Want to Make Travel Your Full Time Life

Of all dreams, few are as common as traveling. If you’re of a particular mindset, there’s nothing better than casting off the shackles of the every day and going on an adventure, always experiencing new things, and broadening your mind at the same time. While most people are bound by the realities of life, there are others out there who make travel their full-time lifestyle. Jealous? You needn’t be, because it’s a lifestyle that’s available to all. Here’s how you do it.

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Teaching English

We’re in a golden age of travel opportunities, and this is especially true if you’re a native English speaker. Sign yourself up for a TEFL or CELTA course, and you’ll have the (non-English speaking) world at your feet. Whether you want to enjoy thrilling Thailand, get lost in the maze of Tokyo, or try your hand at living and working in a vibrant South American country, teaching English as a foreign language allows you to easily integrate into a new overseas life. Opportunities are everywhere, and the jobs can actually pay pretty well in certain countries.

To the Mountains

There are two types of seasonal jobs: summer work, and winter work. While summer jobs can be bags of fun, there’s nothing quite like working outdoors during the winter. For one, you’re normally based in stunning environments (these are vacation destinations, after all), and you get to enjoy all the fun activities of the area when you’re not working, too. Get yourself a ski instructor course qualification, and you’ll be able to have the best of both worlds: getting paid and having fun at the same time. With the qualification under your belt, you might find that teaching people to ski in Whistler, the Alps, or Park City is your full-time employment, and doesn’t that sound perfect?

Volunteer Options

A lot of people are held back from traveling as often as they want because they’re worried that they won’t be able to afford it. But in actuality, traveling the world – even the world’s most expensive countries – can be cheap, if you volunteer. Sites like Workaway and HelpX connect volunteers with hosts who need help. You won’t be paid, but you will receive food and accommodation, and what else do you need? You’ll also be fully immersed in local culture, and have experiences that you couldn’t pay for even if you wanted to.

Learn a Foreign Language

To give yourself the best option of traveling full time, you’ll need to learn a foreign language. If you learned Spanish, for example, you’d be able to work in many more countries than if you only spoke Spanish. You could arrive in South America, find work, then move on to the next destination when it feels right.

Remote Jobs

The internet has changed travel, and work. There are many location independent jobs that are done solely online; bag yourself one of these, and you can become a digital nomad, working in countries around the world. All you need is an internet connection!

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Easy Steps To Help Complete A Garden Makeover

It’s that time of year again. Where we dust off the summer clothes from our wardrobes, put those sunglasses on our heads and enjoy the outdoors. Fresh air and al fresco dining. Some people are lucky enough to have an outdoor area at their home, but it can often feel like a huge task to make it a lovely and enjoyable space to be. Which is why I thought that the time was right to share with you some of the easy steps you can take to completing a garden makeover.

Decide how you want to use your outdoor space

The first step to take is to consider how you want to use your outdoor space. What do you want from your garden or back yard? Do you want somewhere to enjoy a nice drink quietly? Or perhaps somewhere to entertain and dine in the evening sunshine? Maybe it’s just a case of having a space to exercise or even just hang your washing out to dry. Whatever your goals might be for your garden or outdoor space, make sure you have them clear in your mind. This is so you can ensure that the next steps you take with a makeover will be solely what you want.

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Get things ready

Now you know what you want to do it’s time to start putting the plan into action. It’s best to tidy up the garden completely to know exactly what you have to work with and what needs to be done. The chances are your garden, or outdoor area will have had no maintenance for several months. So it’s important to ensure that you know what requires your focus. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to tackle those yearly chores, so clearing out the gutters or even getting your power washer out to clean up patios or decking areas. Tidying up helps create a blank canvas.

Consider storage options to keep your garden tidy

Clearing everything away doesn’t necessarily mean this task is complete. After all, some of those items like garden tools or furniture may need a place to be stored away when you are not using them. So it might be the time to consider adding some storage to your garden. Perhaps a shed if you have the space for it. It can help keep the garden a useable space at all times.

Invest in some new items and furniture

Clearing the garden and tidying away opens up the door to add some new things to your garden. Perhaps some new grey rattan garden furniture or investing in a new BBQ, for example. It helps outline how you want to sue the garden and provides you with the means to do so.

Focus some time on the flowers and any lawned areas you have

Finally, winter can be harsh on any lawned areas or flowers you may have so it might be worth focusing your attention on improving these areas. Giving the grass a good cut and ensuring you treat any weeds that have popped up in the lawn or flower beds.

I hope these easy steps help you transform your garden.

Style, Storage & Space: Make Your Home More Liveable

No matter what kind of home you live in, we can guarantee that you are constantly in need of more space. Something about having your own home means that you soon begin to develop piles of new belongings. Before long, it is no longer clear where any of it is meant to go. If you know this situation well, then you are probably keen to learn about some new storage solutions which you might be able to employ in your home. Knowing how to properly store what you have away goes hand in hand with freeing up space in the home – and there are a number of genuine positive psychological benefits as a result of that. It also means that you can create a more relaxed, peaceful home – and all without sacrificing even a shred of style. Let’s see what you might be able to do in your home to marry style, storage and space easily and inexpensively.

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Plan Every Room

One of the major reasons that people tend to end up with very little space is because they fail to think room by room. It might not seem as though it would make that much difference, but you would be surprised. As it turns out, planning interior design room by room, particularly with storage and space in mind, does very often mean that you can create more useful spaces which you will be able to use for greater storage quickly and easily. It helps to go room by room, simply because each room is its own unique kind of space, offering its own potential solutions and also its own set of problems to overcome. If you only think as a whole for the home, you will find that your solutions are nowhere near as effective as they could be.

Once you start thinking in this way, it will probably not be long before you start to come up with some pretty unique solutions of your own. You will then probably wonder why you never thought to look at your space problems in this way before. However, you might still benefit from listening to the advice of others, and there are some things which apply to all homes and to all rooms in the home, no matter what. Let’s take a look at some more specific advice on creating space in the home, reducing your need for storage and making the home work as a more cohesive whole in these areas.

De-Clutter

It might sound simple, but it is an incredibly effective part of the whole situation. If you want to create more space in your home, then it only makes sense to do everything you can to reduce the amount of clutter you have lying around. No matter who you are, it is likely that you often find yourself developing clutter. This happens for a number of reasons, and it is for that reason that it is hard to deal with a lot of the time. It might just be the gradual accumulation of things you have bought, perhaps all relevant and necessary at the time, but now just taking up space. It could be things people have left in your home. In this instance, it is quite frustrating because you can’t exactly just get rid of those things. Still, you can endeavour to return them to their owners. However it is that your own cluster has developed, it is well worth making sure that you make the effort to reduce the amount of clutter in your home.

In all likelihood, it will be much more beneficial if you do this on a regular basis. There is no specific timescale that works for everyone, as it depends on your own lifestyle and needs, but just make sure that you do your best to stay on top of it at all times if you can. When you get down to de-cluttering, you should think about ways in which you can get rid of what you find. You might decide to sell some goods, for example: selling clothes and other things online can be a great way to recycle and even make a little money from your de-cluttering. Or you could give things away to charity, as this will also help you to feel much better about the situation of throwing things away. Whatever you do, try to find specific solutions for doing away with those things that you find. This will help you to keep your home much clearer for longer, so reducing the amount of storage that you actually need in the first place.

Of course, you can only get rid of so much, and at a certain point you will need to find some genuine solutions to the kind of storage and space you do actually need for what remains. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to store the things you need to keep in your home.

Find Multi-Use Furniture

If there is anything that takes up a lot of space in your home, it is the furniture. It therefore makes a lot of sense if you are able to use that furniture as a storage solution in itself. This way, you are using the bigger, bulkier items to store the smaller ones – and mathematically, that makes for a much more efficient use of space. Of course, limiting the amount of furniture you have in the first place might be beneficial, but you also want to keep the home comfortable. It is often far better to use furniture which can easily double up as storage. These days, there is no end to the kind of furniture that can actually achieve that particular goal. You can find sofas which unfold to reveal a decent amount of storage space underneath, for example. There are countless bed designs which have a lot of open space underneath, too, so you can store things like bedclothes and pretty much anything else under there. But that’s not all.

Space saving furniture comes in many forms, and it is worth looking at all your options as much as possible and as closely as possible. Certain solutions might not work for you personally or for your home, but others could be absolutely perfect. If you have children, treating them to some transforming bunk beds can provide them with endless fun while also meaning they have doubled-up room for a desk or something similar. You can even buy transforming tables which spread out to become larger tables, meaning that your dining table could be tucked away neatly while not in use.

Making use of multi-use furniture is one of those single best ways to create more space, for real, in your home, and to find a place for decent storage of your smaller items. But there might still be a place in your home for items which are designed solely and specifically to hold other items with no other purpose. In those cases, you probably want to ensure that they have a decent degree of style if they are to take up space in your home.

Stylish Storage

When it comes to finding storage solutions which do not double-up as anything else, it helps to put style first. That way, you can be sure that you will be happy with those items taking up space in your home. Of course, it can often be difficult to come across storage items which you are genuinely thrilled about using. But a little shopping around and knowing where to look can soon throw up a few interesting and useful items which you might want to consider. Again, as we saw earlier, it can really help to work room by room here. Let’s take the bathroom by way of example.

Any bathroom has countless opportunities to house a decent storage unit. This is one room where you will often get away with something just for the sake of it looking good, so looking for stylish bathroom storage is a decent bet if that is your style. Bathroom companies tend to have a fantastic range of vanity units, and these re probably our best bet if looking for stylish bathroom storage solutions. Alternatively, you could consider going for a standalone tidy,as these can often be compact enough to fit into a bathroom of just about any size. Get this room right, and you will notice how easy it can really be to create stylish storage in my room of the house. You can then extend this to other rooms.

Keep It Simple

Finally, remember that you often get the best results with something like this if you are able to just keep it simple as much as possible. Simplicity is surprisingly hard to achieve, but it is always going to be your best friend, so long as you are happy for that to be the case. As long as you keep things simple, you will find that your home is much more stylish in its storage and for much longer too.

Step By Step Checklist To Guarantee You Look Incredible Every Day At The Office

Looking stylish every day might seem impossible, especially when you’re trying to find time to work out, eat breakfast, shave your legs and guzzle down half a gallon of coffee. But there’s no denying that there’s at least one woman in your offices who manages to look impeccable every day, so why can’t you?

Getting dressed in the mornings shouldn’t be a chore. It should be something that is fun and exciting and helps you to feel sassy and sexy, ready for the day. Feeling right from the outset can help improve your performance at work, make it more likely that you’ll get a promotion and help you to feel confident if you have to appear in front of a room of people.

The following is a sort of checklist, designed to help you make sure that you’re constructing your outfit according to some settled rules of fashion.

First Thing’s First: Does It Fit?

Having clothes that fit should be top of your list of priorities. Just as men who wear tailored suits tend to look great, women who wear clothes that hug all their curves tend to look better too. Unfortunately, the majority of women don’t wear clothes that fit them. Instead, they make do with clothes off the shop floor which are designed to fit generic body types, rather than unique, individual shapes.

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It might sound incredibly simple, but if you don’t choose clothes that fit, you risk looking either frumpy or teenage – neither of which you want. Either have your clothes made for you or modify dresses when you get home, like adding a cinch belt to bring in the waist.

Is It Flattering?

If you’ve got a Nordstrom coupon knocking about, you might be tempted to go out and buy a designer dress for work. But even though that dress looks fantastic on a six-foot-tall model, it might not necessarily look great on you. The reason? Different styles of clothes make different figures look good. The women who always look stunning in the office are those who understand which clothes they need to pair with their body shape.

As such, your entire wardrobe should be dedicated to your unique shape, from the lowliest jeans to the most expensive designer dress. If they’re not, you’ll be underselling yourself.

Is Your Outfit Balanced?

Having an outfit that flatters your figure is one thing, but having one that also works as an ensemble is quite another. Though mix-and-match might be in fashion right now, it’s probably best on the catwalk, not the office. When you go to work, focus on making sure that the styles, fabrics, and colors of your outfit are harmonious. Is the outfit you’ve chosen chic? Or is it overpowering? Do you have the right blend of colors and tones? Or are you wearing too many accessories with too many contrasting colors? All these questions are important to ask before you strut out of your front door.

When it comes to looking great at work, first impressions are everything. If you get your attire right, you’ll be giving off the right vibes all day long which could help your prospects enormously.

Top Decor Tips For A More Relaxing Bedroom

It’s pretty easy to forget about the bedroom when you’re sprucing up your interior décor. Most of us are so caught up in what people will think about the more public spaces of a home, and leave the bedroom completely out of the picture. As you’ve probably already discovered, the way you decorate your bedroom can affect how comfortable and relaxed the space makes you feel, and in turn how easy it is to drift off to sleep. If you feel your little private sanctuary could be a bit more comfortable, here are some great décor tips for any bedroom…

Play with the Lighting

Never underestimate the power of proper lighting when it comes to getting yourself nice and drowsy. Humans are naturally conditioned to get sleepy once it starts to get dark, and our brains and bodies can become confused when there’s too much light in the evenings. If you let even a little too much light into your bedroom in the evenings, it can mean a lot of tossing and turning, rather than quickly drifting off into sleep. Dimmer switches are one of the easiest ways to gradually lower the lights as you get ready for bed. Failing that, a little bedside lamp, kept on instead of your main light fixture, can be another effective way to manage the amount of light your eyes are getting before bed. Sometimes, getting the light in your bedroom right is a simple matter of changing the bulb in the main fixture. Take a moment to look at the wattage of the bulbs in your bedroom fixtures. If it’s high compared to most bulbs you see in home stores, try switching to bulbs with lower wattage, somewhere around the 40-60 mark. If it’s the natural light coming through your window that’s the issue, then some dense blackout curtains are a quick and easy fix for this.

Get the Colour Scheme Right

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Obviously, you’re not going to be seeing the colours of your bedroom when you’re fast asleep. However, this the first and last colour scheme you see every day, and choosing a combination that’s soothing to your mind can have a surprisingly profound effect on your quality of sleep. You can read any number of articles about which colours have which psychological effects, but no one knows your psyche better than you do. Choose a paint scheme, artwork, blankets, ornaments and so on that you find soothing, rather than anything that’s going to stimulate your brain and keep you up at night. If you’re not sure where to start, soft hues of yellow, green and blue tend to make people feel more relaxed, especially in combination with regular, versatile neutrals. You can check out some gorgeous bedroom paint schemes at Homedit.

Get Comfortable Bedding

As you can imagine, the bed you sleep on is one of the biggest factors in how relaxed you’ll feel in your bedroom. It’s fairly surprising how many people manage to pick out the wrong mattress, pillows, duvets and so on, and wind up experiencing many sleepless nights as a result. Changing just one part of your bedding, for example getting a couple of these Plumeria Bay down pillows, can make all the difference if getting to sleep takes much longer than it should. If you think that your mattress is more the issue, try flipping it, and reversing it end to end. You should be doing this every month or so anyway, just to make sure no part of the mattress is getting too much strain. If you try this a few times and it doesn’t seem to work, your mattress may have had its day. Check the thing for worn-looking or sagging areas in the middle or around the edges, and if you share a bed, see if one person changing position on half the bed disturbs the rest of it. If you’re constantly waking up feeling stiff and weary, or you’re starting to find your favourite armchair is better for dropping off in, it’s probably time to go shopping for a better mattress. There’s a common belief that it’s better to sleep on firmer mattresses, but this isn’t necessarily true. Different levels of firmness are better for different people’s spines. Listen to what your body’s telling you to determine what’s best for you.

Get it Smelling Great

You’re obviously not going to feel comfortable in a room that smells bad, but if you’re having trouble getting relaxed in a room where everything seems to be as it should, it may be time to take a more proactive approach to the smells in your bedroom. The way your nose works is linked directly to the emotional centre of your brain. This is why you catch scents every now and then that instantly remind you of some pleasant memory, and even some that make you feel sad without you being able to put your finger on why. To make your bedroom more comfortable and soothing, try adding some natural, calming scents such as vanilla, lavender, jasmine and so on. It’s also important to clean your bedroom thoroughly and regularly enough. Aside from making the space smell nice, a good hoover will keep you from breathing in dust, which can irritate your airways and reduce your quality of sleep. As an extra little touch, you can try misting your pillows with the scents you’re using in the rest of the room, or making your own potpourri bags which you can keep in a pillowcase or on your bedside table. Scented candles, as always, are also a good way to make a room smell lovely. Just make sure you extinguish them before you go to sleep!

Set a Limit on the Screens

A lot of people watch TV before bed, and you might have gotten used to this bedtime ritual yourself. Sure, that series you’re catching up on may be absolutely thrilling, but if you’re finishing off every day with a long session of lights and noises, it can really impede on how comfortable and tranquil your bedroom feels. As we covered earlier, if you’re exposed to too much light it can keep you awake for longer, and things like TVs, phones, tablets, and so on, can all contribute a lot. They can also be a temptation when you know you need to sleep but you’re simply not dropping off. Try to set yourself some limits on the screens you have in your bedroom, or take them out altogether. A large, tasteful art piece is much more conducive to a relaxing mood than Game of Thrones! Instead of being surrounded by different devices, make a point of keeping more books and magazines in your bedroom. A little reading before bed is always much better for your sleep cycle than staring at a screen. Sticking to this routine is also a great way to finally crunch through that book you’ve been meaning to get around to!

It may not be the most central or public area of your home, but our bedrooms deserve as much care and attention, if not more so, as anywhere else. After all, this is the one sure place where you can get away from all the stresses of the world, unwind and forget! If you’re finding it hard to drop off at night, or simply just to relax whenever you’re in your bedroom, try putting these tips into practice in your next round of home décor. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference some of the smaller tweaks can make!

London: A Great Place For A Holiday

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Summer is on the way, and many of you will be considering where to go for a holiday. Instead of going abroad for sea, sun, and sand, you should think about visiting one of the greatest cities in the world, London. There are many things to do and enjoy in this culturally diverse city. Consider the following reasons why London could be your chosen destination this Summer holiday.

Great Places to Stay

There are many places to stay in London depending on your budget, from a super-luxury hotel overlooking Belgravia, one of the wealthiest districts in London, to bed and breakfasts and hostels for those on a lower budget.  For those of you looking for something a little bit different why not hire a narrowboat on the Thames or sleep near lions at one of London Zoo’s holiday lodges.

Famous Sights

Explore the history of London, with all its magnificent architecture, from its Roman beginnings to the age of Queen Victoria. If you don’t want to explore on your own, then consider one of the many sightseeing tours on a city cruise, London bus or with a personal tour guide. You could even sit atop the London Eye and see almost everything. There are so many places to see, from Big Ben and the Tower of London to the home of the Queen, Buckingham Palace. Don’t forget to curtsey if you see her.

Family Adventures

For the young and the young at heart, there are some terrific places to visit in London. Experience the magic of Harry Potter at Warner Bros studio tour. Feel the force at Madame Tussauds Star Wars Exhibition. Enter the fascinating underwater world of the Sea Life Aquarium. Don your capes and visit the Lego DC Superhero Exhibition. There is so much to see and do you will never be bored. Thankfully, not everything needs to cost money either as there are plenty of free places for your family to visit. These include the Natural History Museum which houses a terrific dinosaur exhibition or the home of the London Olympics, Queen Elizabeth Park, which has a huge adventure playground for your kids to explore while you sit and relax at the Timber Lodge Cafe.

West End Shows

After an exhausting day, there can be nothing better than visiting the West End for one of its many shows. There is something for all tastes, from the heart pounding The Lion King to the classic murder mystery, The Mousetrap, one of the longest-running shows in London. At the heart of the West End is The Comedy Store which hosts an array of up and coming comedians to established favorites such as John Bishop and Paul Merton.

And That’s Not All

Still not convinced? Don’t forget London’s famous shopping areas at Oxford Street and Carnaby Street. The nightlife is world class with classic pubs, rooftop bars, burlesque shows and great live music. Day or night, London has so much to offer. Perhaps now is the time to book your tickets.

Emergency Relief at Home When There’s No Doctor Around

Panic is usually associated with rash decisions and fear. If you ever end up with pains or debilitating symptoms at home, then your first instinct might be to call a hospital. Sadly, if there are no doctors around and your local medical centre is closed, then you have no other choice than to call emergency services. Unfortunately, it might not even be needed and you might be panicking for no real reason.

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There are hundreds of different ways to solve common problems at home. For instance, you might think you have symptoms of a stomach infection or abdominal problems, but in reality, it could just be trapped gas. If you’re feeling dizzy and can’t muster up the strength to do anything, then it could just be dehydration, something that’s easily fixed by drinking more water. If you need emergency relief, then you’ll be surprised to learn that you can solve most of your issues with simple household products and basic ingredients.

Stomach Pain

Stomach pains can have a variety of different causes, but the first thing you should do is apply something hot to the affected area. This can be a hot water bottle wrapped in a thin shirt or it could be pressing your stomach against a radiator. This will help to relieve the pain temporarily and give you enough time to decide your next action without clutching your stomach. Next, check out these remedies if you need to get rid of gas. You can usually tell it’s trapped gas if you’ve eaten something bad, if you’re having trouble passing wind, or if your stomach looks more bloated than usual. If trapped wind is something that happens on a regular basis to you, then you may need to rethink your diet and cut down on things like fizzy drinks and starchy foods.

Sore Throat

Most people would recommend that you gargle salt water if you want to relieve the pain from a sore throat. However, the most effective method is to actually gargle the salt itself. It sounds silly, but by using a straw or salt shaker, you could essentially feed the salt to the back of your throat where the harmful and painful bacteria is. It’s a very fast cure that acts almost immediately and it’s perfect to stave off a developing throat infection if you feel it coming.

Joint Pains

If your joints are giving you a lot of trouble, then Epsom salts may be the cure you need. Buy a large pack of Epsom salts and determine where the joint pains are. If it’s somewhere accessible such as your wrist or elbow, then fill a container with water, drop half a cup of Epsom salts in, mix it, and then soak the affected joint for about 10-15 minutes. If the pains are all over or in hard to reach areas like your knee, then run a warm bath and do the same with more Epsom salt. This will relieve the pains for a while but it’s not a replacement for a good fitness regime

Should You Dismiss These Health “Fads”?

Every once in awhile, there’s a new health fad that is being trumpeted as the cure for all ills.

The process is achingly familiar by now. It tends to begin on Instagram with celebrity endorsements of a product, exercise, or just a way of thinking. The celebrities claim that this thing has changed their life, improved their fitness, and claim it is this new innovation (rather than the gentle hand of the PhotoShop brush) that is responsible for their new look.

The newspapers are next to pick up on it. They will report the trend and then either argue for it (if they too have advertisers wanting to sell the product) or against it (if it competes with their advertisers). Soon the news moves onto the blogs, with a crowd for and against developing.

In the midst of all this – and the consumerism that’s at its heart – it’s difficult not to be cynical. Why should you ever believe a health fad?

First, let’s figure out the kind of “innovations” that have been presented to the public in this manner in the past. You’ll soon see a connection in the way they develop – essentially, taking an old idea and spinning it as new to benefit a new generation. And, of course, to profit off it!

Fad #1: Yoga

Yoga was the defining exercise practice of the mid-2000s. From Madonna to former Spice Girls, there were more yoga videos than you could shake a stick at. It was the revolution! We were all going to be bendier, healthier, just outright better.

While yoga is not quite the forefront of the health picture anymore, it’s never really gone away. There’s still due attention paid to it by medical practitioners and celebrities alike, and thousands are grabbing their yoga music and mats every day to try and improve their health.

Of course, yoga was nothing new when it became a fad – it has historical roots dating back centuries.

Fad #2: Gluten-Free Food

For those with Celiac Disease, the idea of eating food free from gluten (i.e. not containing any wheat, malt, barley etc.) was nothing new – it was a staple of life for them. Eating these foods when you have Celiac Disease can make you very unwell in the short term (gastrointestinal distress) and even cause cancer in the long run.

Then the health fad nuts got ahold of the idea that gluten-free was the answer to everything. Various claims began to circulate that it would improve your life and help weight loss. A champion tennis player credited going gluten-free with his sudden increase in form. Suddenly, gluten-free wasn’t just a choice forced upon you due to a medical condition: it was a lifestyle.

Fad #3: Paleo Eating

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There’s something about the idea of a paleo diet that makes sense to us. The idea of eating as the cavemen ate! What could be simpler? After all, it got us to this point didn’t it? Those foods have got to be beneficial, or else humanity wouldn’t exist!

Paleo is the simple concept of not eating processed foods. Meals should be derived from vegetables, healthy fats, and unprocessed meat. It’s a return to a simpler world where a snack is a handful of nuts rather than a packet of crisps.

As inevitably happens with any diet fad, the claims of weight loss were legion. Then there are the claims it can improve your health in more ways than it’s possible to count.

Fad #4: The 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet is relatively simplistic. For five days per week, you eat ‘normally’. For the other two days, you fast.

It has been championed far and wide for weight loss and maintaining a healthy body. It was impossible to miss the endless reports of whether or not it worked, advice from nutritionists, and the virtues and problems it presents chewed over.

Other examples of these “fads” would be Zumba, keto diet and exercise – and many more than it’s possible to count.

So What Do They All Have In Common?

There are a few unifying factors between all of these diet, health, and fitness plans.

  • They take a scientific basis and expand on it for a lifestyle option.
  • They are popularised by celebrities and the media.
  • They all make claims to great health improvement and weight loss.

The wording we’re using here suggests that these things are inherently bad: fad. A fad is meant to be a fly-by-night solution rather than a genuine lifestyle change. They promise the world and deliver very little.

Or do they?

Healthcare Science Is In A Constant State of Flux

The simple fact is that there is no “right” way to diet, exercise, or maintain your health. We have theories – a balanced diet, moderate exercise – but they are just theories. Good science should always be open to new evidence and ideas. There are so many strings to research that it makes sense that developments will happen and be introduced to the world.

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That means that if you dismiss these health fads and trends out of hand, you could really be missing out. They might genuinely have stumbled on something that works.

People who practice yoga, for example, report a higher quality of life both physically and mentally. Those on the paleo diet do lose weight. These are good fads, which have introduced different practices that people can stick to and maintain.

Then there are the less successful fads. The 5:2 diet, for example, is great in the short term but notorious for how poorly it works in the long run. Zumba might be fun for awhile, but like all exercise styles, it has its problems keeping people’s attention. As for the favourite of the early 21st century – the Atkins Diet – we know now it can outright make you ill.

So how can you tell the difference?

What’s the key to differentiating between the fads and trends that might help you and the ones that are problematic?. If you stumble across an idea and are wondering if you should try it, then ask yourself a few key questions.

Question #1: “Is Someone Trying To Sell Me Something?”

With yoga or the paleo diet, no one is trying to sell you anything: they’re talking about a lifestyle change. You don’t have to buy special pills or sign up for a specialist discussion; you can follow along with free resources (such as YouTube videos of yoga or just buying more fruit and veg when you shop).

There might be books on the subject which can aid these ideas, but they’re not necessary. If you have to buy something to be able to follow it properly, then be very dubious indeed.

Question #2: “What Does Scientific Consensus Say?”

It’s easy enough to find the opinion of the science community on something you are considering. Just Google the name of the idea (let’s call it the Amazing Plan for this example) like so:

“Amazing Plan + science + evidence”

Speech marks and all. That should bring up the opinions of the scientific community. Spend a little time wading through the results until you find a consensus.

It’s also a good idea to speak to your doctor about anything you’re tempted to try. They will be able to tell you not only if it’s a good idea in general, but if it’s a good idea directly relating to you and your health concerns. They might even be able to guide you towards options and resources so you can get the most out of any lifestyle changes that it makes.

Question #3: “What’s The Harm?”

Trying to eat more vegetables with paleo or doing a few stretches with yoga aren’t harmful, as you will soon discover if you do them for yourself. However, with the “bad” trends, online forums will quickly reveal if there is a potential harm caused by a new trend.

Take account of personal experiences from people who have lived it. Ideally this should be sourced from forums rather than magazines/blogs – often, magazines and blogs are being paid to promote a product, so they’re unlikely to say anything bad about it. Look for genuine user experience. If you do find a blog post or magazine article that you think is genuine, there should always be a disclosure if it’s a paid advertisement. It’s often at the bottom in small print. If you find it, keep that in mind when following the opinions and advice offered.

So…

Sometimes, the public is made aware of a change to health and fitness that is genuinely beneficial. So rather than dismissing a new idea for health improvement or self-help out of hand, apply a few questions and some discerning thinking before deciding to go ahead. Finally, there is always the option of running any plans you have regarding your health and well-being by your doctor first – it’s always a good step before making any changes, just to be on the safe side.

Complete The Look: Must-Wear Accessories For This Summer

It’s all well and good digging your favourite shorts and summer dresses out of your wardrobe in anticipation of the summer, but do you know what accessories to match them with? While some accessories are good for adding a little glamour to an outfit, summer accessories should also have a touch of practicality. After all, now that you’re not weighed down with a winter coat, you’ve also lost access to the pockets where you’d normally store your keys and purse. Here are the essential accessories to wear this summer, that are both functional and fabulous.

Sunglasses

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This essential accessory has the most important job of protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of UV rays, including blind spots, cataracts, or even complete loss of sight. Of course, buying a fashionable pair of sunglasses can be fun, and there is nothing wrong with choosing a few shades to complement several summer outfits, but be sure to check if they have adequate UV protection.

Light Scarves

Light summer scarves are a bold addition to any outfit, and can protect against overly cool breezes, or heavy air conditioning in restaurants. To stay warm, wrap a lightweight scarf around your neck to dress up jeans and a tee, or wear one with your favorite dress. Scarves also provide extra coverage at the beach or by the pool.

Handbags

With the loss of pockets from winter jackets, summer handbags must have plenty of space to hold other essentials such as water, sunscreen, or a towel for the beach. A large tote bag is usually the best solution, and they can look colourful, or neutral. However, if you’re just strolling in your summer dress, a small bag with a long chain and a lot of detail makes for a perfect match. Whatever the occasion, there are plenty of summer handbags to complement your summer dress.

Jewellery

Summer is the time to make an impact with your fashion jewellery. Let your imagination run wild and choose statement jewellery to combine with any outfit. Colourful necklaces, big stones, and large bracelets are all excellent for making a noticeable statement this summer.

Hats

They shield your face from the sun, and complement your beach outfit. A wide-brimmed raffia sunhat gives a nice boho style to any outfit, and looks good with just about anything. Straw beach hats are now more commonly seen by the seaside, but there are a wide range of hats to suit any excursion this summer.

Sandals

Wedges and sandals are the most versatile footwear of the summer, because they can go from poolside casual, match perfectly to a flirty sundress, and can carry you on a night on the town. However, if you’re going to be wearing them all the time, you need to be 100 percent certain that they provide adequate arch support and heel cushioning before you consider spending money on them. A cute pair of natural wedges quickly lose their appeal if you find yourself hobbling in pain only a few hours into your outing.

The Great Outdoors: Make The Most Of Your Garden

The spring sunshine is starting to peek out from behind what’s left of the winter clouds, and soon the best place to be will be outside in your garden. Unfortunately, your garden has been pretty neglected all winter, and as a result some things are overgrown, rusty, or just plain old eyesores. While you’re spring cleaning you garden, it may be time to look into a few garden enhancements to make sure you won’t be uncomfortable, or embarrassed, to spend time out on your patio.

Spring Clean Your Garden

Your home has recently had the benefit of being cleared of clutter and cleaned from top to bottom. Your garden also deserves the spring cleaning treatment. Dig out your gardening tools and spend a warmer day mowing the lawn, trimming your shrubs and trees, and digging out the weeds. You’d be surprised how a short trim of the overgrown leaves can make your garden look tidier, and possibly bigger. Cutting back the dead branches on the trees could even let more sunshine into your garden, making your afternoons far more enjoyable.

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Open Up Your Patio

You’ve probably spent all winter looking out into your back garden, wishing the weather were nicer so you could be outside reading, or sipping drinks with your friends on the patio. As the days get longer and warmer, you can begin organizing a group brunch on your patio to celebrate the return of spring. You can make the patio more welcoming by investing in comfortable outdoor furniture like you’ve seen on www.Bridgman.co.uk/rattan-garden-furniture, and put up a few parasols to protect your guests from the harshness of peak sunlight hours. You could even go one step further and give the patio a makeover. Warm, honey-colored tiles will be much brighter and more reflective than dark grey concrete, not to mention less depressing. If the day goes well, you can begin to make plans for the summer BBQ that you’re sure to have on your patio this year.

Welcome Nature

The best part about being outdoors is being surrounded by nature. Nurture the plants in your yard by taking up gardening. You don’t need to aim for something as ambitious as trying to grow your own food if you’re a fairly inexperienced gardener. You can start with something simple like a flower bed, a tree, or a herb garden if you have your heart set on contributing something to the kitchen. These ideas can be done on a budget, and it can significantly reduce stress and improve overall fitness.

If you’d really like to invite nature back into your garden, try digging your own pond. Not only is it a great project for everyone to get involved, but ponds are very helpful for preserving wildlife. Once you’ve built a pond step-by-step, be prepared for animals to move in at an astonishing speed. If a pond sounds like too much, or your garden isn’t big enough, a bird bath will also attract nature and add an element of peace.

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