Tick Tock, Tick Tock

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When I first started this blog last August I was about to make the leap back into full time education to study journalism. I had always enjoyed writing and after much soul searching decided that it was now or never. Taking the view that life is utterly precious and not to be wasted I decided to “live the life I’d always wanted” or well at least give it an honest shot.

I figured that a blog would be a great way of detailing my time spent in college as well as getting my name out there so I spent a weekend grappling with WordPress while I set it up. Fortunately WordPress is pretty straightforward as anyone who knows me will be aware I am more techno phobe than techno geek. If you don’t believe me check out my post “Emergency Dash to Meteor” that really happened – I kid you not. Thankfully I’ve improved since then.

I spent hours upon hours working my way through loads of suitable WordPress themes before I picked one, worked out my posts for the month ahead (Yes I really was that organised. Was.) Big shout out to Amanda and Lorna at spiderworking.com for giving me valuable pointers and taking the time to answer any questions I had. I posted my first post and then ….I waited and I waited. No flash of thunder, no phone ringing (why would it?? How could it??) No round of applause – in hindsight I don’t know what I expected but well apart from a few views nothing really all was quiet.

Determined to succeed I persevered and here’s the thing: I really enjoy blogging. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, get a glimpse into other worlds and learn something – a really good blog post can move you to tears or to make you laugh out loud. In my case my blog began to get a life of its own and aside from one post college didn’t really feature in it at all. Not that college wasn’t great (I’m back again in September) topics just seemed to present themselves in no particular order or theme and as life became busier and because I had no system in place I got bogged down.  Creating a good post on a regular basis is really difficult because at the end of the day while no one should underestimate the power of visual a really good blog post needs really good content and that takes time to create.009

All bloggers know this. As well as creating a post you also need good strong visuals to accompany your post. Like a lot of bloggers I find that more and more I’m taking my own photos that way I get to choose the images and there are no problems with copyright. Thing is this also takes time. Time, in my world is something that is in short supply. You have to decide what the shot is, how best to take the shot, set it up take it and then when you have the image the way you want it then you import it to your laptop.

So, if I wanted to continue blogging and managing everything else in my life it was clear I needed to sort out my time management skills. And here they are, these tips helped and while it’s still a real juggling act keeping all the balls up in the air they certainly are effective in helping me manage time better.007Write a list but don’t stress yourself out over it. Write down in order of importance jobs which need to be done. When the first job done cross it off and move on to the task and so on. I realise that you’ve heard this before but I’m including it because it works!

  1. Allow yourself a realistic amount of time to complete your jobs. The first thing I noticed when I began to make a conscious effort to manage my time better was that some tasks took way longer than I had anticipated while other tasks didn’t take too long at all.  Mainly though I wasn’t giving myself enough time to finish some tasks properly. So set yourself a realistic time frame and, if necessary break the job down into two or three smaller, doable tasks.
  2. Find it hard to concentrate/get started? Set a time to start and stick to it. Tell yourself that if you still hate it/making no progress in 15 minute you can call it a day. Nine times out of ten when the 15 minute deadline is up I find that I’m in a completely different frame of mind and carry on. I really recommend this if like me when you get over-whelmed you procrastinate!
  3. Give yourself regular breaks. Every 50 min to 90 min allow yourself ten minutes to have a cuppa, stretch your legs or just relax. While you’re having your break: forget about the job you’ve been working on. Clear your mind and relax. I find short breaks really help my concentration meaning I can stay working for longer without getting burnt out.
  4. Delegate: if someone else can do the job and it’s not something you need to do. Let them do it. Why not? This gives you time to focus on other tasks. If you’ve children give them suitable jobs to do depending on their age: wash up, clearing plates away from table, empty dishwasher (older children ) walk the dog etc. it all helps. It can be difficult to get into the hang of this particurly if you are the type of person who isn’t used to telling others what to do/ doesn’t like to ask for help. But it’s worth persevering because ultimately anything that frees up valuable time will make your life a easier in the long run.
  5. As you work down your list try to take action earlier so that crisis are averted saving you stress i.e. sort out the car insurance the month before its due for renewal – not the day before leaving you plenty of time to check out rates with different companies.
  6. At the end of the day you need to unwind, so don’t bring work to bed. Try to stop at least an hour before bedtime this gives you a chance to unwind.

Any more tips let me know I’d love to hear them

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Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Tags

, , ,

007

When I first started this blog last August I was about to make the leap back into full time education to study journalism. I had always enjoyed writing and after much soul searching decided that it was now or never. Taking the view that life is utterly precious and not to be wasted I decided to “live the life I’d always wanted” or well at least give it an honest shot.

I figured that a blog would be a great way of detailing my time spent in college as well as getting my name out there so I spent a weekend grappling with WordPress while I set it up. Fortunately WordPress is pretty straightforward as anyone who knows me will be aware I am more techno phobe than techno geek. If you don’t believe me check out my post “Emergency Dash to Meteor” that really happened – I kid you not. Thankfully I’ve improved since then.

I spent hours upon hours working my way through loads of suitable WordPress themes before I picked one, worked out my posts for the month ahead (Yes I really was that organised. Was.) Big shout out to Amanda and Lorna at spiderworking.com for giving me valuable pointers and taking the time to answer any questions I had. I posted my first post and then ….I waited and I waited. No flash of thunder, no phone ringing (why would it?? How could it??) No round of applause – in hindsight I don’t know what I expected but well apart from a few views nothing really all was quiet.

Determined to succeed I persevered and here’s the thing: I really enjoy blogging. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, get a glimpse into other worlds and learn something – a really good blog post can move you to tears or to make you laugh out loud. In my case my blog began to get a life of its own and aside from one post college didn’t really feature in it at all. Not that college wasn’t great (I’m back again in September) topics just seemed to present themselves in no particular order or theme and as life became busier and because I had no system in place I got bogged down.  Creating a good post on a regular basis is really difficult because at the end of the day while no one should underestimate the power of visual a really good blog post needs really good content and that takes time to create.009

All bloggers know this. As well as creating a post you also need good strong visuals to accompany your post. Like a lot of bloggers I find that more and more I’m taking my own photos that way I get to choose the images and there are no problems with copyright. Thing is this also takes time. Time, in my world is something that is in short supply. You have to decide what the shot is, how best to take the shot, set it up take it and then when you have the image the way you want it then you import it to your laptop.

So, if I wanted to continue blogging and managing everything else in my life it was clear I needed to sort out my time management skills. And here they are, these tips helped and while it’s still a real juggling act keeping all the balls up in the air they certainly are effective in helping me manage time better.007Write a list but don’t stress yourself out over it. Write down in order of importance jobs which need to be done. When the first job done cross it off and move on to the task and so on. I realise that you’ve heard this before but I’m including it because it works!

  1. Allow yourself a realistic amount of time to complete your jobs. The first thing I noticed when I began to make a conscious effort to manage my time better was that some tasks took way longer than I had anticipated while other tasks didn’t take too long at all.  Mainly though I wasn’t giving myself enough time to finish some tasks properly. So set yourself a realistic time frame and, if necessary break the job down into two or three smaller, doable tasks.
  2. Find it hard to concentrate/get started? Set a time to start and stick to it. Tell yourself that if you still hate it/making no progress in 15 minute you can call it a day. Nine times out of ten when the 15 minute deadline is up I find that I’m in a completely different frame of mind and carry on. I really recommend this if like me when you get over-whelmed you procrastinate!
  3. Give yourself regular breaks. Every 50 min to 90 min allow yourself ten minutes to have a cuppa, stretch your legs or just relax. While you’re having your break: forget about the job you’ve been working on. Clear your mind and relax. I find short breaks really help my concentration meaning I can stay working for longer without getting burnt out.
  4. Delegate: if someone else can do the job and it’s not something you need to do. Let them do it. Why not? This gives you time to focus on other tasks. If you’ve children give them suitable jobs to do depending on their age: wash up, clearing plates away from table, empty dishwasher (older children ) walk the dog etc. it all helps. It can be difficult to get into the hang of this particurly if you are the type of person who isn’t used to telling others what to do/ doesn’t like to ask for help. But it’s worth persevering because ultimately anything that frees up valuable time will make your life a easier in the long run.
  5. As you work down your list try to take action earlier so that crisis are averted saving you stress i.e. sort out the car insurance the month before its due for renewal – not the day before leaving you plenty of time to check out rates with different companies.
  6. At the end of the day you need to unwind, so don’t bring work to bed. Try to stop at least an hour before bedtime this gives you a chance to unwind.

Any more tips let me know I’d love to hear them

Why I’m Looking forward to a lighter year !!!!

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One of the things I love about my job is that every day is different i’m never sure what’s going to happen next!!  Picture the scene it was about six weeks before xmas when Olivia called me in “How are you? Sit down ” she grinned I smiled back.  We’re running a feature in December as part of a healthy living guide.  How do you feel about taking part?” I gulped, looked down at the expanding waste band of my ever tightening jeans and took a deep breath.  “Probably a good idea” I agreed mentally counting up the weeks before xmas.  “Here you go so ” she said and that began my journey on the lighter life meal replacement programme. ……

I’d heard about meal replacement programmes before but I’d never been on one. So when I heard about the lighter life programme I was eager to give it a go. Lighter life was established over 25 years ago and have helped over 350,000 people change the way they think about food. Lighter life is available to men and women and there are a variety of plans available, after a consultation with Anne I was put on the Lighter life Total plan. On Lighter life total plan you have four meal packs a day as you are on a vlcd (very low calorie diet) weight loss is rapid. Unlike some diets which don’t give you all the essential nutrients you need for good health on lighter life total your four daily food packs are formulated to meet your daily nutritional requirements so you can lose weight quickly and safely.

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On a physical level weight management is down to energy balance, if you take in more energy than your body uses each day it will store the extra as fat. Take in less than you need and your body will switch to burning that stored fat so it can continue to fuel itself. As it does you lose weight. Lighter life is a very low calorie diet (vlcd) it’s low enough in carbohydrate and energy that it encourages your body to switch to burning its fat stores as its main source of energy. When this happens your body is said to be n ketosis. The other handy thing about ketosis is that it suppresses hunger pangs.

Successful weight management however means making long term changes. What really appealed to me about lighter life is the fact that they recognize that looking after your weight is not not just about what’s going into your mouth – the reason diets alone don’t work is because they fail to recognize the emotional triggers that drive people’s behaviour – they help you understand what’s going on in your head so that you can change your mind set, your relationship with food and ultimately your life!! The lighter life programme offers the opportunity to explore the emotional head hungers that can lead to overeating and learn new skills and techniques to develop strategies for dealing with them without needing to turn to food.

Anne and Louise in the Waterford office – situated in unit 17f, six cross roads Business Park clearly love what they do and both are brilliant ambassadors for the lighter life programme. “It’s a total joy helping people” Anne told me pointing out that while weight loss on the lighter life programme is rapid the underlying principal is to look at our relationship with food and examine why we eat – a lot of the time we are thirsty, a lot of the time we are satisfying an emotional need rather than a physical need. In Anne’s own words “the plan itself is a no-brainer. Once you stick to the meal plans you will lose weight” So what can I have? My days looked like this:

Four food packs: choose from a combination of soups, shakes, porridge, meals and bars. You won’t be stuck for choice as there’s a really varied menu to choose from: everything from shepherd’s pie to Mediterranean risotto. The idea is that each food pack replaces a meal so you have breakfast, lunch, tea and a treat (yes really!!) my favourite was the nut fudge.

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Drinks: 2l of water a day you can also have black coffee/tea from the leaf i.e. breakfast tea, green tea, peppermint tea. If you prefer flavoured water use lighter life drink mixes I can recommend pink grapefruit – gorgeous!!

Condiments: salt, pepper, red tabasco sauce and tablet sweeteners

And that’s it!! Everything else was off limits. In week one I was expecting a period of readjustment as my body got used to the change. Anne explained to me that the third day is usually the hardest, if like me you have a sweet tooth you may experience headaches as your body craves sugar. Support from the lighter life team is never far away particurly in the first week for new recruits, Anne or Louise were in touch each day to see how I was doing and offer advice. This coupled with the fact that I was prepared psychologically for the adjustment meant that my first week went off fine. Once I got the hang of the food packs and worked out my favourites it really was very easy and when I came back from my first weigh after one week having lost 5lbs I was delighted. The fact that it came off my stomach was even better as recent surveys have shown that excess fat around the abdomen has much more serious health consequences than excess fat on any other part of the body and can lead to heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes. You can have the meal replacements at whatever time suits you although it’s advised to have them as close to your usual meal times as possible. Instead of having my bar as a treat in the evening I had it at 3pm to combat the mid- afternoon slump and it worked really well for me! Although there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to exercise lighter life recommend that you stay active. You don’t have to become a gym bunny find a physical activity that you like: walking, jogging, swimming and stick with it building it up gradually. There are weekly group meetings where you are weighed which support you as you move forward to maintaining your weight loss. I found the meal plan easy to follow the only time I encountered any difficulty was doing the weekly food shop – the smell of fresh bread from the bakery dept. made my mouth water!! However seeing the results so quickly meant that my resolve didn’t waver. I lost just under a stone in four weeks and I intend to keep to the plan as I was really delighted with the results. My bmi came down from 25 to 21.5 which I’m really pleased about. For me the meal replacements ensured quick results and then the re-introduction to food (where the hard work really begins) coupled with exercise ensures that the weight stays off.

Once you reach your target weight food is reintroduced in a structured eight stage plan. This helps you create a balanced life style including practical advice on mindful living.  In order for weight loss to be maintained its necessary to change old eating habits and this is easier said than done. This is the part of the programme that is the most challenging I was amazed at the amount of times that I had eaten from habit/boredom, “picking” at the kids plates when I was dishing up (sound familiar?) And this is where the weekly group sessions are invaluable as they support you as you move forward to maintaining your weight loss. In your food re-introduction plan the number of food packs you eat are reduced while building up the number of meals you’re having. And don’t worry about running out of ideas Louise had some lovely recipes, one I can recommend and has become a family favourite: cut a breast of chicken in half, add a dairy lea lighter slice (only 25 cals) slice a tomato, some spring onion and place over the cheese. Put in the oven and cook. Serve with vegetables delicious!!! Careful attention is paid to the levels of carbohydrates so that your body slowly comes out of ketosis. This helps keep the physical hunger at bay. Through-out your food reintroduction plan you’ll have weekly group meetings so you can carry on developing the skills you have learned to help you manage your life and weight successfully. It’s also necessary to keep active so stick with the exercise that you began at the start of your programme. I really enjoyed the lighter life total plan. If you want/need to lose weight I would recommend it particurly if you wanted a quick result i.e. for a wedding, to fit into “that” bikini this summer. Anne and Louise are brimming over with enthusiasm and have solutions for all the problems you may encounter on your journey to maintaining your weight loss. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the lighter life family. You can contact them on: 086/0280280 or 086/3275083.

 

Invest in your future at WCFE

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The recent open day at WCFE Waterford www.wcfe.com was well attended with a good level of interest in all of the courses on offer. The Journalism room/sound engineering room was manned all morning by an enthusiastic bunch from media studies all eager to help, nothing was too much trouble. Of particular interest this year is the new and exciting course:  Advance certificate in audio/visual media. With the onslaught of social media this exciting new course is ideally suited to anyone who wishes to pursue a career in journalism, music, game design, visual arts or creative multimedia. It will focus on documentary production and storytelling, communication through wave form and music, creation of soundscapes for games and films and experimentation with audio/visual technology. It’s a one year fetac level 6 course and students will have access to a professional recording studio and digital radio facility on campus and can also avail of NUJ membership for the duration of the course.

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The college is fortunate to have its own recording studio. Regular tours were brought from wcfe  to Johnstown where staff and students were on hand to go through the equipment and deal with questions.

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Upstairs in the beauty room the girls were busy with treatments galore to choose from!! The theatrical makeup under Peggy’s guidance was absolutely stunning ladies – one any professional makeup artist would be proud of. Whilst across in the photography room there was always someone on hand to go through the equipment and answer any queries.

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Tea coffee and scones were laid on in the canteen as the corridors were filled with the excited chatter many of them soon- to be newcomers. Teachers and current students helped out tirelessly answering questions and allaying fears that newcomers may have had – there’s nothing like information from someone in the front line who knows what’s going on.

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The following day – wcfe Xmas day- had a definite festive feel to it. Food and drink were laid out in abundance.   Santa was spotted on more than one occasion, Xmas jumpers assaulted you from every corridor. I’ve never seen so many Rudolph antlers in one place at one time creepy thing was how normal they looked on some of the lads makes you wonder…. The main event of the morning was when some of the braver teachers put themselves forward to be dunked. All in aid of a good cause I hasten to add – this year all monies raised went to river rescue. Thanks to all for supporting a great event!!

 

 

Late night tea swigging, chocolate chomping…….and writing!

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Late at night and I’m working away on my post, words are coming easily and finally I have no distractions – the rest of the house is asleep.  My ears pick up I thought I heard something, far away but I can’t be sure so I carry on.  No, no it’s nothing probably the pipe work old houses are notorious for making lots of noise. But wait! there it is again – for heaven’s sake forget it, it’s nothing just your imagination.

I carry on as best I can but it’s no good my train of thought’s been interrupted one too many times.  I can definitely hear it.  I stop writing and listen. Sighing I get up and head toward the kitchen.  Tentatively I switch on the lights, hesitantly I take the first step across the room all the while the noise is getting louder – in my heart of hearts I have always known this moment would come. I open the fridge door and there it is calling me  – the last bar of chocolate!!

I did try to hide it from everyone (myself included) but I have always known where it was.  Hidden behind the peach donuts that were on special in Aldi a couple of weeks ago.  They are safe there, no-one will touch the peach donuts .I should know  I’ve tried I’ve tried everything to get them to eat them and it was all in vain! Despite all my well meaning attempts our home is a safe haven for fruit Late night tea swigging and chomping on chocolate – a necessary writing tool!!

Bright future ahead for sunshine kids!!

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Being a parent is the toughest job in the world.  It is also the most worthwhile.  Very often our experiences in childhood shape how we view the world. How many times have you heard someone say “he can do anything he sets his mind to ” The majority of us parents believe our children have the potential to achieve great things once they put their minds to it.  Can you imagine though if you found out that two of your children were highly gifted? and they went on to become the  youngest members of Mensa in Ireland and Uk? That’s what happened to Cathy and Nick Sunshine. I went along to chat to them to see how they were getting on

It has been a hectic time for the sunshine family  in Water ford as the revelation came that two fo their children, Leon (5) and Amberleanne (4) have broken records to become the youngest ever Mensa members in Ireland and the Uk.  Amber Leanne holds the record as the youngest person to join Mensa in the UK the siblings jointly hold the current record as the youngest ever Mensa members in Ireland and little Leon has a similar IQ to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawkins.

As babies both children started talking around three months and were walking by nine months.  “Amberleanne just got up and walked Nick told me.  “No problems with balance or falling over she just got up and off she went. ”

On the recommendation of a psychologist t both children went for psychometric testing a couple of years ago.  Mum Cathy and dad Nick were amazed at the results of the test.  When tested at 3yrs 11 mths Leon had the mental ability of an 8yr 4mth old.  He has an iq of 150 which places him in the same range as Stephen Hawking.  Infact only 1% if the population is as or more intelligent than Leon!! While Amberleanne who was 2yrs 10 mths had the mental ability of a 7yr 4mth old child.  Her IQ is 145.

Amberleanne holds the record as the youngest person to join Mensa in the UK.  Leon and Amberleanne jointly hold the current record as the youngest ever mensa members in Ireland.

Leon and Amberleanne are two happy chatty inquisitive children who are taking all of this in their stride – this can be attributed to mum and dad’s positive and down to earth attitude. They both go to a local school, enjoy horse riding, love painting and enjoy going to museums.

In keeping with the characteristic’s of highly intelligent children they love information, facts and concepts.  Cathy told me: “When Amberleanne was two she asked me why the sea was blue.  I asked her why she thought it was.  She thought for a while and then said that it was the reflection of the sun”

The fact that the children are both in mensa (Mensa Ireland has 970 members in other words 2% of the irish population have an IQ score that makes them eligible to join the club)means that Cathy and nick will now be in touch with other parents of  gifted children.  Mensa have also asked Cathy to come on board and help them in their quest to lobby government to allocate resources for gifted children so that provision is made to help them reach their potential.

Schools are not always equipped to deal with highly gifted children.  Recent studies show that the actual incidence of highly gifted children in the population is higher than statistics would indicate.  As Cathy ponts out the term special needs the term special needs is a very broad one.  “It can be very frustrating for a child who is way beyond their years in terms of academia to sit in on some  lessons with their own age group.  The child who is able to read and understand concepts way beyond their years is a delight to watch.  When they get into an argument over who has the biggest slice of cake it may be tempting to act his age – in actual fact that is what he is doing.  But highly gifted children need tlc as well she points out.

Cathy and Nick hope that the media coverage will help raise public awareness about the challenges that highly gifted children and their families face.  They also hope that the publicity will bring benefit to the children be it through academic funding providing for a private education or funding for an activity that can change their life.  We wish them well.

I should point out that nine month old baby Austin is chatting away.  I wonder when he’ll start walking.

90 minutes of bliss at bare minerals!!!!

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“Do you fancy a bit of pampering?” Olivia www.waterford-today.ie asked me grinning “Do I wha…? Yes!!” I replied (real cool like hah!!) “I have just the thing for you “Head on down to Bare minerals beauty bar and look for Joyce you get a facial and a makeover  and in return you do a review for the paper” I was thrilled!!! I love “Bare Minerals” both  the product and the ethos and who doesn’t like being pampered? Sounds good so far? Well it was and more….

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Hands up anyone who could do with a bit of pampering? You’ve sorted out back to school, now you can finally have some well-earned “me” time. Take yourself down to the “Bare Minerals” make up bar in Debenhams in Waterford and prepare for 90 minutes of bliss with a facial and makeover. The popular company who are the leaders in mineral make up and skin care are celebrating four years in Debenhams in September which coincides with the first anniversary of their liquid foundation and as if that wasn’t enough they also launched their mineralixars range earlier in Jan 2015. The company which was founded in 1976 in California by Leslie Blodgett are going from strength to strength. With mission statements such as: “we are not content with just making women look pretty, we want them to feel beautiful” is it any wonder they are so popular. Founder Leslie Blodgett says”makeup can’t change the world but it can change people. And people who are inspired make all the difference.”

The Californian based company has based their ethos on Love…understanding…community” In “Bare Mineral” philosophy beauty comes from within, every woman has something unique, something truly beautiful which makes her special. All of their products are very pure, preservative free and are created to enhance skin from the outside in. Every mineral in the formulation is carefully selected to deliver proven results, so the outer appearance of the skin is pumped up – hence the appearance of fine lines are reduced. They are best known for inventing the first mineral based foundation which gives a flawless finish

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After a friendly chat with Joyce where she assesses my skin tone (uneven and prone to Roscrea – I have typically Irish skin) and after consultation fills out my very own make under card which details all the products specifically for my skin. We head off to the beauty room, I’m not sure if you realise this but Debenhams have their own beauty room on site for customers. A real haven away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the department store. The products used on my skin were from the recently launched mineralixars range. These beautiful products are powered by the activsoil complex – this complex is clinically proven to deliver faster cell turnover, antioxidant defence and reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles.  My skin was cleansed with mineralixars facial oil – an oil based cleanser infused with rosehip seed oil. Apart from smelling and feeling absolutely gorgeous on my skin after cleansing skin felt soft and smooth. Then it was time for the moisturiser and eye cream. Joyce used mineralixars 5 oil blend on my face and renew and hydrate eye cream under my eyes. The important thing to remember with oil treatments she tells me is to massage them in so that they feed the skin. After a very relaxing and enjoyable massage Joyce told me to look in the mirror – There was a noticeable difference – and wonder of wonders – red patches were nowhere to be seen, skin looked a lot fresher and felt softer. “Bare Minerals “girl friends are given a makeover as standard after a facial. And no, before you ask the nasty chemicals in the makeup won’t undo all the good work from the facial because “bare minerals” don’t use preservatives, the products are completely natural!! I love my treatments but I hate bumping into someone I know barefaced when I’ve just come out of the salon.

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Customer care comes to the fore again when Joyce explains how important it is to get the right shade of foundation. “Bare Minerals” don’t believe in carrying foundation onto your throat – they work from the premise that the correct shade of foundation will match your skin tone perfectly. I was delighted to get a chance to try out “Bare minerals” complex rescue foundation which was launched last September. What I loved about this foundation is that it’s a bb (blemish balm) and cc (colour control) cream – so you don’t need to use a primer. It also has a SPF 30 so you have the added protection of a sunscreen. This was set by their “well rested powder”. Concealer was “bare skin perfecting vent”, followed by bronzer. I should point out that “bare minerals” customers are shown how to apply the products and Joyce has plenty of handy tips to give out. After blusher was applied, Eye-brows were defined using a really handy brow master brush next colour was applied to the eyes and finally lips. After my pampering session was over I was ready to face the world again (although I’d much rather have stayed) I would highly recommend a visit to “Bare Minerals” the products themselves are affordable: – mineralixirs range starts from 25e, There’s a starter pack comprising of makeup brush, foundation and perfecting vent powder starting at 49e, the complexion rescue foundation which I used is 29e, the brow master brush is 13e (It’s so much handier than a pencil and gives a more natural finish brilliant idea!) After 48 hours my skin still looks and feels much softer and I’ve noticed that my foundation “sits” better on my skin since. Their new mission statement #be original #be natural #be good says it all. My advice if you want a well-deserved break and are in need of some pampering? Head down to “Bare minerals” beauty bar in Debenhams and ask for Joyce or Mary they know exactly what to do!

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Winter Warmers

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I started this post as a follow on from last week when we all had the flu.  What better way to welcome the winter and stop all those nasty bugs in their tracks than to eat well ? – Eating well should be a top priority. Most of us start out with good intentions,   we  know that in order to eat healthy you need to cut out junk and processed food. Put putting it into practise it not always as easy as it sounds –  I find that planning meals in advance really helps  both in time saved in the supermarket – you have a list so you know exactly what is needed and the other great thing about a list (providing you stick to it of course) is that you wont end up with anything that you don’t need no impulse buys = money saved.  That’s got to be a good thing!! Oh and one other tip, never ever shop if you’re hungry if you’re anything like me you’ll end up in the chocolate isle.

These days its essential to follow a healthy lifestyle the busier we are the more likely we are to forget about our diet.  You would never dream of putting bad fuel in a car – think what it would do to the engine, the car wouldn’t run well and after a while it might stop running altogether.  Its the same with our bodies. Our bodies need nutritous food to help us function better. Because there is less fresh produce around it takes a bit more thought but it is still possible to eat well during the winter months

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It just takes a bit of forward planning :

Root veg: Carrots, parsnips are readily available during the winter.  Try them in stews and casseroles.

Oatmeal is high in zinc which is essential for a healthy immune system. Its also high in solouble fibre – which is linked to a healthy heart.  Staying healthy on a budget? go with old fashioned oats they are just as good just take a little bit longer.

Soup is winters perfect food – go easy on the cream and salt! It’s really simple to make.  A family favourite in our house is : 3 med carrots, 3 med leeks, 3 med pot, 2 parsips, 1 onion 2 litres veg stock.  2 tablespoons flour, 100ml milk.  Add the veg to the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 min.  Then add milk to flour, bring back to boil and simmer for 5 min.  Make in batches, freeze and use as required.

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Tuna / salmon rolls. Always a good idea to get more fish in our diet!! Salmon and tuna are both high in vit d – this is especailly useful during winter when we don’t see much of the sun which is out main source of vet d.

Broccoli and cauliflower are both really high in vitamin c.  Spinach is also very high in antitoxins and all of these can be bought in the frozen aisle in the supermarket.  This is a great idea as it saves on waste you get to control the amount tha tyou use.

Snacking can be just as healthy again it just takes a little bit of forward planning. Try snacking on fruit or veg.  Bananas work well as they are easy to manage when you are on the go. For something differant try cucumber, apple mixed in with natural yogurt.  Popcorn without butter/suger ( sorry) is a great tip.  Small portions of dried fruit and nts are readily available in most supermarkets.  Raw peanuts (not roasted or salted though) and raisins work really well!!

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SAY CHEESE…..PLEEAASE!!

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Sitting in class the other day http://www.wcfe.ie/jcms/  the lecturer asked how many of us were familiar with camera film?  The room went quiet.  What was this ancient practise of “developing” film? part of our lesson would be to research this and write it down – then later we would be developing our own prints from negatives!! – Hands up who remembers what a negative is?

First, were we all familiar with how to look through the view finder? the arrival of digital cameras have a lot to answer for.  Ever since I can remember I’ve used a 35mm camera, my own preference would be to work in black and white – obviously this is not to everyone’s taste. You should see the camera that I’ve invested in it’ll probably take me most of the year to learn how to work it.  Bring back the 35mm say I.!! Only joking, no one can dispute how much digital camera has changed the photography industry.  So in memory of a truly wonderful medium which I for one really enjoyed working with  I thought i’d share with you how camera film was developed

You will need:

A developing tank with an auto loading film reel

A mercury thermometer

2 film clips

A bottle opener.

A pair of scissors

A 600ml graduated cylinder

3 1 gallon jugs

A stopwatch or a digital watch with a timer on it

Chemicals

Film! Any colour negative will work

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Mix the chemicals according to the directions and take care as these are very dangerous chemicals.

To develop color film your chemicals need to be 100 degress Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees celsius) exactly – not 1degree lower or higher.  It’s critical to get this right. To bring the chemicals in the gallon jug to this temperature you will have to sit the jugs in a sink filled with water.  Try to bring the water in the sink temperature to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit(43 degrees celius).  Although you want the chemical to be 100 degress the water in the sink will cool down very fast.

Pop open the film cannister, remove the film, load the film onto the film reel, and place the reel inside the developing tank.This must be in complete darkness. No light what soever. Take the scissors, bottle opener film canister, film reel and developing tank in to a dust free room that you can make light – tight.

Place the tools out in front of you. You’re going to be loading film onto the reel in complete darkness! Best to be prepared.

Turn off the lights.  Use the bottle opener to open the canister.  While only touching the film negative from the edges, pull the film out of the canister.  The film will be taped to the center filmspool.  Cut the film off at the base of the spool.  Also cut the tip off the film.

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Spool the film onto the film reel.  While not touching the surface of the negative slide the negative into the opening of the reel slide about 4 inches of film into the rel.  Start walking the film on to the reel by twisting one side of the reel back and forth

Bring the developing tank to the sink where you have the chemical jugs floating in water. Check the developer chemical with the thermometer – it needs to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

With stopwatch in hand, pour the working developer into the hole in the top of the developing tank.  Do this very quickly and start the stopwatch as soon as you’ve poured all the developer into the tank.  Smack the developing tank on a counter three times to dislodge any bubbles that might be clinging onto the film. Agitate the tank for 30 seconds.  Do this by swirling the tank around.  You are going to leave the film in the developer for 3 1/2 minutes.  Agitate the film for 3 seconds every 30 seconds.  Agitation is very important.  It ensures that fresh chemicals are touching the film.

When your stopwatch (remember your stopwatch?!!) has reached 3 min and 20 sec , start pouring the developer back into the developer jug.

Again with your stopwatch quickly pour the blix soloution into the top of the developing tank until the tank is full. Start the stopwatch when you’ve filled the tank up. Once again smack the tank on the counter 3 times to dislodge any bubbles.  Leave the film in this soloution for 6 1/2 min

When the stopwatch has reached 6 min and 20 sec start pouring the blix back into the blix gallon jug.

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Bring running water to 100 degrees.  Put the developing tank under the running water and let the water wash the film for 3 1/2 min

With stopwatch in hand, dump  out the water and pour in the stabilizer.  Leave the stabilizer in the tank for for 1 1/2 min. Just before the 1 1/2 min is up, pour the stabilizer back into the stabilizer jug.

Its time to wash all the chemicals off of the film.  Leave the film under running water for 10 min. The water should fill up the developing tank and over flow.  Let it overflow.  Every couple of minutes dump out the water and let the tank fill back up with fresh running water.  You want to keep fresh 100 degree water pouring into the developing tank.  This final washing part of the process is very important.  10  minutes is the minimum time to wash the film.

After 10 min is up lift the film reel out of the tank and lightly shake off any remaining water.  Turn the reel clockwise until the top half of the reel comes apart from the lower half of the reel.  Now use one of the film clips and clip it onto the end of the film negative.  Some clips have small hooks on them.  You can run the hooks through the square holes running down the sides of the film. Congratulations!! by lifting up the clip, pull the film up out of the reel and you should be able to see your negative now. Clip the other film clip onto the bottom of the negative. This will act as a weight. Hang the negative up to dry in a room temperature, dust free room.  Leave the negative to dry for at least two hours.

All done!! You can now bring your negative to the camera shop and have prints made.

Happy printing!!!

AAAAchoo!!

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The nights are drawing in and the drop in temperature has become obvious.  The children are back in school a couple of weeks and before we know it every second person is sniffling into a hankey. We spent last weekend shuffling around blowing into tissues and eating chicken soup. Yep! the common cold had hit our family last Friday and the whole house surrendered to it for the weekend.  It got me thinking though : what causes a cold, and now that I have it what are the best methods to help me/us through the cycle.  So bearing in mind that we are still in September (only just) and cold and flu season hasn’t even started yet I thought you might find my list of hints helpful.  Believe it or not there are lots of difference viruses can cause cold symptom -that surprised me as I thought there was only one virus ( guess who wasn’t listening in biology) There are lots of them out there but the majority of colds are caused by rhinoviruses.  The nasty viruses get into the cells lining your nose and reproduces – the virus usually transferred by hand and from hands into nose. and before you where you are you feel like stir fried crap ie. the symptoms are showing themselves!! Fear no more check out these top tips and find out how best to beat the cold.

  • On average we need eight hours sleep a night when we have a cold our body requires more rest in order to fight a cold.
  • Stay hydrated: hot tea, green tea (even better) water,
  • Home made chicken soup.  Chicken soup has anti inflamatary properties and the salt will help top up electrolytes which we lose when we are sick

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  • Eat protein: if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it hard to eat when you are sick but your body needs protein: fish, chicken, turkey will all help the organs that are fighting the cold
  • Eat garlic!! It’s a scientific fact that garlic kills off bacteria.
  • Try some ginger – steep ginger into some boiling water, wait until the water turns yellow and drink it with some honey.
  • Don’t drink alcohol – alcohol will decrease your immune system which stops the body fighting infection

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Paracetamol: It’s the best ever for alleviating symptoms like aching muscles and headaches.  You can buy lots of over the counter remedies and they are a lot more expensive than good old fashioned paracetamol yet they do the same job.Unfortunately a cold can last up to nine days and it’s important to remember to build up your immune system when it’s gone as a weakened immune system means that your body won’t be able to fight infection/viruses as well as it should be.  So remember to get plenty of rest and eat “good” food.  More protein like chicken or fish, lots of green vegetables, and smoothies.  Thankfully we are all back to normal after the weekend.  Let’s hope that’s our quota for the winter !!!