5 ways to learn more effectively

Web Admin 0 331 Article rating: No rating

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!”

Web Admin 0 384 Article rating: No rating

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

Web Admin 0 366 Article rating: No rating

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

Maple Ice Cream

Web Admin 0 329 Article rating: No rating

This rich and creamy homemade Maple Ice Cream recipe requires just four ingredients! Pure maple syrup gives this ice cream a smooth natural flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Maple Nut Ice Cream

Maple Ice Cream

This is one of the simplest ice creams you can make, with just four ingredients: cream, milk, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt.

Maple is such a rich natural sweetener for desserts. It has a depth of flavor beyond regular sugar. I like experimenting with it and honey when I can to change things up.

Maple-flavored syrups or pancake syrups are a no-go for this recipe. Not only is the flavor not quite the same they often contain alcohol which impacts the freezing process of homemade ice cream. It can take longer or not set up at all.

Homemade ice cream is easiest with an ice cream maker. There are so many options and price points on the market. You aren’t limited to the hand-crank White Mountain our grandparents had.

Not sure which one to get? No worries, I did the research and testing for you. Click here for my full reviews. After creating nearly 100 recipes for homemade ice cream I know a thing or two.

While I am a big fan of my ice cream maker, here is a little secret. You can make homemade ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!

Maple Nut Ice Cream

Maple Nut Ice Cream

While the nuts in this recipe are optional, they add something very special to this ice cream. You’ll want to be sure to add candied walnuts to the recipe, not plain roasted or raw walnuts.

Yes, the candied walnuts are sweeter, but it’s balanced by the natural bitterness of walnuts. And most importantly, the candied walnuts will be softer and chewier in the final frozen ice cream.

Read more

Candied Walnuts

Web Admin 0 327 Article rating: No rating

Crunchy, caramelized walnuts make a sweet snack and a great topping for summer berry salads and ice cream, or a quick topping for muffins. Today I’m showing you how to make candied walnuts!

I recommend doubling the recipe if you have snack-happy kids like mine, as you might catch them snacking on them too.

Learn how to make crunchy, caramelized Candied Walnuts at home

How To Make Candied Walnuts

It’s easier than you might think to make candied walnuts at home. With just a pat of butter, a handful of walnuts, and a spoonful of sugar, you can stir up a batch of walnuts that are tastier than anything you can buy from the store.

I like to start with walnut halves and then roughly chop them on a cutting board. For bigger pieces, I will just break halves apart by hand if I only need a cup or so.

You can actually use this technique for other nuts as well to get the sweet, buttery toasted flavor that makes for a sweet topping.

Your candied nuts should not be sticky once they are cooled. If they are they probably did not cook long enough on the stovetop. The key is to hit that sweet spot, literally, between being cooked long enough and burnt.

Candied walnuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. These containers work perfectly!

How To Make Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts Recipe

  1. Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone mat next to the stove.
  2. Add the walnuts and sugar. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
  3. Continue stirring until the sugar melts and the walnuts are well-coated.
  4. Quickly transfer the walnuts to the parchment and work quickly with a spatula to spread them out to avoid clumping.
Read more