Lambeth Country Show Review

 

43rd Lambeth Show Hailed the Best Yet

The ever-popular Lambeth Country Show took place in July and entertained hundreds of thousands in its quirky and unique way. 

A mainstay of the summer festival scene since the days of Flower Power and the Bay City Rollers, the Lambeth Country Show just gets bigger and bigger every year, and its popularity shows no sign in waning.

Established in 1974, this was the 43rd show, and this year hundreds of exhibitors set out to pitch their stall, hire a Templant generator and get ready to welcome around 200,000 visitors to Brockwell Park on 15 and 16 July.

Free for all

The show can be described as a free for all in every sense of the phrase. There is no entry fee, and the festival attracts the weird and the wonderful when it comes to the entertainment on display.

It also attracts a massive turnout. Official figures for 2017 are yet to be released, but bearing in mind that last year it amounted to 170,000, then the magic 200,000 figure is a distinct possibility.

When you consider that around 135,000 visitors attend Glastonbury every year, you start to get a feel for the scale of the event.

Joust for laughs

It is difficult to single out highlights from such an eclectic mix of activities, but some of the events that really stuck out included the chocolate museum, which managed to avoid melting despite the warm summer temperatures, the birds of prey, which were massively popular with adults and kids alike and, of course, the jousting. Who could forget the jousting?

If the enthusiasm at Lambeth is anything to go by, this medieval pastime could soon be making a comeback – expect to see participants on horseback practicing at an athletics track near you soon!

Live music

Of course, many attend for the music, and this year, the quality was as high as ever, courtesy of the Oxjam Music Festival. This is a great organisation that supports grassroots music and at the same time does so much to raise money for those who need it the most.

Brixton Dance School also gave an amazing display that went down extremely well with the enthusiastic crowd.

For those who wanted to get a little more involved, there was even an African drumming workshop, where anyone could have a go. What some lacked in rhythm was more than made up for in enthusiasm!

Call any vegetable

Finally, we can’t mention the Lambeth Show without discussing the vegetables. The traditional vegetable carving competition has been going on for as long as the show itself, and, as usual, produced a remarkable array of artwork and biting satire, all using the humble vegetable as a basis.

Fun, quirky and absolutely unique. If you’ve never been along to the Lambeth Show, put it in the diary for next year. And don’t forget to start practicing your potato carving skills well in advance!

How Does the Real Hampstead Compare to The Movie?

 

Recent Film is Based on Hampstead Man’s Life 

Hampstead has hit the big screen in Diane Keaton’s Latest film. But the resemblance is only a passing one.

When it reviewed Hampstead shortly after release, The Guardian awarded it a solitary one star and described it as a ghastly faux-mance. As far as incisive social commentary goes, it is hard to argue with that, but taken at face value as a showcase for Diane Keaton to go through her usual range of facial expressions, while a touching story that is loosely based on a real life Hampstead resident is told, it is well worth a look.

As for any links to the real Hampstead – well, Hampstead estate agents will be quick to tell you that while there are a variety of attractive properties available to buy and rent in this popular north London oasis, setting up camp on Hampstead Heath is unlikely to result in a happy ending!

Harry the Hermit

Joel Hopkins’ film is inspired by the real life adventures of one Harry Hallowes. An Irishman by birth, he had lived in the north London area since moving there in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, he found himself homeless, and set himself up in a makeshift camp in a quiet corner of Hampstead Heath.

There, he grew vegetables and became largely self-sufficient, supplementing his supplies with money earned by doing odd jobs for some of the local residents, including famous Monty Python illustrator Terry Gilliam.

In the early 2000s, property developers attempted to evict him, but as he had been living on the site for more than 12 years, he was able to claim squatter’s rights. After a lengthy battle, which captured the attention of the local community and the national media, he was awarded a deed on the plot of land, thought to be worth around £2 million.

Harry passed away last year at the age of 88, leaving his unique estate to two charitable organisations.

Hampstead life

The film might seem a little saccharine, but it emphasises one thing – it could only happen in Hampstead. The suburb has always had a leaning towards the unusual, and its old fashioned high street, surrounded by acres of countryside, could not feel less like London.

Over the years, it has gained a reputation for being home to the artistic, musical, literary and – dare we say it – perhaps slightly eccentric set, so of all the places for a Harry the Hermit to appear, Hampstead was the almost inevitable choice.

It is also a place of extreme diversity. Harry arrived without a penny to his name and somehow found success. Just down the road, Hampstead Village is home to more millionaires than any other location in the UK.

As you might expect, it has also attracted its fair share of celebrity residents over the years, including Liam Gallagher, Sting, Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais. You might even bump into Britain’s most famous celebrity couple, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter, taking a Sunday afternoon stroll.

So how does Hampstead really compare to the movie? The reality is far less likely to be believed!

Enhance Your Garden With Natural Stone Paving Options

 

Some of the different natural stone options for use in the garden for patios and paving. Limestone, slate, granite, travertine, Yorkstone and sandstone discussed. 

Choosing the best type of natural stone to make the most of your space

Natural stone is an excellent choice whether for paving, hard standing or a patio area. Compared to manmade stone it looks more natural, lasts longer, enhances the value and ‘market appeal’ of your home, and is actually very cost effective in the longer term.

There are various types to choose from, so what may be the best for your use? The first step is to consider your garden needs and take a look at some stone types along with other items and materials you may be using in your garden, so Milestone garden supplies is a good place to start.

Sandstone

A popular choice in gardens; with its granular appearance sandstone combines a ‘warm’ and natural look with the benefit of versatility and, despite its name, offers a choice of colours other than a sandy shade including creams and greys.

Sandstone offers good slip resistance and is porous so makes a good choice as a poolside surface and for gardens and other wetter locations.

Granite

Often considered the ultimate natural stone, granite can be seen in many settings including many famous landmarks and city centres throughout the world. It’s very hard wearing, extremely low-maintenance, known for its attractive appearance and can be specified in a wide range of colours.

While it may be considered expensive, once laid your granite paving will last many years and will soon be seen more as an investment in your property than an expense.

Slate

A sound choice; slate offers a very natural look with its characteristically uneven texture and offers the strength of manmade concrete in one of the more affordable natural stone options.

Some slate paving can be specified in a more uniform colour scheme whereas if you prefer a more variable and ‘natural’ weathered look, then more rustic types are available. Slate is generally low maintenance, and if one slab should become damaged it can be replaced without affecting the look of the paving. Its slip-resistant nature makes it a good choice in higher footfall areas.

Limestone

Add a distinctive appearance to your paving by choosing limestone with its natural veining and distinctive colour choices of greys, blues and tans along with a striking black option.

With a fine grain composition, limestone is easy to cut into different shapes so ideal if your paving is partly or wholly of an oddball design.

Yorkstone

As its name suggests, Yorkstone is a type of sandstone native to Yorkshire whereas other sandstones are likely sourced from countries such as China and India.

Yorkstone is a classic natural stone commonly found in a buff or tan colour although two-tone versions are available for a little variety. It’s possible to choose reclaimed Yorkstone which is ideal for period properties where you want to immediately experience the ‘weathered’ look rather than waiting for new stone paving to age.

Travertine

An affordable and very effective natural stone with strong anti-slip properties, travertine is a good choice around wet areas such as poolsides. This natural stone is a form of limestone that was affected by extra heat and pressure when formed.

Travertine can appear in smoother or more textured finishes depending on how it’s prepared, and in colour tends to be available in beige, ivory and gold shades. It’s an easy stone to work with and very versatile so can be adapted to various outdoor and indoor applications.

Choices, choices

So there are at least six solid choices of natural stone all offering major benefits. The key is to visit a natural stone expert for unbiased advice and to see some examples for yourself.

8 Interesting Costume Ideas For Your Kids

 

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that kids love colorful costumes. The joyful face a child makes when they receive a new beautiful costume can simply warm a mother’s heart. Unfortunately, costumes can cost a lot of money when purchased through retailers. Is there any way to bring joy in a more cost-effective way? The answer is YES. With home embroidery machines listed on Design My Costume, moms everywhere are pouring their love into making their own choice of EMBROIDERY DESIGNS, to the delight of children all around the world.

Here are a few ideas of costumes moms can make themselves:

Little Lion:

List of Supplies: Brown fleece, Light Brown fleece, Elastic, Cardboard.

This is one beautiful costume most moms love to make at home. With the embroidery machines, the workload is made even easier. The key here is to pay a great deal of attention to the design of the lion’s mane, the positioning of the gloves, boots and the wiggly tail. With a bit of hard work and determination you will be entertaining a beautiful baby-lion so in love with the costume you worked so hard to make. This must go up on your Facebook and Instagram as #Mommylove.

Meatballs and Spaghetti:

List of Supplies: 2 mop-heads, foam balls, red onesie

The meatballs and spaghetti is another costume most mothers love to make. They rave about how many laughs baby makes because adults who see baby cannot help but laugh too. A couple once discovered that they could use two mop-heads (newly purchased) as the spaghetti, provided baby was well covered. They used foam balls as meatballs, and had him wear a red onesie as sauce. The cute costume was a hit not only because the parents themselves dressed up as chefs, but also because baby was placed in a big enough bowl. One of the best mommy-made costumes ever.

Snowball Costume:

List of Supplies: Light blue sweatshirt, Styrofoam balls

Babies love Olaf, the beloved snowman in the Disney Classic Frozen. So why wait till Christmas to see snow? Dress baby up in a festive snowball/Olaf costume as you sit down for another viewing of the movie. We guarantee a very fun experience. This costume commonly requires a light blue sweatshirt, Styrofoam balls and a few other embroidery designs of mommy’s choosing. This costume is fun and easy to make using home embroidery machines. It works for children of all ages; another fun and affordable way to show your little one you care.

Here Comes the Sun Costume:

List of Supplies: Sweatshirt, glue, elastic, a safety pin, yellow and orange felt pen

For this costume, you will need an oversized yellow sweatshirt, glue, elastic, a safety pin, yellow and orange felt. This costume tends to be somewhat more complicated to make than the others; however, the effect it produces makes the hard work worth it. Children somehow catch unto the brightness of the entire costume and brighten everyone else’s day in turn because of uncontrollable laughter and smiling. Babies love this costume design because it brings out what they feel inside. An awesome costume!

Little Devil:

List of Supplies: Red overalls, wings, horns

PSA: This costume will make your child very adventurous and a mischievously smiling little boy or girl. Create with caution. Literally the simplest costume and the most popular of all. Every Halloween sees little devils scurrying all around our neighborhoods collecting candy with their pitchforks. Truly a sight to behold the joy and happiness babies express when they love the awesome costume you got for them. This requires only a red overall with a tail attachment, wings, and horns.

Garden Fairy:

List of Supplies: Green Felt, tutu, flowers, wings

The Garden Fairy costume while easy to make, requires mom to learn how to make a tutu. However once that step is complete, the costume design flows with ease. With a little bit of work on the machine, and some creative additions of the flowers you’ll be looking at Tinker Bell in her human form. This costume is sure to bring forth lots of joy because every little boy wants to be Peter and every little girl wants to be Tinker. Just as with the snowball costume, enjoy the costume with a Peter Pan movie.

Classic Witch:

List of Supplies: Dress, Pointy hat, black shoes

The classic witch costume is one baby girls love, especially when there is an accompanying flying broom. In terms of Halloween costumes, this may be one of the most common. Mom’s everywhere use embroidery machines to create awesome designs of their choosing to make the costume more complete. Further, moms can design the hats using the same method, so that the costume comes full circle. An interesting idea is to grab pieces of cloth, embroider them with the same designs, and cover the broom with these cloths.

Woodland Fairy:

List of Supplies: Glue, safety pin, silk dress (tutu), orange flowers

The woodland fairy is one of the tougher costumes to make.  It is not as common as some of the others, as most baby girls opt for the garden fairy look. However, this look and style is for the “independent” daughter who wishes to stand out from all the other fairies during Halloween. The woodland fairy is the true queen of all fairies and your baby will feel this when they put it on. Not to mention the free-spirited nature of such a fairy is infectious and you may all end up dancing and spinning in circles.

These are just a few of the ideas mothers can put into creation without having to pay the ridiculous prices at retail centers. The costumes are worth more when they are self-made, and you can see the effect of something you made on your child. There is no need to take our word for it, try it out for yourself with a purchase of excellent embroidery sewing combo like Brother SE400. There are many sites out there that show you how to make a variety of costumes that were not addressed in this article. Check them out and let us know how much you saved!

 

Your Bedroom is Your Sanctuary – Organize It Like One

Collaboration with 3beds.com

 

If you think about it, our bedroom is the space where we’ll spend most of our lives. Granted, we spend it sleeping, but the quality of sleep we get has a profound impact on the rest of our day, from productivity to the way we cope with the rush of our busy lives.

Today, we’ll look at ways we can improve the space and turn it what it needs to be – a serene oasis.

Decluttering

Creation of a relaxing bedroom ambiance begins by tidying up any clutter that you might have laying around. Clutter is known to increase stress levels, and over time cause anxiety and this is something that you definitely do not want. It’s also a good idea to open up the windows and air out the room, get rid of dust and put on fresh bedding.

Keeping the room tidy will bring on a sense of peace and calm.

Focal pieces

Invest into a few decorative bits that will bring your room decor together like soft throw rugs, plants and succulents, soft blankets and throw pillows.

If your room is painted dark, choose lighter accent pieces that will lift up the space. Bringing in new colors and details into your surroundings naturally increases the levels of serotonin your brain produces making you happier and in turn also more relaxed.

Light and scents

If you’re sensitive to bright lights, pull the curtains and block any light coming into the room. You can also invest into light dimmers that will let you control just how much or little light you would like to have in your room. Lights that come from around us, either right below or in our field of vision are usually less strenuous to the eyes than the ones places directly above us.

For that relaxing aromatherapy spa effect, light a few candles and incense sticks.

Scents like lavender, chamomile, mint, jasmine, valerian and vanilla are well known for relaxing the nervous and their calming effects.

Sound

Some people prefer complete silence when they want to relax while others might prefer music.

If you’re someone that likes to relax to sound it’s a good idea to plan ahead and compile a relaxing playlist. And if you’re out of ideas or just can’t be bothered there are plenty of ready-made playlists made just for relaxing.

Turn off the TV and phone and eliminate any electrical disturbances.

Your mind needs to relax and rest from all the information it’s been taking in through the day. Things like reality TV, news and social media increase the stress levels so it’s best to put them aside and focus on things that keep you feeling comfortable.

Relaxation “tools”

Use relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and deep breathing.

Focusing on the breath for a longer period of time triggers a natural reaction in the brain that relaxes the entire nervous system. By bringing in more oxygen into the body, the muscles begin to relax and create a calm, relaxing sensation.

Practicing these techniques will benefit you in the long run as the brain learns to stay relaxed and “in the moment”.

Choosing the right mattress

A mattress is the last thing we should skimp on. It’s not a piece of furniture; it’s an investment in our wellbeing. Let’s look at some of the options we can choose from.

Innerspring Mattresses

This type of mattress is still by far the most widely used.

Its support comes from enclosed spring coils. Keeping the springs confined adds to the longevity of the mattress itself and keeps the coils from popping up over time and making sleep difficult and uncomfortable.

Innerspring mattresses come in a wide array of materials made for comfort like memory foam, latex, pillowtop, etc. Spring based mattresses are the most popular choice because of the balance between comfort and support they offer.

Mattress toppers and pads

As the mattress “decays” and you start feeling the coils underneath, adding a good mattress topper or pad will do the trick for most people. If you’re looking for support, go with a Talalay or Dunlop latex topper but if you’re looking for something softer, down feather of synthetic fibre toppers and pads are the best choice.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses have been growing in popularity lately and rightfully so.

Made from different types of foam with different densities, they respond to the temperature and the weight of the body. Their comfort comes from the ability to contour and mold to your body shape.

They also reduce pressure points, relieving back ache and muscle fatigue. The foam absorbs movement, so if you’re someone that’s prone to tossing and turning at night, rest assured that your partner won’t be disturbed.

Latex Mattresses

Made from either natural or synthetic rubber, these mattresses are known for providing a very firm, bouncy support. The support is the same throughout the whole mattress.

These mattresses are very firm and push back at the body instead of molding to it like the memory foam types and do not absorb heat. Good if you’re heat sensitive and prefer a more cooling effect.

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses come in all kinds of shapes and sizes but the ones that will offer you the best sleep support are made just like a standard innerspring mattress, but instead of enclosed coils the best of air mattresses feature air chambers and the high-end models come with either a pillow of memory foam top.

Airbeds are also known for being used with people on bed rest and patients with back injuries. They can be a temporary option for welcoming guests, sure, but the best of the inflatable beds, or air mattresses, whatever you want to call them, can be as comfortable are any other type.

Final thoughts

Nine thousand, one hundred and twenty five days – that’s how much an average person spends sleeping in a lifetime.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Any further argument about the importance of proper sleep would be redundant.

Sweet dreams!

Choosing the Right Contraception For You

 

When it comes to choosing a form of contraception the choices available can be a little overwhelming. While historically we were fairly limited by what was available, there are now several options available to couples. All have their own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s often a case of trial and error to find which works best with your body.

While condoms are always recommended for safe sex (particularly with a new partner), those looking to avoid pregnancy have various other options available. Here we’ll take a look at some of the most common contraceptive methods and the pros and cons of each.

The Pill

A popular method of contraception, the contraceptive pill uses a combination of hormones to stop your ovaries releasing an egg. The pill is only available if prescribed by a doctor, and must be taken at the same time each day.

Pros

If taken correctly, it can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Some versions of the pill can even make your period lighter or reduce menstrual cramps. Popular pills include Microgynon and Cilest, but it’s important to find what works best for you as everyone reacts differently to the pill.

Cons

Forget to take the pill at the right time and you risk getting pregnant as the pill becomes less effective the longer you leave it. There can sometimes be side effects such as bleeding between periods, nausea/vomiting, weight gain and reduced sex drive. The more popular ‘combined’ pill (eg. Microgynon) is not suitable for some people, for example smokers or those with high blood pressure who may need to take a pill that contains lower levels of oestrogen.

The Implant

The contraceptive implant is inserted by a medical professional into the skin of your upper arm. Much like the pill, it thickens the cervical mucus and releases hormones into your body to prevent your ovaries from producing eggs.

Pros

Once inserted, it lasts up to three years and is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It can help to reduce menstrual cramps and heavy flow.

Cons

While they are less common, there is still the risk of side effects commonly associated with the pill, such as nausea, weight gain and changes in sex drive.

Contraceptive Injection

Administered by a professional healthcare provider, the injection is carried out every 3 months and contains hormones that thicken the cervical mucus and thin the lining of the womb to try and prevent eggs being released.

Pros

Unlike the pill, you do not need to remember to take something every day and it is over 99% effective. Due to the lack of oestrogen, it is often suitable for those unable to take the combined pill.

Cons

You have to go to the doctor every 3 months as this isn’t something you can do at home. Likewise, this obviously isn’t a great option if you’re scared of needles! Despite the lack of oestrogen, there can still be side effects similar to those with the pill.

The IUD (or Coil)

The IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) is a small t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a medical practitioner. The length of time you can have the IUD varies but can be up to 12 years depending on the type you choose. It works by preventing sperm from surviving in the womb.

Pros

The IUD can be a longer-lasting solution and, once inserted, there is nothing more you need to do. Some IUDs (the longer-lasting type) can be completely hormone-free so may be suitable for people who react badly to certain hormones or who have existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure. It is usually over 99% effective.

Cons

Not everyone will feel comfortable with having something inserted into the uterus and the process can be a bit uncomfortable at first.

A Quick Guide to Kitchen Splash-backs

One of the most important spaces in your house is the kitchen, and I run across a lot of people who are looking to remodel. People remodel for various reasons, like making more space, and personalizing it to fit their specific tastes. Once you have the perfect cabinets and countertops, you must turn to the splash-back, also known as the back-splash, as the final accent piece to your design. 

There are many different types of splash-backs to choose from, including different shapes and materials. One type of splash-back that is fairly popular right now is a design composed of many, tiny squares with a gradient of complimentary colors. for example a piece may have squares of blue leading to a lighter blue with accents of green and grey. The colors choices vary greatly and you will certainly be able to pick something that goes well with the rest of the décor. They also have different styles similar to this, with longer rectangular pieces arranged in various patterns from diagonal to horizontal. Some of these can even be designed by you or your designer, depending on how specific you are on the design of you splash-back.

Another popular trend is to use the same marble or material that you used on your countertops on you splash-back. This creates a fluid look from the countertops to the wall, providing a crisp, clean look. Another plus for this type of splash-back is that it makes it very easy to clean up after a meal, since there are no grooves for the dirt to hide in.

Though marble does have its positives, I still recommend a separate splash-back made of a different material. It adds a pop of color and personality that will brighten up the room. It makes it more personal, and everyday that you look at it you will not be disappointed.

The question you probably have now is, which one to choose? Well recently a new trend has people using acrylic instead of glass to make their splash-backs. There are a variety of positives for choosing to use acrylic over glass. Acrylic looks very similar to glass and gives the same shiny look that you get from glass. Not only that, doing your backsplash in acrylic can save you a lot of money since acrylic is cheaper and easier to make. As a material, it is also very strong so I can stand up to the everyday strain that is put on it. It stands up to scuffs, cuts, and dirt and grime. All it takes is a rag and some soapy water and you can wipe your acrylic splash-back completely clean. The fact that it is so easy to clean is probably why this is my top choice. Personally, I don’t like to spend more than 5 minutes cleaning up after a meal, which is why decided to go with acrylic instead of glass, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.

So no matter which splash-back you choose, the most important thing is to pick one that will fit your specific needs. Choose a color that goes well with your cabinetry, counters, and appliances, and that will accent your kitchen in a way that makes it feel like home. Don’t go too crazy on the design since this space is meant for you and your family to be able to relax and bond, and make sure you choose a material that works well for your lifestyle. In the end you will have a beautiful kitchen and a splash-back that you will enjoy for years to come.

My Introduction to Yoga Meditation

Many people have difficulty falling asleep at night. Thinking and worrying about numerous topics (work, money, sick relatives, noisy neighbors, etc.) keep them tossing and turning long after they have turned off the lights. A few years ago, I was in this very situation. I had just started a new job that required me to learn a wide variety of new techniques and procedures. The job expectations and responsibilities were more than I anticipated and I regularly found myself still “working” long after I had left the office.

Bedtime was rough, work swam through my mind, harassing me at a time when I was trying to settle down.  In addition, I faced the burden of having to get up earlier than ever before to get to work.  This kept me worrying about my alarm not waking me up.  Glancing at the clock throughout the night was torture, 30 minutes would pass and I didn’t feel any closer to falling asleep!

Not getting much sleep made it tough to focus at work and caffeinated beverages became my best friend. Coffee in the morning and at break, soda at lunch and sometimes another coffee in the late afternoon became my norm. While these drinks helped at work, they destroyed me at home. I would have a caffeine “crash” in the early evening and end up taking a nap on my couch.  The nap made me feel better but it came at a cost, I wouldn’t be tired at bedtime. Thus, the restless night cycle continued!

Tired of being tired and having to rely on caffeine and sugar to keep me going, I wanted a change. I decided to limit my coffee and soda to help my body to rest naturally and not because of a “crash”. I also decided to try a lot of the sleep “tricks” out there. I drank warm tea before bed, read a book, or tried to clear my mind completely.  None of these completely fixed my sleeplessness and brought new challenges to my night.  The warm drink gave me added trips to the bathroom, books gave me new topics to race around my mind and trying to blank my mind, well I found that impossible, thinking about that “nothing” means that I was thinking about something and not nothing in the first place.  See how dizzying my mind was!

Although my sleeplessness improved a bit as I got the hang of work, I would still have days or weeks where it was difficult to sleep. I began to consider medicinal sleeping pills. Citing a few potential side effects, a friend politely recommended yoga instead. He talked about the many benefits yoga can have.  I agreed to give yoga a try.

Yoga was challenging for me but I did start to feel more flexible while playing basketball and less back pain after a few sessions, so I kept at it.  During my fifth yoga class, the instructor gave a lesson on meditation and introduced Gauranga breathing. The process was fairly easy, take a breath in and while exhaling, slowly say Gauranga (Goooooooo-Raaaaaaaa-Annnnnnnnn-Gaaaaaaaa). After doing this a few times, I felt great, completely cooled down and relaxed.

So, impressed by its effects after class, I decided to try Gauranga breathing at night before sleep.  It had the same effects, my body was more relaxed, my mind became free of all the clutter that was keeping me up at night and I was able to fall asleep quickly!

Amazed, I went back to my yoga instructor and asked why was Gauranga breathing different than the other meditation I had tried earlier?  Her answer was the Gauranga is one of the Holy Names of the Supreme Person and by saying it, my mind was focusing on Supreme Person and therefore, I was experiencing true peace.  She elaborated that we are all part and parcel of Supreme Person and loving remembrance of the Supreme Person is the path to actual happiness.  And that an easy way to remember Supreme Person is by hearing and saying His Holy Names as they have a transcendental and purifying affect.  I agreed with her that I had never felt so at peace as I did while doing Gauranga breathing, it was as if all my worries had just disappeared.

I continue to do this amazing breathing exercise before bed and use it to de-stress when the troubles of the world become overwhelming.  Gauranga breathing just takes a few minutes but can have long lasting effects and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Doggie Destinations – Travelling with Your Canine Companions

 

Your dog is more than just your best friend – they’re a part of your family, and you wouldn’t leave a family member behind on your dream holiday now would you? Here’s what you need to know about travelling with your dog and finding accommodation that leaves tails wagging all round!

If you’re based in the US, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Woofstock, a spectacular annual event held every May in Toronto, Canada which draws over 300,000 visitors from around the globe. Entrance is free and there’s plenty of entertainment for every member from of the family, from fun contests and talent shows, kids entertainment, beach volleyball and lots and lots and lots of doggie shopping! BringFido is a fantastic resource for finding dog friendly accommodation in the area.

The UK is also increasingly open to travelling with your dog, with as much as 90% of locals taking their dogs with them on their annual holiday. WeAcceptPets.co.uk is a great listing to find pet friendly accommodation in the areas you’re keen on – so making a list of areas the human members of your family would like to see and checking this against available accommodation for the furry members is a great start to planning a family break.

Yorkshire Dales

For large or energetic dogs, Swinton Park is a massive 2,000 acre estate in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales to delight doggies and enthusiastic ramblers alike – you’ll even get a complementary dog chew on arrival! And if a full on hiking holiday sounds like just the thing, check out the Paws on Tour hiking trips scheduled each August on the North York Moors by Rambler’s Holidays, which includes clambering through dales and gorges as beach rambles. Partipants can join for three, four or seven nights and get the benefit of an experienced tour leader.

The Dingos liked Australia so much, they stayed!

If dogs knew about geography, they’d probably recommend Australia as their dream doggie destination – back yards don’t come much bigger than the Outback after all! And if you’re looking for the absolute cream of the crop – check out the some of the winners of the Five Paws Award! These destinations based all over Australia all offer that extra something special for your canine companion – from miles of unspoilt countryside to explore together to comfortable doggie accommodation in onsite kennels or with you in your room.

Byron Bay is always a popular holiday destination in Australia, and dog-friendly cosy studio also offers free Wi-Fi, a must if you’re like me and leaving your casino games at home would hurt almost as much as leaving Fluffy. They also have a beautiful walking track around the local lake, perfect for stretching canine and human legs alike after a relaxed day at the beach.

A word on… Transpawtation.

While our natural tendency is to want to make sure our friend gets a good meal before hitting the road, this is actually a pretty bad idea – many dogs are actually susceptible to motion sickness, and your good intentions may make the trip an unpleasant one for your pooch. Do make sure that your dog gets a decent walk and some energetic playtime before confining them to a cramped space for several hours. This will help to burn off excess energy, give them ample time to ‘do their business’ before you leave and lead to a calmer dog in general for the journey. Find some more great tips here about picking up a forklift for larger dogs.

Wherever you head off to, make sure you do your research ahead of time and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a holiday that leaves the whole family simply panting for more!

Your Gym is Outdoors

Are you a parent with no time to yourself? Join the club. Bringing up children is hard work and often leaves us no time to ourselves. But to be the best parent you can it’s important to relax and recharge yourself sometimes. There’s no better way to do that than getting some exercise. Not only will this keep you fit and healthy to look after your kids in the future, it’ll also make you feel great – drenched in happy hormones and excited to get back to your family.

Bringing up little ones can be expensive however, so having a monthly gym subscription may not be ideal for parents. Instead of splurging a lot of money, why not try exercising outside? This is a great option for the busy parent. Here’s a list of reasons why your gym is in fact outdoors:

  1. Your gym is a great place to meet people

Some people worry about exercising outside – that they’ll bump into people they know when feeling sweaty and exhausted. Well, fear not, there’s no need to look rubbish while working out. Tie long hair back in a classy braid or bun and put on some fashionable yoga gear and then it doesn’t matter who you see. Plus, if you often workout and feel you would love to get a fresh and easy look so your hair is never in the way of your workout, try out some stylish jumbo box braids – you’ll always be good to go!

  1. Your gym is everywhere

No need to live near a training track or treadmills, if you want to exercise outside you can do so pretty much anywhere. Want to run? Just run round the block a few times. Got a park nearby? Find a secluded patch and put yourself through you paces with squats, lunges and burpees.

  1. Your gym is all-weather-friendly

Contrary to popular opinion – working out outdoors isn’t just for balmy summer evenings. You can exercise in the open air whatever the weather. This comes back to the old maxim: it’s not about the weather, it’s about the clothing. Making sure you wrap up warm in winter and have something cooling for summer. This will enable you to get fit regardless of the temperature.

  1. Your gym is beautiful

Who wants to work out in stuffy underground bunkers or rooms with no natural light? When you exercise outdoors not only do you feel great from exercising, but you get some much needed fresh air. Go somewhere lovely like a canal or field. It’ll give you a moment of serenity away from hectic family life.

So there you have it – from wearing jumbo box braids to enjoying your local field – there’s every reason to get outside and do some fitness. When you’re bringing up a family, it’s important to do something for yourself every now and then. This’ll reenergise you ready to dive head first back into your role as a parent.