Parents Reaching 70 – What You Can Do To Help Them Live Happily For Longer

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As we get older, so do our parents. And when they reach a certain age, you can become more concerned about their well-being. Parenting our parents isn’t something that any of us want to do. But it can be difficult to find the right balance when we’re trying to help them. After all, their memories of raising us are still fresh in their mind, even though we’re raising our own kids now. How can we make sure our parents stay happy as they enter their later years?

Ailing health can be a problem that starts in the late sixties and early seventies. But it could be the signs of aging that worry you the most. The body will wear out so it’s likely that some changes need to be made to maintain a good quality of life. Vision and hearing commonly degenerate in our later years. It can affect so many important parts of our lives. It could be a good idea to have annual checks to ensure everything is OK here.

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When the acuity of hearing begins to diminish, life can feel muted. And it can be really embarrassing asking people to repeat themselves over and again. You can find things like Hearing Aid Buyer Today’s buying guide useful for figuring out what kind of device might enhance your parent’s hearing. If you find they are dropping out of conversations or simply not engaged with the family as much, it’s worth having the hearing tested.

As the acuity of vision diminishes, everyday tasks can become a problem. It’s not just about being able to read the labels on food in the grocery store. Driving also requires good vision so that hazards and road signs can be identified. Reading glasses are only helpful for so long. Regular eye check-ups will ensure there are no major problems. An accurate prescription for glasses can help enhance the vision so your parent can enjoy their regular hobbies again. It can also help them maintain their independence for longer.

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Physically, your parents are probably doing quite well. We are all fitter, stronger, and healthier than we were decades ago. But to maintain a healthy physique, it’s important to keep exercising the body every day. Walking is one of the best ways for people to stay well. Stretches are also important to maintain flexibility and muscle strength. A lack of core strength and posture can lead to a risk of falling. This can result in serious injury for poor Mom or Dad.

If your parents have stopped working now, think about how they are spending their spare time. We all need plenty of enriching activities in our lives. Some of those hobbies and interests may be physical in nature, like dancing or swimming. Others may be mentally stimulating like music and reading. A good variety of things is best. And any that boost a person’s social life is ideal. Humans need the company of others. It helps support good mental health.

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There are plenty of ways you can support your parents without appearing too pushy. If they seem quite content and happy, then there is little you need to do for now. But keeping an eye on things you’re worried about is the right thing to do. Of course, they are grown-ups and can take care of themselves, right? This is a valid point. But if they were worried about you, they would be doing all they can to make sure you’re OK. If you’re met with resistance, just back off for a while. Chances are they will appreciate your concern later.

They say the 70s are the new 50s. Many people in this age group are enjoying active lives with plenty of friends and family around them. And it is thought that people in this age group tend to be better off financially than their parents were. This means there is more income to spend on enriching their lives, maintaining their homes, and taking care of their health needs. Does this mean there is no need for us as children to be concerned?

Aging happens. When the signs of aging start to affect our lives will be different for everyone. The most common ailments like coughs and colds can take longer to get over later in life. Injuries will also take longer to heal, and some may not heal fully, depending on their health. Does this mean we should be wrapping our parents up in cotton wool? It can be tempting to want to protect them as they become older and a little more frail. Having a conversation with them about this may be awkward, but it will help everyone know how they’re feeling.

Now your own children are becoming a little more independent, why not spend more time with your parents? You could enjoy healthy meals together and even enjoy some activities together. There are plenty of different things you could all enjoy as an extended family. You’ll each have your own preferred hobbies that you could introduce to each other. Staying connected is important, and it gives you a chance to notice if there are any problems. Best of all, it gives your parents a chance to spend time with everyone.

It’s true that aging can bring more serious illnesses. Heart and lung problems may present themselves. Sadly there are many cancers that are more likely to occur as we age. Diabetes can be particularly troublesome for someone later in life. But it is dementia that is affecting families the most. This cruel illness can cause serious memory problems and a loss of independence. We are all forgetful at the best of times. As we get older, this can become more common.

But if your parent is often confused as well, it might be a sign that there is a problem. A good doctor will be able to test and diagnose dementia. You will then need to consider how best to make sure your parent is safe and well for the rest of their lives. More and more people enjoy having their parents live with them. This could enrich your life too. Take care.

 

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How to Become a Work-At-Home Mom

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typewriterEntering into the workforce can seem daunting as a mother. It can be especially hard if your kids are still young and need you to be around. Having a job and being a mother doesn’t always seem practical, but with the amount of work available for you to do from the comfort of your own home, you never have to second guess yourself ever again.

There’s a variety of jobs available for a wide range of people and skill sets. Being able to work at your own pace and set your own hours is a stay at home mom’s dream.

Transcribing

Because transcribing can be seen as tedious, there’s a large market for freelance transcribers. A transcriber listens to an audio or video recording and types up what is being said. While it may not seem like a huge deal, sometimes having a written transcription of a meeting or an event can be extremely essential to a business.

Graphic Design

For all of you computer savvy and creative moms, graphic design is a great option that can be done remotely from anywhere in the world. From logos to posters, people are looking for creative minds to help them promote their business and personal brands. Because it can all be done on your computer, there’s no need for you to have to leave your home office to get work done.

Brand Ambassadors

For those moms interested in doing more than just freelancing, you can also start your own business while in your pajamas. Companies like Amway allow you to begin earning income through their compensation plan. You do this by selling as much or as little inventory as you want while creating a network of people that you can sponsor and enable to do the same. The coolest part of working with Amway is that you can choose what you want to sell, such as health, beauty and household products. This way you can be truly passionate about what you’re selling.

Writing & Editing

From creative writing to blog posts, their are plenty of people and companies that are looking for talented writers. Certain sites connect you with companies that are looking for writers that are experts in pretty much every topic imaginable. Some of your favorite blogs are also likely looking for people to contribute to their website and are willing to pay.

Or maybe you’re the kind of person that goes on Facebook and spots grammar mistakes faster than anyone you know. Why not get paid to fix all those mistakes? Freelance editing has become a booming business in recent years. From emails to articles, companies and individuals will pay for a second opinion or even just a second glance. You also get to choose what you want to edit, so there’s no obligation to read through someone’s 100-page dissertation.

Virtual Assistant

As mothers, you become experts in multi-tasking and staying organized. Fortunately, there are people that are not quite as skilled in that department. Some people need help maintaining their calendar or setting up meetings. Because of the technology available today, you no longer have to sit in an office to be someone’s assistant. Virtual Assistants work remotely over email and telephone, making it the perfect job for stay-at-home moms.

Arts & Crafts

For all of the artistic and crafty moms out there, now is the time to sell your creations online. Sites like Etsy allow you to not only sell your wares to people who are looking to add some beauty into their lives, but it also helps you create a store front where people can look into purchasing other items from you in the future.

Thanks to technology, you never have to feel like you have to choose between your family and your career. Making money from home has never been easier and being a working mom no longer has to stay a dream; it can be your reality.

 

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Keep Your Little Ones Safe In The Car On The Road

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If you have kids, safety is probably always on your mind. Whether they are at home, in school, or even on holiday. However, something seems to change when we get on the roads. A lot of parents completely forget the child in the back seat. It’s ironic because many have ‘baby on board’ plastered on the back window. But if you look at the way they are driving, they’re the ones putting the kids at risk. To a certain extent, it’s understandable why some people aren’t the safest drivers. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you’re taking on an enormous amount of power. It’s tempting to throw that power around a little and people do. Particularly when they have bigger cars. But those parents have to remember and consider the littles ones in their back seat. If they think about this now, they can avoid a massive regret later.

Bigger Isn’t Always Safer

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There are parents who feel reassured that their children are safe because they have a larger car. If the children are high up and in a powerful machine, there’s little chance of them being injured in an accident. That’s rarely ever true, and some larger vehicles can be more dangerous. For instance, in the past, a number of SUVs have been tangled in lawsuits because they have rolled during an accident. As such, you shouldn’t assume bigger is better for the safety of your children. It’s not about what you drive but rather, how you drive it.

One Is Always Too Many

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You might think that you’re safe having one glass of wine or one lager when you’re on the road. According to new research, this isn’t the case, and one could be just as dangerous as ten. When it comes to drinking and driving, it’s best to keep the number of glasses at zero. You don’t want to take that risk. You may not legally be held responsible if you crash after one beer. But, if you do end up in an accident you will always wonder. Would I have seen that hazard earlier if I hadn’t been drinking? Would I have stopped in time? You don’t want to spend the rest of your life asking yourself those questions. You’ll be able to get a DWI lawyer on your side but everyone else will blame you for the accident.

Never Argue In The Car

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Children in the car can be incredibly distracting. They might be arguing with one another. They might be arguing with you. Some children can even be quite aggressive, hitting at one another. Those erratic movements will take your attention away from the road. The danger here is you focus more on your kids and less on the drivers around you. Instead, it’s best to pull over if you see your children start to act up. Make sure that you get them under control before you continue to drive. Or, find a way to calm them down by putting on music or their favorite show in the back. Many people don’t realize that arguing can be just as dangerous as talking on the phone.

 

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Why You Absolutely Need to Create a Will

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Creating a will is caring for your family when you’re gone, sounds a bit morbid sure, but it’s the reality.

Do I really need a will? What’s in it for me?

A will is a legal document that specifies who will inherit what you’ll leave earth when you pass away: real estate, bank accounts, cars, jewelry and other property.

You have the choice to leave everything to one person or divide it up in small, detailed shares, such as the case with land or possessions. However, a will is much more than just a means of distributing your property after you’re gone, especially if you have kids who might challenge a will that they don’t think is fair.

What if I die without a will?

Chaos ensues. Without a legal will, there’s no guarantee that after you’re gone, the money you left will go to the people you want to receive your assets. This might sound stiff, but dying without a valid will gives the law power to divide it according to a fairly inflexible formula. Your spouse would only receive about one-third or one-half of your state while the rest would be given to your children.

This may sound good, but without a will, some States will appoint an administrator who charges fees for the service to manage your children’s money until they reach the age of 18. This means that your spouse won’t be able to access the money left to help you raise your children without challenging a will to help her win the legal procedure. And even after the courts decide that your spouse could control the funds reserved for your children in trust, he or she would have to routinely show an accounting of how the money is used every year.

Can I make a will myself or do I need a lawyer?

The former. However, you’ll need to devote time, energy and even a little money to do it right yourself. Many people have created legally valid wills through the help of books or will-writing software program, although mistakes may happen if you decided a DIY will creation.

If you’re wondering if anyone will go the lengths to challenge a will that they believe to be unfair, absolutely. Your spouse, children, or even relatives might go to the courts to challenge your original will.

This is why it’s important to ask help from lawyers when creating one. However, if you really want to do it on your own, here are some ways to get started:

  1. Create a list of all your assets, this includes bank accounts, real estate, life insurance, investments, and personal property.
  2. Decide hard whom you want to inherit what, and when. For example, you may want your son to inherit his grandfather’s watch when he turns 21.
  3. Choose a guardian for your children.
  4. Choose an alternate guardian if the first choice is unable or unwilling to do it.
  5. Decide if you want someone to manage the assets you leave for your children.
  6. Choose an executor to carry out your desire and manage the required paperwork after you’re gone.
  7. You may also include a letter stating how you would like your children to be educated and raised, your funeral to be arranged, and so on.

 

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How To Have A Perfect Anniversary With Your Husband

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When it’s time for an anniversary, it’s a good chance to reconnect with your hubby. After all, an anniversary is celebrating the day you decided to be together forever. But often couples don’t do anything at all. Here are some ways you can have a perfect anniversary with your husband.

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Go away for the weekend

One of the top ways you can have a perfect anniversary with your husband is to go away for the weekend together. Arrange for someone to look after the children so that you can spend the time away on your own. You might want to go for a beach break which will give you both time to chill out and relax together. Or you might want to go for a weekend away at a city where you can explore the area hand in hand. It’s a great chance to remember why you were a couple in the first place before you had kids. Just try and not speak about the children during the trip away! And going away for the weekend is a lovely way to celebrate your anniversary that you will never forget.

Arrange a meal out

You could go with your partner for a meal out which is a fantastic way of celebrating your anniversary. It gives you a chance to catch up and remember the wedding day. You could take the kids with you for a lovely family meal. Or you could arrange a babysitter and just spend the evening just the two of you. You could go to a memorable restaurant where you went for a date during the beginning of your relationship. Or why not go to a brand new restaurant which you both haven’t tried before? It might become your new favorite restaurant.

Buy him a special gift

Another way you can have a perfect anniversary with your husband is to ensure you buy him a special gift that he will love. We gave you some ideas previously on what you could get him such as sports tickets, some booze, or even some tools. Or you could look online to find anniversary gifts for men such as a racing day or even a massage. Your bloke can often get neglected when you are always buying something for the kids. Therefore, make your anniversary perfect by treating him to a lovely gift. After all, he’s likely got you something beautiful!

Have a family day out

Your kids are part of your life now so why not go on a family day out as a perfect anniversary with your husband. Go to a city and have a wander around with the kids as a special family day out. You could go to the zoo or a theme park as something fun for your anniversary. Or you could just have a picnic in the local park as a family. Spending time together as a family will remind you what has happened so far in your marriage, and how great it’s been so far.

Cook him a special dinner

If you want to have a perfect anniversary with your husband, you don’t always have to leave the house. It’s likely you don’t often get a chance to eat alone as a couple. Therefore, why don’t you feed the kids first and then cook a separate meal for the two of you? He will know you have made a special effort, and it’s a great way of celebrating your anniversary without having to leave the house.

Go for a spa day together

To have a fantastic anniversary with your husband, you could arrange a spa day for your both. It will help you both relax, and you can even have some joint treatments, so you get to spend some special time together. Arrange for someone to look after the kids and then you can go for the day on your own. You could even have a lovely dinner at the end of the spa day before returning home.

Go and see a show

Another way you can have a perfect anniversary with your husband is to go and see a show together. It might be a concert of your favorite band that you both love. Or you could see a comedy show which is a great chance to have a laugh with your other half. You could buy the tickets as a gift for your husband, and then go and enjoy the show together.

Whatever you decide to do for your anniversary, as long as you are together, you should have a fantastic time!

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Do You Need Life Insurance…Really?

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You might have read all about life insurance. You may have had others tell you all about it. Some will tell you it’s something you must have. Others will say it’s not so important. So who do you listen to? What’s right for you? Read on to work out whether you really need life insurance:

You Are The Main Breadwinner

If you are the main breadwinner in your family, then getting life insurance is recommended. Your family depend on you and your income to support them. Life will be difficult without you there, so the last thing you want is to make it even harder on them.

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You Have A Dangerous Job/Hobby

Having dangerous jobs and hobbies make it more likely you could seriously hurt yourself as you go about your business. You will want to make sure you’re covered for anything that could happen. That being said, even people who don’t have dangerous jobs and hobbies could use life insurance. Considering the risks you’re regularly taking should help you to figure out if it’s right for you. How likely is it that you will hurt yourself? If you’re in a dangerous profession that involves working with chemicals, or you like to go free rock climbing regularly, life insurance is pretty vital. In many dangerous professions life insurance will be a perk, but this isn’t always the case.

You Have A Big Family

Having a big family can be expensive, and you likely contribute a lot to keep everything running smoothly. Your income probably makes a huge difference to your family and the way they live their lives. If you’d prefer they continue to live that way after you’re gone, life insurance is a must. There are different kinds of life insurance, so the kind you get will depend on your circumstances at the moment. Term life insurance is one option people commonly go for.

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You Have A Mortgage

If you have a mortgage and don’t want to leave your other half with all of the payments when you’re gone, life insurance will sort all of that out. If you don’t start thinking about what your family will do if anything should happen to you, you could leave a mess in your wake.

Whether you need life insurance or not comes largely down to your circumstances and what you think you want to happen when you’re gone. If you have a family and want to make things easier on them, allowing them to enjoy the same lifestyle they are used to, then you should get life insurance. If you want to make sure you’re not leaving everybody in the lurch when it comes to bills, the mortgage, and even your funeral, life insurance can help with that too. Life insurance is never compulsory. If your partner makes a large income of their own then this might be something you never consider, as it just isn’t necessary. Even if they do make a large income, life insurance can be useful. The sooner you get it, the cheaper your premiums will be too. It’s definitely worth thinking about if you want to have peace of mind in this lifetime.

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What Makes A Perfect Family Car?

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Buying a car at any time can be full of trials and tribulations. But looking for a car for the whole family is another thing altogether. There is just so much more to consider when it comes to family cars. The good news is that it is not all that difficult to get hold of decent family-friendly cars. And the even better news is that you do not need to spend an arm and a leg in order to get such a vehicle. If you are currently in the process of looking for a car for the family, then you might be wondering where to begin. There is so much to consider that the whole rigmarole can become a little confusing. But don’t worry. To help you out, I’ve put together this short list of factors to consider. Take these into consideration when you are shopping around, and you can’t go far wrong.

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Space

This is quite possibly the number one concern when you are hunting around for a family car. No matter how big or small your family is, how much space a car has is probably a paramount concern. This is particularly so if you are keen to take your car on long journeys or for holidays. With children and adults alike, comfort is key to the experience. So you want to make sure that you get a hold of a car with plenty of legroom for everyone. Your luggage is also something to take into consideration here. It’s a good idea to try and find a car which has a reasonable-sized boot. There is nothing worse than everyone being crammed in together with all the bags on a long journey. Given that, ideally, you want both legroom and a sizable boot, your ideal option is obviously quite a large car. Something like a people carrier might well be ideal. However, not everyone has the budget for such a vehicle. It all depends on your own situation, and what you think is best. Sometimes you need to make a bit of a compromise – that’s fine, too.

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Doors

You might not always put much consideration into the doors, but they can make quite a difference. The number of doors you need depends, once again, on what kind of family you have. The truth is, not many people really need a huge five-door car. Even for an average-sized family with three children, three doors is probably enough. Usually, they don’t cause enough bickering for it to be worth splashing out for a five-door car. However, if you are the kind of parent who likes to make things as easy as possible, then a five-door might well be your best option. It’s not just about the number of doors, either, but the type of door. Arguably, the best door type for a big family with sprawling kids is the sliding door. These make the whole getting in and out process so much easier. There is also the safety factor; sliding doors are less likely to hit any little ones unexpectedly. These things do happen, so it’s worth taking them into consideration!

Experience

At the end of the day, you are going to be the one doing the driving – unless you have an older child whom you trust a great deal! So as well as finding a car that the kids can enjoy, you need to take yourself into consideration as well. It is a good idea to ask yourself, off the bat, what kind of driving experience you enjoy? If you have always wanted to treat yourself to something a little flashy, then why not take this opportunity to do so? People often make the mistake of thinking that a family-friendly car can’t also be stylish. But that is not the case. Certain makes and models do well to keep everyone happy. BMW, for example, offer several models which give you that classy feeling while allowing for the behavior of your children. And with their reliability and those famous BMW tyres, you can be sure of your family’s safety as well. Remember: you are the driver, so you need to be happy with what you are driving.

Child-Friendly Features

Finally, let’s have a quick look at some of the child-friendly features which you want to look out for. Dark-colored interiors are a little stroke of genius, as they hide spills and stains much more effectively. You might also like to look for rear-tinted windows, in order to help save your children’s eyes from the rays of the sun. Increasingly, parents are swearing by in-car DVD players. Whether or not this is a necessary addition is something for you to decide alone. Whatever you go for, remember that comfort and safety are always the paramount concerns.

 

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16 Ways Of Staying Safe In 2016

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We all want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. But with so much advice floating around these days, what are the best ways of doing this?

The fact is that nowhere is entirely safe. This goes for our homes, our offices and our online spaces. It applies to the way we travel, and where we travel too. However, there are ways to increase your safety to a level that allows you to relax and enjoy life properly. Read on for 16 methods everybody should be using to stay safe in 2016.

Use complicated passwords

Password hacking is becoming more and more effective. A password that is complicated is far harder to crack than one that is not. A good password should combine letter, numbers and characters.

Learn a form of self-defense

While many people will never have to use self-defence training, there is no harm in having it to hand. Kickboxing, Karate, Jiu-Jitsu are all fantastic. They can be learned as part of a group or in individual one-to-one sessions. Not only do they equip the learner with handy skills, but they also build confidence and improve fitness.

Keep an eye on terror alerts and advice

This website keeps a track of current terror alerts. These can indicate areas that you should avoid travelling to if possible. There is more info on keeping yourself and other safe in the event of a terror attack here.

Park in well-lit and busy areas

Wherever possible, park in areas that are bright and busy. The more visible you are, the less of a target you will be would-be thieves. This goes for both you and your vehicle. Even better, park your car in a garage. This way it’s really protected and will likely bring your car insurance price down.

Install security cameras

Invest in reliable security cameras for your home and business, like those from All Secured Security Services. Security cameras an effective deterrent from crime. Plus they will give you crucial information were something to happen.

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Carry something to defend yourself

The rules of what a person can carry to defend themselves against attack vary from state to state, and country to country. Research what is legal and what is illegal where you live. Personal alarms are legal everywhere, of course, so these are a very good option.

Keep a close eye on your bank account

If money starts going missing from your account, it will be a lot easier to recover the sooner you notice. Don’t let you banks account sit unchecked; take a look every so often to ensure that everything is as it should be.

Use common sense

This might sound like an obvious one, but it really is true. Dark streets are less safe than lit streets. Walking in groups is generally safer than walking alone. Similarly, if a situation arises, do your best to think logically, as opposed to emotionally.

Check your doors and windows every night

It’s amazing how many people don’t have this as part of their nightly routine. Get into the habit of ensuring every external window and door in your home is locked before you go to sleep. If a burglar finds one open, you’re making their entry and subsequent crime far easier for them.

Don’t be the hero if you can’t actually help

It’s natural to want to help if you see something bad happening. But trying to be a hero can do more harm than good. If there is a house-fire for example, and the fire crew have already arrived, do not interfere. By entering the fire yourself, you are potentially putting a crew member’s life at risk in trying to rescue you.

Let the emergency services do their job

On a similar vein to the point above, you should only emulate the actions of a police force or ambulance service until they arrive. Moving an injured person can result in dire consequences, for example. Do not get involved past your areas of expertise. Let the trained professional do their jobs.

Protect yourself from date-rape drugs

This point goes for both men and women. When you’re out drinking, keep your beverage close at hand. Even better, if you have a bottle, keep your thumb over the opening. This way you will know that nobody has slipped anything sinister into your drink.

Use apps to monitor your whereabouts

We have our phones on us most of the time, so it makes sense to use them to keep us safe. There are some fantastic apps out there to do just that. Watch Over Me is one such free app. You can instruct it to track your location via GPS for however long you choose. Then, if you haven’t checked in by the end of that time, it notifies your emergency contacts. It can do this by text, email or even via social media.

Don’t show off your expensive items

If you have a beautiful new piece of jewellery or a watch, you’ll be tempted to show it off. But be careful. Doing so could attract unwanted attention. In nightclubs, for example, it is dark and crowded. This is the ideal environment for a thief to steal something you were showing your friends earlier.

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Only use registered taxi companies

Getting into an unregistered taxi or cab is always a terrible idea. No matter what the driver may say to you, never chance it. Always keep a handful of numbers in your phone in case the first couple you call are busy. If you are in a dangerous situation and everyone says they are busy, explain to the person you’re speaking to that you’re feeling unsafe. The may be able to get someone to you sooner, or have a backup service they can deploy. Even better, book your taxi before you leave home.

Listen to your gut

There is no way to keep yourself 100% safe. In those situations, listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem quite right, trust your instincts.

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The Ultimate Dinner Party Guide

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Many people love to cook for their family. And lots of Moms like to cook with their kids to create healthy, fun dishes and snacks. There is no shortage of child-friendly recipes out there. When you have a young family, you become more healthy conscious about your menu choices. It’s easier to keep things simple, so fussy eaters are kept happy too. So when it comes to hosting a dinner party for your adult friends, it can be a challenge to get your head around more grown up cuisine.

There’s no need for plastic dinner mats, bowls, and spoons. And you don’t have to shy away from foods like shellfish! When the kids are in bed, it can be so nice to invite some of your friends over to enjoy some more daring recipes. You might even be able to cook with wine. If you’re out of practice cooking for a grown-up dinner party, don’t panic. It’s easier than you think.

What To Serve

Start with a menu. Lots of the foods that you have in for your young family are just as suitable for your adult friends too. That doesn’t mean you should shy away from a special order of something extra tasty, though. If you check out www.citarella.com/ you’ll find some tantalizing fish and shellfish that could make a very tasty main course. Or why not whip up a special prawn cocktail for a starter?

Most dinner parties are three to four courses. Start with the starter. Fresh fruits are very popular. Melon, strawberries, and kiwi fruits are good choices. A savory tart could be another option. Shrimp or prawn cocktails are still popular foods for a starter as well. Starters are often decoratively presented. You might want to consider the dish they are served on, or the placement of the food on the plate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to beglib for the image

The main course usually comes second. This is often an extravagant or gourmet dish, served with sides. Fish is popular, like sea bass. The sauce is what makes or breaks the main course. Choose recipes that are bursting with flavor. Even if you like spicy foods, try to opt for taste over heat. Sides can be served in dishes at the table for your guests to help themselves. These can be simple bowls of vegetables, like carrots and potatoes. Or you might offer a salad bowl if that goes with your dish.

The third course is often a sweet dessert. You might be fond of making ice cream with the kids. Why not share a batch of it with your dinner guests? Tiramisu and other creamy desserts are also popular. You could add fresh fruit garnishes. If you’re feeling particularly brave, why not cook a fruit pie from scratch, or even bake your own cake? Add some custard or cream to the table for a truly sumptuous dish.

01274Thanks to MaxStraeten for the image

Finally, you might offer coffee liqueurs or a cheese board. The cheese board usually contains a range of cheese. Hard cheeses like mature cheddars are popular. Soft, creamy cheese like Brie is also desirable. Add a blue cheese like these http://www.cheese.com/blue-vein-cheese/. Now you have a good variety. Crackers and red grapes are often served with the cheese too. Leave a cheese knife on the table so your guests can cut their own.

Getting Ready

Now the menu has been selected, it’s time to get the groceries and start cooking. Desserts can often be made earlier in the day to save you cooking that evening. Don’t forget to add a couple of bottles of wine to accompany the meals for your guests. Go through the recipes and check your timings. Write out a little schedule if it helps you prepare. Now all that’s left is to settle the kids for the night and get dressed up.

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When you are dressing up for your own dinner party, don’t forget to wear shoes! Slippers or bare feet often look out of place with a good evening dress. Choose some nice jewelry to complete the look. Once you’ve done your hair and makeup, it’s time to dress the table.

The dining table for a dinner party should be set up to take hot dishes. Hot plates to keep dishes warm should be left on the sideboard to avoid injuries. You can order fresh flowers for a centerpiece, or use a decorative table ornament. A candelabra with lit candles always looks lovely at the dinner party. Not everyone uses table linen these days, but a vibrant color table runner looks lovely either way.

When you’re setting the table, put all the cutlery out. The outside fork is for the first course, and diners then work their way in toward the table mat. It’s common for two glasses to be placed at each setting. One is for wine, and the other is for table water. If you have a good jug, fill it with ice and slices of lemon. Then you can add filtered water for a refreshing drink at the table.

file5311235303236Thanks to dieraecherin for the image

Red wine needs to breathe. It won’t hurt to get the bottle open a couple of hours before the meal. Some guests may prefer soft drinks, so have a few choices ready. After a meal, coffees are served. If you have your coffee maker ready and set up, you won’t have to leave the table for long to serve it. Add a liqueur for extra warmth.

Helpful Hacks

Serving from a tray is much easier for you. It also means you can make fewer trips to the kitchen. If your guests are arriving quite early in the evening, why not serve some nibbles and aperitif in your living room first? It gives you all a chance to chat and get to know new guests. While you may want your guests to feel comfortable, it is better to keep the temperature a little low when you’re having a big meal. Choose music that isn’t too intrusive. Have a playlist so you don’t need to keep choosing tracks.

Dinner parties can be great fun for you and your guests. They’re a great way to catch up with friends you haven’t seen for a while too. Bon Appetit.

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How To Host The Perfect Dinner Party For Special Guests

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If you are entertaining special guests, it can be a challenge to put together a fantastic dinner party to impress them. That’s not to say it’s impossible. With some careful planning and thought about preparation, you can create the ultimate dinner party that is sure to be a delight. Here’s how to tackle it successfully:

Food

All dinner parties start with the food. Your choice of ingredients is important to ensure the meal is a success. For special guests, source your meats from a reputable gourmet butcher. Knowing where your meat has come from provides confidence in the produce and a talking point at the table. You could also select choice products like bison meat to provide that something extra special for your guests.

4590408656_bc88b92fb5_zThanks to Flickr for the pic

Table

Dressing your table for special guests requires pulling out the quality linen, crockery and silver. Use serviettes and a quality table runner to dress the table. If you have a good candelabra, then this could make an elegant touch for the table. Alternatively, why not order a centerpiece from your local florist? Dressing the table to be elegant and chic creates a special atmosphere for the special occasion. Set the plates and glasses out early so you can check for any spotting.

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Cooking

It’s important to stay calm while you are preparing the food. The last thing you want is to be flustered when the doorbell rings. Start early, aiming for everything to be ready about forty-five minutes early. That way, if you’re running fifteen minutes late, you still have thirty minutes to dress. Try not to indulge in tipples before they arrive. It may not calm your nerves, but instead loosen your inhibitions and make you clumsy.

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Final Touches

Some dinner music heard faintly in the background can be a nice touch to add. Reduce the lighting enough to create an atmosphere. Don’t let it be too dark that the detail in the food is lost, though! Welcome your guests with cheek kisses and handshakes. Take their coats and hang them. Offer an aperitif in the living room before moving onto the table. This gives everyone a chance to get comfortable with each other.

9186154_a7c9bf58ea_zThanks to Flickr for the pic

Conversation

Sometimes it’s tricky to know how to navigate the conversations that may arise. It can even be a challenge to get a conversation going! If your guests are potential clients, then don’t be pushy from the start. Get to know them and make a mental note of what they have to tell you. You can draw out more information by asking them to clarify on certain points. For example, they might say the kids were upset they were out for the night. You could then ask how many they have, and provide similar stories of your own in sympathy.

Special guests could be potential clients or even potential in-laws! It’s good to have a well-planned evening in mind for these occasions. At the end of the day, though, it is your home. You should feel comfortable in it, and help to make your guests feel the same. Enjoy your evening.

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