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Chocolate can help protect against heart disease - Yipeeee!

Chocolate can . . . .


Lowers blood pressure as effectively as standard drug treatments. Chocolate has in the past been linked to many possible health benefits , such as protecting the brain against the effects of stroke. 

Other studies have found that eating chocolate can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, and now a study has for the first time shown how this might be possible.

Study leader Ingrid Persson explained that the reason for investigating  chocolate was linked to the presence of certain key ingredients: "We have previously shown that green tea inhibits the enzyme ACE, which is involved in the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. Now we wanted to study the effect of cocoa, since the active substances catechins and procyanidines are related."

. . . . help protect against . . . .


About the study

The researchers, from Linköping University in Sweden, put a small group of volunteers on a strictly controlled diet for two weeks. After this they were given 75 grams of unsweetened chocolate with a cocoa content of 72 percent. Blood samples were taken in advance and then a half hour, one hour, and three hours after eating the chocolate.

In the sample taken three hours afterwards, there was a significant inhibition of ACE activity. The average was 18 percent lower activity than before the dose of cocoa, fully comparable to the effect of drugs that inhibit ACE and are used as a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure.

. . . . heart disease


As the ACE activity reduces, the blood pressure will also go down. However this particular effect was not directly observed in the volunteers as it would only happen over a longer period of time. But the study does show how chocolate consumption could lead to a blood pressure reduction - a key factor in heart disease risk.

Commenting on the results, Dr Persson said: "Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases."

The study is published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.

However, we would say the study is about chocolate in moderate quantities - and not all the fillings!

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Wedding Anniversary gifts

Which gift for which anniversary

If you're wondering, like most folks, what to get your loved ones when anniversary dates come up, email us and we'll send you full lists - no charge !


Check out 'The Male Room' too, especially the child safety app for your phone and theirs 'LIFE360'



5 things that men notice first about women

How to make a great first impression


First impressions matter. Love at first sight may be a myth, but those first few moments are vital when you're out to impress. People can't help but form an immediate opinion of you based on your appearance, your body language and the way you're dressed, and this opinion helps to determine whether they hang around long enough to get to know you better.

Some first impressions matter more than others, particularly when you're meeting men. One recent survey for a women's magazine found that three-quarters of men notice a woman's hair first, wheras only a handful of men mentioned clothes. That's something to bear in mind next time you're wondering whether to spend 50 quid on a haircut or a dress.

1. Your hair takes the top spot for a number of reasons. First, it's easy to spot. You may have a bottom to make Pippa Middleton weep with envy, but it's unlikely to be the thing men notice first about you unless you're holding a wedding dress train outside Westminster Abbey.

Men don't just glance at a swooshy, shiny mane of hair and then move onto your other assets. They glance at it, and then keep on glancing. Long hair in good condition is extremely sexy, as is short hair with a sleek or fashionable cut. It's a potent symbol of femininity that screams out to be touched. It also shows that you look after yourself and take pride in your appearance - qualities that many men rate very highly indeed. That said, you don't want to look high-maintenance, so don't overdo the products or extreme styling. Just keep your hair clean and conditioned, and invest in a good cut that suits your hair and your features.

Don't feel pressured to cut your hair just because you're getting older, or because Emma Watson cut hers. Only an exceptionally elfin face can carry off a drastic buzz cut. Most of us benefit from a glossy frame of hair, and the right haircut can work magic on balancing your facial features.


2. Your eyes. If your hair is your face's frame, your eyes are its windows. Grown men can be hypnotised by a swoosh of beautiful hair followed by knockout eye contact. Eyes are so powerful because they are about direct communication, and eye contact enables you to make an instant connection with a stranger.

Psychologist Arthur Arun tested the power of eye contact by dividing pairs of strangers into two groups. One group of pairs engaged in intense conversation, while the other pairs stared silently into each other's eyes for four minutes. Each time he did this test, the eye-contact couples reported feeling much more connected than the intimate-chat couple. One eye-contact couple even got married. So much for the power of conversation!

Make the most of your eyes by getting used to making and maintaining eye contact. It can be difficult if you're the shy type, but its results can be extremely powerful. Also learn a few tricks of the make-up trade. Good make-up and well-shaped brows can make your eyes extraordinary, but too much can have the opposite effect. 

3. Your shoes. Hair, eyes… shouldn't smile come next? Not according to the men we spoke to. When asked what they noticed first, men were surprisingly keen to mention the importance of stylish shoes. Particularly, and predictably, high heels.

High heels will catch a man's eye because they give you a sexy edge and improve your posture and the shape of your legs, but only if you can walk in them properly. Uncomfortable heels, like too much eye make-up, do more harm than good. There's some reassurance for those of us who can't or won't wear heels: cool pumps, boots and on-trend trainers also go down well with men. Falling-apart old trainers or mis-shapen ugg boots, not so much. The key here is to wear stylish, quality shoes that co-ordinate with your outfit, and which you can walk in without wincing or lurching.


4. Your Smile. Smile at him, and that's when he really sees your face. He won't notice the slight crookedness of your teeth, or the chapped bit on your lip, or the spot that appeared this morning, or even if you've got a bit of food stuck in between your incisors - he'll notice the sincerity and friendliness of your smile.

Meet his eye when you do it and he'll find it impossible not to smile back - and that's about the best first impression you can make.

5. Your body. Men notice a woman's body. They can't help it. That’s not to say that men judge you on your body shape as soon as you walk into the room, just that they can't help but look at it. And chances are they'll notice within seconds whether you’re comfortable with your body, so be sure to dress in a way that shows off your best assets, but leaves a little something to the imagination. 

If you worry about the size of your tummy, thighs, arms and so on, don’t despair. Every woman has something about themselves that they’d like to change, but the good news is that most men won’t notice the bits that you do – they’re just happy at the prospect of seeing you naked. Embrace your femininity and go out with confidence, safe in the knowledge that your body will do at least some of the talking for you.

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Some websites for the girls . . . .



Shop Safe


Voucher Codes


Pretty Little Thing




Miss Selfridge


interesting women

'100 Women Who Changed The World' (the Independent)

Google the ones you would like to know more about

Joan Bakewell Journalist Born 1933 Dubbed the "thinking man's crumpet" when she was the only female journalist and TV presenter on BBC2's Late Night Line Up – a discussion programme which ran until 1972. She has championed gay rights and, in 2008, was appointed by the Government to act as the voice for older people.


Mary Quant Designer Born 1934 The Sixties designer is among those to claim credit for the miniskirt, the revolutionary Sixties garment that liberated women from the constraints of restrictive fashions that hampered even their attempts to run for a bus. Her other credits include hotpants in the Seventies and, she maintains, the duvet cover.


Oh so true !



Simply email your answers to 3 questions. Someone has to win a super prize - will it be you!

Good luck !

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First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos...

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer. Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Nandos.

Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on a Sunday, somehow we didn't starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because. WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY, no video / dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. Only girls had pierced ears! We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time.

We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet because we didn’t need to keep up with the Jones’s!

Not everyone made the rugby / football / cricket / netball team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that! Getting into the team was based on MERIT.

Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and throw the blackboard rubber at us if they thought we weren’t concentrating.

We can string sentences together and spell and have proper conversations because of a good, solid three R’s education.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Our parents didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade' and 'Ridge' and 'Vanilla'.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! 

If YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.


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Teacher tells little Johnny off, “You know very well you can’t sleep in my class, Johnny.”
Johnny admits, “Yes, I know miss, but maybe, if you didn’t speak quite so loudly, I could.”