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Monthly March 2018
How To Choose The Perfect Restaurant For Dinner

How To Choose The Perfect Restaurant For Dinner

We’ve all been in that terrible position of picking what looks like a great restaurant only to find that the food is tasteless, the service is slow, and the prices are far higher than they should be. It can make us worry about picking another restaurant for dinner, or, perhaps more importantly, for a special occasion.

You shouldn’t worry too much, though. There are some useful tips on how to choose the perfect restaurant and if you put them to good use you shouldn’t ever have another problem with one of your picks.

Where Do The Locals Eat?

This tip is perhaps most useful when you are in a foreign country, or even somewhere other than your hometown, but it is a good one to think about nonetheless. Ask a local where the best restaurant is and make sure to find out why they think it’s good; everyone’s opinion is subjective, and what they like about somewhere (loud music and pizza) might not be what you like (quiet jazz and steaks). It’s best to ask someone who isn’t going to be earning any commission from their recommendation either; otherwise you won’t find an entirely unbiased response.

If there is no one to ask you should walk or drive around and see which restaurants have the local people in them. Those are the ones to try out.

Avoid The Tourists

No matter where you are, there will be some restaurants that cater specifically for tourists. That’s a definite no if you’re a local, but even if you do happen to be a visitor these places should probably be avoided. They tend to have a more limited menu (which won’t necessarily be authentic if the restaurant serves foreign cuisine) but the prices are much higher than elsewhere. They might also have a theme or be gimmicky. They will be fun, but for good food at good prices you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Read Reviews

Thanks to the internet it’s now possible to read restaurant reviews on the go. If you want to know what a certain place is like before you step inside, check it out online. You’ll have a whole range of opinions because, as mentioned above, what people enjoy is subjective, but by reading them you should be able to decipher what the restaurant is really like and whether you think you would like it in there.

If you have no idea where to even start, that’s not a problem either. You can search for ‘the best steakhouse in New York’, for example, and find the information you need that will help you make a decision.

Look At The Menu

Before you make a decision whether to eat in a restaurant or not, take a look at the menu. You can usually do this online, but if not you might find the details in the restaurant window. If it is nowhere to be seen you might be best moving onto the next place on your list, unless you want to go inside and ask to see it before making your decision. This can be difficult, though, as you may feel obligated to stay even if you don’t like the look of the food being served!

When you are looking at the menu you are looking for a few different things. One is whether there is enough choice for you and whether you would eat what is served. The next is the price; does it seem reasonable? Too expensive? Too cheap? What about the drinks? If you are taking your whole family out for dinner does the restaurant cater to children with a special kids’ menu, or will they need to choose their meal from the main menu? Are there dishes that you’ve never heard of before? If so, this could mean that it is an authentic place to eat because they have real dishes from the country the cuisine comes from rather than those that have been changed to meet the local palettes.

All of these things need to be taken into consideration before you step through the door and ask to be seated.

Watch For A While

Stand at the window (assuming there is one) and watch the goings-on inside the restaurant for a while. Don’t put anyone off their food by staring, of course, but just take note of how the food is being served; do the waiting staff seem rushed or unhappy? Are they pleased to be doing their job and making customers feel at ease? Does the food look appetizing? This is perhaps particularly important. If people are really tucking into their meals with a smile on their faces that’s great; if they’re moving food around their plates and not really enjoying what they’re eating you should absolutely turn away.

If you spot staff idling around, looking bored, making everything seem like an effort when it comes to actually doing their jobs, that’s not a good sign. If you spot staff that look grubby and messy, that’s not a good sign either. What you want to see are clean, tidy, happy people who are making their customers’ meals a thing to remember (in a good way).

Employ Your Sense Of Smell

A really good thing to take note of is how the restaurant smells. Can you detect delicious aromas coming from the kitchen? Great! That means the food is cooked freshly to order (plus a delicious smell usually dictates a delicious taste).

Trust Your Gut

Gut instinct is something that all humans have, even if we do try to repress it at times. In situations when you’re trying to make the right decision, allowing your immediate gut response to help you is a good thing. If there is something about a place that, even though the menu looks appetizing, the staff are happy, and the prices are reasonable, tells you not to eat there, you’re probably right. The same is true if you like the look of a place even though it doesn’t quite match up to all the requirements you have set for a perfect meal.

10 Amazing Benefits To Losing Weight

Losing weight is excellent for your overall health; it reduces the risks of developing certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, for example. However, losing weight has many additional benefits that you may not think of straight away but that are just as important as improving your health. It’s incredible to think that weight loss can have such an effect on your body and mind but it’s absolutely true, and if you’re struggling to find the motivation to shed those unwanted pounds, this list may give you the perfect reason to do it.

More Energy

When people first start to lose weight they will notice a huge boost in their energy levels. That’s because, when you are not as heavy, you don’t have to use all your energy up just to move around. You’ll have excess energy so you can do more. Plus your oxygen efficiency will improve so you won’t be out of breath when you climb the stairs or run for a bus.

Better Memory

Studies have shown that after losing weight the brain is more easily able to store memories. The brain actually showed more activity. Although research is still ongoing as to exactly why this would be, it could be linked to the point above regarding more energy. If the brain has more energy available to it, it can do more – including storing more memories and recalling them more easily.

Less Risk Of Cancer

There are many things in this life that can increase your chances of developing cancer including smoking, too much exposure to the sun’s rays, and radiation. Obesity is another cause for some types of cancer (such as breast, bowel, pancreatic, and liver), so losing weight will reduce your risk immediately. Losing just five percent of your body weight should have a positive effect on your health levels.

Working Out Is Easier

Doing exercise is necessary for losing weight; when you burn more calories than you are taking in, the weight disappears. However, when you are overweight exercise is a chore. It’s hard to do because the body has less energy and less mobility, and it is often de-motivating to go to a gym or a workout class and see other people who are slim and fit. As the weight comes off, however, exercise becomes easier – it even becomes fun. That means we’re more likely to go out and do it, so weight is lost more quickly.

You May Get A Raise

In a 2004 study published by Health Economics, it was shown that an obese person’s pay cheque came in at around 2.5 percent lower than a ‘normal’ sized person’s. There may be an unconscious (or even conscious in some cases) bias from bosses towards people who are overweight, with stereotypical ideas of laziness coming to the fore, and therefore they may be paid less. Losing weight in these cases could get you that raise you’ve been wanting.

You’ll Sleep Better

When you are overweight it can be difficult to sleep. Getting comfortable in bed is the first obstacle and then, when you are finally asleep, breathing can be an issue. If you don’t get enough good quality sleep you can become ill, developing conditions such as heart disease, increasing your risk of heart attack, and being more prone to developing depression. Losing weight will make getting to sleep (and staying deeply asleep) much easier, which in turn has amazing benefits for your overall health.

Fewer Aches And Pains

Being overweight takes a terrible toll on your joints, muscles, and bones. They are doing a lot more work if they need to carry more weight around, and this can mean that you are more susceptible to aches and pains, and even debilitating injuries. Losing weight will ease the pressure on your joints and bones, making them a lot less painful and resulting in fewer injuries. If your back pain doesn’t get any better after losing weight, or if it is causing you major distress it is best to get advice from an expert.

More Fertile

If can be difficult to become pregnant when you are overweight, so slimming down can certainly improve your fertility. Not only that, but if you are slimmer during your pregnancy you will be healthier throughout, and so will your baby. A mother’s weight during pregnancy has been linked to the health of her child, so it is in both of your interests for you to lose the excess weight. However, dieting in pregnancy is not recommended, so it is best to lose the weight before you become pregnant.

Better Eyesight

For many people, losing weight can actually protect their vision. Obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes can cause blindness, or at least reduced eyesight, so it is far better to lose weight before this becomes a problem.

Seasonal Allergies May Disappear

If you develop seasonal allergies that make your spring and summer something of a misery because you are always sneezing and rubbing your itchy eyes, losing weight might help you. When you are overweight your adrenal glands and respiratory system can be strained making allergy symptoms much harsher. Losing weight will reduce that strain, and you may be able to combat pollen and grass seeds much more easily.

10 Reasons To Try A Vegan Diet

A lot of people are choosing to eat a much more vegetable based diet and for many the next logical step is to incorporate a vegan diet into their lives as well – or even instead of the vegetarian or omnivorous one. Diet is hugely important in our lives and getting it wrong can result in a variety of life-limiting diseases and conditions. Get it right, however, and you can live a long and happy life. Veganism makes it much easier to get that diet right, which could be why so many people are enjoying it. There are many reasons to try a vegan diet; here are some of them to think about.

Prevents Some Conditions

Heart disease and type 2 diabetes are most often the results of bad choices in our diets and they are the most common chronic diseases in the world. When you realize that these illnesses are not something that anyone necessarily has to suffer from if they just changed their eating habits you’ll see how vital a vegan diet can be. It can even reverse some cases of cardiovascular disease if the changes are made properly.

Reverses Some Conditions

Just like cardiovascular disease mentioned above, a vegan diet can have a hand in reversing all manner of other nasty diseases. Studies have shown that vegans have lower cancer rates, fewer strokes, less chance of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even fewer reported cases of Alzheimer’s disease. A plant-based diet can help a lot more than any kind of medication or surgery, so it really can’t hurt to at least try it for a while to see if any improvements are made.

Lose Weight And Keep It Off

Vegans tend to have a health body mass index (BMI) which means that their weight is perfectly in relation to their height and body shape. For those who eat meat, it’s much harder to maintain this kind of BMI without a large amount of exercise. This is because animal products are much higher in fat and have more calories than any vegan product. These things are converted into fat in the body, which is then difficult to remove. Vegan food, however, has more carbohydrates which are converted into energy instead of fat. That’s why vegans are able to lose weight and keep that weight off easily.

It’s Kind

This may not be the kind of argument that works for the majority of meat eaters; they like to eat meat and will continue to do it. However, for some it is reason enough to try vegan food. Showing kindness and compassion to animals is something that many vegans feel passionate about, particularly because animals are innocent sentient beings and killing them just to eat them doesn’t seem very fair at all.

Good For World Hunger

There is a huge demand for food all over the world and a lot of this is fueled by the need for animal products; although there is a lot of meat around, when it is produced in emerging and third world countries the majority of it is sent to first world countries, leaving those in the country of origin to be hungry. Not only that, but over 70 percent of the grain grown in America is used to feed livestock, even though that grain is enough to feed 800 million people. If more people were vegan, there would be more food available for everyone and world hunger would be severely reduced, if not eradicated altogether.

Vegan Food Is Cleaner

Vegan food has a lot fewer instances of bacteria, hormones, antibiotics, and other toxins found in it whereas meat and dairy products do have a lot of these within them and they can cause health issues in people. This includes food poisoning which affects 75 million people each year; and it can be fatal. Vegan food can be eaten without these issues and those who enjoy this kind of diet won’t have to worry about falling ill because of it.

Good For The Environment

Somewhere between 18 and 50 percent of manmade pollution comes through factory farming for the meat industry. The more people who cut meat out of their diet, the less need there will be for this kind of industry and the better that will be for the environment.

Fantastic New Flavours

Did you know that there are more than 20,000 kinds of edible plants in the world? Although not all of them have been ‘domesticated’, there are roughly 200 different types that are farmed in the Western world today (and you’ll discover even more if you go traveling). This means that there are always new and exciting flavours and recipes to try; if you love cooking then cooking vegan recipes is something that will keep you happy for a long time to come. You’ll certainly never get bored!

Better Concentration

If you need to study for an exam, or generally be more productive at work, changing to a vegan diet can really help you. People who eat vegan food are much more focused with better concentration. Whether you want to be able to complete an escape the room game, work out a tricky crossword puzzle, or bring in a huge contract for your company, you’ll need to be able to concentrate so ditch the meat (at least for a while) and see the difference it will make.

Get Fit

Although you may think that switching from a meat-based diet to a vegan one will leave you sluggish and without energy it’s the opposite that is true. It can actually boost your energy levels and help you reach your fitness goal much more quickly. This is because you’ll be enjoying a lot more healthy protein in your diet. Not only that, but with a vegan diet almost all of the food is able to be used within the body in some way. In an animal-based diet much of the food is removed as waste, and really not required at all.

5 Ways To Calm Your Anxiety Naturally

Sometimes, life makes us anxious. It can be anything – big or small – that pushes our buttons and makes us feel nervous, unwell, as though we want to hide from the world. These great ways to naturally calm your anxiety will definitely help you out.

The Great Outdoors

If you are inside and the crowds or the situation is making you feel anxious, then remove yourself from that situation, and step outside. You don’t have to have a reason to go, you don’t have to have a purpose to take a walk, or simply take five and breathe the fresh air. Find a quiet location where you can sit (a park bench is great, a fence, a wall, a patch of grass) and breathe deeply. Completely fill your lungs with that crisp, fresh air. Look around you and ground yourself. You will feel serene and much calmer almost immediately.

Ask A Question

It’s important to work out what it is that’s making you anxious so that you can really work on ways of either avoiding it, or learning how to manage it. Even if those things seem small to others, they feel big to you, so you need to acknowledge them, ask yourself why it is causing such a problem, and go from there.

Take Me Time

We have all heard of ‘me time’ – the chance to literally get away from it all and be by yourself, whether that is being pampered in a spa or just having a little lie down in peace and quiet – but how many of us actually take the opportunity to do it? More of us should, as this is a wonderful way to de-stress completely naturally. Forget the chores that still need doing, don’t worry about what others will think, and just enjoy that time alone, doing something you wouldn’t normally do that relaxes you. A bubble bath, an episode of reality TV, the next chapter of your book… you’ll feel so much better afterwards.

Eat Well

Did you know that a poor diet could be making you feel more anxious than you would if you ate a little better? A good diet affects our bodies positively, and it does the same for our minds too. Foods that are bad for you may well be enjoyable at the time of eating, but afterwards you’ll feel heavy and sluggish, your mood may change, and you’ll feel irritable. Good food, however, will have the opposite effect, and you’ll feel energized and ready to take on the day, no matter what challenges it throws at you.

Smile More

Although you may not feel like smiling when you are stressed and anxious, that simple act can help you immensely. Just by smiling you’ll release endorphins into your body which relax you and calm you. Then you’ll want to smile even more.

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WHAT I CAN DO

Blog Writing

A blog is an essential tool in ensuring your website is seen. I can create regular blog posts that will move you up the rankings and give you a better placement within your industry.

Ghost Writing

Have you ever wanted to write a novel, memoir or short story but don’t have the time? Do you have the ideas, but the words don’t flow? I can help. Contact me for a confidential chat.

Articles

I am happy to carry out research, conduct interviews, and write/edit articles of any length. Contact me for more information about my rates and services.

Web Content

From your home page to your about me details and everything in between, you want a website that has snappy, interesting, high quality content. Let me create it for you.

Sales Letters

If you have a product that you want others to know about, you need a sales letter that is going to get attention – and keep it. I can write that letter for you.

Emails

Are you thinking of starting an email campaign but don’t know what to include? Or perhaps you want to send a special email to that special someone, but you can’t think of the right words. Contact me and we can discuss exactly what I can do to help.

Product Descriptions

Selling products online can be an excellent way of making a business, but if your products sound boring and your descriptions are dull, no one will want them. I’ve written thousands of products descriptions, and I can make your products shine.

Copy Editing & Proofreading

Have you written something that needs that extra level of checking? With my years of experience I can proofread or copy edit your work so that it’s the best it can be.

Social Media Management & Digital Marketing

Getting your digital marketing and social media strategy right is essential. I can provide and implement a social media marketing plan that works for you. Contact me to find out more.

About MeAbout Me

I'm a content writer

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REVIEWS

I studied English theory at university and have always been interested in the mechanics of writing, but it wasn’t until 2010 when my daughter was born that I started to write professionally. Although this was out of necessity (it was a job that I could do from home, and it brought in enough to pay the bills!), it soon became a passion. Since that time, I have been published in over 40 fiction anthologies and have written seven novels.

Find out more about my publications on my Amazon Author Page.

I am now a full-time freelance writer. The majority of my time is spent writing SEO-friendly blog posts for businesses in all kinds of niches from bakeries to florists to roofing specialists and plenty more in between. 

Between 2014 and 2020 I was the features and online editor for insideKENT magazine.

Today I live with my husband, daughter, and a cat called Cheryl in a cottage in the Kent countryside, writing, painting, and – whenever possible – watching horror films.

http://www.facebook.com/lisamarielambwriter

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Sunscreen In The Winter: How To Wear It

When it’s freezing cold outside, it’s easy to forget about sunscreen in the winter. But, we’ve all tried it, and we’ve all paid dearly for it. Snow and ice, like water, reflect sunlight, making it more essential than ever to use sunscreen and take care of your skin and lips.

The good thing is that when it’s cold outdoors, our skin is often less visible, making our sunscreen regime a little more straightforward. You may be less likely to use sunscreen now that the weather has cooled and you won’t be basking in the sun. But here’s the thing: you really must wear sunscreen in the winter. Read on to find out how to do it right. 

sunscreen in the winter
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Use Physical Sunscreen In The Winter 

Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, but physical sunscreens divert or prevent them. While physical sunscreen, which comprises zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is the hardest to apply, it produces excellent all-year protection.

Compared to chemical-based sunscreen, which is usually either UVB or UVA blocker, physical sunscreen gives better broad-spectrum coverage. Furthermore, physical blockers act for a more extended amount of time, providing more coverage and needing less re-application. They’re also less abrasive than chemical blockers.

Sweat Is Important 

Many people believe that using your daily SPF moisturiser once in the morning is enough to provide coverage for the entire day. However, even if you’re wrapped up and outside, your skin always perspires, and you should renew SPF during the day. Before leaving the house, apply a naturally healing and moisturising sunscreen in the winter with an SPF of at least 30, and allow it to absorb into your skin fully.

Watch Out For Spots 

Sun exposure causes freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, small creases that disappear when stretched, loose skin, a blotchy complexion, and actinic keratoses (thick wart-like, rough, reddish areas of skin). The sun also damages the elasticity in the skin, preventing it from springing back and causing wrinkled and leathery skin. To detect UV damage, look for rough, red skin, an increase in moles, and damaged blood vessels on the face throughout the winter. Also, keep an eye out for any wounds or bruises on your skin that aren’t healing properly, as this could be an early indicator of skin cancer.

Food Can Help 

Fruits and vegetables, in general, are strong in antioxidants and help us fight free radicals and sun damage. In contrast, meat, dairy products, simple carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods increase inflammation and can contribute to the worsening of solar damage. Conversely, foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants such as carotenoids and lycopene, such as leafy greens, peppers, squash, watermelon, blueberries, and tomatoes, can help reduce sun damage.

How A Stay At Home Parent Can Re-Enter The Workforce

Returning to work after being a stay at home parent may appear to be a challenge. However, there are numerous ways to improve your skills or stay current in the job market so that you can eventually return to the traditional workforce. Here are some of the best tips for re-entering the labour market.

stay at home parent
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Be Your Own Boss 

If you want to have a flexible work schedule, you can start your own business at home or elsewhere. To increase your chances of success, consider your strengths when starting a business. Furthermore, consider the current marketplace in your region to ensure that you are providing services or products that the area residents require. Keep in mind that it can take several years for a business to turn a profit; you can continue to be a stay-at-home parent as your business grows, but this will depend on your savings and other needs. 

Create Your Own Website 

What about making a website? Today, more people are using social media to help them find work or start a business. If you learn how to create a blog, as well as how to use online images and videos to promote your brand, you can start to make an income. There are various ways to do this, including having advertising on your site or promoting specific products. Just make sure you stick to SEO rules if you intend to do this, or your site won’t be seen. 

Be A Temp

You can work as a temporary employee to update your CV. You can sign up to loads of temp agencies online, so do some research to find the best one for your needs. You may prefer to work in an office, but other options are available, such as teaching or working in retail. It will depend on your qualifications and experience, as well as what you enjoy. You can try lots of different jobs until you find the one that suits you best. 

Be A Volunteer 

Volunteer at one or more locations to gain valuable work experience. Volunteers are frequently needed in hospitals, public libraries, museums, and schools. Many community organisations in a larger city require volunteers on a daily or irregular basis. Although you won’t gain an income from volunteering, you will gain valuable skills that could help you find a job later on. 

Why You Should Get A Pet

Whether you have children or simply enjoy animals, the question of whether or not to get a pet is bound to arise at some point in your life. Owning a pet entails a lot of responsibility, but you’d be surprised at how many people buy a pet on a whim. Pets require a lot of maintenance. Some people may be concerned about getting a pet because of the possibility of losing it one day. It’s difficult enough to have something you care about in your life, but it’s even more difficult to know that the pet you choose will leave you to cross the Rainbow Bridge one day.

You can think about this and the time you won’t have with them, but really, you should think about all of the benefits of having a pet in the first place. You get to spend your life with a friend who is overjoyed to be with you all the time. You have the opportunity to be unconditionally loved by something in your life that will naturally bring you a lot of joy. These are not trivial considerations when deciding whether or not to adopt a companion animal. You may still be hesitant because you are concerned about how you will afford your new pet, but let’s look at every single reason you will ever need to say yes to pet ownership.

get a pet
Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

You Can Meet New People

Being social is one of the most difficult things to do in today’s world. No, seriously. We rely on our screen-selves to interact with others, making interaction in public all the more difficult! You have an instant talking point if you have a pet. You spend time in public with other people when you walk the dog. If you have a cat, you can bet that a friend of yours is sending you cat memes to make you laugh. If there is one thing that most people will agree on, it is that having a pet can bring joy and love into your life, and this is always a point of agreement. There are even online forums and pet ownership groups in the same town as you, and you can join them and meet a whole new group of people as a result.

Better Health

Let’s face it: it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get out of bed and exercise. You don’t really have a choice when you have a dog. Either you get up and take your dog for a walk, or your dog will pee on your carpet. Not only that, but dogs often need to be walked twice a day, which means you have the excuse you need to get your steps in and you can finally find a sliver of motivation to keep moving. You may not even have health-related goals for yourself, but your pet may be all you need to get you off the couch.

Good For Allergies

If you have children, you may want to reconsider saying no to them having their own pet. Some people are allergic to dander regardless of how much they are exposed to it, but children can be moldable. The more they are exposed to pet dander, the stronger their immunity becomes, and any allergies are eventually overcome. Adults’ immune systems can be strengthened against pet dander allergies, but this is less common.

Pets, whether it’s their skin dander or their hair, can help you combat allergies. If you want to do a little more for your immune system or the immune systems of your children, you may discover that having a pet makes a huge difference.

get a pet
Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

A Mood Lifter

Whether you are head over heels in love with your brand new snake or the floppy ears of your new puppy have you dizzy with cuteness, you will find that your new pet will greatly improve your mood. We adore our pets, and it’s easy to see why. Falling in love with a pet is similar to falling in love with a human in that we learn about their quirks and come to love aspects of them that make us happy. You could be having the worst day at work, and your pet running to you at the end of the day could change your mood. It’s a good way to feel good to have the cat curled on your lap and purring at their contentment with your presence.

How A Bone China Mug Can Help You To Be More Mindful

Mindfulness is about being entirely present in the moment, in the here and now, and not worrying about the future or the past. It is thought to be good for us, as it is relaxing and energising at once, and therefore it has been shown to relieve stress, boost the mood, enhance your focus, and improve your wellbeing in general. 

Most people will immediately think of things like meditation and yoga when they look at ways of being more mindful, but these are only two ideas out of dozens that can help you. One that you almost certainly won’t have considered but that can have some major positive effects is simply having a cup of tea in a bone china mug. Read on to find out why this is such a good idea. 

bone china mug
Photo by Syed Hussaini on Unsplash

It’s A Ritual

Using a bone china mug to enjoy a cup of tea from is something special, and it deserves to be made in a special way. The ritual of making tea using tea leaves is something special, and it will help you to focus on the task you are carrying out, which is one way to become more mindful. 

Set aside one time during the day to enjoy your mindful cup of tea from a bone china mug. It might be in the morning to get you ready for the day ahead, or the evening to calm yourself before going to bed, or at any time in between. Try to stick to this time, however, as this is all part of the ritual. 

When you’re making tea, pay close attention to every aspect of it. Smell the aroma of the tea leaves as they leave their container. Listen to the sound of the kettle boiling and the water being poured into the teapot. Watch the amber liquid swirling into the bone china mug. Try to tie in all of your senses. In this way, no other thoughts can creep in, and you can be entirely in the moment with your cup of tea. 

Choose Your Tea Wisely 

Did you know that different types of tea can evoke different feelings and reactions in the drinker? Black teas are good for heart health, for example, and green tea is ideal for mental alertness. Oolong tea boosts your brainpower, whereas white tea can reduce inflammation. Then there are fruit teas, which have all kinds of different properties, from improving memory to helping you relax and get to sleep. 

Depending on what you want out of your mindfulness, you can choose a tea to drink from your bone china mug that will offer you the result you’re looking for. In this way, you can be mindful not just in the way you make your tea but also how you’re taking care of your body when you drink it. 

A Few Moments Out 

Finally, drinking tea can help you be more mindful because it gives you just a few moments out of ‘real life’. No matter whether you’re using tea leaves or tea bags in your bone china mug, those few moments where you can focus on making and drinking the tea are all many people need to break away from the chaos of everyday life and step back. 

Taking these few moments out is crucial for your good mental health, but it’s hard to do without a reason – there always seems to be something left on the to-do list. Making and drinking a cup of tea could be just the excuse you need. 

How To Help Your Children Keep Their Teeth Healthy

It can be a challenge for children to keep their teeth healthy; there just seems to be something built into the little ones’ minds that tells them brushing their teeth is a bore and a chore and should be ignored as much as possible. And for parents, the daily struggle to ensure their children keep their teeth healthy becomes something of a battle, so much so that in some cases, the adult gives up altogether, perhaps thinking that the milk teeth aren’t quite so important and good oral healthcare can wait. 

The truth is, keeping the milk teeth healthy is just as important as taking care of the permanent teeth that come later. This is partly because by instilling good oral hygiene habits early on, it becomes easier later for all involved, and partly because those milk teeth aren’t the only thing being cleaned; a good brushing technique takes care of the gums and tongue too. Read on to discover some good ways to ensure your children become better at keeping their teeth healthy, making things much easier for you too. 

teeth healthy
Image by bigbear from Pixabay

Good Preparation 

Surprises are cool and all, but for the big life lessons, preparation is key. Suddenly presenting your child with a toothbrush and expecting them just to get on with it, or trying to do the job yourself if they are under the age of eight or so, might seem rather daunting and even scary. 

Ensure you set down plenty of preparation before it all begins, and the process won’t be so unnerving. By reading books, watching videos, and talking about why dental hygiene and keeping their teeth healthy is so important, you can make things much easier for everyone. 

Sing A Song 

One of the reasons that children don’t like to brush their teeth is because it’s boring. They have to stand in one place, doing one thing, for around two minutes, and that’s hard for an active child. They would much rather be playing or reading or running around or anything else; they don’t like the dull nature of tooth brushing. 

You can make the process easier (and go faster) by being there with them and singing a song, for example. Pick a song that lasts for a couple of minutes, and the time will fly by. Set a timer if it helps. If you don’t like to sing, why not tell a short story

Help Your Child Take Ownership To Keep Their Teeth Healthy

Yes, you can bribe your child with stickers or pocket money or sweets (not ideal when we’re talking about keeping their teeth healthy, but sometimes needs must), but you can’t do this every day, twice a day.

Instead, allowing and helping your child to take ownership of keeping their teeth healthy is a great solution. They can choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste, for example, and they can set out their own routine. If they have a choice (although you’ll always have the final say), you will find they are much more willing to go along with the oral hygiene that is so important. 

3 Simple Home Improvement Tips You Need to Try

Home improvement tips are always good to know more about. If you’re getting tired of how your home looks and it feels like it’s time to make some changes, you won’t be the only one. People will constantly want to update and upgrade their homes to make them the most comfortable places they can possibly be. 

Often, you’ll immediately think of making significant changes like installing a new kitchen or bathroom or even taking down walls to create more space, but home improvement doesn’t need to be as complex as that. You can do some very simple things that will give you a fantastic result – read on to find out what some of them are. 

home improvement tips
Photo by Stephanie Ho from Pexels

Repaint The Walls 

After a while, the paint you have on your walls will start to fade. Either that, or it will look grubby and dirty, or perhaps the colour is just not longer a fashionable one or one that you enjoy looking at anymore. 

Useful home improvement tips to be aware of include changing the colour of your walls with a new coat of paint (or even keeping the old colour and refreshing it). This is a relatively simple thing to do, but it will make a massive difference to the look of your home. Whether you stick with something neutral or you go for something bright, or you opt for a bit of both with a feature wall, no matter what you do, the difference will stand out. 

Use Plants 

Think of your home now. Then think of it with some plants and greenery added to a few areas. Can you see how much better it looks? Incredibly, you don’t have to do any actual DIY or change anything at all for these home improvement tips; just by adding some plants in pots in strategic areas, you can enhance the look of your home and make it more comfortable for you and your guests. 

When you are choosing which plants to use, pick the ones that match your lifestyle. In other words, if you’re at home a lot, you can have plants that need more regular care. If you travel, you can go for something that doesn’t need much looking after. 

Plants are also great because you can change them or the pots they are in whenever you want to for minimal expense but a big impact. 

home improvement tips
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Update Your Kitchen Cabinets 

A brand new kitchen is a great home improvement tip, but it might be out of the budget for some people, or perhaps it’s just not something you’re comfortable doing – after all, it will be messy and disruptive. Yet if your kitchen is looking tired and out of date, you don’t have to put up with it; you can change it for less money and less disruption than an entirely new kitchen would bring you. 

All you need to do is change the cabinet doors. By doing this and keeping the carcasses in place, you are drastically reducing your costs. Even better, you can paint over your existing cabinet doors and make them look completely different even if they are actually the same ones you’ve always had. 

Are You Sabotaging Your Life?

Are you sabotaging your life? You may not realise it, but it could be that you are. There are many theories in this world that support the idea that what you think determines the outcome of your life. The mind is a marvellous, untapped resource that is potentially infinite in its influence over what you do and how things turn out. The Law of Attraction is just one of these theories, and it is fascinating to find out more about it.

Even if you don’t believe in how it works exactly, there is no doubt that having a positive outlook affects how you perceive things, and how you are perceived. So it is important to think positively whenever possible.

If things have been going badly with regards to your work or writing – or any other creative pursuit – then could it possibly be your thoughts and feeling about it all that is causing the problems? Could it be that you are sabotaging your life? Let’s take a look at how you might be, without even realising that you are.

sabotaging your life

You Make It A Competition

If you are constantly looking around you at what other people are doing, you’ll never be able to fully focus on what you are doing – and that can spell disaster for your current writing project. That is one of the best ways of sabotaging your life. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes work in terms of allowing you to set yourself a goal, but doing it all the time is distracting, and can push you off course from that goal very easily.

It is always better to be looking ahead, towards your next goal, and ignore what other people are doing. Creativity is not a race. It’s not a competition. It is a personal journey. That may sound a bit ‘new age-y’ but think about it; it’s completely true.

You Get Angry

Allowing yourself to get angry about things is another excellent way of halting the creative process and sabotaging your life. If something has irritated you – it could be anything, from a Facebook post by a fellow writer, artist, poet etc, to hearing about someone’s success in the same genre that you work in – the important question to ask is ‘why?’. Why are you angry about this? And what is that anger doing to harm your creative process (hint: it’s another way of sabotaging your life)?

Is your anger about being envious? Is it that you have a particularly deep competitive streak? Does the news make you feel less secure about your place in the creative world?

Whatever it is, remember that your own thoughts are taking you on a journey, and if you want that journey to be a fulfilling and successful one, then you need to dispense with all the superfluous feelings of anger and just get on with working your way towards happiness. Another artist’s success will not diminish your own. There is no need to be envious as your time will come as long as you work towards it and acknowledge that fact.

sabotaging your life
Image from Pixabay – ijmaki

You Complain All The Time

Complaining to yourself is a waste of time. Complaining to other people… well, that all depends on the complaint. A valid complaint should often be aired – in a well-thought-out and calm kind of way. That is how things can be done, that is how problems get solved. A general gripe about the state of things, about a tweet that you didn’t appreciate, about someone else’s success or writing ability… that’s usually less productive. Plus this kind of pointless complaining has a knock-on effect. Firstly, it takes up a lot of time when, you guessed it, you could be writing or painting or doing whatever it is that makes you feel complete.

Secondly, empty complaining puts you in a negative frame of mind. One small niggle and suddenly everything is less rosy. Unsure about that? Think of it the other way around – when you see something that makes you happy, or you get some good news, doesn’t your day immediately seem better? Brighter? Altogether happier? It’s true, and the same goes for negative things. Your day (if you let it) will go downhill. Don’t let it. Keep positive, and things will improve. That’s just how it works.  

Indie Authors Can Help One Another – And They Should

In many professions, competition is the norm. It is a fight to the top, and sometimes people get trampled. But with indie authors, it’s different. Or at least it should be. With writers, there is enough space out there for everyone.

I’m not talking about copywriters or freelance writers exactly – every one of them (me included) fights for the jobs that pay well or seem interesting. Heck, we even fight for those who don’t pay well and have us writing about things we have no interest in at all; the bills need to be paid.

indie authors
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Indie Authors

But indie (independent) authors are a particular breed of writer. In this profession, there is room for everyone to do whatever it is they want to do. Especially now that there is the option for self-publishing. These are the ones who do not need to compete with one another; there are so many different stories that they can write and so many genres (and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, come to that!) that the variety is infinite.

Because of this infinite variety, indie authors really should – and generally do – help one another out. Working together is important; it enables everyone to move forward and find different markets that they might otherwise never have come into contact with. It will take time, but it is always worth doing – networking, offering advice, working on a ‘give and take’ ideal… it all goes to the greater good because when one indie author succeeds, it gives hope and opportunity to all the others.

How To Work Together

There are a few different ways to collaborate with other authors. One is link swapping. That could be posting or sending out alerts when a new competition or writing opportunity presents itself, or it could simply be placing the links of other writers on your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your blog… If you link to theirs, they can link to yours, and both of your audiences will grow. It’s a fantastic way to find new readers for your work, and it’s immediate exposure too, meaning immediate income. It might not be much, but it’s something, and that’s how we all need to start.

Brainstorming is another excellent way to use other writers’ expertise and put forward some ideas of your own. Join in with (or create, if you can’t find one already) a monthly online meeting using Skype or Google Hangouts or Slack. There are many different options. You could even set up a secret Facebook group and use that. As long as there is an online space where everyone – whoever you invite – can discuss their writing, how they’re marketing it, any plans for the future or questions they might have, and so on. It’s a great way to swap ideas and discover new things.

Libraries are such valuable commodities, and so indie authors may as well use them too. Note down the ISBN of the books written by authors in your network, and ask your local library to order the book for you. If your entire network does the same for everyone, that will give all of your books a nice borrowing boost. It can be embarrassing to ask for your own book to be brought into a library, but asking for someone else’s is much easier and more likely to get done and yield results.

indie authors
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Apart from actually writing, the thing that takes up most of an indie author’s time is the research. This is research into how to market the books when they are complete, who to use as an editor, where the best value cover designers are, as well as the content itself. It can take an age when all you want to do is get it done and have your book out there for all to see – and hopefully read. This is where the knowledge of others can really save you time. Ask your questions on a forum and get answers – indie authors love to share! And who knows, you may be able to pay it forward and answer someone else’s questions while you’re at it.

When indie authors pull together, so much more can get done – and so many more will see you.

Health Problems That Can Occur After A Car Accident

When you are involved in a car accident, it’s plain to see some of the injuries that can result. You’ll often have cuts and possibly deeper lacerations, as well as red marks on your skin. You might even have broken bones, depending on how severe the accident was. 

However, these initial injuries might not be the end of things, and more can occur days or even weeks after the accident. This usually happens because, due to the stress of the accident, the body is flooded with hormones and chemicals such as adrenalin and endorphins. It is only when the danger has passed and the body reverts back to normal chemical levels that more injuries might be noticed; if they are very serious, you may even need medical attention, as well as a car accident lawyer to help you claim compensation. Read on to find out what health problems can occur after an accident so you know what to look out for. 

car accident
Image from Pixabay

Headaches 

Headaches are a common problem that can occur well after a car accident has taken place. There are several reasons that you might develop headaches including whiplash, concussion, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), muscle tension, or even head trauma that you were unaware of. 

No matter what you think the cause might be, or even if you can’t think of any reason to have developed headaches, you must seek medical attention right away as headaches and migraines can be extremely dangerous and indicate a serious underlying problem. 

Bruising 

Bruising is not something that happens immediately in most cases anyway, and it will take some time to develop after an accident of any kind, including a car accident. However, if the bruising is happening in a large area, or in an area that you hadn’t thought you had injured, you should seek advice from an expert. 

Bruising is a sign of internal bleeding (which can be fatal if left untreated), and the discoloration of the skin is blood pooling beneath it. Large bruises on the back, sides, or abdomen that occur days after an accident can be particularly worrying. 

Numbness 

If you suddenly lose the feeling in any part of your body after a car accident and it is numb to the touch, then you may have sustained nerve damage. This can take some time to manifest since the nerves will try to keep working, but as you use the area that is affected, the damage can become worse until you can’t feel your legs or arms (for example) at all. 

Tingling can be a sign of nerve damage too, and it is often the precursor to complete numbness. In both cases, go to an ER or speak to a doctor as soon as you can; never damage can be reversed if acted upon quickly enough. 

PTSD 

We have briefly mentioned PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) already, but it is a big problem that can occur many days or weeks, or even months after a car accident. PTSD happens when the body’s fight or flight response doesn’t ‘switch off’, meaning that the sufferer is always in a state of alertness. This will become physically exhausting, and mentally it can lead to depression, stress, and anxiety. 

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, insomnia, high blood pressure, withdrawal from society, and mood changes among many other things. 

What To Consider When Starting A Business After Retirement

Just because you have retired, that doesn’t mean you have to sit around doing nothing. In fact, that’s the worst thing you can do – it might be nice for a week or two, but imagine how bored you would become after that, especially if you have been working for many decades before you decide to take retirement. business after retirement

It’s a good idea to stay as active as possible, while also taking the chance to relax, when you are retired. This might mean ensuring you get enough exercise, taking up a new hobby, going back to school to learn about a subject you’ve always been interested in, or maybe taking on a part-time job to keep your brain busy and to give you some extra income. 

Some retired people even choose to start their own businesses. If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing because you’ve always wanted to try or because you know you have a great idea, here are some important points to consider. 

business after retirement
Image from Pixabay

Think About Cost 

Age should not be a barrier to anything you want to do, including starting a business after retirement, but the cost may well be. This is why it’s crucial to put enough time and energy into researching all the costs that you might have to pay out for when starting a business and try to limit them as much as you can.

There are some businesses you can start for almost nothing, so these may be worth looking at more closely. It will depend on what you want to do and how much money you can afford to invest. If you don’t want to use your savings (which may be all you have since you have retired), then an investor could be a worthwhile road to go down. Although business loans exist for startups, this is where your age may go against you.

Use Your Experience 

Something you will have that a younger person might not, and therefore something that will help you greatly when it comes to starting a business after retirement, even if you’ve never done it before, is experience. Not necessarily experience in business or even in the sector you want to launch your business in, but life experience. 

By now, you will know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you can use these to your advantage within your business. You’ll also know what’s really important and what just seems to be. Plus, you’ll have a vast network of friends, family, and acquaintances to gain advice from and, at the very least, to help motivate you. 

business after retirement
Image from Pixabay

Buy A Business 

Starting a business after retirement from nothing takes much more time and effort than you might imagine, and when you have just retired and have been working hard your whole life, this might not appeal, even if you are very keen to get back into some kind of work, and would ideally like to be self-employed. 

It might sound as though you would have to compromise, but you don’t; you can buy a franchise instead. All the initial hard work (and much of the ongoing marketing) will be done for you, and although it will cost you a reasonable amount to buy a franchise, you can start earning straight away and use your skills in the best way for you.