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?

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Single parent's guide

Favourite son child mother hugIt can be tough being a single parent but there's loads of help available. We've got all you need to know about being a lone parent and where to get help.

Did you know?

  • Recent surveys have found that almost 1 in 4 of children live with only one parent.
  • In 9 out of 10 of those households the kids are with their mum.

After a break-up

Becoming a single parent can bring up a mixture of emotions. You might be scared that you won't be able to cope on your own. Maybe you're worried about money or you're angry and frustrated about the relationship that broke down.

You might even become depressed and want counselling.

All of these emotions are very common and if you talk to other single parents you'll probably find that they feel these things too.

 In these articles will give some tips and advice for single mothers needing support. 

Advantages For The Single Parent

Greater Control
An obvious advantage is having far greater control over the childs routines, discipline, nutrition and habits than may be the case when living with the father. There are sometimes conflicts over how to discipline the child and that just leads to confusion and insecurity.

 Manipulative Children: Thwarted!
A big problem in some households is the children trying to divide and rule: trying to play one parent off against the other in order to get what they want. This is clearly much less of an issue in single parent households.

Total Financial Control
Having total financial control can be a huge relief if you were with a financially irresponsible partner. You may have less income now, but you're now able to choose exactly how it's used.

Less People to Care For
It's often said by mothers that the husband is like another child in the house, in fact my husband jokes about it! Of course some husbands are more helpful and considerate around the house than others. But all husbands make basic demands on their wives' time and energy. For the single mother they need only worry about themselves and the kids
More Time For The Child
Another of the advantages of single parenting is having more time for the child. The single mom is able to focus on the childs best interests without distractions or conflicting opinions getting in the way.

Advantages For The Child of a Single Parent

Leaving The Conflict Behind
Some of the advantages of single parenting arise from a high-conflict divorce situation. The obvious advantage then is that (at least day to day) the conflict is left behind. There is plenty of research to show that it is detrimental for a child to live in a household full of conflict. It is damaging to their self esteem to see abuse take place because they subconsciously blame themselves. It also distorts their view of relationships and therefore reduces their ability to build relationships with others.

Increased Independence
Children of single parents tend to be more independent. I guess that's because there is only one adult to do everything that needs to be done and therefore the children will need to muck in at an earlier age than perhaps otherwise they would.

Two Different Home Regimes
Spending time in two different home situations will teach the child flexibility, resilience and adaptability; all skills which will assist them in adult life.

Decide What You Want
At the end of the day there can be a million advantages of single parenting, but if you're unhappy, they mean nothing. At that point you can decide to take considered action to meet someone for frienship or romance.

 Disadvantages For The Single Parent

There are several disadvantages of single parenting, but there are ways to overcome these with some thought, planning and organisation. The situations of single parents vary greatly: it may be that you are divorced, widowed or never married. Your baby may have been planned or unplanned. Here are some disadvantages that are common to most single parents:

Lack of Support
One of the disadvantages of single parenting is lack of support. Mothers with parters or husbands have support in parenting, even if that's only for part of each day. They have some backup. When you're a single mother you don't have that backup there every day. If you're lucky you'll have family nearby who support you, but if not what do you do? A good source of help can often be your local library; they will likely be able to give you information about statutory provided support for parents, and voluntary organisations. Also you can do an internet search for "single parent support" looking for sites within your country and I'm sure lots of helpful sites will come up.

 Too Much Pressure and Stress
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is pressure and stress. Not having enough support can lead to a feeling of being under pressure and this will cause you stress. Motherhood is a demanding role and feeling that you have to do it all alone can lead to overload. There are many strategies you can use to deal with stress: among these are relaxation techniques, going for a walk and exercise.

Financial Pressure
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is financial pressure. In the modern world and the expectations that most of us (at least in the Western world) have about our lifestyle, it is imperitive to have two incomes coming into the household. Everything costs so much and the kids have high expectations; wanting this toy and that computer game. This can put incredible pressures on single parents who tend to have severly constrained finances. I was living on government benefits while I was a single mom and was only able to run a car with the financial help of my parents with tax and insurance. Children of single parents I guess need to learn to enjoy what they do have and all you can do is try to teach them that attitude. Leading by example is the best way to get this message across. I sincerely believe that being grateful for what you've got is the first step towards getting more.

Child Care Issues
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is childcare. This can be a big issue for single parents. Parents in couples have the advantage of being able to share childcare if their working hours permit it. Others are able to use grandparents as a childcare resource. If you have to use professional childcare it can get expensive. In the UK the government will give you child tax credits if you work at least 16 hours per week. You can claim up to 80% of your childcare costs back up to certain maximums depending on how many children you have. You could get together with other moms and set up a babysitting circle where you each exchange babysitting credits.

Limited Social Life
Another of the disadvantages of single parenting is the limiting effect it can have on your social life. Even as a married mother your possibilities for socialising change. It's good to develop frienships (if you haven't already got some) with other moms and do stuff together with the children. This can work really well, especially if the kids are similar ages. You can take it in turns who hosts the group at home, or go out to a local park or play area. That way you get to mix with other adults without the childcare headache.

Difficulties Balancing Children and Work
For any parent balancing children and work can be a problem, but for single parents this can be especially difficult. Again it's the issue of childcare that's flexible and affordable. You may be able to look into the possibility of flexible working, or working from home part of the time; or you may have to work part time as a compromise.

Another of the disadvantages of single parenting can be loneliness. It can be lonely being a single parent, but as I mentioned above the best remedy to this is to meet up with other moms You could also sign up for an adult education class that interests you or join a club. If you feel you would like to find someone special I can personally recommend dating services as Barry and I met through one. When going on a "blind" date there are certain precautions you should take to ensure your safety:
~Choose your location carefully: somewhere public in daylight.
~Do not get into their car.
~Make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
~Don't give away any personal information, except perhaps an email address.


Help your child get a good night's sleep

Ask any new parents how they're doing, and you can guarantee that within 30 seconds, the conversation will turn to broken nights. So just how much sleep should you be able to expect?

Birth to 6 months

Newborns don't know the difference between night and day, and often baffle their parents by sleeping for long periods during the day, only to be awake for hours at night. Also, new babies often wake because they need a feed, as they only have little tummies.

In her book, The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers (Vermilion, £9.99), Gina Ford suggests that babies who weigh over 10lb are putting on enough weight each week and following her routine, may sleep through the 'core night' (11pm to 5am) from 6 weeks. By 10 weeks, her plan is that babies start to sleep from 11pm to 7am.

Certainly by 3 to 6 months, your little one will hopefully sleep for reasonably long periods through the night. But if she's determined to keep you both awake, how do you reclaim your nights?

Chireal Shallow, of Naturally Nurturing sleep clinic (, says: 'To help your baby feel secure, recreate the conditions of the womb. Swaddle him, just like he was snug inside you, and make sure his Moses basket is cosy. If he's warm and sleepy in your arms, being moved to a cool mattress can be a shock.'

'To settle him, put a hand on his chest, lean down and put your cheek next to his, then make a 'shh, shh' sound. When he stops crying, stop all of these. He'll learn you're there for him when he's upset, but that he can go to sleep on his own when he's calm.'

Saturday, 6 April 2013

7 Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to the Kids

7 Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to KidsParenting is not the easiest job in the world. It’s a 24-hour job and it can get exhausting.
There are times that I really wish this parenting job came with a training manual or a how-to book, especially when the stress really hits the roof. I don’t want to “screw up” my kids, but do believe that with my underlying hope to do the best that I can, that even if I do mess up once in a while I will hopefully be forgiven.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was a kid myself and yet there are times I just have no idea who these little people are or what they’re thinking. It’s funny being on this side of it with the added stress of adult responsibility piled on. I am certain there have been more than a few handful of times that I have not approached a conversation with my kids in the best way and I have a feeling there will be a few times more. You would think that communication would be simple, yet it’s so complicated and even more so when you’re trying to raise a child to be the best they can be.


Every morning I seem to need to remind my son to refocus and finish his breakfast. There is a big time crunch and I find myself nagging him to finish his food. Turns out, this is not really a great thing. According to Time, doing so can compel someone to do the opposite and can teach kids that reminders will come, so no need to track time themselves. .

Being Short With Replies

One of my biggest peeves I see in parents is this idea that children must comply simply because you said so. Saying things like "because I said so" don't teach your children the "why" other than "I am telling you what to do". I see that as a lack of respect and kids should have our respect. Take the time to explain why you're asking them to do what you're asking and reserve your stern voice for when it's really necessary.

Talking Down

Kids are smarter than some people give them credit for. You don't need to dumb down your vocabulary or talk in a 'baby voice' to get them to listen. Kids learn well by hearing others talk and dumbing things down for them is kinda insulting.

Busy Doing Something Else

Kids like to feel like they're important, and it's important to let them know that as well. If you're talking to your child, put down the phone and really hear what they're talking about.

Talking Too Much

According to LifeHack, research has shown that human brains can only old onto 5-9 items at a time for the average person. This is a big reason why kids seem to not listen when we talk in large chunks when we're giving instructions or forget something. Breaking things down for them and keeping instructions simple will have a better result.

Using Guilt

If you're trying to encourage your child to pick up their toys or to get ready to go out to the store, avoid using guilt tones. According to Psych Central, kids are not born with empathy, but learn it through how parents show it to them. This is why trying to guilt your child to seeing "your point of view" is not going to be the most effective.


The goal of raising our kids should not be to raise children who comply, but think for themselves. Threatening your child to get them to do anything can damage self esteem and can be quite damaging. According to The Doctor Will See You Now, threatening your child to comply, "can shake the foundation of security and well-being that you represent. It opens up the possibility that you will not be there to protect and care for them."

Woman Leaves Baby In Car To Shop, But With A Note, So It’s ‘Okay’

A group of concerned people surrounded a locked car in New Zealand Saturday to read a note pinned to the blanket of a baby sleeping inside.
The newborn was sleeping soundly, tucked into a car seat , with a note pinned to the baby blanket. “My mum’s in doing the shopping, call her if I need anything,” the note said, along with the mother’s cellphone number. Bystanders were shocked by the scene, but decided to call the mother instead of the authorities.
“We had gone in [to the Pak'nSave] before the mother had come out because we had a baby ourselves that was in a hurry,” said one of the bystanders.
“As parents ourselves we know it is hard to get a baby to sleep, and once you start moving them they can wake up … we thought it was just a silly decision by a tired mother,” said another.
Leaving a young child or a baby alone in a car is extremely dangerous. By locking a child inside a car, even the most well-intentioned parent is potentially exposing their child to a variety of dangers, up to and including death in some cases (as we saw several times over the summer of 2012).
“Babies can dehydrate quickly and become very distressed. So for a newborn that’s one of the key issues. Plus there’s a security issue – a small baby is unable to defend itself if need be, or call for help, or anything like that,” said Plunket national child safety adviser Sue Campbell.
She continued that the mother in question may have felt overwhelmed due to a potential lack of family support.
“There are numerous support groups out there for parents … if they are in a place where there is a Plunket Family Centre, there’s the opportunity to take your baby in and get some support, and perhaps a few hours sleep while somebody’s watching your baby for you.”
In New Zealand, it is illegal for a parent or guardian to leave a child under the age of 14 alone in a car for an unreasonable amount of time in unreasonable conditions. It is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.
All parents would know how trying looking after a baby could be, Campbell concluded. “If a mother is having difficulty coping, there is concern for the mother as well.”
Do you think it’s “okay” for a mother to leave her baby in the car … if she leaves a note with her number on it?
Baby left in car

Friday, 5 April 2013

My Teens: Puberty

Dreading your child reaching puberty or already going through an awkward time with your teen? Don't worry - help is at hand!

Puberty can be a strange time for parents as well as kids - your polite, well behaved child suddenly turns into a moody and stroppy teenager - and you can't seem to say anything right.

 In this article we explain what's going on with your child's body during puberty, the physical and emotional changes they're going through and how you can help them.

What is puberty?

We're sure you remember what puberty was like! A release of hormones causes changes in the body and the reproductive organs develop. You'll notice physical changes in your child - they'll get suddenly taller, girls develop breasts and so on.

The hormones also cause psychological changes - which means your child is likely to be more moody and feel more self conscious of their body.

Girls: Physical changes during puberty

 Most girls start puberty between ages 8-13, but the average age is 11. However, there's lots of variation and all girls mature at different rates - so if your daughter is starting puberty before or after her friends, don't be be worried.

Girls tend to start puberty earlier than boys and they reach full maturity within 4 years. See your doctor if your daughter starts puberty before she's 8, has shown no signs or puberty by the time she's 14 or hasn't started her periods by the time she's 16.

 The Tanner stages of puberty for girls are:

Stage one: This is the stage before puberty really starts, and girls usually reach it when they're 8-10. Their height starts to increase by as much as 5-6cm per year, their nipples may swell slightly and their ovaries start to grow.
Stage two: The area around the nipple starts to swell, pubic hair starts to develop along the labia and the clitoris becomes larger. They'll still be getting taller - growing up to 7-8cm per year. Girls usually reach this stage when they're around 11.
Stage three: The breasts continue to swell and now might be a good time to buy your daughter her first bra. Pubic hair becomes coarser and curlier and underarm hair starts to grow. They're growing at the fastest rate now - up to 8cm per year. Girls usually reach this stage when they're over 12.
Stage four: The breasts start to develop into a more adult shape and girls get their first period around this time. By the end of stage four they'll be having regular periods. Although they are still getting taller, the rate they're growing at has slowed down and is now about 7cm per year. This stage usually occurs when they're around 13-years-old.
Stage five: At around 14-and-a-half years, the breasts have fully developed and pubic hair spreads to the inner thighs. Now girls have fully-developed genitals. They stop getting taller at around 16 - and are then physically mature.

Other physical changes

  • During puberty, fat is deposited onto the hips, breasts and thighs - giving girls a more womanly figure
  • Her face lengthens and changes shape
  • She starts to sweat more
  • Her skin will become more oily, meaning she's more prone to spots and acne
  • Period pains can also cause problems

Boys: Physical changes during puberty

 Boys tend to hit puberty a bit later then girls - and their development takes longer. Most boys will begin puberty when they're between 10-15 years old, although the average age is 12. It usually takes them 6 years to reach full maturity.

As with girls, all boys develop at their own rate - so don't panic if your son seems to be developing earlier or later than his friends. See your doctor if there is no sign of testicular development by the time they are 14, or if they started puberty more than 5 years ago but the penis and the testicles haven't reached full adult development.

These are the Tanner stages of puberty for boys:

Stage one: This is the stage before puberty when boys start to get taller - they'll be growing by 5-6cm per year.
Stage two: Boys usually reach this stage at about 12 - the scrotum thins and reddens, testicles get bigger and fine pubic hair appears at the base of the penis. Their body fat usually decreases too.
Stage three: The penis grows and lengthens - testicles continue to grow and pubic hair becomes thicker and curlier. They'll also still be getting taller - now growing 7-8cm per year. Their breasts swell slightly, the voice breaks and they might have wet dreams. Boys reach this stage at around 13.
Stage four: At around 14-years-old, they get taller at the fastest rate - growing up to 10cm in one year. The penis and testicles also continue to grow and the scrotum darkens. They start to get underarm hair.
Stage five: Once they're around 15 the genitals look like an adult's and pubic hair spreads to inner thighs. They're not growing as fast anymore and stop getting taller by about 17. They might still grow more muscle after this and will reach full maturity between 18-19-years-old.

Other physical changes

  • During puberty a boy's face lengthens
  • He begins to get facial hair
  • He starts to sweat more
  • His muscles will develop and his chest will broaden
  • His skin gets more oily, which means he's likely to get spots or acne

The emotional side of puberty

 Probably the most worrying thing for your child during puberty is the emotional changes they experience, rather than the physical changes to their bodies. Hormones are racing through them and they start to feel more moody, self-conscious and even aggressive.

 Trying to talk to them can seem difficult - you don't want to embarrass them and make them withdraw, but with the right approach you can really help them.

When to start talking about puberty

  • 'Start when it feels natural - lots of parents feel shy talking about puberty. Take the lead from your kids - if they ask you a question then answer it appropriately to their age and maturity. Then they don't grow up frightened or embarrassed because it's more natural.

Mood swings
  • 'During puberty, kids are maturing mentally and becoming more free thinking. They don't necessarily understand their mood swings. You can talk to them about it and tell them that it's normal, but have boundaries so they know they can't just throw a strop and make everyone's life hell.'
  • 'Try to be understanding if your child is throwing a strop. A simple technique is when you're away from them, write their name down on a piece of paper and stand on it. Then put yourself in your child's shoes and finish these sentences: 'I think...', 'I see....', 'I feel...'. I use this technique in my workshops a lot, it's a very simple but very useful way of getting an insight. You might find that they feel they're not being listened to or they're not being allowed to be independent.
  • 'Be more observant of your own behaviour and your child's behaviour and try to be objective so you can adapt and be more flexible.
  • 'Give your son or daughter choices so they feel like they have control, for example say: 'You can go out till 10pm and I can pick you up, or you can get a taxi home - but you're coming home at 10pm' - teenagers want to feel that they're being respected as adults.'

Talking about embarrassing issues
  • 'It's down to you how you talk to them about things - your kids will take their cues from you. If you find it stressful to talk about embarrassing things then they will too.
  • 'Don't pretend it's not happening - the days when nobody talks about puberty and sex are over. Kids are clued in now, they know the facts on puberty from school - you can put the emotional part in and pass on your values about sex and relationships.
  • 'Don't feel you have to pick a time to have a talk about the birds and the bees - let them bring things up and be natural and compassionate.
  • 'If your son or daughter doesn't want to talk to you, maybe there's another friend or relative they can talk to.'

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Daily sex makes you fit and fine

Regular sex makes you physically healthier "Having sex regularly can do more than make you feel closer to your partner—it can actually make you physically healthier," ABC News quoted Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University as saying.

Research from the University of the West of Scotland divulged that people who had intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stressful situations such as public speaking, said study author and psychology professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D.

That is because endorphins and oxytocin are released during sex, and these feel-good hormones trigger pleasure centres in the brain that create feelings of intimacy and relaxation and help stave off anxiety and depression, said WH advisor Laura Berman, Ph.D., an assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and author of "It''s Not Him, It''s You!"

You don''t have to climax to net the effects, but you''ll get the biggest surge of soothing hormones if you have an orgasm. Just one more reason to shoot for a stellar finish!

Sex also ensures sounder sleep because the same endorphins that help you de-stress can also relax your mind and body, priming you for slumber, said Cindy M. Meston, Ph.D., director of the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, during orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released.

"Prolactin levels are naturally higher when we sleep, which suggests a strong relationship between the two," she said.

However, extremely active sex can make you feel more energized than sleepy. Sex should never be a snooze, but if you want to use knocking boots as a sleep aid, skip the acrobatics and opt for a subdued session.

Sex can also help minimize pain. The surge of hormones released after an orgasm can help ease any annoying ache, whether it''s a strained back or a head pounder, asserted Meston.

A study conducted at the Headache Clinic at Southern Illinois University revealed that half of female migraine sufferers reported relief after climaxing.

"The endorphins that are released during an orgasm closely resemble morphine, and they effectively relieve pain," said Meston.

Sex also results in fewer colds. People who have sex were found to have higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA), according to researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. These antibodies help fight diseases and keep the body safe from colds and flu. 


10 ways to be a better parent

A guide to good parenting

Although there is no exact science to good parenting there are a few rules that you can apply to your parenting style that will improve your relationship with your children and enable them to grow up into the people you want them to be:

Make clear rules

Parents often have very different views about how they want to discipline their children and what behaviour warrants punishment. To overcome these issues, sit down with those that look after your child a lot. Write down key rules that you would like your child to follow; choose no more than 10. Together, you should then decide how you will punish each rule that is broken. Teamwork is essential when it comes to good discipline. Make sure you explain each rule to your child; you could even make a rule board and put it up in your house.


Between making breakfast, cleaning the house and getting your kids to brush their teeth it can be hard to find the time to listen. Try to prioritise though. Will your kids be thankful that they had perfectly neat and ironed clothes, or will they remember that time you sat down and really listened to what they had to say? Children often live in secretive worlds, so when they decide to share something, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, it can be a big deal to them. You could try to get into a routine of asking your kids questions about their day, their friends or a game they like playing.

Have fun

Although rules are important, your kids will respect you a lot more if you spend time having fun with them too. Choose to do an activity they enjoy – if they are young play an imaginary, creative game with them. You could pretend to be pirates or jungle explorers and go on an adventure around the house. If they are a little older do a one-on-one activity with just them. You could go skating, have a pamper afternoon or have an active day out. The activity you choose doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to interest them and be done on a regular basis


Trust is something that doesn’t come easily to most parents. We worry that they won’t look to cross the road, that they might make the wrong friends or that they will get into trouble. However, trust is essential to make any relationship work and moreover it gives your kids the freedom to explore and learn about life for themselves. It is likely that at some point they will make mistakes, but they will also learn from those mistakes. Plus, trust gives you something to bargain with. They can have some freedom if they behave, and if they don’t then it’s taken away.

Be firm

A lot of parents find it hard to discipline their child even though, deep down, they know that the child needs to be punished. A horrible mix of guilt and despair makes discipline a difficult issue. However, by punishing them you are instilling good behaviour and strong morals.  Once you have decided what rules you would like your children to follow, make sure that every time one of those key rules is broken there is a consequence to their actions. It is essential to be firm and consistent. Giving your child an explanation about why you have certain rules also helps them understand your actions.

Get organised

Parenting is the biggest time squeeze. You get up earlier and earlier and go to bed later and later, yet still there is no time left. The only way you combat the time hoarder that is parenting is to get organised. Get charts, alarms and bright pens. Instil a strong routine and get your kids to do a few chores. Another way to massively cut down on your chore time is to cook big batches of meals at once. You could make large quantities of soups, chillies or stews and then freeze them. They’re like cost-effective, healthy ready meals.

Show you care

Being a parent is hard work, but the rewards can be huge too. If you find it difficult to find ways of showing your child that you care maybe you could write them a little letter explaining why you think they’re great. Or you could write down eight reasons why you love them and put them on post-it notes. Hide these notes all over the house and ask your child to hunt them down. Sometimes it can be easy to buy children gifts when you want to let them know you love them, but emotional attention is a much clearer, stronger message.

Stay calm

No-one in the world can wind you up more than your kids. They can drive you wild and after very little sleep it can be easy to blow up with anger. Showing you’re angry won’t help the situation though and your child will also learn to be angry. To stay calm, first find out why your child is acting up and address the causes of their behaviour. If you are too angry to deal with the situation try to work out a technique that calms you. You could leave the room, inhale deeply, visualise a relaxing environment or just sip some water.

Don’t compare

Every family is different as every child is different. Don’t get caught up in the competitive side of parenting for your child’s sake and yours. A healthy amount of encouragement is good and can have a positive impact upon your child’s development, but getting too pushy will drive your children away, make them unhappy and may cause resentment. If you want to give your kids drive then set some achievable targets, let them have a say in what they do and give them a break. Never blame them if they fail, but remind them they achieved something by giving it a go.

Keep them active

If kids are inactive they will get restless, bored and frustrated.  In Britain, nearly 2.4 million children are overweight or obese. Your child should be active for at least one hour a day. You can sign them up for a team sport or a dance class, but a lot of kids don’t like organised sport. Instead you could take them to a playground, play active games outside with them or go swimming. You can buy them active toys instead of computer games or DVDs, such as a bike or skates. Going for walks is also an easy way to get your child up and active.

Chinese birth predictor

This ancient Chinese birth chart could help you find out whether you're having a boy or girl! It was uncovered in the tomb of a monk in Beijing, according to legend. When archaeologists examined the parchment it was printed on, they found that the chart predicts the sex of your baby with a spooky amount of accuracy.

How do I work out if it's a boy or girl?
Just look down the chart to find how old you'll be when you give birth and along the top for the month your baby was conceived. The square where the two meet will show if you're having a boy or a girl.

Now that the lovely Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton is expecting a royal baby, we're getting excited and have started wondering if she will give birth to a prince or princess? We've consulted our Chinese birth predictor, which tells us she'll give birth to a girl if she fell pregnant in October 2012, or a boy if she fell pregnant in September 2012 - have a look!

Remember you heard it here first. And if it works for you, let us know in the comments box below.