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14 Cultural Date Ideas In Berkshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

14 Cultural Date Ideas In Berkshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

Endless countryside trails and mystical woodlands make it easy to see why the Queen calls Berkshire home. But you don’t need diamonds in your pockets for these 14 cultural date ideas.

1. Picnic by the Thames?

    From its source at the Cotswolds to the bustling City of London, the Thames River winds its way through Berkshire. Part of the 184-mile National Trail, the Thames path hugs the river’s edge and offers countless idyllic settings for a perfect afternoon picnic date.

    2. Sneak a kiss in a gypsy caravan

      Take your date to the Riverside Museum. Home to both the Screen House and the Turbine House, these former industrial buildings depict bygone days on the river, including gypsy life.

      3. Take the Long Walk to Windsor Castle

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        Get to know your date on the long walk through Windsor Great Park. Take in the royal grandeur of the world’s oldest inhabited castle from afar without paying to look inside. End your day with a stroll around a stunning lake at nearby Virginia Water.

        4. “Grandma flew Spitfires.”

          What a great conversation starter on a first date. Maidenhead Heritage Centre is the permanent home to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) exhibition, Grandma Flew Spitfires. On the doorstep, arched bridges criss-cross a river, providing a portrait setting for a cultural trip down memory lane. Local history and aviation talks are on offer throughout the year.

          5. Woo your date with poetry

            Stoke Poges churchyard was made famous by Poet, Thomas Grey’s Elegy, Written in a Country Churchyard.[1] Ironically, it also became his final resting place, alongside his mother and sister in an unmarked, unglamorous grave. Gray’s Elegy went on to be recited by adults and children alike, encompassing British culture; it’s a beautifully written memorandum to the rural working classes. You’ll surely impress your date by reciting a few lines and telling Grey’s story.

            6. Profess your love from an Iron Age hill fort

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              If you can’t decide between a hill walk or a woodland walk, why not head to quaint Bradenham Village where there’s a choice of pathways leading through beech woods, picturesque gardens and farmland. After the scenery warms your heart, when you reach the Iron Age fort where King Alfred fought off the Danes, if you’re feeling brave, ask for a second date.

              7. If you ruled the world…

                Stroll through the pretty riverside meadows at Runnymede and debate the cultural significance of the birthplace of democracy. In 1215, it was here that King John sealed the Magna Carta. Show off your best qualities and tell your date how life might be if you ruled the world.

                8. Follow in the footsteps of royalty

                  Just like Cromwell did, explore Donnington Castle and the surrounding downs and you’ll be walking in the footsteps of royalty. Built in the 14th century, the castle’s defences were key to keeping its residents safe during the English Civil War. They were built so well they are still intact today. Among its long list of notable visitors are thought to be Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

                  9. Connect over modern art

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                    After a romantic walk in the countryside, The Modern Artists Gallery near Pangbourne sets the perfect scene for connecting with your date over the talents of established and emerging artists. There’ll be no uncomfortable silences here.

                    10. Midsomer Murders trail

                      Okay, murder doesn’t usually go hand-in-hand with romance, however, fans of ITV’s Midsomer Murders will tell you that the Chilterns offer some of the prettiest rural walks in the UK. Crossing into Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, check out the locations used to shoot the series. There’s something about murder which will bring out the protector in one of you; a warm embrace is guaranteed.

                      11. Go Greek in Reading

                        Belonging to the University of Reading, The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology features the UK’s fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics. Also, it includes collections of Egyption and Pre-dynastic Roman artefacts.

                        12. Find giants in a tiny village church

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                          If you go on a date to the pint-sized village of Aldworth, you’ll discover St Mary’s Church, the resting place of the Aldworth Giants. The 7-foot stone effigies are thought to be life-sized replicas of nine members of the de la Beche family. Also in the grounds is a thousand-year-old yew tree and a pagan burial ground.

                          13. Embrace your animal instincts

                            The University of Reading is home to a fascinating collection of specimens from the animal kingdom. The Cole Museum of Zoology gives you and your date a chance to walk through evolution; you might get clucky over a dinosaur egg, get deep and meaningful about life, and without thought, grab an arm for reassurance when you spot a fossil of the world’s largest ever spider. If you’re worried about awkward silences, this quirky date idea should give you both lots to talk about. Donations of £1 are encouraged.

                            14. Get back in the saddle

                              Show your fun side and hit the bike trails at Swinley Forest. Designated a special protection area, this enchanting location will get your heart beating and bring out the child in you both. Get a real glimpse into your date’s personality: will they shy away from the challenge or show off? If you tumble, will they run to your rescue?

                              Image Source: 1. via nationaltrail.co.uk; 2. via picturesofengland.com; 3. via eventbrite.co.uk; 4. via shropshirestar.com; 5. via meticulousmick.wordpress.com; 6. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 7. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 8. via english-heritage.org.uk; 9. via stocksnap.io; 10. via isitmidsomer.com; 11. via museummutterings.wordpress.com; 12. via howardwilliamsblog.wordpress.com; 13. via notcot.com; 14. via pinkbike.com.

                              Featured photo credit: Unknown via pinkbike.com

                              Reference

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                              Last Updated on October 16, 2018

                              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                              It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                              If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                              One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                              Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                              In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                              Why you can’t sleep through the night

                              The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                              Stress

                              If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                              Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                              We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                              While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                              Eating close to bedtime

                              Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                              Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                              Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                              Medical conditions

                              In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                              The vicious sleep cycle

                              The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                              Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                              You get a bad night’s sleep
                              –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                              –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                              –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                                You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                                How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                                To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                                1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                                What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                                Here are a few suggestions:

                                • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                                • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                                • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                                • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                                • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                                2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                                What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                                • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                                • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                                • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                                • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                                3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                                Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                                Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                                Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                                Sleep better form now on

                                Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                                I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                                As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                                Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                                Reference

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