Find your sanctuary: how to escape the daily chaos and create your personal piece of paradise

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Whether it's a physical place, or a mental space, we all need somewhere to retreat and recover from the noise of the world

Find your sanctuary: how to escape the daily chaos and create your personal piece of paradise

Hello Happiful readers,

“If we could make our house a home, and then make it a sanctuary, I think we could truly find paradise on Earth.” – Alexandra Stoddard.

When I read this quote, I couldn’t help but think back to being a kid, and revelling in building blanket forts.

Mismatched quilts, various pillows ‘borrowed’ from any room that could spare them, and the dubious structural integrity meaning you might find the fabric roof resting on your head at any moment; it was thrilling, imperfect, and utterly personal. A cosy little cocoon to play, read, or daydream to your heart’s content.

Nowadays, it’s rare to take a walk through the woods without spotting a makeshift den. Remnants of a fun afternoon of adventure, which can set a little pang of longing in your heart to join the creativity.

As adults, we can take for granted the benefits that a safe space to call our own can bring.

Whether it’s a physical place to find some tranquillity, or a mental one to clear our minds of pressures, stresses, and endless to-do lists, we all deserve somewhere to switch off and find respite.

So, with that in mind, in issue 64 we’re homing-in on how we can create our own bubble, mentally and physically, to give us a breather from daily woes.

It’s time to recapture that magic of our youth, and create a sanctuary to retreat from the chaos of the world. Why not try our quiz on p44 to discover how to craft your own sweet escape?

It could be a kingdom of contentment as you reconnect with nature, like in our article on p53, or the comfort of retreating behind your own parametres of peace by setting healthy boundaries on p17.

Find your sanctuary: how to escape the daily chaos and create your personal piece of paradise

Plus, this print edition includes:

Fascinating features including self-compassion secrets, the ultimate mindset reset, the throwaway sayings we need to ditch, the grow-your-own revolution, and the world's most soothing imagery.

Creative life hacks from how to ask for emotional consent before you vent, to questions to reconnect with your career path, and tips to get grounded.

Professional insight from a range of experts on topics including work addiction, natural energy boosts, and support for new mums.

Spotlight on: relationships: closing the orgasm gap; how to set healthy boundaries; insight into the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA+ community; and print-exclusive guided journaling pages to nurture your personal connections.

Take a moment to consider your true needs. Knowing this little piece of paradise is there for you could be a great, untapped comfort in testing times.

You deserve to feel resilient, rejuvenated, and reborn. Your sanctuary aw

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream

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Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream is the salty, chocolate sweetness that you just can’t stop at one bite. Heck, I have a hard time stopping at just one bowl!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream

Pretzel Ice Cream

Ice Cream is quite literally the dish of summer if I am in charge of choosing. It is easy to make and hits the spot on a hot day. Whether we are talking about a snack or dessert. It has milk so I would even call it breakfast.

Crunchy, sweet, chocolatey, and salty this homemade ice cream recipe checks all the boxes. By adding large pieces of pretzels at the end they keep their crunch and salty bits don’t dissolve for the perfect bite.

What I love about homemade ice cream with different mix-ins and combinations is that you get to control the flavor and quantity.

It is frustrating to buy a container of my favorite ice cream, only to find it with just crumbs of the mix-in or play hide and seek with a few chunks of cookie. Pieces of pretzel and swirls of chocolate stand out in this recipe.

We’re celebrating three weeks of new ice cream recipes this summer with a very cool ice cream maker giveaway! Enter to win the Cuisinart ICE-100 1.5-Quart Compressor Ice Cream Maker by CLICKING HERE and submitting your email. The giveaway ends July 8th, 2022.

The most popular question I get is whether it’s possible to make ice cream without a machine. The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!

Chocolate Pretzel Ice CreamRead more

5 ways to learn more effectively

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Learning is how we add dimension to our lives, acquiring skills and knowledge, in whatever way we chose to do it. When we learn something new, we may come away feeling accomplished, but the true test of our knowledge is how we then implement it

5 ways to learn more effectively

The key to effective learning is not necessarily about how quickly you digest the information, whether that's through reading, experience, study, or being taught, but how well you retain it, recall it, and utilise it. We’ve all heard of the phrase “every day’s a school day” and this couldn’t be more true in today’s society where digital technologies are changing in the blink of an eye and new opportunities are coming up like never before.

More and more, we’re seeing an increase in the importance of ‘upskilling’. This is when we learn additional skills to allow us to better progress, usually in the workplace. Upskilling is also important for our own personal development, as being able to continually learn and develop your skills is a surefire way to help you achieve your goals.

So, how can we really learn?

Effective learning is pretty much like ‘learning to learn’. In order to capture and process the information in a way we’ll remember in the future, we need to come up with ways of digesting what we’re taught in the first place. Often discussed in the context of schools, “effective learning” is defined as children actively participating in their own learning. Rather than copying what a teacher tells them, research suggests that pupils are more likely to learn better by talking, writing, and reflecting on their newly acquired knowledge.

These same principles can be applied to young people and adults looking to learn more effectively. There are many ways you can become a more effective learner – here are just a few:

1. Ask questions

We can’t be expected to learn if we’re unsure of the context in which we are being taught. Ask questions to understand what you are learning, and more importantly, why you are learning it. Consider applying it to your everyday life so you have something to relate it to and it will quickly become easy to remember.

2. Vary your learning style

Learning in different ways can be a really valuable way to consolidate information. For example, if you like audible learning (such as listening to a podcast), try creating a visual aid to sit alongside it. You could even try teaching it back to a friend or family member! Being able to repeat the information in a variety of ways will help in retaining it long-term.

3. Don’t multitask

Multitasking involves trying to do several things at one time. This can be disruptive, halt productivity and reduce concentration, making it harder to focus and meaning you are less likely to understand the information. Instead, try to focus all your attention on one task at a time. If this seems overwhelming, try the ‘distributed practice’ technique. This involves studying for short periods of time, for example, 50 minutes, and the

25 years of Steps: “It’s a massive milestone!”

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Singer Claire Richards joins Happiful’s podcast to discuss a year of career celebrations and the confidence she’s developed in her personal life

25 years of Steps: “It’s a massive milestone!”

Claire Richards and the rest of Steps, are in a slight state of disbelief. This summer they’re celebrating 25 years as a band, with a heady tour schedule and the release of The Platinum Collection, an album crammed full of their greatest hits from 1997 to 2022.

“I actually can’t believe that we’re 25,” Claire says beaming. “It's a lifetime almost! We did an interview with someone the other day who was born 25 years ago, they weren’t even around when we started...”

Claire's keen to acknowledge the band's achievements and is clearly looking forward to the tour and upcoming appearances. “It’s a massive milestone and we want to celebrate it,” she says. “We’ve put together a setlist for our show that’s relentless, it will be like 25 years are flashing by everyone’s eyes, not just ours!”

Along with her stellar career to date in Steps, Claire has embarked on an incredible amount of solo projects including releasing her own music, presenting and appearing on a number of TV shows and most recently appeared on The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special, which she loved.

Claire also has two children, who are now teenagers, and has acquired an improved sense of self and clarity when it comes to her personal life. This, she explains, came about after she turned forty.

Eligible to eat

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A new study has revealed that many children who are not eligible for free school meals are going hungry

Eligible to eat

The University of York and the Bradford Institute for Health Research are calling for the free school meals (FSM) eligibility criteria to be widened, following research that shows that 20% of children who do not meet the requirements for FSM are experiencing food insecurities and poor mental health.

Those that meet FSM criteria are typically considered to be living below the poverty line. The research published in the British Medical Journal has since noted that food insecurities go beyond the school environment and are also present at home, making FSM entitlement even more crucial to children’s wellbeing and development. Those that are eligible for FSM receive a significant proportion of their daily energy and nutrients from school dinners, but 60% of those children still felt insecure about where their next meal would come from, due to not having enough or lacking quality food at home. Of these children, 51% experience daily worry and stress as a result of the stigma attached to FSM, which drastically impacts their mental health and ability to flourish at school.

However, these statistics are not limited to those who are able to receive free school meals. 20% of children surveyed who did not qualify for FSM also experienced insecurities related to food, and 29% of these children were at risk of feeling stressed and worried on a daily basis. This is why researchers from the University of York and Bradford Institute for Health Research want the FSM criteria to be expanded beyond those families below the poverty line to include those from low-income households.

“If this eligibility threshold was raised, then not only would it shake the stigma of Free School Meals being associated with poverty, it would mean fewer children overall would go hungry and fewer children would experience anxiety and stress on a daily basis,” says Dr Tiffany Yang, Principle Research Fellow at the Bradford Insitute for Health Research.

During the pandemic, the number of children who were eligible for FSM rose from 17.3% of state-funded pupils in 2020 to 19.7% in 2021, according to data from the Food Foundation and Childwise. With the current cost of living crisis, this figure is set to rise even further.

Impact on children’s mental health

Despite the FSM scheme having its benefits, its strict income-eligibility checks can actually indicate poverty. Dr Maria Bryant (Reader in Public Health Nutrition at the University of York) states that free school meals should not be a marker of poverty, but instead the scheme should allow more children to access free school meals, to reduce the stress and anxiety of being labelled a “child living in poverty”. This stigma attached to FSM can not only create feelings of worry amongst these pupils but, in serious cases, may also lead to the child being bullied.

This would not only reduce the impact on wellbeing that those from low-income households experience, but it would also reduce the inequalities these children experience in the classroom. A study by the Department for Education found that pupils who were eligible for FSM have lower average ‘attainment 8’ scores (a measure