Yes, it is that time of year again — Big Brother 2016 has hit our screens. Love them or hate them, no-one could call Big Brother contestants dull, and what does a house packed choc-full of these lively characters need? Lively interiors of course!

Anticipated almost as hotly as the personalities that will call it home for the coming weeks, the Big Brother house and its interior decoration play a pivotal role in making the show the eye-popping, attention-grabbing and, at times, jaw-dropping sensation it is. The show’s designers hunt every year for stand-out décor and unique pieces of furniture that can not only do justice to the show, but which will also reflect its colourful persona and add a touch of pizzazz to the proceedings.

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Sometimes, a manufacturer gets it spot on and a design for a product can become not just something everybody will use, but ends up being heralded as an icon of British culture; a quintessential aspect of what it means to be British. Such a successful design goes down in the history books as one of those products that everyone will remember.

It is easy to recall some of the times this has been achieved to great effect. When thinking of classic cars, whenever somebody says the word ‘Mini’, many people think of Alec Issigonis’ classic design, with a Union Jack proudly painted on to the roof. The Mini is now forever associated with that kind of imagery, and appearances in such classic British films as The Italian Job.

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Meet the Manufacturer, the only 100% British sourcing event, is seeking manufacturers and designers who are innovators in technology & design, product  development and sustainability to take part in a new ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition this year. The two-day conference and trade show on 25 and 26 May will feature Innovation Accelerator for manufacturers on day one and Designer’s Den for designers on day two.

Enterprising manufacturers and designers are invited to submit their ideas ahead of the event. Those with the most promising concepts will be selected to attend the Meet the Manufacturer conference to pitch their idea to a panel of experts and benefit from their knowledge and advice to take their business to the next level.

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Even when times are tough financially, there are some areas in which people are always willing to spend. One of them is the pet industry, making it a resilient area that has shown consistent growth in recent years. With 58 million pets in the country and around £4.6bn spent on them annually, it’s an area with huge potential and it provides jobs in pet food production, manufacture, transport, technology and more.

Practical items

Every pet needs food and the market for basic pet food is huge, catering to many different kinds of animal. Because some pets are fussy, there are often multiple flavours of food in demand within a single brand, and there’s a market for specialist food such as dog chews designed to protect tooth enamel. Pet medicine is another major area, covering everything from drugs to supports for injured animals, and pet housing is also in high demand, from cages for small rodents to dog kennels. Consumers also spend on bedding, grooming equipment and toys.

Luxury items

Alongside this market in practical items, there’s a market in luxury goods. Most pet owners like to provide occasional treats in the form of snacks, but also included in this market are luxury foods designed to provide animals with gourmet meals – or at least with what their owners like to think they’d perceive that way. Luxury clothing for pets is increasingly popular; as are manicures, dye jobs, stencilled tattoos and other forms of elaborate grooming. Many pets even have their own social media accounts and there are new online services to help them meet others in their local areas.

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Britain’s festival of boating drew to a close after welcoming everyone from sailing legends to pop stars 

As the 2015 Southampton Boat Show closed on Sunday 20 September, over 110,000 people had enjoyed a taste of Britain’s biggest boating festival. The Show saw 23 boats make their world debut and over 330 of the world's leading sailboats and high-performance powerboats on the water.

Strong sales have been reported throughout the duration of the Show, with many companies reporting an increase on last year’s figures including multi-million pound deals. Some serious marine business has been conducted with contracts between the marine divisions of companies such as Rolls-Royce and Sunseeker International being signed.

The Show kicked off in style with F1 presenter, Suzi Perry opening the Sunseeker stand with Britain’s Got Talent winners, Collabro. The Red Arrows provided visitors with a show-stopping display over the purpose-built marina on the first weekend, with sailing legends Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Olympian, Annie Lush all making appearances during the ten day event.

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The Chesterfield Company has expanded its operation by opening a new factory in Blackburn.The new premises covers almost 2000 square metres and has further room for expansion, allowing the company to increase the number of quality, handmade Chesterfield Sofas as well as various other items of furniture including beanbags, footstools, arm chairs, sofa beds and much more.

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