Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Kid? New Kit!


Written by a contributing writer

Having your first child is always an exciting and joyous time. Being a new parent brings with it loads of fresh experiences. And, of course, having a baby is something most people dream about. It’s life changing. But, it changes your life in more than just one way. And, one of the biggest changes most people feel is with their finances. Having a child is expensive. So, saving money will be your top priority. To help you out, this post will be going through four areas to help you to save as much as you possibly can on this journey.


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When you first get your baby home, you’ll, of course, need somewhere for them to sleep. Their baby carrier won’t do the job.  Babies will usually sleep in a crib because it’s generally much safer for them than a normal bed. You can spend whatever you want a crib. But, just because it's more expensive doesn't necessarily mean it's much safer. And, some of the cheaper options can be the most timeless.

Next on the list - the clothing your baby will be wearing. These sorts of items can and should be stocked up ahead of time since, often, a baby’s clothing will get ruined much faster than an adult’s. Like cribs, baby clothing can be found at all sorts of prices. It’s usually quite safe to get secondhand clothing for your baby. It’s wise to make sure that you wash used clothes before putting it onto your child, though.

Lastly, we have food; for both you and the baby. For the first several days of your baby's life, you won’t want to go to the store to get food. Instead, you will want to be able to spend as much time at home with the newborn as possible. Or spend any time not spent caring for the newborn... sleeping. Baby formula is easy to buy in bulk at the store.  But, you will also have to take the time thinking about your own food. You will be in the process of recovery. And, so, the food that you eat at this time will be critical to the results of your recovery. Always make sure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need during this time.


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Of course, a newborn baby will likely be mainly drinking either formula, breast milk, or a combination of the two. Without teeth or much control over their swallowing; it’s difficult and dangerous for a baby to eat solid food. Instead, they need a bottle (or breast) to drink from. If you are iffy about using plastic bottles, many recommend glass bottles. There are loads of options out there to help you find the best option for you. Try using reviews to find at least 5 great glass baby bottles before you decide which one to buy.

These all seem like small things. But, they can have a huge impact on your financial future with your child. It’s worth preparing and researching these items before your baby is due. And, it will help to avoid stress as you near giving birth.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

From Drab To Fab: Reinventing Your Wardrobe

Written by a contributing writer



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We all have those days when we stare at our wardrobe and just think, “urgh!” And then, there are times when you decide that you absolutely hate your style and want to reinvent yourself. Maybe trends have changed or maybe it's just time for a new look.  But sometimes, even though it's time for new clothes, money is tight and you just can’t justify spending money on them.

But that doesn't mean you are stuck in your fashion rut.  Instead of buying new clothes, why not recycle your wardrobe?


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A Lovely Bit Of Lace

When it comes to fashion, you can never ever go wrong with a bit of lace sewed onto something pre-loved. It could be a collarless shirt you want to dress up a bit- around the collar and around the sleeves, maybe even the hemline. It could be that you have a pair of old cut-off jean shorts that could be brought back to life with a little bit of lace. The world is yours to create, but trust us when we say, whatever it is you are adding lace to, it is going to look gorgeous.


Break Up The Routine

When we pick items out of our wardrobe, we tend to have an idea of what we are going to pair simply out of routine. This is where most people’s boredom with their own wardrobes comes into play. Shake things up a bit. Maybe you have some big and bold Simon G jewelry that you always pair with that little black dress of yours. Well, why not use this big and bold jewelry to bring some life to an otherwise "plain Jane" outfit. A plain white tee with baggy jeans will be totally transformed with eye-catching jewelry and high heels. Accessorizing differently is a free and easy way to  reinvent your wardrobe.


Dip It Down Low

If you’re staring at your wardrobe right now and thinking that everything you own is so boring, then you need to start dazzling yourself with a bit of dip-dying. Not only will this look big, bold, and beautiful, it's a frugal way of transforming your look. All you need is a large plastic bucket, a packet of fabric dye, some gloves, and a coat hanger. That's it. Oh, and the wardrobe garment that needs to be taken from drab to fab. The coat hanger is necessary not just for the drying process, but because you will want your garment to fall straight. How long you hold your clothing in the dye will depict the outcome. A few moments will create a light tie dye effect. Longer will create a bolder effect.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Soak Up The Rays While Your Children Play This Vacation

 Written by a contributing writer


The majority of us look forward to our summer vacations all year. We book them months in advance and think about them constantly.  For those of us with kids, things aren’t as easy. That’s not to say we don’t look forward to our time away. Going away with children in tow can be even more rewarding than going away alone. But, it does mean there are a few more considerations to make. Keeping the kids amused is crucial for ensuring you enjoy the experience. If you’re listening to them moan the whole time, you aren’t going to feel like you’ve had much of a break! Here are a few vacation options you all can enjoy. 


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CHILD-FRIENDLY HOTELS

It may be that you already have your heart set on a destination. Many of us have a travel wish list and the addition of kids isn’t enough to sway us away from the destinations on it. If that’s the case, consider how to make your chosen destination suit your kids. A perfect way around the problem is to choose a kid friendly hotel. Most holiday destinations have at least a few. Most importantly, look out for whether the hotel you’re choosing has a vacation club. Having an organized club on site means you can kick back by the pool, knowing that your children are having fun. It’s also worth reading through reviews. A holiday club isn’t going to help you if it isn’t a good one.


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CONSIDER A CRUISE

So, a cruise may not be what most parents would consider as the perfect holiday for children. You’ll be in a confined space, and they’re sure to get bored, right? Not necessarily. The good thing about a cruise is that there’s constant entertainment on board. So, your children will have plenty to do. Some cruises come complete with their own bowling alleys and cinemas. Not to mention that onboard entertainers should grab your kids' imaginations. And, there’s the bonus of having different sights to see each day! Find a cruise that suits you family's needs with a company like Bolsover Cruise Club. As entertainment is the name of the game, book a cruise with the best entertainment options. Variety is your best bet. It'll ensure your kids stay entertained for longer. Being able to do something different each day will stop anyone from getting bored!



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THEME PARK HOLIDAYS

There are few children out there who don’t enjoy a day out at a theme park. So, why not incorporate this into your vacation? The majority of large theme parks have hotels on sight. You could head somewhere like Disney Word Orlando. A park that size will keep you busy for the duration of your stay. Or, you could head to a smaller theme park and explore the surrounding areas while you’re there. The children are sure to enjoy the experience of staying in a theme park. Chances are, they won’t complain about being bored once!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cooking Cutter! Time Savers To Try

Written by a contributing writer


There is never enough time in the day, is there? If you go to work and have at least one child that’s two jobs right there! Add into the mix looking after the pets, keeping on top of the laundry, and paying the bills, and that adds up to probably 7,645 jobs! I'm exaggerating of course, but it can feel like there is so much to do in your life that finding time for the important things seems like a mammoth task. Eating healthily has gotten so much more difficult now! So what can you do to make sure that you and your family are eating healthily while also saving yourself some time! There are many hacks going around, and here are my favorites.


Batch Cooking



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An absolute life saver, batch cooking meals and splitting them up into portions before freezing them means that whenever you need a meal for the next day, take it out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost naturally. You can then put it in the microwave for a quick and easy meal or if you’ve got a meal like a lasagna you can put it back in the oven to crisp up. It doesn’t have to be just your main meals, there are healthy desserts you can make in advance and freeze. Pancakes can be made up, and separated with some wax paper and placed in the freezer. Take them out and sprinkle with your choice of topping and there you go! Check out https://www.mygreatrecipes.com/collection/pancakes/ for pancake recipes if you get tired of the same old recipe after a while! The only real downside to batch cooking is that you have to spend an entire day in the kitchen, and I mean an entire day! The kitchen will be your office from 8 in the morning until 8 at night, but in doing the math, it’s much better to spend a 12 hour day doing the equivalent of 15 meals than it is to spend 2 hours each night on one meal!


Slow Cooking!


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The great thing about getting a slow cooker, or crock pot, is that it takes the whole stress of cooking away! Just put all your ingredients in there and turn it on! Come back 5 to 7 hours later, and you’ve got a meal ready and waiting. This is great when you have to work and then pick up the kids on your way home. Plus, your home will smell great as soon as you walk through the door! People mainly choose to make soups and stews with their crock pot, but you can make wonderful meals like a chili and curries that are full of flavor.  You can cook up some rice beforehand and freeze up the portions, so you don’t have to do any preparation. You can do the same with some vegetables, like broccoli if you're on a low-carb kick. The trick to making time work for you is to find meals that will give you the opportunity to cut corners. And with meals that can be frozen or slow-cooked, you have the option of putting many vegetables in the mix so that you have a  balanced diet and great-tasting food!

Keeping Your Kids Safe On The Road

Written by a contributing writer


Kids grow up so fast these days. You just blinked and all of a sudden, they’re old enough to drive. If they’ve managed to pass their test, then a new car is a dream gift for them. The idea of them being on the road at all can be scary, but you have to let go at some point. You can’t stop them from growing up, so we have no choice but to take a deep breath and accept that our babies are no longer babies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mother them at all! If you’re fronting the cash for their car, then you get to decide what they get. Chances are they want some gas guzzling death trap to speed around town in, but you’ve got other ideas. There are plenty of cars out there that are cheap to run, and very safe to drive. If you’re planning on buying a car for your teenager, these are some of the safest ones on the market.

Chevrolet Volt


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This Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid that has incredibly low running costs. It runs on electricity but still has a gasoline engine that it can fall back on. The electric engine will stop your teenager from going too fast too easily. Electric cars are also much cheaper to insure, so you’ll be saving a bit of money there. Also, try getting your child to take defensive driving traffic school online, it will cut the cost of their insurance and help them become a safer driver. Another plus - the Volt scored very highly in crash test results during its release.


Hyundai Elantra


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The Hyundai Elantra is one of the highest rated cars on the market in terms of safety. It has a wide range of safety technology installed nd has been praised for its comfort and easy driving. It’s very reasonably priced at around $18,000, and it has great fuel consumption so your child won’t need gas money every five minutes.


Subaru Legacy


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The original version of the Subaru Legacy topped the tables in terms of safety features, and the new model is pushing the envelope even further. It is a bit more expensive, coming in at around $30,000 but it may be worth it. The fuel consumption is still fairly good and the engine has been described as underpowered. Usually, that would be a bad thing, but if you’re buying a first car for your child, then underpowered sounds appealing.



Volvo XC60


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This is the most expensive one on the list, but for good reason. It will set you back around $50,000, but if you can afford it, it’s worth it for the peace of mind. The XC60 has incredible features that can detect pedestrians or other obstacles, and apply the brakes automatically if the driver is going to hit something.


Honda Civic



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The latest Honda Civic has all of the safety features you could ask for, including airbags, four-wheel anti-lock braking, and traction control. It’s a bit more reasonably priced than some of the other cars on the list, costing around $18,000. It's also known for being low maintenance and reliable.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Preparing For Canada: The Ultimate Checklist For Your Family Adventure

Written by a contributing writer


As far as first foreign adventures are concerned, Canada is a winning option for Americans. -Visiting the neighbors from the north is cheaper and logistically easier than heading to another continent. Moreover, it’s the type of family vacation that puts you in complete control from start to finish.

Still, making the right preparations ahead of your planned journey is imperative if you want to reach maximum enjoyment. Ensure that you’re ready for the family fun by using this checklist as a guideline. You will not regret it.


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Secure the necessary documentation at the earliest stage possible. Canadian laws stipulate that visitors can only enter the country when they have a travel visa. Visit the Canada eTA site to learn more about making an application for your short visit. Those permits are used by anyone visiting for up to six months so that it will be ample for your holidaying reasons. The process can be quite time-consuming, though, so early action is advised.

Think about the journey. One of the great things about visiting Canada is that you won’t need to rely on long-haul flights. Planes and trains are an option, but many families find that driving is the best answer. It can still take a long time, but this guide should help you avoid any major issues. Meanwhile, you could always split the journey by visiting another location on the way. Either way, it’s a far more comfortable way to travel when young children are involved. Frankly, this will enhance the enjoyment for everyone.

Pack the right clothing for the part of Canada that you’re visiting. It’s a big country and the climate of one city can vary massively from another. Treating your family to new clothes for the holiday is a highlight of the pre-vacation planning. However, if you’re heading to the ski slopes, for example, it’s best to hire equipment. After all, those items will only sit in the garage until your kids have outgrown them.


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Put the comfort of your kids first. In truth, this comes naturally for most parents anyway. However, sacrificing your hair straighteners to accommodate items that the children need will make life a lot easier. Meanwhile, you should ensure that you’ve packed portable chargers and other essentials. Let’s face it; losing the ability to use those tech devices would quickly turn your little angels into demons. It’s a simplistic approach – but if the kids are happy, you’re happy too.

Research your accommodation before booking. When traveling in a party of adults, you can deal with a poor hotel service. This isn’t the case when children are involved. Safety and cleanliness are clearly top of the agenda. However, it also pays to find a family-friendly venue with great activities for the kids. After all, you won’t spend the entire vacation exploring the outside world. Sometimes, a day or two of relaxation by the pool can be just the tonic to turn a great trip into the perfect one. Check the impartial reviews, and you should be just fine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Perfectly Posh Review: Envy This, Smashing Good Pumpkin, & In a New York Minute Face Masks

*I am not a Perfectly Posh consultant.

**This post is not sponsored. I paid for these products out of my own pocket.


It's that time again! Time for another skincare review.  Where I test new products and endure the scary feelings that come with putting something new on my sensitive, acne prone skin without seeing many in-depth reviews, so you don't have to.  Did you notice the disclaimers above? Of course you did, they're a little distracting. (I know and I'm sorry!) They're at the top (instead of in their usual disclaimer space at the bottom) of the post because I wanted to make it clear that this is my honest review. I am not selling the products, I am not getting free products for doing this post, and up until last night, my consultant didn't even know I was planning to do a review of my Posh products on my blog.

To be honest, I had a really hard time finding reviews of the products that weren't done by consultants or someone who was receiving free products for review.  This is pretty common with beauty companies that sell through consultants (as opposed to in store) and it usually happens for a few reasons:  1. The consultants do such a great job explaining the product and its uses on their own blogs/YouTube channels that bloggers/vloggers feel there is no need for them to post a repetitive review (and risk not getting many views), 2. The company is fairly new or unknown and trying to get its name out there, and 3. the products aren't regularly used by "influencers."

I'm guessing number one is the reasoning behind the lack of reviews for Perfectly Posh.  It may also be because the company purposely makes it really easy for anyone wanting to try Posh to get free samples of their products. (Simply ask a consultant.) So bloggers/vloggers may be reaching out for free samples before buying products themselves.

Whatever the case is, I'm not sure why Perfectly Posh isn't getting more word of mouth from my fellow beauty bloggers.  This stuff is Ah-mazing! I'm always nervous when trying naturally based products. I know, it sounds like it should be the opposite, right?  But, in my experience, naturally based products usually mean oils (which my skin typically hates) and products that are simply less effective. Clearly, it was because I hadn't found the right brand yet.

The three products I'm reviewing today are face (and one face/body) masks. I've tried other products by Perfectly Posh that I love, but I figured I'd organize my reviews by product type for this brand. From what I've tried, I've seen that, generally, Posh's quality is on par with high-end skincare products in the $50-$100 range. But Posh's products are affordably priced. Some as low as $5.  As I mentioned above, the company makes it pretty easy to get free samples, which is nice since you can "try before you buy." They also have a rewards system similar to Sephora. Each purchase you make will earn you rewards points, except, instead of only being able to use your points for select separate "reward items," you can use your points to buy any product off of the website or even to get a few dollars off of your purchase.

So now that I've covered my review of the company in general, let's get into the products.

1. In a New York Minute - $14

This is a retired product. So, if you're interested in purchasing it, do so soon! I purchased this glycolic mask without first trying a sample because I know that glycolic acid typically works very well with my skin.  The product isn't heavily scented (thank you!), applies smoothly and easily, dries quickly, and leaves my skin feeling the smoothest it's been in a long time. There isn't anything I don't like about this mask, however, I don't plan on repurchasing it simply because I want to try Posh's new glycolic mask, Calling All Fairies Exfoliating Spun Sugar Mask ($19) because, in addition to glycolic acid, it contains Witch Hazel. Something my skin also likes (helps fight breakouts).

2. Smashing Good Pumpkin Face and Body Mask - $15

Another retired product. Why do I do this to myself?! I bought this mask without first sampling as well. Why? Because my skin was angry that I had used a full strength sunscreen on my face for a day, and had been horribly breaking out for over a week. I needed something that could treat my entire face and I didn't want to go back to getting my skin addicted to benzoyl peroxide over one day of sunscreen. This mask caught my eye because, as far as acne fighting masks go, it is very different than anything I've ever seen.  It has a ton of ingredients that are known to fight acne: witch hazel, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and kaolin clay.  Pumpkin, also in the mask, calms irritated skin. I was also impressed that coffee extract was added to this mask. Coffee is not only a miracle worker when ingested, it's an ingredient that is highly effective in brightening skin tone. And unlike many acne fighting products, this mask didn't dry out my skin. Instead, it left it lightly moisturized (as if I had applied a light gel moisturizer) and my skin was noticeably calmer and more even toned.   I'm not even half-way through my tube and I've already repurchased. I didn't want to risk the mask being sold out (and gone for good!) whenever I did eventually finish up my first tube.

3. Envy This Face Mask (Vegan) - $20

I saved my favorite for last.  Envy This is an anti-aging focused face mask.  And if you know me, you know I tend to stay away from anti-aging masks. They usually make my skin break out.  But not this one.  I tried a sample of this mask before purchasing. To be honest, I'm so nervous about any kind of anti-aging face product (especially a naturally based one), that I'm surprised I even tried the sample. But everyone in the Posh group I belong to on Facebook was raving about this mask. I had to at least give it a try. I'm glad I did. I will continue to repurchase this product until they stop making it. The fragrance is light, clean, and spa-like.  It contains caffeine, which is meant to tighten and brighten the skin. I don't know exactly what this mask does to my skin, I just know after one 5 minute use my skin is GLOWING.  It's smooth, my pores are smaller, it's lightly moisturized, it feels great, and I have a legitimate glow. Any irritation appears to me calmed and my skin doesn't get angry at me for using it. In fact, it seems to be oh-so-very happy.

Have you tried Perfectly Posh? What are your favorite Posh products? In case you couldn't tell by this long, enthusiastic review, I'm obsessed! 

To shop and for more information on Perfectly Posh click here.


As Though You Needed More To Stress About...

Written by a contributing writer


Stress. Parents know it well. Having children causes stress and worry every day. And, if you're predisposed to stress, it’ll get more intense after having kids. The calmest person could turn into a worrying wreck when children are involved. In a lot of ways, we should embrace that stress. We stress because we worry, and we worry to keep our kids safe. If we didn’t, we would be failing as parents. But, there has to be a happy medium, right? Everyone needs to unwind now and again. Otherwise, stress could tear you in two. In fact, it’s been proven to cause serious health issues. We've all heard the big risks- heart disease and an increased risk of stroke being just a couple. But, stress also puts you at risk of lesser known issues. If the biggies weren’t enough to convince you to take it easy, these might do the trick.



Picture Credit


WHERE’S YOUR HAIR?

Stress is known to play a significant role in hair loss. In extreme circumstances, it can cause conditions like alopecia and telogen effluvium. Why? Because stress sends your body haywire. It affects hormones and general body functions. You may find that your hair thins, or falls out when you’re under extreme stress. And being a parent can be pretty extreme! Hair loss is a vicious cycle. Parenting stress may cause initial loss. Stress about losing that hair will then take over and cause the problem to worsen. If you’re worried this is happening to you, there are steps you can take. It might be worth talking to a hair transplant expert or consulting with your doctor about it.

WEIGHT GAIN

Many of us think stress leads to weight loss. No one wants to eat when they’re stressing, right? This is true in some cases, but it’s not always the case. Not to mention that weight loss has health implications of its own! But, stress can actually lead to weight gain. Worse, it leads to weight gain around the abdomen, which is what most commonly causes obesity. High levels of stress can increase cortisol production, which causes a fat build up in this area.

EARLY DEATH?

Okay, this is definitely a worse case scenario, but it is something we should all be aware of. A study among caregivers under high levels of stress revealed a 63% higher death rate than in those without responsibility. That’s a significant enough amount to give any of us pause for thought. So, giving yourself some time to relax may actually save you in the long run. We all want to live a long and prosperous life for our children. Taking some time for ourselves to just breathe may do more for our health than we realize.

This post is not meant to give medical advice. Please consult a medical professional with any concerns.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Make Your Kid's Dentist Appointment Painless!

Written by a contributing writer


It can be a struggle taking your kid to any form of appointment. Whether it’s the opticians or even the doctors, it can be a challenge to get them through the door. And one of the most painful experiences for moms is when it’s time to go to the dentist. After all, kids hate everything about it; from sitting in the infamous chair to having the dentist look in their mouth. But you know how important it is that their teeth get checked. Therefore, here are some hacks for moms when it’s time for your kid to visit the dentist.


Pixabay

Talk to them about the appointment


If it’s your kid’s first time to the dentist, it’s so important to try and explain to them what will happen before you get there. Otherwise, it will be a scary experience for them if they don’t know what’s coming. If you have any good books which focus on the dentist, now is the time to show them to your child. That way, they won’t be completely dumbfounded when you get to the dentist. Or you could always take them along when it’s time for your next appointment. If they sit and watch you go through it, it might make it easier when it’s their turn. You could even combine the two so that they don’t get upset they have to do it on their own. And even if your child has gone before, it’s best to still talk about what will happen before they go. That way, it will make it a painless trip for you both!


Make sure their teeth are in good condition

A lot of people wish they could speed up their appointment up at the dentist. After all, the time sitting in the chair can drag on. And this can be one of the biggest reasons why your kid hates going to the dentist. Therefore, to ensure the appointment is as short as possible, you need to make sure their teeth are in good nick. You should be ensuring they brush their pearly whites at least twice a day. In fact, make sure you get a good toothbrush which will encourage them to brush. Also, make sure they avoid sweets and sugary drinks which can damage the enamel on your kid’s teeth. And lead them to need things like fillings in the future. If you keep your child’s teeth in good condition, the pediatric dentist won’t have to keep your child long. So it will help in ensuring your child doesn’t get distressed in the dentist chair.


Image from Pixabay


Make plans for after the appointment


You should always try and make some plans for after the dentist appointment. For example, going to visit your child’s friend, or even going to an activity center. With this in mind, your kid is more likely to focus on the fun activity rather than the appointment. That way, you can get them in and out the appointment without too much of a fuss. And if they do get upset at the dentist, remind them that in less than an hour you will be doing something much more fun!


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And make sure you tell the dentist how your kid feels. After all, a lot of experienced dentists will be trained in how to calm down kids, so the appointment is a breeze.

Jog On! Discover The Brilliant Benefits Of Running

Written by a contributing writer

If you’re keen to get fit and increase your endurance, you may be toying with the idea of taking up running. When the sun is shining, and it’s not raining cats and dogs, it’s good to get out and about and enjoy the fresh air. If you can do this, and get fit at the same time, what could be better? If you’re new to running, here are just some of the brilliant benefits your new hobby could bring you. 

Heart health


Running is one of the best forms of exercise for your cardiovascular system. Even if you only run for a short period of time each day, you can vastly reduce your risk of developing heart disease. In fact, a study published in the Journal of American Cardiology suggested that runners have a 50 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than people who never run. Running on a regular basis will reduce your resting heart rate, meaning that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood around the body. Jogging can also help to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure).



Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/heart%20health/



Healthy bones and joints

Do you struggle with aches and pains on a regular basis? If so, taking up running could prove beneficial. Studies suggest that jogging frequently helps to strengthen your bones and improve the flexibility of your joints, reducing the risk of injury and conditions like osteoarthritis.


Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/yoga-flexibility-health-female-1145682/


Increased endurance


Do you get out of breath when you’re walking up the stairs or running for a bus? If so, increasing your endurance will be hugely beneficial for your health. Increasing the intensity of your workouts or the length of your running routes will help you to build stamina. Once you get to stage where you can run long distances comfortably, you could also consider using supplements for endurance or mixing up your training to try and get the best out of your body. You may think that training for a marathon, for example, involves nothing but running. But lifting weights, doing some speed training and interval sessions, and conditioning your body by attempting activities like Pilates and yoga can also help to improve your performance.


Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/running%20race/

Improved mental health

Exercise isn’t just beneficial for your body. It can also have an incredibly positive impact on your mind. Going for a run can help you clear your mind, de-stress and manage your emotions more effectively. Most people experience a high when they’ve just completed a run, and this is because your body releases endorphins when you exercise. These are also known as happy hormones. If you’re prone to stress, you may find jogging a very useful remedy.


Image credit https://www.pexels.com/search/running/


If you’re not already a fan of running, hopefully, this article has inspired to give it a go!

Please consult a medical professional before starting a new exercise program. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fool Proof Fit Tips For Healthy Moms!

Written by a contributing writer


Pexels By: Kaboompics//Karolina


Making sure you stay a fit, healthy and active mom is a lot harder than you’d think simply because it’s often easier to order take out, put off that gym session until tomorrow, and have a day in because there are so many demands on your time!

Pexels By: Unsplash


It’s Routine

Clearing a space in your schedule for exercise is the first thing you need to get familiar with. It’s no good planning a yoga session and then realizing you’ve got a ton of ironing to do so you think it’s better to leave it until the house is sorted out. By depriving yourself of that ‘me time’ moment to look after your body, exercise and de-stress you’re making things worse not better. See your gym sessions, pilates class, and group swimming session as a social obligation, much like seeing the in-laws, that it would be rude to get out of as you’re letting yourself down.

Kids need a strong, stable routine. And so do adults! So try to start breaking life into little chunks. Exercise shouldn't be an afterthought or a chore that you get through as quickly as possible; it’s something the body needs not only to improve your health but helps you to cope with the strains of daily life.

Pexels By: Pixabay




Fit Equals Happy

As a parent you’re responsible for setting a good example for your children, teenagers especially can struggle with low self-esteem issues. Instead of bingeing on junk food to cope, you can teach them that exercise will dramatically improve their mood. Lots of moms enjoy running, as it’s their chance to get out of the house, into the fresh air, and not have to answer silly questions. While others choose yoga, swimming or even kickboxing. But the choice of activity is up to you. If you’re a bit of a gym bunny, you’ll love the idea of indoor cycling!

An exercise bike is designed to mimic the peddling you would do outdoors but, being stationary, you’re not actually going anywhere.Want to buy one of your own? Fitworks have a range of high-end in-door bikes for sale and with experience selling to gyms and health clubs, they’re the guys to talk to when looking for a quality piece of exercise equipment. Moms who exercise daily or every other day are more likely to cope better with stress, unexpected situations and emergencies than people who undertake no daily activity.


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Wake Up Early

Whatever you do, don’t hit the snooze button! An early start guarantees you’re ready for the day ahead while taking care of last minute issues. Being the first one up also gives you the opportunity to schedule a quick run or workout before it’s time to get the kids up for school. Early mornings also give you time and space to review your diary, plan what you’re going to do after work, or a spare five minutes to sit and enjoy breakfast! Instead of downing a still hot mug of coffee over the sink while keeping one eye on the clock.

Ditch The Designers: Looking Good On A Budget

Written by a contributing writer


First of all, let’s dispel a myth: it is perfectly possible to look good, even if you’re on a budget. Designer clothes may feel good, but you don’t have to wear them to look gorgeous. Here are some tips on how to look good on a budget.


Get Flawless Skin Cheaply


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Remember that it is extremely possible to make your skin look good without investing thousands in the latest products from designer beauty and skincare brands. You don’t need a foundation to be caked all over your skin to look good, particularly not this time of year. Instead, use plenty of sun protection to stop your skin from wrinkling and aging quickly, and make sure that you put a hat on your head to block out any further rays from the sun. Drink plenty of water - this will make your skin glow and look a lot brighter. Remember that your skin is the largest organ in your body - drinking plenty of water and making sure that you’re fully hydrated will plump out your skin cells and make you look much more bright and happy. Remember that a good night’s sleep will sort out any under eye puffiness much better than any extortionately priced night cream ever could - but if you do want to use a night cream, then remember you can always use old fashioned cold cream to remove makeup beforehand to save a little money.


Go For Bargains And Deals


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If you want to go for bargains then it’s time to start looking out for coupons - sites like Coupon Sherpa have plenty, like these for Kohls: https://www.couponsherpa.com/kohls/ which will help you get a good deal on any clothes that you want to get from there. Plain cotton t-shirts are often on sale - stock up on them and remember that you can customize them with fabric paint, safety pins and of course an old fashioned pair of scissors to change the neck and sleeve holes. Plain shirts can also look good tucked into jeans for a lean, sexy silhouette, or with a statement skirt and pair of sandals or ankle boots over the summer.


Ditch The Fakes


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Finally, remember that you don’t have to go for items that are carbon copies of designer ones to look good. The fake Prada bag that’s being sold on the street corner may look nice now, but in the daylight it’ll probably look a little threadbare, and there’s no point in buying fake leather when it’s only going to crack and look awful in a matter of months - if you really want something that’s designer then it’s a much better idea to save your money for the real deal, rather than splash out on a fake. Not only will the real ones last forever but they’ll also look much better. If you want something in the short term then steer away from anything trying to be fake-designer. Of course, everyone gets their ideas and inspirations from the catwalks but it’s better to go for an independent store with interesting and original designs rather than a carbon copy of the latest Balenciaga bag. Start your own trend instead of following them.

What You Don't Quite Expect About Motherhood

Written by a contributing writer.


No matter how much you might read or hear about it, nothing can really prepare you for the actual experience of motherhood. This is a realization that people come into all by themselves, as there is no other way to come to it. The truth is that having a child is full of so many countless mysteries and strange occurrences that you can never be fully prepared. But the more you know beforehand, the more likely it is that you will at least have the right kinds of response when they occur for you. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the real unexpected elements of being a mother which you might not have fully grasped yet.


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The Costs

Although you probably don’t want to think too much about the money, there is no doubt that it is going to pray on your mind at least a little. That is entirely natural; it is extremely expensive to raise a child, after all, and money plays a hugely important role in all our lives. It is unlikely that you have really taken on board just how expensive it is, however. There are so many expenses to consider that it is practically impossible to list them all, and that's why it comes as such a shock for so many parents. You can’t put them all together in a list, so when you see the money disappearing from your account, you might be surprised. But don’t worry. As long as you are sensible, you should find that the financial side of things does not take too much of a toll on your life overall, and there is no way that it will affect your newfound sense of happiness and completion.


The Research

Before you even think about having a baby, you will never find yourself researching the ins and outs of the experience. But once you are expecting, suddenly you find that you can’t help but research every last detail down to the finest point. This is both perfectly natural and actually a pretty good sign. If you are looking into it with this kind of close vision, it is likely that you are going to be a very attentive mother, so that is a definite plus. But the sheer amount of research you will carry out is likely to boggle you - from finding the best baby stroller for your kid to looking up what you can expect at each stage of their life. You can’t be too prepared, and in all likelihood you are about to become a Googling queen.




The Bond

Even though we all know about the intense bond between mother and child, you just can't fully comprehend it until you experience it for yourself. This is something that routinely blows mothers away, as it is just so indescribable. Fortunately, this is one of the better parts of motherhood, and something that you really have to look forward to. It is the kind of experience that will remind you just how worthwhile it all was all along.

Warning Signs When Buying a New Home

Written by a contributing writer


When you are looking for a new home, there are lots of different things to consider. You might have quite a specific checklist that you need to stay on top of. Being near certain schools, as well as a nice neighborhood might be near the top of the list. A large garden, driveway or a certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms could be on the list too. But you need to make sure that you aren’t just saying yes to any old house. A house is a massive investment. And you want to see a return on that investment, not just end up spending more and more on it. So if you are in the market for a new home, then here are some things to look out for, as they may end up costing you a lot more in the long term.


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Roof Problems

If there is a well-maintained roof, then you know you’ll be good for any repairs for quite a number of years. But if it is not a well put together roof, with very poor insulation or low-quality tiles and guttering, then it can lead to many (expensive) problems. So although it isn’t something that you’ll normally see during a viewing, ask the realtor or owner how old the roof is. Ask about drainage and look at the guttering when you are outside. You should also look out for signs of dry rot in and outside of the home, as this can be an indicator or drainage problems or a roof leak. So look for sagging or crumbling, as well as a certain damp smell in the home.

Termite Damage


If a home has termites and has been left untreated, then it can cause a lot of problems for you as a potential buyer. Of course, you can call in some pest control, someone like Terminix, for example. They can help to get rid of the problem. But if the damage the termites has made has gone unchecked for a while, then it can lead to more damage to your home that can’t be rectified without it costing a lot. It can also make you wonder what else the previous owners have ignored and just left. So any signs like this could mean that the house is not for you unless you want to spend a lot to sort it all out.


Plumbing Problems
 
Water is amazing, and it does give us life. However, it can also cause many problems in a potential new home, especially if there are signs of water damage. So be on the lookout for water damage by checking for stains on the walls that could be an indicator of flooding. Sagging floors can also be a good indicator that there are problems with the water system, as well as any mold or mildew on the walls. They can all indicate that there is some water leaking somewhere in the home. If caught in time it doesn’t necessarily mean it will end up costing a lot to fix. But if left unchecked, it can mean quite a lot of damage to the home. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fun Hobbies To Keep You Active

Written by a contributing writer


It can be a challenge to find time to be active in our lives. After all, when we are busy with work and family, the last thing we find a chance to fit in is exercise. But as you know, it’s so important to be active. It helps keep us healthy and well. But even though it’s so important, it can also be inconvenient or a hassle.  Many of us would rather do more relaxinghobbies like crafting when we are feeling drained. However, there are some hobbies that can keep you active while having fun at the same time. In fact, here are a few of them!

Gardening

It’s the perfect time of year to go outside in your garden. Now that the sun is out later, we can enjoy more time in our yards. And we can start doing some gardening. There are lots of benefits to gardening. For one thing, it can be a relaxing hobby. Concentrating on tending to your plants has been found to relieve stress. Also, gardening means you can work on making your yard look as beautiful as possible. Plus, gardening is an active hobby. Digging and mowing are both known to help you burn calories. In fact, an hour of gardening has been shown to burn 300 calories. And it’s not surprising as it works all of the muscle groups of the body!


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Bowling

You might have gone bowling before with your friends or significant other. And kids also love to go during the holidays. But if you enjoy bowling, it could become a regular hobby for you. A lot of people who enjoy it join a bowling club or team. And then they go every week to practice their skills. In some cases, they even take part in tournaments with their team! And while it’s a lot of fun, bowling is fantastic for keeping you active. After all, the whole process of throwing the ball works and strengthens several muscle groups. If you were to play three games, you could burn over 300 calories! Just make sure you get your own bowling shoes; you don’t want to keep borrowing shoes if you are going to go regularly. Chat to your local bowling center about groups you can join!


Image from Pixabay

Skating

You might think that skating is a kid’s sport. Many of us went ice skating and roller skating as children. But the sport is fantastic for adults who are looking for a way to stay active while having a laugh. For one thing, skating is a good source of cardio. And it’s fantastic exercise for your leg and arm muscles. If you start going on a regular basis, you will soon build and tone those muscles.


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And don’t forget about swimming. It is one of the best full body workouts  and a great way to cool off in the warm summer months. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks to Save You Time and Money

Written by a contributing writer


Nowadays, moms are spending more and more time in the kitchen. Part of it is because moms want to know what goes into their food so that their children eat healthily, and another part of it is because moms want to save money on their food expenses. Eating out on a regular basis or buying lots of takeout food eats into the food budget, and you can get much better deals by simply learning how to cook instead.


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With so many healthy food swaps, deliciously healthy alternatives that are easy to cook and plenty of children’s favorites to cook, we usually always end up with a messy kitchen afterward. Maybe our cake baking got a little messy and there’s flour everywhere, maybe oil splashed onto various surfaces during cooking, and maybe we spilled some coffee over the kitchen tops during a hectic day. Whatever happens, cleaning up can be expensive and take a really long time.

But fear not, because here are a couple of helpful cleaning hacks that will make your kitchen sparkle and also keep your wallet happy.


Replace expensive washing liquid with baking soda

Baking soda has many different uses, but it can also come in handy when you’re cleaning. It’s eco-friendly because it doesn’t contain nasty chemicals and works wonders for dirty stoves and kitchen appliances. Stop using your typical kitchen cleaners and instead, get a few extra packs or tubs of baking soda and use it to clean your kitchen. Simply sprinkle a bit over surfaces, utensils or cookware and then wash it off while scrubbing. You can even mix baking soda with water and create a cleaning spray.


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Cleaning coffee and espresso machines the easy way

We love to drink a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, but what we don’t like is when our machines get clogged with grime and stains. It’s recommended to use something like Breville espresso cleaning tablets, but if you want a quick way to clean your coffee machine before you go out and get some, then simply fill the carafe with water and squeeze a couple of lemons in and mix the juice. Next, pour it into the reservoir and allow the coffee machine to run until all of the lemon water is back into the carafe. Do this several times until your machine is clean, and you’ll have fresh, tasty coffee once again.

Clean a microwave in minutes

If you’ve ever had a microwave accident where the lid pops or you forget to put a lid on something, then you’ll know how frustrating it is to clean up the mess afterward. But it doesn't have to be! Simply fill a bowl with two cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar, adding a drop of essential oils if you want to mask the smell, and then set it on high for about five minutes. Once done, carefully open the door and let the steam out. Remove the turntable tray and then take a sponge and wipe off the dirt and grime. You’ll find that the grime comes right off due to the vinegar steam.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cheap Days Out With The Kids!

 Written by a contributing writer


When school’s out, boredom can creep in. Keeping kids entertained can be tricky at the best of times, but even more so when they’re off school for a week or two at a time during the holidays. To help combat boredom and make the most of the time you have together, arranging some fun days out is the way to go. This list will show you that things don’t have to be expensive- here are some ways you can spend time as a family but without breaking the bank!


Photo linked from Pexels

Hikes and Bike Rides

A great way to get in some exercise as well as enjoy your surroundings. You could take a picnic and make a day of it. Inexpensive and a fantastic way to bond and spend quality time together. You could have a look at local routes, or if you live in a busy city look into cheap car hire and take a drive to the country or coast. Explore forests, beaches, caves, and meadows; whatever kind of scenery you have nearby.

Museums and Galleries
Museums and galleries are fascinating places, and getting your children interested will nurture a love of history and culture. If you’re looking for something educational to do to keep their minds busy, this is a good option. Best of all, most are completely free to enter which is ideal if you’re after a budget day out. Keep an eye on the websites of your local museums, some days they might have fun, interactive exhibits and other things to do for kids to make the experience even more enjoyable.

Farms

Farms give children a chance to see and interact with different animals but can be far cheaper than things like zoos, safari parks, and sea life centers. Many give children the opportunity to handle and feed baby animals, and tours give them more information about the different creatures which is again educational.

Nature Parks and Gardens

Many nature parks and gardens are free or cheap to enter, you just pay a small fee for parking. The perfect way to spend a sunny day, strolling through the beautiful surroundings at a leisurely pace. These kinds of places often have routes you can follow, along with things like bird watching huts, picnic areas, and various activities. See what kind of things you have locally and go and check them out!

Days Out With Vouchers and Discounts
Theme parks, experience days and other exciting days out are usually expensive. However, if you keep an eye out for vouchers and discounts you might find you can take the family without spending much. Whether it’s a buy one ticket get one free, children under a certain age going free or just a percentage off deal, it could be an idea for a special day out even if you’re on a tight budget. Keep your eyes peeled for ways you can get that cost down!


What’s your favorite budget day out with the family?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Summer Of Fun And Fitness

Written by a contributing writer


It’s that time of year again, moms. Well, not quite. But, the summer season will be here before we know it. It’s time to start thinking about what you and the kids are going to be doing. Summer vacation is a long time, and you’re going to need a plan to get you through. In a world where childhood obesity is on the rise, thinking about fitness as well as fun is important. They may want to play video games day in, day out, but we all know they need more than that. Here are a few summer plans that can help you and the kids stay active.

GET THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE

This is a deceptively simple plan. The best way to keep your kids healthy is to get them out of the house. Of course, you’ll want to plan days out while you have the chance. Take them to theme parks, or to explore new towns. It’ll do them a world of good. But, understandably, most of us can't do that for the entire summer. That’s no reason to give up trying to get out for a little bit, though. It doesn't have to be something big or complicated. Something as simple as taking them for a nice walk will do the job. Research walks in your area. It’s worth taking them places they haven’t been before to avoid them getting bored. You could also come up with fun activities while you’re out. Small games, like seeing who can spot the most birds, will keep them engaged for longer. Chances are you won’t have time to take them out every day, and that’s okay. For those days, encourage them to go out in the yard and play. The good thing about all the kids being off at once is that they can entertain each other when you’re busy!


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ACTIVITIES DON’T HAVE TO STOP WHEN SCHOOL DOES

During the school year, chances are that your kids attend after-school activities. These are a fantastic way of harnessing their hobbies and encourage exercise. But, when school closes, so do those activities they usually attend. Looking for active activities outside of school is your best bet. Something like this recreational dance program will give them the chance to get a little exercise while they’re off from school. If dance doesn’t appeal, there are many sports activities they could attend. Anything that gets them moving and gives them a chance to socialize is worth doing.


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STOCK UP ON SPORTS EQUIPMENT

Another way to keep your kids active and healthy is to invest in sports equipment for the home. There are going to be days when they’re stuck at home. Having some things for them to play with in the yard will make all the difference. Stock up now and keep the treats hidden until you need them. You can buy all sorts of things for your backyard. Buy balls, soccer goals, and tennis rackets. Giving them something to play with is the best way to get them outside. It could also help if they have friends around to play with!