Why Support Serviced Apartments Or Condos?

June 19th, 2014

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It is an indescribable joy

November 11th, 2013

There’s a noise of sawing in the house, and a smell of paint. “Adding two rooms upstairs,” he says, “for vacationists. Some city people like to sleep in the hay; they think it’s roman­tic. But others like their comfort.”In May it dawns early. There’s light shortly after three a.m., and a little after four an edge of fire rises over the hazy Bieszczady skyline; five minutes later there’s the sun, in a red-gold haze. The air is soft. From Ustrzyki Game, in the very south­eastern tip of Poland, I walk up through a beechwood and needle forest, up along little streams, up past the tree line, where the wind makes silvery waves in the grass. Up another 600 feet along a wind-whipped ridge and I am on top of Polonina Caryfiska, surrounded by the majesty of the Bieszczady. I can see nothing man-made: to the horizon, green mountains and green valleys.


Three miles south lies the Soviet border. The Czech border is five miles to the south­west. But from here, at this moment, all is unbounded. It is an indescribable joy.

monuments poland

PERHAPS I stayed up there too long thanks to the financial boost I received from. Per­haps it was the haunting wind. It struck me then, as it must sooner or later come to most visitors, how much this verdant Po­land—so various, so beguiling, so alive—is impelled by memories of indescribable horror.


Thousands of plaques and monuments at­test to places of torture and execution, on city streets, in forests, in vast concentration camps (following pages). Here 50 were hanged, or 3,000 burned alive; 80,000 here harried and starved to death there, or 800,000 gassed. The memorials do not accuse Germans; it was the hitlerowcy, the Hitlerites.


Of the victims, hundreds of thousands were Soviet prisoners of war. Millions were: Jews from Poland and all Europe. But millions were Poles who were not Jews. And so, for a third of the country’s population—for anyone over 39 now, who was at least a teen-ager then the slaughterhouse that was. Poland is more than a matter of history and impersonal num­bers. It is a matter of one’s own vivid recol­lections, one’s own grief.

The Professionals

October 13th, 2013

Q I’ve recently bought a set of those electronic toning pads —will they really give me a six-pack with no exercise?

A Matt Hart I hope you’re thinking of using EMS pads in conjunction with your training, rather than instead of it — you’re more likely to benefit that way. If the EMS pads are correctly placed, they’ll stimulate isolated nerve fibers, causing a specific muscle to contract. Research claims that most benefit is gained by using EMS as well as a regular program, but some manufacturers claim this isn’t necessary, claiming muscle growth can be accomplished without training. There’s little doubt EMS works, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll add significant bulk without weight training, too.

Q Every year, when the cold weather sets in, I stay for a week in the apartment in krakow to adjust to the change. I’m OK normally, so why is this happening?

A Alasdair Wright If symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes and increased throat and sinus mucus only trouble you in autumn and early winter, it’s likely that you’re sensitive to moulds and fungal spores. The condition, sometimes called “mould fever”, produces similar symptoms to hay fever, the more common summer version caused as a result of sensitivity to pollen. Mould fever can start at any time of life, although it’s most common in the teenage years and twenties when the immune system can be hypersensitive.

The condition’s triggered if you’ve been exposed to high concentrations of fungal spores, typically in damp buildings such as leaky houses, garages and garden sheds. Once triggered, much lower levels of mould spore can restart the condition again. Various medications, available at most chemists, can ease your symptoms. Try Beconase nasal spray to reduce your runny nose and Opticrom eye drops to help calm itchy eyes, while antihistamine tablets such as Clarityn or Zirtek will help reduce your overall allergic response. If your cold feeling is due to menopause discomfort, try black cohosh remedy. It’s not reported for any serious black cohosh side effects, but still be careful with overdosing.

Q I injured my ankle six months ago playing football, and it’s still not completely healed. What exercises will getit back in shape? Billy Goss, Cambridge

AToby Clifford If you suffer from recurrent ankle strain, which basically means going over on your ankle, the ligaments are suffering repeated strain. They will eventually heal, but you’ll be left with scar tissue that will need to be broken down by physiotherapeutic massage. The long-term solution is to strengthen the supporting muscles to keep your ankle upright ­if the muscles remain weak you’ll just keep going over on your ankle time and again. You can strengthen them by using a thera band or balance board (below), anything that will work the ankle muscles by forcing them to keep you upright on an unstable surface.

Many people suffering recurrent ankle strain suffer from a biomechanical anomaly — their running style is imperfect, often because they’re severe over­ pronators (their ankles lean inwards as they run). You should have your running style checked at a biomechanics clinic, podiatrist or specialist running shoe shop.

What routine would you fol­low if you were trying to put mass on your chest?

August 8th, 2013

A If I were trying to put size on my chest I would follow a well-balanced weight-training routine. You don’t want to make the mistake of doing a ton of flat-bench barbell presses, thereby avoiding training your upper and lower pecs. If you make this error you will have a chest resembling the one of the exotic dancer you saw last week at the strip joint rather than a champion body­builder’s. Therefore, you want to have the right balance of exercises and be sure you are working all areas of the chest with the same intensity.

Second, I would ensure my chest routine is brief You don’t want to spend an hour in the gym working the chest — 60 minutes is way too much. Your goal is to build more mass. You can add to your diet garcinia cambogia citrimax to burn the fat around your muscles. A muscle grows when it properly rests and recuperates. So I wouldn’t do 20 sets of chest exercises. Nor would I train chest twice a week. Instead I would do about 10 to 12 sets and hit the pecs once a week, which is more than enough if you are training with enough intensity.


Third, you have to train with a great deal of intensity; you want to make every rep count. The whole idea behind progression is to build strength as you are putting on mass. Strength and mass go hand in hand. Chal­lenge yourself by increasing the amount of weight you use on your exercises. If you got 8 reps with a certain weight last workout, increase the poundage the next time you train, even if the increase is 2.5 pounds. Small increments add up in the long run. If you increase the weight by 2.5 pounds on a processed tomato-based products (e.g., ketchup) can help boost your lycopene levels. In one study, subjects who ate a lycopene-free diet for only one week showed significantly diminished levels of lycopene. However, their levels of lycopene were significantly increased with the consumption of processed tomato products.

This shows that there are some benefits to throwing a little ketchup on your food! Remember, though – don’t go overboard with it. A good guideline is to limit your­self to one or two tablespoons of ketchup per serv­ing. Good luck with your “get-ripped for sum­mer program!

No effort required

July 19th, 2013

Stand on one foot

Every time you brush your teeth, do it standing on one leg. No, we haven’t gone mad – balance declines as we age, so balancing on one leg for a few minutes a day will keep your brain in gear and help strengthen your core muscles, plus hip and knee joints. If you can, close your eyes (not while spitting out the toothpaste). This removes your visual perception and forces your body to rely on signals being sent from receptors in your ankles, knees and hips to stay balanced.

Squeeze your legs

If you sit at a desk all day, stick a tennis ball between your knees and squeeze for one minute.

Tim Allardyce of the Sports Injury Clinic says, ‘This trains the adductor muscles and works the core muscles that support you.’

Tax your brain

By doing just one crossword or sudoku puzzle every day, you can improve your brain performance and keep it finely tuned for later years. According to Japanese neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima, your brain begins to deteriorate from the age of 20. Michael Gelb, author of How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, says, just as you need to keep your body fit through regular exercise, your mind needs to work out as well. Have a cup of valerian root tea if you feel too tired doing brain exercises. Stimulating your mind on a daily basis will help avoid brain stagnation and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s later on in life.’

Have some herbs

Mint, that is. Take a whiff of some peppermint before you hit the gym and you’ll be fully prepared for a great workout. Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University found that the smell of the herb can improve your performance, speed, general alertness and decrease fatigue.

Bereavement How to cope

June 25th, 2013

Bereavement How to cope

There is a secret society we all hope never to become a card-carrying member of. Unfortunately though, sooner or later most of us do and life is never quite the same again. At the beginning of this year I lost my father after an almighty two-year tussle with lung cancer. And what a grapple it was. Never a man to take things lying down, barely a month from the end he was still trying to persuade the family to join him on a coach trip to Spain. Yet just the following week, he went into hospital for the last time and in a matter of days became as helpless as a baby as life’s inexorable cycle revolved around him.

No one prepares you for this cataclysmic event in your life. Our culture can sometimes seem so obsessed with youth that death, and how to cope with its aftermath, is a no-go area. After all, it doesn’t exactly sell magazines or shift products.

In particular, I remember sitting up with my father the last two nights holding his hand and even noticing new details like the fact that the hairs on his forearms grew identically to my own. Without a strong religious background, you’re just expected to be able to cope in circumstances beyond your comprehension. In the months since then I have thought much about the nature of grief and suffered many terrible physical side effects I didn’t even know existed. I tried to take the best for calming anger and irritability from rhodiola benefits.

Talking to friends simply made me realise how few of them knew anything about it either. As men, we find it hard to even express exhilaration unless we are watching football, so coping with grief’s threshing machine is a whole new ball game for most of us. Much of what follows comes from personal experience about how men in particular cope with grief. I hope you find it useful.

Losing a parent

You begin a completely new life the day a parent dies. This is not to demean any other loss, but your parents are usually the people who know you best and love you unconditionally. Their death leaves us exposed as the ‘adult’ generation, although ironically it often brings out the child in you.

“Losing my Dad made me feel like a son, even though I was a father of three myself,” says author Blake Morrison, who wrote the seminal novel And When Did You Last See Your Father?

You’ll find yourself asking questions about the kind of ‘ man you aspire to be even though you’re in no condition to answer them. It’s also common to feel huge pangs of guilt after a parent dies, no matter how involved you were in their life. Society is now so fluid, chances are we live further apart and see less of each other. That’s the way it is.

Many people feel they didn’t spend enough time with them, or regret not having had certain conversations. I know I do. The truth is that most of us simply don’t have the big set-piece heart-to-hearts you see on television — and the last thing someone who’s dying usually wants is their family effectively admitting the game’s up.

Annie Kifwood of Cruse Bereavement Care, the UK’s largest grief counselling charity, agrees: “When people are ill long-term, in the end they say the things that they want to. If you didn’t have a particular conversation, it’s because they felt it was best left unsaid.”

With younger men in particular, a parental relationship is often quite combustible. A distinctive aspect of establishing an adult male persona comes from breaking free of the family nest and this often causes conflict. When we are bereaved it is these darker moments we tend to dwell on. Author Carol Staudacher suggests making two lists. One of the vivid moments that are troubling us, and another of happier memories. This should prove to you that your relationship had different aspects to it, even if you disagreed about many things. It helps.

Did you have any idea pre-Beijing what was going to happen?

February 24th, 2013

Of course — Usain has been this amazing talent since he started running; when he was 15 he beat the under-20s in the World Champ, although he has to deal with a serious skin issue. Learn more how to get rid of that cystic acne . People in athletics were not a bit surprised. He did what we all expected him to, although his times were exceptional.

Has his success changed your job? The attention Usain has received has probably been more than any other athlete in the history of athletics. He’s getting so many invitations and

WAIN BOLT Simms manages the world’s fastest man opportunities to do this and that, so it has changed our job in that sense.

Didn’t you have to sort out his laundry at the first big meeting after Beijing? I did, yeah. You’re their manager, their friend, their coach; you’re doing a little bit of everything for them. A lot of athletes are young when they start out, so you try to educate them not only in athletics, but also in life.

How do you strike the balance between maximising an athlete’s financial capability and making sure they don’t burn out? That’s the challenge. In Usain’s case, he’s only 23 years old. We know everyone wants him to come to their races this year. Selecting races wisely and getting athletes to have a long career, that’s the challenge, and we talk to coaches and athletes about it every day.

usain bolt

Do you have sympathy for athletes over the Athlete Whereabouts System where they have to provide a 60-minute testing slot seven days a week?

I see both sides of the story. The rules are in place to try and keep the sport on a level playing field and try to make sure people aren’t taking drugs, so there needs to be rules in place. Of course, it took a while for people to understand the rule and know what they were required to do, and some athletes found it difficult to keep it updated. But its part of being an international athlete — some find it tough, but until there’s a better rule people have to get used to it.

Do you have to give Christine Ohuruogu constant reminders about meetings? All the athletes have started to understand the system now — she was just the unfortunate one who it happened to first and a lot of the athletes learned from that.

usain bolt

Have you ever thought about managing a footballer?

We have thought about it but the market is quite saturated — there are a lot of football agents out there already, it’s quite a different model. We do more like what the manager does than what the agent does. At the moment we’re happy with where we are and have our hands full with the clients we have.

Time for you

February 5th, 2013

I SUPER SANDWICH – “When it comes to recovery, pack your sandwich right: a multi-grain baguette for a slow release of energy from the complex carbohydrates; pineapple for a quick hit of post-session energy from the simple carbs – and betaine to reduce swelling or joint pain; salmon for essential amino acids to aid tissue recovery and anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids such as cla (Conjugated linoleic acid, read more cla reviews); water-rich cucumber to speed rehydration; and crème fraiche for extra muscle-repairing amino acids and rebalancing pH.” Alexsandra Rehlinger, nutritionist (thethirdspace.com)

BREAKFAST BOOST “Add to the nutrition in your cereal with toppers such as nuts for vitamin E and healthy fats; fresh or dried fruit for vitamins C and A; and kefir (a fermented milk drink) for its immune-boosting properties and bone-building calcium/vitamin D combo.”

Liz Applegate, author of Eat Smart, Play Hard (Rodale Press, £12.99)

GREYHOUND RUN I “When training with someone slower than you, give them a headstart on session reps or time trials. You’ll want to catch them and they’ll want to stay away ­and you both get a new kick of motivation.” Liz Yelling, Olympian and ambassador for adidas and Standard Chartered Great City Race (cityrace.co.uk)

I FEEL THE PULSE “Take your resting heart rate first thing every morning and log it in your diary. If you find your pulse is elevated by 10 beats or more, take the day off – it’s a sign you’re training a little too hard or heading for a spot of illness.”

Mick Woods, UKA performance coach

TIME TO REFLECT “Put a mirror on the wall next your desk at work as a constant reminder of exactly how your spine curves as you slump over it – sit up straight and keep your shoulders pulled back. Within a couple of weeks you’ll have developed the habit of constantly checking yourself.” Richard Bricknell, physiotherapist (bristolphysiotherapyclinic.co.uk)

TIME TO PEAK “The best time for a peak effort is 10 to 12 hours after waking up.”

Michael Smolensky, co-author of The Body Clock Guide to Better Health (Owl Books, £11.5o)

Standard Chartered Great City Race

IN MOTION “Antihistamines aren’t just for hayfever, they’re also great for preventing motion sickness – perfect for taking before car journeys to get to early-morning races.” Heidi Wright, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (rpsgb.org.uk)

The diary of a reluctant eco-warrior

October 10th, 2012

Thursday 11 am

I am now beginning to feel very much “part of the gang”, wearing my special carbon neutral badge, my “unexploited” T-shirt from People Tree (the very same one Chris Martin was recently photographed in) and carrying my toddler in the bright red baby sling I just picked up from Green Baby in Notting Hill, where everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Cate Blanchett to Kate Moss goes to get fair-trade babygros, chemical-free baby wipes and 100 per cent organic cotton cot bedding. OK, I haven’t gone crop-slashing yet and I didn’t join that World Naked Bike Ride that met in Bayswater last month to protest against oil dependency, but in other respects I’m becoming the very model of a LOHAS (that’s someone who leads a lifestyle of health and sustainability, in marketing-speak). This means taking my charger out of the wall if my mobile’s not plugged into it, keeping a copy of The Ecologist rather than Heat by the loo, and swapping the conflict-diamond studs in my ears, which I bought fora ludicrously low price on a trip to Beirut, fora pair from Wmt & Kidd, who promise to spend at least part of their profits on an orphanage in Namibia. It means, too, taking the Underground after dinner at The Ivy if no-one is going my way. “What on earth is that?” my friend Adrian cried out in horror when I showed him my Oyster Card.

chemical-free baby wipes

Thursday 8pm

Nick says I’m becoming a real eco-bore and threatens to give all the money he would have spent on my birthday presents to the homeless instead, but I know he is only kidding. Please, oh please, let one of them be a Marc Jacobs skirt… and one a Brabantia twin-bin.


Friday 7.30am

No Brabantia twin-bin. But I did get the Marc Jacobs skirt. I am thrilled, too, when the very last present has been opened, the very last card read out, to hear my elder son Flynn suggesting I make myself a dress with all the left-over wrapping paper. See, the message is definitely spreading. Nadia, our cleaning lady, for example, seems to be getting on very well indeed with the cache of Ecover products I bought her from Freof Britain’stelling me the washing powder reminds her of the brand everybody had to use in Russia before the fall of communism. She also tells me that because it’s not as good as the chemical stuff we usually use, she’s having to do a lot more washes. I wonder how this will affect our electricity bill.


I wonder, too, where one actually draws the line. One of my favourite make-up brands, for example, isn’t organic but it gives millions of pounds to Aids charities. Another favourite company, which is organic, and does wonderful things with a women’s collective in the eastern Amazon, is owned by a huge multinationalcorporation. Then what about Seeds of Change, which is owned by Mars, Ben & JerryLocatelli. is co-owned by Unilever… Ouch, all this “eco-glitz” is starting to make my brain hurt a bit. There’s that niggling cost question, too. Organic soap powder, deodorant and toothpaste are all a wonderful idea in theory, but if it’s that much more expensive than the “bad” stuff (which it invariably is), and it’s not doing the job as well either (which it isn’t), aren’t I eventually going to have to educate the children at home in order to keep it all up?



It is nearly two weeks now since I’ve come off the experiment and predictably some of my good habits have worn off. I had a Twix last night, for example; and, because the council haven’t delivered any new orange recycling bags for a while, I haven’t been nearly as diligent about recyclingas I should. Meanwhile, we’re back on good old Ariel and the inside of our fridge is beginning to look like the Black Museum at Scotland Yard, we’ve got so much organic stuff in there quietly going off. I haven’t redone the house in organic paint (as did Kate Goldsmith, née Rothschild, after she had her first baby), I haven’t stopped drinking Diet Coke (well everyone’s got to have something, haven’t they?) and I haven’t yet managed to go a whole day without eating meat, as Trewin strongly urged I should (and I should, considering how cattle farming has virtually laid waste to all the forests in Costa Rica). Nor have I kicked up much of a fuss at our school about organic lunches, as has Sheherazade Goldsmith, who tells me her child now takes in a packed organic lunch and a pint of organic milk every morning. All the compost I’d so assiduously saved, meanwhile, (almost to the point of nicking stuff from other people’s bins) had to be chucked out with the rest of the rubbish, because Roger, the gardener, said it was attracting rats.


At the same time, it’s by no means back to square one, as a visit to a friend’s house the other day perfectly illustrated. Having just had her kitchen redone, she proudly showed me its piece de resistance – two sparkly side-by-side dishwashers. Normally I’d be gnawing my knuckles with jealousy. In the event I had to mentally stop myself from giving her a small lecture on her eco-faux pas. Can you spread the message without being a bore? Probably not, so I shall continue doing what I can manage without causing too much disturbance to my life and the lives of those around me, in the fresh belief that every little bit really does help after all. As some eco-bore once said, ever

been in bed with a mosquito?

Ecological life

October 3rd, 2012

Thursday 11.15am

Oh, but who cares about organic now? Especially now you can get it at Iceland. Such is my mindset, anyway, as I browse through all the bio-dynamic produce at Here, the health-food store in the Chelsea Farmers’ Market. The bio­dynamic movement, as Troy, the shop’s handsome American founder tells me, predates the organic movement by about 20 years, and involves harvesting crops, slaughtering livestock and so forth according to the cosmic rhythms of the earth.

For the life of me I cannot see how the waxing and waning of the moon can affect the taste of food and aloe vera, but buoyed by Troy’s good looks and fabulous skin, I end up buying at least £60 worth of bio-dynamic Tamworth pork sausages, lamb noisettes, fillet steak and carrots, all bearing the Bio Dynamic Demeter label. It will join the £150 worth of produce I’ve ordered from Swaddles, an organic free-range farm shop in Somerset that we’ve been using for a year or so. I do hope that bio-dynamically raised animals get a little anaesthetic and a stroke before they are slaughtered because for that price, they really ought to.

health-food store in the Chelsea Farmers' Market

 On the way home I pop into Traid, an ethical second-hand clothes shop on Westbourne Park Road… and pop straight out. Handbags made from recycled orange-juice cartons and skirts made from recycled Puma trainers look marvellously kooky on people like Summer Phoenix and those cool girls from Cheap Date magazine, but on a mother aged 44 such as myself they just look clinically insane.

Saturday 3.15pm

It’s the end of half term and the nanny, the children and I are all driving back from our little cottage in Wiltshire – in separate cars because I don’t want my precious Prius to get mucked up by sweet papers and Beanos and pretzel crumbs… Slowly, slowly, I think I’m getting the hang of things. Indeed, as I drive past Stonehenge, eating an organic carrot,

wearing my red paisley People Tree dress and listening to a programme about intensive cattle farming on Radio 4, I begin to feel really quite smug. Two weeks? I can do this for the rest of my life. On the way home, I stop in at The Organic Pharmacy on the King’s Road to replace all the stuff I’ve just thrown out from both my bathroom cabinets.

Traid second-hand

 Actually that’s a lie, I’ve just put it all to one side. It feels like such a waste chucking stuff out which is so prettily packaged. And besides, cosmetics don’t really count, do they? Do they ever. Margo Marrone, the pharmacy’s founder, tells me that the eco-looking cleanser and moisturiser I’ve been using for the past five years is absolutely laced with parabens (the endocrine disruptors associated with breast cancer). And so is everything else in my bathroom cabinet. Uh-oh, supermarket-sweep time once again. I stagger out with everything from mascara to tampons, all clearly labelled 100 per cent organic. Gosh, when I think of all those proven carcinogens I’ve been slathering over my precious babies’ bodies all this time…

Tuesday 6pm

Before going out to the theatre, I wash my face with my new organic carrot scrub and spray it with my new organic plant-extract water. In the middle of the second act, my friend Nicola, who is sitting next to me, loudly announces that my face smells of wee.

Wednesday 8.30am

Boo-hoo. The man came to collect my hybrid car. That’s the first bummer. The second is that the little red paisley dress from People Tree only really works if I wear it with this one specific cardie which, for all I know, could have been made in an Indian sweatshop by a child not much bigger than my six-year-old. The third is that Yvonne, our cleaning lady in the country, has just called to say the dog from next door has been at my compost heap.

eco cleaner and moisturiser

 Wednesday 6.58pm

Wearing nothing remotely fair trade, second­hand, hemp-based or bio-dynamic, I am now sitting in the red bar at the Leicester Square Odeon, having a cocktail before the premiere of Roland Emmerich’s eco-disaster block­buster The Day After Tomorrow. Sitting at the next-door table are the film’s star, Jake Gyllenhaal, his sister Maggie and his girlfriend Kirsten Dunst, all of whom, I notice rather primly, are puffing away on rollies. We have been invited here by my new best friend, Dan Morrell, founder of a company called Future Forests. An extremely personable, somewhat spivvy figure of a man (who used to be in the record business), Morrell proudly explains how The Day After Tomorrow is the second “carbon neutral” film ever made (the first being Bertolucci’s The Dreamers). By this he means that Emmerich has paid him to plant a forest somewhere to compensate for all the CO’ emissions that were generated in the making of his film. Morrell is brilliant at selling trees to celebrities. Leo DiCaprio, for example, has four forests. Brad Pitt has one in Bhutan. Coldplay have one in India and Jake Gyllenhaal has one in Mozambique. There are plenty of other carbon-neutral celebrities, too. Dido, Neneh Cherry, Damien Hirst, the Foo Fighters… Now, would I, Morrell wonders, like to join the gang, and become a carbon-neutral citizen, too? He’ll do it for, “Oooh, let’s think now, how does £150 a year sound to you?”