Top Tips To Ensure A Laughter Filled Festive Season

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There are many ways to ensure that you have a holly jolly Christmas just like the song proposes. Making your festive season full of fun, frivolity and laughter will ensure that you have a holiday where the happiest of memories are made. There’s nothing better than sitting down with the family in front of a warm roaring fire, roasting chestnuts and enjoying some quality time together. When you think of Christmas, images of heavily gift-laden stockings, large Norwegian firs and advent calendars come to mind. Now it’s time to add jokes, laughter and giggles to those thoughts. Take a look at how you can bring more fun to your Christmas this year.

The Christmas Movie Days

On the run-up to Christmas, we begin to see the trailers for the movies showing on TV this season. There is a vast array of hilarious comedies for the entire family to enjoy. If you were born in the 1980s and can just about scrape into the early millennial category of human beings, you’ll remember the slapstick farce of Home Alone, Scrooged and Groundhog Day. If you’re now enjoying Christmas with your own offspring, why not show them the films that you used to watch as well as enjoying the modern classics of Elf and Arthur Christmas. Movies have an awesome power of bringing people together across a bowl of popcorn and a tub of ice cream.

For The Clown In Your Life

If your partner adores a particular comedian, why not bite the bullet and purchase some tickets as a gift that will allow them to see their favorite stand-up live. Even if your loved one’s comedy of choice is hugely popular, you can still investigate a service like TicketOffices to hunt down that elusive pair of tickets. People who want to resell their tickets because they can’t attend an event can make them available through reputable websites that act as a platform for people desperate to attend a concert or gig. You won’t be at risk of scammers, won’t have to rely on a tout and your ticket is 100% guaranteed.

Get Outdoors

It doesn’t matter whether it is sub-zero outside and you are knee deep in snow, or whether it’s mild and balmy, it can pay to get outdoors over the festive season. Head to your local park with your pals, have a festive picnic, enjoy a game of frisbee or kick a ball around, and relish the opportunity to have a laugh and a chuckle over a turkey vol au vent or two. Surround yourself with the people that bring joy to your life and help you find fun during the festive season. Moments spent reminiscing about college days or discussing the trials and tribulations of watching your little one’s first nativity play can leave you struggling to breathe through sheer laughter.

Moments of side-splitting guffawing become fewer and farther between as we get older. Use this Christmas as an excuse to try and achieve as many laughter-filled moments as you possibly can. Happy Christmas!

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Christmas Gift Guide For Him

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Christmas is the perfect time to show the man in your life how much you love and appreciate him. Men can be very difficult to buy for. Most of the time you will ask him what he wants and he will simply say ‘i don’t know’. It can be a mission in itself trying to drill ideas out of their heads, let alone buy them.

Luckily, we feel your pain so we’ve come up with some ideas to give you a head start and hopefully a spark of inspiration for the man in your life this year. Whether it be your dad, uncle, boyfriend, son or cousin- these ideas suit any male of the species and will be sure to gain a smile on Christmas morning when they open them up.

Gadgets

If your man loves his toys, you can take this opportunity to feed his technological mind and buy him something he can build or play with in the evening on christmas day. You could opt for video games like Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire or Mario Kart; a console for him to setup and play with; or even a remote control drone he can fly over the garden. Make sure you find out what areas you are allowed to fly a drone in first though.

Food

The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Food is one of the greatest joys of the festive season… and every other season to be honest. There are a huge range of foods and food related gifts you could buy him this year:

Sweet: A box of chocolates,a giant ferrero rocher, a jar of retro sweets… the possibilities are endless

Savoury: You could buy him a pack of sauces for cooking, some peanuts and snacks, chips and dips and even a cheese board with some crackers

Cooking: a tagine for slow cooking, cooking sauces and chilli for experimenting in the kitchen, a novelty apron he HAS to wear when serving dinner

Drinks:whiskey, beer, ale, hot cocoa set, coffee for his machine… there are loads to choose from

An Experience

If you don’t know what to buy your man this year because he’s fussy; the best idea is to get him an experience day instead. You could be going wine or beer tasting for the day, becoming a zookeeper for a few hours or even indoor skydiving if you don’t want to do the real thing. Getting him something he will remember for years to come is just as special as buying something he can use.

Clothes

If you have a partner who takes more time choosing clothes than you do, then you could be onto a winner if you decide to buy him clothes for christmas this year. You could play it safe and ask him what he wants or needs, or failing that you can trust your instincts and pick something you know he will love. A shirt, tie, scarf and even a pair of jeans will go down pretty well with your man.

Fitness

If your other half has recently got into the gym or a sport: you have loads of different options to buy him this year for christmas. If they are playing football you can buy him a football shirt from his favourite team; if he’s into weights you could treat him to kettlebells for when he trains at home; or if he’s trying to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle you can buy him a water bottle or some new trainers for the gym. There are so many options and you can find some really great items around and about for your man.

Novelty

A stormtrooper whiskey decanter is the perfect gift if your partner has a love of star wars and alcoholic beverages. You can enjoy watching him pour himself a christmas drink out of a storm troopers head on christmas evening. What could be better? Novelty gifts can be found anywhere so you will never run short of ideas. If your other half loves game of thrones- you can buy them a funny tshirt, if they love superheroes you could find some funny boxers, and even if they love the old classic cartoons- you will be able to find novelty slippers and other gifts for the man in your life. A fun idea would be to buy him the most garish, tacky christmas jumper you can find and then make him wear it for the rest of the day. It will be sweet revenge for all those times you asked him to do something and he simply replied ‘in a minute dear’.

Leopard On A Mission – Week Five

I’m back! Oh my, what a busy few weeks I have had preparing and enjoying Thanksgiving. It’s time to get start spreading the kindness again.

This week let’s all surprise a neighbor (or many) with some treats! I love doing things like this all year round, but this time of season is the perfect time to spread some joy, and even meet more of those who live around you.

Keep the posts coming on social media by using the hashtag: #LeopardOnAMission

Have a great week!

Compassion, And What It Can Mean To Someone Who Struggles

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Compassion means everything to those who receive it, and it dignifies those who give it. No matter how hard your hard, or how difficult and hopeless the situation, compassion will lend a meaning to live. Without sounding like we’re preaching from a soapbox, it’s important to understand how the power of this can work. We, humans, are designed to love each other first and foremost. If not from an emotional standpoint, from an evolutionary standpoint. We all know that life is simply better, more bearable, and tragedy more manageable when we share our love for one another. No matter who you show compassion to, your friend who is addicted to a substance, an elderly relative who would benefit from at home care, or even yourself during a rough patch, this article is concerned with celebrating the power and meaning of compassion:

Compassion Reframes Tragedy

Everything is perception, and all is belief. No matter how horrific and tragic the circumstances you or a loved one has experienced, bringing in compassion to the situation lifts it slightly. It helps define a human virtue despite the difficulty. A kind word, a simple statement of encouragement, an action of help and a full-time investment towards resolution can all contribute to the effort of positivity. This can lend you immense strength.

Compassion Gives You Purpose

It’s easy to become disenfranchised or feel worried in the presence of difficulty. Becoming lost is often the temptation for most people. It’s simply a human issue which we all can experience without warning. However, applying compassion to both yourself and others gives you purpose. This can help direct you. Feeling empathic towards your situation allows you to look for solutions.

Notice that compassion and empathy is much more and much different than pity. It looks for solutions after accurately seeing the problem, as opposed to bathing in the problem and hoping it will solve itself. Purpose can help people get out of the most difficult times, so much so that many studies have been undertaken (such as those featured in Dr Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning,) on those trapped in concentration camps in WW2. Those who looked forward to a meaning after the camp, and held on to inspiration and purpose throughout the tragedy were much more likely to survive. This human passion helps us burn through even the most difficult of problems.

Compassions Gives You Clarity

If you have compassion, you’re much less likely to rest in your prejudices and instead listen to the person you’re gifting that compassion to. A drug addict will be seen as a diseased person, someone who needs help as opposed to a morally corrupt or ‘bad’ person. This helps you see the levels of complexity to any situation which can then help you give directed and appropriate help, or refer that person to better help with a more nuanced and appropriate approach.

Compassion helps improve your life, and your social depth even without tragedy to spur it on. Pause for thought and make use of compassion, it could just improve your life more than you know.

Running Injuries That Are Easy To Avoid

Running is a great way to stay in shape and it doesn’t come with a lot of the same dangers as competitive team sports, but that doesn’t mean you can’t injure yourself. Runners have their own set of risks to deal with and if you don’t run with good form, using the right gear, you could put yourself out of action and it’ll take a while to recover. There are a couple of injuries that runners often fall prey to, here’s what they are and how you can avoid them.

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Plantar Fasciitis

This is just a fancy name for an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. It usually gives you a sharp pain in the heel or the arch of the foot. It can be a slight annoyance but if you leave it untreated for too long, it’ll soon become incredibly painful. The two main causes are overworking and lack of proper footwear. If you haven’t got proper running shoes on, you won’t have enough support and you open yourself up to injury. Choosing the right one is a bit of a minefield but if you check out the Running Shoes Guru you’ll find plenty of great reviews to help you find the right ones. Good support should stop you from getting Plantar Fasciitis, as long as you aren’t running too often.

It’s tempting to get out and run every day when you’re constantly competing with yourself and trying to smash your best time. But you’ve got no chance of beating your record if you can’t run at all. Even with the best running shoes, your feet can only take so much. If you overwork them you’ll almost certainly end up with problems, so always take a couple of days off throughout the week.

Achilles Tendinitis   

This one is the Achilles heel of runners everywhere. All it means is that you’ve got inflammation in your Achilles tendon. It takes a long while to heal because there isn’t that much blood flow to the area so preventing it is vital. You’ll get pain around your heel and up the back of your foot, there’s also a lot of swelling that can make it unbearable to walk, let alone run.

Tight calves are one of the main culprits of an Achilles injury because if your calves aren’t taking enough of the impact, it all gets put on the Achilles tendon. If you overtrain and your calves are suffering because of it, you’re likely to develop an Achilles injury. You’re also at risk if there are sudden increases in the intensity of your training. If you’ve decided that your current training regimes just aren’t pushing you hard enough, you’ll want to take things up a notch. But if you go from running twice a week to five times a week and increase the distance at the same time, you’ll hurt yourself. Always increase the intensity gradually over a few weeks and you should be fine.

Iliotibial Tendon

This is a tendon that runs from your hip to your knee and there are all sorts of ways that you can damage it. If you’re feeling a sharp stabbing pain in the side of your knee when you run, that’s a sure sign of an IT injury.

Running downhill a lot is one of the causes because the angle of the incline puts extra stress on your IT. When you run, you usually run with a slight lean, even if you don’t notice it. Running on different sides of the roads helps you to balance it out a bit but if you’re always taking the same route, you could be putting extra stress on your legs. Changing up your route to cut out hills and run in different directions is the best way to avoid an IT injury.

Runner’s Knee

If you experience a dull ache under the kneecap whenever you run, you’ve got runner’s knee. It’s caused by different things in different people but there are a couple of common causes. Not wearing proper footwear is one, but that can be said of pretty much any running injury. Running on uneven ground is another big cause of runner’s knee that can be solved fairly easily by changing your route or buying running shoes with a spongier sole. If you’ve got weak quads or hips, your knees are picking up all the slack.

When it comes to sorting the problem the bottom line is, don’t run if it hurts. Try new footwear and always put an ice pack on it when you’ve got pain.

Most running injuries are caused by overwork, bad form, and lack of proper footwear. If you know what you’re doing and you invest in the right gear, you should be fine.