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.

Beauty and The Business





Janet Ginnings

The beckoning of the beauty industry’s buffed fingernails awaits 2013’s budding entrepreneurs. However, despite hitting an astounding valuation of £15 billion in this United Kingdom this year, one must not be blindly lulled by the siren’s song, as with all sector of business, the ugly prospect of failure remains. As Aldous Huxley once said ‘Experience is not happens to a man; it is what man does with what happens to him’, businesswoman Janet Ginnings personifies this quote, having not only made the most out of the opportunities given to her but also being quick to make opportunities when none could be seen over the horizon. From working as a beautician, to founding her own incredibly successful Mayfair salon in 1996, she is one whose wise words should be considered for anybody brave enough to test the turbulent tides of beauty business.

EXPECT A TOUGH START…
On average 80% of businesses will fail to launch, so remember if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Janet says ‘During the initial phase of setting up a business start up capital costs are incurred and at the very same time the client base is being developed’. A business plan is compulsory, cash flow must be watched like a hawk and especially with beauty effort needs to be maintained towards building a relationship with potential clients, to keep them coming back time and time again. Janet Ginnings hair and beauty salon has seen the likes of Elle McPherson and Sadie Frost pass its doors; furthermore the salon does not limit its client base, with male grooming treatments ranging from facials to body ‘tertucking’.

PASSION AND KNOWLEDGE SHOULD INFLUENCE YOUR BUSINESS FIELD OF CHOICE
‘I’m passionate about my business…my aim is to provide an inspirational way of looking into skin and hair regime’. We all know that business is about unique concepts or a fresh way of approaching grounded methods. Janet has drawn from her heritage, from her life experiences, ‘I was brought up to look after my skin and hair by my mother and grandmother. This has always been my passion…being brought up at a farm, my mother used herbs and spices for body scrub and mask. Lots of theses spices have been used from the kitchen e.g chickpea flower was used for face wash, cracked wheat goat’s milk was used as scrub’. This has impacted her Indian Kitchen, which carries out treatments using Mother Nature’s very own produce.

DO NOT FEAR THE COMPETITION, BEAT THEM!
If one thing is guaranteed when it comes to running a business, it is that there will be plenty of others trying to take your place. ‘One has to be on top of one’s business. There is always someone better than you around the corner. This must not scare you but make you aware and be prepared for competition. This is just part of life.’

Ambition and drive are the spices of life, always believe you can succeed and make it happen by working smart not just hard.

Reasons To Try Mediation Divorce

Divorce may have unanimously been branded as a messy affair, but it does not have to be. While it marks the end of a chapter, it also marks a new beginning that needs to be handled with care. Mediation divorce can help with this, allowing you and your partner to get a smooth transition and an amicable agreement. Luckily, this is just one of the reasons to consider settling for mediation.

Your Children Will Be Your First Priority

While numerous court battles are bent on picking a winner, mediation divorce focuses on doing what is best for the children. The mediator will help the conflicting parties reach an agreement that favors the couple and the children in question. This can often mean educating you and your partner on sensitive ways to settle your dispute to ensure you reach neutral agreements. While court trials often call children to appear in court proceedings, therefore, exposing them to the ongoing conflict, mediation empowers you to settle any custody disputes on your terms.

You Get One on One Attention

Mediation comes with the benefit of personal attention, helping your mediator focus solely on your case without any distractions. Mediators will work hand in hand with the parties and families involved in this process, allowing them to develop a close connection. Due to this, they get detailed information about each party, opening up room for proper evaluation. Your mediator can then help you explore feasible options enabling you to reach a cordial agreement suitable for everyone involved.

It Is Less Stressful

Mediation focuses on problem-solving between the parties involved, prioritizing neutrality rather than fuelling any hate favoring one party. This allows you to address issues put forth by both parties to ensure you achieve a satisfactory agreement. Your mediator will often raise points to help both parties, allowing you to view your disagreement from your partner’s perspective. This opens up room for compromise, with the result being a less stressful and adversarial process.

It Is Cheaper

Since mediation utilizes an out-of-court process, it eliminates the costly fees associated with legal representation. It also comes in handy in avoiding the lengthy back and forth trials that often come with tedious paperwork, all of which comes at a fee. By choosing mediation, you and your partner will only need to pay for the services of your mediator.

Takes Less Time

On average, the mediation process will often take just a few weeks, allowing you to get back to your life without any significant setbacks. This contrasts with court trials that may take years, with back and forth trials likely to drain your finances.

Creates Post-Divorce Stability

Post-divorce life matters and your divorce process will often set the tone of how well your children and family relate with your partner. If you are looking for stability post-divorce, mediation divorce ensures that you get a smooth transition into the next phase of your life. Due to its reliance, mediation helps you maintain an open and friendly line of communication with your spouse.

If you also need to resolve any future conflict, mediation is a suitable go-to for settling further disputes. Your mediator can also help you modify your divorce agreement when any changes in your life come up and help you clarify matters that need to be reviewed. Since they are already familiar with your agreement, post-divorce conflict can be handled in a matter of days, saving you time and additional expenses.

Mediation is one of the most overlooked ways to handle a divorce, with the above-listed reasons acting as proof that amicable agreements are possible for any underlying disputes.

Tomato Chutney

Whenever I make any kind of  bhajias or samosas  I like to serve them with this tomato chutney/dip.   It’s tangy and sweet to taste but can be made hot by adding chillies if you like hot chutneys.

Ingredients:

Time – 10-15 minutes

4 -5  ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon splenda or sugar
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 green really finely blended chillies (use less or none if you don’t like hot food)
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of turmeric (optional)
½ teaspoon of cumin/coriander mixture (dhana jiru)
½ teaspoon basil

Method

1.  Make a small cross at the bottom of your tomato and boil it in just enough water to cover it for a minute or two.

2. Once boiled, remove from the hot water and dip the tomatoes in cold water.  This helps to remove the tomato skin quicker.

3. Chop the tomato into really small pieces.

4. Add the rest of your ingredients to the tomatoes and allow this to cook until the tomatoes have really softened.

5. Blend this mixture with a potato masher or electric blender.  You can allow the chutney to thicken more according to your preference.

6.  Taste and add salt or lemon as necessary

7.  Allow to cool.

8.  Sprinkle some basil before serving your tomato chutney.

9.  Any left over chutney should be fine for 2-3 days if kept in the fridge.

Tip: You can use tinned tomatoes if you haven’t got fresh tomatoes.

Say No to Winter Blues

winter-bluesAutumn is here, and winter is just around the corner ,and that means only one thing to some of us, the dreaded Winter blues. In medical terms its called Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD for short, well it does not have to be that way, I am going to help you feel great about yourself with the wonderful benefits of pure essential oils.

You all must have heard of Aromatherapy. An ancient art combined with the healing value of touch and the therapeutic powers of essential oils in which it promotes good health and a sense of well being, well the subject of Aromatherapy would take me forever to write, as there is so much information to tell about its worth, so I am going to concentrate on the feel good factor of uplifting essential oils that will help you feel emotionally better within yourself through the bleakest of winters. Trust me it works. That little brown bottle of pure essential oils will have you up and running on the darkest and coldest of mornings.

Essential oils are good for your mind and sole. Literally.

I realised the benefits of a few drops of essential oils combined with a carrier oil when I worked as a Therapist at a world famous Spa way back in 2007- by the wonderful feed back from clients.

What is a pure essential oil
These oils are very different from a cooking oil, they are concentrated essences, much lighter than water, they are usually mixed with other ingredients to trap their effectiveness. Because they are so concentrated essential oils are measured in drops.

What is a carrier oil
Carrier oils allow essential oils to permeate the skin, protecting it from irritation.
Grape seed, sweet almond, rose hip, wheat germ and evening primrose. All these oils do not have a strong smell, carrier oils can be added to your essential oil so you will be able to enjoy the pure scent of your favourite oil. It is imperative that you dilute one part essential oil, one part carrier oil (base) because essential oils are plant extracts and extremely powerful and can burn the skin if put on neat. there are only a few essential oil you can put straight onto small areas of the skin and that is pure lavender oil, this has a healing effect on burns and cuts.
Orange Blossom or Neroli essential oils can beat the winter blues – and add carrier oil if you have sensitive skin. After getting up in the morning, while you run your bath add 5/10 drops of orange essential oil to the water, close the door to keep in the vapour, have a soak for about 10 minutes, if you have sensitive skin dilute your essential oil with peach kennel, sweet almond, or apricot carrier oil.

This will also leave your skin wonderfully soft. You will feel uplifted for the day ahead, this oil will also help anxiety and depression. It is great to alleviate the symptoms of pre menstrual tension too.

The next tip works if you get in from work and you have got to go out and you don’t really feel like it. Mix one drop carrier oil, one drop of orange essential oil in a little bowl, get under the running shower and pour the oils onto your wet sponge with your usual shower gel and sponge your whole body over. (you can do this if time is short in the morning)

Drink a glass of orange juice as you go out the door in the morning and you will feel a whole new person.

Basil essential oil
Use the same as Orange essential oil. This oil is a great tonic, lifts fatigue, depression, sluggish skin, and getting the circulation going.

Eucalyptus essential oil
If you have a cold, Eucalyptus oil is a great way of relieving it. Add 1-2 drops into a sink of steaming water, (do not use any more) place a towel over your head , CLOSE YOUR EYES and breath deeply and slowly, this will help clear the sinuses, reduce fever, clear your head. Not recommended for children under seven years old.

Peppermint essential oil
Tired feet -  add 4-5 drops of peppermint oil into a large bowel of warm water and soak feet.
Headaches and colds - to a handkerchief add a 3- 4 drops of oil and inhale to help your cold or headache at work.

A note…
1. Do not take any essential oil internally, (lock them away safe if you have children).

2. When using carrier essential oils with children it is strongly advice to get guidance from a qualified Aromatherapy practitioner before using them as some can be potent to children.

3. Do not apply undiluted essential oils onto skin (they are not fragrances) they can burn and cause irritation to the skin).

4. Not recommended for children under seven.

5. If you’re pregnant ask for guidance first from a local Aromatherapy practitioner before using any pure essential oils.

6. Make sure you store all oils out of the reach of children and store them safely.

There are lots of uplifting essential oils on the market to help beat the winter blues try any of the citrus ones. You can also use your orange essential oil as a room spray to uplift the mood, or get rid of any doggy smells, cigarette smells etc. Just pop in 5 drops of orange or lemon oil into the water, shake your sprayer well, then freshen up the room with this lovely uplifting fresh smell.

What are you waiting for, go to your health store and stock up your bathroom with your little brown bottles and carrier oil, and you can be sure you will have a sunny winter, and get rid of the winter blues once and for all.

Image reproduced from businessblogshub.com

Alu Chaat (Potato tangy snack)

IMG_0733

I had a few days off work this week so it was great to have a relaxing weekend and pretend that I was on holiday. My husband and I were chatting about the foods we used to make when we went on foreign holidays during the days when the Indian ingredients and spices weren’t available in certain countries. One of our favourite meals involved spicing up boiled potatoes to make a chaat. We used to pack a lot of Indian spices and bottles of sauces such as sweet and sour chili sauce or tamarind sauce when we went on holiday. By adding a concoction of these spices and sauces to the boiled potatoes we always managed to make up an exciting snack. We made the chaat this weekend to relive our holiday meals.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 6-8 medium new potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 1 tbls. tamarind sauce
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin and coriander powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • handful of sev mamra (You can get ready packs of Bombay mix or Gujarati mix  in most supermarkets)
  • some nuts such as almonds, peanuts etc. (optional)

Method:

1. Wash and boil the potatoes with the skin on.

2. Once boiled, peel the potatoes and chop them into small cubes.

3. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. Once the seeds get dark, add the chopped potatoes and toss them lightly. Add the salt. chili powder, cumin and coriander powder, sugar, lemon juice, tamarind sauce and chopped coriander and allow this to cook until the potatoes look nice and crispy.

P1170232

4. Remove the potatoes into 2 serving bowls. Chop the onion finely and sprinkle it on the potatoes. Top this with sev mamra, nuts and finely chopped green chilies to give it a bit of crunch and heat. You can add more tamarind sauce to the alu chaat if you like your potatoes to be a bit tangy.

P1170233

Do you have any favourite holiday snacks you love making?

Blackberry Jam

P1180276

This summer, I have tried to make jam out of the favourite summer fruits. The recipe for all is very similar. Most recipes tend to suggest using sugar the same weight as the fruit but I always try and reduce the amount of sugar used as the summer fruits are also sweet. This jam took 12 minutes to make in the microwave.

Ingredients:

  • 350 gms blackberries
  • 200 gms granulated sugar (I found the jam very sweet so would suggest reducing the sugar to 150gms for next time)
  • 2 tbls fresh lemon juice

Method

1. Wash the blackberries and chop then into two or three small pieces.

P1180270

2.  Add the sugar and cook uncovered at high in the microwave (900 watts) for 5 minutes and stir.

P1180272

3. Cook again for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook for a further two minutes. Allow the jam to cool and transfer to a sterilised bottle.

IMG_1788

Really simple recipe which gives such an incredible taste.

Video: Take a Lesson from Nature … Eat Like a Fungus

Decay and spoilage are necessary and natural parts of life.  As an illustration, a tree grows leaves that are healthy and green.  Those leaves soon turn brown and fall to the ground.  They quickly decay and provide nourishment to the microorganisms in the soil.  Such microorganisms feed the tree and allow it to grow more healthy green leaves.  All things in nature come from the earth and eventually return to it.

Food is no different.

In fact, whether a particular food decays is one way to evaluate its nutritional content.  Foods that decay often retain their naturally occurring enzymes and bacteria, which serve to promote health in those that eat them.  In addition, foods often spoil as a result of exposure to air or water containing insects, bacteria, molds, and fungus.  These creatures are always looking for a good meal.  Foods that nourish people also nourish them.  It can be argued that these microorganisms have a stronger sense than we do of what foods are healthy and which to avoid.  Foods that they avoid are foods that people too should avoid.

Unfortunately, insects, bacteria, and the like pass-over as unfit to eat many of the so-called “foods” that are commonplace in our modern world.

An American man recently made this discovery in an interesting way.  He found a one-year-old fast-food hamburger in his jacket pocket that looked as fresh as the day he bought it.  He was amazed, and he started collecting similar fast-food burgers.  Like the first, they did not decay.  Year … after year … after year, these burgers sat exposed to the elements, yet they continued to appear edible.

Watch this short clip about what this man found.  Notice that, although the burgers in his collection are old and do not look fresh, they have not decayed as natural and unprocessed meat and bread would.

We humans can learn a lesson from bacteria, fungus, insects, and other lower life-forms–nutrition is largely absent from fast-food burgers and other processed food.

Image source:  Photo by Robert Cochrane, whose portfolio can be viewed here.

Tourchi Batata – Tunisian Spicy Potato Salad



A delicious and spicy potato salad with a hint of cumin and lemon.

Preparation Time-20 minutes
Cooking time- 20 minutes
Serves- 2

Ingredients:

4 medium sized potatoes
1 tablespoon Harissa paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method:

1. Boil the potatoes and when they have cooled  slightly peel them.
2. Dice the potatoes into 1 inch pieces and keep aside.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan , when it warms up add the harissa, cumin and salt. Sauté for a minute or two for the spices to release flavour.Add the lemon juice and stir it in.
4. Add the diced potatoes and toss to coat the potatoes with the spice mixture.
5. Transfer to a serving dish.

Serve warm or cold.

Rosecoco (borlotti) beans curry

rosecoco

Rosecoco Beans (also called borlotti beans) are normally found in their dried form.  Their deep pink colour skin is flecked with beige and brown spots. They need to be soaked overnight and cooked until soft. Once cooked, they look very similar to peanuts.  Cooking them in a pressure cooker saves time.  If you are in a hurry, you can get these pre boiled in cans in some supermarkets.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups of boiled Rosecoco (or borlotti) beans (note that this is the cooked/boiled amount.  you will need only one cup which when soaked will double).
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes/canned tomato or passata (I used a mixture of fresh tomatoes and passata)
  • 2 tsbls oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbls jaggery
  • 1-2 fresh green chillies
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  •  small bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 tbls lemon juice
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic

Method:

1.  Once the rosecoco beans have boiled in plenty of water- drain and  rinse out the water as it will be discoloured.  Allow them to cool.

 

2.  Heat the oil and add in the mustard, cinnamon and cloves.  As soon as they stop popping, add the tomatoes.  If you are using fresh tomatoes, make sure that you remove the outer skin.  To do this, make a slit in the tomatoes and cook them for a couple of minutes in boiling water.  This will loosen the skin. Immerse the cooked tomatoes in cold water and peel off the skin.  Then chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Once they are added to the oil, stir them and cook until soft. Now add all the spices – salt, turmeric, chili powder, jaggery, lemon juice, half the coriander, ginger, garlic and green chillies.  Add half a cup of water.

3.  Once it is simmering, add the boiled rosecoco beans and stir. If your gravy feels too thick you can add some water.  If the gravy feels too watery, you can add blend a teaspoon of chick pea flour (besan) with the gravy in a cup and add it to the curry.  This will thicken the gravy.

4.  Garnish the curry with coriander or fresh green chillies.  Serve this hot with any rice.  We cooked saffron rice. rosecoco

 

How do you cook your Rosecoco or borlotti  beans? Do share your recipes.

Treat Your Neck With Respect

turkey neck

With all the advertising campaigns going on about how to keep the skin on your face youthful, the most recognisable thing I have noticed with all the beauty hype is that there is little mention of the neck and yes the décolletage area (chest) is classed as the body but in “beauty therapy terms” the neck and chest are to be treated in the same way as your face.

If you’re in your early twenties or thirties you may think this article has nothing to do with you yet…. but it does, you need to take action before the skin around your neck and chest starts to show signs of ageing!

Remember the saying “prevention is better than the cure”. Well this is definitely the case when it comes to caring for your skin and keeping it young – especially in the neck and décolletage area.

Stress, smoking and sun damage all contribute to a skin that has nothing to do with the D.O.B on your birth certificate. The neck is one of the first places to show premature ageing as well as the chest. Skin is so much thinner in these areas, so a little TLC will go a long way.

How many times do you see a mature woman with – dare I say it “a turkey neck” or a crêpey chest trying to cover up with a scarf. Do you want this to be you in years to come?

With spring around the corner and lower neck lines starting to appear in the shops, we should all start to think about looking after this part of our body you will be so thankful in later years that you did.

Here’s how…

1. Collagen is the most important structure of the skin this keeps skin young, to keep it restored eat plenty of antioxidant foods such as fruit and veg.

2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day- water plump’s up the skin cells, giving it a more youthful look.

3. Cleanse your neck with a hydrating cleanser.

4. Use a mild exfoliator around neck and décolletage area.

5. Use a hydrating face mask to both areas.

6. Boost circulation around neck and chest area by splashing with cold water

7. Apply a rich hydrating/firming neck cream in both areas (if you’d sooner – after five minutes dab of the excess moisture with soft tissue). In the day time using a moisturiser with a sun block will be beneficial – never let the neck dry out, especially if exposed to the sun

8. Avoid spraying perfume directly onto the neck and chest area- as this is drying to the skin and over time will cause it to become crêpey.

9. With the top of your hand you can gently slap the underside of your neck 10 times, this will firm it.

10. Try reading a Carol Maggio facercise book. It will have neck exercises in it.

Come on all you ladies out there, start treating your neck with respect! If you ever run out of cream, don’t forget that there is always good old fashion Vaseline, so there really is no excuse for letting your neck and skin get old before it’s time.

Image reproduced from youbeauty.com

I Have Decided – Have You?

Have you ever heard someone say: “Oh, I will quit on Monday! That’s it, I truly had enough on this junk! Let the weekend go buy and then I will quit” or “From January I will change, I will go on a diet and get myself down at the gym” or “That’s it, from tomorrow I will stop drinking at night”?

Seriously, think about all the people who made these kinds of statements and see if you can recall any of them who actually acted on that statement. Chances are that if you have caught anybody say anything similar to the above, none of what wad said has ever come to reality. The person who said “Oh, I would so like to lose some weight” whilst eating a pizza, is still overweight and the person who said that cigarettes will no longer control his life whilst blowing the smoke out, still coughs in the morning while he looks for the lighter.

This is down to one simple but very significant fact: none of the above statements constitute a decision; none of them is structured as a decision nor is it meant as one. They are simply verbalization of preferences, verbalization of what these people would like to have happen in their lives, they would like life to just give them those things but they are not willing to do anything about it.

A true decision is always, with no exception, accompanied by an action; immediately. That means that one must do the most that one can do the moment the decision has been made. This concept represents the most effective way to start, and consequently complete, anything and seems very simple. In some ways in fact, it is simple although, maybe because of its simplicity, many people fail to apply it and thus fail to reach their goals whether that is quitting smoking, losing weight, getting a new job, making money etcetera.

The power of decisions is responsible for the success of people like Thomas Edison who decided that “every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward” and, straight away, carried on seeking the right way. Edison decided that he will keep on trying until he found the right way and he did carry on until he did. Henry Ford who decided that he wanted an 8 cylinder engine mounted in one piece and invested time and money persuading his employees, who declared the project to be impossible, to find a way. Ford decided that he wanted such engine and took action right away. Silvester Stallone decided that he would have been Rocky and even when the 2000 agencies he went to refused him 3 times each, he still persisted. His wife left him, he had no money to eat, he had to sell his dog because he was no longer able to look after him and still, when the one of the agencies he went to, decided to offer him $60,000.00 for the script as long as he gave up on the desire of wanting to play Rocky, he refused and walked away with nothing. He refused and he persisted until the agency accepted with the condition that Stallone would have only received nominal pay and a cut of the profits because they would not believe that a guy who, at least to them, did not look good, did not sound good and simply did not have the right presence to be an actor, could drive Rocky to be a successful movie. They were right: Rocky was not a good movie; Rocky turned out to be a legacy!

Of course, persistence, drive, motivation, ambition, vision and desire all played key roles in the monumental achievements of Edison, Ford and Stallone and others like them, but it all started from a true decision; a decision to accept nothing less, nothing different from the dream they have carefully designed, not even the smallest compromise.

All these amazing outcomes above were once ideas, like the ones that many of us have, like the ones that remain in one’s mind and eventually become regrets. Unless we take these ideas and turned them into Decision and the one and only way known to turn ideas into Decisions is to take action; not tomorrow, not in one hour but right now. This is, symbolically as well as practically, the equivalent of giving the big wheel the first push; it makes the second spin almost inevitable.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Anthony Robbins

Image reproduced from http://www.lesca.ca

Give me an F!

What is it about men and the F Word? And by that I mean Feelings. Why are we unable to get an emotion out of a guy? Is it something they are born with, or something they learn over Xbox and packets of pork scratchings. Trying to get an emotion out of a guy is like trying to muffin top yourself into those size 6 jeans. As long as you wear a long top, some heels and large accessories nobody will know that the button mark has now indented itself onto your belly button.

It’s the same with blokes, if they don’t talk about it its not really there. If a guy has a problem then it’s a case of doing everything they possibly can not to deal with it. They’ll go for a drink, wash the car or play Xbox. They seem to have no problem with bottling those demons about work, friends or relationships up. It’s us girls that’s that want to wrench it out of them, like a teenager with too much ache. Pick, pick, pick we go until all the venom is out of you.

Half the time the problem is not even with you and it lies with us. If us girls have a problem we like to talk it through with our girlfriends, get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinion from the barmaid after one too many chardonnays. We need to seek advice from our nearest and dearest and that includes you boys too. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes an emotional wreck of a girlfriend; boohooing because Billy Mitchell ‘just can’t catch a break’. Or because your best mate said those jeans are in fact too tight for you. Nevertheless we girls need a little TLC from our boyfriends sometimes.

When we are seen to be slumped in the other room watching re runs of How I Met Your Mother, necking a large glass of vino; know that popping your head around the bedroom door with a “You ok babe?” and walking off is never going to suffice. Ignoring us will only anger us and we will be forced to plot ways to hurt your Xbox in our dreams. To be ignored is like being dragged past Kurt Geiger in a hurry because “you don’t need another pair of shoes”. It’s because we think that you don’t care, when deep (deep) down we know you do. We don’t need a rendition of A Midsummer Nights Dream (complete with feather hat and quill)… trust me we have no delusions of grandeur here. Just for you to listen, smile, nod along and put your arm around us and tell us it’s ok.

Boys would rather run into the arms of the public house than see us girls upset, not because you don’t care but because you don’t know how to handle us. Having an emotional conversation with your girlfriend is about as appealing as sitting through the opera. Long winded, tearful and sometimes high pitched.

We are simple creatures really… honest. We don’t bite but we may cry a bit. Just don’t mention our muffin top!

Alzheimer’s: Darkening Corners of Once Bright Minds

November 26th 1901 saw the German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, Alois Alzheimer, historically cement his observations of the first woman to ever be diagnosed with the condition, Auguste Deter, 51 years old.  ‘She sits on the bed with a helpless expression… she looked as if she didn’t understand the question… she seems trying to remember… her spontaneous speech is full of paraphrasic derailments and perseverations’.

Over a century later, the disease’s namesake holds strong.

Alois Alzheimer

Dr Alois Alzheimer

With an estimated 650,000 people in the UK suffering from dementia, set to rise to 1 million by 2021, an ageing population and consideration of how the disease causes once bright minds, to see glints of memories passed consumed into oblivion; the recent rise in research funding towards this field, could not have come sooner.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, with a range of effects, from the characteristic loss of memory to the disintegration of reasoning skills. The root causes remain obscure, however it seems evident that the brain experiences atrophy – a process whereby the brain itself wastes away in accordance with the degeneration of neurons. Spreading over time, this degeneration will affect many areas, such as the hippocampus whose function is linked to memory, and grey matter, involved in the processing of thoughts. On November 4th, 1904, Alois Alzheimer spoke of this ‘unusual disease of the cerebral cortex’. In reference to the post-mortem pathological examination of 55 year old Auguste Deter, he revealed that ‘in the centre of an otherwise almost normal (neuron) cell there stands out one or several fibrils due to their characteristic thickness and peculiar impregnability’; in fact studies have gone on to show an abnormal amount of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brains of affected patients. The unusual ‘thickness’ and ‘impregnability’ Alois described is therefore likely to be a reflection of the protein and fibres building up in the brain, this correlates with a lower efficiency of the transmission of messages, and the eventual destruction of these cells.

‘All in all we have to face a peculiar disease process which has been verified recently in large numbers.’

Alzheimers womanWhile promises of a brave new world, in which disease has been annihilated, never rests far from the consciousness of numerous scientists, the people need to know how to actively impact their own health. While they battle through obstacles in pursuit for the final solution, remember that all knowledge is power and the following aims to outline risk factors; the A.l.z.h.e.i.m.e.r.s of Alzheimer’s disease:

Age – is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease. After reaching 65 the risk doubles every 5 years and nearly half the people over 85 have Alzheimer’s. It is apparent that increasing age means increasingly increasing disease susceptibility and understanding the exact reasons for this could not only be of paramount importance to curing Alzheimer’s, but also numerous other age-onset diseases.

Lifestyle – it goes without saying that the decisions we make in everyday life, have a significant impact on our long term health. Stoptober has arrived, so why not take the opportunity to kick those butts out for good – see https://stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk/ for further information. Controlling high blood pressure/ blood glucose if you have diabetes, reducing cholesterol level, maintaining a healthy weight with regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet – all of these will work towards lowering your risk for this destructive disease. Whilst the market continues to floods with ‘miracle drugs’ claiming a number of arguably beneficial effects, remember to always consult with a practitioner.

Z..umba! – This fun dancercise may be a good way to begin increasing your exercise intake, especially if the thought of a room, full of daunting equipment sends a chill down your spine.

Heart Disease – a number of lifestyle factors and conditions associated with vascular disease and stroke can raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, these include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

Early detection – In addition to the above suggestions, make sure you take full advantage of regular health checks as you get older. In England, Wales and N.Ireland, only 44% of people with dementia are thought to have received a formal diagnosis.

Inheritance – Genetic factors are known to play a role in the development of some forms of Alzheimer’s disease, as it can be seen to run in the family – one form is a single gene disorder. Three genes have been identified (the strongest being apolipoprotein e4 (APOE e4), it is important to note that they only account for less than 5% of cases and most genetic mechanisms for the disease in families if largely unknown. In additions the early a person experiences symptoms, the stronger the genetic influence on it’s development e.g. symptoms appearing in the 40’s or 50’s. However, having a family member suffer from the disease, does not necessarily put others at risk for various reasons – namely, they may have not had the defective gene/s passed on. If you are concerned about inheritance, consult your doctor who may be able to refer you for genetics counselling and advice.

Mild cognitive impairment – People who suffer from MCI encounter symptoms of cognitive decline and memory difficulties. These symptoms are not strong enough for a dementia diagnosis, however they are more severe than would be expected for their given age – this increases the risk of developing dementia later in life, however delaying or even preventing the progression all together is still possible.

Education – Studies have shown that a chronic engagement in mentally stimulating activities may be associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disesase – including higher levels of formal education, activities such as playing a musical instrument and maintaining a stimulating occupation. In this way, the brain may be developing more connections between neurons.

Relax – Studies have also shown an association between socially stimulating activities and a reduced risk of developing the conditions. Enjoying an active life, packed with personal hobbies and interests may also act in the favour of prevention or slower progression.

Sex – Alzheimer’s disease has a higher prevalence in women (67%) than men (44%).

How Strongly Do You Wish to Succeed in Martial Arts?

When you see a person who is active and among the top performers within your school or club have you ever asked your self what took that person to be where he/ she is now?  We surely cannot assume that anybody was born capable of punching, kicking or performing any other martial art move in a seamlessly fashion: these are acquired, learnt skills.

I tend to think that many qualities all have an input to the final performance of a martial artist but I am willing to develop and discuss in this post the top ones:

  • Talent
  • Physical fitness that can be split essentially in:
    • Agility
    • Strength
    • Speed
    • Flexibility
    • Coordination
  • Observation skills
  • Mental flexibility
  • Wish to succeed

Let me now see these and briefly expand on them:

Talent

I define somebody talented when she walks into the training room for the first time and she naturally performs anything shown in a relatively easy and natural way.  Talent can be natural or built on previous experiences, non necessarily in martial arts: e.g. dancers and gymnast can naturally perform many martial arts moves.  Talent opens up doors and a number of possibilities to the performer.  Doing things is easy for her so she tend to quickly get to a decent level and often moving on to the next challenge without seeking excellence in its current shape or form.  While I am not stating that talented people do not stick around, in my experience they get easily bored and need continuous new challenges.  I have seen a relatively high number of talented people to get to some level of proficiency in martial arts but a much greater number dropping off within a few years.

Physical fitness

Regardless the martial art you practice there will be some physical fitness involved and being fit or developing a certain level of fitness will help your performance.  In my experience most people will develop over time the level of fitness for their required or expected performance, regardless of their initial fitness level (exceptions do apply).  This is to say that people naturally or initially fit will have an edge or a small advantage over the less fit ones but this will not affect most people in the long run.

Observation skills

I define observation skills when somebody can see a technique performed by another person and she can quickly understand and replicate it without need of deep explanation of the single movements involved.  I consider observation skills a great tool for the martial artist to improve her own performance and gradually absorb other people skills without constant assistance of an instructor or coach.  In my experience the person good in observation skills will be careful in how different people perform the same technique and find her own way to master it.

Mental flexibility

I define mental flexibility the skill of being adaptable in your approach to learn and perform a technique or a combination.  In general there are physical, mechanical and safety rules about performing techniques but often there isn’t a right or wrong about using that or the other technique.  While physical flexibility can be a great skill for certain martial arts, mental flexibility is great for all of them because it allows adapting to what works and what doesn’t.

Wish to succeed

A person with a strong wish to succeed will fuel her enthusiasm to perform.  The wish to succeed will ensure this person will:

  • train regularly and often: this will have the most immediate effect of increasing the number of hours of training per month or year; her mind will get more and more involved with the training becoming a second nature.  Let’s try to remember that the mind and the subconscious are what we mostly train when learning and performing a martial art: muscles and bones simply move in the direction and with the speed and intensity that the mind dictates.  The secondary effect of this is that instructors and senior students will see this person around more than others and default to her more and more of their attention.  This will help this person to get slightly better than other and keep an advantage over other, less committed people.
  • train with the most challenging people in the room trying to be as good or better then them
  • Participate to seminars and other external activities organized by her school or club – visit events organized by others

I will conclude this post by simply stating the following: at whatever point your martial training started or will start your wish to succeed will be the most valuable component and likely the quality that will be pivotal in your success in martial arts.  Other qualities, even the ones I did not mention here will all matter but just as long as your wish to succeed is there.

Spicy Buckwheat Pancakes

 

I used Orgran Buckwheat Pancake mix to make some spicy pancakes.  Buckwheat is not a grain but a fruit seed and part of the rhubarb family of plants.  This link  gives you more information about Buckwheat.

Ingredients for 5 pancakes:
 
½ cup buckwheat pancake mix
1 small onion -grated
1 fresh green chilly chopped into small pieces
small bunch of freshly chopped coriander
small piece of grated ginger
2 gloves of garlic minced using a garlic press
½ tsp. salt
pinch of turmeric
2-3 tbls oil
1.  Transfer the pancake mix into a mixing bowl.  Add the onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander, salt, turmeric to the pancake mix.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to the mixture and mix it all using a spoon.

3.  Add half a cup of water to the mixture and stir.

4. This water should be enough but if you feel that the mixture is thick and you can a couple of tablespoons of water.

5. Grease and heat a non stick frying pan with oil.  Rub off the excess oil using a kitchen paper.  Pour in a small ladle of the pancake mix and using a tablespoon, spread it into a circle.

6. Once the little air bubbles start to appear, it should be easy to turn the pancake over.  If the pancakes feel dry, you can add a couple of drops of oil to allow them to brown.

7.  Cook until golden brown on both sides. Finish making all the pancakes in the same manner. I didn’t need to add much oil to the pancakes and they cooked fine and tasted great too.

8.  Serve them hot with your favourite sauce.

Skincare: The Ten Commandments

1. Thou shalt not go to bed with the night before’s make-up on

OK, I admit there has been occasion where I have broken this one, but not very often I might add, and that’s because I fully appreciate the importance of letting my skin breath overnight (after all this is the time when it repairs itself). Plus, nobody wants mucky foundation stains all over their pillowcase, do they? Exactly.

2. Thou shalt take a skin-loving supplement

My particular favourite is Selenium which is rich in antioxidants and works miracles on fine lines. So powerful is selenium that if ever my lines are looking a little more pronounced I switch from my regular multi-vitamin to a selenium (with vitamins A,C & E) supplement and after a couple months it is literally like you’ve turned back the hands of time! Wonderful stuff.

3. Honour thy skincare routine      

This should involve cleansing and moisturizing as a minimum, but you can also try serums, face masks and treatments designed specifically for your skin type. Whatever you decide to do though, do it regularly. Your skin will thank you for it.

4. Thou shalt not squeeze spots

Squeezing a spot can leave a scar; it is much better to leave it be than take the risk. If you have a big event coming up and need to speed up the process you could always try a (small) dab of toothpaste on the little blighter to dry it out.

5. Thou shalt not tolerate dry, flaky lips

Gently buff flaky lips with an old toothbrush before saturating them with a creamy lip balm. Eh voilà – kissable, super-soft lips are yours.

6. Thou shalt have eight hours sleep every night     

Or failing that you can always cover up any tell-tale signs of a late night with a good foundation. Many modern formulas have built in skin goodies such as serums and vitamins for a flawless face which is 100% guilt free.

7. Thou shalt keep hydrated

It’s difficult to drink as much water as our bodies would like us to consume, but flavoured teas and well diluted cordial are good substitutes if you find it a struggle to get your eight glasses in.

8. Thou shalt keep squeaky clean

I used to wonder why I got blackheads until I read an article that said you should cleanse your skin until your cleansing pads come away clean. It seems obvious but I’d never thought to do this before (I wrongly assumed one pad would be fine) and now I hardly ever get blackheads. Result.

9. Thou shalt not rub your eyes

Because broken off eyelashes and premature crow’s feet are not a good look.

10. And on the seventh day, they rested   

We all need a day off every now and again and our skin is no exception. If you have a day of household chores lined up how about foregoing the foundation and letting it breathe a little, remember… healthy skin is happy skin!

Image reproduced from beautyeditor.ca

Hook Kick: 5 Good Reasons to Hit with the Ball of the Foot

Different schools and styles of martial arts teach the hook kick (also called reversed round kick) in different ways. Main differences manifest essentially in the way the movement originates, how the kicking leg is moving during the kick and what part of the foot hits the target that can be the hill or the sole/ball of the foot.

When I teach how to perform a hook kick, I first clarify that to maximise performance the leg should follow a whipping movement to ensure maximum acceleration of the foot toward the target.

I also suggest to always hit with the ball of the foot. Here are for 3 good reasons both physiological and in terms of pure performance for doing that rather than the (side of the) hill, keeping the foot at 90° to the ankle:

  1. better reach: having the foot extended it increases your range by nearly the full length of your foot ensuring you will hit, from the same position, targets that would not be reachable if you bend your foot.
  2. stronger impact: if the angular speed of the leg moving is constant having a longer weapon (by the length of the foot) increases the speed of the foot itself, build up a higher momentum and delivers a stronger kick..
  3. safer for you: the Achilles’ tendon is a weak point and if you squash it against a skull it will hurt your foot to the point you might not be able of walking for some time. Even if the impact is not straight on the Achilles’ tendon it can still hit the many nerves that are exposed both on the internal and external part of the hill, moving toward the ankle. The ball of the foot is very well padded and can bear much stronger impact than the edge of the hill.
  4. improve flexibility: with the full fully extended the natual flexibility of the leg is highly helped; to the contrary trying to extend a leg while the tibial (shin) muscles are tensed in order to keep the ankle at 90° will have some groups of muscles that are fighting against the direction of your kick getting the muscles behind the leg less prone to extend
  5. faster: if all muscles involved in the movement are pushing in the same direction and the others are simply relaxed the overall speed will be improved.

In terms of pure power the hook kick is not to be considered at the top of the scale where round kick and other forward kicks can develop much stronger impact. Things change when spinning backward where the whole spinning momentum adds up to the actual mechanical movement of the kick itself.

Picture: Curtesy and Copyright @ Duncan Grisby 2006

Time for a Wardrobe Audit?

A clear wardrobe equals a clear mind. A messy wardrobe makes you lose visibility of what you actually own, causing you to buy more of what you have and reaching for favourite items that are on high rotation. And then getting stuck in a style rut!

When looking at a wardrobe, gaining clarity is everything. An effective wardrobe should reflect who you are currently – not you five or ten years ago. So many wardrobes I see contain items which are: shapeless, dated or just simply unflattering. And the fact that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe means we as a nation who are holding ourselves back massively from getting a wardrobe we do actually wear and even more importantly LOVE to wear!

Here are some startling facts to consider:-

– British women hoard clothes worth £285 that they will never wear but refuse to throw out the equivalent of 22 outfits each, according to research

– More than half, 54 per cent said guilt over wasting money made them keep the clothes while 41 per cent were planning to lose weight. And Impulse buys are being blamed by 45 per cent of shoppers for their bulging wardrobe.

– Jeans are a significant problem, with 88 percent owning at least one pair they would never wear, while 22 per cent hoard up to six pairs of shoes and 95 per cent of tops will never be worn.

– Men hoard 19 items worth on average £248, according to the poll of 1,200 adults for the shopping channel QVC.

Getting a wardrobe that works for you is just amazing and gives you a new lease of life. If you feel you could do with getting the wardrobe you have always wanted but didn’t think you could get. And want to know where the key gaps are in your wardrobe and where you should be investing your money wisely, then contact Personal Stylist, Katie Bowen via: www.styko-stylist.co.uk or mobile: 07855 754487.

The Importance of Speed in Martial Arts

In order to be a good martial artist you must aim at excelling in a number of different skills and having at the same time:

  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Coordination
  • Reflexes
  • Balance
  • Endurance
  • Speed

The last but definitely not least one in the list, speed, is to be considered of extreme importance because it affects most of your performance when practicing any martial art and the techniques you are performing in a combat situation. Certain applications of internal martial arts that are practiced for healing, meditation and relaxation purposes are usually performed really slowly and obviously have not connection with the content of this post.

Speed affects the kinetic energy you produce by a quadratic factor: if you double your speed the kinetic energy grows by 4.  Therefore if you are interested in increasing the damage produced by your punches or kicks you should train for increased speed.  Higher speed can come from higher physical fitness by also by learning how to best coordinating all muscles involved in a technique so they all push with precise timing in a well coordinated direction.

By increasing your speed you are not only ensuring that you can hit your target faster and producing more damage; the technique arrives to its destination in a shorter time therefore it’s ready to go back to its original position much faster, making it ready for the next strike.

Being able to perform a technique or combination at a high speed will allow you to surprise even a very well prepared and skilled opponent.  If you could move one arm or leg 10 or 20 times faster that the average martial artist you would not need very complicated combinations and attacking from many different angles; you could just attack your opponent with that single strike and score, every time.

Training for speed should be a mental as well as physical exercise; muscles are trained to become stronger and therefore release more power but, at the same time, speed should be thought as the main goal when training for it.  For instance keeping your muscles relaxed while training and program yourself to tense just the right ones that are involved in a specific movement will offer maximum efficiency for the muscles involved and minimum dissipation of energy in unnecessary movements.

A training scheme I suggest when coaching somebody with the intent of improving their speed is usually represented by the following list of activities:

  • Relax physically and mentally
  • Think and see the movement you are about to perform
  • Concentrate just on the muscles strictly involved in the movement
  • Consciously relax the remain part of the body
  • Try to tense the muscles in the most explosive movement you can possibly imagine
  • Repeat a few times until it becomes second nature

I am a big fan of speed and, while it can be a function of your fitness, speed can be trained and deliver amazing results.  When can you start?

What is Considered Cheating?

The definition of infidelity (according to Wikipedia) Infidelity (colloquially known as cheating, adultery, or having an affair) most commonly refers to a breach of an expectation of sexual and or emotional exclusivity expressed or implied in an intimate relationship.

So the definition states that to cheat is to have an affair whether it be emotional or sexual within an intimate relationship.  I agree with that definition that to cheat is to become involved in an intimate relationship.  I also agree that this can be classed as sexual or emotional.  We all know what sexual infidelity is; making out with the local playboy after one too many Jagerbombs.  However what constitutes as emotional infidelity.  Is it being in love with someone, a little flirting with a work colleague or few flirty texts to a friend of yours?

We all know that a full on rendezvous back to his place is classed as cheating well unless you people are in open relationships (that’s another article).  Also that full blown affairs of the heart are normally classed as a big no no.  Sleeping with another man or woman who isn’t your partner is the ultimate in cheating behaviour.  We’ve all been drunk and in situations we’d rather forget with people we’d rather of never met!  Going out with the girls and getting so drunk that you claim you didn’t know what you were doing is one way of looking at kissing someone you shouldn’t have.  You did something that you shouldn’t do and most probably feel really bad for it.  Snogging someone is one thing, but is a kiss on the lips the same as kissing someone with tongues? A kiss on the lips can either be a quick peck or it can be long and lingering and can be just as damaging to your relationship as the proverbial peck.  I think many people would justify a kiss with no tongues as it’s not intimate right?  I kiss my mum and my best friend on the lips, I don’t use my tongues so surely its not cheating?  I think it all boils down to how you feel afterwards, if there is a pang of guilt attacking your heart then it is probably something you should speak to your partner about.

What about girls kissing girls?  Is that still cheating?  Or a bit of fun that your boyfriend wouldn’t mind being involved with, (and possibly sorry that he actually missed it).  Not very long ago I was chatting to a girl in a club and she clearly took my compliments about her tattoos as an opening to come and checkout what I’d had for breakfast because she full on lunged at me and kissed me.  I was in total shock, that’s not to say I didn’t kiss her back!  It was fun but not something I had initiated and would probably never initiate.  But afterwards I felt so guilty I had to tell my boyfriend as soon as I got in that night and then again the next day to make sure he had remembered!  Luckily he was fine with it and just thought it was funny, but I’m sure we would be having a very different conversation if it was a drum and bass wannabe shoving his tongue down my throat!

What about texting and flirting with people?  Is this classed as cheating?  Flirting is one thing, laughing a bit too much at some guys jokes and flicking your hair at every pun (intended).  Some people are just born flirts and flirt with everyone they know and claim they don’t know there doing it (hmm).  Flirting is one thing but exchanging numbers with someone (other than your boyfriend) is another thing.  Sexting is something that everyone is all too familiar of, especially those kids off of TOWIE, it’s all they every do is sent flirty texts to each other’s boyfriends and girlfriends, then consequently spend days rowing about it for days afterwards.  It’s a sneaky way of cheating really as nothing physical goes on, nobody is kissing or making out outside cheeky chicken.  However it is flirty, sexy and can be worse than kissing someone in my eyes.  These are premeditated sexy messages to another person who isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend.  I think I would rather have my boyfriend kiss another girl drunkenly that get involved in sexting.  At least the kiss is over and done with and he can feel guilty about it for weeks afterwards.  Texting or even calling another person in secret can be just as damaging as the physical infidelity.

Everyone’s perceptions of cheating are going to be different, depending on the type of relationship you have, or what kind of relationship you are in.  However if you are cheating then you probably shouldn’t be in the relationship at all.  If you haven’t told your partner about you kiss, text etc, then it’s probably classed as cheating.  If you feel guilty about it then you probably shouldn’t be doing it at all….so step away from the instant message.

Images reproduced from twirlit.com and articlesabout men

Want to pull off a jumpsuit? Look great with these four tips!

Jumpsuits are a great way to stand out from the crowd while looking confident. However, many women avoid wearing them because they (mistakenly) believe they don’t have the right body type. With jumpsuits coming in many colors and styles, there is something perfect for women of all shapes and sizes. It’s just a matter of choosing the right style and accessories. Here are a few tips to get you started. 

Tip #1: Choose a solid color 

While patterns can be fun, not everyone feels comfortable wearing them from head to toe. On the contrary, dark, solid colors suit almost everyone. Whether you are looking for regular, plus-sized, or petite jumpsuits, it’s hard to go wrong with black or navy blue. 

Tip #2: Pair with a short jacket

Winter is coming, and the wrong jacket can throw off your whole look. For a flattering outfit that lengthens your legs while shortening your torso, pair your jumpsuit with a cropped blazer or cardigan.  

Tip #3: Accessorize! 

The right accessories can help you showcase your waist and legs – and even make you look taller! In her blog, fashion writer Gabrielle Aruda shows off how simple accessories can make a huge difference. Women looking for style inspiration can try the following:

  • Long necklaces
  • Waist-syncing belt
  • Pointed heels
  • Crossbody bags

Tip #4: Be Confident!

No matter how you choose to style your jumpsuit, the most important thing is that you feel confident at the end of the night. Even if you don’t fall in love with them, jumpsuits are still a fun alternative to dresses and suits and great for sparking creativity! 

Opposites Attract

Struck by the way his dark mocha skin complimented her porcelain complexion,
Her conservative image creatively disturbed by his sinuous dreadlocks and loose-fitting jeans,
Struck by their contagious smiles, magnetised by their togetherness,
I come to a halt, caught myself staring and wondered.

beyonce-jay-zMost of us can summon up a time when we have sighted a couple and stopped in amazement due to the randomness of their pairing. Whilst the little angel perched on your shoulder might have invoked a smile; that mischievous devil probably challenged you to do a double take to satisfy either your inquisitiveness, or sheer ignorance. The celebrity world is beleaguered with examples of what the world may consider to be inequitable couples, ranging from Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson, to Beyonce and Jay Z. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley shocked the world with their partnership, whilst Paula Abdul aptly used her song to emphasise the fact that ‘opposites attract.’ The success of any such partnership is testament to the fact that whilst outwardly they may appear incompatible, there is clearly a secret ingredient, spiritual connection, or trait that they both share to make their relationship work.

Ticking the Perfect Box

We all have a surreptitious idealistic checklist of the characteristics that we would like in a partner; whether it be smouldering eyes, the innate ability to communicate, or an incredible sense of humour. Most dream of the ‘butterfly-in-the belly moment’ when they meet that individual with whom they share mutual physical attraction, core values and an undeniable connection on a spiritual level. However, whilst we seem humanly programmed to flock towards those who share similarities, often enough it is the qualities we do not possess that provide the magnetism. But what keeps you together when you are poles apart?

Opening the Pandora box

We may be conditioned to live by the rules of compatibility, but even the media throws unexpected curveballs when the popular school boy falls for his geeky counterpart, or an unpredictable casual relationship turns into more. The reason to take the leap into the unknown varies for each individual and their situation. Some may take the plunge simply out of curiosity, whilst for others, (despite that fact that the physical attraction has always existed), the fear of disapproval or rejection has prevented them from pursuing the object of their desire.

Opposite characteristics may fuel initial attraction, but it is debateable as to whether they can provide the solid grounding needed for a long term relationship. Magnetism to someone different can contribute to the chemistry, invoke fascination and introduce one to a whole new perspective.  The unanticipated arrival of a tactile and spontaneous partner can fill a new relationship with allure and enthralment to the organised individual who lives by routine. The highly-strung person may seek solace in the passive individual and the party girl may hang up her high heels to spend a quiet evening with her more reserved counterpart. However, it can also increase the likelihood of a tumultuous relationship, if you have two different people who are pulled in two different directions.

Weighing up the scales

This scenario is even addressed in literature by authors such as Shakespeare with his witty characters Benedict and Beatrice, notwithstanding the notorious rollercoaster that brought Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele together in E.L James’s saucy novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ However, in reality, what do you do when your opinions and values differ so much that you cannot even agree on your choice of a TV programme, let alone decide on what religion your child should follow? It is easy to lose sight of the reasons you fell in love with your partner, as they might later become the very things that infuriate and frustrate you. For instance, whilst you may initially have found his respectful and cherished relationship with his mother endearing, the fact that he is a classic ‘mummy’s boy’ may be the source of many arguments.

The Secret Ingredient?

In order to ensure longevity in any relationship, it is important to communicate and learn to compromise. When you are different, it is important to be open to possibilities, focus on surmounting difficulties together and refrain from trying to change the other person. Counsellors, psychotherapist and psychologist all have their theories of what constitutes the perfect relationship, but as every individual is unique, it is impossible to provide one set recipe to success. Accept that you are attracted to your partner for their flaws, as well as their attributes and that you are with that person through personal choice. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but life would be extremely mundane if everyone dated themselves, so with that in mind embrace the unknown and celebrate your differences.

 “Our greatest strength as a human race is our ability to acknowledge our differences, our greatest weakness is our failure to embrace them” (Judith Henderson)

Image reproduced from behindthetalent.com

The Dilemma Between Technique and Toughness in Fighting Sports

We define combat sport a sport application or expression of a martial art where we set and impose rules to limit and control the amount of damage that can be inflicted to the opponent.

Ranging from contactless Karate tournament, via Boxing and all the way to MMA fighting sports usually assign points to each technique that scores and in many cases contemplate the eventuality of one of the opponent being knocked out (KO) or giving up the fight before the end and accepting defeat.

I am a strong fan of good technique and properly applied guard at all times: high quality technique will be more efficient in terms of using your energy as well as minimising your change of running out of it.  The guard will ensure you won’t be hit as often or as hard, reducing the chances for a KO from your opponent as well as minimising the points scored on you.  Most people I am teaching to are buying into this concept and accept that good technique must be there as a foundation to build on the remaining attributes of a winner.  A minority of others, being naturally aggressive and perhaps with a higher pain threshold, they assume they can just get in the ring let the opponent coming forward and aiming at knocking them down before the end of the fight.

From my point of view this is a strategy that is meant to be short lived and not guaranteeing a long career for a winner.  Here are my reasons for it:

  • Knocking somebody down, in a fight where both opponent are well trained and fit sports fighter is a small chance of hitting the right spot at the right time: it doesn’t happen often, particularly if your opponent has proper technique and guard;
  • Regardless how tough you are is just going to be time before you meet somebody tougher, somebody who has higher pain threshold, more adrenaline in their body and don’t go down as you expect;
  • If you are just aiming at the KO strike without a point based strategy two things can happen: you don’t succeed at your KO and the opponent wins because scoring more points or you become victim of your own strategy and get hit hard where it really hurts and get knocked down yourself;
  • Repeated hard strikes in the head cause long term disabilities and injuries so even if it doesn’t hurt now it will cause problems later.

Muhammad Ali was the first boxer that demonstrated that a fight could be won by playing by the rules, not looking for a fast KO but keep scoring on the opponent throughout the fight.  That doesn’t mean being a lower quality fighter but simply someone who is there to win, repeatedly, aiming at the top title.  Another demonstration of what I am stating here was the recent boxing fight of David Haye v Nikolai Valuev: the quality of the show was somehow not there as it can be seen in these videos.  Haye kept moving backward and away from his massive opponent Valuev but as he kept scoring with many, many points at the body, he won the world title.  That was a very well managed fight played strategically from beginning to end with the victory in mind.

I would like to conclude with a simple clarification: good technique is not just meant to look good, it’s meant to be very powerful, fast efficient and effective for the person using it.  At the same time when training for sport fighting you should always bear in mind what the rules are and understanding how you can win by scoring more points.  If the KO is allowed in your discipline and you can finish the fight before it may be a bonus but a good fighter is more likely to win more often than a tough one.

Is Ageing A Disease?

ageingWith mice being genetically engineered to live 26% longer than average, age-incidence of a broad spectrum of age-related disease being reduced in the lab and dietary restriction significantly increasing lifespan across species, research seeking treatment for ageing is in action. Telomere modification, free radical level reduction and human growth hormone replacement, all dawn as promising avenues, which may not only decelerate, but may one day reverse the changes associated with ageing. Whilst, current knowledge of the biology of ageing remains too incomplete to assess whether interventions, such as the above, will one day extend average and maximum lifespan, one must the core question: Is ageing even a disease?

Diseases should be cured, it is accepted that this includes age-related diseases. From cancer to neurodegenerative diseases, age is the major risk factor for the majority of these serious illnesses. Treating each individual disease, has a relatively small effect on life expectancy, compared to tackling the process of ageing itself was treated. The definition of disease is historically ambiguous and sensitive to cultural perspectives, homosexuality used to be thought of as a mental illness and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease was only defined as a pathology in 1977. Disease is regarded clinically as the state in which the limits of the normal have been transgressed, health is considered in terms of the absence of disease and expected level of function, at a given gender and age. As ageing is universal, it would seem it is natural, but this does not alter the reality that ageing is a deterioration of normal function. If chronological devices exist, all bodies that exist can be said to age relative to the measurements provided by this, in this way physicians are interested in a set of biological changes over time, such as a higher frequency of cells with chromosomal aberrations in the elderly to decreased melanin formation and white hairs (Hayflick 1974), these changes are universal and inevitable. However, universality and inevitability do not disproof ageing as a disease, rather a special type of disease which everyone inevitably endures.

As one ages, a number of pathologies are gained, to include loss of homeostasis and molecular damage accumulation, which result in the same outcome as severe disease states – death. The perspective of modern biogerontology concludes there is little to distinguish ageing from  a disease state, yet there is a reluctance to view ageing itself as a disease. These unremarkable natural processes in the aged, are confidently viewed as disease where they occur in the young, for example consider the premature ageing disease, progeria. Weismann (1891) argued that ageing and debilitation must be seen as the organism’s new mutational and adaptive responses to fluctuating environments, so ageing benefits the population by removing the superannuated and allowing evolutionary change to take place, which implies ageing to be a very natural part of life. Paradoxically, the evolutionary theory of ageing (ageing being a consequence of a reduction in the force of selection against mutations with deleterious effects later in life, leads to accumulation within population alleles with deleterious effects) potentially illustrates ageing as a lethal genetic disease, with no purpose in terms of fitness. It has been put forward, that evolutionary selection rarely act on entire species or population, rather on individuals and their phenotypic traits which may confer an advantage in certain environments, increasing the likelihood of passing on genes. In this way it is more likely that ageing can be seen as a lethal genetic disease, rather than an evolutionary process under selection. So should ageing be redefined? It seems appropriate, furthermore, a clinical redefinition of ageing as a disease state may lead to added benefits, such as proper safety and efficiency testing of anti-ageing treatments.

Obvious personal, social, economic and environmental problems spring to mind when considering life extension, although a similar change occurred since ancient times (e.g. compare Ancient Assyrians Hebrews and Romans to Syrians, israelis greeks and italians today there has been an increase from 35 to 75 years) and human nature has been able to cope, granted this is no proof that it will be able to do it again given a much greater scale of change. Nevertheless, this does not hold as a compelling argument against the research; with a clever enough government, policies can be put in place when the time comes.

Image reproduced from scmnewused.blogspot.com

Sports & Homeopathy

Using homeopathy in professional sports? Why would they do that?

The sports calendars are now around the clock. Some professional footballers have very little opportunity to rest and repair from an injury While medical drugs have their place, most players would try and stay away from them for the following reasons:

– some painkillers or other medications can make you test positive to doping.
– taking painkillers regularly is not a long-term option. Many players have reported that drugs’ injections have triggered recurrent injuries and even wrecked their careers.
– painkillers are toxic and one of the most leading cause of acute poisoning: for example, Paracetamol toxicity is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the Western world and liver failure death in the UK.

While this topic rarely makes the news, it is important to understand that professional sportsmen and women had to develop techniques that did not rely on chemical drugs, and this includes homeopathy.

So who uses homeopathy in sports?

A few sports team in the UK have embraced homeopathy. Nelsons, a provider of homeopathic products in the UK will support several English Olympics Teams, such as the women’s beach volleyball. Also, it is claimed that half of Premier League clubs are customers of Welleda, another provider of Homeopathic products.

Doctor Jean-Marcel Ferret, doctor to the French soccer team that won one World Cup and one European Cup has this to say about homeopathy: “I am a doctor that uses homeopathy and not a homeopath. When using homeopathy directly on the soccer field, I find that the results are almost immediate”.

And finally, the Germans teams are also of course big fans as this articles shows – and who would not trust Germans in terms of efficient ways to treat injuries?

Simple advice that you can follow when you play sports

To reduce the risk of injury, there are 3 golden rules:

– stretch as much and as often as you can, and especially every morning when you wake up – cats and children do that first thing, and adults should do as well!
– drink plenty of water on a regular basis and follow a diet specific to your genetic & metabolic type. Please contact me if you want more information.
– whatever your level, follow a practice plan that will keep you away from injury. It can also be good to have a personal trainer. If you are unsure, contact me.

Finally, if injury hits, have a homeopathic first-aid kit. Arnica 30C is a good homeopathic remedy for any kind of injury, and the first to take whatever happens as it will trigger a healing process. Rhus Tox and Ruta are very helpful for muscular and tendon sprains. I recommend people to have some in their cabinet, and take a few pills whenever needed. No side-effects, safe for childen and you will still test negative in anti-doping tests.

However, since discovering the German Traumeel Cream, I now do not bother and suggest people to just use Traumeel. It has all the necessary homeopathic remedies and nourishing nutrients to generate healing at muscular and skin levels… it event helps people with bruise and mosquito bites. Heel’s Traumeel Cream is made by a German pharmaceutical company specialising in homeopathic products, and their product is by far the best on the market. I have seen competitive players coming back to routine training after just a few days of a bad injury, and a lot of customers in my practice now swear by it. Please contact me if you want more information. For any serious injury, it is better to consult a health practitioner.

Images reproduced from homeopathictreatmentonline.com and acuneeds.com