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Calm Your Nerves and Get Rid of Stress With These 6 Amazing Benefits of Meditation

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is an art that dates back to ancient times, all the way back to the first hunters who are said to have altered their state of consciousness by letting their senses be lulled into a deep trance after staring at the flames of their fires. Some of the earliest recorded documents regarding meditation stem from the teaching of the Vedas in ancient India. The practise of Meditation was mostly developed and polished into a refined art by Buddhism in India and in Taoist China.

Meditation does wonders for the mind by cleansing and giving it a refreshing feel which in turn also affects the health and stability of the body. Although it might seem like the person isn’t doing much physical activity, the real beauty of meditation lies in the physiological change undergone by the body owning to the spread of prana or healing energy to every cell. The following benefits of Meditation can be achieved by any other technique.

6 Indispensable Benefits of Meditation

 

Meditation is an Ideal Stress Reliever

Anti-stress MeditationThe result of this process is a joyful, peaceful, refreshing and enthusiastic state of body and mind that cannot be attained in any other way. Not only does it improve concentration and clarity, research has shown that meditation also improves the physical health and mental well being of a person by reducing stress, anxiety attacks and providing emotional stability.

It can be done in different ways either by focusing on the breathing, any particular sensation in the body or by focusing on a specific object.

Helps Improve Concentration

Meditation is especially helpful for school or college students who deal with a stressful environment almost every day. Research shows that it helps sharpen the mind and gain focus by relaxing the mind and easing it of racing thoughts. It helps decrease anxiety and brings about emotional stability by releasing serotonin which helps increase the mood and behaviour.

People in stressful environments learn to control their emotions and temper better due to an increased blood floor and breathing techniques which boosts the oxygen supply to the brain, thereby instilling a blossoming calmness through the insides. During exams, students who meditate show better results as it increases their concentration, focus and memory power. It also helps to better multitask and reduces the ability to distract often.

Encourages a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle, MeditationA person gains a boost of energy from their inner well which also helps boost immune system and improve the overall health. Meditation also helps to reduce or obliterate any tension induced pains such as headaches, ulcers, muscle and joint problems or even cures insomnia.

It also helps lower the blood pressure, reduces anxiety attacks and lowers the levels of blood lactate. It has been shown to give a boost of energy and freshness that keeps the person going the entire day, encourages them to eat healthy food and live a satisfied lifestyle.

Helps Practise Self-awareness

Meditation helps a person attain self awareness and acceptance for an overall well being. It helps the person understand their shortcomings and embrace them instead of letting their temper take control to cause widespread damage.

It helps clear their mind and calms them down leaving no room for stress or constant worry.

Slows Down Aging

Meditation Slows Down AgingResearch upon the benefits of meditation has found out that it slows down the aging process by altering the brain physiology. In this regard it helps reduce the overall stress and its effects on the body, thereby slowing down the degeneration of the brain cell matter to add a few more years to life.

It also helps a person to relax which causes the nitric oxide compound to increase, directly causing the blood pressure to drop by inducing the opening of the blood vessels. Research showed that patients taking medicine for high blood pressure can stop their medication by practising medication regularly.

Guarantees Happiness and Contentment

People who practise meditation on a daily basis are said to be more content and satisfied with their lives, owing to the decrease of negative thinking due to a brain signalling in the left side of the prefrontal cortex.

This portion of the brain is responsible for positive emotions and meditation decreases the signalling activity on the right side which is responsible for negative thoughts and emotions.

Conclusion

To get the most out of meditation, it needs to be infused into the daily schedule and practised regularly.

It is like a warm glow that softens the harsh reality of the stressful world by helping you focus on maintaining your tranquillity and happiness.

5 Handy Hints to Make Your Life Easier

Painting House

It is tempting to ignore the steep price tag and hire a professional contractor to undertake home improvement repairs. Maintenance and repairs always seem intimidating and complex to someone who has never tried before. Others fear their attempts to fix the problem might make the situation worse. However, a simple DIY home maintenance plan can make a huge difference when it comes to cost savings. Here are some simple home maintenance works that you can do on your own thanks to the team at BreezyBnB.

Painting

Painting House and Fixing ToiletYou can easily repaint the interior of your house and give it a new look. However, repainting the entire interior is a lot of work and can be costly. You can save both money and time, by regularly touching up your paint job. The first thing you require is a spot-on color match. If there is some left over paint, just use it to re-touch the spots on your wall where the paint has flaked away or been chipped. The paint will achieve a near perfect look when it dries, leaving your house looking fresh and new again.

Toilet Repair

Leaking water from your toilet tank comes with two main problems. First, it will cost you money in the form of utility bills. Secondly, it will damage your bathroom floors and wear out the internal workings of your toilets. If you determine that the toilet tank is leaking, then you need to replace the toilet’s flapper. Before you do this, ensure that you turn off the water supply to the toilet. To replace the flapper, just remove the flush chain and slide the old one out. Replace with a new one and reconnect the chain.

Leaking Faucets

Most faucets leak due to worn out washers. Faucets contain rubber washers, which have a tendency of wearing out over time. To replace them, first turn off the main water supply. Proceed to unscrew the leaky handle controlling the water flow to the spout. Remove the old washer and replace with a new one. It is as easy as that.

Roof

House Repair TipsYou should check your roof periodically for any signs of damage. Discolored or damaged shingles should be replaced quickly to prevent water-damaged trusses, a drywall or even replacing the entire roofing system. When inspecting your roof, pay particular attention to the shingles surrounding the skylights, chimneys, and vents. These areas are the most prone to leaking.

Drafty Windows

Drafty windows are one of the main reasons why you are incurring high energy bills in the winter and summer months. Inspect the condition of the caulk line periodically. If it appears cracked, dry, or weathered, then you should remove it with a sharp knife or box cutter, and then replace it with a new bead along the seam. For additional utility bill savings, insulate your window using an insulating window film.

Conclusion

Keeping your property properly maintained saves you both money and energy. It increases the life of your existing structures and appliances while saving you money spent on utility bills. These are just a few tips that you can apply. However, if the project becomes too big, demanding or complex, just hire a service professional to get some assistance as you learn the ropes.

Green is the New Black!

organic-clothing

Organic cotton is just another term used to refer to cotton harvested and made from non-genetically modified plants. Note that, genetically modified plants are plants used in agriculture where the DNA of these plants have been modified using genetic engineering. These modifications were made to make them resistant to certain pests, diseases, and environmental condition. It also reduces spoilage.

The plants, the source of the organic cotton, were grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides. Its presence also stimulates the regular and natural growth of all other biological entities in its surroundings due to its non intrusive trait.

The new trend nowadays is this shift from regular commercial cotton to organic cotton. This trend came from the growing awareness on the negative effects that come from buying and using materials that are made from commercial cotton.

Disadvantages of Commercial Cotton

Commercial cotton relies heavily on the use of insecticides and other pollutants. Cotton covers only a small percent of cultivated land (around 2.5 %) yet it consumes sixteen percent of the total amount of insecticides worldwide. The fumes from these chemicals pollute the air and water around it. And these chemical toxins stick to the cotton and can have numerous negative effects on the person who wears it.

Advantages of Organic Cotton

Organic Cotton ClothingThere is very strong belief backing the idea that organic cotton clothing is safe and easy on the skin which makes it ideal for people with sensitive skin. It is also ideal for infants, babies and toddlers.  Several consumers have attested to these claims and have cited other benefits such as: it is less likely to trigger any allergies and it even reduces respiratory problems.

Another notable benefit is its usefulness for children with special needs. Some CSN usually suffer from hyposensitivity which makes them extra sensitive to the textures around them. That is where organic cotton comes in. It is also a  great aid in terms of pacifying babies or toddlers who are going through a teething phase since organic cotton wristbands are non toxic and can be safe for children.

Having thus listed and recognized the numerous benefits of organic cotton, it’s no wonder that it has become such a booming trend. This is a true testimony that human beings are going back to basics and are really becoming more aware of their responsibility, not just for themselves, but also for the world around them.

Commit To a Healthier Lifestyle – Reduce you Sugar Intake

sugars

Everybody knows that sugar rots your teeth. Did you also know that sugar turns your body into a fat storing machine?

Sugar consumption results in your blood sugar rising and triggers the pancreas to release a surge of insulin to enables your muscles and cells to use the sugar in the blood. This blood sugar spike sets up a pattern of mood swings and cravings that sap your vitality and inflate your waistline.

As you crave more sweet or starchy foods, your body metabolizes them into sugar, which spikes your blood sugar and sets the vicious cycle in motion again.

In this respect sugar acts like an addictive drug. You should also stop eating so much processed sugar because excess sugar in the blood attaches to the proteins that enable the muscles, cells, and fat to respond to insulin. When these proteins are coated with sugar, they no longer respond to the insulin. This triggers insulin resistance, otherwise known as metabolic syndrome. People with insulin resistance are at risk for developing diabetes 2 and heart disease.

junk foodSome other reasons to stop eating sugar that you might not be aware of are that sugar is a primary contributor to blemishes, edema-related puffiness, under-eye circles, and wrinkles. Sugar destroys collagen and leads to the cross-linking of fibers that provide skin’s elasticity. This causes the development of wrinkles.

Sugar breaks down protein in the skin and the rest of the body in a process called glycation. This process results in brown spots, inflammation, sagging, and pre-mature aging.

All forms of sugar produce the same results, regardless of whether you use refined white sugar, raw turbinated sugar, or dehydrated cane sugar. Excess glucose and insulin also make your blood acidic, and as your body fights to neutralize it, problems can develop. In particular, sugar creates uric acid in your body. This raises your blood pressure, and can cause inflammation. The result can be any of the following: Diabetes, Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, It speeds up aging, Dementia, Kidney, and Liver problems. These are only a few of the potential problems.

Following are some tips to avoid sugar crash:

  1. Eat a balanced breakfast with no added sugar (i.e. avocado on toast or museli)
  2. Limit sweets to 2 times a week or less if you can avoid it
  3. Stay away from white flour and eat plenty of vegetables
  4. Eat metabolically balanced but smaller meals each day (protein, fat, carbohydrates)
  5. Eat sweets only after a balanced meal (with plenty of protein)
  6. Eat plenty of complex carbs throughout the day (vegetables and whole grains) 7. Don’t consume processed sugar before you sleep

So try and reduce your sugar intake starting now! Take a look here for more great health tips and ideas.

Tips to Improve Posture and Reduce Lower Back Pain at Work

the correct posture for sitting

Office jobs come with their risks and hazards too as sitting all day exposes you to a myriad of health and wellness problems. Coupled with bad posture, sitting all day threatens your emotions, self-esteem, and even appearance.

Fortunately, you can escape this fix and balance your work and health by assuming the correct sitting posture and doing light exercises. Here are some tips to get you started from the team at Living Chiropractic in Sydney.

1. Get a Lumbar Pillow

Slouching is a bad habit that many people do unconsciously and hence find it difficult to avoid. As such, you should consider getting a lumbar pillow to get you started. The pillow will be a constant reminder for you to stop slouching as it will occupy some space behind you. Additionally, it will support your spine and make you healthier, more energetic, and give you focus to concentrate on your job.

2. Put that Foot Down

Crossing your legs may feel comfortable, but it is a potential health and fitness hazard. For wellness purposes, it is recommended to sit with both feet flat on the ground. The legs should be at a 90 degree position, so avoid stretching them out for long periods.

Like most people, you may find it difficult to adopt this sitting style. To get you started, consider using makeshift props for supporting your feet.

a lumbar support

A lumbar support pillow

3. Align Your Shoulders and Ears

You may often find yourself leaning too far forward or backward for prolonged periods. This not only leaves you tired but also makes your back ache. An easy way to beat this bad habit is to align your ears to your shoulders whenever you are seated. This will ensure that both your back and neck are always in an upright position as they should be.

4. Draw Your Shoulder Blades

Bad sitting postures will do a number on your appearance too as they result in rounded shoulders. To avoid this, practice pulling your shoulder blades back whenever seated. This will bring your chest out, align your spine and neck, and help you retain that firm and fit appearance that inspires self-confidence and self-esteem.

5. Move Around

Assuming the correct sitting posture is not enough. It is important to exercise the muscles and joints by moving around often. There are numerous excuses for you to get up every hour or so and move around: making coffee, visiting the bathroom, or just taking in some air.

Additionally, make sure that you make the most of your walks by moving substantial distances and performing strenuous activities such as climbing the stairs.

6. Exercise Your Chests and Shoulders

Light exercises offer great relief to fatigue and back pain, and they are so simple that they can be performed in the office without drawing attention. Perhaps the simplest of them all is shoulder shrugging, which entails just lifting and lowering your shoulders up and down.

The Wall-Angle is also effective and more engaging. It involves standing with your back flat on the wall, legs apart, and arms held up against the wall at a 90-degree angle. While in this position, all you have to do is move your arms up and down for at least 15 times.

desk yoga

Why not try your hand at some extreme desk yoga?

7. Embrace Desk Exercises

Desk exercises are more effective, diverse, and easy to perform. Some effective desk exercises include:

  • Desk yoga, which lasts only six minutes.
  • Stretch each foot out and moving toes upward and forward repeatedly.
  • Cross your left leg over your right left, place your right arm over the left leg and then twist slightly to look behind your left shoulder. Repeat this with the left leg and right shoulder.
  • Sitting upright, lift your arms upwards with your elbows straight and interlace your fingers. Proceed to bend slowly to your left and right sides for several times.

Conclusion

You do not have to condemn yourself to bad health for working in an office. Try out these tips and tricks to develop a healthy upright sitting position and keep your muscles and bones exercised throughout the day. Also remember to exercise occasionally during your free time to reverse the damage already done.

Uses For Old Coffee Beans You’ve Probably Never Thought Of

8 uses for old coffee

Although brewing coffee at home is an excellent idea, it’s  impossible to utilize every single coffee bean. Whether the beans go out-of-date or you just don’t like their taste any more, there are always some beans left behind.

No one knows this better than the team at Alternative Brewing, who go out of their way to keep their coffee fresh and tasting delicious by testing out hundreds of coffee accessories to provide to their loyal fan base.

This healthy caffeine addiction means there is always used pour over grounds or burnt beans around that need to be disposed of. Here are some of their best tips to help you use old coffee beans in a fun and effective way; from stopping creepy crawlies to creating an inspiring work of coffee bean art!

Ground Coffee Beans

coffee works as ant repellant

Keep the Ants Away

One of the best ways of keeping the ant colonies from invading your precious home is to randomly throw some old coffee grounds around the house. Keep your garden, kitchen, and family safe from those troublesome little insects. learn more about natural DIY pest control remedies in our previous post.

Save your Pets from Fleas

Relieving your pets from fleas can be a tiresome task. Rubbing old coffee grounds on the pet’s fur will not only keep these irritating pests away but it will also absorb the odour from the animal. Just don’t let your dog eat them!

Get Rid of Unwanted Odours

Coffee grounds operate exceptionally well when it comes to absorbing stank. You can place the grounds in an open container and put it in an area that stinks. After a couple of hours, the area will be free of the unwanted smell.

Spruce Up your Kitchen

Not everyone knows this but old ground beans are rich with acids and abrasives that are helpful when trying to scrub stains and spots. You can mix the coffee grounds with water and soap and clean your kitchen to perfection.

Whole Coffee Beans

chocolate coffee beans

Make Home-made Chocolate Covered Beans

Buying espresso beans covered in chocolate from stores can turn out to be extremely costly. With countless recipes available online, you can easily turn those stale and unwanted old coffee beans into a consumable and scrumptious dessert. Maybe you can even sell them at the local markets! check out our guide to making it big at your weekend markets.

Redecorate your Candles

You can acquire a number of ideas from the internet and create coffee and candle combinations that can bring a sense of luxury and extravagance to any room.

diy coffee candle

Enhance your Coffee Brewing Skills

Any old coffee beans are best utilized by trying out new methods of brewing at home. Although the actual indicator of a good brew is its taste, it’ fun and intuitive to play around with old coffee beans.

Some alternative brewing methods are a bit tricky to get right the first few times, so if you want to ‘go through the motions’ so to speak, then there’s no harm in using old coffee.Our number one suggestion however is to use them to test your coffee grinder!

coffee grinder for hario v60

Our primary use for old beans at Alternative Brewing is testing coffee grinders. With some automatic grinders like the Baratza range boasting more than 40 grind settings, it can be a waste to use fresh coffee to see the difference in coarseness for every grind. This way you can set your coarseness, test the effectiveness of the grind when bloomed and you can always taste it anyway to train your palette on different acidity levels.

Create your Very Own Masterpiece

Just like the coffee bean mural in Moscow, you can create an exquisite piece of art with the help of old coffee beans. Get your artist skills on and cover the sides of a canvas with unwanted old beans.

largest coffee bean mural in the world

10 Chair Exercises That You Can Easily Fit Into Your Day

The Benefits of Chair Exercises

In the busy world that we live in, it can be tough to find the time to exercise. If you are looking for some quick and easy exercises that can be done at work or home, then you’re in luck! This post is all about getting you moving from the comfort of your desk or lounge. Combined with the correct posture at your workspace, these exercises will go a long way to help prevent pains and injury.

To lose weight and be healthy, you don’t need a gym subscription and you don’t have to spend an hour or more working out every session. Brendan McCann, Exercise physiologist at Live Well Rehab Brisbane told us that exercise in small bursts has actually been proven to give the same results and it’s more maintainable for most of us, especially for anyone suffering from musculoskeletal disorders, or undergoing pulmonary or cardiac rehabilitation.

Brendan was also kind enough to provide us with his 10 favourite chair workouts. While aimed at burning calories and toning your body where you need it most, many of these exercises can be done as low impact exercise for anyone recovering from injury or undergoing injury rehabilitation. Many of these don’t even require you to get off your butt so you can do them while working at your desk, or even when watching TV! If you’re seeing a physical therapist, you may recognise some of these modified exercises from your exercise physiology program.

Seated Jacks

Seated Jacks how to toJumping jacks are a popular exercise to get the heart pumping but the ‘seated jacks’ are a nice alternative and mean that you can stay sitting down.

– Sit up tall towards the end of your chair, with your knees bent and brought together in front of you. Your toes should be pointed and just touching the ground. You should also bend your arms and have them our at your sides with your palms facing forwards.

– Quickly open your legs out to the side, flexing your feet and putting your arms overhead like you would with a regular jumping jack. Return to the starting position and do 20 repetitions in a row (the quicker, the better!)

Skater Switch

How to do Skater switch exerciseThe sitting skater move will burn calories in addition to targeting your core, arms and inner thighs! This is definitely the exercise for you, especially if beach season is fast approaching.

– Again, you need to be sitting on the edge of your chair for this move.

– Bend your right knee out to the side and extend your left leg to the other side, straight with your toes pointed.

– Extend your arms and quickly move forward, as you do so – reach your left arm down to your right foot. As you do this, raise your right arm up behind you and twist your torso.

– Switch sides and repeat 20 times or so.

Hinge & Cross

Hinge and cross exerciseThis toning move focuses on your abs, I bet you never thought that you could get a six pack while watching your favourite TV show but you can by doing the hinge & cross regularly.

– Sit down towards the end of the chair with your knees bent and your toes pointed just touching the floor in front of you.

– Put your hands behind your head, engage your core and lean back on the chair.

– Bring your body forward and cross your right elbow to the outside of your left knee.

– Don’t forget to do this on both sides and for 25 reps each.

The Magic Carpet

abs hold chair exerciseThis exercise tests your strength and is different to most chair workouts that you would find.

– Sit in the chair with your legs crossed and your hands on the armrests.

– Take a deep breath and raise yourself above the seat using your core and arms.

– Hold for 20 seconds before lowering. Rest and repeat a few more times.

Abs Hold

Another great one for the abs and quite an easy move, once you get the hang of it.

– Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, placing your hands either side of you for support.

– engage your core and stretch out your legs while lifting your butt off the chair so your body straightens to plank position

– Hold for around 10 seconds before lowering. Rest and repeat a few more times.

Chair Running

chair running exerciseMaybe you aren’t REALLY running with this chair workout, but it still gives your body a metabolism boost, burn calories and helps to tone.

– Sit down towards the end of your chair with your legs extended and your arms bent to your sides.

– Lean backwards until your shoulder blades touch the back of the chair.

– Lift your legs slightly and bring your right knee into your chest, turning your left shoulder in towards that knee and pulling your right elbow back.

– Repeat around 30 times, ensuring that you alternate sides.

Chair Twists

chair twists This movement burns calories and also helps to give the abs and obliques definition over time.

– Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, placing your feet on the floor shoulder width apart and your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground.

– Move your arms and body to the left side in a gentle twist movement, before doing the same on the other side for around 20 reps each.

Oblique Bends

If you suffer with the dreaded love handles and could rather do with out them, these oblique twists are perfect for banishing them once and for all.

– Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet hip width apart and your hands behind your head.

– Ensure that your back stays straight, use your core to lower your right elbow towards your right hip.

– Return your body to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Leg Contractions

Working on your lower body is also important and this exercise does just that. It is also good as a general stretching exercise which is important if you are on a chair for a large portion of the day.

– Sit on the edge of your chair with a straight back.

– Flex your core and bring your legs towards your chest, as you lean back slightly. Your body should pretty much be making a “V” shape.

– Take your current position a step further, by pulling your knees in towards your chest and holding.

Buns and Guns

buns and guns exerciseAlthough just a small exercise, this will tone your inner thighs in addition to your triceps and glutes.

– Sit on the edge of your chair, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be rested on the chair, just outside your shoulders with your elbows slightly bent.

– Squeeze your knees and your butt together, push down with your hands and extend your elbows.

– Release and do 30 super fast reps of this move for the best results.

Big thanks goes to Brendan for sharing his exercise knowledge with the Ideas for Good team . If you need an exercise physiologist in Brisbane pop in and see him and his wonderful team, or follow Live Well Rehab on Facebook for more health tips!

Quality Affordable Furniture – Your IKEA Alternatives

a designer apartment interiorFitting out your home with your dream furniture designs can be a huge financial investment. You’ve already spent money on the purchase of your home, pest control, plumbing, and moving costs, but of course you want the place to look great too.

Just because you’re short of cash doesn’t mean you can’t own elegant and beautiful furniture that gives you house a more homely feel. Instead of settling for cheap IKEA products there are plenty of options available which will give you a better look at an often much better price.

From thrift shops to furniture warehouses to Gumtree.com.au, there are plenty of options available for the savvy interior designer looking for a bargain. If you are on the hunt for some stunning antique furniture, you just need to look in the right places and you’ll be able to outfit your home for a fraction of what people will think you paid.

Similarly, you can get that high-end interior designer look by purchasing replica designs from discount online furniture warehouses such as Glicks Furniture.

New and Improved

Replica furniture is becoming cheaper and better quality. The craftsmanship of the makers is so detailed that you will often not be able to identify an authentic piece from a replica.

Reputable manufacturers have perfected the art of creating wonderful pieces of furniture built with sturdy materials that are more tolerant to everyday wear and tear. Many new replicas are not as fragile as they look and will completely overhaul the look and feel of your home or office.

replica chair

Online Search

Many antique fanatics spend years searching for beautiful traditional furniture pieces that are still in good condition. For those who are eager for instant gratification, buying replicas is a great way to go. A simple online search for a specific furniture style, preferred era or designer of choice will provide you with some leads to follow up on.

If you’re looking for genuine antiques, second-hand markets can be a goldmine. Take a look in local classifieds, on eBay, and through your local newspaper to find out about local garage sales. You might have to do some searching but that time spent is well worth it when you snag yourself a genuine antique piece for a fraction of what it’s actually worth!

Price Tag

You may have in mind a classic designer furniture piece that you want but are hesitant to purchase because of its high price. With replica furniture, you can have it for less and experience the real thing.

A lower price does not mean low quality either. Designers almost always add on a premium for their original design, but in purchasing a replica you do not get taxed that often considerable extra money so your money stays in your pocket.

Furniture is an investment that can last for a lifetime. Quality pieces may even be passed on to future generations. While you can purchase low cost, lower quality pieces from places such as Ikea, that furniture will only last a few years before it needs to be replaced, so getting quality is a much better, and more affordable, long term solution.

second hand furniture store

Second Hand Stores

You can visit some second hand good stores in your area. These which may be selling new and used furnishings, appliances, clothing and more. Often you will find older but sometimes great quality, furniture pieces at bargain prices. Often a professional clean on one of these items will bring them to looking as new again, and you’ll save yourself thousands.

Thrift Store Chains and Charities

Some thrift stores have old and slightly used furniture being sold at low cost. You can find a basic bookshelf for a price of a movie ticket. Community-based thrift stores may also provide you higher-quality furnishings but you’ll need to check back regularly as the nicer pieces will get snapped up quickly.

Getting to know the staff at your local stores and let them know what you’re looking for so they can get in touch when something suitable comes in.

Garage Sales

As mentioned earlier, visiting garage sales can snag you some great furniture at bargain prices. Purchasing from the original owners also allows you to ask about the history of the furniture pieces and given the lower number of people who attend sales like this it is often easier to find rare and valuable items that would have been snapped up earlier were they sold anywhere else.

Your Grandparents’ Furniture

Antique couch at your grandparents houseAnother great way to collect some stunning antique designs if through your family and extended family. Often grandparents will have older style – but well maintained –  furniture that they may be happy to hand over to you.

Auties and Uncles may also have some great furniture they no longer need that they might be willing to part with. Ask around and see if anyone can help, often your family will give you unwanted items very cheaply or even for free. So this can be a great cost saver.

Social Media

Why not ask around on social media to find out if anyone in your network is interested in selling some furniture to you. With all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers you’ll be sure to find somebody in your area who is moving house and needs to sell some furniture or is cleaning out unused tables, chairs or lounge suites.

Post online about what you’re after and see who gets in touch, you never know, you might find the perfect item for your house from one of your close contacts.

 

5 of The Best Free Health Apps

apps on an apple watch

Almost every aspect of life nowadays has an application to suit. From mobile phone banking to sleep cycle tracking, you can rest assured that there is an app (or ten) our there to make your life easier.

The biggest problem we face now when it comes to app selection, is which ones will best suit our needs. Sure you can read reviews on the iPhone App Store or Google Play, but we all know these can be faked, and we certainly don’t want to be spending money buying them when we’re not sure we’ll even use them.

Thankfully thought the team at Sold My Device, a cell phone buyback company have put together a list of some of their favourite free health apps for us to share. Have a read below and see if you think any these apps might be of use to you.

1. MSN Health & Fitness: The iPhone and Android App for a Healthier You

The MSN Health & Fitness App has numerous tools which can help its user maintain a healthy lifestyle. Among its more notable features include a GPS tracker, steptracker (pedometer), diet tracker, cardio tracker, workout and yoga archives, health and fitness articles, and symptom checker.

2. Power Nap

Never belittle the benefits of a power nap. Countless studies have shown and advocated the numerous benefits of a quick sleep during the day. So how can you make the most of this knowledge? By downloading the powerAPP! This app will help you track your nap schedule/pattern, provide soothing background music, napping tips and a unique alarm system.

3. Period Tracker

This is one for our women readers only. The Period Tracker accurately tracks your menstrual cycle and provides a reliable calendar showcasing your next expected period, ovulation period and fertile stage. All these data are shown in a visually appealing yet clear and organized interface, so you can make sure you’re body is running on schedule.

cell phone apps for health

 

4. First Aid Guide

Accidents happen, and we’d be lucky if there were people around us who would be able to administer the proper medical aid or attention to help solve the problem. For those of us who aren’t nurses or doctors, having this first aid guide app would definitely come in handy. The interface is simple and easy to use. The top most search box directly link you to the solution for any problem (that which can be helped with first aid). The instructions are all simple to understand and easy to administer.

5. Relax Melodies

The hustle and bustle of everyday life can often prove to be incredibly taxing. Sometimes there are be days when you just want to tune everything out and get away from it all. Simply download this app, and have everything you’ll need to attain the peace and quite that you are looking for.

Do you think you could benefit from any of the above? If so you’d better get your cell phone now and start downloading, while they’re still free!

Developementally Appropriate Toys

There are always a plethora of exciting gadgets and playthings on sale at any children’s toy store. It’s always tempting to buy the latest, in-fashion products with the newest technology or attention grabbing features. In some instances however, “more” doesn’t necessarily mean “better”. When buying toys for a baby or young child, it is important to first identify if the toy caters to the learning abilities that they need at that particular stage of their growth and development.

baby skill developement toyThe easiest way to do this is to base it on their age. If the child is a typical learner, then their mental age will be the same as their biological age. Children that are gifted or those with special needs will have a different mental age to their biological age, and toy purchases should be made accordingly. Once you have an idea of the child’s mental abilities it will be easier to pick an appropriate toy for them.

As babies, the developmental areas or skills that every parent should focus on are their gross and fine motor skills. This is especially true for the newborn children who are transitioning towards toddler stage. For babies, gross motor skills include the crawling, rolling, raising of the head, and tilting it from side-to-side. Rolling is the first skill that is learned, followed by crawling, walking and then running.

Children usually learn rolling and crawling by themselves, however, if a child shows signs of difficulty in performing these tasks, colorful mats from tummy time can be useful. They are visually appealing to the child and encourage them to flip over in a comfortable setting. Placing a plastic mirror in front of the child can also help promote their receptive and social skills. Numerous health benefits have also been given that encourage parents to engage their children in tummy time activities.
Fine motor skills can also be improved through the use of tummy time mats that have their own arch/gym. These will encourage the baby to touch the dangling items and reach out and grab the toys. These toys usually light up or shake which engages the child in the learning experience.

Djeco Doll House for Girls

A Doll House from Djeco

Other items that are perfect for fine motor skill development are rattles and soft books. If you want to inspire creative play for your baby, soft toys like some of these from Colette Bream are perfect. For slightly older children more advanced and complex toys such as the range of doll houses and accessories from Djeco are a good option. If you have a boy, some wooden toys might be more appropriate, take a look at the range of wooden toy cars here from Automoblox.

Having the right toys is just one part of the learning process. The most important aspect of any toy would be how it facilitates interaction between parent and child. It is always more fun and meaningful when the parent or caregiver plays with the baby. Match the sounds made by the object by identifying what object or animal usually makes that sound. Use hand-over-hand prompts to help the child manipulate the object properly. All of these seemingly small actions are the parts which really help the child grow and learn. No toy can every replace genuine guidance.