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  • How the Seasons affect your skin

    Thankfully, Spring is nearly here and as the nights draw out again, we can look forward to some finer weather and hopefully getting outside a bit more. The change in season doesn’t just call for a different wardrobe and whether the central heating is on or not. As we emerge into the light, from a long cold winter, everything from cooler, less humid weather and overly hot baths to hanging out too long in dry, stuffy indoor environments has deprived our complexions of moisture and played havoc on our skin.

    Humidity levels fall in the autumn and winter months and the drier the air, the more moisture it sucks from your skin, so you’re more likely to experience dryness and flakiness during the colder months of the year, especially if you’re prone to eczema or other dry skin conditions.

    Hopefully, you’ll have been using rich, nourishing skin care products during the colder weather to compensate for the dry conditions. As the nicer weather approaches you might be able to switch to a lighter, summer moisturiser. To keep your skin well balanced throughout the transition of the seasons, consider a skin care routine for sensitive skin. For Avene Sensitive Skin Gift Set, visit http://www.lifeandlooks.com/avene-sensitive-skin-gift-set.html.

    Months of central heating has not done us any favours either when it comes to the moisture in our skin.  Heated air inside causes low humidity, which leads to water evaporating from our skin which can cause irritation, flaking and cracking.

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    You can offset these drying effects by installing a humidifier to keep the air moist in your home or a portable device that you can also bring to work and pop near your desk. A cheaper alternative is placing a few bowls of water near your radiators which should do the trick, too. And don’t forget to drink lots of water and slap on your rich moisturiser as often as necessary, along with replenishing lip balm and extra-thick hand cream.

    Having spent all winter going to and from the cold outdoors into centrally-heated buildings has taken its toll on your complexion. Sudden changes in temperature can cause the capillaries in the face to contract and expand quickly leading to those little broken spider veins we all hate so much.

    For many people with oily, acne-prone skin, the drier weather can actually help with breakouts and reduce flare-ups by stripping some of the moisture away. But all that cold weather comfort eating might have had the opposite effect. Studies suggest that diets high in refined carbs may exacerbate acne. Foods with a high glycaemic index lead to a spike in sugar in the blood, which is thought to increase the levels of hormones in the body that are responsible for oil production. If you want to avoid diet-related breakouts next winter, try not to go overboard on the carby comfort foods. It’s tough at Christmas but carby comforts include white bread, pasta, crisps and potatoes.

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  • Wardrobe Essentials for Women

    There are some garments that us women should never be without. Those hardy staples that we can turn to in our moments of need, so we are not sent into paroxysms of fear that we have nothing to wear. Every woman’s wardrobe should contain the following:

    • Ballet flats – if they were good enough for Audrey Hepburn then by gosh we need them too. They offer the best of both world, chic and comfortable. They can be worn with just about any smart or casual look, with jeans or a cocktail dress. Great for those of us who regard stylish comfort as preferable to tottering around in agony.
    • Slip-on canvas shoes – this have become all the rage recently and it’s clear to see why. They are comfy, cool and so easy to wear. For warmer weather, they are more breathable than trainers, and can be paired up with just about any outfit to leave you and your feet feeling super cool.
    • A comfortable bra – we can have all manner of bras for different occasions but every girl needs a bra that supports in the right places, is soft, easy to wear and gives you a fabulous shape under any outfit. This might be your work bra or your weekend bra but it’s your fave because it feels like putting on slippers! Take a look at the Prima Donna Deauville White Bra at http://www.orchidlingerie.co.uk/white-prima-donna-deauville-full-cup-bra.
    • Dark Denim – dark denim makes a great silhouette and are much more slimming and flattering than lighter denim. They also look smarter and so are easier to use for a whole variety of occasions, both semi-formal and casual. Dress up or down, they are versatile and stylish.

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    • Classic White Tee – what could be more versatile (aside from denim) than a perfectly plain, white tee-shirt? Can be worn with anything and everything. Under a jumper or a tank top, tucked into trousers or hanging loose over denim, you get the picture – this is a must have item.
    • Little Black Dress – No girl’s wardrobe is complete without the LBD. This is as much of a fashion essential as denim and the classic white tee-shirt. The Little Black Dress is the perfect canvas for accessorizing as it can be dressed up for a glitzy night out or worn plain on it’s own for a Sunday stroll along the canals – you name it, the dress is up for it! An absolute essential, fit for work, occasionwear, days out, interviews, funerals, parties – you get the general idea.
    • Heels – these don’t have to be super high, stilettos but every lady needs a pair of classic, stylish heels. Yes we love flats but sometimes only a pair of killer heels will suffice. One pair in a neutral colour like grey or black is necessary and can be transformed from office hours smart to cocktail bar sexy chic with absolute ease. A truly versatile shoe.
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  • Why choose distressed wood flooring for your home?

    The popularity of wooden floors continues apace. Current interior design trends are very much about natural textures and surfaces, and wood fits in perfectly to this, whether you’ve gone for solid, engineered or laminate flooring.

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    Natural beauty

    The appeal of wood is its simple beauty and versatility, whether you go for a stripped-back, natural look, high-gloss shine or a coloured or paint-washed finish. It’s also available in the palest oaks to the darkest walnuts, so there’s really something to suit every colour scheme and interior style, from the super modern to the very traditional. Renovating an existing floor or installing a new one can also add real value and appeal to your home when it comes to selling it – https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/20-sure-ways-to-add-value-to-your-home/.

    One of the growing trends at the moment is for a distressed wood floor, a style of finish that allows natural imperfections and the texture of the wood to show through. It is intended to give a lived in, aged appearance, so it’s not one for you if you prefer your floors super smooth and glossy. However, a distressed finish is a particularly easy look to live with if you have children or pets as you won’t get too stressed about any dinks or scratches as these will, in fact, add to the look!

    Distressed flooring

    So If you have original floorboards and plan to renovate them, you’re going for a slightly unfinished look, not something super glossy and smooth. Allow imperfections and the natural texture of the wood to show through your wax or varnish and don’t sand back too much. Another way to achieve the look is to install a new floor with a distressed finish, and you can find this in solid or engineered wood floors, as well as laminates. It depends on your personal preference and your home environment, and of course your budget too.

    Online specialists like Wood Floor Warehouse have a wide range of distressed flooring, as well as all the accessories and underlay needed to get a fantastic finish. Laying a floor needn’t be difficult, but does require some level of DIY skill.

    Experienced retailers are often extremely happy to help advise customers should you have any questions, but if you have any serious doubts about installing flooring yourself, you can get a professional fitter in to do the job.

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  • Home office trends

    With an ever-increasing number of employees now able to work from home, the home office has become an essential part of interior design. Flexible working means workers want a space in which they can work easily and comfortably without intruding too much on family life.

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    Multipurpose space

    Around 1.5 million people in the UK are now homeworkers; therefore, the need for a home workspace is very relevant in today’s society. According to the TUC, the number of people who say they usually work from home has increased by one-fifth in the last decade. Its study, which coincided with 2016’s National Work from Home Day, revealed that nearly one-quarter of a million more people now work from home.

    Depending on how much room you have to spare, your home office may be a tiny area that has to adapt with extra shelving and a desk, your own study, or even a garden office studio.

    Organisation is key

    Any interior designer will tell you that being tidy and organised and ensuring you have plenty of storage is vital if you want to be productive. Now that we have online storage, the trend is to move away from endless filing cabinets and reams of paper. An all-in-one desktop can hold everything you need, while cables are kept to a minimum with wireless mice and printers.

    Move outside

    If your house is already too cramped but you have an outdoor space doing nothing, consider a garden studio or shed office. Garden buildings can be custom built to fit your space and needs and do not require planning permission. When planning a garden office, you might want to talk to a company that specialises in outdoor buildings, such as http://www.gardenspaces.co.uk/, that can advise on what will suit your needs. These outdoor work areas are a great affordable option if you don’t want the upheaval and expense of an extension to your property.

    With insulation and heating options now commonplace, these are spaces that can be used all year round. You have the satisfaction of leaving the office behind at the end of the day, knowing that you can access it at any time if you have an urgent deadline. They provide a good balance between working at home and leaving the stresses of work behind when you have had enough.

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  • Swirl, sniff and sip

    Have you ever fancied learning to taste wine like an expert? Apparently before you even take a sip, you need to make sure that you are in the right tasting environment. Where you are could influence how you taste and a noisy, crowded room will make it harder to concentrate. Cooking smells, perfume and other strong odours can also affect your palette. A glass that is too small, too large or has just been washed can also affect the flavour of the wine so be sure to make a note of your surroundings before you even start to taste a new wine.

    The age and temperature of the wine will also make a difference to taste and if you’ve just eaten that can affect the taste buds too. The ideal circumstances for wine tasting therefore need to be as neutral as possible. If your glass smells of detergent then be sure to swill it with wine not water as this is a process called ‘conditioning’ the glass. If the wine feels too cold, warm the glass in your hands first before tasting. For an Online wine merchants in Northern Ireland, visit http://thewinecompanyni.com/.

    The ideal quantity should be a glass about one third full. Here is what to do to evaluate by sight:

    • Look straight down into the glass
    • Hold the glass to the light
    • Give the glass a tilt to roll the wine towards the edges

    This will give you the full range of colours seen in the wine. Looking down gives you a sense of the depth of colour which provides clues to the density and thickness of the wine. As you become more experienced, you will begin to recognise what grapes have been used by the colour and scent. The view in the light will show you how clear it is – if it’s clear and bright then that’s a good sign. The tilted view will give clues about the age and weight of the wine. Give the glass a good swirl then as whether the wine leaves legs or tears on the side glass is an indication of a wine with more alcohol meaning a bigger and more ripe taste.

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    The next step is the sniff and the best way to do this is to hover your nose over the top of the glass but don’t stick it right in. Take some short, quick sniffs and then move away from the glass. Don’t worry about finding all the aromas, just concentrate on what you can smell. Here’s what to smell for:

    • Fruit aromas – yes it’s made from grapes but does anything jump out at you?
    • Floral aromas
    • Leaves or herbs
    • Spices
    • Earthy – a possible hint of mushrooms, damp earth, leather or rock for example
    • Barrel aromas – aging in oak barrels can leave hints of vanilla, chocolate, nuts, coffee or caramel.

    Evaluating by taste means you finally get to take a sip. Just a sip, not a gulp and try to imagine that you’re sucking through a straw. Hopefully, you should get a continuation of the aromas you just sniffed but now your tastebuds will be identifying whether the wine is balanced, complex, and harmonious or not.

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  • Stadium Safety

    Security is needed wherever there are gatherings of large groups of people. Each week, thousands of excited fans travel to watches football matches and those that regulate the sport want those fans to remain as safe as possible. Stadium safety is clearly good for business and here are some of the ways that can be achieved:

    • Stairs are always a primary cause for accidents in public spaces so anti-slip materials should be used at all edges with clear, visible markings on landings.
    • Some people use guardrails or handrails inappropriately and try to sit or stand on them to get a better view. Deter fans from climbing by using smart designs and making them higher than they have to be.
    • Exit paths should be properly sized and identified and never blocked. Consider adding more exit paths as waiting can lead to fan frustration and hostility can develop.
    • Metal detectors and bag searches should be employed.
    • Security guards and stewards should wear a Body Worn Camera to help police identify any offenders and to make troublemakers think twice before causing problems. For more information, visit http://www.pinnacleresponse.com/body-cameras-and-the-law/.

    There has been huge concern over stadium safety since the Hillsborough disaster and appalled by events of that tragic day and the terrible state of football safety, not many questioned Margaret Thatcher’s decision to ban standing areas from stadia. This is now a question that divides opinion with some believing there is still a place for some standing areas and that the game has lost it’s atmosphere since standing was banned.

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    Many state that all-seater stadia are easier to police, safer and more in tune with what modern consumers want. Families started to return to football as a direct result of the changes made after Hillsborough. There was rising attendance, increased profit and a more diverse fan base than ever before. So why do so many fans wish to see a return to standing areas? Feelings are so raw still at Anfield that Liverpool have categorically said they will not bring back standing. Are people over romanticizing the days of the terraces?

    The standing ban only applies to clubs in the first two tiers of competitions football. When a club from a lower division is promoted up, they are given two years to convert their stadium into all seated. Many fans are travelling to Germany to take part in what they believe is the genuine football experience. Germany, unlike most of the rest of Europe, resisted the move to all seater stadia and have upgraded their standing sections with ‘rail seats’. These metal seats can be flipped up or down and locked in place giving the option to sit or stand. The seats can be flipped down to meet the regulations of UEFA games.

    Therefore, there are now many proponents of ‘safe standing’ who say that these seats are 100% safe and easy to police. Some say that tensions will be eased for those who want to stand but are being told to sit down by stewards. It seems that the worry now is not about safety, as we see fans standing in Europe, the US and in lower leagues but the potential for crowd disorder.

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  • Wood you be a carpenter?

    Have you ever wondered what a carpenter does? It sounds like an old fashioned trade but this is a trade that is alive and well and they are actually pretty busy tradesmen and women. A carpenter is a part of the construction trade who is responsible for building, erecting, installing and repairing any objects that are made out of wood. It is a skilled craft that can be employed for anything from helping to construct buildings to repairing wooden furniture. They are one of the largest groups of tradesmen, working for themselves or for contractors.

    Carpenters might be needed for various different aspects of house building, for example, framing walls and partitions, building staircases, constructing window and door frames, making cabinets and shaping furniture. As you can see, wherever there is wood, you may need the services of a carpenter or joiner. There are also many different types of carpenter, for example:

    • Roofer – specialises in the roof building, in particular, beams, rafters and trusses.
    • Joister – lays floors joists which give a position to where a floor will be laid. They increase strength to a floor for holding weight.
    • Trim carpenter – specialises in mouldings and trims like mantlepieces, skirting boards, window casings, cabinet making and other ornamental work.
    • Rough carpenter – works on framing, formwork, roofing and large scale work that does not require polishing.
    • Joiner – this work involves finishing where exact joints are required such as cabinet making, furniture making, instrument making and other fine wood fashioning.
    • Framer – is responsible for constructing the skeleton or framework of a building.
    • Cabinet maker – performs the fine detailed work making cabinets, wardrobes, chests and dressers etc

    There is a great deal more to carpentry than it would first appear. Ideally a carpenter will have his own works van in which to hold and transport all the tools of his or her trade. A van fitted with plylining is the best way to protect the van and all the equipment needed on a daily basis. For information on Plylining
    your van, visit http://www.vehicle-accessories.net/Plylining.

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    Some of the things that a carpenter would have to do include reading and interpreting drawings, diagrams and blueprints which are used to make things so a good eye for detail and a methodical approach are required. Knowing the most effective and efficient way to construct something is also a skill required. Physically, a carpenter needs to lay out, measure, cut and join various items and materials. A strong working knowledge of the different qualities of wood will also be a requirement. Understanding the density, flexibility and grain of different woods will mean that better decisions can be made about which wood to work with on a particular project. Using power tools and a whole host of other equipment safely and effectively is also another factor of the job.

    Most carpenters will have a range of skills incorporating more than one of the varieties of carpentry listed above. Some carpenters will specialise and their skills will be highly sought after for projects needing a specific skill set.

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  • Ensuring school safety during building works

    Renovations, refurbishments and extensions are often required for schools, with a growing population leaving schools short of space and under demand to provide more places.

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    Many establishments are taking the opportunity to commission bespoke education buildings to provide more space and a modern, flexible environment tailored to the needs of the client.

    Who is responsible?

    When it comes to health and safety, the law is clear: the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 3, states that the client (the school) is responsible for the safety of those not in direct employment but exposed to the site. This means the school has overall responsibility for the safety of pupils, staff and the contractors working on the site.

    In certain cases, The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 provide further guidance on the responsibilities of the client.

    Should an incident occur, the school must demonstrate that all risks were assessed and mitigated as far as reasonably practicable.

    Proof of attentiveness

    Under an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, the officer will look for the following proof that the school acted correctly:

    – A full specification of works to be undertaken must be provided during the quotation process. Should the school not carry the necessary knowledge in house, an external contractor should be sought to undertake a survey of the site and identify potential hazards. Some suppliers of bespoke education buildings, such as http://www.educationspaces.co.uk/, can offer a full service, including surveys and expert knowledge of legislation, to ensure all ground is covered.

    – Any contractor working on site should be given a full briefing outlining the work to be undertaken and the potential for asbestos, gas, water and electrical isolations. A set of health and safety requirements should be made available, outlining working practices to be adhered to.

    – The main contractor may monitor the work practices of subcontractors, ensuring adhesion to health and safety requirements; however, the school may also use in-house health and safety officials to monitor work.

    – A record of assessments and monitoring should be kept for traceability.

    Safeguarding of children on site

    It is recommended that a code of conduct is issued for contractors on site, which should ensure that contractors cannot come into contact with children unsupervised. Should this not be possible, DB

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  • Breaking Down the Stigma Surrounding Women’s Sexual Health

    It’s fair to say that there has traditionally been a stigma around sexual health, particularly in relation to its association with STIs and the apparent judgements made about people being treated for them. The old adage was that ‘nice girls didn’t’ – but today, whether they do or don’t, it’s more important than ever to be safe and well. Continue Reading…

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  • Take a trip to Taunton

    Taunton is a lovely town set in some of the most beautiful countryside in the West Country. The town has over 1000 years of heritage and a castle that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. It lies on the River Tone between the Quantock, Brendon and Blackdown Hills in an area called the Vale of Taunton. There is much to see and do here. If you’re looking to celebrate an occasion here then for Venue Hire Taunton, visit www.countygroundtaunton.co.uk Continue Reading…

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