Holidays

23 Genius Halloween Costumes Everyone Else Will Wish They’d Thought Of

Bust out the sewing machines, makeup brushes and glue guns – it’s time to get crafty.

October 15, 2017

Criminally Easy Christmas Recipes For Lazy Ass Girls

Ridiculously easy. Ridiculously delicious.

December 22, 2016

14 Struggles Only Single People Understand At Christmas

Why are there so many sad Christmas songs, anyway?

December 21, 2016

13 Ways Christmas Sucks For People Who Have Anxiety

For some of us, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year.

December 6, 2016

17 Vodka Cocktail Recipes That Are Christmas In A Cup

‘Tis the season to get very drunk…

November 29, 2016

13 Boozy Cocktails That’ll Help You Survive Christmas

Eat, drink and [try to] be merry. 

December 2, 2015

Destination Weddings: Top Locations To Marry Abroad

Who wouldn’t love to get married in an exotic location abroad? June is actually the most popular time to hop on a plane, bring along your closest friends and family, then get married during the hot summer. Get inspired by some of our top locations to marry abroad in summer 2015.

RELATED: Why You Should Consider Solo Travel in 2015

Santorini

It goes without saying that this tiny Greek island has more to offer than just 5am clubbing. Majestic sunsets, breathtaking views of the crystal-clear water and stunning architecture are some of the main reasons many couples choose this idyllic location.

Destination Weddings - Top Locations To Marry Abroad

Amalfi Coast

The glorious Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular places to marry in the entire world. Not only does it offer stunning views of the sea side, mountains and the entire French Riviera, but it makes for one stunning wedding album.

Destination Weddings - Top Locations To Marry Abroad

San Francisco

If you’re heading to the United States for your nuptials, don’t pass on San Francisco. The Golden Gate bridge is one of the most popular sights for newlyweds to take some of their first photos as man and wife.

Destination Weddings - Top Locations To Marry Abroad

The Rocks

How many couples have you seen walking hand-in-hand throughout the picturesque area of The Rocks in Sydney? This location is one of the best to capture the newlyweds with a backdrop of Sydney Harbour, as well as the Sydney Opera House.

Destination Weddings - Top Locations To Marry Abroad

Akamas

The Akamas Peninsula of Western Cyprus has fast become a favourite for its breathtaking views of the sea and sun. The Baths of Aphrodite are also a great landmark to enjoy the view – and take some wedding photos.

Destination Weddings - Top Locations To Marry Abroad

Dubrovnik

The ancient city of Dubrovnik in Croatia is known for its scenic venues for weddings, holidays, and general get-togethers. As the city is located right on the water, it makes for a picturesque summer wedding.

Destination Weddings - Top Locations To Marry Abroad

What are some of your dream locations?

Images via Divine Weddings Santorini, Dubrovnik Luxury Weddings, Holiday in Cyprus, Creek Street, JJ Chen Blog, Wedding Amalfi Coast

June 15, 2015

Lisa Wilkinson Shares Her Trip To The Northern Territory

Aussie breakfast TV personality, wife and mother of three Lisa Wilkinson recently spent a long weekend in Australia’s spectacular Northern Territory. We got our hands on her itinerary, sourced some awesome snaps from her trip and were lucky enough to have Lisa share with us some personal feedback about her experience in Australia’s breathtaking top end.

RELATED: Experience Glamping In The Top End

Day 1

Lisa and husband Peter took off from Sydney and were greeted at Ayres Rock Airport by mid-afternoon. The lucky pair were then whisked off to check-in to The Sails in the Desert Hotel which is a stunning luxury 5 star resort. As you’ll see by the following images, the region really does offer some of the best accommodation available in our fine land. The rooms are impeccably furnished and the facilities are abundant. It’s a perfect completion for a day out exploring or if you prefer, a day lazing by the pool or soaking up the atmosphere at the bar.

Sails in the Desert, Travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Sails In The Desert reception area

Sails in the Desert, Travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Sails In The Desert rooms

Sails in the Desert, Travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Sails In The Desert pool area

Sails in the Desert, Travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Sails In The Desert bar

To complete day 1, Lisa and Peter were taken directly from their resort lobby to The Sounds of Silence. This is the ultimate bucket list dining experience consisting of bush-inspired tucker complimented with great Aussie wines. This all takes place as diners witness the nightly spectacular of the Territory. First, they are treated to the majestic sunset over Uluru with it’s brilliance of colours and as the sun recedes, it gives way to a blanket of twinkling stars. I asked Lisa about this experience and here’s what she had to say:

“The experience began with my husband Peter and I being offered a glass of champagne as we reached the site’s sand dunes. The sun then set rapidly over Uluru, turning the rock into a changing kaleidoscope of ochre-browns, reds and purples – this is a truly magnificent sight. As we were seated, we looked onto the iconic domes of Kata Tjuta (a.k.a. the Olgas); a vision which really reminds you how lucky we are to live in a country where we can call this our very own backyard. The food itself is also something else – with Australian delicacies like barramundi, emu, crocodile and kangaroo on the menu.

“Perhaps best of all, is the opportunity to look up at the clear night sky – with its brilliant spray of blazing stars peppering the blackness from horizon to horizon. Let’s just say it’s a recipe for romance, if I ever saw one.”
 Travel, Australia, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Travel, Australia, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Day 2

Day 2 began exceedingly early for Lisa, but working on morning TV she’d be well accustomed to early starts. By 6am she was ready for take off to Mt Conner with Ayers Rock Helicopters.

travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Mt Conner is yet another distinctive feature in the Northern Territory. The peak of this horse-shoe formation stands 300 metres high and appears to be a spectacular place for a gourmet picnic breakfast!

travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Later that night Lisa was booked in for a 55 minute aerial tour of the region. Since flying over the Red Centre, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), this is what Lisa had to say:

“I’ve visited the Red Centre six times in the last two years, and I discover something new every time. Uluru is more than just an immense natural icon – although it certainly is that! (Take my word for it, Uluru’s majesty will take your breath away no matter how many times you visit). Uluru is a true symbol of Australia’s natural outdoors and spirituality, with a visit making you feel more proud to be Australian than ever.”

travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Day 3

Beginning with breakfast at Ilkari Restaurant, Lisa had yet another day of work combined with some r’n’r. Ilkari is renowned for its egg and pancake station where patrons can create their own signature dish. They also have an international menu for travelers from near and far away lands. Next on Lisa’s schedule? A quick stop at the Red Ochre Spa for a little bit of spoiling before heading off for a 2pm photo-shoot at a location near Sails In The Desert.

Travel, Australia, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

travel, Lisa Wilkinson, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

The day concluded with dinner at Arnguli Grill whose tasting plates are produced using a selection of locally sourced Indigenous spices, grains and seeds. To complete the experience, a selection of premium Aussie wines can be enjoyed in their relaxed atmosphere. I asked Lisa about the hospitality of the Territory and she replied:

“Territorian hospitality is the hospitality of the outback: warm and down-to-earth. Everyone is your mate, and you’ll enjoy the easy familiarity and trademark dry humour of the region. My tip? Whether you’re in the Red Centre or the Top End, the atmosphere is perfect to reconnect with yourself and – if you’re lucky enough to have them there with you – your loved ones. The Territory’s vastness and beauty will likely inspire you to re-focus on the relationships in your life that mean the most.”

Travel, Australia, Northern Territory. Tourism NT

Day 4

Lisa’s final day in the Northern Territory began with a quick breakfast before her and Peter were whisked away to the airport. Having completed their short stay, Lisa had this to say about the whole 4-day experience:

“This was not the first time I’ve visited the NT – and it won’t be the last. The Territory is such a beautiful place to escape to; particularly during winter in the southern states, given its tropical weather and short three-hour flight away. It’s the perfect destination for some time-out with the family, along with some action-packed adventure – if you’re up for it. I’d recommend to those considering a trip to the NT that now is as good a time as any; sure, the Territory will always be there, but you won’t.”

If you too would like to experience the wonders of Australia’s sensational top end, head to Travel NT for more information.

Images courtesy of Kite Communications

June 14, 2015

Why You Must Visit San Sebastian 

This small coastal city located on Bay of Biscay in Spain, is one of the most popular summer travel destinations in Europe.

Whether you’re going for the beaches, arts, festivals or simply to un-wind or sightsee, there’s always something exciting to do in San Sebastian during the summertime.

RELATED: 10 In-Flight Travel Essentials

Beaches

Playa de la Concha

Kick-back and relax at one of the many beaches located in San Sebastian during the spring-summer months where the water is just right.

There’s so much to do in the surrounding areas such as water sports in Playa de Gros, activities with the kids, and even a sightseeing tour which operates round-the-clock.

5 Reasons To Visit San Sebastian 

Seafood

Bodegon Alejandro: Calle de Fermin Calbeton 4

There’s one thing San Sebastian is known for, and that’s the seafood. Bodegon Alejandro is one the best restaurants to enjoy baked lobster, take in the view of the ocean, and indulge in some of the local wines.

5 Reasons To Visit San Sebastian 

Sightseeing

Monte Igueldo

Check out one of the main observation decks in Monte Igueldo which is best at dusk. Here, you will have complete views of the stunning coastline, surrounding mountains, and of course the beauty of Bahia de la Concha.

5 Reasons To Visit San Sebastian 

Drinks

Bar Borda Berri: Calle Fermin Calbeton 12

Who can resist a good drink after a long day of sightseeing in the sun? San Sebastian is packed with bars, brasseries, and everything in between so you’re bound to find a place you like.

Our favourite is Bar Borda Berri which is known for its decor, and similarly the large selection of beverages. Open from noon-midnight 7 days a week.

5 Reasons To Visit San Sebastian 

Water sports

Playa de Gros: Paseo de Zurriola 24

If you’ve ever want to learn how to surf, Playa de Gros is the perfect place for beginners to learn on the mellow waves. Weekend courses are available if you’re travelling with a group, or you could take some surfing lessons at nearby Pukas.

5 Reasons To Visit San Sebastian 

Images via Best Tourism, Trip Advisor, Egor 2015, Eater, Pukas Surf

May 11, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Visit Stockholm

From the fashion bloggers to the food, nothing beats Sweden – especially during the springtime.

RELATED: Why You Should Consider Solo Travel in 2015

Now is the best time to book your ticket to this Scandinavian country and indulge in all it has to offer, including style, design, and a relaxed way of life.

Food

Where: Bageriet Bulleboden

Parmmatargatan 7, 11224 Stockholm

If you’re coming to Stockholm for the traditional Scandinavian food, then you will find many cafes scattered all over the city. Don’t miss Bageriet Bulleboden, which offers delicious pastries known as kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls), and freshly brewed coffee.

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Style

Where: Stockholm Market

Riddargatan 3, 11435 Stockholm

There’s a reason Swedish style is big all over the world, so much so that a street style blog created by Caroline Blomst has put it on the map. Popular fashion labels include Acne Studios, Filippa K, and Nelly just to name a few, but the best place to grab a deal on a bespoke item is at the market. Pick up a beautiful souvenir for a family member or friends as you’re leaving and catch the exclusive pieces from some of Sweden’s up-and-coming designers.

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Interior design

Where: E. Torndahl

Vasterlanggatan 63, S-11129 Stockholm

Scandinavian design is renowned all over the world for its approach to clean, sophisticated lines and timeless techniques. Rather than going to one of their many Ikea stores (there are more than 20 in Sweden alone), the smaller more independent sellers are where you’ll find some of the most original pieces. While they might come with a heftier price tag, you will keep them for years to come as a memory of your travels.

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Sightseeing

Where: Stromma

Sodra Blasieholmshammen 35, Stockholm

If you’re visiting between October – February, why not take a boat tour which takes you across the entire archipelago. The tour comes with a bowl of traditional Swedish tomato soup or pea soup (it’s your choice), and a glass of arrack to keep you warm. Tours can run anywhere between 1.5-3 hours.

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Drinks

Where: Nada Bar

Asogatan 140, Stockholm

Sweden might have a strict view on alcohol (drinks are heavily taxed), but the nightlife is nothing but booming. There is a plethora of small bars and venues which offer a modern take on traditional cocktails and a few bites on the side to keep you full for your next travels. If you’re not into the nightlife or alcoholic beverages, look out for a fika cafe, which is usually located in a beautiful garden.

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Images via Lost in Stockholm, Fotografi, Stromma, Madame Figaro Japan, W Magazine, Visit Sweden

April 9, 2015

Get The Look: Easter Outfit Ideas

Since Easter is just around the corner, it’s time to put on your Sunday best and enjoy the long weekend with friends and family.

RELATED: The Beginners Guide To Colour-Blocking

We here at SHESAID have come up with our own outfit ideas for whatever event you have on the weekend, so sit back, and shop courtesy of our friends over at THE  ICONIC.

Lunch

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Dinner

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Drinks

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shoesssss

BBQ

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April 2, 2015

Vegemite Hot Cross Buns Recipe

This tasty twist on hot cross buns is a fun way to celebrate the Easter holiday and is sure to leave everyone in the family happy.  Vegemite at a time of the year when we all find ourselves over indulging in chocolate and sweet foods, gives your savoury taste-buds a delicious work out.

RELATED: Nutella Brioche Dessert Recipe

Using an Aussie classic this recipe delivers and is a great take on an Easter favourite. These are best served warm and with a spread of butter.

Serves 12

Ingredients

10g dried yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1⁄4 cup vegemite

1 tbsp caster sugar

20g butter, melted

31⁄2 cups flour, sifted

3⁄4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 egg

1 tbsp water

1 vegemite 145g tube, for topping

Method

  1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a large bowl and mix until yeast is dissolved. Add the eggs, vegemite, sugar and butter and whisk to combine. Stir in the flour and cheese and mix until combined then knead for 5-8 minutes on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and springy.
  2. Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover. Set aside in a warm place to rise for approx. 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Knock back the dough then knead lightly. Divide into 12 even portions. Knead each lightly then stretch each ball out slightly and place 1⁄2 teaspoon vegemite onto each and roughly knead through.
  4. Roll each into a smooth bun and place on a greased baking tray with 1cm gap between them. Set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Beat together egg and water then brush over the buns. Using the vegemite tube, squeeze crosses onto the buns.
  6. Bake in a hot oven 200°C for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bases are crisp and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe courtesy of Vegemite Australia

March 30, 2015

Indulge In An African Honeymoon

Zambia, blessed with breathtaking natural wonders, a wealth of wildlife and the perfect sanctuary for honeymooners.

According to the Royal Livingston, “On the 16 November 1855, David Livingstone (Scottish missionary) first laid eyes on the waterfall that would define his life story, and that of an entire country. Visible from over 30km away, the Kololo people with whom he had travelled downriver called it Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders. As the first European to witness this magnificent site, he decided to name it Victoria Falls in honour of his Queen. At the Royal Livingstone Hotel on the banks of a river that flows through the soul of the continent.”

Your own African honeymoon waits to be told.​

Stay: The Royal Livingston Hotel

Eat: Try their traditional dish nshima, made of maize (corn) with goat curry, delish.

Drink: Locally brewed beer or their sunset cocktails on the deck

Spa: Couples massage overlooking the Zambezi River (OMG!)

Discover: Cross the border to Botswana and cruise/4WD the Chobe River seeing all the Big 5 in their natural habitat.

The Royal Livingstone Hotel, Zambia

Zambia offers an unforgettable honeymoon experience, where you explore the real Africa.

March 17, 2015

How To Have A Guilt-Free Easter

Easter is a time of celebration with friends and family, but just like any holiday it can also be a time of overindulgence. And with supermarket shelves loaded with chocolate eggs and hot-cross-buns, not to mention the festive spirit looming, temptation is high. Going without or going all out doesn’t have to be your only option these holidays – you really can have your chocolate and eat it too. Here’s how to have a guilt-free Easter:

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why You Should Easter Eggs

Go dark

Instead of buying milk chocolate eggs this Easter opt for dark chocolate. It’s richer in antioxidants, lower in sugar and is far less moreish. The higher the cocoa content the better it is for your health, so try to go for a 75% cocoa or higher variation to ensure you reap the maximum benefits.

DIY

Get into the Easter spirit this year and make your own goodies. There are loads of healthy and delicious recipes available on the internet and it’s a great way to keep the kids entertained over the school holidays. Why not try making your own chocolate eggs with some coconut oil, cacao powder and rice malt syrup? Melt all the ingredients together and place into Easter egg moulds (or any mould) and refrigerate until hard. You can also add things like raspberries, nuts and coconut before cooling to add some flavour and extra texture.

Don’t go OTT

Going over the top during the holidays is usually the undoing of healthy habits. Avoid the temptation to overindulge this Easter by moderating the amount of treats you eat. Allow yourself one day over the Easter weekend to eat chocolate, or input your sweets into your calorie count for the day. Remember, moderation is key!

Take it easy

It’s easy to go overboard with chocolate gifts at Easter, particularly if you’re buying for your children. And while the intention is good, the adults usually end up sharing in the chocolate load over the course of the weekend, if not the weeks to follow. This year cut back on the dairy milk and opt for gifts like baking kits and plush bunnies, or if you’re gifting a partner why not try a nice bottle of wine or a cheese hamper?

Get in some extra exercise

If you know you’re going to let your hair down over the Easter break, then try to fit in some additional gym classes in the weeks leading up. You’ll burn extra calories, meaning those sneaky hot cross buns won’t go straight to your hips and you’ll be feeling great, which decreases the temptation to overindulge. If you your schedule is already choc-o-block (pardon the pun), try to get in some exercise between celebrations over the Easter weekend such as a walk, swim or bike ride.

Image via Shutterstock

February 26, 2015

How To Get Motivated After A Holiday

Holidays are there so that we can rest, have some fun and get fired up to return to our everyday life, right? Only it rarely works out that way. Holidays never seem to be long enough and getting back to our routine can feel like an ordeal. It’s hard to get up in the morning, we have tons of work to catch up on and our mind is still back there, at the beach, on the slopes or in Paris. If this is happening to you, here are some tips on how to get motivated after a holiday.

RELATED: All Work And No Play… Creating Balance In Success

Get some rest

“What? But I’ve just come back from holidays. I don’t have time to rest”, I hear you say. But often we come back from holidays tired. Not the same tiredness that you feel after a hard day of work, but tired nevertheless. You may be jetlagged or you may have engaged in more physical activity than normal, or you mind might be full of new impressions. So don’t push yourself too hard for the first few days and take as much time for rest as you can.

Set your priorities

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the mountain of work that’s waiting for you, so your first instinct is to start doing stuff as fast as you can. A couple of hours into it and you’ll get frustrated that your to-do list doesn’t seem to become any shorter. Instead, spend some time evaluating what’s most important right now and do those tasks first.

Start small

Understandably, you’d want to get up to date with everything immediately, on the very first day. And this is the quickest way to burnout. Remember, you’ve just come back from a holiday, your next one is probably not coming for a while, so you need to pace yourself. As long as you get the important tasks out of the way, it’s OK to give yourself some time to catch up with everything else.

Focus on what you love

As much as you’d rather be on holidays, there’re probably plenty of positive experiences in your day – being able to eat your favourite food, sharing your memories with a colleague, getting a new client who loves you. Acknowledge these special moments and you’ll find that your day flows with a lot more ease.

Do you have more tips on how to get motivated after a holiday? Please share them!

Image by wilofcom via pixabay.com

February 15, 2015

Why Portugal Is The Best Place For A Golf Holiday

There’s no competition when it comes to a golfing holiday, Portugal is still the top contender for a getaway featuring just you, some clubs and plenty of time to while away the hours practicing your drive in the warm sun, on a course stretching across the stunning coastline of this charming country.

If you are a die-hard golfer then investing in a property in the country is the perfect way to spend your money along with a membership to one of Portugal’s most popular courses, such as Penina Hotel, Vila Sol or Penha Longa. It will also save you money on hotel costs in the long run if you go away a few times of the year, speak to a property expert such as Portugal Property for more information.

Portugal’s golf courses are some of the best in the world, even though there are actually only around 70 in the country. Other countries have attempted to compete, with the USA being the top competitor and a quantity over quality approach, which consists of 15,500 golf courses across the States.

However, due to financial instability in the country, more courses are closing than opening as people cut out their memberships and keep that money in their bank accounts, this is occurring on top of a declining middle class and lack of interest from the younger generation.

Portugal, however, offers some of the most affordable courses in the world, with package deals starting from £89. Portugal allows the average earning man to play a few rounds of golf in the sunshine and doesn’t require him to shell out his life savings. On top of this, the country can also boast great weather all year round, with temperatures in winter months averaging at 18 to 20°C.

The Algarve features some of Portugal’s top golfing destinations and is also one of the country’s most popular holiday locations, which means you can escape to the course while your family has plenty of entertainment along the strip and coastline.

Many resorts in the area feature pools and luxurious but affordable accommodation, meaning there’s no reason for your wife to complain when you slip away for 18 holes in the day. For example, the Don Filipa Hotel & San Lorenzo course is a five star location situated near the beach and offers five restaurants and bars.

You can also find tennis courts, a beauty salon, a crèche and opportunities to go horse riding on site and the course itself is a combination of stunning greens and superb views, extended from the surrounding natural environment, which also plays host to over 70 species of bird and other wildlife (so you can get those bird watching binoculars out too).

You should be utterly convinced by now that Portugal is the ultimate destination when it comes to jetting off for a golfing holiday, even more so now that you know it’s family friendly and can keep them occupied whilst you enjoy a little peace and quiet on the green.

January 27, 2015

A Parent’s Guide To Enjoying School Holidays

Christmas is over, but the school holidays still have weeks to go and they can be stressful. What to do with the kids, so that they don’t get bored? What to do with myself, so that I don’t lose it? And wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, I could enjoy school holidays, too? You can enjoy school holidays and here are some tips on how to do it.

RELATED: How To Prevent School Holidays Hell

Maintain your routine

You don’t need to be as strict with your routine as during school time, but kids still need some predictability in their day. For me, the biggest part of the routine is bed time. If they don’t go to sleep early enough, they don’t get enough sleep. They are cranky on the next day, and I don’t get my time to myself at night.

Plan ahead

While there’s no need to plan in advance for every single day of the holidays, it helps to know what you’re doing on the next day so that you can get straight into it. Spending time in the morning trying to figure out what to do usually limits your options – by the time you’ve decided, it can be too late for some of the possibilities.

Not every day needs to be a full-on day

If you have entertainment planned all day every day, the kids will get tired and so will you. I like to alternate family outings and organised activities with quiet days when we stay at home more, read, do some craft and go to the local park or the library. By the way, libraries can be a great help when it comes to quiet days. My school children have signed up for our local library’s reading challenge and now they’re busy reading in an attempt to win a prize.

Take breaks

Family time is great, but you also need time to yourself, so if your partner is around, take turns looking after the children. You can also enlist grandparents’ help or swap child care with another parent. The kids will love playing with their friends and you will get your much needed free time.

It’s a good idea is to build time for breaks into your days. My 2-year-old has a nap in the afternoon and I usually use this time to sneak in some relaxing minutes for myself. Before my youngest one came along, I used to announce 5-minutes breaks every so often. I’d read a book or turn my attention onto something that interested me for just 5 minutes and the kids were ok with that, because they knew I’d be back with them soon and I’d be a much more agreeable person then.

Don’t let school holidays go by as just another thing on your parenting to-do list! They are an opportunity to connect and create precious memories with your children, and you deserve to enjoy them, too.

Image by rudyanderson via pixabay.com

January 12, 2015

Merry Christmas From SHESAID

Wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a safe and enjoyable holiday season. We’re hitching a lift with Santa for a short break, but the cogs continue turning at SHESAID HQ and we’ll still keep bringing you informative, inspiring and empowering pieces throughout the festive season.

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December 25, 2014

Best Christmas Markets in Europe

When it comes to Christmas markets, Europe has the rest of the world beat. If you’re in the region this Christmas, drop by these places for the ultimate holiday experience.

RELATED: Bucket List Destination: Germany

Strasbourg, France

The first even Christmas market is said to have originated in Strasbourg. The market sits among picturesque wooden houses, canals and the local Notre Dame church. Ice skate, listen to carol-singers or just stroll through the markets with a mulled wine (in a boot cup, of course).

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Vienna, Austria

The Christmas experience in Vienna is unmatched. Over 20 markets operate in town squares all over the city. The favorite is the markets at the base of the beautifully-decorated Rathuas (pictured) where around 3 million people flock each year to by their little glass ornaments or wooden toys. Because you are in the classical music capital of the world,  see one of the many special concerts held in the Rathaus over each weekend of the holiday season.

Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Dresden, Germany

It is estimated that Germany has around 5,000 Christmas markets – so anywhere you go, you will find something to please you. But the markets in Dresden date back to 1434 and are the oldest in the country – perhaps on the continent. Dresden sits on the picturesque river Elbe, and despite being destroyed during World War II, has been restored to its glorious historic aesthetic.

Dresden

Prague, Czech Republic

Shop Bohemian crystal, hand-made marionettes and decorations in one of Prague’s adorable Christmas markets. The best is probably in the old town square, surrounded by gothic architecture, and of course, the famous clock tower. Prague is magical any time of year, but the Christmas spirit brings new life to this usually dark and mysterious marvel.

Prague

Brussels, Belgium

Brussel’s relatively young market spans a two kilometre course through the city’s historic centre. There will be rides for the kids, 18,000 lights, an ice-skating rink, and over 240 stalls for you to browse. Don’t miss out on the local cuisine – mussels, fries, chocolate and waffles!

Brussels

Image of Brussels via europeanbestdestinations.com 

December 3, 2014

Meal Ideas for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast can be hard enough, but what to do if your guests are vegetarian? The traditional holiday dinner is generally formed around a baked turkey, or other meat dish. Here is a three-course meal plan that is sure to win you points with the vegetarian crowd this Thanksgiving.

RELATED: Easy Vegetarian Weekly Meal Plan

Entree

Option 1: Pumpkin soup
This old favorite will warm you to your toes on a frosty thanksgiving day. It is hearty, delicious and, most importantly, easy to make!

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Option 2:  Oven-roasted roots frittata
This highly nutritious dish is guaranteed to please health-freaks, and have the meat-eaters reaching for a fork. Match with a side salad to complete the dish.

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Option 3: Homemade pizzas two ways
This is a perfect sharing option to kickstart everyone’s meal. This recipe includes a butternut squash and feta recipe, as well as a caremalized onion and pesto pizza. Drool…

pizza

Main

Option 1: Pumpkin Curry
Who said serving a curry can’t be as satisfying? Vegetable curries are rich in flavor, nutritious and the perfect wholesome thanksgiving main.

Pumpkin curry

Option 2: Mushroom risotto or pasta
Like curry, risotto or pasta dishes are great to make in bulk and will satisfy a large group of people. While my pick is a mushroom recipe, you could also try an arrabiatta, nepolitana or garlic and parsley sauce – ingredients are simple and cater to a broad range of tastes.

Mushroom risotto

Option 3: Whole baked snapper
If carving the bird is a climactic part of your meal, why not try carving the fish? A whole baked fish will not only look impressive, it will take half the time and effort than that required to successfully cook a turkey.

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Dessert

Optrion 1: Apple or pecan pie

Considering dessert is the easiest to adapt to a vegetarian diet, you can stick to the tradtional pumpkin, apple or pecan pie this Thanksgiving.

Apple Pie

Option 2: Sour cherry pierogi

Swap the traditional desserts for an eastern european favorite – Pierogi! Pierogi or polish dumplings will impress the quirky crowd with your worldly cooking skills.

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Option 3: Mulled wine

Perhaps you’ve been drinking it throughout the meal, but if not welcome your guests to the living room to enjoy a warm cup of mulled wine. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a big meal. To be enjoyed by adults only.

Mulled wine

November 26, 2014

Simplify Your Holidays In 4 Easy Steps

Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing, but for many of us Christmas is different. Too many presents to buy, too much to organise and not enough time, money and energy to do it all. Is just the thought of Christmas stressing you out? Make a change this year and simplify your holidays with these easy steps.

RELATED: 7 Tips For Stress-Free Entertaining This Christmas

1. Write a list of everything you need and want to do

Include everything – every present, every card, every social event. You might end up with a super long list, but don’t let that discourage you. Even just writing it down means that you don’t have to hold it all in your head and now you have mental space available for other things.

2. Decide on what’s important to you

How do you want to feel these holidays? How do you want the other people around you to feel? What are your values? Pick the top 3-5 things that are important to you and that you want to focus on this holiday season. Here are mine: family, creativity, giving.

3. Colour your list

You’ve already completed the hardest part of the process, now the fun begins. Grab some highlighters and pick a colour for all the things you really want to do (just thinking about them puts a smile on your face). Now go through your list and highlight them. These items are staying!

Next pick another colour. Go through the rest of the items and highlight the ones that are in line with your values from Step 2. You may not necessarily want to do them, but on some of them you’ll have to compromise. For example, spending time at your in-laws may not be your favourite pastime on any day of the year, but family is important to you, so you don’t want to negotiate your way out of it.

Everything else on your list that you haven’t coloured can go. You don’t want to do it and it’s not important to you, so cross it out.

4. Get creative with the things you don’t want to do

Now let’s go back to second group you coloured – what doesn’t light you up, but is important to you. How can you make those tasks easier for yourself? Is it you that has to do them? Can you ask for help? Can you trade tasks with your partner? Is there a simpler way of doing them? (Hint: the answer to the last question is usually ‘yes’.) Only because something has been done a certain way in the past, it doesn’t mean that it always has to be that way.

By the time you’re finished with this process, you’ll have a list that excites you and a holiday season to look forward to.

Image by condesign via pixabay.com

November 14, 2014
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