News & Articles

5 Ways To Pep Up a Salad

 

It’s officially salad season, but that doesn’t have to mean the limp leaves of lettuce with forlorn slices of tomato and cucumber of the past.

Before getting on to how to spice up your bowl of greens, let’s look at the benefits of salad chomping.

Buff Up

Salads are full of nutrients and low calorie, so a great way of eating high volumes of food to fill you up on a diet. And salads are colourful and inspiring, providing a satisfying and pleasurable eating experience, unlike many ‘diet’ foods. Throw in some lean proteins like prawns or chicken and grains like bulgur or millet and you’ve got a nutritionally balanced and really filling meal.

Get a Nutrition Hit

Salads are a powerful way of eating well and getting a variety of nutrients in a fast and tasty way. Vegetables provide us with natural energy, with fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients that we need and they help to keep our stomachs happy and healthy.

Eat Water

You're supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day which is pretty daunting. But you don't have to drink all that water. Roughly 20% of our daily H2O intake comes from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

Beat The Bloat

Most of us don’t respond very well to processed bread, many people suffer bulging uncomfortable belly afterwards, so a lip-smacking salad can be a great excuse to ditch stomach bloating sarnies for lunch.

Be Inspired

The worship of roast cauliflower, avocado and char-grilled broccoli is no longer a trend, nor just the preferred choice of the health fanatics. We’ve learnt in the last ten years from the likes of Ottolenghi and Deliciously Ella, that vegetables have unlimited potential. Wake up your tastebuds, vegetables and fruit, nuts and grains, can be brought to life with some love, imagination and a fantastic salad dressing.


And here’s 5 easy ways to sass up your salad

Veg Love

A few roasted veg can create a sophisticated and divine salad worthy of lunch guests. All you have to do is cube some veg like sweet potatoes, peppers, carrots, beets or whatever you’ve got lying around, drizzle with oil, season with some dried herbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at Gas mark 6 for about 30-40mins. Serve cold.

Herbilicious

You’d be amazed how chopping up fresh herbs can transform a salad. Just be experimental. Got some spare basil, mint and parsley? Chop it up and throw it in. Don’t be afraid of overkill or blending the ‘wrong’ herbs. All fresh herbs just work well with green leaves.

 

Get Fruity

There’s no reason that fruits have to remain relegated to dessert. Fruit adds freshness and texture, not to mention vitamins, minerals and flavour. Here are a few combinations to try: Blue cheese and pear, watermelon and feta, strawberries and spinach, avocado, pineapple and watercress, blackberry and goats cheese. Open up your salad world!

Dress it up

Making salad dressing from scratch is nearly as fast and easy as shaking up a supermarket bottle of the stuff and the taste is so much better than even the most "gourmet" versions you’d buy. There’s so many to choose from, but if you want to go super simple just cover your leaves with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and season with some salt and pepper.

Go Nuts

The benefits of adding nuts to your salad go beyond just adding flavour and texture. Think nutrition. You can sneak some of the most nutritious nuts and seeds into a salad to make the salad taste better, and reap all the nutritional rewards. Try almonds, walnuts or toasted pecans/ pine nuts for starters, although go wild, anything goes.

 

Written by Mike Pye

Photos courtesy of Katya Willems

 

Change Your Life By Meditating For Ten Minutes a Day

 

Meditation isn’t something that you have to do for hours on end to reap the benefits. Just ten minutes a day will make a difference.

At the end of the article, we’ll give you a meditation practice to follow that really will last just ten minutes and it’s super simple. But let’s look at why meditating is so brilliant before you commit.

Get a handle on your stress levels

Studies have shown it actually rewires your brain so that the neural pathways responsible for fear and anxious thoughts are weakened. Feeling overwhelmed by a busy week? Meditation can help you stay calm and centred during challenging situations, and to relax after the storm has passed.

Be healthier

Practising meditation is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. Studies have shown it can turn on genes that protect you from pain, high blood pressure and infertility, among other benefits. Meditation has also been shown to boost your immune system, increasing your chances of staying well.

More shut eye

Taking the time to meditate can help you let go of those circling thoughts that keep you from drifting off at night. You’re also more likely to have deeper, more refreshing sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling energised.

Be Smarter

It has been linked to better focus, concentration and attention to detail. Studies have shown that it can reconfigure your brain to strengthen the parts associated with attention and sensory processing.

Tap into your creative genius

Partaking in meditation can help awaken the creative parts of your brain (yep, even you non-creative types). Research has revealed that meditation can enhance your ability to come up with creative ideas.

Become nicer

This is one of the most amazing benefits of meditation – it can make you kinder and open your heart. Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly are more empathetic and compassionate towards other people. What a beautiful gift to the world.

Be more beautiful

Meditation is scientifically proven to help to eliminate skin problems like acne and eczema, and if you want to be sexy you need to be full of energy and zest for life. Meditation is proven to improve your energy levels and to make you live more in the moment, thereby giving the magnetic attractiveness that comes with it.

So you’re going to be hotter, cleverer, nicer, healthier, calmer. What’s not to like? And here’s how you go about it in just ten minutes a day:

The Practise

To prepare:

1) Find a comfortable chair and sit down, keeping a straight back.
2) Make sure you’ll be left undisturbed (switch off your mobile).
3) Set a timer for 10 minutes.

Check in:

1) Take five deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and gently close your eyes.
2) Focus on the physical sensation of the body on the chair and the feet on the floor.
3) Scan down through the body and notice which parts feel comfortable and relaxed, and which parts feel uncomfortable and tense.
4) Notice how you’re feeling – what sort of mood you’re in right now?

Focus:

1) Notice where you feel the rising and falling sensation of the breath most strongly.
2) Notice how each breath feels, the rhythm of it – whether it’s long or short, deep or shallow, rough or smooth.
3) Gently count the breaths as you focus on the rising and falling sensation - one with the rise and two with the fall, upwards to a count of 10.
4) Repeat this cycle between five and 10 times, or for as long as you have time available.

Wind down:

1) Let go of any focus at all, allowing the mind to be as busy or as still as it wants to be for 20 seconds.
2) Bring the mind back to the sensation of the body on the chair and the feet on the floor.
3) Gently open your eyes and stand up when you feel ready.

 

The Best Places to Eat Cake in the UK

 

 

It is a very sensible idea to combine travel and cake. What’s the point of going on a mini break or a day trip if food isn’t factored into the equation? So do you pick the place because of the food, or pick the place, then the food?

Well here’s nine of the very best venues to eat cake in the UK, perhaps it will give you a little holiday inspiration at the same time.

1. Forge Bakehouse Sheffield

In the last few years, Forge Bakehouse has developed a reputation as one of Sheffield’s finest bakeries with fresh, wholesome bread and delicious sweet treats. Cake-wise, you can expect to find rhubarb Danish pastries, custard tarts, raspberry morning buns, chai Brulee tarts, macarons and pistachio and rose doughnuts. Are you drooling yet?

2. Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, York and Harrogate, Northallerton and Ilkley

Betty’s is an institution, opening nearly 100 years ago in 1919. People will travel across the country to experience an exquisite Betty’s afternoon tea in beautiful art deco surroundings. There are six Bettys Café Tea Rooms to explore in Harrogate, York, Northallerton and Ilkley, where you can enjoy handmade bread, cakes and chocolates from their own Craft Bakery, the finest teas and coffees and delicious freshly prepared Swiss-Yorkshire savoury specialities.

3. Wolfhouse Kitchen Altrincham Market, Manchester

This wonderful bakery originated in Silverdale, Lancashire where it’s still going strong. The Manchester branch opened two years ago in the very trendy New York-esque Altrincham indoor market, they serve an amazing array of cinnamon buns, doughnuts, citron tarts and many other cakes that will make your eyes pop.

 4. Baltic Bakehouse Liverpool

Listed as one of the 20 Best Bakeries in the UK in 2016 by the Telegraph, this new food outlet excels in artisanal baking. Along with classics like almond Bakewell and custard tart, they do more quirky offerings including peanut-butter and brittle doughnuts, lemon curd doughnuts and crack pie - a kind of gooey, toffee custard filling on a crunchy biscuit base with a hint of vanilla sea salt.

5. Miss Vs Vintage High Teas

Utterly Cornish and extremely addictive - Miss V’s Vintage High Teas serve the lightest fluffiest cream tea scones as well as homemade cakes. Miss V’s tea hut is based above the glorious St Just in Roseland Church, which John Betjeman declared the most beautiful setting in England.

6. Ottolenghi, Islington

Ottolenghi in Islington is delightfully minimalist and stylish, with lovely long communal tables, although if you like your privacy there are a handful of tables for two. Platters of salads and vibrant cakes greet you on arrival. Some of the incredible sweet treats on offer include plum crumble muffins, baked chocolate and walnut tart, blackcurrant friands and white chocolate cheesecake tart with raspberry compote.

 

  

7. Chesters By The River, Ambleside

Chesters is found at Skelwith Bridge, at the edge of Langdale valley, right in the middle of The Lakes. Surrounded by fells and a short walk from a waterfall, the landscape alone is well worth a visit. The cafe serves lunch, drinks and legendary home-made cakes. The cakes will knock your socks off - think old fashioned and chunky staples like a ginger loaf, double lemon cake, tiffin and carrot cake.

8. Cuckoos Bakery, Edinburgh

Cuckoos is an award winning bakery and cupcakery just north of the New Town. Red velvet, strawberries and cream, black bottom, sticky toffee pudding are some of the favourite cupcakes on the menu. Cuckoo's also prides itself in its ethics: ingredients are locally sourced, unsold cakes are donated to homeless charities and all packaging materials are recycled. Bravo Cuckoo!

 9. Outsider Tart, Chiswick

A couple of professional guys moved from New York to live and work in London - but struggled to find good, wholesome cupcakes, sweet pies and fresh tarts. Outsiders as they both are, they committed to rectifying the situation by turning a favourite hobby into an award-winning business. Expect to find the very best whoopie pies, American cookies and fabulous brownies.

 

Written by Mike Pye

Photos courtesy of Katya Willems

The Easiest Vegetables to Grow With or Without a Garden

 

At last, early morning greets us with daylight; it’s spring! And with the new, hotter season comes an exciting opportunity. Have you ever fantasized about growing your own vegetables? Perhaps you always wanted to, but thanks to zero garden space, planting greens remains a pipe dream.

But what if I told you that growing certain vegetables is possible without a garden? Better yet, what if I told you it’s easy?
With the right tools, enough light, and a little spare time, you can enjoy the satisfaction of planting, nurturing and harvesting your own tasty vegetables without a garden.

Here are the easiest edible greens to grow that’ll add a punch of fresh flavours to your meals:

Lettuce

Growing lettuce comes with two perks: it can take just four weeks to grow, and it can be harvested repeatedly. You can choose from a range of seeds: Merlot, Red Oakleaf, Deer Tongue, Salad Bowl, and more. Pick a south-facing window for your prized growing spot. If the chances of sunlight are slim, it’s worth investing in a lamp to bring more heat on the scene (placing your lighting two inches above your shallow pots will work a treat). Lettuces are polite because they’ll tell you when they’re thirsty. Water them when they’re dry, watch them grow, and harvest your lettuce for the perfect salad.

Spring Onions

Spring onions are simple and fast to grow because they don’t need to be nurtured from seed. Technically, you’re regrowing them. Grab a bunch and cut them down. Tie them together with a rubber band or string, and add them to a spacious glass with water. The only rule of this gardening thumb is to change the water every day. You should notice some growth within a couple of sunrises. By week four, your flavourful spring onions will be ready to pick.

Cherry Tomatoes

A staple in many dishes; tomatoes are as valuable as they are rich and earthy. Certain types can also be grown without a garden, like cherry tomatoes. All you need is a large hanging basket (16 inches would be golden), some moss liner and standard potting soil. Plant your tomatoes around the edge and add some slow-release fertiliser. Water your hanging basket every day, and in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to enjoy your prized, juicy red jewels.

Chillies

Looking to add a touch of homegrown fire to your cuisine? Chillies are super easy to grow. You just need seeds, a few small containers, fertilised soil (mixed with compost) and a green finger. Each seed needs to go half an inch below the surface of the soil in individual containers. Top tip: add a little sand into your soil for improved drainage. Make sure you plan your chilli planting session around the seasons; after six weeks of indoor growth, your chillies will need to be moved outside (a patio with sunlight will do!). Ensure it’s warm enough for them to begin the last leg of their growth.

Baby Carrots

Carrots are easy to grow but if you’re low on garden space (or have no space at all), baby carrots are a better option. Like chillies, all they need is heat and a pot with some loose, sandy soil. Plant your seeds about a quarter inch below the surface. When the leaves grow 2 inches tall, trim the seedlings (this gives the carrots enough room to grow underground). Your carrots will be ready add to your dishes within fifty-five days; a short time to wait for organic vegetables as delicious at these.

Microgreens

Perhaps the most difficult part of growing microgreens is choosing which microgreen to go. You can pick from an array of leafy greens, from kale to watercress. Help your seeds grow by planting them in a small container. Using disposable plates at the bottom of the containers will make it easier to lift them out when the plants are ready for harvesting. You don’t need to bury the seeds; scatter them on top of some moistened potting soil and add some more over the top. Avoid watering your microgreens; instead, use a mister to gently moisturise them. Your woody greens can be picked as early as twenty-five days after planting.

Becoming an expert grower of greens without a garden has never been simpler.

When I was small, I would feast on my Grandad’s home grown vegetables. There’s nothing better than picking food from a plant and letting your taste buds experience the true meaning of ‘fresh food’.

And now you can experience this too, without a garden.

To get you 100% prepared, I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite tips for growing these delicious vegetables:

● Watering with chamomile tea will help fight off fungus.
● Pick a breezy area for planting to keep mould at bay.
● Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature in the growing area
● Invest in a cool mist humidifier to can stop indoor heating drying the surrounding air

 

 

 

How to Start a Digital Detox

Last week a friend told me he’d ditched all things digital. I asked him what impact this had on his day-to-day life. He said, “My head is clearer… I have more time to spend on what’s important to me.”

I became acutely aware of how much time I spend on my phone. Whether I’m travelling, having lunch, or spending a night in with friends, my mobile is guaranteed to make an appearance. Because of this, my head isn’t clear; it’s clouded with a constant awareness of my presence online and the desire to be involved in the virtual lives of others.

The fear of isolation hooks us in; we are afraid of being disconnected from what we believe is important. But is it really necessary to spend hours on Instagram, to check the news six times a day, and to talk to people as often as we do online?

Let’s find out. Learn how to manage a digital detox without failing after the first hurdle using these intelligent and unintimidating first steps.

1. Start your detox slowly

Have you ever tried to give up sugar? Wine? Something that’s tricky to live without? It’s hard. The urge to rid yourself of something that has a negative impact on your life can be powerful. So, you confidently go cold turkey because you want to. And that desire should make it easy. Right?

Wrong. Take away something you enjoy (or are addicted to) all at once and you’re inviting withdrawal symptoms. The bigger your urges are to reconnect online, the more distant your reasons will get for starting the ban in the first place. Make it easier: start slowly. Pick a time where being online is off limits, or uninstall an app you use regularly. Get used to being online less and less, and give yourself time to decide if a digital detox is right for you.

2. Tell the people important to you

Going virtually incognito can also be worrying for people who care about you. Tell your family, friends, and colleagues what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how they can contact you. Be careful not to alienate yourself. Depending on how much time you talk to people online, cutting off all online communication will whittle down the hours you spend socialising.

Make up for this by engaging with people in other ways. Arrange meetups, write letters, or organise phone calls with friends and family far away. Yes, it’s more long-winded than typing a message on WhatsApp or Facebook. But because you're making time for someone (and time is valuable), you discover which relationships are meaningful to you.

3. Switch off your devices after work

I get it. Disappearing from the online hemisphere can be detrimental job wise, especially if a lot of client interaction and company processes take place online. But do you need to be enveloped in an online bubble after work?

Prepare by giving your clients and colleagues an emergency contact number: like your home phone. Then switch off your mobile after stepping through your front door, and enjoy some down time in the real world.

4. Keep a diary

It might feel like another trial but keeping a record of the way you feel during a digital detox is very useful. You can decipher how being offline affects your mood, your productivity, or your feelings towards other people.

Understanding how your detox affects your mood lets you work out what you should try next. Remember: your detox doesn’t have to follow a set of rules. Identify what works best for you, and develop a clear and powerful strategy to achieve success.

5. Be more present in reality

Let’s say you’re eating a meal. Instead of 'Facebooking' with one hand and eating with the other, concentrate on enjoying your food. How does it taste? Are you relaxed after a hard day’s work? Are you eating with anyone else? How does being with them make you feel? Savour the details that make you happy. Ask yourself: would I have missed that if I was on my phone?

6. Rely on other sources of news

You might be concerned that leaving the digital world makes you ignorant to personal or worldly affairs. There’s sense in that; nowadays, important news is instantly accessible online. But there are plenty of other ways to seek out this information.

Engage in stories with others, listen to their reactions and ask questions. Read a newspaper you trust as a reliable source of information. Do this for a week, and access how much you missed out on. Bonus: in an age of ‘post-truth’, you benefit from waiting for a full story. Get reliable, well-reported information, as opposed to ‘breaking news’ click bait online.

Your Challenge

It’s time to put theory into practice. Pick a date and choose a strategy (or several) from the tips discussed. Become accountable by setting daily targets. Don’t forget to be conscious about the way you feel throughout the detoxing process. It’s the only way you’ll know if it’s working for you.

Here are some extra tips that'll help you turn your digital detox into a lifestyle:

1. Don’t let you mobile screen be the first thing you see in a morning
2. Only respond to emails and texts at specific times of the day
3. Find a new hobby to fill your spare time
4. Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock
5. Buy a watch
6. Switch your phone to aeroplane mode at night
7.Use an offline device to take pictures

How much time have you saved living in an offline world? What worked for you and what didn’t? We’d love to hear about it.

Madrid’s Top 8 Unforgettable Experiences

 

Spain is famous for its white sandy beaches and Mediterranean azure blue sea. But inside Madrid, Spain’s capital city, you can truly experience the country’s richly vibrant history and culture, in addition to some extraordinary sights.

From architecturally gorgeous landmarks, lush green parks, and museums unrivalled in scale, Madrid is an ideal destination for anyone wanting the dabble in a mixture of adventures for a city break. Here are eight of the most unforgettable experiences this remarkable city has to offer.

1. Indulge in Gran Via’s shops and nightclubs

In the heart of Madrid lies Gran Via. Saunter along this street during daylight and marvel at the dramatic and ornate 20th-century architecture. You’ll find buildings honoured with styles from the Vienna Secession, Plateresque, and Art Deco (to name a few). Do you have a passion for shopping? Go wild in Gran Via’s huge array of upscale shops. Stay until sundown, and witness the height of Madrid’s nightlife along ‘the street that never sleeps’.

2. Spend the day outdoors in Casa De Campo

It’s easy to picture Madrid as the bustling hub of Spain. But after a short ride on a gondola from Parque del Oeste (at the west end of Madrid), you can find acres of tranquil space. Casa De Campo is big; five times bigger than New York’s Central Park to be exact.

It’s the perfect place to escape from the noise and crowds of the city. Spend the day walking and cycling around the once royal hunting estate. Spot wild deer, rabbits, and birds native to Spain. Explore every corner of the park, and stumble across examples of Spain’s natural beauty: red soil and remarkable rugged pine trees native to the land.

3. Have a naughty breakfast at San Ginés Chocolaterie

Indulge in a mouth-watering breakfast at San Ginés Chocolaterie. Take advantage of a moment where having chocolate and deep-fried batter for breakfast is okay. Because chocolate and churros in on the menu at San Ginés Chocolaterie.

It’s the local’s favourite, so if they aren’t being judged, why should you? Better yet, this chocolate haven is open twenty-four hours a day. It can get very busy, but the crowds are worth your patience for such a delectable eating experience.

4. Experience Mercado de San Miguel’s supreme culinary offerings

Mercado de San Miguel is stunningly beautiful. It’s an archaic space, where natural light pours in from the glass walls. Hundreds of markets can be found here, where you can experience fresh and authentic smells of the Spanish cuisine. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be in heaven; stalls offer culinary delights from fresh fruit and vegetables, cold meats and seafood, to chocolates, frozen yoghurts, and casks of sangria.


5. Soak in the Spanish culture at Plaza Mayor

A trip to Plaza Mayor could put a dent in your holiday funds but it’s worth it. Grab a table at one of the many bars or restaurants and revel in the electrifying atmosphere (with a free tapas dish to boot!). Plaza Mayor attracts all kinds of entertainment, such as live music and talented street performers. And it’s difficult not to look up at the grand 17th century, three-story buildings surrounding the rectangular square, with over two hundred and seven balconies facing the plaza; it makes for an unforgettable sight.

6. Visit Museo del Prado, one of the world's largest art galleries

The term ‘minimalist’ has never (and will never) enter the walls of Museo del Prado. The gallery is home to over nine thousand artworks painted by some of the most famous artists in the world. The work of display was chosen by Spain’s 16th- and 17th-century monarchs, giving you an eye-opening look into Spain’s rich history and culture; a once in a lifetime experience for history and art enthusiasts. Because of its popularity, queues are guaranteed, so book in advance to skip a long wait.

7. Teatro de la Zarzuela

Entering the Teatro de la Zarzulela is like stepping back in time. Picture a Spanish theatre in the nineteenth century. Instead of sound equipment, live performers and singers take center stage, using the surroundings only to resonate the music and their voices. All of this can be witnessed in the present day. Teatro de la Zarzuela has stuck to its historical roots; each performance echo's the Spain of old, from the costumes and acoustic music instruments to the stunning, traditional backdrops. You may not be able to speak Spanish, but you’ll understand the language of musical mastery during your visit to Teatro de la Zarzuela.

8. Be enchanted by Palacio De Cristal’s beauty

If it was possible to step inside a rainbow, visiting Madrid’s Palacio De Cristal would be a similar experience. Ornate glass walls and ceilings create patterns of incandescent light inside this magnificent crystal palace. It has been home to exotic plants and renowned art for over a century, creating an air of fairytale decadence. Outside, you can enjoy picture perfect views from the surrounding lush park, and sit by Buen Retiro’s stunning lake just outside the palace.

Have you booked your flights yet?

If you have, I wouldn’t blame you. Madrid has so many ‘must see’ experiences, it’s stressful just thinking about all the things you want to do and see. Thankfully, these experiences aren’t going anywhere. So go ahead and put Spain’s glorious city on your holiday bucket list. And don’t forget to tell us all about it when you finally get to visit! Or perhaps you have already visited Madrid? If you have, we’d love to hear all about it.

 

 

8 Breathtaking Walks in Britain

There are many landscapes around the world that astonish with dramatic natural beauty. A natural Britain, on the other hand, is regarded as quaint and unimposing. But it is partly because of this that makes its scenery so breathtaking.

Britain’s landscape is unique; we celebrate it for being gentle, charming and unthreatening. There are rolling green hills, majestic coastlines, historic landmarks and scalable mountain tops. There are crystal clear rivers and treasured waterfalls concealed by woodland brimming with wildlife.

Britain’s landscape offers a wealth of tranquil beauty in spectacular variations. And it’s yours to explore and enjoy, with the right map (and walking boots!). Discover the most remarkable and breath-taking walks this island has to offer.

1. St David’s Head Peninsula, Pembrokeshire

It’s places like St David’s Head that make the British coastline such an enchanting place to explore. Pembrokeshire is known for its staggering beauty and the trail along St David’s head, which hugs the welsh coast, highlights this beautifully.

It’s an easy walk for most of the way, but careful footing is needed where the trail kisses the cliff edge. Brave the unnerving terrain and you’re rewarded with some unforgettable views: secluded beaches untouched, mysterious coves, and (if you’re lucky) porpoises and seals lazing along the golden shores.

2. Stanage Edge, Peak District

Since the 19th century, Stanage Edge’s four miles of gritstone cliff has attracted climbers, eager to scale one of the Peak District’s steepest slopes. It’s easy to see why the Edge is so popular. Starting your walk from the village of Hathersage, you’re provided with miles of striking rugged moorland. The trail is littered with remnants of the past: weathered millstones and crumbling ruins add to a historic intrigue. Watching climbers scale the jagged Edge also makes for a captivating sight.

3. Aysgarth Woods and Waterfalls

Nestled deep within Wensleydale, this trail offers remarkable beauty. It’s an easy route, and it won’t take you long to reach Aysgarth’s hidden jewel. Within the woods, where you can find birds such as treecreepers, chiffchaffs and warbles, hides a picture-perfect waterfall. The route is well maintained and suitable for young children. There’s also Castle Bolton nearby to explore, and if you’re lucky, you could spot Roe deer wandering around the countryside.

4. Tryfan, Snowdonia

Anyone madly in love with mountains will be in awe with Tryfan. With its pointed edges and deep crags, Snowdonia’s mountain is frequented by experienced hikers scrambling up the north ridge to see the iconic Adam and Eve rocks. If you’d prefer a more gentle walk, Tryfan offers various routes that allow you to soak in the views of Snowdonia’s rolling hills and stunning valleys; arguably some of the best views you will find in Britain.

5. Old Harry Rocks, Dorset

If you forget to bring a camera to Old Harry Rocks, you’ll regret it. From Studland Bay, this Dorset coastal walk snakes along the golden coast. At times, you’re forced to walk close to the chalk cliff edge, so good footwear is a must. Once you reach the famous rocks, you can see breath-taking views of Poole and Bournemouth. The trail is filled with wildflowers and butterflies in the hotter seasons and is equally captivating on a moody and misty winter’s day.

6. Malham Cove, North Yorkshire

Malham Cove will set your imagination alight; it is truly unique. From the village of Malham, meander your way across stunning farmland towards this special landmark. Once you arrive, your eyes will be glued to a rare view. Malham Cove is a mighty limestone formation, shaped like an amphitheatre enveloping the land below. Reach the path above, and stand where Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows was filmed, on rare limestone patterned rocks.

7. Blencathra, The Lake District

Endure the precarious trek to Blencathra’s summit to bask in some of the Lake District’s most astounding views. Prepare for the changeable weather; this hill is exposed to the elements and the climate can change from clear to wet and rainy in minutes. If you’re an inexperienced hiker, there are plenty of guides happy to offer you valuable information on the best routes to take. Complete the trek once, and Blencathra’s stunning scenery will lure you back in no time at all.

8. Lizard Peninsula Coast, Cornwall

On a beautiful summer’s day, the most southerly point in Cornwall will make you feel like you’re abroad. With azure blue waters on one side and land with rare flora and fauna on the other, a day spent walking along the Lizard Peninsula Coast will instantly transport you into holiday mode. The coastal vista is breathtaking, with secluded fishing villages scattered across the land. The weather here can be unpredictable, however, so set out with a raincoat and sturdy walking boots to be on the safe side.

Embark on a breathtaking journey

It’s easy to overlook Britain in favour of traversing across distant lands. But in doing so, you’re missing out on unforgettable hiking experiences. So pick a beautiful day, and make it your goal to explore some of Britain's most breathtaking walks.

 

 

Age appropriate chores: how to get the whole family cleaning

Giving your children some responsibilities around the home is a great way to help them to become more independent. It also frees up time to spend together as a family, rather than spending all your free time on chores.  Here are some examples of age appropriate chores to get the whole family chipping in.

Very young children
For children who are very young (around 2-3 years old) it might not seem like there are many things that you can ask them to do which they will be able to handle, but you’d be surprised.  Some examples of easy chores that they will enjoy include picking up their toys and putting them away in their toy box, helping to dust non-fragile items or putting their dirty clothes in a wash basket.  Just make sure they are supervised very closely to make sure no accidents happen.  

Young children
With slightly older children (4-5 and 6-7) there are a wider range of activities that you can delegate. As well as some of the ideas listed in the previous section you may be able to ask them to help with some light cleaning by dusting, mopping and brushing floors. You might be able to get them to sort and hang up clothes from the washing machine and set and clear the table for meal time. Quite mature children might also be able to begin taking care of some of their morning routine such as pouring their breakfast cereal, brushing their teeth and combing their hair. However, it’s still important, at this age, to keep an eye on them during the process.

Pre-teenagers
For children who are aged a little bit older (around 8-12) but not yet teenagers,  you can ask them to undertake all the chores previously listed as well as some additional more grown-up responsibilities. This might include taking the dog for a walk down the road, emptying the bin, washing the dishes, hoovering carpets and keeping their bedroom reasonably tidy.

Teenagers
While they might put up a fight about it, teenagers can handle a good amount of chores. On top of all the tasks mentioned earlier you can also encourage them to mow the lawn, do some light cooking, buy groceries and make their own bed.
Looking for more secrets of the cleaning trade? Visit us at https://timeforyou.cleaning/uk/ for more tips and advice for cleaning your home, de-stressing after a tough day and much more.

10 costly mistakes that damage your home appliances

#1 - You’re using tap water in the iron
There are lots of different myths surrounding which type of water to use in your iron.

Some advice recommends that you should only use distilled water in your iron, while other advice suggests that tap water is absolu

tely fine.  The truth of the matter is that tap water is perfectly acceptable in the majority of cases BUT if you live in an area with hard water levels then you may find yourself getting through a lot of new irons.  Click here to find out if you live in a hard water area.  

#2 – You aren’t cleaning the condenser coils on your refrigerator
Refrigerators don’t require a massive amount of maintenance, however you should look to clean your condenser coils (found on the back of the exterior of your refrigerator) at least once every 12 months or so as they can become clogged with dust, dirt and debris from your kitchen. After switching off your appliance at the mains, you should be a

ble to give it a simple vacuum or wipe down with a cloth to keep it running efficiently.

#3 – You’re damaging your washing machine drum with heavy/metallic objects   
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when filling up your washing machine. Everyone knows it’s important to empty pockets, making sure there are no coins, keys, mobile phones or biro pens inside to avoid tearing clothes or staining them with ink. However, you should also be careful to avoid putting in any items which have heavy metal buckles or other similar fastenings as they can cause damage to the drum of your washing machine. You should also try to avoid overloading your washing machine as this puts extra pressure on the individual components of your machine and shortens thei

r life.

#4 – You’re using tap water in your coffee maker
It’s not only with irons that the level of sediment in your water can cause problems. Where possible you should avoid using tap water to brew your coffee, especially if you live in a hard water area. Filtered water or bottled water makes for a tastier brew and will be less likely to leave nasty leftovers in your appliance. If you do notice a residue build-up then you can easily clean it away with a simple mixture of water and apple cider vinegar.  

#5 – You aren’t cleaning your microwave
When you’re in a rush, a microwave can be a life saver, safely nuking your snack or meal to the perfect temperature. However, it’s very important to give them a regular clean. Microwaving food often results in a splattering of liquids and food particles all over the inside of your microwave. This means that it presents a real danger of cross contam

ination and catching a nasty bug.  You can clean your microwave with a bowl of water and lemon juice quite easily. Simply mix up a bowl with half a cup of water and half a squeezed lemon, leaving both sides of the lemon floating in the water. Microwave the bowl of water for a few minutes, allow it to stand and cool slightly then simply wipe the microwave clean with a soft cloth.

#6 – You are lining your oven with foil
A common cleaning tip that is banded around is to use a lining of foil at the bottom of your oven to catch any drips and spills from whatever it is that you are cooking. It seems like a clever idea but you can actually cause real damage to your oven. Many of today’s modern day ovens have a heating grid underneath the bottom of the oven which means that the foil itself becomes hot causing it to melt and stick to the bottom of your oven causing sometimes irreversible damage.  

#7 – You turn your toaster upside down and shake it
This popular method of cleaning your toaster can actually cause more damage than you might expect. Turning your toaster upside down and giving it a good shake doesn’t always end well and can cause burnt cru

mbs to make their way into delicate parts of your toaster becoming a fire hazard or hindering their functionality.  Many of today’s toasters have solved this problem by providing a catcher which you simply slide out before throwing the crumbs in the bin.

#8 – You’re using a dirty filter on your vacuum
If you want to keep your vacuum performing well for years to come then it’s essential that you clean the filters.  Leaving it too long between changing or cleaning your filter can cause dust to clog the interior parts of your vacuum which with time will disrupt its function.  To clean, remove your filter and give it a gentle brush over your bin. Some types of filters can also be soaked and cleaned with water; however you should always read the instruction manual first to make sure.  

#9 – You’re using extra detergent in the dishwasher
While you might be tempted to heap a few extra spoonfuls of detergent into your dishwasher to tackle tough food residue, it won’t actually make your dishes any clea

ner. In fact, you may find that it leaves a residue on your dishes meaning you have to wash them again.  If you’re looking for a sparkling shine then make sure that you scrape off your plates and don’t overcrowd your racks with too many items.

#10 – You’re forgetting to give your blender a deep clean
A good blender can transform your kitchen, helping you to make smoothies, sauces and shakes. However, with heavy use it’s easy to end up with seeds and other types of residue leftover and it can be hard to clean it properly. One way to make sure your blender is spotless is to fill it with a mixture of water and a touch of dishwasher detergent, blend it lightly and then rinse it with cold or warm water.

Looking for more secrets of the cleaning trade? Visit us at https://timeforyou.cleaning/uk/ for more tips and advice for cleaning your home, de-stressing after a tough day and much more.

What is mindfulness and how can it help me?

We live in a high pressure society. In fact, the average adult in the UK encounters around two hours and 28 minutes of stress each day, which equates to six years and seven months for females and six years and two months for males in a lifetime. With so much stress we can often feel out of control and unable to cope. But what if there was a way to keep calm and relaxed when you are feeling particularly stressed or anxious?

The wandering mind
Mindfulness is based on the principle that our thoughts control how we feel. So, if you spend lots of time thinking about negative things then as a result you will feel lots of negative emotions. Our brains also spend lots of time thinking about things that haven’t yet occurred just yet which can make us feel anxious or worried, and also thinking about things that have already happened which can make us feel sad, angry, regretful or depressed.

Our minds are constantly wandering and according to some research we are only focused around 50% of the time such as when we are completing a mathematical problem or washing the dishes. So can mindfulness help us to feel more engaged and focused in the present moment?

Becoming focused
Mindfulness is derived from eastern practices which have been used for thousands of years to help people reduce their worries, stress and pains, whilst simultaneously helping them improve their concentration, creativity and health. What’s more mindfulness doesn’t require you to join a programme, read any books, download an app or part with any cash. You simply need to be willing to dedicate a small amount of time to it each day.

For 10-15 minutes find somewhere quiet and begin your mindfulness routine. Sit up with your back straight, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing either through your mouth or through your nose. Concentrate on your breaths, in and out until the 15 minutes are up and your timer goes.

Most people find that it is incredibly difficult to keep their brain concentrated like this. However, you shouldn’t be disappointed if that happens to you. It should be your long term goal and will come with practice. When your mind drifts you should note that it has drifted, accept that it has drifted and then bring your thoughts back to your breathing. Just keep trying for those 15 minutes every day and it will get easier each time.

Recognising the benefits
Mindful is a physical workout for your brain and mindfulness can have real benefits on your brain. In fact scientific research has shown that the parts of the brain responsible for creativity, happiness and emotional intelligence all begin to strengthen and even grow in people who practice mindfulness for just a couple of months, while the parts of the brain responsible for addictive behaviours, stress and depression weaken and start to shrink. Because of these benefits, mindfulness is being taken on board by more and more people and even by large organisations like the NHS, Google, Apple and even the armed forces who recognise the benefits for their employees. While in schools in Australia children are being taught to overcome their negative emotions by pausing, taking a breath and bringing themselves back to the present moment.

Have you tried mindfulness? Has it been helpful for you? Tweet us at @TimeForYouGroup and let us share your experience.