Updates to our blogs

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The 4th of July is a monumental holiday for Americans which they celebrate in style! The 4th of July is where America claimed their independence from Britain in which Democracy was born. Each year on this date, Americans all across the land celebrate their freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics and family gatherings. In addition to this, towns and cities host some of the most extravagant parties and festival in respect of this holiday, so if you were looking at traveling to the States but unsure when, this would be a date worth checking out.

Before you plan your visit to celebrate this precious event, make sure you fill out an ESTA waiver form. With ESTA, you will be guaranteed full professional support in regards to being accepted through the Department of Homeland Security. The ESTA Visa Wavier will allow travellers to enter the country either by sea or air, so it’s really important that you fill out the ESTA wavier form so you can join the millions of American celebrating such an important event in History

Is it actually worth it?

Yes it is! The country turns into a party nation, everywhere across the land some sort of festivity will be going on, so wherever you are, you’ll be involved in some way or another. You will be spoiled with some amazing food and incredible fireworks lighting up the night sky. Everything is such a spectacle and with it being in July, you are gifted with the country’s beautiful summer season.

Events worth looking out for

Pacific Palisades parade:  get yourself to the Palisades for a beachy Independence Day extravaganza. Starting in the afternoon, you will be entertained by skydivers, baton twirlers, trombonist and to top it all off, the event is free! That being said, if you do want to skip the cues, all you need to do pay $50 to guarantee yourself VIP grandstand seating.

Americafest at the Rose Bowl: this is one explosive celebration! At this event you’ll get classic American food, to motorcycle stunts, to world-renowned fireworks display. In addition to all of this, there will be a goldmine of inflatable rides, games and crafts for any younger ones traveling with you.

Block Part: if you’re on the hunt for a cheap, lively way to celebrate the 4th of July, then head over to Gran Park, and watch Downtown LA light up for free! At Block Party there will be loads of scrumptious food to keep you going and live music to keep you entertained throughout the night. The music starts when the sun’s still out so make sure you bring a picnic and you sit there and relax, you can even bring your dogs! All for free!

Studio City Firework Festival: Studio City’s firework festival is annual event that features live music in addition to a car show, and kid-friendly activities. You can bring your own lunch or purchase summer eats and cold brews when you get to the festival. There is a selection of tickets to buy that suits the specific group you are traveling with, so this event will satisfied your celebrating needs.

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It’s often labelled as one of our least favourite things to do in our daily routine, but there’s no escaping it: flossing plays an important part in our oral hygiene. Your dentist can’t get enough of flossing while you struggle with bringing yourself do it once a week, let alone daily. In fact, two thirds of us don’t floss at all! Although standard dental floss is generally considered to be the most effective tool for cleaning deeply between our teeth, there is another tool on the market that is fast becoming a favourite among patients – water floss. So, is string floss better than water floss and what are the drawbacks and benefits of both?

It has to be said that a good flossing routine begins with thoroughly cleaning your teeth with a good electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Cheap electric toothbrushes are everywhere at the moment, so why not invest in one in order to minimise the amount of flossing you will need to do in the first place? Electric toothbrushes keep your teeth, gums and tongue cleaner than a manual toothbrush due to their rotating and oscillating heads. Their ability to reach between your teeth and clean that bit deeper than a manual brush, means flossing will be less arduous.

String dental floss works well for regular users who know how to use the tool properly in order to gain a health benefit from using it. It involves wrapping floss string around your fingers and passing it back and forth through your teeth to remove any plaque build-up. String floss is ideal for cleaning the tight spaces in between the teeth and to scrape down the side of each tooth. Water floss (also known as an oral irrigator) differs from string floss on that it aims a jet of water at your teeth. Water flossers have been proven to be highly effective at washing away accumulated bacterial toxins, something which string floss can’t achieve. Clinical studies conducted on water floss have shown to be a shocking 51% more effective in reducing gingivitis and 29% more effective than dental floss at removing plaque.

Dentists argue that while water flossers go a great job in removing food from teeth, string floss is superior in the fact that it scrapes away and removes plaque. The removal of plaque is essential in the prevention of tarter build up which can cause gum disease. However, string floss can cause problems among those with sensitive gums, braces and dexterity issues, for which water floss is a great alternative. Alternatively, string floss is considerably cheaper than purchasing a water flosser and also takes up less room in your bathroom, which makes it a more convenient choice for those on a budget. While the water stream from water flossers picks out and removes food particles and is thought to also reduce bleeding and gum disease, it is still argued to not be a good enough substitute for flossing alone. Alternatively, many dentists agree that if you are not unlikely to use string floss using water floss is better than not flossing at all.

It seems the answer to which floss option is best for you depends on your budget and tooth sensitivity. While water floss is the more ‘fun’ option, string floss is still the best form of floss to use to remove plaque. Why not try using the combined power of both floss types? Using string floss to dislodge plaque and water floss to flush away toxins and food particles will do wonders at improving your oral health!

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If you have been feeling a little bit bored of doing the same things all the time, you may be looking to switch up some of your hobbies and try something fun and new. Trying new things, even those a little bit outside of your comfort zone, can be very beneficial for your personal growth. We’ve had a look around and collated a list of all the trendiest hobbies that are super trendy right now in Scotland.

  • Online casino games

The online casino game industry has been vastly expanding internationally over the past few years – and now it has exploded in many Scottish communities across the country. Online sites, and apps such as Mr Green  -a three time Gaming Awards winner – offer you a classy platform on which you can play many exhilarating and fun casino games, such as slots, blackjack, and roulette. It’s so much fun, and super easy to play. Whether you want to play from your computer or your mobile device, you will have a great time.

  • Golf

While golf used to be fairly trendy, it went through a bit of a dip in popularity as many people stopped golfing. However, golf in Scotland is now experiencing a big resurgence in popularity. This could be in part due to more younger players picking up this relaxing and technical sport that requires much skill, determination and focus.

  • Pokémon GO

This year Pokémon GO has been a worldwide trend, with people of all ages taking to the streets with their smartphones in the hopes of catching some rare Pokémon while out. Scotland is no exception when it comes to the Pokémon Go hype, even with dedicated online groups and maps detailing where poke-stops and gyms are located. If you have not joined the craze yet, download the app now and get some fresh air outside –hopefully you will find a Pikachu there!

  • Podcasts

Podcasts are really amazing, and they are becoming more and more popular in Scotland too! Podcasts are great for a variety of reasons; you get to learn new things very easily, you can learn about topics you like in more details and it’s a great thing to listen to when you are stuck in traffic or want to make household tasks such as washing the dishes a little loess boring! The BBC’s Radio Scotland has some really wonderful podcasts you can listen to here.

  • Knitting

This may sound like an old ladies hobby, but many younger people, both men and women, are beginning to enjoy the calming craft of knitting. Knitting can be very relaxing and meditative; helping you reduce your stress levels. It is also a wonderful feeling to be able to make something from start to finish –even if it is just a simple scarf!

Hopefully these five trendy hobbies that people all over Scotland are enjoying will inspire you to try something new. You never know if you will like an activity until you try it!

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has pledged to support an upcoming Private Member’s Bill (PMB) which would require the UK Government to legally commit to providing a better framework for addressing violence against women and girls, by making the Istanbul Convention law in the UK – if successful. This legislation requires the UK to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect women experiencing violence, and prosecute perpetrators.

 Gavin Newlands MP and Eilidh Whiteford MP hold a sign to show support for the IC Change Campaign to end violence against women

Gavin Newlands MP and Eilidh Whiteford MP hold a sign to show support for the IC Change Campaign to end violence against women

This Bill has cross party support and if it becomes law would see the UK take a proud commitment to ending gender based violence and taking the next steps in securing a safe future for women and girls.

This legislation is needed because in 2014/15, 1,797 rapes and 104 attempted rapes and 59,882 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded by the police in Scotland.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Since my election, I have done a lot of work to tackle the daily violence that too many women and girls still face. One of the most effective ways in which we can take coordinated action on this is to ratify the Istanbul Convention.

“This is a call that I’ve repeatedly made to the Government as it will ensure that a series of preventative policies are introduced to end this shameful violence.

“This private members bill is extremely important. I want to end violence against women and girls in the UK, and I therefore support the Istanbul Convention becoming UK law. I urge all other MPs to do the same.”

Jenn Selby, a campaigner and survivor said: “When I think of all the brave women I’ve met on my way through the system, I wonder how many of them made it. The current legal framework did more to see our perpetrators walk free than to keep us alive. This convention would end this.

Rachel Nye, Co-director of the campaign, says: “We need a strategic plan for addressing violence against

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Despite casinos having a minimum entry age of 18, and gambling being illegal below that age, we play a number of casino games with our children at young ages. Even though people don’t normally place wagers on the games if playing with children, it is common to play games like blackjack and gin rummy. This can be a good thing, because even if you educate your children about gambling and placing wagers, it is good opportunity to educate them about the importance of gambling in moderation. It is a growing trend to play casinos online due to the convenience of them being available all the time. Many online casinos offer a free play option on many of their games, which means that you and your children can play these games for fun and without losing any money.

Bingo

Like the lottery, bingo is one of the oldest betting games, it is also a lot of fun and very engaging. Bingo sets are widely available commercially and can be a lot of fun to play as a family, getting to turn the handle of the round cage as the balls tumble around inside and then fall out the hole. You can take it turns to be the bingo caller with all the fun calls for each number, or you could even make up your own. All the excitement of the game, plus shouting out bingo has loud as can, should wear them out before bed time and provide a peaceful night’s sleep.

UNO

The fast paced family card game can become very intense and competitive within a short space of time. Furthermore, it is easy to play, even at a very young age, as the numbers and colours are good for the development of a child’s sensory skills. It becomes more fun the more players you have, especially when it gets to a point when the gloves are off and everybody’s out to sabotage each other with the ‘pick up’ and ‘miss a turn cards’. You can also turn up the heat by adding extra decks, heightening the unpredictability of the next cards. You could also consider using sweets as betting chips for extra motivation.

Blackjack

The easiest of all casino games, and good for children as it can help to improve their mental arithmetic seeing as all they have to do is count up to 21 with their cards. You could even consider playing this in teams, so each child teams up with an adult to help. Play without any time limits so they have time to count, encourage them to count out loud and even use their fingers if that helps. With each passing hand, you’ll be surprised just how quickly they get better at the game.

How to deal with a burglary at business premises

Crime in Paisley has decreased over recent years but it’s still a risk that nobody in business can afford to overlook, because if a break-in does occur it can be extremely disruptive. Whether an intruder enters during business hours or at night, whether the alarm is raised straight away or the situation is discovered hours later, it can leave staff and owners feeling stressed. What needs to be done? How can the damage be contained so that the business can get back to normal as quickly as possible, and will that nagging feeling of vulnerability ever go away?

Robber with flashlight searching for documents in office at night

Robber with flashlight searching for documents in office at night

Contacting the police

The first thing to do upon discovering a break-in is to contact the police. This should only be done from inside the business premises if it’s clear that the burglars have left – otherwise it’s important to get to a safe place to make a landline call or alternatively use a mobile outside the premises. If a burglar is caught inside the premises violence might be used to make an escape; confrontation is not a good idea.

Upon discovering the crime, to preserve evidence, nothing should be moved or touched. When the police arrive, they will take a statement from the person that discovered the burglary and will talk to any potential witnesses. A forensic crime officer will take photographs and in some circumstances may dust for fingerprints. It’s rare for them to need to be there for more than a few hours and they will say when it’s okay to start cleaning up the scene. The officer dealing with the crime will provide a point of contact so it’s possible to phone for updates about the investigation.

What has been stolen?

After they have finished looking for evidence, the police will ask for a list of the property that has been stolen. This will be incorporated into a statement made by the business owner or the company secretary. Most burglars are after cash and small items that they can easily sell on, however, corporate sabotage is now a possibility and it’s possible that important files and even hard drives could have been taken. Sometimes burglars take keys stored in an office so they can let themselves back into the premises later. If there is any possibility this has happened, locks should be changed as soon as possible.

thief running out of a bank vault, low-key photo

thief running out of a bank vault, low-key photo

Dealing with the insurance company

Once it’s clear what has been taken and what has been damaged, it’s time to contact the insurance company. They will record details of what has happened and send an assessor to investigate the claim. There is normally no reason to delay tidying up because of this, as the insurance company will be able to use the police record of the incident to confirm what happened.

After an investigation the insurer will inform the injured party what is and is not covered by the business policy, and they will be able to advise on how to go about the process of replacing damaged items and having repairs completed as quickly as possible. In most cases, it will mean replacing lost items, saving the receipts and then submitting the claim. As long as the cost is reasonable – not much more than average – this will usually be covered in full, minus any excess stated on the policy.

Dealing with business complications

Once the immediate situation is in hand, the next thing to do is to contact any customers and business associates who are likely to suffer disruption because of what has happened. It’s best to be honest and straightforward about the problems because most people will then understand and be patient about delays.

Having repairs done

Some insurance companies have firms that they recommend for conducting repairs, but again, as long as the costs are reasonable, they will usually be happy to let businesses make their own arrangements. This can be a good opportunity to give work to other Paisley firms. This keeps the money in the local economy and can be a useful opportunity for networking, but it’s also worth looking further afield for help with those repairs that need to be carried out urgently. The Wholesale Glass Company, for instance, is a London-based glass processor with a great reputation for getting glass fitted where it’s needed quickly, even if an unusual type of glass is required.

Looking after employees

A break-in at work can leave people feeling deeply unsettled – not unlike a break-in at home. It’s likely to be particularly traumatic for anyone who was there when it happened (even if they didn’t witness it directly), and for staff members who have to be there alone or late at night. The employer’s responsibility in this situation is to talk to staff members and to make sure they receive any support they need. A team pep talk is a good idea but it’s also important to take people aside individually because they may not feel comfortable describing how they feel with colleagues present. Tackling the subject early can help to stop stress from building up over time and damaging people’s health.

Reviewing site security

To reassure employees they should be told about extra security systems to be put in place to protect them. The police will send over crime prevention officers to help review security arrangements and identify any weak points, and they will make recommendations about how security can be improved. This won’t necessarily entail a lot of expense – it could be something as simple as providing extra illumination outside the premises at night or fitting locks at the top and bottom of doors so they’re more difficult to force open. Visible improvements to security will often deter thieves from returning. The ultimate deterrent to burglars is an alarm system – preferably one that is linked to a security company that will inform a keyholder if the alarm is activated.

Although break-ins are distressing, they don’t need to be overwhelming. Going through the necessary steps one at a time makes it much easier to get back on top of things. The sooner things return to normal, the easier it will be for staff and what might have seemed a major problem can ultimately be brushed off as a mere inconvenience.

 

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We all love the opportunity to escape and visit a European country, whether it’s for business or pleasure. None of us have the ability to predict the future and anything can happen when we’re abroad, no matter how careful we try to be. You could be out eating in a restaurant and get food poisoning or we could have an accident and suffer an injury. In that instance we’d need to seek medical treatment while on the continent. In some cases, health care throughout Europe can be very expensive, but thankfully you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card from https://www.ehic.co.uk/ to help reduce the costs, or in some cases get medical treatment for free.

Healthcare in Europe differs from country to country, there’s not just a universal ‘One size fits all’ solution. Some countries may expect for patients to pay for their food and bedding while in hospital, others may require for the patient to pay the complete costs of their treatment up front before claiming the expenses back later. This is where an EHIC card would come in very useful and would make it easier for your claiming process easier if you were in this scenario.

An EHIC is valid for five years and is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA is comprised of all 28 current member states of EU along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland, are not a member of the EEA or the EU, but they have an agreement to participate as part of the EHIC scheme. Therefore your EHIC card will not be valid should you try to obtain medical treatment outside of the EEA or Switzerland. It also does not cover air ambulance or mountain rescue, private care, cancellation or extra accommodation costs.
As an EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance, it is essential that you take an insurance policy as well, In many cases, insurance companies have been known to reduce the waiver if the claimant had an EHIC.

The European Health Insurance Card covers all medical treatment, including pre-existing illnesses like kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy, you just need to pre-arrange these with the NHS before you travel. You can also obtain routine maternity care under your EHIC, providing you’re not travelling specifically for treatment or with the intention to give birth.

When applying for your EHIC, remember that everybody needs their own individual card. So if you’re planning a family holiday, you will also need to submit applications for your children and partner, all you need is their full name, date of birth and National Insurance Number. Once your application has been approved you should receive your card within seven days.

RADIO presenter Janice Forsyth prepared for her live show broadcast from Johnstone Library yesterday by having a story read to her by youngster, Millie Fox.

Janice Forsyth and four-year-old Millie Fox before the live radio show was broadcast from Johnstone Library.

Janice Forsyth and four-year-old Millie Fox before the live radio show was broadcast from Johnstone Library.

The four-year-old met up with the BBC Scotland presenter shortly before the Janice Forsyth Show went on air and Millie, from Corseford, in Johnstone just had to read Janice one of her favourite stories from The Gruffalo series of books.

When BBC Scotland producers were looking for a library to host the popular arts and culture show, Johnstone Library was recommended by theScottish Library and Information Council.

The Janice Forsyth Show was broadcast from a library as part of the BBC’s Love to Read campaign, which encourages people to read books.

The show featured the award-winning Skoobmobile children’s library and activity space, romantic comedy author, Jenny Colgan and crime writer Caro Ramsay, along with performances from singer-songwriter, Heidi Talbot.

Members of the Johnstone Book Group book group also took part in an on-air discussion about Ian Rankin’s book, Saints of the Shadow Bible and head teacher of St Anthony’s Primary, in Johnstone, Jacqueline McBurnie spoke about the work in schools to encourage children to read more.

The library remained open to the public and the event attracted a crowd of people listening to the show while the broadcast took place.

After the live broadcast Janice Forsyth said: “That was a terrific show today and it’s the first time we’ve broadcast live from a library.
“Johnstone Library is a real hive of activity and a community hub. The place is very colourful and welcoming.
” I was struck by the range of age groups of the people who were in the audience and who I could see coming in and out of the library. There were mums and babies, 20-somethings and some more mature people who we all listening intently to what was going on.”

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure – which runs the local libraries service – Joyce McKellar said: “The Janice Forsyth Show being broadcast from our library created a lot of interest and we see it as an honour to have been chosen to host the live show.
“It was great that the good work being done by our libraries staff and local schools to encourage youngsters to read more being recognised nationally.”

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We all know the Casino hotspot in Scotland that is Glasgow but why has Paisley not got any casinos? The audience is certainly there but in reality Paisley isn’t ready for the big money making establishments and there seems no appetite to have these establishments within the town either, although regular casino trips are made by buddies to Glasgow every week.

Gambling on sports

Sports gambling has a long history in the United Kingdom, having been controlled for many decades, and more recently relaxed. The 1960 Act legalised off-course bookmakers. Pool betting on horses is a monopoly of The Tote. There are over 1,000 betting shops located in London.

There is a large market in the United Kingdom for gambling on competitive sports at bookmakers (betting shops) or licensed websites, particularly for horse, greyhound racing and football. The last of these also has an associated form of gambling known as the football pools, in which players win by correctly predicting the outcome of each week’s matches.

The online sports betting market in the UK is estimated to be worth £650 million which has seen a compounding annual growth rate from 2009–12 of approximately 7%. The total online gambling population in the UK is estimated at 2.1 million customers.

Glasgow Casinos

You do not have to go to Glasgow to enjoy the joys of an all round casino, Red Flush Online Casino is a very easy way to join in some exciting games online, you can click the following link, it will show you How to Register and Play for the Red Flush Online Casino.

As well as the Glasgow casinos, Glasgow city centre, with over 700 pubs and bars, 50 clubs and countless restaurants is a bustling and entertaining nightlife venue. Previously named the “City of Culture”, the image lives on with some trendy clubs attracting top DJ’s, traditional pubs and modern themed bars. There is no shortage of casinos in Glasgow. There are 5 in the centre and Gala is so impressed by the city that they have opened four of them!

Nightlife tends to be centred around certain areas – Ashton Lane with its quaint cobbled streets has many bars and restaurants, the West End, with its clubs and bars and Merchant City in the centre, popular with students and host to one of Gala’s Glasgow casinos.

Although the centre is packed with people seeking a good time on the weekend, some of the best nights can be had on weeknights. The music scene has some of the UK’s best established venues including Glasgow Barrowlands, King Tut’s Wah Wah, The Plaza, The Arena and for some world class DJ’s: Archaos.

Those seeking a less noisy and more cultural evening will be impressed by the amount of cinemas, theatres and concert halls in and around the centre of the city. Of particular note, the Tramway and the Citizens theatres, south of the river are worth a visit.

As with all vibrant cities, the club scene is in Glasgow is constantly changing and different nights have distinctly different styles of music, but from rap to reggae, if you check out the local guides you’ll be able to find something to your taste.

For a local touch, Park Bar, Scotia Bar and Clutha Vaults all play traditional highland sounds and The Riverside Club holds ceilidh dances every weekend. Still on a Celtic feel, Molly Malones in Hope Street has live bands every night of the week.

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LED street lighting has been a common fixture throughout much of Europe and South American since 2006, and North America in 2010. They are a number of LED’s (light emitting diodes) on a single panel that provides an integrated light source that is generally brighter and more energy efficient than previous, more traditional designs of street lights. Since their first production in 1962, cheap LED lights have been used in the manufacturing of many different products due to their affordability, brightness and energy efficiency. With all the positive features LED street lights in mind, it might not be long until we see them widespread across the UK.

Advantages

LED’s have much lower energy consumption than most other light bulbs, they also last a lot longer, making them less likely to burn out and they don’t need to be changed as often. They have an expected life of 10-15 years, which is almost four times the lifespan of standard HPS lights, and means less maintenance is required. LED’s are also available in a variety of colours, and even the standard lights are better at reproducing the colours of objects in comparison to a natural light source, this can make it easier for oncoming drivers to recognise objects.

Disadvantages

In some cases, the natural light from LED Street lighting is very white which many people have likened to zombie or prison lighting. Widespread lighting that reflects into the sky has also led to abnormal nocturnal animal behaviours. There have also been scientific studies that show exposure to LED bulbs for too long has suppressed melatonin levels in human beings. Most LED street lights have focus panels that direct the light to the road, while this perverts drivers and pedestrians from being dazzled, it also directs most of the light onto the road, whilst footpaths remain darker.

Early Trials In UK

Hounslow in Chiswick became the first area in the UK to try LED streetlights after the local council upgraded the areas lights to LED’s in an attempt to improve the area’s roads. As with most trials, there were some early teething problems, mainly due to the extreme brightness levels. Some residents likened the brightness to living under the floodlights of a football pitch, and had to resort to blackout curtains in order to get a good night’s sleep. Since then, the council have adjusted the brightness, it can be controlled centrally and residents are said to be much happier with them now. Since the installation of the lights, crime in the area has reduced, the area has saved energy and taxpayer money.