Saturday, 11 May 2013

Mother's Day: Why mother knows best

Mother's Day: why mother knows best (© Getty)
It wasn't always easy taking advice from our mums when we were growing up, but as the years have rolled by, we've realised that mum was right about so many things after all. We take a look at the words of wisdom that were hard to swallow at the time, but which turned out to be oh-so-true.

Learn to be financially independent
Even if you meet a well-off man, you shouldn't depend on him. Yes, it's fun to be spoilt but you never know when circumstances will change and you should always be prepared - and able - to support yourself.

Always use a sunscreen and don't go too brown on holiday
Mums have the advantage of hindsight, and will have seen some of their friends and colleagues prematurely ageing thanks to too much time in the sun. I recall my mum saying, 'You don't want to look like a shrivelled, old prune before your time,' which was enough to put the fear of God into me and ensure I eventually started slapping on a high factor.

Men will take advantage if you put it on a plate
Was she right about this one! Some men will sweet talk a girl and tell her everything she wants to hear, until they get her into bed. Then it's a roll of the dice whether they ever ring again. Of course there are some nice guys out there who wouldn't take advantage in this way, but as a mum would say: nice guys will wait.

Always love and believe in yourself
When we were in our youth and feeling angsty that we were ugly or unpopular, mum would say we should believe in and love ourselves more. How true - and yet how little we listened until much later in life, when we realised we were actually pretty lovely people.

Be kind to others and treat them as you'd want to be treated
As we fell out with one friend or gossiped about another, we ignored the value of being kind to others. 'Nice to her? But she's been awful to me!' would be the refrain. Of course we didn't realise that sometimes we made matters worse by not being forgiving or generous. Only later on did we learn the value of giving someone the benefit of the doubt and not dumping a friend over something trivial.

 reat your hair and skin gently
Mums would advise never to pull your skin or tug at your hair, but did you listen as you dragged that comb through knots or washed your face like it was an old boot? No. It was only much later that you finally realised how important it is to treat these assets like the precious and delicate things they are.

Put your best foot forward
How many times did your mum tell you to put your best foot forward, to put a smile on your face when you were doubtful about facing the world or daunted by something you had to do? Often you might think she didn't know what she was talking about and she couldn't understand what you were facing. Today, the penny's dropped and you now realise there were many times in her life when she was doing exactly what she preached.

Don't show everything
How annoying was it when you wanted to go out in a teeny tiny miniskirt and see-through top, only to see mother raising her eyebrows, archly stating that you shouldn't show everything. Years later, you now know that revealing everything is less sexy than keeping a little bit covered up.

Classics are worth the investment
When you were a teenager, you probably wanted to get a new top, dress or shoes every week, yet mum would advise that it's always worth saving your pounds and investing in a classic. Today, you totally appreciate the wisdom of buying a coat or bag that's more expensive, because it's lasting, smart and a great investment.

You can always count on me
Perhaps the most important thing your mum would always say to you when you felt let down by someone or something. But only later in life did you realise just how much you have counted on her love and support through the years, as well as the fact that she's been there for you through the break-ups, job losses and all the other stresses and strains of life.

10 Mother’s Day gift ideas for 10 types of mums

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images)Have you been remiss in buying your mum a present for Mother’s Day? When you’re in a rush, it’s tempting to go for a generic gift like scented candles or scarves. Buying something that has a little more to do with your mum’s personality requires way more thought – but worry, not, we’ve got the most common types of personalities down and what to buy for each one.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images) 

 Now, before you balk at the suggestion of buy underthings for your own mother, we’re going to clarify: this is underwear, not lingerie. And no mum would say no to an item from Triumph’s Body MakeUp collection, which is so breathable and lightweight that you’ll feel as if you’re not even wearing underwear. As a bonus, the nude-coloured bras feature Triumph’s patented Memory Cushion cups, which mould to the curves of your body for ultimate comfort. Sounds perfect for a mum who’s  too busy running a household (or shuttling between work, school, and the home) for froo-froo lingerie!

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images) You’ve likely seen Furla’s super hip CANDY bag being touted around town. If you’ve ever caught your mum peering at one through the window, why don’t you spring for one of Furla’s dreamy CANDY SUNSET bags? We love the sea and sunset-inspired gradients – and if your mum’s a bit of a fashionista, she will too, as ombre is all the rage right now. If your mum doesn’t mind waiting a couple of weeks for her present, then Furla is the way to go.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images)
 Who says your mum has to be an iPhone or an Android person? If she’s expressed dislike for either – or if she’s one of the rare uber-geek mums who wants to be different –  you can buy her the lovely Nokia Lumia 720, a Windows phone with a unibody designed by Carl Zeiss optics. In addition to being very pretty, the phone can also charge wirelessly. What mum doesn’t want to free herself for dependency on cords?

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images) Whether you mum’s a busy who’s always running errands, or she’s just a lover of the great outdoors, we can all agree that the humid climate here in Singapore can take a toll one one’s skin. If you’ve ever heard your mum lamenting her clogged skin, you can buy her Bioderm’s Sebium Pore H20, a gentle cleansing product that prevents sebum from building up in your pores. We love the product’s watery texture, anti-shine care, and anti-bacterial care – perfect for either removing makeup, or giving one’s face a refresher after a long day.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images)

 Does your mum constantly pine the speed of technology and the rarity in of having an album full of physical photos? Then buy her the HP Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One printer, which can print high-quality images wirelessly from any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. Be prepared to see your refrigerator peppered with photos that she prints from your Facebook account.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images) Feeling extra generous this year? Give something to a friend who just gave birth as a way to encourage and congratulate her on her special day. If she’s breastfeeding, we recommend the Philips AVENT Comfort Single Electric Pump, which is capable of remembering the user’s personal pumping rhythm.  Pumping breast milk might feel a little uncomfortable, but this little gadget may alleviate some of the pain and hassle that comes with it.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images)

What mum HASN’T wanted an air fryer at some point? Philips’ popular air fryer not only makes the cook’s job easier, but it produces food that is a lot healthier. By requiring a lot less oil, the air fryer can create food that contains up to 80 percent less fat. It’s also extremely versatile, as you can fry everything from French fries, to chicken nuggets, to steaks inside without compromising their taste.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images)

We all know a mum who loves to entertain. If your mother can frequently be found at home throwing tea parties for her friends, then spring for World Kitchen’s 18-piece Corelle Provence Garden Range, which was inspired by the spring blossoms in Eastern France. The cheerful wildflower designs and fresh colours will charm her guests while keeping them well-fed.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images) Got any sophisticated, stylish mamas in your life? Consider gifting them with a Tiffany Gemea watch, which is studded on tsvaorites, blue tourmalines and pink, and blue and orange sapphires.  These watches, which belong to the Tiffany Gallery collection, were inspired by the American Art Deco movement in the 1920s – perfect for someone who can appreciate a little old-school glamour.

woman holding out Mother''s Day gift (© Creativeye99/Getty Images)
 Fresh off the heels of Tim Ho Wan’s expansion in Singapore PUMA and Hypebeast magazine have collaborated for a limited edition ‘Dim Sum’ pack of Puma’s Blaze of Glory shoes. The yellow ‘Siu Mai’ shoes were inspired by the yellow wrapping around dumplings, while the white ‘Har Gar’ shoe references the delicate skin around a shrimp dumpling.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Why sex is good for your health

Nothing as much fun as sex can be good for you, surely? In fact, though it's probably the last thing on your mind when you're doing it, intercourse offers a whole range of overlooked health benefits.

As well as satisfying your desires (when done properly) sex can do wonders for both your physical and psychological wellbeing. So next time he tells you he's not in the mood, point him towards the following list of reasons why a session between the sheets is the perfect pick-me-up.

It burns calories

Exercise should be fun, and what could be more fun than a good old roll in the hay? It may not burn as many calories as an hour on the treadmill or 50 lengths in the pool, but - when done vigorously enough - sex still gives you a worthwhile cardio workout. It may sound hard to believe (or maybe not, depending on your level of experience), but sex can burn off up to 150 calories every half hour. So if you are having sex four times a week for around 30 minutes, that's an extra 600 calories you're better off without. If you go at it for longer than this - even better!

It's a natural painkiller

'Not tonight darling, I've got a headache.' How many times have we heard this old cliche (in books, on film and, unfortunately, in real life)? Well, time to put this particular excuse, quite literally, to bed. Studies show that reaching orgasm is a natural, powerful painkiller. As you approach and then achieve The Big O, production of a chemical called oxytocin surges within your body. Oxytocin is known to reduce all sorts of general pain, including, of course, headaches.

It can relieve stress

The fact that having sex regularly makes people calm, relaxed and less prone to stress won't come as a revelation to many. This indicates that a person is in a happy, loving relationship and has many reasons to be cheerful. But the role of intercourse as a powerful stress-reliever is also backed up by recent research. One study carried out in Scotland found that participants who were more sexually active were far better at dealing with controlled, stressful situations than those who abstained.

It helps you sleep

Sleep deprivation can have a devastating impact on our wellbeing, with sufferers at an increased risk of conditions ranging from stress and depression to poor performance at work and disruption to family life. To combat insomnia, experts recommend, among other things, cutting out alcohol and caffeine, watching less TV and taking a bath before bed. Now it's time to add sex to that list. We know that it makes men fall asleep (almost instantly), but research also suggests that the oxytocin we mentioned earlier that is released during intercourse acts as a sedative for all of us. Also - and this isn't rocket science - rigorous sex simply wears us out.

It can boost your immune system

Sex isn't just good, it is also good for you. According to scientists, having sex at least once or twice a week increases production of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA, which protects the body from infections like the common cold and flu. And while hitting the sack with your partner can leave you feeling a bit dishevelled, it can actually improve the way you look by boosting levels of oestrogen, which is known to add strength and texture to hair and skin.

It can protect your heart

The very thought of sex with someone you are attracted to or in love with is enough to send your heart rate through the roof, so imagine the benefits on offer to your ticker when you are actually in a healthy sexual relationship. A study carried out at Queen's University in Belfast found that sex three times a week is enough to halve the risk of heart attack or stroke. In women, sex increases production of oestrogen, which is known to protect us from heart disease. And there is good news for your man too - another study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health claims that sex two or more times a week reduces the risk of fatal heart attack, again by 50%, when compared with those men who do it less than once a month.

It improves your confidence

Have you ever been more aware of your body than when in a happy, healthy, physical relationship? There is no greater incentive to stay in shape than spending a lot of time naked in the presence of someone who makes you go all weak at the knees, and this constant awareness of your body image has obvious benefits. You're more likely to exercise, eat well and adopt a strict beauty regime, such as looking after your hair (on various parts of your body), skin and nails. And if you look better, you feel better, thus giving your confidence a considerable boost.

It keeps you young

Sex doesn't just make you feel younger - research shows it can actually hold back the ageing process. When you reach orgasm, the body secretes DHEA, a hormone which is known to improve the health of the immune system, boost cognitive function, aid tissue repair and keep skin looking and feeling healthy. DHEA also encourages the production of other hormones like oestrogen, which as we know can prolong life by improving cardiovascular health. And, as we have already seen, sex is a form of exercise - something we should all be doing regularly to stay looking and feeling younger.

It strengthens your pelvic floor

Kegel exercises, named after Dr Arnold Kegel, involve the contraction and then relaxation of muscles that make up part of the pelvic floor. Experts recommend that all women practise these daily to prepare them for the stresses of the later stages of pregnancy and to treat stress urinary incontinence. To put it more bluntly - they stop you from having a little accident. However, the problem with pelvic floor exercises is that, in order for them to be effective, you need to keep doing them every day for the rest of your life and it can take months before you notice any difference. Fortunately, there is another way to strengthen and tone this part of your core. You won't realise it, but you are actually performing Kegels while having sex, and the stronger they are the higher your pleasure levels

It can fight depression

There is more to this theory than the fact that satisfying sex can put a great big smile on your face. A 2002 study of almost 300 women by an American psychologist found that sexually active participants who were not using condoms as their contraceptive were less likely to suffer from depression than those who did. The experts involved believe that the hormone prostaglandin, which is only found in semen, may be absorbed into the female body, where it helps to regulate her hormones and thus reduce the risk of mental illness.

The top 10 hobbies that make people fancy you

What do you find attractive in the opposite sex? Good looks? Charm? Wit? A new survey has revealed the hobbies we take up could seal the deal when it comes to finding a partner. Here are the top 10 most appealing pastimes.

The study revealed that nearly half of men and just over two-thirds of women would be more likely to find someone desirable if they had a number of different hobbies, as it made them seem more exciting and interesting.

See which ones made it into the top 10.

Dancing (© Rex Features)It probably won't come as a surprise to you ladies that men rated dancing as the most attractive hobby for a woman to have. A whopping 89% of those questioned said that they'd be more interested in ladies who knew their fancy footwork. Time to get your groove on, girls!

yoga (© Rex Features)Yoga closely followed dancing as the second most attractive hobby that a woman can take up. Surely nothing to do with the flexibility involved, eh lads?

Swim (© Rex Features)In at number three was swimming - good for your general health, keeping toned and also appealing to men, so it would seem.

cooking (© Rex Features)

It's a bit of an old-fashioned cliche, but women who can cook are still attractive to the opposite sex. Well over half (62%) of men questioned said that being a dab hand in the kitchen makes a woman more appealing.

Dancing (© Rex Features)
Pole dancing
Pole dancing has become a popular activity in recent years and not just with women. Nearly half of all the men who took part in the study said that they find the hobby appealing in the opposite sex.

Football (© Rex Features)
Maybe it has something to do with David Beckham's rise to fame, the WAG lifestyle or perhaps it's just the sight of men in shorts, but football is the hobby that women find most appealing. A whopping 91% of the ladies questioned said that a man with soccer skills would be in with a chance.

Surf (© Rex Features)
Surfer dudes also proved popular with the ladies - 83% of those questioned claimed they would give a guy with a surfboard a second look.

Photography (© Rex Features)

If you're not an adrenaline junkie then fear not, lads! Three-quarters of women said that photography was a good hobby for men to have.

Rock climbing (© Rex Features)Rock climbing
In at number four for the lads was rock climbing - clearly some women like their men to be daring (not to mention flexing their muscles in tight clothing!).

Rafting (© Rex Features)

Whitewater rafting
More good news for the dare devils out there - 47% of women said they liked adrenaline junkies who were into whitewater rafting.

7 reasons men are afraid to commit

While it is fair to say that there are some women who are afraid of commitment, it seems that the phrase “he had commitment issues” is heard a lot more. Therefore we take a look at some of the reasons or excuses why men utter these words on a far too frequent basis.
Image (© Getty)

Bad experience
When a relationship ends, people naturally get hurt, and although guys come across all macho most of the time, they do of course have a softer side to them, and get hurt too. It may not stop them from meeting other girls and dating, but the experience can leave them unwilling to want to commit, at least in the near future.

Oh the pressure
A lot of women put pressure on guys to commit to a relationship. They want to define what is ‘going on’ and aren’t keen on the blurred line between dating and a relationship. The pressure can make some guys concede, while others will buckle and come up with the excuse that they aren’t ready for a relationship.

Peter Pan syndrome
Many guys can’t bare the fact that they may have to grow up at some point and committing to a relationship means that they have to be mature and responsible. They have to give up their time and be selfless. By remaining single they can delay all this.

It scares the.... out of him
It’s a common fear of many men that a women will try to change them. Not only that, but they will be prevented from doing the things that they enjoy doing, like hanging out with their friends or watching the game. The thought of running ideas through a woman first to see if it’s ok before he can proceed will deter him. He doesn’t want to be trapped. In the words of William Wallace “they’ll never take our FREEDOM.”

A bit on the side
Either, you are the bit on the side and he is with you for the sex, or, he has someone else on the side and therefore doesn’t want to commit to either. It could be that he doesn’t know what or who he wants and therefore strings the two along. It’s easier for him than to make a decision, his friends give him the ‘player’ status, and commitment is futile.

It won’t work out
Divorce is on the rise and here in Malaysia it’s rising at an alarming rate. A guy may have the attitude of “what’s the point if it’s unlikely to work anyway?”. There is a lot if risk involved with commitment as you give yourself to the other person and the relationship, and therefore put a lot of energy into it. Many don’t want to risk that unless they are sure that it will work out.

Unable to provide
This may be the most valid of reasons, and it doesn’t just have to be in the financial sense. All of the above mean that they can't give you the emotional support that a relationship should provide, and hence can’t commit. Plus, no man wants his ego shattered when they come to the realisation that they can’t support or provide for their family.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

How to be a Happy Couple

Happiness is not the absence of problems or troubles. It’s not about perfection.  It’s about how you manage a relationship with its ups and downs. It’s already given that life is full of trials. You cannot escape them. Despite this fact about life, a number of couples are happy with the kind of relationship they have. They can find the things that they should be happy about. They don’t pay much attention to the things that they don’t have. Make your relationship a happy one.

Happy couples are the epitome of romance.Do you want to be a happy couple who look so hot and happy it makes other lesser mortal couples stand away from their own partners in shame?
Check some tips on how to be a happy couple.
  • Respect each other. The very first key for a couple to be happy is having respect for each other. If there’s respect, you don’t cheat on your partner. You give high regard to your commitment.
  • Improve your intimacy. You should not forget that intimacy is very much important in a relationship. Without this, it seems like your relationship has no magic. There’s no fire. This could create a gap between the two of you. Kiss each other over and over again. Improve your lovemaking if you are married. Sex is always right there at the top for happy couples .Don’t let the fire cool down. Let the passion bind you closer.
  • Be contended. You will never be happy unless you find satisfaction with what you have in your relationship. If you keep on wanting more and more, you will be hard up in finding happiness.
  • Remember your special days. Don’t forget the birthdate of your partner as well as your anniversary.
  • Be sensitive with the needs of your partner. Understand your partner’s needs and try to satisfy them.
  • Be faithful. Never ruin the trust your partner has for you. This will not only make him/ her unhappy but this could lead to the destruction of your relationship. Infidelity is unforgettable and unforgiveable.
  • Be appreciative. Compliment your partner. Appreciate even the smallest thing he/ she does for you.
  •  Compliment and thank each other all the time.You know your manners, so use them. Thank and compliment each other all the time, be it while passing the plate at an all-you-can-eat or while trying clothes at a store. Be even more complimentary and thankful when others are within earshot. And be most complimentary and affectionate to each other when there are other friendly couples who don’t know how to treat each other with respect.And everyone learns a good lesson about manners and courtesy.
  •  Greet each other warmly. When you walk into each other at the end of the day, greet each warmly with a happy hello. And if both of you are meeting at a party or restaurant after work, walk really close to each other, stare into each other with an eye brightening, wide radiant smile and let time stop still for a few moments while saying hi to each other. The people around will hate you for being so darn happy and loving all the time.
  •  Be charming when you’re together. Charm isn’t just a trait that’s used to smooth talk the opposite sex. Charm is something that makes you look sexy and admirable. Behave like perfect hosts or guests when you go out together. Stand together in each other’s arms and awe all other couples with your wit, charm and charisma. You’ll definitely be a happy couple. And yes, all other couples will envy you for it. 
  •  Indulge in romantic gestures. Buy little gifts for each other now and then to keep the romance alive. Indulge in happy gestures and treat each other with a lot of love and respect, no matter where you are. Always remember to give your partner the first preference, be it while listening to opinions while hanging out with friends or while pulling a chair back for the women around.
Falling in love is easy, but staying in love always needs a bit of work. Just as long as working on a relationship feels less like work and more like fun, you should be just fine. Be one of the few couples who can find happiness with what they have. Enjoy the love you share with your partner.

The secret behind knowing how to be happy is simple. Don’t have an ego in love. If both of you truly do love each other, do you really see a point in trying to get an upper hand? Does it really matter who’s winning or who’s losing? In love, both of you win together and lose together!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Birth Control Is Bad for the Environment

Not making any more people is one of the best things you can do for the planet (says the mom of two), but birth control can be bad for the environment as well. There are some good ways to make your attempts at curbing overpopulation greener, though. Some forms are greener than others, and some are just plain bad for the planet.

Surprisingly, IUDs are among the greenest forms of birth control, since producing them doesn't create a lot of waste, according to this Huffington Post slideshow.

Another surprise? Vegan condoms! Who knew?

As it turns out, regular latex condoms are infused with casein, a dairy derivative. In any case, make sure you toss them out with the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet. And please don't leave them in front of your neighbor's house so they have to step over them to get into their car. Take it from me, that's gross. There are also fair trade, biodegradable condoms.

The vaginal ring, which lasts three weeks and produces less plastic waste than the Pill, is pretty environmentally friendly, or go old-school with a diaphragm or cervical cap.
Which forms are the least green? Well, both the Pill and the patch release hormones into the water stream through the urine of women who use them, but the Pill comes out worse because it generates a lot of plastic waste (all those little compacts!).

The greenest? Probably Fertility Awareness Method, which uses nothing at all. You need to be very aware of when you're ovulating and remain "sperm-free" during that time. It can be tricky to figure out exactly when to abstain from intercourse, and you'd best not be in a life situation where an unintended pregnancy would be a total disaster. It's green, though, that's for sure.

Do you worry about the eco-friendliness of your birth control?