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An initial small study, published in the journal Pediatrics in 1986, showed that just 10 days of “body stroking and passive movements of the limbs” for less than an hour led babies to grow 47 percent faster. They averaged fewer days in the hospital and accrued $3,000 less in medical bills.
Touch means you get sick less:
The hug, specifically, has been repeatedly linked to good health. In a more recent study that made headlines about hugs helping the immune system, researchers led by the psychologist Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University isolated 400 people in a hotel and exposed them to a cold virus. People who had supportive social interactions had fewer and less severe symptoms. Physical touch (specifically hugging) seemed to account for about a third of that effect.
On the “change” in how much touch is acceptable:
The research is clear on that fact that people both need and react well to physical touch—in controlled environments. There is no evidence that people like to be touched any less than in previous generations, only that negatively received touch is more openly vocalized. What’s new is that people who didn’t appreciate being touched in previous decades, or who were always made uncomfortable by it, especially from people in positions of power, are empowered to process the fact that it’s not something they need to put up with. They have platforms for speaking up, channels for recourse, and supportive listeners to cushion the blowback.
On unwanted touch:
The unwanted hug is an act on a spectrum of submission that produces neurochemical responses similar to any other violation of autonomy, from having a credit-card number stolen to feeling your car lose traction on the highway. A perceived absence of control becomes a spilling of neurotransmitters from the brain into the blood. If a boundary is being redrawn, it’s around people’s ability to continue to make others feel that. The benefits of a hug evaporate when a person perceives it as aggression.
That one reminded me of my wife’s complaints when she was pregnant that random people at the grocery store would come up and touch her belly. She once grabbed someone’s hand to ask “why do you think you can touch me”.
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There are very good reasons for using them, especially in smaller spaces.
When visiting Europe, it seems that almost every toilet you see is an in-wall style with two buttons on the wall and a wall-hung toilet bowl. It's essentially the standard; I asked Ben Adam-Smith why he put one in his Passivhaus and that's what he said: It's standard, everybody does it.
When I divided my house into two units, I didn't put a bathroom on the third floor at the time, and recently decided to add one. Space was tight, and the single biggest benefit of in-wall toilet designs is that they save a lot of space, about nine inches of depth and a bit of width too.Another benefit is that they are much easier to keep clean; the bowl is wall-hung so it is easy to clean the floor, and there is about half as much porcelain.
The main downside to these toilets is that they are expensive to buy; ours is from two suppliers, Geberit for the in-wall stuff and Toto for the bowl. They are also more expensive to install. I always thought that maintenance was an issue, given that you can't just lift off the lid to get at the ball cock or float, but these are designed so that you can reach it all through that panel with the buttons.
Here you can see the Geberit unit mounted in the 2x6 framing of the new wall enclosing the bathroom built by Greening Homes.
Another benefit, for those who want a higher toilet, is that those feet are height adjustable, although you can't change your mind once it is framed into the wall.
In Europe almost everyone uses a nominal 6" deep unit connected to a 4" drain, but they developed a shallower 4" unit for a 3" drain that is standard in North America. Even though it ate up two inches, I went for the 6" wall because there is a lot of leverage action when sitting on that toilet and I thought the 6" unit would be stronger and more stable. However, they are both rated for 880 pounds of load.
These are not that common in North America and installing it was a bit of a learning experience; the plumber read 15 warnings telling him DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN so he didn't; on the first use the toilet was flexing, opening the drywall on top and pushing it in at the bottom. I was certain we were going to have to take the whole wall apart and add blocking. It turns out that you have to use a torque wrench and get it just right – tight enough to hold the bowl in the right place, not too tight to crack the porcelain.
Now that it is almost finished we can ask, was it worth it? There is no question that it is a much cleaner look in a very small space. Given the cost of real estate and building, in new construction one could make the case that the space saved is worth a lot more than the extra cost of the toilet. The dual-flush buttons are bigger and more obvious, and it is much quieter.
In Europe, almost everyone uses these; after putting one in, I wonder why North Americans are willing to have big clunky toilets bolted to the floor with all kinds of gunk-catching exposed parts. This makes so much more sense.
There are very good reasons for using in-wall units, especially in smaller spaces.
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When designing bathrooms, if I’m not covering the walls with tile, then I’m likely going to use wallpaper! The peel & stick varieties are easy to install and even more easily removable, so they’re great for renters or those taking their first step into the arena of wallpaper.
In 2017, I rounded up some favorite removable wallpapers and the year before too. Today I’m back with more favorite patterns. If I had more spaces to decorate right now, I’d use these fresh and fabulous patterns for sure! Also below, find some sources for peel and stick wallpaper for your future reference.
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The tutorial is so easy to follow we just had to feature it with you, check it out over at Rusticescentuals.com
When you purchase from the link above we get a kick back in change, this is at no extra cost to you.
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“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
I have returned to the UK with a sinking feeling in my heart, in January I gave up my flat and put my things into a storage container to travel around the world with just a suitcase and camera bag as my home I’ve not missed my things one little bit. I began the new year with a fresh passport and have already filled half with stamps from all around the globe, but not only have I collected stamps, I’ve gained hundreds of memories that I will take to my grave, this year has been the best in my life.
I’ve been to 22 countries, Netherlands, Ukraine, Japan, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Greece, Austria, Slovakia, Hungry, Czech Republic, Greece, USA, Mexico, Cuba & Canada in 3 continents, Asia, Europe and USA. Kalinga, Chernobyl, Varanasi and Detroit will particularly always hold my heart.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
I’ve had 45 flights.
London, UK – Netherlands, Eindhoven – London, UK – Kiev, Ukraine – London, UK – Seoul, Korea – Fukuoka, Japan * Hiroshima, Japan – Tokyo, Japan – Manila, Philippines – Siem Reap, Cambodia * Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Bangkok, Thailand – Chaing Rai, Thailand – Bangkok Thailand * Ko Phangan, Thailand * Phuket, Thailand – Hanoi, Vietnam – Da Nang, Vietnam – Singapore – Manila, Philippines – Singapore – Bali, Indonesia – Ngura, Indonesia – Bali, Indonesia – Makassar, Indonesia – Singapore – New Delhi – Varanasi – Mumbai, India – Doha, Quatar – London, UK – Berlin, Germany – London, UK – Kefalonia, Greece – London, UK – Cologne, Germany – London, UK – NYC, USA * Detroit, USA – NYC, USA – Mexico City, Mexico – Havana, Cuba – Mexico City, Mexico – Cancun, Mexico – Detroit, USA – Boston, USA * Philadelphia, USA – Detroit, USA – NYC, USA – London, UK
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
I’ve travelled for miles and miles and miles across every country by catamaran, bamboo train, bamboo raft, speed boat, tuk tuk, jeepney, train, motor bike, scooter, car, bus, truck, trike, auto rickshaw, boat, bullet train, cycle rickshaw, horse and walked 2000 km.
I Visited over 100 Dark Tourism sites, over 100 abandoned buildings and a load of tourist sites thrown in. I have two external hard drives with images to fill two books and two new decay photography series. I poured every inch of energy and passion into these photos and I’m exhausted but loved that every day was a different adventure. I can’t wait to start sharing them and the stories behind. Its been hard as I have had no time to edit and share them, I just can’t wait to show you all in my books which will come out in 2017 & 2018. I completely pushed myself out of my comfort zone and going the extra mile to capture them.
I just could never have imagined the things I’ve experienced, the beautiful people I’ve meet and the things I’ve seen. I’ve been travelling constantly since 2012 but never to this extent, I could never have dreamt I would have been able to do something like this and I feel very blessed.
I thank everyone who has followed my daily visual diary and been with me along the way. I started doing this just so my family knew I was still alive no matter where I may have been on the planet, but so many have you have watched this journey and worried when I didn’t update, I thank you for caring and your comments showing so much interest is what Ive been up to, I just didn’t expect that at all.
I’ve made every single day count, each hour has brought a new adventure. I’ve seen things I’d never thought I could imagine, experienced every sense, sight, sound, smell, touch in their extremities. I’ve meet so many wonderful humans along the way, making new friendships, some so strong they will remain in my heart until I die. Some just paths crossed but sharing happy moments together. I’ve had people show kindness all along the way and I feel truly blessed, thank you all for being part of this no matter how big or small.
At the start of the year in Ukraine I visited the abandoned town of Pripyat in Chernobyl for the third time whilst snow fell all around us, which was a completly new experience for me in this desolate place. It gained a sense of mystery and sadness, which will always remain with me. Seeing a place so full of desolation and despair, makes you realise how special life is and Im glad to have had this experience at the start of this year.
In Japan I explored the abandoned streets of nuclear Fukushima, walked for miles in the Japanese suicide forest and amongst the cherry blossoms and bamboo forests of Japan, eaten fresh sushi and seen beautiful castles. It was my first time experiencing a culture so different to in Europe and the USA and was a perfect start to my 4 month trip around Asia.
In the Philippines I rode on the top of a Jeepney, sun on my skin and wind in my hair and visited 1000 year old Kabayan mummies in a secret cave. I walked across rope bridges with breathtaking mountain views as far as the eye can see. Saw my first water buffalo, drank rice wine for the first time and got crazy drunk. I saw the incredible Banaue rice terraces and then travelled to Sagada to sleep in a wooden hut and see hanging coffins on a cliff with some Iranians.
I’ve discovered the ancient ruins of Ankor Wat in Cambodia and rode for hours through the dust in a tuk tuk, I rode on the back of my first motor bike and started an addiction for that. I watched the sunrise over a mystical temple and had my photo taken with a monk. I’ve cried tears at the killing fields in Cambodia and watched a lightning storm from high up overlooking dry land as far as I could see monkeys ran around my feet. I’ve got drunk with friends, danced and eaten insects.
In Thailand I meet an elephant, visited the black and white temples which took my breathe away, spent time on the beach with my good friends, relaxing and got taught to hula hoop under a full moon. I volunteered at an animal shelter in Ko Phangan by dressing up doggies and taking their photo.
Vietnam I spent hours walking around Hanoi getting lost in the bustle of the old town and then got stupidity drunk one night, it was so much fun but I missed my tour to Halong bay because of a mega hangover. I sat on the back of a motor bike on an unforgettable trip around Da Nang and visited my cousin and her family in Ho Chi Min city.
Back in the Philippines I climbed my first mountain, lay on the top camping under the stars and felt my first earth quake under my body. I taught a little boy in a hut at the top of a mountain how to make selfies on my phone. I slept in a wooden hut and sat round a bonfire while everyone played guitar, drank and sang. Travelled to the far remote village of Kalinga a mystical land where I was tattooed by a 98 year old lady and her grand daughter with an orange tree needle and the ink with the ash of a fire, while native pigs ran all around me.
In Indonesia I got a poke tattoo meaning beauty, rode a horse up a volcano and stood on the top of the crater as it erupted and covered me from head to toe in black dust. I trekked up my second mountain in the darkness of morning and down into the crater to witness the blue flames of burning sulphur and then made a campfire at the summit to watch the sunrise. I witnessed my first dead body and felt true happiness of the power of life through seeing death. I attended a unique funeral in a place where death is celebrated more then life and watched the death of animals for the first time, buffalo and pigs died but it taught me a lesson on the importance of life and how fleeting it can be.
In India I spent three weeks in the holy lands of Varanasi, spending each day in a weird trance like state. The power of spirituality constantly around me, I felt at home here, surrounded by the beauty of decay and in this place where my senses in every way where heightened I felt at peace with the world. I watched the cremation of bodies by the side of the river Ganges and smiled at a culture where death could be beautiful. I bathed in the river Ganges with friends at 2am and danced in the rain in moments of pure joy. Every day I drank chai and eat an assortment of curries and bought an Indian wedding dress which my friend took photos of around the streets of Varanasi. I felt pure happiness as I explored the slums of Mumbai, had kids swarming around me with the biggest smiles on their faces, despite living in such bad conditions.
On return from Asia I went on a 20 day road trip with one of my new best friends and favourite clown Ben, who I had only known 5 hours before we embarked on a 20,000 km road trip around Europe, we got on like we had known each other for years. We meet up with amazing people along the way and visited hundreds of jewelled skeletons, mummies and crypts along with a tonne of abandoned buildings, drinking lots of wine and forging a strong friendship that means the world to me. (Miss you Ben)
I photographed my good friends Stephi and Sean’s wedding in Greece, such a beautiful magical day filled with laughter and some pushing in pools very early in the morning and waking up in the best mans bed (he wasn’t in it, he’d just been a gentleman to the drunk photographer who got pushed fully clothed into the pool)
I last minute booked a flight to Cologne for Photokina where I spent a week surrounded by incredibly talented photographers from all around the world, in an apartment sharing laughs, food, drink and inspiration. Got photographed by the mightly talented Renee Robyn in a giant ballgown in front of hundreds of people at Cologne Cathedral.
Taken by Renee Robyn
Returning to the UK for a couple of weeks I caught up with family and friends and made a couple of special new ones. Before flying to the USA where I spent two months road tripping around 8 states. We drove from NYC to Detroit capturing dark tourism sites and abandoned buildings.
For so long I’d wanted to explore Detroit and it was special for me to finally be there. I watched the sunset on a crumbling Detroit rooftop with a new special person in my life, drinking beer and then sat with him in his truck on the Detroit, Canada border dancing in the rain at midnight. With promise that hopefully I could return to actually cross the border.
I partied in NYC with inspiring USA photographers and meet some I have wanted to hook up with for ages, caught up with my NYC photography agent and did a shoot in Central Park with a bunch of incredibly talented photographers.
Taken by Vincent Minor
In Mexico, with my bro from another mother and awesome friends I experienced the Day of the Dead Festival, photographed the slums in Mexico City, went to the haunted island of dead dolls, Mexican Pyramids and road tripped 9 hours on Halloween to see creepy Mexican mummies, which were totally the best dead things I’ve laid my eyes on.
We flew to Havana, Cuba where we walked for hours in the blasting sunshine capturing photos of the beautifully crumbling buildings. Rode in gorgeous vintage cars and got stupidity drunk at an arty party capturing the hearts of many Cuban guys.
Returning to the USA I spent my final weeks of this adventure first in Salem where I saw where the Salem witch trials happened, with my beloved kind friend Karen I got a pentagram and Ether symbol tattooed on my ankles. I stayed with great friends Shannon and Dave for a week in their gorgeous home in Rhode Island exploring beautiful abandoned buildings in 4 states. I will never forget the ticks that attacked me and Shannon, multiple 5am wake up times, exploring in the snow and some tricky entries into some epic buildings.
I got a bus to NYC and spent my first thanks giving, watched the Macy thanks giving parade and eating turkey with wonderful new friends, remembering how thankful I am to be alive and living this life.
And slowly it began to dawn on me that it would all be over very soon, knowing I had just two weeks left, I made plans to spend time exploring decaying buildings in Philadelphia and then back to Detroit which held my heart. I spent 100 blissful hours in the arms of a special guy who took me raving in downtown Detroit, On my last day we ventured into Canada for burgers, more partying and an airbnb where we lay on the floor next to a glowing fire. a perfect end to the perfect year. I’m left heartbroken for so many reasons that all this is ending, it feels like I have been stabbed heard in the heart and even writing this blog I am choked by happy and sad tears, think of everything I have done.
People ask me along the way if I’m here for business or pleasure. Ultimately I am working on a photography book commission and also as an anthropological researcher so I can write a thesis in 2017. These have funded this travel and so it has been important for me to achieve what is necessary for these things. I’ve been so exhausted at some stages, but I always kept pushing not wanting to miss a second, always saying yes to every opportunity that throws itself at me. Sometimes after long days travelling for hours, shooting in hot or freezing temperatures and countless km’s walking I arrive back to where I’m sleeping in the early hours in the morning, running on empty I need to find the strength to charge batteries, back up photos, pack, arrange tours and hotels. But I wouldn’t change it, I love how the crazy pace of life.
This work has been ridden with a huge sense of pleasure, I’ve squeezed into my busy schedule time to see other things that wasn’t necessarily for my work and also found the time out to just enjoy a bit of social and relaxation time. I’m lucky in that I can say I feel so passionate about my work that I feel truly blessed and lucky that I can call this my job.
This year has been unforgettable for my life. I have learnt that I no longer need a house and possessions to be truly happy. I’d sooner collect memories then digits in my bank account. I’ve witnessed true poverty with people living with so little but with the biggest smiles on their faces and this to me has been life changing. I know I’m destined to migrate in time, my only ties to the uk are my mum, dad, nan and my brothers family and where ever I end up they will always be in my heart like they have been on this trip and there will always be plenty of visits. The world is my playground and I lust over these moments. I cry as all this has all touched my soul in more ways then one, I am in love with these people and cultures I’ve seen that even in poverty these people smile and are grateful with even the small things in life. I have been a free spirit for this a year, I’ve never been happier.
This is a new chapter for my life and I’m fully prepared to lead it now with no structure whatsoever. I just know I’m not one to settle down and I just want to feel free. I have no plans to take my possessions out of the storage container I placed them in January, I’m even toying with the idea of losing some ‘stuff’. I have no desire for things and I’m quite happy to just live with a back pack and camera, just continuing to explore this beautiful world for as long as I can and I already have new ideas for book projects to take me to new countries I wish to experience.
And to the people! I’ve meet up with so many incredible humans along the way, I’ve meet up with over 150 of you fantastic individuals this year and I thank you all for your friendships and time. And to my auntie Diana who I lost in September you will always be in my thoughts. And especially those that have spent time to help me create my book Fukushima and Dark Tourism. These are now 95% photographically complete and return to Fukushima comes out in just 3 months and Dark Tourism a year after that. I have come in contact with so many souls along the way this year, love to you all and I hope our paths will cross again in my life story.
I am a dark soul laced with the beauty I see in my surroundings. I choose to encompass myself with death and decay, but my existence is a banding of the beauty found in darkness. I have battled for so many years on why this sorrow consumes my existence, but now I have come to realise it is fine, I am fearless. I used to worry about my difference, my inability to fit in with the normal world, but I have come to realise that I can make a living from being an artistic soul. It makes me unique and therefore it is not something to try and hide.
My camera is how I view the world, it is my key to express the malevolence, beauty and melancholia that manifests inside my dark heart, it is my cathartic release to the visions of surreal darkness that lie inside my mind. I find that my antidote is to seek out in this unique world the beauty found in darkness, poetry and meaning in the forgotten, surreal, worlds amongst decay. My artworks breathe life into forgotten locations, they reawaken old narratives, find beauty and meaning in their shadowy ruin, revive the memories of lost moments in places tainted by the indigenous.
Unseen to the ordinary public who pass their boarded windows and fenced walls, I find entry to these mystical places hidden to the world, I sensitively capture them as beautiful piece of art as they deserve to be recorded for posterity too, before they are lost as time rolls inexorably on and they merely become ashes and dust. I capture the stories and characteristics through carefully composed images to include the romanticism and delicate memories of these ruins. In reality they will cease to exist very soon and as the memories fade, these places and the souls who once gave life to them will be forgotten, I find my inspiration in places lost in time.
I feel euphoria as I grow and never stop learning from this magical gift of capturing the emotion of these realms of the unconscious. I follow the ethereal light amongst the darkness, in finding emotion and serenity in these mystical locations. I will continue to push the boundaries of my work, never stop learning, make sacrifices and find courage to achieve the things I dream of. I have always believed to not put off until tomorrow what can be done today and that life is not about collecting possessions but experiences, when you are dead these will decay and be gone like so many of the haunting places I choose to take my camera
Living is about experiences, dreaming, challenging yourself, loving, travelling, collecting memories not things, as long as I can remember my life has been one big adventure. I dream big, photography is my passion, it consumes me, it makes this world real and the wonderment of creating art is more important to me then the air I inhale, it is my enchanted door away from the demons inside.
My soul is dark
But my existence full of light
I find beauty in darkness and this reflects in everything I create.
“Light Cannot Exist Without Darkness”
Fukushima Coming April 2017
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The hotels acquired are the MGallery York, Mercure Leeds Centre, Mercure Kenwood Hall and Mercure Tankersley Manor, all of which will go through extensive renovations ahead of their opening dates, the fifth property – Ibis Budget Sheffield – is a new build property.
The five new hotels, which collectively offer 443 new Accor rooms to the region, are to be opened with different management and franchise partners.
According to AccorHotels analysis of ONS data, Yorkshire saw 1,274,000 visits from overseas in 2017, with visitors collectively spending 10,619,000 nights in the region driving revenues of £530m. AccorHotels said this was an increase of £52m compared to 2016 and shows the importance of the region for leisure and business travellers from all over the world.
Philip Lassman, VP development, AccorHotels UK and Ireland said: “Signing five new hotels in Yorkshire is a great move for AccorHotels. It is a thriving region and we are happy to bolster our presence here. Our franchise and management partners are finding the variety and flexibility of our brands appealing.
“The MGallery and Mercure brands in particular are designed to be flexible so they can incorporate local touches into the design and overall guest experience allowing the hotels to offer something truly different without wavering from the internationally recognised and expected standards.”
Thomas Dubaere, COO of northern Europe, added: “Yorkshire is a diverse region attracting business and leisure guests who have different requirements, which is why it is so strategically important that we are able to offer a wide range of brands to cater for the differing guest needs from luxury and midscale to economy and budget.
“This diversity of brands is important across all our hotels in the UK which by the beginning of 2019 will be 250 in total. In a global economy, hotels increasingly need to attract guests from all over the world, so we are seeing a lot of interest from hotel owners who want to have the power of an internationally-recognised brand and global network behind them.”
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We're taking a brief break from movies today to spotlight two Horror miniseries. One is from India, about terrors occult and governmental. The other is an anime that brings terror into Time Travel. Need something to binge this Saturday?
Come back Monday for Unfriended: Dark Web, Office, and Calibre
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When asked how she ended up becoming the first and only female GM in Saudi Arabia, Hessa Al Mazrou is emphatic: “Because I deserved it.”
She has had a long history in the hospitality industry, initially with the Al Hokair hotel group. She originally started off in the PR and communication field in 2004, noting that she has always been a “marketeer by nature”, but has now held a position as GM for over two years within the “exciting” hospitality sector.
Al Mazrou is a part of the ‘Women at Accor Generation’, a 10,000-strong global network that was launched to “overcome gender stereotypes, promote gender equality and offer support to women within the Accor Group”. The hotel brand recently re-launched the scheme in November of this year, renaming it to ‘RiiSE’, and confirmed its desire to “promote diversity and renewed its commitment to diversity and inclusion”.
During the first few months of 2017, Al Mazrou reveals, she was offered the opportunity to become GM of Novotel Suites Riyadh Olaya Hotel, which she says was given as a “challenge to prove my capability”. One of the biggest aspects that she felt she had to overcome was proving that she can “run the position perfectly and compete with the other men in this field”, and adds that first impressions from some guests is still often surprise. However, she firmly believes that it is a “nice surprise”, and has found “great support” from the guests who offer her “luck and encouragement”. “Comments like these from my guests definitely make me feel even more encouraged to work,” she adds.
GROWING OPPORTUNITIES IN SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia has long faced criticism for its stance on women’s rights, but as a result of its ‘Vision 2030’ plan there has been a slew of widespread initiatives to increase the participation of women in the workplace. Other changes include women being able to join the military, drive, and visit sports arenas and cinemas.
Al Mazrou says there is a “huge number” of opportunities for women who “want to be a leader in the hospitality sector”. She also believes that her experience sets a good example for other women aspiring to enter leadership roles. “I think the leaders in this sector such as AccorHotels, Al Hokair and other hotel chain businesses want to give opportunities to Saudi women if they are willing to take up the challenge”, she says.
Al Mazrou believes there is “no one who will give you a chance if you don’t deserve it” and says she considers herself “very eager to learn and to take up challenges”. She points to her family as main source of inspiration, and says it is with their support that she was encouraged to realise her full potential. She goes on to say that the hotel industry is a actually a very “feminine zone by nature”, and women really have the opportunity to show their “feminine signature within and through the service that they provide”.
Worth mentioning are the events Al Mazrou has participated in for women’s empowerment. The first was in November 2017, in Abu Dhabi, where she gave a speech about her experience and story of becoming the first female Saudi GM. She says she was greatly supported at the event and “felt a great amount of pride”. Another was in the city of Jeddah, during the first few months of 2018, and was the second edition of AccorHotels’ Women’s Empowerment and Integration Forum which looks to inspire a new generation of young Saudi women to reach the “highest level” of professional development. “It was very special for me as I had a opportunity to speak with other Saudi women working for AccorHotels,” she says, “and I was yet again filled with a great amount of pride when they said they see me as a great role model. I was so happy when I heard that.”
Overall, Al Mazrou says she was “delighted with the opportunity” and considers herself to have been “very lucky to get such a chance like this”. She adds that Accor has supported her with “knowledge, kindness and training”. She also says she couldn’t be “more proud working with such a great team”, adding that senior staff members have always given her their full support. “They also have the best intentions when it comes to my learning and training, and I believe AccorHotels are different when it comes to the service and how it facilitates their guests. It has been an outstanding experience working with them.”
Al Mazrou thinks women have to believe more in themselves and their capability. “You have to work to prove that you deserve the position you are aspiring to. We have an arabic quote, which translates to ‘the more you work, the more you get’.” She hopes to eventually become a GM for a British hotel in Saudi Arabia, and concludes by saying she wishes to continue to be a “great role model for other Saudi women”, and set “a good example for them so they can achieve even more than what they are doing now.”
BACK IN THE UK
Closer to home in the UK, Jacqui McMillan is also a member of the Accor’s ‘RiiSE’ scheme, and is based in the “male-dominated environment” of Canary Wharf. McMillan originally began her career with AccorHotels as a rooms division manager at Novotel Glasgow in 2000 and has also held general manager positions at Ibis Glasgow City, Novotel Glasgow, Novotel Bristol and Novotel Reading and recently as GM of Novotel London Blackfriars.
Having worked in Canary Wharf since April of 2018 she notes that due to the “nature of the businesses that are here” some guests and business people she meets “assume they are going to meet a man”. “I have walked down to say hello and introduce myself to them you can actually this look on their face which is like ‘oh really, you’re the GM?’,” she adds. McMillan says that there is this assumption that GM of Canary Wharf “should be a man in a shirt and tie”, so high end contractors looking to work with the the business often “get a shock”.
This is just one of the challenges she says women in leadership roles can face in the UK, and recalls two years of her career when she was working in London for Accor as one of the only female GMs in the mid-scale sector. She notes that this made things “very interesting in meetings”, as it could be a “genuine challenge at times to be heard as a woman”. “When you are in a room with 14 guys they can be just like peacocks. Whereas for women you tend to sit back just a little bit more, but in turn are able to listen more. We don’t need to be the loudest person in the room.”
However, McMillan is adamant that there are inherent strengths women have such as the ability to “better engage with their male and female staff”. She can also tell when she walks into a hotel if the property is managed by a man or a woman. She adds with a laugh: “You can tell immediately, and I am not the only one who thinks this.” Attention to detail is one of “strengths that we have as women”. “I think we can see things that other people don’t, and it’s not just about something being pretty.”
Is being done by the hospitality industry to appoint women to leadership role? “We are getting there, but a lot of companies still have a long way to go.” However, she says this shouldn’t stop anyone, and it is always about “pushing yourself” and “never being afraid of doing something that you don’t think you can do”.
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Most of us know the importance of regular exercise. From helping us maintain a healthy weight to fighting off various ailments throughout life, there is no shortage of health benefits gained from regular physical activity.
People that exercise can expect to live much longer and maintain better health as they get older, so there is no time like the present to get started.
Whether you’re looking to get healthier or maintain your current health, you need to commit to regular exercise throughout the week. In fact, you can break down your exercise into daily amounts, as doing smaller amounts throughout the week is often easier and more convenient.
Also, factors such as age and physical health influence the amount of recommended daily exercise. This means people can exercise different amounts each day depending on several factors, so let’s look at some of the recommendations for daily exercise.
Adults aged between 19-64 looking to stay healthy should complete 150 minutes of cardio (aerobic) exercise a week – although more is certainly better if you can manage. Cardio exercise includes physical activities like running, jogging, cycling, and swimming.
This weekly amount doesn’t need to be completed in a specific way, however, meaning you could spread the 150 minutes across as many days as you like.
For instance, 150 minutes across five days works out at 30 minutes a day, so going for a 30-minute jog 5 days a week will cover your daily recommendation for cardio exercise.
Of course, you may not have the time to spend 30 minutes exercising in one go each day. Many people choose to spread the 30 minutes out across the day, such as going for a 10-minute walk three times a day.
Another important thing to remember is the 150 minutes applies to moderate exercise – 75 minutes of intense exercise produces the same effects that 150 minutes of moderate exercise does.
Therefore, you could do 15 minutes of intense exercise 5 days a week, such as going for a run or swimming at high intensity. Again, the 75 minutes of intense exercise can be spread over fewer days if preferred, such as a 25-minute workout three times a week or even one 75-minute workout a week.
Some people prefer to go harder for a shorter length of time, although not everyone needs to use this method, especially if the body is dealing with certain pains or aches.
Just remember – intense exercise should leave you breathing hard and fast and catching your breath, whereas moderate exercise should leave you capable of talking.
Another popular option is to combine both moderate and intense exercise throughout the week. For instance, you could run for 30 minutes twice a week followed by one day of walking to get your weekly recommendation.
You only do three days of exercise and vary the intensity, which is often useful for sticking to exercise regimes by alternating difficulties of the workout.
It’s just one of the many ways you can break up the more boring side of regular exercise, allowing a few days off while still working out enough to remain fit and healthy.
Examples of moderate exercise include:
Examples of intense exercise include:
You need to do more daily cardio exercise than strength exercise, but strength training shouldn’t be overlooked. This form of exercise helps to maintain healthy muscles and bones, while also improving flexibility, balance, and general physique.
The good news is that you don’t need to train your muscles every day – a minimum of twice a week is the recommended amount for adults aged between 19 and 64. Many prefer to do much more strength training as it builds and tones muscles, as well as not being as intense and draining as cardio, as shown in gymequipmentgb’s “55 exercises you should try” there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing exercises.
Strength exercise involves doing several sets of repetitions that work specific muscles. A repetition covers a single complete movement. For instance, a single bicep curl counts as one rep, while a set covers the number of reps completed. The idea is to work each muscle until it becomes difficult to do another rep.
Because you do sets of reps for strength training exercises there is no benchmark for the length of the workout. Some people take longer than others to complete sets of repetitions, while others work more muscles, so the amount of time dedicated tends to vary.
Therefore, you should measure your daily strength training in sets of repetitions. For instance, it’s recommended to do at least one set consisting of between 8 and 12 repetitions per muscle group, such as your arms, legs, or shoulders.
The amount of sets of repetitions you do when strength training will determine the duration of the workout. Remember – strength training does not count towards your daily cardio exercise!
Examples of strength training exercise include:
Want to bang out as much exercise as you can in a day? Then consider an exercise that provides both strength and cardio training in one day. For instance, circuit training provides a cardio and strength workout in one session, with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) being especially effective.
In fact, HIIT exercises are considered a highly intensive workout, meaning you do a 10/15-minute workout each day can give you all the exercise you need! If you want to work out fewer days, simply increase the duration of the circuit training to around 20-30 minutes and enjoy a few days off.
It’s not just circuit training that offers this. Playing a game of sports with friends can provide similar results, with football, rugby, and netball providing both cardio and strength training in one session. A 75-minute game once a week gives you all the exercise you need!powered by GymEquipmentGB.co.uk
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How long have you worked at the Uni? What does your role involve?
I've worked at the University since 2011. I'm currently Head of Digital and lead a multidisciplinary team of designers, developers and content professionals - we look after the University's digital marketing and communications platforms and services.
I've worked in higher education for most of my career. My first role was as an Admissions coordinator at the University of Leicester's Business School. I then went on to work as the Admissions and Marketing Manager for the Department of Economics. That's when I came into contact with digital and knew that was the route I wanted to take.
When I joined Bournemouth University as a Web Editor, I taught myself how to code HTML, CSS and spent my time learning about web standards - including accessibility and the semantic web. If I'm honest, I've always had an interest in digital. I remember as a kid, spending hours playing on Macs in the John Lewis electrical department. It's where I feel most home.
What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
If there is one thing I'd like to do, its to improve people's user experience of Bath's digital products and services – to do this, we really need to think about the whole journey, including how people interact with different touchpoints – this is the reason why I get out of bed in the morning!
Name one thing that makes you feel proud to work at the University of Bath?
What I enjoy most about Bath is the chance to work with some of the most talented people I have ever met – and the opportunity to learn from them. So if I'm proud of anything, it's the opportunity to work somewhere I'm continually stimulated.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
When you go to university people, tend to think they'll eventually pursue a career in that particular field. But your degree can prepare you for careers in a number of different areas, so don't just think because you studied a particular subject, that is what you then have to go on and do.
I have a degree in sociology, and although it isn't directly related to developing digital products and services, it actually has prepared me incredibly well for my role. Improving a user experience is inherently connected to understanding and explaining people's behaviour.
My advice is to have an open mind and consider the possibilities, play to your strengths and do the things you love. Those are the things that will bring you the most significant rewards throughout your life.
Who was your most influential teacher/educator, and why?
There's two, Mr Deacon and Mr Sparrow; they were my A level sociology teachers. They weren't like any other teachers I had because they treated you as an adult. They respected you and your point of view but also challenged your assumptions.
They've made me think about the different people I'd come into contact with and taught me that we could learn something from everybody. Regardless of the role you are in it is critical you respect people's point of view and remember that you don't know everything. We can all learn from each other and grow stronger as a result.
I can still hear their voices today!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Honest answer… My dad did lots of overtime and was able to take us abroad, so we went to places like Rhodes and Crete. As a result, I got exposed to being on a plane quite early in life, so I really wanted to train to become a member of Cabin Crew.
It was so amazing to me that there was this whole world beyond my front door. You always think it's a glamorous job, but it's not always. I've got such admiration for those people who can do that, go from time zone to time zone, and stay friendly and helpful.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
That it's OK to be you, to be different, to want different things, it's OK not to be frightened to say who you are and be open about it. That's the best way to be happy. Have pride!
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was really young, and I did work experience at a local convenience store. It then turned into a weekend job when I turned 15. I was a cashier which I enjoyed. I earned money, met lots of different people and was treated like an adult.
I was given responsibility and trust which is essential for anybody to feel fulfilled. I think everyone, whether they're an adult or a kid, needs to feel trusted, empowered and enabled. It helps you grow as a person and see what's possible.
I then worked for the John Lewis Partnership in a Waitrose, mainly because of the money! I still hold very dear the principles of the partnership. I think we could learn a lot from organisations who work collectively to achieve an outcome - isn't that what teamwork is about?
If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?
There are lots of different answers to that, but I would say it would be to take what we've built as a content management system and turn that into a fully fledged company. While it's still a young system, there is something qualitatively different about it in the market. I have the confidence that there are people who would be interested, we're often asked: "why don't you sell this thing?"
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Orlando, Florida. We went in 2017; it was my first time in America. My partner and I had a fantastic time. It was right after the hurricane, so we were quite worried we wouldn't be able to go. The climate was beautiful, and the experience was great. We spoke to lots of Americans who are incredible ambassadors for their country.
We're going back again in November this year. So we'll get to take part in Halloween as well as the Christmas bits. There's an event at Universal called Halloween Horror nights - there's nothing like it. It turns Universal Studios into a Halloween playground with lots of actors around and houses based on different horror films.
It's incredibly immersive, and my strongest memory was when this burly bloke clamped onto me. He just kept screaming but then walked away really casually like he hadn't been involved at all!
It’s incredibly immersive, and my strongest memory was when this burly bloke clammed onto me the whole way through. He just kept screaming but then walked away really casually like he hadn’t been involved at all!
What’s your favourite book or album and why?
My favourite non-fiction book is an autobiography of John F. Kennedy. JFK is always portrayed as young, healthy and strong. What a lot of people don't know is that he suffered from chronic pain throughout his life, including his time as President - it's fascinating!
I'm currently listening to The Verve, Urban Hymns - I'm having a nostalgia trip! It reminds me of being 18 and at University. I love the acoustics of the guitar.
When are you happiest?
I'm happiest when I'm with my other half Leon, just being together and spending time with one another makes me happy.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
That's a good question… I'd have to say, Walt Disney. I think he's fascinating, and I'm always intrigued by the story behind significant historical figures - like JFK and Steve Jobs. Walt Disney is one of the first people to think about how you create an immersive user experience - Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Florida are great examples. And this fascinates me as someone who works in user experience/service design.
Which one superpower would you like to possess?
I think we all have our own superpowers and we just need to learn how to use them…
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I'm an open book, so I'm not really sure I can answer that one!
Tell us your favourite joke
I don't know any jokes... Ironic situations make me laugh, I have quite a dark sense of humour.