Try Shilajit Before Workouts – Here’s Why

For as long as civilizations have valued health and wellness, herbs have been used for their advantageous effects on the human body. There is a multitude of herbs that have been taken throughout millennia to improve physical performance. While modern clinical trials have not been around that long to test them, years of documented use and mention across various medicinal systems in different parts of the world lend legitimacy to these herbs.

Hence, even though science has yet to catch up, history (and the favourable experience of populations with these medications throughout time) has already established that herbs such as ginseng, Rhodiola, ephedra, and saw palmetto berries help in preventing and alleviating ailments.

In the same way, shilajit, otherwise known as mineral pitch, a mineral-based substance, enjoys a well-earned reputation as a very powerful healing and regenerative agent, backed by centuries of use with favourable results. Thus, mineral pitch is marketed today as a supplement for helping heighten endurance, build muscle, and reduce weight. It is also starting to gain distinction in the fitness world as an additive that helps with maximizing the healthy effects of exercising.

Benefits of Taking Shilajit Before Workouts

Shilajit and exercise

Shilajit is known by other names such as mumijo, moomiyo, and mineral pitch. It is similar to tar in appearance and emerges from the rock fissures located in the high portions of the Himalayas and the Caucasus and Altai mountains. While it is exuded by rocks, mumijo is not soil-based. Instead, it comes from ancient vegetation trapped between layers of rock, transformed by a process called humification. The process is characterized by extreme levels of heat and pressure, which eventually leads to the extraction of mumijo from the plant materials.

Because of various shilajit health benefits, it is widely used and highly venerated as a health tonic in traditional Ayurveda, and is ingested by weightlifters in Eastern Europe to improve strength, speed up recovery, and increase muscle size. Scientific studies on the effect of mineral pitch in animals show that it combats stress, most probably due to the fulvic acids, humic acids, triterpenes, and coumarins that it contains. There are also a number of studies that confirm the many benefits mineral pitch provides when working out.

Improves Skeletal Muscle Adaptation

The first of these studies examined the effects of moomiyo on obese subjects. The findings showed that moomiyo use promoted skeletal muscle functioning. With regular intake of moomiyo, skeletal muscle adaptation was improved immensely.

To see what exactly made shilajit helpful for skeletal muscles, the researchers zoned in on the extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM is the matter in between all our cells, and it contains enzymes, collagen, glycoproteins, and other macromolecules. It helps with the maintenance, development, and regeneration of skeletal muscles. Among the obese subjects, the consumption of mumijo notably improved ECM-related gene expression. In addition, analysis at the cellular level showed that shilajit supplementation led to an elevation in collagen and other macromolecules in the ECM that are responsible for muscle adaptation.

All of this simply means that their skeletal muscles were better developed because of the positive consequences of moomiyo on the extracellular matrix around and between the skeletal muscle cells.

Skeletal muscle adaptation is especially important during exercise because the muscles experience heightened adaptive modification when subjected to resistance and endurance activities.

Boosts Healthy Mitochondrial Function

Inasmuch as mitochondrial activity is essential to life, mitochondrial dysfunction leads to numerous health problems. The body’s production of energy is hampered, the negative effects of ageing are hastened, and oxidative stress is experienced.

For this reason, a group of researchers focused on how the main bioactive components of mumijo could enhance mitochondrial function and the synthesis of ATP (the energy used by cells).

The researchers discovered that the bioactive components of mumijo were naturally high in antioxidants. When these substances were administered to the subject mice, they showed up in their mitochondria, where the bioactives worked to develop the functioning of the mitochondria’s electron transport chain, which breaks down energy for cells.

Increases Energy Production

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the energy currency of our body’s cells. A study on mice showed that shilajit increased the production of ATP in muscles. It was hypothesized that the rise in ATP synthesis was due to the advantageous effects of shilajit on the mitochondrial respiratory chain, making it easier to break down energy to be used by the cells.

During exercise, ROS (reactive oxygen species) levels increased in the mice. ROS wreaks havoc on the mitochondrial electron transport chain, leading to lower energy levels. This is why energy-increasing supplements like mumijo are sorely needed for exercise.

The study went one step further by comparing the energy-boosting effects of mumijo to coenzyme Q10, another popular energy supplement. It found that mumijo was just as effective as the latter in upping energy levels, especially during vigorous exercise.

Humic and Fulvic Acids

Humic acid is a bioactive component of shilajit. It is desired for its health response to inflammation and over oxidation properties.

Because fulvic acid contains bioavailable oxygen, it helps counter the lactic acid- and carbon dioxide-induced fatigue that arises from exercise. It also helps restore electrolytes that are lost when the body sweats from exercise. And since fulvic acid is an antioxidant, it reduces oxidative stress that produces harmful, cancer-causing free radicals. Oxidative stress levels are markedly high during workouts because exercise is a form of short-term stress (although it is a healthy activity in the long-term). Fulvic acid intake thru shilajit supplementation is therefore essential in combating the stress-related effects of workouts.

While fulvic acid is often marketed separately as an energy enhancer, mumijo clearly offers more than just fulvic acid; it contains other healthful constituents, such as humins and ashless humic acids, all with their own health benefits.

Replacing Creatine

Creatine is one of the highly preferred supplements for muscle development among bodybuilders. However, its users have observed many serious side effects from long-term use, especially to the kidney. Shilajit, on the other hand, helps with energy production and bolsters muscle expression without the detrimental side effects. It’s no wonder that shilajit is making a mark among fitness buffs as a better substitute for creatine.

Shilajit Intake to Maximize Muscle Development

For individuals interested in building muscles, shilajit before exercise can boost energy, together with the best chyawanprash for weight gain. Chyawanprash is a mixture of berries, sugar, ghee, honey, sesame oil, gooseberry jam, and other spices and herbs, all cooked together.  The combination of higher energy for working out and faster healthy weight gain makes for a maximal bodybuilding process.

Inspiring Future Stargazers: Best Ways to Get Them Outside

No matter your age, outdoor activities are good for mind and body alike. But getting there is often a problem, more to do with issues of willpower than mobility. Even thinking about the effort the outdoors can demand puts many people off before they’ve even stepped out the door. However, the fact that some continue to admire the wonders of the natural world, such as the night sky, is promising.

So how do you convince someone interested in stargazing but reluctant to go outside to do just that? The answer lies in inspiring them little by little while also making them gradually more comfortable being outdoors. Plenty of real and digital solutions exist to choose from.

Spiral Galaxy NGC 2683” (CC BY 2.0) by NASA Hubble

Planetariums

The modern world is full of planetariums and observatories that are open to the public, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a stargazer’s paradise near you. Even if the closest is a while away, the experience could be turned into a pretty cool road trip. Their exhibits and technology are the absolute best way to make anyone fall in love with our galaxy and the mysteries beyond.

The Hayden Planetarium in New York is a prime example, and a browse through amnh.org will tell you exactly why. Established by Neil deGrasse Tyson within the American Museum of Natural History, its services range from scientific blog posts to special events, like the Dark Universe show currently on until January 17, 2020. The thought and passion put into every exhibit are infectious and more than likely to push budding astronomers into pursuing that dream.

Fun & Games

Together with the amazing experience of a planetarium, why not nurture that interest through smaller activities? Entertainment with a science fiction theme is a good place to start, and mobile gaming is perhaps the most popular place to find it. Play’n GO’s Reactoonz slot at KittyBingo.com has cute aliens and features to match in honour of the 17 thousand recorded stars of Earth’s nearby cosmos, like the Epsilon Indi A, which are capable of supporting life. More exciting video games include Galaxy on Fire 2 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Accompany those with a Star Wars movie marathon to really get the galactic juices flowing. Returning to reality, you could take all this inspiration to the back yard or a local park.

Make a bonfire or stargazing picnic out of it. Read up on constellation and astronomy news. Throw some Area 51 conspiracy theories in the mix. Invest in a decent telescope and turn your smartphone into a super assistant with AR-enabled stargazing apps and themed games. Through its dedicated app, NASA’s articles and mesmerizing images will keep you up to date on discoveries. If that’s not enough, augmented reality makes the Star Chart app both a handy map of constellations and a telescope. It can show you the night sky from different places around the world. Oh, it can time travel too!

Bunch all these activities together and, before they know it, the most stubborn housecats will find themselves outside enjoying the stars, laughs and plenty of marshmallows.

Everything you need to know about scrap car prices

How do I know how much my car is worth?

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer for this as it will depend on each individual car.

One of the best ways to find out how much your vehicle is worth is to do your research. This means contacting several local dealers and getting a valuation from them. By doing so, you will get an idea of an average price for your vehicle, and know if any dealers are trying to haggle you down to a lower price.

Once you have spoken to several dealers, you can then work with them to get a price you want. If you know the maximum amount your vehicle is worth, you can barter the dealers against each other and hopefully get a good deal.

What influences scrap car prices?

There is no one thing that determines the price of a scrap vehicle, there are several factors that need to be considered:

Weight of the vehicle: The most important factor to take into account is the weight and size of the vehicle. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the vehicle, the more money you will get when it is scrapped. This is because a larger vehicle will have more steel to be scrapped and will therefore have a higher value.

Missing parts: Following from the weight of the vehicle, if it has parts missing then the vehicle will be lighter and therefore be valued lower when it comes to be scrapped. Also, if the vehicle is missing parts or they are damaged, these parts could have been removed and sold by the dealer separately, making the vehicle more valuable. If they aren’t there or are too damaged to use then you could lose money.

Market fluctuation: The price you get for scrapping your vehicle depends on the price of scrap metal at the time. The market dips and increasing depending on how much scrap metal there is around. It could be worth speaking to someone in the know and holding on until there isn’t as much metal around, then your vehicle might be worth more.

Common scrap car prices

Although you cannot get a definite price for scrapping your vehicle until you do a full valuation or meet a dealer, here are some common prices for cars that have been scrapped:

  • Vauxhall Corsa – £104
  • Vauxhall Astra – £121
  • Volkswagen Golf – £128
  • Volkswagen Polo – £105
  • Ford Focus – £129
  • Ford Fiesta – £116
  • Toyota Yaris – £106
  • Toyota Corolla £115
  • Fiat Punto – £95
  • Nissan Micra – £92
  • Audi A4 – £148
  • Audi TT – £147

 Where can I scrap my car?

Across the UK there are several scrap yards that will collect and scrap your vehicle. The most important factor to consider is that you take it to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). These are the only government-approved companies that are legally allowed to scrap your vehicle.

If you use Car.co.uk, all of their scrap yards are government-approved, so it eliminates the worry of using a legitimate service. Along with this, when you choose then, you are increasing their social value.

Car.co.uk are increasingly working with organisations that help people in need such as those in poverty and the homeless. As their company grows, they are spending more money and take more time to help these organisations improve the lives of others.

What You Need to Know About Botox Immunity

Despite being one of the leading anti-ageing treatments, BOTOX doesn’t always work for everyone. Some’ve come out of a Botox session bearing bad results. Not many know about Botox immunity, why it happens, and probably for many reasons.

Botox immunity, otherwise known as BOTOX resistance, is a situation in which a patient undergoing treatment will have either built up antibodies against the BOTOX or happens to metabolize the drug incredibly quickly. What results from this is that the patient will have fairly underwhelming results from their BOTOX injections, very short-lived effects, or even no effects whatsoever.

True immunity to BOTOX is fairly rare, with doctors suggesting that only 1 out of every 10,000 patients may have any real, tangible immunity to BOTOX. For the most part, if patients are showing resistance to BOTOX, it could be for one of several reasons besides a true BOTOX immunity.

How Common Is Botox Resistance?

A true, 100% resistance to BOTOX is pretty rare to come across – manufacturer clinical trials have shown that only around 1.5% of all the patients tested developed any kind of “neutralizing antibodies” to the drug, while other doctors have estimated that no more than around 1 patient in every 10,000 will have developed any real resistance to BOTOX.

A recent study undertaken by German researchers and published in the Journal of Neural Transmission found that around 1 in every 200 regular users of BOTOX was beginning to develop antibodies to the substance, and another study has suggested that patients may not respond to BOTOX so well if they’ve had low-dose food poisoning caused by botulism in the past, which may have led to them developing an immunity.

Other Reasons Why Botox May Not Be Working

If you don’t achieve the results you expect from BOTOX, don’t automatically assume it’s because you’re immune to BOTOX. Any of the following examples could be reasons why you may not be seeing the best results from their BOTOX treatment.

1 – You may have switched to a new provider who is yet to fully know you

Many providers will much sooner undertreat with BOTOX than to go in all guns blazing, for the simple reason that it’s much safer, according to Botox expert, Richard W. Maloney. When too much BOTOX has been injected there’s nothing that can be done than to just wait for the effects of the treatment to run their course and wear off. Many providers will try to be somewhat conservative the first time they work with a patient, to be on the safe side and not cause any issues until they get to know you and can work towards understanding the appropriate dosage for you.

If, after a few weeks, you aren’t seeing your desired results, get back in contact with your provider. The solution will more often than not simply be a quick touch up.

 

2 – Your natural ageing process could be catching up with you

If you’re regularly going for BOTOX touch-ups, it can be easy to forget that, behind it all, your natural ageing process is still ticking away behind the scenes. If the same dose of BOTOX isn’t quite doing the same trick that it used to, it could simply be the case that your skin has lost elastin and collagen and there’s been a decrease in your facial fat volume. Changes like this can cause expression lines to deepen. While you may think that more BOTOX will solve the issue, chances are it won’t. A treatment plan of BOTOX plus injectable fillers instead can be the ticket to plumping your skin back up and maintaining both a youthful look and your natural facial expressions.

3 – Your provider messed up

It’s essential for anyone performing cosmetic injections to have a full and thorough knowledge of facial anatomy and to be able to effectively interpret a patient’s goals and be able to inject the correct amount of BOTOX based on their skin quality. Less experienced providers will be prone to making mistakes, be it injecting the wrong amount, or injecting the wrong point of the correct facial muscle. Poor treatments such as these can lead to underwhelming results, or even worse, so it’s always best to choose an experienced provider with a good reputation when seeking out BOTOX treatment.

4 – Some just do better with Dysport

Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes, and just as Advil might be right for you rather than Tylenol, the same goes for BOTOX and Dysport. The two are essentially very similar, and an experienced provider can help you to realize if Dysport is a better alternative for you.

5 – You received fake or over-diluted BOTOX

There’s always going to be someone unethical out there trying to make money from an inferior product. It’s worth remembering that only licensed physicians can obtain real BOTOX or Dysport, so factor that into consideration when shopping around. You should only be allowing experienced, medically qualified practitioners at reputable medical practices to carry out your BOTOX treatments.

6 – The BOTOX hasn’t had enough time to fully take effect

While BOTOX certainly does its job pretty quickly, the results aren’t instantaneous. Many will begin to notice their wrinkles subsiding in as few as 48 hours, but really the majority of patients can expect it to take as many as 10 days for the full results of the BOTOX treatment to become visible. If it’s been as many as 2 weeks and there are still no signs of improvement, at this point it would be recommended for a patient to get in contact with their provider.

What to Do when Botox Isn’t Working

While fairly rare, BOTOX resistance does still happen from time to time. It’s most likely to occur in men and women who have used BOTOX regularly for years. The success of BOTOX and other neurotoxins comes down to the quality and freshness of the product and the skill of the provider.

If your BOTOX injections aren’t working, it’s worth considering other alternative treatments. Dysport, for example, can often work well for those who are unresponsive to BOTOX. Xeomin is also another recently FDA approved alternative.

 

Ways to Keep Your Teeth Bright After Professional Whitening

Wanting a brighter smile and teeth-whitening treatments go hand-in-hand. With just a few professionally-done treatments, your teeth can be as much as 2 to 5 shades lighter. However, like with all things cosmetics, over time the effects of the treatment can wear off.

This goes double if you don’t know how to properly take care of them. There are certain habits that you should avoid if you don’t want staining to occur after the treatment. Here are a few ways to keep your teeth bright after professional whitening.

Avoid Foods that Stain

If you want to ensure that your whitening treatment lasts for a long time then you need to avoid eating or drinking anything that stains. Specifically, you should avoid food and drinks that contain tannins. This is a type of polyphenol that has the ability to break down in water. According to research, tannins can be found in beverages such as coffee, tea, and wine.

What makes tannins such a problem is that it causes colour compounds to stick to the teeth. And with time, they develop a yellow hue. So the next time you reach for a cup of coffee, a piece of dark chocolate or even a handful of berries consider something that will go a little easier on your teeth.

Use Straws

If you find the idea of not being able to have your morning cup of coffee too much to bear, then you could always try drinking your favourite beverage out of a straw. Drinking hot beverages from a straw may take a little getting used to but it can help to preserve the results of your whitening treatment as well as also protect your teeth from the sugar that tends to break down your tooth enamel.

The key is to make sure that the straw is positioned correctly. When drinking, hold the straw directly behind your front teeth. Also, refrain from swishing the drink around in your mouth before swallowing.

Admittedly, your molars will likely still be stained, but your most visible teeth will be exposed to less acidity. Not only will the whitening last longer, but according to professors at Temple University, you’ll experience fewer cavities.

No Smoking

If you’re searching for another reason to quit smoking then look no further. Another great way to ensure that your teeth remain bright after your whitening treatment is to refrain from smoking.

You see, the nicotine and tar found in tobacco can cause substances to bind to the outer lining of your tooth enamel. And this can cause yellow and brown stains. These changes don’t take very long to develop–typically only a matter of months. You might even need to drop by the dentist, perhaps cosmetic dentist tallahassee if the stains appear permanent and you need treatment to get rid of them.

Eat Saliva-Producing Foods

While there are foods that cause staining there are those that can actually help you to preserve your bright smile. This is especially when it comes to foods that produce saliva. According to the American Dental Hygienists Association saliva is your teeth’ best defence against decay.

Why is this? Well, saliva contains things like calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate. And each of these elements can neutralize acids. So eat foods that are known for their saliva-producing properties.

This includes foods like parsley, celery, rosemary, cayenne pepper, apples and aniseed. Cheese is also good for saliva production. Try to put much of your focus on foods that crunch. Most importantly, you need to make sure you drink a lot of water.

Brush After Meals

Whenever you eat a snack or meal that contains sugar it produces acids that attack the enamel. Eventually, the acid breaks down the enamel and causes plaque. When the plaque isn’t removed it hardens into tartar. And research shows that tartar is porous so it can be easily stained by food and drink.

Tartar deposits usually settle between and behind the teeth and appear to be brown or yellow. The best way to avoid a tartar build-up is to brush after every meal.

This ensures that your enamel remains plaque-free. Take a travel kit everywhere you go. Also, use mouthwash so that bacteria can be washed away.

Regular Checkups

Even if you’re taking great care of your teeth it’s still very important that you see your dentist regularly. Not only can they check for issues that you may not even be aware of but they can also do a cleaning which will help to remove your most recent stains. This prevents unnecessary build-up. In most instances, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist twice a year.

Conclusion

One of the biggest reasons that people choose to have their teeth professionally whitened is because it’s easy to get the results they want. However, if you want these results to last for a long time, you must take the proper steps to protect your time and investment. And this requires a certain amount of dedication. You must be willing to avoid certain foods, eat others, find alternative ways to enjoy food and drinks, quit smoking, maintain good oral hygiene and go for regular checkups.

 

How To Use A Budget Calculator For Property Price Advice

Moving house can be a very stressful process but there are tools to help make the process a little easier – especially when you are calculating your budget and working out whether you will be able to pay your mortgage and still live a relatively comfortable existence.  One of these is a Property Budget Calculator.

Why Should I Use a Property Budget Calculator?

A budget calculator determines how much you can spend as a percentage of your income. You can use it to plan for your estimated expenses based on income before you start the house-hunting and mortgage approval processes. Firstly, it’s essential to know how much of a house you can afford. Secondly, ask yourself how much you can be able to borrow to buy a house and lastly, the size of the mortgage you can probably get. By doing so, it will assist you to only search for realistic options. It will also help you avoid disappointments when applying for finances after you have found a house to buy.

A budget calculator is a rapid and easy-to-use planner tool and gives you an idea of the amount you can afford for your new home. There are several factors to consider when purchasing a new home. Sometimes, even the first step can be overwhelming.

The first initial step is to determine what your budget is, but with so many complicated affordability and mortgage calculators out there, it can be confusing and challenging.

An example of a useful property advice calculator is propertypriceadvice.co.uk/budget-calculator. With just a few questions for you to answer, you can find an approximate budget that well suits you within moments.

As a result, you can discover whether those homes you have been yearning for are within your budget. With all that in mind, here are steps you can use to determine how much you have to work with:

How a Budget Calculator Works

Step one – Fill some information about your finances

It’s quite simple. Enter the available amount you have as a down payment deposit for your next home. Enter your current salary and, if applicable, enter your partner’s prevailing wage too. Your mortgage deposit may include a cash deposit, help to buy a deposit or an estimate of property valuation equity held in your current property.

Step two – Enter your personal details

Enter your email address to receive a record of your result directly into your mailbox. The estimated budget, according to your results, will appear instantly on the screen on the result page.

You can also receive property-related information of your interest, and you will get a prompt to opt-in before receiving the information.

Once you have entered your personal and financial details, then the budget calculator will work on how much amount you may be able to borrow through a mortgage plan based on your salary versus expenses. The calculator will add this to your available deposit to generate the overall home-buying budget.

Step three – Take the necessary steps towards buying your new home

At this point, you know how much you can afford to spend on your new home. You can now book an appointment with your mortgage partners of choice to discuss the available borrowing options that best suits you.

Having your mortgage options in place before going to view a house will ensure that you don’t miss out on the best home of your choice available.

Check the latest sold house prices in the neighbourhood in which you want to live and get an idea of the type of house and the budget involved.

Opt-in to current information on new property alerts so that you can hear about the latest homes on sale in your preferred area.

Select trusted partners from your area, and in case you have an old property that you need to sell to buy the new house, book an appointment immediately with a well-rated property seller near you to identify its value and learn more.

The Budget Calculator Formula

First, add together your savings, sales proceed, and mortgage sum, then take away stamp duty, arrangement fee, broker fee, solicitor’s fee, surveyor cost, incidentals, finder’s fee, and renovation/furnishing costs.

The number left over is your property budget. However, a budget calculator should not be seen to be a financial advice tool. Instead, it should only be for educational purposes. Besides, it will depend on what the lender might be willing to give you.

It is also advisable to use other tools to determine whether you will be able to afford the monthly housing payment, that this type of affordability calculator is giving out in its calculation report.

Other Budgeting Tools

To start your move it’s with using a moving checklist and costing out each stage. Formulating a realistic budget will help to minimise the stress but also you will have to hand, a ready list of key professionals that you can instruct at the right time. You probably use comparison websites for your House insurance and Car insurance, well you can now do the same for conveyancing.

To get an idea you want to find a website where you can compare fully inclusive conveyancing quotes that do include all legal fees and disbursements. Solicitors are regulated and you can make considerable savings if you use a solicitor based in a low cost of living area. It’s worth noting that some solicitors are approved to work for specific Lenders.

We found the Homebuyer Conveyancing website where comparable conveyancing quotations are fully itemised. The great news is that no personal details are required to view the quotes. That means no hassle, as you will not be called or emailed. You can even filter the conveyancing results by price, location and by that all-important Mortgage Lender. Controlling costs by using fixed fee quotes does make sense.

Top 5 Budget Christmas Gifts

It’s only too easy to feel pressurised into buying Christmas gifts.  Nobody wants to be seen as a meanie.  But what do you do when you are short of cash?  Christmas is such an expensive time that many of us have to prioritise nearest and dearest and cut back on gifts to all and sundry. This can be a stressful time because you’re trying to figure out how to afford all of these gifts while paying bills and keeping food on the table. Read on for ideas for some great budget Christmas gifts.

You don’t have to show up empty-handed or suffer embarrassment from not being able to afford a decent gift for someone. There are many options for inexpensive Christmas gifts on even the tightest budget.

Budget Christmas gifts they’ll love

Bring a homemade treat

If you have a favourite recipe for desserts, you might want to create a wonderful homemade gift that your recipient will love. There are tons of great recipes out there and you can present it in a cute, [easyazon_link identifier=”B07XFDFWQ8″ locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]holiday container[/easyazon_link] that won’t cost more than a few pounds.

You might make things like [easyazon_link identifier=”1073164179″ locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]fudge[/easyazon_link] or cookies – something they can share with their friends and family. No matter what you make, they’ll be sure to appreciate the time and effort you put into it, and it’s also very cost-effective.

Prints or Posters to brighten their space

For a simple and cheap version of décor, you can get someone a simple print or poster and put it in a nice looking [easyazon_link identifier=”B07DPRJ5SL” locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]frame that’s budget-friendly[/easyazon_link]. Prints are almost always far less expensive than the original artwork, and you can get them for next to nothing.

This will always make for a great addition to a household. Just make sure you know their personal preferences for decorating and then try to find similar designs or prints in that same style.

Scent their home with an aromatic diffuser

If you’re buying for someone who always seems to have a scented candle lit, then a little [easyazon_link identifier=”B00KXV25EU” locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]aromatic diffuser[/easyazon_link] can bring down the cost for them quite a bit by allowing them to get many different scents without spending a lot on a constant supply of candles.

Give handmade jewellery

Jewellery makes for a great gift, but it’s pretty pricey when you get down to it. With readily available [easyazon_link identifier=”B013X8VDBU” locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]jewellery making kits[/easyazon_link] online, you can make your own jewellery for a fraction of the cost, and you’ll be adding a personal flair to it.

Nothing beats a good book

Finally, nothing can replace a fine book. It doesn’t have to be a rare copy or a first edition print, but a nice looking [easyazon_link identifier=”0434020486″ locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]hardback of a classic[/easyazon_link] can become a great addition to their bookshelf and give them a nice read that can entertain them for hours on end, all at an affordable price.

Giving gifts when you’re on a budget doesn’t have to be stressful for you. First, consider the interests of the person you’re buying for. Then think of all of the accessories and items they use on a regular basis. Look for budget-friendly options that align with that and they’ll be grateful for the gift, regardless of the expense.

What are your favourite budget Christmas gifts?

Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation: The Perfect Match

Many women become unhappy with their breasts over time. After losing a tremendous amount of weight, having children, breastfeeding, or simply ageing, women naturally may lose confidence and desire the body that they had when they were younger. It says a lot that the most common plastic surgery in the United States is breast augmentation, but the best way to recover from the toll that life puts on your body is to supplement an augmentation with a breast lift.

Women who have a breast lift and an augmentation usually have them at the same time. While they are extraordinarily different procedures, it is not uncommon to have both performed. The two procedures work well in tandem with each other to help you reach your cosmetic goals.

What is a Breast Lift?

Breasts droop for all kinds of reasons. They may have never snapped back after a dramatic weight loss or pregnancy. Some women are lucky enough not to have this issue because they have thicker skin due to heredity. Sometimes, it simply will not matter because lifestyle choices like smoking or sunbathing will cause the skin to become far less elastic over time.

According to the Mayo Clinic, breast lift procedure is a treatment that restores the breasts to their natural perkiness. The surgery entails moving the areola and nipple a bit farther up and lifting the breast by removing excess skin and fat. Afterwards, the breasts should appear perkier and more youthful. It is the most common surgery used to treat sagging breasts.

It should also be mentioned that some patients are not yet experiencing drooping breasts, but do prefer that their breasts are placed higher on their chests than they are naturally. As such, they may still wish to get breast lift surgery. Along with breast augmentation, they would be able to get the shape that they always desired.

Like breast augmentation, a breast lift can be performed by itself. This is usually done when a woman is happy with her current breast size but would like a breast lift to give her figure a slight adjustment. Think of it as a refresher, or a “pick-me-up.” While the procedure alone is still invasive, sometimes it is all that is needed.

What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a surgery where implants are placed inside the breast tissue to enlarge the breasts and make them appear fuller. The implants may be made from saline or gel and will increase the patient’s cup size to as large as she desires. Though it has had bad press over the years, according to CNN, the surgery is very common and extremely safe.

Augmentation is intended for those women that are not satisfied with their cup sizes and would a more shapely figure. It is also a go-to for any prospective patient that may have noticed that the size and shape of her breasts have changed dramatically from when she was younger.

It is important to note that while breast augmentation surgery does help to lift the breasts a bit, it only does so by filling in the sagging skin that a breast lift procedure would remove.

Why Combine the Two Procedures?

By having a breast lift along with your breast augmentation, you will get the best of both worlds. The implant will need less volume, and the lift will already provide your breasts with shape and position them as they should be. Combining both surgeries will allow your breasts to look better as well as increased in size. No woman wants large breasts that sag!

Dr William A. Ross, breast surgeon expert of Naples, FL, writes that the average breast lift candidate is usually in her 40s, but anyone experiencing unwelcome signs of declining breasts may elect to have the procedure. This can be anything from a nipple distortion to sagging tissues. The surgery can also be done as a preventative measure at the first indication of these signs. It only makes sense to get the procedure done while a patient has already decided to go under the knife for a breast augmentation. Since both surgeries can be quite invasive, most doctors believe this is the best way to go if the patient is interested in having them both done at the same time.

Combining the two surgeries also helps to correct breasts that are naturally asymmetrical or shaped awkwardly, which happens a lot, according to Healthline. Most of the time, both breasts are shaped differently anyway and each needs special attention. The surgeon will have to examine each thoroughly to properly balance them out and create a natural-looking symmetry. One may need more lift to complete the look the patient is looking for. In these cases, it is best to start with a breast lift to even the breasts out before proceeding with breast augmentation. Proper balance is important because the breasts will not only continue to be uneven, but the new larger cup size is sure to make this more noticeable.

Is a Breast Lift for Me?

If you are unsure if a breast lift is necessary, schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon and ask his or her opinion. Sometimes, especially in older patients, and those who have lost a lot of weight, it makes more sense to undergo both procedures. Excess skin only takes away from your new look and can actually get in the way during breast augmentation surgery.

In conclusion, women are starting to realize that there are a plethora of options out there if they do not enjoy the breasts they see every day in the mirror. Why put up with breasts that are uneven, saggy, or too small for your preferences? Having a breast augmentation along with a breast lift can change how you will feel about yourself.

Married Christmas: Coping with Spousal Stress This Holiday Season

Remember when you first got married? You had this vision of the perfect Christmas. Beautiful holiday table, smiling faces… two hearts aglow, two families joining in harmony. Turns out married life isn’t always like that, is it?

If your own family brought you troubles in the past, now you’ve got two of them to contend with. How to keep the peace, and your sanity in tact? Here are some tips for coping, so you can avoid spousal spats and family feuds this Christmas season.

“Married Christmas” Stress Factor 1: Arguments Over Gifts

One of the most common arguments of married people centres around gifts. Dilemmas like how much to spend, what to buy for the kids, whether or not to exchange with in-laws, and other awkward scenarios are a common fact of Married Christmas.

There’s also the awkward issue of not appreciating the gift that your husband or wife picked out for you. Or how about making gift returns without crushing egos, and other gift-related problems that present themselves at this time of year.

How to Keep It Merry:

Conversations with extended family about gifts should happen well in advance of Christmas shopping season. If they don’t, then we should just forget about having our wishes met, and just be happy that the ancient gift-giving tradition lives on in modern life.

One tactful policy that may avoid ruffling feathers at holiday time, is to thank everyone heartily for the gifts, then bring up the topic of returns at a later date. Quiet re-gifting, too, can be a good way to put those unwanted items to use. (Just be sure you’re not re-gifting to the person who gave you the present in the first place!) Also, many stores accept holiday returns without a physical receipt. So you don’t even have to address the topic of an unwanted gift with your husband, wife or his or her family if you don’t want to.

If clashes in family styles bring awkward gift-giving moments, you and your spouse can develop a “you handle your family, I’ll handle mine,” gift purchasing and presenting policy.

What about gifts between husband and wife, and the battles this can bring on? The keys to avoiding resentment around the topic of holiday gifts are: 1. lower your expectations, and 2. just be grateful, no matter what.

One of the biggest mistakes wives make is expecting that their partner magically knows what they’d like for Christmas. So you don’t tell him, then are visibly disappointed at whatever present he chooses for you. But then if you just admit the truth — that you don’t really like, can’t use, or already have the gift he got for you, now he’s feeling unappreciated. Resentment builds.

It helps to develop a thick skin around present exchange time. On the receiving end, express gratitude for anything you may be given, even if in your mind, it’s a dud. And as a giver also expect that some gifts, however thoughtfully chosen for your partner, may have to be returned to the store. Taking a practical, financially prudent attitude toward the giving or returning of gifts may be the right move for you and your hubby or wife. Anything that goes back to the store is a win for the family bank account.

“Married Christmas” Stress Factor 2: Too Much to Do, Not Enough Time

One common source of marital stress around the holidays is that your marriage goes neglected due to pressing obligations, timelines and to-do lists. You may save your very last, most weary moments for some quality time with the husband or wife, only to find that you’re too tired to talk. Or, maybe one of you is in a snuggly, sharing, or sentimental mood, but the other is snoring away on the sofa.

How to Keep It Merry:

There are a few ways to increase good feelings toward our married partners during this busy, pressure-filled season. One is to always assume that your husband or wife has the best intentions.

If he shows up late for dinner, hold your temper and curb your urge to scold. There might just be a secret surprise in store that had him stuck in traffic, or on line at a special store, which resulted in the lateness. If she spent money to get her hair done, don’t think of her as frivolous. Maybe she wants to make a positive impression on your boss and coworkers at the upcoming office party.

Here’s a fun way to keep holiday spousal stress at bay: turn togetherness time into an opportunity to care for each other. Support each other during times of need.

If you know your wife is working the holiday season late shift, why not make her night with a warmed-up plate of dinner and a glass of wine when she comes through the door? If one or both of you suffer aches and pains, a married massage will take the edge off and relax you to the point that all those holiday stressors won’t seem so bad anymore.

These are the best holiday gifts that don’t come with a price tag, and they really speak volumes about your love for each other.

“Married Christmas” Stress Factor 3: Whose Family Will We Celebrate With This Year?

A timeless, common Christmas conundrum for married couples is “will we celebrate with your family or mine this year?” In fact, you pretty much have no choice but to see the humour in this argument that surely has a permanent place in every married couple’s list of Totally Predictable to the Point of Utter Boredom, Yet Completely Unavoidable Holiday Disagreements.

How to Keep It Merry:

The approach to handling holiday plans with both sides of the family, however awkwardly this plays out, is to be as fair, tactful, and diplomatic as possible. Consider things like whose family did we see on Christmas Day last year? Also consider special circumstances, like a new baby in the family, that might make hosting or travelling a bit more challenging.

If your mother-in-law complains that she doesn’t get to see her son on Christmas Day because you always celebrate with your side of the family, then make arrangements to switch it up, and be with your folks on Boxing Day this year instead. If it’s your sister-in-law’s turn to host but she’s eight months’ pregnant, show empathy and ask if she’d prefer you have the party at your house.

Another good option when planning family holiday get-togethers is to be realistic and keep an open mind to alternative solutions. If your wife has a large family but yours is small, you can solve the problem of not being available to both sides at once by planning an alternate Christmas with your people, on an alternate date.

“Married Christmas” Stress Factor 4: Having Trouble Accepting Your Spouse’s Family Traditions, and Vice Versa

Another unexpected annoyance that happens at holiday time is that your own cherished family traditions may get downplayed, passed over or even dropped for new ones created by your family-by-marriage.

Perhaps your Polish husband is too enamoured with the thought of endless kielbasa and kraut to appreciate the Italian 7 fishes Christmas Eve tradition that you look forward to all year with great anticipation. Maybe you always go to Christmas Eve midnight mass, but your husband just can’t stay awake that long. You may feel disappointed at holiday time, as you struggle to find a balance between your partner’s priorities and your own.

How to Keep It Merry:

If you have something special that you like to cook, a particular game that you like to play on Christmas, or some other tradition that came from your family, it may take a few years of being married before your in-laws embrace this practice as well. Have patience, and gently persist.

Try to show enthusiasm for and interest in their own family traditions, as well as sharing with them the special holiday rituals that you hold dear. Some of your family’s holiday contributions may eventually take, while others, you may just have to keep among your own people.

Remember, too, that you and your husband can embrace “the best of the best” holiday traditions from both sides, and combine or modify them into something that works for you both. You might even come up with some new ideas to make a part of your yearly memory-making at holiday time.

“Married Christmas” Stress Factor 5: Holiday Mishaps and Miscommunication

Holiday parties with family bring out the best and worst in all of us. At this celebratory time of year, problematic relatives with whom we normally don’t have to deal tend to show up and wreak mild havoc. With alcohol flowing, remarks may be passed. When it’s your husband or wife’s family, it’s easy to find fault or become overly critical. After all, you’ve dealt with your own family for a lifetime. Now these other people have come along and forced you to develop new coping skills!

How to Keep It Merry:

One way marrieds can keep it merry when it comes time for holiday family parties is to swallow pride and leave the poor attitude at the door. The holiday season is a time to cherish loved ones, flaws and all. It’s also a time to open our minds to people who may do things differently than we do and to avoid dwelling on the things people may say that hurt our feelings, even if they weren’t meant to.

Often, a carelessly placed remark or gesture can get under our skin at stressful holiday time. If this happens, you can decide to raise a glass to family and all their funny quirks, and just let it go. Or, if whatever was said really has irked you, you can always let off some steam by venting privately to a good friend who won’t end up in the middle of the family conflict and will probably help you see the humour in it all.

If you find it difficult to get along with your in-laws at holiday time, whatever you do, avoid complaining about them to your husband or wife. Remember that this is his family, and just as you wouldn’t take kindly to him expressing negative things about your mum, dad, or siblings, neither would he. You can make an active choice whether to emphasize festivities or fights this holiday season. Showing respect and appreciation for your husband or wife’s family, especially at Christmas time, will set the tone for future happy holidays to come.

Finally, know that as your marriage becomes more seasoned, the things that may have bothered you initially about your husband or your in-laws may eventually resolve. And as the years go by, you might even grow to cherish the times you spend with them at Christmas.

Christmas Toy Ideas For Girls Aged 7 to 10

Searching for the perfect gift for a 7 to 10-year-old girl? These days, there are literally hundreds of different gifts to choose from. No matter what she’s into and how much you have to spend, there’s sure to be a huge range of gifts to match it.

Investing in toys which get your child away from a screen is also going to benefit their health. Kids today spend a lot of time either in front of a television or a tablet. While technology can obviously be important for their development, it can also be detrimental if it’s used too frequently. So, buying toys which encourage imaginative play, and which encourage creativity, are a fab idea.

To help narrow down your search, here you’ll discover 5 of the best toys for girls 7 to 10 years old.

1. L.O.L Surprise! Bigger Surprise with 60+ Surprises

If there’s one toy most 7 to 10 year old girls are obsessed with these days, it’s L.O.L dolls. These cute little dolls are highly collectable and provide hours of fun. However, buying the dolls individually can prove to be really expensive. That’s where gift sets such as this L.O.L Surprise kit, come in useful.

It comes with two limited edition Surprise L.O.L dolls, each featuring seven great surprises. There’s also a Surprise limited edition L.O.L pet included which also comes with seven different surprises. That’s not all either. In fact, the entire set comes with over 60 surprises that she’s sure to love.

One of the bigger surprises to be unwrapped is the purse carrying case which stores all of the dolls and accessories. Perhaps the best feature of this gift, however, is that it comes with an “eye spy series”. She will need to look for clues throughout the series to discover the names of secret agents who are looking for their missing pets. It’s everything a little girl loves so your money will be well spent with this gift.

2. Lil’ Gleemerz Doll, Blue

The adorable Lil’ Gleemerz doll was named one of the top 100 toys & games on Amazon for 2018 and it isn’t hard to see why it is still popular. Featuring large puppy-dog style eyes and a cute bushy tail, this interactive toy is sure to become your child’s best friend.

It has more than 100 different reactions for her to discover. Just some of them include purring, growling and saying funny phrases. They can even play games with their child companion and put on dazzling light-up shows.

Controlling it is easy too. Simply press the nose to choose between three different modes including hangout, game or light party.

3. Fingerlings HUGS – Bella (Pink)- Advanced Interactive lush Baby Monkey Pet – By WowWee

Cuddly toys are always a winner with young girls and there are lots of different ones to choose from. However, if you’re looking for the best cuddly toy on the market, this Fingerlings HUGS Bella toy is highly recommended.

This isn’t just your average cuddly toy, it’s interactive. Each of the HUGS characters are designed with maximum fun and entertainment in mind. Their super-sized reactions make every minute fun, from burping and tooting to laughing hysterically, your child is sure to love this adorable companion.

The arms of HUGS are extra-long, allowing for great cuddles. You can also have hours of fun using the mimic feature. Simply press Bella’s left ear as you talk, then when you let go, she will repeat what you’ve just said in a variety of funny ways. This toy is sure to become a firm favourite with the little lady in your life.

4. Cool Maker KumiKreator Friendship Bracelet Maker – Quick & Easy Activity Kit for Kids Ages 8 and Up

Searching for the perfect gift for a girl aged 8 or over? This Cool Make KumiKreator bracelet maker is a fab choice.

It’s one of the easiest bracelet making kits to use, creating stylish friendship bracelets in a matter of minutes. Each kit can create up to 10 bracelets and it comes with a stylish carry case to store everything in. With an incredible 88 spools of thread included, the design options are practically endless. Your child and their friend will be able to create distinctive, personalized bracelets not found anywhere else.

So, if she loves being creative, this simple yet beautiful kit is sure to keep her happy for hours. Once the threads run out, you can buy replacement packs for continued use.

5. PIKMI POPS Giant Flips – Cinnamon the Bunny

If she loves all things cute and cuddly, she’s going to love Cinnamon the Bunny! Part of the popular PIKMI POPS Giant Flips collection, this large plush toy is perfect for cuddling.

However, it doesn’t just feature Cinnamon the Bunny. Your child will also find eight different surprise items inside. One or two of these will be exclusive, scented medium PIKMI POPS. Unlike the larger toy, these can be carried around everywhere.

Ideal for girls aged 5 and over, these adorable toys are super-soft and extra cuddly. The larger bunny doesn’t have a scent, but the smaller ones smell just like cotton candy. There are three main designs to choose from, but Cinnamon does tend to be the most popular.

So, there you have it – 5 of the best toys for girls aged 7 to 10. Whether she loves to get creative or she enjoys cute, cuddly toys, there is something on the list to suit every little girl – or boy for that matter!

Top Tips For Avoiding Colds & Flu From Dr Dawn Harper

It’s that time of year again where I find myself on red alert for the signs of an impending cold in the Hobbis household.  This involves much brandishing of tissues and shouting “wash your hands with hot water”.

Tips for avoiding colds and flu - girl in bed feeling poorly

The medication cupboard (yes we have a whole cupboard) is restocked with Vicks Vapour Rub and Olbas Oil and I threaten everybody with my chicken soup (with a bit of help from Heinz obviously).

So if like me, you want to make sure that the dreaded colds and flu don’t visit this winter, leading media medic, Dr Dawn Harper, in conjunction with [easyazon_link identifier=”B01BFFNA32″ locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]ColdZyme[/easyazon_link] which fights the cause of the common cold, has compiled a few tips that are definitely good for our health.

Dr Harper’s Top Tips For Avoiding Colds And Flu

 

Dr Dawn Harper's tips for avoiding colds and flu

Dr Dawn Harper

• Wash your hands regularly – contrary to popular belief, most coughs and colds are spread by hand contact, not by coughs and sneezes, so simply keeping your hands clean will go a long way to protecting yourself.

• Wash down surfaces and door handles – the viruses that cause colds can survive for several hours outside the human body.

• Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables to keep your immune system in good shape. Vitamin C and zinc are vital for a healthy immune system. Zinc is found in red meat, beans and fortified cereals, whilst foods rich in vitamin C include fruits such as oranges and strawberries and vegetables such as peppers, kale and broccoli.

• Make sure you get into a good sleep routine. When we sleep our immune system repairs itself, so chronic sleep deprivation can make you prone to infections.

Manage your stress levels. Try to prioritise and delegate where possible as stress can play havoc with your immune system.

• Consider using anti-viral tissues and keep them in your bag or on your desk if those around you have a cold to minimise the spread of the virus and make sure that tissues are put straight in the bin.

• Use ColdZyme, a revolutionary mouth spray which targets the cause of the common cold and is clinically documented to help reduce the duration of a cold.

We tried Coldzyme and you can read our review here. You can find ColdZyme on Amazon, Boots and local pharmacies.

I also asked some of my lovely blogger friends for their top tips for preventing or dealing with a cold and this is what they said.

“If a cold strikes I make sure to keep warm, use medication at regular intervals and take night nurse to help me get a refreshing nights sleep when I need it most.” – Katy Stevens, Katykicker.com

“As soon as I feel a niggle I start drinking a vitamin drink like [easyazon_link identifier=”B01GEHA6V0″ locale=”UK” tag=”mothedistr-21″]Berocca[/easyazon_link]and cancel my plans to get some much-needed R n R!” – Samantha Wragg, Cocobutterblog

“Pure orange juice in this house! That and Vicks on the feet with socks to bed to sweat the cold out!” – Amy Green, The Smallest Of Things.

“A hot cup of honey, lemon and fresh ginger a day throughout the colder months really helps keep colds at bay for me. If you have the time, steeping lemon chunks and fresh ginger in a pot of honey for a few weeks makes an effective concoction!” – Sophia Ford, Tattooed Tealady

“Wash your hands! All the time. Touching things and then touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth, is the fastest way to get a cold. Wash wash wash. And carry hand sanitiser.” – Naomi Perilli, Tattooed Mummy

“I’ll have honey and lemon with an actual tea bag (no milk!)! It gives you a bit of energy as the tea has a slow caffeine release to help you power through when you have things to do! Also hot steamy showers or if I’m feeling up to it, a microwavable curry. The steam or spice clears your nose and helps you blow it if its especially stuffed!

Also, avoid dairy as much as possible, it sticks in your pipes and increases phlegm!” – Abigail Glover, Mermaid Mischief

“Hot toddies – I’ve had them for colds since being a child. Hot water, honey, sugar, a slice of lemon then a couple of shots of whiskey (obviously I didn’t have that as a child). Drink it as hot as you can.” -Chermaine Susan Samphire, Chammy In Real Life – the real-life ramblings of me.

What are your top tips for avoiding colds and flu?

Take the Stress Out of Christmas Shopping With These Tips

Do you love Christmas but dread that stressful feeling that creeps up when it’s time to buy gifts? Presents are a tricky thing indeed. You may have conflicting thoughts running through your mind at this busy time of year.

Things like,

“So-and-so never likes anything I buy… what should I do?”

“The kids keep changing their minds about what to put on their lists!”

“What to get for the person who already has everything?”

“How can I get all of my shopping done when I have no time as it is?”

“What should I buy for teachers, bus drivers, babysitters, the postman?”

And of course, on the minds of just about every holiday gift-giver:

 “How will I manage not to go broke this year?”

The best way to reduce Christmas gift-giving (and receiving) stress is to be upfront about what’s going to happen. Before a solid plan can click into place, there needs to be a frank discussion. Sit down with your immediate and extended family. Or, initiate an email conversation if that feels less awkward for you.

Ask questions like,

“How much should we agree to spend per person this year?”

“Are we doing gifts for the adults in the family or just the kids?”

“What about a Secret Santa Grab Bag?” This is a fun way to reduce the number of gifts to buy at Christmas time.

Something for Everyone

One good solution for Christmas is to come up with a theme that reduces the amount of factory-made, shop-purchased “stuff” that everyone is so tired of receiving year after year only to see it break after a few uses.

“Experience gifts” could be a great solution for the family who enjoys spending quality time or travelling together. Instead of sweaters and toys, you can plan a family outing, such as a museum trip, or themed event, like a hockey game.

Adults might opt to swap smaller, thoughtful gifts like a photo collage or picture mug, knitted mittens or a cosy throw for the sofa.

Gift certificates to things like a massage therapy session, pottery lesson, cigar bar, or golf outing could make a fun and exciting Christmas present for the avid hobbyist in your life.

Wine or beer and a set of glasses, or food gift baskets (could be homemade, could be store-bought) make nice gifts for the holiday host and hostess.

Teachers’ gifts can be homemade to save money, and you can do a bulk prep night if you’re crafty or handy. Think candle pouring, essential oil based homemade soaps, or hand-painted votive holders. If you’re not the maker type, how about a gift card for Krispy Kreme or Starbucks? Coffee and tea are always well received, and won’t break the bank.

Being on the Gift Receiving End Can be Stressful, Too

How to handle gifts that you can’t use, so you won’t end up giving the gift-giver the wrong impression, and be looking at a decade or more of fuzzy slippers which you never did like, year after year?

Be grateful but honest. Timing may be the key as well. You may not want to blurt in the middle of the family gift exchange, “Oh, boy, ANOTHER year, another bad tie!”

But after some time has passed, you might gently explain to the gift giver that the tie (or whatever it was) isn’t quite your style, and you can ask if someone else in the family can make better use of it.

Another solution for less-than-ideal gifts is to stash them in a box in the attic and file under “regift.” We get enough invites in our lives that this hopefully won’t be an issue, as long as you circulate the gift into a different social circle. (If grandma gives you an ugly sweater that you really can’t stand, better to give it to a friend or use it at the office grab bag party, then wrap and give to your sister).

Avoid giving and receiving unappreciated or unwanted gifts in the first place by initiating an open up-front discussion about who needs/wants what this year.

You might learn that your £50 is better spent on a new shaving kit for your hubby than that scarf and hat set that you planned to spend knitting (which would have itched him anyway).

How to handle the tough topic of Christmas gifts and Santa, with kids?

First, have your children make a firm decision on what they’d like to see on their Christmas wish list this year. Tackle the task early, so that you can be sure the items are in stock. Explain to the children that Santa’s toy shop does run out of merchandise, and if we don’t put your order in they might miss out on getting what they want. “Mail” their lists to Santa right away, so they won’t be tempted to make changes.

One idea is to have your child list 2 or 3 big-ticket items, plus an assortment of smaller-sized (read: lower-priced) gifts. Explain to your kids that no matter how good they were, Santa can’t always make the ultimate gift happen for every child.

Staying Within Your Holiday Gift-Giving Budget

If you’re concerned about the holiday budget, you should be. People tend to go wild with spending at this impulsive, generosity tinged time of year.

Remember also, though, that time equals money. You might be tempted to try and break down the doors for those rock-bottom toy deals… but at the expense of what or whom else in your life?

If you feel uncomfortable driving to the shopping centre in bad weather or after dark, then don’t try to be a hero. You can avoid a potential car accident, or a panic attack from trying to accomplish one too many tasks all in one day, simply by ordering Christmas gifts online, paying a bit more and splurging on shipping.

Another way to tame the gift-giving budget this year is by penny-pinching some other aspect of your life. Worried about money? Give up your takeaway pizza or Chinese this month. Or, find creative ways to make a little money to lavish on family and friends.

House cleaning, odd jobs, and setting up small gifts to sell, like hand-painted picture frames, could help you increase the balance of your bank account before you head out to shop for presents.

What about stress around receiving gifts?

To avoid stress when giving and receiving holiday gifts, approach with an open mind, open heart, and laid-back attitude. If someone gives you something you really don’t care for, don’t sweat it. These days, we’re never too far from a donation bin, and if the person doesn’t see you with their gift in the future, maybe they’ll take the hint.

If the person who never seems to appreciate your carefully selected Christmas present for them, just shrug your shoulders and realize this is just one day in a long year, which will be over before we know it.