How to Catch Carp The Easy Way

Carp fishing is the most popular type of recreational fishing in the UK, and it is hardly surprising. These shy but cunning fish can put up a surprisingly challenging fight and they grow to mammoth sizes in the right conditions.

Every angler from the casual amateur to the dedicated sportsperson is always looking for that elusive edge over both other anglers and the fish themselves. There are many factors to take into account when hunting down the perfect specimen of a carp.

The location needs to be right. Carp are common fish but there are certain places you are more likely to encounter success. As opposed to clear running streams the shy carp tend to prefer cloudier, murky environments they can stay more hidden in. Dense vegetation is a help as the shadows also provide cover that makes them feel comfortable. A lot of plant growth also tends to provide a good environment for the insects that the carp will feed on.

When to fish is another variable to put into the equation. Common wisdom suggests that early morning is the best time for carp spotting. With early morning and the shallow angle of the sun it is best to avoid anything very reflective so darker hooks tend to be better suited to this purpose.

Carp like their food so as well as looking for locations with abundant insect life there are some other tips to add to your arsenal. Any place where people have been tossing bread to ducks or other water birds is likely to have attracted the attention of carp, be careful though as if there is too much food available your hook is going to face stiffer competition and have less of a chance. Chumming the water in the area you are fishing can also help though again be aware of just how much you are tossing out, enough to attract but not enough to fill their bellies and sate their appetite.

Unlike some fish carp feed at all levels of the water so a free-floating hook or bait on the river or lake bed are equally likely to attract their attention when hungry, that said there are fishermen who swear by bottom fishing only for the best experience. Either way as they can be such fierce fighters a longer rod, for more leverage, will give you an advantage as well.

We put the question to Jed Smith of British Baits (see here) to get his view on the matter. “Carp will eat most things, they like insects as well as stuff as simple as bread but the go to bait for most serious anglers is the boilie.”

Thanks, Jed, for the words of wisdom. For those who are not familiar with them boilies are hard boiled baits that are incredibly versatile. They come in a dizzying array of colours, sizes, and flavours. Some anglers swear by the boilies that are scented with fish meal while others like more exotic ones such as strawberry. One advantage of these is their ease of carrying and long life.

So, there you go, a few tips to help make your next foray into the waters more rewarding. Happy angling.

Consider Moving Your UK Business to Spain’s EU Wide Market

Businesses in the United Kingdom have recently had to deal with two seismic shifts to their environments.

The covid pandemic has had multiple implications for businesses at all levels. The phasing in of more and more of the Brexit regulations and procedures has also changed the landscape for businesses both large and small.

Some sectors have faced a shortage of labour recently. In some cases, this has been down to travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic or by EU citizens choosing to move back home post Brexit as the exchange rate for money earned in the UK becomes less appealing. With the way the world has now moved many people are also reassessing their personal priorities and making career shifts and geographical moves.

Another people related result of the pandemic has been the enforced move to working from home for businesses where this is possible. This has had the result of opening up a global labour pool for those that are able to do it. An increase in the amount of outsourcing of work that is not a company’s core specialism has also resulted. This means that location can be less of a factor in choosing where to headquarter a commercial venture.

Now that there is no longer seamless movement of goods and services between the EU and the UK there is no longer such an easy access to the EU market for UK based companies. In fact, the BBC recently reported that United Kingdom food and drink exports to the EU halved in the first quarter of 2021 as can be seen in the report here. The BBC also reported that even before Brexit was implemented a third of IOD members were considering relocating to the EU.

Considering all the above it is only good sense for UK based businesses to at least consider and investigate the option of moving operations into an EU member state. This is something that there is evidence of happening already. When talking to Miguel Ramos from Javea Estate Agent he reported that “Since just before Brexit there has been a huge increase in interest in our commercial properties. In fact, transactions in our commercial side have more than doubled in the past three years and a lot of the buyers have come from outside Spain.”

It is critical to enlist specialist advice in terms of the legalities and tax position for example and this article is in no way meant to be a replacement for professional input however there are several interesting factors to consider.

Relocating a business from the UK to Spain gives the immediate advantage of direct access to the 500 plus million market of EU citizens if that is appropriate for your business model.

If you can either provide your services remotely or hire staff that add value to your business by remote working, then limits of location are less of a concern.

There are various schemes set up by the Spanish government that may be advantageous. As an example, it may be worth engaging legal advice around the options for paying tax as a non-resident or for setting up an efficient investment vehicle for your tax liabilities.

There are specialist companies that will help with the move and then as well as the commercial benefits you will be able to tap into the joys of Spain which include:

  • A gorgeous climate
  • World class health services
  • An affordable cost of living
  • Beautiful coast, countryside, and mountain terrain
  • Enviable all-round quality of life

How To Be a Good Manager – Listening Skills and Managing People 

Numerous qualities are the makeup of a good manager, but strong listening skills are defining when it comes to solid leadership.

At one time or another, most people have been a business employee and know what they look for from a qualified leader. Nothing proves more endearing, nor inspires more respect, than a manager with strong listening skills. Listening skills are a learned performance and, with practice, can help anyone become an accomplished manager that portrays effective leadership.

An employee always responds more productively when he feels like he is truly being “heard” by his superiors. A strong manager will perfect the art of listening and acquire techniques that show others he is truly hearing what they have to say. According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing People, by Arthur R. Pell, the keys to good listening skills include:

Eliminate distractions: Preceding a lengthy discussion with an employee, the manager should see that phone calls are held, papers are cleared from view, and all other distractions are removed. Receiving calls or glancing at paperwork are the two most significant offenses that display poor listening skills. If You cannot accomplish this in the manager’s office, move the discussion to a conference room or alternate location.

Appear Interested: Do not sit too comfortably. A slack posture or inattentive appearance gives the impression that the listener is only mildly interested in what the speaker has to say. When an employee is trying to make a point, they will most likely subdue further discussion if they feel the management is only tolerating their attempt. So, sit up in the chair, lean forward a bit, and proffer continued eye contact.

Remain active in the conversation: A strong listener asks questions. Inquiries should only be imposed, though, when there is a pause in the conversation.

Be an empathetic listener: Managers need to show employees that they can put themselves in that person’s shoes. Sympathetic listeners hear what others are saying and try to feel what they are feeling. Speakers will pick up on this, and the effect is gratifying and induces continued revelations. Managers who practice this technique will learn more about their employees than with any other method.

Use silence to inspire information – when an employee stops speaking, wait 5 seconds, allowing them to emphasize their point. The additional information tends to be more revealing than the practiced dialect they originally intended.

Take notes: In an employee/employer meeting, rather impromptu or scheduled, a good listener and proficient manager will take notes. Jot down keywords or phrases, keep records of quotes and figures as later these critical facts can be elusive. The follow-up to strong listening skills is as important as the initial conversation. If an employee sees that a manager remembers what they discussed, that employee will most likely be even more forthcoming in the future.

Keeping strong and open relations with employees is one of the most productive advantages a good manager can possess. In addition to becoming a proficient listener, managers with strength in this area will elicit advanced productivity while ensuring the lines between manager and employee remain clearly defined. Managing staff is complex, and learning how to be a good manager is an ongoing process. However, seasoned managers make effective leadership appear effortless.

Subsidiaries and Mergers – What Are They?

As a corporation grows and becomes more profitable, it may choose to buy up competitive businesses or a significant interest in another company’s shares and make the new acquisition a subsidiary company of the existing corporation. In this way, the buying company now controls either all or the majority of ownership in the purchased company and can therefore control the subsidiary and its future.

Subsidiary vs. Merger

Typically acquiring a firm as a subsidiary involves less of a financial investment by the corporation than if it were to buy a business and merge it with the existing operation. To merge with another company is quite distinct from creating a subsidiary, as a merger between two corporations is more like a marriage, but the union of the two must have the approval of stockholders, as they have the right to accept or disapprove the merger. Setting up a subsidiary lacks this requirement, so the head of a corporation may act with more authority in such an acquisition and go ahead without shareholders’ approval.

In addition, not all subsidiaries are in the same business sector as the acquiring corporation. Therefore, the parent company may not want the subsidiary to be so openly connected to its own operations. For example, a corporation that makes shoes might acquire a subsidiary company that manufactures socks. While the products are not entirely unrelated, they represent different areas of manufacture and retail.


Another practical reason for large corporations (especially those that operate in the multinational arena) to create subsidiaries is the possibility of tax advantages. A subsidiary created in another country might be legible for tax breaks not available to a parent company.

Limited Liability

Subsidiaries are separate legal entities to the parent, so the parent corporation’s assets have no obligation to pay or support any debt or obligations the subsidiary may create. The focus of this advantage is that by creating a subsidiary, the parent company may undertake more financially risky ventures in its name without placing further obligations or risking the reputation of the existing corporation. Later, if and when a claim is made against a subsidiary, the parent corporation has no liability.

Another advantage inherent in acquiring or creating subsidiaries is that it is easier in the future to sell off part of the company without having to close the entire business. It also offers an opportunity to enter into new ventures and pay management of the subsidiary on a scale based upon the venture’s performance.

Jigsaw Puzzles to Banish the Blues

When Wall Street Crashed in 1929, the Cheap Jigsaw Came Into Its Own

Are you considering what to buy for a gift? A jigsaw puzzle is economical and fun, and even a cheap jigsaw keeps the solver absorbed for hours. Or you can make your own jigsaw puzzle.

There’s a lot to be said for jigsaws, especially when finances are strained. They’re free on a computer, and even from a shop, many are available for under £5. You can buy even superior quality jigsaw puzzles for around £20. And for so little, you get so much.

Christmas and birthdays come but once a year – which is quite often enough when times are hard. But there are things on which people will spend money in a recession. In the 1930s, cinema enjoyed a boom, as did chocolate – and jigsaw puzzles became a mania.

Easily explained, of course. Unable to afford big purchases, people looked for inexpensive ways of taking their minds off their troubles. Now, in the COVID-19 recession, everyone seeks distraction once more, and no one wants to spend much. So why not turn again to the jigsaw? A jigsaw puzzle might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Wood Jigsaw Puzzle

The first jigsaw puzzles on record were the work of London mapmaker John Spilsbury. Around 1760, Spilsbury glued one of his maps to a wood sheet and cut around national borders with a marquetry saw. The end product he saw as essentially educational – a means of teaching geography.

The early puzzles were known as dissected maps, and it was with such a map of Europe that jigsaws made their literary debut. In Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, one of Fanny Price’s cousins is amused by her inability to “put the map of Europe together”. It wasn’t poor Fanny’s fault. Her own family was not well off, and the wooden jigsaw puzzle was expensive.

The Cheap Jigsaw: Make Your Own Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaws would remain expensive for most of the nineteenth century, but technological advances, in addition to improving their quality, gradually made them more affordable. Improvements in printing made the pictures better, cutting methods became more efficient, and, crucially, the wood jigsaw puzzle gave way to cardboard.

Towards the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, jigsaws became something of a craze on both sides of the Atlantic, but the Wall Street crash of 1929 gave them their biggest boost. Inexpensive entertainment was much in demand, and the cheap jigsaw, made of cardboard, was phenomenally successful.

Since the Second World War, the jigsaw has faced stiff competition from such creative hobbies as Airfix kits and Lego. But one advantage which it enjoys is that it is not difficult to make your own jigsaw puzzle.

All that is needed is to paste a picture to a sheet of cardboard and to cut it into suitable pieces with a Stanley knife (US utility knife). For a touch of class, it is even possible with care to make a wooden jigsaw. A home-made Christmas jigsaw puzzle might make a more interesting present than most.

Online Jigsaws

With the coming of the home computer, jigsaws can be enjoyed online, where the cheap jigsaw has become free. To the purist, online jigsaws are almost sacrilegious, but they do have their advantages: it isn’t possible to lose any of the pieces, and there’s no clearing up to do.

Because the pieces are all correctly oriented and cannot be rotated, the puzzles are somewhat easier than the real thing. The pictures on offer are not especially exciting, but by uploading a picture of choice, you can make your own jigsaw puzzle.

Wasgij Jigsaws

Another interesting recent development has been the invention of the Wasgij (no prizes for guessing the derivation of the name). With Wasgij jigsaws, the solver does not know how the completed puzzle will look because, while the picture on the box gives clues, it is not the one that you will piece together. Typically, the solver has to create the view seen by one of the characters in the box picture.

A Wasgij jigsaw might be a particularly good gift jigsaw puzzle, something to keep all the family guessing while they digest the turkey.

Thinking of Relocating To, or Visiting Spain? 

I work at and have lived in Spain since relocating from the UK in 2006. Here is a selection of tips that I hope will be helpful if you are choosing to move to Spain or if you will be visiting Spain in 2021.

  1. Although a lot of people speak the English language in Spain nowadays, it is vital that you try and pick up some of the language so that you are more appreciated by those who live within the country, and will be able to integrate into your local community with less difficulty than those who do not make an effort to learn.
  2. It is advisable to accept that Spain has a slower way of life than in other countries. Be prepared to take your time over activities such as dinner and be patient when waiting in queues. You may be surprised that some small shops have seats – it is because you might be there a while waiting for your turn!
  3. Learn the laws in Spain so that you do not run into any problems. Ignorance of the law is not taken as an excuse if you offend in Spain.

A selection of tips for individuals who are travelling to Spain:

1.The sun is very bright in Spain, so it is a good idea to invest in a high-quality pair of sunglasses. If you do not do this, you will be squinting a lot of the time and may have sore eyes by the end of your trip.

2.Choose natural fibre clothes that are loose-fitting so that you do not become overheated. It can be an excellent idea to get glammed up in the evenings but remember that it is always sweltering in Spain during the summer months.

3.Choose a nice quality pair of sandals to wear throughout the day as your feet may become sore and swollen if you do not invest in a pair of open footwear that you find comfortable.

My top three cities to visit in Spain:

  1. Alicante is a beautiful location that is described as a city but feels more like a village. Many places of interest are within walking distance of each other, and the site has a wonderful waterfront.
  2. Barcelona is a bustling city that has a wide range of attractions. It is also filled with exciting places to go, and you will always find someone something new. There are tourist buses that offer a hop on and off service, or you can hire a bike at a low cost to tour the city.
  3. Cartagena is a location that dates to Roman times and has a lot of history relating to the Spanish Civil War. This city has a wide selection of museums and attractions to enjoy.


When to Exercise with Muscle Soreness

Working out while muscles are sore is not always detrimental. Depending on the degree of muscle soreness, a workout can help relieve sore muscles.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), the miserable tenderness that follows a challenging workout, typically indicates that damage has occurred to the muscles involved. Most experts agree that DOMS’s pain is related to microscopic tears in muscles, most of which occur because of impact and the negative, eccentric portions of exercises. These tiny muscle strains, along with the resulting inflammation, are likely the primary causes of muscle soreness.

The pain of DOMS is most common when beginning a new exercise program, a phenomenon that is poorly understood. Some experts suggest that the inefficiency of movement when learning and performing new exercises produces more muscular damage than when the nervous system is precisely tuned to a movement. For this reason alone, the muscle soreness a workout produces does not correlate with the productiveness of the activity, though the type of muscle damage that comes with DOMS is valuable in the pursuit of specific fitness goals.

When Exercising Helps Relieve Muscle Soreness

Although doing another workout may not come to mind immediately when managing muscle soreness, it can be extremely helpful in relieving the pain and expediting the recovery process. When muscles are only moderately sore, and exercises can be performed with proper form, a light workout serves to increase circulation to affected areas. The consequential cleansing of irritants and the influx of nutrients accelerate the processes that alleviate sore muscles, allowing for a quicker return to intense exercise.

When Workouts Might Harm Sore Muscles

When the gradually increasing discomfort of DOMS reaches unbearable levels, though, performing an additional exercise can be tremendously counterproductive. A level of pain that interferes with performing simple daily tasks, such as reaching up for a box of cereal or bending down to pick up a ball, usually means that the muscles need more recovery time. Going through another intense workout can cause further damage to the muscles, which in turn can stall recovery, minimize the gains made from the previous exercises, and lead in some cases to debilitating injuries. Moreover, these painful workouts are usually performed far below the levels of performance that stimulate improvements. In such situations, the risk of injury typically outweighs any possible rewards.

Depending on the degree of muscle soreness experienced following an intense bout of exercise, a lower intensity recovery workout can produce a wide range of results. When dealing with mild discomfort, a gentle workout can loosen muscles, alleviate pain, and significantly hasten recovery. In cases of debilitating soreness, though, additional stress may not be the best option. Under these unpleasant circumstances, ice, rest, massage, heat, and stretching are more sensible alternatives.

How To Get the Most From Your Wood-Burning Stove

There is nothing quite like a wood-burning stove. Whether used for primitive-style cooking or general warmth and ambiance, a wood-burning stove is one of the most enjoyable parts of those cold, cozy days. Here you can find wood-burning DEFRA approved stoves on sale No matter the age or type of stove you employ, there are a few key issues to remember in order to get the most out of your new-found love of the indoor fire.

Avoid Burning Water

As silly as that statement sounds, it makes perfect sense to veteran stove users, and will soon make sense to you. This concept is one of the most fundamental ideas when burning wood indoors. It’s important to note that green, or new wood, is up to 50% water which means that for every kilogram of green wood you add to your fire, you are, essentially, adding around 500 milliliters of water. Have you ever tried to burn water? Well, it doesn’t burn. So avoid burning green, water-intense wood, and go for a very dry log instead.

Dried Wood

The process of drying out greenwood is a simple one but should be carefully undertaken in order to properly assure a good burn. There are several ways to acquire properly dried wood:

* Dry it yourself. This method is quite easy and definitely the cheapest route, but will require at least one whole summer (two summers would be optimal) to accomplish. If you have space, simply acquire greenwood, stack it outdoors where it will be exposed to the elements, and wait. Over the course of time, the wood will dry out and be ready to burn.

* Contact a good supplier with a reputable background. One of the best, most confident ways of procuring a good supplier of dried wood is to contact an accreditation company such as Woodsure. Their job is to ensure the company from which you are buying has followed all the proper steps and that the wood you are buying is as dry as they claim it to be. This will give you ultimate peace of mind in knowing that the product you are buying is as dry as possible.

* Procure logs or briquettes that are kiln-dried. This method may be the simplest way to obtain sufficiently dried wood, but it is definitely the most expensive. In addition, these products could prove to have issues as the drying process includes the addition of energy before it reaches your stove. Some suppliers do use wood-fired kilns, but not all do, so make sure to check out the company’s procedures before making the purchase.

Properly Manage Airflow

There are two important types of airflow that feed the flame of your wood-burning stove. Primary air is responsible for effectively feeding the bed of the fire which includes the embers and base. Secondary air has the job of providing an adequate supply to the flames above the wood. The fact is, almost all energy from the wood comes from gases that are released when the wood is heated. This means that secondary air is crucial to the warmth of a fire, and takes precedence over primary air.

In order to properly manage airflow in your wood-burning stove, there are few tips to which you should adhere. The basic rules are:

* Never, and I mean never, close the secondary air vent completely. This will, ultimately, create an unnecessary amount of soot that will produce an unwanted coating of gunk on your stove’s glass. Definitely not a pretty sight.

* Unless lighting the fire, do not leave the stove door ajar. This will only serve to incapacitate the efficiency of your stove and allow the warm air to escape up the chimney.

* Remember, size matters. You, ultimately, want a burn that is hot and fast as this will produce the cleanest, most systematic method of using your wood-burning stove. It’s much more productive to use a hot fire that is reasonably sized than to have an out-of-control large flame that is slow to burn.

Work Abroad? Have a UK pension scheme? It may pay to Invest in a QROPS Scheme

If you have a UK pension fund and are planning to live permanently abroad during your retirement a QROPS scheme is (literally) made for you. QROPS are Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes. That is, they are overseas pension schemes that are considered legitimate enough in the eyes of HMRC to manage your pension pot. For those who want to retire abroad this means they have options – Options are always good, so long as you know what they are!

Who Qualifies?

Certain UK pension pots are not eligible for QROPS and cannot be transferred. This includes,

  • A pension that has been used to purchase lifetime annuity.
  • Pensions where payments have previously been made through a “Final Salary Scheme” (annuity).
  • UK State Pensions

SIPPs, SSAS and most defined UK benefit pension schemes can be transferred.

An important thing to note is that having a QROPS will not affect any entitlement you might have to a UK state pension.

QROPS Options

UK pensions can be restrictive. QROPS are more flexible and offer up more options. A QROPS allows you to withdraw money how and when you want it. For example, you can choose to receive a higher income during early retirement and less later on when you really start to slow down. It is also possible to take out a lump sum, as much as you need. You can find out more at the QROPS Help Centre.

Almost invariably QROPS can provide more options than UK pensions with regards to how your pension pot is invested. You will discover a flexible and extensive choice of funds available, able to suit different situations, goals and time-planning. Unlike guaranteed annuity there are some elements of risk with investment pensions. How much risk you are willing to take is also relative to the options available to you – Although of course, professional management will usually minimise risk.

What Countries & Pensions Qualify?

HMRC (who introduced this new scheme on April 6th 2006) has strict criteria that must be met for a foreign pension to qualify. Not all countries and all foreign pension schemes are eligible. In addition, transfer penalties as well as taxation depends on the country. However, it is not essential to transfer to a QROPS in the same country you retire.

The HMRC has a list of QROPS and the latest PDF can be downloaded HERE.

Get the Best QROPS for You

There is a myriad of options available using QROPS for UK pension holders who intend to retire abroad. Some countries do not recognise trusts (such as the USA and France), which can make taxation a difficult hurdle to manoeuvre. Without doubt, pensions and QROPS are a complex matter but many ex-pats have found them more than worthwhile. Even so, making the wrong move could cost you heftily. That is why it is absolutely essential to find out all the options and get the best advice by visiting a QROPS help centre and speaking with a professional pension advisor.]]>

To Botox or Not to Botox? That Is the Question!

Among the top cosmetic procedures that are performed safely and effectively are Botox injections. This popular procedure has been performed globally for more than 10 years for a wide variety of medical conditions, but most commonly Botox is employed for the treatment of wrinkles on the face.

There are common misconceptions about both where on the face Botox injections can be performed and that the procedure can smooth all wrinkles. To clarify this matter, we asked Diane from the the most typical wrinkle areas that occur on the face. Crow’s feet, smile lines, and surprise lines are the most popular issues for which Botox is satisfactorily employed.

Surprise lines are creases that occur horizontally on the forehead and are typically prominent when the eyebrows are raised. Frown lines or “number 11 lines” are located between the eyebrows and form vertically and are most noticeable when one attempts to frown.

Crow’s feet are small lines that begin from an angle stemming from the outside of the eyes and continue toward the temples and are fan-like in appearance. The shape of these lines appears similar in shape to a bird’s feet. Why the crow was the term after which the bird foot shaped skin imperfection was coined, one can only guess. Crows feet are most prominent when the person who suffers from them is squinting.

Smile lines stem from the nose to the mouth’s angles. Most notable when smiling, smile lines can develop quite significantly in some sufferers. The medically correct term for smile lines are coined in medical literature are “nasolabial folds”, a term derived from the Latin term employed for folds from the nose to the lips.

Marionette lines stem from the mouth and appear vertically toward the chin, resembling the lines that appear on the faces of marionettes, which are crafted to permit the puppet to move it’s mouth both up and down.

Neither marionette or smile lines are not treatable with Botox injections, as these deep-set lines are always prominent even when these muscles aren’t being used. Attempting to paralyze the muscles that permit smiling or movement of the lips could cause serious issues, such as facial drooping, but more importantly it still won’t vanish these creases or lessen their prominence.

Fine vertical lines that appear around the lips are referred to as, “smoker’s lines”. These lines characteristically appear in smokers, as the act of smoking requires a puckering motion to occur, which brings those lines to prominence. Smoker’s lines may also be diminished by Botox injections, however, if a person is an active smoker, the effect could be very limited.

It’s vital to be mindful that the wrinkle smoothing effect that Botox brings due to its muscle relaxing properties is that the treatment doesn’t have a direct effect to the skin, as it only acts on the skin’s underlying muscles. When the facial muscles are active, they continually pull the skin into a variety of directions, which creates wrinkles.

As Botox performs it’s relaxing magic on the facial muscles, portions of the face where significant muscle activity is employed will benefit from the treatment the most. However, the affected muscles shouldn’t be muscles that are integral to producing facial expressions or other vital functions, as this may lead to undesirable treatment effects that make the face appear to be unnaturally paralyzed.]]>

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