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Warm and calming pastels are back in our homes this winter

We may be battling our way through the midst of winter, but the trend of decorating our homes in soothing pastels heralds a fresh start for spring.

The new collections are positively bursting with the gorgeous, sugary palette of pinks, blues, yellow and green.

Until recently, pastels were associated with nurseries and a vintage 1950s look but, when used in a contemporary way, they can be incredibly fashionable.

An array of pastel hues in a sitting room. When used in a modern way, the colours can be incredibly fashionable

An array of pastel hues in a sitting room. When used in a contemporary way, tones such as lilac, pale blue and pink can be incredibly fashionable

‘Pastel colours are wonderful because they tend to work so well with each other. A pastel pink sits comfortably next to a pastel blue or green in a way that primary colours don’t,’ says interior designer Brandon Schubert.

Looking for inspiration? Head to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has a new exhibition entitled Fabergé In London.

Here the gorgeous works of master Russian goldsmith Carl Fabergé are shown off in all their glory. 

His elegant eggs created for the Russian imperial family between 1885 and 1916 are excellent inspiration for the colour palette of the moment.

‘Bright and clear shades of colour, including pastels, induce a feeling of happiness and playfulness,’ says Schubert. 

Pretty in pink: There are lots of ways to introduce pastels into a home - whether through pieces of furniture, wallpaper or artfully-placed accessories

Pretty in pink: There are lots of ways to introduce pastels into a home – whether through pieces of furniture, wallpaper or artfully-placed accessories

‘That’s what the Fabergé creations were all about; they were colourful works of art designed to delight and surprise. 

‘That feeling starts with the colours of the creations themselves and then goes on to the wonderful craftsmanship.’

There are many ways to introduce pastels into your home, whether it’s through artfully placed accessories or in a more dramatic way with large pieces of furniture, wallpaper or paint.

Wallpapers inspired by Marie Antoinette 

Manuel Canovas’s new Anastasia wallpaper at Colefax & Fowler couldn’t be more timely, with its patterned Fabergé eggs depicted in wonderful citron, powder blues, pistachio green and raspberry colours.

The designs refer ‘to the splendour of Marie Antoinette’s décor’, according to Manuel Canovas’s design director Olivia Deruelle, adding that the wallpaper would be ‘perfectly complemented by satins and sartorial stripes’ (£158 per roll).

Sophisticated: The London Basin Company¿s minty green Sophia basin costs £849

Sophisticated: The London Basin Company’s minty green Sophia basin costs £849

Others look to the ceiling when introducing pastels. Jena Quinn, co-founder of Studio QD, says: ‘Painted or papered ceilings provide a stronger subtle dash [of pastels], our preferred shade being blue and papers of playful geometrics.’

She adds: ‘Equally, walls of certain pale hues of blue and rose, such as Farrow & Ball Light Blue or Dead Salmon, can lift a space adding warmth and interest.’

Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball’s international brand ambassador, recommends Potted Shrimp, which he described as ‘a pale pink with a lot of yellow in the base, that makes it feel really familiar and comforting’ (from £52).

If you’re looking to add pastels to a bedroom, try de Gournay’s Butterflies wallpaper in Icarus design colours. It looks gorgeous layered with pink and white (from £318 per metre).

Pastel furniture freshens up a room

Be bold with furniture — ‘with neutral walls you might choose a pink sofa to sit next to a pale blue pastel armchair in front of bright-green curtains,’ says Brandon Schubert.

The Florence Sofa in Pale Rose from Designers Guild is an interesting mauve/pink with sleek lines (£940). 

Atkin and Thyme’s Calvin armchair in pink velvet and linen, meanwhile, has satisfying curves that add a soothing touch to a bedroom or living room (£499).

Using pastels in the bathroom and kitchen freshens things up — Eames shell chairs in pale blue give some design edge and are the antitheses of granny chic (£410, John Lewis).

The London Basin Company’s minty green Sophia basin shows how pastels can be introduced into your home in the most sophisticated way. 

The porcelain circular basin decorated in a bamboo pattern is perfection (£849).

Easy extras add a pop of colour

Pastel pendant lights are a whimsical addition. The Soho Lighting Company has a wide selection of hand-painted lights in a variety of shapes in duck egg blue (from £79).

Coloured pots and vases placed together in clusters or on their own are a clever way to use pastels. 

Bernadette’s light pink and cream handcrafted floral stoneware vase by ceramist Mervyn Gers adds a pop of ice-cream shades (£315, Matches Fashion).

The sky may be grey outside but why not get some inspiration from the charming colours so loved by Marie Antoinette and Carl Fabergé?

Fabergé In London: Romance to Revolution is on at The V&A until May 8. Tickets £20.

Savings of the week! Floor lamps 

A floor lamp can banish winter gloom and make a room look larger, while adding instant chic. 

If you want to carry out a makeover with the minimum of effort, this piece will do the trick.

The Tripod lamp, pictured left, from B&M has been reduced from £20 to £16; its styling would suit a contemporary décor that needs more colour: the shade is a zingy yellow. 

Heal¿s curved gold-coloured Mini Floor Lamp, pictured, is down by 20 per cent from £369 to £295

Heal’s curved gold-coloured Mini Floor Lamp, pictured, is down by 20 per cent from £369 to £295

If your tastes are more formal, B&M’s Duchess crystal lamp in silver could be for you. Its price is £20, down from £34.99, a 43 per cent cut.

There is a range of mid-priced lamps at They include the Chicago in copper and gold, down by 25 per cent from £199 to £149. It resembles the lighting on a film set in the Hollywood golden age.

The Antler lamp from Argos reduced by 25 per cent from £80 to £60 is more quirky choice with a stand sprouting antlers. 

Heal’s sale is a rich source of luxury for less. The curved gold-coloured Mini Floor Lamp, pictured, is down by 20 per cent from £369 to £295.

Despite the name, the lamp is 197cm or 6ft 4in high.

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
YouTube Channel

Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

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Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

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— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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Want to sell your home over Christmas? Here’s why you should put the decorations AWAY

Across the country, a warm glow is beginning to appear — but might it be from Yuletide decorations destroying the chances of selling your home?

For some people the festive season involves inflatable Santas clinging to windowsills like burglars. Others prefer illuminated reindeers in the front garden.

But if you’re among the 100,000 households trying to sell this Christmas, the advice from many experts is to leave the lights in the garage and the plastic snowman in the loft.

Keep them in the garage: Over-the top decorations

Keep them in the garage: Over-the top decorations

Vendors must avoid anything that handicaps a sale in today’s difficult market.

Rightmove says the average asking price of homes across the UK coming to the market in November is 1.7 per cent down on October, while posh estate agency Savills reports some London prices are now 19 per cent below their peak.

And as buyers struggle to afford mortgages, the number of house sales nationwide this year is expected to be one million, according to Zoopla — or 20 per cent lower than usual.

The Your Move chain of estate agents is clear that decorations should be off the agenda, adding: ‘The key to potential buyers falling in love with a property is them being able to imagine themselves living there.

‘Piles of clutter and decorations make it harder. So make it easier for them by keeping spaces as open as possible.’

The key to potential buyers falling in love with a property is them being able to imagine themselves living there. Piles of clutter and decorations make it harder

The public seems to agree. A survey by GetAgent, a comparison site on which the public can find favourably reviewed estate agents, shows 24 per cent of would-be buyers say they’re deterred from viewing a home with excessive outdoor Christmas lights.

Colby Short, chief executive of GetAgent, advises: ‘Selling at Christmas is no different to any time of year and you have to remember that not everyone will share your tastes, or sense of humour.

‘A blank canvas works best when it comes to attracting potential buyers and if your home is covered in Christmas decorations, it can be hard for them to get a true sense of the property.’

Tasteful: Forget inflatable Santas and pick refined, calming colours if you're hoping to sell a property this Christmas

Tasteful: Forget inflatable Santas and pick refined, calming colours if you’re hoping to sell a property this Christmas

Tips for selling a home over Christmas

GetAgent recommends sellers stick to white lights and not coloured, flashing ones visible on a ‘walk-by’ initial viewing, and no gaudy exterior decorations.

Instead it suggests a festive twist on the smell of freshly baked bread — vendors should use Christmas scents such as cinnamon and mulled wine.

Not every agent is against decorations. Some, like Alex Oliver of buying service Prime Purchase, says they are inevitable and most buyers grin and bear them.

Nonetheless he tells sellers that if they must have decorations, they should follow two golden rules.

Firstly, don’t get a home photographed by agents at this time of year because listings on Rightmove with decorations in the photographs will make a home feel stale in the New Year.

Secondly, take the decorations down soon after the festivities to avoid giving the wrong message.

‘If the decorations were still up I’d be concerned there may be other issues that the vendor has not kept on top of such as maintenance or permissions for any works they may have had done,’ Oliver adds.

But many experts say listing your house now and having it on sale over the festive season has unexpected advantages.

That’s because Christmas is when many families have time to make plans for major events such as house-moving and, sadly, many couples agree to split up.

Agents say anyone preferring to view homes now instead of relaxing is likely to be a serious buyer, while there will also be significantly fewer homes on the market too, so you will face less competition.

Twelve months ago there were a jaw-dropping 51 million visits to Rightmove between Boxing Day and the first working day of 2023.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s data director, says: ‘Traffic to our website more than doubles between Christmas and the New Year, those sellers who get a head start now and have their home ready to launch can benefit.’

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The Implications Of Controlling High-Level Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

By Clint Bailey | ‘Voice of EU’

The notion of artificial intelligence surpassing humanity has long been a topic of discussion, and recent advancements in programs have reignited concerns. But can we truly control super-intelligence? A closer examination by scientists reveals that the answer is highly unlikely.

Unraveling The Challenge:

Controlling a super-intelligence that surpasses human comprehension necessitates the ability to simulate and analyze its behavior. However, if we are unable to comprehend it, creating such a simulation becomes an impossible task. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to establish rules, such as “cause no harm to humans,” as we cannot anticipate the scenarios that an AI might generate.

The Complexity Of Super-Intelligence:

Super-intelligence presents a distinct challenge compared to conventional robot ethics. Its multifaceted nature allows it to mobilize diverse resources, potentially pursuing objectives that are incomprehensible and uncontrollable to humans. This fundamental disparity further complicates the task of governing and setting limits on super-intelligent systems.

Drawing Insights From The Halting Problem:

Alan Turing’s halting problem, introduced in 1936, provides insights into the limitations of predicting program outcomes. While we can determine halting behavior for specific programs, there is no universal method capable of evaluating every potential program ever written. In the realm of artificial super-intelligence, which could theoretically store all possible computer programs in its memory simultaneously, the challenge of containment intensifies.

The Uncontainable Dilemma:

When attempting to prevent super-intelligence from causing harm, the unpredictability of outcomes poses a significant challenge. Determining whether a program will reach a conclusion or continue indefinitely becomes mathematically impossible for all scenarios. This renders traditional containment algorithms unusable and raises concerns about the reliability of teaching AI ethics to prevent catastrophic consequences.

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The Limitation Conundrum:

An alternative approach suggested by some is to limit the capabilities of super-intelligence, such as restricting its access to certain parts of the internet or networks. However, this raises questions about the purpose of creating super-intelligence if its potential is artificially curtailed. The argument arises: if we do not intend to use it to tackle challenges beyond human capabilities, why create it in the first place?


Urgent Reflection – The Direction Of Artificial Intelligence:

As we push forward with artificial intelligence, we must confront the possibility of a super-intelligence beyond our control. Its incomprehensibility makes it difficult to discern its arrival, emphasizing the need for critical introspection regarding the path we are treading. Prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have even called for a pause in AI experiments to evaluate safety and potential risks to society.

The potential consequences of controlling high-level artificial super-intelligence are far-reaching and demand meticulous consideration. As we strive for progress, we must strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of technology and ensuring responsible development. Only through thorough exploration and understanding can we ensure that AI systems benefit humanity while effectively managing their risks.

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By Clint Bailey, Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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