Post from Martina Smilevska 

Creating a chic home but still keeping it kids-friendly can be really challenging. How to display antique items so they’re safe? Should you avoid light colors because of all the spills and stains? We have a solution – decorate your home in Moroccan style.

Cozy, colorful, and welcoming, Moroccan style blends enchanting Mediterranean overtones with contemporary functionality. An attractive blend of finishes and cultures, this style will certainly take your home’s décor to a whole new level.

Moroccan interiors

Bringing Morocco to Your Home

There’s something absolutely amazing about Moroccan design. It features complex geometric patterns and lots of colors in everything from pillows to floor coverings. Traditional Moroccan style is quite ornate, but it can be scaled down to create a perfect ambiance in your home. Bear in mind that fabric is crucial. Rugs, blankets, and curtains can carry the theme on their own.

Located in the northwest part of Africa, Morocco boasts a rich heritage as well as Arabic, Spanish, and French influences reflected in the architecture and interior design. The Morrocan style also features natural elements inspired by the varied geography of beaches, deserts, and mountains. So, if you want to bring a touch of Casablanca to your home, here are a few tips that will be helpful.

Cover the Floors

Moroccan rugs

When it comes to floors, Moroccan rugs offer countless opportunities. With their strong geometric designs and bold color palette, these handwoven beauties have become popular among interior designers and private consumers alike. Each vintage Moroccan rug contains a slice of history and folk art that will make your home unique.

If you want to add a pop of color, choose Boucherouite rugs which are popular for their bright colors and are made from recycled materials. If you’re saving the more vivid colors for the walls or furniture items and want a more toned down floor option, opt for Beni Ourain rugs. These rugs are made of sheepskin by the Beni Ourain tribes in the Atlas Mountains. They’re traditionally beige with large lozenges, but you can also find Beni rugs in other colors like taupe or turquoise.

However, since there are kids in your home, we recommend choosing the more colorful and patterned options, which hide damage like spills and stains very well. 

If rugs aren’t your thing, go with tiles with colorful mosaic designs.

Choose Color for the Walls

Being bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on one coast and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Moroccan design abounds with vivid blue shades. There’s also the clear blue of the sky, the yellow of the shining sun, as well as the purple, pink, and orange from the breathtaking sunset. The mountains and the desert contribute neutral shades like gold, green, and brown.

If you want bolder-looking rooms, go for bright orange for all the walls and trim it with sandy brown. You can also bring the beach to your home by painting one wall blue and the other three in bright yellow.

Moroccan design also has Spanish-influenced elements and one of the most prominent ones is texture. If you want to add texture to the walls, use techniques like plastering and sponging. These techniques in combination with darker hues will hide your children’s wall artwork (you know, pencil and marker scribbles that shouldn’t be there) better than walls in lighter shades.

Find the Perfect Furniture

One of the main concerns when decorating with kids in mind is safety, so furniture that’s free of sharp edges is a must. Stylish leather hassocks known as poufs are the perfect solution for this reason. Kids can play around them without fear of sharp edges. They can also be used as extra seating, serve as tables (to place all those plates, trays, and cups for your little girl’s tea parties), or perform a footrest duty for tired football players.

You can also include a traditional Moroccan couch in the living room to serve as a daybed on which you will nap or read. Cover the cushions with boldly-colored fabrics featuring pink and green or toss on throw pillows in contrasting hues like pink, purple, and blue.

Add Ambiance with the Right Lights

Whether pendant lamps or lanterns, Moroccan lamps will bring a dash of magic to your home. No, because you’re with kids, avoid lanterns because they can be easily knocked over. Metal lamps are a classic Moroccan décor element seen in Morocco, but you can also opt for an onion-shaped chandelier made of leaded-glass and iron accents, and colored in a jewel tone like emerald or topaz.

Use Beautiful Accessories

It is possible to have beautiful accessories around your home without constantly stressing that something will happen to them. The secret is to avoid items like sculptures and focus on decorating the walls. 

When you’re choosing accessories for your Moroccan style home, keep in mind that Moroccan décor is all about intricate patterns and vivid colors. Here are some ideas to help you add the best finishing touches:

 

  • Display a colorful Moroccan rug on the wall as a piece of art.

 

  • Scatter floor pillows in bold colors all around the living room for extra seating.

 

  • Mirrors can boost the Moroccan interior by discreetly reflecting light while at the same time decorating the walls. Look for mirrors with onion dome-shaped frames, frames made of deeply sculpted wood, ornamental ironwork, metal or gem embellishments, or frames covered in small tiles in a mosaic pattern. If you choose a big mirror, position it opposite the windows to keep the Moroccan-style interior light.

 

  • Choose curtains made of colorful fabrics and rich textures.  

Final Thoughts

The Moroccan design concept is vivid and flexible and its intricate patterns and textures are simply irresistible. With its imaginative blend of Mediterranean, Arab, and African embellishing style, it is sure to bring the magic of the ‘1001 Nights’ to your home.  

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There are so many benefits to getting out in nature and enjoying the great outdoors so it makes sense that lots of people are big into hiking. If you are planning on going hiking the first thing that should come to mind is getting a good pair of hiking boots. It is of the utmost importance that you find the right boots for your feet because the wrong boots are going to cause you a great deal of unnecessary pain.

There are a handful of different variables that will factor into your decision on the perfect hiking boot for you. Everyone’s feet are different shapes, lengths, and widths, and unless you know what to look for, it can be overwhelming. Hiking can be very hard on your feet, knees, and back, so you need to do whatever you can to protect them.

For some more information on choosing the right hiking boots for you just keep reading on below.

What Style To Choose?

There are a number of different options when it comes to the style of your hiking boots. You have five basic styles with different variations.

Trail boots are best for beginning hikers who really just plan on getting out for a jaunt on a well-kept trail. Rough-trail boots are the next step up for those who like extended day hikes and a bit of rough terrain at times. Off-trail boots offer more support and protection for when there is no trail except ones made by nature. Mountaineering boots are exactly what they sound like, boots that are designed for climbing very steep and rough terrain. Technical-scrambling boots are a sort of hybrid that offer serious mobility and are lightweight while still keeping your feet fairly well supported.

As you can tell the style all depends on the type of hiking you plan on doing that day. If you are a very serious hiker you will more than likely have multiple pairs for different types of hiking adventures.

Talk To An Expert

You always have the option of going to a hiking or outdoor lifestyle store and speaking to someone who does boot fittings. If the store is serious about their hiking they will have an expert on staff that will be able to size you up and help you find the right style and fit for your individual feet. They will pay careful attention to detail and know which current boots are going to work best for your situation.

Aesthetics Do Not Matter

If you are a serious hiker you are well aware that it doesn’t matter at all what you look like on the trail, just how comfortable and prepared you are. We all like to look good in our new sports gear but it would be ill-advised to purchase any type of hiking boot just because of the way it looks. Your feet will thank you for purchasing the proper boots and not the ones that look the best.

Let’s Hit The Trail

As you can see it really isn’t that difficult to find the right pair of boots for your next weekend outing. The biggest criteria for the type of boots you buy is going to be what you plan on doing in them and how your feet are shaped. You also always have the option to talk to a professional to get advice and sized properly. When you find the right boots for you hiking is going to become less about the exercise and more about being out and enjoying what mother nature has to offer.

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Planning a holiday that appeals to a whole family is tough. There’s always some chump who thinks that back to basics camping would be ‘fun’*, the younger kids want ‘things to do’, (gross), and the older ones are just annoyed that they have to been seen with you in public and are already on the verge of breakdown in case there isn’t WiFi.

And you? Probably all you want is to lie in a darkened spa with a glass of wine and the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. (Me.)

How do you choose a family holiday then that ticks everyone’s boxes and is still affordable? I think Yelloh! Village might just be the answer.

Yelloh Village yurts

Yelloh! Village got in touch recently to enlist my help to let more people know who they are and what they do, (I’d never heard of them so don’t feel bad), and after having a good look through their website and reading lots of reviews, (they have an excellent Trustpilot rating), I was sold. I definitely want to take baby Joey on a Yelloh! Village holiday next summer when he’s good and chubby and toddling about.

Yelloh! Village is part of the European ‘glamping’ scene – pre-pitched tents and holiday homes on complexes offering a whole wealth of hotel style facilities like indoor and outdoor pools, spa and wellness and loads of outdoor activities for kids and adults. There’s so much choice, you’ll be hard pressed not to find something to suit. View Post

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Some of the plants mentioned in this post were gifts from Tree2MyDoor

I bloody love houseplants. Some women have shoes, I have houseplants. I just did a little count around the house and I currently have 42, about a third of which I’ve cultivated from cuttings, which I feel rather smug about. I have everything from tiny pilea babies, newly separated from their mummy, to huge Swiss cheese plants, the largest of which is currently sat in my old cat litter tray (litter removed) until I find a pot big enough for it.

My oldest houseplant is a peace lily that I bought when Bee was small and we lived alone for the first time, making it about 23 years old now and I even got an avocado stone to sprout recently in a jar of water after about four years of trying. NEWSFLASH.

My two newest additions were gifts from a lovely company called Tree2MyDoor – a fiddle leaf fig tree and a pineapple plant. And when I say pineapple plant, I mean it has an actual pineapple growing out of the top. (Ornamental not edible.) I’ve never seen one before but it’s AMAZING. Love love love the pineapple plant.

pineapple plant

Tree2MyDoor specialises in outdoor plants really, but has expanded recently to include indoor plants too. Their thing is plants as gifts – rather than sending someone a bouquet of cut flowers for a birthday or special occasion, only to have them die in a couple of weeks, (the flowers not the friend hopefully), send a tree or a rose bush or a houseplant instead and you’re got the gift that keeps on giving AND growing. It’s such a lovely idea and way better for the planet than a huge bunch of plastic wrapped cuts flowers.

While not everyone loves houseplants quite as much as me, (I had a boyfriend once who threatened to throw them out the window if I grew any more spider babies), houseplants are more than just pretty accessories for your next Instagram shot. Houseplants have all kinds of important health benefits, meaning that really it’s your DUTY to buy a houseplant. It’s basically self-care. Best go to Tree2MyDoor right now and tell them I sent you.

In case you’re thinking ‘what is this crazy plant lady blabbering about? How on earth are houseplants good for you?’ then READ ON. View Post

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Welcome to National Curry week! That’s right, this week – October 7th – 13th – is National Curry Week and great timing too given the turn in the weather. This week is the week to get comfy on the sofa with a big bowl of homemade lamb rogan josh and some good autumn TV. (Personal current favourites being the new series of The Apprentice and the first ever series of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK.)

What’s sad though is that despite it feeling sometimes like the UK is becoming one big cafe/restaurant, British curry houses and Indian dining is in decline in the UK. A third of the UK’s estimated 17,000 curry houses could face closure over the next decade, which would be a huge shame. Partly it’s due to changing tastes and demographics, but also the misconception that Indian restaurant food is ‘unhealthy’ or that the foods associated with Indian cuisine, such as lamb curry, are eaten more by older generations.

As you know I’ve been working on a campaign this year called ‘Lamb. Try it, love it‘, encouraging people to eat more lamb, and so I wanted to use National Curry Week as an opportunity to champion the use of lamb in curries. Lamb is brilliant for curries as it carries the spicy flavours really well, but without getting lost. (If you want proof of this then try out my Thai massaman lamb curry – now one of my favourite ever curries.) I also wanted to challenge the stereotype of curry houses being a bit old-fashioned and so I went to Birmingham, possibly the most well-known destination for curry in the UK, for a meal at the multi-award winning Asha’s.

Asha’s is where the cool kids go for curry. They serve amazing food but they also appreciate that nowadays people expect more from a restaurant. (I’m looking at you Millennials.) Asha’s has created a dining experience to reflect that, blending authentic Indian cooking with more contemporary flavours and a sophisticated ambience. Asha’s even has its own cocktail menu, inspired by Indian cuisine, featuring treats such as the Maharaja’s Mistress, made with rose jam, curry leaves infused arrack, spiced rum and champagne, garnished with Turkish delight. View Post

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I was the ripe old age of 38 before I bought my first house. I’d put it off for a long time, partly because I didn’t think I could afford it, (I was right on that one for quite some time), but also through fear.

Growing up we mainly lived in rented houses, and so I’d never really had any experience of how owning a home worked. ‘Call the landlord’ was all I knew as a response to any kind of house related problem, and the focus was always on not staining the carpets or doing anything that might mean not getting your deposit back, rather than actually thinking about designing and creating a space that you wanted to live in.

House design

I would absolutely love a breakfast bar, but my kitchen is pretty small and I don’t think I’d be able to achieve it without blocking off the back door, which would leave the cats VERY confused.

When I thought of owning my own home, I just thought ‘trouble’. How would I know what to do? What if something went wrong? Could I just put a satsuma in front of any problems, like I did with that car, and hope they went away?

It turns out that owning your own home is far less scary than I thought, that you can get insurance to cover you for lots of different emergencies, and that things feel easier if you can find yourself a decent ‘no job too big or too small’ type maintenance person. (I have a lovely chap in the next street who has so far fixed my leaky roof AND put up a blind for me.)

Although I’ve been relatively lucky so far with my house, touch wood, (apart from the leaky roof), I would probably have benefited from a little more planning when it came to choosing my first home. I basically just came in and thought ‘this seems fine’ and made an offer. I didn’t know what I should be checking, I just saw that there were coloured LED lights around the bottom of the kitchen units and I got over-excited. View Post

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Back when I was 35, which feels like ages ago now to be honest, I made a list of 40 things I wanted to do before I was 40. It was a pretty eclectic list, with everything from making homemade lemon curd to visiting Auschwitz, but it was a lovely way to check in with myself and it gave me plenty of options for weekends away or stuff to do when I had time to fill and no ideas to fill it with.

One of the things on my list was inspired by something I cut out of the travel section of the paper one weekend.

Things to do in Istanbul

I loved the idea of being able to casually say ‘Oh this weekend? I just hung out in a 19th-century Ottoman mansion, then took a cruise up the Bosphorus.’ It’s so much better than ‘I went to Tesco and gave the cats their monthly flea treatment’ isn’t it?

‘Hang out in a 19th-century Ottoman mansion and take a cruise up the Bosphorus’ went on the list.

It was actually one of only a few things that I didn’t manage to complete and so I carried it over to my list of 50 things before 50 and recently I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’ve started looking at pictures of Istanbul on Pinterest and honestly, it’s even more beautiful than I realised – so much colour and amazing architecture.

I decided I’m going to make this one happen.

For my 40th birthday I went on a trip by myself to Lisbon, also something on my list, and I’ve decided that Istanbul is going to be my birthday gift to myself for my 42nd birthday, next April. If you’ve been inspired by my Pinterest board, (and how could you not be unless you have a heart of stone), then here are some things to think about. With your bum bag neatly packed with your passport, list of Instagrammable destinations and e-visa Turkey is ready and waiting for you!

The weather in Turkey

This is actually the first thing I think about when I’m planning a trip. It seems like a small thing, but you don’t want to accidentally turn up somewhere in hurricane season or when it’s too hot to leave your 19th-century Ottoman mansion do you?

I’d pictured Istanbul as being pretty warm given it’s on a similar line to Greece and Spain, and although it enjoys the typical mediterranean summers it does get cold and snowy in the winter apparently, and April can still be chilly. My birthday is at the end of April, but looking at the average temperatures, having it as a post-birthday trip at the beginning of May could make it significantly warmer.

Flights to Turkey

I tend to use Skyscanner when I’m looking for flights. I will always fly from Bristol unless I absolutely can’t, as it’s nice and easy for me to get to – flying from a London airport add an extra layer of faff and expense that I really don’t want before and after a holiday, especially a short break. Unfortunately there aren’t any direct flights from Bristol to Istanbul, but you can go direct from Birmingham, which is doable for me. Turkey is two hours ahead of the UK and the flight time is about four hours.

Istanbul has two international airports – Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on the Asian side, and a brand new airport that this year replaced Ataturk International Airport on the European side. Istanbul’s new airport is one of the biggest in the world, covering an area six times the size of Heathrow, so I couldn’t not go to that one could I?

I find flights with Turkish Airlines for three nights at the beginning of May at reasonable times of the day for £235. They give me a little bit of time on the arrival and departure days, plus two full days, which should be plenty for me as when I travel on my own I am VERY efficient. Tower seen? Check. Photo taken in colourful street? Check. I get the job done for sure.

I book the flights and start to feel butterflies in my tummy.

Istanbul Turkey

Photo by Nodis Ionut on Unsplash

The 19th-century Ottoman mansion 

I am really tempted at this point to abandon the hotel bit and go for AirBnB, as this is what I’d normally do on a city break. I’ve stayed in AirBnBs in London, Lisbon, Krakow and Geneva, as well as lots of places in the UK, and I’ve always been pleased with them. They’re normally a lot cheaper than a hotel, you can opt for a whole apartment, it feels more personal, and you can save money by self-catering.

However, it’s hard to casually say ‘oh I just stayed in a 19th-century Ottoman mansion’ if you’ve actually stayed in some random person’s modern apartment block isn’t it? It’s a dilemma.

The House Hotel seems to have opened a second hotel in Istanbul since I cut my little bit out of the paper, but it was easy to pick out which one was the original because of the beautiful parquet floors in the rooms. It’s not cheap though. Over 400 EURO for three nights. Gawd.

I look at AirBnB. I could get an entire flat in a similar location for just over £100. I flick between the two. On a short trip how much time do you really spend in your hotel room? I could go for the AirBnB and the difference would pay for my flight and more. It’s a tough one, because while I want to stay true to the 50 things before 50 list, I did write the list, and so who am I really answerable to apart from myself?

I book the AirBnB.

‘Your reservation is confirmed. You’re going to Beyoğlu!’

Cripes. Looks like I’m really going to Istanbul on my own.

Things to do in Istanbul

Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

Local laws, getting a Turkey visa and travel insurance

Travel insurance is a must obviously. The EHIC isn’t valid in Turkey, even if we weren’t potentially crashing out of the EU any day now, so make sure you have cover in place. I have travel insurance as part of my bank account, but generally it’s not expensive and is an essential. You will also need a visa to travel to Turkey, so factor the Turkey visa fee into your budgeting. Make sure to keep your passport and a printed copy of your visa with you at all times as spot checks are often carried out. It’s actually illegal not to carry some form of photo ID in Turkey and as well as needing a visa, the Turkish government recommend you have at least six months left on your passport from your date of entry into the country.

TOP TIP: The possession, sale and export of antiquities is also against the law in Turkey and could result in a substantial fine and up to 12 years in prison, so be very careful and check the legal requirements if you’re thinking about buying antiques or historical items to bring home. Probably best to just stick with a fridge magnet.

The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira. You can buy currency in advance but there are plenty of ATMs in major cities and tourist areas. Dress modestly obviously if you’re visiting a mosque or a religious shrine.

Things to do in Istanbul

My Pinterest board has dozens and dozens of ideas for things to do in Istanbul, with lots of tip too for Istanbul’s most Instagrammable locations, should you wish to use your trip as an opportunity to show off on the Gram. (Which I do.)

I’m going to do a bit more research though and put together an itinerary of the key things I want to do during my three nights in Istanbul. As well as factoring in plenty of time for general wandering about, I love the idea of doing a few more structured things, perhaps a cookery class or a food tour? I’ll have to do the ‘take a cruise down the Bosphorous’ part at least, to warrant ticking it off my list, and the Museum of Innocence is not far from my AirBnB. You know I love a weird museum.

In the meantime, while you inevitably scrabble for your passport and Turkey visa, I will leave you with this picture because it is GLORIOUS. Happy holidays!

Istanbul Turkey

Photo by Fatih Yürür on Unsplash

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Did you know that October 7-11th is Financial Planning Week? As part of the week, the CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment) is encouraging everyone to sign up for a FREE financial planning session.

Now before you switch off and think ‘oh that’s not for me because I don’t earn enough money’ then think again. Although typically financial planners do work with relatively wealthy clients, helping them manage their investments and savings, Financial Planning Week is for everybody. In fact, if you don’t currently have much in the way of savings or retirement plans then all the more reason to take up the offer of a free session.

I know that looking at your finances can be scary but financial planning is actually something I feel very strongly about as money has an impact on so many other areas of your life. In my twenties I spent a long time ignoring debts I had built up as a student and single parent, hoping they would go away, but you know what? They don’t. All that happens is that you get more and more stressed and worried about them. At some point you have to stare your finances right in the eye and remind them that YOU are in charge. Once you stop being afraid of money, that’s when you can start to feel more in control and make proper plans.

Feeling confident about your finances is incredibly empowering.

So how does the free financial planning session work and what can you expect?

The first step is looking at where you are right now. What plans do you already have in place? What savings or pensions, if any, do you have? This was covered in a few simple forms that I had to fill out before my session with Andrew and Sarah at Berry and Oak, so that they could have a picture of my situation before we spoke.

To be honest, even just this stage was really valuable as it forces you to take stock. I consider myself relatively well-prepared financially, but I still couldn’t tell you exactly what the terms are on my life assurance, or for how long my income protection insurance would pay out should I find myself unable to work. I wasn’t even completely on top of what my monthly income and expenditure was. Just taking an hour or so to fill out the forms gave me a much clearly idea of my current position, and made me feel much more confident, before I’d even spoken to Andrew and Sarah. I also checked my state pension online, which was much easier to do than I’d imagined and is really important as it tells you how much state pension you’re set to be entitled to.

TOP TIP from Andrew and Sarah: even if as a family you think you earn too much to be eligible for child benefit, claim it anyway and then pay it back as part of your tax return. If you’re a stay at home parent, your state pension only knows to take this into account by checking to see if you’ve been receiving child benefit, so if you stop claiming because your partner is earning too much, but you’re at home raising your family, then you could miss out.

Next you think about where you’d like to be, both in the short term and years down the line when you’re ready for retirement. It might seem like a long way away but the sooner you start thinking about it, the more you can get out of it. Because that’s the ultimate goal after all right? To be in a position to be able to spend more time doing what you love. Like taking amazing train journeys around the world. (I’ve never done this but always felt like I’d love it, especially if I had to solve a mystery on board.)

free financial planning session for financial planning week

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If you’re one of those individuals who tend to overindulge during the dog days of summer; or during winter holiday, then you’re going to need to really work your butt off to lose those extra pounds. But no worries; you already have a bikini body – as does everyone who has a body and owns a bikini. Perhaps what you need is to trim some of those loose bits of fat that tend to get in the way when you break out the swimsuit.

To get you started on your weight loss plan, we suggest taking up a diet filled with veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and of course, healthy fats (omega-3s); which of course, are essential to any diet. The recipes here are pretty straightforward and don’t require any super-exotic ingredients, but they taste great!

So here we go;

Stay Lean with These 4 Principles:

  • Drink at Least 1 Gallon of Water a Day

We can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated; especially if you spend a lot of time outside for work or fun. Without the right water intake, your body wouldn’t be able to process fat effectively; or get rid of toxins in the digestive tract that cause you to feel bloated all the time. Make an effort to drink the recommended 8 glasses per day – and use natural sweeteners if the thought of swallowing water makes you cringe. 

  • Meal Tracking

Use apps to track your food intake; that way, you can have a better grip on your calorie count. These apps are available for both Android and IOS, so there’s no excuse for overeating. 

  • Limit Your Carbohydrates

Carbs should be limited. This is the ideal amount of carbs that should be consumed on a low-carb diet. Dietary guidelines recommend that carbs provide about a quarter of your energy needs – so if for instance, you consume 2,000 calories per day, aim for about 100-200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that 2,000 calories per day is a bit on the high side for anybody trying to lose weight.

  • Eat More Protein!

Proteins are the building block of your muscles. For this reason, eating the right amount of proteins helps to keep your muscle mass intact – and it also helps to grow muscle. Another good reason for eating protein is that it prevents muscle loss during weight loss.

A note on portion size

Do everything you can to watch your portion size because it has a direct impact on your weight loss goals. So instead of using complicated matrices like ounces and grams to weight food portions, use something simpler to measure – like the palm of your hand.It’s a pretty effective method to use because remember, your hand usually scales with body size; so if you’re smaller, then eat less, according to your hand size. And if you are a big guy, the same principle applies.

The 4 Week Lean Diet Meal Plan

Before you get started on your 1-week meal plan, there are a number of things you should expect. For starters, you might start to feel tired because of the drop in carbs; but over time, your body will find ways to adjust. If you stick to this diet, then after two weeks you may start to lose an average of 2 pounds per week. The first week can get pretty intense, and you may lose anywhere from 3-5 pounds.

Breakfast:

  • Boiled Eggs
  • 45g Oats With 300ml Skimmed Milk and 1tsp Honey
  • Spinach Banana Protein Smoothie
  • Berry Parfait

Lunch:

  • Chicken Apple Salad
  • Greek Bowl
  • Grilled Chicken (1 Chicken Breast) Salad Sandwich With Wholemeal Bread
  • 1 Can of Tuna With Beetroot; 1 Low-fat Yoghurt.

Dinner:

  • Ginger Shrimp Stir-fry Saute
  • 1 Large Chicken Breast
  • Steak and Potatoes
  • Salmon With Mixed Vegetable Quinoa

Lean Snacks for Grumbling Stomachs

  • Apple Slices With Nut Butter
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Handful Mixed Nuts

To make your weight loss plan manageable, plan ahead and have a plan for dealing with food cravings – because no matter what, do NOT deviate from your diet. Have a positive attitude going into your meal plan, that way, you won’t suffer through the whole process.

Good luck!

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Best Christmas holiday destinations

Whether you’re looking to make the most of the school holidays with the kids, take a romantic holiday for two or simply escape the winter bite, there are many amazing places to spend the festive season this year.

Here are our top five.

Germany

Germany is arguably the atypical destination to experience a traditional festive Christmas. No matter where you go you will find an enchanting Weihnachtsmarkt filled with handcrafted trinkets, sparkling tree ornaments and delicious sticky toffee.

Some people claim you have never experienced Christmas until you have visited a charming snow-covered medieval village that time has forgotten. The romanticism of Christmas really comes alive and with the sweet scents of cinnamon, mulled wine mixing with the sweet sounds of children singing carols, it’s just like the idea of Christmas you see in films.

Finland

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, why not head to a holiday destination that is guaranteed plenty of the white stuff. Finland – and arctic wonderland drizzled in festive spirit and lit by ice lanterns. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic Christmas.

The natural setting plays a huge part in Finland’s landscape, but the snow-dusted fir forests and gushing waterfalls in wintertime are a sight to behold. Embrace Finnish culture and enjoy a sled pulled by huskies and watch the night skies to experience the magic of the Aurora Borealis.

New Zealand

Sun lovers look to escape the winter chill this Christmas might want to think about heading out to New Zealand and chilling out in the sun with laid-back Kiwis.

With long days and simmering hot temperatures, Christmas in New Zealand is mostly spent outdoors. Other than the traditional barbie on the beach, once you’ve opened your presents, you could be parasailing over pristine blue waters, crashing over waves on jet skis or relaxing by a peaceful lakefront.

Japan

Japan is probably not the first travel destination that springs to mind when you think of somewhere to spend Christmas, but don’t rule it out just yet – the Japanese celebrate the festive season in true style.

To be fair, you will recognize all the typical western influences such as fir trees, Santa and present-giving, but the Japanese also have their quirky traditions as well – such as going to KFC. This has been a Christmas tradition in Japan since an ad was aired on TV in 1974. And it’s still a thing.

The Japanese really go to town with the illuminations and have also introduced German-style Christmas markets complete with trinkets, lavishly filled trees and parcelled gifts.

Spain

Spain is a Catholic country and takes Christmas pretty seriously – so much so, the Spanish start dishing out turron in October, a traditional sweet made from almond and honey.

By December, the festivities are in full swing with carol singers, religious ceremonies, parades, fireworks, nativity scenes and streets lined with mesmerizing illuminations.

If you are thinking of heading to Spain for Christmas, it is recommended to visit one of the larger cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Seville as many of the locals living in small beach towns go away for Christmas, so everything is quiet.

Guided Tours

To make your Christmas really special, why not hire a local guide to introduce you to festive customs and show you the best places to go for Christmas dinner.

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Have you ever wondered what laser hair removal is all about?

Every time you think of laser hair removal treatments, you probably wonder how expensive it is, especially if it is clinic also employes a laser for hair hair removal.

However, that should not worry you as you can perform the procedure at home by yourself. Thanks to modern skincare technology, there are laser hair removal devices that you can use at safely home. An example is Tria laser 4X that is approved by the FDA and comes with a simple and easy to understand manual.

Sounds fun? Well, you’ll have to invest in a good one to achieve flawless results. On top of that, they come with instructions that should be followed by the book. Finding it expensive to go to the clinic? Is it your first-time trying laser hair removal?

Try this home guide below.

Assess your Hair and Skin Tone

All laser hair removal devices are facilitated by different hair textures and skin tones. Normally, the laser will target the pigment making it suited for darker hair and light skin.

For darker skin, the melanin is usually affected by the laser heat resulting in the skin developing a burn. In terms of hair texture, ensure that it is not fair as you will achieve less impressive results. Consult a dermatologist if you are unsure of your hair texture and skin tone.

Identify Treatment Areas

Which part of your body do you want to get rid of the hair? Laser treatment is suited for lower leg region and underarms. Treating facial hair is highly discouraged because of hairs are fine and hormone-driven.

Also, avoid treating your genitalia or injured areas to prevent serious complications. How regularly you will undertake the procedure will be determined by your hair growth cycle. Doing it once a month is recommended, but if your hair grows faster then 2-3 times will be necessary.

Perform Shaving Religiously

The process of hair removal normally targets the follicle at the surface of your skin. Unlike waxing where you must pluck every strand from the root, shaving allows the hair follicles to remain at the bottom of your skin.

It is for this reason that waxing is discouraged before undertaking the laser process. Should you opt for waxing, then do so a month or two before your treatment, that way the laser equipment will be able to capture the follicles.

During the Laser Treatment Process

Make sure the body parts you intend to perform the laser treatment are thoroughly cleaned and well shaven.

Read all the instructions beforehand to avoid making mistakes that will jeopardize the results and healing process.

Now, begin by placing your device at 90-degree angle making sure it’s against the surface of your skin. Start circling in motion as you work your way through the area. Avoid revisiting the same spot twice as it will cause uncomfortable skin irritation.

After the Laser Treatment Process

Once you are done, clean up the hair free area with recommended disinfectants and apply after shave creams.

Disinfect the treated areas regularly and look out for anything odd. Moreover, avoid excessive exposure to the sun as it will affect the healing process. Should anything come up, consult your doctor immediately.

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You may be bored in your current healthcare role and are looking for ways to challenge yourself or make more money. One idea is to focus on how you can take your career to another level and progress in a forward direction over time.

What you don’t want to do is get too comfortable where you are or stop trying to advance your skills. Instead, concentrate on figuring out how you can spend your time productively and get ahead in your career. You’ll be much happier when you’re performing well and being properly compensated for your hard work and efforts in a role that’s better suited for you.

Map out A Plan

It’s important to have a plan of attack for what you want your next step to be in your career. Start mapping out where you see yourself in five and ten years from now and how you’re going to get there. Begin to set goals for what you want to accomplish as time goes on and you gain more experience in your position. This is going to give you more insight as to what possibilities exist in your field based on the direction you want to head.

Obtain an Advanced Degree

Take your nursing career to the next level by committing to pursuing continuing education. For instance, you may want to check out the DNP executive leadership online programs and what jobs you’ll be able to get after completing these courses. While there are certain educational requirements you’ll have to take in your career, there are also courses that you can pursue that will directly help you to get a job that will require more responsibility and higher levels of critical thinking. With a busy schedule, an online program may be exactly what you need to help you meet this objective. 

Focus on Networking

Additionally, another way to move on up with your nursing career is to focus on building a strong network of connections. Some of these people you meet may be able to open doors for you and get you interviews at employers where you want to work. Also, it’ll be nice to meet other like-minded individuals who are already successful in their careers or who are also working on getting ahead currently like you. Spend your time putting yourself out there and networking with other healthcare professionals, both online and offline and see what advice they have for you. Attend networking events and conferences as one way to grow your network and meet new people.

Join Professional Organizations

You should also consider joining professional organizations as a way to take your nursing career to the next level. Not only will you get to know more people but you’ll also be furthering your knowledge and skills by taking part in these types of groups. In addition, it looks great on your resume and like you’re using your free time wisely. Keep in mind that there are general groups to join as well as those focused more on a specific specialty so do your homework before committing to a particular organization or association. It’s an opportunity to gain new experiences outside of your normal job duties and routine and to learn from others in your field.

Volunteer in Your Free Time

Another way to build up your resume is to volunteer your time when you have the chance. It’s a great way to explore different paths or avenues related to the nursing field. You’ll also be helping out those in need and it’ll feel good to put a smile on someone else’s face. You never know when your volunteer work may turn into a full-time job or position down the road as well. There may also be chances to take on more responsibility right where you currently work instead of having to look elsewhere to volunteer. Be prepared to raise your hand and offer up your assistance if your boss is looking for someone to take on additional responsibilities at your workplace.

Track Your Performance

The reality is that only you know exactly what you’ve achieved and accomplished over the years. It’s important that if you want to get ahead in your career that you’re willing and able to talk yourself up. You’ll be more likely to get a promotion at your job when you can prove that the work you’ve done has truly benefited your workplace. Therefore, get in the habit of tracking your own performance and being able to speak highly about what you bring to the table so you can get noticed at work.

Focus on Building A Good Reputation for Yourself

Part of the job of being a good nurse will entail you being someone who’s trustworthy and can demonstrate integrity in all you do. Therefore, focus your time on building a good reputation for yourself in the nursing field. Always maintain a positive attitude, confidentiality and be respectful of other people and their time. Take your nursing career to the next level by allowing others to see and recognize that you’re a team player so that they want to work with you in the future.

Be Proactive

What furthering your nursing career truly comes down to is you being proactive and dedicated to your profession. It’s important that you’re hands-on in your approach and never give up trying to improve over the years. You can’t sit around waiting for opportunities to come to you or you may be missing out on current chances to advance your career. For example, you can choose to obtain additional certifications in your down time or work on developing your leadership skills so you can move into a management position.

Conclusion

These are a few ways for how you can take your nursing career to the next level and get ahead at work. Have fun seeing what you’re capable of and how far you can go when you put your mind to it. Avoid worrying about the what-ifs and conquer any fears by coming up with a plan and then taking action to achieve your goals.

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