10 benefits of being a dog owner

Owning a pet has become commonplace for many cultures, which is understandable as they offer companionship and unconditional love, especially for the elderly and the blind. But dogs offer more than that. Surely you would have noticed how your furry companion is not just a pet, but rather part of the family. Although they cannot talk, give you advice, and all the other perks that come with human interaction, they can still be your best friend.

Sure, they can be expensive and even a nuisance at times (chewing up the furniture, weeing on the bed, to name a few) but they can also bring so many benefits to your life.

1. You will feel less stressed

There have been studies to suggest that dogs decrease stress levels. That means petting you dog, playing with your dog, and just being around your furry friend can improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

2. You will feel safe

Dogs can be an expensive but highly trustworthy burglar alarm. Thanks to your dog’s great sense of hearing and loud barking to alert you of a possible intruder, you can sleep better at night, which will do wonders to your physical and mental health.

3. You will get sick less often

Having a dog in the house means more germs. Fact. Yet the more you are exposed to these germs and bacteria, it can help build up your immunity to disease. In turn, people with dogs are less likely to get sick than non-dog owners.

4. You will feel happier

Not only can dogs help with your physical health, but they can make a huge difference to your mental health too. Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. That’s because having a dog to take care of enforces a routine that can help them out of a depressive episode. The interaction and mutual love from a dog can help people stay positive and focused, and may even be a great alternative to medication.

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5. Your kids are less likely to have allergies

Children who grow up in a house with a dog have fewer allergies and are less likely to have eczema. Also, kids who are raised around a dog, will have higher levels of immune system supporters to keep them in good shape as they get older.

6. You’ll have better heart health

Did you know that petting a dog lowers your heart rate and blood pressure? Studies show that pet owners have lower cholesterol and are therefore more likely to survive a heart attack. Other studies show that those who own a dog have less restless nights and are sick less often.

7. You will get more exercise

When it comes to exercise, there’s no excuse. There’s even less excuse when you’re a dog owner – you have to exercise daily. Most dog owners will walk for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and greatly improving your overall health.

8. You have a better social life

You’re more likely to be approached when taking a dog for a walk than if you were to go alone. In fact, polls show that people trust dog owners and will feel more inclined to go up and talk to them.

9. You may detect cancer sooner

Your dog could possibly play a role in saving your life one day. It appears that due to their amazing sense of smell, dogs have the ability to detect cancer sooner than a human would. There have been stories from many dog owners of their dog sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body and after getting it checked out, turned out to be cancerous.

10. You become a better person

Having a dog teaches us a lot about ourselves and can ultimately shape who we are. We have to learn to be patient, selfless and committed. Dogs can be hard work sometimes, but they are the best teachers and the best friends you can have.

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4 Beauty Tips That Will Save You Time and Money

If you’re anything like me, then you’ll cherish every last minute and every last second of being in bed in the morning. Who doesn’t? I hit snooze three or four times, I crawl back under the covers and sleep in until I decide enough is enough. Another thing that takes up a lot of time: makeup. I rarely leave the house without wearing makeup. And on those days where you wake up late and you have little time to get ready, it can be a nightmare.

How about getting ready and out the door in under 20 minutes? Sound better? It can certainly be done.

  1. Baby Powder for fuller eyelashes

    This is pure genius. How you apply the baby powder is up to you – I find that using my fingers works fine. Alternatively you can use a cotton bud / q-tip. It’s best to do this in the bathroom or over a sink as it can make quite some mess. Afterwards, apply a few coats of mascara and you will see a big difference in how fuller and thicker your eyelashes appear.

  2. Use eyeshadow as eyeliner

    Applying eyeliner can be very tricky and takes up a lot of time. Using eyeshadow is better in many ways as there’s less chance of it smudging (thus no need to hastily reapply it) and in the long run can be much cheaper than having to regularly purchase a new eyeliner. It’s best to apply the eyeshadow using an angled eyeliner brush, but don’t worry too much if you don’t have one on hand, any thin brush will be fine. This creates a softer, less intense look than eyeliner, which is great for days where you want a subtle makeup look.

  3. Lipstick as blusher

    You don’t have to spend loads on a high-end blusher. In fact, you don’t have to spend anything at all. As long as you have a light pink/coral shade of lipstick, it will give the same look as a cream blush. Dabbing it on lightly with your fingers will brighten up your complexion while giving you a healthy, natural glow.

  4. It’s all about lipstick

    On days when you only have 5 minutes to get ready, forget everything else, just wear a bright lipstick. A bright lip can create the illusion that you’ve taken time to apply your makeup even if you’ve only just got out of bed. Not to mention the fact that it makes your smile brighter.

Social media: The impact on Mental Health

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Let’s face it. Many of us rely on technology more than we should. I’ll admit that I have a love/hate relationship with it. As a freelance writer and blogger, I rely on social media sites to connect with people and to find out about new opportunities. Now there’s nothing wrong with that but the problem arises when we become ADDICTED, when we feel like we NEED to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram every minute of every day. The whole concept is a bit mad, though. Instead of having a conversation with people face to face, many of us have replaced this with talking through a screen. How is that preferable?

What’s even worse is social media’s ability to make people feel bad about themselves. We lose who we are when we start manipulating our photos to the point where it doesn’t look like ourselves anymore. If anything it’s sad.

Here’s why:

You’re not being yourself 

What is the one piece of advice that everyone always tells you? Just be yourself.  But are you really being true to yourself by using apps to alter what is real? Most of us probably cannot distinguish what is real and what is not anymore. Here’s a scenario for you. You’ve had a bad day so you turn to Instagram (probably not the best idea, but hey!) and you decide to upload a selfie, which takes waaaay longer than necessary, to let other people know that you are in fact, OK. The truth is you’re not – far from it. But they don’t know that, no, you’ve captioned it with a smile emoji. That obviously means you’re happy. So for a brief moment even you can believe the lie you’ve told everyone else. Of course there is the alternative. You can upload a photo of yourself crying with a glass of red in one hand and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s in the other and caption it ‘I’ve had a shit day’ but no no no, that would be attention seeking. God forbid you show the world the truth.

It can be deceiving 

I remember talking to this girl from my school through Facebook all the time. We had a lot in common and could talk for ages about anything. I started to consider her a friend, well, up until I realised we never actually spoke in person. I’m not exaggerating here – we didn’t say one word to each other. I put it down to both of us being quite shy but it did make me think a bit more about how someone can appear confident online yet be completely different in the real world. It does make sense. When we talk to someone though a screen we don’t have to worry about what our laugh sounds like, if we blurted out the wrong thing, or most importantly what we look like. It can be like a comfort blanket to us, and when it’s taken away, we’re not sure how to react or how to cope without it.

Social media is not accurate

In real life, likes mean absolutely nothing. There’s no filters, no editing and no perfect lighting. That’s what is real. There’s something thing that is better than apps and games – a whole world out there waiting for you to discover what it has to offer. After all you can’t taste a strawberry cheesecake through a screen, you can’t hear the sound of waves splashing against rocks, you can’t play with someone’s dog, or feel someone’s hand. They’re just photographs that people want you to see. A construction of how they want to appear in the virtual world.

All about wax melts

Recently I’ve developed a little obsession with candles and wax melts, to the point where I’ll walk in a shop and smell every single one. So I was very excited when Simply Candles kindly sent me some of their soy wax melts to review. They generously sent me the selection pack which has 20 scents, so I could try them out and see which ones are my favourites. First of all, I really love the packaging, it’s very cute and would make an ideal gift for someone who loves their scents. I mean look at that ribbon!

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It’s been about a week and I’m already half way through the bag so that says a lot about how much I’m loving them! The wax melts are quite small in size so naturally I didn’t expect them to give off a strong smell. I was SO wrong. I started burning the Fig and Cassis one in the living-room, and I’m not joking when I say I could smell it around the whole house. It’s the kind of scent that transports you outside and instantaneously feels like summer. But it’s not too overpowering either. On the website they recommend melting your melt for 10 – 30 minutes at at time so that way you can use it multiple times and really make the most out of the scent. And even after blowing out the tealight you still continue to smell it.

Honestly, considering the strength of  fragrance and the price, these are brilliant. You can pick up a bag of 20 for £3 or you can select your own scents and get 6 soy wax melts for just£1! I recommend you have a look on their website here and see if anything tickles your fancy. If you’re stuck on which ones to try, then my favourites so far are Damson Plum, Rose & Patchouli, Fig and Cassis, Pink Champagne & Pomelo and Mediterraneo. These scents really make me feel all warm and relaxed. The best part is that each one is unique to fit whichever mood you are in. So if you’re under a lot of stress lately, light one of these while you’re in the bath with a glass of wine = heaven.

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All in all, yes I will buy them in the near future! These wax melts are great for special occasions, if you’re having friends and family round, or if you just want to treat yourself. And for the price, well, have you ever seen a better offer? I have a feeling they are going to be very popular very soon, that’s all I can say.

 

Top 3 lipsticks for £5

OK, so I don’t write many of these types of posts, but then I thought why not? Everybody loves a decent lipstick. And everybody loved a good bargain! But first of all let me tell you that I know nothing about make-up, seriously. So in other words, don’t blame me if you do go out and buy any of these lipsticks and find yourself not satisfied with it. But come on, they are £5!

  1. Rimmel Kate Lipstick Nude 48

    I bought this a couple of weeks ago thinking that I’d probably hate it. The reason being I’m really pale and I wasn’t sure it would suit me. But as soon as I put it on, I loved it. I really really love it, which still surprises me as prior to this I’d never worn a dark shade lipstick in my life. It applies well and like the others, lasts for quite some time. It also doesn’t go patchy which is a big relief.

  2. Rimmel Kate Matte Lipstick Soft Pink 101

    I went out and bought this because I’d seen a few YouTubers talking about it, so I thought it must be good. And it is, it’s great. It’s a nice colour, very easy on the eye – perfect for School or College, or if you’re going for a more subtle look. I also use it on my face as blusher, and it gives a slight hint of colour to your cheeks.

  3. Rimmel Kate Lipstick Nude 45

    The best nude lipstick, hands down. It is my go to lipstick, in fact I wear it most days. It’s great all year round but specifically works well during spring and summer, as it’s not too over the top and the shade is very pretty. It also lasts pretty long considering how cheap it is. Highly recommend this if you’re looking for the perfect nude!

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So as you can tell, I’m a big Rimmel Kate fan. Cheap and cheerful, as I’d like to put it. Have you found any great lipsticks recently? Feel free to share them with me.

 

Why I quit my job to become a freelance writer

That’s right – I quit my job without another one lined up. Stupid decision? Probably. But it worked out OK in the end.

Back in January I started working at a photo shop (I’m not giving away the actual name) as a Sales Assistant. I hadn’t had much previous experience and I felt incredibly shy and a little bit awkward. The manager was lovely, in fact that was the only reason I didn’t leave on the very first day. I kept being encouraged to stay, to see how things go, and needless to say I realised it just wasn’t working. I cringed every time someone walked into the shop, felt my heart hammering in my chest whenever I had to serve someone, not to mention the number of times I cried whenever I made a mistake. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t do it, but my heart wasn’t in it. Each day I dreaded going in – not the usual ‘oh, I don’t fancy going into work today’ dread – but more of ‘I feel like I’m suffocating and on the verge of a breakdown’ kind of dread.

I had a long chat with the manager, who as kind as she was, offered me tons of advice. She reminded me that I had to do whatever it took to make myself happy, and that if I wasn’t happy being there, I should go. And I did. I left that day feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, as if I could breathe again. But the next day I felt awful. I just kept thinking what have I done?  I’d quit before I had even given it a chance and already I regretted it. Although deep down I knew for the sake of my mental health I couldn’t have stayed another day. The decision might have been selfish but sometimes putting yourself first is the thing you need to do the most. So I spent the next few months looking for writing jobs. The truth is I love writing; it gave me a voice I didn’t even know I had. I thrived off every like, every comment, every share, and I knew that I had to keep going.

The life of a freelance writer is hard to say the least. Finding that first paid writing gig can take months, but it could be done, I knew that much. So I started writing for various websites for free, gaining exposure and experience along the way. I checked job sites and writing boards everyday. I sent out email after email, and despite most of them being ignored, a handful of them actually replied. Now I have several clients of whom I regularly communicate with. And although I’m not exactly where I want to be, and I know I do have a long way to go, I feel happier.

Here’s the secret: if you persist, you can get almost anything you want.

5 Reasons Your Siblings Are Your Best Friends

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Ahh. Your siblings. Sometimes you look at them and feel your chest bursting with affection, other times you feel like throwing a book at them. That’s love. But it’s a different kind of love – it’s one that is always there, despite all the arguments and the tears – somehow it only brings you closer to one another.

Here are five reasons why your siblings are actually your best friends.

1. They know you better than anyone

Of course they do. You may not know it, but they’ve been looking up to you for a long time. They’ve been studying you from a young age which means that over the years they have picked up on when you’re lying, when you’re feeling down, and when there’s something on your mind. They just know.

2. They can always make you laugh

You have inside jokes that no one else knows about. And whenever you’ve had a bad day you can always count on your sibling to bring up old, hilarious memories of that time you fell over in public or the time you laughed so hard you wet yourself. Your sibling knows exactly what to say to lift you up.

3. They tell you the truth

Most of the time your friends won’t tell you the truth, instead they will tell you what you want to hear to avoid upsetting you – the same probably goes for your parents. Siblings have a different approach, they will always be honest with you even if it’s the last thing you want to hear, because they know that in the long run it will only help you become a stronger person. See, your siblings aren’t just trying to be mean, they do have your best interests at heart.

4. They teach us

We are always learning new things from our siblings, from the moment you are introduced to each other you start mirroring their actions, their facial expressions and even some aspects of their personality. As you grow up, they continue to teach you about other things – how to tie your shoes, how to ride a bike, but more importantly – love.

5. They are always there

From that time you cut your knee and they handed you a plaster, to the time you needed help with your homework, and to the time you needed life advice. They were and always will be there when you need them. And that’s what is so special about siblings – the unconditional love. That love is just as powerful as the love between a parent and their child. And even when you’re in your 80s, you’ll be able to look back on all the memories you shared and laugh – laugh until your stomach hurts as if you are both still young.