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Get Ready for Autumn

Now I've just noticed a small line of type on my calendar. It informs me that Tuesday the 23rd September was the Autumnal Equinox - the official start of autumn.

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

New Year, Improved You!

The time has come to forget the clich├ęd term ‘’New Year, New You’’

Happy New Year to you all! We have embarked upon a brand new chapter.
This month brings with it all those phrases we have come to associate with January such as ‘out with the old and in with the new’. Terms used to make us feel like we should be making some life changing decisions to improve our health, quit drinking, save money or a vow to see the family more. Yes, all these things are very good ideas and ones we have all considered when we approach a new year, and then January draws to a close and we seem to fall back into our old habits. I believe that when a New Year approaches by all means make a plan for the months to follow but the important thing is not to restrict yourself to accomplishing this goal in January – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This way we don’t feel any almighty pressure to alter our lifestyle when the clock strikes midnight - because let’s face it if we want to do these things then we have 12 glorious months to fulfill these ‘resolutions’ before we ring in another year.

So if you are one of those people that like to make a resolution the key is to make it something realistic so that you don’t berate yourself too much if it falls by the wayside. One of the biggest commitments we make in January is the promise to shed the pounds we have gained in the festive season, eating, drinking and enjoying ourselves. The health and fitness industry is valued at a staggering £3.9 billion, as more and more of us have made the decision to start looking after our bodies. A study carried out by Mintel reported that in 2014 alone, 29Million Brits were trying their hand at a new diet. This has shown no signs of slowing down in the last year and with knowledge on the subject becoming more accessible with tips on easier ways to prepare healthier meals this means that 2016 looks as though it will be another year where healthy living and dieting shall reign. 

For now let’s focus on this idea of dieting-made-easy. In recent years we have seen the likes of the 5:2 diet, the Paleo and the ever popular no diet-diet where you select foods to eat based on a colour group. These were and still are popular today because they are manageable without you having to alter too many of your eating habits to obtain weight loss. Diets only become daunting when we do not have enough knowledge about the best practices to achieve the best results. However it is important to remember that as we get older our bodies change and this will affect how our bodies react to dieting. So instead of telling you what you should be eating, here are a few elements to avoid so you can start maintaining a healthier lifestyle:

Avoid skipping meals – Most people assume that skipping breakfast or lunch is a good way to lose weight fast. Unfortunately this is not true. As we age our metabolism slows with us, so even if you are consistent in the amount of food you consume you may start to notice weight gain due to this factor. Skipping meals will then slow down your metabolism further, making it harder to stay on track and will just heighten your cravings for those sugary treats later on in the day.

Add Protein – Replace processed red meats like bacon or salami with good sources of organic protein like free range chicken, dairy and plant based protein such as nuts, lentils and quinoa. This are widely available and you can find so many recipes online to create some delicious meals that are going to support your dietary needs. The introduction of high-quality protein in your diet will boost your mood and is known to relieve stress and anxiety.

Watch out for hidden sugar – Being aware of the amount of sugar that’s in our meals is an important factor when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Almost all things we eat if not everything we eat will have sugar in it. It’s an issue that effects not only our diets but also our children and grandchildren’s diets. Look out for disguised sugar in the ingredients, these will usually be referred to as corn syrup, cane juice, fructose, sucrose, or maltos. These can be found in items like canned soup, white bread and most frozen meals. Consuming more sugar than is needed can result in you feeling tired and sluggish and leave you craving more unhealthy foods.

Put down the salt - Another common issue when we get older is our weakened senses prevent us from recognising salty and bitter tastes so we tend to add more salt to flavour meals, when in actual fact older adults need a lower salt intake in their diets. Salt also contributes to ‘water weight’ which will make you feel bloated and increase those numbers on the scale. Try adding flavour to your dishes with a healthier alternative, using a variation of spices and herbs.

If you combine these four elements with a spot of light exercise, then you should start to see a difference in your lifestyle as these will help give you more energy and help prevent future health risks. Remember, you have the year ahead to make these changes so let’s take it one step at a time.

Monday, 9 November 2015

6 reasons to buy a dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are designed to reduce the amount of moisture in your home, but they also add a health benefit to your everyday life. Excessive moisture in the air means your home can become a breeding ground for mould, mildew and often the reason you are left with unwanted fusty smells.

The best way to check if you need a dehumidifier is by assessing the parts of your home that have been effected by excessive humidity. These can be identified by looking at condensation on windows, mould patches, damp areas on walls or ceilings. These are usually telling signs that you need to help control the airflow in these rooms. Here are 6 more reasons to have a think about:

Friday, 6 November 2015

November city breaks

November is here and that means there are only 6 more Saturdays left until Christmas. That thought may excite some of you whilst others will want to forget the holiday exists until you reach the penultimate week. I personally love Christmas, the lights, the decorations and even the cold breeze can’t dampen my spirits when it comes to this glorious time of year. Over the coming weeks as everyone prepares for December there are always exciting events popping up all over the country. This weekend the skies will be lit up in an array of sparkling colour as we celebrate Guy Fawkes.

I find it a real shame that in recent years we have seen a decline in public display events. Bonfire night is one of those memories you always recall as a child; getting wrapped up warm by your parents in almost every item of clothing you own, so that you don’t freeze standing outside for two hours waiting for the display to begin. I never understood even to this day, why it was always insisted upon that I wear highly flammable cotton gloves so that I was able to play with a sparkler.

Not much changes when you get older. Last year I attended the display at Alexandra Palace in London. Don’t get me wrong the view overlooking London was incredible - but after paying a £10 entrance fee, standing in line for Luke warm mulled wine, then trying to get a good spot amongst the other thousands that were there - I can assure you the novelty of the event had well and truly worn off.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Trooping the winter colours

In the 'olden days' the world was black and white. At least that's what I thought once upon a time. Actually I'd have been about three and ancient history was when my grandparents were young. As for the monochrome nature of everything, that was obvious. Curling snapshots in the family album, old TV programmes, newspapers and most magazines depicted life in shades of grey.

And this impression wasn't so far from the truth. Rare documentary footage, shot in colour, of London circa 1954 suggests that visually things were pretty drab. Almost as if colour were still rationed along with sugar, bananas and heaven knows what else. With the gallant exception of the old Routemaster buses, all the vehicles were black or grey and the pedestrians on the crowded pavements were dressed in the same way. It was almost as if because most film was monochrome, clothing was too. A strange case of nature imitating art. For the rest of the world, or 'abroad' to use the contemporary term, things were apparently different.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Spooktacular pumpkin recipes

Halloween is just around the corner and one of the most recognisable symbols for this holiday has to be the pumpkin. Supermarkets are currently awash with this brightly coloured fruit, and if carving those ghoulish jack-o’-lantern’s is not quite what you had in mind, then they can also be used to conjure up some delicious dishes instead. If you enjoy cooking with butternut squash then this can be a convenient alternative.

Both fruits are taken from the cucurbitaceous family which are annual or perennial herbs grown according to temperature and location. These will include: cucumbers, gourds, melons, squashes and pumpkins. The pumpkin is grown throughout the summer months but is known as a winter squash, this is why it is widely used over Halloween. However it has become a popular dish in the US used to make pumpkin pie around thanksgiving and Christmas festivities. Although pumpkin is a tasty fruit to add to both savoury and sweet dishes it is important to establish the right ones to use when baking. The smaller sized pumpkins also known as ‘’Pie pumpkins’’ are best, as opposed to the larger sized pumpkins as these can be quite watery and bland.

The smooth flesh of the smaller pumpkin is both flavourful and sweet; whilst the seeds themselves can be used as a tasty snack. Once carved you can give them a wash, boil for 10 minutes, leave to dry; then sprinkle some salt and olive oil and bake for around 40 minutes. Providing a multitude of nutrition these are packed with protein, fibre, zinc and potassium, they can also be used as a garnish.

Why not give these quick and convenient dishes a try and see what you think!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Car maintenance made easy

It’s no secret that scratches and marks on your car are both irritating and unsightly. It often means it can devalue and cheapen the look of your car but in most cases it is unpreventable. Unless you’re going to have it sitting in a bubble outside your house there is no escaping those surface imperfections caused by children or grandchildren, pets, passers-by and even adverse weather conditions. The important aspect to this is knowing the difference between surface scratches and a much deeper one, and a solution on how-to restore the area effected.

Most modern cars now have a clear top coat which sits on top of the coloured base. This will differ depending on the model and manufacturer of your particular car. This acts as a protective layer, one that will increase durability and resistance to elements. A minor scratch can be identified by its depth. If on examining the scratch you can’t see any colour underneath, this will mean the paintwork hasn’t been affected and has only penetrated the clear layer. Good news is this can usually be buffed out without any costly expense. Our Miracle Vanish Pen is a perfect product to help in these situations. The components in the formula will fill scratch marks, seal them and protect form corrosion. Rather than just covering up the scratch it will eliminate them.

The non-toxic odourless solution will work on any vehicle regardless of the colour - although it is not a product that can be used on alloys - it is long lasting and water resistant. However due to exposure from different weather conditions this may have an effect on the length of time before it needs another application. Currently if you buy one, we will give you the second one at no extra cost so there’s never been a better time to consider this easy car maintenance solution. If you want more information on how this product works you can follow my step-by-step guide below.