We asked the experts
We ask the experts for clear, simple advice on how to…
“Brushing only cleans about 60 per cent of our teeth,” warns Anna Middleton, founder of London Hygienist. “If you have space between your teeth then opt for interdental brushes and always use the biggest size possible. You may need more than one brush size. Insert between the teeth gently and move the brush back and forth a few times, keeping it straight for the front teeth but bend for the back teeth. Change the brush when filaments have become worn – usually four to seven days.
“If your teeth are tight together, use dental floss. Take a piece about 18-inches long and wind the floss around your middle fingers leaving an inch or two to work with. Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and index fingers. Using a gentle sawing action slide the floss between the teeth. Go all the way down the gumline and gently curve the floss in a tight C shape and rub up and down each side of the tooth before moving on. Use a clean section of floss as you move between teeth. Don’t panic if you notice bleeding. This is a sign of inflammation from a build-up of plaque bacteria and will improve after a few days. Clean between teeth before brushing to dislodge any debris.”
Check how fresh eggs are
Try the water test to check whether or not eggs are fresh and safe to eat. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of a bowl of cold water and lie on their side. Eggs nearing expiration – but still fresh enough to eat – will sink and sit upright. Eggs that aren’t fresh will float.
Learn from the people who know best
Lace running shoes properly
“Altering the lacing on running shoes can make a huge difference, giving you a custom fit,” explains sport scientist and gait analyst, Emma Kirk Odunubi. “Heel-lock lacing helps to secure your foot in the back of the shoe to prevent slippage when you run. Simply lacing the ‘extra’ eyelet holes right at the top of the shoes at the ankle will help – but the butterfly technique will give you an even tighter hold. Before tying your laces as usual, take each lace and loop it through the eyelet that sits behind it to create a loop. Then take the end of the right lace and feed it through the left loop and, conversely, the end of the left lace through the right loop. Now pull the ends of each lace to tighten before you tie your shoe as normal.” For more information, go to Emma’s instagram @emmakirkyo.
Other techniques include high-instep lacing to alleviate pressure across the top of the foot and wide-feet lacing to reduce pressure at the forefoot.”
Read nutrition labels
“Pay particular attention to traffic-light labelling on the front of the packet,” suggests Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan (healthspan.co.uk). “This is a quick snapshot of the amount of fat, salt and sugar – foods that are mostly green and amber are healthiest. Check the ingredient list for added sugars – anything with an ‘ose’– and the suggested serving size for the product so you know how many calories you are consuming.”
The more ingredients a product has, the more processed it is. If you don’t recognise an ingredient, chances are it’s not a good choice.
Make sure your bra fits
“The most common problem is an under-band that’s too big,” says Nudea in-house bra technologist and expert fitter Carlotta Ghigi. “It’s the under-band that does all the hard work supporting the bust, not the straps. It should feel snug against your skin, resting in a straight line across the back with no digging in or riding up.”
To measure yourself, wear a non-padded bra and measure around the under-band directly under the bust, making sure the tape is very snug, and round up to the nearest inch. Then measure across your bust, again rounding up to the nearest inch. The difference between the two gives the cup size. So an inch difference would make you an A, two a B, three a C, four a D, five a DD, six an E and so on. So if your back size is 34 inches and your bust size is 37 that would make you a 34C. Alternatively, try Nudea’s hands-free self-measurement device (nudea.com/products/nudea-tape measure).
Remember someone’s name
Remembering someone’s name can make a big difference to how you make them feel, says Dr Emer MacSweeney, medical director at Re:Cognition Health (recognitionhealth.com). She says, “When introduced, make eye contact and repeat their name, eg, ‘It’s nice to meet you, Peter.’ Try to use their name again shortly after the introduction to reinforce the memory. Make an association between the person and their name – the more visual and unusual the easier it will be to remember. But the most important thing to do is simply concentrate. Often, introductions are made in a busy environment and there are lots of distractions so it requires a positive effort.”
Check your posture
“Stand in front of a mirror face on, close your eyes and relax everything into the position that feelscomfortable,” advises Marc Sanders, chiropractor at the British Chiropractic Association. “Now open your eyes and study your hands in the reflection. Can you see the back of them? If you can see anything more than your thumb and index finger, your shoulders are curling forwards. Try this trick. Pinch an imaginary pencil between your shoulder blades and hold it for 10 seconds. You’re activating your shoulders, moving them back, down and stretching out the muscles in the front of your chest, too. Repeat throughout the day, especially after working on a laptop.”
Wash laundry effectively
To be sure of killing germs and dust mites, most laundry needs to be washed at 60°C, say experts. Some items specify a maximum temperature of 40°C, so always read the care label but for bedding and towels stick to a higher-temperature wash and use a biological powder detergent that contains bleach to kill any lurking bacteria. Non-biological detergent does not contain bleach or enzymes and tends to be less effective at stain removal, although it’s a better choice for sensitive skin.
A recent study of 2,000 office workers found they typically spend about two hours each day browsing their inbox – wasting 30 work days a year. “While essential for our work and life, emails can be hugely distracting, unproductive and a drain on work output,” says Claire Stansfield, business coach and strategist (clairenicolecoaching.com). “Unless you’re in a profession where immediate responses are crucial, I recommend email checking at various points of the day such as 9am, midday, 4pm and 7pm. By time-blocking emails, and getting into the habit of doing so, you’ll have a much more productive day and will be able to truly focus on email actions.”
Walk the dog
Thousands of dog owners suffer serious injuries because they hold leads incorrectly, warns The British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH). Don’t wrap the lead around your fingers or wrist, which increases the risk of lacerations, friction burns, fractures and ligament injuries. Instead, keep a firm grip with your palm and four fingers inside the loop and your thumb as a check and control outside the loop. That way a gentle pressure will tighten your grip and provide feedback to rein your dog in. If you need to bring your dog closer, don’t be tempted to wrap the lead around your hand. Instead, fold it along its length until it is as short as you need it and hold the loops in your closed hand.