How to look and feel good this summer – on a budget

With everything from spray tans to microdermabrasion available at salons across the UK, it can be easy to spend a fortune on your looks. Some people even save up for tummy tucks or liposuction to remove excess fat, but there are other cost-effective options available. If you’re on a tight budget or want to improve your image without breaking the bank, these handy beauty tips are for you.

Exfoliate weekly

If your skin is looking a little worse for wear following the long winter months, regular exfoliation could be just what you need. It can remove dead skin cells from your pores and improve your circulation, so scrub from head to toe on a weekly basis. Although finding the right eye cream can be a problem sometimes, don’t neglect the areas around your eyes. There are many lotions and potions out there that will do the trick, but natural homemade exfoliating scrubs can also work wonders.

Moisturise daily

One of the best ways to achieve a soft, smooth complexion is to moisturise every day following a bath or shower. This will keep your skin well-hydrated and help nourish any dry or flaky patches that might be causing you irritation. Again, there are plenty of expensive products on the market, but to keep costs down, why not use olive oil? It’s been used for centuries across Europe to protect the skin and combat stretch marks and even the smallest bottle will last a long time.

Exercise regularly

Believe it or not, you don’t need to join an expensive gym or book a breast reduction to change your shape. Sure, a personal trainer might come in handy if you’re lacking motivation, but there are plenty of things you can do to get your heart pumping such as taking the dog for a walk or enjoying a long bike ride. As the days are finally longer than the nights, you could even go for a run after work or do some basic aerobic exercises in your back garden.

Eat well

Contrary to popular belief, healthy food doesn’t need to be expensive. Market stalls are packed with fruit and veg (that’s often cheaper than in the supermarkets) and local grocers have some great deals. Going to the butcher for your meat can also work out more cost-effective than buying things ready-packed from a corner shop, so have a look around and see what you can find. Incorporate all major food groups into your diet and this should help you feel health and well-energised in no time.

Looking good doesn’t have to cost the earth, so give these useful tips a go.

How Botox Benefits Moms- and Dads too!

Just when I was about ready to kick off my shoes and indulge myself in another Ryan Gosling daydream, I am startled by shrieks in the living room, only to discover that my daughter has spilled orange juice all over her Barbie doll’s wedding gown.

So goes the life of a single mom.  My moments of relaxation suddenly turn into emotional outbursts over seemingly petty things.  Top that off with an energy-zapping day job, and it’s a one-way ticket to “Stressville”.

Before long, all that stress begins to show on my face.  Since I want to look good, but don’t have the time for surgical procedures, I’m thinking of giving Botox a try.  I’m sure that getting those westminster botox injections will help take the years off my face.  But apart from Botox being an excellent wrinkle eraser and brow lifter, it has other benefits to boot.

Studies have shown that Botox helps ease the pain of migraines.  When it’s injected into the forehead, it releases muscle tension, getting rid of strain on the nervous system.

If you happen to sweat huge buckets, then botox may be the answer to your problem.  Botox injections stop the production of sweat by inhibiting the chemical acetylcholine, which is responsible for sweat gland stimulation.

Twitching of the eyelids or what’s called “lazy eye” can also be treated with Botox.  It temporarily paralyzes eye muscles when injected in small doses.  This treatment lasts several months.

I guess it is possible to have your cake and eat it too.  With Botox, you not only look good, but you also feel good.

Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Algebra has always been my favorite subject.  I used to derive a sense of satisfaction from being able to work those equations out.  But when I entered college and had close encounters with Calculus, my love for math fizzled.  I found myself dreading it like the springy hairs on my neighbor’s bare back.  The mere mention of the word “Calculus” made my heart beat double time.  I probably had to use one of those monitors on to make sure that I wasn’t going to have a cardiac arrest anytime soon.

Now, I know better to stay away from unnecessary stress.   I’m not getting any younger, so I must make sure to do all I can to keep a healthy heart.

Regular exercise is a key factor in keeping one’s heart in top shape.  The operative word here is “regular”.  Don’t start and then stop your exercise regimen after some time.  If you’re just beginning to exercise, it’s best to start easy.  I, for one, have started to get the hang of running, but I didn’t set out to go on a marathon right away.  I began with a 3k fun run, and worked my way up to a 6k.  Slow and steady wins the race, remember?

If you’re not a running kind of person, you can always find some kind of physical activity to do which you enjoy.  You can opt instead to go dancing or biking around the block.  Just be sure to get your heart pumping 5 days a week, for about 30 minutes each time.

Now if only I knew how to keep the heart from being broken…


The Great Spa Search: What To Look For In a Spa

It goes without saying that being married does have its perks.  For one, at the end of a long and tiring day, you get to have a masseuse on call in the form of your husband or wife.  He or she may not exactly have a physical therapist’s training, but those loving strokes do a wonderful job of healing and soothing any ache or pain.

But for those of us who aren’t so lucky, we can always treat ourselves to a trip to the spa.  Since spas are a dime a dozen- pretty much like hormonally-charged teenagers on prom night- we should be a little more discerning when choosing a spa to go to.  If we mindlessly gave in to every spa marketing scheme out there, we might end up being even more stressed out than when we started our spa search.  Here are a few tips on choosing a spa:

Be wary of the price.  Just because a spa has higher than usual prices, doesn’t necessarily mean that they provide the best service.  Rely more on word of mouth than on hard core advertising.

The therapists on duty should be friendly, presentable, and professional.  They should start on time and wash their hands before touching any part of your body.

While on the topic of touching, be sure they don’t touch you “the wrong way”.  Do let them know if you feel there’s anything sexual in the way their hands go over your body.

Your spa experience should be something you’ll remember and want to keep going back to.  Ask around for good recommendations, and you won’t be sorry.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /

Considering Personal Alert Systems

Personal protection may take many forms, and having a reliable way to call for assistance in a case of injury, isolation, or danger may be the best way to protect anyone. Marketing efforts may focus on seniors and individuals with certain disabilities, but anyone who becomes lost, trapped, or injured may benefit from being able to signal their location easily, quickly and accurately. Advances in wired and wireless technology have given consumers more options than ever before, and portable devices may be ideal in a medical crisis, for locating a lost child, or for alerting first responders as needed. The increased emphasis on being healthy and staying well has been embraced by many individuals, and a proactive approach is central to many health and wellness plans. Taking advantage of new innovations may keep individuals of all ages as healthy, safe, and independent as possible.

Individuals who are young, adventurous, and active may not seem like a group that would need this type of assistance, but concerns about health and personal safety may be just as important for people in these demographics. Seniors are often cautioned against the dangers of slipping and falling and needing to call for help, but runners, joggers, individuals traveling by themselves, and children may be in just as much peril at any time. Taking advantage of smartphone technology may be ideal for entire families, and apps for smartphones are available for first aid, driving, and emergency preparedness. Mobile personal alert systems may provide real solutions for groups as diverse as students, realtors, and individuals concerned about dating issues and domestic violence. A simple download can create a new sense of security for many people, and knowing that help may be at hand whenever needed can alleviate concerns about unexpected health issues as well.

Good smartphone apps allow users to send email, text, and voicemail emergency alerts based on precise locations, and having as many contacts as possible can ensure the effectiveness of a quality system. Many devices are based on technology that was initially developed to protect military personnel and civilian first responders, and product improvements have made wireless devices even more useful when it comes to getting help quickly. Personal preparedness may be crucial in emergency situations, and the latest preventative measures employ systems that make it as easy as possible to get the most appropriate assistance. Automatic dialing for emergency services, secure network connections, global positioning system technology, and single step activation should be part of any quality protection system. Mobility issues and hazardous situations may be real possibilities, but accessible, affordable, and effective protection may be downloaded and at hand for anyone who wants to be proactive about any aspect of personal safety.

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The Truth About Teeth

If a face can launch a thousand ships, a huge factor which contributes to one’s beauty would have to be his smile.  Flashing those pearly whites simply brightens everything up, and is highly infectious.  If you smile at even the crossest of misers, you’ll at least get a one-sided grin out of him.

It’s a no-brainer that in order to have a nice set of teeth, you should keep them healthy.  Here are a few simple tips on how to do that:

DON’T brush your teeth immediately after a meal.  Surprised?  It’s because after you eat meals and drinks which are acidic (sweets and juice), they stick to the enamel of your teeth.  If you brush right after, you do more harm than good, as you tend to push the acid deeper into the enamel.  This damages your teeth.  It’s best to wait until 30-60 minutes after eating.

Rinse.  If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of the acid.  Remember to also floss daily, so you can clean the gumline and gaps between the teeth.

See your dentist regularly.  Twice a year is ideal, but if you really can’t, then once a year is the next best thing.  Don’t be afraid of those Orthodontic Distal End Cutters, because that’s simply one of the nifty tools your dentist uses to help keep your teeth in shape.  If your company provides dental insurance for individuals as a benefit, then take advantage of that, and head on over to your friendly dentist.

Simple habits lead to stunning smiles.  Smile and the world smiles with you.  But before you do, clean those choppers first…

Bring Sexy Back By Taking Care of Your Back

Family reunions are always a big deal- not only because of the huge servings of food, but also because you get to see relatives you haven’t seen in a while.  Just recently, an old (by old, I mean chronologically challenged) relative from my mother’s side of the family came to town, and we hosted a spur-of-the-moment reunion in his honor.

One thing I noticed about my grandfather though, was that he was having back pain.  He says that in the US, he often sees a Stockton chiropractor for his frequent pains.  This got me thinking about my own back, and how I should take care of it before it’s too late.

Since I work in the library, I do my own share of shelving books.  That can be quite back-breaking too.  I also spend hours at my desk, and sometimes feel some pain shoot through my spine.

Sitting for long periods puts a lot of strain and pressure on the discs on your back, so if you’re like me, you’d do better to give your back a break by occasionally standing up when talking to someone, or trying to take short walks every half-hour or so.  You can also regularly move your rear around while sitting in your chair, and shift your weight.

At work, make sure you have an ergonomic chair.  But, if you don’t have the same power as your boss to ask for one, you can always improvise by putting a pillow behind your back.

It’s the little things that matter.  Let’s not neglect our backs, and let’s bring sexy back!

How Simple Activities Like Picnics can Improve Your Mood

If you’re suffering from depression, a mood disorder, or have a very stressful job, all of these conditions require you to pay special attention to yourself and find ways to relieve anxiety and stress. It may be easier said than done, but finding activities that will not only distract you but will calm you as well is some of the best medicine available. Enjoying nature and going on a picnic is free and it also is a place where you can practice meditation, prayer, read a good book, or journal. Bring a picnic along too and enjoy a beautiful day at the park. Over time you may see your mood begin to improve.

Vitamin D Helps Improve Your Mood

Many times during the winter people may find themselves becoming sad either because activities lessen or they are not getting enough sunshine. Did you know that not getting enough sun effects your mood? When spring arrives it’s perfectly healthy to get more sun and a great way to do this is by gathering up your family or going by yourself to the nearest park. Pack a lunch in your picnic coolers and enjoy the great outdoors. Soak up some sun and look forward to your mood improving over time.

Try Yoga or Something that Allows You to Reflect

Another great way to alleviate stress is by focusing and a great way to focus is by practicing yoga at a nearby studio, park, or even in the comfort of your own home. Yoga will not only help with your breathing, but it will also give you something to strive towards. Build your confidence and realize that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. If Yoga is not your thing then perhaps try journaling or another form of meditation. Discovering the source of your stress will help you cope with this stressor when it comes along in the future.

Exercise at a Local Nature Center

Did you know that exercising helps your endorphins and that endorphins make you happy? Exercise regularly and you should also see a big improvement. It may not happen right away, but exercising alleviates symptoms of anxiety and what’s more, helps you stay healthy. Head to a local nature center, park, or even walk around your neighborhood and be sure to sweat! Get your heart rate up and be proud of yourself for your hard work when your mood improves and you look forward to spring.


Sierra is a freelance writer and when she suffers from anxiety likes to exercise or go on a picnic. Stay up to date with Sierra on her blog Ocean Dreams.





Easy and Effective Stress-Busting Tips for Everybody

If I’m not mistaken, this Facebook photo my online friend tagged me in was that of a playground capped in snow.  It was just the swings and slides, no people in sight.  That for me was pure bliss and serenity.  I told my friend that even for a brief moment, I was taken to a place of relaxation where my heart got the chance to beat at a steady and healthy rate.

Whatever your profession is in this crazy thing called life- whether you’re the CEO at a reputable carpet cleaning nyc company or a mom who makes a killer PB & J, we all need to take a step back and just relax.  Stress inevitably is a part of our everyday lives, but there are some little things we can do to help ease things up a bit.

Listen to music.  Those seven dwarves did themselves a whole lot of good when they whistled as they worked.  If you can handle writing up that report while you’re listening to Cyndi Lauper, then go ahead and do so.  It’ll help brighten up your mood as you bury yourself in work.

Indulge.  At the end of the work day, immerse yourself in whatever it is you fancy.  You can go out for drinks with your co-workers, or pig out on your favorite French fries.

Exercise.  You can either run around the block on your way home, or hit the gym after you clock out from work.  Squeeze in some physical activity, and you’ll get that much-needed endorphin rush to fight your daily stress.

Meditate.  Or pray.  You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to know the ropes of meditation.  You can start by simply sitting still, and clearing your mind.  Pay attention to your breathing and try to eliminate all forms of worry.  You can also just pray and lift up all your cares to Him.

Stress will always be a part of our lives, but if we learn not to let it overwhelm us, we’ll end up healthier and happier.  I think I may need another round of beer here…


Back Pain from Scoliosis: How I Deal With It

When I was in high school, I distinctly remember excitedly going with my friend to her Tae Kwon Do class on weekends.  It was a sport I was only too keen on getting into, but that’s all it ever was- and will be, I’m afraid- a dream.  It was also in high school when I was diagnosed with having scoliosis. Maybe my world shattered a bit, when I heard the news.  But I was okay.  All I knew was that my spine was curved, and that there were certain things I couldn’t do.  No biggie.

As I got older though, I started experiencing some back pain.  It’s never anything excruciating, but it bothers me somewhat.  I notice that it attacks whenever I sit or stand for long periods of time, or after I bend my body the wrong way.  It’s a real party-spoiler, make no mistake about it!

Sometimes, I wear a removable back support under my clothes.  It gives me the posture of a New York runway model.  It helps push my shoulders back and keeps my posture in check.  It helps alleviate the pain and boost my confidence as well.

At work, I put a pillow between my back and the back of the chair to keep me comfy.  Occasionally, I also get up and move about.

As for bedtime, I find that a pillow which supports my neck helps relieve me of any pain from scoliosis.  A friend gave me one of those special pillows which follow the natural curve of the neck.  It’s been the answer to those sleepless nights, as I finally got that neck support I needed.

I realize that scoliosis will be with me for the rest of my life, but with proper care, I should be fine.  Things could be worse.

Fast forward to today, that same friend from way back is now heavily into yoga, and is encouraging me to join her.  I’m a bit hesitant though, thinking that those pretzel-esque poses will do more harm to my spine than good.  But we’ll see.  I just might consider yoga.  I hear it does help ease scoliosis…


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.