Labor Day: fashion then and now

September 7, 2020

Labor Day — always celebrated on the first Monday in September — is an important public holiday in the US. Honoring how industrious American workers have brought prosperity to the nation, the first Labor Day was held in 1882 when how we worked, lived and dressed was very different.

But how different were clothing styles in 1882 compared to today? To celebrate Labor Day 2018, we’re exploring the top fashion trends of both eras to see what similarities and differences exist…


Although skirts became narrower as the 1800s wore on, skirts from 1882 onwards started to widen again. Around this time, the biggest skirt trend was for the design with the accentuated ‘bustle’ — padding worn under a skirt at the top to puff the fabric out.

Using deeply folded pleats, this style accentuated the hips and became one of the era’s most attractive and sought-after looks — something we’ve seen brought back in style today by Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and Amber Rose. The trend for emphasizing the hip area didn’t last too long, but it was long enough to show that even prior to Instagram and hip-boosting, ‘body contouring’ surgery; there was a fascination for volumizing this part of the female body.

Fine silks were used to create formal going out tops and tailored skirts were made using linen or wool — fabrics that are still widely used today. There was a noticeable difference in the materials used by older and younger women too, as more mature women were often seen wearing thick velvet fabrics as opposed to thinner materials. Cotton wasn’t as commonly used as it is today either, this material was reserved for royalty or wealthy families as it was imported from abroad.


During the late 1800s, puff sleeves were very popular and this style is roaring back into trend according to Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, with Gigi Hadid, Margot Robbie and Emily Ratajkowski all rocking the look.

If you look at old photos, you’re sure to notice ladies wearing tight bodices and high-neck corsets. This was a leading trend for stylish women around 1882, partly due to a need for ladies to appear ‘covered up’ and respectable, yet still flaunting a feminine silhouette. High-collar shirts — especially with cut-out sleeves or completely bare arms — are popular today and bring the same air of sophistication to a modern-day style.


When it comes to patterns, tartan and plaid were popular largely due to the influx of Scottish immigrants to America who brought the fabric with them. We still see these prints today, largely around the autumn and winter months due to the warm color palettes.

Coats and jackets

Keeping in line with the covered-up approach to style, women were often seen in long-sleeved jackets that complemented their skirts.

Nipped in at the waist, jackets during this era were like dresses at the time, as their cinched waists showed off the female silhouette. We have similar styling today in tailored suit jackets and belted jackets; women often pair these with slim-leg trousers to show off their curves and extenuate their legs.

Bright colors were commonly used in the late 1800s, peacock blue and bold red are two hues that were especially popular. In addition to these, the 1890s are known by some as the “mauve decade” due to the invention of this color dye around this time. Nowadays, we have a wider range of clothing to choose from, but we still take inspiration from the bright hues of the 19th century if we’re looking to add a pop of color to our look.


Women still accessorized in the 1800s, bonnets in particular were popular which were secured around the chin with ribbon or lace. Although this style of headwear is long gone, hats and head pieces, such as fascinators, are still widely worn to weddings and formal events to complement an outfit.

Tight-fitting necklaces were also worn in the late 1800s, made popular by Queen Alexandra of England who wore one to hide a scar on her neck. Although they’ve changed in appearance, chokers are still a popular accessory today. As noticed by Hello magazine, this style has been spotted on the likes of Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian.

Of course, fashion trends have changed since the first Labor Day, but we still take a lot of our inspiration from the ladies of the 1800s. Could lace bonnets and knee-length swimsuits make a comeback…?




Beyond Cooking: The Secret Power of Herbs

September 7, 2020

Chances are, you’re no stranger to herbs and their place in many staple meals. Thyme or rosemary for chicken, sage in stuffing, basil for tomato dishes, there are traditional pairings of herbs and meals. But what else can herbs do, other than bring a zing to your meal?

Well, herbs have been used across the ages to treat and remedy all sorts of problems. Some have been dismissed as incorrect or superstition, but there’s plenty of natural herb-based uses that still hold up today! Join crocus bulbs supplier Suttons Seeds as we look at the benefits of herbs.


Ginseng is a popular element of Chinese medicine, featuring in remedies for all sorts of issues. With Panax ginseng the most widely studied of this species, it has been found to boost our mood, enhance our memory and increase concentration. As a natural detoxifier, it’s also said to boost our immune system and treat imbalances in our body, including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and hormones.

If you have heart problems, make sure to check with your cardiologist before using ginseng, as it has been known to cause insomnia and heart palpitations.


Rosemary has been touted to help enhance memory, according to research by Northumbria University. The main chemical constituent in the herb is 8-cineole and by simply smelling rosemary, we are said to be able to score higher on tests and function better on a daily basis.

“Rosemary is for remembrance”, or so Shakespeare wrote, and it seems like this is true in more ways than symbolism!


Echinacea has mild anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being high in flavonoids. It is said to hold immune-boosting qualities that promotes the activity of the lymphocyte cells that help eliminate viruses from the body. Promoters of the herb use it to combat an array of ailments, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Acid indigestion
  • Gum disease
  • Migraines
  • Diphtheria
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Flu
  • Tonsillitis

Echinacea was a popular treatment option in North America and Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.  It first was used as a treatment for the common cold, after a supplement maker from Switzerland believed it could prevent common colds after finding out Native American tribes in South Dakota used it for this reason.


The word ‘sage’ derives from the ‘salvere’, which is Latin for ‘to save’. And it certainly had a life-saving reputation in the Middle Ages, with many using it as a way to try to prevent the plague. However, recent research found that the herb may be able to improve our brain’s functionality and memories, especially in people who have Alzheimer’s disease as sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine — something which drops in sufferers of the disease.


Basil is a super-popular herb in the kitchen. However, the plant also has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that can halt osteoarthritis. Currently, it’s being used to combat digestive disorders and is the subject of studies looking into its anti-cancer properties. The essential oils found in basil are a good source of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. It’s also said that the oil can enhance dull-looking skin and hair when massaged into the skin, provide relief from the common cold and improve digestion.

Holy basil

This basil isn’t your average basil plant. Holy basil is considered to be a sacred herb in India and has been linked with reducing blood sugar levels. It has also been used to combat anxiety and any anxiety-related depression, with one study finding it increases certain immune cells which are found in our blood. However, as these studies have been relatively small, it’s anticipated that more research will be carried out to discover the herb’s true ‘powers’.


This Mediterranean herb has a softer taste than other mints. Its leaves carry menthol and is rich in many antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. It can help battle flatulence and hiccups, due to it relaxing your stomach muscles. Other benefits spearmint is used for includes relieving itching, dermatitis and hives when it’s used as a cream or lotion. It can also be used in aromatic therapy to help reduce head pains, fatigue and stress.


Tarragon is known to bring an appetite, with its phyto-nutrients. In its fresh form, it is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources in common herbs. Studies have found that it helps to lower blood sugar levels and compounds found in the herb can inhibit platelet activation and prevent adhesion to the blood vessel wall. This can help prevent clot formation inside blood vessels in your heart and brain, which can protect from heart attacks and strokes. In dentistry, tarragon has been used as an antiseptic for toothache complaints, while tarragon tea is thought to help cure insomnia.

You can see how herbs have more uses than just in the kitchen. Studies will continue to be carried out to firmly understand all the positive aspects of the herbs available to us. So, now is as good a time as any to head to your local supermarkets and stock up on those all-important herbs!


Food Hygiene – We All Need

September 4, 2020

Food is the basic necessity of all the human beings and it is very much essential to handle, prepare and store food correctly in order to ensure a sound health to everyone. Kids, old people and patients are particularly very much sensitive in this regard and a little bit of carelessness whatsoever may result in a chaos. Food contamination, usually caused by bacteria, viruses or other parasites, must be avoided by our collective efforts. Likewise, food preparation areas must be kept absolutely clean and hygienic all the time to ward off infection and the like.

The Role of a Worker Who Prepares Food and Drink

Such a worker is the central figure in the whole game, like Two Wests in providing quality equipment for gardens, and his role is quite vital just like that of a backbone in our body. He must understand and practice safe food handling as well as food preparation techniques to impart good health to the all attached. Unfortunately, if he lacks in any area, he must immediately seek further advice and even training.

The Legal Requirements of a Worker Who Prepares Food and Drink

Food hygiene must have the top most priority in the safety policy of every workplace. The summary of infection prevention and control principles is clearly documented in the ICS policy. Such a worker is required to apply the following good working practices all the time.

  • Scrupulous handling of all blood and other bodily fluids from all the service users irrespective of the risk of infection involved.
  • Application of all the basic hygiene practices with regular hand decontamination being practiced between contracts with all the clients.
  • Water proof dressings of the existing wounds or the skin lesions.
  • Wearing the appropriate protective clothing (disposable gloves, plastic aprons, head scarves, etc.) whenever in contact with blood or other bodily fluids, the potentially infectious mater.
  • Immediate and safe disposal of the hazardous and infectious waste as per section of the ICS health and safety policy.
  • Cleaning all blood spillages with strong detergents then and there.
  • Keeping all the workers suffering from gastroenteritis, diarrhea, vomiting, chicken pox, flu, etc. away from their duty even 48 hours after they get rid of the symptoms.
  • Adhering to the food hygiene policy in accordance with the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety Regulations 1995.

The Main Objectives of a Worker Who Prepares Food and Drink

Preventing the spread of infection and bacteria in order to secure the service users from food related illnesses and keeping the work areas clean and safe all the time should be the objectives of such a worker. Otherwise, poor food hygiene may definitely cause stomach disorders, vomiting and diarrhea leading sometimes even to death under adverse conditions.

 The Role of Personal Hygiene

While preparing food, personal hygiene must be taken under strong consideration, for the bacteria lying on your skin can contaminate food, thus causing severe infection to the users. You should take bath every day, but avoid using strong smelling perfumes, after shave lotions and creams, deodorants, etc. because they may also contaminate the food and alter its flavour. Your hair should be tied and covered and if you ever happen to touch or rub your hair or face, you must wash your hands straight away. Always keep your nails pared and wear neat and clean clothes as well.

Whenever serving or assisting a service user with hi food, wear blue gloves and apron. There is no need to handle or touch the served food items unless absolutely necessary and that, too, for the shortest amount of time possible. Never keep the prepared food lying around. Rather try to serve it at the earliest. Keep it in mind that cooked food must be reheated only once. Never try to touch the food items without the prior consent of the service user. Always pick the mugs and cups from their handles and the glasses from the mid instead of their necks. Be clear about the fact that your personal hygiene contributes a lot towards over all food hygiene.

Food Premises Must Be Ever Clean and Well-lit

Food premises must always be supportive to food hygiene. The premises must be easy to clean, well-lit and with a plenty of storage. The whole place must be clutter free to avoid dust or any other contaminant. Before you start your work, make sure that the whereabouts are perfectly clean and the utensils are well sterilized.

By the all above-said, you can judge as to how much the food hygiene is important for all of us. So be ever careful.


Business And Charity, Sharing A Symbiotic Relationship

August 26, 2020

Human beings are, in general, charitable creatures. This is reflected by key statistics; according to Charity Navigator, $410bn in charity was given in 2017, up 5.2% on the year before. Your typical charity-giver is a private citizen; however, those statistics show that businesses are taking a greater role than ever before, accounting now for 20% of all giving.

The fact is that businesses stand to gain a lot from charity, and charity can receive a boost in tandem. Taking the basic principles of charity and applying them to a business model is a challenge, but well worth completing. Doing so will of benefit to everyone.

Bottom line: the beneficiaries, and how they benefit business

While many businesses will conduct charity for many reasons, the most important and main benefactor is, of course, the target of said charity. Benefiting those disadvantaged people and the community is the primary aim of charity and that must be remembered. Even this is full of benefits for business, however. As The Balance outline in their report on charity, developing the local community through charity will help to develop connections in the future and upskill the local workforce.

Direct monetary benefits to charity

Aside from the feel-good factor of charity and the corporate responsibility it delivers, there are actual cash benefits to be had from charity. This should be of interest to any entrepreneur, especially those chasing percentage changes. Companies including Hersheys have shown how philanthropy has boosted sales significantly and, in the process, cut costs; the IRS have provided comprehensive guidance to the tax status of charitable deductions and for many businesses this provides a net revenue increase.

Can small business do it?

A common misconception is that only large corporations can afford to invest in philanthropy. In truth, even donating a small amount – within your means – is helpful. This could be a product with low production time, or even just giving the facility to host a fundraiser. The benefit is twofold; you will start making important impacts that enhance your reputation, and, as Forbes contributor Camilo Maldonado outlines, improves your own wellbeing. Even donating small amounts has been shown to enhance your feelings of health.

The benefits of business philanthropy are numerous. It benefits the community, the company bottom line, and the owner, and all of these effects work in reverse. A perfect pairing, if your small business doesn’t yet engage in charity, why not start now?

Food, Technology

Food Photography: A Growth Sector

August 22, 2020

Reports from last year suggested that 69% of millennials take photographs or videos of their food before eating — which suggests that showing images of what we’re doing when we’re doing it has grown in popularity and even importance over recent years.

The focus of Instagram is to look at and upload photos — so it’s no surprise that it’s the greatest social media platform for photography. With 800 million monthly active users, it’s undeniable that this platform is one of the biggest contributing factors to the increase in food photography around the world.

Canon lenses retailer, Clifton Cameras, has explored the advantages of social exposure with regard to companies in the catering and food industry, looking at how user-generated content can enhance profits and brand awareness. Can photography assist your business when it comes to development and growth?

Boosting variety and making your dishes attractive

High-resolution photos are essential to showing your customer why they need to enjoy your food over your competitors. Are you making the most of photography on your menus and print marketing products?

Many people, no matter which venue they choose to dine at, often opt for the same meal. By offering new and repeat customers a fresh menu featuring vivid, attractive images of food, you can boost customer retention rates, as people will be more impressed by the range on offer. Presenting your customers with a visual choice, not only helps sell the meal and make you more in profit, but also better informs you customer and encourages them to try more on the menu to boost repeat custom while helping you make use of all ingredients.

When it comes to selling food, there’s nothing that compares to a photo. Having close up images of courses or showing how meals are prepared by your chef are great ways to promote freshness, authenticity and flavour. You could also implement an Instagram widget on your website’s sidebar to display your latest posts and create a seamless user experience that connects your social activity to your home site.

Food influencers

When Mark Fidelman spoke to Modern Social Magazine, he commented that: “Influencer marketing as a practice has proved to reach far beyond the capabilities of most advertising methods.”

Reportedly, almost three-quarters of millennials feel they should help others make the right purchasing decision, while 92% trust real people over ads to help them buy. This is why using influencer marketing is so beneficial in 2018 — clearly, that’s where the trend is.

When Calsway, a Californian health-based catering company, tried to break the UK market; it used influencer marketing with great success. It employed the work of three, relevant influencers to upload food photos of Calsway products via their accounts and offer commentary on different dishes. Engagement rate in the UK for the company shot up, as a result. Seasoning company, Santa Maria, also used influencers to target the millennial demographic via enticing and action-based food photos — and the results were equally positive.

Employ the use of social influencers and let them help you spread attractive, tempting food photos of your menu. Invite them for a free meal and ask them to take pictures of each course, followed by a photo at your restaurant bar or enjoying your outdoor terrace to show off the quality of your eatery’s décor and services. This is great for enhancing engagement, brand awareness, and ultimately, sales.

Social media

Experts predict that there’ll be approximately 2.77 billion social media users by 2019. This means more people and businesses are connecting, which also means brands will have more scope to reach their audiences. But how can food photography assist? Through the use and popularity of social platforms, we’ve been able to gain greater insights to the lives of different people and cultures across the globe through a glance at our smartphones; once seen as an impossibility for many.

We now have the chance to see local dishes from all over the globe. Whether you’re sat in a restaurant, café or pub — it’s become the norm to see people taking pictures of their dishes and share them online using geotags, hashtags and more to achieve greater reach and visibility.

This is user-generated content — and businesses can make a lot of money from it. If more people are interacting with your brand across social media platforms, more people become aware of your business which could see an increase in custom.

If you try to encourage customer to snap pictures and document their time in your restaurant or café, you can advertise your business to the masses for free, as well as show how your eatery has credibility among its target audience and industry peers as an innovative and current place. One of the biggest benefits of user-generated content is that it will allow you to analyse the demographics of your audience and gain a greater insight to what type of people they are. This will enable you to tailor not only the type of food you serve to them, but the music that you play, specials that you offer and events that you host — giving people a reason to return.

You can also use social media to create hype around your brand in other ways. Why not, for example, introduce a “Picture of the Month” competition. People will upload and tag in your establishment to multiple images of their food and then you can select the best picture. Make the prize a free meal and you can bag yourself a load of free advertising for very little expense.

Don’t underestimate how much people want to get that ‘perfect shot’. Businesses must understand that it’s all about aesthetics and presentation when it comes to food photography; from unique serving boards to the interior décor of your building. If you don’t offer attractive looking surroundings, tables, artwork, and tableware to complement your delicious looking food, then this could harm the chances of a customer snapping, uploading and tagging an image.

Clearly, food photography is key to the success of a business. If you aren’t up to speed with food photography, how to implement it and its benefits, your eatery may suffer. Are you ready to introduce the above to your business?