Heres Maggie Thatcher

Today seen Baroness Thatcher laid to rest, with approximately £10m spent on the funeral and a surprisngly low number of protesters. London streets were less than flooded, but surprisngly packed for a woman who created so much outrage.

Alice Booth and Alex Almond created a liveblog following the bbc news coverage commentating on the mornings events. For a fairly quiet affair they were able to capture opinions and illustratethe general atmosphere from both the london streets, St Pauls and the twittersphere.

While Charles Engwell reported on the Leeds scenes, with further coverage to come.

Follow Leeds Mettropolitans blog or on Twitter @LeedsMetHacks for a variety of news updates.

Little Bo Peep has definitely lost her sheep

Recent weather conditions in wales have caused server issues for the hill sheep farmers, with snow drifts up to 15ft burying their stock and threatening their production and income. With conditions already difficult to deal with in such a profession the weather has affected the hill sheep farmers more than normal.

Snow seen for miles over hills as  Snailsareslimey captures sheep lives threatened by the vast amount fallen in recent months.

Snow seen for miles over hills as Snailsareslimey captures sheep lives threatened by the vast amount fallen in recent months.

What is Hill sheep farming?
Also known as Fell Farming and Pastoral farming it is simply the grazing of stock on the upland areas of the countryside. This activity mainly takes part in the North of England, Scotland and outskirts of Wales, as these areas have the most suitable weather conditions. As upland areas are harder to access with machinery using it to graze animals, mostly during the spring and summer months, enables profit to be made from somewhat unreliable land. The climate, soils and terrain is more suited to supporting animals, however grazing must be monitored in order for the land to remain sustainable. As stock is moved over the winter months the land has time to recover and become home to further wildlife. All factors contribute to the land, therefore keeping the necessary factors present to sustain hill farming over relevant months.

How has Hill sheep farming been threatened recently?
The profession has hit headlines as the recent weather has created unbearable conditions and farmers have faced loosing over half their stock in snow drifts. This has not only increased money strains and poor produce but has also seen a rise in the cost of disposing of such a high number of deceased sheep.  The farmers have faced issues with both saving sheep and suitably removing the dead, and with no sign of the snow thawing moving around the land, and moving the animals to safe environments became an increasingly difficult task.  It has been the welsh government who fell under the most pressure as arguments of aid rose and created numerous news worthy stories in the Farmers Weekly. The farmers Union chairman has stated they did not demand money aid but simply requested help with the massive clean-up that would be undertaken when conditions cleared and it came to light just how much stock had been lost.


The video shows farmer Gavin Wyn Jones, who recently appeared in bbc news, dealing with the affects of recent weather.

How has Hill sheep farming developed?
The farming dates back 3,500years and has shaped English uplands both environmentally and culturally. The UK government believe certain areas of land should be preserved and protected for various reasons, many of which has meant Hill sheep farming land is saved from development threats. Areas valued by the UK government include National Parks, Areas of outstanding Natural beauty, National nature reserves and Natural England natural areas. Hill Sheep farming land is often located within these areas and so is not threatened by manmade changes being implemented in an area, this means all developments are natural and land based.

What money is involved in the business?
As the price of meat drops in supermarkets the price farmers receive for stock also decreases. As the weather punishes farmers stock their income is threatened. Stock isn’t extremely reliable and so farmers are always on a fluctuating wage depending on the strength and produce of a year’s stock. Without government funding many hill sheep farmers would be on negative income due to costs of food and machinery in order to sustain stock. However it is being argued, by the Farmers Union, that in times of crisis not enough funding or assistance is provided to support struggling farmers. Many farmers benefit from joining unions, such as the Farmer Union of Wales as they fight for support during crisis simlar to those in recent news. As the business is so costly many farmers find themselves changing to more cost efficient mainstream stock which provides more sustainable incomes.

What money are farmers given to help with the strains?
The government have a number of funding schemes for sustainable grazing, as well as private funding schemes, such as The Princes Countryside Fund, which can be applied for. Farmers were once rewarded for the sheer size of their stock however now funding is awarded to farmers who have top quality stock on well-kept and sustained land and vegetation. Smaller stock also requires less help on farms, something the government want to encourage in order to save farmers money. With the winter conditions worsening each year less productive stock is decreasing farmers profit, they are having to increase spends to keep stock healthy while their produce and value is decreasing. The costs and strains give the young farmer generation less incentive to continue and further develop hill sheep farming.

Winter winter go away, please come back in roughly six months

Winter, the time comfort food and layered looks are acceptable. A time that most expect to span from around October to February. However this year we find ourselves here in March with the heating full blast and the motivation to hit the gym, rather than the coach, at an all time low.

With the temperature remaining almost sub zero its difficult to keep those winter looks fresh. However with everyone in the same boat its no wonder no one is pulling us up on our repeated ensembles. With this attire its hard not to find yourself coating you nails in somewhat darker shades than would be typically expected for this time of year.

Many are a fan of dark nails, as is Ilse, and Uggs however im sure we're ready to put them at the back of the wardrobe now, right?

Many are a fan of dark nails, as is Ilse, and Uggs however im sure we’re ready to put them at the back of the wardrobe now, right?

Adverts and Magazines continue to burst with summer style and those pastel colours were aching to wear, but when will that time come, will we ever walk tall in our summer greens , lilacs and lemons, without jetting off to a warmer, exotic land. Or will we have to brave the weather and flaunt our style regardless.

Where was Millie Mackintosh on 21st March 2013 and why werent we with her. Her and Ilse are wearing the summer trends where all dying to whip out.

Where was Millie Mackintosh on 21st March 2013 and why werent we with her. Her and Ilse are wearing the summer trends we’re all dying to whip out.

Though the latter option is better than none, its hard to dye your nails peach melba when the skies more grey coal. And will the fear of being a nation split in fashion colours mean we stick to what we know matching  blazer tones with the clouds.

When will it be acceptable to get our pins out, or do you have other ways of welcoming the summer into your wardrobe whatever the temperature?

Reduce the calories in your sandwich.

Diets are a massive part of people lives, be it for health or vanity. So it is no wonder magazines are forever filled with the latest ones. One craze that has caught eyes is the latest sandwich on offer. It is simple and packed with taste, the trick? Remove the bread.

Sandwiches are a lunch time classic, an easy and tasty choice with the varieties never ending, depending how far you can stretch your imagination, and perhaps taste buds.

Packed with flavour this new sandwich can come in a variety of forms. Images, again from Whitney Ports blog, display a range of recipes. Also listed a the bottom of her post.

Packed with flavour this new sandwich can come in a variety of forms. Images, again from Whitney Ports blog, display a range of recipes. Also listed a the bottom of her post.

Foodie dieters have proved a butty can be just as delicious without the vicious carbs. A sandwich which, as Whitney Port highlights, is a great addition to the diet of weight watchers and those searching for gluten-free products.

This idea can even keep party guests happy, however posh your 'do, as Whitney Ports images prove.

This idea can even keep party guests happy, however posh your ‘do, as Whitney Ports images prove.

This new alternative encourages you to keep all the flavour, whilst losing the guilt. Enjoyed both hot and cold these aren’t as posh as they look. While you probably won’t find them as part of your meal deal on the shelves of Tesco just yet they’re easy to self-prepare. These beauties can brighten up your usually boring, colourless lunchbox, providing a welcome break from that ham and cheese sandwich you have exhausted, as am sure many of you will agree.

So after binging on all those treats from the Easter Bunny, still love what you eat and what you wear.

Leeds music blogging scene

Producing artists such as Alt-J, Kaiser Chiefs, Corinne Baily Rae and Pigeon Detectives its clear the Leeds music scene has always had a lot to offer. Blogs are the latest way to discover new, up and coming talents, and bloggers around the city are advertising the growing talent and venues supporting these hopefuls.

Leeds o2 Academy, as captured by Ben Sutherland. One of Leeds most popular music venues.

Leeds o2 Academy, as captured by Ben Sutherland. One of Leeds most popular music venues.

Live at Leeds is a popular event in the city that attracts huge stars. However within the music blogs of Leeds local talents are staging gigs and showing where the big stars came from.

Leeds Student is particularly focused on what the city has to offer, with a selection of posts focusing on performances. The articles cover typical student locations, such as The Brudenell Social Club, as well as more widely known venues. There’s a variety of genres covered meaning a wide audience can be drawn to this blog as it has a little to offer a lot of people. Written by students, for students the reviews are kept short and have a very personal flare. Though this is clear the pieces lack opinion and attracts could fail to influences someone’s opinion, without them previously listening to the artist being reviewed. This blog covers a lot of ground but lacks links to bands pages or possibly dates for future performances in Leeds, something which could make it an essential read for music lovers in and around the city.

Like the Leeds Student Bloodbuzzmusic reviews performances by both local acts, as alternative as The Cockpit performers, and those in the mainstream music industry. Many could be fooled by the somewhat lack of content this blogger seems to provide. However rather than dressing up opinions this reviewer provides a quick read created with good, concise and condensed material;

“However it soon became apparent that despite an image overhaul she has lost none
of her vocal and song writing prowess, if anything she just keeps getting better and
better”

This material is very vocals focused, the content does not express the atmosphere present at the performance created by either the audience or artist, something which could add to the quality of the review, or could simply distract from the critique of the artists vocal and stage performance. It is a very opinionated blog but could easily be used as an aid to investigate a band before investing listening time. Strongly opinionated readers could enjoy this and the platform could grow if discussions are sparked.

Similar to Bloodbuzzmusic, Danny Payne chooses to write short, quick read reviews. Even posting about a peformance at our very own Leeds Met SU. This is a very different blog as it illustrates very thoroughly through images the statements and judgements being made. Its also explains in great detail the reasoning behind such criticism, and its clear Danny has a lot of experience,  has revisited a lot of projects and is actually passionate about what he does. Its clear this blogger is focused on photography journalism, over detailed write-ups, as his reviews are expressed through the copious images of live acts he’s captured. He doesn’t comment too much on the sounds, but instead on the visual aspects the artists bring to their performances. The aesthetics is a part of the performance, more often than not, neglected by reviewers. This is a fresh way to review a performance, its colourful and adds diversity to the music blog and review scene, in comparison to the likes of mainstream NME blogs.

Not just blogging about music, but also searching for new local talent one of the best blogs is Beat2achord, self branded as the “No nonsense Leeds music blog”. This is the most local focused blog when it comes to blogging about the talent available to see live in leeds. The nights blogged about are perfect for students in the surrounding areas, however with little local knowledge students can easily let such events slip under their radar. This blog also stands out as it highlights upcoming events in advance so followers and readers have a chance to attend and experience first-hand. The blog covers small venues like The faversham, as well as the popular Leeds o2 Academy evetns. Blogging about bigger talent, such as a appearance from Mike Skinner, could be the ideal way to gain traffic to a blog that also indulges in so much local reviewing.

Some of these blogs may not have the graphics of a magazine blog, but they certainly have the heart. With fresh bands like Alt-J recently emerging is there another great band from Leeds chasing their tail for their very own chance of success, and do they lie within these blogs?

Nail art: The latest fashion statement

People are forever looking for ways to express their personality, the latest craze is through your nails. Gone are the days you could brush a red coat over your fingertips, now it’s about transferring the leopard print from your dress, to your nails.

Nail art has been growing over the past couple of years, and as more people have started experimenting the more outrageous the experiments have had to become in order to stand out. With this blogs have found their calling and many have scattered the internet.

Sophy Robson has had massive success, and even opened her own salon. She fills her So so fly nails tumblr with her works.

Sophy Robson has had massive success, and even opened her own salon. She fills her So so fly nails tumblr with her works.

Back in 2009 a bold, matt navy would ensure your nails were at the height of fashion, but by 2010 this was outdated. The following year saw the increase of contrasting colours on the ends of your fingers as it became quirky to paint one nail, usually the third finger, of each hand a different colour to the other four. Though this is still on trend it is a statement more widely accepted and less likely to draw attention to your filled tips.

The next two years saw nail arts every changing statements swap and get more and more extreme with increased velocity. The changing speed infact means we haven’t had time to settle on our favourite and so will continue to swap between several file and colour designs.

Me and Sally still sport the contrasting colour look, it makes it much easier to match nails to outfits.

Me and Sally still sport the contrasting colour look, it makes it much easier to match nails to outfits.

From the pointed tip to the zebra stripe people have been showing off flare and skill when creating styles once limited to the salon. It has expanded the importance of nail styles and colours as designs continue to reach new extremes.

It has given the nail market reason to increase, creating ways for people to get exiting nail art in a quicker fashion. Nail foils have been the most revolutionary and have meant sticking patterns on to your nails instead of tirelessly painting them leaving you of little use while they dry for the next 20minutes. Nail pens have also helped created many more intricate looks, giving a much more precise application than the brush has previously been able to in the past. While block colours have stayed in the game by becoming ready marbled, or more smooth in a gel format.

These fashion statements have almost become the final accessory to top off any outfit. Blogs have been a great influence in nail art and with such media outlets available the craze has exploded over the web. Youtube has excessive amount of videos advertising nail art and plenty of tutorials to help you achieve the look yourself.

Madeline Poole fills her blog with her own work, and designs submitted by followers.

Madeline Poole fills her blog with her own work, and designs submitted by followers.

There are some very tricky designs and some will take much longer than others, however a lot of designs are fairly simple and enjoyable to create and just take practise to perfect.Like the ‘LBD’ a block nail will never be out of fashion, but what’s the harm in testing the options?

My very messy, first, attempt at dip dyed nails. Its clear i need practice.

My very messy, first, attempt at dip dyed nails. Its clear i need practice.

I love the Cutepolish tutorials on youtube and here ive collected my top three for you;

Are you onboard with the hype? Share your videos and techniques below.

Not just another Brits article

When it comes to award ceremonies America will always do better than us. However this won’t stop us hosting events to reward the hardworking, talented people who have entertained us throughout the previous 12 month period.

However, though we enjoy viewing such nights, are we still only tuning in to see the winners success, or are we simply watching to judge others choice and lose?

Many articles released within hours of the Brits beginning, and in the following days, seem to have contained a lot of judgment. Be it from outfits to performances, It seems a lot of the media focus on the easiest parts to criticise.

The Daily mail is well known for its judging articles, providing coverage from various parts of the night throughout the site.

The Daily mail is well known for its judging articles, providing coverage from various parts of the night throughout the site.

The pressure is on the stars when it comes to red carpet events and it is definitely evident, through body language, that the process is a lot easier and enjoyable for some than others. Something which becomes more understandable when you see how much criticism fills the press.

It has begun to feel like the press are waiting for a poor, messy and vocally assisted performance. As if they gain pleasure from being able to criticise the attire of the adored movie stars and pop singers.

Live blogs are ran, and on smaller, less professional blogs images go viral receiving thousands of reblogs before the ceremony is complete. The focus on such celebrations seems to have made a huge shift from the success of the evening, to how we are able to criticise those involved and attending.

A live blog Tim Jonze ran covering The Brits 2013 for The Guardian

A live blog Tim Jonze ran covering The Brits 2013 for The Guardian

Charlie Hole a tumblr blogger commented;

‘Now, don’t get me wrong, all the albums from this year’s nominees are great! ‘Babel’ is a classic, and ‘An Awesome Wave’ is cool, Emeli Sandé and Paloma Faith are really decent singer/songwriters and I don’t mind Plan B either… BUT compared with the 5 albums from 1996?!

They’re all classics! Every one of them.

If you made a list of the greatest albums of all time, those 5 would be up there every time. Would any of the 2013 albums be anywhere near?’

Compliments are given and success is praised. However the positive to negative ratio seems to be shifting in the complete wrong direction. Though most of the viewers do watch to enjoy too much focus is on the flaws, rather than celebrating the talent being rewarded and showcased.

With the focus of articles moving to such detail does it say more about the talent of 2013. Is Charlie Hole right, has the quality on offer decreased since the 90’s, or are they simply being outshone by the boy bands good looks and the females eye for a catching design?

All winners and nominees from The Brits 2013 can be found on The Brits website.

Music madness continues to destroy the UK charts

Each week the chart continues to baffle music lovers across the country as catchy pop tunes win the fought after number one spot, over the great musical talent produced by both the UK and American.

The latest controversy has come from ‘Macklemore’. He quickly gained a position in the top ten and has managed to hold on to the spot for 7 weeks. He hasn’t done bad for someone with no previous UK chart history.

A snapshot from the Radio1 website listing the top 5, as of 24/02/13.

A snapshot from the Radio1 website listing the top 5, as of 24/02/13.

However, it isn’t the first time an artist has sprung into the charts, holding on to such high positions, without disappearing just as quickly several weeks later. The lucky ones will release another single that will flop, but far too often the chart is home to one hit wonders. It does house continue success from the likes of Adele, Rihanna and One Direction, but these occupy few of the 40 spots.

Dance music is widely enjoyed and no one can deny the top 40 is usually the best listen before a night out, but these songs are not representing the best music talent. They should stay inside the four walls of the tacky club you love and hate in equal measures, and so continue to attend each week.

It is easy to see why real artists like Ben Howard, the Macabees and Jessie Ware would be frustrated by the type of chart that is built each week from the songs bought and downloaded by the public. The songs are good to dance to on a night out but it’s hard to imagine sitting down and enjoying a full album by ‘Baauer’, releaser of the harlem shake.

Though it is very easy to criticise the way the official chart shapes up week after week it shouldn’t be done in a way that criticises those who enjoy it. Very often those who listen to such pop songs are grouped together and branded as tasteless moronic fools. Such a view is very narrow minded as often chart music is simply enjoyed when out in bars and clubs. What a lot of people fail to realise is how a person’s music taste can vary depending on the purpose of the listen.

David Renshaw, an NME blogger, makes a very good point opening an article with;

‘If you’ve escaped the saxophone parps and speedy raps that make up Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’, enjoy it while it lasts. It’s an international success, having spent the last month at number one in America and topping the charts in Australia, France, Canada and New Zealand. The track hit the number one spot in the UK yesterday, beating ‘White Noise’, the genuinely excellent single from Disclosure and AlunaGeorge. Readers, there’s no escape.’

However he continues;

there are others who think he’s a fresh alternative to rappers who walk around with massive bejeweled effigies of their own face hanging around their necks. One assumes they also believe David Guetta’s purpose is due to provide a hedonistic place for Brits to forget about interest rates and student loan repayments.’

Solidifying the issues that those who enjoy the top 40 apparently can’t appreciate other music as well.

I feel chart music should be enjoyed, but disagree with many of the artists gaining such high positions. We need to advertise the talent existing and encourage the creation of real music, that created with instruments, while also accepting the various music genres available.

Quick spot stopper routine

Even the luckiest girl will suffer from a few spots from time to time, and they always seem to appear before party season. Maybe it’s the stress of trying to look your best.

Over the past couple of years due to exam season and my poor diet at the beginning of a new uni semester my skin has been through a couple of rough patches. As getting up earlier to apply more makeup was never an option I had to pick up other ways to hide those hideous blemishes. From trashy tv tips to friends advice ive found a fairly simple routine to keep those spots under cover.

As spots never really stop popping up I feel this routine is suitable for all ages and skin types. It consists of four fairly easy steps and is super quick to do before and after makeup application.

First you want to wash your face. This sounds really basic and easy, but you’d be surprised at the amount of dirt that can build up overnight/ throughout the day, even when you’re not wearing makeup. You can do this with makeup wipes or hot water and a face cloth. However after both ensure you splash some cold water on too, this will close your pours up making it harder for dirt to get in and initially form the spots we’re trying to prevent.
Not only does this cleanse your face it also helps the makeup settle better on the smoother surface.

Next apply ‘Sudocrem’, this is a cream advertised for nappy rash and infections but also is advised for acne. Apply a thin layer on any problem areas, perhaps a little more at night when no one can see the pasty white complexion it often creates. This cream is brilliant and is much cheaper than those specifically targeted at acne. The cream can reduce redness in under 8 hours and so though the spot remains it will become less visible, even without makeup coverage.

Sudocrem, Boots - £2.55 for 125g. With a small amount going a long way this price isn’t as steep as it sounds, with a medium tub lasting up to 24mnths depending on usage.

Sudocrem, Boots – £2.55 for 125g. With a small amount going a long way this price isn’t as steep as it sounds, with a medium tub lasting up to 24mnths depending on usage.

The third step is to apply a moisturiser. My favourite has been discontinued by the young Nivea range and so I scoured Niveas site for a replacement cream to the one pictured, i managed to find a cream suitable for all aged skin. The ‘Nivea Daily Essentials Oil Free Moisturising Day Cream For Oily to Combination Skin’ is both a moisturiser and shine control cream, reducing the glare that can often occur around the t-zone. Using this cream should enable you to reduce the amount of makeup applied for day to day wear, giving both your skin and purse a break.

Nivea Daily Essentials Oil Free Moisturising Cream, Boots - £3.99 for 50ml. Again this goes a lot further than it appears and provides a 2-in-1 solution.

Nivea Daily Essentials Oil Free Moisturising Cream, Boots – £3.99 for 50ml. Again this goes a lot further than it appears and provides a 2-in-1 solution.

 

The final step is completely free, don’t touch your face. This sounds like common sense and quite silly, but its something we all do and provides the largest percent of dirt getting into our pours.

The creams listed may be available in independent or smaller branched stores, so shop around for the best value in your area.

If you have tried and tested methods you can add them at various points in the routine, and perhaps share them below with a comment.

‘Snowspiration’: Now the snow has gone get out there

Snow, something that most countries expect, and live with, inches of for several months a year.
Snow, something that brings a holt to everyday life in Britain.

You can’t deny us Brits can be a little dramatic when it comes to the soft, fluffy snow. So when the third bout of snow came most of us were sick of it before it had time to stick. When it went, just three days later, I had already become restless.

From not being able to train with Lacrosse to having to leave earlier for Uni, as speed walking was not an option, the things we usually take for granted were definitely strained.

So now the snow has cleared why not take advantage of the mild weather and get out there. Staying active doesn’t always have to be boring, and as a student anyway to save money is welcomed. The fresh air will also do wonders with the hangover your nursing.

As someone who isn’t best friends with fitness I have three handy tips to keep you moving:

  • Stroll into class/ work: When it’s a choice between an extra 20Minutes in bed and walking in the cold air its often a tough choice. However walking each day is the easiest way to stay that little bit healthier. If like me you’ve left exercise alone for a while this is a good way to ease yourself in. It will also save you a few pounds each week.
A stroll to class or work can really wake you up before the long day ahead.

A stroll to class or work can really wake you up before the long day ahead.

 

  • Use music as motivation: Listening to music can help you block out what you’re actually doing, or at least make it go a little quicker. You can also use it as a timer, building your jogging around it. A great tip my housemate used to motivate me was to jog a song, walk a song, jog a song and so on until we completed a lap of our local park. You can build this up at your own pace, depending on how active you’re wanting to get.
We may not have the streets of Paris to jog on but music is a great motivator whatever location.

We may not have the streets of Paris to jog on but music is a great motivator whatever location.

 

  • Do it all with friends: Doing things in a group always seems to work for me and my housemates. That little bit of support can make jogging a little bit more exciting or giving up takeaways a little more achievable.
Having encouragement from friends can make you push that little bit harder. You can also laugh at each other from time to time.

Having encouragement from friends can make you push that little bit harder. You can also laugh at each other from time to time.

 

This isn’t a ‘New Year’ spurt of energy and probably won’t help you shed a whole lot of weight, however the most important thing is keeping active, even if it’s just a stroll to make yourself feel like you’ve done something useful with your day. After all, getting out of that warm cosy bed can be the hardest part of the day.

Exercise encourages endorphins and endorphins make you happy. It’s a wonderful way to boost spirits during even the blandest months of the year .

If you want a quick way to follow what people in the know say check out these twitter accounts;
@LucyHarrisonPT
@dailyhealthinfo