June, 2013

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Persona project completed for Comfortable Living


Comfortable Living are an international property investment company, who recently contracted FTO to review their market and competitors, and outline key ways they can attract their very specific customers.

After extensive research, we completed a project outlining 5 key areas they can focus on to differentiate their businesses from their competitors, and ways to reach them online. This includes using social media and interactive video.

Their new site is now about to be launched, and will include a number of these suggestions. We’ve had great feedback, and wish Comfortable Living a great relaunch!

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Find us on Google+

google_plus_logoFTO has now joined the plethora of businesses using Google+ Business Pages. With Google+ reaching 90 million users in two years (it took Twitter five years), all businesses should be grabbing this internet real estate quickly. FTO can help you: build the pages; creating update processes; or, running the page for you! We will add this new service to our price list soon. We can start straight away.

Pop in for a visit – all are welcome in our circle!

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Film reviews soon to appear on Close-Up Film

close-uplogo250We are very proud to announce that we are now writing for the online film review site Close-Up Film. This is a site with a long history, having started first as a publication in 2002. In 2004 it was awarded funding from the UK Film Council as an “acknowledgement of the magazine’s importance in helping to sustain a diverse and comprehensive film community in the UK”. It has moved online and is now one of the best places to find up to the date reviews on any film or DVD released in the UK.

Receiving over 3 million hits per month, and 90,000 unique visitors, we are really pleased to be able to join the 40 professionals writing for the site.

We will post links to the reviews as the films are released.

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Is exercise an antidepressant?

As part of my blog I will be posting articles and researchI have written for other sites, as examples of my work. Below is a recent example I created for an online blog – Emma Nutrition.

Have you ever felt fatigue, melancholy, worthlessness, and hopelessness? You aren’t alone, depression seems to haunt us all, “the black dog on our shoulder.” One of the most common pieces of advice anyone who is depressed will hear – from experts or friends – is that exercise will help.

People Exercising in a parkOne of the key things found in recent studies is that no one exercise has been proved better than another. Most studies are done on animals such as rats, who have a limited exercise schedule of running or swimming. Give them a football or dumbbell and I doubt they would know what to do! All exercise produces serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, chemicals which are not produced at the right levels in those who have depression. There is also a high proportion of sufferers who have a dysfunctional hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal  axis (HPA-axis).  Putting the body under the stress of exercise helps people to cope better day to day, as it trains the HPA-axis to deal with situations where it may react too quickly.

Those people who have taken on regular exercise do, anecdotally, say it improves their ability to cope with depression. By setting targets and seeing themselves improve, it boosts their confidence and self-image. Such reward is both positive and stimulates the brain. Living healthier makes you feel in control, and not avoid mirrors.

One of the problems with recommending exercise as a single cure is that the majority of those diagnosed with depression have a medical condition that prevents traditional physical exercise. A one size fits all prescription will not suit everyone. Depression also manifests in fatigue, making the idea of putting on a pair of shorts and going running the last thing you want to do. British Summer doesn’t help inspire you to speed walk like Madonna down the local park! Do as little or as much that makes you feel good, set targets – walk a little further every week, find a dancing class (maybe not at Pineapple Studios), or get a keep fit DVD or interactive game you can do without having to go out in lycra.

You did not need to fear the inevitable pharmaceutical intervention – there are a number of natural remedies you can try alongside your exercise to help manage your depression.  One of the key things from all of these studies is that exercise alone will not work. There are a range of natural remedies that can help which include:

  1. Vitamin D – whether from sunshine or foods such as pork, eggs, dairy products or fish. Combine both with a BBQ.
  2. Omega-3, found in fish oil and many strange butter products.
  3. St John’s Wort –helps to improve memory and concentration, and has a natural antiviral property.
  4. Eat your greens – high in folic acid.
  5. Schisandra – a herb known as the “Chinese Prozac”.
  6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol – both are known as a depression stimuli.
  7. Laugh – it really is the best medicine. There are never too many grumpy cat videos.
  8. Be sociable – misery may love company, but depression needs distraction!
  9. Yoga, meditation, bubble baths – relax the body and the brain.
  10. Sleep – make sure your bedroom is comfortable and relaxing.



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