Reflecting on Mirrors

Quite a few of us can admit to spending rather too long in front of a mirror, whether we’re admiring the view or trying to fix our hair before we dare leave the house. Animals have been known to show an interest in their image too with apes, elephants and dolphins having a good peer into mirrors too. Put a cat or dog in front of one and it will be convinced there’s a rival in the vicinity! Mirrors are used to show us how we look and this comes in very handy when trying on new clothes for example. But what is a mirror and how does it work?

Standing in front of a mirror, you’ll see a perfect example of the conservation of energy and its effect on light. Light energy travels at some 186000 miles per second so when it hits an object – it has to go somewhere right? When light hits an object it can either go through it, sink into it and disappear or reflect back out. The energy is conserved because it is still there but is converted into something else.

During the day, light reflects off your body in all directions which is how we are visible to one another. Light rays bounce off randomly  and if you stand in front of a mirror, some of this light will stream in straight lines towards it. Rays of light are tiny pockets of light energy called photons which are fired in a stream and these shoot through the glass and hit the silver coating behind it. The light reflects off the mirror then in a more orderly way and is called specular reflection. Incoporate some light and the illusion of extra space with some Mirrored Furniture.

Silver atoms behind the glass absorb the photons from the incoming light energy and become excited. Due to this excitability, they become unstable so they try to compensate by becoming stable again and ridding themselves of the extra energy by give off more photons. The back of a mirror should usually be covered in dark material to protect the silver coating and block out light seeping through. Silver is the most reflective material and gives off almost as much light as what falls onto it in the first place.

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There are many different types of mirrors that can give us some very peculiar reflections. If you’ve ever been to a funfair with a crazy hall of mirrors, you’ll know exactly what they can look like! What you see isn’t really there but your brain tells you it is as it’s an optical illusion.

Plane Mirror – if the surface is perfectly flat then it’s a plane mirror. What you see is virtually the same as what’s there but the image is inverted from left to right.

Convex Mirror – if the surface bulges out in the centre then reflections will look smaller and further away. This is how driving mirrors work.

Concave Mirror – if the surface bows inwards, the reflection will seem nearer and bigger so magnifies an image. This type of mirror is used in shaving mirrors.

How to Boost Your Digital TV Aerial

Once upon a time, if your TV had poor reception the solution was simple – get the wife to hang out the window with the aerial while you finished watching Match of the Day.

Sadly those days are gone. Compared to analogue signals, a digital signal either works or doesn’t work, so it’s much harder finding the optimum position by doing gymnastics with the aerial.

That said, the location and orientation of your aerial remains critical – always place it as high as possible or near a window – and away from appliances that could cause interference.

Roof Aerials are Best

Your scope to adjust them yourself is limited – even if you have experience working at heights, are you going to take your digital tuner and TV onto the roof so that you can detect when it’s in an acceptable position?

When you’ve tuned your first channel it’s no guarantee your tuner will be able to find all the others available in your area. In the UK that first channel defaults to the BBC – and they nearly always have a stronger signal than the channels you actually want to watch.

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With certain tools you can get an idea of the right direction, but there’s no substitute for having a roof aerial adjusted by a properly equipped and experienced installer (if you live near Malvern TV aerial installation can be done by

Things You Can Try Yourself

Changing the shape of your aerial shouldn’t be one of them – if one shape worked better they’d have been standardised years ago – but aerials can be amplified for digital TV.

Some aerials have amplifiers built into them of variable quality. If yours doesn’t, either buy one that does or (usually better) buy an external signal amplifier. They come in many shapes and sizes but generally speaking are small, inexpensive pass-through boxes.

Signal amplifiers are also available for roof aerials. They’re usually fitted on the outside of your house or attached to the aerial – so again you should probably seek a professional (joining co-axial cable isn’t easy and you may end up with no signal at all). They’re easily combined with splitters so that you can share the benefits of your amplified aerial between the different rooms of your home.

Taxi Ride

When you’re a kid, a ride in a taxi cab is a super adventure and really exciting, especially if you’re off on holiday and taking a taxi to the airport or train station. It’s a luxury for many people and probably the closest us normal folk will ever get to having our own personal chauffeur. Riding in a taxi is still an exciting and interesting experience, especially for those of us who have good memories of traveling in them.

It makes me wonder about songs involving this particular form of public transportation so here’s a look at some of the songs where even rich and famous artists found subject matter in that shared experience of riding in a cab.

 Annie Christian (written by Prince): Prince declares in the chorus of this song that he seems to spend his life living in taxicabs. It seems to be a metaphor for something deep and dark that was troubling the artists and it has been said that Prince wrote this song after learning of the death of John Lennon.

Harry Chapin, ‘Taxi’: For this song, the writer came up with a story of a late-night run-in with an old flame while driving a taxi through the rain in San Francisco. It’s a classic example of the storyteller mode of songwriting, akin to Bob Dylan. For Taxi Chester, visit

Vampire Weekend, ‘Taxi Cab’: This is a classic heartbreak, break-up song and the singer here recalls a specific experience with a lost love, getting out of a taxi and seeing her wonderful life in a gated community. The words seem to portray the feeling that the relationship ended because she was a “real aristocrat” and therefore too good for him. He blames her, he blames himself, and it amounts to a very mature look at the failings of a relationship.

 Joni Mitchell, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’: This is probably one of the most famous and well-known songs featuring a taxi. ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’ sings Mitchell on this track and clearly it was mostly an environmentalist protest song. Sadly, she once revealed that the title refers to the day that a big yellow taxi arrived at her home and took her father away from her.

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Prince, ‘Lady Cab Driver’: A Prince song again, it seems he had quite a fascination with cabs. The lyrics to this one suggest that after being picked up by a lady cab driver, Prince gets involved in some romantic activity with her.

Tori Amos, ‘Taxi Ride’: Amos gets pretty deep on this track and uses the imagery of an insignificant taxi to highlight injustices in society. This story is about a friend of hers who was dying and the world’s uncaring attitude towards him, treating him like just another faceless taxi flying by. The song is a judgment on society’s attitude who don’t care for those who are dying but only for the money they leave behind.

How to create your own bathroom spa at home

For most of us, the idea of a day at the spa is very tempting. There’s the pampering, the facials and the overall relaxing. But when it comes to it, very few of us do manage a day at the spa. There’s the hassle of booking, driving there and the general lack of privacy. For this reason, we are increasingly turning to home spas. By creating a relaxing spa environment at home, you can enjoy all the benefits without any of the hassles.

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Setting the scene

It goes without saying that you’ll need to create the right atmosphere first. Any kids’ toys or other unsightly objects need to be tidied away, and you’ll want to make sure your bathroom is clean. Bringing plants in from other rooms can really help set the mood, and if you’re lucky enough to have cast iron baths at home, then you’re halfway there. Candles are also a plus, but not needed for a daytime spa. Instead, you could try heating some essential oils in a burner for the full spa feel.

Exotic spas

If you have a separate shower, try the Japanese spa technique of showering and exfoliating with a glove, before getting into to your bath. This really is a luxurious feeling, sinking into a hot bath once you’re already clean. You could also try a flower bath. Flower baths are particularly popular in exotic locations such as Thailand, where spa guests can indulge in Jasmine baths. However, for a more British feel, look out for rose petal bath packets or pick some of your own.

Sourcing your spa

Obviously, having nice bathroom furniture and fittings, or a cast iron bath like the ones at will help set the scene. However, you can also shop for home spa accessories, with a view to using your bathroom as a spa more often.

The little extras

Once you’re soaking in your lovely warm flower bath surrounded by foliage and the scent of oils, reach over and apply your homemade beauty masks. There’s really no need to buy mask products if you have fresh honey, thyme, yogurt or cucumber at home. Natural yogurt is a probiotic and good for cleansing and soothing. For a more vigorous mask, try adding coffee to an inexpensive mud or clay mask.

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To be a winner you need to be on top!

With race week fast approaching the small town of Cheltenham, there is an air of competition around us…

In the weeks to come, Cheltenham’s local bars, shops and restaurants will be looking for ways to capitalize on the extra footfall that race week brings with it each year, while the jockeys and horses will be getting ready to have their best shot at winning some prize money. Maybe you want to see how much you can take home with you after a day at the races – will you be the most successful out of all your friends?

Race week is an exciting time for all of us here in Cheltenham, and with all that competitive energy buzzing about, why not channel some of it into achieving your business goals? While the thought of winning big at the Cheltenham races is certainly appealing, obviously, any money that you put down is a complete gamble, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll win anything at all or even cover your losses. Devoting lots of time and energy to being better than your competitors however will produce much better odds of a big (not to mention tong-term) win!

So, what can be done to put your business at the top?

As you know, we live in the digital age, so even if you’re not at the top of your game in the physical world, it is possible to build up your reputation online.

One of the first things to do is set up some social media profiles. While social networking is often regarded by many as “irrelevant” to their business sector, it can be a great way to get your name out there if you don’t yet have a website, and opens up advertising opportunities that can help to increase your potential reach.

There are lots of social networking platforms to choose from nowadays, so do your research into the ones you think will be most used by your target audience. With close to 2 billion active monthly users, you can’t really go wrong with Facebook. Instagram is also on the incline at the moment and worth looking into.

If you do already have a website, for lots of people visiting it will be the first interaction they ever have with your company, so you want to make sure it gives off a good impression!

Your website should reflect everything you want potential new customers to know and remember about your business. It should also be fully mobile responsive to account for the increasingly high volumes of mobile internet usage. If you need some advice on this, talk to a local Cheltenham web designer, such as MA Design.

Once your lovely new website is up and running, you’ll want to make sure as many people see it as possible! You can obviously direct people to it using your social media profiles, or even by setting up an email marketing campaign that has links back to the site. But the best way to get more people to your website is by investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If you want to give your site a little boost over race week, or at any other time of the year, Google AdWords, a form of pay-per-click advertising, is your friend!

Under lock and key

Locks and keys are very symbolic in popular culture and have been used to express romantic sentiment and to represent our fears, security and a symbol of punishment. Here we take a look at some songs that reflect our fascination with the symbolism of locks and keys:

  • Locked Away by Robert Forster – this is a song about jealousy and was originally written by Keith Richards.
  • Lock the Locks by The Streets – the theme of this tune is about locking away the past and moving on to a better life. It is a great example of the metaphorical use of locks.
  • Lock and Key by Julia Fordham – she seems intent on locking away her emotions and locking away her memories of love so she can keep them for eternity.
  • Key to the Highway by Derek & the Dominoes – taking an opposite stance to the songs listed above, this one focuses on using a key to open something as opposed to locking something away. Keys can be seen as positive as well as negative.
  • Take these Chains from my Heart by Ray Charles – wanting to be released but is trapped in the chains of love, this Ray Charles classic takes him in a different direction from the usual R’n’B and towards a more country feel.

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  • Ball and Chain by Janis Joplin – it seems that love is holding her down. There seems to be a common thread in love songs that love weighs you down sometimes and makes you feel trapped.
  • Ball and Chain by Social Distortion – another constricted emotion here but this one relates to drug abuse and not romance. The song reflects the feeling of dragging an affliction around with you like a ball and chain.
  • The Key by Speech Debelle – a very philosophical one this as it explains that the key to life and love is compassion and understanding.
  • Where Me keys?, Where Me phone? By Mr Zip – thanks to Britain’s Got Talent we all got to experience the song (if you could call it that) written by the crazy Mr Zip himself. I guess it’s quite deep in the way that pretty much everyone will have experienced this kind of panic at some point when they’re in a rush. If you do lose your keys then you might need a Belfast Locksmith. For more information, visit
  • I’m Going to Lock my Heart and throw away the Key by Carmen McRae – quite a lengthy title this one and it’s another tune about being disappointed in love. She will be locking away those emotions.
  • Locked in a Room by Oren Lavie – imagine being in a room with nothing but walls and having a key but no door. The only way out is through a picture. Sounds like a crazy dream doesn’t it?
  • Lock and Key by Rush – this song is about violence which is refreshing in that most of the others are songs about love. It is a dark song with references to a ‘killer instinct’ that resides in all of us if we were not bound by the rules of society.

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