Best Campgrounds for Families in Canada

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From British Columbia to Newfoundland and the Yukon, Canada hosts some 16,000 campgrounds, including plenty of RV campgrounds. With an RV in Canada, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in some spectacular wilderness areas while enjoying many of the comforts of home. These campgrounds in particular are ideal for families who want to get out and explore what this vast nation has to offer.

Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland

Canada’s most easterly national park offers the opportunity for camping at oceanfront in its Newman Sound Campground with sites for everything from tents to RVs. There are 11 scenic trails for hiking or biking as well as opportunities for sea kayaking and pond swimming. At the visitor center, the kids can feel the marine creatures in the saltwater touch tank, check out the aquarium and underwater camera exhibits.

Hidden Hilltop Family Campground, Nova Scotia

A former farm converted into a campground, Hidden Hilltop offers both un-serviced and serviced sites for RVs as well as a wide range of activities. Located just an hour from Halifax, it’s open from May through October and features a heated swimming pool with a slide, miniature golf, a hockey court and basketball court, a jumbo jumper pillow, arcades games, a pool table, daily children’s program and even a petting zoo. In the summer, karaoke, dances and live entertainment are frequently hosted too.

Bon Echo Family Campground, Ontario

Located on a small lake in southeastern Ontario near Bon Echo Provincial Park, popular for canoeing, fishing, swimming and hiking. Bon Echo Family Campground offers plenty to do of its own. Campers can take advantage of 30amp electric and water hookups, hot showers and even Wi-Fi. It’s open from mid-May through October and features a sandy beach that edges calm waters where the little ones can splash around as well as pedal boats and ATVs for rent. It also hosts an onsite store that serves ice cream and a playground, while two golf courses, free outdoor tennis courts, a petting farm and bird zoo are just down the road.

Gold Rush Campground RV Park, Yukon

The Gold Rush Campground features 83 sites for all types of camping and is open from mid-May to mid-September. Guests can delve into history while enjoying a variety of activities and scenic natural surroundings. It’s the original site of the Klondike Gold Rush, set at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon rivers, surrounded by magnificent wilderness.

Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s most significant fossil beds, located about 30 miles northeast of Brooks in Alberta. It offers all sorts of family programs as well as authentic dinosaur digs, wildlife and fabulous scenery as well as guided hikes and tours. Self-guided tours allow the family to roam the grounds just like the Jurassic giants once did, searching for bits of teeth and vertebrae that are scattered throughout the landscape The campground includes both un-serviced and serviced sites that are open throughout the year, and from mid-May through mid-October, there are hot showers, flush toilets, food concessions, a convenience store and laundry facilities.











5 Ways To Make Baths More Relaxing

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At the end of a long hard day, few things are more relaxing than a hot bath. However, you can make your bath all the more peaceful and soothing with a few bath time improvements. Here are just several ways to make baths more relaxing.

Try using Epsom salts

The buoyancy of the hot water in a bath can help to relax muscles. However, you can help to relax your muscles even more so by adding Epsom salts to the water. These salts contain magnesium sulphates – a chemical that has long been used as a natural pain killer. An Epsom salt bath is perfect for relaxing muscles after exercise when they are likely to be achy. It can also be a great way to relieve chronic pain if you have a condition such as arthritis.  

Set up a bath caddy

A bath caddy could allow you to combine bath time with other relaxing activities. These are wooden trays that fit over your bath, allowing you to prop objects on them. This could allow you to read a book in the bath or drink a glass of wine or snack on some chocolates.

Light some scented candles

Scented candles can help to bring relaxing aromas to your bathroom whilst you bathe, further helping you to destress. Scents such as jasmine and lavender are great for this purpose. You can even dim the lights and allow the candles to illuminate the room for a relaxing ambience.

Invest in a nice bathrobe

For when you step out the bath, it’s worth having a nice robe to slip into. This will give you something to look forward to and it will keep you warm. There are guides online that can help you to find the best bathrobe. It’s worth doing your research to find the ideal texture and thickness for you.  

Upgrade your tub

The ultimate way to make bath time more relaxing is of course to upgrade your tub. A luxury tub is certain to be more comfortable and spacious. There are many designs to look into – the slipper design is great for lying back in whilst circular tubs are better suited for sitting back in. Freestanding bath tubs could help to get you away from the wall giving you more elbow room, however these tubs do require a certain amount of space that few bathrooms have. Freestanding baths may also require extra plumbing, which could add to the already high purchase price. That said, such an investment could be worth it if you love your baths. There’s also the option of a whirlpool bath to  consider – such tubs contain jets which shoot out water to help simulate that Jacuzzi feel, offering some hydrotherapy massaging as you bathe.


Saving Money At Home: A Busy Parent's Guide

Saving money as a busy parent can be one of the hardest things to do, because you feel like you’re always paying out a lot of extra costs here and there, and it seems impossible to get them down. When your kids are growing, they are in constant need of new things, and on top of this, you have all of the costs associated with keeping your home up and running. However, there are some things that you can do to cut the household costs, and we’ve noted them here if you’re looking to save some cash!

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Make sure that you thrift

OK, thrifting has been labelled as uncool for quite some years now, but everybody is getting back on the bandwagon with vintage trends coming back in. However, thrift stores are not only great for vintage clothes and furniture, but kids clothes, too. There are many parents out there who have to give away clothes because their kids grow so fast, so look into the like-new clothes out there in thrift stores!

Make small changes

Small changes in the home, such as reducing the temperature of your washing, and hanging your clothes out to dry rather than putting them in a dryer, can really help you to save a bit of cash over the year. Make sure that lights are off upstairs when nobody is up there, that your TV is always turned off at night instead of being on standby, and you’ve tried all the little money saving tips that you can.

Change your windows

Whilst it may seem like a costly thing to do, changing your windows can help you to save in the long run. When you think about all of the money you spend on heating your home, why should you have poor quality windows so that your home is colder than it should be, and you’re spending way more money than you have to? Whether you want to keep out the cold or the heat, look into the clever fiberglass windows on the market.

Use coupons

When it comes to saving money, especially when you always seem to be purchasing something, coupons and discount codes are your best friends. Whether you can save a little bit of money, or even get 50% off whatever it is that you’re looking to buy, coupons will help you to see the difference in your monthly (and yearly) outgoings. Have a quick search online before you buy anything, and you won’t regret it!

So, if you’re looking to save some money in your household, but you don’t know where to start, try out a few of these tips. Make sure that you thrift before you hit the high street, you make the small changes where you can, and you change your windows so that your heat isn’t just escaping into the air outside, after you’ve paid so much for it. Lastly, look into some coupons before you buy to get yourself some great savings! Good luck trying out these money saving tips!



4 Tips For Prepping For A New Baby

A new baby is a total adventure. From pregnancy to birth, a Mom is completely overwhelmed - in a good way - about what’s to come and what a baby will mean for her life. Everything is about to change and things will never be the same again. The one thing that will always be the same, though, is the fact that Mom’s have money to spend on their new babes before they arrive.

Getting ready for the arrival of a baby takes a lot of prep work, and babies are expensive. That means that you’ve got nine months to get your house ready so that you are stocked and ready for your baby to arrive. You need to use your pregnancy to get ready, because once your baby arrives, your life is going to whirlwind. Let’s take a look at four tips to help you get ready for preparing for your new baby.

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The Basics. You may be fretting about a nursery for your baby, but as long as you have a crib set up in your bedroom for them to sleep in, you’re going to have enough. You don’t NEED a nursery set up before the baby arrives, while it’s nice to have one to store all the bulk baby diapers you’re likely going to get. If you do have a nursery ready, remember that you need a cot for the baby to sleep in, but that the space should be empty aside from a fitted sheet. That means no bumpers, Mama, and you can read here as to why.

Stocking Up. We just mentioned the bulk buying of baby diapers. If you plan to do this to get ahead, keep some money one side for micro diapers if baby is preemie, or larger diapers if baby is a chubby one! You need to make sure that you keep all the receipts, but you can buy wipes, Muslin cloths and diapers nice and early so you’re ready. If you want to go the extra mile and you have the cash, consider buying sleepsuits and vests in a range of sizes so that you can be prepared.

Hospital Bag. Packing your hospital bag early according to lists like this one is a good idea. Anything can happen in pregnancy and you want to be ready when it does. Plan your hospital route early and keep a change purse in the hospital bag to pay for a taxi if no one can drive you there.

You, Yourself. You need to prepare yourself. It’s not just attending breastfeeding classes and Mommy and Me groups - it’s about getting ready for the waves of baby blues you could feel. It’s knowing that the real life of motherhood isn’t always sweet baby kisses and snuggles. Sometimes it’s hard. And as long as you are open to that, you are going to be the most awesome parent out there.

Good luck with your brand new arrival; it’s the time for an adventure.



Time To Relax: Unwinding After A Hectic Day With Your Newborn Baby

When you feel like you haven’t used the luxury of a seat for the majority of the day, and it’s taken way too long to get your little one to sleep; it’s time to start relaxing as soon as possible. This is especially important if you want to get a proper rest when you eventually head to bed. However, if your head is full of jobs that need doing tomorrow, it can be difficult to wind down both physically and mentally. Therefore you should set some time aside at the end of the day to focus on yourself and you’ll be able to rejuvenate to tackle tomorrow’s never ending list. Rope in your partner, family, and friends to help you with the little things, and check out some of the following tips, to assist you with a relaxing end to your busy day.


Set The Mood As Early As You Can

As soon as you have the head space after your latest breastfeeding class, feed, or nappy change; it’s worth investing in the details that make a big difference to your environment. It’s no secret that candlelight can be a calming addition to an environment, so lighting one or two before you sit down on the sofa will help you feel at ease and unwind. Scented candles will further relax you, especially if you choose a fragrance specifically designed to aid rest and sleep; they can often feel like a treat, so you’ll enjoy your evening that little bit more. For some relaxing scented candles inspiration, take a look online. If you’re taking the time to physically create a particular ambience, then your mind will catch up and you’ll end up feeling tranquil from head to toe.

Snuggle In And Get Cozy

Once you’ve set the scene with the scented candles; you don’t want to ruin the flow of your evening by perching on a metal stool. You’ll want to cocoon yourself in your surroundings, and this can be done with soft textures and cosy warmth; this is the perfect environment to feed or soothe baby too, so it’s worth thinking about. Wrap up in a blanket or throw while you sit on the sofa, surrounded by cushions, if you feel like you’re sinking into comfort, your busy brain will start to drift towards relaxation too. Try and stay warm and cosy by using a hot water bottle, or sipping on your favorite hot drink; you can make this time as indulgent as you want, it’s all about releasing some of the daily stresses and feeling good.

Refocus And Drift Away

Everything you physically do in your relaxing evening routine should be to benefit your overall well-being; however, for many busy moms, switching off is no easy task. Distraction is a good way to shift your attention somewhere else, so think about what makes you happy. Watching some trash T.V, flicking through magazines, or reading the latest Chrissy Teigen cookbook will refocus your thoughts towards something other than the pile of laundry in the corner of the room, and what everyone’s going to be eating for the next week.

We're No Good At Tackling Situations Like These...

As humans, we’re good at some things, and just absolutely terrible at others. Sometimes we handle situations so well, and it’s just one of the reasons why we’re thriving at the minute… well, for the most part we’re thriving. But when it comes to these situations that we just can’t seem to handle, our life just goes to pot. Suddenly our brains go into overdrive, and all we can focus on is this difficult situation that we’re struggling with at the time. When something so big can take over your life and potentially ruin it, we get why it might be so easy to ignore certain situations, rather than trying to face them. Which is why we bet you’re wondering what situations we could be on about, and how you can ensure you’re the best at getting through them. Keep on reading to find out more!

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The Ones Where We’re In The Wrong

Ok, so nobody at all likes dealing with situations where they’re in the wrong, it just mentally is not fun for us. We like to think that we can be in control of every situation, and therefore every situation we’re in control of, we will be in the right with! But there are mistakes that we make through our lives that can put us into a little bit of a pickle, such as problems with the law on the road, or problems at work. It’s not uncommon for people to go on their phones, get caught, and have to pay the find and have the ticket. But sometimes it can go a little bit further than that. If you were behind the wheel and using your phone at the time of a crash, a criminal defense attorney would have to get involved. It’s a criminal offence, and if you were to cause harm, you would have to go to court. Always think before making decisions that could change your life, even if it is just picking up your phone whilst driving along.


The Ones Affecting Our Family

Anything that might happen to our family, is where our minds just lose all control of what might be rational, and we tend to make bad decisions during time of distress relating to our families. The biggest being if we lose a family member close to us. The grieving process is a hard and long one, but if you do lose a love one and are struggling mentally, the best solution is to talk to someone. Whether it be another loved one, or even getting professional help!

The Ones That Make Us Change Our Lives

Now this is something no one is going to like doing, because change is sometimes a nightmare to deal with. This commonly happens when being forced to move house because of work or family commitments, and you have to relocate to a new area. Our advice would be to take your time to find the perfect place, spend a couple of days in the area before you even decide, and get accustomed to the new area. No one likes changing to a completely new location, but it could be the best thing for you.



Adding Some Fun to Your Boring Winter Wardrobe

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Every year, winter seems to drag on forever. Even after a long and hot summer, as soon as it starts to get colder, time begins to drag on, especially once Christmas is over and there’s no excitement to make it all worth it. In the first few weeks of cooler temperatures, many of us rather enjoy it. We like cuddling up on the sofa in our pyjamas with a hot chocolate as soon as we get in from work. We enjoy shopping for new boots and getting all of our chunky knits out of storage. It’s different, it’s exciting, and it’s comfortable.

Then, suddenly you’ve been in the same skinny jeans/boots/coat combination for weeks, and you are bored. Fortunately, there are some great ways to add some fun to your boring winter wardrobe.

Add a Hat and Scarf

Hats and scarves are a brilliant way to add fun to any outfit. Outdoors, they keep you warm and add some fun to your coat, seen as no one can see what is underneath it anyway. Indoors, you can always keep a scarf on once you’ve removed your jacket to add some interest to your plain jumper.

The best thing about hats and scarves is that they are cheap and easy. Invest in some merino wool knit beanies and thick scarves, and rotate them so that you never get bored.

Invest in a Bright Coat

Coats are expensive. Most of us only have one or two proper winter coats, and we try to get a good few years life out of them to make them worth the expense. A good coat will last, but it’s boring. More so if it’s black or navy like most of the other winter coats you see out on the streets.

Invest in a coat in a bright colour, and you’ll stand out from the crowd. A brighter coat could even make you happier and more cheerful on a miserable dull day.

Don’t Be Scared of Dresses

Sticking to jeans in the winter is easy. They are comfortable to wear, they look good with boots, and they keep you warm. But, you shouldn’t be afraid to wear dresses if you want to. Layer them with tights, add long sleeves or vests underneath and a cardigan on top and you’ll stay warm while looking great.

Get Some Cheap, Bright Wellies

Boots are fantastic. They keep your feet warm. They help to keep you safe on slippery floors. But, good boots, like coats are expensive. So most of us limit how many we buy.

Wellies, however, can be bought cheaply. Get a few pairs of bright or fun wellies for when you are bored of your sensible winter boots.

Find a Quirky Umbrella

Umbrellas are perhaps the ultimate winter accessories. And if you’ve got to have one, why not find a quirky one that stands out in a crowd and shows off your personality?

Add Layers to Your Summer Clothes

If you want to wear your summer clothes all year round, do it! Add t-shirts and vests, tights and leggings, cardigans and chunky knits, as well as wooden socks, hats and scarves. Layers are a great way to add warmth to an outfit, and as long as you keep them plain, they’ll always work.


Feel Good In Anything You Wear - Here's How

Imagine pulling something out of your wardrobe, anything, throwing it on, and feeling amazing. Wouldn’t that be nice? However, most people have to get changed numerous times before they feel good in an outfit that they wear. Here, we’re going to reveal what you need to know to feel good in absolutely anything you wear. Take a look, and you’ll wonder how you lived without these tricks before!

Create A Capsule Wardrobe

Start by creating a capsule wardrobe where you have items that all work interchangeably with one another. This means you’ll be able to create a plethora of different outfits using many of the same pieces, which can be a time saver and a money saver. The idea is that you only fill your clothes with items that you a) need and b) really love. Because the idea is that you’re not buying clothes all the time, you can afford to spend a little more on higher quality items that you adore and will stand the test of time!

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Say No To Fast Fashion And Be More Selective Instead

Fast fashion is cheap fashion that goes out of style in a few weeks. One week one print is in, the next it’s a color, then it’s a certain style - the list goes on. Fast fashion companies unsustainably churn out fashion items all the time and it ends up in landfills. It goes out of fashion quickly and is usually low quality. Instead, look at buying your clothing from sustainable companies and even handmade companies. It’ll give you a sense of satisfaction knowing that your clothing was created with love! You can do this for your jewelry too - check this out to find jewelry that will stand the test of time. Try to avoid fast fashion at all costs and treat yourself to fewer, luxury items.

Assess Your Past Fashion Choices And Why They Worked/Why They Didn’t

It’s a good idea to think about things you’ve worn in the past, why you liked them, and why you didn’t. Was it the color, material, or style? You can get a good idea of what really works for you this way. Take pictures of yourself when you feel your best in an outfit so you can look back at it for inspiration!

Book An Appointment With A Professional Stylist

See if you can book an appointment with a professional stylish in your area. They may be able to tell you your ‘colors’ (the colors that suit you best) and the shapes that suit you best, too. You only need one appointment and you can pick up lots of fantastic tips.

Find Fashion Muses That Inspire You

Search Instagram and find fashion muses that inspire you. You don’t have to copy them - just learn from them!

Have Something Signature About Your Look

Perhaps it’ll be a particular color or pattern - whatever it is, create a signature look for yourself. It’s a lot of fun, and people will come to recognize you for it.

Are you ready to feel good in anything you wear?




Getting Married Abroad? Five Ways You Can Ensure It Runs Smoothly

Do you dream of getting married on a tropical beach? With gorgeous weather, spectacular views and a laid back atmosphere, who could blame you? You can start your honeymoon as soon as the ceremony is over, and it’s something a little different from a standard church or hotel wedding back home.  However, there are a number of additional considerations you’ll need to bear in mind when it comes to getting married abroad.

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Send out invitations early

Traditionally, wedding invitations are sent six to eight weeks before the wedding. However, if you’re planning on getting married abroad then you’ll want to send them much further back than this. There’s always going to be a significant amount of expense and planning for guests to attend your overseas wedding so you’ll want to give them time to get organised. They might need to save up enough money, get their passport sorted, book the time off work and sort out things to wear. It’s not as simple as driving down to a venue like a standard wedding, so the more notice you can give people the better. You’re likely to get a better turnout that way.

Consider those that can’t come

As much as some might want to come and celebrate your wedding with you, not everyone is going to be able to travel to do so. It could be a financial holdback or a practical one- childcare could be an issue or they might need to work. It could even be health issues, those that are unwell or pregnant might not be able to fly. For this reason, you could host a smaller reception once you return back home. It doesn’t need to be a huge expense, but a chance for everyone to get together, and you get to wear your dress a second time! It’s an opportunity for those who couldn’t make it to take some photos and be a part of this special time with you.

Think about your dress

Speaking of your dress, this will be a little different to a standard wedding back home. Beach wedding dress styles tend to be more lightweight and floaty, you’ll need to bear in mind the material and the heat of the destination when making your choice. You will also need to consider how you’ll transport your gown when you fly.

Work out where you will all stay

One option would be to all stay at a hotel, you have your separate space but are close enough together to be able to meet up and enjoy each other’s company before and after the ceremony. Alternatively, things like family reunion home rentals could be considered where you hire out a large house or villa and all split the cost. This can work out cheaper, and you get more privacy as you’re not sharing with any other guests. If guests are looking to cut costs, they might consider flying out the day before the wedding, staying in a budget motel for the night and then flying back after the ceremony. If so, you’d only need to think about your own accommodation (chances are, you’ll want to spend a bit more on something a little more luxurious). Once you’ve received your RSVPs and know how many are attending, you can go about having a discussion with your loved ones, and deciding what would be the best choice for a place to stay.

Find a good wedding package

When you get married in the country you live in, you tend to hire different vendors from all over the place. A regular venue might include music and caterers, but chances are you’d find your own photographer, florist, wedding cake maker and more. However, when you’re getting married abroad this is going to be much more tricky. You’re unable to meet vendors ahead of time, and in some cases they won’t even speak your language. To make things easier for yourself, it can be far better working with a wedding company that offers everything in one package. You’ll only have one company to pay, everything will be taken care of by them and you can ensure things run smoothly which is what you need when you’re getting married in another country! Of course, you’ll need to do your research and find a company that you’re happy with. One that speaks English and you’re able to communicate with well. Read their reviews, go through their portfolio and have a chat with them on the phone to make sure you’re happy with your decision.



Jack Frost Nipping At Your Nose? Mom's Lessons For Staying Warm

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With the winter now fast approaching, moms are looking for ways to make sure the whole family stays warm. Not only does wrapping up warm help to stave off common colds and infections, but it can also help you keep the heating bill down (which can get a little out of control in December and January).

So what can busy moms who have no time do to make sure that hubby and the rest of the family stay nice and toasty over the holidays?

Get Moving

Staying active is good for maintaining a healthy weight and keeping degenerative diseases at bay. But it’s also highly effective at keeping you warm too. If you wrap up warm on a cold day and do some exercise, you soon get uncomfortably sweaty and have to take layers off.

You and your family can try all kinds of fun things to stay warm, from taking the bikes to the park to using a Nintendo Wii.

Use Rugs

Staying warm in the winter can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you want to walk barefoot on cold, hard floors. Rugs are a great way to make rooms feel a little warmer and cozier (even if they’re not) by providing extra comfort underfoot. Make sure you get rugs with rubber strips on the bottom to prevent slippage.

Get Sweaters For The Whole Family

Knitted sweaters are a hallmark of the Christmas period, featured extensively in romantic comedies, like Bridget Jones’ Diary. What’s more, the festive season is pretty much the only time of year when you can get away with wearing them without raising a few eyebrows. Grateful Dead sweaters are ideal for dad (especially if he likes his music), and the kids can enjoy jerseys with cartoon or kids’ TV themes.

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Teach Everyone The Principle Of Layering

We like the luxury of putting on as few clothes as possible while we’re in our homes. But during the winter months, this habit can increase your heating bills substantially.

Layering provides you with all of the warmth you want, but without having to ramp the thermostat up to 20 degrees Celsius, significantly above the outside temperature. Teach your family about how layering keeps them warm by trapping little pockets of insulating air in the fabric, preventing the cold from penetrating from the outside.

Use Electric Blankets

While it’s true that electric blankets use energy, they do so in a far more efficient and environmentally-friendly way than central heating. Electric blankets help to trap heat in the vicinity immediately around the body, meaning less energy goes to waste.

Insulate Your Home

Insulating your home needn’t be complicated or expensive. You don’t have to pump foam into cavity walls or install expensive double-glazing. The simplest and cheapest methods often work the best.

Try, for instance, to seal any gaps around your doors and windows. If the caulking around the windows has chipped away, replace it. Use a draught excluder on any exterior doors that are not sealed to prevent air from getting in.




Why a Beautiful Smile is Just What You Need

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Regardless of if you have just left college, are a young mum or are about to retire, having a nice smile will boost your confidence no end, and every time you use it you will make someone else feel better. Smiles are almost contagious, and when you smile at someone they will smile back and then often at someone else too. A smile can brighten a whole room and draw people to you. We would be living in a happier world if people smiled more often.

That is not the only advantage of a nice smile though; there are other consequences of showing your sparkling pearly whites.

Health Benefits Of A Smile

It might surprise you to know there are several health and beauty benefits to a smile.  Your immune system will improve because you are more relaxed. It can cause a reduction in your blood pressure. Mentally, smiling will reduce any stress you are going through, and it can help to change your mood to a better one.

Smiling makes you more positive, and this is something you can try out. Put a smile on your face and then think of something negative. You will find this is not so easy to do as long as you keep smiling. Studies have shown that smiles make your body produce endorphins, which create a feel-good factor in our brains. Smiling is also considered to be a natural painkiller.

You Will Look Better

A smile will make you more attractive to other people, as there is something more appealing about someone who is smiling. The muscles you use to smile also lift your face making you appear younger and healthier. Research has also shown that people who smile more often appear to be more successful. They are more likely to succeed at job interviews too.

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Don’t Hide It

Not everyone has naturally white teeth, and as we age they start to yellow. This is just one reason why people do not smile properly and force their smile with their lips closed. They will also do this if they have some crooked teeth, but both problems can be helped.

Your dental surgery will be able to help you with teeth whitening and with a clear correct aligner or retainer to straighten them if need be. It is well worth having this done so that you can smile properly and make full use of all the advantages that smiles provide.

If there is any other reason you do not like your smile, try practicing it in front of a mirror, until it is how you want it to be. Keep practicing and eventually it will become the way you smile all the time.

Smile On Purpose

Scientists have shown that if a smile does not come naturally, smiling on purpose will have the same effect. It changes the chemistry in our brain, which is why all these other good things happen when you smile. Just try it and see. Next time you feel a bit low, smile on purpose and there is no doubt you will feel better for it.

Fabulous Festivities: How to Afford Your Christmas Food Shop!

Christmas is a great excuse to spend time with loved ones, where we can all eat, drink and be merry. But when it comes to food and drink, it can really add up over the festive period and if you’re the one footing the bill- you might be looking for ways to keep down costs. Here are a few ways you can go about it.

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Stockpile throughout the year

While it’s too late to put this into practice this year, it’s definitely something to consider for future Christmases. Festivities are always going to be expensive, but you can make things easier for yourself by spreading the cost. Throughout the year, pick up food and drink items as and when you see them, when you have the money and when they’re at a good price. Get a big box and put them away for December, and then when Christmas rolls back around you already have most of what you need. Of course, with fresh items you’ll only ever be able to buy these close to the date that they’re going to be used. But things like chocolate, biscuits, crackers, alcohol and other long life items will last a really long time- just be sure to check that the expiry is after the December that you plan on using them. You can even buy things like joints of meat and put them in the freezer, just check how long they can safely be frozen for and label everything up correctly. If you buy a few food items every month throughout the year, come December you’ll only need to spend a small amount finishing off your shop. This is ideal if you’re on a very tight budget or if you’re shopping for a large family.

Ask guests to bring a dish and a bottle

One of the best things about Christmas is the parties- being to celebrate and enjoy great food and drinks with loved ones. But when you’re the one hosting, it can get really expensive. One way to get around this is to throw a potluck party, asking guests to each bring a dish and a bottle- that way you all get to sample each others cooking and there’s no major expense on one household. Most people have a signature dish that they love to make and would be happy to bring. If you ask guests to give you a rough idea of what they plan on bringing you can check that you dont end up with lots of similar things on the day. It could b a  full dinner party where guests bring either a starter, main or dessert. Or it could be a little more casual where they just bring nibbles along. It’s a great way to keep costs down and can be a fun way to go about things.

Make from scratch

Things like pretty festive cakes and cookies can be really expensive. Ready made pies, party food and other tasty dishes are convenient to buy around Christmas but they will come at a price. If you’re willing to put in time and effort, you can create them yourself much more cheaply. Pinterest and social media has loads of great, festive ideas flying around at this time of year- pick things based on your skill level. Even a beginner baker can whip up impressive looking cupcakes, as long as you have a good piping nozzle and some Christmas sprinkles you’re good to go for decorations. A simple cookie recipe with the addition of some festive spices like ginger and cinnamon, along with a Christmas cutter and you can whip up fantastic Christmas cookies. Don’t pay over the odds for these things, it really is worth having a go yourself. Get the kids involved, you could even make it a yearly tradition to have a baking day. A few simple ingredients can be transformed into something spectacular, just follow a recipe and you’re good to go.

Only buy what you need

It’s tempting to go mad at Christmas. It’s a very commercial holiday, and we’re pushed into thinking that we need to indulge and spend a fortune if it’s going to be special. But it’s not the case- sure, eat drink and be merry by all means but you don’t need to buy things that you won’t end up using. As a society we already waste far too much, and this increases tenfold at Christmas. If you have anything left in the new year that you won’t use you have the option to donate to a food bank, but save your wallet by not buying too much in the first place. If you’re having parties, plan what you’ll need and stick to a list. Plan your meals over Christmas the way you would throughout the rest of the year, and avoid the temptation to stuff the house full of food unless you know it’s going to be used.

Consider borrowing money

Borrowing money for Christmas can be a good thing if it’s done right. If you simply can’t afford the occasion and don’t want to miss out, small loans or unsecured cards can allow you to purchase what you want now and spread the cost in the new year. Just be sure to go about things sensibly. Borrow only what you need, and have a look at the interest rates. Work out what the repayments will be and make sure you know for a fact that you can afford them. Within a few months you can have it paid back with no negative repercussions. Food wise, most households at Christmas will want to buy the ingredients for Christmas dinner, some tasty festive treats and perhaps a few bottles of alcohol. If you’re not in a position to afford the basics (perhaps you’ve had a large expense to cover recently, or you’re all spent out due to other areas of Christmas) then this could be a way to get through the occasion. Another way you can utilise credit when it comes to festive food is to order a hamper from a catalogue. These come in all kinds of different sizes and contain a nice mixture of foods and drinks to get you through December. With catalogues you can spread the cost, so you can pay this back over the first few months of the new year.





7 Super Smart Stocking Stuffers for your Kids This Christmas

The moment your kids wake up on Christmas Day there is a ripple of excitement through the entire house. Little ones in pyjamas race down the stairs to see the perfect presents that Santa has left them. This holiday season is no exception and you’re ready to get prepared for another magically manic day. You want to get the kid’s stocking stuffers just right this year instead of filling it with useless junk that will never be played with again. Here are seven super smart stocking fillers that are bound to put a smile on their faces on Christmas morning.

1.Socks and Underwear

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You can’t go wrong with the practical gift of socks and underwear on Christmas Day. Perhaps your toddler is potty training at the moment and the idea of big boy or big girl underwear would excite them to the very core. Similarly, you might want to consider afo socks for kids; they are a practical and cosy option to keep your little one’s feet cosy throughout the winter.


2. Paper and Pens

Every kid loves to draw and color no matter what time of year it is. A set of rainbow colored pens and a handy notebook bursting with paper is perfect for any stocking.

3. Sweet Treats

Would it even be Christmas Day if your kids didn’t have chocolate for breakfast? Fill their stocking with their favourite sweet treats; it’s the only day of the year they have free reign to eat whatever they want whenever they want!

4. Stuffed Animals

If your little one has a favourite animal that they’re obsessed with then throw a cute cuddly version into their stocking for Christmas morning. Whether it’s a cute cat or an adorable anteater they are bound to love it.

5. Bathtime Toys

If you struggle getting your little one into the bathtub then you need to fill it with toys to make them excited about it. Their stocking could contain cute rubber ducks and bath crayons to make their time in the tub much more appealing.

6. Perfect PJs

Every little tyke loves getting new pyjamas for Christmas; there isn’t a single child out there who doesn’t squeal with joy at the prospect of new night wear. If your family allows one present to be opening on Christmas Eve, then this would be your perfect choice. They can wear their new special pjs to bed whilst Santa fills up the rest of their stocking overnight.

7. Magic Minis

Every kid always puts that awkwardly expensive item on their Christmas list, much to the dismay of their parents. If you don’t want to let them down completely then why not get a mini version and stick it into their stocking? It could be a remote control car or a fancy doll; the chances are they won’t notice that it isn’t quite the same as the adverts and they will be thrilled to receive it.

Hopefully these ideas will spark some inspiration for your sensational stockings this festive season.



Things No One Tells You About Becoming A Parent

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The role of the parent is incredibly rewarding, but, until you go through it yourself, it’s impossible to know how tough it can be. With all the parenting books in the world, you’d think you can learn all there is to know about the challenge, but that’s rarely the case. Instead, the journey comes with all sorts of shocks and surprises that no one thinks to warn you about. To help you become a little more prepared, here are five things you should know about parenthood, but probably don’t.

Preparation Is A Myth

It’s not uncommon for parents to spend months planning out a birth and how they’ll raise their little one only to completely change their plans when the day actually arrives. It doesn’t matter how many books you read or how much time you spend on blogs and forums, because every baby is different. Although there are ways to prepare, it’s impossible to ever be completely prepared. The only thing you can really do is plan to be flexible and go with the flow.

The Cost Is Extortionate

Babies are relatively small creatures, being around the same size as a pumpkin and weighing no more than a few bags of sugar. With that in mind, when you find out just how much they can cost you, most would forgive you for being shocked. Parenthood is far from cheap, so you’ll need to financially prepare yourself. You may also want to find a home-based job, like those at https://budgetboost.co/20-best-work-and-stay-at-home-jobs-for-moms/. This way, you can earn a regular salary, but won’t have to pay for childcare or transportation to work.

Baby Talk Becomes Normal

Baby talk can be annoying to anyone without children. Unfortunately, when you have a little one of your own, it becomes normal conversation. After all, when the person you spend most of your time with is an infant, baby talk is going to slip into every conversation you have. Your partner will be forever called “Daddy”, you’ll refer to yourself in the third person as “Mommy”, and you’ll change the names of everyday things all the time.

Sleep Deprivation Is Dangerous

Even those without children know that having a baby in the house is going to make it hard to sleep at night. However, few people understand just how much sleep deprivation can affect you. You’ll constantly feel exhausted, your mental health will suffer, and everyday tasks, like walking up the stairs or washing up turn into hazards. Thankfully, there are a few ways to combat these effects and get some sleep. Just take a look at the advice on https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/how-to-survive-new-parent-sleep-deprivation/.

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When your baby arrives, your social life immediately drops to the bottom of your list of priorities. This might mean losing touch with people you have been close with for a while. That being said, parenthood has also been known to solidify bonds, as well as help you to create new ones. Those that stick around and make an effort become your number one supporters and the random parents you connect with at groups and classes give you someone like minded to share experiences with.

Parenthood can be shocking and scary, but, hopefully, with this new knowledge, you feel a little more prepared for what’s to come.



Working Together As A Family

If you feel that your family could probably work together a little better at times, you are not alone. Most people would say this about their own family, and the truth is that it is such a common experience that there is no wonder you can’t necessarily easily make it happen. The truth is that if you are keen to work together more as a family, there are many ways to do so, and the more that you are aware of these ways the more likely it is that you can make it happen in your own family. In this post, we will look at a number of the best ways to make sure that you are working together as a family, whether or not you currently feel that it is even possible to get to that point at all. You would be surprised at the kinds of things you can achieve if you really try hard and work together.

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Respect The Individual

One of the most common reasons that families stop being able to work as a team is because that team starts to take the place of the individual. If you find this happens in your family, then probably the next thing that occurs is that someone feels as though they are not being respected for who they are. That then means that they are much less keen to work together with the rest of the family, and before you know it you have a family divided. The solution then is to make sure that you respect the individuals within the family, at all times, even when you're trying to be a close team. The more you do that, the more likely it is that it will all work out pretty well. As long as everyone feels respected, they are more likely to enjoy being a part of that family in the first place.

Find External Help
Sometimes for a family to function better on its own, it needs some help from outside forces. This is perfectly common and natural, and there is nothing wrong with it. But when you first realize that you might need to ask for help, you might feel that there is somehow something wrong with your family or that you are somehow toxic. This is not a helpful idea. Instead, just think that you are doing what you need to by approaching someone for help - and there are many kinds of help which you might benefit from. It might be that you need a counsellor or a mediator, or it could be that you need some affordable family law help in more dire circumstances. Whatever help you need, make sure you are getting it in time.

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Build A Happy Home
It works both ways - the more you work as a team, the happier the home is, and the happier the home is, the more you are able to work as a team. So as well as working on the things above, you can also make a point of trying to improve the atmosphere at home in other ways too. The happier a home you can build, the more likely it is that you will be able to work together as a family when you need to.

Want To Reduce Your Debt In Time For Christmas? Here Are Some Ideas

Debt is one of the biggest problems families can struggle with. It has formed a huge part of expenditure when it comes to outgoings of a family's income. More and more, people are living beyond their means. But while this tends to be normal for everyday life, many of those families have the ambition and drive to pay off their debts. Sorry to mention the “c” word. But Christmas is fast approaching and is long known as a time for overspending. So why not get yourself in the best possible situation for the holiday season and take a good hard look at your finances. With that in mind, here are some easy steps you can take to help you reduce your debt in time for christmas.

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Find out your credit situation

A lot of the time we can be a little clueless as to where we stand when it comes to credit. Do you think you have a good credit rating? The chances are you won't know for sure. Which is why it’s good to check it out. Knowing where you stand will help with your plan to reduce your debts. It can highlight where your creditors are, give you an indication on how much you owe and what your history is like. A lot of what you do next will be determined by your score. So get up to speed.

Make a plan

Once you know your credit score, you now need to devise a plan of how you pay things off. Try and look at where you owe the most money to, or which creditor is charging the most interest. These should be the priority to reduce first to cut down your overall spend.

Reduce the amount of interest you are paying

Reducing the interest you are paying is key. Many payments you send to credit or store cards will mostly be paying back the interest that has been charged. Doing very little to reducing the balance you owe. A great way to reduce the internet is to consider things like zero interest credit cards, where you can transfer balances. Or looking into consolidating the debts into one monthly payment. This could be done by a personal loan or even something like a a credit card. A quick look online will help you find the best secured credit cards. What you don’t want to do is put yourself in a worse position. So only apply for these credit options if you have a decent credit rating, and you are not borrowing more than you need.

Think of options to boost your income

We could all do with a boost to our income. But wanting to reduce your debt is a great motivator to see how you can increase it. You could consider starting something from home. Perhaps selling unwanted items in your home on websites like eBay. Or even reducing your outgoings in general like reducing a TV package or switching to a better energy provider. Make sure all money earned or saved goes straight into the pot to reduce your debt.

Keep motivated and stay on track

Finally, it may be hard not to spend or easy to get off plan when it comes to reducing debt, but try and stay motivated. Remember the reasons why you are doing this and imagine the christmas you could have, without getting into debt for it.

I hope this has inspired you to work on your finances over the next few months.



Easy Fashion Hacks For Stunning Looks

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Fashion and style is a subjective thing and it is something which everyone does in their own way. There are however a few general guidelines and tips which everyone can use this year to make the process of getting dressed more fun and fashionable. Here are some easy style tips to use this year.

Monochrome it

Monochrome is way too underrated and people seem to assume it has to be boring if you don’t wear any colour. But there are so many different styles you can choose from without colour and here are just a few ideas:

  • Grey jumper with black jeans

  • White and black checked shirt and black skirt

  • White jumper dress and grey jacket

You can see there are more ideas than you would think and you can really have fun with black, white and different shades of grey.

Wear statement jewellery

One of the things you can do to immediately elevate an outfit is to add a statement piece of jewellery to make it stand out from the crowd. For example there are some amazing styles on Fifth Collection which you can add to a simple outfit to take it to the next level and make it feel much more stylish than it was before.

Go Metallic

If you want to make a statement with your outfit this winter and show off to the world, one of the things you can definitely think about doing is to use metallics in your outfit. You can buy dressed which have metallic embossing on them, rose gold bomber jackets and skirts, and even some bright silver shoes if you really want to have some fun. You’ll look like a psychedelic dream and it will certainly turn all eyes on you!

Wear one bold colour

If you want to keep things simple and look flawless, one of the easiest things you can do for yourself is to wear just one bold colour alongside your outfit. This could be a bright red, blue, green or even yellow and it will stand out and make you look and feel more fashionable and pretty immediately. One colour can give you an effortless look and it will also make you feel more confident which is a huge bonus.

Stick to your figure


Your body shape will always be a big factor when it comes to choosing your clothes because different body shapes need to wear different styles to appease their body and make their most stunning features stand out. Let’s say for example that you are an apple shape. You will likely want to show off your breasts and your curves but also make the waist seem a little smaller than it is. A wrap dress is ideal for this because it will show off cleavage, sinch in at the waist and then will flow for a feminine and stunning outfit. Take a look online at clothes for your body shape to see how you could be accentuating yourself better this year. It will be a good decision and make you feel like a true fashionista.

Capturing the Newborn Days with Keepsakes

When you’ve got a new baby, life can feel a little overwhelming with the sleep deprivation, constant laundry, and the diaper changes. So when it comes to making the time special, it can often get a little overlooked and you may forget to do some things that you would want to. After all, that new time with a baby is really important and it does fly by quickly. So capturing the moments so that you have some keepsakes from that time is really important.

If you are a mom-to-be, or have a little one, or are looking for ways to help a friend or relative that has a new baby, then here are some of the things that you could get done, or encourage them to get done, so that the memory of those precious early days is remembered.

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Newborn Photoshoot

Because newborns sleep so much at first, getting a photoshoot of them where they are just looking adorable and sleepy is a really precious time. When they are more awake and more on the move, it is a whole new thing. So it can be a good idea to have a photographer booked in when you’re pregnant, so that you’re not having to think about it too much when the baby is here. You don’t have to be in the pictures if you don’t want to, but the ones of the baby will be there to treasure.

Birthstone Jewelry

Getting a piece of jewelry with your baby’s birthstone in, like the ones from Galaxy Gold, can be a great way to treat yourself or get a new mom. It is something that is simple, that can’t be grabbed too much by the baby, but it is personal and meaningful to you. Those kinds of gifts can really be the best.

Hand and Feet Prints

Another classic thing that can be done with a newborn is to get some hand or footprints printed and molded. These could be ones that you do yourself, or there are professionals that will then make the print into an ornament or something to frame and display. It is a precious time to remember just how tiny those hands and feet were, and can also be a lovely thing to do if you or someone you know suffers baby loss or a stillbirth, so that memory is always there.

Journaling

Writing about life with a newborn can feel like the last thing on your mind when you’re in the thick of it. But when you do so, through a journal or a blog, it can really make a difference to how you are feeling. It can be therapeutic, as well as an amazing thing to read and look back on, especially when your child is older too. So this could be something that you just do for yourself. Or if you’re a friend looking for a gift to give, then giving them the gift of a journal or other stationery could work well for that too.

Six Ways To Boost Your Confidence Post-Pregnancy

Before you get pregnant with your first child, it’s more common to envision the pretty baby that you’ll get to have to dress up and admire. A piece of yourself walking around alongside you; babies are a miracle. Here’s the thing though: most women forget to picture themselves with the baby. So, while they imagine themselves immaculately presented and ready for anything, they forget that they’re going to have a baby keeping them up all night. One that has left their body split and sore and stretched in ways that no one considers.

The baby is a wonderful addition to your life, of course, but feeling confident and back to yourself after a child is born? That’s as much of a miracle as the baby is. A lot of feeling confident as a parent comes from feeling well in yourself, which is why self-care after a baby is such a big deal. There are detox diet plans to get you out of the pregnancy ‘stuffing your face’ stage and into a healthier you, and there’s also ensuring that you do things that make you feel good. The happier and more confident that you are as a mother will mean that your baby is calm, happier and your relationship thrives in the midst of filthy nappies and night feeds. So, how can you get your confidence back as a new mother?

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  1. Be Kind. To yourself as well as others. You need to start your day, every day, with words of kindness to yourself. Remind yourself that you are a strong, fierce woman who birthed a child and survived. That alone should boost your mood.

  2. Get Intimate. You’re tired, you have puke stains on your shoulder and you’ve had about three hours of sleep in as many days. But getting hold of your partner and reminding each other of your affections is a great way to boost your confidence.

  3. Embrace Exhaustion. There is not going to be a day between now and the next eighteen years that you don’t feel tired. If you can own this and manage it instead of giving into it, you can push through your routines and feel healthy. Keep busy and stick to your usual health and beauty routines and you’ll stave off PND as well as up your confidence in yourself.

  4. Not A Temple. Your body is not a temple. Temples can be torn down. Your body is a forest; it can regrow in thousands of ways, over and over again. Think of your body this way and you’ll be the embodiment of empowerment.

  5. Gently Exercise. The last thing on your mind with a tiny baby is working out. Long walks with the pram, gentle workouts and any way that raises your heart rate can make you feel pumped and release happy hormones that give you new confidence.

  6. Shop! When you’re really feeling low about your post-baby body, take yourself shopping. Bring the baby. Look at your body sans pregnancy and then smile in the mirror. Your body grew the living, breathing baby in the pram. It’s magic made real.

Confidence is the preference, but you should give yourself time to recover and embrace the new you.



A Bored Child Is A Frustrated Child

Remember when you were a kid and you felt bored? You had to tell the whole world about it, especially your parents. It was like time was ticking slower, just for you. Now that you’re a parent, can you imagine what boredom feels like for your children? It also symbolises something that we may not want to admit up front. We just don’t have any ideas. You’re not expected to be some kind of magic 8-ball where you can randomly come up with activities for the children to do. But, you do need to make the effort as keeping the children active in some way will keep them content. When they have time off school, that is a chance for the whole family to do something and not just lounge around. Kids these days need to be encouraged to not watch television for hours on end and nor play videos games for hours and hours too.

A bowl of fantasy

Getting children to help in the garden is difficult, but getting them to stop mucking around in the soil and mud, now there’s a challenge. Why not mix both worlds, and create a fantasy miniature home and garden in a plant bowl? Get a large plant or flower bowl that you would normally have for the garden, and tip some soft soil into it. You and the children can make a little home or garden that is purely from your imaginations. For the home you can make it out of cardboard or buy a small birdhouse. The kids can paint it whatever colours they want, and put their choice of plants, pebbles, and flowers in it. They can make their own characters and make up a story about the home and the person that lives in it.

Taming the water

Oh to be young and have boundless levels of energy, how would you use your youthful spark? When school is off and the kids are at home, they can get restless as you can imagine. But for that, there are school holiday activities at CIWW where they can get into their own kayak and start learning how to tame the waters. There will be professionals ready to teach them how to balance, basic and advanced paddling techniques and get them to confidently go through a course. If being in a small boat isn’t their thing then they can also receive surfing lessons in a controlled environment. If they just want something calmer, than there are canoes they and you can get in and gently ride the water. Either way, you'll get some exercise and the kids stay happy and active.

Sponging around

Something that’s simple but will give you great bang for buck is a spiky sponge. Get several sponges of different colours. Cut them up into identical rectangles. Take 2 or 3, and lay them on one side and grab another 2 or 3 and use waterproof glue to stick the ends together. Repeat this process until you have a spikey ball. Wait for them to dry properly and now they can be used as harmless reusable water bombs. Now it's time for kids versus parents, in the back garden in a water balloon fight!

Not having anything to do while you’re filled to the brim with energy is going to lead to some destructive behaviours. Having something planned and ready to do when the kids get some time off school so you can bond and keep their minds busy at the same time.