A Brief History of the Western Belt Buckle

Western attire is characterized by several easily recognizable accessories. There is, of course, the classic cowboy hat and boots. No western outfit is complete without those. Rugged jeans and shirts with snaps and perhaps a bolo tie are also standard. One of the most noticeable accessories is the oversize belt buckle that the wearer displays with pride. In fact, they are often given as prizes to rodeo event winners. How did these extra-large buckles become so popular?

Roots in the Military

There is a large assortment of western belt buckles in vogue. Most are metal but there are other materials such as a bronco leather buckle. The trend started during the Civil War. Members of the cavalry wore large, shiny buckles as a standard part of their uniforms. This practice was adopted from European military tradition. The buckles were a great symbol of the pride they had in their service and their cavalry units. After the war, when rodeos became popular, veterans wore their buckles while competing and often had new buckles made in a similar style but depicting western themes.

Influenced by Hollywood

Cowboys and rodeo became part of show business with traveling shows such as the one run by Buffalo Bill Cody. In the 20th Century, the film industry began and westerns were a popular genre right from the start. Early silent stars like Tom Mix were fitted with large, ornate, silver belt buckles. This continued as other western stars such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers become icons. The flashy buckle became firmly associated with cowboy attire. Rodeo stars were quick to adopt the trend and what prize could be better for the best ropers and riders than a big shiny buckle.

Oversized belt buckles are now firmly established as an essential part of western wear. The bigger and shinier the better. It’s like a trophy always on display for a rodeo star.

Does Depression Lead to Dry Eyes?

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States alone. While it is considered a multifactorial disease with various etymologies, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is the cause of most dry eye cases diagnosed in the clinical setting.

Dry eye syndrome’s other identified risk factors include aging, gender, genetics, stress, smoking, anxiety, and depression. Among all these causative factors, depression has received widespread attention as the condition influencing the interventions and success rate of an individualized treatment plan. Let’s look at the causes and effects of depression on individuals diagnosed with dry eye syndrome.

Dry eyes can affect your mood

The chronic pressure on the eyelids due to absent or reduced oil production can alter a person’s mood. Though one may feel acclimated to having dry eyes, it can lead to depressed individuals suffering from acute depression attacks. Therefore, the best treatment for dry eye conditions entails a holistic approach that includes addressing the mood changes arising from dealing with the condition. 

Impending vision loss may result in acute depressive attacks 

Dry eye syndrome typically starts with minor signs and symptoms and vision loss when left untreated. The blockage of the Meibomian glands, infection, or low sebum production can often lead to permanent corneal, conjunctival, and eyelid damage. These complications predispose an individual to suffer from permanent vision loss sooner or later. Without proper management and treatment, depressed individuals often feel hopeless and fall deeper into depression instead of finding a treatment option that can help them manage their condition effectively. 

Necessary lifestyle changes

Dry eye syndrome is often diagnosed in its last stages as most individuals are asymptomatic during the early stages of the illness. Apart from eye dryness, there are many other associated symptoms, including itchiness in one or both eyes, eyelid inflammation, irritation, swollen eyelids, and the sensation of having a foreign object in your eye. Dry eye symptoms may be overwhelming for those who suffer from chronic depression. As a result, individuals who fail to perform their routines with the utmost proficiency are more likely to suffer from frequent anxiety attacks. 

Reduced social interactions

Individuals with dry eye syndrome experience blurry vision that can be a safety hazard when walking or driving vehicles. To avoid accidents or exacerbation of symptoms, they choose to isolate themselves instead. In some cases, people undergoing treatment refrain from social interactions until all unwanted signs and symptoms disappear. 

Effective management of dry eye syndrome and depression is key

Many dry eye syndrome patients suffering from depression must receive a comprehensive treatment plan to resolve both conditions. Apart from receiving the right set of management interventions to alleviate the signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome, patients are encouraged to seek the expertise of therapists to treat mood swings and depressive episodes.

Final thoughts

While dry eye syndrome is a non-terminal illness, individuals must be treated promptly to prevent the disease from becoming serious. The impending threat of vision loss can negatively impact one’s state of mind; hence, proper psychological evaluation and treatment must also be implemented to ensure a positive and speedy recovery.

Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/AFaMbjb9sDM

What Does Delta 8 Contain?

Delta 8 does not contain contaminants or toxic chemicals. They are pure, non-GMO, and made from organic hemp. They taste great, too. If you’re curious about Delta 8, read on.  You can also check out different websites to see where some of these products are sold. Click here to visit the official website of Deltamunchies.

Are Delta 8 gummies edible?

What makes Delta-8 gummies so special? The cannabinoid Delta-8 is responsible for the unique effects these gummies have. Ingesting this cannabinoid produces a relaxing high, which can significantly affect an individual’s mood. Delta 8 gummies can help a person achieve complete relaxation, while the THC content of this edible will jeopardize the individual differently. While Delta-8 gummies are known to have a relaxing effect on the body, their results depend on how frequently they are consumed, their age, and the amount of THC they have absorbed. Whether you are looking for a relaxing high or just want to clear your mind from work, Delta 8 gummies can help you achieve your goals.

To be sure your gummies contain the correct amount of Delta-8, look for brands that have third-party lab testing performed. This is the only way to ensure the purity of your final product. Make sure the company you purchase your Delta 8 gummies from conducts third-party lab tests and conducts its own. To avoid buying from unreliable sources, you can also check the labels of your favorite Delta 8 brands. Generally, Delta-8 gummies have a purity level of up to 96%.

For those who want to consume their CBD gummies, Exhale offers delta-8 gummies that contain no THC. These gummies are produced from hemp grown in the United States and come in three flavors: blue raspberry, peach, and watermelon. These gummies are also available as subscriptions.

How long does it take to kick in?

When you start using Delta 8, you may be curious how long it takes to get the desired effect. Many companies have a variety of dosage options. The best way to find out how much Delta 8 is to take is to do a little bit at a time. You should start by taking half of the recommended serving size and slowly work your way up to the recommended dose. You may experience a short-lived lack of energy or a feeling of tiredness, but these effects should wear off as the supplement works.

The effects of Delta-8 depend on how often you vape. If you vape every day, it will take approximately five days to clear your system. It may take up to 10 days for THC metabolites to be eliminated from your system. As you may have guessed, Delta-8 THC will show up in a drug test if you are still in your system. As long as you take your medication according to instructions, the effects of Delta-8 THC will wear off after around a week.

The effects of delta 8 THC take about 45 minutes to three hours to full effect. The time to start feeling the results may differ for everyone, so you should consult your physician. While you should consume edibles at least 60 minutes before taking a cigarette, it can take up to three hours to experience the drug’s full effects. While this is longer than the duration of a vape session, it’s worth remembering that Delta 8 THC tinctures take about 60 minutes to absorb into your system and are fully effective.

Side effects Delta 8 Gummies

If you’re thinking about trying Delta-8 gummies, you need to know what they can do to your body. This cannabis supplement can cause a temporary dry mouth and eyes, but these are relatively mild side effects. The dry mouth is not a sign of dehydration but rather the effects of the compound on the salivary glands. A dry mouth can lead to red eyes and discomfort, but moisturizing eye drops can remedy dry vision.

Delta 8 gummies are a popular form of cannabis. They contain spirulina, an active ingredient that boosts white blood cells and other healthy functions. In addition, they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates homeostasis. These gummies also contain the chemical delta-8 THC, which has many positive effects on the body. However, some users have reported that the drug may cause anxiety, nausea, and vomiting.

Delta 8 can cause users to feel groggy or out of it. While the effects are less pronounced than THC, delta 8 can result in a feeling of grogginess or a strong desire to sleep. These side effects occur when people take too much of the drug. If you are concerned about the impact, be sure to microdose. Those side effects will be mild and temporary.

Use of Coupons Help You to Save Money and Get Better Discount

If you’re interested in buying sports apparel online, you’ve come to the right place. This online store features a list of popular brands and models and offers quick, easy comparison shopping. Choose your size, color, and other details to find the perfect sportswear for you. Delivery is also free within India. You can purchase your sports apparel with confidence. Here are some tips on how to buy the right type of sports gear for your style.

Using Coupons Can Save You A Lot Of Money:

They help you buy more expensive items at a lower price. You can also use them to purchase rival brand products. It will be great if you can get a few of them and accumulate them. You can also create a savings account to save money for emergencies. However, it will be important for you to understand the rules for couponing. Here are some of the benefits of using coupons.

Using the Nike promo code is an easy way to track your savings. By comparing prices with and without coupons, you can see which products are more affordable. Sometimes, you may be able to save a lot of money when you use a coupon. This way, you can save more money on your next purchase. Moreover, you can track how much you save every time you use a coupon. You can even compare prices with different discounts.

Easily Used by Customers:

Another benefit of using coupons is that they can be easily used by customers. You can use them to try out new things that you normally wouldn’t try. You can even get a freebie, which is no less than a gift. This way, you’ll be able to try out something that you never thought possible for yourself. This way, you’ll be rewarded with an opportunity to enjoy something for free. You’ll be happy you did.

Another advantage of using coupons is that they can help your business gain more awareness. The consumer is likely to remember a coupon with your company name and address, which will increase your sales. People will also be more likely to visit your store or website. By providing the names and addresses of the businesses, you can save a lot of money on marketing. In addition to saving money, coupons are good for those who are just starting their business or don’t have a street presence.

Using coupons can also help you save money on everyday items. Most of the time, these items are already on sale, so you can get them at a lower price. So, you can also get a better sense of accomplishment by using coupons. And, you’ll be helping your community at the same time. And it’s worth it to try using these tips to save money. It will be a great benefit for you.

Reduce Your Bill:

Using coupons is a great way to save money. They can help you reduce your grocery bill by as much as 50%. You can use these savings to save on bigger items, like clothes or furniture. It is also possible to find a good coupon for a product that you regularly use. This way, you can be sure to save money on the products you need the most. This is a good way to make more money on the things that you already buy.

Essential Factors to Consider While Relocating Your Business

Entrepreneurs should give business relocation keen attention because it is not easy to do. It would be best if you considered some critical factors to ensure that you make the right decision for the success of your business.

Some of the essential factors include:

Customers

Customers determine the success of every business. So, when you are relocating your business to another location, you need to be sure that you will get enough new customers or that your current customers will still easily access the new area.

With large numbers of customers buying your products, you can be sure of making profits that can help you expand your business. Experts say it would be better to move closer to your customers than move away from them.

Moving closer to your clients makes it convenient to access your products. As a result, your sales volume will increase as you make good profits.

Location

The location you choose will determine the success of your business. Therefore, you need to ask yourself the following crucial questions before you move:

  • Is the new area safe for your business?
  • Will you get sufficient customers for your goods and services?
  • Does the new location have good infrastructure to support your business?
  • Will you find enough workforce in the area?

If the answer is ‘yes,’ you can relocate your company to the new area.

Taxes 

Different states or countries charge different amounts of taxes, which will significantly impact your business. If the tax rate is higher, you will likely make lower or no profits. So, you need to get a location with low tax rates to help you lower costs as you maximize profits.

Relocation Cost

While moving to a new location, check the cost of living so that you don’t end up having more expenses than savings. For instance, if the cost of living is high, you will pay more for rent and workforce than if the cost is lower.

The Anti Valentines

For those of you who know me, you will know how this article is going to go.  As Valentines draws closer and closer I can see the glint in my friend’s eyes.  The hopes and dreams they excite of, candlelit dinners, red roses, marks and spencer’s dine in for 2, followed by a piece of jewellery if their very lucky.  For weeks before it’s the advertising, the pre-ordering of roses and booking of tables.  Valentines is there to apparently show couples how in love they are with each and other and how much they can show it, at a price of course.  If you’re single on the other hand, you can forget it.  It’s a night in with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and Bridget Jones (again).

Couples are subjected to a so called whirlwind of romance and flurries of flowers from their partners.  For that one day the social scene stops and all takes a look at couples and who can outdo each other in the romance stakes.  From dinner and a movie to a weekend away in Paris with Girardeau.  A classic valentine’s move is a romantic dinner for two at your favourite restaurant.  I mean I love a romantic meal with my beloved as much as the next person.  I just don’t want to be enjoying it with the whole restaurant enjoying it for all the same reasons.  Everyone eating from the same set menu and drinking the cheap prosecco that they couldn’t shift at Christmas is not what I deem romantic.  I mean you don’t even get a day off of work for it!  You have to spend 8 hours with your boss compiling a spread sheet on the most romantic day of the year.

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The idea of Valentines actually fills me with dread and exaggerated eye rolling, perish the thought.    For the first 3 years of my relationship by boyfriend was so confused thinking it was a trick, that he booked a table for us the first year, (post eye rolling and cringe).  Instead of being a good and gracious girlfriend and accepting the invitation of a free dinner; I swiftly told him to go and unbook the table, as I was not going to be sat in a room of other ‘nauseating’ couples’.  Poor bloke they probably thought he’d been dumped when unbooking said table.  He was left confused and on edge for the remainder of the evening.

Being in a couple on 14th February I try and just dodge the limelight of the whole one up man ship on who has the ‘best’ boyfriend for one night only.  Luckily my boyfriend works away so I shall remain alone on Valentine’s Day.  The only thing I have to look forward to on Valentines is pity looks and people feeling sorry for me.  (Which I’m fine with by the way).

Now there are the uber romantics who choose to get married on Valentine’s Day.  It may sound romantic for some; it’s a day for hearts and flowers.  However having to share your anniversary with the rest of the world kind of loses it individuality for the star crossed lovers in mind.  Never again will you be able to enjoy a meal out on your anniversary, without there being a tirade of Italian waiters in cheap suits trying to romance you with £5 roses.

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As much as I am the Anti-Valentines of February doom, there isn’t anything more exciting and ego pumping than getting a bunch of flowers from a secret admirer.  I can safely say for that year and that year only I embraced Valentines.  Receiving a phone call from my mum to say a bunch of red roses had been delivered to my house, was the single most ego lifting moment of my life.  A stranger delivering roses to my house, he must have been totally in love with me of course.  However I was much younger and much more easily impressed back then.  Turns out it was an ex-boyfriend trying to rekindle my heart.  Needless to say it didn’t work but top marks for effort.

If you want to impress me or any other Anti-Valentine’s Day girls, (because I know there’s more of us out there).  Then don’t follow the crowd and copy the other 6 million men out there.  Book a table sporadically, get us some flowers on a whim and cook dinner for us one day.  Just leave the 14th out of it.

Images reproduced from wrsol.com and shutterstock.com

What are the Basics of Dressing?

How you dress tells a lot about your character, making it essential to consider the outfits you decide to share with the world. You must understand the basics of dressing and what you can and cannot wear, among other essential tips, when considering your outfit. Local research shows employees who dress better than their employers have a better chance at rising through the ranks and replacing their supervisors. Here are fashion aspects you need to know to dress ideally according to the theme and essence of your planned activities.

Basics of Dressing

Avoid Playing the Part

Your outfit needs to reflect your personality and not give away what you do. Only specific professions require their workforce to have a particular dress code; it may be color-specific or company-assigned uniforms. Other organizations with the freedom to wear clothing allow you to experiment in various designs and express yourself according to how you want to be perceived.

Avoid Cloning

It is not an offense to copy an outfit you find attractive from your colleague, but it would be best to avoid overdoing it. You can observe the styles, colors, patterns, and prints that others wear and make an effort to be unique each day. Psychologists also recommend switching to tie, shirt, and suit combinations frequently to ensure those close to you do not typecast your appearance. If there is anyone you should try cloning, it is the boss; they will take it as an effort to try and look like them.

Quality Over Quantity

Quality over quantity is another fundamental aspect of dressing. Try to keep your outfit as simple as possible by including quality and genuine pieces to increase the chances of your dress standing out. Pick clothes that fit right, are well made, and look as good as new; you will feel shabby with oversized options, while tight ones are restrictive. You will find that quantity-focused outfits are mobile and can move with you quickly while their counterparts are bulky; Lulalu delivers quality bras for every woman.

Other Dressing Tips You May Need

  • It would help if you always closed the middle button on a jacket and never closed the lower one. You can button or unbutton the upper one depending on your current mood and how you want others to perceive you.
  • Do not unbutton more than two buttons when wearing a blouse or shirt.
  • If you have a tie on, ensure it reaches and crosses your waist just a little bit. Wearing a tie will depend on if you have a jacket or not; a tie is unnecessary without a coat.
  • Ladies should settle for either cleavage or a mini skirt when picking out their office outfits. Pairing the two dressing aspects will leave you looking too vulgar and less professional.
  • Ensure you have a belt on if you tuck in your shirt. Also, ensure your belt and shoes match colors for a professional appeal.

Understanding the basics of dressing is the first step to unlocking flawless outfits for work. Every individual needs to know the information shared in this article to maintain a consistent and professional dress code. Do not be afraid to accessorize; ensure you do not overdo.

How to Increase Your Fleet Efficiency

The way in which your fleet operates will directly impact your company’s ongoing profitability, reputation, and sustainability. If you want your company vehicles to play an active role in the ongoing growth of your organization, it’s highly recommended that you go above and beyond to improve their overall efficiency levels.

Advice on how to increase your fleet efficiency can be found in the article below.

Equip yourself with the right tools

If you’re to stand a chance at providing a fleet service that is truly befitting of today, it’s highly recommended that you equip yourself with a whole host of modern tech tools.

Crucially in this instance, you should seriously consider investing in driver assist technology. This tech solution will actively scan the road ahead for potential dangers. The cutting-edge algorithm will examine the oncoming scene, its overall goal being to detect other vehicles, lane changes, and pedestrians before they manifest into safety hazards. With this extra set of eyes at their disposal, your drivers will be far more likely to operate your company vehicles in an alert, astute, and ultimately efficient fashion. To find the very latest and best deals on driver-assist technology, be sure to check out iLink.

Be incredibly fuel-efficient

Your vehicles aren’t going to play a major role in your company’s ongoing growth if they are constantly breaking down. To ensure that you aren’t blighted by fleet downtime, going above and beyond to improve your fuel efficiency is advised.

There are a number of things that you can do to enhance the efficiency of your refueling operation, one of which is to plan periodic fuel stops. As soon as you know what routes your drivers are going to be taking, you should take some time to unearth fuel stations along the way. This will help to keep your vehicles on a timely course as they travel across the country, and it will also help to fend off potential wear-and-tear issues in the fuel filter.

Remain in contact with your drivers at all times

Retaining a clear, coherent, and concise flow of communication with your drivers is very much advised. By remaining in contact with your driving workforce, you will have the capacity to keep them engaged, alert, and efficient over a sustained period of time. What’s more, you will also have the ability to warn them of any traffic delays that may be awaiting them ahead.

To ensure that your drivers are capable of safely taking your calls while they’re out there on the open road, you should consider providing them with robust in-vehicle smartphone holders.

If you’re serious about taking your business from strength to strength over the course of the coming year, improving the overall efficiency of your fleet operation should be one of your top priorities. When you decide to take on this all-important challenge, be sure to remember all of the advice and guidance listed above. Do that, and you’ll be sure to build a productive driving workforce in no time.

Women’s Changing Roles in the Dating World: Part 2

Now on top of flirting, playing it cool and trying to feel empowered all at the same time there is a little media foreplay added to the mix.  Camera phones, Skype and Facebook.  Whatever did we do without all of these media mixes?  We can talk to guys on-line without even having to meet them.  We can flirt, chat and see each other without even having to go on a real date.

The dating world has changed as more and more media aids are being brought out.  The need for discretion is completely disregarded after a couple of wines at home messaging a man you met on-line.  Personally it is not something that I would become involved in, as I am older and wiser and understand that lurid pictures can and will eventually end up in the wrong hands or worse on tin-ter-net!

I think women who are little older will understand this and will be more cautious as to what pictures go into who’s hands.  However what if you are a younger woman just starting out in the dating world and this proves to be the norm.

The way in which teenagers are dating is much different say 10 years ago.  Girls as young as 12 and 13 are having full on sex.  As I am researching this I am shaking my head like a mother would at her daughters choice of Friday night attire!  Girls of 13 having sex tsk tsk!  But really it wasn’t like that when I was younger.  I knew some girls who were sexually active very young but it was with their boyfriend and that was it.  But even then at age 12 and 13 is was extremely shocking and were not considered to be very nice girls (ahem).

Sending naked pictures to people is something of the norm these days, especially for teenagers. It’s just all to easy to do, what with Bluetooth, Facebook, camera phones and Skype. It seems that before teenagers even go on dates with each other they want to see the ‘goods’ first. It’s like nothing is a mystery when it comes to dating and teenagers. Some young girls have boyfriends that they have just starting going out with and before they even gone out they are sending naked pictures to each other! I have a teenage brother who will regularly receive naked pictures from girls he is either dating or who he has not even met! He says its normal and its harmless and that no one is getting hurt.

I do believe that there is a pressure for both these boys and girls. I think there is a pressure on these boys from their peers to get girls to send them pictures. Also I think there is certainly a pressure from these girls to send pictures out to these boys. If at a younger age girls are being pressurised into sending explicit pictures to boys it maybe just another way that the dating world has evolved. I’m not saying that I agree with it and I certainly wouldn’t encourage my son or daughter to be a part of that. However with all this new technology it’s difficult for teenagers not to experiment with these things. I think it can lead to the wrong impression but these boys need to stop asking for naked pictures and these girls need to learn to say no to giving them if they don’t want them leaked into the internet. Please read more: https://topdatingreviews.net/review/victoriabrides/

 

Images reproduced from firsttoknow.com and west-info.eu

Dry Fruits Burfi

A perfect sweet recipe to make if you have not yet made any for this diwali or short of time to try out elaborate sweet dishes. The recipe does not call for addition of any sugar or jaggery! Just some dry fruits and nuts of your choice combined together till well mixed. This has got to be the simplest yet a royal sweet recipe I have ever come across!

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Mom makes this quite often, festivals or not. I enjoy having it even as a mid morning snack!

Diwali is just round the corner and so there isn`t much time for elaborate talk. And so today I move on straight to the recipe..

And while you are here, do not forget to check out some more recipes that can very well go as part of your diwali menu..

Some visuals of the process, mom is making them & I was just clicking!
DRY FRUITS BURFI
Recipe source – my amma
Ingredients
The following measurements are rough approximates. You can easily vary as per taste but let dates be of more quantity than the rest as it helps to bind the ingredients together easily.
Dry dates (khajur) – 500 gms
Almonds/ badam (whole) – 100 gms
Cashew/ kaju – 100 gms
Raisins/ draksh – 100 gms
Dry figs/ anjeer – 100 gms
Pistachio/ pista (plain) – 100 gms (optional)
Ghee – 2 to 3 tbsp or as needed
Method
Deseed dates and chop fine or pulse for 2-3 times in mixer to chop them up very coarsely. Do NOT make a paste. Chop badam, cashew, pista (if adding) coarsely with knife or pulse in mixer to chop very coarsely. Chop anjeer.
Grease a tray/ thali with ghee, set side.
In a wide and thick bottom pan/ kadai put in all the chopped dry fruits, nuts, raisins. Mix once.
Add a tablespoon or two ghee, keep the pan over heat and mix and heat, stirring constantly till all the ingredients bind and stick together, forms almost one mass. You can add 1-2 tbsp more ghee if needed for sheen.
Transfer to greased tray and pat/ flatten on top to smoothen. Let cool. Cut into squares and store in airtight container.
Notes
1. The measurements given are rough approximates. You can easily vary as per taste but let dates be of more quantity than the rest as it helps to bind the ingredients together easily.
2. You can skip anjeer too and make the same with dates and the remaining dry fruits/ nuts.

Malai Kofta Curry

Before I got interested in cooking, I used to order Malai Kofta Curry whenever we ate out as I used to think that this must be a very complicated dish to make. But believe me it’s not! Not only is it easy to make, it’s not too time consuming either. It’s a fantastic dish to make as it’s rich and spicy but also contains loads of vegetables.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

Time: 45 minutes to cook  (Suggest that you allow more time for the koftas to soak in the gravy before serving)

Ingredients for the koftas:

2 cups of any mixed vegetables – (I used frozen carrots, cauliflower, green beans and peas)
1 cup of diced potatoes (I used small new potatoes)
Small bunch of fenugreek or spinach (whatever is available)
1-2 cups of breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon blended green chilies
1 teaspoon blended garlic
1 teaspoon blended ginger
1 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 litre oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)

Ingredients for the gravy

2 cups of blended tomatoes (I used Passata as it helps to make a thick gravy)
2-3 small onions
2-3 spoons of melted butter
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
2-3 cloves
1-2 small sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon blended green chilies
1 teaspoon blended garlic
1 teaspoon blended ginger
½ teaspoon of garam masala
½ teaspoon of mixture of ground cinnamon and cloves
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
2-3 teaspoons of  brown sugar (or any sweetener)
1 cup of cream – (I used double cream)
½ cup of cashew nuts
2 teaspoons of cornflour (or you can also use chick pea flour)

Method: 

1. Mix the frozen vegetables, fenugreek and potatoes and cook them until soft.  I washed and drained the vegetables and microwaved them for 5 minutes and again 5 more minutes.  The time would depend on the size of your microwave.

2. When the vegetables have softened, blend them either by using a masher or a food processor.

3. Add the spices – salt, chilli powder, turmeric, blended green chillies, ginger, garlic, garam masala, lemon juice and mix.

4. Now add the breadcrumbs slowly until the mixture feels firm enough to make into small balls. You should get 15-16 kofta balls.

5. Deep fry the kofta balls.  To stop the kofta balls from being sticky -the best way to make them is to either coat your hands with some oil when forming the balls or you can dip your hands in some breadcrumbs. I tried both ways and it worked fine and the koftas fried well without breaking. In the picture below, the koftas on the left were coated with breadcrumbs and the ones on the right with oil. 

6. Now to make the gravy – Blend the tomatoes, onions and cashews in a blender.

7. Heat the butter and add in the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon.

8. When the cumin seeds get darker – add in the blended tomatoes.

9. Add the spices, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, blended green chillies, garlic and ginger, garam masala, ground cinnamon and cloves, lemon juice and the brown sugar or sweetener.

10. Add two cups of water to the gravy.

11. When this gravy starts to boil, lower the heat and add in the cornflour.

12. Allow the gravy to cook for 5-6 minutes and add in the double cream (saving a bit for the garnishing) and stir well.

13. Transfer the koftas to a serving dish and pour the gravy over the koftas.

14. Garnish the kofta curry with some cream and cashew nuts.

15. Allow the koftas to soak up all the gravy spices for half an hour and serve hot with rice. Be gentle when serving as you don’t want to break any of the koftas.

Spicy Parathas with Tomato, Onion, Garlic, Ginger & Coriander

My last three recipes have been on Indian sweets so this week, I thought I would share with you my recipe for parathas. Most Indian food is accompanied by rice or Indian breads like chappatis, puris, naan, parathas etc.  This version of fluffy and spicy parathas is perfect with lunch or dinner.

Ingredients for serving 4 people
Time 40-50 minutes

½ cup of passata or blended tomatoes
1 small piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
1-2 green chillies (use less if you don’t want to make them too hot)
Small bunch of finely cut coriander
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons oil for the dough
3 cups of chappati flour to make the dough (Available in most supermarkets or Asian grocers – often called Atta)
½ cup flour for dusting the parathas when rolling them.
2 cups oil for frying (I use sunflower oil)

Method:

1. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies to the tomato mixture and grind it all in a blender.
2. Sieve the flour and add in the salt and turmeric and the coriander. I didn’t blend in the coriander with the passata as I wanted the porathas to have some green specks.

3. Add in the 2 tablespoons of oil and mix.

4. Using the tomato mixture, mix the dough. If you don’t have enough tomato mixture, you can use some warm water to finish making the dough . The dough should be nice and pliable. Keep this covered for 20 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into 10 or 12 equal balls.

6. You can roll out this paratha as a round paratha and lightly fry it as per my instructions below or you could use this style to create a “wow factor”.

7.  Roll out the paratha and brush some oil on one side and dust it with some flour.

8.  Fold it in half.

9. Fold it again so it is now a quarter.

10. Dust it with some flour.

 

10. Now roll it so that it looks like a triangle paratha

11.  Now transfer it to cook on a a frying pan (or tava if you have one).

12. Allow it to cook slightly and turn it. Once the paratha is par cooked, lightly brush it with oil and cook it until it rises.

13. Your parathas are now ready to eat on their own or with any curries or raita.

Images courtesy of Mina Joshi

Chicken with Peppers and Olives

chicken peppers olives

When I’m in the UK I am careful to try and not buy too much food out of season and nearly always look to find out how far away it’s comes from. I like to try and keep my food miles down, but in Dubai you don’t have that much choice. Although I try and use local produce, like Lebanon cucumbers, which are a smaller than European ones. I do like a variety of ingredients and some foods have travelled from miles away. Apples for example nearly always comes from the USA or Australia and I’ve yet to see any more mainland Europe, must I’m sure there must be, but even Europe is over 5 hours away.

As the vegetables have travelled they do not last very long. I bought the peppers, for this recipe, two days ago and they are starting to turn and so had to use quickly. In the UK these would have lasted at least a week before they started to turn for the worse. I wonder if that is because they have travelled or for other reasons, like added chemicals, but I wont look into it in case I don’t like the answer.

I am a big fan of peppers as they are incredibly versatile, you can cook them quickly or a long time and they have a different texture. They work wonderfully in a salad, either raw of cooked and are very tasty when stuffed, roasted, as the main ingredient or as a complimentary ingredient in another recipe. When I was a vegetarian they became a stable in my diet and even now that I’m a meat eater I still use them a lot.

This is a very simple recipe that you can cook either quickly, if you want crunchy peppers or longer if you like them softer and sweeter. It’s also very low in fat and a healthy meal and if you don’t want to use chicken it makes a lovely light vegetarian meal.

  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • 4 peppers of each colour, red, yellow, green and orange, sliced
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbls tomato purée
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 400g chicken thighs, skinned, boned and diced
  • 100g black olive, stoned and sliced
  • salt and pepper to season
  • (serves 4)

Put the oil into a pan and turn on the heat. Add the onions, garlic and chilli (if using) and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onions are soft, but do not allow to brown.

Add the sliced peppers and mix into the onion mixture and gently fry for 4-5 minutes.

Throw in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, mixed herbs and bay leaves and mix together and  bring to the boil

Add the chicken, olives and salt and pepper to season. Cook for a minimum of 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked or like me for over an hour as I like soft peppers

Serve with any kind of pasta or long grain rice.

Goodbye Honeymoon… Hello Relationship

The honeymoon period in most relationships is usually crammed with the culmination of endearing gestures, poignant revelations and spontaneous acts. From being contentedly overwhelmed by the late night phone calls and flirty text messages, to the impulsive date nights and that feeling of being totally besotted with each other; it is easy to conclude that the dating process with the right person can be extremely pleasurable! However, similar to the purchase of a new car, or the acquisition of a new property, it is only human nature for the initial exhilaration and novelty to wear off and become part of the norm. So what do you do when you have cleared the initial hurdles only to be confronted by another relationship stumbling block, where communication diminishes, spontaneous gestures stop and he outwardly expresses a preference to spend an evening out with the boys?

General Paranoia Vs Women’s Intuition

With the explosion of celebrity infidelities, shocking chat shows and the continuous growth of the social media, it is hard not to start scrolling through his phone, hacking his Facebook or checking his pockets. However, every relationship is unique and should be treated as such. So whilst his lack of constant affection may be a sign that he is losing interest, it could also indicate a new sense of security where he no longer feels the need to outwardly devote all his attention to his chosen soul mate. Intuition can provide answers behind suspicious activity or a change in behaviour, but be cautious as not all change is detrimental.

Sorry babe I’m busy!

Do you remember the time when your partner had the innate ability to juggle his appointments, postpone meetings and deprive himself of sleep in order to tend to your needs? Suddenly you come to a point in your relationship where all your invites are declined; excuses are commonplace and you no longer feel like a priority, due to his ‘work commitments.’ Rejection at any level can dent one’s pride, but it can be particularly hurtful if you are used to a set behaviour. Nonetheless, the word ‘busy’ literally translates to unavailable and should not be taken personally once you have settled into a relationship. Whilst his sudden change in priorities could indicate a straying eye, with the dramatic increase of shift work and longer hours, he could just be trying to keep up with a demanding and hectic schedule. Moreover, this sudden focus of tending to previously neglected commitments may simply reflect his contentment and the fact that he is positively looking to a future with you.

But I promised the boys…

You may not understand why he would prefer an evening out with the lads or constantly cancels when he has his son for the weekend, but if your initial conversations were dominated by stories which included them, it should not be a surprise. Bear in mind that whilst you may have been his focal point initially, friends do get jealous, unexpected events happen and people usually adjust to the way of life they are most comfortable with. So before you reach for his phone, schedule a drink with your friends and focus on ensuring that you make more of the quality time you have together. After a stressful day at work, help him loosen his collar and release that tie, by being that much needed tentative, amusing and tactile distraction that he needs.

We don’t talk like we used to

Most people text on an impulse and if you are the only thing occupying his mind and he wants to make contact, he will! So how do you go from overwhelming wake up calls and complimentary texts, to uneventful two minute calls where you discuss why he did not get his monthly bonus? Naturally, you may come to the conclusion that he may be communicating with another when you don’t hear from him when you expect to. Even so, you must be realistic. Do not expect the forty text messages a day that you used to receive, as once you are settled, the need to communicate at that extremity becomes less necessary. As a couple, your quality time together should compensate for this as you get to know each other on a more intimate level. So unless you are receiving authentic warning signs of infidelity, (such as no communication, lack of personality on the phone, or long periods of silence), fine tune your imagination to regain his interest via text by perhaps suggesting a back massage or a spontaneous excursion.

Change in body language

Whether it is due to lust or infatuation; intimacy, exploration and discovery play significant roles when it comes to getting to know someone new. In the beginning, his gentle tactile nature will be emphasised as you enjoy the benefits of holding hands, affectionately gazing at each other and flirtatiously touching. If you are lucky to experience real chemistry, your attraction will undoubtedly strengthen by that uncontrollable shiver as he whispers in your ear or that warm glow when he caresses your hair. Consequently, as time progresses that physical chemistry should adapt and the discovery process should be more pleasurable.

Not tonight Hun

If your complaint is that your partner seems distant or appears repulsed by the thought of getting intimate, you have to address this immediately as there is obvious cause for concern. However, if you are merely peeved because you no longer intimately engage with the same vivacity or enthusiasm, think before you assume the worst. It is a scientific fact that stress exacerbates most conditions; on an extreme scale that bullying boss or financial stress may cause temporary impotence or affect the libido. Conversely, his lack of interest in bedroom could simply be put down to fatigue. Before you seek solace elsewhere, take some advice from Beyonce in the song Countdown and “run up in the kitchen with your heels on” and make that effort to “meet him at the finish line!”

Meeting someone new and intriguing can expose innovative adventures; mysterious conversations and unearth hidden emotions. Unsurprisingly, we are partial to the endearing features of the person we meet, but as time progresses some of our expectations remain too high. Consequently, whilst one party expects the other to maintain this high level, the other party is now comfortable to be themselves. If he consistently passes up the opportunity to see you, keeps mysteriously vanishing or insists on doing everything on his terms, your intuition is key. However, do not let your imagination go wild; remain alluring, spice it up with impetuous surprises and most importantly talk to him!

Image reproduced from askdeb.com

Pregnant and on the Pull

Proactive or Perverse? There seems to be a rise in the amount of pregnancy dating sites now broadcast on the internet.  It seems to be the next trending thing on the market.  No longer are pregnant singles content with being left to sit with buckets of ice cream and cankle city.  They are out there looking for love with Mr Right or Mr Right Now.  The sites are quite open and explain how wonderful it is to be pregnant and what a special time this is for you and your baby.  They explain how difficult it can be to meet people whilst your pregnant and this site will help you do that.  Whether it’s a baby daddy your after or something a bit more casual then these sites are geared towards that.  They are just like regular dating sites but designed specifically for pregnant women.

Now personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to date if you are pregnant, you still have the same desires and needs as a non-pregnant woman.  What does worry me is the type of clientèle which might be inclined to use these sites.  Men who specifically want to date pregnant women, is slightly too fetish like for me.  The men who are trawling these sites are specifically looking for pregnant women.  This is much different than meeting a woman in a bar/café and then finding out she is pregnant.  Being pregnant and single I would worry me that the men on these sites were specifically turned on by my precious baby bump.  Some men are only going to be interested or turned on while your getting bigger.  Happy to sleep with you all the time you’re pregnant and then have no interest in you once the baby is here and you are bump-less.  What would also concern me is that another man is happy to have sex with a woman who has already been impregnated by another man.  It all feels a little bit too sordid for my liking.

pregnant-woman-and-man-246x300

However of course there is always a flip side to any argument.  There are some men on the site who genuinely want to meet pregnant women because they are ready for a family.  It maybe that they have not have had any luck dating non pregnant women in the past.  It may be that they are looking for a ready-made family and are more than happy to bring up another man’s child (before he or she has even been born).  The benefits of meeting someone who is already pregnant is that you don’t need to date them for a year and then wait another year for them to get pregnant and have the child.  As a man you may be more than happy to have the ready-made family, especially if you are a little bit older and time is not on your side.

I can’t imagine this is an ideal situation for anyone, I can’t imagine anyone would want to be pregnant and single.  Being pregnant is such a wonderful time and ideally would be shared with a partner.  However not everyone is that fortunate to have that in their lives, relationships break down or pregnancy happens after a one night encounter.  These dating sites are designed to offer a solution for these pregnant women.  It’s never going to be easy trying to date as a pregnant woman, trying to detract the genuine nice guys from the freaks who just want to grab your bump and leave you once the baby actually gets here.

It’s something that’s becoming more and more socially apt, the dating sites have proved that.  I’m not sure it’s something I would delve into if I was in that situation.  I would be personally be too worried about my prospective dates intentions.  I think it’s easy enough to put dating on hold for a few months while you’re harbouring a child and just to concentrate on giving your child a good home while he or she is growing inside you.  And who wants to do a first date sober anyway.

The Lost Generation

How most kids at school now will probably never own a physical copy of anything…

Do you remember what it is like to buy a brand new album, the joy it brings to remove the protective cover and slip the disc into the player while you pull out the sleeve and read it cover to cover?  Or when you take out a book from the library and flick through the pages while it reveals that old, musty smell you only get from an old book?

I bet children of this generation will never get to experience this. With all this growing technology, it really gets you thinking about how it is affecting them.  It seems that they will never understand that feeling when you buy a new CD or record.  Or when you buy a new book or borrow one from the library and fan the pages across your face to get that smell. 

It is a shame in many ways to know that in school they are now on computers most of the day and are expected to have homework typed and printed from a computer.  What happened to the days of the good old pen and paper? 

Or they walk around with earphones in making it hard to socialise when out and about, every piece of music they own is probably downloaded.  Unless they are die-hard fans of music in which case they buy the physical copy then put on their iPods.

Then we have the Kindle which means that instead of going out and buying the book to have and hold, you just download onto this new piece of technology.  Ask yourself, If you are going to spend £10 on a downloaded version of the book that you will never get to physically hold, then why wouldn’t you just go to your local bookstore and buy the real thing?

It is kind of like your favourite restaurant having an ‘app’ that you can download your favourite meal from the menu and all you can do is smell how it would be if you had the real thing.  There really is no comparison to having the physical product in your hand and the joy it can bring when you re-discover that album or book you thought was lost.

 

Technology is advancing far more quickly than our minds can process it.  With iPads, iPods, Kindles and laptops it is hard to step away from it all and get a kid to read a book or write a letter.  Rather than typing a text or having their heads buried into a screen all day long.

It is a shame and if we as a society don’t try to make it better, then it will be too late.  Say goodbye to the days of going into a music or book shop and wondering around for hours taking in the smells and sounds. And say hello to the World Wide Web, where you don’t get to experience the smells and sounds you once loved. 

You are probably reading this thinking it is some old, wise and bitter person who hates technology because they can’t figure out how to work it.  But it is not, this is a woman in her early twenties who feels we are losing the generation that are the future of our nation. 

Now this is not saying technology is a bad thing, of course it isn’t.  Just that maybe it is time to stand up and show the younger generation that life isn’t all about getting the latest downloads and gadgets, that there are alternatives like having the physical product in the palm of your hands.

If they just got the revelation that you can still go to the store and buy the product then maybe we can put a stop to losing not only this generation but losing our beloved high street.

This of course is a whole separate matter…

Images reproduced from nytimes.com and inspireddribble.com

Disambiguation About 5 Styles Called Kickboxing

For somebody who has been practicing kickboxing since before it was given this name I find somehow irritating when people confuse it or, worse, deliberately misuse its name for commercial reasons.  Most martial arts, despite attracting some time interesting numbers of keen followers, failed to attract the real interest of the masses in terms the education systems, TV coverage and commercial sponsorships.  The only exception, over the last decade or so is the growing popularity of MMA.

If we can thank Bruce Lee for creating a huge awareness and interest for martial arts thanks to his movies in the 60ies and 70ies we could thank Jean Claude Van Damme for helping Kickboxing becoming a main stream martial art and sport thanks to his movies of from the late 80ies and early 90ies.  So while if you are practicing Tang So Do or Wing Chun you still have to explain to people what you do when you tell people to be training Kickboxing most of them will have at least a clue of what you do.

For this reason many organizations are promoting their martial arts as Kickboxing even when they are practicing something else and they should really keep its original name.  I will list below the 5 martial arts to me known that are all confusingly called Kickboxing while just one of them should be it.

American Kickboxing

Original called Karate Contact to differentiate from the no-contact karate competitions that still take place nowadays.  This martial art was initially practiced as a form of freestyle karate that allowed contact during sparring and competitions; it then developed into adding more appropriate boxing punches and combinations of kicks and punches.  Targets for all punches and kicks are the front part of the body and face, no low kicks are allowed.  American Kickboxing is practiced with full protection kit, boxing gloves, mouth guard, groin guard, sheen pads and foot pads. The uniform usually includes a t-shirt or jacket and long trousers.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, also called Thai Boxing or Thai Kickboxing is a form of sport fight originated in Thailand and it allows one of the most complete and harsh fighting scenario for a sport bout.  Muay Thai allows punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes to all parts of the body.  While training is usually performed while wearing a reasonable level of kit such as gloves, mouth guard, groin guard and sheen pads, fights are performed without any leg protection.

Japanese Kickboxing

The origins of Japanese Kickboxing are rooted in Muay Thai. It all started in th 60ies when a Japanese Karate master, after seeing a Muay Thai fight decided, to adopt a similar style fight full contact sparring.  Japanese Kickboxing has now evolved into K1 a world popular fighting sport that looks similar to Thai boxing, excluding elbow strikes; that means it allows punches, kicks and knee strikes to all parts of the body, excluding groin.   K1 has regular followers and practitioners in Japan, Europe and USA with TV coverage and large sponsorships. Typical uniform for Japanese Kickboxing is just shorts and perhaps a vest.

Savate

Also called French Boxing (or Boxe Française) is a French version of fighting sport with a number of differences compared to the rest of similar martial arts. In Savate both punches and kicks are allowed but they limit the target for the formers to the front of body, above the belt and face, e.g. similar to IBA boxing; quite confusingly kicks are instead allowed to hit the whole body, including back and legs.  The uniform used for Savate is also very typical as it’s a Lycra fabric full body suit and they wear boots instead of foot pads.

Sanda or Sanshou

Sanda, also called Chinese Kickboxing, was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the intense study and practices of traditional Kung Fu and modern combat fighting techniques; it is a full contact form or Kickboxing usually practiced as a fighting application of various kung fu styles like Shaolin or Wu Shu.  Its freestyle philosophy embraces a sport fight with little rules, where kicks and punches to any area of the body (excluding groin) are allowed; throws are also possible but the fight gets stopped as soon as the fighters hit the ground (e.g. no grappling and submission).

So in my opinion just American and Japanese Kickboxing have the legitimate right to be called Kickboxing while the remaining three are getting free publicity by the big popularity that the name Kickboxing has gained over the last 20 years or so.  This list is the most accurate to the best of my knowledge; it relies on my over 30 years experience in martial arts and research I did online, both on Wikipedia and other sources.  If you have any suggestions for amendments please leave a comment.

What Experience Gives You

Recently I was running a lesson with the Cambridge University Kickboxing Society and I was pointing out to two beginners young ladies how one was not hitting has hard as she could while performing a simple exercise.

Her partner was surprised of my remark and she stopped asking how I could tell she was not hitting “as hard as she could”.  Surprisingly that was the first time somebody questioned my teaching in this way and I pondered for a few seconds before answering.

Many years of experience allow you to recognise and evaluate very quickly, within matter of seconds while a person is practicing martial arts, whether the he/she:

  • Is Powerful
  • Is Fast
  • Is Well co-ordinated
  • Has good reflexes
  • Can bear strong attacks
  • Has a good sense of fighting
  • Her body mass and shape allows a certain level of power

As I listed to her the above, non exhaustive, list of features and mentioned my experience in years that exceeds by a decade her age she quickly accepted my comment and carried on training.

Many instructors like to feel powerful and imposing their dogmatic teaching to their students expecting them to simply trust and believe him/her.  As my teaching is fully based on scientific principles everything can be explained and showed how techniques can be improved and fined tuned to deliver maximum efficiency and power.

So I quickly helped her partner to adjust her posture and angle of attack and within a couple of exercises she was hitting 20-30% harder.  Physical fitness can be and will be improved by continuous training  while the right technique will improve your performance in a very short time.

That’s what experience gives you.

The Thin Line Between Love and Lust

In this era of technology, flashy phones and social networking, instant friendships have come to form an important part of the fabric of our youth. Many young people, at one time or another, believe they are truly in love even if with someone they hardly know. Can young adults really find true love this young? Or do they just see the love side of the coin while the lust side lurks in the dark?

Although we surround ourselves with advancing robotics as the age of technology progresses, the traditional image of love is something which has managed to stay true; however with the internet literally at our finger tips, publicising relationship has become a norm amongst our generation of young lovers. Receiving ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘retweets’ in return for the intimacy shared with our ‘true loves’ has made the concept of ‘puppy love’ more and more tedious and with the number of social networks that bombard the internet now days the it’s not hard to see why.

Social networks in particular have become a foundation for most relationships young and old, making the façade of love claims easier. The quick transition in and out of relationships that occur with young people today examples how easy it can be for us to mistake a lustful relationship for the real deal. Pressures of media and peers add up to more than few of us avidly claiming that he/she were THE ONE… of many. (2673th time lucky)

All in all, as fashionable as being in love or shall I say lust is, heartbreak is on a popular rise. It’s not hard to come across numerous post, tweets and blogs dedicated to a broken heart. Is this just ironic proof that true love is something that the youth of today just can’t find, and with the constant involvement of technology, is this to blame?

Some may say at such a temperamental age where our hormones run wild is it even possible to feel heartbreak when we can barely feel love. Victims of a heartbreak at a young age may protest this notion; however as we move on and realise that what we had was far from love and nothing more than a burst of hormones, we’re left thinking the same way.

It seems as though the capability of loving and finding your true love is something that comes with an older age, experience and even an era perhaps? ‘You’re too young to know what love is’ but it’s not the same feeling we have for our cats and dogs … so what do we feel… lust?

The thin line between love and lust is a thin as we interpret it surely. You can’t explain how you feel but you know how to feel it, which is what love is… right? BUT is it ever possible for young adults of today to really connect with each other and find true love in the same ways of our parents meeting at such tender ages, or just passionately crave our naive counterparts. In a generation where publicity is the new private, finding a true love is something that won’t come as easy to us as it did our seniors.

Adverts for dating sites, advertise love at first sight. Boy meets girl and they interact… IN PERSON. So long story short potential consumers, go ONLINE and find your perfect match. It’s a double standard!

Perhaps the ability to meet people so much easier through the power of the internet is what blurs and distorts the young image of love/lust, most won’t know till it’s over but how can you blame us!

Love sees no age but it is something that lies beyond the depth of a mushy text or ‘changed relationship status’ on the book of faces. As young adults we owe ourselves more privacy, understanding and maturity to find a balance between love and lust in order to find our true loves.

Images reproduced from thebestsexiquette.wordpress.com and thinksoul25.com

Women’s Changing Roles in the Dating World

I remember asking my nan about dating and relationships and how she and my granddad got together.  It was a completely different world back then.  The men would pick up the women from their houses up with no less than a bunch of flowers.  Normally having to have the awkward conversation with the dad (still do sometimes).  The evening would then commence would with a trip to the movies and then for fish and chips on the promenade afterwards (weather permitting).  Of course he would pay and there would be no grey areas about that (not like these days).  These days it’s kind of down to the bloke to pay but you have to always make sure that you offer and that you actually have enough cash on you in case he (shock) doesn’t pay!  Afterwards back then he would walk you home and thank you for joining him.  Maybe a peck on the cheek if he was lucky but definitely not on a first date, I think things were much simpler back then.  It all seemed much more innocent back then, I mean when you dated someone you only dated one person.  There was no chance of trying to date his brother too!  Or dating someone else at all.  Not like these days where women like to keep their options open now, and it is encouraged to date more than one man at a time.  I encourage my friends to do it in all honesty.  I tell them until they know they are really keen on each other, then to keep their options open.

Back then it was the men who did all the asking and if you agreed to go out on a date you wouldn’t date anyone else in between.  It was just not the done thing.  The men did the asking and people only dated one person at a time.  What was also different was women’s approach to sex.  I think men’s have always been similar, try to get as much as possible whenever possible!  No matter what decade it is!  However women years ago sex was something a lot of women waited until married and if not married were defiantly in a secure relationship.  Not like now where women’s approach to sex can be seen as more masculine these days.  Not waiting as long to sleep with a man, having one night stands and threesomes are not uncommon these days (but that’s another blog altogether).  Getting hammered and having a one night stand is seen as the norm these days.  It’s almost part and parcel for some girls on a night out.  If they haven’t pulled then the night was just not worth it!

Women’s priorities have changed when it comes to dating.  When women go out on dates their not looking for potential suitors or men that they necessarily want to marry as soon as they meet them.  (Ok so some women are).  They are looking for someone who can make them laugh, treat them nicely and someone who can take them out for fish and chips (maybe).  The way in which women have dated has changed, because women’s priorities have changed.  Women don’t all want or need to be married at age 20, in fact its completely frowned upon now at that age!  There are more important things to think about like travelling, careers and friendships. This is why the rules have dating have changed is because women’s need for dating has changed.  Yes sometimes all women want is a man for 6 hours of the night and not the rest of her life.  As long as no one is getting hurt and everyone is practising this safely then we need not worry.  The dating world will just keep evolving before we know it having 2 or 3 partners at a time will be the norm! (Ok maybe not?!).

Peas and Potato Curry

A fast and easy dish to make. Simple flavours but a classic curry that makes a good accompaniment to any rice dish or chapatti.

Preparation Time-20 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:

240 grams peas (fresh or frozen)
2 medium potatoes peeled and diced.
2 medium tomatoes de seeded and blended to a puree.
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander leaves.
2 tablespoons olive oil
100 ml water
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method:

1.Heat oil in a pan , when it is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter.
2. Saute the garlic in the oil and  add the blended fresh tomatoes and tomato puree.
3. Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and cook till the tomatoes start to separate from the oil.
4. Add the potatoes and peas and the water.
5.Bring the curry to boil then turn down the heat .Cover and cook till potatoes are  fully cooked.(approx 10 minutes)If you want more gravy than add a little extra water.
6. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the fresh chopped corriander.

Serve with Rice or chapattis

Window Design Ideas

What hangs at the windows can make a huge difference to the look of a room – so which is best: curtains, blinds or shutters?

It really rather depends on what effect and purpose you want to achieve.  Is privacy the main concern, keeping prying eyes out?  Or do you want to let the light in and not care who can see into the room?

Of course, it also depends on the function the room serves.  In a bathroom, for instance, heavy or fussy curtains would be impractical.  In a bathroom, where privacy is key, it would be best to go for a blind or shutters.  Look at www.thecaliforniacompany.co.uk for some interesting ideas.  A very practical room like the kitchen also works best with a simple window treatment, unless of course, the kitchen décor is a country-style where light curtains might suit better.

modern window design in homes

For the more public rooms, such as the living room and dining room, a window treatment that allows plenty of light in will be a good idea.  Venetian blinds or internal shutters would allow the daylight to be controlled while also make a stylish statement.

In a television or media room, and even a nursery, too much light can be a problem.  A blackout curtain will ensure that sunlight does not fall across the television screen and ruin the picture, and a blackout curtain in a nursery will make it easier for a baby to fall asleep during the day.  Also, a heavier, fuller blackout curtain in a television room will improve the acoustics.

Of course, there’s no reason why a window should be limited to only one or the other.  Why not team blinds up with curtains?  A plain blind with patterned curtains can create a stylish and not too bare look.  There are different types of blind – the Roman, Venetian and the London.  The Roman and the London are fabric blinds, and light is diffused through the cloth.  A Roman or London blind can be a simpler alternative to curtains, as the fabric can be patterned, allowing the window some visual interest but appearing uncluttered.  A fabric window dressing could also be tied in with the upholstery of the room’s furniture.

A Venetian blind is rather similar to a shutter and can be used to angle light or block it out altogether.   Blinds also solve problem window shapes, as they can be hung separately, whereas an awkward bow-shaped window will probably need a customised curtain hanging rail.  Blinds are also the best choice where there isn’t a lot of room either side of the window.

Window treatments are as susceptible to the current fashion as are clothes and food.  For a more traditional property, and especially for those with high ceilings and tall windows, curtains will be more suitable, and in keeping with the room’s original features. For a modern room setting, blinds or internal shutters provide a functional, yet simple, option.

Interior shutters, particularly half-shutters, are a popular choice at the moment and provide the best of both worlds.  They afford privacy, yet let a good amount of light in above eye-level.

How to Choose the Best CBG Products?

While millions of people are already huge fans of the benefits of CBD, when in search to improve their wellbeing, another cannabinoid that is perhaps not as well known yet, but that can present you with the same equal health benefits is CBG. CBG or cannabigerol might share a few similarities with CBD, still, there are a few differences between them. However, just like CBD, CBG products have the potential to change your life. If you are interested in knowing how here, you will know more about CBG.

Why Should You Consider CBG Products? 

Every living organism that has a spinal column possesses an endocannabinoid system, which is a biological system that manages most of your body’s functions. Cannabinoids interact with the receptors located in different parts of the human body that control different processes. When you consume CBG, this will impact your health by promoting those receptors to work faster and release more cannabinoids naturally, which will result in an improvement of many health issues. 

How to Choose the Best CBG Products? 

Finding good CBG products can be difficult, as it can be challenging to find more than CBD. And because neither CBG nor CBD are regulated by the FDA, it might be a little harder to find high-quality CBG products. Fortunately, established businesses such as Raw Botanics offer trusted CBG products, which include: 

Taking CBG orally can be one of the best ways to grasp the benefits of CBG. Plus, it can also be the longest-lasting way to absorb CBG.

Jalebi

Like the Gulab Jamuns, Jalebis are one of the most popular sweets within the Indian community. The shape of the jalebis is mostly spiral and it’s made from a variation of flours depending on tradition. In some parts of India, it’s made from gram flour, in some parts from urad dall flour and in some places from plain flour. Most jalebis are small but I have seen large jalebis made the size of a large pizza for some Parsi friends when they were celebrating their New Year.

Jalebis are best eaten fresh and warm. Most tend to go soft and limp if left around overnight. Gujarati’s like to have jalebi and lamba gathia with sambharo, chutney and fried chillies for the Sunday brunch. For those of you living in London and Leicester will have seen the queues outside the Gujarati takeaways on Sunday mornings.

I will admit that it is not an easy sweet to master. I thought that creating the spiral shape would be the hardest part but actually, it’s the making of the jalebi batter to the right consistency which requires real talent. The jalebis when cooked should be able to soak up the syrup and stay crisp.

I grew up watching my father and later my father in law make these hot and fresh during Diwali celebrations and at weddings they catered at but never attempted to make them. I was too busy tasting them. My poor family had to keep trying out my jalebis as I made at least 4 batches of jalebis since Christmas before we were all happy with the results. I am glad that I did not give up.

Ingredients for about 20 -25 jalebis
Time: 1 Hour
Requires preparation

For the jalebi:
2 cups of plain flour
Half a cup of live yoghurt (preferably sharp too)
1 litre cooking oil for frying the jalebis
2-3 drops of orange or red food colouring

For the syrup:
1 and half cups of sugar
A pinch of saffron
A pinch of cardamom powder
A couple of drops of lemon juice

Method:

1. Take one cup of plain flour and add the yoghurt to it. Using sharp yoghurt helps with the fermentation of the batter. Add half a cup of warm water and mix well. The batter should be quite thick and smooth.

2. Cover this mixing bowl and keep it in a warm place for about 12-14 hours. I kept my bowl inside an insulated box.

3. After 12-14 hours, you should see little bubbles which means that the batter is fermenting well.

4. Add the remaining plain flour to the mixture and stir well. Also add the food colouring. Getting the right colour can be hard but this can be adjusted if the jalebis turn out a paler colour.

5. Stand the mixing bowl in a bigger bowl which should be filled with hot water. Let this stand for half an hour. The warmth will help with the fermentation of the dough. Whilst the batter is being fermented, prepare the syrup.

For the syrup:

6. In a deep frying pan or saucepan, add the sugar and one cup of water. Allow this to dissolve.

7. The syrup should be of one-thread consistency. To check this, take a drop of the syrup and rub it between your thumb and first finger. When you separate the thumb and finger, the syrup should be thick enough to form a thin string. Add a couple of drops of lemon juice to the syrup. This stops the sugar from crystallising.

8. Add the saffron and cardamom to the syrup and lower the heat.

9. Now it’s time to make the jalebis. Pour the jalebi batter into an empty plastic tomato ketchup or mustard dispenser. You can use any similar plastic dispensers. Traditionally, the chef uses either a muslin type cloth or a metal container called a “lota” with a hole at the bottom. Most chefs take their own jalebi makers with them if they are catering anywhere.

10. Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, reduce the temperature to medium. To test whether the oil is hot, drop a few drops of batter to the oil. If the batter rises too quickly to the top, the oil is hot and the heat should be reduced to medium. Gently pour the batter directly into the oil in small spiral like patterns, taking care to make sure the edges are joined to the rest of the jalebi. I started from the middle and made my spiral outwards. (Don’t worry if the shape doesn’t happen – even mis-shapen jalebis taste great and won’t go wasted!)

11. The batter will sink to the bottom and rise up slowly. Turn the jalebis and cook the second side until they are slightly firm, crisp and of a dark yellowish colour. (If you are not happy with the colour of your jalebi’s you can add a couple more drops of the food colouring.)

12. At this stage, remove the sugar syrup (often called Chasni) from the heat.

13. Remove the jalebis with a tong and dip them into the sugar syrup for less than a minute.

14. Remove and finish making the rest of the jalebis. Enjoy them whilst they are nice and warm and sweet!

Images courtesy of Mina Joshi

Be True to Yourself, Think Positive!

Thinking goes on in your mind! So how can anything that goes on in your mind influence the outer world so much?

Often, we engage in limiting beliefs and  negative thoughts which hold us back; thoughts like

  • “I am not good enough”
  • “I have no time”
  • “They don’t understand me”

… and the list goes on. This influences our outer world for several reasons and the most important is that your mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is only in your mind. When you think negative thoughts, your mind sends negative messages to your body, you act negatively and the problem is that everybody will notice it.

The first thing to do in order to change what goes on in your life is to change what goes on in your mind. Think positive!

Positive thinking and gratitude help you receive more of what you have. In fact, all thoughts are really requests for more of the same, in good and in bad.  This is mainly because of the fact that our mind is not able to process negatives. Here is an example: Try really, really hard not to think of a pink house, don’t think of a pink house. Now, what are you thinking about?  Don’s say a pink house! ;-)

In order for our mind to keep from thinking about something, it needs to think about it first, then decide or remember that it does not want to think about it and either change one or more elements of that something or think  about something else instead. So, what does this say? Well, I wonder what a person who keeps on thinking “I don’t want to fail, I don’t want to stay where I am. I don’t want to feel that way anymore…” focuses on. I wonder what requests he/she is sending out; and what do you think this person is likely to receive?

Thinking positive thoughts means stating what you want as if you have it now. With this I am not suggesting that you need to lie to yourself by saying things that you do not believe in. I don’t want to see things better than they are, I like to see things like they are. Not worse either though!

When you catch negative thoughts, change them right away to the positive versions. Here below you can see a brief diagram showing how to change negative thoughts into positive ones.

This will take practice; negative thoughts will try to come in from all angles and the secret is to persist and reframe each and every thought that you are not entirely happy with and this will eventually become an automatic habit.

Another tool is positive affirmations; start now! Write 5 statements that support what you want to be, have or do. Write statements which remind you of how empowered you are, things which inspire you to take action, things which will fill your mind with inspiration, excitement, enthusiasm and positive thoughts.

Starting today, write positive affirmations on Post-It and place them where you are likely to see them often. Be creative! You can print your most powerful affirmations, frame them and hang them on your walls, you can put them in your wallet, etc.

Every day, take at least three five minute breaks and read these affirmations, possibly out loud in front of a mirror.

Gratitude is another great tool which will enable you to use your mind to reach your goals; the key here is to be grateful for what we do have.

I would suggest you take 10 minutes every night or morning to write all the things you are grateful for, meaning it. Begin from the things that we give more for granted; after all, not everybody has the privilege of waking up in the morning feeling healthy, warm and with food on the table. So be grateful for those things too; don’t live anything out.

Once you have a good list of the things that you do have, for which you are grateful, take that image of what you want to be, have or do, that “You” with that final outcome and notice the difference between that “New You” and You now. What skills does the “New You” have that you do not have now? What resources? Once you have that list of those skills and resources, you will notice that some of these skills are simply behavioural and attitudinal. This means that the “New You” has acquired a different way of thinking, behaving and consequently a different physiology. The others may be skills and things that you need to learn.

It helps to take charge of those things now. You may not have the final outcome yet, nothing however stops you from thinking, behaving and appearing like that “New You” right now; you can easily act as if you are that “New You” now. You could easily imagine what it would feel like being that “New You”, and you can feel those feelings now.

This will amplify your focus on that goal you have, because when you act as if you have it now, you are acting as if you have it, behaving as if you have it, appearing as if you have it and thinking as if you have it.

Do you see what this does? You are focusing entirely on your goal; your thoughts are focused on it, your body is focused on it, your language is focused on it and your behaviour is focused on it.

Now, what is the most important skill in achieving something? That’s right, it’s the FOCUS. And there is no better way to focus than this as this way, without consciously realising it, you are focusing on your goal all day, every day, mind and body.

Also, apart from the already valid benefits above, Positive thinking will help you send a positive outlook of your persona to others. Think about this for a moment: Look at the pictures below; the same person, a different expression, clearly a different emotion and, if you listen to your feelings as you look at those pictures, you will notice that one of them makes you feel ad ease and the other does not.

Who would you buy from? Who would you like to socialise with? Who would you trust?

Although perhaps not so clearly, you are constantly sending out your thoughts with your body and people do feel them. Some people may be able to interpret these messages better than others however, even those with no sensory acuity (body language reading skills) will pick up those messages with feelings; they may say things like “I don’t know what it is but I just feel uncomfortable around Mr Left”.

Think positive and the messages that people receive from your paralanguage will be positive.

Firearm Fashion: Concealed Carry Clothing

If you’re a gun enthusiast, you may enjoy the ease and convenience of clothing specifically designed for concealed carry. Concealed carry clothing eliminates the need for an extra accessory because it has built-in holsters that adhere to the legal guidelines of most states. There are many styles to choose from depending on your personal needs.

Shorts

Concealed carry shorts come in several varieties for men and women. There are tight-fitting spandex shorts that can be worn under other clothing or as biking-style athletic wear. The elastic gun belt sewn into the waistband fits most sizes and models of handguns, making them versatile as well as practical. There are also tactical cargo shorts with holsters sewn into either the outside or the inside.

Jackets

Jackets, coats, sportscoats, and vests designed for concealed carry have a holster sewn into the inside chest area. The gun rests in a similar position to that of a shoulder holster. Additional internal pockets provide a safe place for your phone, keys, wallet, and extra magazines. Be careful not to leave this jacket on the back of a chair somewhere, though.

Purses

Most concealed carry licensing instructors strongly advise against off-person carry, though most recognize that it’s unavoidable at times. Women especially often have difficulty with on-person carry when wearing certain outfits. This is why there are hundreds of purses and other bags with built-in holsters designed for concealing a handgun.

Athletic Tank Tops

Athletic tank tops, undershirts, and sports bras have snug elastic holsters sewn into the side under the arm. Lifting your shirt to draw may be a bit cumbersome, but this carry method is still safe and secure and much less restrictive of your body movements than a belly band that holds the gun in a similar position.

Boots

Boots with built-in holsters are easier to manage than an ankle holster and come in tactical, fashion, and cowboy styles, so you’re sure to find a pair to fit your taste and your gun. Be aware, though, that any leg or ankle holster is best suited for smaller, light-weight handgun models.

Jeans

Of course, no collection is complete without a classic pair of jeans. Some styles have holsters in the waistband while others have cargo pockets with similar functionality to a thigh holster.

Whatever your style of fashion expression or firearm carry, be sure you are familiar with the specific laws in your state regarding firearms, holsters, and concealed carry.