Cuddling With Baby
My fashion faux pas

My Fashion Faux Pas

As all of my friends, family and probably girlfriend will tell you, I am a horribly moany and normally miserable person. There are some things in life that I like and will be happy about, and then there is everything else. On the comparative lists of things I like vs. things I don’t like, the column of don’ts is immeasurably larger than that of the do’s. One of the things I like the least is fashion and the huge amount of fuss and pageantry that comes with it. I simply do not understand all of the fuss around something as simple as a jumper or a T-shirt. If I think something looks nice in a shop (and this is normally a good sign for when something doesn’t look nice) then I will buy it there and then. No faffing around worrying if the jumper which is slightly different and three shops back will look better on me. A jumper is a jumper so I will just put it on and wear it.

The other thing that I really don’t understand is the whole popularity of the fashion shows in Paris, Milan and London. The things that people come out wearing in these is reminiscent to something I probably would have made if I paid a visit to http://www.sewingmachine.today/ and I can in no way sew. These so called fashion designers will have their models, and lets remember these models are people who have dedicated all of their lives up to this point in an attempt to look as good as possible to get onto the runway, come out in bin bags, cauldrons, oversized hats, dresses made of paper and god knows what else. The people who say that these ideas are innovative and clever are either blind or stupid or more likely both.

Fashion is something I will never understand and I have come to terms with that at this stage in my life. I am happy to sit around in some jogging bottoms, clicking through the various online fashion retailers picking out the jeans which I will wear for the next six months. I know that there are people who like to have a new wardrobe every other week but I do not know where they get the time or the finances to do this from. If I had my way everything would be a whole lot simpler. Steve Jobs had the right idea when he stuck with the good old black turtle neck and jeans look all of the time. It didn’t matter whether he was meeting the Obama’s or just going to grab a coffee from down the road, he would always be seen in his trust shirt and jeans combination. The same can be said for every billionaire when you think about it. Have you ever seen Mark Zuckerberg wearing anything apart from a hoodie, jeans and trainers? What about Bill gates? He loves his jumpers and old man trousers doesn’t he? My point is that if the men who can afford to buy absolutely anything they want dress like they are still in college why should we be any different? There is the age old adage that money can’t buy class, but if class means sitting around in a set of clothing that is uncomfortable and you are only wearing it to impress other people then who cares and why would you bother with it.

Fashion can be a very good thing. It just about keeps me in check when I shop. Even I now that buying a bright yellow pair of trainers probably isn’t the brightest move because I will stand out like a banana. However there is a line. If you let fashion rule your entire life then in my opinion you are silly! Go out and find something you love to wear and stick with it, who cares what the other people of this world say behind your back? Just put on your yellow trainers and run away!

Best of the Avengers

The Best of the Avengers

What is the one job that is cooler than being a rock star? If you are thinking something along the lines of astronaut or professional athlete then you are wrong. There is only one answer to this question. Whilst it may not strictly be a real job, the best job in the world would to be part of the Avengers crew. That’s right, whilst the lead guitarist is checking out the latest news on http://www.theinstrumentreviewer.com/ you would be off flying around the world and saving the day. With that in mind I think it is time to make the biggest decision of them all and come up with a top three for the Avengers. I’m not claiming it will be easy or that you will agree with me, but someone’s got to do it so here goes.

  1. Thor 

Now Thor is one of the most impressive specimens you are ever likely to see. I think he was given the title of God purely down to his arms. I mean come on, they are the size of my head. Even without the arms he still has a whole lot of powers that I would love. In a sentence I never thought I would be typing, I am always impressed when I see Thor’s hammer. He can fly and is as strong as an Ox, and on top of all this whenever he wants to go home he gets to go across something that looks like the rainbow road track from MarioKart. That’s got to be fun right!

  1. Captain America 

When he isn’t being a self righteous little man the Cap is actually quite cool. What makes Captain America one of the better Avengers is the fact that he was once just a real life man. Sure he was given a little bit of help in the form of life changing drugs but who hasn’t been at some point in their life? He is strong, quick and occasionally funny which are all of the things I aspire to be in life. I also know that I would be able to pull off that all in one body suit a lot better than he does but I’m not going to fight him over it because he would win.

  1. Iron Man

For a character that was originally only meant to play a small part in the whole Marvel Universe, Iron Man really has come to the fore over the few movies he has been in. Tony Stark could not have said it better himself when asked what he can bring to the table in the first one, and the answer of “millionaire, playboy, philanthropist was one that I laughed so hard at I made a sound diminishing my hopes of ever becoming a playboy myself. Iron Man is pretty much the perfect Avenger. He is funny, exceedingly clever and he made his own way into the team. He built a robot from scratch and it made him into some sort of superhuman, and whilst in reality it isn’t, this makes it seems somewhat more attainable to the average Joe like you and me than the characters like Thor who were born as Gods. If I could have one job in the world it would to be Iron Man, but as I seem to have misplaced the application form I may have to wait a while.

This is of course just my personal opinion in both the ranking of the top three Avengers and the best job in the world. I am sure your opinion will differ along with everyone else’s, but remember that if you ever try to argue it with me I will blast you from my new iron suit……

Keeping Active

Keeping Active

I have been working in an old folk’s home as a healthcare assistant for 8 years. It is a hard but very rewarding job and you can really make a difference in people’s lives.

The reason I started working in a home is because of my grandma. My grandma became frail in her later years and when we couldn’t look after her at home anymore and she needed professional help, we found a care home close to where we lived and she was well cared for.

The healthcare assistants in the home cared for my grandma as if she was a member of their own family.  I had heard some horror stories about care homes, but we were so lucky to have found this home. My grandma was in great hands.

Active Care 

The home had something called active care.  This meant that the residents helped do laundry, worked in the kitchens and generally anything to help keep them active and healthy.  They were not made to do these things, it was purely to keep the residents mentally and physically active and it worked.  I saw my grandma do these things and she went from sitting around all day to helping to cook her own meals, assisting with bingo calling and she seemed healthier and happier.

Grandma 

The day came when we got the call we were dreading grandma had had a fall and she had been hospitalised.  My grandma was so poorly and frail, she never recovered and sadly, passed away a few days later.

We had the funeral and a lot of the carers came to the funeral, she was well loved and the guys wanted to pay their respects and say goodbye.

Training 

This was the time I decided to do my training as a healthcare assistant.  My grandma was beautifully cared for and I wanted to help give this type of care to other people’s relatives.

I wanted to repay the kindness others had shown and this was my way of doing it.

Gift 

I saw the affect the activities had on my grandma and even though she was really too frail to show too much improvement, for some residents this had a profound affect.  I spoke to the care home manager and said I would like to donate some of the money my grandma had left me to the care home.  The manager said actually they had been considering a gym for the residents and the money I had offered would pay for the entire thing.

I told them of a great website www.rowflow.net to get things started I had bought some fitness equipment from it and thought it would help them.

I know it is what my grandma would have wanted and she would have loved this.

The Gym

A room at the home was converted into the gym.  It was filled with treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines.  It looked amazing and would be put to great use.

A specialist activities coordinator/personal trainer who specialised in elderly care was recruited to help run the gym.

Making a Difference

Within a year of me working at the home, it was a livelier more active place. The atmosphere had changed completely.  There was really something to this keeping active to help stave off depression and dementia and if you already had it, activities could help stop these illnesses progressing.

I am no expert, but all I can say from being there I witnessed the improvements first hand.

My grandma had played a part in this and I couldn’t be more proud.

A pet paradise

A pet paradise

When, as newlyweds, my wife and I moved into the two-bedroom condo we’d bought, we wondered whether we’d be able to keep any pets with us. We decided that we’d start off small and see as we went along whether it was realistic to have any more pets.

Many people keep budgies and parrots in small living areas, but there’s just something in me that couldn’t do it. I’d feel guilty that it wasn’t flying freely in the sky. Perhaps there’s some argument against that – maybe it wouldn’t know how to survive – I’m not sure, but we decided against keeping birds anyway.

Fish were a different matter and we had a lot of fun building an aquatic environment. Fish are at once pets and interior décor. Adding a couple of tasteful tanks along your walls suddenly seems to increase the value of your property in a way that a lick of paint never could.We have a variety of fish now, some large and some tiny. The stars of the show are undoubtedly the discus fish, which visitors always spend time observing.

Fish are easy to take care of and a lot of fun to have, but they don’t really have much in the way of personality. It was probably this thought that carried me off to the cat shelter one afternoon with a couple of furry felines to surprise my wife with. Everyone knows that kittens can be a bit of a handful, even if they are insanely cute. I thought that getting two would be nice for the kittens as they would become playmates. I don’t think I was quite prepared, however, for just how much energy two kittens have. We took our time patiently trying to get them to use their litters as they went absolutely berserk around the condo, playing and fighting with every appliance and every piece of furniture. Now the cats are older, they have settled down a lot, of course. I learnt that older cats, especially black ones, often struggle to find owners as they are shunned in favour of kittens. I love the cats I chose but feel slightly guilty that I didn’t give a fully-grown cat a chance.

The last addition to our household menagerie was Fido (we’re quite traditional when it comes to names and it was always going to be Rover or Fido). He’s a Manchester Terrier whose owner could take care of him anymore. He gets on like a house on fire with the cats. They spend most of their time in the condo but they can climb up and observe out of the window, or just chill out watching TV. We bought portable pet crates that we saw at http://www.petssensation.com/dog-crates/ in order to take them out in the car with us to my wife’s parents’ farm and other places.

We’re now expecting another addition to the family later in the year, this time one that will eventually walk on two legs. No matter how small your home is, there’s always room for more if you make them part of your family!

Blessed Life

Blessed Life

I am a very lucky man. I always have been. Don’t get me wrong, things haven’t just fallen into my lap, I work hard, but some people work hard and never achieve what I have.

I was blessed to have a great childhood, with parents who never struggled for money, they loved me so much and I remember my childhood as such a happy time.

Don’t get me wrong my parents didn’t spoil me.  I had to work for my pocket money and I was brought up with manners.  My parents had a saying, ‘trade expectation for gratitude’ and you won’t go wrong in life. So that is what I did, I didn’t have a sense of entitlement and I was not afraid to work hard.

My parents brought me up to respect people, cherish life and helped me to understand what was important.

Growing Up

So when I became an adult and built my own business, this is the attitude I had.  The words of the great Sir Richard Branson stuck in my head.  Employees come first, treat them well and the customers and clients will take care of themselves.

Business

I became a property developer.  There was something magical to me about taking an old dilapidated property and turning it into somewhere that could become an amazing home to someone, a family, a couple, a business man or woman.  I loved the idea of creating something beautiful out of next to nothing.

Team 

I had a great team around me.  It didn’t happen overnight.  I worked hard and built the business up over 10 or so years and my team grew from just me to a team of 30. We headhunted people we thought would be the perfect fit for the business and were very selective in recruitment.  I was very particular that the people who worked for me should know what they were doing in and around property and were happy and courteous people.

Interviews 

My interview process was always the same.  I would take the candidates out for a meal, usually breakfast or lunch. I would speak to the team at whichever restaurant we were going to and tell them to mess up our orders and make the service poor, in exchange for a good tip and then see how the potential employee during the meal would deal with the situation.

My business can be cutthroat and stressful and I expect my team members to be respectful and courteous, even under extreme pressure.

There was no excuse for bad manners and rudeness, it was something I would not tolerate.

This recruitment process never let me down.  Seeing how people treated guys in the service industry was always an interesting social experiment anyway. For some reason, somewhere along the line people forget their manners and think waiters and waitresses or servers of any kind are not human and you can say or do anything to them.

It was a real test of someone’s character when you are served the wrong meal or receive poor service.
I recruited every member of my team this way and I wasn’t disappointed by the results at all. I had a great team around me, I trusted them with my business implicitly and the business was going from strength to strength because of it.

My Wife 

My wife was an amazing woman.  I met her at a property forum. She is intelligent, smart and funny and I am a hugely lucky man to have her as my wife. It was love at first sight, we fell head over heels in love and married within a year of meeting.

We merged our businesses as she was a property developer too and we now had something of an empire in property.

We soon decided to buy a new home, the house was not a mansion, as we did not want that.  We wanted a home and sometimes when a house is too big it can lose that homely feel.

Dressing Room 

As a present for my wife. I had one of my very talented designer friends turn one of the bedrooms upstairs into a dressing room.  My wife was so beautiful and really took care of her appearance.  I knew she would love this and besides, she needed somewhere to house all of her clothes, shoes and makeup.  I also asked my friend to set the dressing room up with lots of new beauty equipment. With the assistance of a website called http://www.hairdryersonline.com, she bought a hairdryer, straighteners, curling irons, lots of hair serums and make up.

When we eventually moved in, I took my wife upstairs and showed her the dressing room, she loved it.

Smoothie Makers

Top 3 – Smoothie Makers

When looking for a smoothie maker, you need to look around, do your research and use a reliable shop when buying online.

Work out your rice range, size, functions and what you need it for.  Some machines can be pricey, so you need to know how much you will use it, to make sure it is worth the money.

I have compiled a top 3 list of smoothie makers to make your choice easier. 

Heavy Duty – Vitamix Professional Series 300

This machine is a high powered, heavy duty blender that allows you to blend almost anything with ease. It is made with high quality materials and durable features for those of us that like to get a lot of use out of their blenders. Coming with a BPA free plastic jar, this blender is able to take 64 ounces of contents so plenty of room for making great sauces and smoothies. It also features a powerful motor with strong blades that allow you to blend all of your ingredients, whether its frozen or not.

This smoothie maker has a 7 year warranty too, this ensures you have peace of mind if your blender doesn’t run as it should.

The housing for the motor and controls is also BPA free, so shows that the manufacturer is listening to concerns and ensuring that risks associated with plastic are being kept to an absolute minimum.

Budget – Oster BCBG08-C 6 Cup, 8 Speed Blender 

If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive countertop model, that is powerful enough to be used as a smoothie blender for smoothies and shakes every day, this is actually a good very option at a fair price.

This Oster blender is great at producing chunk free smoothies and crushes ice well to an almost ‘snow’ like consistency, which is brilliant for frozen drinks. This is a well-built machine that can cope with fairly tough ingredients and blend it without lumps. It has a small footprint so can fit on any countertop.

Good quality, durable housing and looks great. Would make a great addition to any kitchen.

Durable – Kitchenaid KSB560MC 5 Speed Blender

If durability is your thing then this smoothie maker comes with a really large capacity 56 ounce, polycarbonate jar. This jar is shatter proof and can also be put in the dishwasher, making it easy to clean. If you are looking for a durable, powerful machine with a solid motor and blade to crush ice, no problem. It can cope with heavy fruit and vegetables and takes producing the thicker type smoothies in its stride, it really can cope with anything you throw at it.

This model is quiet, very modern/sleek looking but is on the larger side. So if you buy this model, make sure you have the space in your kitchen.

Kitchenaid stand by their product and this smoothie maker has a 7 year warranty. So you blend your smoothies knowing that if anything goes wrong, you are covered.

In Summary

Whatever your reasons are for wanting a smoothie maker, there is a machine out there for you, any size, color and price. Consider your requirements before you take the leap and buy, then blend away to your heart’s content.

The World of Coffee

The World of Coffee

The world of coffee is huge. There are so many machines, different blends and sizes and shape of grind. It has health benefits and can be used for anything from drinking it, enemas, face packs to anti-cellulite preparations and anti-ageing creams.

Coffee has been consumed over many thousands of years and apparently dates back to the Egyptian civilization, who if the stories are to be believed, really loved the stuff.

When you look for anything coffee related, whatever your needs are, the internet is a great tool. When I needed a new coffee machine at home, I used the internet to research and found a great site called espressowakeupcall.com and came across so many facts and stories along the way too.

The most interesting story for me was about a 79-year-old lady, Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The lawsuit that prevailed was labelled as one of the most frivolous in legal history and Stella has gained notoriety in this regard.

The story goes that whilst out travelling with her grandson one day, Stella and her grandson both became hungry, so they decided to stop off at a McDonald’s drive through.

After receiving their food and coffee that was in a Styrofoam cup, they drove on and pulled over so they could add cream and sugar to the coffee.

When Stella removed the lid of her coffee cup, the hot coffee spilled into her lap. The coffee was soaked up by her sweatpants and gave her third degree burns over approximately 6 per cent of the lower half of her body.

Stella was hospitalized that day for 6 weeks and underwent various skin grafts to repair the damage.

It turns out the acceptable temperature for coffee to be served is the same as is produced with home coffee machines. Home coffee machines produce coffee at a temperature between 130 – 140 degrees and on the day in question the McDonalds chains were serving their coffee between 180 – 190 degrees.

The family filed a lawsuit against McDonalds and did originally try to settle out of court with the fast-food giant for $20,000, but they refused settlement, which led to additional lawsuits.

The lawsuit became a famous, court room battle/drama. During the court case it was uncovered that more than 700 people made claims against McDonald’s over being burned by their coffee.

Eventually, Stella was awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages. This amount was reduced to $160,000 because the jury found her 20 percent at fault for the spillage.

The jury also awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages.

A post-verdict investigation found that the temperature of coffee at the local Albuquerque McDonald’s had been dropped to 158 degrees Fahrenheit and this has now been rolled out across most McDonald’s chains throughout the US.

So what started out in the media as a bit of a joke was not so frivolous after all and should prevent scalds from coffee at McDonalds, in the future.

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Mouth Sores and Infections; What to look out For

There are many different types of sore that can occur around the mouth.  Some are cause for serious concern and others are just irritating and unsightly.

For a problem that does not go away within 10 days a dentist or physician should be consulted.

Symptoms and what they mean;

Symptoms of Candida

Candida or thrush is a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth or throat due to an overgrowth of yeast. The symptoms show as white spots inside the mouth or on the tongue.  The glands may be swollen and it can affect swallowing with a sore throat.  Babies can be born with this type of candida and your pediatrician can prescribe treatment.

Symptoms of Canker sores

The symptoms of canker sores are small white or yellow center lesions with a red inflamed border. They can occur in the mouth, on the tongue, inside cheeks, lips, gums and throat area.  They are not contagious.

Symptoms of Cold sores

The symptoms of cold sores (fever blisters) appear as red, raised clusters of blistering outside the mouth, usually on the lips but can also appear under the nose or under the chin.

HSV-1 can also show in eye infections, finger sores and genital area. Cold sores are contagious.

Symptoms of Tooth abscess

Symptoms of tooth abscess include sever toothache and sensitivity to hot and cold food and drink, maybe fever and swollen lymph glands. You will soon want to get to the dentist if you feel this acute pain!

Causes of cold sores

Cold sores and fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1, HSV-1.

The virus is passed via saliva either from person to person directly, or it can be picked up from a drinking cup. The first sign is usually a cluster of small blisters on the lip. As many as 8 out of 10 people do have the virus although some will rarely suffer as they may have better immunity.  Most people are infected before they even reach 10 years of age.

Why do cold sores recur?

The virus is dormant in the facial nerves and unfortunately for some people the virus can become active at any time but more likely due to stress, cold or fever. Stress factors include; mental and emotional stressors. Undergoing dental treatment can be a trigger for some people; any illness or exposure to the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun can also cause a flare up.

Taking extra zinc at times when you know you are going to be stressed can help in prevention as zinc is the great healing mineral.

Although cold sore symptoms can show up in the eyes, fingers and genitals, the genital herpes virus is usually linked to HSV-2.

How serious are cold sores

A lot depends on underlying health issues, if someone has a much weakened immune system due to illness and/or medication then it can be serious. It may be a good idea to get the help of a good natural health practitioner to help with prevention.  Ask around for a good local herbalist, naturopath, Kinesiologist or homeopathic therapist.  Look for a good word of mouth recommendation!

The first signals

The first symptom of a cold sore is a feeling of tingling, burning or itching.  Frequent sufferers will be able “feel” it coming on. Then it becomes inflamed and red and later (within 24 and 48 hours) one or more blisters appear. When the blisters pop they become painful sores and will start to scab as antibodies arrive to heal it and prevent it from becoming an “open” sore.

The first time HSV-1 hits it may come with a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and sore throat usually within a week of contracting the virus.

Prevention

Children are not vaccinated against these cold sore causing viruses so it is up to you to prevent any infection. You can ensure that they do not come into close contact with anyone suffering but you cannot always stop them from picking up drinks or drinking straws that may carry the virus.

If your child shows any symptoms of sores and fever you should of course see a physician to make sure it is nothing more serious.

Treatment

For first remedies for cold sores check this link.

Using a high factor sunscreen may help to prevent cold sores caused by the harmful rays of the sun.

There are many preventive medicines and curative medicines out there, check the link about for Cold Sores Cured website.

Seek medical advice if;

  • If you have persistent sores (a week or more)
  • You find it hard to talk/swallow
  • You have a fever
  • You have a second outbreak
healthy-hair

Fighting the Good Fight: How I Changed the Way My Style Looked

How-to-straighten-hair-at-home-naturallyPeople would always look at my clothes looked and how my hair was prepared, and they never really took the time to understand who was underneath the clothes. I know that happens a lot, and it’s pretty much impossible to get past – no matter where you live, people will be able to build up opinions about you due to what you’re wearing. Even if you think you’re in the most unbiased place on the planet, you still need to look at how you approach your style. If you go to a place ridden with poverty, yet you’re wearing three hundred dollar sunglasses, people are going to look at your presence in a negative light. I always though that the first impression you give somebody is the strongest, so whenever you want to get a job or something, you should always be on your best behavior (and look your best) for the very first interview. Even if you feel like the odds of you landing that job are very slim, approaching it with caution is the best way to do so. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve gone to a job interview, only to realize that I left a few of my “hobby pins” on a pair of suspenders – then again, I’m 25 and suspenders probably weren’t the best idea in the first place.

Julianne-Moore-red-hairPick your clothes wisely, make sure they apply to the situation at hand and you should be good to go. It doesn’t matter how often you’re trying to go about improving your wardrobe, all that matters is you actually accomplish that task. I didn’t even spend large amounts of money to do it, you don’t have to have any of those high-end brands in your closet. If you want to look like you belong, you’re going to need a little help – not all of us can be the black sheep. It was fun to do so for a little while, but it’s all about perception. You can be perceived any way you would like, and some people just don’t care when all is said and done. Your clothes will play a large role in how successful you are in the business industry, but for some careers, how you dress doesn’t matter.

My Hair

Pixie-Hairstyles-for-Thick-Hair-My hair is always causing me problems, as styling it has become very hard over the years. I used to sport thick and luscious locks, and while they’re still present, they’ve definitely gotten a little bit of Grey to them now. I needed a hair dryer that wasn’t going to completely dry out my hair as well, as I have a need for moist (healthy-looking) hair – I’m a model and it’s pretty much a must. I need a hair dryer that can have anything I want quickly done, but also without damaging my hair. I’ve pondered what my life would be like as a bald man, and I don’t think it would be too good. I know plenty of people in the world have the ability to sport a bald head with ease, but I would definitely say I’m not one of them. The hair dryer isn’t just for my work either, as I’ve still got to look good when I go out on dates and such. The perfect hair dryer is one that can handle all of your needs at a reasonable price, so look for anything that seems competitive.

woman-brushing-hair-brush-basics-dg-pg-fullIf you want to make the most of your appearance, try and change your style up. If you haven’t had much success with the ladies, there’s probably a reason for it – and wearing a white tee-shirt to your accounting interview isn’t an ideal situation to be in either. Take these tips to heart and you’ll come out looking ten times better than you did beforehand, because change for the better can never be overlooked. I used to question everything I wore, even if I was a model, I didn’t have the best fashion sense. People would always tell me what to wear at work! When it comes to hair, all I need is the proper tools.