SPOIL YOURSELF THIS FESTIVE SEASON – WITH THAT WAY OVERDUE BATHROOM RENOVATION

SOUTH AFRICA, JOHANNESBURG – November 2016: Bathroom renovations are an exciting prospect for your home but can also seem like a daunting task that is time consuming, costly and sometimes, a little overwhelming. To take the pressure off and to get you on the right track ahead of planning your new bathroom design and selecting your new accessories to finish it off, Bathroom Butler – manufacturers of stainless steel bathroom accessories and heated towel rails, has offered the following tips to consider that will help you create the bathroom you’ve always dreamed of.

  1. A Realistic Vision

Assess your space and decide why you are renovating. Upgrading your bathroom can add significant value to your home or investment property, therefore ensure you do it right. Consider your budget, the amount of time you want to spend on your renovation, research to see if there are any hidden problems and bring in a reputable contractor to do your measurements, assess functionality and install the plumbing.

  1. Keep it simple

Renovating the entire design of your bathroom can prove cumbersome as plumbing and piping, lighting, ventilation and a bunch of other necessities need to be considered. Before ripping everything out entirely – keep it simple by adding new furniture or accessories; upgrading your finishes and/or applying a fresh coat of paint. These small adjustments can dramatically change and upgrade the look and feel of your space with minimal effort and budget.

  1. Finishing touches

Adding new and modern accessories to any bathroom will create the finished touch that will make a bathroom feel homely and comforting. When choosing your accessories you need to define your style and consider your colour scheme and the space you are working with. Having too many accessories in a small bathroom can overcrowd the space so choose important and functional accessories which improve the practicality of your bathroom, but also modernise the space like heated towel rails, stainless steel accessories, or a splash of colour or design theme that can be changed seasonally.

  1. Upgrade your style

While upgrading your bathroom, consider upgrading your style too by incorporating interesting and new innovative elements into your space. Perhaps under floor heating which is great for those cold winter months or a mirror light which adds that bit of luminosity in your space or Bathroom Butler’s energy efficient heated towel rails – this provides dry towels all year round and a beautiful storage solution – giving your bathroom a functional purpose. These rails are made of stainless steel which is 100% recyclable, the rails also come with a choice between a timer or a switch so you can customize your temperature settings.

  1. Ventilation. Ventilation. Ventilation

Bathrooms generate a lot of moisture which is a breeding ground for mould and mildew – be prepared for this and don’t allow it to ruin any renovations you’ve already done or plan to do. Be sure to have a minimum of one window, a built-in fan or fitted air vents installed.
Bathroom Butler has amazing deals and cost saving options for your December ‘bonus’ bathroom renovations. With up to 25% off on selected items your bathroom makeover is bound to be easy on the pocket, stylish and fun.

The products on promotion during November 2016 and December 2016 include a variety of accessories from the 4600 Series Premium Collection. Visit the website or our Facebook page for more information.

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JAMIE’S ITALIAN EMBRACES THE ‘CITY OF GOLD’

Local designers are set to bring the essence of South Africa to life at Jamie’s Italian SA

September 2016, South Africa – In the lead up to the opening of Jamie’s Italian in South Africa, local designers situated in both SA and the UK are working together to bring an authentic South African appeal to the restaurant. Jamie’s restaurants all over the world pride themselves on always incorporating regional touches into their design. By drawing inspiration from indigenous prints, national colours and key industries, Jamie’s Italian is setting out to become a part of the culture and vibe of South Africa.

Jack de Wet has been Head of International Design & Development for the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group in the UK over the past five years. He is one part of the team responsible for helping draw influence from South Africa and its heritage and including that in the new restaurant’s design. De Wet, originally from the Western Cape, holds a post-graduate degree in architecture from UCT and told us he was fortunate to have grown up in SA, which he believes is blessed with brilliant food, a fantastic climate, amazing people and a sense of untouched beauty.

“South Africa has an abundance of material to work with – the centre of it all, Joburg, is known as the city of gold with a nod to the industrialisation of the gold mining industry. We have used these elements in the materials, patterns and detailing of the design, without it being too obvious. This can be seen in the intricate metalwork balustrade and screen details,” explains De Wet.

Taryn Constable of Design Vision, who is the project coordinator based in South Africa, says, “It has been fantastic to work with an international team that is so up-to-date with the latest trends from around the world. It brings a new perspective to our local design.”

The look and feel of Jamie’s Italian SA will be impressive but not intimidating, ensuring it’s a place for a light bite, special occasions but also the place for family celebrations and Saturday night socialising. Crowds can expect a more casual ground floor, with a Jamie’s Italian signature show kitchen – pioneered in the UK, offering customers a view into a fully operational cook line. Customers will be able to watch the passionate team of chefs working hard to deliver great quality food, all while enjoying a comfortable and welcoming environment. In turn, the first floor will be a more refined space, with a sophisticated cocktail bar and spacious seating.

With excited teams working hard behind the scenes to deliver their best work to date, Jamie’s Italian SA is soon to be a favourite spot for families and friends to create priceless memories all year round.

“We are looking forward to welcoming everyone once we open and are hoping they’ll appreciate what we’ve done to make this restaurant look and feel authentically South African.  As an expat living and working in London, I am constantly reminded what an incredible country South Africa is and how far it has come in such a short time. I’ve no doubt that Jamie’s Italian will further emphasise this,” says De Wet.

PROTECT YOURSELF THIS SEASON CHANGE FROM COLDS AND FLUS

A seasonal change is among us and in the next few months the South African weather forecasts will start reflecting colder weather conditions as autumn and winter creeps up on us. Helping your body transition with ease through seasonal changes is important, as colds and flus become a lot more prevalent during these times.

Graham Anderson, CEO and Principal Officer at Profmed says, “You may not be able to completely prevent colds and flu this time of year, but by practicing good hygiene and being careful to avoid cold germs, you may escape cold and flu season unscathed.”

Anderson offers the following top five tips to safe guarding yourself against the dreaded colds and flus:

Get a Flu Vaccine – Getting a seasonal flu vaccine is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against the flu viruses going around each year. Head to your doctor early on in flu season (as soon as the vaccine is available) and get yourself vaccinated. While the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, if you are a healthy person generally, the flu vaccine can lessen the severity and duration of your symptoms.

Take Probiotics – Probiotics are “good” bacteria that can help keep the body healthy and protect it from “bad” bacteria and there’s even some thought that taking probiotics may help to prevent cold and flu viruses. Regular use of probiotics keep people healthier and reduces the incidence of upper respiratory infections (like the common cold). Rather consider eating foods that contain probiotics, such as yoghurt than taking probiotic supplements to prevent flu.

Feed your body with water and healthy foods – General good health practices keep your body strong and ready to fend off cold germs and the flu virus. This includes drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response to enable your body to better fight the viruses. Shoot for six to eight glasses of water per day, more if the weather is hot. A healthy diet can strengthen your immune system and help you prevent flu and cold viruses from attacking. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, and complex carbohydrates are the keys to good nutrition that will stoke your immune system.

Incorporate enough exercise and rest into your day – Exercise not only makes you feel great and helps you stay fit, but it also boosts your immune system and can help prevent cold and flu viruses from making you sick. Additionally, warding off extra weight is important for overall health, particularly when it comes to preventing colds and flu. Getting enough shut-eye each night offers bigger benefits than staying awake during a long afternoon at the office. Getting enough sleep is essential for healthy immune function, and that insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality is associated with lowered immune function.

Be germ conscious – Ensure you wash your hands regularly. This will help to get rid of cold germs you pick up from doorknobs and stair rails, and keep you from getting them into your body. We understand that sometimes you can’t always get to a sink when you need to wash germs off of your hands. So keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer handy is a good idea to help disinfect hands and prevent flu and cold viruses. In addition, to prevent cold and flu viruses, don’t touch “your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands. This is how germs get inside your body and grow into an upper respiratory infection.

“By practising the above mentioned tips you can reduce and possibly completely skip the cold and flu season emerging on the other end with very little battle wounds. Avoiding germs and ensuring your immune system is strong and functioning are vital during season changes,” concludes Anderson.

INSOMNIA ISN’T JUST A COOL CONCEPT – IT IS REAL

This article first appeared on The Witness

While obesity remains a growing global concern, insomnia is a close contender. According to the Mental Health Information Centre of Southern Africa about 10 percent of adults suffer from insomnia. This percentage could likely be linked to the quality of life in South Africa.

The current economic environment in South Africa coupled with the flailing rand and unemployment on the rise can cause an already stressful environment for the everyday person to spiral out of control. We find ourselves stressed for most of our day dealing with work, securing an income while attempting to host a relatively balanced family life.

Graham Anderson, CEO and Principal Officer at Profmed says, “Insomnia is an experience of inadequate or poor quality sleep characterised by difficulty of falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, waking up too early in the morning and non-refreshing sleep which often results in tiredness, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and irritability. This is a point of concern as it could lead to an increased level of unproductivity in general.”

According to the South African Society of Sleep Medicine (SASSM) about 30 to 40 percent of adults indicate some level of insomnia within any given year, and about 10 percent to 15 percent indicate that the insomnia is chronic and/or severe. The prevalence of insomnia increases with age and is more common in women.

Anderson says it is crucial to understand that sleep is not a luxury and should take as much importance in your daily routine as eating and bathing. For people who have been diagnosed with insomnia or generally have chronic sleeping problems it is essential to cultivate and maintain a good sleep routine.

Anderson suggests:

  • Ensure your bed and pillow suits your body and is comfortable and promotes good sleep patterns;
  • Avoid stimulants (e.g. caffeine, nicotine or television in the bedroom) before bedtime and consuming large meals before bedtime as it could leave you feeling bloated and unable to relax and fall asleep. Rather have a glass of hot milk or water to help you get into sleep zone;
  • Avoid daytime naps, since they usually result in difficulty in sleeping at night. It’s important to ensure you have a productive day as gradually increasing levels of physical activity early on in the day may produce benefits at night;
  • For some, a hot bath (20 minutes) or relaxation exercises are helpful in getting a peaceful sleep.

“Alternatively, it may be advantageous to seek professional help. In some cases, early referral to a neurologist, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist may be necessary. The cost will depend on which service provider you make use of, the cause of and type of sleep disorder,” explains Anderson.

“Insomnia and chronic sleeping disorders, if not treated early, can lead to extreme consequences such as significant stress in your day-to-day life, emotional and physical discomfort and depression and/or anxiety. This could affect your relationships and job performance adding to the overall stress experienced. It is crucial to identify whether you suffer from disturbed sleeping patterns and practice the above before visiting a specialist. Early detection is better than cure,” concludes Anderson.

HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH – MAKE YOUR HEALTH IMPORTANT

In the busy everyday hustle and bustle many people often take for granted how much they rely on their bodies on a daily basis and the importance of good health. It is important to realise that without good health, life loses its quality and it becomes difficult to cope with existing health issues.  Graham Anderson, CEO and Principal Officer of Profmed says making your health a priority means taking the next step in ensuring you lead a positive and rewarding lifestyle.

April marks Health Awareness Month in South Africa. This month brings to the forefront the importance of knowing your health status and being proactive in ensuring good health. Illnesses such as autism, haemophilia, malaria and the importance of vaccinations are highlighted during this month and recognised on separate days. These days signify opportunities to encourage, support and create awareness and education around these conditions.

Anderson suggests “Visiting your General Practitioner (GP) once or twice a year is crucial in ensuring your body is performing at its peak. Regular health check-ups and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help detect illnesses during early stages, when your chances of treatment and recovery are high. These tests involve blood pressure, heart activity, cholesterol, diabetes and other extensive screenings for cancers.”

“While some factors may be attributed to genetics, others depend on age – a large part depends on lifestyle choices. For example, what you eat, how active you are and whether you smoke or consume alcohol excessively, is crucial. These important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare. It is vital to acknowledge that prevention is better than cure and everything is good within limits,” adds Anderson.

Not only in this month, but all year round everyone should prioritise getting the right care, screenings, and treatments and taking the steps that help your chances of living a longer, healthier life. “Use this month to educate yourself on the several common illnesses people suffer from in SA and get yourself cleared by seeing your doctor,” concludes Anderson.

 

Online betting payouts: Where does all the money come from?

The fixed-odds betting industry continues to grow both physically and online, and has remained a popular pastime for many who enjoy the thrill and anticipation of wagering against probability-based odds offered by a bookmaker. This form of entertainment sees consumers win payouts anywhere from tens of rands into the hundreds of millions. These often large sums of money are guaranteed if won through legal channels – so how do bookmakers afford to payout such significant sums on a regular basis?

Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou, CEO of LottoStar.co.za says, “Over the past year, LottoStar.co.za has paid out close to R83 million. We continue to offer massive payout opportunities to over 57 000 registered users – for example, the current potential payout of half a billion rand on offer on the 19 December 2015,” she explains. “By law, bookmakers have to provide guarantees against their ability to payout those agreed funds, to protect both the consumer and their own business.”

“In order for us as a bookmaker to guarantee that we are able to pay these winnings to players, we have a number of financial provisions in place internally, which are audited and verified by the governing provincial gambling board – in our case, with the Mpumalanga gambling board.” In addition, larger potential payouts require insurance guarantees through major international insurance providers.

LottoStar.co.za’s payouts are not shared, meaning it is only possible for one winner to receive the payout amount. “For this reason, our payouts are only guaranteed if someone wins. Therefore, we insure the payout money with an upfront deposit to our insurers, as a bet is placed insurance is taken on that bet automatically.

“About 60% to 70% of any bookmakers’ business is generated through number betting, which has become a targeted niche market in South Africa. When dealing with such large payout offerings, it is imperative to be able to guarantee these promised amounts without compromising our business, as well as to ensure commitments made to customers are met,” Hadjigeorgiou concludes

What you need to know before hiring a house sitter

If you have planned a holiday away from your house this December, you might be considering hiring a house sitter. House sitters offer an affordable and convenient way to ensure that your property, pets, garden and many other aspects are looked after in your absence.

When hiring a house sitter, Lizette Erasmus, head of insurance expertise at IntegriSure, advises that it is important to be aware of both the pros and cons of this option. She offers the below advice and tips to consider when hiring a house sitter.  “Choosing the right house sitter is vitally important as this person will have direct contact with the most valuable assets you have in your name for a period of time,” says Erasmus. “It is crucial to ensure you are properly covered and protected should any unforeseen incidents or damages occur.”

Infographic design by IntegriSure Brokers

Infographic design by IntegriSure Brokers

The 2015 Crime Statistics, released by the South Africa Police Service (SAPS), stated a total of 714 households were burgled each day in the country, and highlighted a marked increase in violent property crimes “With this in mind, having a house sitter as an added deterrent and safeguard for your property can be highly beneficial, and can offer home owners peace of mind while away from their property. However, it is also important to note that it is the ultimate responsibility of the homeowner and policy holder to ensure that the relevant and correct safety measures are already in place, to protect not only your own property, but also the house sitter,” she says. “Before going on holiday, make sure that security systems in place are in proper working order, and address any security maintenance issues before leaving.”

Erasmus explains that when selecting the right house sitter for you, it is important to take certain considerations into account when screening potential candidates, “When choosing to use a house sitter, it is advisable to hire from a reputable company offering these professional services to people, who are able to properly screen and train candidates. Alternatively, use someone you know and trust such as a family friend or a close relative.”

When it comes to mitigating risks should an incident occur, such as a robbery or damages incurred as a result of the house sitters actions, it is always important to review the insurance cover provided in terms of your policy. “Specifically, enquire whether malicious damage as well as theft cover form part of the standard insured perils. These are miscellaneous precautions worth considering before leaving for holiday or hiring a house sitter,” explains Erasmus.

Other important steps to take when you have chosen a house sitter to occupy your home to avoid compromising situations on your part:

  • Ensure the house sitter has your contact details in the event of an emergency;
  • Provide the house sitter with contact details of your security company, neighbourhood watch, neighbours details, local police, fire brigade services as well as veterinary details if you have any pets;
  • Ensure the house sitter knows where the main power supply is as well as main water supply tap that could be closed in the event of an emergency such as a burst geyser;
  • Provide the house sitter with contact details of your Assistance Services in respect of your home owners financial services provider in order for emergency repairs to be conducted as soon as possible to minimise any resultant damage;
  • Lock away all electronic equipment such as laptops or iPads as well as valuable jewellery that you are not taking with you. Also remove valuable ornaments and art work from the main reception and lounge areas and lock away in a room that will be unused during this period;
  • Inform the house sitter if any service provider will be coming to do work in and around your home to prevent any possibility of thieves gaining illegal access to your home.

If you opt not to make use of a house sitter it is still important to note that insurers do require that the policy holder notifies them in the event of your home being unoccupied for a period of 60 days or more. This is viewed as a change in risk and insurers may apply an additional premium for the period that your home is unoccupied. Erasmus recommends contacting your Financial Service Provider to review you cover prior to departing on vacation to ensure that you enjoy the necessary cover for your trip and home while away.

“Choosing to implement a house sitter during the December holidays is a good idea and will offer owners choosing this option a way to follow up daily on the situation at home.  Taking the above steps into consideration will assist in the process being easy and stress free, giving you peace of mind while you are away,” concludes Erasmus.