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Guest Blogs

Knowitall.ch often invites local experts in their field to contribute to their own blogs on our site. This means not only you will benefit from the useful recommendations that we make on our News pages, but you can also profit from some of the great advice and tips that these experts have to make on their favorite subjects. Whilst each of these bloggers has been recommended to us at some point during the evolution of Know-it-all passport and  knowitall.ch, obviously we are not able to test out all the suggestions they make on their blogs, nor do we necessarily agree with all their opinions.  So if you do find one of their tips useful (or not!), do let us know!

To make these blogs more accessible to you, we have now decided to group them altogether in one section, entitled Guest Blogs, accessible from our main menu bar.  We will also post the most recent blogs on the home page of our site in the right hand column.

We are still building up this area of the site, and are looking for bloggers in a number of sections, including Your Home, Travel, and Leisure, so if you feel you have a useful contribution to make in either of these areas, and have the time to submit blog entries approximately every month, then please get in touch!

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By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

Harvest is a time of new beginnings, as the long hot summer draws to a close, the hum of traffic increases as schools return to their academic routines and the garden gives its final push of colour and splendor before the weather changes and autumn is really upon us. We have had the most spectacular summer season. The Swiss federal office of meteorology has declared 2018 the third hottest summer since records began in 1864; only 2003 and 2015 were warmer. Rainfall this year has also been record breaking, noticable by its absence, between 20-30% below average. These extreme weather conditions affect the home gardener making planting decisions more and more critical. Right plant right place the byword of Beth Chatto, the well-known British plantswoman, is now more important than ever.

How have you coped with these tricky conditions this summer? My lawn is once again dry and yellow with the soil beneath parched and dusty. I thought the pots on my terrace were large enough to cope with dry conditions but they have proven to not be big enough, note to self even larger pots for next year. Leaves are turning and falling from the trees at a surprising rate much earlier than I’m used to. The fruit on my trees are already mature which caught me a little off guard. Always adapting to changing conditions, there is never a dull moment.

On a more positive note, the roses have been truly magnificent, repeat blooming varieties giving their all for the entire summer – I don’t know how a garden can be complete without a rose. Returning from a trip a few years ago to find courgettes the size of a small dog, I refrained from planting them this year however we have enjoyed weeks of delicious fragrant cherry tomatoes with basil and more green beans than I know what to do with. My direct vegetable seed sowing efforts were less successful. I think the super hot conditions combined with sporadic watering just sunk them. Next year I’ll give in and spend time filling fiddly seed trays with compost and transplant out seedlings when they are robust enough to survive. Something I have not missed this year is slugs. For once the heat seems to have significantly impacted their numbers, let’s hope this means going into autumn there will be even fewer of these pests around to damage our plants. The box wood caterpillar however is never far off and I’ve ended up spraying against this pest already twice this summer. I keep a keen eye out for small white moths, I occasionally spray a jet of water from the hose through the small hedges to see if there are any to disturb. If I find some flying away I next take a closer look for caterpillars and their webbed cocoons. As I’ve mentioned before the best product on the market at the moment is Delfin by Andermatt Biogarten. This product is a drench which must be sprayed onto the shrubs in two parts, two to three weeks apart. Please think carefully before you plant box, while adding structure and form to the garden it now also brings significant maintenance.

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Photo by Oliver Hihn on Unsplash

By Dr. Irina Schurov, LiveRight

I am sure you have noticed that our days have been getting shorter and that we now experience far less sun light exposure. At this time of year lots of people start to undergo a form of seasonal blues, lack of energy and emotional slumps. People who are especially sensitive to such changes of environment can sometimes be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Of course, children who experience troubles with learning, concentration, sensory issues and emotional challenges will be even more susceptible to lack of day light. For example, it was shown that deficiency of sun light can potentially lead Asperger’s children to have low self-esteem, feel disappointment, isolation, mood swings and a lack of motivation. Consequently, while everyone feels the shortage of light exposure, we all tolerate and adapt to it in different ways.

From a biological perspective, as the seasons shift, our bodies experience certain biochemical changes, which are absolutely normal! Although humans aren’t as seasonal as animals and we do not hibernate in the winter, environmental changes have a clear impact on our biology!

Our master clock, located in the hypothalamus, responds to light by secreting certain hormones such as serotonin, which helps the body to feel awake, alert and satisfied. When it is dark, serotonin is converted to melatonin, making the body feel sleepy. It is for this reason that lack of day light causes hormonal imbalance, leading to many troublesome consequences, including sleep disorders, behavioral problems, hormonal imbalances and stress. To summarise; HUMANS’ ARE VERY DEPENDENT ON LIGHT!

Have you noticed that during the winter we try to compensate for our low levels of serotonin by reaching for comfort food and eating lots of carbohydrates and sweets? This gives us instant but fleeting satisfaction, which passes quickly and leaves us with long-term consequences such as elevated levels of blood glucose, extra weight, irritability and insulin imbalance.

Here is a quick check list of typical signs of SAD:
1. Depressed mood, low energy during the day
2. Anxiety or irritation, not handling stress well
3. Feeling lethargic and sleeping more than usual
4. Difficulty to concentrate and focus
5. Preferring to stay alone, less socializing
6. Craving for easy carbohydrates and sweets
7. Feeling a need for a sunlight
So, how can we prepare for this year’s winter? Here is a short list of changes you can implement into your routine, to ensure you experience a pleasant and energetic few months!

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With the discussions on a Brexit deal still on going and up in the air, many British passport holders resident in neighbouring France are speedily trying to exchange UK drivers licences and applying for French residency and the carte de séjour. How might the deal affect British citizens who have recently relocated to France or have been in France a very long time? Well, truthfully nobody knows yet. Hence why some have decided to start the administrative task of preparing for a worst case scenario and applying for various bits of French paperwork.

The drivers licence exchange between EU members states is relatively straightforward and if you are currently driving on a valid UK EU licence then you can swop it for a French EU licence. In fact, there is no obligation to do so unless you have committed a driving offense or your current EU licence is due to expire. However, to safeguard their EU driving licence and to avoid any possibility of having to sit and pass a French driving test (not an easy option), many British licence holders have now swopped their UK licence for a French one. The process can take a few months as all applicants in France (except Paris) go through the CERT EPE-PCI office in Nantes. It’s a postal application without a fee so it is essentially free-of-charge but requires passport photos, copies of various documents and two Cerfa forms to be completed. Applicants must also have been resident for at least 185 days in France at the time of the application.

A surge in demands for French residency permits has been noticed; you may hear these permits being referred to as Carte de Séjour (CdS), a physical card which hasn’t been required by passport holders of EU member states thanks to the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, and the subsequent EU directives which followed that Treaty. I personally remember going into the Préfecture in Lyon in 2000 to apply for my CdS as an EU citizen, but when I returned to France in 2010 I no longer needed one as I had the same rights to work and live as any French citizen in France, all of us being EU citizens.

British passport holders are now asking themselves, “Should I go get myself a CdS, especially if I will no longer be an EU citizen post Brexit?” Many are doing exactly that, especially those who have established their homes in France, have bought property, intend to retire in France and have children who have only ever lived in France! A point to note is: Right of permanent residence: Union citizens acquire this right after a five-year period of uninterrupted legal residence, provided that an expulsion decision has not been enforced against them. This right is no longer subject to any conditions. The same rule applies to family members who are not nationals of a Member State and who have lived with a Union citizen for five years. The right of permanent residence is lost only in the event of more than two successive years’ absence from the host Member State.+

Applications for residency should be made through the local préfectures in France.
For personal assistance with any of these matters please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The information in this blog post was up-to-date at the time of publishing 10 October 2018.

+ reference: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/factsheets/en/sheet/147/free-movement-of-persons

Bio

aislinn delmotte

Aislinn Delmotte runs Settling Here, a company which aims to provide practical help and advice to individuals, couples and families relocating to or indeed already living in the Pays de Gex, a region where some of the customs are similar to those in neighbouring Switzerland, but where many aspects of living are entirely different.

Settling Here aims to bridge the gap between France and Switzerland and provide information which is specific not only to France but to the Pays de Gex region too. Settling Here provides individual assistance to clients and runs regular information sessions, bringing along regional experts to discuss certain topics which include, for example: taxes, house purchase and selling, health care in France, driving laws: job hunting in Switzerland and cross-border issues.

Settling Here
www.settlinghere.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+33 (0)673369656

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By Robert Harris, Forth Capital

Passive investing is an investment strategy that tracks an index and focuses on increasing portfolio values with limited day-to-day management of the portfolio itself. Management costs are therefore significantly reduced. Research shows that passive investment consistently beats the returns of actively managed funds.

In this short video, Emma Morgan, Portfolio Manager at Morningstar Investment Management Europe, tells us about Forth Capital’s Next Generation Passive Investment Strategies, and the associated benefits.

Here are some quotes from Emma Morgan:

“Clear advantages of this approach are its low cost nature and the transparency that comes with passive investing. While returns are uncertain, costs are not, so minimizing charges helps to build investors’ wealth in the long term”

“These portfolios cater for investors from cautious to more adventurous and they’re investing globally in money markets, bonds and equities”

Watch the video now to find out more.

For further information on Forth Capital’s Next Generation Investment Strategies contact us on +41 22 311 1441 or click here and we can call you: https://www.forthcapital.com/about-us/contact-us/

 

Author's bio

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Robert Harris has over 25 years experience working for some of the major financial institutions in the City of London, including 12 years at Citibank where he was a Senior Banker. During his time at Citibank, Robert was responsible for global relationships with important financial institutions and instigated a number of landmark deals.

Robert is a founding partner of Forth Capital and has helped the company become the leading expat financial advisory company in Switzerland. He has been quoted in the Financial Times and numerous magazine articles.

For the www.knowitall.ch website, Robert invites various members of his team at Forth Capital to contribute blog articles on different financial topics that he thinks will be of interest to our readers.

www.forthcapital.com

Anou Bocassam SS

“Every ingredient tells a story” Inspiring Conscious Living with Amazing Anou.

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

A table chez Anou is the brainchild of architect and plant-based Chef Anou Boccasam. Her full name Annapoorna (Anou for short) translates to 'Goddess of Food' in Sanskrit and she really embodies this in her work and her raison d’être.

She created the table experience in 2014 with the desire to promote consciousness around food. Food as love, medicine, bonding, creativity, connection, freedom, art and joy. She likes to call it 'sustainability on a plate'. She uses her combined skills as an Architect, sustainability expertise, and passion for hearty and healthy home cooking to create a unique dining experience.

She has since furthered her skills in Raw Cuisine under world-renowned plant-based Chef Mathew Kenny’s Plant Lab in California and Ayurvedic foods from experts. Her plant-based menus are diverse in flavors and tastes and combines traditional cooking techniques with superfoods to give it a healthier and modern twist. I was lucky to interview her and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

How did you get to where you are today?
Serendipity! I have always believed great things happen when you allow life to happen. Life’s poetic justice has so much wisdom and more to teach than “controlled planning”. This journey of learning has lead me to create projects or ‘experiences’, as I like to call them that inspire conscious living. I share this with people through 3 segments – Live, Eat, and Give. Although seemingly different they are all deeply interconnected and only make sense and have impact when combined. I create experiences that nurture a healthy mind, body and space to achieve that perfect balance