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Staying Active On Your Spanish Holiday

Famous for its siesta, sangria and sandy beaches, Spain has long been a popular destination for tourists looking to slow down and relax in the sunshine. However, this year has seen a new trend emerge in Spanish getaways: the adventure holiday. Here is a brief guide to some of the activities on offer.

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If you do like to be beside the seaside…
Make the most of the stunning Spanish coastline by chartering a yacht from ports in Barcelona, Marbella and Valencia, or from one of the islands. Other watersports available across Spain include diving in Torremolinos, kite surfing in Tarifa, canoeing in Zaragoza and rafting on the Cabriel River in the Montes Universales, or you can even head over to Fuengirola or Murcia for a spot of parasailing!

 

Those boots were made for walking
Picos de Europa in northern Spain is an excellent place to go hiking, with walks of varying difficulty. With its well-preserved prehistoric features and picturesque villages, Galicia is another popular choice for walkers, as is Andalucia, home of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the pretty Alpujarras. One of the best things about walking is that it’s free! If you like a bargain and saved money on your flights and hotel, cheap holidays to Spain 2013 need not be short of adventure!

On your bike
Environmentally friendly and healthy, bike riding is an excellent way to tour the country and explore the countryside. Join a group for a guided tour or hire a cycle and follow a well-known route such as the Camino de Santiago or the Via de la Plata.

Riding for the time of your life

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Andalucia is an ideal location for a different form of riding: horseback. Intermediate and experienced riders may enjoy hacking through rural Spain, taking in such sights as the medieval city of Avila, Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park or the horse-friendly village of El Rocío.

Dance the night away
You couldn’t visit Argentina without trying out a tango, so whether you’re in Nerja, Grenada or Seville, take some time to perfect your flamenco. Olé!

Summer may be nearly over, but it’s not too late to book cheap holidays to Spain in 2013 and enjoy these activities during the off-peak season. After all, there’s no better way to rejuvenate yourself than to pick up a new skill or hobby and by bringing it home you’ll experience a little touch of Spain all year round.

 

Images by sidibousaid60 and sofv used under creative commons licence

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How To Impress With Gifts – Personalise Them!

When buying a gift for a friend or loved one, you want to put as much effort into it as possible, right? It does not have to be an expensive gift because we are all aware that it is the thought that counts. There are few better ways to make a memorable gift then to give something that has been personalised for the receiver. You can get creative and use your imagination to come up with exciting ideas for gifts and get to work. Here are some ideas for personalised gifts that we came up with.

Cups and Mugs

Is your friend a big tea or coffee drinker? If they are, you can make sure they remember your gift every day by giving them a personalised cup with pictures of you together or a cool design that they will love. Every time they boil the kettle they will open the cupboard and be reminded of you. It is easy to get this done online or in a local photo shop, just come up with a collection of images and save to a usb.

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Placemats

You can personalize some placemats as a gift with a picture or a favourite quote of the person who will be receiving. Striking colours and a smooth wood finish make placemats a great gift idea. A perfect place for the picture cup to rest when it is hot and to sit a dinner plate. These are the gifts that get remembered time and time again. A little personal touch goes a long way.

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Cushions & Throws

A cushion may seem a strange gift idea, but it will get regular use and be a part of daily life. A comfy cushion with personal embroidery will capture the heart of whoever you give it to. It will sit on the couch and be used every day to provide comfort and warmth. In addition to your nice cushion gift you could get an accompanying throw to match. This can be used for the living room furniture or for the bedroom. This personal touch will brighten the life of your friend and remind them of you all the time.

Picture Frames

What better way to show you care than to make a unique picture frame to showcase photos for your friend. Nothing is more personal than sharing the memories you had together through picture, and then having it hang upon the wall in your house. If you wanted to get your creative juices flowing you could make your own frame and use a wood-burning tool to leave a message inscribed. You can also do a collage of stories that you have had together and make this into a nice picture frame to give laughs every time it is seen.

Personalised for Men

If you are shopping for personalised gifts for men then it can get even easier. Engraved leather wallets, zippo lighters, belts, cuff links, collar stiffeners.. The list goes on and on. You can give almost any gift a personal touch these days and it should be something you consider next time you are shopping for a friend or loved one.

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The 3 Best Scents to Keep You Relaxed

Aromatherapy is one of the best natural ways enhance relaxation and promote sleep, without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs. There are various scents that promote relaxation and sleep, and some have been used for their positive effects for thousands of years.

Candles are a great way to infuse your bedroom with a relaxing scent. Many aromatherapy candles last for 20 hours + and are most effective if you light them a few hours before bedtime. With the right fragrance you will be amazed at how fast you’ll fall asleep. We have found that some halloween candles have the most distinctive fragrances and colours.

 

Lavender

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Many fragrances are know for being relaxing, but the most popular scent for the households across the world is definitely lavender. As well as having stress relieving properties, Lavandula angustifolia, as it is properly know, has been used for thousands of years to sooth, relax and perfume. Lavender was used in baths to purify the body and spirit back in Egypt. This native plant originates in the the mountains of the Mediterranean and is widely considered one of the best plants to be used for aromatherapy. This is why Lavender is widely used in soaps, shampoos, lotions, candles, oils, teas and lavender oil is also popular for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. In restaurants throughout Italy and France you will see that the plant accentuates many desserts and features on the menus of cafes throughout the region,

Jasmine

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There are over 200 Jasmine flowers in the world and most come from warm temperate regions of Asia, Europe and Africa. The Jasmine flowers produce the most scented oil at night, and this is why the flowers are gathered at this time and many Jasmine scented products are called ‘Midnight Jasmine’. This aromatic flower has been known by many names such as “King of the Garden”, “Mistress of the Night”, “Moonlight of the Grove”, and has been used since ancient times to capture the  imagination of poets’. It is actually a member of the olive family and  has a rich floral fragrance with hints of fruit. One of its main uses is as an antidepressant as it induces warm calming emotions. The beauty of the plant as well as its strong floral fragrance make Jasmine one of the best scents to keep you relaxed.

 

Sandalwood

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Both the wood and the oil of the genus Santalum tree, or Sandalwood, produce a distinctive fragrance that was highly valued by the Greeks (who referred to is as “food for the gods”) and the Chinese (who built Buddha statues and temples from it) and the Hindus (who use sandalwood paste is integral to rituals and ceremonies). There is a very distinctive fragrance that can induce calm and meditative states.

It takes between 50 – 80 years for a sandalwood tree to fully mature.  To make the essential oil, the roots and heartwood are distilled through boiling, steaming, condensation and separation. A great candle for the bedroom as sandalwood’s fragrance is closest to human pheromone, so it is traditionally considered as an aphrodisiac. Sandalwood has sedative effect on the nervous system.

 

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How to maintain healthy teeth

If you want to maintain healthy teeth you have to do more than just brush on a regular basis. Unfortunately, even if you brush every day you still might end up with serious tooth decay, and at this point you will have to do something about it. The following is a quick list of ways that you can make sure that you maintain healthy teeth with the help of a dentist in Surrey. If you have any questions you should take a look at how to start with the best dental hygiene Surrey plans that are out there.

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Get regular dental cleanings

The first step towards maintain healthy teeth is to get a regular dental cleaning. It is recommended that most people get a dental cleaning at least once a year, but if you can manage it is better to consider having your teeth cleaned twice a year. This helps to remove a lot of plaque and tartar build-up that your toothbrush cannot reach and will help ward off cavities in the future.

Complete a full consultation

Outside of heading to the dentist for cleanings, you also need to have a full consultation with a dentist every year to see what changes need to be made in your mouth. Choosing to ignore any decay will actually lead to even worse tooth decay down the road. It is not a decision that you can put off making. Therefore, if a dentist suggests something such as the all-on-4 procedure or tells you that you need to have fillings and root canals you should take prompt action.

Fill in the Holes

As mentioned, it is important to take preventative action by fixing what you can now. One way to do this is to look into the best dental implants Surrey can offer. This is due to the fact that leaving gaps in your mouth will lead to weakened bone muscle under the gum and eventually actually lead to increased decay of other teeth. Taking prompt action is the best way to prevent this.

Get an expert dentist

You can help alleviate or prevent further dental problems by scheduling a consult with Cedar Dental where one of the best skilled dentists in Surrey will sit down and go over your options with you. They will talk through all of your options so that when you walk out you will be thoroughly aware of every option in front of you.

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Signs that It’s Time for a Career Change

I hated Monday mornings. The snap conversations of weekend wonders, an endless parade of movies, motives and amazing moments, and my simple one word answers. Fine. Good. Great. Amazing. Okay. Their smiles were polite but disinterested; I didn’t fit the culture, if you call smashing a few wines on a Friday afternoon culture, and I spoke with an uncertainty that probably marked me as an easy target. My stomach ache subsided, leaving room for a pulse rhythm throbbing against my temples as my inbox fell open and clients’ voices projected themselves in shrill tones through the screen, demanding this, asking that, repeating the same questions over and over. I hated my world, though I didn’t know how to escape, or even if I should. If you’re reading this, nodding along, drawing parallels or identifications, it may be time to get out. How do you know? How does anybody know whether they should step back from a career carved out of hard work and an endless list of sleepless nights? Won’t you be throwing it all away? Maybe. Perhaps discarding a mind-melding, soul-sucking job will set you free to pursue other opportunities, and that may mean sacrificing everything. Big move, I know. I took a chance, should you?

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Are You Always Tired?

Now, there’s a defined difference between being absolutely exhausted and fatigued to the point of chronic debilitation. If you’re working long hours to meet a pressing deadline, and you feel like you’re head will implode any second, it’s uncomfortable but reasonably normal across a scale of occupations. If, on the other hand, you are consistently depleted, no matter how many hours shut eye you catch, it may be time to pull the plug or at least reassess your role. Burning out is common in creative industries, where workers will often pull a series of all-nighters to meet deadlines and spin a series of phrases in hopes of achieving some kind of coherency. Its little wonder some of the best chuck in the towel and contact a resources recruitment company like One Key Resources, chasing a higher return for physical work, desperate to give their brains a break.

It Just Doesn’t Pay

Salary can only tide us over so much before the cash incentive and any internal perks fall flat, encouraging a deep void to swirl open and expand, swallowing the last shred of enjoyment you may have felt. Deadlines no longer feel like an accomplishment, trading a sense of pride for the weight of muted relief – every function, sentence and work structure is navigated on auto-pilot, from your best water cooler smile, to your template sign-offs or signatures. Every day you dream of new ways to make money and utilise your unique abilities, but tell yourself not to be silly, you need the company, right? Wrong.

Running On Empty

Making the right choices out of the highschool gate became your impetus for achievement; your dreams felt too risky, there was no guarantee of a satisfactory pay off, so the safe choice or right choice transformed into a career. Up until now (though, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ve been feeling this way for a while) you’ve plodded along happily, meeting societal and familial expectations, raising the bar, striving for leadership roles or achieving a bland five year plan and now…you’re bored. You’re completely and utterly bored out of your mind, there’s nothing left. Taking the path of least resistance, the safe bet, the lucrative promotion has some immediate pay offs; it may even pay for a house or car. But time will catch up. You will feel the pull of destiny. No, you don’t belong in a two dimensional dreamscape, with four walls and a cubicle space, even if you have a gold plated sign on the door.

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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Laser Eye Surgery

A procedure used to correct the eyesight of the visually impaired, laser eye surgery has become a popular option for those looking for a lifetime free from glasses and contact lenses – but what secrets does it hold in its history?

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1. No one has ever gone blind 

There is a wealth of assorted information out there concerning laser eye surgery, including the popular myth that you can go blind if the surgery goes wrong. To date, there have been no recorded occurrences of anyone going blind from laser eye surgery.

This means that, amongst the millions of people that have gone through the treatment to correct their vision, not one person has lost their sight as a result the surgery. A very small number, roughly 0.1 per cent, experience complications, but none of these are anywhere near as severe as blindness.

 

2. There are no needles

Many people shy away from what is potentially a life changing procedure because of a fear of needles, or the idea of a needle in or around their eye. This is a particular shame, because no needles are actually used in the procedure and all numbing is performed by eye drops. While these may cause a slight stinging for 10 – 20 seconds, it does mean that no injections or needles are required for the procedure. If you feel that you require more information on the details of the surgery, it is a good idea to contact a specialist such as Optimax.

 

3. There’d be no laser eye surgery without rabbits

Rabbits have played a key role in the development of the laser technology required by laser eye surgery and have often provided great breakthroughs in the field. The very first experiments that used new lasers on the eye were performed for the US Air Force on rabbits in 1981. Whatever your thoughts on animal testing, the success of these early experiments meant rabbits played an important part in developing the technology before its implementation for humans.

 

4. The procedure was established by 1990

Though people are often concerned about the relative youth of the procedure, it has actually existed for over 20 years now, during which time it has come a long way. Between the years of 1988 and 1990, doctors and scientists developed the procedures that became the foundation of the surgery we know today.

 

5. Progress is still being made today

After millions of successful operations over a period spanning three decades, the technology and techniques behind laser eye surgery continue to progress and evolve as our understanding of the eye and the issues that affect vision develops. The procedure has now become even more accurate with the introduction of mapping technologies that make each surgery completely unique to the individual.

 

 

triathalon training

3 Tips to Prepare You for Your First Triathlon

Welcome to the den of athletic dedication and achievement. You may be wondering what you’re doing here, why you’ve signed up for; are you absolutely out of your mind to put your body on the line and test your willpower against fellow inductees? A triathlon isn’t an impossibility reserved for the fit and experienced; if you haven’t ran a kilometre in ten years, shudder at the thought of a blistering cycle leg or feel out-of-shape and defeated by your own lack of confidence, then a triathlon is perfect for you. Follow our five simple tips to get started on your athletic road to personal glory.

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What Do You Want?

We stride through life in control of our surroundings, making decisions around long term business strategies and implementing complex infrastructure – in fact, most of us are more comfortable in making choices for companies, family units or other people, neglecting the question of what drives us. When you have a quiet moment, sit down and draw up a written list (not typed) of what you want to achieve and how long your first triathlon will be – physically rounding out these words and goals will not only promote ownership, but also solidify your commitment. For an extra dose of inspiration, ask your partner, flatmate or friend to witness your goals, sign off and display the list somewhere public.

Every Fitness Journey Starts Here

If you’re fortunate and live near accessible bike paths and running tracks, skip the gym membership, you have everything you need at your fingertips. Invest in a good triathlon rig – there are a wide range of Merida road bikes to get you started, catering to most budgets. A base workout plan will help you to establish a median level of fitness, reducing joint issues later on and most of all, you’ll find yourself getting into a rhythm.

Running Base: Try a walk/jog program, start out with 30 second sets of walking and jogging, on a rotational basis. Repeat three times a week for 30 minutes per session – you’ll end up jogging for 15 minutes without even realising it! Increase jogging increments by five seconds per week until you feel confident and able to lengthen your stride to a run.

Pulling Your Weight

Weight training has countless benefits to all athletes and everyday gym junkies. A regular routine, incorporated into a triathlon regime, will strengthen failing joints, stimulate muscle activity and re-organise muscle mass to accommodate lean muscle. You’ll probably feel like a truck hit you at first; to stave off the I-don’t-want-to-go syndrome, recruit a friend to weight train with you, so you can push each other and gain that competitive edge. Remember: High reps build a stronger body. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re unsure what machines are best for you.

Congratulation, you are now ready to start training for the running, cycling and swimming stages of your triathlon. If you’d like a little professional help and don’t want to rely on PT Google, check if there’s any support clubs in your area or talk to a PT.

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Places to volunteer in New York

 

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community, while also offering a life enriching experience. Every year, many thousands of people seek volunteering opportunities in their own countries or use it as an opportunity to explore and discover other parts of the world. The 2012 Official Volunteer Report showed that 9,400 people searched for volunteer opportunities in the United States alone.

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Reasons 

People volunteer for many different reasons. Some use their gap year, between High School graduation and College, as a way of carrying out community work before starting their professional career training. Others have found that volunteering offers a valuable tool to learn about the lives of others, experiences that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. For those who have found it difficult to get started on their career path, volunteering can provide a useful way to fill in any gaps on their résumé. Volunteering isn’t just for the young, however; many mature members of the community enjoy the experience of imparting the skills and expertise they have learned over the years to others. People in this age group really enjoy the sensation of continuing to be valued members of the community. Volunteering is good for the soul.

 

Hurricane Sandy

 

Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the city and there are grants of $2,000 on offer from the Citizens Committee for New York City in a bid to increase the level of support to those areas that were worst affected by the hurricane. Car rental provides one of the easiest ways to navigate between the different sites, due to the widespread nature of the storm damage. Anyone who decides on this option will be asked to help with some of the ongoing clearance work or assist local groups that are rebuilding important amenities, including parks and schools. The scheme is looking for a whole host of skills and welcomes all applications.

 

Other Ideas

Every year, thousands of visitors descend on New York City, usually to visit the main tourist attractions. Native New Yorkers may be interested in becoming a ‘Big Apple Greeter.’ This volunteering opportunity is very popular with individuals who enjoy socializing and showing off their wonderful city, with all its hidden secrets, to out of towners.

The current economic downturn has made it very difficult for people who are trying to get a foothold in the jobs market. The ‘Federation Employment and Guidance Service’ (FEGS) has been in existence since 1934 and has helped many thousands find work through its volunteer counseling service. It specializes in helping the more disadvantaged members of society

Anyone who has green fingers or just wants to volunteer out of doors for the summer should head on over to Brooklyn Bridge Park Green Team. This conservation group simply asks that volunteers should possess enthusiasm, some old clothes and a desire to learn more about gardening and nature.

From musicians and educators, to people who want to deliver food parcels, New York City can offer a diverse selection of volunteer opportunities. The experiences and friendships made during this time will remain with volunteers for the rest of their lives.

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What To Think About if You Want to Move Abroad

One of the biggest leaps you can take in your life is finally moving out into the world on your own. There is a kind of scary yet excited vibe to leaving home and finally having your own place. To make this adventure even scarier and more exciting, you may be looking to go abroad. This is one of the ultimate tests of testing your comfort level. There are some things that you need to think about before moving abroad to make sure you have the best and stress free go of it.

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Money

This is the case when moving to anywhere new. You should make sure that you have access to a steady flow of income. The last thing you want to do is sign a lease or a make a purchase and then realize you won’t be able to regularly pay for it. This may sound a bit “no duh” but it is better to be safe than sorry. Land the job before you go looking for your new digs.

Visa

You need to know what the requirements are for living in a different country. Legally there are steps you have to abide by and this red tape is often a pain in the neck. If you can get through it though it is all worth it. There are different types of visas you can look into when moving abroad. There are work visas, travel visas, student visas, and several other types. The trick is finding which one suits you best are locking it down.

Citizenship/Residency

Both of these are options that should be looked into for more permanent and long term stays. If you think the rest of your life you want to live where you’ll be moving look into the requirements for citizenship. Some places it consists of money, time, and a test while others may require language skills and military service. Know what you’re applying for so you aren’t faced with deportation or joining the infantry!

Insurance

You need all kinds of this when going abroad. The two big ones for moving and living abroad are health insurance and home insurance. You don’t want to come down with a strange sickness or a serious injury and not be covered once you get to the hospital. This is extremely important because you never know what may happen. Home insurance is just as important if you’re buying a home. Things happen, accidents happen and you want to make sure they won’t leave you homeless in a foreign country.

Immunizations

Every country has different rules and protocols as to what people need to be immunized with as children. The chances are that where you’re moving has at least one different immunization thats mandatory to have before entering the country. These are the things you need to be on top of before you decided where to move. It all costs money but its all also very important. Be prepared and take that next step of your future.

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Natural ways to improve your wellbeing this summer

Although the sun is shining and the weather is great, some of us could still be feeling a little of the winter blues. If you’re lethargic, tired and a bit unmotivated, it could be time to make a few changes to your day-to-day life and get ready to start feeling more energised for the summer.

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Here are our top tips for renewing and revitalising yourself for the season:

1. Sleep well

It might seem like the simplest thing, but making sure you get your full eight hours of sleep each night is the best way to help your body recover and repair. If you find it hard to drift off before the clock strikes midnight, start the evening with a long soak in a bath with a few drops of lavender oil, as it will help calm and de-stress your mind before getting in bed. Sleep experts  say switching off all electronics, including your mobile phone, before going to bed is essential in getting a good night’s sleep. Trying to stick to a routine by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day – yes, even the weekends – as this can really help your energy levels too.

2. Eat up

Your diet is probably the biggest trigger for lethargy and exhaustion. Taking note of what you eat every day will help uncover the food and drink that could be hindering your wellbeing and dieting efforts if you’re slimming down for summer holidays. Ensure you have your five portions of fruit and veg each day, and try to replace those cheeky, sugar-rich 3pm snacks with raisins, grapes or a handful of nuts. Herbs are also a great way to boost your inner health. Parsley for example increases your blood circulation to the skin and helps to clear your complexion. Similarly, try to include garlic in your diet if you want to boost your immune system.

3. Drink more

Thirst if often mistaken for hunger so before you reach for your snack, try drinking a big glass of water. If your body is dehydrated, you’ll start to feel tired very quickly and sometimes get a throbbing headache. Focusing on tasks at work is near impossible when your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to perform. Remember your body need at least 2 litres of water to function properly each day, and even more during the summer months when the weather is scorching.

4. Breathe in

Deep breathing exercises have been around for centuries to help calm, de-stress and revitalise the body. Why not try out a beginners yoga class? Here the instructor will talk you through the various yoga positions and also the breathing techniques that will help deliver that much needed oxygen to your bloodstream. Studies have found that oxygen therapy can also help people boost their energy levels – it simply involves taking a couple of breaths from a can of oxygen-enriched air. You can read up on the benefits of oxygen therapy here.

5. Work out

Motivating yourself to go to the gym when the weather is good is no easy feat. But how about trying a new outdoor sport for summer? Take inspiration from Wimbledon and head down to your local tennis courts for a game or find an outdoor swimming pool for a dip when the weather gets hot. Even a long walk with the dog could help re-energise your body and help burn some calories if you’re looking to slim down before you hit the beach.