Vacay Ready? Not Without These, You’re Not!

 

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Now that we’re almost officially in summer, it’s time to start getting vacation ready. Whether you’re visiting family for a few days, heading to the beach, or even flying out internationally, there’s nothing quite like the promise of a vacation to make you feel happy. But, before you get too excited, you’re going to want to make sure that you’ve got everything in order to have a good time. From your beauty prep to your packing prep, you’re only vacay ready when you’ve got these covered…

 

A Manicure

 

No holiday is perfect without a manicure to match. When you’re heading out to the beach for the weekend, or going on a romantic break away, you’re going to want to make sure your nails are up to scratch. Because a nice shiny manicure always makes you feel holiday ready. If you’re going to a hot climate, you’re going to want to make sure you have the pedicure to match too.

 

Luggage

 

Okay, so you’ve probably got some big suitcases tucked away in storage ready to check in for your flight or chuck in the boot of the car. But, what about your carry on? When you’re heading on a flight or a long road trip, you need to make sure that you have your essentials in one place. From you iPad for entertainment to your travel itinerary, it all needs a safe place to stay. For gorgeous, printed and monogrammed purses, browse at VivandLou.com.

 

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Summer Reads

 

No beach vacation is complete without the right summer read. Even if you’re heading out to a cozy cabin in the woods, or a super chic ski resort, a good book is perfect to help you relax and unwind. When it comes to finding the perfect read to keep you entertained while you’re away, you’re going to want to check out a list of summer beach reads and see which is right for you. With settings on the beach or in a city, you’re bound to find a book to match your own vacation.

 

Moisturizer

 

When you’re heading out to a hot location, your skin is going to suffer a little. We all know that we need sunscreen at the beach, or whenever the sun shines on our skin, but are you also packing enough moisturizer for your trip? When your skin starts to get dry, you need to make sure you can keep on top of your moisturizing regime to ensure that it stays healthy. It’s also important for colder climates, to keep your skin as hydrated as possible.

 

A Tan

 

And who doesn’t want to hit the beach with a perfect base tan? If you’re not lucky enough to live in a sunny climate and catch some rays at the weekend, you can always fake it. There are so many tanning lotions that can give you that perfect summer glow before you get there. So, take a look at the brands and styles available and see which tanning product is perfect for you.

 

 

Keep Calm: Five Ways You Can Work On Your Inner Zen

It can be a hectic life we all lead. With busy jobs, crazy social lives and burning the candle at both ends, it’s understandable that we all may want to re-align our inner Zen from time to time. Sometimes we can get too overwhelmed with the routine and tribulations of daily life, it can all feel too much, and we can slowly slip into a negative mindset, or worse still feel lost on our path. However, if you find yourself losing a grip relax and keep calm, one of these five ways is bound to help you get back on track.

 

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Exercise or yoga

 

So many people will encourage you to exercise especially if you struggle with some form of mental health issue. Beating depression and anxiety, for example, have both been linked closely to have an improved state of mind when you exercise. Your body produces endorphins, and the hormone can make you feel good. So whether it is going out for a run, or incorporated your mind as well as your body in an exercise like yoga, you may find that it’s the perfect option for you to realign your inner zen once more.

 

Meditation

 

Meditation is another thing a lot of people state can have a positive effect on your mental well-being. It sort of forces you to stop and take a moment for yourself. Focusing on your breath and the thoughts that you allow entering your mind. It’s a great way of gaining some clarity. Of course, it can be hard to switch off the mind if this is something you don’t often do, or haven’t tried before, so downloading some guided meditations to your phone can be a great way to help you get started.

 

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Self-help books or courses

 

Being proactive with your mindset is a great way to switch things into a more positive outlook. Self-help books that link with cognitive behavioral therapy or physical courses you can take like avatar training can all help you calm your inner workings and be more in line with the path you wish to take.

 

Positive mental attitude

 

Sometimes it can be the simplest things that can make the biggest difference, and one of those is thinking purposely positive. This might be simply turning a negative thought into something positive. Or repeating over, and over a positive outlook on a situation, you may currently be facing. A positive mindset can be difficult to master at first, but once you get into the habit you will find you won’t purposely have to do it, you will automatically think more that way.

 

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Doing something you enjoy

 

Finally, doing something you enjoy can be simple yet effective. For example, taking a long hot bath or shower, curling up to read a book, or even heading out for a walk in the fresh air. It’s taking you out of a negative situation and doing something that puts a smile on your face.

 

I hope that at least one of these methods will help you work on your inner zen.  

The Anatomy Of Healthy Travel

 

Exploring the world is what life’s all about. But traveling can be unpredictable, and things can and do go wrong.

 

Health is a major concern for many travelers, especially when going to unfamiliar parts of the world. In some developing countries, there is a risk of catching malaria, waterborne illnesses and food poisoning. And even in wealthier countries, like Switzerland, there is still the change of altitude sickness and hypothermia at high elevations.

 

For these reasons, travelers need to take their health seriously. Here is some advice for keeping in good health while traveling abroad.

 

Be Extra Careful Around Water

 

Unlike in Western countries, many developing countries near the equator don’t have facilities to treat water. As a result, a lot of water contains parasites and bacteria that can quickly ruin a trip. Drinking infected water can leave you glued to the toilet seat for days on end.

 

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When it comes to liquids, there are two important pieces of advice. The first is that if you are going to drink local water, make sure it’s boiled first. Drink plenty of hot teas and herbal drinks and avoid anything cold. Second, drink canned drinks. Canned drinks are made in factories that only use filtered water and so they are much more likely to be free from contaminants and bacteria.

 

Finally, if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you can purify your water, so long as you don’t mind the taste of the purifying chemicals.

 

Don’t Be Foolish

 

Just because you’re on holiday, doesn’t mean that you should take unnecessary risks. As such, international health insurance is essential. Foreign countries usually won’t have reciprocal relationships with your countries of origin to provide health care, and so if you do fall sick, you’ll have to pay out of pocket, and that could cost you a lot of money. Worse still, funds might not be available in your account, and you might not receive treatment.

 

Heat And Sunshine

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If you’re used to colder weather, you’re used to getting too little sun, not too much. But believe it or not, it is possible to get too much of a good thing, especially in places where daytime temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

 

Many travelers suffer from heat stroke and some point in their traveling careers. Heat stroke is brought on when the body isn’t equipped to deal with high daytime temperatures. Wear lighter, looser fabrics if you can, and if you’re going out in the midday sunshine on an expedition (to, say, the Pyramids) make sure you wear a hat. Factor 50 sunscreen might protect your skin, but it won’t keep heat stroke at bay.

 

Mosquitos

 

Malaria is a serious disease, but it’s not the only disease carried by mosquitos. The insects also carry another disease called Dengue Fever. The problem is that there is no vaccine against malaria that’s commonly available right now so protecting yourself takes a bit of effort. Insect repellents and mosquito netting at night are essential, especially if you’re camping in the open.

 

Beside The Seaside- Fun Things To Do at The Beach!


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There’s nothing nicer than a day out at the beach when the weather warms up. Plenty of sunbathing and relaxation is probably on the cards, but you don’t need to spend the entire time just lying around. Whether you want to get some exercise in or just have fun with friends and family, here are some activities you could do to make a day of it.

 

Play Some Water Sports

The ocean is a playground, and there are so many sports and fun activities you could try out! You could try surfing or paddleboarding, even if you’re not at a tropical beach and it’s a bit cooler you can purchase a wetsuit for SUP surfing to keep you warm in the water. How about snorkeling or scuba diving or even jet skiing- lots of beaches will have activities like this nearby where you can hire equipment and go on a tour or class. Especially if you’re in a more popular tourist area.

 

Play Games on The Beach

Even if you don’t fancy getting in the water, there are a ton of great games you can play on the beach itself. If you’re out with friends, how about setting up a game of cricket or beach volleyball? You could kick a ball around or throw a frisbee for your dog to chase. If you’re at the beach with kids, you could build sandcastles or take a walk to collect sea shells. Some exercise, fresh air, and fun all rolled into one.

 

Watch Out For Wildlife

You might think you need to be somewhere super tropical and sunny to see creatures like whales and dolphins. However, it’s not the case if you’re lucky you can see them from locations all across the world including America, Canada, the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Each destination also has its resident wildlife. You could explore a rockpool, or keep an eye out for crabs, turtles, lizards or any other fascinating species that live in the country you’re visiting.

 

Have a Picnic

There’s usually no shortage of cute cafes and food places near any touristy beach area. However, there’s something nice about packing up your own little stash and enjoying it out on the sand. Lay down a large blanket and pack up a cool bag with a selection of treats, not forgetting plastic cutlery and plates. If you’re visiting the beach with little ones, consider bringing a parasol or beach tent too. That way you can keep them shaded especially during the sunniest part of the day. If you’re planning on making a day of it, a picnic means you have enough to eat and drink. You don’t need to bother with the hassle of going to grab something to eat, or spend a lot of money!

 

So pack up the car with everything you need and head down to the beach! There are few better ways to spend a sunny day.

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What’s your favorite way to spend a day at the beach? Do you have any beach visits planned this spring/ summer?

How To Be More Present In The World

The world seems difficult at the moment. People are warring, politics is harsh and terrifying, and it’s getting harder and harder to rely on our own instincts. A lot of us are starting to think that we need to rely more deeply on ourselves and our most innermost thoughts and instincts. Here are some tips on how to be more present in your everyday life.


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Observe People

One of the best ways to learn about yourself is to figure out the sort of responses that you evoke in other people. Consider how you can adapt your behaviour to make other people feel comfortable, and look at your own body language – are you smiling? Are you open, or are your arms folded over your chest? Also, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to fill quiet spaces all the time. Allowing yourself time to think and breathe is an absolutely crucial part of the quest to get to know yourself better. In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a character says “Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.” Although mindless chat is fun sometimes, remember that you don’t have to insert your words into every quiet space. Simply being is often enough.


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Learn About Psychic Abilities

You may believe in psychics, or you may not – they may be real, and again, they may not. No one can prove it – but one thing is for certain: they can change the way that you look at your life. There are some completely honest psychics out there and others who are crooks and who will use your body language and responses to find exactly what you want to hear. Are they telling your future? Nope. But that doesn’t mean that nothing will be revealed to you. Anything that interprets your personality in some small way can be used to reflect back on yourself, whether that’s a palm reader or a tarot reader – you can find tarot reading phone numbers online if you don’t want to track one down in your local area. Simply opening yourself to the possibility of learning about yourself will enable you to do so.


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Discover Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, but the truth is that you don’t need any workshops or fragrances or extensive literature to understand it. Rather, you just need to remember that being mindful means being present. It’s so easy to focus on your regrets from the past or your worries about the future but if we’re completely honest with ourselves, happiness can only be found in cherishing what we have in the moment. If you’re busy thinking about whether or not it’s going to rain tomorrow, you won’t notice the sun shining outside. If you find it hard to be present in the moment, then try meditation. You don’t have to do it for hours or twist yourself up into a pretzel doing a yoga routine. Instead sit still for five minutes and focus intently on your breathing. It might be hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will get.

 

Ready For Your Close Up? How To Take The Ultimate Selfie


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Since the rise of social media it appears the world has all become a little bit narcissistic.  That’s not a bad thing, according to experts being on the narcissistic spectrum is perfectly healthy, it means we have confidence in ourselves and want to promote our best assets.  However there is an end to the spectrum that you don’t want to find yourself on, the self obsessed end!

 

Whilst Instagram and Twitter are packed full of images which promote our lives in the best light of all, you don’t see many images of your friends in the morning after a terrible night out or snap shots of them spilling soup down their tie at lunch because they are having a difficult hump day, most of us manage to find the happy balance between snapping a great shot and becoming completely obsessed with perfection.

 

If social media is ruling your life then you need to master the art of it’s biggest craze, the selfie.

 

Taking a selfie doesn’t have to be complicated.  Just spin the camera around and click.  However, there are lots of factors to consider if you want to look your best and not end up posting shots that widen your face, allow people to see up your nose or make you look like you have a double chin.  Easy when you are in control, not so much when your friends grab you together for a quick shot.

 

Would you believe there is even a photography course on the art of the selfie? No, neither could we, but it exists.  So we grabbed some tips from the professionals and thought we would share them with you.

 

Aim low!

 

No not in your standards, we are talking camera angle.  If you shoot from a higher angle pointing down onto your face, you will give the appearance of a slimmer face and even reduce the size of some of your features.  Don’t go too high or you will draw focus to your forehead.  You want to catch your eyes and that will become the focal point of the image.  

 

Don’t duck face!

 

The craze of duck face seems to be the order of the day but don’t fall victim to it’s allure! Instead opt for a delicate smile or better still, show some teeth.  Just make sure they are nice and white! Although if they aren’t, you can fake it!

 

Check your surroundings.

 

There have been some incredible selfie fails due to a dirty bedroom or unwanted feature behind you.  When snapping a selfie remember to choose a good environment.  The internet can be pretty unforgiving of a dirty bathroom.  Opt for a nice plain coloured wall and use it to keep the focus on your face.

 

Fake it!

There are hundreds of apps on the internet which can improve the quality of your photos.  From Facetune where you can smooth out your skin and brighten your eyes, to instagram where you can add filters and edit like a pro!

 

Have fun and enjoy yourself.  This craze seems set to stay!

All The Occassions When A Dinner Party Is Always Appropriate

A dinner party is often a great choice for many occasions. They can be very flexible. A dinner party can be as formal or as informal as you wish it to be. The beauty of it is that it is your decision on how the dinner party goes. You may sit everyone down and have a set meal plan. Or you may like to serve up food in big dishes and let everyone dig in.
The great thing about a dinner party is that you get to choose the menu you serve, and the drinks everyone devours. With plenty of inspiration on the internet from webistes like Pinterest or www.wine.net/bottle-talk/. You can’t go wrong when making informed decisions. So I thought I would share with you some of the obvious and not so obvious occasion where a dinner party will be the perfect way to celebrate. If you have any to add let me know.


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A Special Birthday

Some of us may not want to celebrate our birthdays with a big party and be the centre of attention. Which is why a dinner party is an excellent alternative. It allows the setting to be much more informal without the need for the big gestures. Again the beauty of it is that it can be tailored to the individual, so if you still want a little limelight, then it is yours to take. You can also decorate the table and room setting with lots of birthday decorations. 
To Celebrate Friendship

When was the last time you and your friends got together to celebrate your friendship? Probably a while ago. With daily routines and lives taking over it can be hard to get a date booked in the diary with our friends. So this is where a dinner party can be a perfect choice. Find a date, get it booked in then spend the evening reminiscing over old memories, good food, and good wine. 
The Night before a Wedding

Traditionally the night before the wedding was always spent on a hen and stag night. But the trend now is that people do these in advance, so the eve of your wedding is often free. So why not mark the occasion with close friends and family and have an informal dinner party? It would be a great way to iron out last minute details and get excited about the impending big day.
New Years Eve

If you have a family then long gone are the days where you went clubbing to celebrate the new year in, or it may not be as often anymore. So why not mark the occasion with other friends and have a big dinner party? You could invite the friends who also have children and make a whole night of it. The kids can fall asleep and are safe, and you can celebrate as you were out, but in the comfort of your own home. Win win. 

I also think Halloween can be a great themed dinner party and let’s not forget the Christmas period. Which offers a whole host of reasons to get together with loved ones. I hope this has inspired you to consider a dinner party for some other occasions. 

Fun Things To Do With Friends This Summer


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Now we’re all grown up, it’s hard to recapture that ‘school’s out for summer’ feeling. Remember when school closed and the holidays stretched on and on? Though we can’t go back in time, we can still have fun. Get together with a group of your girlfriends this summer and try some of these activities.

 

  1. Road Trip

A road trip is something that everyone should experience at least once. And what better way to do this than with a group of your BFFs. Throw your bags in the trunk, load up some tunes, and you’re off.

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  1. Camping

Camping is a great way to experience new places at a fairly low cost. Campsites are so much cheaper than hotel rooms. And you get to sleep beneath the stars and cook on a campfire. Combine your trip with a festival to make the most of it. There are plenty of events to choose from like these festivals.

 

  1. Shopping

Shopping is always fun but never more so than when you’re with your friends. Rather than heading to the mall or your local town, do something a bit different. Drive or get the train out to a different town and hit the shops. If you’re a little cash poor, then set yourselves a budget. See who can get the best haul for $20.


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  1. Movie Night

Set up a regular movie night and take turns to host it. The host gets to pick the film and must provide refreshments. Keep it simple with chips and dips or go for something more elaborate. Or treat your friends to some of your home cooking.

 

  1. Rent A Cottage

Rent a house or cottage for the weekend. Drive out to somewhere rural or remote and stay for a few days. Choose somewhere with plenty to do and see. You can then decide whether to explore or stay close to home. This is always a fun thing to do before someone gets married. It reinforces the bond you have before the bride’s life changes.


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  1. Pamper Day

Who doesn’t enjoy being pampered? But doing it with friends adds a whole new dimension. Book a spa or massage and spend the day relaxing. Choose somewhere with a pool and other leisure facilities. Make the most of your time. If a full spa day is out of your budget, then opt for a manicure or facial massage instead.

 

  1. Cook A Meal 

Gather your friends together and cook them a slap-up meal. Really go to town, serving different courses and wine. Complete the meal with a sumptuous and indulgent dessert.

  1. Hang Out

Remember when you just went to each other’s homes and hung out? Nothing much was achieved, least of all homework. You just talked endlessly. Rekindle this by inviting a few friends round. Talk, have fun, drink some wine.



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  1. Set Up A Culture Day

Set aside a day or afternoon where you can explore everything your local town has to offer. Visit a museum or art gallery. See what’s showing at the theater.

 

  1. Do Something Different

And lastly, try something completely different. Step outside of your comfort zone and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Who knows, it may become your new ‘thing.’

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