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Food for all the family

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Hectic lifestyles, heavy workloads and a busy social diary make for little time left in the day. Those that wish to eat healthily can sometimes find it a hefty chore to do so, especially since many healthy meals must be prepared from scratch.

There are however a variety of quick recipes and healthy ready meals available, all of which boast natural and organic ingredients. It is always important to read the nutritional information when buying ready meals, as such information will inform the buyer of the amount of trans fats, calories, salts and sugars.

A sweet tooth

Just because you have decided to take on a healthy eating plan, this doesn't mean sticking solely to savoury food types. Try to swap regular pastry for filo pastry. This ingredient can be used to create a variety of desserts including strudel, turnover and tarts.

Frozen yogurt and sherbet are good alternatives for ice cream and will satisfy any sweet cravings you may have. Fruit served on crushed ice is another good option and one that boasts a variety of must-have vitamins.

These options are also great for kids and allows them to eat something that is both tasty and low in fat - making them the perfect party foods for children.

Healthier low-fat sweeteners are also readily obtainable and come in the form of applesauce, low fat buttermilk and non-fat yogurt, as opposed to whole milk.

Keeping your kids healthy and happy

A healthy diet isn't only suited to adults and keeping the rest of the family healthy is a must. Adopting a healthier diet will lead to healthy hearts and reduce the risk of excess weight gain and health problems associated with this.

For those who don't want to buy ready-meals, whether they are 'healthy options' or not, can always freeze food which they have prepared fresh. That way, they get the benefits of home cooked produce with the convenience of a pre-packaged meal.

Avoiding temptation

Diets shouldn't mean depriving yourself of everything you love. Simply eat what you like but in moderation. Buying smaller serving dishes could also help you to consume smaller portions and thus encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Making your meals go further

No matter how high your budget is, most budding cooks will want to get as much as possible for their money. Thankfully there are hundreds of ways to stretch your budget, some of which include inventing new ways to create a masterpiece out of leftovers.

Making food fun

Sometimes it is hard to get the younger ones interested in meals. They either need to taste relatively sweet or at least look extremely attractive on the plate. Eating al fresco is a great way to get the entire family interested in mealtimes and there is always something fun and carefree about eating in an alternative setting.

Trying new recipes can also help inject some fun into mealtimes and you can find plenty of suggestions and advice on sites such as supersavvyme.co.uk, where recipes are rated by users to help you find the most suitable option.

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If you're in the market for a new car, you might not have considered a hybrid car. For all their environmentally friendly abilities, a lot of people overlook the numerous other advantages that the hybrid car has to offer.

Hybrid cars are available in a range of models and makes, to suit anyone's need. Started back around 2004 by the likes of Lexus UK, the range of hybrid vehicles available has quickly spread to suit all needs and tastes. To this end, here is some of the information and advantages about the hybrid car that you might not have considered.

Less Fuel, More Money

Whilst everyone knows that a hybrid car is, as the name suggests, a hybrid of petrol engines and electric motors, not many people take the time to consider the financial benefits of this. Petrol, as a primary fuel source for your vehicle, is not cheap. The more you use, the more you have to spend.

Since hybrid cars are designed to use as little fuel as possible, you don't end up buying as much as you would with a conventional petrol consuming vehicle. Since you're not filling the tank up as often, you'll soon find yourself saving a large amount of money. As petrol isn't set to become cheaper any time soon, now would be a great time to switch to hybrid and start saving money.

Other Financial Benefits

Yet saving fuel isn't the only financial advantage you can receive with a hybrid car. Road tax is often cheaper for hybrid and other low emission vehicles. This might not be as important as fuel, but its a crucial annual payment none the less.


Of course, a hybrid car is still a car at the end of the day. You need it to fulfil certain purposes. Fortunately, hybrid cars don't sacrifice anything in terms of performance and usability to save the environment.

Since petrol is still used when necessary, these hybrid cars can still reach high speeds. This ensures that you can use your new vehicle on motorways and other areas that require a certain speed. The petrol provides a little extra power when you need it.

Fuel efficiency

Likewise, the rest of the car is also often designed to use as little fuel as possible. This means light weight materials are common place, and that hybrid cars boast excellent fuel efficiency. With additional streamlining and intelligent design to shift between the fuel engine and electric motor, hybrid cars can provide a surprisingly smooth driving experience.

In summary, these are just a few of the major benefits of the hybrid car. This isn't including the obvious benefit of saving the planet; less emissions emitted by hybrid vehicles instead of traditional petrol based cars results in less harm to the environment. So, whether you want to save the atmosphere, or simply want a car that saves you lots of money whilst providing a reliable driving experience, a hybrid car has a lot more to offer than you might think.

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Range cookers.jpgA more eco-friendly way of living definitely starts at home. If you're keen on turning a new leaf when it comes to the environmental management of your home then you need to start looking first at the things you do each day as part of a normal existence - things like eating and drinking. It is often the case that you can revise your approach to each of these things in simple ways to make your home a much greener place.

For instance, you can recycle more in the kitchen. A lot of people already do plenty of recycling, but you must be proactive if you are to keep it up. The home is often a place where relaxation and the easy way out provide serious temptations that things like recycling get in the way of, so you have to make greener activities simpler. Get a dedicated recycling bin that enables you to separate your recycling from the off so you don't have to revisit it and run the risk of relaxing your green stance.

Then there are things like energy management. This is particularly relevant when it comes to food and drink. The things that use up the most energy in your home are those that generate heat and those that generate cold. It should be fairly obvious that the kitchen is the centre of the home when it comes to managing hot and cold to your advantage.

This is why it is so important that you are running appliances that have a seriously good energy rating. Eco-friendly cookers help you to vastly reduce the amount of energy you waste on heat - whether you are using gas or electricity in your cooking. Eco-friendly fridge units and freezers make sure that your food storage is also in line with a more environmentally-friendly way of living.

Aside from cookers and refrigerators, there is another unit that has a part to play in keeping your kitchen green and this is the dishwasher. It is often hard to tell whether you ought to be using a dishwasher or not when it comes to your washing up, but if you have an appliance with a really good energy rating then you can generally be sure that it will do a greener job than regularly filling the sink with hot water after every meal.

If you are very keen on good food and drink and you do your best to source high quality ingredients and prepare and cook them in the right way, then it makes perfect sense to give your ethical track record a boost by making the whole process greener and setting a good example with your kitchen. Running an unethical kitchen can detract from the good stuff you get done in the room!

So make your kitchen the ethical centre of your home by investing in greener appliances and following a few very simple eco-friendly rules: don't waste heat, don't waste electricity, recycle as much as possible and make the greener way of life the easy of life.

How you benefit from being green

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There is one giant incentive for us all to be environmentally friendly - and that's to save our planet and its resource. Being environmentally friendly not only helps the earth around you, though. It provides benefits for you, too.

There are hundreds of subtle alterations that you can make to help both yourself and the environment. Probably one of the more noticeable effects will be on your bank balance. By being mindful of how much electricity you use around the home, flicking switches, turning off taps and opting for 'off' over 'standby' will soon become a reflex if you persist at it, and will save you money on your bills, too. You can also change your light bulbs to ones that use less energy - you won't notice the difference until you see that your electricity bill looks like a shadow of its former self.

Becoming more caring towards the planet will also have many health benefits. By swapping your car for walking or riding a bike on short journeys, you will be reducing carbon emissions as well as your waistline. If you weren't saving enough on bills already, this will leave extra money saved on petrol, and reduce the wear and tear on your car.

Sourcing food locally will also benefit you, your health and the environment. Cows are a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas. By opting for locally produced milk, you will be supporting your local community, which has used far less fuel to get to your corner shop. And the lower fat food alternatives will have your arteries thanking you, too.

Grow your own vegetable patch, which will save you a lot of money, too. Without using harmful pesticides, you'll be able to collect vegetables without having getting next day delivery on a supermarket delivery.

Another way to save money is to be mindful with what you use, and reuse as much as possible. If you can reuse a sandwich bag here, a shopping bag there, and find a way to recycle as much as possible before throwing it away, you'll save a bit of money alongside being eco-friendly.

Also, try switching from your usual household cleaning spray to a more natural, herbal one. This will help the environment and your health. There are speculations that regular household sprays are unhealthy, and are said to sometimes aggravate the symptoms of allergic reactions and asthma.

Protecting the planet for generations way ahead in the future might not be a strong enough incentive for you to change your ways. By being greener, though, you can help the current generation, including yourself, live better lives in the not-so-distant future, too.

Global warming isn't just something that our great grandchildren are going to have to worry about. It's no coincidence that being good to the environment benefits humankind, too. Being good to the planet is synonymous with being good to ourselves - less chemicals, less spending, less pollution and more care.

Loved the delicious recipes the chefs prepared at the Pronamel Kitchen? Or maybe you couldn't come along to the healthy cooking demonstrations at The Vitality Show? Either way, you don't want to miss out on these healthy video recipes.

Passion fruit curd and Greek yoghurt meringues

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves: 6
8 passion fruit
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
25g unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
250g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
200ml Greek yoghurt


1 Preheat the oven to 130°C/250°F/Gas 1 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
2 Put the egg whites in a large, clean bowl and whisk, using an electric beater, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking continuously, until all the sugar has been incorporated and is dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy. Beat in the cornflour.
3 Taking a big spoon, spoon dollops of the meringue in lines onto the baking parchment, leaving about 2 cm in between for expansion.
4 Put the meringues in the oven and bake for 2 hours until crisp, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
5 To make the passion fruit curd, halve the passion fruit and scoop the flesh and seeds into a saucepan. Add the sugar, eggs and egg yolks and whisk until well combined, then put the saucepan over a medium heat, and stir slowly for 8/10 minutes until the egg mixture thickens.


When the curd and meringues have cooled, pile up on plates, starting with a meringue then topping with the curd and Greek yoghurt.

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The season's changed and you need a wardrobe overhaul: summer skirts in and thick tights out. You've got a list of new fashion essentials to buy and wait with baited breath for payday - only to have your funds obliterated almost immediately by the pile-up of day-to-day bills. No treats for you this month.

Or so you thought! Why not take the opportunity to throw off the shackles of disposable fashion? Be inspired by our ten commandments of free style - if you obey them to the letter and you still look dowdy then there's really nothing for it: you have to go shopping.

1. Purify Thy Wardrobe: This is the first step towards clarity and wardrobe fulfillment. Put winter clothes away and take the opportunity to throw away stuff you haven't worn in aeons. Chucking clothes when you want a new look might seem counter intuitive but getting rid of the clutter will make you see with fresh eyes what you have got. Saving clothes you never wear aren't helping your savings in the long run.

2. Do It Thyself: Look online for DIY suggestions on updating your wardrobe using the material you have to hand. Find thousands of ways to make new headbands, jewellery, or restyle old skirts and embellish bland jackets with buttons, ribbons and swatches of bright colour. With a needle, a thread and some detailed instructions you don't have to leave the house to get a whole new wardrobe.

3. Honour Thy Mother: And her clothes. Retro is now! Designers across the board are taking inspiration from years gone by, from shoulder pads in the '80s to the sharp tailoring and tight ringlets of the '30s. Dig for victory in your older relatives' wardrobes: look for silk blouses, lace-trimmed scarves and chunky jewellery. Why not hunt through some male closets, too? Baggy shirts can always be belted and worn as dresses.

4. Gild thy image:
You know the scarlet lipstick you bought for your vampire costume, Halloween '08? Dig it out of the fancy dress drawer and dust off the fluff. Bright, bold lips are no longer just the preserve of movie stars and glamour pusses - they're a smart to smart/casual statement that lifts a look from dull to daring. Same goes for your fingers and toes: whatever the colour, make sure it's not too close a match to your clothes - clashing shades are up-to-the-minute cool.

5. Covet Freebies:
In-store counters often give you the opportunity to have a free makeup trial - if you know you're going out in the evening, why not pop in and get your makeup done for you in the afternoon? Likewise, magazines often give out monthly free samples - if you're a regular buyer, switch your allegiance depending on what's on offer. You might find different style tips and fashions than in your usual rag, too - find inspiration for new clothing combinations.

6. Thou Shall Not Steal: ...But thou may certainly swap. Set up a freecyle or swapshop party and bring your old (but still wearable) clothes - you might not want your bright pink Capri pants any more but someone else might be able to work them. No need to touch your savings account when your clothing is currency - barter, exchange and leave with an entirely new free outfit!

7. Feed Well Upon the Land:
It doesn't cost anything to eat healthily and it makes your skin and eyes brighter, your hair glossier- if you're in the peak of health, you'll look good in anything. Try making facepacks in your kitchen with ingredients you have to hand - oats are a great for exfoliating, egg yolk moisturises and yoghurt refines pores.

8. Don't Scrimp on the Crimp:
We live in straightened times but it's no excuse to stop straightening your hair; hairstyles can make or break an outfit, just ask Britney Spears. Challenge yourself to have a different hairstyle each day, looking online and in magazines for inspiration. If you've got long hair, plait it and twist it - if you've got short hair, bob it, curl it and spike it.

9. Mixeth It Up A Bit: Free your mind from the limiting idea that dresses are for the body and scarves for the neck- they're all just fabric in which to swathe your body. Remember the famous photo of Madonna wearing a pair of men's boxers as a hat? She looked fabulous. Maybe don't go that far - but try using long shirts wrapped round the waist to make a skirt or wear a t-shirt as a shrug. Silk scarves are very versatile: use them as a belt or wrap them around your head for a fashionable turban.

10. Plan: Have a dress up day where you try on everything you own with everything else. You might no think that your grey t-shirt goes with your polka-dot pumps but you'd be surprised; it's easy to get in a rut of wearing the same outfits over and over, so layer and mix casual gear with smart. Before you dismiss a combination, ask yourself whether it just looks wrong because you're not used to it - smile, do your hair in a few different ways, and check in the mirror again.

Image via Domestic Fashionista


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No one wants to be alone, but dating can often be hard. Finding the right potential partner for you is never an easy challenge. It can be easy to feel lost, but there is an easier method; the datingagency.com. A much easier process, changing the way you meet new people, share new experiences and fall in love.

With the invention of the internet, meeting people that have similar tastes, likes and personalities to you has never been easier. This modern era of communication has allowed free dating wherever you are. It's almost surprising just how many people go online to look for love from the comfort of their own home or internet café.

Online and Local

Being online also means you can make your dating life revolve around you; datingagency.com doesn't stop or go offline. You are free to look whenever you want, instead of having to find time between work and life for dating. You can talk and communicate with people that interest you whenever you want, rather than trying to find a compatible time that suits both of you. Clearly, there are more advantages to doing things this way, as you have greater control over who you interact and spend time with.

It may be online, but you can still keep it local. Plymouth dating is the best way to find someone nearby that you might be interested in, and they might be interested in you.

All you have to do is head over and find out. Not everyone is a fan of the distance relationships, so being able to find your ideal man or woman closer to home is the perfect solution.

Getting to know someone

There's also the added bonus of getting to know another person as well as you want, before moving on to a potential first date. It is surprising just how much stress and pressure is elevated with the aid of online dating. Taking the time to understand and know someone, getting a sense of their personality, reduces a lot of the worries that occur on the all important first date. Knowing who you're actually going to meet allows you a greater sense of comfort but, more importantly, it allows you to be yourself.

Free and Easy

Dating agency is free to and simple to join. Once online you can browse, message and talk with a wide variety of people. From then all you have to do is find someone who appeals to you, and message them. If it sounds simple, it's because it is. There's no need to make things overtly complicated.

So whether you're looking for love, a serious relationship or just a date, you're bound to find a wealth of Plymouth singles with the dating agency. With a simple website design, aimed at helping you make new friends and relationships with a minimal amount of stress and effort, there are very few alternatives. Nothing will find you someone to love than a dedicated website that strives to keep its users happy.

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Long established as a style icon, Sienna Miller wins over fashion critics every time with her laid back boho goddess vibe. Her look is cool, unique and, let's face it, practical too! But what's the secret to achieving such a look without appearing too casual?

Hippie chic is all about how you piece an outfit together and create the right look for the right occasion. Sienna is amazing at putting items of clothing together that shouldn't work but somehow do. Ever wanted to steal her style? Well, now is your chance to do so without breaking the bank.

Joe Browns is a high street brand that will make shopping for your new boho wardrobe easy - the range includes some of Sienna's signature patterns and key pieces, like paisley patterned tops and dresses, flowing below the knee skirts, cowboy boots and denim jackets. To mimic Sienna's spring casual daytime look, go for a loose fitting paisley patterned top, and wear it with either skinny fit jeans or slouch jeans for extra comfort, a leather boho bag and round framed sunglasses. Simple!

Attending a festival this year? It'll be your perfect opportunity to work some hippie chic. With this look, the more laid back the better, so get ready to experiment. Sienna's festival style is defined by denim shorts, loose fitting tops, long necklaces and slouchy footwear such as cowboy boots or worker boots. This look is great because you won't get too hot or find your feet aching by the end of the day.

If you're brave enough to try double denim, why not go for a pair of ripped denim shorts and a cute cropped denim jacket from the Littlewoods collection of Joe Brown clothing? As well as this look working for festivals, it can also be carried off easily for casual day wear. If you want to try the look but with a slightly more girly edge, try a floral below the knee skirt with a white top and pumps - or, for an even more glam effect, you can go for a halter neck dress with worker boots or sandals.

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hair extensions kit.jpgEvery year the Global Language Monitor (GLM) reveals the top fashion buzzwords of the year and 2012 saw ethical and sustainable fashion ranking in the top 20 places.

For the second year running, Kate Middleton took the top spot with the 'Duchess Effect' as the most powerful fashion buzzword. The Duchess of Cambridge has become the first person to ever top the annual poll for two consecutive years. Her sister, Pippa Middleton, also made the list with 'Pippa's Bum' shortly following behind her as the top fifth most popular axiom.

The study was analysed using NarrativeTracker 2.0 and it was based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. The list of catchphrases was compiled by analysing the internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media as well as new media sources as they emerge.

According to the research, 'braids' ranked number three as an influential buzzword. Plaits were a very popular hair trend last year and the trend is set to continue over the next 12 months; so join the fashion band wagon and plait your hair into a chic ponytail. If you have short hair, you can still get on board the latest style with hair extensions.

As well as hair crazes, fashion deemed extremely influential as it dominated the majority of the poll. 'Pale colours', 'Tangerines', 'Novelty denim', 'African prints' and 'Ankle boots' all appeared in the top 20 buzzwords as well as the sayings 'Mixed florals' and 'Colour blocking'.

Furthermore, green and environmental fashion ranked in the list of slogans and completed the top 20 positions. The number 19 buzzword of 2012 was 'ethical fashion' which involved it taking a bolder stand and moving into the mainstream with the likes of Stella McCartney and Ally Hewson leading the way.

Finishing the findings as the last top 20 hotspot was the saying 'sustainable fashion', with the report stating that it is not just from Austin, Berkeley and Portland brands anymore.

Bekka Payack, fashion director for Global Language Monitor, said: "Fashion is now being influenced from all points on the globe, with the rise of the regional fashion centres driving tribal, sustainable and eco-based trends."

The GLM also graded the Top Fashion Capitals by their online presence and London beat New York City as the most powerful fashion capital for 2011 worldwide. The top 10 consisted of the English capital and the Big Apple as well as Paris, Milano, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Singapore, Tokyo and Berlin.

So follow the latest fashion trends of glazier blues, minimal whites and lavender and plait your hair into stylish braids with the help of some clip in hair extensions. Keep incorporating ethical items into your wardrobe with eco-friendly shopping bags and do your bit to reduce your carbon footprint! Stay up-to-date with new fads and look no further than Additional Lengths for all your hair accessory needs.

How to Make the Most Out Your Small Garden

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A garden can be a challenge if you have little space to work with. Using the available room to create a unique garden is possible, but there are a number of elements to take into consideration.

Small gardens need a strong design in order to make use of every inch of space. The best way to do this is to be brave when choosing shapes, colours and plants.

Planning different elements to incorporate can make your garden appear bigger, but use too many and your garden will soon become over-crowded.

Decide which of the following fundamentals to include, and importantly which to leave out; different heights, wide curves, structural shapes, water features, bold planting and synchronised planting.

Many people try to include too much, using too many different styles, which can end up looking a mess. Remember less is more and choose one main style or feature.

The right outdoor lighting can bring a small garden to life come nightfall, but this can still be simple.

There are many low-voltage garden lighting systems out there, and getting expert advice for the installation is essential. There are a number of simple kits, which involve running the cable round the garden and clipping the lights into wherever you want them.

To save the trouble of cables, or if you simply don't have a plug in the right place, solar lights are the answer. The usually cost more than the plug in types and aren't as powerful, but can be placed anywhere in the garden, as long as they will have sunlight during the day to charge up.

Your lawn can also be used to add interest in a small garden, and to visually push boundaries. A circular lawn pushes boundaries out in every direction, this is a great option for a small garden and will also give your garden a stylish look.

A diagonal lawn can stretch out your garden, and add interest to regular, flat plot of grass.

A square lawn is loved by traditionalists but can appear boring. Unless you plan on having a formal garden with a number of features it may be worth considering changing the shape of your lawn.

Using height can add interest and give your garden in a third dimension. This gives you a great opportunity to grow climbing plants and use the space to position features you may not have had room for. You can potentially double the area of your garden by taking advantage of growing upwards.

For a small garden, a main feature will give your garden a focal point.

One of the best ways to do this is to install a small water feature. A small running water piece can look just right in a natural garden or a more structured space.

For a patio area, a wall-mounted feature is perfect - it will add atmosphere without taking up any space.

When choosing a water feature, remember to withstand the urge to put a very large water feature in a tiny garden. It will overpower the entire space.

In short a small garden can become a beautiful and relaxing space as long as you plan effectively.

For all of your outdoor lighting needs affordablelighting.co.uk will have the right style for your small or large garden.

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The global move towards low energy lighting has been joined by the US, where incandescent bulbs will be phased out and new technologies such as LEDs brought in.

Despite objections from many in the US, the legislation mandating greater efficiency became law on January 1 this year.

Due in part to the new standards in the US and Europe, major leaps are being made within the lighting industry as research takes place to build better lights and different types of bulb.

The bulb that was invented by Thomas Edison and has been used for so many years is on its way out, and is being replaced by newer more advanced technology that improves energy usage and environmental impact of light bulbs.

The way the whole world views light bulbs needs to change - moving away from a throw away cheap item to something that is more likely to be viewed as a long-life home appliance. LED lighting and other newer technologies can give up to twenty years of use rather than about twelve months from a normal bulb.

Lighting companies in the US are gradually phasing out the old style bulbs, like the 100-watt bulb. New technologies are replacing the former and will use at least 28 per cent less power. These changes will bring the US in line with the UK and other countries in Europe, where eco-friendly bulbs were introduced three years ago.

China will also be joining in this year, banning the 100-watt bulbs and implementing plans for bulbs to have lower wattage by 2016.

"There are about four billion screw-in sockets out there [in the U.S.], and today only a quarter of them have an energy-saving bulb in them," said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"When the standards are in full effect, we'll cut our nation's electric bill by about $12.5 billion a year and eliminate the need for 30 large power plants and all the pollution that comes from them. It's a big deal."

The change in standards comes in as many lighting companies, large and small, are developing new technology for the industry.

This has already included a new type of incandescent bulb, the 72 watt halogen incandescent bulb, which is relatively inexpensive and will fit into existing sockets.

"It's a bulb that costs only marginally more," said Brian Howard, co-author of a book on new lighting technologies, Green Lighting.

"You get the same colour, temperature, light that we're used to. So really the only disadvantage is that they don't last quite as long as fluorescents. The lifetime of halogen incandescent (bulb) is about two to three years".

Small steps of change are beginning and according to the US Energy Star efficiency programme, if every home switched just one bulb with an energy efficient one, the US would save $600 million a year.

UK energy savers can snap up their environmentally friendly LED lights for both inside and outside the house from leading lights specialists www.lights2go.co.uk.

An Old Mattress Can Ruin Your Love Life

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A quarter of people experience 'diminished' sex lives when sleeping on a mattress that's more than ten years old, a survey has revealed.

Deterioration of romance in the bedroom was blamed on sleeping on old mattresses by 83 per cent of Americans.

Those questioned who had mattresses that were more than ten years old said their sleeping was disrupted, leaving them feeling ill and tired.

The study was conducted in partnership with Dr. Robert Oexman of the Sleep to Live Institute. The research questioned people on their love lives, including the quality and frequency of intimate times.

The pairs were asked if they woke with aches and painful muscles, they were also asked if the woke up feeling tired. More than a quarter of couples answered yes to both questions. Of these people, eighty per cent said they often suffered from aching muscles and blamed their old mattresses as the cause.

The results showed a stark contrast from those who owned newer mattresses. According to research conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, switching to a new mattress resulted in a huge improvement in quality of sleep. And, in turn, couples reported increased romantic feelings towards one another and an improved sex life.

It's not shocking to find that mattress quality and support go hand in hand with a content sex life. A good night's sleep is essential for over all wellbeing, according to Dr. Oexman.

"Many studies have shown that the right mattress can result in significant improvement in sleep quality, the ability to fall asleep faster and sleep longer, as well as a reduction in back and neck aches and a significant decrease in soreness, stiffness and pain.

"Study participants who enjoy improved quality of sleep have even reported a decrease in food cravings, a more refreshed appearance, and a decrease in negative moods.

"Next to healthful sleep, 'bedded bliss' is the secondary goal in the bedroom.

"To help keep your relationship alive, you owe it to yourself and your partner to do all you can to make your bedroom a healthy, happy environment," explains Dr. Oexman.

Latest research into sleep encourages eight hours of quality sleep, however some people find a little less or more suits their bodies better. Between seven and nine hours is fairly normal for most people.

To get a perfect night's sleep make sure your mattress is up to scratch. A mattress, when looked after properly, can last up to ten years but if you start having broken sleep and waking up with aches and pains it may be time for a new one.

For all your beds and mattress needs go to Bedworld, the bed experts. They have been selling bed since 1999, and have thousands to choose from.

Bedworld chooses the right products at the right prices. With top bed brands available including; Silentnight, Sealy, Millbrook, Hypnos and Memflex for memory foam mattresses.

The selection includes memory foam, pocket sprung, natural latex and the most popular open coil. We stock single, double, king size and even the super king size in different tensions which are soft, medium, firm and extra firm. Choose the right mattress quality and price online at Bedworld.

Christmas Tree Biscuits.jpg

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As we already know, Christmas Day is closing in. Christmas Day is a perfect time for sharing - and this applies to food as well as to presents and cards. If you have a great interest in cooking then why not try creating a unique dish for your family and friends this year?

What you create over the Christmas period is entirely up to you, but cooking and backing is an integral part of the Christmas tradition. Whether you create an authentic dish or simply customise an existing recipe with festive ingredients, make sure that you have fun and get the family involved and have fun following great Christmas recipes.

Of course, Christmas dishes don't have to use the same ingredients and even pasta recipes can be adapted to show a festive influence. However, for those more interested in traditional dishes here is a brilliant recipe for Ginger Christmas Biscuits. These lovely snacks are very famous in Sweden and are commonly made in preparation for Christmas Day.


140g butter
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (160g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (175g) treacle
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Thin ribbon, to hang
2 eggs
4 cups (600g) plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
Icing, to decorate

Melt the butter, treacle, cinnamon, sugar, cloves, and ginger in a pan on a medium heat.

Mix the eggs with the vanilla essence and stir in the flour and baking powder until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.

Combine the mixtures together to form a dough and split it into three portions.
Cover these in plastic wrap and put them in a refrigerator for two hours or until they become firm.

Prepare the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and cover two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Expand one portion of the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it is 4-5 mm thick. Use a rolling pin to achieve this.

Use Christmas cookie cutters to make the shape of your biscuits and then place them on trays. Use the piping nozzle to create a hole in each biscuit for the ribbon (which will be added at the end).

Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is gold and firm.

Repeat these processes for the remaining dough.

Remove the baked cookies from the baking trays and place on a wire rack to cool.

Decorate the cooled biscuits using icing. Make sure the biscuits are fully cooled before beginning this stage and get small children to assist you.

Add a thread with ribbon to the pre-cut holes in order to hang the biscuits on the Christmas tree.

This recipe will make over fifty biscuits and is therefore perfect for families.

Those interested in baking with spices such as ginger should take a look at the range of products and recipes provided by companies such as Schwartz. These will offer useful tips on how to create the best dishes - perfect for the run-up to Christmas.


With over 1.5 million members already sharing more than six million trips per year in Europe (France, Spain and more recently the UK), BlablaCar has created a fast growing community that connects drivers who have empty seats with people looking for a lift. 

Part travel site, part social network, www.blablacar.com creates a trust network allowing users to post details about themselves and rate each other on a range of criteria, from performance and reliability, to how chatty they are. Having recently launched in the UK, the company has grown into Europe’s most active people-to-people car sharing community in just a few years, recently announcing that its community has shared over 1 billion kilometres on the road!


The success is attributed to crippling petrol prices, which have increased by an extraordinary 41% in just four years, with drivers looking for ways to share the burden of rocketing petrol costs on journeys they are already making. Drivers could earn as much as £2,200 per annum by only sharing 150 miles of travel per week while passengers find it is an extremely cost effective alternative to any other form of transport on their chosen route. 


BlablaCar drivers have saved over £100m since January 2009, making it one of the best money saving sites for motorists. In the process this has saved 200,000 tons of CO2 from polluting the atmosphere. With BlablaCar you can earn/save money and save the environment in a sociable way!


To promote the service BlablaCar is rewarding UK drivers sharing their journeys between the North West (including Manchester, Liverpool, Oxford, Birmingham) and London with £500 in cash. Anyone driving between the North West and London can join by posting their trip on BlablaCarBlablaCar team members will act as genuine passengers on the site and hand £500 to the selected winning drivers! (More details on www.blablacar.com/london2NW).



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Michael Fish and John Kettley.jpg

Fed up of spending so much of your hard earned on fuel bills? Once a year, the six big energy companies usually increase their prices. However, so far this year prices have been increased not once but twice: first in April, and then again in June.

British Gas, E.ON, and Scottish and Southern Electric have hiked up their gas tariffs by 18%, increasing electricity by 16%, 11% and 11% respectively. Npower have increased gas by 16%, electricity by 7%.

And Scottish Power's gas tariffs have increased by 19% with electricity following at 10% more. These are only the most recent increases, and looking at past trends, they won't be falling anytime soon.

So how can you save money whilst the power giants increase their prices? This is where realistic, sustainable solar energy from HomeSun comes in. Installing free solar on your home could save you £237 and wipe out the British Gas price rise (see http://www.homesun.com/energy-price-rises). Developments in any good green energy such as that offered by HomeSun are held back by big power companies, but now people have the chance to declare independence from this. You can generate your own electricity by installing solar panels completely free.

200614_173305526055711_159321044120826_436552_7006518_n.jpg A home solar system consists of panels fixed onto your roof, wired to a small inverter (ideally in your loft). This converts solar electricity (DC) into household/grid electricity (AC). From the inverter, the electricity flows through a solar meter to your existing consumer unit (fuse box) where it’s connected to the rest of your home’s electrical system. Bob's Your Uncle!

To qualify for solar panels your roof should face as close to south as possible (southeast to southwest can be OK) and have a pitch of between 25 and 55 degrees. Ideally, you will also need to look for 24m2 squared of unshaded roof  for a 12 panel system size to 2.94KW.

However, if you are still unsure about whether you quality for solar panels go to the Home Sun website. On the website you can also get information on the benefits of solar panels and look at some of the featured homes, complete with homeowner interviews, images and videos.

HomeSun - http://www.homesun.com/

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