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Enjoy Life

One of Choice’s aims is to provide ideas and inspiration to readers. Our articles on food, great value wine, recipes from around the world, enjoying your garden plus reviews and stories on books, DVDs music, films and theatre will do just that.

Recent Articles

The real cost of your wine

Barely a week goes by without my wife exclaiming after a trip to the supermarket: “Look how much packaging there is in this box.” It’s usually followed up with: “This could be half the price if it was just in a bag and not a box.” Ironically, even though she is as much a wine lover as I am, she never airs the same disparaging views while uncorking a bottle of wine. And she would never extol the virtues of a box over a bottle where wine is concerned either.

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Cooking for one

A recent survey of 1200 over-60s showed most of them didn’t trust the present government to help them through the ravages of the financial recession. According to Age UK – the merged charities Age Concern and Help the Aged – many of the respondents were taking extreme measures to cope, some of which put their health at risk.

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Baking made easy

In her new book, Annie Bell’s Baking Bible (Kyle Books, £25), food writer Annie Bell explains the techniques that produce perfect baking every time, be it sponge cakes, biscuits, brownies, tray bakes, fairy cakes, macaroons, muffins or meringues.

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In your garden

It’s something to do with how the light changes, becoming less intense but still enhancing all the glorious autumn colours. September sky can be the most wonderful blue, unbleached by hot sun; wild fruits and nuts hang on the hedgerows and there is plenty of wildlife to see, freed at last from the stresses of the breeding season. So, how does your garden look? A bit ‘backendish’ as my granddad used to say?

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Stardust Memories

In a career spanning more than 45 years Tony Palmer has developed a reputation as one of our most distinguished documentary makers, with a body of work ranging from highly acclaimed portraits of the composers Holst, Vaughan Williams and Wagner to documentaries in the field of pop, literature, sport and even space.

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Staying safe in the Summer heat: Drowning prevention

It has appealed to people to take note of simple safety messages to avoid a repeat of last summer’s tragedies when many people lost their lives cooling off in open water, not suitable for swimming. Being a grandparent often means having your grandchildren come and stay with you for a few days during the Summer holidays. During these months, it is more improtant than ever to be aware around water and make sure that your loved ones are swimming only where it is safe and suitabel to do so.

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Surprisingly Good Wholegrain Recipes: Savoury

Getting wholegrain foods such as oats, wholemeal bread and brown rice into your diet has never been easier and this selection of brand new recipes will liven up any meal time. Wholegrain foods are typically low in fat, as well as being higher in fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive system. They also add a whole lot of flavour to dishes too. This 2 part piece wil introduce you to some of the great ways to use wholegrain in both savoury and sweet dishes.

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Surprisingly Good Wholegrain Recipes: Sweet

Do you think healthy eating = boring? Think again. There are so many exciting dishes that can be created when you have wholegrains, like oats, and rapeseed oil in your cupboard.

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Over 65's Cloud Computing

According to new research, almost 50% of over 65's have no idea- highlighting the need for better understanding of technology in the boomer generation.  Databax asked 100 over 65's in the UK what Cloud Computing is, the top 5 results were as follows

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A Guide To Bread Making

Craft baking has been an important feature on the UK high street for centuries and Craft Bakers’ Week, which takes place from the 28th September to the 3rd October, aims to raise the profile of the industry within the UK.  

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Craft Corner: Chocolate Slider Box

Supplies:  Free template download, from www.crafterscompanion.co.uk Sara signature cute Christmas Collection Penguin Die and Festive Phrases Die Sara's Cute Christmas Collection Foiled, Glitter and Mirri Card Oval and scalloped oval dies or punches

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The Luxury Candles Fit for a Queen

To mark the Queen’s 90th birthday and their own 30th anniversary in 2016, luxury home scenting company Kenneth Turner London has collaborated with leading British florist, Laura Lee, to create three luxury candle fragrances, each capturing the true scent of some her Majesty’s favourite flowers and guaranteed to light up the life of your own Queen of the household this Mother’s Day.

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Are you ready for retirement?

Many of us dream for years about retirement, yet when it turns into reality, it’s not always the paradise we expect it to be. Psychologist Linda Blair says she’s been seeing more patients recently who are having difficulty adjusting emotionally to this new phase in their life.

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Pretty Comfy tights

Cosyfeet have launched a range of Opaque Tights with an elegant sheen for ladies with a dress size of 10 to 32+. These smooth-look tights have an 80-denier appearance and are incredibly soft. They incorporate 3D LYCRA® stretch for greater freedom of movement and a no-pinch, comfortable fit.

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Reaching out to Dementia Sufferers: Sporting Memories Network

Almost half (48 per cent) said that what would help them most to stay connected was seeing family and friends more often, and having someone to help them take part in activities and hobbies (51 per cent). The Alzheimer’s Society survey highlighted the importance of meaningful activities for those who are living with dementia.  

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The Great British Cooking Paradox

A new study reveals Britons are consuming more food culture and content, but cooking less than ever. As the nation’s obsession with social media, high profile chefs, cookery books and foodie TV shows continues, Brits are spending more time consuming food culture than actually cooking. More than half admit they would much rather watch a dish being cooked on TV, or spend time looking at food online, than try their hand at making something themselves.

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A Classic FM Christmas

It’s such a joy to be on Classic FM, it really is. Partly because I do love the music we play. Obviously I have my own personal favourites and they come up from time to time, and that’s terrific

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End of the road for a pop icon

It has never been easy being a Simon and Garfunkel fan. I know, am one. Admitting you admired their music was not something you did in fashionable company, or at least at my boarding school. They didn’t fit the Seventies fashion for glam, disco, punk, hard rock or Eighties style over substance, and during the Nineties they seemed to disappear altogether.

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National Smile Day

Seeing an old friend, hearing a song that reminds you of your past and getting some good news from a loved one top a new list of the 50 simple things that are most likely to put a smile on your face. A Tetley poll of 2,000 adults released today on World Smile Day found that despite uncertain times, most Brits consider themselves a ‘glass half-full’ person and spend half of the average week feeling happy.

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Floral Celebration fit for a Queen

THIS YEAR’S Chelsea Flower Show, joined in the celebrations of The Queen’s 90th birthday with eye-catching floral arches at two of the entrances to the Showground. The grand floral arch at the primary entrance was the creation of florist Shane Connolly, who holds a Royal Warrant of Appointment to The Prince of Wales and The Queen. He created a beautiful floral arch using British blooms donated by UK growers and the arch was installed with the help of design students from several UK colleges.

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Anti-ageing Options

While I agree with many of the concerns people have about the pressure on women to look younger, I also think it’s perfectly natural to want to look as youthful as you feel inside. I see no problem with seeking to restore the natural glow of your 20s, even if that means exploiting the use of good skincare, treatments and makeup.

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Anti-ageing Options Part 2

This simple yet brilliant product lets you increase the interval between salon appointments. Just part your hair in the usual way, then brush the colour along the visible roots and temples. Ten minutes later rinse off and all grey is covered; always do a patch test first.

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The Secret to Younger Looking Eyes

DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack 6 masks Pamper your eyes with the DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack, a total eye mask treatment that will revitalise and deeply hydrate the delicate eye area. Enriched with multipeptides to support collagen, olive fruit to intensely hydrate and hyaluronic acid to protect skin’s natural barrier, the Rich Eye Zone Care Pack is a one way ticket to a smoother, more radiant-looking eye area.

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Major new art exhibition at Kings College London

■ Traces of War is a major new exhibition from King’s College London. It is the result of collaborations between The Department of War Studies at King’s and three international artists. ■ As the ‘everyday’ of battle is brought into the gallery space, Traces of War hopes to represent the paradoxical dynamic of war and the everyday - its enduring imprint upon both the body politic and the subject of international relations

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Volunteering for Nature

THE LOVE of nature can cross many barriers, including a divide of more than 90 years between the youngest and the oldest RSPB volunteers. Elizabeth Nelson is a 96-year-old nature lover who volunteers every Saturday in the visitor centre at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk. “I am responsible for organising the pin badges and do little odd jobs around the visitor centre, like folding and preparing leaflets,” says Elizabeth, known as ‘Betty’ to her colleagues.

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25 years of Classic FM

This month marks a special milestone in British broadcasting. On September 7 1992, Classic FM became the UK's first national commercial radio station/ Twenty-five years on, it is now the nation's most popular classical music station, with an audience of 5.4 million listeners every week. We caught up with Classic FM stalwarts Jane Jones, John Brunning and Nick Baile, who was the first presenter heard on air.

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Rescue puppy Finn to spend first Christmas at home

Finn, a rescue puppy, will spend his first Christmas at home this year following treatment at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (BDCH) which has transformed him from a young, underweight stray puppy to the healthy family dog he is today. Nearly 5,000 dogs are cared for by BDCH every year. Many dogs that arrive have not been properly looked after and so they all receive a full health check by the vets at Battersea upon arrival.

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A Winter Wonderland at the fairytale Trentham Gardens

The Trentham Estate, on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, offers one of the UK’s most diverse days out with a range of leisure activities for all ages. Staffordshire’s beautifully restored Trentham Gardens, which lie at the heart of The Trentham Estate visited by more than 3.2m people a year, opens every day, except Christmas Day.

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No substitute for milk?

Along with“go to work on an egg”, another of my favourite boyhood catchphrases was “drinka pinta milk a day” – the health benefits of milk for young kids back in those days seemingly unquestionable. Come to think of it, I don’t recall any children in my class or year at school suffering from an allergy of any kind either, other than an aversion to homework.

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Brits Embracing 'Urban Birding'

Sales of wildlife cams rise as Brits try to get closer to nature 1 in 3 admit to spying on birds and wildlife Alex Zane, Guy Garvey, Damon Albarn amongst celebrity ‘urban birders’ Affordable new tech is giving way to a new generation of 'urban birders' who are making twitching cool again.

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Here's to you Mrs Robinson

FEW FILMS have managed to capture their era as effectively as The Graduate. Released in late 1967, amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution and an ever-widening generation gap, Mike Nichols’ film came at just the right time for an America that was having to ask serious questions about itself.

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Emily Watson "I'ts such a gypsy life"

There was a time when just about the only roles in film and television available to women of a certain age were nuns, grannies, stern maiden aunts or eccentric nannies. Emily Watson is one of a generation of actresses who have proved that sexuality needn’t end with the menopause and although she’s rather more reluctant to disrobe than in her younger days, at the age of 50 she still relishes playing sexually voracious women, as she did, to great effect, in the recent TV drama Apple Tree Yard.

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Burghley Film Festival

Mythical beasts and Star Wars battles are among the cinematic treats this summer with the return of the giant screen to Lincolnshire's Burghley House, which once again becomes the spectacular backdrop for an outdoor cinema of offering magical movue moments under the stars.

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Garden Expert: Early signs of spring

After a long and dark winter, February offers a little more light and the promise of spring. Although the weather is often cold and wet, it is an exciting time that sees nature reawakening for the warmer months to come. While the wind and rain still dominate, I like to use this time to give special attention to houseplants. Although they live inside, they are still in tune with the seasons and should be cared for accordingly.

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Studious retiree heads back to school

Archie MacDonald, a resident at MHA Auchlochan  in South Lanarkshire, shows it's not just youngsters heading back to school the September, as he continues studying for a masters in computing.

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Hawks: Up close and personal

With a whoosh of near silent wings, the Eagle Owl swooped low over the audience, heading right for me, missing by a foot on its way to perch on one side of the arena with a haughty shake of its feathers. It was the first of a series of low-level passes by various birds of prey at the Hawk Conservancy Trust near Andover, Hampshire,, and just one of the ways you get to see these magnificent bird up close.

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Autumn lights up at Burghley House

Lincolnshire's Burghley House will be offering a first for 2017- a chance to experience the magnificent Elizabethan home after dark. new for 2017 will be tours of a floodlit 'Burghley by Twilight' when the House will open at night for the first time, offering a new perspective of the Tudor building during a special event from 4-7 October.

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Prepare to feel ancient...

The UK's leading childcare website discovered that a fifth of children think the sound of dial up internet is a Dalek from Doctor Who, two fifths mistake an overhead projector for an x-ray machine and a quarter think a vinyl record is a Frisbee. The survey was distributed through the platform's database of parents and providers and produced some interesting and hilarious insights.

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Don't miss out on the internet age

Another round of bank branch closures has been announced in recent months. The banks' argument, as they leave customers the wrong side of the bolted front doors, is that more people are handling their banking online. It's a familiar message. Last year, the Office for National Statistics reported that 89% of all households in Britain had internet access (it was 57% 10 years ago). More than four-fifths of us (41 million people) use the internet daily or almost daily.

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Growing old is amazing

She was once known as pop's 'barefoot princess', but 50 years on from winning the 1967 Eurovision- which turned out to be, at best, a mixed blessing- Sandie Shaw is now happy to spend her time helping people in the arts cope with the pressures of fame. No one would seem to be better qualified for such a role than Sandie, who was catapulted to game at the age of 17 only to find herself, some ten years later, working as a waitress to pay off her debts.

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World' first 'wellness shed' stirs up mindfulness

Can slowly stirring a pot of steaming hot soup really calm a chaotic commute? That's the premise behind the world's first 'wellness shed' pop-up from GLORIOUS! Soups which is launching in Shoreditch on October 19th.

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Blenheim's haunting Halloween

If you have grandchildren with you this October half-term, head to Blenheim palace for Halloween entertainment. From October 21-29 you can find lots of entertaining Halloween tricks and treats at the Oxfordshire World Heritage Site. This year Halloween has taken over Blenheim with thrills and spooks on selected dates happening in the Palace, Great Court, Cinema in The Stables, The Gallery and he Pleasure Gardens- from 'Find a Crow' in the State Rooms to a Spooky trail to win a Halloween Treat.

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Why winter shouldn't stop you: don't wait until New Year

Sarah Gazard, Senior Community Living Advisor at MHA Wellesley Court

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Writing the story of you life

Ever thought about writing your memoirs, but unsure of how to go about it? Well, I did, and I'd like to share my experience with Choice readers who are interested in chronicling their life experiences for posterity- and recording a written account of their journey through life. Towards he end of my full time employment, I found myself with time on my hands, waiting at airports as part of my global travels.

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Win a magical Christmas break

This December, The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester will host the Christmas Festival – a mix of annual favourites, traditional classics and exciting new concerts offering something for everyone at this special time of year.

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Dame Eileen and a Crowning glory

Dame Eileen Atkins does not demur when I suggest that the sumptuous TV series The Crown, in which she plays Queen Mary, would have once been the centrepiece of the BBC schedules. That the show, which aims to tell the story of the life and reign of The Queen has been made by the Netflix streaming service, is a sign of the times, it;s reported £130 million budget being now beyond the reach of the public  broadcaster.

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Christmas at Burghley House

Christmas will be bigger than ever at England’s greatest Elizabethan house, featuring a free craft market with more stalls, seasonal shopping and festive carols set amidst historic grandeur. Christmas menus at The Orangery restaurant - housed in a building that provided space for the family’s love of horticulture and designed by Capability Brown – will be on offer from 1 November - 17 December.

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Festive Recipes to help you Love Your Gut

The gut is one of the most important organs in the body and can be affected by changes in diet, stress levels or lack of sleep – all common during the festive period. Here, nutritionist Dr Joan Ransley from the Love Your Gut (www.loveyourgut.com ) shares some gut friendly recipes to help keep your gut happy and healthy this Christmas. 

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Brighten up your Boxing Day food

Graham Sherwood suggests some recipes to brighten up your Boxing Day cuisine Mini Parma ham and cheese Yorkshires Ingredients: 16 mini Yorkshire puddings 100g cream cheese

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Festive fun on four legs

When it comes to pets at Christmas time, there's always scope for some four-legged fun... the moment when the turkey disappears with the dog before the guests get to the table, or the crashing sound of a Christmas tree as it submits to the cat's attention. Pets bring a certain magic to Christmas, providing great comfort and companionship and keeping you and the family occupied and amused throughout the holiday break. Finding the light

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85 year old Grandmother gains a PhD

Dr Anne Latto received her doctorate in Storytelling from the University of Reading, 36 years after she first graduated from the same university with an undergraduate degree in film and drama. In the years since that first achievement, the grandmother of five has since gained an MA in Film and Drama, an MPhil in Film and an MA in Cognitive Evolution.

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A Hollywood musical, Hugh Jackman and Staffordshire

Cinema audiences worldwide are enjoying a fantasy musical extravaganza celebrating the life of legendary showman P.T Marnum starring Hugh Jackman hitting the Big Screen in 2018- which happens to be the 250th anniversary of the modern circus. Inspired by the imagination of Marnum, 'The Greatest showman'- which opened in UK cinemas on Boxing Day- is an original musical celebrating the birth of show business and stars Jackman as a the visionary who turned the circus into a worldwide sensation.

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Jodie Whittaker: "Doctor Who is all about change"

Ever since Doctor Who returned in 2005, the announcement of a new actor to play the lead role has always been a major television event, and is year was no exception, with fans of the Time Lord having to wai until the conclusion of the Wimbledon men's final for the latest big reveal.

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Counter culture: The revival of the board game

Board games were once a vital part of a family Christmas; not only were they centrepiece of any young child's stocking, bit also an enjoyable way to while away post-turkey Christmas evenings in the company of your nearest and dearest. For a while it seemed to board game was fast becoming a thing of the past, with those battered boxes of Risk, Monopoly and Cluedo destined to spend he rest of their days marooned in the attic as the console became king.

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Interior Design: Breakfast in Bed...

Supplies:  Chalky Furniture Paint (we used Winter Grey & Flint from Rust-Oleum's range) Silver Furniture Wax (we used Rust-Oleum Furniture Finish Wax) Scrap of Wallpaper Clear varnish or sealer Sanding pads Paint brush

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What we really look for in retirement living

UK now has 11.8 million over 65s (Age UK) 85% of those aged 70+ prioritise adaptations to their existing home (Silk Road) Number of centenarians up 65% in past 10 years (Age UK) Cost and healthcare facilities are top priorities for retirement home living (Silk Road)

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Do you remember? Oliver!

At first sight Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist was not the most obvious choice for a thigh-slapping, high-kicking, glitzy musical. Its story of workhouse deprivation homelessness, criminality and murder would surely have had even the likes of Richard Curtis struggling to find a feelgood factor. and then there was the thorny question of antisemitism.

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Win an afternoon tea cruise on the Thames

In association with the new star studded film, Finding Your Feet, and Buyagift.com, Choice is offering readers the chance to win an afternoon tea cruise for two on the Thames. With a cast that includes Imelda Staunton Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley and David Hayman, Finding Your Feet is in cinemas on February 23.

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Cliff Richard "I have a deeper faith now"

The past three years have been trying ones for Sir Cliff Richard. Not only was he the subject of sexual abuse allegations, but worse, was subject to the indignity of having a police search of his home relayed live on the BBC. Which rather made a mockery of that cornerstone of British justice; innocent until proven guilty.

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New Year, new beauty habits

Pick the right cleanser Your skin is only as goof as the cleanser you use. Get it right and your complexion should always  look dewy and fresh; choose the wrong cleanser and you could end up with dry, dull-looking skin or, worse still, blemish prone if bacteria and sebum are allowed o clog pores.

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Why antique jewellery is glittering

The rise in sales of antique jewellery can be seen as a knee jerk reaction to mass consumerism, with a need for products which are individual and out of the ordinary. These days women are more interested in buying good-quality iconic pieces that are one-offs and not mass-produced.

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Current Issue

February 2018

Profile: Emilia Fox

Special: Winter Health

Your Money and Your Rights

Discover: Cycling in Normandy

Ditchling village of art and craft

Beating airport stress

Combat social isolation

British Railways' 70th birthday

Remembering The Pink Panther

Ambleside in Winter