Yearly Archives: 2015

Rude date? Here’s how to handle them

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So you've gotten dressed up, you've made an effort and then your date is rude to you. How exactly do you handle it?

First dates can be disappointing at times for a number of reasons. Maybe you didn't feel the spark or the conversation wasn't as interesting as when you were talking online; these are some of the more standard first date problems.

But what if it's worse than that? What if you thought things were going to go well after getting to know someone online and then your date turns out to be quite rude?

Rudeness comes in many forms. They could make a flippant comment about something you've said that they may not realise is rude or they could be totally direct. Either can leave you a bit taken aback, especially if you are on a first or second date.

Here are some ways to deal with the situation:

Have them clarify what they mean

If a comment was quite off-the-cuff and may not have been meant in the way you received it, it may be a good idea to get them to clarify what they mean. This will give them the opportunity to realise that what they said may have been rude.

You may find that they mean it exactly how they said it, giving you a better insight into their personality and helping you to decide whether there's any point in seeing them again.

Take a break

If someone is being directly rude or putting you down for any reason, whether it's how you look, what you do or the things you like, it might be a good idea to remove yourself from the situation. 

Simply popping to the bathroom can help you to calm down and ensure you don't react in a negative way. You can make a situation much worse by being hot-headed about it, so giving yourself a chance to evaluate what your date said away from them can really help.

It can also give you the time to work out how you want to deal with the situation. You may want to bring it up with them when you leave the bathroom or you might want to wait and see if they say anything else. Once you have a clear plan of action, it is much easier to go back to your date.

Talk about it

If you really are angry enough to bring it up, it is a good idea to try and be as non-confrontational as possible. Rather than getting angry, explain that what they said made you uncomfortable, playing up the fact that you came on the date to have a good time.

If you get angry or use a negative tone, the date could deteriorate incredibly quickly. Instead, be clear about why it upset you, but let them know that you're aware it probably wasn't the result they intended. This will help to diffuse the situation while their response will tell you a lot about them.

Ideally, you don't want to put your date on the defensive as that could mean things get ugly. If you're not sure how to bring it up, this is a good time to use the bathroom trick.

Leave

If they continue to be rude or make you uncomfortable after you've brought it up with them, if might be a good idea to simply call it a day. Thank them for meeting you and explain that you don't think it's going to work out. 

If you do this, it might be a good idea to pay your half of the bill first, so as not to set them off any more. It isn't a good idea to just disappear without addressing why you don't want to continue with the date as this can lead to an awkward conversation down the line.

If you are clear in your reasons, they should hopefully be accepting of them – after all, no one wants to be on a date when the other person isn't into it. If they aren't calm and gracious about it, leave anyway; you don't want to feel threatened into staying.  

So you've gotten dressed up, you've made an effort and then your date is rude to you. How exactly do you handle it? First dates can be disappointing at times for a number of reasons. Maybe you didn't feel the

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Helena Bonham Carter’s children ‘smarter due to classical music’

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We've all heard that listening to classical music might help boost your IQ and it seems that even some celebrities have taken this to heart. Helena Bonham Carter has recently revealed that she played Mozart to her children when they were in the womb, suggesting that this has resulted in her kids being clever.

The actress told Classic FM that she playedclassical music to her little ones throughout her pregnancies in an effort to stimulate their learning as early as possible. She says it is this that has led to her children being "unbelievably clever".

She told Classic FM:  “I basically played Mozart and violin concertos again and again because it stimulated the inner ear of the unborn baby.

“And everything that they promised happened to both my children. They came out alert, unbelievably clever, and very relaxed.”

The Cinderella star has two children with director Tim Burton – Nell (seven years old) and Billy Ray (11 years old). 

It seems natural that she introduced them to classical music as early as she could as Helena is a self-confessed fan of the genre. She told the radio show that she finds the music to be genuinely relaxing, helping her through everyday life. 

Helena isn't the only person to believe that classical music could help to stimulate children's learning. The 'Mozart effect' was first referenced to in a scientific study that was published in 1993. 

The study found that teenagers performed better in reasoning tests when listening to Mozart's 1781 Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, compared to those who listened to another musical genre or were in a silent room.

While the study didn't look at the effects of the music on babies, it did suggest that if college students were to listen to Mozart for a few minutes before a test, then they tend to do better than those who do not.

This may not have been proven explicitly, but a little classical music never hurt anyone. 

We've all heard that listening to classical music might help boost your IQ and it seems that even some celebrities have taken this to heart. Helena Bonham Carter has recently revealed that she played Mozart to her children when they

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Video game composers entered into Classical FM Hall of Fame

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The music of video games has grown in popularity over the years, with more intricate compositions being created to accompany the more involved games that are being created. While video game compositions may not previously have been counted as classical music, this seems to have changed.

Several video game composers have now been inducted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, showing that the genre is just as influential as music that has long been defined as classical.

The Hall of Fame poll hasn't altered much in the 20 years that it has been running, with many classic composers remaining in the spots for a number of years. However, the great works of the genre have been shaken up a bit with the introduction of 12 composers from the video game genre. 

Coming in at number nine on the list of 300 entries is Nobuo Uematsu, composer of music for the Final Fantasy series. He managed to beat composers that have become legends, including Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

Nobuo Uematsu's compositions for the Final Fantasy series have become iconic among fans, with copies of the soundtracks often selling as fast as the games themselves.

Just missing out on the top ten is Jeremy Soule, who came in at number 11 for his musical compositions for the Elder Scrolls series. Kingdom of Hearts composer, Yoko Shimomura earned the number 30 spot, while the team that creates the music for World of Warcraft came in at number 53.

One composer managed to earn a total of three spots on the Hall of Fame poll. Grant Kirkhope has been placed at number 13 for Banjo-Kazooie, 41 for Viva Pinata and earned the spot at number 51 for Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning. The composer was also named as being the most popular composer for under 35s.  

Other video game composers entered into the list were Koji Kondo at number 84 for The Legend of Zelda, Glen Stafford at 163 for Starcraft, and Gustavo Santaolalla for The Last of Us at 193. Nobuo Uematsu appeared on the poll again at number 118 for Blue Dragon, while the Halo series composer Martin O'Donnell came in at number 244. 

As well as the Final Fantasy game series appearing on the list, the film The Spirits Within was also noted, with composer Elliot Goldenthal being honoured at number 259.

The music of video games has grown in popularity over the years, with more intricate compositions being created to accompany the more involved games that are being created. While video game compositions may not previously have been counted as classical

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How to know who to ignore online

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Online dating is a great way to meet people, whether you want a relationship or simply to broaden your friendship circle. However, just as with any form of dating, you tend to come across a few frogs before you meet a prince or princess. 

While there are many people out there who genuinely want to get to know you and make a connection, others are only interested in one thing or use online dating as way to troll people. It is best to avoid these individuals at the earliest opportunity as they will only waste your time and could leave you feeling bad about yourself and the whole process of online dating.

But how do you identify the trolls from the sincere messages? Here are a few ways to tell that a person may not have the right intentions:

It starts with a picture

You can almost guarantee that if someone starts off by sending you a picture of their body or a certain part of their anatomy, they aren't in it for a relationship. No one should send you pictures like this unless you ask them to down the line, and they definitely shouldn't be sending you to them in place of a 'hello'.

The same thing goes if they start talking to you and almost instantly ask you for an inappropriate picture. This implies that they're only after one thing and have no real interest in getting to know you.

It is a good idea to refuse to send a picture in a simple and straightforward way, going so far as to block them if they continue to pester you or start harassing you. For those that start off by sending inappropriate images, you should block them instantly to avoid any other unwanted attention. 

Topics of conversation

It isn't just photos that can be inappropriate, certain topics of conversation can also be incredibly unwelcome. 

If someone starts a conversation with something sexual or brings up the topic shortly after your conversation begins, it is probably a sign that they aren't interested in a relationship at all. This is especially the case if they get angry when you ask them to stop those types of comments.

You want to feel comfortable talking to someone, so if they bring up topics that make you feel awkward, it isn't worth continuing the conversation.

What's in a word?

It isn't just a topic of conversation that can leave you feeling uncomfortable, the language someone uses can leave you feeling like you want to end a conversation too. If someone starts insulting you, whether because you don't message them back straight away or if you won't send them a picture, it shows they aren't the person you want to be with.

A lot of people think it is okay to talk like this online as they are protected by their screen, and while they may be perfectly nice in person, you don't want to risk that they aren't. You can learn a lot about a person by how they act online.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

If someone you've spoken to a couple of times finds you on other social media platforms without you giving them your online handles or full name, this can be a bit creepy. 

The chances are you'll check up on someone once you know their name – after all, you want to check they are a real person, as well as who they say they are – but this is very different from searching for a person before you have this detail.

If you haven't told them what social media sites you are on and haven't included links to them in your profile, let alone your last name, you might want to be wary about those that seem to find you online so quickly.

Online dating is a great way to meet people, whether you want a relationship or simply to broaden your friendship circle. However, just as with any form of dating, you tend to come across a few frogs before you meet

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The cat’s meow: Classical music ‘helps calm felines’

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A previous study found that classical music could help relax dogs, but now research has also found that the music can help cats relax. In fact, it seems that violins are the instrument of choice for calming down felines.

Researchers have discovered that Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings can help to calm cats down. It was also suggested that the music may help with their recovery following veterinary procedures.

The Portuguese study saw researchers fitting earphones to 12 cats' ears to allow them to listen to music while having surgery at a vets. Two-minute bursts of pop, rock and classical music were played while the cats were undergoing neutering surgery, with scientists measuring the cats' reactions while they were anaesthetised. 

Their reaction was monitored using a heartbeat monitor, as well as respiratory measurements and tracking pupil dilation.

It was discovered that pop music – Natalie Imbruglia's Torn – was less effective at keeping the cats calm, while rock music – AC/DC's Thunderstruck – actually increased their stress levels. The classical music was the best at helping them relax.

Previous research has found that listening to music can help people to feel less stress and pain; however, this is the first time it has been shown that it could have the same effect on felines.

Dr Miguel Carriera, a veterinary surgeon at the University of Lisbon, Portugal and leader of the study, said: "After reading about the influence of music on physiological parameters in humans, I decided to design a study protocol to investigate whether music could have any physiological effects on my surgical patients…

"During consultations I have noticed, for example, that most cats like classical music, particularly George Handel compositions, and become more calm, confident and tolerant throughout the clinical evaluation."

Other studies have suggested that cats prefer classical music as a whole, citing the fact that the tempos and frequencies match purring as a probable reason.

A previous study found that classical music could help relax dogs, but now research has also found that the music can help cats relax. In fact, it seems that violins are the instrument of choice for calming down felines. Researchers

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Edinburgh Festival 2015 programme announced

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The programme for this year's Edinburgh Festival has been announced. The festival, which runs from August 7th to August 31st will see performances by more than 2,300 artists across a number of different styles.

This year will see thousands of performances from dancers, opera, theatre and classical music; offering something for everyone. Some of the highlights include a performance by Anne-Sophie Mutter of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and a performance by the Budapest Festival Orchestra of Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Other group performances include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, as well as performances by the Scottish Opera, the Scottish Chamber of Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.Valery Gergiev, as well as performances by the Scottish Opera, the Scottish Chamber of Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

A number of well-known soloists will also be featuring at the festival, with people like pianists Lang Lang and Yuja Wang due to appear, as well as percussionist Colin Currie and pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.

This is the first programme for the festival under the new director of the event, Fergus Linehan. It will begin with a free open-air event outside Usher Hall, which will feature digitally animated artwork being projected onto the front of Usher Hall while music plays.

Other performances will also be making use of digital animations, with the performance of The Magic Flute utilising the projectors alongside a live action performance.

Mr Linehan said: I believe that being in Edinburgh in August opens your mind and makes you more ambitious, more thoughtful, more generous and more connected. Edinburgh in festival season has the power to leave you changed and changed for the better."

With such an array of events and performances taking place at the festival, it really shouldn't be missed by classical music lovers. To find out more about what is happening at this year's festival, head over to the Edinburgh International Festival website for the complete programme of events.

The programme for this year's Edinburgh Festival has been announced. The festival, which runs from August 7th to August 31st will see performances by more than 2,300 artists across a number of different styles. This year will see thousands of

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5 things to avoid talking about on your first date

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Your first date is all about getting to know each other. This means you want to ensure you spend it doing something that allows you to talk and get an insight into the other person. Not only will this make your date more enjoyable, it also helps you to figure out whether you want to try for a second date.

While talking is good, there are some areas or topics you want to avoid. You'll probably cover them down the line, but it is a good idea to hold off discussing them on your first date. This will help to keep the occasion light and fun.

Here are the five top subjects you should try to avoid on your first date:

Your ex

Whether you split up ages ago or the separation is relatively new, a potential partner doesn't want to hear about it off the bat. Avoid talking about an ex or the stresses and strains of your last relationship. Instead, make the date all about the new relationship.

If your date asks you about your ex, stick to the tried and tested 'it just didn't work out'. If they press you, try explaining that you want the date to be about the two of you. 

You, you, you

Yes you may find yourself and your life fascinating, but the chances are your date won't if it's all you're talking about. Your first date needs to be about both of you getting to know each other, not you telling your life story and not letting them get a word in.

Ask questions, be selective with what information you give and be brief unless they ask for more details. Conversation should be back and forth, as this will increase your chances of another date.

Work

What you do is bound to come up in conversation and you probably have some office anecdotes that your date may find amusing; however, this doesn't mean they need to know all the ins and outs of your job.

Don't assume that they are interested in all the little aspects of what you do for a living – after all, not all jobs are interesting to everyone. Tell them what you do and explain a little bit of they prompt you to. You're more interesting than your job so make sure they are given the opportunity to see that. 

Marriage

Not only is it way too early to start talking about marriage or weddings, it is also quite personal. The chances are that if you start talking about what type of wedding you want, how many kids you'd like to have and what you want your wife/husband to be like, your date is going to get a bit freaked out.

All of this can be spoken about down the line – way down the line! – so don't bring it up at this early stage.

Similarly, if you've been married before, your date doesn't need to know all the details until later on. Hearing about a messy divorce will only serve to put them off and make the date awkward.

Politics

Have you ever heard of a romantic political debate? Didn't think so. Steer clear of this and any other topics that could result in discord and are likely to ruin the ambience you have worked to create on your date.  

At the end of the day, if you really like a person, it probably won't matter whether they support a different political party. You'll also be able to debate politics once you get to know each other without either one of you getting angry, so leave this area alone for a while.

Your first date is all about getting to know each other. This means you want to ensure you spend it doing something that allows you to talk and get an insight into the other person. Not only will this make

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Stand out from the crowd: Unusual first date ideas

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You've found your perfect match online and they've agreed to a first date, so you can breathe a sigh of relief – but not for long because the hard part isn't over just yet. You still need to decide where to go on your date.

Choosing what to do on a first date can be tricky, as you don't want to put your date off by doing something too cheesy, but at the same time you still want to show that you've made an effort to impress them.

Rather than sticking to traditional first date ideas, like going for dinner or to the cinema, why not think outside the box?

Doing something that's unusual, but still fun, will show your date how creative you are, making you stand out and be more memorable than other dates that they may have been on.

So if you want to make a unique first impression, try some of these interesting first date ideas:

Tandem bike ride

If you live close to a picturesque park and the weather on the day of your date is looking good, one idea is to go on a tandem bike ride.

Cycling in tandem with your potential partner will bring you closer together without being too full-on. It's also the perfect way to show your date your favourite beauty spot, which could lead you to share stories about why it means so much to you.

Just make sure you don't talk about yourself too much and remember to ask your date questions about the places that are special to them.

Riding in tandem is likely to make you both work up an appetite, so finish your date by laying out a picnic of freshly prepared food and drink.

Art gallery

Going to an art gallery on your first date will make for both a romantic and cultural experience.

Don't worry if you or your partner can't tell their Van Gogh's from their Picasso's because you don't have to be art buff to appreciate a good painting.

Sharing your opinions on different pieces of art will be really insightful and may show you a special side to your date that they don't usually reveal on a first meeting.

Many art galleries host special exhibitions that will make your day out all the more exciting, so it's worth looking out for specific dates and times to visit.

Life drawing

If you or your prospective partner would rather be behind a painting than stood in front of it, attending a life drawing class will make for an interesting and fun first date experience.

Although you might not get the chance to properly talk, being in close proximity and drawing your own take on the still-life model before you will certainly give you something to chat about once the class is over, and it's probably safe to say that the ice will have well and truly been broken.

Theme park

For those who love thrill and adventure, heading to a theme park on your first date is bound to be an attractive option.

The UK is home to many great theme parks, each boasting a plethora of thrill-seeking rides and activities.

Although you'll be surrounded by many others, your date is sure to bring many laughs as you ride the roller coasters together. Who knows, you might end up finding it to be romantic too, as you and your date hold hands while approaching the big swoops and drops.

You've found your perfect match online and they've agreed to a first date, so you can breathe a sigh of relief – but not for long because the hard part isn't over just yet. You still need to decide where

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Julian Lloyd Webber announced as new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire

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It has been announced that Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed as principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. Mr Lloyd Webber is set to take over from the current principal, David Saint, who is due to retire in April.

Once Mr Lloyd Webber has taken up his position, he will be leading the organisation through a number of changes, including the construction of a building at the new Birmingham City University campus. This will see a £46 million new building constructed on Birmingham's Eastside.

Plans are also in place that will see the conservatoire merging with Birmingham School of Acting at some point in 2017. Mr Lloyd Webber certainly seems to have his work cut out for him with the latest round of changes.

As part of his duties, the new principal is responsible for everyday management of the conservatoire, which includes aspects like student experience, overseeing the academic programme and external relations.

This is a great step for Mr Lloyd Webber, who announced in April 2014 that he was having to retire from performing thanks to a neck injury. While he will no longer be playing the cello professionally, this new role will allow him to pursue his interest in musical education, for which he is a strong advocate.

Mr Lloyd Webber said of the appointment: "I am honoured and thrilled to be chosen as the new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The state-of-the-art facilities being built within Birmingham City University’s superb campus will be second to none and superior to many, both throughout the UK and beyond. I am especially excited about the fantastic opportunities that will be on offer to our students."

His new position will serve to boost the classical music credentials of Birmingham, which is already home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and three concert halls that are held in high regard.

The university's vice chancellor, Cliff Allen, said: "Julian’s appointment is great news for the Conservatoire as it looks forward to moving to a superb new home, as well as for Birmingham City University and for the whole city – confirming its status in classical music education and performance.

“Julian has had an extraordinary career as a performer and recording artist, working with some of the great names in music. Just as importantly, he has shown a lifetime passion for musical education, making him the perfect appointment for Birmingham City University.”

It has been announced that Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed as principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. Mr Lloyd Webber is set to take over from the current principal, David Saint, who is due to retire in April. Once Mr Lloyd

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Picture perfect: Choosing the right image for your profile

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When it comes to your online dating profile, people's first opinion of you usually comes from your picture. While you can put your personality across in what you write on your profile, it is your profile picture that initially catches the eye.

This means you can make the right or wrong impression in an instant, either helping you find a partner or meaning you miss out on someone who could be perfect simply because of your picture. 

So how can you ensure you're making the right impression with your pic? There are a few rules to follow that will help you stand out for all the right reasons. Keep to these simple tricks and you're sure to be getting a lot more of the right attention:

Don't focus on your face

While you want the main focus of your image to be your face, your profile picture shouldn't just be your face. This can look a bit jarring and may leave people wondering why you haven't shown any of your body.

You want to frame the shot so it shows more of you, as well as your face, in a flattering way. Ensure that there is a gap between the top of your head and the edge of the image to create a well-proportioned picture.

Avoid selfies

While it may be tempting to put up your best selfie, many people view these types of images in a negative light. They tend to be over-staged so you don't look like your natural self.

You'd be much better putting up a picture that has been taken by someone else, in which you look natural and happy. This gives a better impression and will avoid any prospective partners thinking you're vain.

Smile

Even if you don't smile a lot, you should be smiling in your picture. Looking deadpan at a camera can be a bit intimidating, whereas looking happy will mean people feel invited to look at your profile.  

You're more likely to freak a prospective date out if you don't smile in your picture, so you really want to choose a happy image.

Background

There's nothing more boring than a plain background. While you may look great in your picture, if you're simply stood in front of a white wall, it isn't very inspiring and could make people pass you by.

Think about what the image background says about you. Do you like being outside, do you like art or is there a favourite place nearby? Showing something interesting in the background that doesn't detract from your image will make your profile look more vibrant.

Be bright

You can make your profile picture stand out from the crowd by ensuring you stand out. Choosing an image where you're wearing something vibrant and eye-catching will help draw people's attention to you and make it more likely that they'll click on your profile.

Of course, you don't want to wear anything too garish, but even a bright accessory can make a huge difference.

Don't edit it

Most importantly, your profile picture needs to be an accurate representation of you. This means you should use an up-to-date photo that hasn't been edited. 

Stay away from filters, photoshop and photos taken more than six months ago. This will show any dates that you have been honest on your profile and increase the likelihood that they will want to see you again.

When it comes to your online dating profile, people's first opinion of you usually comes from your picture. While you can put your personality across in what you write on your profile, it is your profile picture that initially catches

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