Second Glance

Life, Love & Family

Should People Stop Sending Rude Greetings Cards?

Your friend gives you a card on your birthday. You can’t remember the last time anyone gave you a physical gift since the people who love and care about you always prefer to send emoticons and e-cards on such special occasions.

However, the happiness is swiftly replaced with disappointment when you realize that the card has heavy sexual connotations even before you read the whole message. How will you feel, if not disappointed?

Over the last two or three years, you may have had similar experiences, courtesy of friends and family members who have absolutely no reservations about sending rude greetings cards. A few years ago, I received a card stating that I was a dog’s bu*****t, regardless of the fact that it was Valentine’s Day, and the sender knew that I was only 15 years old. However, I didn’t get offended because I knew my ex-boyfriend (the sender) was only trying to be funny.

However, some card companies are taking the joke so far that 90% of recipients of the rude greetings cards get extremely offended. Recently, a student in one of the Ivy League universities came across a card that warned its prospective recipient to beware of the bi**h because she may have been infected with an STD, even though she was extremely attractive. The card had been offered for sale in a bookshop run by the university’s union, although it was (and still is) one of the leading universities in the world.

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When the student expressed her concerns on Twitter, the support she received was so overwhelming that the university union immediately withdrew the card from sale. Most of the people on Twitter who gave her support went further and suggested that concerned authorities should ban rude greeting cards or regulate the messages contained therein.

A few days ago, I decided to check the cards produced by LimaLima to establish if they contain any offensive messages. It’s important to note that Lima Lima is an up and coming greetings card company that obviously like to push the boundaries. And push the boundaries they most certainly do, to be honest I was shocked with some of the things I saw.

Even though I appreciate jokes just like everyone else, I can’t possibly allow anyone to tell me a joke that will make me feel offended and disgusted, instead of making me laugh or inwardly smile. Since many people don’t have the courage of telling their friends/ associates/ loved ones disgusting jokes while they are in the same room, I wonder where they get the audacity to send rude greetings cards with such distasteful content.

What do you think? Just a bit of light hearted fun or is this going to far?

My Battle With Weight Loss

For those of you that know me personally I’m sure you will appreciate why I felt I had to write this post. My battle with weight loss has been that of a long one. It’s one I feel I’m winning, not because I’ve lost a huge amount of weight in 2016 – just under a stone. But because I feel much more content with my body.

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While everyone is different I thought it would be beneficial to my readers to list some of the best low carb diets in 2016. These are the diets that have inspired, helped and ultimately allowed me to feel far more comfortable with my body than I ever have in my adult life.

5 BEST LOW CARB DIETS OF 2016

1. Dynamic diet.

The dynamic diet is a weight loss system that will give your body the ability to shed the unwanted fats. It will also boost your energy level. It will give you a guide to finding and eating the foods that will help your body burn fat naturally, being FDA approved, this low carb diet is very effective because it will outline exactly when to eat, what to eat and also how much you should eat.

2. The Atkins.

This is a high protein and low carbohydrate diet that comes in four stages. It is effective because it allows your body to burn fat faster by limiting the carbohydrates level in the body leaving your body steadily fuelled and consuming more calories as it loses weight.

3. The Mediterranean diet.

Perhaps, this is the world’s healthiest diet. This is because this diet is abundant in fruits, whole grains, olive oil, legumes and also vegetables. Red wine is also advised even though in moderate amounts. This diet plan gives you better control of blood glucose levels, an improved weight loss, reduces the risk of depression among others.

4. The gluten free diet.

This diet works by eliminating protein gluten which is found in grains like rye, barley, wheat among others. The primary aim of this diet is to treat the celiac disease. It can be very helpful to the individuals that are coeliac and need a strict gluten free diet.

5. The 5:2 diet.

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This diet involves restricting the calories you consume to 25% of your calories needs. For two days in a week then eat regularly for the rest of the week. This will mean that you lose your weight by consuming fewer calories. This diet will greatly help your body to repair its cells thus preventing diseases like the heart disease, stroke among others.

Getting Married!

I by no means aspired to the married status, so my approach to marriage was most likely different than a lot of people’s.
When I was younger I became convinced I might never marry. I just didn’t look at myself as wife material, no matter what that meant. I also realized I did not truly want children, a result I saw no point I would ever need or want to get married.

I met Gary at high school. He was a good friend of my boyfriend during the time, who presented us. I liked him right away and we were close friends for 4 years before our romantic relationship shifted gears and we discovered we were turning into an item. We were after that “together” for a long period (11 years) before we got wedded (so we had known each other for a period of 15 years in total at that point).

We got formally engaged in 2001 however I was still resistant against getting married. Not because I didn’t love Gary, beacuse I was worried about my weight and what people would think of me walking down the aisle. In 2006 I decided to do something about it and enrolled on a program which really changed the way I looked – visit here to find out how I did it.

However I married him for an entire bundle of reasons.

• He trusts you
He does not need to get worried that you stay out with family or friends later than expected. He is not regularly checking on you simply because he is suspicious or jealous.

• You could be yourself around him
You may say or carry out goofy tasks or laugh in a geeky manner. He welcomes you for becoming at ease in your skin.

• Enjoys spoiling you
Not just with gifts however with unconditional attention and love. It is not necessary to look for attention. Your husband automatically provides it to you with a hug, a touch or a kiss.

• Makes you laugh
He is actually the person who can make you laugh whenever you are at your lowest. He consoles me yet is able to bring a feeling of hope with a simple joke.

• Good cook
He enjoys to put together your preferred meals when you least anticipate it. Whenever you are late from work, he does not have any problem cooking that evening. It’s lovely to come home to an amazing homemade meal after a prolonged day.

• Protects you
He is prepared to protect you from harm. He will shield you, and you can depend on his support.

• Puts you first
You are his primary priority. Your wants and needs come first.
• Most notably, I really love him, and I was confident that there was no anyone that I could love with the whole of my heart but him; in addition, he is my dearest friend. I was 100% devoted to him, and I knew correctly that he was for me. So it began to appear reasonable.

Afterwards I became very pleased that I felt guilty regarding all the many years I had held out. I made an effort to say I am sorry to him however he would not listen to it. He said, “Don’t bother about that. Let’s always be happy now.”

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!!

I can’t believe it’s already almost Christmas! Two more days until Christmas Eve. Our home looks spectacular! In fact, I would suffice to say that it’s the best decorated home on the block. This year we literally went all out since we didn’t see our neighbours brightening up the neighbourhood as much as we thought we would.

We decided to lead the tradition on that! We have our walkways fully lined with boughs of holly. When you first step on the path towards our door, all you can see is green and red holly! It makes it bright and joyous feeling to come home. Our windows and rooftops are lit by multicoloured LED lights and it really lights up the neighbourhood. We’ve also got a big red bow on the door. It feels great to walk up the red and green holly lined walk way up to our fantastic Christmas decorated front door.

When you first walk in you will see fresh red hibiscus, poinsettias, and other great red and green foliage all around our home. Finally, you walk up to the Christmas tree in the corner. It’s real evergreen and it really brings an earthy tone to our living room. We love that we can use real plants to make our home feel vibrant. The Christmas tree has multicoloured lights on it, and it’s tree trunk is balanced inside a beautiful old woven basket.

There are plenty of multicolour gift wrapped presents underneath it and the star on top of the tree is actually a starfish that we got while travelling! The presents underneath the tree make it just so exciting for Christmas to finally arrive! We are going to prepare a nice 3 course meal for our extended family dinner on the 24th as well. We’ve already done all the shopping and our fridge is fully stocked with Christmas easy recipe foods.

This year I have planned a honey glazed ham, cranberry brussels sprout baked casserole, and a fresh baked phyllo apple strudel to bring over to mom and dad’s house. Usually each family member will bring an assortment of food and the dinner buffet table will be fully stacked with an assortment of dishes to choose from!

We’ve also got a chocolate calendar, with all but 3 chocolates left for us to eat! Apple cider is usually a nice hot drink that we warm up with during the winter holiday season. It is absolutely delectable after being mulled on the stove for an hour. We usually get it from the local farm shop. We will add some nutmeg and real cinnamon sticks. It makes our whole house smell spiced and amazing. We also love to have a nut bowl and chocolate tree bowl on our coffee table along with some Christmas magazines.

It really just gets our whole family in the mood. We love chestnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds still in their shells so that we have to use the nutcracker the traditional way to celebrate Christmas! It’s been a great holiday so far and we can’t wait until Christmas day!

A Delicate Balance:Ambitions,Responsibilities and Dreams

As a mother and a career woman, I have always tried to balance my responsibilities across the board, and to be honest, sometimes I feel weighed down by it all. At the core of it all is the need to be who I want to be-and that is not a mere anecdote in the sands of time as so many women have in the past become.

Research shows than when we start out in life, we are just as ambitious as men. However, over time, life just tends to somehow catch up with us, society places expectations, and we end up falling right into old-fashioned stereotypes.

But that is not how it should be…

My ambition should never die, neither should yours. I have a solid job, a husband and kids. But that is just a mere slice of the pie-I still want my job, my life and my ambitions to flourish. In a nutshell, I want it all. I want to balance all these things perfectly, because I have tasted accomplishment, and I know just how important it is, not only to me but also to all women out there, to the ones looking up at us, and to the ones that come long afterwards.

The power of ambition

Being ambitious keeps you as a woman on your toes when it comes to where you want to go. It breeds respect from friends and foes alike and boosts your sense of worth. There is not a single reason why we should not stay interested in our careers, families and personal lives. Every day at the work place, I’m reminded just how important it is to be ambitious as a woman. At home, I get to know just how it feels to be in charge, to steer clear of complacency, to break barriers.

Of course, it is not always a bed of roses-it never was-but in order to live our dreams, we must always keep the ember of ambition smouldering.

Cycling Break In North Wales

When Gary and I were searching for somewhere to stay for a cycling trip in November, we were never hard up for choices. After browsing the net, we knew there were many different places and attractions to see, but decided to give Brynteg Holiday Park in North Wales a go.

We were not disappointed.

After packing our bags and making our way there in the car, we arrived to find that all of the other reviews we found on TripAdvisor were correct; the location really is quite something and a sight to behold. Once we had been shown to our caravan (incidentally also lovely and with that important “homely” feel), we got on our bikes and travelled around the local area. We have always loved spending time in North Wales because it’s such a contrast to our usual city life, so we made sure to spend plenty of time out on our bikes to take in the surroundings before heading back.

Brynteg is quite a large space, so we were never wanting for personal space – all of the other visitors were very friendly! There was plenty to see around the grounds and we enjoyed taking in all the sights around our environment. After taking in the sights around the park, we decided to unwind after our cycling by checking out Brynteg’s facilities.

We needed a break away from the 9-5, so naturally we leapt at the chance to try a couple of spa treatments! I enjoyed the hydrotherapy pool to while away a few hours (which just flew by, might I add) and my partner relaxed with some beauty treatments. We met back up and spent some time in the tepidarium together, listening to some really nice music as we relaxed. It was definitely therapeutic. All of the staff were really friendly during our time using the facilities and throughout the entire stay. We tried some “bara brith” and a cup of coffee, both quite tasty.

We relaxed back in the caravan afterwards and enjoyed the peace. It’s worth mentioning that it was clean upon arrival and that everything worked just fine! We decided to bring our own food with us and were able to pretty easily get to grips with a different setup to the kitchen we had at home. Despite the less than lovely November weather, the caravan was also really quite comfortable. After a quick nap and a coffee, we decided to try a couple of drinks at the restaurant. I sampled one or two too many of the local beers and my partner enjoyed a few glasses of wine in comfort. It was a very nice location to relax in and all of the staff were just as welcoming as they had been at the cafe. We heard that there would be some fireworks, so we decided to head out and check them out.

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Despite them not being quite as large as the ones in Llandudno and Colwyn Bay, but it was still a decent size and really well organised. We went back to our caravan and enjoyed a cosy night’s sleep in the spacious beds.

We both had a good time during our stay at Brynteg and would recommend anyone to check it out.  We will definitely go there again soon, bicycles in tow or otherwise! and have even considered buying a caravan as there is so much to see and do in this part of the country.

For further details click here

A second Glance at “Why I decided to have a family

This article was very kindly written by my husband Gary

People start families for different reasons. For some its due to the convenience that comes with having a family, others its due to the respect they command among their peers, while a bigger majority do not know why they started a family. Well, I too was taken aback by the question “why did you decide to start a family?”However even after 10 years down into family life I cannot deny that these three reasons influenced my decision on starting a family.

To beat loneliness:

After our marriage in year 2005, just like any other couple, we wanted to have our time together and have children later in life. This was influenced by the fact that I was 24 years old while my wife was 22 years and in her final year in college. Hence we saw no rush in having children. However after my wife graduated from college and we had it all: good jobs, nice apartments and a handful of friends, some sort of emptiness engulfed our lives. We felt that something was missing. The fun in the marriage turned into loneliness and there was immediate need to fill this emptiness. That is when we decided to have our firstborn son who would fill in this emptiness. True to our expectations, when this bounty of joy came to our lives, our family was complete and the loneliness was like a tale to us.

Our careers:

Securing our careers as a couple was on top of the list when we got married. At first we thought that if we postponed having children and a family, this would be a hindrance to career progression. But a few months after my wife and I joined the corporate world and saw how women in their early forties were juggling between childcare and rising up the professional ladder, we decided to start our family early enough to ensure we cut down on the rush. That is why we have two children, one who is 9 years while the other is turning 6 next year in January. I believe with this pace we will be able to have an edge in career progression.

Projection:

I dreaded bringing my children the way I was brought up. I am not saying that my parents did not take care of me, no, they did. However being a last-born I never enjoyed the love and experiences that my brothers kept telling me (time they spent with my parents). As I was growing up I wished that my parents were younger, so I could share my experience with them instead of my older siblings. These experiences were projected into my family life. That is why I decided to start a family and start it early, so that I could share each end every moment with my wife and children.

How To Make The Perfect Sausage Sandwich

A sausage sandwich: the ultimate comfort food (and hangover food allegedly), and now elevated to haute cuisine status by celebrity chefs who are all about “food like mother used to make”. Pretty well any sausage sandwich is good, but what raises it to “the perfect sausage sandwich”?

The sausages – it’s obvious really, you can’t have a great sausage sandwich without great sausages. A great sausage is one where succulent cuts of quality meat are packed into a skin that bursts as you bite into it, filling your mouth with meaty loveliness.

So, not cheap and nasty supermarket own brands then (unless you’re a student, in which case supermarket sausages and 50p loaves of sliced white probably make up your sandwich of choice). Butcher’s sausages are the ones to go for, and if you don’t have a good local butcher (remember them?), check out the online butchers  – in fact even if you do have a local butcher, online butchers can provide varieties you won’t find at home.

Speaking of varieties, what sort of sausage does this mythical “perfect sandwich” need? For the purists it HAS to be pork, but if you have a sense of adventure there are any number of different fillings out there to experiment with. Whatever variety you choose, the low-fat sausage has NO place in the perfect sandwich: you need that explosion of juiciness as you bite through the casing to give you the flavour fest you’re looking for. And to get that flavour, how should you cook those sausages? Grilling means you lose some of the fat, but it also means you’re not adding any “foreign” fats in the form of cooking oil, as you would if you fried. Decisions, decisions.

That’s the meat in the sandwich. Next is the bread. I’m sorry to say this but this is one time where the bread just has to be white – brown bread delivers a flavour that will mess with those lovely sausage flavours. For the same reason, no bread with added bits such as sun dried tomatoes, olives, or any of the other new-fangled ingredients. Because those sausages are going to be oozing their lovely juices, you need a bread that will stand up to that, one that doesn’t turn into a soggy mess as soon as you put the meat near it. For that reason you’ll need pretty thick slices, so maybe cut your own from a soft bloomer or farmhouse loaf.

Now for the fine details. Firstly, to butter or not? Some of you reading this are probably shouting “Of course you have to butter!”  but if you’re not that into greasy hands (or even melted butter running down your chin) by all means miss out this step. If you like to split your sausages in half before putting them on the bread, the combination of butter and sausage juices can make for a soggy mess, so maybe it’s best to forget the butter in that case too.

The final, and possibly most contentious, question: ketchup or not? Only you can know the answer to this!

Is your mouth watering yet?

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