Category Archives: Diva Picks

Do You Feel Tired All The Time? Nutritionist Reveals 6 Top Healthy Choices To Improve Your ‘Get Up And Go’

There can be many reasons for feeling tired, with the most obvious being lack of sleep! But what you eat and drink can also be important. The ‘right’ choices will provide slow-releasing energy, as well as all the necessary nutrients to help your body convert that food to energy. Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns reveals 6 healthy choices you can make to improve your ‘get up and go’!

Whole grain oats

If you start the day with a sugary breakfast cereal, toast or croissant, your energy is probably taking a nosedive by about 11am. Try swapping them for whole grain oats: as an unprocessed whole grain, they’re higher in fibre and break down more slowly, providing sustained energy. They’re also a natural source of energy-producing vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, vitamins B1 and B6. Go for Nairn’s Scottish Porridge Oats – as well as porridge, they can be used to make ‘overnight oats’, or to make your own healthy muesli by adding chopped nuts or seeds and a sprinkle of dried fruit. 

High-protein pasta

Like sugary breakfast cereals, the average bowl of pasta won’t keep your energy up for very long. As most pastas are made with refined white flour, they’re quickly broken down in the gut and absorbed, giving you a blood sugar high followed by a slump. Instead, try a high-protein pasta such as Clearspring’s Green Pea and Quinoa Pasta. It contains almost twice the amount of protein of a standard pasta, and more than twice the amount of fibre. This means that breaks down and releases energy more slowly, as well as filling you up for longer – a bonus if you’re watching your weight!


One reason for low energy can be a deficiency in a specific nutrient (or nutrients). A common example is vitamin B12, which works with iron to help build healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. Mackerel is one of our best natural sources of B12, and also provides other B vitamins and magnesium, which help our body to release energy from food. Added bonus: it’s also high in heart-healthy omega-3s, and high in protein too, helping to balance your blood sugar.

Sea vegetables

Another nutrient that can be lacking in the average person’s diet is iodine. This trace mineral is vital for making thyroid hormone, which plays a crucial role in metabolism and energy release from food. When we don’t make enough of this hormone, one of the first symptoms is tiredness. The best food source of iodine is sea vegetables; try snacking on Clearspring’s Seaveg Crispies.


Could your tiredness simply be due to not drinking enough water? Water helps nutrients and oxygen to get where they’re needed in the body, and plays a role in chemical reactions that break down food molecules to make energy. So it’s no wonder we feel deflated (literally) when we don’t drink enough. Aim to get about 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day, which can include liquid in foods such as soups, caffeine-free teas and watered-down fruit juices.

Raw chocolate


If you’re a chocolate fiend – or even if you’re not – then try raw chocolate. Whereas a standard chocolate bar can give you a quick energy buzz from the sugar content, it’s likely to last for long. But raw cacao – the unheated, unroasted version of cocoa – is actually a superfood, rich in energy-providing nutrients such as magnesium and iron. It also contains a gentle stimulating substance called theobromine. But by choosing raw chocolate, such as OMBAR chocolate made with raw cacao and without refined sugar, you’re getting the benefits of the energy-supporting nutrients without the sugar rush.

By: Ally Papasodaro

Continue reading Do You Feel Tired All The Time? Nutritionist Reveals 6 Top Healthy Choices To Improve Your ‘Get Up And Go’

Bringing The Ancient Past To Life. A Review of ONAEDO: the Blacksmith’s Daughter: a Novel by Ngozi Achebe


The most interesting aspect of this historical novel for me is the way in which the freshness and simplicity of its style enhances the credibility of what is in some ways an incredible tale. It is narrated with such veracity and ease that the reader will be easily persuaded that the impact of slavery on the pristine African communities of the past was exactly as portrayed here. Ngozi Achebe has crafted a story that fills several gaps not merely in world literature but also in the perception of African history as both a discipline and an emotional concern for all those whose ancestry is eternally touched by that tragic industry. Her depiction of the beginnings of slavery and the inter-phase between Portuguese slave dealers and African society is a remarkable example of the restoration of a lost era to contemporary relevance through literature. She has achieved in her first novel the remarkable feat of creating what might very well come to be regarded as a unique masterpiece.

ngozi achebe (oneado the blacksmith's daughter) II

The tale has the epic sweep of a narrative recollection of events based on irrefutable evidence. The characters devised by the author leap off the page with dramatic intensity, and none more so than the central protagonist Onaedo. This central character could be considered a beacon of modernity even by the standards of our own times and yet the setting and the social milieu described by the author is impeccably traditional and befitting to the era of antiquity in which it is located. The alliance of brilliant writing and impressive research has made the story a classic both in its content and in its moral tone. The descriptive power of her writing strengthens the accuracy of her recreation of 16th century life in olu Ndigbo, the nation of the Igbo peoples, before the intervention of Western culture. At the same time it also serves to suspend belief in the common assumption that the first and most important intercourse between these territories and the outside world were as a result of British colonial intervention.


Ngozi Achebe has actually moved our perception of ancient African history, especially of the intercourse between traditional societies like that of Ndigbo and the Western world, onto a new plane. Coming from the pen of the niece of Chinua Achebe, the great chronicler of the confrontation between Ndigbo society and the British colonisers, this book is one of the seminal literary events of new African writing for the 21st century. It is unique in its adventurous conceit of seeking to open up a chapter of the past that has been shrouded for centuries in both mystery and myth. Portuguese explorers who were the first recorded visitors from Europe to the West African coast have largely taken a back seat in scholarly chronicles of the intercourse between Europe and Africa. This novel moves the era and the extraordinary events recorded in it to the forefront of contemporary concern.

These events include the commencement of the slave trade, the first stirrings of Christian conversion of the communities of the West African coast, and trade in spices, palm oil, gold, hides and ivory. However she also examines the nature of the culture and occupations of the traditional society in depth and posits that the invasion from the West served to destroy a deep-seated philosophical commitment to a fundamentally pastoral way of life. In outlining and then building the tale around romantic disenchantment and rustic violence she establishes the core of the narrative in the disastrous demise of a family. The head of this family is Eneda the blacksmith whose provenance may very well be allied to the discovery of the fabled Igbo-Ukwu bronzes. Indeed the way in which she has integrated reflections on historical events and iconic memories into exciting parameters of storytelling serves as proof of her extraordinary talent.

Ms. Achebe has said in interviews that her inspiration came from many sources one of which is the story of those fabled artefacts. In addition to this although she was not one of the “Biafran children” evacuated to Sao Tome for safety during the Nigerian civil war her curiousity about the history of that island community also became a major inspiration. This provides the background for the latter half of the novel and elevates it beyond a simple tale of romance and adventure into a profound commentary on the relevance and character of an African society that ended up contributing to its own violation. Although this is a serious novel it remains a most exciting and entertaining narrative to read because its intellectual depth does not detract from the elements of drama, intrigue and romance that serve to carry the story forward.

One of the most remarkable abilities displayed by the author in this work is that of establishing the personality traits and defining peculiarities of both major and minor characters with extraordinary depth in a few short sentences. She deploys incidents and characters with uncanny realism even while displaying a penchant for poetic phrasing in her descriptions of places and reflections on the importance of traditional laws and morals. Her depiction of such seminal characters as Onaedo’s aunt Aku whose extraordinary gifts of telepathy and psychic foresight allied to knowledge of traditional medicine make her a formidable ally as well as foe, and Oguebie the jealous prince and traitor to the community who becomes one of the pioneers of local collaboration with foreign slave traders, reveals that she has particular strengths of observation as well as of imagination. Her characterisations gain veracity through her effective use of modern psychological evaluation even while consolidating the relevance of their place in the narrative of the past. She is also noticeably even-handed in depicting both African and European characters in terms of their universal humanity.

Onaedo is a complex but highly readable work. The prologue and the epilogue provide signposts to the contemporary relevance of the body of the work. Maxine the discoverer/editor of the manuscript in these technically slight but profoundly exploratory chapters is herself a victim of loss brought about by historical upheaval. Having seen her beloved father disappear to Nigeria during the civil war, she is confronted by a crisis as he has written to her that he is coming to visit her three decades later. Faced with this dilemma she tries to find balance in reading through a box of old diaries apparently written by an extraordinary African slave from Brazil. It would be tantamount to giving away the author’s most precious secrets for me to relate how this formula is resolved in the end but the most unexpected revelations follow with seamless regularity. The main narrative is based on Maxine’s lightly edited version of the diary. The effective power with which Ms. Achebe deploys this complex literary device is that of an accomplished author. Although she is a practicing medical doctor her work does not appear to be that of a one-volume writer. Her first book, which has now been shortlisted for the LNG Literary Prize for 2011, is no amateur’s essay. It is the powerful outpouring of an accomplished storyteller. Her famous uncle must be as proud of her as all Nigerians who read this remarkable story should be.

Publisher AfricAgenda Publications, Abuja: Reviewer: Lindsay Barrett

Top Half Term Family Getaways With Al Fresco Holidays


British summer time may be over but there’s still time to catch some rays this October. Al Fresco Holidays is offering a fantastic selection of October 2015 half term breaks at a range of three to five star parks across Europe.

Spain, Costa Dorada: Sanguli

Was £434 Now £304 – saving £130

Staying in a Puccini 2 bedroom mobile home sleeping up to 5. Departing 24th October for 7 nights


Set in the beautiful Costa Dorada, with its poolside palm trees and sun kissed playa, Sanguli is a Mediterranean paradise. With a wide range of activities on park and PortAventuraTM  on the doorstep, you can be sure of a fun packed holiday. The enormous amphitheatre makes the park truly unique, whilst the paddling pool, children’s playground and sandy beach ensure everyone is entertained.

Holland, Wassenaar: Duinrell

Was £630 Now £419 – saving £178

Staying in a Rossini Riviera bedroom mobile home sleeping up to 6. Departing 24th October for 7 nights


This action packed, four-star park includes the on-site Tiki tropical waterpark, voted one of the top 20 waterparks in the world. Tackle the 70-degree slide, relax on the lazy river, or dodge the waves in the wave pool, all while the younger children play in the paddling pool. With its very own theme park with rides, magic shows and a roller coaster, there’s something for all the family.

France, Champagne: La Croix De Vieux Pont

Was £455 Now £319 – saving £136

Staying in a Rossini 2 bedroom mobile home sleeping up to 6. Departing 24th October for 7 nights


If France is calling this half term, kids and adults alike will love the activities on the vibrant La Croix Du Vieux Pont park, with a large indoor pool, waterslides and spa pools for water babies. Sporty families can try the mini golf, tennis, archery, boules, fishing, football, and canoe hire or enjoy the thrill of the zip wire.

France, Paris: Paris Est

Was £455 Now £319 – saving £136

Staying in a Bellini 2 bedroom mobile home sleeping up to 6. Departing 24th October for 7 nights


If you are heading to Disneyland® Paris, or simply looking to soak up the Parisian culture, Paris Est is in the perfect location for making the most of the city. Boasting an onsite children’s play area, table tennis and TV room, there is always something fun to do.

All these parks are perfect for families, set in beautiful locations near beaches, forests or cities, with a huge range of outdoor activities available on and off park.

– Limited promotional nights available for selected dates and parks whilst stocks last

– Price may be amended at any time
– Subject to availability

– Cannot be combined with the two for one deal or group booking discount

– Al Fresco Holidays reserve the right to withdraw at any time without notice 

To book any one of these fun-filled holidays, call 0161 332 8900 or visit

Neil Carr

Guilt-Free Summer Refreshment From Highland Spring


The Spring and Summer months are arguably the most sociable months of the year with plenty of opportunities to socialise and pop open the bubbly – from barbeques, garden parties, picnics and holidays, to weddings and sporting events. Ensuring everyone can join in the fun and enjoy every sparkling moment, Highland Spring have created these refreshing mocktails – the perfect non-alcoholic treat for a sunny afternoon with friends, or a quiet evening in.

The Highland Hugo: A light mocktail with delicate floral and minty notes



  • 25ml Bottlegreen Elderflower cordial
  • 1 wedge fresh lime
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • Topped up with Highland Spring Sparkling Water


Half fill a wine glass with cubed ice, add mint leaves and then top up with cubed ice. Squeeze a fresh lime wedge over the ice and drop in the glass. Then add Bottlegreen Elderflower cordial. Top up with Highland Spring sparkling water. Stir, serve and enjoy!

The Refresher: A fresh, classy mocktail perfect for get-togethers and celebrations



  • 25ml Bottlegreen Ginger & Lemongrass cordial
  • 5 slices of fresh cucumber
  • Topped up with Highland Spring Sparkling Water


Fill a tall glass with cubed ice, adding cucumber slices throughout. Then add Bottlegreen Ginger & Lemongrass cordial. Top up with Highland Spring sparkling water. Stir, serve and enjoy!

These refreshing and zingy mocktails are perfect for summer barbeques and are a great accompaniment for juicy burgers, refreshing salads or a sweet dessert like a classic Eton Mess.

Highland Spring Sparkling water is available from all major supermarkets, retailers and

convenience stores nationwide.

 BY: Charlotte Brouwer

Quaglino’s Launches “Q Brunch”


On Saturday 9th May Quaglino’s will launch a brand new brunch menu to sit alongside it’s delicious lunch and dinner menus. The Q Brunch will showcase Executive Chef Mickael Weiss’s modern European flair and commitment to high quality ingredients. The huge menu encompasses luxurious options such as Scrambled Eggs with Lobster & a Spinach Muffin and an opulent Caviar Omelette.  Classic brunch options include Eggs Royal and Omelette Arnold Bennett. Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in Toasted brioche, Chantilly cream & grated salted Valrhona chocolate or French Toast, poached peach, crème fraiche.

In true Quaglino’s style the Q Brunch will have a party atmosphere with live music and bottomless prosecco. The Q Brunch will be served every Saturday between 11.30am and 3.30pm.

About Quaglino’s

Quaglino’s, the iconic restaurant and late-night venue in the heart of London’s Mayfair St James’s, has re-opened following a full-scale, multi-million pound renovation, complemented by a contemporary European menu from new Executive Chef Mickael Weiss and a bespoke programme of curated late-night live music performances and events.

The re-launch celebrated 85 years of Quaglino’s iconic heritage; from its opening in 1929 by legendary Giovanni Quaglino – whose love of food and good company created a destination favoured by glamorous society – to Terence Conran’s celebrated remodelling in the 1990s right through to the restaurant’s present day status as one of London’s most cherished celebratory destinations.

Combining unique facilities including a stage for live performances and a superb new sound system, an indulgent new menu and glamorous cocktail bar, Quaglino’s continues to provide Londoners with a haven to enjoy first-class dining and unforgettable late-night experiences.



A woman’s ideal relationship involves hearing ‘I love you’ after three months, meeting the parents after five months and getting engaged less than three years after the first date, a study revealed yesterday.

Researchers who polled, 2000 women found three in four had a dream timeline of how they would like their perfect relationship to pan out, with the first holiday as a couple happening after eight months of dating.


Ideally, couples would then move in together almost two years after the first date and start a family within two years of marriage.

It also emerged that 39 per cent of women would get a dog with their other half to test the waters for real commitment.

A spokesman for gifting website, which commissioned the research, said: ‘’When a relationship is going well, it’s natural to have an idea of how you want things to progress.

‘’Having a plan is great in principle, but it can cause stress later on if things aren’t going as expected.

‘’It’s important not to fret too much over the details, as often the surprises of life can be much more exciting.

‘’There’s a satisfaction in just seeing what will happen, and you never know what might be around the corner.’’

The study of 2,000 women found that a new relationship would start with a date every five days, declaring themselves an item after six weeks of dating.

After around eight weeks, women would be happy to sleep with their partner for the first time, and in around three months they’d want to say ‘I love you’ – but only after he’d said it first.

Five months in, women would want their other half to meet the parents, jetting off on a romantic holiday three months later – eight months after the first date.

Sharing keys would be the next step, the women said, ideally moving in together one year and nine months after first meeting.

Getting a pooch would seal the deal for some, as 39 per cent said at this point they’d want to get a dog together.

And when both parties are happily shacked up, they’d be engaged two years and four months after the first date, the study showed.

Sticking with tradition, it should be the guy who gets down on one knee, the women said, with a ring worth £1,220 that he chose himself.

More traditionally still, six in ten women would like their man to ask their father for their hand in marriage before popping the question.

The wedding should then take place around 15 months after getting engaged.

But the ideal timeline doesn’t stop with marriage – the study showed the average woman wants to start a family within a year and 10 months of getting hitched.

And in the perfect advancement, couples would go on to have two children.

In total, the research showed the average woman’s ideal relationship would span five years and five months from the first date through to starting a family.

It seems the timeline is not to be sniffed at, as almost one in four women admitted they’ve broken up with someone because the relationship wasn’t going to their ideal plan.

But while 59 per cent said their current relationship is progressing as desired, another one in ten said things may be going too quickly.

A spokesman for added, ‘’Being in love is what life is all about, so it’s easy to get carried away with visions of the future.

‘’But in the end so long as both parties are happy, it can be just as fun to enjoy the ride.’’



Go on dates every five days

6 weeks in – officially an item

8 weeks in – sleep together for the first time

3 months in – the man says ‘I love you’ first

5 months in – meet the parents

8 months in – go on holiday together

1 year and 9 months – move in together
-Four in ten would get a dog

2 years and 4 months – get engaged
-With an engagement ring worth £1,220
-The man would propose, and pick the ring as a surprise
-Ask the father for permission

15 months after engagement – get married

1 year 10 months after marriage – start a family

Have two children.

By: Grant Bailey



Dulwich Picture Gallery will present a major show of work by the celebrated artist and designer, Eric Ravilious (1903-42) with a unique focus on his output as a watercolourist. Featuring iconic paintings such as Westbury Horse (1939) and Train Landscape (1940) alongside rarely seen works from private collections, ‘Ravilious’ (1 April-31 August 2015) will follow the evolution of a remarkable talent and cement the artist’s position as one of the finest watercolourists of the 20th century.

Dafen Village, © Flickr User Michael MandibergThis exhibition will adopt a thematic approach to a career which spanned peace and war, breaking down the chronology which often separates the two periods. This will highlight how Ravilious integrated rather than abandoned many of his ideas and instincts when he was appointed as an official War Artist in 1939. A focused selection of over 90 watercolours, complemented by selected lithographs, wood engravings and archive materials, will highlight common characteristics in Ravilious’s painting, ultimately bringing us closer to understanding the motives and ideas of an artist who famously said little about his work.

From a boyhood spent in his father’s antiques shop to being taught by Paul Nash at the Royal College of Art, various experiences influenced Ravilious’s style and adoption of particular motifs. The exhibition starts with ‘Relics and Curiosities’: paintings which reveal Ravilious’s fascination with interesting objects such as in No. 29 Bus (1934) and Talbot-Darracq (1934). This theme is revisited in the rarely displayed nautical still life Anchor and Boats, Rye (1938) and later in wartime paintings such as Bomb Defusing Equipment (1941) where he approaches military hardware from unusual angles to capture the strangeness of objects.

PC - November5th
‘Interiors’ highlights another thread to Ravilious’s work where neatly made beds, empty chairs and patterned wallpaper recur in his paintings Farmhouse Bedroom (1930) and Interior at Furlongs (1939). Ravilious’s domestic scenes rarely contain figures and yet his shadowy interiors, strange perspectives and objects often create a sense of human presence. Ravilious excelled in balancing interior and exterior worlds, an element that recurs in his wartime pictures such as The Operations Room (1942).

Vicarage in Winter
The exhibition continues to emphasize common themes in Ravilious’s oeuvre; ‘Figures & Forms’ highlights Ravilious’s rare but sensitive portrayal of people, such as in his studies for the mural for Morley College (1928-1930) and in his timeless visual records of men at war. In ‘Place and Season’ we see how Ravilious often combined topography, atmospheric conditions and light to record the often unusual locations he travelled to and in ‘Changing Perspectives’ we follow the evolution in Ravilious’s handling of composition and perspective, as he moves from more novel subjects to painting well known landmarks such as the White Horse of Westbury.

Escher_Drawing Hands 1948
The exhibition culminates with an exploration of the artist’s career-long interest in light. Displaying the fireworks of November 5th (1933) next to the gunflashes of HMS Ark Royal in Action (1940), reveals how Ravilious treated both as exciting visual spectacles. In moving from peacetime paintings such as Rye Harbour (1938) to wartime works such as Midnight Sun (1940), we follow the artist on a journey of discovery as he sought new ways to capture the light of early morning.

Curator James Russell said:
“This exhibition has given me the opportunity to look more closely at familiar paintings, and to explore others for the first time. I love Ravilious’s playfulness, and the subtle, surreptitious use of distorted geometries in his paintings, and the fact that he made so little public comment about his own work. In some ways this has made my job more difficult, but at the same time it is liberating: anyone can enjoy the work of Eric Ravilious, but there is also plenty there for people who want to go deeper”

While acknowledged as a fine wood engraver and designer, Ravilious saw painting as his true vocation; it was this work that he exhibited, and he cared deeply about its reception by fellow artists. His 1939 show, at the prestigious Tooth and Sons’ Gallery in London, was greeted warmly by critics, who described his work as ‘almost untranslatable’ and ‘magic, almost mystic’. Two-thirds of the twenty-seven paintings displayed are included in the exhibition.

The exhibition is curated by James Russell, a leading specialist on Eric Ravilious. A passionate advocate of 20th century British painting and design, James writes and lectures widely. His books include the popular four-volume series ‘Ravilious in Pictures’ as well as titles devoted to Edward Seago, Peggy Angus and Paul Nash.

Loans have been secured from a number of lenders including Towner, The Fry Art Gallery, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Imperial War Museum, Tate, Leeds Museums and Galleries, Royal College of Art, The British Council, as well as multiple private lenders. With Philip Wilson Publishers, Dulwich Picture Gallery will produce a fully illustrated colour catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Author James Russell explores the evolution of a remarkable talent and offers an intimate portrait of the artist, making this a definitive guide to the luminous, evocative and timeless watercolours of Eric Ravilious.

Continue reading DULWICH PICTURE…Ravilious

Top 20: The Things That Keep Us Awake At Night


A snoring partner, battling with a cold and worrying about finances are among the top reasons Brits can’t get to sleep, new research has shown.

Researchers who studied 2,000 adults found a whopping nine in ten are consistently plagued with disturbed or sleepless nights – mostly due to anxiety and worrying.

Money concerns proved to be the top cause of insomnia, with other big contributors being pressure at work and arguing with a partner before bed.

The study found suffering with ill health, uncomfortable bedding and being woken by restless children were also to blame.

A spokesperson for homeware and bedding specialists Dunelm, which commissioned the research said: “Often it seems a good amount of sleep is something we all want, but just can’t get.

“It’s important to treat our bed times with as much care as we do our waking life. “This means winding down a good half hour before we want to sleep. “Ensuring our bedroom environment is a calm and tidy place is also a must.”


The research showed Sunday to be the worst night for night-time disturbances, with a weary Monday night also proving restless. But the rest of the week provides little respite – the average adult can’t sleep around three nights a week, said the study, and typically manages a mere four hours of shut-eye each time.

As well as money worries, the prime reasons for tossing and turning were sleeping in an uncomfortable temperature, mulling over family matters or having a severe cough or cold. Street commotion such as barking dogs and car alarms were also to blame for wreaking havoc with bedtime, with drunken passers-by also causing distress.


In fact, the general neighbourhood noise was highlighted as a problem for one in ten adults, whose arguing or partying neighbours were named as another reason they never get a peaceful night. However, a noisy neighbour a bit closer to home was a snoring spouse, which almost one third of adults admitted they struggle to share a bed with.

Making up the list of sleep disturbances was unfinished paperwork and life admin, having an argument before bed time and lying on a bad back. British weather was another cause for concern, as heavy rain on the windows and thunder storms were deemed responsible for keeping 16 per cent of adults awake.

Uncomfortable bedding was also to blame, as many adults said flat or lumpy pillows and a broken mattress often lead to aching muscles and joints – another cause for disturbed sleep. When it came to easing the problem, almost a quarter of the adults polled said they turn to technology during bouts of insomnia, relying on TV, tablets and the internet to lull them to sleep.


But a bout of forty winks seems the Holy Grail for over half of adults, who said they almost never sleep a full night without being disturbed.

The spokesperson added: “Though it’s hard to ignore all the issues and unresolved jobs we have to deal with, making sure we’re comfortable at night is a starting point.

“A decent mattress in particular can contribute to a deeper sleep, as well as things like noise-reducing blackout blinds to prevent light and noise keeping us awake – especially as we move into the summer months.”

Dunelm’s ‘Sleep Sheep’ campaign launches today. For more information visit


  1. Money worries
  2. Being too hot or cold
  3. Snoring partner
  4. Family matters
  5. A bad cough or cold
  6. Aching joints and muscles
  7. Dogs barking
  8. Car alarms
  9. An aching back
  10. Argument with partner before bed
  11. Rain/storms outside
  12. Incomplete household jobs/admin
  13. Needing a drink
  14. Thinking about work pressures
  15. Drunk/partying people on the street
  16. Broken or dipping mattress
  17. Children waking up
  18. Loud neighbours
  19. Pets
  20. Lumpy or flat pillow

By Grant Bailey

UNTIL Partners with Spoken Word Poet to Break Silence of HIV/AIDS

Spoken word poet, Jasmine Waiters, speaks directly to African American women living with HIV/AIDS in her newest poem, Dear Black Woman. She encourages them to speak out against the stigmas attached to HIV/AIDS and share their stories on her blog.

Dear Black Woman is more than a poem; it is a call to action for those living within the African American community, as well as those who wish to improve it. The hope is that everyone who views the video is inspired to spark discussions around raising awareness and finding a cure. Most importantly, the poem is meant to comfort African American women who are often judged and misunderstood.

Until There’s A Cure has partnered with many artists from various industries. However, partnering with spoken word poet, Jasmine Waiters to empower women living with HIV/AIDS has brought a new experience to the organization.

Although many feel as if they are aware of how serious HIV/AIDS is, few actually realize that African Americans represent 44% of new cases of HIV while only representing 12% of the American population.

Waiters expresses that the value of African American women does not depreciate because of the virus, but instead, provides the opportunity to tell them, “Ms. Black Woman, you are still a Black Queen; still the center of our community.” Being an African American herself, Jasmine understands the importance of reassuring women who face such adversity.

UNTIL and Jasmine Waiters will continue to support, uplift, and empower these women and we welcome anyone who wants to be involved.To learn more about what you can do to support this cause visit:


Losing Weight – Men vs Women

Is it just me or does everyone notice that men seem to lose weight far more easily than women? I thought it was time to look at the science ….black-man-and-woman
A study that compared male and female participants following a variety of diets (Atkin’s, SlimFast, Rosemary Conley and Weight-Watchers) showed that men beat the women hands-down for weight loss. At 2 months, men had lost twice as much weight as women – however, their weight loss slowed over the following months.

A recent review of 49 studies on the subject found only a small difference in weight loss between the sexes – but it was in favour of the men.
So why do men lose weight more easily than women? It’s not just one reason. In the same way that weight-gain is due to many factors, weight-loss is influenced by many different factors too and these may affect men and women differently…

Men are bigger to start with.
Men, on the whole, are bigger than women – and the bigger you are, the more energy you burn just by moving around or, even just by sitting on the sofa, doing nothing much more than existing! Their basal metabolic rate is greater….and as basal metabolic rate accounts for about 70% of the energy we burn every day, you can see why they may have a head-start. All they need to do is cut down their intake a bit, and their greater energy-burning capacity means quick results.

Men have more muscle.
Men tend to have more muscle (fat-free mass) than women – and bodies with higher muscle composition burn more energy. What’s more, as we get older our muscle mass reduces (by about 8% per decade over the age of 40) – a condition known as sarcopenia…which may help explain why our ability to lose weight is affected by our age as well as our sex. When we think of exercising to lose weight, we often think of aerobic exercise – pounding the treadmill, brisk walking, swimming. Studies show, however, that people who engage in mixed forms of exercise, adding resistance training to aerobic, tend to lose more weight…especially around the waist where it is associated with more health problems. It’s time for women to fight the men for the dumbbells and build a bit of muscle!

Men are less involved in food preparation
A sweeping generalisation, of course, and I know many men who do all the cooking at home (not mine, sadly!)….but the fact is, it is often the women who prepare and serve out the food to children and partner, giving more time and opportunity to pick. Those ‘forgotten’ calories soon add up.

Women are at home more
Women spend less time at work than men. Although over 2/3rds of women are now wage-earners, around half of those work part-time due to family and other commitments. We all know that there is plenty of work to do running a home and family..but it does also leave women more susceptible to snacking during that home time. In contrast, when busy at work with no easy access to the fridge, those hunger pangs may go unnoticed.

Women are more likely to be emotional eaters.
Another generalisation, I know, but my years of sitting in clinic back up research that shows that women are more likely to comfort eat, snack out of boredom or frustration or eat for many reasons other than hunger. Many men, in contrast, seem to just over-indulge in pints and portions! It can be easier to address simple habits than the underlying stresses and emotions that may drive over-eating – and most diets fail to do anything other than restrict food intake.

At the end of the day – male or female – what can we all do?
We can’t fight our XX chromosomes but we can make some changes to maintain a healthy weight. Our basal metabolic rate may account for 70% of our energy expenditure but that leaves 30% in our control…and that comes down to activity. Keep on-the-go, taking every opportunity to move, and the energy burnt will soon clock up. Add in some muscle-building exercise too and you will not only look slimmer, but burn more calories even whilst you put your feet up afterwards! Finally, look at ‘when’ and ‘why’ you are eating as well as ‘what’. Is it guilt-eating or stress from trying to juggle a job and family…and failing to do both as well as you think you should? Take steps to address those underlying issues as well as ensuring you have covered the basics of portion control and eating real non-processed food.

By Dr Sally Norton
UK leading health expert
Founder lose weight: live life: DIET free
Founder Eat better: Live better: Work better