Getting Into The Gift-Giving Good Books

It’s that time of year again, when the festive adverts appear on TV, and the aisles are packed with gift ideas, decorations, and all the seasonal treats imaginable. If you’re a fan of getting things done early and avoiding last-minute shopping stress, now is the time to start ticking those names off the list and putting presents away ready for Christmas morning. If you’re keen to get into the good books this year, here are some golden rules to follow.

Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/christmas-shopping-hamburg-lights-234105/

Take yourself out of the equation

You may want to treat yourself to a gift or two this Christmas, but when you’re looking for inspiration for others, take yourself out of the equation. Focus solely on that person’s interests and look for items or ideas that will appeal to them. Don’t buy a bag for your sister that you love if you have a completely different sense of style. Concentrate on finding something that they would pick out if they were there shopping with you.

Go for want over need

On Christmas Day, you don’t really want to tear open the paper to reveal a collection of essential items for the house, garden or car. Christmas is a time when we can spoil the people we love, so go for gifts that your loved ones would want, rather than things they need. You want to see a beaming smile when they open their present.

Channel their passions

Shopping for other people can be difficult, but you can make life a lot easier by channeling their passions and hobbies. How do they like to spend their time? What do they spend their money on? If you’ve got a fashionable man in your life, why not buy some new jeans, take a look at Dickies jackets or add to their sneaker collection? If your mom loves cooking, invest in a new gadget for the kitchen, a recipe book or some baking classes. If your dad is into sport, browse autobiography titles, book some tickets to a game or order a customized shirt or track top.

Get more for your money

For the majority of us, Christmas is the most expensive time of the year. Typically, the average American spends up to $900 on gifts alone. If you’re keen to buy brilliant gifts without breaking the bank, set a budget in advance, start buying presents early and shop around to get the best deals. At this time of year, you’ll find that retailers offer discounts and flash sales to try and outdo competitors. If you’re not already signed up to discount shopping sites or you haven’t subscribed to the mailing lists of your favorite stores, do this now, and you could save a fortune on your shopping.

Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/39908901@N06/11386397234

Christmas is coming, and it’s always a good idea to try and plan ahead. While shopping under pressure on Christmas Eve can be exhilarating, most of us would rather have our feet up in front of the fire. Use your loved ones’ interests and passions to get inspiration, shop around for great deals and offers, and try and put your own taste and style to one side.

How To Prepare For A Spot Of Winter Sun

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When you’re used to going on vacation in summer, it’s quite easy to get yourself prepared. First of all, you’re probably used to a set way of doing things, and have a routine that you like to work through. But when it comes to going on a vacation in winter, you can be completely thrown out. Sometimes, you even decide to go on your trip last minute, which makes everything a bit more of a rush. And that can definitely complicate things. But you can still get things done quickly and easily.

If you are heading out on a winter vacation sometime soon, then you’ve come to the right place. As we’re going to talk you through exactly how you can prepare for your winter break, even when you feel completely out of practice. So let’s take a look at what you can do to get ready and make sure that you have a great time when you’re there too.

Research The Weather

First of all, you’re going to want to figure out what kind of weather you’re going to be faced with. Because although you’re heading out on a winter sun holiday, it’s not always guaranteed to be good weather. You need to find a weather website that you can search historical forecasts and predictions on for the place that you’re going to. Then, depending on what it’s going to be like, you can then finish the rest of your preparations.

Raid Your Wardrobe

Then you’re going to want to raid your wardrobe. More often than not, you’ll be able to find that you have enough clothing to take with you already, but you also need to be sure. Not only should you look to see if anything you have is suitable, but you should also make sure that things still fit and are in good condition. As you don’t want to leave things too late and find they’re broken or don’t fit.

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Shop Online

Your first step for finding new pieces that you need to take with you is to head online. You’re going to want to find stores that still have women’s dresses and sundresses in them as many stores will only have their winter wear out. But when you go online, you can often find lots of summer wear and beachwear that you’re going to want to stock up on.

Search The Stores

Next, you are going to want to think about heading out to the stores too. Because there will be some things that you need that will be available in stores. This is definitely the case when it comes to travel accessories, or even evening wear, as lots of winter pieces may still be suitable for your evening outfits.

Pick Out Your Travel Outfit

Then, while you’re still sorting your clothing out, you’re going to want to choose your travel outfit too. This can often be quite hard when you’re traveling in winter. Because when you head off on your vacation, it can be cold. But it’s going to be hot when you get there – hopefully! So you need to make sure you travel outfit is not only comfortable, but that it’s going to work for both leaving and arriving too.

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Get Your Luggage Ready

Your next job is to sort your luggage. It’s easy to think that your suitcases are going to be fine, just like you did with your vacation clothing. But you really do need to check everything over first. You don’t want to just assume then go to pack and find out that everything is falling apart. If you’re only taking on carry on luggage. You may also want to make sure that you have something suitable for this too.

Plan Your Airport Arrival

Next, you’re going to want to make your airport plans too. Because this can often be a stressful part of going on vacation, so you want to make sure that you get your times right. From knowing that time you need to be there, to finding the right parking, this is often stuff you can do to make it easier on the day.

And Enjoy

Finally you’re then going to want to focus on having the best vacation ever. Because traveling can be stressful, and planning a last minute trip can be hard work, but you don’t want it to ruin things. Instead, you want to make sure that you can make the most of your time away and soak up all of that glorious winter sun.

Feeding Your Fitness: The Definitive Way To Eat For Physical Performance

Reaching the peak of your physical fitness takes much dedication and hard work, and good choices on what to fuel your body with. After all, you wouldn’t expect the best performance from your car if you put the cheapest gas in it now, would you? So why should you think anything different to about your body? Of course, this depends on you already knowing what is best for your body regarding food for when you are trying to reach your fitness goals. Unfortunately, with health and diet foods being an industry in itself, it can be pretty tough to decipher what is good for you when you are training and what is not. Luckily, for all you searchers you will find some info on this very subject below. So keep reading to find out the definitive answer on how to feed your fitness.

Balanced diet

First of all, going back to basics to achieve peak physical fitness you have to have a balanced diet. That means it should include all of the four main food groups as described in this video at Youtube.com. These include vegetables, carbs, dairy, and protein. All of these are needed in different amounts to create a healthy and fit body, and although your calorie consumption may go up a bit if you are training hard every day, working out is certainly not an excuse to eat whatever you want.

 

A balanced diet. Picture here

Instead, you should be aiming for a healthy diet that consists of five or more portions of fruit and vegetables, two portions of protein, three to five portions of carbohydrates, complex ones made from whole grains, and two to three portions of dairy including things like egg, cheese, and milk.  

Of course, you can decide for yourself how to arrange these through the day and what meals to create from them. However, hitting these basic amounts is pretty important if you want to work at the peak of your physical fitness.

Supplements

In addition to the basic nutritional load, some folks when working out choose to use supplements to enhance their fitness and performance. In particular, protein seems to be the watchword in fitness right now, with a protein shake being one of the trendiest gym accessories to take with you for your workout. Checkout out the post at greatist.com for some more information on this product.

 

Supplements can come in pill or shake form. Picture source

Supplements tend to fall under one of three two categories. The first is the pre-workout, designed to improve performance and give you a boost. The second is the post-workout often designed to help you recover faster from your efforts. The third type are anytime supplements. These are designed to add to your healthy balanced diet and supply you with more of the nutrients you need to maintain your progress.

 

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Such supplements can be bought in regular supermarkets, pharmacists, and even online, although many that would argue that they are unnecessary because you can get the same benefits from eating real, natural food that hasn’t been processed into powders or shakes. This is especially relevant about protein, and you can learn more at Mobilityguardian.com about which foods are great to eat if you want to avoid the whole supplement trend completely. Something that could not only save you money but may actually be healthier for you and your body in the long run.

Exclusion diets

Next, let’s take a look at exclusion diets. These include programs such as Paleo, Atkins and the like. The idea of these plans is that you eliminate a particular food group, carbohydrates in this case and this triggers weight loss, something that many people often try to achieve alongside their physical fitness goals.

The problem is that these elimination diets can negatively affect your fitness levels because they do not contain all of the energy that you need to complete a regular effective workout. This is typically the case with ones that cut out all form of carbohydrates as they can leave you sluggish and tired, ultimately comprising your physical performance goals. Something that makes them a bad idea if fitness is a top priority.

 

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When to eat

Lastly, it’s not just what we eat that can affect our physical performance but also but when we eat. Food is fuel, and as such should be consumed in small amounts throughout the day to keep your energy steady.

 

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That means great big heavy meals are out of the picture, especially if you do your fitness regime in the evening, as no one can effectively workout on top of this. So instead split your allowances down into 5-6 small meals, evenly spaced out through the day, as the post at wsj.com suggests. Perhaps with an unrefined carbohydrate 30 mins before your workout, such as a banana, as this should help you feed your fitness session and over time achieve peak physical performance while maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.

Winter Cooking Tips To Help Warm Your Cockles

The clocks have just gone back an hour, and that means that the dark nights are now here to stay. Sure, that might be quite a depressing thing to think about but at least it means that we are now well and truly in comfort food season!

Are you ready to take your winter cooking to the next level so that you can make the most of these wintry nights? Here are some awesome cooking tips!

 

Picture – Pixabay

Super Soup

Is there a better comfort food than soup? Creamy chicken soup will help you keep the cold at bay, and decadent soups like broccoli and Stilton or cream of tomato will go down really well with a crusty slice of bread. A large bowl of these flavors will definitely warm your cockles! For an extra healthy soup, try making your own so that you can control the sugar and salt levels. If you have a slow cooker, you can add all of your ingredients in the morning, go off to work, and can then return to a steaming bowl of tastiness!

Add An Adult Twist To Desserts

If you don’t cook with spirits and wine already, you really should. Red wine can add an extra depth to tomato sauces, and frying in rum can help you flambe sweet dishes. But adding a little touch of alcohol, such as a dash of Baileys or Jim Bean liquor, can really help you make your desserts feel a lot more adult and sophisticated. Plus, it can help to brighten up these dark and dingy nights!

 

Picture – Pixabay

Go To Asia

It’s a good idea to visit Asia when you cook and make some dishes that are popular with the likes of China, Thailand, and Vietnam. These countries love their spicy countries, and a bit of extra spice to your food can help raise your temperature. Not only that, though, but they also cook with a lot of fresh veggies. Cooking with plenty of vegetables will ensure that you get all the necessary nutrients to stay fit and healthy through the colder months. Plus, lots of Asian countries love their soups, so you get the best of both worlds: super soups and a spicy kick!

Add More Leafy Greens

When you aren’t cooking Asian-inspired cuisine, indulgent desserts, or comforting soups, you should try to add as many leafy greens to your meals as possible. These can help to bulk out your meals so you don’t have to eat so many carbs and fatty foods, and that way, you don’t have to worry about your waistline this winter. But there’s also another reason why you should try and eat as many leafy greens this winter – it’s because they are incredibly healthy! They are full of lots of vitamins and minerals that can help you stay as fit as a fiddle through the season.

So, there you have it. Winter cooking doesn’t have to be tricky, and it certainly doesn’t mean you need to be a slave in the kitchen!