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The Skinny

How Is Your Maths?


The only thing I used to enjoy about maths class at school was buying all the new stationary. I needed extra tuition to pass my GCSE exam and thankfully my confidence in the subject has improved over the years.

Today is world maths day and if you’re not so confident with maths I thought I’d research some tips on how to improve your skills.

1. When you’re out shopping guess the change you should get back before you see it on the register

2. If you’re out in a restaurant with friends split the bill in your head not on your phone

3. Work out percentage discounts in your head

4. Remember when you used to know your friends home phone numbers? Try and memorise their mobile numbers

5. This is best one. Eating dark (very dark) chocolate can help you to do maths calculations more quickly and accurately

Seventy-eight per cent of the adult population is below the standard expected of 16-year-olds and the thing with maths is that people don’t generally mind saying they’re not that good at it. This is where things needs to change.

Like anything your skills improve with practice. If you want your maths skills to improve you have to do more maths! Just like if you want to tone your body to have to hit the gym more often.

Your brain is a muscle and like any other muscle it needs exercising. Some research has shown that doing pointless puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords or brain training games can boost your maths skills. Maths for dummies is great for giving your maths confidence a boost too.

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Morning Routine
The Skinny

5 Things You Should Do Every Morning

What’s your morning routine? Does it need a shake-up? If so try one or all of these things that are sure to improve your day.

1. Have a glass of iced cold water. It will help to kick start your metabolism and obviously help to rehydrate you.

2. Try and fit some exercise in before you start the day. This doesn’t necessarily mean dragging yourself to the gym for 6am (bonus points if you do) do some sit ups, lunges, squats or anything that raises your heart rate. Aim for 20 minutes if you can

3. Have breakfast. Yes it really is the most important meal of the day. Avoid sugary cereal, it tastes good but it’s not going to do your waistline or energy levels any favours. A bowl of porridge with fresh fruit will set you up for the day

4. Try and avoid your phone. Easier said than done I know but try and build some time into your morning that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. Read a book or magazine on your way to work and if you drive stick the radio on

5. Be confident. What you do in the morning can impact the rest of your day. If you start the day feeling crap the chances are you’ll end it that way too. Having a feeling a confidence will help to bring a positive feeling to your day. Wear something you feel great in, spend a bit longer on your hair or listen to some upbeat music whilst you’re getting ready.

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The Skinny

10 Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Confidence lacking this week? Read my top tips on giving it a boost.

1. Hit the gym. This is my favourite one and it works every time. If you don’t have a gym membership go for a run or do some sit ups or some form of exercise. The physiological effects will leave you feeling really good

2. Smile and laugh. Looking through photos and funny videos on your phone tends to do the trick, it’s the perfect thing to do at the end of a long day too.

3. Try something new. Overcome a fear and you will instantly feel more confident. Sign up for a race and head to the front of the yoga class instead of the back!

4. Banish negativity. Let go of mistakes, resentment and regret as this will hold you back. Everyone makes mistakes, use these as learning experiences and move forward.

5. Wear something nice. Ditch the comfy sweater and sweatpants and wear something bright and colourful. It could be a colourful top or just a scarf. Wearing something bright (ideally red) will have a huge impact on your confidence levels

6. Tune in. Research has suggested that listening to music may lead you to feel more powerful and confident. Listen to a song you love and sing your way to feeling more confident

7. Talk to your friends and spend time with people who make you laugh and feel good. Nothing beats a good gossip or just a walk in the park with a pal. Spending time with people who you care about is always a good idea

8. Set yourself a goal. A really great way to boost confidence is to achieve something. Your confidence will increase as you see success

9. Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, it could be a relaxing bubble bath, buy something new, book a manicure or just take a break with a brew and your favourite magazine

10. Get outside when you can. If it’s a gorgeous sunny day make sure you head out and enjoy it – even if it’s just for a short amount of time. The sun is known for improving your mood and your confidence.

The Skinny

10 Things We Should All Do More Often

It’s Monday again, how did that happen? If your week is looking like the week from hell or you’re just not feeling it and are longing it to be Friday already, try incorporating some of these into your day and week ahead.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Did someone push in front of you in the coffee shop? Missed the train by a second or is the office printer just not playing ball? There can be tons of things that annoy us on a daily basis which is why you shouldn’t let them get to you. It can be hard when ‘you’re just in one of those moods’ but you’ll feel so much calmer if you just take a deep breath the next time your computer crashes or a car cuts you up.

2. Smile and laugh. There are so many health benefits linked to laughing and smiling and you look more attractive when you do it. I noticed my laughter lines the other day (well I call them that rather than wrinkles) and as much as a smooth face would probably look better, I love them. Watch something funny or look back over a funny video or photo on your phone and release a belly laugh!

3. Hug more often. Apparently we need to hug around eight times a day. This may not be possible, especially if you live on your own and you don’t fancy wrapping your arms around strangers and work colleagues. Hugging is effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression and anxiety so the next time you see your friends, partner or family, give them a huge hug.

4. Drink more water. Yes I know you’ve heard this 100 times before and it’s boring but drinking water is good for you and it’s something you should probably be doing more of. My new trick is having an iced glass of water first thing in the morning before my morning cuppa and breakfast as it helps to give my metabolism a boost. (When you consume about 16 ounces of chilled water you boost your body’s metabolism by about 24% which can help with weight loss).

5. Pamper yourself. If I had the money I would have a massage every week, I seriously would! Unfortunately I don’t have spare cash for a hot stone or full body massage so I have a really relaxing bath at least once a week. (I shower too don’t worry) I buy a gorgeous bath bomb (Lush are my favourite) light some candles, leave my phone in the lounge and just chill in the bath. Try having a little pamper session on a Sunday night and see how relaxed you feel on a Monday.

6. Be optimistic. This can be hard depending on the week you are having and what is thrown at you but try and look for the good in a situation. Negative people and thoughts zap energy leaving you defeated and quite frankly life is too short for that. Use positive affirmations and let go of the idea that the world is against you, because it’s not.

7. Be kind to others. When was the last time you did something nice for someone else? Life is so manic these days you should try and just take some time out to be kind to others, say kind words and do kind deeds. This could be anything from a message to your mum saying how much you love her, a call to your friend thanking her for being there for you to buying a homeless person a warm drink. Doing kind things is good for you and you will feel the benefit instantly.

8. Read a book. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read two books this year. TWO I hear you say, only two?!! Yes I know I should be reading two a month. If only I could put down my phone and laptop in an evening! Disconnecting from technology and engaging in an actual book is so good for you. I love getting lost in a book, the smell of the pages (I am not being weird here there is something about a new book) it’s good for the soul. Join your local library and be a book worm.

9. Dress up. I don’t mean grab your posh frock and wear it for dinner on Tuesday night (although I guess there is no reason why you can’t) this is all about getting out of your ‘comfort zone clothes’ Now I am the biggest culprit for this. I am literally sat in sweat pants and a ‘comfy’ jumper now. My excuse is that I am off to the gym at lunch and I couldn’t be bothered getting dressed properly pre workout which is really lazy. I genuinely work better when I have a nice pair of jeans and a smart shirt/top on. If you have to wear a suit to work I envy you because having a uniform is the best thing as you’re forced to dress up. I try to have a work wardrobe and a weekend wardrobe. Working freelance means you can literally wear what you want (within reason) but I hate the feeling of wearing the same clothes I wear during the week at the weekend. Try and separate your work and weekend wardrobe.

10. Go to sleep one hour earlier. Yep, hitting the sack one hour earlier will help you to feel happier, it will make you more productive and help you to make better decisions. During the week aim to head to bed one hour earlier at least three times a week. Emails and Netflix will still be waiting for you the next day. Grab that book you got from the library, curl up in bed, relax and sleep.


30 Zone
The Skinny

30 things that change when you’re in your 30s

Approaching 30? In your 30’s? Recognise any of these?

1. Going out two nights on the trot is a near impossibility and if you do manage this you spend the next four days recovering

2. You decide to opt for a few drinks and a lovely meal rather than drinks at home and then hitting the bars and a club

3. You suddenly need to pee in the middle of the night. Seriously what’s all that about?

4. You buy a sensible jacket that’s waterproof and windproof. You might even consider matching sensible trousers too

5. You freak out about having kids. Have you left it too late? Do you want them?

6. After freaking out about the kid thing you consider getting a dog or a cat

7. You get up early over the weekend because you don’t want to waste your day

8. You look forward to a weekend of doing nothing but reading the papers and drinking tea/coffee

9. When you go out you complain the music is too loud for you to hear your friends talking

10. You start to realise that your Mum has been talking sense for the past 30 years – this is the most shocking one

11. You realise that you went to uni well over a decade ago

12. You get indigestion and heart burn

13. You start to buy shoes based on their hidden ability to provide you comfort

14. You take notice of the budget and what difference it will actually make to your finances

15. B&Q becomes your new friend

16. You start to get a bad back. There is no specific reason for this, it will just start hurting from here on in

17. You wake up at 3am, 4am, 5am not to pee but because you just can’t sleep as well as you used to be able to

18. Grey hairs become your worst best friend

19. Everyone will tell you not to pluck grey hairs. These are usually people who don’t have grey hair

20. You pay a bit more for direct flights and train journeys for convenience reasons

21. You start to take supplements in the winter

22. You get a cold and can no longer just drink through it. You are wiped out and miserable for a good week

23. Your weekends will suddenly be booked up with christenings and weddings

24. You will have to spend hundreds of pounds on all the christenings and weddings you have been invited to

25. Juice cleansing will be something you either obsess about or flirt with at least four times a year

26. You start to care less about what other people think and feel more confident because of it

27. You realise that being 30 isn’t actually that bad or that old either

28. You might consider going on a cruise

29. You buy plants for the garden

30. You become more aware of what your put on your skin. Organic all the way