Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 Hobbies That Will Boost Your Brain

It’s annoying admitting it but your teachers were right: Your brain is like a muscle and to make it smarter you just need to give it a work out.  Scientists have proven that it is possible to increase your potential by exercising your mind- unfortunately endless hours of Downton Abbey or Candy Crush don’t count… Of course, Sudoku and reading the dictionary are well known ways to keep your brain up to speed – but those activities aren’t really that thrilling. If you fancy boosting your brainpower in an enjoyable way here are some recommendations

Grow something. Gardening is actually good for you. I mean, yeah you get to grow your own veggies and save yourself a trip to Mr Tesco’s but it also has some great benefits for your health and mind.  This green hobby reduces your levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone and keeps your brain intact reducing the risk of dementia by 36%! Gardening has never sounded so good.

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Take up Salsa. Everyone knows that exercise is good for your body and health, but it has also been proven to be good for your mind. In addition to having a physical workout, dancing reduces stress and increases cognitive activity – basically makes you smarter. There are so many benefits to this fun sport it is unreal, from making you a better leader to increasing your long-term memory. Who would have thought that breaking a sweat could be so positive? So, why not swap those office shoes for your dancing ones!

Shoot a Zombie. I know. The inner mum in me didn’t want to believe it either, but it’s true. Videogames may have a bad reputation but 30 minutes of gaming a day have been shown to improve strategic planning, spatial navigation and can develop your working memory. On top of all of that, a recent study also states that they can actually improve your hand-eye coordination. Who would have thought it?

Be the next Beethoven. Learning a musical instrument is a great fun way to get your brain ticking. Playing an instrument is proven to help with creativity, maths and analytical skill. If that isn’t good enough, to put the icing on the cake, playing a musical instrument raises IQ by seven points in both children and adults. Oh yeah, the thought of a keyboard is much more appealing now isn’t it?

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Bonjour. Learning a language is a great investment of time, not only is it fab for traveling and becoming more cultured it can also slow brain aging which is always a bonus! According to research bilinguals are being at planning and task management due to better attention and task-switching capacitates in the brain. There are not many negatives of learning a new language: it will make you smarter, better at communicating and it will even make you better at speaking your first language.

So there you have it! Say goodbye to long nights of doing crosswords and chess to try and boost your knowledge. Why not take up a hobby which you can enjoy alongside helping your brain increase? You’re never too old to learn.

Kelloggs Introduces New ‘Queen Flakes’ to honour Queen Elizabeth’s Reign.

Kelloggs Queen Flakes

Photo credit: Kelloggs.

Well, today is the day that our good old monarch Queen Elizabeth II celebrates overtaking Queen Victoria as the longest serving monarch in British history. This truly is a time of patriotic reflection and we should all be showing our respect to the Queen by eating as much breakfast cereal as possible.

No, you haven’t mis-read and no, I haven’t had a funny turn. Kelloggs, in all their patriotic glory, have brought out some new, limited edition ‘Queen Flakes’ to honour Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This really is a stroke of marketing genius that we all wish we’d thought of first (well, a printing company bringing out a limited edition breakfast cereal would be a bit odd but you get the picture).

A spoonful of this regal brekkie would treat you to some fabulous gold leafed cornflakes with edible diamonds and pearls. Also: as if that wasn’t enough, it also includes macadamia nuts (a favourite of the Queen!). YUM!

However, before you grab your coat (or robe!) and head out in your carriage to your nearest supermarket to buy these royal delicacies, don’t! They’re only available at Manchester’s Black Milk Cereal Bar and can be yours for a cool £6.30 per bowl.

Cheerio!

Queen Flakes!Photo credit: Black Milk Cereal Bar.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram as a Business: Advanced Edition

On the 9th April 2012, the then 13 person startup Instagram was sold to Facebook for a whopping 1 billion dollars (well, $300 million in cash, the rest in Facebook shares!). Since then the world’s most popular photo sharing app has gone from strength to strength, with over 100 million people actively using Instagram in the present day.

New to Instagram? Head over to our Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram as a Business: Beginner’s Edition for some tips for new Insta users!

Instagram Statistics

Instagram is used all over the world for both personal and business use. Here are the best times to post to Instagram if you want to get the maximum amount of engagement for your photograph:

Instagram when to post

Apps to help you get the most out of Instagram

Although Instagram is a fantastic app to use just on its own, there are a variety of different apps that you can use to help you to get the most out of your Instagram experience. Whether you want to edit your photos in a different way, or simply want to jazz up your Insta Feed, there is an app (or several) that can help!

Instapad

If you are looking for a relatively simple extension for your Instagram app then Instapad is a brilliant place to start.

Instapad

Not only does it provide you with larger versions of your images but it also gives you the rather unique option to send your photos to other people in the form of a postcard.; a great way to keep in contact with your customers and provide that personal touch that so many brands lack these days.

Pic Joiner

In the world of Instagram, there are few things more annoying than a brand that posts more than a couple of photos at once, especially if they are of similar things such as product colour variations. This is where Pic Joiner really comes into its own!

Pic Jointer

It is very simple to use and gives you a range of different pic-joining options, so you can even pull off joining an odd number of photographs without having the dreaded gap! A must have for those who just can’t get enough of posting new products on Instagram.

Padgram

If you are looking for a slightly more organised way of browsing Instagram then Padgram is just the app for you!

Padgram

This app gives you the option to browse photographs by different categories as well as allowing you to keep up with photographs that you have ‘liked’. Padgram is especially useful for brands looking for some Insta inspiration!

Afterlight

Afterlight is a fantastic little photo editing app that allows you to give your photos a little bit more of an edge than the basic Instagram filters.

Afterlight

It’s a great app if you are quite new to editing photographs and allows you to have a play around with things like the saturation, exposure and contrast of your photograph, to name a few!

Lensflare

This handy photo editing app focuses mainly on light manipulation so you can make you images look even more professional.

Lensflare

You can also add multiple effects to your photograph along with various light filters, meaning that you can really tweak your image until it is just right!

Dealing with negative comments on Instagram

As a brand on Instagram, or any social media platform actually, you will more than likely at some point come across a customer who is less than happy with either the photograph you have posted or a product or service that you have provided to them. How you respond and deal with the situation is paramount to how your brand is viewed, not only by the customer in question, but by other Instagram users that can see the comments being made. Here are three things that you should not do:

Ignore them: Ignoring a negative comment, regardless of its accuracy, is one of the worst things that you can do in this type of situation. Ignoring the post not only lets the angry customer think that you simply don’t care about their issue, but also lets other potential customers draw their own conclusions about the situation without the added knowledge that you have rectified the problem. Here is an example of one well known car brand ignoring a host of negative comments about their recent photo uploads:

Audi

Delete them: The only thing worse that ignoring the negative comment is to delete it. Yes, doing this might provide a quick and pain-free relief from the negativity impacting your Instagram page. However, you are running two pretty serious risks: 1) the author of the negative post could see that you have deleted it which will probably only serve to make them more determined to spread the word about their negative experience with your brand and 2) other Instagram users could have already seen the post, which would allow them to draw their own conclusions about the kind of company that treats its customers with an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. A popular cosmetics company had an issue with its website security. However, instead of responding to the Instagram complaints that followed, they simply proceeded to blame other companies and then delete the comments. Customers soon took to discussion boards to complain. This was one of the responses on popular website Reddit.

Complaint

Retaliate in the same fashion: Never under any circumstances, even if the customer’s comment is uncalled for and inaccurate, retaliate in an angry manner. Posting a response that lets them have it with both barrels will simply make you look unprofessional and downright unhinged, as well as serving to alienate existing and potential customers. Just don’t do it.

So… that’s the bad stuff out of the way, but what should you actually do if you come across a negative Instagram comment (Or a bunch of them)? Well, the answer to this actually depends entirely on the nature of the comment.

If the customer is angry due to being offended by the photograph that you have posted for whatever reason, my advice to you would be to remove it as soon as possible. If it offends one person, chances are it will/already has offended many more.

If the customer is complaining about a product or service that you have (or perhaps haven’t) provided to them, then you need to respond promptly with an apology and a solution that will benefit the customer in this particular situation. Don’t just respond with a message that sounds automated. For example, if the customer posts a comment that details their annoyance with your main website being slow, a discount code probably won’t really help them!

The 7 deadly sins of Instagram

Want a quick rundown on what not to do if you’re running an Instagram account for your brand? Here are the 7 deadly sins of Instagram:

7 deadly sins of instagram

Do you have any more tips for using Instagram as a business? Spread the word in the comments section!

 

 

What do Young People Really think of Politics?

politics

On Thursday 7th May, the general election will take place in the UK, and it is set to be one of the tightest results of all time.

In the midst of all this election ‘madness’, 123 Print UK conducted a survey to see how young people really see the political parties of today, and we were blown away by the response! Many young people in the UK today feel ignored by the political system, to the point where many refuse to vote as they see it as a waste of time and effort. One person stated that ‘Young people are less likely to vote, less likely to join a political party, less likely to write a letter to their MP and, as a result, we are courted less by political parties and our voices go largely ignored.’ This is also reflected in the lack of young people who are actively involved in politics, with just 24% claiming that they are a member of a political party.

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In the media recently, there has been a huge hype surrounding whether or not political leaders can be trusted. An article in The Guardian recently stated that trust is a precious commodity, once it’s gone it’s gone. This is definitely reflected in the results of our survey, with 47% of young people saying that they only trust one or some political leaders, and 33% responding that they do not think that any political leaders can be trusted at all. “I believe politicians cannot be trusted because their policies are idealist and can never be fulfilled without a detrimental effect on either the economy or the people” says one participant.

Others are less empathetic:

“They will say they are going to do something and not stick to it. For instance – student tuition fees increasing”

“They are overpaid and don’t live in the regions they are elected to represent. They were all born with silver spoons in their mouths; as such they don’t understand the issues that the “common folk” have to deal with. They are primarily concerned with trying to “show up” their opponents and are less interested in actually getting the country in a better position.”

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It is no secret that there are some political parties that seem to be more popular with young people than others, with a massive 80% of our survey participants claiming that they are fiercely against at least one political group. Many of our participants feel strongly against voting for controversial political party UKIP, with comments including:

“I am against UKIP because they believe that being inhumane and backwards is the way to go forward. They do not see the benefits of multiculturalism and pre on people who do not understand the EU.”

“UKIP due to their xenophobic attitudes to immigration, homophobic and sexist members, their policies and attitude towards welfare, the NHS and privatisation.”

However, there were some young people who were opposed to other parties. One participant stated that “The Conservative Party is founded on a failed ideology; the ‘trickle down’ economic experiment has been the mainstay of the British economy for the last century or so. The only result has been an expansion of the super wealthy and a larger divide between rich and poor. The initiatives that actually improve people’s lives, education, welfare, healthcare, job training and the minimum wage have all originated from social democracy when people stand up and demand fairer treatment.”

It must be a tough job, being a political leader. It would be difficult for the ordinary person on the street to understand that pressure and intensity of such a high profile position. However, many people believe that this does not give politicians the right to simply shove certain issues to the side, and ignore promises that they have made previously. What do you think about the political leaders of today? Let us know in the comments!

To see the full survey click here.