woman in white lace sleeveless dress standing beside brown wooden crib

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So, you've been with your partner for a while now. You've taken vacations, you've moved in together, and you both feel confident that you're in this for the long haul. First up, Congrats! It's always great to find your soul mate. But what's the next step of the process? Marriage, maybe but with modern relationships being about more than a big day and a sparkling jewel on the finger, perhaps having a child is the actual demonstration of love and affection. Are you ready for a baby, though? You might be if any of these signs sound familiar. 


You Are Planning How to Decorate the Nursery


If you've got a spare room, or are at least looking for new places with an extra bedroom, you might be doing a lot of research about everything you need to buy when expecting a baby, even if the expecting part hasn't happened yet. 


Planning to decorate the nursery is a clear sign of being ready for a baby. It shows that you're open to making a significant change, and you're prepared to put in the work when required, and creating a nursery is hard work. 


You Get Jealous of Other Moms


It sounds like a cliche, but being jealous of other moms walking down the street with a stroller is a crucial sign that a baby could be in your future. 


This isn't bad jealousy, though, and it's really closer to envy than anything else, but that swell of emotion you feel when you see strangers and friends playing with their little ones means that you won't be satisfied until you have your own bundle of joy. 


You Feel Financially Comfortable


Financial security and comfort is a huge part of having a baby. You need to be able to feed another mouth while also finding your monthly income reduced as you'll start lowering your hours before you give birth. 


If you feel financially able to have a child, there should be nothing holding you back. Of course, you'll need to consider the budget and what you can afford to pay for before you go ahead with anything too concrete. 


You Are Satisfied with Your Career


Modern careers are far from what they were in the past. While your parents and even their parents found a job straight out of school and stayed there for the rest of their lives, most people don't fall into their dream career until much later, and this can contribute to never feeling ready for a baby. 


However, once you reach that position where you feel satisfied and comfortable, you can start to think about motherhood. But before you do, it's important to check your company's maternity policy to find out how much time you are permitted and whether your partner can help out. 


You Have a List Of Baby Names


Most people have their perfect baby names stored away in their minds, but if you keep finding yourself adoring new names that you come across, then perhaps it's time you put them to good use. 


There's always a problem somewhere, though. You might have the perfect name in mind, but one of your friends just named their dog the same name, so it's back to the drawing board. Hopefully, you'll have enough names that there's plenty to pick from, and don't forget to ask your partner for input. 


You Have Had Serious Discussions With Your Partner


Mature relationships require serious adult discussions about significant changes. While you might have spent the early years of your relationship joking about having lots of babies, you will need to sit down and have a serious conversation. 


If they are happy to start trying for a baby, then jackpot. You can begin planning out the next nine months and hopefully enjoy a bright future together. 


You Are Looking At The Best Schools 


You want your child to have the best education possible, and while it might seem a little premature, it's useful to know about the best schools in the area. 


But what about if you can't find excellent schools in the area? You might need to move into a new home at some point, so if you have the freedom to go anywhere, there's plenty of spots to choose from. 


You Are No Longer Bothered When People Ask 


Whether it's your parents, your partner's parents, old school friends, or strangers off the street, getting asked when you're going to have kids can get frustrating. People rarely understand that not everyone's life revolves around being a parent, and you have likely told them you would get to it in your own time. 


However, if those questions no longer bother you, there's a significant chance that you're ready for kids, and aside from the joy that comes with being a parent, you can also feel happy you'll never need to answer any more questions. 


You Are Ready to Give Up Your Party Lifestyle


The party lifestyle is fun for a few years before, during, and after college, but most people can't keep it up forever. When you're young, though, you believe the party will never end, and you'll be raving forever. 


However, there will come the point where the idea of going out and getting back late (or even early next morning) fills you with dread. You don't want to do it. You want to be responsible, and becoming a parent will make you responsible. 


You Know It Just Feels Right


Ultimately, though, you'll know you're ready because it just feels right. We have stages in our lives, and after school, work, and finding the one, having a baby is the next logical stage of our lives. Even if you've never considered yourself mother material, your opinion may change as you get older, so even if you don't feel ready just yet, you might sooner than you expect. 


The Next Stage


There will come the point in everyone's life where they are ready for a baby, and while there are plenty of factors that can determine how ready you are, the real sign is that you are no longer terrified of the thought of having a child. Regardless of finances, space, and the endless hours browsing baby equipment, you're ready to take the next step in your relationship.


*This is a collaborative post*






 


Stress hugely takes its toll on both our physical and mental health. It’s so vital that we find techniques which help us to feel relaxed and at peace. Perhaps you’re looking for a new stress-busting tactic to add to your routine? If so, be sure to try out a few of these simple ideas.

1. Yoga

Yoga is one of the best exercises to de-stress and experience a sense of relaxation. By practising yoga, you’ll experience many benefits, including building your core strength, increasing your flexibility, toning your body, and improving your balance. To get you started, the Daily Yoga app is a fantastic tool. The application features hundreds of different classes at various levels. Here you’ll find everything from slow and chilled Hatha yoga to up-tempo Ashtanga.

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness means aiming to focus on the present moment, and being completely attentive, instead of worrying about the future or past. Though it’s not an abstract idea, it’s harder to do than you’d think! Meditation overlaps with the art of mindfulness. By clearing the mind, we permit ourselves to be present and engaged. To help you to learn more about mindfulness, try reading books such as ‘The Gift Of Presence’ by Caroline Welch.

3. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been praised for centuries as a fantastic relaxation tactic. The idea is to use various essential oils for their health-boosting properties. You can choose to add essential oils to a bath, inhale them, or apply them to your skin. Remember to mix essential oils with a carrier oil before application; this is because some oils are too potent to apply directly. Different oils have different properties; for example, ylang-ylang is excellent to boost your mood, and lavender is the best essential oil to relax.

4. Gratitude Journaling

Studies have indicated a connection between showing gratitude and feeling happier. If you’re looking to feel less stressed out, it’s a great idea to start a gratitude journal. The practice couldn’t be simpler; all you have to do is write down the things you are grateful for each day. Even if you can only think of one thing per day, in time, you’ll get used to the practice, and have more ideas! Nothing is too small to express gratitude for, whether you’re grateful for your scenic walk to work or for the taste of your morning coffee!


5. Herbal Remedies 

Sometimes we need a little help to unwind, and luckily there are plenty of great herbal remedies which can help us out. Ashwagandha is a great herb to ease stress; it’s known for reducing the presence of the stress hormone in our bodies. As well as this, herbs like St. John’s Wort and Rhodiola are perfect for easing the symptoms of anxiety. Another fantastic way to relax is by trying CBD, made using a compound from the cannabis plant. If you prefer to smoke, try a CBD infused vape or consider using bongs for something more recreational and fun.

If you are taking any kind of medication you’ll need to discuss herbal supplements with your doctor, to ensure that they are suitable. When all else fails, take things back to basics. Simple practices like keeping fit and getting extra sleep can do wonders for easing stress.


*This is a collaborative post*

It seems that the temperatures are going to rise again. Maybe there’s a chance for a British summer after all for those of us who have replaced their yearly trip abroad by a staycation holiday. It doesn’t matter where you go for your summer break. We all know how to recognise a Brit on holiday: they’re turning a delicate shade of dark pink in the sun! 

However, other skin conditions could also turn your face red without sun exposure. The typical sun rash, for instance, is unpleasantly common in summer. Most people experience a minor rash as a result of sweat, sunscreen protection allergy, the friction of the fabric on the skin, etc. In other words, you could turn red without getting a sunburn. Here are four different conditions that can affect skin pigmentation and are easily confused. 



Psoriasis
You might have heard of the autoimmune disease that creates red, dry, itchy, and scaly areas on the skin. Psoriasis, unfortunately, is a genetic disease, which means that if there’s a history of it in your family, you may be at risk. The autoimmune condition can be triggered by a variety of symptoms and typically starts in adult age – which means it could happen to you tomorrow! Thankfully, however, in 75% of cases, topical cream applications such as Grahams Psoriasis Cream can improve the skin dramatically and keep red patches under control. 


Eczema
Eczema is an allergic reaction to a trigger. Most people are familiar with the condition, which is why other less common skin issues such as psoriasis or rosacea are often confused with eczema and overlooked. In doubt, you should also consult a GP to make sure you’re using the right products! You can quickly soothe your skin with safe, natural remedies as recommended by Holland and Barrett, such as coconut oil and honey. However, to prevent the allergic response, you should identify your triggers and protect your immune system. 


Acne
How can one mix up acne with any other skin condition? The answer is simple: Many allergic or autoimmune skin conditions can develop pimples and bumps similar to acne. One other issue that becomes more visible in summer is acne scars. In summer, when the skin is exposed to the sun, it can dry out some areas quicker than others. Red acne dents or raised scars tend to get more difficult to hide. Most people revert to cosmetic treatments to help the skin heal. Treatments that remove the outer layer of skin and boost collagen production can remove acne scars. 


Rosacea 
Rosacea can affect up to 10% of the population, typically between 30 and 50 years old. It can appear out of the blue and cause red and swollen patches to appear on your face. It’s not curable, but most people find relief with topical cream treatment, medication or laser therapy. On the first onset, it can easily be confused with eczema or sunburn. However, if the red patches don’t disappear, you will need to make an appointment with your GP to receive a diagnosis. 


Red patches that appear on the face can flare up for a variety of reasons. Don’t dismiss skin redness in summer. It may not be a summer rash or your typical sunburn. More often than not, understanding your skin issues is the first step to managing the condition and getting it under control! And remember: your GP can provide much better support than self-medication! 

*This is a collaborative post*




We all have days when it seems like everything’s going our way, we’re feeling great, and the whole world seems to be that little bit brighter. And then there are the days that just seem like a slog; these are the ‘nothing days’ that really aren’t all that enjoyable. While sometimes it’s all about luck, there are things you can that’ll push you in the right direction. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some useful tips that’ll have you enjoying each and every day.


Imagine What’s Possible

Sometimes, good things just come into our path. We head out into the world, and the world provides. There’s magic everywhere, after all, and if you keep your eyes open, then you never know what’ll happen. However, you can’t always expect the world to make your day! Sometimes, you’ve got to make it happen yourself. You can do this by keeping one particular thought in your mind: ‘what’s possible’? Just by thinking of how you can make the day as awesome as possible, you’ll find that you naturally make it better.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

You could plan the best day ever, but if you’ve got no energy, then you’ll find it difficult to enjoy things. While you can’t always be flying with energy, there are things you can do to help. The first is to get a good night’s rest. You’ll be much happier and ready for action if you’ve slept well. If you struggle with this, then look at making some improvements. There are many things you can do. You could meditate before hitting the hay, or look at getting additional help; CBD has a calming effect that can help with sleep. You’ll also want to ensure that your bedroom is conducive to resting well; it’ll be much easier to reach the Land of Nod if it’s dark and quiet. 

Starting the Day Right

They say that you start as you mean to go on. If you’re starting the day in a chaotic way, then it’ll be no surprise if your day seems pretty chaotic too. On the other hand, if your morning is filled with happiness, then that’s what you’ll day be like. So how do you start the day right? Start by getting up early enough so that you’re not rushed. From there, it’s all about doing positive things. For example, you’ll be onto a winning day if you go for a quick run, have a cold shower, and then have a healthy and filling breakfast. You’ll leave home feeling on top of the world, ready for whatever comes your way. 

Eating Well

And talking about eating healthy food: a good day will always be filled with delicious meals. It’s the simple pleasures that can really make life worth living. Take the time to prepare life-affirming meals using fresh ingredients, and ideally get your loved ones involved.

Meeting With Friends and Family

More on your loved ones: while it’s possible to have a pleasant day on your own, the most memorable ones will be the days where you’re surrounded by the people that you love the most. Of course, it’s not always possible to have long get-togethers, especially during the week. But depending on how close you live to your friends and family, you might find that it’s possible to have short meetings. Crossing paths can really boost your mood. You can sometimes go several weeks without seeing friends and family when life is busy, but it’s recommended to make an effort. 


Mix Up The Routine

Life can be deeply enjoyable, but it can also be a little “samey.” That is to say, we get stuck in a rut -- we’re just doing the same thing over and over. And while this might not be all that bad, it’s unlikely to be too exciting either. So if you want to give your day a nudge in the right direction, look at mixing up your routine a little. You’ll find that just doing one thing that you don’t normally do can remind you just how fun life can be.

Moments of Relaxation 

Finally, focus on relaxation. We’re all working a lot more than we used to, and that means that many of us aren’t as relaxed as we should be. If you want to be in a happy mood, then look at learning how to relax. Once you do, you’ll find that you’re able to achieve a level of peace that makes all your moments more enjoyable and fun. 

*This is a collaborative post*

There might be something about your physical appearance that you're not entirely happy with; it could be a new thing or something that has been with you for some time. Our bodies and physical appearances do change as we age and respond to life events. This is entirely normal. It’s healthy, for instance, for the size and shape of our bodies to alter, for our hair to thin and sometimes to disappear, and for blemishes to appear on the skin in response to regular exposure to the sun. For many people these changes can be unsettling, and may take some time to adjust too if treatment is not an option. For others there are some cosmetic procedures available to fix minor age and lifestyle related issues. 

That said, a cosmetic procedure can be a big decision to make and it’s a good idea to reflect on your real needs and motivations for such an option. All procedures carry some risk, they can be expensive, and if you aren’t completely happy with the outcome it can have a serious effect on your mental and emotional health. In some cases, more so than the issue in question. Consider the changes that are occurring, is it something you’ve wanted to change for a long time? Are you strong enough mentally to cope with a treatment that doesn’t turn out as you hoped. Remember, your physical appearance is only one part of who you are and your wellbeing can be improved with healthy eating, meaningful work, and nourishing friendships. 

Skin Rejuvenation


Over time our skin begins to tell a story:  the story of our youth, the vacations we took in our twenties, and of its general daily maintenance. At some point we may look in the mirror and notice some unwanted blemishes have appeared. This is when skin rejuvenation treatments can help. They are a minimally invasive treatment that can resurface your skin using lasers or remove blemishes with chemical peels. Laser resurfacing, for instance, removes the top layer of skin and encourages new growth underneath. Consider skin rejuvenation if you notice sun or age spots, or your skin has been damaged from bad acne. 

Hair Transplant 

Contrary to popular belief hair loss can affect women as well as men. There are two transplant methods to choose from the FUE hair transplants
or the FUT method. The FUE method however  is by far the most common. It involves removing individual hair follicles from other parts of the body and transplanting them on the head using small incisions. On the day, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area, and hair follicles will be extracted using a unique tool. The procedure is non-invasive and you can leave the clinic after thirty minutes. Special aftercare should be ensured for ten days following the treatment and results can be expected in two or three months.


Facial Rejuvenation


Facial rejuvenation doesn’t only mean a facelift - it also includes an eyelid lift, a neck lift, and a brow lift. These are non-invasive procedures intended to restore your youthful appearance. With a neck lift, for instance, a combination of liposuction and muscle tightening is used to remove any unwanted fat and to straighten out wrinkles. It can be done in conjunction with a facelift for optimal results. Your treatment options for facial rejuvenation will depend on your personal goals which can be discussed during your consultation.     

Body Contouring


If you're a mom who has recently given birth, you might think about body contouring as a way to restore your pre-pregnancy dimensions. Treatments include a tummy tuck, liposuction, and thigh-lifts. A tummy tuck will remove any excess skin and fat brought about by pregnancy by making an incision below the belly button and separating the skin from the abdominal wall. It will also remove stretch marks by tightening the abdominal muscles. For best results, this treatment should be combined with exercise and healthy eating. 

Facial Contouring


Facial contouring is a non-invasive reconfiguration procedure to enhance your facial features and reduce the signs of ageing. As we age our skin naturally loses its firmness and wrinkles begin to appear - especially around the eyes. The procedure uses a combination of techniques such as dermal fillers, liposuction, and botox, to eliminate the signs of aging and create more symmetry in the facial features eliminating natural inconsistencies. The type of treatment you decide on will depend on your physical characteristics and your personal goals.   

*This is a collaborative post*

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