What types of timber exist for furniture?

There is nothing lovelier than receiving your delivery of office furniture inlcuding Reception Chairs and desks from sites like bestbuy-officechairs.co.uk/reception-chairs/ and ripping open the pack to try it out.   a piece of bespoke furniture commissioned just for you.  Beautiful custom pieces really do last the test of time and provide a one-off, meaningful piece that can become a family heirloom over time.

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Wooden bespoke furniture is always a highly popular choice, but what types of wood are available? Your designer will be able to show you a range that will suit different colour preferences, finishes and budgets, from the palest English ash through to dark Indian rosewoods.

Black walnut

For something dark and unusual, try black walnut. There are American, African and European types available and all have a rich, dark hue, a medium textured grain and a noticeable wave. It polishes and stains very well and looks great made into table legs, chests, tables and chairs.


Ash is a springy and tough timber that finishes well and looks great stained. Try it for chests, chairs, tables and wood turning. If you are looking for bespoke commercial desks, reclaimed timber can be a lovely choice. In addition to being beautiful to look at, it will be an eco-friendly and sustainable choice.


Beech is immediately recognizable by its grain flecks. It has an even, smooth texture and a colour that ranges from a pinkish brown through to a very pale cream. It is also dense and heavy and stains well. Try it for kitchen furniture or living room furniture.


This is a lovely orange timber with a fine grain that becomes redder and darker as it is exposed to light, making it a common alternative to mahogany. It is commonly used for fine cabinetry.


Elm is tricky to get hold of, but it is a truly wonderful timber with a range of tints naturally occurring in the grain, pronounced growth rings, and a coarse texture. It is fantastic for bedroom furniture.


The classic British timber, oak is wonderful for character projects where an aged or rustic look is required. It works for all types of project and, with care, it will last forever.


Maple is a beautiful cream colour and one of the palest timbers you can find. It has a very smooth finish that polishes very well and is perfect for doors, chairs and work surfaces.

2019’s Coolest Tech Toys For Kids

Every year sees scores of thrilling technology-related toys launched every month so that, by the end of the year, the range is vast, and it all seems so tempting. The best tech toys of 2019 keep up the tradition of encouraging children to develop their creativity, cognitive and motor skills while having fun.

Some of them can even help make parents’ jobs a little easier. From robot teddy bears, to a robot 3D printing set, these are the toys that have got kids and parents talking this year.

FurReal Cubby the Curious Bear

Hasbro is no stranger to producing robotic toys for children. However, Cubby the Curious Bear, the latest addition to the FurReal line, is in a class of its own. The bear can use its arms to play peek-a-boo, it can move its ears and snout, and it can blink. Touch sensors on the body, mouth, and head, as well as software that can generate more than 100 sound and motion combinations, make interactive play possible. The toy even has a night mode in which it yawns, plays lullabies, and shuts down. Cubby is also durable. Suitable for age 4 and older.

Secret Code

A customizable book with an accompanying free app that makes a great gift for girls, Secret Code lets you cast the recipient as the hero with unique coding skills. The character makes various robots, one of which is a Chorebot that goes haywire. It is up to the reader to figure out how to solve the problem. The app uses AR to animate the young hero’s creations. You can enjoy some action at betting sites in New Zealand while she tries to save the world from her Chorebot. Suitable for ages 4 to 8.

Air Hogs Zero Gravity Lazer

Created by Spin Master, the Air Hogs Zero Gravity Lazer remote-control stunt vehicle does exactly what it says on the box. It defies gravity. The lightweight toy car has a fan on the underside to create the suction power that allows the vehicle to travel up walls and across ceilings. Rather than a traditional remote control, you use a wireless laser pointer. The car senses the light with IR sensors and then chases it. Suitable for age 8 and older.

Lego Hidden Side Graveyard Mystery

Lego’s Hidden Side collection are other 2019 tech toys that use apps with AR. One of the best sets is the Graveyard Mystery, a cemetery with a monstrous tree, gravestones, and even the Angel of Death. Once the set has been built, the app can be used to scan it and find the ghosts that haunt the graveyard. Suitable for age 7 and older.

3Doodler Start Robo Sumo Pen Set

The 3Doodler Start Robo Sumo pen set is sure to make children of all ages happy on Christmas morning this year. The kit contains a translucent pen, a manual, a micro USB charging cord, an activity guide, a cardboard battleground, motors, and 24 plastic strands in different colors. The pen can be used to customize miniature robots that can then be made to fight on the battleground. Suitable for ages 6 to 13.

Essential Apps to Make Christmas Easy

Mobile apps exist for two basic reasons, namely, to help us make the most of our smart devices, and to make modern living easier. This includes celebrating Christmas, an experience that should be joyful, but instead becomes a source of stress that may or may not include murderous thoughts.

Thankfully, tech can change that. It cannot do anything about the sulky in-laws, but it can help manage gift lists, keep track of deliveries, find recipes, and supply a swinging seasonal soundtrack. The following apps have either been designed with the intention of, or can be used for, helping you to have as stress-free a festive season as possible.

Santa’s Bag

Between family, friends, colleagues, and other associates, there are usually all sorts of gifts to buy at Christmas time; so many, that it can be difficult to keep track of it all and to budget accordingly. Santa’s Bag and similar apps are excellent tools for managing your seasonal shopping. You can create an entry for each person, in which you can add a shopping list or gift ideas and set a budget. You also can create shareable lists.


Ordering gifts online is a popular way of avoiding the festive season rush at the shops. The downside, and it is a universal problem, is that keeping track of deliveries has been just about impossible. That was until apps such as Deliveries made it possible to see all your expected parcels in one place. The app provides a countdown to each package’s delivery date, and it lets track the progress on a map. The best Christmas apps offer as much convenience as top-quality online betting on mobile devices does.

Christmas Food

Simply titled Christmas Food, the app is a treasure trove of Yuletide food, including options that cater to special diets. You can find recipes for everything from starters through mains, and on to desserts, drinks, and even party snacks and cater for large crowds. Many celebrity chefs and top food channels and publications have apps that include seasonal sections. They also are reliable sources of a wide range of recipe ideas. You also can use many of them to organize shopping lists.

Elf Yourself

Elf Yourself is one of the best apps you can find for spreading Christmas cheer. With the e-card creating an app, you can upload a photo of yourself and as many as four other people, if you choose, and turn yourself into an elf. You can take it a step further by making the creature do a happy dance for the recipients of your e-card.

Christmas Radio

The aptly-named Christmas Radio app brings together more than 150 different stations dedicated to carols and other seasonal music. You can use the app to choose from stations such as My North Pole Radio, which broadcasts from the North Pole, as well as New Orleans Christmas, Xmas in Frisko, and Christmas Country. You can use it on Wi-Fi and on cellular networks, although the former usually is the more cost-effective option.



South Africa’s Top 5 Historic Wine Estates

South Africa has one of the most tourist-friendly new world wine industries. Its 300-year-long history began shortly after the first Dutch contingent arrived to create a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope, and it continues to this day.

The Dutch did not have much success, and the colony’s few wine farms muddled along until the arrival of the French Huguenots in the late 1600s. The options for touring the Cape Winelands are many. Other than hiring a car and staying at accommodation on estates, you can book into a hotel or guesthouse in the village of Franschhoek, or you can stay in Cape Town or another town, and join an organised day trip. These are the top historic estates to put on your itinerary.

Rustenberg, Stellenbosch

The viticulture potential of the land on which Rustenberg wine estate stands in Stellenbosch was first recognised in 1682. When production began is not clear, but there is a 1692 record that shows a bottle of brandy was sold. 100 years later, the estate was producing approximately 6000 cases of wine. The estate is famous for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. It would go down a treat at the top racing events that you can bet on at the best horse betting sites.

Groot and Klein Constantia, Constantia

Regardless of when Rustenburg’s potential was recognized, Constantia actually is the oldest wine-producing area in South Africa. Simon van der Stel founded it in 1685. The estate was divided over time, with the largest portion eventually being split into the estates still known as Groot (big) and Klein (little) Constantia.Beautiful gardens, rolling hills covered in vineyards and sublime views are all part of the Constantia wine route.

Boschendal, Drakenstein Valley

The history of Boschendal began in 1685, when the Dutch East India Company gave the land to Jean le Long. In 1688, he sold the estate in the Drakenstein Valley near Franschhoek to Abraham de Villiers, who in turn sold it to his brother Jacques de Villiers. It remained in the family until 1879, when it was bought by Cecil John Rhodes, who turned it into a fruit farm. Wine production resumed in 1969, after Anglo American bought the estate. A consortium of investors now owns Boschendal. The picturesque estate is famous not only for its wines, but for the quality of its restaurant that serves everything from caviar to local dishes, accommodation, other facilities, and activities.

Meerlust, Stellenbosch

Founded by Henning Huising in 1693, the Meerlust Estate near Stellenbosch was bought by the Myburgh family in 1756, who have owned it ever since. Various accommodation options are available, and there are mountain bike and hiking trails to help you work up a thirst. The estate produces red and white wines. The Bordeaux-style Rubicon blend comes highly recommended.

Rust enVrede, Stellenbosch

Willem van der Stel founded Rust enVrede (rest and peace) in 1694. It also was divided, but the larger of the two sections continued under the name. For decades, the estate did not produce any wine, but that changed in 1977, when former Springbok rugby player, Jannie Engelbrecht, bought it. The estate’s cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah are always well received.


Essential Food Safety for Travelers

Whether travelers’ food poisoning is known as Delhi Belly, Montezuma’s Revenge, or the Tokyo Trots, the digestive problems it can cause have the power to ruin a holiday. There is no way guaranteed to prevent the ailment unless you stay home, but by following essential food safety tips, you can decrease your chances of being exposed to its causes.

The top tips for food safety while traveling can help protect you from more than a bout of vomiting and diarrhea. They also can help minimize your chances of being exposed to diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid. Food poisoning is more common in developing countries, especially those in Africa and Southeast Asia. Poor personal hygiene, low standards of food storage and production, and contaminated water supplies are largely responsible for the high instances of food poisoning in those regions.

  1. Wash Your Hands

Almost every lesson in good personal hygiene begins with hand washing. When traveling, it is especially important to wash your hands with soap or sanitize and warm water at every available opportunity. Taking a small bottle of water-free soap or hand sanitize also can help keep your hands clean, so the odds of beating germs and infection are more in your favor.

  1. Be Flexible With Your Diet

The food and beverages that people enjoy when they play Aussie slots games online may be alright at home, but, depending on what they are, they may pose serious risks abroad. Be prepared to be flexible without going wild. Avoiding the prawns that you would have eaten if you were at home is no reason to choose the most exotic dish on the menu because the consequences could be just as dire.

  1. Avoid Certain Foods

Although you are not likely to get travelers’ diarrhoea every time you eat certain foods, some items are best avoided when traveling. They include uncooked eggs, fish, meat, and shellfish, as well as exotic meats such as bushmeat, bat, and monkey. Consider avoiding salad and other raw produce, and buy what you do eat from reliable restaurants, vendors, and outlets. Avoid buffets when traveling. Apart from not offering the freshest food that is on offer has usually been reheated several times before being kept at the incorrect temperature.

  1. Beware of Water

Avoid drinking tap water, as well as drinks and even ice made from it, when traveling. Take a reusable bottle with you, and then use apps to help you find purified drinking water. You also can take water purification tablets with you.

  1. Take Over-the-Counter Medication

Take over-the-counter medication that provides relief from vomiting, diarrhea, and other food poisoning symptoms when you travel. If you do fall ill, you will at least have some means of immediate relief. If Delhi Belly does strike, you also should drink purified water to stay hydrated.

  1. Take Non-Perishable Food

Pack a few non-perishable food items into your luggage before setting off on your trip, even if they deviate from your usual diet choices. They could be a lifeline if you find yourself in a place in which your only food option is one you would rather avoid.


5 Best Destinations For Fantasy Fans

Destinations associated with favourite fantasy books and movies offer holidays that can be truly unforgettable. Writers have been inspired by all sorts of locations, and there are many from which to choose.

The problem with being spoiled for choice is knowing where to start looking, and then deciding where to go. A good place to begin is to take a look at a few of the best fantasy book and movie holiday destinations for inspiration, and then take it from there.

Game of Thrones, Croatia

Although Game of Thrones was not filmed entirely in Croatia, the city of Dubrovnik conveys a sense of the hit series in a way that none of the other locations do. While there, which fans will recognize as Kings Landing, you can do walking tours that take you to Blackwater Bay and to the Old Town. Altogether, there are about 19 different locations in the city, so you should be kept busy for a few days.

Lord of the Rings, New Zealand

Peter Jackson filmed much of his stunning interpretations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpieces, the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, in New Zealand. If you head to the beautiful island country, you can go on studio and set tours that are as exciting as what betting sites in New Zealand have to offer. You can explore Bilbo’s house and other places in Hobbiton, as well as the Mill, and the Green Dragon Inn. It also is possible to visit places in which Isengard and Rivendell’s scenes were shot.

Roswell UFO Museum, USA

In 1947, something crashed into the New Mexico desert. The wreckage, reported to include rubber, sticks, and tinfoil, was collected by the US military, and it was taken to the Roswell Army Airfield. Conspiracy theorists generally do not believe the official explanation of the wreck as being that of a nuclear testing balloon. A visit to the UFO Museum and Research Centre in downtown Roswell is the best place to make up your own mind about a defining moment in history, sci-fi, fantasy, and wider popular culture. Try to time your visit to coincide with the UFO festival.

X-Files, Canada

A staple of 90s TV, the X-Files inspired many hours of the office water cooler and neighborhood pub discussions. Decades later, the show still inspires devotion among fans. If you are one of them, a vacation in Canada may be for you. Even though the X-Files was set in the US, the first five seasons were filmed in Vancouver and around British Columbia. Make no mistake, it is possible to find a few locations that were used in the filming of the series if you do some digging.

Harry Potter Studio, UK

If you attended midnight book launches and movie screenings dressed as your favorite Harry Potter character, you may want to head to Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios in the UK. The European facility offers Harry Potter studio tours on which you can see costumes and props, and you will get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the movie’s special effects. Professor Snape’s potion laboratory is one of the sets that you can see.


Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel

As wonderful as travelling is, it is not always the most earth-friendly activity, especially when it involves long-distance flights and luxury hotels. There are ways to reduce our impact on the environment when we travel, and it does not need to be in a way that is uncomfortable or a hassle.

Faced with a rapidly changing climate, our planet needs all the help it can get. The following tips are just a few easy ways in which you can help make a difference when next you set out on an adventure.

Carbon-Clever Flying Tips

Aeroplanes are one of the worst offenders when it comes to the carbon footprints of various transport methods. It is not always possible or practical to travel the way teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg does, which is to travel by rail, road, or sail. If you need to fly, you can do it in a way that reduces your carbon footprint.

One way is to fly economy class because doing so is five times less heavy on carbon per person. Packing light also helps, as does travelling directly to your destination.

Eat With the Locals

An eco-friendly travel tip that is also good for your budget is to eat with the locals. Instead of opting for the same boring old global brands that you can find at home, look for the establishments owned and favoured by locals.

They tend to use locally produced ingredients, rather than imported processed foods, which means a smaller carbon footprint created when getting the food from producer to the table. You can use the money to save to try your luck at online betting sites that are licensed and regulated.

Water-Wise Travelling

Many of us can remember that, just a few years ago, bottled water was almost indispensable when travelling. It is not, of course.

When travelling in countries where drinking tap water is not recommended, you can use a portable water purifier or water purification tablets. Some countries have potable water stations set up in major cities. You can find them easily with the help of apps. Remember to be water-wise when brushing your teeth and showering.

Interact With Animals Ethically

For centuries, interactions with wild animals have been tourist attractions in various countries. From organised hunts to elephant rides, human beings have exploited animals for our own senseless purposes. It is high time we focused on ethical animal interactions instead.

Ways in which you can do this is to avoid circuses, zoos, and aquariums. Instead, visit conservation and rehabilitation centres that allow animals to roam freely in their natural habitat. Avoid demonstrations or shows that let people handle animals.

Reuse and Recycle

If you have toothpaste, soap, or other bathing and personal grooming products left over at the end of your stay, it would be a crime not to take them with you, and keep using them until you have finished them – and then recycle or reuse the plastic bottles in which some of them were packaged. Another way of recycling on holiday is to take information leaflets, brochures, and maps to a tourism office so that someone else can use them.