7 Embarrassing Summer Beauty Problems Solved

Summer’s almost here! But before you throw on a bikini and head to the beach you may want to invest in one summer essential that’s sure to solve those troublesome (and often embarrassing!) beauty problems that many of us are faced with once the mercury rises. Coconut guru and author of Going Coconuts Brynley King shares her top tips for tackling seven of your most cringe-worthy summertime dilemmas – and the best part? All you need is one jar of coconut oil!

RELATED: 4 Ways Coconut Oil Can Spice Up Your Sex Life

Chafing  

Let’s get the most embarrassing out of the way first, shall we? Chafing is a common problem that many people experience during our steaming Aussie summer – and it’s not just the thigh area that can fall victim to the dreaded chafe. Fortunately, coconut oil can be used on any part of the body to not only prevent chafe from occurring but also to heal sore and inflamed skin. It’s also perfect to use on infants as an all-natural alternative to nappy rash cream.

Sunburn

Forgot to slip, slop, slap and now you’re looking less like a bronzed goddess and more like a tomato? The properties found in coconut oil are known to relieve the pain of a bad burn plus heal the skin and limit peeling at the same time. Try patting a washcloth splashed with a little apple cider vinegar on burnt skin to relieve stinging before generously applying coconut oil mixed with peppermint oil to the affected area. The peppermint oil helps to cool the skin while the coconut oil heals and protects.

Chapped lips

A pop of colour on the lips can make any outfit go from good to great, but if your pout has been receiving a little too much sun, wind and salty air, even the most moisturising lipsticks aren’t going to glide on as they should. Coconut oil works as an incredibly nourishing 100% natural lip balm and Pacific Islanders have been using it for centuries. Feeling creative? Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and olive oil with ¾ teaspoon of honey for a sweeter, DIY lip treatment.

Ingrown hairs

Razor bumps and ingrown hairs aren’t pretty but for many people they’re inevitable after any type of shaving, waxing or hair removal. Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal which makes it a miracle pre and post hair-removal product. Replace shaving creams or soaps with coconut oil for your closest shave yet before rubbing a decent amount into the area after your shower; and you can say goodbye to painful, unsightly bumps – for good!

Frizzy hair

Unfortunately, humidity = frizz.  Luckily your new beauty Holy Grail works wonders at smoothing and conditioning unruly tresses. Before bedtime, apply a good dollop of oil to your lengths and ends, tie in a topknot and leave in overnight for a super nourishing and inexpensive hair treatment or use as an anti-frizz hair serum by applying a pea size amount to dry hair. You can also protect blonde locks from chlorine damage (green hair is never in fashion) by wetting the hair and evenly distributing coconut oil from roots to tips, which seals in moisture and creates a barrier against harmful pool chemicals.

Mosquito bites

For many, this time of the year means outdoor barbeques, picnics and the occasional game of backyard cricket, however, it also means the mosquitos are out in full force. If these pesky little bloodsuckers make you itchy just thinking about them, then coconut oil may be your new best friend. When applied to an insect bite, the oil is known to work faster than calamine lotion at stopping the itch and reducing swelling. Plus, if you dab it on the area regularly it works to speed up the healing process too.

Dry skin

Winter can play havoc on our skin, as we often neglect our moisturising routine in favour of hiding our pins under jeans and tracksuit pants. Come summertime, why are we then surprised when we pull on a pair of shorts only to discover our limbs aren’t quite as smooth and supple as we’d like? Bid dry, flaky skin farewell by mixing coconut oil with raw sugar for a DIY body exfoliator, then use the oil on its own as an all-natural, paraben-free body moisturiser.

For more coconut oil tips grab your copy of ‘Going Coconuts’ plus Banaban Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil at www.naturepacifc.com

Throwback Thursday: Songs, Searches And Celebs Of 2014

Each year at around this time, Google releases the list of the year’s most searched terms and the extensive listing never fails to provide a few laughs, some memories and yet another viral link to share with your friends.

RELATED: Most Popular Baby Names

So, here, we’ll share it with you:

The most searched for celebrities this year, according to Google, were:

  1. Jennifer Lawrence
  2. Kim Kardashian
  3. Julie Gayet
  4. Tracy Morgan
  5. Renee Zellwegger
  6. Jared Leto
  7. Lorde
  8. Matthew McConaughey
  9. Amal Alamauddin
  10. Donald Sterling

Our favourite of the year’s most viral videos are:

Jimmy Kimmel’ long-awaited Friends ‘reunion’

Father and daughter’s lip sync to Fancy by Iggy Azalea

This little girl’s Ice Bucket Challenge was a little unexpected:

And then everyone tried to outdo each other with their music videos. Here’s the best in our books:

And the top beauty questions searched, according to Refinery29, were:

  1. How do I finally get rid of my acne?
  2. How do I get rid of stretch marks?
  3. How often should I wash my hair?
  4. What is BB cream?
  5. How do I clean my makeup brushes?
  6. How can I get rid of those bags under my eyes?
  7. How can I minimize my pores?
  8. How do I apply foundation?
  9. What are freckles?
  10. How do I shape my eyebrows?

What are your web highlights of 2014? Share with us here.

5 Steps To Living Life Like A Celebrity

Celebrities live an envious lifestyle that makes us all feel just a little bit bitter when we have to stand under a shady looking shelter waiting for a bus that may never show whilst the likes of Katy Perry and One Direction are being escorted to their destinations in private planes, helicopters and glamourous limousines. Wouldn’t life be easier if we were all rich and famous? Here are five simple steps that will have you feeling like a true celebrity in no time.

1. Get the look

Celebs always look flawless. They may have a team of beauty professionals on stand by but you can easily achieve the same look without all the extra fuss. Take a picture of your favourite hairstyle to the salon and don’t be afraid to ask the hairdresser for their opinion as they are likely to know what will suit you best. For the ladies, makeup can be a real life saver, especially on those bad skin days. You don’t have to wear thick layers of it to look like a celebrity, just a small amount is enough. Choose a shade of foundation that matches your natural skin tone and a subtle ‘smoky eye’ look is ideal and often sported by celebrities such as Cheryl Cole.

2. Shop till you drop

Fashion idols such as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian all have one thing in common – they know how to shop. You don’t need to spend a fortune and you can even find some great bargains online or on the high-street. For the latest designer trends though, you may need to take out a quick loan from Car Cash Point but hey, it will all be worth it when you get a call from Vogue and they want you to feature on their next cover (that might be a slight exaggeration but there’s no reason why you can’t dress like a model in a glossy fashion magazine)!

3. Be confident

Confidence can make a huge difference to someone’s persona. Cosmopolitan says that ‘a smile conveys confidence’, which means that the more you smile, the more confidence you will radiate to others. By smiling a lot, you can even trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy so why not give it a shot?

4. Showcase your talent

Celebs are all famous for one reason or another and usually this is down to a particular talent or skill. Dolly Parton is famous for her country singing, David Beckham for his talent on the football field and Kim Kardashian is famous for her… um, well, you know. The point is, find your talent and showcase it. Enter competitions, get your name out there and you could be gracing the O2 Arena and signing autographs by next month.

5. Live it up

Celebs are always living it up at expensive restaurants, extravagant hotels and on exotic islands. According to Huffington Post, John Waters (the filmmaker) insisted that ‘wanting to be famous is everyone’s unspoken desire’. This gives the impression that whether you want to admit it or not, life would be far more tolerable if you were famous. Follow suit and take a break somewhere beautiful where you can walk about in sunglasses, sip champagne and carry your tiny little dog in a massive pink handbag. Why not?

How Important Is Likeability For Career Progression?

If you’ve ever watched even a little bit of a certain reality TV show, you’ll be familiar with the over-used term ‘likeability’ factor. Being likeable certainly helps when it comes to pulling in public votes and making it through to the next round of a competition, but how important is likeability in terms of career progression? Do you have to be liked to be successful?

In the early stages of a career, it can be crucial. When you’re on the lower rungs of the ladder, the bottom line is that you need to be liked, in some capacity, to land a job in the first place. “Also known in the industry as ‘cultural fit’, likeability is a reason many candidates don’t make the final cut,” states this article in US News.

“The interviewers either didn’t like them or didn’t believe they would mesh well with current employees.”

That’s an important point. It’s not just about your manager liking you; it’s the judgement call the manager makes on whether you’ll fit in with the existing team. You don’t have to be the most likeable person in the world, but you do have to be personable, to a degree, and demonstrate the kind of attitude which will make you a trusted and reliable team member. The wrong personality and a projection of that onto colleagues could mark you out as being difficult to manage and therefore limit future opportunities.

As you progress through your career – hopefully in an upward trajectory – and begin to take on more senior positions and management roles, the requirements begin to shift a little. If you’re at the stage in your life where you are in the market for COO jobs, for example, do you need to be likeable? In the role of Chief Operating Officer, typically answerable only to the chief executive, does one need to be liked?

This article believes so. It makes the link between being likeable and developing charisma, which is a very desirable quality in the workplace. It asks, ‘Have you ever worked with a very charismatic leader? If so, then it’s likely that almost everyone in the organisation liked, trusted and admired this person.’ Being likeable is a personality trait which extends easily into other important qualities.

That sentiment is echoed in a recent piece by Forbes, which extolled the benefits of possessing an attractive attitude. Is that the same thing as being likeable? In a way, yes. Channelled in the right way, likeability can command respect and help to inspire others. It certainly help in establishing a great rapport with colleagues and staff; it can make people want to work with you, and for you. It can increase loyalty and performance.

In senior positions, being likeable is not enough to success on its own, of course. It’s often asked whether it’s more important to be liked or respected; a healthy amount of both is ideal. There will be a time when difficult decisions need to be made, sometimes the very worst of decisions – dismissing a member of staff – and being liked will stand for little then.

In short, likeability is a desirable quality but only one of several required to be an effective leader in significant management roles.

10 Chemicals To Avoid In Your Skincare Regime

The UK cosmetics industry is worth an estimated £4.5 billion but an article in the Daily Mail shows that added toxic ingredients present in some forms of make up can cause danger. Although the UK Government regulates these products there are always loopholes that can be exploited. Here are ten chemicals and products to avoid.

1. Dying your hair

Latex Gloves from Brosch Direct are an excellent way to protect your hands when using hair dyes and other chemicals, but they don’t stop your scalp from being damaged during the dying process. Although hair products have changed drastically over the years there are still certain compounds such as coal-tar, which can cause bladder cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

2. Aluminium pigments

Most skin care products are safe; mascara, eye shadow and eye pencils all contain aluminium powder, which can lead to neurotoxicity and cancer. There is a misconception that high cost and quality products are safe but these products are just as dangerous as their cheaper counterparts.

3. Sunscreens and vitamin A

Half of all sunscreens on the market contain an ingredient known as retinyl palmitate, or vitamin A palmitate. This chemical should not be put onto skin if you are going to be in direct sunlight, it is used in many night creams due to the fact that you can’t use it in daylight. If you use a sunscreen with this additive you can develop tumours.

4. Perfumes and fragrances

Any product that has the word fragrant on the advertising is probably not going to be good for your skin. Some alcohols used in the manufacture of perfumes have been known to cause hormone disruption and allergic reactions.

5. Propylene glycol

This clear odourless, tasteless liquid is used in food and cosmetics and is classed as safe, but it can cause brain, liver and kidney disorders if used incorrectly or regularly. When used in the chemical industry as revealed on the mindbodygreen website it is treated with great care by the people working with it.

6. Benzoyl peroxides and acne

Acne can be a horrendous problem for the young and old but most creams contain the chemical benzoyl peroxide which can cause cancers and also become a skin irritant.

7. Teeth cleaning

Brushing your teeth twice a day or maybe more should be a safe process but the toothpaste itself contains a chemical called triclosan which is linked to cancer cell growth and can cause damage to the gums and premature births if used long term.

8. Hair straightening

Some people prefer straight hair others curly; if you are using chemical hair straightening products you may not realise the damage you are doing to your hair and also your body. These products contain keratin which can cause nerve, chest pain and rashes.

9. Green isn’t always safe

Some so-called green products can still contain harmful chemicals such as chlorphenesin and neurotoxin. When buying cosmetics even reading the label won’t give you all the information you need. Some chemicals are left out.

10. Anti-perspirants

All of us use some form of anti-perspirant and don’t realise the possible dangers of the aluminium salts that are present which can cause of breast cancer and skin irritation.

Throwback Thursday: How To Change Your Look In An Instant

Expert hairstylist James Nicholson says clip-in fringes are a great way to change your look in an instant, without opting for the chop. Whether you’re after a blunt, choppy or side-swept fringe a clip-in fringe is your safest option. Plus it’s a great way to see if it’s a look you’d like to go for on a more permanent basis.

Here is his simple and quick step-by-step guide to get the look:

1. Wash and blow-dry your hair as normal

2. Section the first two inches of your hair from the middle of each of your brows and pin it back tightly at the crown (use hair pins that are the same colour as your hair). Also, for women with really fine hair you may want to back-comb the roots slightly to give you a solid foundation.

3. Apply the hairpiece by clipping in the centre clip first, then pull the hairpiece tightly across the forehead and snap shut the clip, repeat on the other side.

4. Release the hair from the crown and let the hair fall into its natural parting. Then style as usual, as the hairpieces are made from 100% human hair, you can apply products and heat style the fringe.

Throwback Thursday: How To Change Your Look In An Instant

 

Products

Gliders Bobby Pins 36pc; RRP $2.95

Available at thebeautyoffice.com.au

Headlines Hairpieces Clip in Fringe; RRP $79.20

Available at headlineshairpieces.com.au

Weight Loss Tips For Yummy Mummies

Are you just starting out on your weight loss journey; or have you been trying without much success? Rhian Allen, founder of health and fitness website for mums healthymummy.com, gives her eight tips on what you can do to help start seeing results sooner – all based around healthy eating and exercise: 

Switch to wholegrain everything

At first, this might seem difficult and you might meet with some resistance from family members but you and they will get used to it. That means no more white flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice, all of these are available in wholemeal or wholegrain options. You could also try switching out things like pasta and rice for other options like cous cous or quinoa (you can even get wholemeal cous cous).

Reduce your added sugar intake

Added sugar is a sneaky one and you will find that it’s in so many foods. Instead of trying to cut it out completely it’s a good idea just to reduce it as much as possible. For example, you could switch a low fat strawberry yoghurt for some natural or Greek yoghurt with fresh berries added. Also, avoid keeping sugary foods in your house or make healthy alternatives with The Healthy Mummy’s low fat baking recipes.

Watch out for bad fats

While it’s important to consume good fats from sources such as fish, olive oil, avocado and nuts, it’s also key to reduce or avoid bad fats. Bad fats found in deep fried foods, commercial cakes, chips, chocolate bars, donuts, pastries etc. These are the fats that can hinder your weight loss, make you feel lethargic, and make it hard to keep your skin looking fresh. 

Get moving everyday

If you really want to crank up your results, add some exercise along with your good nutrition – you will see a big difference in your body and fitness levels. You could try a daily walk, a couple of segments from The Healthy Mummy Exercise DVD, a regular swimming session or fitness class, cycling, yoga or pilates. Basically anything that gets your heart pumping and helps you break a sweat is a good thing.

Reduce your alcohol consumption

Alcohol gives you additional calories in your day with no nutritional benefit whatsoever, so it’s an easy one to reduce your consumption to quickly reduce your total calorie intake. Keep alcohol for the weekends or special occasions.

Don’t skip meals and snacks

Your metabolism is responsible for helping you to lose weight, and it’s important that it’s fired up and kept busy throughout the day with healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals. We recommend 3 main meals and 2-3 healthy snacks per day in order to lose weight.

Cut down on bread

If you find that you are having two slices of toast at breakfast and a sandwich for lunch, you could end up eating almost 30 slices of bread per week. While we don’t suggest cutting bread out entirely, it’s a good idea to reduce your consumption if you are trying to lose pregnancy weight. Or replace traditional bread with wholegrain!

Keep healthy convenient foods on hand

Make life easy by keeping healthy convenient foods on hand so that you can easily pull a meal together. For instance eggs, tinned tomatoes, cous cous, bags of salad leaves, tinned chickpeas or kidney beans, tinned tuna, portions of frozen cooked brown rice that you can defrost in the microwave.

The Healthy Mummy’s next online 28 Day Winter Weight Loss Program starts soon, with sign up on June 1.

Getaways Trump Jewellery In The Gift Stakes

Forget the old saying ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ when it comes to meaningful gifts – a recent survey has revealed that what Australians really want is a surprise, spontaneous trip away.

Booking.com revealed that a “surprise trip away” tops the list of most meaningful gifts (54 per cent), followed by a night out at a fancy restaurant (16 per cent). Just 8 per cent of participants listed jewellery or a watch as their most sought-after gift.

Three out of four people (76 per cent) said a spontaneous trip would put the romance back in to their relationship, with nearly three quarters of female (74 per cent) and 60 per cent of male respondents saying they wished their partner would plan a surprise getaway for no reason.

However, with a whopping 80 per cent of respondents agreeing that spontaneous travel boosts their happiness levels and makes them feel excited (74 per cent), what stops us from making those last minute holiday plans? Pepijn Rijvers from Booking.com said: “We know that our customers want to be able to enjoy a quick getaway without the preamble of a laborious booking process. In fact, more than 50 percent of bookings globally are made within 48 hours of travel, which is why we created the Booking Now app… The perfect room is just two taps away, so with this kind of technology at your fingertips there’s no better time to book a spontaneous trip.”

With over 690,000 accommodations available at the tap of a button via the Booking Now app, you can easily surprise your loved one with a spontaneous break whenever the moment takes you.

The Science Behind Addiction And How You Can Kick It

Mark Twain said that quitting an addiction to tobacco was easy; he had done it often. But what is an addiction? According to Psychology Today, an accepted definition for an addiction is: ‘a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities.’

We intuitively know what an addiction is; when a behaviour becomes an addiction is more problematic. Is someone watching television for eight hours a day an addiction? Do two cigarettes a day constitute an addiction? Is gambling £10 a day an addiction?

Quite what causes a treat to lapse into an addiction is open to debate. Addictions such as smoking and drug abuse will arise as some form of biological alteration, where the brain and body decides that it likes a certain chemical and wants more. When an attractive and pleasurable behaviour occurs in the animal brain the neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the system, but the brain can grow to desire more, and the initial hit is not enough – combine that with cues around us such as availability and advertising, and the hit becomes irresistible.

Other addictions may be generated by one’s life situation or state of mind. Behaviours such as polishing off pints of alcohol, placing £100 on Arsenal to win, and purchasing wigs do not seem rational or even comparable, but each may counteract a feeling of emotional stress. That stress might be counteracted by one behaviour, or many; a highly-addictive personality might swap between an uncontrollable need for alcohol or drugs, simply because they must quell the needy parts of their behaviour.

This substitution method at least gives an option for the person desperate to kick a habit. Smokers worldwide, for example, have tried many methods of breaking their addiction such as gums and nicotine patches, with varying results. E-cigarettes however not only recreate the addictive chemical element of nicotine, but also the physical actions of lifting a tool to the mouth and drawing.

It is perhaps no surprise then that sales of patches and gum fell by 3% last year, dropping for the first time since 2008. Meanwhile vaping device sales grew by 75%, thanks to the efforts of scientifically astute companies such as EL-Science, creating an alternative to traditional smoking that’s fun, funky and a viable alternative to smoking.

According to journalist Johann Hari, who has researched drug addiction across the globe, a combination of cues and an unhappy, deprived lifestyle can often be the impetus behind an addiction. His theory, revealed in the Huffington Post, was partially based on experiments on rats that had developed an addiction to drugged water before being placed in more pleasant conditions and subsequently kicking their habits.

Combine that with worldwide evidence that seems to suggest placing people in recuperative, replenishing and pleasant environments to conquer their demons, as opposed to punishing them, and the likelihood of success is higher. Much like prisoners, removing negative cues and giving a sufferer a desire to achieve, and more than anything, human connections, seems to work.

What Mothers Need to Know About First Aid

First aid, even at the most basic level, is a skill everyone should be required to learn. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re in the workplace or not – first aid is something that can be applied anywhere at any time, as a mother or father of your child, a friend, a sibling, a stranger or a work colleague.

There is nothing worse than feeling helpless and stressed in a situation, that otherwise could’ve been avoided. What do you do when someone needs first aid and your skills are the difference between helping to ease the pain or outcome waiting for an ambulance, to the possibility of it all going terribly wrong?

First aid and the knowledge and skills you learn provide you with lifesaving tools that are simply irreplaceable. It also gives you the confidence and calmness to attend to an emergency situation, provide help and keep someone you love safe and comfortable. Thinking about getting your first aid qualifications? Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Senior First Aid is now Provide First Aid

Previously, the workplace approved first aid course was called Senior First Aid. These days however, with some slight changes in place the first aid approval is now issued to the Registered Training Organisations (RTO) and titled Provide First Aid (HLTAID003). Provide First Aid, also referred to as level 2 covers all aspects of training in ‘Provide Basic Emergency Life Support’, as well as specialised training for the treatment of additional emergency incidents.

2. Senior First Aid is the standard requirement in most workplaces

Employers have a legal duty to keep their staff and work environment safe. Whilst the standard requirements for senior first aid vary between workplaces and states, all businesses should be first aid compliant to establish a safe duty of care. In Western Australia, the standard office workplace should have at least one staff member qualified to perform level 2 first aid to meet the WA Worksafe requirement as outlined in the Code of Practice.

The Compliance Code for First Aid in the workplace offers employers two options on how to comply. Option one, the prescribed approach; includes the number of first aid officers and their required duties and training, and how many first aid kits should be made available. This approach is suggested for workplaces with 10 or more staff members, or for high risk jobs with less than 10 employees. Low risk workplaces should have one senior first aid officer for 10-50 workers and two for 51 – 100.

The second option to comply with the Act is the risk assessment approach. This involves assessing the workplace and the hazards involved, and making the appropriate decision as to what first aid requirements are needed. The minimal acceptable level of training for workplace first aid is the senior first aid certificate (also referred to as level 2 first aid qualification or provide first aid).

3. Basic First Aid will teach you 3 essential criteria

Learning basic first aid techniques is the best way to help you cope with an emergency – whether it be in the workplace, or the comfort of your own home. It can help to keep a person breathing until an ambulance arrives, keep them comfortable by reducing pain and minimises the consequences of the injury worsening.

Basic first aid (provide cardio resuscitation) teaches you to:

  • Respond to an emergency situation by recognising the condition, assessing the casualty and seeking assistance from emergency response services
  • Perform CPR procedures in accordance with Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines, display respectful behaviour to the casualty and operate an automated external defibrillator (AED) should it be required
  • Communicate the details of the incident and what was done to help to workplace supervisor and emergency response team

4. Senior First Aid will teach you 4 essential criteria

The differences between basic first aid and senior first aid, is basic first aid is about providing CPR in an emergency situation. Senior first aid will teach you this, as well as prepare you for other possible life threatening situations like poisonous bites, airway management, seizures and bleeding.

Senior first aid (provide first aid) teaches you to:

  • Recognise and respond to an emergency situation
  • Apply appropriate first aid procedures including CPR and AED, shock management, airway management (asthma, chocking, severe allergic reactions and hyperventilation), cardiac emergencies, bleeding and wound care, bites and stings, seizures and convulsions, burns, extreme heat and cold, toxic substances, muscle injuries and abdominal injuries
  • Communicate the details of the incident and what was done to help to workplace supervisor and emergency response team
  • Evaluate the incident and own performance

5. Basic First Aid is a one-day course, Senior First Aid can be two

In order to be qualified in basic first aid, you’ll be required to complete a one day course. This will primarily cover life-threatening emergencies that can occur in the workplace, home or public and prepare you for a risk assessment and to perform CPR.

To complete a senior first aid course, this can be done as a one day or extended over two – depending on where you go. On successful competition, you will be issued with a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment that will show you’re qualified to perform the four sections mentioned above.

It’s important though, regardless of which first aid qualifications you get, that you refresh your qualifications as needed. Basic first aid should be refreshed every 12 months, whilst senior first aid (provide first aid) is every 3 years. This will ensure you’re up-to-date with any course changes, and remain confident and qualified to perform the tasks at hand.

By Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Training Course Experts – offering highly qualified senior first aid and refresher courses by an experienced team in Perth. You can catch her on Google+.

 

Tap Dance Your Way To Health And Fitness

Shuffle aside Zumba, the world’s first tap dancing fitness fusion has arrived and is set to take the world by storm. The brainchild of Australian sisters Annie, Fiona, Rachel and Katherine Johnson, TAPfit is a first- to-market exercise program using patented technology, which promises a total workout for both the mind and body.

Former Australian tap dancing representatives, the Johnson sisters have dedicated the past three years to crafting the program alongside a team of medical, diet and exercise professionals. Inspiration for the fitness device first struck when they observed remarkable results while teaching a little girl with cerebral palsy how to tap dance.

dance, tap dance, health, fitness, health craze, fitness fad

“No other dance schools would take Breanna as a student, so we offered to run personal lessons as a fun alternative to therapy, and work towards improving her muscle strength and coordination,” Fiona said.

“Breanna’s family and physiotherapist couldn’t believe that within just 6 months of starting lessons, she was able to ride a bike for the first time without training wheels.

“We’re thrilled to hear Breanna has made great progress with her coordination, balance and self-confidence, and is now actively involved in school musicals and excelling in sport, particularly athletics where she is now Queensland Champion for the 100m sprint in her division.”

Armed with this anecdotal evidence, Fiona and her siblings approached Professor Meg Morris from La Trobe University who had previously conducted studies on the benefits of tango and Irish dancing for Parkinson’s patients. From these studies, researchers gleaned that rhythmical dancing could have positive effects on walking speed, balance, motor impairment and endurance after attending just 2 classes per week for 10 weeks.

In a first-of-its kind trial, researchers at La Trobe University have recently explored the correlation between tap dancing and improved motor performance, life quality and wellbeing in individuals of varying movement abilities, with findings due to be released later this year.

“The tap dancing studies are really exciting because it’s the first time we have been able to observe and measure the therapeutic benefits of this dance genre. We are only just beginning to understand the intricacies of the human brain and studying the way in which the brain controls dancing tells us a great deal about how we acquire motor skills,” Professor Morris said.

“By extending our existing body of work on movement dynamics, we will gain a better understanding of how people with disability can transform their mobility whilst enjoying the experience!”

The TAPfit prototype has received high accolades from an international audience, with the sisters being recognised within the Top 5 inventors globally at the 2013Electronic Retailers Association Convention in the USA.

TAPfit has launched in Australia, and is due to launch in the USA and Canada within the next 6 months.

The Johnson sisters share their top five tips for enhanced physical and mental health and wellbeing:

  1. Move everyday

Only 10 minutes of moderate exercise can speed up your metabolism for an hour or longer. With many of us leading sedentary lifestyles, it is important to be as active as possible throughout the day. If you struggle to find the time for a more structured workout, try parking your car further from your destination and walking, take the stairs instead of the lift or squeeze in a few squats before bed. Incremental physical activity can make a big difference! One more thing – exercise shouldn’t be tedious. Choose a fitness style that you love and you will be more likely to stick to a regime and get the results you desire.

  1. Nourish your body with whole foods

Eating foods that are closest to their natural state means that we are fuelling our bodies with essential nutrients that cannot be obtained through packaged or processed foods. Wholefoods offer a rich source of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, fibre and antioxidants to keep your immune system strong and reduce the risk of disease. Increase your intake of wholefoods by incorporating more fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, fish, poultry and red meat into your diet. You are sure to find a bounty of wholefoods at your local farmer’s market, fresh-food aisle at the supermarket or health-food store.

  1. Learn a new skill

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. As with other parts of your body, it is important to also keep your mind active by learning a new skill or taking up a hobby. When you engage in unfamiliar activities you can stimulate your brain, sharpen your thinking, reduce mental fatigue and improve memory. Mind training isn’t limited to crossword puzzles and trivia questions – there are plenty of much more entertaining options like photography, art, dance, sewing or music classes.

  1. Take time out

It is important to factor a bit of ‘me time’ into each day and treat yourself to regular breaks. Just 30 minutes of relaxation a day can provide myriad benefits for physical and mental wellbeing, such as reduced stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure, and enhanced mood and concentration. Don’t feel guilty about letting people know that you don’t want to be disturbed. Switch off technology, listen to music, read a book, watch a film, meditate, have a warm bath or practice deep breathing – whatever works to help you unwind!

  1. Dance like nobody’s watching

Aerobic dance programs such as TAPfit are a fabulous form of self-expression and a fun way to keep fit. There are so many different styles of dance to try – from traditional ballet, ballroom and tap, to contemporary hip-hop, belly dancing and pole dancing. No matter your age or whether you prefer to dance solo, with a partner or in a group setting, you can reap the health benefits of dance and improve your strength, fitness, coordination, flexibility, confidence and self-esteem.

For more information or to purchase TAPfit, visit tapfit.com

TGIF Chamomile Margarita Recipe

This Friday afternoon indulgence is perfect as a pick-me-up and calm-me-down all at the same time. Tea lovers will be especially fond of it!

Ingredients

4 chamomile tea bags

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 ½ shots Tequila Blu

45ml chamomile simple syrup (mix of equal parts sugar and chamomile tea)

You will also need

½ cup salt (to rim glasses)

1 lemon cut into wedges (to garnish)

Method

  1. To make chamomile simple syrup: Mix 1 part sugar and 1 part water in a saucepan over the stove to melt sugar. Once boiled, remove mixture from heat and add 4 chamomile tea bags. Leave these in for approx. 30 mins for tea to steep before refrigerating.
  2.  Rim cocktail glasses in salt by placing salt on a shallow plate, moistening the rim of each glass and dipping in salt.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until liquid is chilled. Strain into each glass, decorate with fresh lemon wedges and enjoy!

5 EOFY Gifts For Staff Or Clients To Show Your Appreciation

Both employees and clients play a big part of your business success story, so occasional rewards to show your appreciation should be a priority. Celebrating the end of the financial year is the perfect opportunity to sit back and look at the hard work your staff have done, and also thank your clients for their work.

Most workplaces will organise some sort of EOFY party – whether it’s just for the staff or for the clients too. But regardless of what your workplace policy is, it’s nice to at least treat valued staff and clients with a small token of appreciation, a gift to say ‘thanks’. It makes your employees feel appreciated (and gets them continuing the good work too!), and it shows your clients mean a lot to your business. EOFY gifts don’t have to cost a fortune or be something huge, just a simple token of gratitude that fits into your business budget, values and the needs of your employees and clients. Here’s a few corporate gift ideas to get your started.

1. Corporate hampers

Corporate hampers are the best no-fail work gift. Suitable for employees, clients or the big BIG boss, they can be tailored to suit absolutely anybody. It can filled with edible treats, a few much-needed drinks after a busy start to the year or just something simple you know they will love. Gift hampers are perfect for both scenarios – knowing everything about the person and what they are into, to not really having a clue but needing a gift that’s nice anyway!

If you want to be really cleaver, you can choose a corporate gift hamper that incorporates their favourite hobbies – maybe they’re a sports enthusiast, a part-time baker or a garden lover. For clients, you can use hampers as a great marketing tool too, and implement some branded coffee mugs or office items they’ll be sure to use. Whatever you decide, there’s enough corporate hamper options out there to suit practically every budget and individual person.

2. Branded goodies

With the oodles of options of branded goodies you can create these days, it’s so easy to find a corporate gift that can wow both your employees and your clients. Last year, we gave our clients branded mini speakers that connect up to your phone or IPod and they were an absolute hit with clients using them on boat trips and family BBQs – all the staff were wanting some too. Branded gifts don’t have to just be a way to ‘sell’ your business, you can make them into some really cool and useful ideas that staff and clients will be using (and talking about!) for years to come.

You can be as creative as you want with branded goodies. Don’t just think inside the ‘office desk’ box, find something they can use with the whole family, at home or out indulging in the favourite hobbies. This way, it creates an element of fun for the gift too. Don’t go over the top with branding too, a simple logo and if relevant company slogan can go a long way.

3. Terrarium craze

There’s a terrarium craze that’s hit Perth (and all of Australia!) and it’s brightening up every office space, complementing home décor and just ‘hanging around’ in outdoor settings. Filled with your very own succulent garden, they are very easy to look after and are a great gift for any employee or client that loves a little lush green in their environment.

With a variety of different designs to choose from, you can purchase terrariums that are basic and beautiful, to stylish glass cubes that take on a very modern design. Terrariums don’t need much water or maintenance so they make for an easy excuse to transform dull office desks and can be filled with succulents, small flowers, ferns and decorations to suit every taste.

4. Corporate wine basket

Considering EOFY is about celebrating a good start to the year, it would make sense to involve a little wine or beer in the gift. Corporate wine baskets are like a gift hamper – but with wine and tasty goodies that go well with it. There’s gourmet ones to choose from and like with regular hampers, can be found in a variety of different price ranges to suit every business budget. Wine hampers are perfect for the female employees in the office complete with cheese treats and roasted almonds. For the blokes, you can go for something a little more manly like a beer hamper with beef jerky treats or tasty numbers to complement their next grill up.

5. Subscription gifts

If you want your business to stay on your client’s mind all year round, then subscription gifts can be a great way to do so. Like with corporate gift hampers and branded goodies, they can be tailored to suit the individual tastes of everyone.

Use subscriptions to customise gifts based on what you already know about your clients or staff. Perhaps they are always coming into the office with a café style coffee, so help them out by giving them a yearly subscription of it. If your client is always talking about their pets or is an obvious animal lover, perhaps an online pet store like BarkBox would show your appreciation too. When it comes to subscription gifts, there’s heaps of ideas out there and some can even be set out for shorter periods of time too.

But, no matter what you give your clients and staff this year – it’s the thought that counts. Not only will they feel appreciated, but it’ll bring a smile to everyone’s face which is the perfect way to celebrate the end of a busy financial year.

By Jayde Ferguson, an online blogger and copywriter who recommends the corporate gifts at Boxt.com.au for the perfect client or staff appreciation gift this end of financial year. Boxt are a leading online provider of hampers and other gift ideas and do delivery throughout Australia.

Save Money While Travelling? Yes, It’s Possible

Travelling is fun. Getting ripped off while you’re doing it is not. Luckily, with a few insider tips from Cover-More Travel Insurance’s video blogger Dan Moore, you can make the most of your time and money while you’re away, and ensure your holiday is next-level amazing.

Get appy

There are lots of great travel apps that can be really handy when overseas, and it pays to take some time before you leave to do a little research and download your faves.

Moore recommends City Maps 2Go, which uses satellite to show your location and doesn’t require the Internet to work. “Just load your map, pin your location, get lost, and navigate back to your pin.”

A currency converter app is also great to have on hand, Moore says. “It’s an easy way to get a bearing on your money conversions and make sure you don’t ripped off, especially in the first few days in a new place.”

The Cover-More Global SIM is free to activate and is prepaid for calls and data – so you can use your phone like you would at home, to everything from finding a great café to posting photos on Facebook. The SIM works in more than 100 countries and is compatible with most recent mobile phones and tablets.

Make your money work for you

Every penny saved is a penny you can spend on food, shoes or more travel. Moore suggests not carrying too much cash on you. “It’s safer in the bank, and you won’t spend all your time worrying about losing it,” he says.

“Get a travel card (most Aussie banks provide them). This way you have minimal to no fees as it adds the local currency to your card, and you can earn frequent flyer points at the same time.”

Look for accommodation using booking.com, hostelworld.com or quickbeds.com or something similar. “These sites give amazing discounts on rates, and best of all you can usually cancel within 24 hours with no fee,” Moore says.

Avoid booking transfers to and from the airport. “Transfers can sometimes be up to twice as much as the cost of a standard taxi. In Bangkok, you can get a fast train for about 40b over a taxi that’s about 350b, and the train will get you there twice as fast.

Don’t skimp on a good backpack or bag. “This is basically your mobile home for the next few weeks, or even months, and you need it to be reliable,” Moore explains. “It’s going to get beat up and handled ‘without care’, and although having a zipper break so that your underwear sprawls out across an airport luggage conveyor belt will certainly be a memorable experience (trust me), it’s probably not worth the money for a humorous anecdote.”

Food hacks

Eating is without a doubt one of the best things about travel. Nothing beats getting a taste for the local cuisine, and street food can be some of the tastiest, and cheapest, meals you’ll find. Do be a little discerning though. “Don’t eat at the first place you come across, keep an eye out for the popular places full of locals, and research restaurants on Yelp or similar,” suggests Moore.

Also, if you’re staying at a hostel or hotel and can take advantage of the included breakfast, it’s a good idea to take a bottle of water, and a piece of fruit as you leave for the day. “Having that snack in your bag means you’ll never go hungry and you can concentrate on the fun of trying to find your way around a new city, or work out the public transport system.”

Safety first

Whatever you do, don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your health, urges Moore. “Invest in proper travel insurance, and if you have injured yourself go to a pharmacy or doctor straight away. There’s absolutely no point risking your health, or your bank balance.”

To celebrate their YouTube channel hitting 2 million views and over 1000 subscribers, Cover-More Travel Insurance, has launched the search to find the Ultimate Traveller. Record and share your video adventure for the chance to win a $10,000 travel adventure… There are also GoPro Hero4 and GoPro Hero3+ cameras up for grabs. http://competition.covermore.com.au

How To Get More Likes On Your Holiday Snaps

Let’s be real – one of the best things about escaping frosty mornings commuting to work to jet off on holiday is the fact that we get to brag about it on social media. And with a little help from full-time traveler, photographer and Cover-More Travel Insurance’s video blogger Dan Moore, you can take the sort of envy-inducing travel pics that will see the likes rolling in quicker than you can say, ‘Another margarita by the pool, please!’

The light stuff

Make sure any light source, sun or otherwise, is coming from behind you, and experiment with flash, but try not to use it indoors as it will wash out your shot.

“Don’t be afraid to try taking shots in all different types of light,” says Moore. “Sometimes dimly lit laneways with a hidden café can be as beautiful as a beach on a bright sunny day.”

Make close-ups count

With detailed shots, as opposed to landscapes, Moore says we shouldn’t be afraid to fill our frame. “Aim for a nice, simple, and tightly cropped photo of whatever it is you’re taking a picture of, whether a person or your latest foodie find.”

“Have some fun with your photo and get creative with your composition. See what it looks like to have the main subject of the photo positioned slightly off centre – people, food, or scenery, like temples or boats on the ocean, can give you a striking shot if you get close and get a little off centre.”

Sunny side up

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love the beauty of sunrise and sunset, and to be honest, it’s pretty hard to take a ‘bad’ photo of these magical times of day.

Moore suggests keeping an eye out for opportunities to use reflection or silhouettes to make your sunrise/set pic really stand out. “Objects, buildings and water that reflect the light can make for amazing shots.”

Water baby

If you have waterproof equipment, taking underwater snaps can be great fun and can produce some truly breathtaking shots.

Moore’s favourite time to shoot underwater is bright afternoons. “Just under the surface of a pool or the ocean is a great place to capture sunbeams, reflections, and create texture.”

“If you are feeling adventurous, head out for a surf, snorkel or kayak with your camera and don’t forget not to waste rainy days on your holiday which can also produce some amazing watery holiday snaps.”

Food porn

It wouldn’t be a holiday if you weren’t taking photos of your delicious food discoveries or beautiful cocktails by the pool.

Moore suggests thinking about the shape, texture and colour of what you’re taking a photo of, and says some dishes are going to look great when photographed from above, while others, like gorgeous cakes or drinks, will look better shot from a lower angle.

“And be quick,” Moore adds. “Grab the shot when your pho is piping hot or your granita still icy, and never underestimate the fun that can be had when posing with your food mid-scoff or slurp – it is a holiday after all!”

To celebrate their YouTube channel hitting 2 million views and over 1000 subscribers, Cover-More Travel Insurance, has launched the search to find the Ultimate Traveller. Record and share your video adventure for the chance to win a $10,000 travel adventure. There are also GoPro Hero4 and GoPro Hero3+ cameras up for grabs.

One Product Your Hairdresser Wants To Keep Secret

It’s the time of the year when everybody’s hair goes a little haywire – literally. And with in-salon hair treatments sometimes costing upwards of $100 it can be a real struggle (not to mention expensive) to get your locks in good shape again after they’ve been subjected to the hair torture devices of summer – sun, salt water and styling tools. Which is where this little celebrity secret comes in.

Blake Lively swears by it, so does Kate Hudson; even Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are singing the praises of this unexpected hair saviour and hairdresser’s worst nightmare. No matter what you’ve heard about coconut oil and its much debated health benefits, the one thing that is certain is that when it comes to hair, this stuff really does live up to the hype.  Here’s why:

Nourishment with a capital N

The N word is a favourite in the hair salon realm, along with the M word – moisterising. Luckily for your strands, coconut oil is going to do both of those things like a dream because rather than coating the surface of hair like store bought products and hair masks tend to do, the natural oil works to penetrate each strand’s cortex meaning deep nourishment and the added benefits of improved hair strength and flexibility.

Sans chemicals

At the end of the day when it comes to chemicals, your hair really is better off in the long run without them. Not only can they be harmful to your health but they can also strip hair color, leave you with a frizzy mane and drain the moisture, resulting in hair loss and breakage. All-natural oils like coconut oil are free from harsh sulphates, ethoxylated thickeners, parabens and formaldehydes, which are common nasty ingredients in salon products.

Cheap as chips (or coconuts)

Coconut oil has been used by traditional Pacific Islanders for centuries as a daily grooming routine for the hair and scalp, and do you know how much it costs them? Not a damn thing! While we can’t exactly pluck a coconut from a palm frond here in the Western world, we can stock up on inexpensive coconut oil, coating hair lengths and ends in as much of the good stuff as we like for an in-home hair treatment – minus the pricey salon trip.

For those wanting an all-round coconut hair routine, Nature Pacific has created Virgin Coconut Oil Rich Shampoo with the driest and most damaged hair in mind. The special blend, made from Banaban Virgin Coconut Oil is paired with only the most natural and nourishing ingredients to ensure the special fusion stays with Nature Pacific’s synergy of natural remedies based on thousands of years of Pacific Island tradition.

Benefits of On-The-Job Training

On-the-job training involves learning in and amongst day-to-day work and can occur in the normal working environment or via specific training with a more experienced member of staff. On-the-job training is seen as the most popular and effective form of staff training – here’s why.

The first and most obvious advantage of on-the-job training, when compared to organised distant courses is often the cost. By getting new staff started straight away, employers do not have to invest in expensive training schemes or lose new members of staff to lengthy external training courses. It is also worth noting that once the employee has completed the training there is nothing to stop them deciding to quit and not go through with their job, if they realise it is not what they expected.

In a similar way, building experience and training while working means that the employee is likely to be bringing home a wage. This is especially important when trying to join careers such as teaching which require training before further examinations. By enrolling on a scheme with organisations such as EduStaff you are able to gain key training whilst working on-the-job.

It is also certainly worth mentioning the depth of passive training you will receive while immersing yourself in the actual role and learning from your experienced colleagues. All jobs and workplaces will have a myriad of different processes and cultural nuances that you simply cannot fully understand without settling into your new team and job.

Aside from the benefits for the new employee going through the process, on-the-job training is a great way for management to demonstrate the value they place on the more experience members of staff who help with the training. Tesco often asks experienced members of staff to conduct on-the-job training for new recruits. This demonstrates the trust the organisation has in those long-serving staff members who may not be suitable for other forms of acknowledgement, including promotions or raises.

One benefit that may only be applicable for some roles is that showing new recruits the ropes, while getting them started, can act as a canny assessment technique. Training new staff in exactly what their role entails means that their ‘sink or swim’ moment naturally comes early and both the organisation and the new recruit will know if they are likely to stay on in the long-term.

So, next time you go through training yourself, or plan training for a new member of your team, consider what you would be missing out on if you were subjected to external training from a faceless corporation who know little about the culture of the company and what your new role will truly involve.

Must-Have Summer Festival Accessories

Whatever festival you’re heading to this year, it’s important that you deck yourself out with the right accessories for the occasion. However, the accessories you should be wearing can greatly differ, depending on which event you choose to attend. Here’s what to wear to the main ones:

Glastonbury

Line up: Jamie T, Kanye West, Florence and the Machine, Mary J. Blige

Taking place: 24-28 June, Somerset

Accessory required: The bum bag

If you were lucky enough to nab tickets for this year’s Glastonbury then there’s only one thing you need – a funky bumbag. Forget the negative associations that go with these great accessories, and definitely remove those memories of your Grandad donning one for the annual family day out at the beach with his tiny swim trunks, simply purchase a bright zip up version to snap around your hips.

T in the Park

Line up: Avicii, Paloma Faith, Hozier, Sam Smith

Taking place: 10-12 July, Perthshire

Accessory required: The crochet kimono

Prepare to dance and swish your kimono as you bask in the sunshine, while your favourite songs are performed by crooners such as Sam Smith, George Ezra and Paloma Faith at this year’s T in the Park festival. It’s the perfect lightweight accessory to throw over your summer dress or crop top and shorts and sites such as Blue Vanilla have lots of great styles ready for summer, over in their shop.

Lovebox

Line up: Rudimental, Jessie Ware, Ella Eyre, Hot Chip

Taking place: 17-18 July, London

Accessory required: The flower crown

This is definitely the festival that calls for flower crowns and bold eye make up, with huge dance artists hitting the stages, Lovebox was made for the music loving, wild types – head to Crown and Glory to pick up a pretty floral crown, perfect for the occasion.

Sportbeat

Line up: The Fratellis, James Arthur, De La Soul, The Skints

Taking place: 15-16th August, Gloucester

Accessory required: The legwarmers

Nothing says ‘sports theme’ like a pair of legwarmers, pulled on over your favourite Nike trainers and Sportbeat is a unique event combining the best of both worlds: music and exercise. With lower key bands such as The Fratellis and The Skints confirmed, on top of sporting events such as volleyball, rugby and netball tournaments, this is a festival that will leave you breathless.

V Fest

Line up: Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding, James Bay plus special guest Tom Jones

Taking place: 22-23 August, Essex, Shropshire

Accessory required: The transfer tattoo

Transfer tattoos are big news on the accessory scene this summer and come in a huge range of styles and colours, so you should definitely consider finishing off your festival look with some arm candy that rubs off – hey, even Beyonce wears them!

A dainty, gold arm tattoo from a high street store such as Topshop or River Island looks great on tanned skin with a crop top, denim shorts, wellies and a backpack – which let’s face it, you will definitely be wearing. Simply rub on with water then rub off when you’re done!

Reading and Leeds Festivals

Line up: The Libertines, Mumford and Sons, Metallica, Deadmau5

Taking place: 28-30 August, Leeds and Reading

Accessory required: The hair chalk

An all star Indie line up, complemented by dance acts such as Deadmau5 should bring out the bright and alternative people who definitely don’t mind streaking some bold colours throughout their hair.

You don’t have to be brave with a tinting brush and pot of semi permanent hair colour though, simply pick up some hair chalk from somewhere such as Urban Outfitters or Topshop and get creative with your look, streaking it through your locks before you head down to the festival. Don’t forget to take it with you to top up your colour if it rubs out!

8 Everyday Activities Prematurely Ageing You

Human beings are the most destructive creatures on the planet. We pollute our environment, we hurt each other, we start wars, and we leave derelict ugly buildings in every town in the world. Strangely, for a species that has rational thought, we also hurt ourselves, by mistake or by intention. Those actions limit our lives and sometimes reduce them in numerous ways – here are eight of the most common.

Eating poorly

When it comes to calorie consumption no nation does it quite like the US, but according to a recent study British residents scoff an average of 3440 calories a day – well above the recommended intake. A poor diet combined with a lack of exercise is an accident waiting to happen for well being, and also affects a person’s confidence and social life. Obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and numerous other life-shortening effects are the by-products to gluttony and lethargy.

Lack of sleep

Poor sleeping can also lead to serious health problems, and there are numerous other possibilities – such as forgetfulness or accidents – that might have dire consequences. A consistent lack of sleep will cause your body to release more cortisol, a hormone associated with stress that damages the skin and makes you look older.

Alcohol

Where to start? A little wine or beer every day won’t hurt, but anything over 2-3 units per day (3-4 for men), equating to a standard glass of wine or pint of beer respectively, can damage internal organs and the nervous system. It’s also been linked with a decline in IQ and possible early onset of dementia.

Smoking

Smoking 20 packets of poisonous chemicals a day will wreck your lungs and heart, and leave you with numerous symptoms of ageing such as dry, yellow skin, and bad teeth. Moderation, and combining smoking with vaping through Phoenix e-cig batteries, e-liquids and starter packs, will help.

Worrying

We’ve already looked at how the stress hormone cortisol can affect the human body. While small increases do also have some benefits (preparing us for action, lower sensitivity to pain), long spells of anger or worry can impair cognitive function and send blood pressure rocketing.

Exposing ourselves to illness/pollution

Much of the human environment, particularly industrial or urban areas, is not conducive to long health – so why do so few people wear masks or protect themselves? As evidence, London’s air quality is the filthiest in Europe and a planned Heathrow expansion which could cost the UK £300m in fines from the EU, could only make it worse.

Drinking excessive tea and coffee

There is contradictory evidence on the consumption of several cups of tea and coffee. What is true is that at least some studies have shown desperate negative effects, from headaches and depression to high blood pressure and early death according to Mayo Clinic.

Lack of mental stimulation

Mundane work, boredom, and a lack of new experiences and mental tests can be deadly. Puzzles and reading increase the flow of blood to the brain, and promote and increase in protective chemicals. There’s also significant evidence that problem solving can lessen the risk of dementia. Think again when you pass through a day where you feel you haven’t learned anything.

10 Things To Consider Before Having A Breast Augmentation

As the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure on the planet, more than 12,000 breast augmentations take place in Australia each year. With more women choosing to go under the knife, The Cosmetic Institute has put together a check list of 10 things to consider before signing on the dotted line to have surgery.

“Breast augmentations make up more than 90 percent of the surgeries we perform,” says Dr Huy Tang, cosmetic surgeon at The Cosmetic Institute, which performs some 5,000 breast augmentation procedures each year. “While it’s a fairly straight-forward procedure, any time a patient is considering surgery, we want to make sure they’re informed, educated and armed with the right questions to ask,” he said.

Here, Dr Tang outlines the 10 most important things to consider before going under the knife. 

1. Be healthy

“Prior to your procedure it is critical that you are in excellent health,” says Dr Tang. “In particular, if you’re a smoker, it’s a very good idea to kick the habit at least eight weeks prior to your surgery.” According to Dr Tang, smokers have a much higher risk of serious complications during and after surgery, including infections and impaired wound healing.

2. Get educated

“It seems obvious, but make sure you’re well informed,” says Dr Tang, who recommends visiting forums, talking to people who have had the procedure and looking through the social media pages of the clinics you are interested in going with. “It is a very good idea to do this research before you meet your prospective surgeon so you can ensure all your questions can be addressed in your initial consultation,” he says. 

3. Shop around

“Although it can be tempting to go with the first surgeon you find and book your procedure in straight away, don’t settle with the first clinic you visit,” says Dr Tang. “Ensure you have a consultation with at least two or three other clinics to gain some perspective on what’s out there and where you feel the most comfortable. In addition to getting to know the surgeon, you can familiarise yourself with the type of work they do by looking at before and after pictures.”

4. Get clear about costs

To avoid any surprises, make sure you are aware of the costs associated with your surgery up front. “Many clinics have hidden costs such as a facility hire fees, post op follow up fees and anaesthetist fees, so make sure all costs are laid out on the table before you decide,” Dr Tang advises.

5. Stay local 

“I can’t stress strongly enough that patients need to think carefully before being lured overseas by the promise of cut-price surgery, as doing so exposes you to a number of unnecessary risks,” warns Dr Tang.  In addition to being away from the comforts of home and the support of family and friends while recovering from surgery, Dr Tang points out that you’re likely to be travelling to a very hot, humid climate where the risk of infection can be increased and the standard of sanitation may not be as high.   “You’ll also have no access to your surgeon once you return home, which may be crucial should complications occur weeks or even months after your surgery.  We are lucky that Australia has one of the best medical systems in the world, so you couldn’t be in safer hands,” he says. 

6. Ask for accreditation

“One of the very basic things you need to do is make sure both the clinic and the surgeon are accredited,” stresses Dr Tang, who warns that while the surgeon you’re talking to might be accredited, the facility may not be.   

7. Ask about anaesthetic

“Enquire about who will be administering the anaesthetic and ask whether you will have a specialist anaesthetist on site dedicated to your care for the full duration of surgery,” says Dr Tang. “Make sure your surgeon discusses the type of anaesthetic that will be used and that you are well informed about the different types of anaesthetic options available.”

8. Get the low down on the implants 

In terms of implant options, Dr Tang suggests you discuss everything from the type of implants your surgeon is planning to use (silicone gel or saline), to the size of implants they recommend based on your proportions, and their shape – which can be round or tear drop. “You’ll also want to ask about the texture of your implants’ surface – rough or smooth, whether your implants will be placed under or in front of the muscle, and the location of your incisions,” he says.

9. Be aware of the aftercare

“What happens after surgery is just as important as what happens during surgery,” says Dr Tang. “Following your surgery it is vital that you attend the recommended post op consultations with your surgeon and follow the aftercare directions they provide you with to the letter,” he says. He also suggests that you have a designated post op care partner to help look after you the days and even weeks following the procedure. “It is highly recommended that mothers in particular have assistance with general day to day activities as their upper body will be restricted and they won’t be able to do things like pick up their children, take a pram out of the car, or reach for anything above shoulder height.” 

10. Keep your expectations in check

“Although breast augmentation is a relatively simple procedure, many people are unaware of the lifestyle adjustments that will need to be made following surgery and come in with unrealistic expectations about their recovery,” says Dr Tang. He advises that most patients will need to take a week or so off work and won’t be able to drive for a week either. “It’s also important to keep in mind that your new breasts will change dramatically in the first six to 12 weeks and will continue to settle over the 12 to 24 months following, so don’t expect immediate perfection,” he says. 

In terms of scarring, Dr Tang says that patients are usually left with a thin line across the base of the breast, which fades over the following 12 months.  And finally, because you’re breasts will still be healing, Dr Tang says that underwire bras are off limits for about six weeks.

5 Innovative Ways To Capture Your Holiday Memories

If you holiday once or several times a year, you not only make special memories with the loved ones you are with, but you are also visiting a new part of the world that you may or may not ever see again. Whether you stay in Australia for a beach holiday, travel to Europe for a city break or visit Africa to experience a safari, you will make unique memories that it is important to capture so they last a lifetime.

Here are five innovative ways that you can use to preserve those precious memories:

1. A photo speaks a thousand words, so a main way to capture these memories is through images and a modern way to do this is through the use of a selfie stick. Long ago are the days when you took your photos, sent off the film when you returned home to receive it back weeks later and discover your finger right across the center.

Today we rarely take a typical camera as our smartphones do the job for us, with which we can take the photo as many times as is necessary to get one we are happy with and without having to ask a passer-by to stop and take it for us. As things advance we can upload our selfies, which we can now take with our selfie sticks, to our social media accounts so everyone can see what we are doing as we do it!

2. A photo album and not the Facebook kind! We all love to upload our snaps to social media and create an online record. But since we have used technology to store our photos, how often do we print them off? We used to fill actual photo album sleeves so we could flick through them and look at the original print.

A modern version of this is the photobook, available from places such as Photobox, this goes further than your traditional album. Adorn the front with your favourite snap, then customise the design and layout including text and images. The result is a book the whole family can enjoy looking through time and time again!

3. Rather than having a generic mousemat, a plain mug and the same phone cover as everyone else why not adorn your everyday items with your favourite photos from your holiday? From the pillows on your bed to the calendar on your desk at work, so much can be personalised with images that you can have items for home, work and on-the-go. This is a special and unique way to capture the memory of your holiday, and means you always have a photo at hand to share stories of your trip.

4. Photos aren’t the only way to capture your holiday! A modern version of a diary or travel journal is to keep a blog. This can be set up for free through sites such as WordPress. Document your holiday online, where you can include photos and videos if you wish, to share with friends and family. You can then look back over your holiday, so no part is forgotten, remembering not only what you did but your thoughts and feelings as well.

5. Relive your holiday through video footage. But like the old school ways of sending off our rolls of film to receive our photos, this is not footage captured on a video camera that you wait till you get back home to connect up to the TV and watch. This video can be filmed on your smartphone, uploaded to social media or You Tube if you wish for a wider audience to see. Also with apps such as iMovie, your week away can be transformed into a movie you can show the grandchildren one day.

6 Reasons Short-Term Loans Could Be A Better Way To Borrow

Short-term loans have received a lot of bad press over recent years. This was mainly as a result of exorbitant interest rates, administrative fees and other costs. Yet for many, a short-term loan is a viable option to get out of financial trouble. Here are six reasons why you might need to access a short-term loan.

The bargain of a lifetime 

Holidays are always important. If you’ve spotted a travel agent’s deal that’s too good to miss, then as long as you’ve done all of the sums and know that you can afford the repayments, a short-term loan will prove to be a welcome solution to any cash strapped shopper. Why not click here to see if you can afford a logbook loan. Unlike payday loans, you can repay the amount borrowed in small regular amounts until the debt is repaid.

No one wants to be locked into a debt 

If you’ve borrowed money, you don’t want to be locked into a repayment schedule that will prove costly and possibly inconvenient. You may even forget why you took out the loan in the first place. According to the website Money Saving Expert if you shop around you can still access a cheap short term loan, this might be through 0% introductory credit card offers or even a 0% overdraft rate with a new bank account. As long as you can prove that you have a good credit rating, this type of offer is the ideal way to source a short-term loan.

The future is always a mystery 

If you’ve worked out your budget for the foreseeable future and you are confident that you can meet your loan repayments, then a short-term loan is perfect for most purposes. No one has a crystal ball. Illness or accidents, or even recessions can occur at any time, so borrowing for a short period of time may be safer than a long-term debt.

Manage your debts 

A recent article in The Guardian highlighted the dangers of debt. Non-mortgage borrowing has reached a staggering £10,000 per household across the UK, or £239 billion in total and this figure is set to grow. This figure does include unavoidable student loans, which amounted for £9.1 billion of the £19.7 billion increase in 2014, and personal debt including loans and overdrafts amounted to £6.4 billion. If you want to manage your finances, a short-term loan that’s repaid within a fixed term may be your best option.

You need money quickly 

If you need funds in an emergency and don’t have time to wait for a bank’s decision on an overdraft, or your credit card is maxed out, then a short-term loan is perfect. You’ll be able to respond to the emergency and repay the money in over a short period of time.

Always read the terms and conditions 

Loans vary from company to company. Despite new regulations governing this financial sector you’ll still find that some loans are more expensive than others. As long as you understand the repayment schedule and all of the connected charges, then this type of loan can bail you out of a difficult financial situation.

Toys Children Would Never Guess Are Educational

From LEGO to building blocks, puzzles and playsets being a kid is pretty damn enjoyable. But, it’s not all just fun and games through. Encouraging play through toys that are educational will leave positive fingerprints on a person’s brains well into their adolescent years – not to mention the endless amounts of entertainment it can provide for your little one.

In the first year, your baby will thrive the most absorbing absolutely everything in the world around him. The right toys are an essential part of this process and help to provide your little one with the tools to develop different skills, enabling them to discover as much as possible early on.

It’s not uncommon for educational toys to be mistaken for setting your baby up for school skills such as maths and reading. But before a child can even learn how to do these things, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done beforehand. This ‘work’ is called play. Children need to develop their own ways to express themselves and toys that are designed to educate help to bring the best of your child out. But which toys are actually educational for your children? We check out some of the top ones.

My Busy Town Wooden Development Toy

Bright, colourful and fun this development toy is perfect for little ones ages between 7 months to 3 years. It essentially combines a few toys together with 5 different sides of fun that teaches your child alphabet recognition, coordination and counting. The toy is ideal for introducing colours and shapes and helps to encourage problem solving and interaction.

To begin with, show your toddler each side of the cube to introduce the different activities. Let your child explore the rest of the cube on his own – he’ll be busily entertained and educated all in one.

Fire Station Playset

From curiosity to discovery complete with a healthy dose of imagination, the Fire Station Playset is perfect for education. Recommended for children between the ages of 12 months to 5 years old, the toys combines motor skills with the spark of inquisitiveness, encouraging your child to observe and respond.

Because the playset promotes imagination, it offers a magical experience for your little one (and you as the parent too watching). The Fire Station Playset takes thoughtfulness and practice into careful consideration and can help teach your child the importance of playing in group situations too.

Parum Pum Pum Drum

Any form of creativity skills encouraged from a young age can work wonders for educating your child. Music and art both play an important role in developing appreciation, imagination and intellectual skills. As they get older, these skills tend to be transferred and utilised into new situations involving perceptual awareness, personal, physical and social development. Check out this article for all the benefits of music for kids!

This musical drum toy is more than just a drum…it’s a whole musical set! Complete with egg shakers, a tambourine and other percussion instruments it helps young ones from 18 to 24 months utilise the magic of making music, as well as its cause and effect. Whilst it can be slightly frustrating from a parent point of view listening to your child shaking and banging different things to make a noise, it’s a fantastic development toy that encourages little ones to explore music and sounds, thus developing their music and motor skills significantly.

Le Toy Van Doctors Set

As a young child, going to the doctors can be extremely daunting and cause a lot of anxiety for both you and your little one. Doctor play sets are a great way to prep your toddler for future visits and use skills like imaginative play and role playing to educate your child in a fun and safe way.

Recommended for children aged between 18 months to 6 years old, the educational benefits of this Doctor’s set stem from creative thinking and motor skills. All parts of the toy promote a non-dangerous and innovative way to learn.

Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set

Just as much as music and the arts stimulate creativity, sports related toys help to keep your child active and educated. The Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set is a huge hit with kids… especially if they thrive on being energetic which let’s face it, most kids do! Suited for anyone aged 2 years and up, the sports set encourages healthy physical, emotional and social development.

Learning skills like confidence, balance, coordination, focus and motor skills, your child will also develop skills to assist in team working environments. In this day of age too, where so many things are influenced by the digital world – sports sets like this one promotes the importance of staying active and getting outdoors.

Design and Drill Activity Centre

Armed with grid holes, colours, tools and bolts the Design and Drill Activity Centre is perfect for children aged 3 years and above. Encouraging the use of coordination to build upon, creativity, fine motor skills and imagination, this toys set is super educational.

Because there’s so many possibilities for creative play with this toy, children fail to “get bored of it”. Complete with 20 activity card challenges for your child to use, the activity centre teaches a variety of skills that can be implemented down the track.

By Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Bubba Love, a leading provider of educational toys for babies and toddlers to help stimulate your young ones development.

5 Most Wasted Foods (And What You Can Do About It)

According to the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, around 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK every year – and almost 50% of this comes directly from our homes. At a time when households and families are increasingly stretched financially, struggling to cope with essential obligations such as mortgage or rent costs, utility bills and fuel prices – not to mention groceries – it seems incredible that as a nation we’re so casual in the use of our food and the rejection of it.

The UK is not alone. Similar behaviour is present around Europe – the whole EU wastes around 90 million tonnes per annum. We are, in fact, a continent of food wasters.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little organisation, preparation and education, food which might otherwise have been tossed away and wasted can be saved and recycled into meals. This interactive guide from ao.com is a useful place to start, suggesting quick and easy recipes for five of the most commonly wasted foods. There are some very simple solutions for food types which are typically trashed.

Bread

The No.1 disposable food item in UK cupboards, according to Defra, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Yet it’s so easy to avoid throwing bread away. The main problem appears to be packs of bread which are opened but then not finished. Avoid this by buying a smaller pack, or freezing half of it. Don’t forget, sliced bread can be frozen. If you forget to do that, don’t worry. Blitz stale bread into crumbs for use in a wide range of recipes or tear it into chunky handfuls to make a bread and butter pudding.

Potatoes

A staple in the UK cupboard but too often chucked prematurely especially when bought in large bags. The main lesson here is not to dispose of spuds too early. Most will last a week or two longer than the use by date on the packaging – if a potato has small sprouts appearing it’s still safe to eat. Just slice them off. However, if they’re turning green or brown, time to go. Again, just like bread, potatoes can be frozen. Rather than getting rid, produce masses of mash which can be used again later.
A quick and simple, yet delicious, recipe for potato cakes can be found here.

Bananas

Bananas go ripe very quickly. A top tip is to always buy the greener ones in the supermarket, as they’ll have a longer shelf life, if only for a few days. But even if the bananas in your fruit bowl turn a dark brown colour they can still be used perfectly well. Mush them up and with just a couple of very simple other ingredients – which many households usually have – you can produce a delicious banana cake; like this one here.

Carrots

Again, regularly bought in large bags and not always completely used. Fortunately, carrots are extremely versatile vegetables and there really is no excuse for wasting a single one. Slice each into batons for quick and healthy snacks, grate them and use in a tasty carrot cake, or blend up with stock and onion to make carrot and coriander soup. That can be eaten immediately, or batches can be frozen and used in the coming weeks. Worried your freezer is getting a little full? It might be worth considering a larger model or even a chest freezer in the garage – the investment will eventually pay for itself in the savings made on food.

Apples

High time to change the attitude when it comes to the humble apple. It has far more potential than just being eaten cold, by hand. Coring and slicing up ageing fruit, then heating it gradually to cook it down, provides a base for crumbles and pies. Same for making apple sauce, which can then be stored and used as an accompaniment to roast pork, which saves you buying a new pot of the stuff from the supermarket every few Sundays. Slice and fry into tasty apple fritters, or bake whole with a filling of raisins and sultanas. These are just a few suggestions – the bottom line is, don’t throw apples in the bin!

Travel Experiences Mum Will Love

Chances are that if you ask mum what she wants for Mother’s Day her reply will be along the lines of, “having all the family together under one roof”. She loves those special moments that create long-lasting memories and experiences that will leave her reminiscing over the dinner table. With travel one of the best stories to tell, Trafalgar has listed their top travel experiences Mum will love.

Food – Italy

A haven for some of the world’s best food and wines, mum will be in her element as she indulges her way through Italy’s Piedmont region on a Secrets of Italy Hidden Journey. Sharing stories with local families in their homes, your mum will feel spoiled as she stays in authentic accommodation at the Albergo Dell’Agenzia in Pollenzo. Aside from exploring Europe’s largest open air food market in Turin and the food markets of Astola, she’ll uncover a town synonymous with sparkling wine in Asti where she’ll meet a local family on their wine estate for a beautiful Be My Guest lunch. The Nicola family will invite her to explore their estate and cellars where she’ll sample the region’s famous Spumante and Barbera d’Asti wines before sitting down with the family for a homemade meal.

Luxury – Ireland

Gracing her beauty on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, a luxurious stay at Red Carnation Hotel’s newly-refurbished Ashford Castle in Ireland will leave Mum feeling like the Queen. Dating back to 1228, the magnificent five-star property is one of Ireland’s most prestigious properties. Mum will dine like royalty in the George V Dining Room named after the Prince of Wales. The graceful setting is rich with twinkling Waterford Crystal chandeliers bestowing a grand sense of occasion. Relax and unwind to the soothing sounds of Ashford Castle’s resident pianist while indulging in exceptional dishes of acclaimed Chef Stefan Matz. This castle stay is available on the Iconic Ireland & Ashford Castle guided holiday.

Culture – Japan

Eclectic cities, traditional villages, snow-capped mountains and coastal beauty are combined on this culturally-infused holiday. Mum will explore Japan like a local with an array of insider experiences including a sushi making demonstration and cooking class in the famous Ginza district. On the Splendours of Japan guided holiday, she’ll learn washi paper making in Gokayama, sample Japanese sake in Takayama and practice gold leaf painting with a local artisan in Kanazawa. In a special Be My Guest dining experience, she’ll be welcomed inside a traditional ryokan nestled in the peace and quiet of Mt. Yoshida. Built in 1932, it is here she’ll taste kaiseki cuisine and learn local Japanese customs with her hosts inside their home.

Adventure – Hawaiitravel, holidays, mothers day, adventure travel, Hawaii

Hawaii is the perfect destination to leave your mum feeling refreshed, re-energised and re-invigorated with the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, each island brings to life a new experience. Go beyond the surf and sand at Honolulu and discover the lush tropical paradise of Fern Grotto in Kauai on the Hawaii Four Island Adventure. Trek through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and see the sunrise from the summit of Mount Haleakala in Maui. Visit a local family on their working farm before being welcomed inside for a special Be My Guest experience using the farm’s fresh ingredients.

Music – America

Immerse mum into America’s Deep South to experience one of the biggest winter events at the annual Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday parade in New Orleans. On the 10-dayTastes and Sounds of the South guided holiday, she’ll gain a Cultural Insight into the life and music of Johnny Cash during a private performance and discussion with Johnny and June’s son, John Carter Cash. Indulge in southern hospitality at the period homes of Joe Stone who will play the piano for you as you sip cocktails, before Esther Carpenter, once listed as America’s top 20 female chefs, invites you inside for a special Be My Guest dining experience. She’ll also learn about the home of Rock ’n’ Roll with a passionate Local Specialist in the heart of Tennessee and join in on the festivities with New Orleans’s locals on Bourbon Street.

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