great place to find images. Hopefully it will continue to grow. At the moment, it’s worth a look for quite general free stock photos.

The Best Site For Cheap Stock Photos

So what’s our favourite site to source photos for a blog? It depends.

There are so many stock photo sites vying for attention, that you need to approach search in a strategic way. Images don’t have to cost a great deal to convey a message, but they do need to be relevant and look professional.

You’ll get the best results if you decide in advance:

What kind of blog the images are needed for
How many photos you need for your blog
The amount you are willing to spend (if anything)
If budget is tight, Google Images and Flickr offer cost effective solutions, although it may take time to find a free image with the correct licensing rights. Sometimes the resolution isn’t that good, either. Understanding photo licensing rules is important if you’re searching public repositories, so take great care to only choose things you can re-use legally on your blog.

Also, think longevity; don’t choose a style or shot which can date quickly, and avoid overly posed photos and illustrations of little white characters in business attire. Vectors are currently on-trend, but can be a little more expensive than traditional photos.

For good quality blog stock photos, you might need to reach for your credit card to get something that does your blogging justice. If you’re prepared to do so, we recommend Shutterstock for usability, and iStock for simplicity and choice.

Do you have a favourite that we didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll cover it in a future article.

Custom Made Personalised Wooden Wine Box

Wooden personalised wine boxes come in a huge variety of styles and sizes. They add a touch of old world class to one of today’s most sought after gift items – finely packaged wine.

What to Consider when Buying a Personalised Wooden Wine Box

Next consider the type of wood and the finish. Unfinished pine is a popular choice due to its cost, feel, and smell. Distressed woods are becoming more common because of their interesting finish and unique look. Boxes accented with gold, silver, or other metal rivets as well as handles or straps made from leather or other sturdy fabrics add a touch of style.

Many manufacturers are adding art to their wine boxes. From calio images pressed into the wood to laser engraved or heat engraved logos, the sky is truly the limit with customizing the look of your wooden wine box.

Some manufacturers are also able to add hinges made of weathered metal. They can also add decorative plaques that can be customized with your personal message.

Today’s personalised  wine boxes typically hold just one bottle of wine, but depending on the manufacturer you can find boxes that hold two, three, or even more bottles. Look at the interior of the wine box to make sure that it has appropriate dividers. Some boxes are lined with padded fabric or velvet to protect their precious contents. Others include wood shavings or decorative paper to add protection.

In addition to the fine quality that wood offers, some manufacturers provide alternative materials that are less expensive but still functional. High gloss cardboard, press board, or paper board can be customized with special artwork and unique colors that can add to the branding or impact of the box. Tote boxes, often made of cardboard, are specially cut and fabricated to create handles that make for easy carrying of boxes which can become a bit heavy when the bottles of wine are stored inside.

When looking for wine boxes, consider accessories which nicely accompany the box itself. Sommelier cork screws, wing corkscrews, bottle stoppers, stemware, and even chocolates are wonderful accompaniments to wine delivered in a sturdy and decorative wooden wine box. Other gifts that work well with wine include cheese, fine meat, fruit, candy, and baked goods like cookies, cakes, petits fours, and sweet biscuits.

Selecting a wooden wine gift box is a very personal decision. Take your time to select the right wood, exterior finish, interior padding, and accompanying gifts. The receiver of your fine gift will be truly impressed.

Axe Philips Norelco XA4003 Stubble Trimmer Review 2017

There comes a point in a man’s life when he decides to grow out a small beard or a goatee which usually requires maintenance and if you recognize yourself here then you should look into getting a beard trimmer. Tools of this kind will basically allow you to keep your facial hair at a certain length while maintaining a clean look. If you take a look at the most in demand male movie stars or modern day CEO’s, you’ll notice most are rocking a designer stubble look.

The rage as of the last few years is a slightly rugged look and stubble. These can even prove helpful when it comes to defining your face. It’s definitely one of the coolest looks out there and always has been. People have gone as far as to wear this stubble look to appear smarter and more mature at the office, but conversely it can backfire if not done right.

There are a few things you should look out for when choosing a trimmer: The overall precision, the attachments it comes with (so you can manage the length), safety options and battery life. Sure, there are other accessories you can benefit from like a vacuum but those are the basics any quality trimmer should offer you to start with.

Sensitive Skin? Problem Solved

Assuming you’re a guy with overly sensitive skin and you’re frequently experiencing rashes after shaving, you might find trimming to be the perfect solution to your problem as you’ll be far less inclined to shave.

If you look at the different options at your disposal, they’ll vary based on price and basic functionality so most “top trimmer” lists out there can make this research aspect confusing for a guy with no prior experience. Fact is, the most expensive trimmer doesn’t necessarily equate to an ideal solution for you although you could always benefit from multi-functionality.

The craziest thing about trimmers unlike other grooming accessories is that their basic functionality tends to be the same so one of the best trimmers is also among the least expensive – the Axe Philips Norelco XA4003 Stubble Trimmer.

Ideal For First-Timers

If this is your first time purchasing a trimmer, there’s a whole list of reasons why this should be your top choice and it has nothing to do with price. First, you’ll get 20 length settings that you can lock starting from .5 mm to 10 mm. This is paired up with a number of styling options which in plain old English means less maintenance. It gets the job done. Why waste hundreds of dollars purchasing a trimmer just to find out it’s not for you?

This little trimmer doesn’t have fancy features and LCD displays but the good news is that your beard won’t care. The biggest misconception people have about trimmers is that more features equate better functionality and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The bottom line when it comes to functionality is that the Axe requires minimal maintenance, offers plenty of function (yet is simple to use) and is budget-friendly – this is all you’ll need. Proof enough of that is the fact that its Amazon ratings are the best a trimmer can get and you probably won’t be looking to upgrade any time soon.

What Are Other Men Saying?

Before trying it out ourselves, we had a look at some of the reviews left by regular users. Most claim it’s great for using it at home or the gym. It’s compact enough to carry around and offers plenty of usable adjustment settings.

To Conclude

The bottom line with the Axe Philips Norelco XA4003 Stubble Trimmer is that it’s a great first timer because it offers something for most men and gets the job done perfectly. Even if you have sensitive skin and you’re worried about making a mistake because you have shaky hands, the buzz on it is very quiet and it doesn’t vibrate strongly. Top that off with an insanely low price tag and the Axe XA4003 is basically a no-brainer.

Conair for Men i-Stubble Stubble Trimmer Review 2017

Have you ever wondered how certain movie stars and good looking famous people can maintain stubble constantly? The reality is that these people have barbers at their disposal daily so they likely aren’t doing the work themselves. Conversely, the good news is that you can maintain stubble of this kind using nothing more than a beard trimmer and learning how to trim your stubble to a precise level that you feel is right.

  1. This is actually a lot easier than it seems and instead of cursing at your facial hair for adding an additional 10 minutes to your morning routine, you can actually turn it into your main fashion accessory! Picking up a trimmer that does the job for you will have you feeling fresh and give you that clear look, day after day.

Conair’s iStubble is a prime example of a trimmer that allows you to make this happen – You can use it to maintain your pre-defined stubble and this can range from a shadowy stubble look to a small beard. It’s so simple to use, there are only 3 buttons: The on/off switch and 2 length changers. There are basically 15 length settings and it won’t take you more than a single try to get in the hang of it. It’s really one of the best investments you could make as a man.

The main selling point of the i-Stubble is the fact that you can electronically monitor your length control (main feature for trimmers) and choose exactly the length you want, down to the last millimeter. The LCD display it comes with shows exactly that and when you select it, it basically adjusts to the curvature of your face thus letting you try out different contours as you go along. There’s even a quick charge system that you can use and no annoying cords to deal with. You can use it at home, on the road or even the gym.

Movement/How It Feels On Your Face

This is something that mostly worries men with no prior trimming experience and it’s a very legitimate concern. You’d be glad to know that it feels good. It has a main pivoting head they refer to as a “floating head” but the bottom line is that it works like it’s supposed to. It gently glides around your facial curves and you feel no pressure.

It moves very quick, feels solid as you’re holding it (not like it’s going to slip) and the weight is evenly balanced out. You can tell the manufacturers have put in a lot of thought into their practical detail.

What About Maintenance?

We took some time to compare this trimmer to similar trimmers and noticed a big difference – you no longer have to pass it back and forth just so you can get that nicely evened out trim. It also has a blade that pretty much doesn’t require maintenance. We recommend you oil the blades from time to time just to make sure, and all you have to do is use a few drops of oil. Get it going for a few seconds and wipe it after.

As mentioned, the floating head will give you that nicely evened out trim and it instantly adjusts to the contours of your face. This is ideal for trickier areas such as the chin where you really need to get that consistent length right. Maintenance with it boils down to rinsing it with a bit of water.

Main Advantages Summary:

  • Low/affordable price tag.
  • Only takes a bit more than an hour to fully charge.
  • You can use it to maintain a whisker, beard, stubble, goatee or mustache.
  • The battery life is around 45 minutes so you’ll use it at least a dozen times before recharging.
  • 2 year warranty included.
  • Plenty of adjustment options, although simple to use.
  • Bonus blades.

Conclusion/What People Are Saying

Don’t just take our word for it, you’ll notice that the overwhelming majority of feedback the Conair for Men i-Stubble receives is positive. All you do is push a button to get it going and if you’ve set the settings once, it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to maintain your perfect beard length.

If all that you’re interested in is maintaining that designer stubble and you never want to shave again due to sensitive skin, this is easily the solution to your problem. Add to that an attractively low price tag and it’s definitely worth the investment. You’ll be able to maintain your beard and never accidentally find yourself pulling hairs in the process.

Top Rated Stubble Trimmers – Best Stubble Trimmer Reviews 2017

There was a time when facial hair could only be cut and trimmed with ordinary razors. And although you still have the option to do so, there are now much more convenient and easier ways of managing and maintaining facial hair. In fact, if you are one who loves the stubble look, there are now trimmers designed specifically for just that. Stubble trimmers allow you to achieve a high-end, professional facial hair style, without the expensive price tag of a barber shop.

Technology has come a lot way in creating high-end, affordable stubble trimmers that get the job done without much effort. If you’re searching for one of the top rated stubble trimmers of 2017, you’ve come to the right place. Recently, we researched and reviewed which ones’ are actually worth spending money on.

Conair for Men i-Stubble Trimmer

The Conair for Men i-Stubble Trimmer is made of metal and plastic materials. The design employs a unique floating mechanism to allow it to track the contours of your face effectively. This design makes for an efficient shaving while also providing accuracy and safety.

The blades are electro-chemically formed to ensure sharpness and efficiency for a long time. This makes them durable with constant use over the course of several years. With the exposure to moist environments, this trimmer will not result in corrosion and dullness.

The i-Stubble is ergonomically designed to facilitate ease of use and manageability. It measures 3.5 x 7.2 x 11 inches and weighs around 14.4 ounces – so it’s really very easy to hold onto and trim your facial hair to your preferred style.

It comes with an LCD display that gives you a clear indication on a few different things. Aside from displaying the level of battery, you can also use it to program and monitor the length of cut that you’re using. The length control functionality allows you to program the length anywhere from 0.4mm to 5mm which gives you a lot of leeway to cut and style your facial hair to your exact specifications.

The precise length settings allow for versatility too. Yes, you can use this for stubbles; but it also works in managing and maintaining mustaches, beards, goatees, and more. It is up to you to decide if you want to go for short styles or long styles when cutting and trimming.

Since the i-Stubble is equipped with a rechargeable battery, you can use it conveniently without worrying about getting tangled up with its cord. It charges quickly too, so you will always have a convenient way of shaving your facial hair. Through Amazon.com, you can currently pick up this stubble trimmer from Conair for about $46.

 Philips Norelco QT4070 Beard TrimmerPhilips Norelco QT4070/41 Beard Trimmer 7300

The Philips Norelco QT4070/41 Beard Trimmer 7300 is the perfect all-around shaving device that will help you achieve any look imaginable. Made of very high quality metal and plastic materials, this is a lightweight, durable and rust-resistant model that’s one of Philip’s most popular models.

It employs a vacuum system that automatically sucks in freshly cut hair into a separate chamber. Because of this feature, you can expect a mess-free bathroom sink every time you use it.

There are 18 secured hair length settings with the Norelco QT4070/41. You can program it to cut anywhere from 1mm to 18mm. A stubble setting of 5mm is also present in one of the settings, which gives men free-range to create a fantastic stubble appearance.

It also comes with a turbo power button. Pressing on this button will boost the cutting speed and fan speed as well, giving you more power and glide through even the thickest of beards.

Running on either a battery or wall outlet, you can use it plugged in, or you can utilize its cordless functionality. It has a built-in lithium ion battery that allows for up to 50 minutes of use on a single charge. Charging it is just as trouble-free as it only takes an hour to achieve a full charge.

Since it comes with a multi-functional LCD display, you can easily program and monitor the length settings. You can also check its battery life to see how much trimming you’re left to do before you have to plug it in again.

Men need not worry about blade maintenance too, as the Philips Norelco QT4070/41 is equipped with stay-sharp blades. There’s no lubricating and oiling required in keeping the blades in top condition which makes it virtually maintenance-free.

The adjustable comb makes it a safe use on the most sensitive parts of the body. It follows the curves on your face so that cuts and nicks can be avoided.

Measuring 7.3 x 7.7 x 10.8 inches and weighing approximately 1 pound, this stubble trimmer is easy to handle and maneuver over the contour of the face and body. Additionally, the Philips Norelco QT4070/41 is priced at about $49, making it not only affordable, but a very popular trimmer.

Phillips Norelco stubble trimmer qt4014-42Philips Norelco QT4014/42 BeardTrimmer 3500

Equipped with 20 built-in length settings of 0.5mm to 10mm, you can customize the Philips Norelco QT4014/42 BeardTrimmer 3500 according to your exact preferences. The locking feature guarantees safe and precise cuts every time you put it to use.

The QT4014/42 BeardTrimmer 3500 uses titanium blades which are well-known for ever-lasting sharpness even without any maintenance. So unlike standard blades, you’re not required to oil or lubricate the blades whatsoever.

Since it comes with rounded tips and a safety comb, you can use it effectively without exposing yourself to unwanted nicks and cuts. Such design is also effective in avoiding skin irritations and abrasion.

Many are happy to know that you can use it with a cord or without a cord. It has a high performing rechargeable battery that can last up to 90 minutes on a single charge. To achieve a full charge, it only takes about an hour. If the battery is drained and you don’t have the time to wait and fully charge it, simply plug it into an electrical outlet.

Measuring 2.6 x 5.9 x 9.6 inches and weighing about 0.3 ounces, this model is very easy to use. It’s compact and lightweight, so you won’t suffer from hand and/or wrist fatigue while using it.

It comes in a complete package too, so you can immediately use it after opening the box. Aside from the unit itself, it comes included with a power cord/charging cable and beard comb. There’s also several cleaning brushes included to help you maintain it and keep it clean for the long run. Many are surprised to find out that the Philips Norelco QT4014/42 BeardTrimmer 3500 isn’t all that expensive either. In fact, you can find it on Amazon.com for just under $35.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re in search of a new stubble trimmer because you have never owned one, or you need one that’s going to last for years to come, we feel that we’ve given you a clear understanding of some of the best rated stubble trimmers for 2015. Although everyone has their own preferences, we think that any one of these three models work exceptionally well at creating a fresh, handsome stubble appearance.