As the word recession is on the lips of so many economists and financial institutions, businesses are beginning to explore new and innovative ways to stay afloat. One of the most trending methods used in recent years is artificial intelligence chatbots. These chatbots allow customers to interact with a computer system that can mimic human conversation, providing them with real-time discounts on products and services.
There are many benefits of using AI chatbots for business owners. Some of these include:
1) Increased Sales: Chatbots can help businesses increase their sales and footfall by up to 30%. This is because they provide customers with instant access to discounts on products and services.
2) Greater Customer Engagement: Chatbots keep customers engaged by allowing them to actually talk to a computer system that mimics human conversation. This creates a more personal connection between customer and business owner, which can result in increased loyalty and repeat business.
3) Reduced Costs: The use of chatbots helps reduce costs for businesses by automating routine tasks such as customer service inquiries or sales enquiries. This allows business owners to focus on more important tasks while still providing great customer service.
4) Update offers, run promotions in real time without spending huge sums of investment in paper and ppc adverts
The Launch of the Shoppers Discount Club ￼
After a significant period of closures during lockdown with many customers opting for online retailers to meet their needs, retailers have struggled to incentivise those shoppers back in-store.
Diane Shawe founder of the Shoppers Discount club App was inspired by the use of QR code technology in the hospitality sector, so the company set out to deliver a benefit to retailers using the same technology people had become so accustomed to. Diane was delighted to bring her background in technology and retail together to be able to offer retailers something which will truly make a difference and provide the much needed solution stores need to increase footfall again.”
The app provides bespoke, QR codes and POS material for shoppers to display intheir store fronts. These QR codes host live discounts which shoppers can redeem in-store and are fully-customisable to retailers, allowing them to discount certain products to yield increased profits.
“With the rising cost of living, everyone is looking for a deal” states Diane.
Additional benefits for retailers include the ability to personalise discounts to different target audiences, including pensioners, students, traders, local residents, or government workers, making offers as targeted and relevant as possible. Retailers also keep 100% of their profits compared to other online discount offerings.
Overall, conversational chatbots offer many benefits for businesses looking to survive the recession and thrive in today’s economy. They allow businesses to offer greater value to their customers while reducing costs, making them an essential tool for any company looking to stay competitive in today’s market .
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom., January 2, 2023 – Innovative game changing Discount App has been launched Following the Covid-19 pandemic, as brick and mortar retailers have struggled to revert to the levels of footfall, and profits, they saw pre-pandemic
The Shoppers Discount Club aims to provide a solution to the decrease in customers, and profits, by providing a way for retailers to compete with online offers and discounts. The app will leverage popular QR code technology and chat bots to help struggling retailers provide live, in-person discounts.
The idea, born out of the covid-19 pandemic, is designed to support stores competing against large online retailers. After a significant period of closures during lockdown with many customers opting for online retailers to meet their needs, retailers have struggled to incentivise those shoppers back in-store. The app provides bespoke, QR codes and POS material for shoppers to display in their store fronts. These QR codes host live discounts which shoppers can redeem in-store and are fully-customisable to retailers, allowing them to discount certain products to yield increased profits.
By utilising QR code technology, Shoppers Discount Club is leveraging the tool which became popular during the pandemic, used by thousands of bars and restaurants to facilitate contactless payments. Diane Shawe founder of Shoppers Discount Club said: ‘The pandemic was a tough time for so many retailers, with less footfall on the high street and long period of closures.
Inspired by the use of QR code technology in the hospitality sector, the company set out to deliver a benefit to retailers using the same technology people had become so accustomed to. Diane was delighted to bring her background in technology and retail together to be able to offer retailers something which will truly make a difference and provide the much needed solution stores need to increase footfall again.”
As well as increasing footfall and sales for their business, retailers are also able to take advantage of the app to avoid costly advertising spend on point of sale merchandising, in store displays or flyers to promote their offers. By signing up to the app, users will get a uniquely designed A3 poster to display in their window, which features their QR code. Offers behind the QR code can be updated at any time to stay relevant and discount different products, without the need to update the advertising material, ultimately saving them on advertising spend.
Not only can retailers utilise the app to make fully customisable offers, users can also benefit from chat bot technology. Instant responses from chat bots are a much quicker, less resource intensive way for retailers to respond to customer enquiries and reduce long wait times for responses via telephone, social media or email. The technology will also free up retailers’ time to focus on
other crucial tasks and increase overall efficiency of their business.
Additional benefits for retailers include the ability to personalise discounts to different target audiences including pensioners, students, traders, local residents or government workers, making offers as targeted and relevant as possible. Retailers also keep 100% of their profits, compared to other online discount offerings.
Annual subscriptions start from just £120. To find out more about this service contact the Shoppers Discount Club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or to sign up, visit https://shoppersdiscount.club
Every New Year, I have always checked for the top business growth tips and trends. This year I have decided to present my own because we the business community are stillliving in unprecedented times of uncertainty, fear, transformation, deception, confusion, and outright disruption of the old world ways of doing business.
I am Diane Shawe founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd (which I gave birth to during the first lockdown) and author of ‘Answer 77 Questions about your business to avoid business failure’ shares her top small business growth strategies for the year ahead.
2022 has been a year of rapid transformation across all industries as the business community has dealt with shifting customer buying activities and economic challenges, as well as mitigating hot-button issues such as the pandemic and people’s changing conception of work life balance. In a year filled with change, there are some trends that are going to be firmly fixed into 2023 that I am certainly considering. I believe that all businesses should seriously build some or all of these points into your growth plans.
To lead your business in the right direction, here are my humble 10 small business growth strategies.
1. Prioritise your business culture
Throughout the pandemic, businesses have been dealing with “The Great Resignation” as workers are quitting their jobs at record-high rates. One of the reasons for this is that people are changing their definitions of what they consider a healthy work-life balance and what they want in a company culture.
I have certainly seen that the pandemic has shifted the way people incorporate work into their life, whether it’s moving to another county for cheaper housing or not wanting to go into the office every day.
Exploring the opportunity to do remote or hybrid work online or become dropshipping businesses.
In today’s environment, not all solutions are made equal, and culture is now a part of that. “A big factor for employees, in addition to salary and benefits, is culture (wanting more time at home with family, for instance, or having a more flexible working environment. ) so have a culture strategy in place.
2. Consider hiring more freelance workers
The number of gig workers, freelancers, and contractors has grown exponentially over the last few years, and they make up a large portion of workers within the current market.
Small business owners will now be able to bring in more specialised freelance workers to carry out tasks without having to deal with the hiring and training costs that are often associated with recruiting a full-time employee, with the importance of being agile in today’s economic environment. More people are comfortable with remote working and outsourcing their skills.
Peopleperhour.com and fiverr.com are great places to start.
3. Work with micro-influencers
While small businesses may be competing against larger businesses to work with online influencers, collaborating with micro-influencers is an option to consider.
As influencer marketing is becoming more popular than ever… micro-influencers are going to be the best option for small businesses because they don’t cost as much, and they are more open to collaborating with small businesses too.
Adding a couple of these small influencers as a part of your marketing strategy could help you reach specific audiences; growth might not be an impossible feat in 2023.
4. Leverage the way you supply your products and services.
Distributors and businesses across the country have challenging supply chain issues with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic fallout and its subsequent economic disruptions. In 2023, businesses must be aware of scarcities within the supply chain and get ahead of manufacturing and transportation challenges by working collaboratively with their suppliers.
Checkout companies like Amazon who can provide a fulfilment service for your orders. Consider moving to a drop shipping manufacturer or warehouse so as to reduce your cash investment in slow-moving stock. If you are a bricks and mortar retail business consider launching a online store so customers can place orders.
5. Educate the client and partner with your new paradigms
It’s important to inform your clients and partners about changes you’re making to better benefit your business across a shifting economic landscape. If the changes don’t land, it may be time to consider other options,
Many businesses are painfully aware of how much the talent pool has changed. Working with potential employees and client partners to educate them on the new management styles needed, increased compensation packages, and other aspects of recruitment and retention are very important.
6. Prepare for potential contracting opportunities
Almost 80 new businesses were created every hour across the UK in the first half of 2021, according to research by iwoca – one of Europe’s largest small business lenders.
Analysis of Companies House data reveals that 340,534 businesses were registered in the UK between January and June 2021, an increase of 32% from 257,243 over the same time period in 2019.
London dominates a list of areas to start a business
Iwoca’s Small Business HotSpots UK 2021 reveals that Camden saw the largest number of businesses registered out of all UK local authorities, with 19,755 new companies – a rate of more than four and a half new firms every hour.
The second largest number of new businesses were registered in Hackney (13,646), followed by 10,151 in Westminster. London’s local authorities make up half of the top 10, which also includes Birmingham in 5th with 7,442 new firms and Kent placing 7th with 6,504 businesses.
London saw over one-third of the new registrations with 120,338, followed by the South East (37,573) and North West (33,640). The capital city also witnessed the largest increase in new business registration compared to 2019 of 59%, with the West Midlands registering a 49% rise followed by the North East (28%).
Christoph Rieche, iwoca CEO and co-founder, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of so many businesses during the first half of this year, they are testament to the entrepreneurial spirit which characterises our vibrant economy.
“Many of these businesses will be unnecessarily constrained by cashflow. At iwoca, we turn cash flow into a superpower, enabling them to grow faster and worry less. We look forward to working with many of them.”
Why is such a growth happening?
A survey I read stated that 39% of people in current jobs are going to quit within the next 12 months, which is not great for an employer, but suggests a start of a business revolution is happening.
What advice would I give to somebody looking to start a business?
There is never a good time to do it, and you just must go for it. It’s all encompassing, and it’s a phenomenon. I just decided to go for it in 2000 and have never looked back. However, you can be clever about it, though – can you cut down your hours in your current role, or could you work part-time initially? Explore your options wisely.
7. Get creative on sales and marketing opportunities
The digital marketing landscape has become increasingly challenging due to congestion and evolving regulations.
This is forcing many traditionally digital companies to explore other sales channels and marketing strategies.
To mitigate these challenges, business should engage with A.I. Conversational Marketing Technologies with its engaging methods it can help explode online conversational engagement with a virtual tool. 8. Widen your business’s online footprint
Small businesses must adapt and be “practical” when it comes to sales, as consumers continue to favour online and mobile shopping.
Businesses need to widen their online footprint to gain a significant proportion of customers from the current market,
A simple way to sell products is to have a sellers account on your popular social media or e-store platforms. To sell services, … list your company on freelance and contract websites.” Also create a blog and YouTube website for reviewing products, testimonials, advice, and tips. Become the expert in your field. Entry competitions, exhibitions, and network meetings.
We have recently launched our online store http://www.online-store.needahairmakeover.co
9. Learn video SEO strategies to rank higher on search engines
Video marketing has become an integral part of a successful marketing strategy with the rise of live videos on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s estimated that by 2022, videos will account for 82% of all consumer traffic. That’s why video SEO should be a top priority for businesses in 2022.
“Small businesses that incorporate short-form videos into their website posts will see more organic traffic coming from search engines,” explained Gilmour. “As TikTok continues to grow, search engine algorithms will shift to articles and posts that include short-form videos. Short-form videos from TikTok and YouTube may even become the main point of ‘how to’ searches.”
10. Utilise partnership marketing to reach a broader audience
Partnership marketing is a strategic collaboration that gives you and your partner company a chance to reach a wider audience together, explained Diane Shawe, founder of Virtual Speedy Services Ltd.
“Collaboration with another company can aid in the development of better marketing initiatives that benefit both parties, If your target clients are similar, you may pool your resources to better your marketing techniques, build your brands and expand your audience reach.”
Start to use smart customer acquisition techniques such as collaborating with discount giants such as wowcher, groupon, or discount voucher websites to help get your business name, brand, or services directly into potential customers mobile.
“Another example, if a consumer purchases a product from you, you can provide a discount coupon that they can use to purchase discounted products from your business partner,” said Diane. “Co-branding of a product or project can also boost both companies’ marketing power.”
Virtual Speedy Services Ltd is set up to provide a suite of services for small and medium-sized businesses to help them efficiently and quickly set up or expand their business. Our core service is AI technology by designing conversational marketing chatbots to generate quality business leads or engage online visitors in real time. We have just launched the Shoppers Discount Club App. Click to find out more https://shoppersdiscount.club
I have been noticing that most of my food is going mouldy quicker, even in the jars! I was curious to find out why, espcially as this is happening more and more in the fridge as well. I thought the fridge was designed to keep things cool and slow down the detiriation of our food.
I also wanted to know what mould did to the body if injected, my mind started to generate all types of conspiracy theory so I decided to do a little research based on facts.
We all grow up learning mold is gross. But is it just unpleasant, or is it actually dangerous? Isn’t it mould that makes blue cheese blue? And wasn’t penicillin first discovered in moldy bread?
Are we wasting perfectly safe food when we throw it out? Or are we gambling our health when we shrug our shoulders and eat that piece of cheese that had a dusting of white fuzz?
How does mould grow on food?
I found this bit scary because is the air we are breathing so toxic? Is that why we are getting sicker even though we are more health concious? I mean think about it, our lungs are very moist!
So back to the question: Tiny mould spores are carried in the air. When these spores land on food, they take root and grow until they produce patches of mould visible to the naked eye. Once they mature, they produce new spores and release them into the environment and the cycle continues!
What is mold on food?
Mould is a microscopic fungus, and yes—spoilers!—consuming it can be bad for our health. Like its cousin the mushroom, there are thousands of different species.
Some are safe to consume, but many produce poisonous mycotoxins that cause illness and even death. Additionally, some people are allergic to mould and need to steer clear of it. So dealing with mold on food is serious business.
Why does mould grow on food?
Mould requires three things to grow: organic matter, water and oxygen. Food provides the the first two ingredients. Exposed to air, mold has everything it needs to grow.
How long does it take for mould to grow on food?
Many factors affect the rate of growth of mould: the specific type of mould, the food it’s growing on, and the ambient temperature and humidity. Many species of mould like warmer temperatures and mould growing on fruit on your counter may develop in very few days, especially in the warm humid summer months. Other mould growing on food with less water content in the cool of a refrigerator might take several weeks.
How to handle mould on food?
Mould can grow on most types of food, but not all food is the same.
Red Flag Food
Red flag food items should be automatically discarded when mouldy. These items include most food items, particularly soft and moist foods:
Luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon, etc.
Cooked leftover meat, poultry and fish
Cooked pasta and cooked grains
Sour cream and yoghurt
Soft fruits such as tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, etc.
Some other drier, harder foods fall into this category as well:
Nuts and legumes
Bread, baked goods and other highly porous items
In general, softer food with more moisture content is more prone to moulding, and can’t be safely salvaged. In addition to the mould itself, soft moist food can provide an ideal environment for dangerous bacteria to grow. For these foods, it’s important not to assume the problem is limited to the mould you see.
Throw away the mouldy food, and carefully inspect other nearby food, especially food in the same package. Do not sniff mouldy food: spores might get into your respiratory system. Wrap the spoiled items in plastic to contain the spores, and discard.
To eat or not to eat?
Moulds can grow in the fridge and will even survive freezing. They can also survive in salty, sugary and acidic environments. This is scary!
As mould on our food is so hard to avoid, here are some general guidelines from the most Food Safety and Inspection Service on responding to the problem:
Discard all of these foods if mouldy:
Luncheon meat, bacon, and hot dogs.
Yoghurt, sour cream and soft cheese.
Soft fruits and vegetables
Bread and baked goods.
Peanut butter, nuts and legumes.
Jams and jellies – but note Dr Hocking has a slightly different view for Australian jams.
These foods can be saved from mould:
Hard salami (the dry, aged type) – scrub mould from the surface.
Hard cheese – cut off at least 2.5 centimetres around and below the mould. Don’t let the knife touch the mould and recover the cheese with fresh wrap.
Firm fruit and veg – small mould spots can be cut off.
Cheeses made with mould
The mould used in making these cheeses is safe for consumption. However, if other mold that is not part of the manufacturing process is present, these items should be discarded just like any other red flag food item. Some blue cheeses may be hard enough to be treated as a Yellow Flag item (see below for care). However, if you are unsure where to draw the line, remember: when in doubt, throw it out.
Note that while the mould that forms the blue veins inside blue cheeses is harmless when deprived of oxygen inside the cheese, the same strain of mold can form harmful mycotoxins if allowed to grow on surfaces exposed to air. Be careful of cross-contamination with these cheeses and keep them wrapped in cellophane while storing them.
Yellow Flag Food
Other foods, particularly harder and drier foods, can sometimes be kept once the mold is carefully removed. These include:
Firm fruits and vegetables (cabbage, carrots, bell pepers, etc.)
Hard salami and dry-cured ham
If you’re going to cut away mould rather than discard the item, it’s important to remember that there is more mould present than what you can see. Below the surface, mould will have penetrated up to 2cm or more. For these food items, mould can be cut away but you should cut at least 2.5cm (1 inch) outside of and underneath any visible surface mould. Be careful to keep the knife clear of the mould to avoid contaminating the rest of the food as you cut.
Note that surface mould is a normal occurrence on certain hard salamis. In this case, scrubbing the mould off the surface is sufficient. Again, it never hurts to be cautious. When in doubt, throw it out.
Different types of food mould
Black mold on food
I did not like this bit, but if you are going to understand something, you can’t disguard the ugly sides. Well here goes.. Various strains of mould can have a black appearance. Homeowners know to watch out for black toxic mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly found in attics.
However there are many non-toxic strains of black mould as well, including Rhizopus stolonifera, also known as black bread mould. You may encounter black mould on the rubber seals of your refrigerator or on food. While this doesn’t prove you have black toxic mould in your house, you are best to assume it may be harmful and discard the food item in question, meticulously scrub clean the refrigerator, and look for signs of black mould in your house.
Pink mould on food
Pink mouldy formations on food may not be mould at all, but rather bacteria growing. Aureobasidium and Fusarium are also two common fungi that grow with a pinkish colour.
Pink mould is most often seen on bread, dairy products and meat. Dangers of pink mold include infection of the respiratory, gastro-intestinal or urinary tracts.
White mould on food
White mould is seen on a variety of foods, from the white mould purposefully grown on the outside of certain cheeses, to fluffy white mold appearing on berries and other fruit.
Many strains of mould can appear white, and to complicate matters many coloured strains of mould may go through a phase where they appear white before developing the spores that give them their colour. Unless white mould is a purposeful part of a food’s production (e.g. brie and camembert cheese), assume it is toxic and handle affected food accordingly.
Green mould on food
Green mould is commonly found on citrus fruit and bread. Cladosporium is one particularly common species of green mould.
It can have a potent smell and be particularly irritating, particularly for people with mould allergies. This can lead to respiratory problems such as wheezing and coughing, as well as vomiting. Clodosporium mold can produce mycotoxins as well, so avoid exposure.
Orange mould on food
A variety of mould can take on an orange colour, including Fuligo septica and Aleuria aurantia. These orange moulds commonly have a slimy texture.
While they may be less dangerous than some other colours of mould, they can still cause respiratory problems, and where orange mould is present, bacteria are also likely to be found.
Furthermore, orange mould is particularly prone to growing on wood. So not only is orange mould a threat to your food, it is a threat to the wood in your house.
Red mould on food
While various strains of mould can be red, red mould on food is most commonly Neurospora. While this type of mould is typically less dangerous than other types of mould, some mycotoxin-producing moulds might appear red in certain conditions, or might be present alongside red mould. It’s therefore wisest to treat red mould on food with the same caution as other mould.
Blue mould on food
Blue mould on bread and the blue mould deliberately cultivated to make blue cheese are strains of the genus Penicillium. And yes, some species of Penicillium (but not all!) produce penicillin. Many species of Penicillium are innocuous, but some are not.
And while the blue mould in blue cheese, deprived of oxygen, is safe for consumption, that same strain of mould can produce mycotoxins when it grows on an outside surface exposed to air. So, eat that blue cheese but treat other blue mould as potentially toxic.
Consumers Select Food Based on Colour at the Supermarket
It is widely accepted that consumers select a food product with their eyes, so products need to look fresh and tasty.
Oxidation is the Enemy
Oxidation, a chain reaction that occurs in the presence of oxygen, is responsible for the deterioration of food products, including off-flavours and off-odours. This process is affected by processing, packaging and storing techniques, as well as product ingredients.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that:
Significantly delay or prevent oxidation
Help maintain fresh appearance and colour
Extend shelf life
How Do They Work?
Antioxidants delay the onset of oxidation by donating hydrogen atoms to quench free radicals, forming a stable antioxidant radical that is unable to participate in propagation reactions, slowing down oxidation.
What happens if you eat mould?
Is it dangerous to inhale mould spores from food?
Inhaling mould visible on food is risky and should be avoided. It may cause allergic reactions or problems with the respiratory tract. When mould isn’t visible, sniffing may be a useful way to detect it—e.g. smelling dishcloths. However, once you’ve spotted mould, avoid inhaling.
Can mould on food make you sick?
Mould on food can be harmful in various ways. Some people are allergic to mould and could have a potentially serious reaction. However, even if you don’t have allergies, mould can cause irritation in the respiratory, gastro-intestinal or urinary tracts. And the mycotoxins created by some moulds are poisonous carcinogens that can prove fatal.
What are health symptoms you can get by eating mould on food?
Allergic reactions to mould can include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, postnasal drip, irritated eyes, nose and throat and dry, scaly skin. Those with asthma may experience coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
Those without allergies may still experience respiratory problems such as wheezing, sneezing, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, this can lead to respiratory infection and even hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
A particular concern is ingesting mould that produces mycotoxins. Signs of mycotoxin poisoning include reduced appetite, a general feeling of malaise, acute illness or death in rare cases.
Food mould facts and questions
Which food will mould fastest?
Storage conditions will have a significant effect on how quickly a given food turns mouldy. However, all things being equal, food with a high moisture content will mould first. Thus, in the fridge, fruits such as strawberries or cucumber might get mouldy before other foods. Stored at room temperature, natural bread (with no preservatives) can get mouldy quite quickly.
Is it safe to eat fruits with mould on a peel you discard?
It may be tempting to think that for fruit with a peel, simply removing and discarding the peel may be enough to protect you. In the case of a firm fruit like a pineapple, it can indeed be treated as a “yellow flag” food, carefully cutting away the affected area.
Fruits with a softer peel like oranges or bananas should be treated as “red flag” foods and discarded—underneath the visible mould, it may have penetrated the peel to the flesh of the fruit inside. In the case of an avocado, while the skin is quite tough mold can still get underneath and infect the fruit inside. Play it safe and discard it.
What temperature kills mould spores in food?
Most moulds are killed off by temperatures of 60-70°C (140-160°F). Thus, boiling water is generally enough to kill off mould. Remember, though, that mould doesn’t just grow on the surface: heat will have to penetrate into whatever the mould is growing in to kill it. Also keep in mind that the mycotoxins produced by certain mould can survive intense heat: boiling may kill the mould but leave its poisons still intact.
It takes one mouldy food item to get the whole basket covered in mold! This is very important rule to remember the moment you are at the market. If you are buying nonpacked items, ensure each of them is fresh. If you notice mold on any single piece, simply don’t buy it. Examine each item for bruising, softness, oxidation or signs of mould before you buy it and avoid any items that look overly ripe.
On the other hand, when buying pre-packed food you cannot examine every single piece, meaning that mouldy items can go unseen. In that case, ensure you checked the date and chose the one that was most recently packed. Instead of buying processed or pre-packed food, where you often don’t have control of the freshness (the story of wrong dates is not rarely heard), choose local markets and stores you can trust.
Once you buy your delicious food, especially fresh fruit and veggies, it is important to keep it covered until you’re ready to eat it to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with bacteria, mold, dust and debris from the environment. Use plastic wrap to cover foods you want to keep for longest, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, salads and cheese.
Rinse the contents of canned goods under water and store them in your fridge in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers. Refrigerate leftovers and use them within four days.
Consume early to avoid mold. The first step you can take to prevent food going bad is to eat it before mould has time to take hold. Especially for moisture-rich and porous food like fruits and breads, buy in smaller quantities so you can consume it within a just a few days.
Keep food cold: the cooler the better. Keep food, especially soft moist food like fruit, in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. Only take it out while you’re using it—under two hours. To keep food mould-free for longer periods, store it in the freezer rather than the fridge.
Use heat to kill mold. High acid foods such as fruits, jams and jellies can be made safe to preserve through heat treatment. A boiling water bath is a common practice to prepare them for a long shelf-life. The amount of time required for a water bath will vary depending on what and how much you’re canning, so be sure to adapt your method to the specific food you’re treating.
Keep kitchen tools and surfaces clean. Mould may thrive on food, but it can be found anywhere. The less mould in your kitchen, the less your food will get exposed. Clean your refrigerator and other kitchen surfaces with a mixture of 5ml of baking powder to 1L of water. Watch out for black-coloured mold on your fridge’s rubber seals and scrub carefully to clean it out.
Keep your dishcloths, tea towels, sponges, mops and other kitchen tools clean. Give them the sniff test: if they smell musty, they may be harbouring mould. Any item that you can’t get clean and fresh-smelling, discard and replace.
In order to prevent mould on food you will have to work on overall kitchen mould prevention. In most cases it includes either ensuring there is enough fresh air or regular cleaning. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent mold in the kitchen.
As said above – mould can grow in the fridge and, thus, it is important to keep the inside of the refrigerator clean. We suggest cleaning it every few months with one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly before storing food again.
Ensure your food is still fresh by checking it every day or two. Toss away anything that has a sign of mould or that started rotting away.
Wash the dishes at least once a day. Don’t leave food leftovers in your sink behind you once you are done with the meal. Throw them away immediately. If you are in a rush, keep your dishes under water to prevent food stains from hardening until you can wash them properly.
Mould can be found in dishwasher and garbage disposals. It can be the reason behind the odors, thus keeping it clean should be your priority. At least once a week pour baking soda, salt and vinegar (or lemon) own the sink and leave it for 10 minutes. You can add lemon or orange peels and even essential oils to give it a nice smell. After that all you have to do is pour boiled water to wash it up and your disposal and sink will be clean, mould-free and refreshed.
Kitchen tools, especially wooden ones should be washed and well dried before set aside, because wood is one of the favourite food for mould. All you have to do is simply wash them after you used them and leave them to dry well somewhere where it is not wet and it has enough fresh air and light. (for example if you are done with cooking and your stove is still warm, you can put it next to it to dry.
Don’t forget about unused kitchen appliances. They are often sealed and if not well dried, mould can form due to water evaporation inside. The best way to prevent mold from developing inside is to ensure it is well dried before storing and, if there is a possibility, keep it open.
And last but not least, make sure that the relative humidity in your home is between 30% and 50%, especially in the warmer months, when mold is known to flourish. The easiest thing you can do to control the humidity level is to keep your windows open as often as possible. If that is not possible your next steps should bes either air vents or even a dehumidifier.
As with mould in general, there are many strains of mould that can be found on food. While some are innocuous, many are not. While mould that’s purposefully introduced into certain cheeses can be safe, always treat other mould on food as a dangerous substance. Treat “yellow flag” foods with caution and for “red flag” foods, play it safe and discard it.
And remember, the same concerns about mould allergies and mould toxicity that applies to food mould also applies to other mould in your house. Keep watch for mould in your kitchen and whole house, and if you detect signs of mould, get informed as to the steps needed to eradicate it safely.
Greatness is not achieved by never falling but by rising each time we fall. Confucius
Failure, or failing at something, is a natural part of life. People experience failure both in their personal and professional lives on a daily basis.
The great thing about failure is that it provides you with a another chance. You get the opportunity to pick yourself up once again, come back stronger and have another go!
You can and should learn from your mistakes and your shortcomings, and use them as stepping stones to achieve success and greatness, be it in your personal life or in your professional life!
In other words, failure is a great teacher. One of the best, in fact!
The fact is that everyone fails, or experiences failure in their life. Even wildly successful and famous people – people who have seemingly achieved just about everything in life – have experienced failure and the disappointment that comes with it many times in their life. How they chose to deal with their failures is what made them successful, and got them to where they are today.
Remember, consistency is the evidence of belief. Keep smiling at the person in the mirror.
Like success, failure is many things to many people. With positive mental attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, and a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order to prepare to try again. ~ W. Clement Stone
You don’t need a reason or permission to be happy just a choice. Dont let your excuses or doubts be greater than your faith in success or your positive vision.
Everything we see around us was once a thought, a dream a vision until it was committed to action.
📚#DianeShawe published #Author on #Amazon and #GoogleBooks has written 15 Must-Own Books No Serious #Entrepreneur Should Ignore.
The Little Coffee Break #Mindfeed eBooks from 💡IQ 2 EQ is a collection of eBooks 30 minutes read.
Celebrities on Red carpets and magazines have normalised hair extensions. Hair Extensions have been a trending topic among many women on YouTube. It is arguable that the main reason for the popularity of hair extensions is that one can get instant gratification. That extension adds to the thickness and fullness of hair in a shorter period of time than waiting for hair to grow.
As a woman, confidence is in constant flux, I know we all have those days that we just feel great. Our skin is glowing, our eyeliner went on just right, and our hair is lying the right way. And then we have those weeks where we just feel like our look has passed its expiration date.
There is nothing wrong with cheap hair extensions but, when someone is marketing grade AAA virgin Brazilian double drawn human hair 18inches for £15 or £23 a bundle what sounds to Good to be true is often untrue.
If you do decide to buy this type of hair my advice is that they are only meant to be worn for fun or a couple of times.
Often cheap hair extensions are produced from mixed fibers and can look very glossy and healthy. If Worn excessively or worn to bed they will frizz and become matted.
All the other issues mentioned below would also be related.
So if you want your hair tho look like your favourite celebrity remember they are paying the going rates for the best.
2. Using Hair spray
Most hair extensions are processed abroad. In line with exporting regulations they have to be sprayed and sealed with an insect repellent so that insects cannot cross borders or the hair become infested by lice. Some hair extensions could be in packaging several months or a couple of years!
They are also subjected tho high pressure treatments such as colouring, perming and straightening. They then have tho be rehydrated and often gloss sealed to look enriching so you will buy and war them.
Hairspray from a can destroys all this. If you want to use a spray use pump action instead.
3. Leaving hair loose in bed
I advise all my clients to tie up their hair extensions at need time. Why?
To keep them from getting dried out from moisture from constantly being rubbed against the pillows.
To stop them becoming matted which would result in stressful brushing which causes premature loosening.
4. Wrong Brush
If your new tho hair extensions the brutish you choose to use will determine how your hair extensions look and are maintained.
The roots of your hair and the top of your hair extensions needed to be kept free from tangles short that the hair moves freely and naturally
You need to be able to brush your hair through so as to keep it tangle free workout tugging or causing pre mature loosening
The right brush will also help to make your hair look healtier and shiny.
5. Washing everyday
Hair Extensions do not produce their own oils, you have yup supplement and hydrate them yourself.
Washing them everyday will result in pre mature loosening as the water weighs them down and the oils in the shampoo makes them slide down with the weight of the water.
I know the objective is to probably wash your own greasy hair but it is best you separate the top of your own hair and wash that each day or use a reputable dry shampoo.
It is best to only wash your semi permanent hair extensions once a week to get the longest wear out of them.
Hair extensions will become dry and brittle and matt even more when they are dehydrated.
Central heating, air conditioned and being under electric lighting everyday and point 5 contributes to the drying out of hair extensions.
I recommend using a none oil based daily leave in conditioner. Spray from the roots through to the end every morning and before going to bed.
On the topic of Itchyscalp
People with normal to dry scalps will experience itching when wearing hair extensions because the hair extensions are absorbing what little moisture you have on your scalp so its making your scalp even more dry. Its important to spray the leave in conditioner onto your scalp.
In my professional opinion there should be no need to colour hair extensions because most of the popular colours are in distribution.
However as 90% of hair extensions come from Asia were all natural hair colour is black the only hair I will personally work with is 100% natural virgin hair.
If you are not experienced in knowing the difference between blended hair, human hair and virgin hair don’t attempt to re-colour it could be an expensive mistake.
8. Not preparing for holiday
OMG the amount of disaster stories I have heard with regards to this subject matter. Customers spend hundreds on lovely hair prior to flying out on that dream holiday only to end up with a partner or friend cutting it out. This is a big subject and the best I can do is recommend you download my care brochure by clicking here.
9. Oil based products
When you pour oil into water it floats, oil coats things, only the ingredient it is carrying penetrates. So when you put too much oil on your hair extensions it weighs them down, it sticks to your hair and attract the invisible particles to stick to your hair (the bits you see under a purple ultralight)
Try to use none oil based products, try not to commit murder by serums on your hair extensions.
10. Going to bed with wet hair
Why would you want to go to bed with your hair wet? Why would you be washing your hair that late anyway, why not in the morning? It makes no sense! Rant over… Just don’t do it! Matting, Tugging, Loss of hair so extensions look thinner, pre mature loosening I think you get the message.
IQ scores are falling and have been for decades, new study finds
Guest Blogger: Rory Smith, CNN
IQ scores have been steadily falling for the past few decades, and environmental factors are to blame, a new study says.
The research suggests that genes aren’t what’s driving the decline in IQ scores, according to the study, published Monday.
Norwegian researchers analysed the IQ scores of Norwegian men born between 1962 and 1
991 and found that scores increased by almost 3 percentage points each decade for those born between 1962 to 1975 — but then saw a steady decline among those born after 1975.
Similar studies in Denmark, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Estonia have demonstrated a similar downward trend in IQ scores, said Ole Rogeberg, a senior research fellow at the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Norway and co-author of the new study.
“The causes in IQ increases over time and now the decline is due to environmental factors,” said Rogeburg, who believes the change is not due to genetics.
“It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people, to put it crudely. It’s something to do with the environment, because we’re seeing the same differences within families,” he said.
These environmental factors could include changes in the education system and media environment, nutrition, reading less and being online more, Rogeberg said.
The earlier rise in IQ scores follows the “Flynn effect,” a term for the long-term increase in intelligence levels that occurred during the 21st century, arguably the result of better access to education, according to Stuart Ritchie, a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive ageing at the University of Edinburgh whose research explores IQ scores and intelligence and who was not involved in the new study.
Researchers have long preferred to use genes to explain variations in intelligence over environmental factors. However, the new study turns this thinking on its head.
Intelligence is heritable, and for a long time, researchers assumed that people with high IQ scores would have kids who also scored above average. Moreover, it was thought that people with lower scores would have more kids than people with high IQ scores, which would contribute to a decline in IQ scores over time and a “dumbing down” of the general population, according to Rogeberg.
Anyone who has seen the film “Idiocracy” might already be familiar with these ideas. In the scientific community, the idea of unintelligent parents having more kids and dumbing-down the population is known as the dysgenic fertility theory, according to Ritchie.
The study looked at the IQ scores of brothers who were born in different years. Researchers found that, instead of being similar as suggested by a genetic explanation, IQ scores often differed significantly between the siblings.
“The main exciting finding isn’t that there was a decline in IQ,” Ritchie said. “The interesting thing about this paper is that they were able to show a difference in IQ scores within the same families.”
The study not only showed IQ variance between children the same parents, but because the authors had the IQ scores of various parents, it demonstrated that parents with higher IQs tended to have more kids, ruling out the dysgenic fertility theory as a driver of falling IQ scores and highlighting the role of environmental factors instead.
What specific environmental factors cause changes in intelligence remains relatively unexplored.
Access to education is currently the most conclusive factor explaining disparities in intelligence, according to Ritchie. In a separate study that has not been released, he and his colleagues looked at existing research in an effort to demonstrate that staying in school longer directly equates to higher IQ scores.
But more research is needed to better understand other environmental factors thought to be linked to intelligence. Robin Morris, a professor of psychology at Kings College in London who was not involved in Ritchie’s research, suggests that traditional measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, might be outmoded in today’s fast-paced world of constant technological change.
Morris states that “we need to recognise that as time changes and people are exposed to different intellectual experiences, such as changes in the use of technology, for example social media, the way intelligence is expressed also changes. Educational methods need to adapt to such changes,” Morris said.
Diane Shawe author of ‘Is Adult Education Broken” goes on to state in her publication that “No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but the world as it will be.”
In her thought provoking book she explains that we are living in a new economy—powered by technology, fueled by information, and driven by knowledge which increasingly is increasingly becoming automated. We are entering the new century with opportunity on our side with huge problems that require new thinking.
How can we make the new economic age enhance, rather than diminish, our quality of learning?
How can we make this amazing innovation advance the prospects of all people especially those with experience and not just for the youth?
Fundamentally, we need to change what people learn, how people learn, when people learn, and even why people learn.
Inside her publication she explores
: Failure to find a fomular to develop teachers convergent and divergent facilitatingskills
: failure to consider cultural relevance
: failure to develop enterprising and entrepreneurial skills
: failure to prepare students about taking personal responsibility
Destiny’s Child reunited Saturday night for a performance at the Stellar Gospel Music Awards!
Yes, yes, yes:BeyoncéandKelly Rowland joined former groupmate Michelle Williams at the Las Vegas event to sing Michelle’s song “Say Yes.” Awesome in and of itself, but the trio made it even better by dressing in their signature “same but different” outfits, with variations of white jackets and jeans.
This was the first time the ladies performed together since 2012, when they joined Beyoncé for a medley of “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women Part 1” and “Single Ladies” during Bey’s Super Bowl halftime show.
Starting and running a business can be very lonely and exposes you to bouts of isolation. When this happens the need to be loved, needed, and pampered is very strong and there is nothing wrong with that.
Ones self esteem can suffer and this can be compounded by historical experiences (childhood, family etc) and frustration and exhaustion when trying to lift your business of the ground and working a 12 hours day.
Being an ideas person, being creative and wanting recognition for that is achieved when the evidence is people buying your services or products.
The people you have surrounding you is very important, they have to be of a similar stock because they get it, they move into activities that support your dream and help you benefit from your hard work.
Many women are brilliant because most of them run several things at once if they are mums, wife, daughters, designer, marketeer, sales person, social media expert, bookeeper, packer and distributors and the list goes on.
The main point is to have total confidence in who you are, listen to tapes and watch video that continually empowers you. Mix with the pack that stimulates and motivates you and you them. When you live like this all who is to be in your life will gravitate towards you and give you joy and support.
You will easily be able to then identify anyone around you that does not naturally fit into your gang because they don’t naturally make you feel better, they add weight to your life and focus on distracting you.
But we are born with free will and you can use it to experience your life in what ever way YOU want.
Female entrepreneurs share how to avoid feeling isolated
Annie Ridout had a one-year-old daughter when she launched her digital magazine for mothers, The Early Hour, in 2015. “The only time that I could commit to writing and doing admin was during the baby’s nap times and evenings,” she says.
It meant that she had no free time to socialise and spent most days at home, alone.
She was left feeling incredibly lonely and unmotivated, but all that changed when she started to attend some networking events, including Mothers Meeting and The Step Up Club.
“Meeting up with other mothers who were running small firms or freelancing made me feel connected to the real world again,” she says. “I had women to talk to, moan with and get ideas from.”
At first, Ms Ridout found it intimidating, but soon realised that the key to networking is arriving prepared. “Do some research beforehand about the theme or subject – and think about what can you offer around it,” she says.
Don’t forget to ask for contact details, she adds, explaining that it’s not enough to just hand your card out:
“Send an email after the event saying that it was so lovely to meet them and ask to stay in touch – and don’t worry about coming across too keen; people will almost always be pleased to hear from you.”
Find a mentor
For Victoria Usher, founder of GingerMay PR, leaving the buzz of an office and the comradeship of colleagues was unsettling when she started her own communications firm:
“It was a shock to realise that time-consuming tasks, such as admin and finances, needed to be factored into my schedule.”
Not having people around to discuss problems with was hard, she admits: “I felt lonely at points; I missed having a team.”
To help her through, she found a mentor, Jo Butcher, whom she met while working for Dentsu Aegis.
“We had a weekly Skype call and she would help me with everything from brainstorming ideas to sense-checking my work,” explains Ms Usher. “It was comforting to know that there was someone at the end of the phone who had gone through the same and had a successful business to show for it.”
When looking for a mentor, try to find someone who has run a business in a similar field, but has grown it much bigger, she advises. It also helps if they have worked in the same role as you, so they truly understand the pressures that you’re facing.
Co-work with colleagues
Female business coach, Lenka Lutonska, thinks women in particular feel lonely when starting-up because they crave emotional connections with others – and that can be hard when working alone.
“When I started out, friends did not understand why I would leave a well-paid job, sell my house and sacrifice my lifestyle, only to work on a business with very little income,” she says. “There were few people whom I could talk to about work; my computer was my only companion.”
She decided to “buddy-up” with an old friend who had started their own business in a similar industry.
“We would create co-working days where she would come to my office for a day, or vice versa. We exchanged ideas, honest feedback, kept each other accountable and even partnered on projects,” says Ms Lutonska.
“Working not only became more enjoyable, but we also helped each other to become aware of our blind spots.”
She also started a Facebook group, which was initially made to attract clients but ended up becoming a great networking tool as word spread quickly and more women joined. Community members often ask for help with specific business issues.
“It can feel lonely to build a business on your own, and tough; there’s always something that you don’t know.
“That’s why support groups are a fantastic source for tips and for socialising – they’re great for creating meaningful relationships with other entrepreneurs.”
Take a breather
A final tip comes from Sarah Cooke, owner of silicone jewellery company, Halia Rose, who suggests yoga classes.
“I do a regular class to get some time out to myself and stave off burnout, and I can chat to people about things totally unrelated to my business and get away from it for a while.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.