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11:42 PM

3 Tips to Help that Aching Back



The work day ends, but the back pain doesn’t. Sitting all day at a computer takes a toll on our backs, yet for a large percentage of Americans, sitting in front of a computer sums up their job description.
 
And that work-related back pain that starts out minor can soon become severe, causing problems in all areas of your life.
 
“The longer you have a back problem, the more damage it will create, the more it will resist getting better, and the more time it will take to heal,” says Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions  “So the best course is to prevent back problems from happening to begin with.”
 
He offers a few tips for those whose jobs require them to sit, sit and sit some more:
  • Watch how you sit. Most people are putting pressure on their backs, necks and shoulders because they don’t work in an ergonomically correct position, Butler says. Here’s how to achieve the optimal position: Sit with your body no more than an arm’s length from the computer and mouse, and don’t lean your head and neck forward. You should be able to rest your hand comfortably on the mouse with the elbow at the same height as the mouse pad. The monitor should be 2 or 3 inches above eye level.
  • Choose the right chair. Ideally, you want a chair with lumbar support. “If there is no lumbar support, you can place a pillow behind your lower spine,” Butler says. Chairs that can tilt back also take pressure off the base of the spine and help prevent back pain. But if back pain has already started, Butler suggests placing ice between the lumbar support and the back for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation.
  • Don’t cradle your phone. Have you ever pinned your phone between your shoulder and your ear so you can type while you talk? Butler has a one-word piece of advice: Don’t. “The intense strain from holding the phone that way for more than a couple of minutes can have a lasting effect on your posture and add to your back and neck pain,” he says.
 
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11:34 PM

Top 5 Sofa Trends for 2019


With 2019 approaching fast, it’s time to set new décor goals for the home. An easy way to get started is by embracing some of the standout styles of Spring/Summer 2019 for a fresh, on-trend update.
 
Today Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice, shares five sofa trends that are set to be big for the upcoming season.  

1. Classic, simple shapes   

 
Minimalist furniture and decor has never gone out of style, and with the ongoing focus on mindfulness and the perennial chic of the signature clean Scandinavian aesthetic, this look is going to keep going strong in 2019. “It’s all about going back to basics, with classic and versatile designs,” says Rebecca.

“The aim here is to create a space that’s pared back, yet thoughtful - think strong lines and structured silhouettes. For instance, a modern sofa in classic black leather will lend a cool, yet welcoming feel to the living room. The focus here is a strong centrepiece – go for simple yet bold shapes for a look that’s both classic and interesting. This will really shine when paired with eye-catching, contemporary décor. Opting for a leather finish lends a sophisticated look that’s both versatile and easy to maintain, making it a great foundation that’ll never go out of style.”
 

2. Natural textures and linen

 
The movement towards natural textures and materials in the home is also about creating a welcome retreat from hectic, modern life. Whether it’s bringing greenery indoors or experimenting with wood finishing, this trend works across many styles and homes - from rustic and tropical to airy and Scandinavian.  
 
“The growth of natural fabrics such as linen reflects an ongoing shift towards sustainability,” says Rebecca. “Linen is a versatile, durable material, with both cooling and warming qualities depending on the weather. This makes it a great choice for a comfy, stylish sofa all year round, and as an added bonus, its signature finish creates both visual and tactile texture in a space. With its soft beige and oatmeal shades, a linen sofa pairs up well with elements like indoor plants, rattan and wood for a tranquil, relaxed vibe in the home.”

3. Luxurious velvet


Now for something entirely different - often considered the epitome of luxury and timeless style, velvet reigns supreme as one of the top trends this season. For this latest interpretation, velvet manages to be both retro and modern - think classic Chesterfield sofas updated in bold jewel tones, and modern sofas made cosier with this soft, gleaming fabric.  

“Velvet sofas are designed to make a statement in the living room,”says Rebecca. “A velvet sofa in a dark colour such as blue or red anchors a light, neutral room  and gives it a dramatic contrast. When set against a darker background, such as a grey or black wall, it can add a luxurious, plush pop of colour.”

“A stylish way to introduce colour and glamour to a space, this finish absolutely shines in an airy, casually elegant space, and also works when playing with darker tones for a punchy, transformative look,” Rebecca says. “In terms of texture, velvet beautifully complements other fabrics and finishes, such as knits and furs, making it easy to entirely change the look and feel of a space, depending on the rugs, pillows and other decor.”
 
 

4. Art Deco influence

 
A look that has inspired countless home makeovers and DIYs, Art Deco returns with a chic new look for 2019 - and we predict that it is here to stay. “Colour and contrast are set to be key players in this modern revival,” Rebecca says. “This approach is a perfect way to highlight statement furniture such as Art-Deco inspired sofas – offset cool tones like grey against rich blues for a calm and chic interior.”
 
“This trend also celebrates the notion that more is more when it comes to decorating, truly embracing maximalist tendencies. Pick out an Art Deco-inspired sofa with graceful curves and tapered legs for a polished look, before layering it with bold hues, prints, and finishes. The result is an space that’s full of personality, and yet will never go out of style.”
 
“It’s easy for this look to get a little overwhelming, so it’s also good to start off in small doses through printed pillows, or wall art. The beauty of Art Deco is its ability to dazzle as an accent or as a full-blown theme – in smaller doses, it luxes up mid-century and modern Scandi interiors, but it also works for a high-impact, glamorous feel at home.”

5. Clever Detailing

 
And lastly, details – they can define a trend or add a final flourish to a space. “With the enthusiasm for bolder looks on the rise, interesting details are definitely here to stay,” Rebecca says. “Elements like ruching and rolled edges give an extra boost of refinement to furniture especially sofas, highlighting fine workmanship and adding interest.”

“A great middle ground between distinctive looks like the maximalism of Art Deco and Scandi minimalism, playing with a range of smart, stylish details is a clever way to spruce up an interior. A sofa with interesting details is a quiet statement-maker, a classic that will always stay chic.”

“This trend is incredibly versatile and transferable across a variety of interiors – experiment with timeless classics like button-back cushions and brass legs, to modern touches such as contrasting piping and unique silhouettes.”
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11:31 PM

5 Travel Apps to Help You Stress Less This Holiday Travel Season

We all know the travel season can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!  TravelCar.com, the global leader in airport parking and car rental solutions for travelers have prepared a list of 5 Travel Apps to Help you Stress Less This Holiday Travel Season:   
  1. TravelCar – Travel to the airport can be hectic, but it doesn’t have to be.  With TravelCar, you pre-book your airport parking space for up to 70% less.  Stress less and save money by pre-booking your airport parking with TravelCar. 
  2. Hopper – Hopper analyzes billions of airline prices daily to predict how prices will change and tells you whether to buy or wait. Save up to 40% on your next flight.
  3. Lounge Buddy – With LoungeBuddy, all travelers can access to any of the airport lounges in their network — no memberships, elite statuses, or first class needed.
  4. Sanctifly – Sanctifly helps travelers seeking wellness get access to airport hotel gyms, pools, spa facilities and more, without having to book a room.
  5. Be Relax – With more than 52 spas at airports around the world, Be Relax helps make traveling more pleasant by creating a specific relaxing and beauty airport lounge where you can chill before taking off.

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10:29 PM

How to Create an Instagram-worthy Cheeseboard


Adam Woolven, Head Chef at Island Grill on how to Create an Instagram-worthy Cheeseboard. There’s no doubt about it, Britain is a nation of cheese lovers. A cheeseboard never disappoints us Brits, but it’s even ‘feta’ when this party favourite looks ‘gouda’ enough for Instagram.

Adam Woolven, Head Chef at the eco-friendly Island Grill, created the 40-Mile Cheeseboard with four cheeses all sourced from within forty miles of the restaurant. Here Adam lends his tips on how to fashion a cheeseboard that looks as good as it tastes. 

Mix It Up
Ensure your cheeseboard has a mixture of textures (soft, hard, and crumbly), strengths and sources, such as cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s cheese. Include at least one soft cheese and one blue cheese, but cheddar, stilton and brie are the go-to cheeses for a board. 80g per person should be enough for an after-dinner board and your cheeseboard should always be served at room temperature!

Get Fruity
If you are looking to make your cheeseboard appealing to the eye, consider filling the board with a range of colours and shapes. Adding fresh and dried fruit to a cheeseboard is effortless but looks impressive, as well as adding a vibrant touch. In the spring and summer it is best to add cherries and berries; where in the winter you should go for dried apricots, fresh grapes and apples. Cooked apples pair particularly well with cheddar, brie and sheep’s milk cheese!

Savoury Touches
A solid cheeseboard should include a variety of savoury and salty items such as balsamic onions, olives and roasted nuts - walnuts paired with stilton makes for a classic combination. Other savoury accompaniments could be celery (a great palate cleanser between cheeses!), and of course some crackers, bread and breadsticks. 

Matching Condiments
It goes without saying that condiments should complement the cheese. While a drizzle of honey tends to go well over blue cheeses or goat’s cheese, for something a bit different, pair a strawberry black pepper jam with brie, which is less sweet than a traditional jam. Chutney tastes best with aged cheddar and quince paste can be spread onto crackers and eaten with Manchego cheese. Make sure you don’t forget the butter!

Make it Insta-Friendly
Sprinkle some edible flowers, dried vine leaves or herb sprigs on the cheeseboard. As well as adding a rather elegant touch, they will create a fragrant aroma to the board when you serve it to your guests. 
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10:17 PM

5 TOP FLOWER ESSENCES TO BENEFIT HEALTH


Flower essences work in the same way that crystals do, their unique vibrational energies work with our own to bring about balance & harmony. Traditionally essences are made by immersing flowers in spring water & leaving them in direct sunlight for up to a day, when mixed with equal parts of brandy it creates an infusion called the “mother tincture.”

SARA DOONE from THE INTUITIVE PATHFINDER tells us about 5 flower essences that she has benefitted from & you may too.

1. FINDHORN – GRASS OF PARNASSUS – If you have been hurt in the past & find it difficult to trust yourself & others with your emotions then this is the essence for you. Encouraging you to give LOVE one more chance, supporting you in those vulnerable moments, encouraging you to live life with an open heart. HOW IT HELPS – to have the COURAGE to express how you really feel.

2. LIVING TREE ORCHID ESSENCES – GENTLE GEISHA – as the name suggests, this essence is soothing & nurturing, helping to calm an over active mind – excellent to use after a busy day. HOW IT HELPS – set aside your worries & responsibilities while you rest.

3. AUSTRALIAN BUSH FLOWER REMEDIES – ADOL ESSENCE – If your teenager is having a “Kevin” moment & all you hear is “ITS NOT FAIR” then you may want to buy this essence. It helps teens to communicate better with you, builds self-esteem, helps them to deal with peer pressure & encourages consideration of others. HOW IT HELPS – helps teenagers to find their place in the world.

4. BACH FLOWER REMEDIES – RED CHESTNUT – if you find yourself constantly worrying about your loved ones, thinking something awful may happen to them then this is the remedy for you. It ease’s those fears, helping you to believe that everything will be ok. HOW IT HELPS – relieves the desire to be over protective.

5. BACH FLOWER REMEDIES – RESCUE REMEDY – probably the best known of all flower remedies, this is a combination of five individual flower essences, used when we find ourselves in an emergency or stressful situation. A few drops work quickly to relieve anxiety, fear & feelings of discomfort, can also be used with children.

HOW IT HELPS – it is calming & helps to restore your equilibrium
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2:30 AM

Quinoa, Fennel & Sweet Potato Salad


Today we are sharing Quinoa, Fennel & Sweet Potato Sala from Executive Head Chef at Sopwell House, Gopi Chandran
With spring in sight, Executive Head Chef at Sopwell House, Gopi Chandran reveals his recipe for a delicious and nutritious salad that will get you starting the season right.

Ingredients
·         4 tbsp olive oil
·         1 large sweet potato, diced
·         2 medium fennel bulbs, cut lengthways into ¼ inch thick slices
·         Malden sea salt
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         20ml fresh lemon juice
·         1½ tsp ground cumin
·         1 tsp sugar
·         200g quinoa, rinsed
·         1 lemon
·         1 red chilli, chopped and deseeded
·         10g fresh coriander, chopped
·         10g fresh mint, chopped
·         15g fresh dill, chopped
·         Seeds from ½ a small pomegranate

Method
1.    Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is just tender and lightly golden. Add the lemon juice, and sugar. Stir through and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and pepper and set to one side.
2.    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Drizzle the sweet potato with olive oil, sea salt and cumin. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, and then set aside.
3.    Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and 700ml water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and reduce to a low simmer for around 10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked. Drain and return to the pan. Let the quinoa sit in the pan covered for 15 minutes, before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl.
4.    Remove the peel and white pith from the lemon. Cut between the membranes to release the segments. Discard the membranes and roughly chop. Add the chopped lemon with its juices to the cooked quinoa along with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and stir. Add the fennel mixture, sweet potato, chilli, and herbs. Gently incorporate and season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. 
Sopwell House is a stunning 18th Century Georgian house located in the city of St. Albans deep within the Hertfordshire countryside. Located only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, the hotel is the idyllic getaway just outside of the hustle and bustle of the capital. The hotel is the perfect place to dine boasting a 2AA Rosette restaurant, a vibrant Brasserie, an elegant cocktail lounge, and conservatory bar, all of which look out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens.
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11:16 PM

HOW TO COMBAT DRY SKIN

The cold weather is renowned for causing dry skin and worsening conditions such as eczema and rosacea. In the winter months, keeping your skin protected and hydrated is a challenge, as Vitamin D exposure is low. Winter is harsh on our skin, especially on our face as we can’t shield them completely from the elements.

Today DR EJIKEME - MEDICAL DIRECTOR at ADONIA MEDICAL CLINIC – shares her top tips for keeping dry skin at bay this winter.


1. HYDRATE: to keep your skin supple, it is essential to re-hydrate constantly. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day and eat water-rich foods such as cucumber and grapes. If you’re a big fan of hot drinks like tea and coffee, try and swap them for de-caffeinated alternatives – caffeine is known for causing frequent urination and eventually, dehydration.

2. MOISTURISE: showering with a cream-based wash may feel moisturising, but it can strip your skins natural oils. Showers and baths can contribute to dry skin if you’re in there for more then 5-10 minutes, so keep it short and make sure you moisturise afterwards.

3. KEEP WARM: when you’re inside, try and make sure there’s no draughts and that the heating is on. Keeping your body at the right temperature will allow your skin to retain moisture, preventing dryness. When you go out in the cold, wear gloves and a scarf – it’ll stop your skin getting cold and feeling uncomfortable.

4. TREAT YOURSELF: facials are invaluable when it comes to your skin. Combining a mixture of masks, cleansers, scrubs and moisturisers, a facial is the full works, tailored specifically to your skin type. With the cold weather wreaking havoc on sensitive skin, taking the time to be pampered makes all the difference.

5. GO NATURAL: every day household products such as washing up liquid, bleach and air freshener are full of chemicals that are harmful if they come into direct contact with the skin. To avoid dry skin and irritation, swap your usual products for natural alternatives such as lemon juice or vinegar for removing stains. Always make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands.

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9:21 PM

Taking Great Photos On Your Next City Break


So you’ve chosen the location and bagged the flights in the sale; now it’s time to prepare to capture the local culture and sights on camera. The Jesspos Academy team is here to help, so you take photos that you’ll be proud to show off when you return.
 
Research
Before you arrive in the city, research the best places to visit and top tourist attractions. See how others have captured it before and think how you might like to capture it. Look at the perspectives and angles that have been used and think of those that haven’t. Take a look on Google street view at the surroundings for any potentially unexplored vantage points, roof tops and terraces nearby that you could also capture. Also consider what would be the best time of day to take this photograph. Ask yourself, is it lit beautifully by the setting or rising sun? Or maybe it would look great with the sun bright and high in the sky, casting gorgeous shadows and rays of light.
Master the Rule of Thirds
The ‘rule of thirds’ is a multi-generational tip that will pay dividends for years to come. The secret to mastering this technique is to visualise a grid of lines running horizontally and vertically, breaking the image into thirds. Using the ‘Live View’ shooting screen will allow you to display the ‘Thirds’ grid to aid in visualising and achieving this. Composing your key points of interest in the image by placing them in one of the thirds or intersecting points on the grid will instantly draw attention to them and make the photo pleasing to the eye. Take a few moments before you snap away to consider the composition, lighting and angles before hitting the shutter button
Get Stabilised
Stabilise your camera with a tripod or support. Tripods today are compact, light and agile so won’t take up precious space in your cabin bag. A tripod will minimise any camera shake which is the most common cause of blurry pictures. Don't forget a tripod’s best friend is a remote release. If you don't have one you could also use the self-timer to trigger your camera, this helps to further eliminate any vibration from pressing the camera’s shutter button.

Foreground Detail
Including something in your foreground – a statue or monument, a fountain or sun dial, even a steamy coffee while you take five minutes to relax – will add a sense of scale and context. It can also lead the eye into the picture, balance the frame and add a point of interest.
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9:25 PM

How to Make the Ultimate Pancakes




Pancake Day is crêping up on us (mark Tuesday 13 February on your calendar) and with it comes excitement as well as pressure to make those perfect pancakes - golden on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside!

Head Chef Steve Smith from Michelin Starred Bohemia has got you covered as he has shared his tips on how to make the pancakes of dreams this Shrove Tuesday.

1.       Better Batter
Ensure that you have good batter by keeping all of the ingredients at room temperature. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Incorporate the two bowls of ingredients by making a well in the dry ingredients and pouring in the wet mixture. Stir gently until all of the ingredients are combined and moist.

Don’t worry about the lumps in the batter! Once they are on the griddle they will cook out fine. If you overwork the batter the pancakes will turn out tough and chewy.

2.       Rest the Batter
It may be difficult to resist but it is crucial to allow the batter to rest for a minimum of five minutes. This will give the gluten, which you have created from mixing the batter, time to relax and for the lumps in the batter to smooth out. This will give the pancakes a thick consistency and they will turn out fluffier. The rest period will give you time to clean up and prep your pancake toppings.

3.       Add Flavour
If you are bored of your usual pancakes with lemon and sugar, add flavour into the batter instead. My favourite ingredients to add include spices, citrus zest, herbs, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, raisins, cheese or sweetcorn!

4.         Make it Fun
Make shapes with your pancakes by pouring the batter into a metal pastry cutter or mould. Alternatively you can pour the batter into a squeeze bottle and draw your design directly onto the pan.

5.       Keep Them Warm
Pancakes are best enjoyed fresh from the pan, but if you do make a whole batch at once keep them warm by arranging them in a single layer on an oiled cooking rack. Place them in a preheated oven at 80°C for a maximum of 15 minutes.
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