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Feb 28, 2012

Red Alley

I captured my husband and my late father at Juanda Airport (Surabaya, Indonesia). After come out of the plane, you’ll walk through this red alley. Seeing my father on this photo made me cried. I miss him so much!
Ruby Tuesday 2

Feb 25, 2012

Baby Massage Cheat Sheet

There are so many things to learn and discover when you have a baby, and no matter how many baby books and birthing classes and parenting documentaries you watch, there’s nothing for it but experience and trial and error. Of course, there are certain tips and tricks you can use to make the journey smoother. One of these things is infant massage, something that will not only help soothe and calm your baby, but will also help turbo-charge the bonding process.

There are so many benefits to this loving and enjoyable activity that once you get the hang of it both you and your baby will come to look forward to it as a truly special experience. We’ve put together a cheat-sheet on everything you need to know about infant massage. Enjoy!

What is Infant Massage?

Babies get an incredible amount of their security and well being from being touched. As a newborn, one of their only survival instincts is to identify safety through touch and warmth. Infant massage is all about reassuring your baby through gentle touch, as well as stimulating his or her nervous system and encouraging blood-flow, flexibility and relaxation.

Think of it as a kind of mixture between a gentle therapeutic massage and yoga. Obviously you’re not going to be applying too much pressure at all, nor is your child going to be saluting the sun anytime soon, but it’s got the same principles of muscle relaxation and well-being.

How do I Do It?
Basically, there are two main elements to infant massage. Firstly, you want to create gentle, rhythmic strokes to lull your child into a peaceful state and relax his or her muscles. Secondly, you can very gently flex their ankles, toes, fingers and wrists in order to relieve tension and improve blood flow and flexibility.

Some non-irritating
baby massage oil can be a great accompaniment to infant massage, as it will make the whole process much smoother. Apply a small amount to your hands and rub them together to warm them up first. Starting from your baby’s chest and shoulders, work your way down the length of the body with gentle, even strokes. The rhythm will soothe your child almost instantly, and create good circulation to the extremities.

Tips and Tricks
A lot of parents find this is not only a great way to calm their baby, but to calm themselves as well! Every parent will know the peace that comes over you in those quiet moments with your baby (granted, many of us wish they would come around more often!) and this is a great time to be quiet and calm with your little one and let them feel the full force of all that love you have for them.

Playing gentle music or even a favourite meditation track such as running water or nature sounds can further enhance the serenity of the moment, and some parents have found that this can make for a longer, deeper sleep for their little one if practiced before bedtime.

If you’ve never tried infant massage, give it a go—we guarantee you’ll be back for more and your little one will simply love it!

Feb 24, 2012

How to Develop Literacy in Early Childhood

The ability to speak and communicate with others develops naturally through listening to the communication of adults. The ability to read printed and hand written text, which is the ability of literacy, does not, however, develop in this manner. The ability to read and write can only be developed in children through teaching and active learning. For this reason it’s very important that we recognise the need for literacy in our children at a young age and take steps to imbue these skills early on in their development.

Why is this so important?

Isn’t it the job of schools to teach children to read and write? The answer is of course yes, but that does not mean that schools can do everything. Literacy is one of the most important benchmarks in the educational system. Almost all
educational resources are in written form and the ability to discern them is of vital importance. Almost all tests given to students throughout their education will be in written form and even listening tests require that answers are written down.

Amazingly, 46% of Australians between the ages 15-74 have poor to very poor literacy skills according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A poor foundation of literacy not only reduces the chances for success later in life, it also increases the chances of ‘dropping out’ of school at a young age.

What makes the difference?

Research has demonstrated that those students who have developed strong foundational pre-literacy skills before school tend to perform remarkably better throughout education and general life than those who lagged behind with pre-literacy skills.

There is a set of key factors which have been recognised as benefiting the transition from pre-literacy to literacy in young children.

1. Language ability and comprehension. A child’s ability to talk and to comprehend both narrative and direction is a key indicator for literacy success.

2. Letter identification. Understanding the different sounds which each letter represents is a key starting point for literacy.

3. Phonological control. The ability to control which sounds are made during speech.

4. Literacy promotion in the home. Children from families with books at home and those who participate in shared reading have been shown to perform better in the transition between pre-literacy and literacy.

What you can do

Whilst the primary function of early school education is to develop literacy in students, studies have shown that the most significant developments are made in the home. Those homes which provide access to books, alphabet materials, crayons, paper and
literacy games, tend to aid their child’s development into a literate youth dramatically. Reading newspapers together, visiting local libraries and practising the alphabet in the home are also excellent ways to assist the transition between pre-literacy and literacy.

Exposure to print is very important but it does not always have to be done deliberately and intentionally. Interacting with the world around you is a great way to promote literacy. Practice reading road signs, adverts and package labelling. Teaching literacy in this manner will help your child to learn about the world whilst also practising their literacy skills.

Language games are an easy way to help your child to improve their communication, vocabulary, awareness and literacy. Playing games like ‘I Spy’ will help your child to understand the need for written identification and it will help them to develop a greater understanding of the world around them.

The greatest progress in childhood literacy will come from the development of their skills within the home. Spending quality one on one time with your children to help them develop their literacy skills is an excellent way to improve their chances of success in the future.

After the Rain

I captured the scenery from the 3rd floor of a sight seeing tower. That day, the rain came suddenly and we ran toward the tower that not far from us. After the rain stopped, I took a few pictures. The one that I share here is a dancing fountain spot inside Nusantara Flower Park (Cipanas,West Java, Indonesia).

Feb 23, 2012

How to Make Your Eyes Look Their Best

Want to boost your glamour factor? As the windows to your soul, your eyes are a great place to start. Read on for excellent tips on eye care, eye makeup and brow grooming that will complement a beautiful eyebrow transplant.

Eye care

Always apply eye cream gently with your fourth finger and pat the cream back and forth under the eye from the outer corner and working inward. Don’t apply it on your eyelids at night because it will cause puffy lids as the cream prevents that fragile skin area from breathing.

To reduce eye bags, look for eye creams with ingredients like vitamin K and horse chestnut as they decrease puffiness and blood flow in the thin skin area. Another option is to place a cucumber slice on your eyelids for about ten minutes so the high water and mineral content of the cucumber can absorb into your fragile thin eye skin.

Mascara

To avoid the brush touching your eyelid when applying mascara, look down into a mirror and brush through lashes from roots to tips. Always wiggle your mascara wand on the base of your lashes so they can look long and thick. Also, eyelash curlers are perfect for opening up eyes. Curl at the base then at the halfway point, holding for about ten seconds each time.

Mascara formulations
· Lengthening – These mascaras are designed to make it easier to apply on eyelash tips, the best area for length extension.
· Thickening – Adds volume to the lashes with a darker pigment for a dense look.
· Curling – The best for short lashes with polymers that give lift and curve.
· Non-smudging – Waterproof mascara that repels water and reduces smudging and running, which is great for swimmers and criers. However, avoid excessive use as it dries out lashes.
· Non-clumping – Moisture-rich mascara that allows the mascara to glide on smoothly with its long bristles, but without the benefits of volume and length.

Eyeliner

Eyeliner is perfect for giving the look of thicker and long lashes, while also highlighting your eyes.

Eyeliner formulations
· Pencil – The easy, everyday option, but tends to smudge, so should be set with powder eyeshadow. However, kohl pencils are softer with an almost powdery consistency, which are good for soft daytime looks and smoky, evening eyes.
· Gel – Gel liners don’t dry as fast as liquid so there’s more time to blend. Fortunately, it lasts longer than the pencil and is smudge proof.
· Powder – The most natural-looking eyeliner, powder gives a softer line, but can wear off quickly, so an eyeliner brush is needed to apply.

Eyeliner colours

Women with brown eyes suit black sapphire shades, while blue or green eyes look great in brownish black colours.


Eye shadow

Eye shadow ultimately makes your eyes pop and can give a dramatic statement, whether it’s bright or smoky.

Eye shadow formulations
· Powder – Can be used both wet and dry and is the most versatile, long lasting shadow that works for all skin types. However, they can make lids look dry and can reveal fine lines.
· Cream – Cream shadows give a soft, younger look but gather in creases on oily skin. It’s best to blend with a brush and set with a powder shadow in the same shade for durability.
· Pencil – Containing shimmery shadow, the pencil is the most convenient and portable, and can double as eyeliner. Unfortunately, the pencil can wear down and lose its shape, so it needs to be regularly sharpened.

Eye shadow colours

For neutral shades, women with dark or olive skin look great in warm colours like peachy or golden taupes, whereas fairer skin suits icier shades like pale beiges and neutrals with cool pink undertones. For brighter colours, green eyes suit warm aubergine or violet shades, while a rich copper or gold colour suits blue eyes. Brown eyes can generally wear any shade.

Eyebrow grooming

The best area to start plucking and shaping brows is at the inner edge of your eyes and near the bridge of your nose. Form a gentle, tapered round edge, not a straight one. Remember to always pluck hairs from underneath the brow as close to the root as possible, pulling the hair out towards the temple in quick strokes.

For the ultimate in
eyebrow restoration for thin brows, use a brow powder or pencil to help create the illusion of a fuller brow. Use light and upward strokes, and then use a clear brow gel to hold hairs in place.

Financial Tips for Single Mother to Stay Away from Debt Burden

It is quite difficult to find financial assistance if you are a single mother. In order to find money for everything that you and your kids would require you have to face tough situations. This is the reason why governmental branches and private organizations have set up different aids to provide single mothers with necessary financial assistance that they need, including free money. If a single mother incurs debt then it becomes quite difficult for her to get out of debt. If you are facing such a situation you can opt for debt consolidation although this might not be your way out always. Thus you should always take advantage of the resources available to you for making the life of both yourself and your child more financially secure and debt free. Here is a list of some aids for single moms which can help you out.

1.Grants – Grants are dissimilar to loans in the respect that you don’t have to pay these back. These are given to those who need them the most. Most often you have to go through a screening process in order to determine your eligibility for qualifying for a grant. Usually grants are given to those who want to pursue higher education although there are other grants available for single mothers depending on your specific needs and where you stay.

2.The 529 savings plan – This aid is a special type of financial aid. This is a plan similar to a plan from tax advantages and specifically designed to help save money for college. This is usually offered mostly by state agencies and some educational institutes. The money from this plan is designed to use for higher education purposes such as college. Once your account is established anyone can contribute to the account in order to gather more funds for college education. You can find out more about the 529 plan and their eligibility criteria from their official website.

3.Sunshine Lady Foundation – This was established by Ms. Doris Buffet in 1996. The foundation is dedicated in helping mothers to get out of abusive relationships and be up on their feet once again. This fund provides money for educational purposes; offers scholarships and is dedicated in helping families out from crisis situation. You can visit their website to find out whether you qualify.

4.The Women’s Opportunity Awards – These are awards that are given to mothers who are the primary money earners for their families and who are stretching their options by going back to school. This is a cash award which recognizes hard work and rewards it with not only money but also the recognition a job well done. 

5.Our Families, our Future – This is an organization which is dedicated to lending a helping hand towards those who are trying to get back on their feet again. This helps in training women for specific positions in the work force which will allow single mothers to make a living and take care of their children without any help from government or welfare programs. 

6.Institutional grants – There are some colleges and universities which will offer you grants if you have already enrolled with them. for example if you want to take classes online then you would require a computer. However, when you are a struggling single mother, this expense is impossible to meet. There are some colleges that will provide you with computers for free with the understanding that the object is on loan until you complete your educational requirements. After that you get to keep the object.

Thus you can see how the following grants, programs and aids can help you out financially when you are a single mother.

Feb 22, 2012

6 Steps to Moving On After a Divorce

A divorce is a major life change, but it can be the first step to creating a new life and a happier you. The first thing you should do is have a plan, but before you do this seek legal advice to help attain what is rightfully yours – then you can assess your financial situation.

Next you’ll want to figure out what your options are in regards to housing – if you have decided to move out, the sooner you decide on a place and book removalists, the better. Just make sure to update all of your policies including your contents insurance.

Now that you have a plan you should:

1. Out with the old and in with the new - forget about the anger and cast away any feelings of regret. At some point you will have to accept this change. How quickly you do this is up to you, but remember that the time spent angry and regretful is wasted time – you can’t do anything about the past but you can do something for the future.

2. Define a new relationship with your ex – this is extremely important if you have kids together. Make sure you cast aside your old relationship as husband and wife and embrace your new relationship as common allies for your children.

3. Rally the support – this is your hour of need so get the troops together and tell them that you need some help. Your family and closest friends will be able to provide invaluable support to you in ways you never thought imaginable, so make sure you let them.

4. Think positive thoughts – it’s amazing what you can achieve with the power of positive thinking. Focus on your strengths and skills and use them to help you achieve your new plan.

5. Spend time with your kids – do something fun with them and talk to them about the divorce – just make sure you are supportive and receptive to their comments and questions.

6. Re-discover your passion – find something that will help you to get out of bed on even the most darkest of days.

Remember, divorces aren’t easy. Give yourself some time to get use to this huge change and your new life. And take some time for yourself. Every now and again, be selfish and do something that you like, whether it be getting a massage, joining a gym, partaking in a weekly aerobics class or reconnecting with an old hobby.

And surround yourself with positive people who make you laugh – there will be some rocky roads to travel down in the next year or so, but the journey will be less bumpy if you have great friends supporting you.

image : illustrationsof.com

Feb 18, 2012

Open Their Eyes: New Toys that Educate

From when a child is born, until he or she is about five years old, they will take in the most, learn the most and mentally grow the most of their entire life. A child’s brain is a sponge and they just soak up everything you throw at them. This age is when they learn to talk, and also the best time to teach them multiple other languages. It is the best time to introduce them to sports, and also to the arts, so they can find their passion and start developing it from a young age.

Fortunately, many toy manufacturers have realised this integral part of children’s lives and are designing more and more toys that will enable children to have fun and learn at the same time. So what is the latest one that can help your kids grow?

1. Flash cards
Many manufacturers have released various flash card products aimed at helping kids to learn from a young age. Flashcards generally consist of images and words that help kids commit concepts to memory and then put them into practice. Though they have been around for some time, they have improved over the years, as the knowledge of kid’s learning abilities has also improved. Different sets aim for different results.

2. Camera
A child’s imagination knows no boundaries – and imagine if you could not only capture things how they see them, but also help them develop the way they capture ideas so you can keep their memories forever. Manufacturers have newly released a range of digital cameras, aimed at children. With special, non-breakable cases, they enable kids to start developing their passion for imagery early.

3. Ipads
Iphones and Ipods offer a range of applications that cater specifically to kids. Many of them are free and you will be able to find apps to help with maths, languages, reading, coordination and a variety of other areas. Reasonably cost effective, an Ipad will also help them understand how to be gentle and careful, and introduce them to the most advanced technology, at a young age.

4. Books
Many online toy retailers sell everything from
children’s clothing through to accessories and learning devices. Most also sell a great range of educational books for children. Incorporating the latest ideas in teaching, combined with graphics and features that will keep kids entertained and intrigued, and help them to understand new ideas quickly and easily.

5. Wii
The next step in computer games and playing consoles is the Wii. Enabling users to move freely, simply holding a sensor, it teaches coordination among a range of other benefits. Wii is a particularly great tool for teaching kids, especially in the early stages. With a range of games designed specifically for younger users, it targets anything from maths and science through to reading and writing. Also covering the arts with singing and dancing, technology like this is a great addition to your child’s learning schedule.

Image:wiigamekids.com

Affordable Gifts for your Mother on Mother’s Day

Do you ever dare to deny the fact that “To a child's ear, 'mother' is magic in any language”? She is the magic in our lives; she has brought us on earth; she is the sole power reigning over our existence. There can never be a replacement for a mother. A mother is always a mother in any form. It all starts from an attachment that strikes soon after she conceives you. An intense bond that has ruled the earth for years, the mother-child relationship is undeniable and undefined. There is no end to her responsibilities and your mother never defies the fact. There is more to learn about this exclusive bond. It is a universal bond and is blessed by God.

Unconditional love is the one word that defines affection of a mother towards her child; after all she bore you for nine long months in her womb and after hour long efforts you came out. She was exhilarated at the sight of her little bundle of joy. It was her and solely her who held your curled up tender fingers after you were handed over to your mom.

She held you tight when you were afraid, fed you when you refused to gulp in meals, held your hands while dropping you to school. Most of all she has given you life. Your mother is the source of your existence. She has enjoyed every essence of motherhood and continues to do so. She has helped you grow with all her warmth and care.

Your mother’s nurturing skills have helped you stay away from odds. She fears at the thought of detaching herself from you. She knew how to respond to each of your emotions. Her love for you is eternal and she is no position to compromise on that.

Make her special on Mother’s Day

Friends, Mother’s day is approaching its time you prepare yourself and arrange something exclusive for your beloved Mom. If you are unable to squeeze time out of your busy schedule then online shopping is the best option for you. Moreover you get to pick from a host of items that are available at affordable prices.

“Always Yours” Teddy Bear: This cute teddy is symbolizes love and tenderness. She has given you the warmth and tenderness for all these years.

Hampers: Use your thoughts and ideas to gift her something special this time. If you are finding it tough to settle for a singular item then hamper will surely suit the deal. Hampers usually constitute of a wide range of products packaged in a basket or a box.

Perfumes available at affordable range: perfumes are what women love. Your mother always holds a fetish for sweet smelling fragrances. She would love to add a new aroma to her list of collection. Fragrance defines her eternal warmth for you. Online shopping sites offer branded perfumes at amazingly reduced price.
Mothers day gifts come in various shapes and size; but you need to have the eyes to gift choose the best for her; after all she has given you the best of life.

Author-Bio: Suzy Willium has penned down several articles on gifts ideas. Most importantly her write-ups are informative and interesting. She has used her skills and imaginations to write friendly articles on gifts ideas.

Feb 17, 2012

Best Personal Trainers in Toronto, Canada

You can’t do your most potential unless you’ve got physical fitness or you’re in good physical health. It’s not easy to reach and keep fitness. Actually, fitness is an outcome of physical work out, appropriate nutrition and diet, and also adequate rest. Fitness condition will enable every one to appear, feel, and perform their best. In addition, physical fitness will also help someone to reach mental watchfulness and healthy emotional expression. Fitness is very essential for all of us!

How to estimate your fitness? Well, experts will judge your fitness through examining four components: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. All those categories will determine the level of your recent physical fitness.

You’ve realized the importance of reaching your fitness goals. So, what should you do next? Let’s say that you’ve planned to exercise in a gym every day. But after a few sessions, you can’t continue the workout program as your daily tight schedules make you don’t have enough time left to go to a local gym and face the traffic.

If you live in Toronto, Canada, don’t need to worry at all. Why don’t you consider getting help of Toronto personal trainers? For busy people like you, personal home fitness trainers can become your best solution as the trainers will come to your home or office and work with you on your suitable schedules.

To get private, modified and comprehensive fitness program that you need, it’s much recommended to get certified fitness trainers at G Force Home Training, one of leading Personal Training Companies in Toronto. Their very qualified trainers –along with nutritionists- will help you personally to reach your health and fitness goals.

You can trust their excellent service, since they constantly revise their training approaches. Applying a home personal fitness trainer means that you’ll get many benefits. Your trainer will design your fitness program that suits your age and health condition, motivate and monitor your progress, train you to work out efficiently, guard you from injury, and guarantee your physical safety. Remember these advantages if you’re still unsure to apply personal fitness trainers!

Sky Watch : Bare Tree and Gloomy Sky

Here at Sky Watch Friday, I've seen photos of bare trees with the sky back ground. I remember that I have one in my archive, but mine has the gloomy sky. Hope it doesn't decrease the beauty.

1 to 8: The Perfect Gift Ideas

Christmas is coming at us again hard and fast, and before we know it we’ll be at the pointy end of the stick with no Christmas presents bought, no groceries done and no plans for how you’re going to pull it all off.

So you’ve decided to opt for online shopping when it comes to your kid’s toys this year? It’s a great choice – you get more variety, more ideas and more time to browse, without wasting time walking around from store to store. In just five minutes each day, you can get your entire shop done, without leaving your home, fighting the crowds or getting bogged down in things you don’t need. So what should be on your list this year?

For little boys:
- Figurines
While little boys may not be into dolls as such, there are a vast range of figurines being released regularly, that everyone wants to get their hands on. Think about the latest kid’s Hollywood action movie that your son liked, there will definitely be a figurine to match it. You can get soldier figures with guns that work and attachments that change, robots, flying ones, superheroes and a range of other dolls that boys will be more than happy to play with.

- Collectables
A step away from figures, and perhaps for the slightly older boy, collectibles are usually made around cult films, and if kept in mint condition, can fetch a hefty price when sold in years to come. If your child is a bit of a sci-fi geek, think about starting, or adding to their collection of collectables.

- Computer and console games
Becoming more and more popular and growing in range continuously, are computer and console games. This year, if you have a Wii or Playstation, why not get your child up and out of their seat, with a game that requires some physical activity. A great option is an extreme sports game, for example snow boarding, where your child will have to weave, turn and jump around to make his way to the bottom of the mountain.

- Projects:
Finally, over the Christmas break, you are going to have your child at home for up to six weeks, so you want to keep them busy. Think
online toys that are a bit of a project. Leggo in particular put out a great range of very intricate and detailed technical building projects – so grab yourself a few!

Little girls:
- Dolls
It’s something you can never go past and always an easy stocking filler. As well as the princesses and female characters from the latest Hollywood movies, Barbie generally releases a new doll or two around Christmas time, and if not, you can’t forget the classics like baby born or Bratz dolls. If your daughter has enough dolls, what about accessories?

- Camera
Toy manufacturers have this year released a digital camera just for kids. With a hard casing that makes it drop resistant, it is a great gift to make her feel grown up and like mummy, and also to capture life how she sees it.

- Books
If, like most, your little girl is quite the reader, why not make a book or two a staple of the Christmas stocking every year? It means you take up some space, but more importantly, at least one of your gifts is a little educational.

- Projects
The best project type gifts around for little girls are the ones that enable them to create their own little fashion items. Thinks like bedazzlers, and fashion kits will be a hit and keep her entertained for hours.

Feb 16, 2012

Vintage Jewellery Storms Fashion Week

During London fashion week, several of the hottest runway shows had one striking feature in common - vintage jewellery. This trend can hardly be called a trend anymore; it''s been around for years and it looks like it''s here to stay. Yet another reason to start building your very own stunning vintage jewellery collection!

The eras on display varied greatly. This is one of the very best aspects of vintage jewellery and clothing - anything goes! Whether you prefer the free-spirit feathers and fringe of the 1970''s or the primly flirtatious 1950''s, it''s all in style. Check out the runways for inspiration, then hit the stores to dig up your very own vintage treasures.

Old and New

One of the hottest ways to wear vintage is to mix pieces from bygone eras with the very latest in haute couture. These unexpected pairings look fresh, fun and give you a chance to follow the trends while still sticking to your own personal style.Active wear got a fresh look on UK runways this year. This ''new'' trend could actually be considered a throwback to the athletics-heavy 80''s or even 90''s, when sportswear was a style staple. While the newest fashions incorporate sportswear fabrics in unexpected ways, we''re sure you can think up some great original ideas of your own to try out this trend.

Flowery Fresh

Another hot trend this year is patterns. Florals are always a popular pattern, and this year they''re as big as ever - literally! Designers are forgetting the safe, demure small polka dots and floral patterns of previous years and creating designs that are as beautiful as they are big. Now, the savvy vintage shopper could take this trend a few different ways. Flowers were practically a necessity in the 1960''s, but floral patterned dresses were also huge in the 1950''s. Regardless of which era draws your attention, there are tons of beautiful vintage dresses out there sporting large floral prints in bold colors.

Not feeling up to wearing an entire dress in a bold floral? Try a scarf instead. Wrapped around your neck, tied as a belt or worn in your hair, scarves are an ideal way to try out new trends. Even better, vintage fashion is full of scarves! For a really fresh take on the floral trend, steal some style tips from urban life and knot a bright, bold flowered scarf around your head. Let the ends flow out from beneath your hair in the back to up the femininity. This totally unexpected look is a little bit gangster, a little bit couture, a little bit hippie and one-hundred-percent hot.

It''s easy to see just how versatile and fun the hottest runway looks are this year. Even better, they feature some of the most beautiful vintage jewellery and vintage-inspired patterns in recent memory! Have fun adding some new pieces to your vintage collection, inspired by the latest designer trends. Remember that the best and most stylish looks don't'' come from directly copying trends - they come from taking those trends and making them your own.

Feb 15, 2012

Broken Hill- Good Enough for Princess Mary

Broken Hill
Princess Mary’s recent visit to Broken Hill in NSW provided welcome media attention on the mining town as well as the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The royal’s interest in the important work of the service may bring a focus for increased tourism to the region. Broken Hill, like other mining towns, often has more going for it than what is found beneath the surface.


Capital of the OutbackUnless you are travelling in a private jet, flanked by body guards carrying high tech communication devices and reside in a Royal palace then travel insurance is a fine idea. A road trip through the outback beginning at Broken Hill can be a great adventure. Travellers often use the town as a starting point to explore the great Australian interior; hence Broken Hill carries the title of ‘Capital of the Outback’.


Travel InsuranceTravel insurance can cover for such things as sports, hiking and other physical activities associated with an outback adventure or travelling through isolated areas. Travel insurance provides peace of mind and allows you to let go and enjoy your travel experience. You can feel as gracious as Princess Mary when greeting strangers knowing your health and valuables are secure.


BallaratAnother Australian mining town worth visiting is Ballarat in Victoria. Known mainly for its gold mining boom and bloody revolution at Eureka Stockade, Ballarat has many notable attributes. Ballarat accommodation is both central and plentiful; visitors can enjoy fine heritage buildings, historical sites and fossicking.

Ballarat is a Local Government Area with a tradition of strong community development; as could be witnessed in Broken Hill for the arrival of Princess Mary. This local support for the RFDS was evident at the luncheon reception for Princess Mary. The Broken Hill Ladies Auxiliary, long renowned as fund raisers and supporters, were honoured guests at the function.


The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is an essential medical service for those living in rural and remote areas of Australia. The presence of Princess Mary of Denmark provided an ideal opportunity for the RFDS to formally acknowledge the support of the Broken Hill community. Broken hill is also a major base for The School of the Air. School of the Air is an organisation that provides educational correspondence for primary and secondary school children living in remote areas.


Environment Sustainability Strategy
The Environment Sustainability Strategy is a proposition for ensuring Ballarat’s development is environmentally sound. According to the City of Ballarat website, “the strategy will not only implement protection and enhancement of the natural environment it will raise awareness and increase community’s participation and partnerships in environmental issues”.


Community Spirit
Both Ballarat and Broken Hill are towns that share something special in common; community spirit. These communities give backing to important organisations and schemes aimed at aiding the environment and citizens while at the same time securing the health and wellbeing of future generations.

image:shutterstock.com

Feb 13, 2012

5 Cards for Special Occasions

Cards of all types are a wonderful way to show appreciation to friends, families and clients. Printing services can provide visually appealing cards very easily. Designing cards for Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day is also enhanced by graphic design software. Although electronic greeting cards are popular, printing cards is a more personal way to convey a message.

There are many occasions on which to give a card.

Christmas
As a thank you
Valentine’s day
Birthdays
Anniversaries

Christmas

The most popular time of the year to distribute cards is Christmas. Mass produced cards are popular and many are recyclable. Charities also produce Christmas cards. These cards serve two purposes; they convey a Christmas greeting and provide funds for the charity. They are a convenient way to contribute towards good causes at Christmas.

Not everybody celebrates Christmas, so for some people, cards for other celebrations such as Hanukkah are more appropriate. However, Christmas cards are such a major tradition that few people are offended if they receive one.

Thank you
Thank you cards are appropriate for all occasions. They are a kind way to show appreciation to somebody for a good deed or favour. Many people are naturally generous and they are rarely thanked. A card says that the thoughtful deed was noticed and appreciated. It also encourages people to continue acting considerately.

Valentine’s Day
Many people spend a great deal of money on Valentine’s Day. However, it is not always necessary. A simple card can say ‘I love you’ as effectively as a present. A Valentine’s Day card is a thoughtful way to acknowledge a new relationship. A card does not pressure the recipient to reciprocate. It can be a simple acknowledgement of friendship or love.

Birthdays
Sometimes it is difficult to know whether a friendship merits a gift or whether this is inappropriate. A good way to acknowledge a friend’s birthday without embarrassing them is to send a card. An e-card is often chosen, however, printing one is more personal. A card is a considerate way to convey a message of warmth and good cheer for a birthday. The fact that the day was remembered is often worth more than any gift.

Anniversaries
There are many anniversaries in life. Most people celebrate milestones in relationships. Anniversaries of marriages, first dates, first kisses or first meetings are often commemorated by couples. Remembering an anniversary is important to many women in relationships. So a card that celebrates a milestone is always appreciated. It shows caring and thoughtfulness and a serious attitude towards the relationship.

Cards are a wonderful way to remember many milestones and anniversaries. They are a considerate method of showing appreciation and care. Cards can be homemade or mass produced and printing services can provide both types. Cards are available commercially for almost every occasion. However, making cards is also simple. Sometimes a homemade card will be more appreciated because of the time taken to produce it. Any card of any kind on any occasion is a generous gift.

Feb 10, 2012

5 Tips on Engagement Ring Etiquette

Thinking about asking your beloved to marry you? If it’s your first time, you might be wondering about engagement ring etiquette. Even though engagements can be pretty casual these days, there’s still a long tradition of engagement etiquette that some people might want to follow. Here are some tips on some proper behaviour related to engagements and engagement rings.

1. How much should the ring cost?

Not everyone has the same budget, of course. Etiquette says that an engagement ring should cost about 3 months’ worth of the man’s salary. However, it really is a matter of taste and budget: some partners may be happy with a smaller ring. After all, true love should not really have a price and we’ve seen women happy to receive a simple silver band as an engagement ring. As long as it expresses your love and shows a significant commitment (budgetary or otherwise), any ring will work!

2. Can you choose it together?

Of course. There’s no reason why the marriage proposal has to be accompanied by a ring. If you absolutely want to buy your beloved an engagement ring, it’s perfectly okay to visit the jeweller together and choose a ring that will fit your budget and that your partner will like. And it’s also okay to share the cost if your partner insists. It’s a bit frowned upon for the woman to buy all the rings, but if everyone pitches in, it’s more acceptable.

3. Does the man have to wear a ring?

Traditionally, only the woman wears an engagement ring, but again in these liberated times some men might also want to show their betrothal with a ring. Same-sex couples can also go the traditional way (the askee wears a ring and the asker doesn’t) or both can sport an engagement ring. It’s always good to discuss these things when considering an official engagement.

4. What if the engagement breaks off?

This is one of the trickiest points of etiquette related to engagement rings. It usually depends on who breaks off the engagement and where the ring comes from. For a heirloom ring, it should be given back to the owning family, no matter who breaks off the engagement. Heirlooms are important symbolic objects and should not be kept by a woman (or man) with no intention of joining the family. If the man breaks off the engagement, it is acceptable for the woman to keep the ring. If the woman breaks it off, the man can ask for its return and the woman should give it back. Making provisions about the ring (especially if it has high value) in the prenuptial agreement can prevent many problems.

5. Should she wear the ring after the wedding?

Congratulations! You are now married. Some women wear both rings during the entire length of the marriage, while others simply keep the engagement ring in their jewellery box and wear only the wedding band. It’s a matter of personal choice these days, and unless your family is very conservative, just do what feels right to you.

Thinking about
flowers, venue, catering and wedding bands can be overwhelming, but getting the engagement ring right will definitely give a good start to your marital life.

Skywatch : Sunset Sky

Captured a few days ago from the moving car. It's still inside my city (Bogor, West Java, Indonesia)
Sky Watch Friday

Feb 8, 2012

The Sport of Golf Holidays Offers You the Best Opportunity to Relax with Your Family

Forget about golf widows, or indeed golf widowers. Whether it’s a day out or golf holidays over a fortnight, golf can be family fun. First of all, pick the right golf course. Don’t take the family to a golf club where children are not welcome or may be treated with disdain by the club staff. Find a course with a small, nine-hole putting green that could be a suitable starting place for an enthusiastic youngster who would like to learn the sport.

Nature Studies

Walk around the course and the sides of the fairways, through copses and long grass and teach your children about nature. Sheep and cattle graze the coarse grass on golf courses on Scotland’s west coast. Other courses in Britain have sand dunes and heath lands, limestone grasslands and parklands. Stroll around slowly and leave everyone to explore at their own pace. You might even try some bird watching!

Make it a more social occasion by arranging a day out on the golf course with other friends and their families. Some may play golf, others may not, but everyone will enjoy the day outdoors. There are usually facilities for those who just want to sit with a drink and relax.

Lessons

Don’t waste the opportunity to get your children to learn the sport. The younger they are when they first take up a golf club, the better they will be. There’s no need for any heavy persuasion to introduce children to golf. Leave them alone to wander around the course and, eventually, they will become curious about the game. You can teach them to be your caddy when they are strong enough to lift the bags.

Always enlist an instructor to teach family members to play golf. Children, most of all, will quickly tire of listening to you telling them what to do on golf holidays. They get enough of that at home and this is supposed to be fun.

As they take lessons and maybe win an occasional competition, their sporting success will translate into more confident personalities. Very soon, you may find that you are having regular family golfing. That’s when you might have to prepare for the time when your kids beat you at golf.

Tournaments

Major sporting events are always fun family days out. Try to take the family to a professional golf tournament whenever one is held nearby and you can get the tickets. An interest in a sport will develop in almost anyone who watches the real masters of game competing.

Many golf courses today are attached to larger-scale leisure centres and hotels that cater especially for families. Even if a family member does not want to play or watch golf, there will be something else to do such as tennis or swimming.

5 Great Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Instead of buying your mother the same tired looking flowers or box of chocolates get her something a little different for Mother's Day. Show her how much you appreciate all the things she has ever done for you. Gift baskets can be filled with luxurious products to really pamper your mum or gift hampers can be delivered to her door packed with all her favourite treats she loves to eat.

Helicopter flight

Give your mum something really different for Mother's Day and book her in for an exciting helicopter ride. For an experience she will never forget helicopter rides operate all over Australia, so to find one near you hop online, contact the tourist information in your state or look under 'joy flights' in the phone book. To make it a bit special book her in where she will be taken over spectacular scenery and perhaps go along with her, she might feel more brave with someone else there. Helicopter flights operate over Melbourne, Sydney, Fremantle, the Hunter Valley and you can even book in to learn how to fly it yourself.

Cooking class

With the ever increasing popularity of cooking shows why not give your mum a taste of what it is like to make those special recipes. There is a wide choice of cooking classes available, whether you go for an international cuisine, like Chinese, Thai or Indian food, or you might choose something like Italian or French. There are classes for beginners and you may choose something more specific like learning how to make desserts or even chocolates. Some cooking schools offer weekend accommodation so think about spoiling your mum with a whole package.

Gift basket

You can make up your own gift basket and choose all those things that you know you mum really loves, or you can buy one already made up. There are plenty to choose from to suit all occasions and budgets. Gift baskets can contain anything from food, bath products, skincare products, vouchers, music, books, perfume, chocolates, cook books, incense, candles, tea and coffee or basically anything else you can think of.

Make over and portrait

Spoil your mum and book her in for a make over and photography shoot. Give mum the works with a new hair cut and colour, a manicure and pedicure and then finish up with professional makeup. Find a photographer that will take either glamour portraits in the studio or have some lovely natural shots done outside. You might want to include the whole family and have a new family portrait done. She will love this gift as it will make a beautiful keepsake.

Day spa

Every mum would love a gift of a visit to a day spa. Give her a whole day of treatments or choose either a massage, a beauty treatment or facial. Day spas offer a wide choice of luxurious treatments or if you can't decide give your mum a voucher so she can pick what she really wants. She will really appreciate it.

Image:fotosearch.com

Feb 7, 2012

Do You Like Goat Satay?

Lately, I have no new captures, except food photos that are included in our menu. We’ve just launched our new small eating place last Friday (Feb 3rd). Our goat satay is made from young goat meat. You’ll love its juicy and tenderness.Ruby Tuesday 2

Wardrobe Necessities for Stylish Pregnant Women


Just because you are pregnant it doesn’t mean you have to say “no” to style, as there is a lot of great maternity clothing out there that is both functional and fashionable. Gone are the days of feeling and looking frumpy and uncomfortable during your pregnancy as there are great styles for every need. Whether you are going out for a night on the town, having a picnic with friends or getting some exercise at the gym, there are plenty of beautiful and useful maternity clothes to choose from.

The Intimates


Just like any other time, you want your maternity underwear to fit properly, look nice and be super comfortable. These days, you can find everything you need for under-the-clothes comfort plus a variety of colour and style choices. Perhaps the most important is the maternity bra, a garment that will need to be replaced often as you progress through your pregnancy. The right support will ensure you have no soreness when your breasts are heavier, and will also be useful following pregnancy while you are still breastfeeding. A comfortable undershirt is also useful if you find yourself pregnant in the cooler months, and are super easy to buy in bulk from stores, such as Bonds, online.

Activewear


Although it is normal to gain as much as 13 kilos during pregnancy, it is still important to exercise regularly in order to retain and improve flexibility, cardiovascular strength as well as muscular strength. Many pregnant women choose to continue their exercise regimes throughout their pregnancy, and so many great styles of activewear have been developed. Whether you are jogging, cycling or practicing yoga, there is a style that is suitable and comfortable for a growing belly. Maternity swimwear is a must-have for those who prefer swimming, or who just want to relax in water to take the pressure off swollen joints.


Maternity Tops


Tops are the most versatile and useful maternity clothing items as they come in the largest variety of colours, styles and shapes that will keep you comfortable as your belly grows. These days, pregnancy wear is becoming much more trendy making it easier to find something that suits your style so you can look and feel great. Tops that every pregnant woman should have in her closet include the slouchy-style shirts that leave enough room for you to grow, cardigan tops that can be worn over any size of belly and a wrap that can be worn as loose or as tight as is desired.


Maternity Dresses


There is a lot that makes you uncomfortable when you are pregnant, and the clothes you wear shouldn’t be one of them. If it is the right season, maternity dresses are extremely useful to those who feel that the clothes they wear are restricting them. Additionally, wearing a dress eliminates the need for pants that can often pinch or dig uncomfortably into your lower belly. Dresses also come in many styles; so you can find a dress that will be suitable for any occasion from a summer picnic to a formal cocktail party.

Feb 3, 2012

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones Overseas

Holidays and birthdays can be a hard time when you have a loved one abroad. As much as you want them to be at home to celebrate with you, many people simply cannot afford to fly home or get the time off from work. The chances are good that if you miss them, then they miss you too, and they would really appreciate a gift from home, and to know that you are thinking about them. There are lots of great gifts that are easy to send or have delivered to your loved one, so here are a few ideas.



Flowers are classic gifts to give your loved one, and luckily for you, they are extremely easy to order online and to have delivered to most places in the world. Whether you want to send Valentines Day flowers, birthday flowers or just to say, "I'm thinking of you", you can browse through hundreds of bouquets online and choose the perfect one. Your loved one will be over the moon when the fresh bouquet arrives at their door.


Care Packages
You know your loved one really well, and so you probably know some of their favourite things from home that they may be missing. Sending care packages is a great way to help ease the culture shock or homesickness that is common for travellers, especially if they are filled with all their favourite foods, music, games or anything else from home. If you are short on time, it is easy to order a gift basket online and have it sent straight to your loved one, wherever they may be.


Reading Material

If your loved one is a big reader, then they will appreciate a gift of books, newspapers or magazines, especially if the reading materials are from home. If they have a favourite magazine, then getting them a subscription for it will ensure they receive one regularly. E-readers and Kindles are also a great option, especially if they are sent along with a gift voucher to an online bookstore such as Amazon, which will mean that they can choose a title from all of their favourites and have access to all the newest releases as well.


Video

Although you may already be talking regularly over Skype, a video greeting is another gift idea for your loved one who can't come home to visit during holidays. Get as many different people as possible to record their own personalised greeting, and your loved one will be able to play the messages as many times as they want while they're away.


Digital Picture Frame

Sending pictures to people overseas has never been easier now that there is digital picture frame technology. These are great because you can load them up with thousands of photos, and they will still be small and light enough to send abroad. Your loved one will enjoy the continuous slide show of pictures from home, especially if they are feeling homesick. Additionally, you can continue to send photos in digital form throughout the time you loved one is away, and they can easily load the photos onto the digital frame with the others.

Objects in Mirror: They More Beautiful than They Appear

Beauty is something every woman notices, even if she prides herself on never judging a book by its cover. It is difficult not to notice the beauty in things, even if it is not immediately evident, such as a wonderful book with an ugly cover or the sweet disposition of a ferocious looking dog. Because women are so conscious of beauty in every aspect of their lives, they are especially critical of themselves.


When a woman feels anything less than beautiful it shows in many forms; her self-esteem suffers, her confidence is lacking and she feels powerless instead of powerful. All of these negative feelings have a negative impact on a woman’s immune system and overall quality of life, which is particularly detrimental to women who have been diagnosed with cancer.


A cancer diagnosis is like a thief; it sneaks up on a woman and takes her most valuable possessions when she isn’t looking. At that moment it time, a women’s life flashes before her eyes and even the simplest of things can seem out of reach, especially if the cancer has a low life-expectancy or is really aggressive. Even a woman’s ability to see herself as beautiful can be stripped away. Fortunately, women can fight cancer by not allowing it to take away their happiness and their ability to feel beautiful in their own skin.


One way a woman can feel beautiful, even when she sees herself as anything but is to do something really decadent for herself. A trip to the spa or salon, an appointment for a professional makeup artist to do her makeup or a shopping trip where she purchases herself the most amazing shoes she’s ever seen can make a woman feel instantly more beautiful.


Another way she can make herself feel beautiful is to dress up and go out for some fun, whether it is with her husband, significant other or her girlfriends. Dressing up to the nines and letting go of all of her stress for the night is a surefire method to feel beautiful.


Something a woman can do for herself on a daily basis is to create an “I love you because…” frame. Take a simple photo frame and place a piece of pretty stationary with the phrase “I love you because…” on it inside the frame in place of a photo. Place the frame on the kitchen counter with a dry erase marker next to it and every morning when she wakes up, she can see what her family members wrote on the frame for her. “I love you because….you took me to the movies last night” or “I love you because…you make the best spaghetti in town” or “I love you because…you are beautiful inside and out” or any other reason a woman’s family has for loving her is sure to make her feel like a million dollars, despite her cancer diagnosis.

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