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Consider planting topiary trees

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

The fantastic spell of long overdue sunshine certainly brought out the best in our flowering plants.

It seemed that, for the first time this year, geraniums were blooming as they should be! That has been the experience in my garden ... I hope you have had more luck! However, some plants have exhausted themselves. I have pulled all the nemesias, lobelias and marigolds out of my pots – harsh maybe, but given the weather forecast and dire predictions of rain, I feel these plants will not recover in time for a second blooming. With many baskets, pots and borders looking a bit woebegone, many people wonder whether it is still worth putting in summer plants? Well, a quick fix if you need it, is always the geranium.

You will still get plenty of pleasure out of geraniums, busy lizzies and begonias – they will last until the first frosts. However, if you are looking for something which is long lasting and will take you through the winter, consider an alternative such as topiary trees. Lollipops are very practical, they are an easy shape to maintain and look well whether they are underplanted with seasonal plants, or whether the look is completed with decorative stones. Plants grown as lollipop trees include euonymus, bay tree, Buxus, conifers, photinias, or holly trees. Many flowering plants are also shaped into small standards, for example miniature Roses, rosemary and fuchsia.

Optimum health

Cone shaped topiary is also popular, again buxus are low maintenance and very affordable. Spiral and stepped lollipops are also interesting choices but require more maintenance to keep them in the correct shape. Buxus plants can be susceptible to blight, keep an eye out for it and spray on time with a Buxus health tonic. It is vital to keep your Buxus in optimum health, ensure it does not dry out and that it is well fed, preferably with a specialist feed. Buxus are also very prone to white fly, which causes considerable damage to plants. It is easy to spot, however, usually you will notice a white webbing, or a cloud of white particles if you brush against the plant. These particles are actually the tiny white fly. Again, they are easily killed using an appropriate spray, or even soapy water - the important thing is to catch them early.

All-purpose food

If you are hoping to keep your pots looking good until the end of autumn, make sure to keep feeding regularly. I recommend an all-purpose food rather than tomato food, which is the popular choice. An all-purpose food, such as Miracle Gro or Phostrogen, keeps the whole plant healthy from root to tip as opposed to tomato food which really only forces flowering at the expense of all else. It causes plants to push themselves to flower, creating exhaustion much sooner than is necessary. A problem this year, I think due to the beautiful weather, is caterpillars. Unfortunately, the damage is often done before you realise you’ve had visitors, but if you do see the caterpillars on time, it is easy to pick them off. Alternatively, a product such as Provado Bug Killer or the excellent organic product ‘Grazers' will kill them.

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Top tips for autumn health and fitness

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness We’ve found Activate clients usually like to refocus on their goals as summer draws to a close, so here are some tips for autumn health and fitness. Something about the season change always motivates people to create a routine that usually lasts from now until the holidays. With all […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

We’ve found Activate clients usually like to refocus on their goals as summer draws to a close, so here are some tips for autumn health and fitness.

Something about the season change always motivates people to create a routine that usually lasts from now until the holidays.

With all the change and flux over the past 18 months, your routine might be a little different this year. However, that’s no reason to avoid revisiting your goals. As always, we’re here to help. At Activate we’re challenging ourselves to do Goal Review Sessions with as many members as possible in the next six weeks.
We’d love to sit down with you to make a plan. If there are any new challenges in your life – working from home, lack of child care, etc – we can help you find ways to prioritise your health and fitness.

Here are a few simple things to keep making progress:

1. Schedule your workouts

Things are going to get busy in September so pull out your calendar and schedule your workouts. Once you have them booked, treat them like important appointments that can’t be moved. This is key to building your routine as kids go back to school and job stress increases.

2. Get fitness out of the way earlier in the day

Most people find that getting a workout in early in the day “sets them up”. This can be true, but having that non-negotiable time is vital regardless of whether its morning or evening. If you tend to get to the afternoon slump and the idea of a workout slips down the list of priorities and sometimes doesn’t happen at all, start working out before work and stop it becoming an issue!

3. Pack your gym bag the night before

This is a small thing, but it’s super effective. If you’re scrambling in the morning, the kids are crazy, and you’re running late, you might say “forget it” to fitness if you have to pack a bag. But if it’s sitting by the door, all you have to do is grab it. Better yet, put it in the car, so there’s no chance you forget it. An emergency measure: Always leave some “backup” clean workout gear and shoes in the car or at the office, so you’re covered if you ever forget the gym bag.

4. Prioritise nutrition and rest

If you’re feeling burned out, you can do wonders for your health just by eating well and getting a little extra sleep. Resist the urge to order the 10pm pizza. Get healthy meals planned and then get to bed on time – or even earlier if you’re feeling run down. If you absolutely can’t find time to work out, sleep and nutrition become even more important.

5. Get some healthy snacks

Many trips through the drive-through are caused by hunger and desperation. You can often avoid them by getting some healthy options in place so you’re prepared when hunger strikes. Maybe keep a box of low-sugar, high-protein bars at the office, or put a few healthy frozen meals on an “emergency shelf” in the freezer. You can always keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand, but a few non-perishable backups will help you double down on healthy eating when time is tight.

6. Tell your coach how you’re doing

We are here for you! If you’re having a great day, let us know. If you’re struggling, we want to know about that too because communication is critical. This will help us tailor our service to give you exactly what you need each day.

Now is the best time of year to set yourself up for solid routine as winter draws closer. If the pandemic has thought us anything, it’s that health and fitness should be an integral part of our lives.

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Universal Contour Body Wrap

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio After the busy warm summer, the kids are now back to school so you might have a little extra time for some constructive pampering. Having a body wrap can be amazing for your skin, and also for inch loss and detoxing. If you’re looking for a […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

After the busy warm summer, the kids are now back to school so you might have a little extra time for some constructive pampering.

Having a body wrap can be amazing for your skin, and also for inch loss and detoxing. If you’re looking for a treat now that you have time as you are back to a routine, this might be the thing for you. With our renowned body wrap, you will be covered in sea clay from head to toe. The clay itself contains bentonite for excellent draining properties, magnesium sulphate for stimulation and exfoliation, magnesium chloride combats stress and fluid retention, zinc oxide which is anti-inflammatory, and sodium chloride for tightening skin.

It’s hypoallergenic, not tested on animals and all natural ingredients. It can be very healing on skin suffering from psoriasis or eczema, with stretch marks or loose sagging skin from losing weight or having a baby. It’s also suitable for both men and women that are looking to kick start a weight loss programme or just a feel-good treatment.

Along with clay, we use a specific wrapping technique with bandages, to lift and tighten the skin and help to contour the body shape. Also, there are electrical straps with a faradic current stimulating blood flow to aid excretion of toxins which helps the anti-cellulite effect and detoxification process. Anyone that has ever tried to lose a few pounds or diet knows that a good detox sets you up to lose weight more efficiently. Finally, you are cocooned in a heated blanket, to help you sweat out any excess toxins. The heat of the blanket helps to open the pores and allows the active sea clay go in and absorb the toxins at a deeper level. Overall it is a very enjoyable and effective treatment.

There is a specific three-day detox to follow directly after having the wrap. For more information or to book an appointment, call Jill on 064 6632966.

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