Tips for Planning a Multi-Family Vacation

Friends traveling

Traveling with another family can really be fun, but the planning stage will most likely feel like quite the challenge. In order to ensure that the whole trip runs smoothly, here are some tips to help you to plan a multi-family vacation.

Pick a Leader
While everybody should be responsible for their own individual needs, it is always handy to pick a leader, so that you have someone that can take charge of the overall vacation. This means that everybody will be kept on the same page, whether it be about flight arrival times or contact details, which will help to significantly cut back on confusion.

Senior couples

Choosing a Location
Choosing a location for your vacation can often be one of the toughest parts of planning a multi-family vacation, because with so many different opinions, a large number of you will end up having to compromise. This is something that needs to be decided early on in the process, and the best way to do this is by finding out everybody’s must-haves, whether this may be a beach destination, somewhere mountainous, or a city filled with culture. The person that you have selected to be in charge can then put all of this information together and come up with a few suggestions that will appeal to the majority, letting everybody then vote to pick their favorite.

Let Everyone Plan an Activity
A strict itinerary that everybody has to follow is never going to work out on a multi-family vacation, meaning that you will be much better off scheduling a certain activity and/or meal for the day, and then allowing everyone to have the rest of that day as their own. In order to ensure that everybody has a great time, delegate the planning of certain activities to different members of the family, allowing everybody to pick one activity that they would love to do.

Family traveling

Be Up-Front About Money
Although you may want to really splurge on this vacation, the other family that you are travelling with may have a strict budget that they need to stick to, which is why it is important to discuss finances in the early planning stages of your vacation. When it comes to booking travel and accommodation, it is easy enough for each family to pay for themselves, but if you are sharing a holiday home, and plan on dining at different restaurants, it would be worth coming up with a plan beforehand to ensure that each family is spending a fair amount.

Online Planning
When it comes to a multi-family vacation, there are so many different parts to this that need planning, and emails flying back and forth can often make everything so much more confusing. An online planning document is a great way for everybody to stay updated on the latest plans, whether this be packing lists, meal plans or flight itineraries, and will also keep everything in one place.

In order for your multi-family vacation to be as enjoyable as possible, you will need to put a fair bit of effort into the planning stage. From choosing a location that everybody is happy with to setting budgets and discussing finances, the hard work that you put into the planning will definitely all be worth it in the end.

Walk More to Keep Your Heart Healthy (and Happy!)

Strengthening your heart is so important, and while many may think that running and other more vigorous forms of exercise are the only way to properly do this, walking is an activity that is just as beneficial. Studies have shown that, when it comes to heart health, walking brings about many of the same advantages as other forms of exercise, and is an activity that just about everybody can easily partake in.

Woman walking on bridge

The Health Benefits of Walking
A brisk walk each and every day will bring your body so many different benefits. Not only does this lower high cholesterol, as well as high blood pressure, but it also cuts down your risk of diabetes. All three of these conditions are risk factors when it comes to heart disease and stroke, meaning that making an improvement in this area will significantly boost the health of your heart. In addition to this, regular walking is able to prevent depression, protect against dementia, and reduce the risk of so many other health issues, from colon cancer to erectile dysfunction to obesity.

How Much Walking to Do Each Day
The American Heart Association recommends that adults need around 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and brisk walking can definitely be a large part of this. If you find 30 minutes quite challenging to begin with, start off with smaller, achievable goals, and built this up slowly as your fitness levels increase. Alternatively, you could split your 30 minutes of exercise a day into two or three sessions, walking for just 10 or 15 minutes each time.

Woman walking along beach

Ways to Incorporate Walking Into Your Life
There are many different ways in which you can incorporate more walking in your life, and the more that you do so, the more enjoyment you will gain from it too. Taking the dog for a walk is a great way to exercise the both of you, as is taking your children to the park every afternoon. If shopping is a passion of yours, spend more time window shopping, making a conscious effort to cover the entire mall in a certain amount of time. When it comes to being at work, simply park your car further away from your workplace than you normally would, so that you have some walking to do to get there, and always take the stairs rather than the elevator. Rather than spending your entire lunch break sat at a table, take some time to walk around outside, as you will also gain so many benefits from the fresh air.

Walking Shoes
If you have decided to make the commitment to start walking more, then a reliable pair of shoes is a must. Many of the major athletic brands out there offer shoes designed specifically for walkers, with everything from a shock absorbent sole to a roomy toe box. Before purchasing a pair, make sure to try on your walking shoes while you are wearing athletic socks, so that you will really know how well they fit.

Physical activity is a must, but if you do not tend to enjoy the more traditional forms of exercise, walking could be perfect for you. Not only will this keep your heart strong, while boosting many other parts of your body, but it is also an activity that is easy to squeeze into your day, no matter how busy you may be.

Creative Ways to Replace the Carbs in Your Diet

Quinoa salad

It is now common knowledge that refined carbohydrates do not deserve a place on your plate, but without having an alternative to turn to, people are still consuming huge amounts of unhealthy carbs. From spiralized vegetable noodles to vegetable crusts on pizzas, here is some inspiration for the next time you are looking for a creative way to replace the carbohydrates in your diet.

Zero-Calorie Pasta
Zero-calorie pasta is made from starch that has been extracted from a yam-like vegetable, which is then mixed with water and limewater before being shredded into pasta shapes. Rather than being a trendy invention, these types of noodles are actually authentically traditional to Japan, and not only are they easy to prepare, but they are also satisfyingly tasty.

Zucchini noodles

Spiralized Vegetable Noodles 
The spiralizing trend has been around for a while now, and is a great way to replace noodles or pasta with vegetables. Spiralizers are easy to use, and only cost a few dollars, or you could even just begin by using a potato peeler, and there are so many vegetables that you can experiment with. For example, rather than eating a standard bowl of pasta that usually amounts to just under 600 calories, spiralized courgettes provide just 30 calories per portion, along with so many more vitamins and minerals.

Vegetable Rice
Rice is a staple food that accompanies just about every meal for so many cultures around the world, but this is another refined carbohydrate that often brings very little benefit to the body. For a healthier alternative, try turning one of your favorite vegetables into rice, using that instead of the traditional version. Whether you use cauliflowers or turnips, all you need for this is a food processor with a chopping or shredding blade, or you can even use a box grater to create the rice by hand. The rice that you will end up with will be extremely versatile, and can be used in so many different types of dishes, from simply roasted with garlic and lemon to flavorful and spicy in a Mexican-inspired dish.

Vegetable pizza crust

Vegetable Pizza Crusts 
Pizza is one of the hardest foods for many people to give up when they are trying to cut back on carbs, and while there may be many gluten-free varieties available, these do not usually even come close to comparing to a standard pizza crust. However, there are many ways in which you can create a crust from vegetables, all of which will hold their shape and structure while providing you with an extra boost of nutrients. From cauliflowers to sweet potatoes to red pepper and flax, if pizza is one of your favorite foods, these are some great ways to make your meals healthier.

A nutritious diet is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can definitely be tricky finding alternatives for all of those staple foods that usually accompany meals. From zucchini pasta to cauliflower pizza crusts, give these dishes a try the next time you find yourself reaching for a bag of pasta or rice.

Best Workouts You Won’t Even Notice You’re Doing

Woman with dog

There is now a continuous influx of new studies that point to the many incredible benefits that regular exercise can bring, ranging from a lower risk of heart disease to a reversal of the aging process. While many may enjoy structured workout routines, these are not for everybody, so here are a few workouts that are guaranteed to get you fit, without you even noticing this happening.

Walking Your Dog 
Your dog needs exercise just as much as you do, so heading off for a long dog walk is a great way to take care of both of you. Being around animals in general also boosts your physical health and mental well-being in so many other ways, so if you are guilty of often letting dog walks slide, now is the time to change that. If you do not own a dog but would still like to enjoy the many benefits that come from spending time with one, there are now many services out there that enable you to borrow someone else’s dog for a few hours, or, alternatively, you could simply find a friend’s dog, or a neighbourhood dog, that would benefit from some extra exercise.

Woman with child

Playing With Your Kids 
Whether you choose chase, hopscotch or jump rope, playing with your children is a great way to boost all of your fitness levels while creating some long-lasting memories. Each of these activities are effective ways to burn calories, and will also teach your children about the importance of exercise from an early age.

Dancing 
Dancing involves moving your body energetically and continuously, both of which are perfect for keeping your heart rate elevated while burning calories. If you are wanting to learn a new skill at the same time, then a dance class would be ideal for you, but the same benefits can be had simply by dancing to some music at home. All you need to do is blast your favorite songs and let the beat move you, which will, when done on a regular basis, strengthen your heart, tone your muscles and improve your balance.

Gardening

Gardening 
Gardening for around 30 minutes a day can burn up to 300 calories, providing that you are actually moving around, digging and planting, rather than just standing still and admiring the view. Gardening would be classed as a moderate level cardiovascular exercise, and its benefits include everything from a healthier immune system to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. If you like the idea of gardening but do not know where to start, begin by sowing some seeds of a food that you love to eat, as the sense of accomplishment that comes from growing your own produce is a great motivator to spend more time in your garden.

Exercise is key when it comes to staying healthy, but this does not mean that you need to develop a structured exercise regime. Instead, by spending half an hour to an hour a day on one of these activities, you will be gaining the benefits of a regular workout without having to feel as though you are actually working out.

Take a Look at Motion Pictures

Otherwise known as a movie or a film, motion pictures were one of the most influential, and popular, forms of media throughout the 20th century, and are something that many tend used to take for granted. If you have ever wondered exactly how these motion pictures we know of today came about, read on to learn all about it.

Woman using picture roll

What Exactly Is a Motion Picture?
By definition, a motion picture is a series of pictures that are projected onto a screen, which then creates the illusion of a moving picture. Photography, projection and motion had all been discovered by the 1800’s, but it was not until the 1890’s that these were finally put together, resulting in the motion picture.

Eadweard Muybridge
An English photographer who was known for his ground-breaking work in photographic studies of motion, Eadweard Muybridge are who many would accredit the birth of the motion picture to. Muybridge conducted a photography session where he set up 24 cameras that were linked to tripwires, so that he could take photographs of a horse galloping. After developing the images, he projected them onto a screen, creating the world’s very first motion picture, albeit only two seconds long.

An Industry is Born
Since technology was extremely limited in 1890, motion pictures that were produced at this time were all under a minute long, with no sound. However, this was still a huge breakthrough, signalling the birth of a new industry, which proceeded to grow to huge scales from here. Films began to consist of several different shots, making them longer and longer, while new cameras were introduced, and film studios built. Special effects were soon introduced, as was film continuity, meaning that action could now seamlessly move from one sequence to another. In 1905, The Nickelodeon Theatre in Pittsburgh became the first permanent theatre to show only films, and then, in 1910, actors began to receive screen credits for their roles, leading to the creation of movie stars.

The First Movies
For the first eleven years after the first motion picture was produced, motion pictures grew from consisting of one single shot to a number of different shots, created by large companies in purpose-built studios. However, it was only in the early 1900’s that the first official movies were created, meaning that they had a form of narrative, as well as basic editing techniques. A number of different techniques were then invented, with masters of the industry shining through. George Albert Smith is known for perfecting the close-up shot, while Edwin S. Porter was known for being hired by Thomas Edison to develop a new projection model.

Whether you are an avid film buff or only watch movies on occasion, there is no denying the importance they have had on the progression of modern day life. Movies enable people to do just about anything, from travelling the world to experiencing emotions, making it no surprise that they are considered to be one of the very best forms of entertainment that has ever been invented.

That Hat Gives You Attitude

Woman with black hat

Hats are an important wardrobe staple for the spring and summer seasons, as they not only provide your skin with some added protection from the sun, but they also add a sense of attitude and refinement to just about any outfit. From cowboy hats to berets, these are set to be some of the hottest hat styles for 2017.

Cowboy Hats
Out of all of the headwear trends for 2017, the cowboy hat is one of the most down-to-earth styles, but, as always, has been significantly jazzed up by a number of different designers. For those who are after a more eccentric design, Anna Sui’s cowboy hats feature everything from topless dancing female figures to purring cats, all in statement-making vivid shades. If you were hoping for something slightly more subtle, take a look at the collection from Blugirl, which honors the color white, while Sonia Rykiel has some beautifully chic two-toned cowboy hats made from straw instead of leather.

Cowboy hat

Boater Hats 
Boater hats are another key hat style for this season, with unisex versions being especially popular in streetwear looks. This is another style that is incredibly versatile and can be styled in so many different ways, adding a sporty element to your outfit.

Headscarves 
While not technically a hat, headscarves are beautifully elegant, and, when worn in the right way, incredibly chic and stylish. At Miu Miu, the headscarves are bright, with graphic prints, and, in their runway shows, were tied over the hair in a style that was reminiscent of the 50’s. However, at Giorgio Armani, the 20’s were the decade of choice, as the brightly colored scarves here were tied tighter around the models’ heads, keeping the overall silhouette much smaller. Gucci took it a step further when it came to experimenting with headscarves, opting for luxurious satin fabrics and tying them off in bows or buns at the front of the head rather than the back.

Beret

Berets 
French in origin, berets seem to frequently come and go in the fashion world, and this season they are back with a vengeance. Rather than subtle, classic French styles, the most popular berets this spring and summer will no doubt add a blast of attitude to your outfit. From the mythical jungles featured on the Desigual berets to the graphic piano keys and bold shades at Undercover, these hats will definitely add a whole new focal point to your outfit.

Baseball Caps
There are always some wonderfully wearable styles that are produced when fashion meets active wear, which is exactly what can be said for the baseball caps making an appearance this season. Chanel’s baseball caps in feminine pastel shades are simple and sweet, while the caps from Moschino are much more urban. At Phillipp Plein, expect the hats to be much more extravagant in vibrant shades of gold, while the Elie Saab baseball caps are fantastically flamboyant with all of their sparkling sequins.

Baseball cap

Of course, when it comes to baseball caps, you can add even more attitude to your outfit with the way in which you wear them. On the Chanel runway, the hats were worn sideways, nodding to the 80’s, while many of the Moschino models were wearing their hats backwards, adding an edgier feel to their look.

A hat has the ability to really shake up an outfit, adding a whole new element to it. Whether you opt for a sparkly sequinned baseball cap or a low-key, straw boater hat, there is no denying that each of these styles will give your look so much more attitude.

Tips for Learning to Crochet or Knit

Knitting and crocheting have made quite the comeback in recent years, not only for the beautiful, intricate results that they can produce, but also for the therapeutic nature of the act itself. If you have been wanting to take up a new hobby, here are some tips to help you to decide whether learning how to knit or crochet is right for you.

Materials

Know the Difference Between Knitting and Crocheting
Knitting and crocheting are two different techniques, meaning that by learning one, you will not automatically know how to do the other. Knitting requires a needle in each hand, as well as one hand working the yarn, whereas crocheting uses just one tool, with one task per hand, meaning that most beginners find it easier to learn how to crochet rather than knit. Other than for making sweaters, crocheting can be used to create just about everything, which also makes it the more versatile of the two.

Solid Colors and Large Tools
While those wispy balls of striped yarn may seem incredibly tempting at the store, beginners should opt for solid, simple colors instead, preferably choosing a yarn that has a good stitch definition, as this will make it much easier to learn the craft. Large and durable tools are also better than smaller versions, because although your work may not end up being as fine as you would have liked, larger tools will make it much easier for you to learn the different methods involved.

Woman crocheting

Do Not Underestimate the Power of YouTube
When it comes to learning a new skill, YouTube should always be one of your first points of call, as this is where you will find a magnificent wealth of knowledge on just about every subject. Whether you decide on knitting or crocheting, YouTube is where you will find step-by-step tutorial videos for beginners. While there is no denying the benefits that come from buying a couple of books on the subject, actually being able to see somebody utilize a method will help it sink in to your head in a way that a book is simply not able to do.

Find a Friend to Teach You
It is most definitely possible to teach yourself how to knit or crochet by reading books and watching videos, but there is no beating real-life assistance from someone who knows what they are doing. Having a friend who can teach you how to knit or crochet will mean that you will have someone on hand to point out any mistakes that you are making, which could save you so much time in trying to figure out where you have gone wrong. If none of your friends know how to knit or crochet, try convincing one of them to learn with you, as this makes it so much more fun, or look for a class that you can join.

Knitting and crocheting are useful skills to have, and are both great ways to harness your creativity. Even if you have never had much of an interest in crafts before, these are skills that bring with them so many different benefits, and will leave you with beautiful handmade goods by the end of it.

Tips for Updating Your Look

Woman of high fashion

Spring is all about fresh starts and new beginnings, making this the perfect time to update your look and add something new to your personal style. Whether you are seeking a few subtle adjustments or a huge dramatic change, here are some tips to help you get started.

Part Your Hair on the Other Side
If you have been parting your hair in the same place for years, flipping this over to the other side is an extremely easy way to update your look. While this may seem simple, a new part will add volume to your roots while changing the way in which the front sections frame your face. If your hair keeps flipping itself back over to the original part, try using some hair-setting tape to secure your new part in place before you go to bed, as this will help it to set overnight.

A New Lip Color
Everybody has their go-to lip shades, but trying out a new lip color can really help to shake up your look. If you tend to stick to classic shades, opt for something bold and bright instead, or, for those who are used to taking risks with lipstick, try swapping this for a subtle nude gloss. If lipstick is something that you never really wear, start off by experimenting with shades of red, as this is timeless and you are likely to easily be able to find a shade that complements you.

Woman applying blue lipstick

Experiment With Belts
Belts are an accessory that many people only use if they really need to, but they can really add a whole new element to your outfit, even if they are not necessarily needed. Using a belt to cinch in a blazer or fitted jacket can really enhance your feminine shape, while a belt on a loose dress can instantly turn it from casual to preppy.

Invest in a Pair of Pointy-Toed Shoes
While the tapered toe may come and go in terms of shoe trends, this is a classic style that many would consider to be the most flattering of all shoe shapes. The reason for this is because of the way in which pointed-toe shoes visually elongate the leg, especially when paired with an elegant pencil skirt or wide trousers. No matter what you wear them with, ensure that your shoes fit comfortably around the toes, without any pinching, and opt for a color that is similar to your skin tone if you want to elongate your legs as much as possible.

Pointed heels

Overhaul Your Skin Care Routine
Your skin is constantly on show to the rest of the world, and a great way to freshen up your whole look is by giving your skin a bit of a boost. Whether this means adding a few new serums and essences to your skin care routine, or trying out a new method of exfoliation, making a few changes at such a basic level will have a huge influence over your look.

Now that the dreary days of winter are just about over, this is the perfect time to think about updating your look. Whether this means styling your hair in a new way, or experimenting with different accessories, give these tips a go if you have been wanting to try something different.

Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone

Lent is all about taking the necessary steps to improve your life and become a better person, and one of the best ways in which to do this is by pushing past your comfort zone and taking a few new risks in life. Expanding your horizons and breaking through your self-imposed limits brings about so many different physical and mental benefits, while empowering your mind at the same time, helping you to achieve a much more fulfilled and happy life.

Man balancing on rope

What is a Comfort Zone?
Your comfort zone is basically a behavioral space in which your activities fit into a certain routine or pattern that minimizes stress and risk. Not only does this provide mental security, but it also leads to regular happiness and lower levels of anxiety. While this may be the case, pushing past your comfort zone on occasion can really bring about some incredible results, from boosting productivity to harnessing your creativity, making it worth putting some conscious effort into expanding your horizons.

Take Small Risks with Everyday Tasks
The best way to begin pushing your boundaries is by taking small risks with everyday tasks that you do. This could be anything from taking a new route to work in the mornings, to cutting out meat from your diet for a couple of weeks. While these may seem like extremely small changes, they are easy to implement will still have the effect of providing you with a new perspective on your everyday life.

Making Decisions
Each time you make a decision, no matter how many options you may have, there will always be one choice that is the riskiest and uncomfortable, as well as one that is the safest. While you may immediately be drawn to the safest choice, as this lies within your comfort zone, it is likely to be the most uncomfortable option that really helps you to grow as a person. The next time you are making a decision, slow down and really consider each of your options before choosing one, rather than just instinctively opting for the choice that you are most comfortable with.

Tomorrow is a New Day
There is no denying the fact that taking risks in life can often seem quite scary, especially if they do not go as planned. However, you need to be able to pick yourself up from this and remember that tomorrow is a brand new day in which you will be able to implement all that you have learned today, giving you a greater chance of success in the future.

There are so many different ways in which to push past your comfort zone, and even if all of the experiences that come from this are not positive, you will still be learning something new about yourself with each step that you take. Whether you make an effort to travel to new places more, volunteer with a worthy cause, or simply learn a new language or a musical instrument, pushing your own personal boundaries may seem like a challenge at first, but, the more that you do this, the easier it will be to do in the future.

Extend Your Life by Reading Books

Woman reading on bed

Reading brings about many different benefits, from de-stressing the mind to improving language skills, but there is one extremely advantageous benefit that many are not aware of. A recent study carried out by the Yale University’s School of Public Health showed that people who regularly read books, rather than magazines or newspapers, add an extra two years onto their lifespan when compared to those who do not read, giving you the perfect excuse to begin spending your evenings curled up with a good book.

Results of the Study
The study carried out by Yale University lasted for 12 years, and focussed on three subject groups; those who did not read at all, those who read for around three and a half hours per week, and those who read for more. Even in the second group of subjects, there was still a 17% chance of an increased lifespan, showing the incredible benefits that reading can bring.

How Does Reading Books Extend Lifespan?
Unlike magazines or newspapers, reading books encourages two cognitive processes that are extremely beneficial. The first is referred to as “deep reading”, which is an immersive process that enables the reader to form a connection to the world around them. The second cognitive process is the way in which books are able to promote everything from empathy to emotional intelligence, all of which heighten the body’s chance for survival. The way in which books feature complex, interwoven stories cannot compete with the short snippets of information provided by newspapers and magazines, and this recent study has more than proven the varying effects that different types of reading material can have.

Reading book

How Long Should You Read For Each Day?
Yale University’s study showed that the longer that a participant read for each day, the longer they would live for. While you may not have time to read for hours each day, even 30 minutes a day can still be hugely beneficial in terms of extending lifespan. One of the advantages to reading is that it can be done just about anywhere, so even if you do not have time at the end of your day, try bringing a book along on your commute to work, or setting aside some time on your lunch break.

What Types of Books are Best?
While the study did not look into the exact genres of books that were read by participants, other studies have discovered that around 87% of book readers choose to read fiction, meaning that fiction was most likely to be the primary type of book read during the study. However, this does not instantly mean that other types of books are not beneficial, although more studies will need to be carried out in order to confirm this.

In addition to extending your lifespan, reading also brings about so many other health benefits. From improving memory to expanding knowledge to boosting analytical thinking skills, making the effort to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of book reading a day will have some hugely positive effects on your life.