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Monday, August 31, 2020

How to Build a Great Small Business Team without the Stress

Building a business team isn’t all about finding the right people for every role. It’s about relieving some degree of responsibility, so you can focus on the other key areas of your business with confidence. Recruiting, hiring and even training employees can be expensive to say the least.  Studies have indicated that the cost of replacing someone due to a bad hiring decision can be equivalent to 6 months’ worth of salary for that particular employee. If you are a small business then you cannot afford this kind of work because after all, you’re busy. If you want to avoid all of that stress, then this is the guide for you.

Recruiting Good People
The first step that you need to take in building a business team would be for you to try and recruit the right people. You need to make sure that you have a very detailed job description and you also need to be outlining everything that you ideally want that person to do. When you have done this, you can then outline all of the essential skills that person needs so that they can be successful. If you want to reward your new hire and welcome them into the company, why not explore corporate food gifts?

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Don’t Rush
Only ever bring people on board when you absolutely need to. Never fill a role that doesn’t need to be filled and also make sure that you never settle either. This is vital if you want your hiring process to be successful. If you want to make sure that you are getting the best result out of the process in general, then it may be worth going through a recruitment agency. When you do, you can count on them to hire the right people for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
 
Remote Candidates
This is quite possibly the best way for you to add new candidates to your team. You will then have access to an even bigger pool of talent, and you may even find that you are able to save some money as well. After all, when you hire a candidate on a part-time basis, you can feel confident knowing that they are going to have the skills you need and you won’t have to worry about paying them sick pay or even vacation time. If you have a full-time employee then you will need to pay their tax as well, so keep that in mind.
 
Talk to your Network
Believe it or not, your network is the best place for you to try and find recommendations from people who you trust. Just because someone recommended an employee, doesn’t mean that you can then forego all of the right checks. In fact, you need to do the same checks you normally would, so you can make sure that they are the ideal fit for your company. Little things like this can really work in your favour and you would be surprised at how easy it is for you to try and get the best result out of your hiring process in general.
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Fall Makeup Trends That You Have to Try

The end of summer is near, and fall brings a whole batch of new makeup trends for you to try. When you consider high-fashion makeup looks, you may think of extravagance, and looks that are hard to replicate at home. The great news is that the trends for this fall are super easy to achieve with your at-home makeup kit. The looks are creative, but understated, meaning that they are very wearable in daily life. Here are some of the top makeup trends this fall.

Image Source: Pexels

No foundation
The runways are full of models sporting bare faces this year, with a minimalistic look that is natural and fresh. Instead of using foundation, the focus is on using concealer where necessary and some highlight to give that dewy look, without covering up the skin’s natural pigments and features. Women everywhere will be thankful for this trend, as it is low maintenance, allows the skin to breathe, and celebrates natural complexions.
 
Winged eyeliner
Winged eyeliner is back, and everyone is loving it. Winged eyeliner is a trend that can’t stay away in the makeup and fashion world. It helps to elongate the eye, and give some extra visual interest, while not overwhelming the face. It’s relatively easy to do, especially when using a liquid or gel eyeliner, though you can achieve it with a pencil.

A good quality liquid eyeliner will help with the precision and longevity of this look, and you can purchase one with an Ulta coupon to get the look for less. Many different versions of this look have popped up this year, from thicker, smudged wings to sharp and thin ones. You can make this look your own by choosing a wing that most suits your style.

Gold
Fall is all about gold this year, with golden eye makeup being used by many designers to create a glam and luxurious look. Adding a bit of shine and sparkle will brighten up your face without being too extreme. You can simply put a bit of gold shadow in the center of your eyelid to make it pop or go bold with a golden-winged look. Many makeup artists also add gold to the center of the eye, as a unique twist to the classic highlight.
 
Grunge
The 90s are back with grungy, gothic-inspired makeup looks coming back on trend. Dark and smudgy eye makeup, with no fixed or clean lines, is cool and edgy this fall. The smoky eye is easy for anyone to achieve using the eyeshadows they currently have on hand since there is no right or wrong way to apply it.

 You can have fun with this look and incorporate different colors into your eye makeup, just make sure it’s messy! Pair a smudged out smoky eye with a blood-red lipstick for a gothic, vampy look that will make you stand out this fall. While it may not be great for day time, it’s perfect for a night out.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

St. Louis Cathedral: French Quarter, New Orleans

Not Sponsored: Before I speak about St. Louis Cathedral, I would like to give you a little background information about myself. I'm Catholic. I went to Mater Dolorosa School and Church (I talked about it here in my 2013 blog post ; their website) here in New Orleans, Louisiana. My mom was married there. I was christened there. My First Communion was there. It closed when I was in seventh grade, so I transferred to St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School and Church for eighth grade. It was at St. Francis of Assissi, that I had the sacrament of Confirmation. I then went on to graduate from Ursuline High School. I attended a lot of church when I was young. We would have mass every Wednesday at school, my mom would take me to 4pm Saturday Mass and during the Lenten season we would have The Stations of the Cross every Friday. On top of that we had religion classes and confession during the school week. I was a devout and faithful Catholic. I have to be honest. I haven't been to church in many years. Don't get me wrong. I pray. I help others. My faith is strong. I just lost a lot of trust in the Catholic Church over the years, both internationally, nationally and locally. There were so many sexual abuse cases (and here) systemically throughout the Catholic Church. So many cover-ups. You still hear about cases. It's disheartening. I knew someone who was an altar boy and he is so messed up now, I have to wonder if something happened to him. You can't put all priests in the same basket (as with anyone or anything). There are good and bad apples everywhere. The priests were very nice and helpful when I grew up. I didn't care for the last priest at our church. I never got a good feeling when I looked at him. So I stopped going. There seems to be a different priest now, so I think I'm going to start tuning into the online masses (covid-19) and when things settle back start going to church again. No matter what faith you are, know there are good and bad everywhere. Don't stop praying, believing or have lack of faith. 

St. Louis Cathedral is a gorgeous Catholic Church located in the French Quarter area of New Orleans. People have worshiped there since 1727. Let me give you some highlights. French Engineer, Adrien de Pauger, who designed the streets of the Vieux Carre (French Quarter - He named both Bourbon and Royal Street), drew the original map of New Orleans and also designated the site for the church. A fire destroyed it in 1788. Don Andres Almonester y Roxas (a little bit more about him later) financed the rebuilding of the church. In 1819, a New Orleans clock-maker, Jean Delachaux, purchased a clock and bell for the church from Paris. In 1825, Francisco Zapari (an Italian painter) was employed at a fee of $1855 to decorate the interior of the church and its three alters. In 1829 and organ was imported for the church. In 1844, Baroness Pontalba (blog post), presented a project to construct a two-story arcaded facade in front of the old buildings bordering both sides of the Place d'Armes (French name for Jackson Square). In 1849, there was reconstruction of the church, but this led to a collapse of the bell tower and clock. Damage was as high as $20,000. The architect J. N. B. De Pouilly ( He was a French Architect who also designed St. Augustine Church and tombs in New Orleans Cemeteries) and former workers were dismissed from the project. A new architect was employed and it was completed in 1851. I find all of this fascinating, because as a child I loved looking at the architecture of my church (both inside and out). I thought it was magnificent and was enamored by the details. I constantly thought how something so magnificent was built without modern technology. I really admire architects and engineers. If I was stronger in math, I would've been one (I settled for science). How they create things fascinate me. They're detailed oriented and for the most part perfectionists. I was disheartened when The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France burned. They're still stabilizing the structure. Reconstruction should begin in 2021 and there are hopes of completion in 2024 for the Summer Olympics in Paris (source). I would love to go to the Summer Olympics in Paris :) I would also like to go to Paris, Disneyland. 

French Quarter Tour

Cafe Du Monde | Jackson Square | St Louis Cathedral

The Cabildo | The Presbytre

 

I've always found the outside of St. Louis Cathedral to be so beautiful and regal. It sits right behind Jackson Square. I love the tranquil fountain within the gates of Jackson Square. On the very front of the church, are the United States Flag, Louisiana State Flag and Flag of Vatican City. There's a statue of Saint Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II came to New Orleans and worshiped at St. Louis Cathedral on September 12, 1987. He was made a saint in 2014 .

The beauty of St. Louis Cathedral continues inside. As you enter, your eyes will wander everywhere. From the pews to the flags, church altar, statues of saints, flooring, stained glass windows, breathtaking chandeliers and majestic artwork on the ceiling ... there is so much beauty inside. Did you know the main body of a cathedral is called the Nave? Nave is Latin for ship. A cathedral is symbolically a ship bearing the people of God through the storms of life (source). There's a song called Storm (Craig Armstrong & AR Rahman) that I absolutely adore (also here ->) from the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It's such a powerful song. We all have our own personal storms. In 2020, we surely have had our share. Whenever I go through a storm, this song gives me strength. My faith is also strong, coupled with prayer.

 
The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Louis IX (King of France). His name can be found throughout. He was a devout Catholic. He was known as a just king, whether if you were rich or poor. He introduced 'presumption of innocence'. He conducted crusades. Louis was renowned for his charity. Beggars were fed from his table: he ate their leavings; washed their feet; ministered to the wants of lepers, who were generally ostracized; and daily fed over one hundred poor. He founded many hospitals and houses. Below, I will show you the Bible of St. Louis. A copy of it is at St. Louis Cathedral.

The altar, artwork on the ceilings and chandeliers in this church are absolutely gorgeous. I found an interesting read on the architecture of cathedrals and its internal features. It really goes into detail about all aspects (elements) of a church. As you enter a Catholic Church, there is a holy water font or stoup (angels at the entrance of the St. Louis Cathedral below) that holds holy water. I remember before attending mass, dipping my fingertips in the stoup, touching my forehead and making the sign of the cross before walking down the aisle and sitting in a pew. There are different styles.

 
Below is a Lectern / Pulpit, where holy scripture is read. I was often asked to read various scriptures for our school masses. It truly brings back memories. Usually in the back or along side of a church there is a confessional where you tell a priest your sins and he tells you what prayers you need to pray.

 
Below is a font or water basin where baptisms are performed. Here's a picture of an altar.


Usually in the back of the church, way up is an organ. I love, love, love organ music. I have so much respect for anyone that can play an organ. I struggled playing piano, so I can't imagine playing an organ. The music is always so pretty. When I sat through mass, I was always enamored with the stained glass windows in the church. Each always told a story. I love their colors, how intricate their designs are, and also how strong & powerful their messages are.


There is usually a commanding statue of Jesus crucified on the cross in a Catholic Church. It always made me so sad to see. It's a forever reminder how Jesus suffered and died for our sins. It's really hard to do, but when people try to hurt you just say God Bless Them and move on. Don't let your enemies draw you in. Miserable people love conflict. Don't feed that negative energy. There were plaques of former Archbishops of the Catholic Church here in New Orleans in St. Louis Cathedral. I have lived through several Archbishops: Archbishop Philip Matthew Hannan, Francis Bible Schulte, Alfred Clifton Hughes and our current Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond.


In the back of the church is a statue of Saint Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc (b. 1412) was a French peasant girl. She's nicknamed 'The Maid of Orleans' and was canonized a Saint of The Catholic Church in 1920. Her story is a compelling one. She had visions from various saints to drive out the English. She participated in The Hundred Years War (battle between England and France) in the Siege of Orleans. Through various sieges and battles, she was captured and taken prisoner by French nobles who were allies with the English (for money). There was a trial for heresy and a cross-dressing charge. She wore soldiers clothing in prison to deter molestation and rape. She also cut her hair. She was condemned and sentenced to die. Her execution was by burning at the stake (1431). There was a retrial after her death and the appellate court declared her innocent in 1456. Here is a list of Saints and patron Saints. I always found the story of Saints interesting and remember praying to specific Saints in elementary school to solve different issues.

 

I mentioned I wanted to elaborate more about Don Andres Almonester Y Roxas. He was born in Spain and died in New Orleans. He was a Spanish civil servant and philanthropist of New Orleans. He's remembered for his numerous charitable benefactions made to The City of New Orleans. He was a notary, city councilman, cabildo (council), knight, royal standard bearer. Some of his charitable deeds was the funding of a public school in New Orleans, boys school,  a house for the clergy and charity hospital, a chapel for the Ursulines, founded a leper hospital, rebuilt the buildings on both sides of the cathedral and funded the building of St. Louis Cathedral (in which he is buried - see picture below). He is entombed in the floor with one of his two daughters, four-year-old Andrea (source linked above).

 
The Bible of St. Louis (below is a copy) can be found in St. Louis Cathedral. The original can be found in the Cathedral of Toledo in Spain. This bible was made for King Saint Louis IX of France at the request of his mother. Its considered an illuminated manuscript that is decorative and includes miniature illustrations. What a beautiful gift from a mother. Beautifully illustrated. It consisted of several volumes.

 

Below is a canopeum and tintinnabulum in St. Louis Cathedral. These are items of papal significance. The canopeum is a symbolic shield of protection for the Pope during his travels. The canopeum remains open anticipating the Pope's arrival. The tintinnabulum is a small gold bell surrounded by a golden frame crowned with the Papal tiara and keys. If the Pope were to say Mass, the tintinnabulum would be used to lead the procession down the center aisle.
 
I really enjoyed my visit to St. Louis Cathedral. I hadn't been inside since I was a child. It's different seeing it with adult eyes. I thought it was beautiful then, but it's magnificence and intricacies have even more meaning to me now. It wasn't until I started writing this post, that I realized how many details the Catholic church entails. I learned a lot just by looking into things a little further (and there is still so much that I didn't include). I'm really trying to expand my vision, look further into things and not just accept what's on the surface. I want to know more about a person. What was his life or her life like? What is the meaning behind objects and things? If there is anything you would like to share, please do so in my comments section below. GOD BLESS YOU. I also included an informative video below.
 
 
 
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Banish Those Muscle Aches With Simple Solutions

Muscle pain can be either sudden or chronic and can occur anywhere on the body. Usually the pain manifests itself in a specific muscle group and not in the whole body at the same time. Chronic pain can affect so many of us but there are ways to deal with it. Here are some tips to relieve pain:

1. Stop activity. Avoid doing some activities as long as the muscle pain lasts. Continuing them can be stressful.

2. Use an analgesic cream, with a warming effect, which will reduce the discomfort and relax you, through the hyperemia it causes. Thanks to its active ingredients, it offers immediate relief from muscle pain, such as back pain, cramping of the waist and back, muscle and joint pain, colic, muscle pain from excessive fatigue or exercise. You could look at cbd deep relief cream which aids the body.

3. Massage. Do slow, gentle stretches on the tired area to relieve the pain.

4. Drink water. The human body is made up of about 75% water, with the muscles "holding" 80% of this percentage. This simply means that in order to reduce the chances of experiencing muscle pain, you need to be properly hydrated.

5. Use essential oils . Essential oils such as eucalyptus, sage and rosemary have calming properties and relieve muscle pain.

6. Sunlight and gentle exercise is also good.

Image Source: Unsplash

Cryotherapy and heat therapy can be good solutions, too.
 
The application of cryotherapy or hot compress is not accidental. Depending on the nature of the muscle pain, the corresponding treatment is indicated, while often a combination of both is chosen. In cases where there is tissue and muscle injury, which is characterized by inflammation, then ice or similar cryotherapy creams or gels should be used. The reason is that the cold causes vasoconstriction and reduces the blood supply to the affected area, while reducing the inflammation and swelling that cause pain. In contrast, the application of a warm pad or gel with a warming effect, facilitates the relaxation of the muscles, in case there is a contraction, facilitating blood flow due to vasodilation in the affected area and thus indirectly in the relaxation of pain.

The cryotherapy products, such as gels and sprays that contain essential oils and volatile substances after application, create a feeling of cold and relief. Most often they also contain herbs with anti-inflammatory and analgesic action which relieve pain and help reduce swelling. It is ideal for rheumatic pains, morning stiffness, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, arthritis and injuries such as fractures, sprains or muscle fatigue as well as in cases of bleeding.

The heating gel and creams are usually applied in chronic pain and where there is muscle spasm. They cause hyperemia and help in faster and better oxygenation. They are suitable for morning stiffness, joint pain, muscle spasms, but as long as there is no inflammation. Heat treatment usually occurs 72 hours after the injury, so that any inflammation has subsided. Otherwise, there is a worsening of the wound and swelling, while the recovery time is extended. Creams and gels may contain substances such as capsaicin and camphor that help blood circulation.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Furniture And Wellbeing: How To Create A Healthier Home Design

Designing your family home's interiors is an exciting and rewarding journey that will teach you a lot about how the furniture we pick impacts our health. You might already know that your bed and mattress can influence your well-being, sleep quality, and back health.

However, we tend to overlook several other pieces of furniture. When it comes down to picking out these additions to the kitchen, home office, or living room, we often tend to opt for an item that looks good, independently on the effects that it can have on our health.

At the same time, if you are now working from home or you spend much time sitting down, it becomes paramount to pick a chair that you can benefit from. In most cases, these are ergonomic chairs.

These pieces of furniture have been seen to help reduce back pain, boost your mood, and promote blood circulation. While they might represent an investment at first, ergonomic chairs are designed to last for many years to come and help you deal with the stress of everyday life in the best way.

Ergonomic chairs are also loved for their versatility. Indeed, they can be suitable for home offices, dining rooms, or just as a comfy addition to your living room area.

However, picking the right ergonomic chair for your needs is essential, and, given the several factors, you will have to learn about, finding some guidance in the choice is a must. Below you can find a comprehensive and illustrative starting point for making the best choice.


Infographic designed by Autonomous.ai
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Protecting Vulnerable Loved Ones During The Pandemic

The global pandemic has turned the world upside down this year. 2020 has proved to be one of the most chaotic years in recent memory. While COVID-19 has brought with it so much tragedy and illness, the knock-on effects have been awful for many people. Businesses have been forced to close, and millions have lost their jobs.

Although restrictions are beginning to ease worldwide, there are still a lot of vulnerable people within society. Those with underlying illnesses, as well as elderly people, are still high-risk candidates regarding the Coronavirus. Our parents, grandparents, and elderly relatives are a constant worry. Until the virus is eradicated, these vulnerable people must be taken care of.

The current protocol for vulnerable people is to maintain strict social distancing and to quarantine where possible. A major issue associated with this is that some people are being forced to fend for themselves who are not capable of doing so.

If you’ve been diligently quarantining, are COVID free, and want to protect your vulnerable loved ones, here are five things you can do to provide the best care possible.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

1. Ensure they are up to date with technology

Technology is a crucial part of modern life. This has been particularly evident throughout the pandemic as people are using their phones, tablets, and computers to communicate socially and professionally.

Teach your vulnerable loved ones how to use a smartphone and other technological devices that they can benefit from. Enable them to be more independent and allow them to socialize virtually.

2. Handle their home repairs

Sick, elderly, or disabled individuals may struggle to keep their living space in order. Make sure to check in on them and inspect their home. Should they need any help around the house, take responsibility, and handle it. If you can’t do the work yourself, contact someone who can.

3. Help with groceries

Shopping for groceries can be tricky for elderly people. What’s more, spending extended periods in busy grocery stores can be quite dangerous for them. While performing regular tasks is important for a person’s self-esteem, you should offer to help.

Even if you don’t shop for someone, you can assist them. You can help with heavy lifting, pushing trolleys, and finding items. This should speed up the process and make things easier for your loved one.

4. Become their carer

At some point, vulnerable members of society need a caregiver. Whether they require a full-time carer or someone to help with daily activities will depend on the extent of their needs.

Consider becoming a paid caregiver so you can provide adequate time to your loved ones without bearing a financial burden. It’s possible to do this if your loved one has Medicaid. Getting support from a close friend or family member can be much better than home health aide from a stranger.

5. Organize remote medical care

Telemedicine, virtual medical care, and remote medical services are now widely available for those in need. Research the possibility of ordering medical supplies online and look for opportunities to schedule virtual remote medical appointments.

Although face-to-face meetings are more beneficial, routine check-ups and non-emergency medical appointments can be performed online without issue.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Get to Know the Me2 Club Charity with Boyes Turner

Social isolation and loneliness can be extremely difficult for youngsters and lead to a number of issues during their development into adulthood. Unfortunately, it is something that many children with additional needs face as a result of exclusion from mainstream activities, such as after school clubs and social events.

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Me2 Charity Interviewed by Boyes Turner
This is something that the Me2 Club in Wokingham feels passionate about and is doing some fantastic work to help youngsters that suffer from social isolation. The charity was recently interviewed by Julie Marsh from Boyes Turner - a leading personal injury and medical negligence legal firm specialising in cases such as PTSD.

The interview was with Vicky Fisher from Me2Club charity and gave an insight into the great work that the charity is doing along with the action that they have taken during the pandemic to continue supporting children and their families while protecting public health.

Me2Club’s Mission
Vicky explained that the charity is designed to support children with additional needs and help them to participate in mainstream activities, such as sports clubs, drama groups and other activities that are so important for children and their development. The charity is able to transform the lives of children with additional needs thanks to their fantastic volunteers who are trained to act as a “one to one buddy” and provide individual support to the child during these activities.
 
Location & Additional Support
Me2Club started in Wokingham 16 years ago but they have now expanded into the whole of Reading which is a huge move for the charity and a sign that they are finding success. Vicky also went on to explain the importance of supporting the wider family and how the family events that they hold allow parents to meet other likeminded parents and those going through similar experiences which can be a great source of help. Not only this, but the “weekly respite” that is provided by the charity by looking after the children during the social activities is helpful for both practical and mental health purposes.
 
COVID-19
Of course, COVID-19 has interfered with the charity this year and Vicky states that the changes to the children’s routines has been difficult for them to manage. Despite this, the online sessions have been helpful and particularly for the teen-age groups that had started to build up relationships with one another prior to the lockdown. Technology has been vital to this and is able to provide as close to face-to-face interaction as you can get.

Julie asked how the wider public can support the charity and Vicky explained that they are currently running a COVID-19 appeal in order to raise funds to keep support going and any donations would be incredibly beneficial. Additionally, supporting them on social media is all valuable during this time.

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Essentials for growing your own allotment

With so many of us yearning to get back to the great outdoors having spent months locked away in our homes, there is bound to be an upshot in hobbyist gardeners investing in their own allotments. Allotments are pieces of land dedicated to the growing and tending of fruit and vegetables and were very popular in the earlier years of the 20th century, when many homes didn’t have their own gardens.

They have seen a resurgence in recent years, as more young people become interested in growing their own food. But what do you need to get started with your allotment and how much will it cost?

Image Source: Pexels

Size
The first thing you’ll want to consider is the size of your allotment. What do you want to grow and how much can you practically afford to look after in terms of time and downpayment?  Generally speaking, a good starter size for an allotment is around 250 square metres, which should give you adequate room to grow enough food for the whole family.

Remember, running an allotment involves a lot of work. You don’t only have to remember to water your plants every day but keep paths clear and ensure that it doesn’t become wild and overgrown. As for what you’ll actually be allowed to achieve with your plot, that will depend on the landlord. You’ll strike top a tenancy agreement with them as you would when renting a house and that will deter what you can and can’t do.

Costs
How much you pay for your actual allotment plot will depend on the area and the size of the land and could range anywhere from £10 a year to £150 a year. However, there are also a number of allotment startup costs to consider. You’ll need tools, for example, and if you opt for  brand new tools you could end up spending as much as £100 on spades, forks, rakes and hoes.

You’d probably be better off exploring car boot sales or enquiring online. Then you’ll need the fruit buses and tress as well as the veg seeds and plants, which might set you back a pretty penny too. When you’re starting out, keep it simple. You can always expand later.

Polytunnels or greenhouses?
Once you’ve secured your piece of land and you have all the tools, seeds and gear you need to get cracking, you’re going to want to invest in a covered home for those plants that require greater protection. Here, your options are either glass greenhouses or plastic polytunnels.

The latter represents the more practical and affordable option as they can be found in a range of sizes and can be put up and taken down very easily. They also work in exactly the same way as a greenhouse, though they might be seen as less secure by some. Still, whatever allotment option you choose, it’s always worth having somewhere to retreat to if the rain starts to set in!

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The Ultimate Guide To Taking Better Selfies

It’s really hard to learn how to love yourself and find yourself attractive. Still, we all have days where we look in the mirror and like what we see. Your makeup is flawless, the light catches you perfectly - you’re feeling yourself!

Everyone should feel good about themselves, and your next instinct is to open the selfie camera and take a pic. Unfortunately, your phone has other ideas. The camera opens, you take the photo, and the results are less than impressive. You stare in the mirror, then back at your phone, then at the mirror again. Are you really looking at the same person here?! For whatever reason, your selfies never come out good, giving you a bit of a confidence dashing. You felt good a few moments ago, but the photos have made you doubt yourself.

Worry not, the mirror is more accurate than a phone camera! Also, your pictures might be bad due to a variety of factors - none of which are related to your looks. With this guide, you’ll pick up some tips to take better selfies and feel good about yourself once more.

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Make sure the light is behind the camera
Taking selfies with the light source infront of the camera is a recipe for a shadowy disaster. Instead, turn around so the lighting is behind the camera, shining towards your face. This will instantly light up your complexion and provide a better image. It’s like a real-life filter, and you’ll find the quality of the selfie improves as well. Plus, you get rid of the shadows, which can be super annoying in photos.
 
Take selfies in front of windows
Following on from the first point, you can harness the power of natural light by standing in front of a window. Again, make sure you’re facing the window, so the light comes behind the phone. Here, you get almost professional-style lighting in your home! It’s a little tip, but a great one if the lighting in your home is pretty trash.
 
Play around with the angle but avoid pointing up at yourself
As far as selfie angles go, things can be complicated. You don’t need to get a protractor out and start measuring degrees, but you will have to play around with things a little bit. Everyone is different, and we all have a good side that we prefer to the other. Some of you may like one angle far more than others, so be experimental.

However, I can say with confidence that there’s one angle you want to avoid - holding your phone down low and angling it up. There’s honestly no reason on earth to ever use this angle, unless you want to take a funny double-chin photo. That’s basically all you will see from this angle, a pure double chin, and a face that’s out of proportion!

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Make sure the image is flipped the right way
Some selfie cameras are simple and produce an image that replicates what you’ve seen on-screen moments before. I think a lot of Android phones do this, and so does the Snapchat app on iPhones. In situations like this, you don’t have to do anything as the picture is as it should be. 

On the other hand, iPhones (and some other phones) don’t work like this. The main camera app will open up, show your face on the screen, then completely flip the image when you take a photo. It makes no sense, and the image flips vertically and throws your face out of proportion. I’ve taken selfies where I look good in the screen, then the flipped image makes my nose crooked, and my face looks weird! Thankfully, this can be solved by editing the image, clicking on the adjustments tab, then flipping it vertically. Now, you should see the proper image. So, make sure you always do this, or you will be destined for unhappy selfies.

Switch to portrait mode
If you have a phone that comes with portrait mode, use it to great effect when taking selfies. It unfocuses the background and puts all the focus on your face. The results are staggeringly beautiful, and you’ll want to upload the selfie right away! It’s generally accepted that the iPhone portrait mode is the best around at the moment. It just seems to be more consistent and always provides the best results.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an iPhone, pretty much all smartphones use this feature and they’re still pretty good. You could also use an editing app that provides a portrait effect, but these have mixed levels of success.

Don’t overdo it with the editing
It’s time to get a bit serious, which sounds silly considering we’re talking about selfies. Editing photos is a touchy subject for many girls. In this day and age, there are lots of things that most girls feel self-conscious about. The majority of these issues stem from seeing heavily edited photos on Instagram and other social media. Photo editing software will improve your selfies, but at what cost? You’re just joining in with the misrepresentation of modern beauty. Plus, it won’t really make you feel better because you know that you’re touched up your face here, you’ve altered something there, and so on.

Does this mean you should upload all your selfies raw? No, of course not. You can still edit them, but within reason. A good rule of thumb is to stick to edits that play around with colors and filters, rather than things that directly edit your appearance. Forget about airbrushing your features, and just use a nice light filter to enhance what’s already there. Now, your selfies will look better, they won’t be heavily edited, and you will feel better about yourself.

All in all, that last sentence is a great way to summarize why this guide was created. It’s all about making yourself feel better about how you look. If you like your reflection in the mirror, you deserve to take a gorgeous photo to show everyone else - or just to keep for yourself!

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Sunlight's More Important To Your Health Than You Might Think

There are a lot of things that tend to impact the human psyche a lot more strongly than we might imagine. One of the factors that we probably don’t pay enough attention to is the role of sunlight in our life. Here, we’re going to look at the ways that it helps improve our health, and how lacking it can actually diminish our health, as well as what you can do to improve it.

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Sunlight helps regulate our mood
Sunlight impacts us in a variety of surprising ways, one of those being just how much of a link it has to mental illness. Sunlight helps us create and regulate mood-boosting hormones such as serotonin. A lack of sunlight has been closely connected to increased levels of stress, anxiety disorders, and even particularly bad forms of depression such as SAD (or seasonal affective disorder.)  This doesn’t mean that sunlight alone is enough to “cure” these issues, but that in combination with other treatments, it can be a serious help.
 
Vitamin D is crucial
Our body creates vitamin D by absorbing it directly through our skin. Like many of the other big vitamins, vitamin D is crucial for not just one process in the body, for a wide range of them. Vitamin D deficiencies can be some of the most dangerous, leading to issues like rickets and conditions that cause bone pain and tenderness. A lack of vitamin D has even been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline in our later years.
 
Light is crucial to how we sleep
We have already mentioned how serotonin can be processed thanks to more exposure to natural sunlight. However, aside from affecting our mental health, serotonin also helps us improve our sleep quality and quantity at night. If we don’t process enough, it can lead to serious issues with sleep. Our bodies are supposed to run by a natural clock, which is regulated in part by our access to natural light and serotonin.
 
Get more natural light
With the above factors in mind, there is a serious imperative for us to try and get more sunlight into our lives. Taking more time to exercise and walk outside plays a big factor here, but you want to make sure you’re getting more sun inside the home, as well. Invest in a window cleaning and make sure you’re using lighter window treatments to allow more natural light to come in through your windows.
 
Coping with SAD
As mentioned, seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that is particularly affected by our access to natural light, amongst other things. In the darker seasons of the year, it’s recommended that you consider using a SAD lamp to give a little extra light.

It might seem like the solutions above are all too simple. However, it’s a fact that a lot of people simply don’t follow them as much as they should. Being cognizant of the problem (and the solutions) makes us a lot more likely to solve them.

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Nine Simple Tips To Make Your Diet Healthier

A healthy diet gives you multiple health benefits, such as reducing your risk of several chronic diseases and keeping your body healthy. However, making a big change to your diet can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult. Instead of making a big change, start with a few smaller ones to help you on the road to healthy eating.

Image Source: Unsplash

1. Slow down. The speed at which you eat influences how much you eat. Your appetite is controlled by hormones, which signal your brain when you are hungry or full. However, it takes about 20 minutes fo your brain to get the message that you’re full. Eating more slowly gives you more time to realize that you’re full.

2. Get more fruit and vegetables. Aim to fill around half your plate with fruit or vegetables for every meal, and aim to eat as many different colors of fruit and veg as you can. You should drink juice instead of smoothies, so you aren’t also adding extra sugar to your diet. Snack on fruit and veggies, or add salads or sides of veg to all your meals to help you get more.

3. Choose whole-grain bread. An easy change is to eat whole-grain bread instead of refined-grain bread. Refined grains have been linked to many health issues, whereas whole grains have many benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Cancer. Whole-grains are also a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals including zinc, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Read the label carefully to make sure the bread is made with whole grains only.

4. Add greek yogurt to your diet. Greek yogurt is both thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. It’s been strained to remove excess whey, which results in yogurt that is higher in fat and protein than regular yogurt. Eating a good source of protein helps you to feel fuller for longer. The straining process also means that Greek yogurt is lower in carbs and lactose than other yogurts, which is useful for those eating a low-carb or low-dairy diet. Choose non-flavored yogurts, as flavored options contain a lot of sugar.

5. Eat eggs. Eggs are very good for you, especially when eaten in the morning. Eggs are rich in high-quality protein and have a lot of essential nutrients that people don’t often get enough of, such as choline. When you eat eggs for breakfast, your feelings of fullness are increased.

6. Up your protein intake. Protein has the ability to affect your hunger and satiety hormones, making it very filling. Protein helps you to retain your muscle mass, which helps to prevent the loss of muscle mass either as you age or through weight loss. Add a source of protein to each meal and snack. Good sources of protein include dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, and lean meat.

7. Drink enough water. Getting enough water is essential to your health. Drinking water benefits water loss, weight maintenance, and can increase the number of calories you burn daily. Drink water instead of other drinks. This helps you to drastically reduce the amount of sugar and caffeine you drink.

8. Bake or roast instead of grilling or frying. The way that you prepare your food can change how it affects your health. Grilling, broiling, frying, and deep-frying are popular ways to prepare meat and fish. However, these cooking methods form potentially toxic compounds, such as PAHs, AGEs, and HCAs. These compounds have been linked to diseases like cancer and heart disease. Baking, simmering, slow-cooking, poaching, pressure cooking, stewing, and sous-vide are all healthier methods of cooking.

9. Take Omega-3 and Vitamin D supplements. Lots of people are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for bone health and the function of your immune system. Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods, but fatty seafood has the highest amounts. Omega-3 fatty acids are also lacking in most foods apart from fatty seafood. These fatty acids reduce inflammation, maintain heart health, and promote brain function. The average Western diet is high in Omega-6, which actually promotes inflammation. If you don’t eat fatty seafood on a regular basis, then take a supplement to help you get enough. Omega-3 and vitamin D often come in a supplement together.

You can make a big difference in how healthily you eat by making a few simple changes to your diet, without having to make drastic changes to your diet that you can’t sustain. Try a small change and gradually add more changes until you get your diet where you want it.

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Careful These Health Issues Are More Dangerous Than You Think

Are you worried about your health? Perhaps you should be because there are health issues that people often overlook and that can be quite dangerous. Once you understand these health issues, it will quickly become apparent why you need to be cautious and get check-up regularly. You must stay on top of these health issues.

Image Source: Pexels CC0 License

Snoring
You probably didn’t even think that snoring way a health issue. However, particularly bad snoring is referred to as a condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is quite dangerous as it temporarily blocks the throat through the night stopping the person from breathing. While only for a short period, the air supply is cut off. This does lead to a great risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks later in life. One of the key signs of sleep apnea is feeling tired even after a seemingly great night of sleep.
 
Poor Gums
You might find that your gums are constantly bleeding regardless of whether or not you brush your teeth. This can be a sign of gum disease and it’s important to realise that there are different stages of this condition. The later stages have been linked to serious health issues including cancer. As such, it is worth checking the state of your gums and going to the dentists regularly. In doing so, you can get the treatment that you definitely will need. This is just one of the ways to keep gums healthy.
 
Skin Trouble
It’s possible that you have noticed a change to your skin. While this is most likely to be nothing, it’s not something that you should ignore as it could be the first sign of skin cancer. Part of the problem with skin cancer is that it doesn’t usually hurt and it can be quite subtle in terms of the changes caused. This is why you or your partner should be checking your skin regularly for changes. If you notice any particular differences it’s best to get them checked out by a doctor. It’s always better to air on the side of caution here rather than ignore something that could get gradually worse.
 
Headaches
Finally, you might find that you are experiencing headaches. In most cases, headaches are going to be nothing to worry about and are quite common. However, you do need to be wary of headaches that are severe and develop suddenly. A problem here is that there could be an underlying cause that you need to be aware of. A doctor will typically start you off on meds first. If this isn’t effective then they may want to complete an MRI just to check nothing nasty is lurking beneath the surface.
 
We hope this helps you understand there are health issues that pose far more dangerous than you might realize. By understanding these you will be able to recognize the signs and ensure that you get the treatment you need. This means that you won’t have to worry about a health issue lingering underneath the surface for a month or even years going undetected.
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Avoid The Common Hangups Women Have About Themselves With This Advice

For women, many of us will find that we have certain hang-ups about our bodies. Some of them will be similar to others. Many of them unique to ourselves. But the core matter is that we all have the hangups. Why is that? I think it is because we live in a world where beauty dominates the magazine covers. You find many celebrities today have been airbrushed to look perfect. We can all look at those fake pictures and think about how beautiful they are. How perfect their skin looks, how toned their bodies are. It can then make us feel inadequate. Where we look at our own bodies and wonder why our skin doesn’t look that perfect. Why do our bodies look flabby and not toned?

The truth be told, those women on the front of the magazines, albeit naturally beautiful. All wake up with bed hair, bad skin, and morning breath. We are all human after all, and that the fundamental fact. But, this doesn’t help with our body hang ups I hear you say. While that is true, now is an ideal time to explore some of the most common ones. After going through covid and lockdown, we may be feeling at our lowest. We can look into them in more detail and figure out why they cause us confidence issues and what we can do to feel better about them. So without further ado here are some of the most common body hang ups women have today.

Image Source: Pixabay CC0 License

Breast issues
Our breasts are complicated things. Although they shouldn't be, for many women we can all have a different hang up. Some may worry that their breasts are too large. This can cause them back ache and to feel uncomfortable wearing certain clothes. Some women may worry about their breasts being too small, and again worry about how they look to others. Some women have issues with one breast being bigger than the other. This might worry you, but honestly, it is more common than you realize.

The thing that you have to remember is that breasts don't have to be a certain size to make you look, and feel more womanly. Sure you may have an idea in your mind on how you should look but we all come in different shapes and sizes. You are unique to you, and that goes for your breast size. While of course there are extreme measures you can take for getting the perfect breasts, in the way of cosmetic surgery. You could also try other remedies to get your desired look. Breast enlargement creams are becoming more popular in the beauty world as well, however, do they work? The answer is that you won’t know unless you give it a try. If you are more conscious about reducing the size, then exercise and diet can play great parts in this. Sometimes having a better diet and reducing fatty substances can help you lose weight. Breasts can get bigger because you put weight on initially. The best thing anyone can do is become more comfortable in their own skin, be happy with your unique body.

How our skin looks
Women can suffer from skin problems way beyond the adolescent spots you get in your teens. Some women can struggle with acne into their adult years. Some women may also suffer with issues of skin tone and general dry or oily problems that can appear over time. First thing in the morning no one looks flawless. No matter what you want to believe. The best thing you can do if you are unhappy with the condition of your skin is taking a look at your skincare routine. Sometimes your skin can grow used to the products you are using. Especially if you are loyal to a brand. So try and change things up a little if you can. Perhaps you may want to consider a different morning routine to what you do at night. Or maybe every try a new tool to help with skin care such as a derma roller. Another way you can help your skin is by increasing the amount of water you drink. Water is nature's natural detox and has many benefits. It flushes your body of bad toxins which can have a negative effect on how your skin looks. However, if you are struggling with spots and this more serious than the odd one here and then, then please visit your local doctor. They can prescribe medicated skin treatments which can improve the way your skin looks. You will start to grow in confidence once more.
 
Toned figure
We all want to look good in our activewear, right? But a toned figure doesn't just come to you, unfortunately. You do, I’m afraid, have to work for it. But it isn’t all bad news. Exercising can be a lot of fun, and it doesn’t mean you have to spend every night in the gym. A toned body can be achieved just by becoming more active. This means that by choosing to walk to places instead of driving can be the best change you make. You can track how active you are by using your smartphone. There are plenty of apps that will do this. Or you could invest in something you wear on your wrist like a Fitbit or Apple watch. Both will acknowledge your activity and help you keep on track.
 
If you are serious about working on problem areas then enlisting the help of a personal trainer might be beneficial. They can advise you on the best exercises to take to achieve your end goals. Another great toning method is to take up exercises like yoga. It’s not only great for the mind but also fantastic for your body.

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Stomach worries
Most women will probably tell you that their biggest hangup will be the stomach area. For many different reasons. Some women will have had children who will have made a lasting impression on their body. Others may have lost weight too fast and find their stomach hasn’t shrunk back as much as it should have. For whatever reason it may be your stomach might be one of the hardest things to overcome. But a lot of how you think is to do with your mind. Exercise techniques will be able to help overcome some of the stomach issues. Of course, you could consider a more permanent thing in the way of surgery. All of which should be researched and taken into consideration.
 
How can our lifestyle help?
For many women, our hang ups can be sorted through changing your lifestyle. This means your diet, what you drink, and how you move. Most mantras will tell you that if you put the right things into your body as fuel. If you are active and move about, and if you feel healthy in the mind, then you are on the right track.
 
This might mean looking at your whole life and trying to make positive changes to help you overcome your body hang ups. The first places you can start is your diet. Do you eat a healthy balanced diet? For many of us sometimes those sweet treats and comforting carbohydrates are too much of a temptation to pass up. While you should never deny yourself anything, you should always have those things in moderation. A healthy diet will include a good dose of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and lots of fruit and vegetables.
 
As mentioned earlier on, increasing your water intake can have a healthy benefit and help overcome some of your body hang ups. But that’s not all it can do. Increasing how much water you drink can also have a lasting positive effect on your mood, how you sleep and also your energy levels. Meaning getting more active is much easier. Try and cut down pr avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeine.
 
Don’t forget to work on your mindset
Finally, a lot of how we feel is to do with our mindset. Feeling negative and having thought of a negative kind means we are more likely to point out problems we have with ourselves and feel anxious. This means we are more likely to look at our tummy area and be upset, or think our skin tone isn’t what it should be. This is the easiest thing you can overcome, and you will find that all of your worries, or most of them, will disappear with the negativity. It’s more about thinking positively and turning anything negative into a positive thought. You can also start by being grateful. Having a gratitude diary is a great way to be more aware of your thought process throughout the day. Taking time in the morning and the evening to be grateful for what you do have.
 
In the grand scheme of things body hang ups can affect our lives and confidence, but you have to focus on what you do have. You may have your health, a beautiful relationship, and amazing family. Those are all things to be celebrated.
 
Let’s hope this has helped you overcome some of the most common body hang ups. You should embrace the body you have and be proud of what you have achieved.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Your Guide To Healthy Eating Without Obsessing

Trying to find the balance between eating healthy foods and obsessing over what you’re putting in your body can be tough. Tracking you foods is recommended by many health experts, for example, and can work for many people. That being said, if you’re the kind of person who obsesses over every calorie or macronutrient, you will likely be better off if you stick to an intuitive style of eating and stay away from those tracking apps altogether. You can eat healthily without obsessing, but you need to make sure you listen to your body carefully and that balance is your ultimate aim. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to eat healthily without obsessing.
 
1. Realize Your Worth
Start by realizing your worth. You are so much more than a number on the scale, and worth so much more than what your body looks like. Although it can feel like it’s super important to look a certain way, it’s not. Stop spending time with people or following people who make you feel less than worthy exactly as you are. 

Image Source: Pexels

2. Aim For Balance
Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. Aim for balance on your plate - half vegetables, a quarter carb and quarter protein with some fat thrown in is a good start, like some cheese slices (or no fat if you used a fair amount of oil to cook the dish). Do not think that you have to eat ‘clean’ to be healthy. Healthy enough is fine! The way you eat must be sustainable if you’re going to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. If you can’t see yourself eating the way you are now in the future, then something likely needs to change.

3. Find Delicious, Healthy Meal Recipes You Love To Cook And Eat 
Make sure you have a number of delicious, healthy meal recipes you love to cook and eat, like this ratatouille recipe from TheMediterraneanDish.com. It doesn’t matter that you’re only cooking for one (if you are) - you’re still worth a delicious, home cooked meal with a ton of love poured into it.

4. Eat For Health, Not For A Body Type or Weight 
When you eat, don’t think about your weight or body type. Think about your health. Is the meal in front of you designed for health? Will it make you feel great, and perform well? If so, enjoy! If you’re eating a sad salad because you think it will make you happier with your body, think again. 

5. Stop Feeling Guilty When You Indulge
If you deny yourself something you really want to eat, like that delicious slice of cake your mother has offered you, then you will likely end up giving in to a whole cake later on. Allowing yourself the slice of cake and eating it without guilt and then going back to normal without feeling like ‘everything is ruined’ or you have ‘fallen off the wagon’ is a sign of a healthy attitude towards your diet and food choices.
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