Archives for February 2015

UPVC and Quality Manufacturers

picUPVC is very adaptable. It can be fashioned to all shapes and styles whether traditional or ultramodern. It means it is an ideal material in modern construction that is both durable and virtually maintenance free. When it is used in the manufacture of doors and windows customers can get exactly what they want if they find a good manufacturer. It is standard in most new houses that are being built because it does not deteriorate with time, so the seal formed between the unit, its frame and the brickwork will remain as good years on as it was on the first day it was installed.

The Dream Home

Some people are able to fulfil their ambition of a dream home. There are several things to consider once they have title to the land. They include finding a good architect that is able to design the house in line with the vision. Planning and building regulations have to be addressed and serious consideration given to ideas that may be neither practical nor acceptable. Project management is essential and quality materials a priority.

The Environment

The environment is a major consideration for everyone these days. Governments are committed to reducing energy consumption and responsible citizens more conscious of reducing their individual carbon footprints. UPVC certainly has a role to play because windows and doors made from this recyclable material will help make a house more energy efficient.

Manufacturers like www.sierrawindows.co.uk understand their own responsibility to the environment and the public expects such companies to show their commitment to a ‘green environmentally friendly’ policy. In a competitive market place the businesses that have established a good reputation in the eyes of their clients are likely to find an increasing number of enquiries for everything from casement windows to the job of providing everything that a new build will require.

Alternatives

Casement windows are just one of a number of alternatives that manufacturers will offer. Even if the design that is ultimately chosen is a traditional one, everything can be manufactured exactly to a client’s wishes in wood effect representing the popular woods that have been used over the years. Experienced manufacturers will certainly supply suggestions when asked. After all, they will have a good idea about design themselves.

Most people who do manage to build their dream home will only want to do it once. It therefore makes sense to take time over the planning and preparation before starting out. When it comes to the components parts of the home the Internet is an ideal place to get both ideas as well as quality. The search engines will provide good alternatives for most research. Companies that have a good reputation for quality and service are available to talk to at any time and will quote for clients old and new without there being any obligation on the enquirer’s part.

Trends in Children’s Clothing

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Children adore experimenting with various trends just as much as we do, and buying fashionable and well-made clothes from online boutiques is one of the best ways to recognize their individuality. Here are the children’s clothing trends for 2015.

Mismatched

One of the more prominent children’s clothing trends of 2015 is mixing and matching patterns. It used to be that kids were taught how to properly match colors, prints, and genres. Now, unexpected grouping of items such as cowboy boots and tulle are admired. Combinations such as polka dots with stripes, or neon with floral patterns are embraced in children’s fashion. Now, kids can be kids without giving into the pressures of adulthood to put together outfits that are painstakingly matched.

Bold Colors and Quirky Prints

Colors that are bold and spirited are a huge trend for 2015. The best part of this craze compared with past styles is the inexhaustible array of possibilities. Unlike the trends from the past, 2015 children’s clothing trends are not centered on a particular style – they are centered on vibrancy and self-expression.

Children are loud, fun, energetic, and completely full of personality. With striking patterns and shades, the clothing boutiques of 2015 refuse to let that go to waste.

Dapper Boys

In 2015, there are finally amazing clothing options for little boys that aren’t limited to trucks and dinosaurs. With bowties, suspenders, and trousers, boys have more options than ever. Although boys’ clothing items of 2015 are sophisticated and refined, they are designed for children to romp-around in. In many online clothing boutiques, you can find a multitude of smart boys’ clothing made out of high quality, blotch and tear-resistant material that are actually comfortable to play in.

With dapper clothing such as elastic ties, sweatpants that look like trousers, and button-up shirts with built-in suspenders, it is easy for children to dress themselves and play comfortably.

Vintage

While bold, modern prints are at the height of children’s fashion for 2015, classics are just as adored. From pin-up dresses, to tulle, to floral patterns in soft colors, mixing and matching classic pieces with modern accents has never been so fashionable. Online clothing boutiques make choosing vintage pieces for your children a cinch.

Fashionable Play Clothes

When you think about it, don’t you save your favorite and most fashionable outfits for when you go out with friends? Fashionable clothes make adults feel more confident among friends and peers, in addition to allowing them to express themselves. When it comes to running and playing outside with their friends, why should children be any different?

The 2015 trend of play clothes that are stylish and functional is one of the greatest advancements in children’s fashion. Not only does it recognize and respect each young person’s individuality, but it is extremely practical for parents as well. Ten years ago, it seemed pretty silly to send kids outdoors dressed up in nice clothes for fear of ruining them. Nowadays, clothing boutiques are selling clothes made with the durability and quality that we all crave, and children’s clothing is no exception. The 2015 trend of fashionable, quality play clothes has been great for children and parents alike – clothing made from sturdy material, can be played in and enjoyed, and doesn’t need to be replaced as often.

Creative Ways to Announce Your Engagement

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There will never be shortage of creative ways to announce an engagement, which often reflects the type of people getting hitched. It seems the idea of simply calling your loved ones is becoming more old-fashioned. In light of trying to be more unique and technology being a greater part of our lives, here are a few ways to personalize your engagement announcement:

Host a Party

This is particularly great for really outgoing couples, people who have large circles of friends or are known to throw the best parties in town. You can hold a surprise engagement party at a lounge, restaurant, dining hall or even in your own home. It could be just cocktails, some light refreshments or a grand feast. Either way, the atmosphere should not give out the secret until it’s time to make the announcement. And make sure the people you want to let in on the special occasion are present.

Start a Blog

This method of communication is very effective in getting the news out fast and getting swift feedback. With a blog, you can create a timeline of your relationship, including details of the proposal. Also, the blog can lead to a full-fledged wedding website, which is a great way to keep people updated on plans for the wedding.

Make the Announcement on Social Media

Why not? It’s just as fast as a blog, if not faster. Flashing an engagement ring with a cute little message on Facebook or Twitter never fails in drawing hundreds, if not thousands, of congratulatory comments. Plus, the social media announcement can be directed to the blog or website, keeping everyone current with the countdown to the big day.

Share Some Pictures

This is ideal if you proposed during a vacation. You can include pictures of the beach; landscapes or other points of interests you feel would convey the message. The pictures can be organized in an engagement slideshow, each image being a page in the story that culminates with the engagement announcement. You can create the slideshow on a photo-sharing website, such as snapfish.com or shutterfly.com. If you are more tech savvy, you can also post the slideshow to the wedding website.

Make the Announcement on a Holiday

If you and your spouse are more the shy type, you can decrease the amount of jitters by announcing it on Thanksgiving weekend or Christmas. A holiday announcement makes a lot of sense: family’s around, enjoying the occasion, and their happiness would be enhanced by news of the engagement. Plus, announcing your engagement on a holiday would only make it more memorable; family members would remember the occasion for years and years afterward.

Leave It All to the Pet

In a list of non-traditional methods of announcing your engagement, this one might be the odd one out. But think about it: If you have a dog or cat, especially one that family members and friends love — or at least tolerate — wouldn’t it be fun to see a chalkboard announcing the engagement wrapped around its neck. Besides, who doesn’t like pets?

Why Staying Closer To Home Can Be The Easiest Option For A Family Holiday This Year

When you have young children, the thought of taking a holiday may actually fill you with dread. Home life is routine and easy. The kids know what to expect, and they know what is expected of them. Travel is something we do so rarely, it can be worrying to think about how the kids and us as parents, will cope. It can be a real upheaval. Prolonged periods of time strapped into a car seat or airplane seat does not suit a child at all. They want to be able to run about and scream and shout, and find lots of fun and exciting things to do instead.

Sticking with a break closer to home may be easier. You won’t have over tired, jet-lagged kids and husbands to deal with! Instead, if things go drastically wrong, you can just turn around and go back home again. You’ll also know the standard to expect of the local facilities. Things like kids’ parks and toilets overseas can be a little horrifying when compared to what you get at home. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to visit wherever you go. All you need to do now is put a pin in the map!

Places in the UK are plentiful when it comes to family holidays. For a little place, the UK does really punch above its weight for great kiddy attractions. You may be wanting something that is quiet and serene for some camping. Alternatively, you might want to try something with heart-stopping rides, and lots of space to run around and make noise. Most of the UK’s theme parks have accommodation attached, and many of them provide far more than just a roller coaster.

Some theme parks are attached to beautiful country estates, and others are in the middle of wildlife parks! Some are right on the beach, and others are just outside of the hustle and bustle of London. Wherever you want to be and whatever else you want to do, a theme park could be just the ticket for you and the kids this year. Whether you want a holiday or just a few days out with the kids, start picking up some pamphlets and look into which one may suit you best. You might enjoy Blackpool for a week, or visit Legoland for the day. You can find and book tickets to the parks as well as locate good accommodation online.

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Thanks to Flickr.com for the Blackpool pic

Whatever you choose to do with the family this year, a trip to see more of what the UK can offer you could be just what you need. No passports or vaccines to worry about, and no panic about finding somewhere to change the baby’s nappy! All of these parks have restaurants inside, and some great choices for eating outside too. Some kids are quite into a favourite TV character, and many of the nation’s theme parks have them included, like Postman Pat, Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank. Whether it’s a day out or a whole week of fun, you can enjoy more in the UK this year.

Kitchen ideas for baking fanatics

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Are you an avid baker? If so, then you are in very good company. The whole country has been swept up in a sweet, sticky and delicious revolution – everywhere you look there’s a Victoria Sponge or cupcake waiting to tempt you in an unguarded moment. Along with this increased passion for baking, we are demanding more from our kitchen spaces. No longer satisfied with the poky, poorly designed kitchens that thwart our culinary creativity at every turn, we are moving towards cooking spaces that optimize our chances of creating great tasting food.

The basics

So, what is the recipe for a successful baking kitchen? Well, several essential ingredients are non-negotiable. This list features a good range of back-up equipment including a quality oven and hob, integrated fridge, dishwasher and acres of worktop space. An eye level, integrated oven is perfect for observing the progress of your baking and helps your kitchen to look sleek and streamlined.

Worktops

Whether you are rolling out pastry, beating up a batter, or icing a special cake, having room to work is very important. A marble worktop, with its cool surface, is ideal for working pastry and will give your kitchen a luxurious, high-end feel. Alternatively, you could choose the cheffy, minimalist look, and opt for stainless steel units and worktops with their convenient, easy clean finish. Catering suppliers are great places to pick up stainless steel kitchen fittings, often at competitive prices. Soapstone gives an organic, softer appearance and sits well in country kitchen settings as well as urban styles while being an easy material to maintain. Wooden worktops work in most kitchens and offer the bonus of being easy to cut and fit yourself.

Triangle theory

Kitchen designers have long sworn by the theory that keeping sink, oven and fridge in an easily traversed triangle makes for the most efficient workspace. Before committing to any definitive kitchen designs, experiment with different options. To reduce costs, try to stick with existing plumbing options, but if for some reason it makes the kitchen impractical, consider a plumbing re-think.

On the shelf

Storage for all your cooking ingredients, mixing bowls, cake stands and small appliances should be generous. Avoid a confusing and cluttered space by planning space for all your kitchen needs. Open shelves displaying favourite bowls or rows of colourful spices can become a pretty feature in serious foodie kitchens. A kitchen island with storage below can add substantially to your storage quota, while also creating extra worktop space. Items that are used frequently, such as knives and chopping boards, should be stored close at hand in custom designed knife blocks or slimline cupboard slots.

Good impression

The overall look of a smooth-running and efficient kitchen should be one of streamlined elegance. While this idea can work in all styles from shabby chic to urban loft, the key is to keep lines clean and neat to give a natural flow throughout. Using integrated appliances creates a contemporary and open aspect that makes a kitchen look inviting and ready for action.

If you are a baking fan who is considering a kitchen re-model, think hard about these vital elements in advance. It could mean all the difference between baking brilliance and an under cooked flop…

Why you should support your child’s interest in music

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While taking up a sport is often the common path for many children as they enter adolescence, the consideration of learning an instrument tends to be overlooked. Many schools with music and arts programs across the United States, including those at the university level, often struggle for funding while athletic programs enjoy an ample level of fiscal security.

When parents (and school officials) fully understand the many cognitive, social and educational benefits that are associated with a child learning an instrument, this passive and dismissive attitude toward the arts might get shifted.

If your child or children are showing interests in learning an instrument, take some time to understand how this can mean a better life and future for them, and possibly even an improved family bond in your household. As one video from Ted Ed suggests, playing an instrument is like a “full body workout” for the brain, and this will help break down the reasons even further.

1. Learning an instrument teaches discipline and persistence

Teaching your child the art of discipline isn’t easy, and can often lead to rather obstinate behavior. But if your child is hoping to take up an instrument, there is a good chance that they will learn how to employ discipline just by practicing. Whether it is improvisation or learning a composed piece, there is no way a child, or any musician for that matter, will achieve mastery without hours of devotion and dedication.

Getting used to this process can help your child understand the necessity of persistence and patience in many other facets of their life if they wish to succeed academically and beyond.

2. According to Northwestern University, it can help with language skills

Research done under neuroscientist Nina Kraus, professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, has shown that children who learn instruments are able to better process the understanding of language. She also suggests that this can help children who struggle with disabilities such as autism and dyslexia.

In a publication released under the NAMM foundation back in 2010, Kraus’ research showed “that musical experience strengthens many of the same aspects of brain function that are impaired in individuals with language and learning difficulties, such as the neural timing precision which allows differentiation between speech syllables.” (http://www.nammfoundation.org/educator-resources/biological-benefits-music-education-nina-kraus-phd)

3. It can expand the part of the brain that handles cranial communication

Another piece of research done under Catherine Y Wan and Gottfried Schlaug contained strong evidence that children who took up learning an instrument around the age of seven had a developed a larger corpus callosum – the part of the brain that handles the communication between the brain. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996135/)

Those with a strengthened connection between the two hemispheres of the brain are able to better identify problems and think of new ways to solve them. Intuitive thinking is essential for workers hoping to enter growing fields of web development, programming, and more.

4. It can help combat cranial deficiencies associated with ADHD

With the help of even more scientific support from the Boston Children’s Hospital, children who take up an instrument at a young age activate their prefrontal cortex early, an area associated with disorders such as ADHD. Training this part of the brain early on can help kids complete tasks from start to finish, otherwise known as “executive function”.

5. It can bring your family together

Encouraging your child to pursue their interest of learning an instrument has the potential to form a lasting bond that fosters trust and support. By providing support for music lessons, instruments, books, and more, you can experience the enjoyment out of watching your child slowly master their instrument of choice.

Watching them perform at recitals and concerts can help you bring an appreciation and understanding of the time and discipline associated with learning an instrument. Encourage them to take their interests as far as they want to go, and there’s a good chance that you’ll raise an intelligent and confident son or daughter.

Ezra Melino is a musician, writer, and digital marketer based out of North Carolina. As a digital strategist, he promotes music channels on Direct TV and more. You can reach him at arzemeloATgmailDOTcom.

Helping Children to Deal With Separation: What You Should Know

Children feel emotions way more intensely than adults. While you may think that you’re hurting more than they are over a separation, you’re probably wrong. They do understand that something negative is going on, even if they don’t voice it. They pick up on things from you. If you’re going to help your children to deal with this change, you need to be honest with them. You need to reassure them that everything is going to be OK. You need to let them know they can talk to you, no matter how silly something may seem. Here, we talk about it in more detail:

Make Sure Your Children See Both Parents

You can’t stop your children from seeing the other parent, unless you genuinely believe they are a danger to them. Regardless of how or why you separated, the kids do not need to suffer. They should still stay in contact with their other parent as much as possible; use phone calls, letters, text messages, and visits.

Make Sure They Know Exactly What Will Change

Children often have a fear of the unknown, so you need to make it clear to them what they should expect to change. Will they change schools? How often will they see their other parent? Will you move house? How often will they see their other family? You need to be totally honest with them.

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Try to Get Along With Your Ex for Your Children’s Sake

It will be difficult, but you should try to get along with your ex for your children’s sake, even if it’s just a show for them. You must put on a united front when it comes to parenting; this means consulting one another before you make big decisions and things. You don’t want your children to learn that they can play you off against the other parent.

Do Not Point Fingers

Putting the blame on somebody does not help at all. Your children will more than likely feel like they are at fault anyway, so the most important thing is to make it clear that they aren’t. Never tell your children that it was your fault or the other parent’s fault, simply be as honest as you can without pointing fingers. Younger children won’t need as much detail, but older children might want to know more.

Don’t Talk Badly About Your Ex in front of the Children

Never talk badly about your ex in front of your children. They might feel like they are expected to take sides and that’s not something you want, explain this Family Solicitors in Bolton.

Really Listen to Your Children

When your children talk to you, really listen to what they’re telling you. Don’t tell them they’re being silly, as this will stop them from confiding in you. Help them and reassure them in anyway you can.

Be Patient

It might take some time for your kids to come round to the idea of separation. You must be patient with them. You might feel like you’re going backwards and forwards. Just be persistent and do your best!

 

Spring is in the air for home gardeners

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For those of a green-fingered disposition, spring is a joyful time of the year when gardens awaken from their winter slumber. But it’s also a busy time, with a list of chores that can seem endless. It’s time to repair fencing and trellises battered by winter gales, to clear away fallen leaves and branches and make an early pre-emptive strike on the numerous weeds that will already be sprouting up out of the ground. Trees have to be pruned, dead foliage stripped away to make room for new growth, flowerbeds treated to a fresh top layer of mulch or compost. For those with a vegetable patch, it’s time to lay down a first crop of peas, lettuce and cabbage. Seeds must be sown, bulbs planted and yet more weeds uprooted. But it’s all worthwhile as the days lengthen and the garden comes into its full glory.

With so much to do, spring is also a good time to invest in some new gardening kit. For anyone who is a passionate gardener, it makes sense to have a set of outdoor apparel that will help them enjoy their hobby in maximum comfort. The most obvious place to start is with a decent pair of gardening gloves. Too thin, and the gardener’s hands will be vulnerable to prickles and thorns. Too thick, and the gloves will be too clumsy for handling delicate seedlings. Engelbert Strauss Online Shop offer a range of work gloves that are made from supple calf and other premium materials for a strong, precise grip, and that have features such as a thermal lining, pads to protect against cuts and extra-long cuffs to keep out debris.

And gloves aren’t the only items on the website that a keen gardener might want to add to their spring wish list. When it comes to tackling trees and shrubs, lightweight, non-fogging safety glasses or goggles are essential for protecting the eyes from flying twigs or lashing branches. For steady, comfortable footing, it’s important to have waterproof, breathable work boots with a non-slip sole. Meanwhile, a pair of rugged outdoors trousers or dungarees with an array of loops and compartments for carrying tools and equipment will cut down on trips to the garden shed. Bodywarmers, knee protectors, disposable overalls – at engelbert strauss we have the functional yet stylish gear to ensure that this spring will be an enjoyable and productive time for gardening.

7 Wonderful Tips To Help You Plan A Romantic Meal For Two

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Valentine’s Day might be over, but that doesn’t mean that the romance is. If you want to surprise your partner, there are many ways in which you can do so. I always find that cooking a romantic meal is an incredible way to show my partner how much I care. For one night only, you need to get a babysitter and focus on making the evening special for you and your spouse. Here are seven wonderful tips to help you create a romantic meal for two.

  1. Choose an easy-to-make recipe

When you are choosing a recipe for your meal, you need to keep things super simple. You want to show off your culinary skills, but attempting something complicated will only cause you stress. Instead, choose a recipe you know well. That way, cooking your meals will be second nature, rather than an extra thing to worry about on the night. You should plan three courses so that the meal is an event, rather than a quick snack.

  1. Start prepping the day before you cook

The day before your meal, you should prep things. There are loads of things you can prepare to make cooking easy the next day. For example, you might want to start making the sauce for your pasta or start chopping up your vegetables. These small jobs will take you minutes in the kitchen but will make everything straightforward when you come to cook the meal.

  1. Pair wines with your courses

If you don’t know anything about wines, it is time to start doing some research. Different wines match different meals, and you should learn all about pairing before you serve your meal. For example, as a rule, white wine goes with fish or chicken dishes. Red wine tends to work with red meat. While these two rules are a start, you need to know about different flavors and scents.

  1. Create a dish you can share

There is nothing more romantic than sharing food with the person you love. For one of your courses, you should create a meal that the two of you can share and feed one another. For example, you might want to serve a cheese fondue as your starter. That way, the two of you can dip various things into the cheese and share the food. You could also create a platter of meat to share.

  1. Decorate the table

Don’t leave the table looking boring and blank. Instead, you need to create beautiful place settings for each of you. Start by covering the table surface with some luxury tablecloths. If you don’t happen to have any tablecloths at home, you can get some online at Richard Haworth Ltd. Next, you should use candles to create a centerpiece on the table. You should finish by laying the table with cutlery and dishes. It is these tiny details that will make all the difference to your meal.

  1. Create a romantic atmosphere

Before your partner arrives, you should create the right environment. You should, of course, dim the lights and light all the candles so that the mood is romantic. You might also want to put on some calming music in the background. Doing so will make the room feel like a haven away from the rest of the world.

  1. Plan some surprises

Sometimes, little surprises can mean a lot to your spouse. Think about different ways in which you can treat your partner throughout the meal. You might want to read a poem to them or give them a gift during dessert. If you plan these things in advance, you should have no problem at all. You need to remember that romance takes work sometimes. For one night, it is time to show your partner what they mean to you – so go get started!

A Quiet Kitchen

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From washing machines and vacuum cleaners to fat-reducing grills and the biggest edible cupcake you will ever see, there’s no end to the number of nifty home and tips, tricks and gadgets helping us along with our everyday routines. But as the number of devices and domestic appliances has endlessly increased, so too have sound levels and for many of us it is becoming increasingly difficult to combine modern convenience with that quiet country life.

So how do we balance out the demands of a busy life with our desire for peace, quiet and a relaxing living space? One solution lies in the new generation of silent technology. Thanks to the Noise Abatement Society and their launch of the Quiet Mark award scheme, products previously reserved for the high-end market have ditched their eye-watering price tags. A new birth of no-noise technology now sits comfortably on the shelves of high street retailers. So here are five of our favourite home, technology and kitchen tips that mean a quiet country life need only be a click away.

1. Quiet in the kitchen

  • Don’t let your kettle bring you to the boil: check out the range of Quiet Mark approved kettles. The Quiet Quality Artisan Kettle from kitchenAid is perhaps the most attractive solution to the problem, while the smart Dualit Classic Kettle features a Whisper Boil™ that promises to drastically reduce unwanted boiling noise. At the cheaper end of the spectrum is the Serenity kettle from Russell Hobbs. Brushed in premium aluminium with an LCD display and 30-minute keep warm function, it combines practical functions with quality design and is guaranteed to bring you a pick-me-up coffee in peace.

2. Tumble dryers

If there’s anything worse than working your way through an ever-growing pile of laundry, it’s listening to the machine rattle away for hours at a time. There are three tumble dryers in the Quiet Mark directory – two to the credit of Panasonic, while the third is the work of trusted home department store John Lewis. All three cutting-edge machines boast impressive energy efficient ratings ,with the important no-noise technology making that load of dirty clothes finally seem a whole lot less daunting.

3. No more alarm bells

Wake up in peace with an alarm bell that doesn’t leave you stressed and panicking before the day has even begun. Look to Lumie’s range of Bodyclock wake-up lights for a ‘dawn simulator’ that promises to wake you up gradually with increasing light. It cues your body to set a healthy sleep cycle, get up, beat winter blues, and to feel alert, refreshed and energetic all day.

4. Noise-silencing stickers

Even in the countryside silence isn’t guaranteed and so the SONO offers a great solution for help blocking out outside noise and disruption. Designed by Rudolf Stefanich, this pebble-shaped device works just like a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and allows users to control, or completely eliminate, the sounds that pass through their home.

5. Air conditioning

Thanks to the ‘whisper quiet’ of Mitsubishi’s award-winning Electric Zen air conditioner, you’ll never spend another night lying awake listening to the annoying hum of that machine you had hoped would bring some comfort. Available in luxurious high black gloss, silver or white finish, with an A-rated energy saving performance, this premium product is currently the only air conditioning unit that’s ‘Quiet Mark’ certified. But is a promising move forward for no-noise heat control and hopefully we’ll soon see other manufacturers follow suit.