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10 things I love about winter

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As sad as I am that summer is over, there are also a number of things (10 in fact) that I love about the colder months so I thought I would share.  Mostly I just love the feeling of being cosy and not feeling guilty about staying inside all weekend reading and watching TV marathons.  Here are 10 of my favourite things:

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Wish you had more time? Tips for better time management…

Image from businessamongmoms.com

These days everyone always seems to be busy.  Whether it’s work, family, friends, sport, study or other commitments, it can be hard to find the time to get everything done.  Along with this is the separate issue around the effects to our health and wellbeing of constantly rushing around juggling a million activities without stopping to breathe.  The other day at work I was literally so busy that I was almost jogging around the office!   I’ve been meaning to read Dr Libby’s book Rushing Women’s Syndrome as I think it’s a real issue with women in particular due to the various roles and responsibilities we have.  But in the meantime, here are some quick tips from Mayo consultants on better time management. Continue reading

This outfit got a teen sent home from school

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Texas teenager Macy Edgerly was sent home from school to change because she was wearing this outfit.

The school deemed it inappropriate because the sides of the top were too short. The Orangefield High School student handbook reportedly states that leggings are permitted, but only if a garment worn over them meets the “fingertip” rule. The dress, skirt – or shirt, in this case – must be “below fingertips when hands are held straight down at your side.”

I can’t see anything remotely wrong with this outfit. It is is no way revealing. Sure rules are rules. But I think this is taking it too far and is just ridiculous.

The 18-year-old’s sister Erica posted an epic rant on Facebook about it, saying the school was body shaming her.

“People wonder why women feel insecure about their bodies or what they wear…

“And it’s because you’re told your clothing is inappropriate when you’re completely fully clothed, even when you’re not showing cleavage or anything.

“How about instead of body shaming women, school systems should start teaching 15-18 year old boys to stop degrading women with their eyes and contributing to the rape culture of today’s society.”

The pair’s received support from thousands of people on social media, who wrote of their disgust over the incident.

One person wrote: “That’s so ridiculous. I’m annoyed for the rest of the day after seeing this.”

Madison Woodruff posted: “I have been saying the same thing that you said for so long.

“Why should girls have to base their clothing choices on boys who can’t learn to control themselves?”

In a statement, Macy’s school Orangefield Independent School District, said: “While the District cannot disclose or discuss the details of any student’s disciplinary or educational matter due to federal and state confidentiality laws, we want to assure our community that Orangefield ISD strives to maintain a positive and successful learning environment for our students free from disruption and distraction, which includes enforcement of our student dress code.”

‘Wow Bachelor NZ way to degrade your contestants’ – catwalk segment infuriates

Dani

I love watching the Bachelor and the Bachelorette shows and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.

The Bachelor NZ is hardly pro-feminism – cleaning up poo at the zoo to test the women’s housekeeping skills is case in point – but the catwalk segment on the Bachelor New Zealand last night was a new low.

I thought this was supposed to be a dating show not New Zealand’s Next Top Model.

And it was easy to see just how embarrassed the girls felt as they strutted in front of Arthur and host, Mike Puru, in a range of outfits, including bikinis and even a bridal gown (a bit premature!). Art apparently want to test their “confidence” and get a good look at their “personalities”. Yeah righto…

It was hard to watch. And I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.

‘I Instagrammed myself thin’ – Woman loses 60kg with Instagram diet

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A UK woman has revealed the surprising way she achieved her incredible 60kg weight loss, and it could work for you too.

It took Jess Semmens two years to drop from a size 24 to a size 12. Her secret? Jess posted snaps of her food on Instagram and asked strangers to rate how healthy her meals were.

22-year-old Jess shared an image of a healthy meal, while explaining that it was her day to be weighed and check her progress

After being warned by a doctor that she would not live past 35, the 22-year-old decided to make some big changes.

Jess told the Daily Mail she had been “a sucker” for fad diets, trying both the Paleo and Atkins diets, but never managed to stick to anything for more than a few weeks.

She was feeling helpless by the summer of 2012, but then a friend told her about the My Fitness Pal app and she decided to give that a go.

The app outlined her new diet – to eat 50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein. She stuck to the plan at first, but then struggled to keep herself motivated.

Then Instagram came into play. A friend had told her about healthy eating accounts on Instagram, and she looked at those at first for inspiration before creating her own account.

“I thought I was doomed to be overweight for ever but when I started counting calories on a phone app and sharing pictures of my meals I was amazed at how many comments I received.

“I started documenting the change in my figure as I lost weight and it was a great way to see my progress and keep me on track whenever I felt like reaching for the biscuit tin.”

She continued: “If I didn’t stick to the diet I wasn’t just letting myself down, I’d be letting down all my followers too.”

She says the pressure kept her motivated.

“As did all the lovely comments I got – and now I feel amazing. You could say that I have Instagrammed myself thin,” she told the Daily Mail.

Jess shared an image of a meal of salad and quinoa on Instagram

She lost 19kgs in three months and even began sharing her own recipes on Instagram. In turn, she gained hundreds of followers.

After losing around 25 kgs she says she plucked up the courage to join a gym and this is when she started taking post-workout pictures.

“I started to post almost everything I ate and uploaded post-workout photos to show my followers how much I’d worked out. I did mostly cardio as I was too scared to use the weights.”

She says her followers commented about how good she looked “and it was just the confidence boost I needed to carry on”.

By December 2014 – two and a half years into her regime – Jess had lost around 60kgs and had dropped six dress sizes.

“If it wasn’t for Instagram I’d still weigh 22st. You can try all the fad diets but all you need is to eat healthily and to have some encouragement. I’ve never been happier.”

are you beautiful? I asked 100 men what ‘physical beauty’ is and the results shocked me

This is such an incredible article. All women should take note.

Life is Rozie

Tina Fey said it best in her book, ‘Bossy Pants’:

 “But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty.
Girls wanted butts now.
Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them.
And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired.
And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful.
Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you.
All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful.

Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose…

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Recipe for a mouth-watering chocolate cake

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I received high praise when I made this chocolate cake for a co-worker who had her last day in the newsroom yesterday. I actually saw a reporter scrapping the last of the crumbs off my platter.

It’s the first time I have made this chocolate cake. My beautiful auntie Denise made it for my cousin’s 21st, and a lovely family friend Sharyn has made it several times for special occasions and every time it has been a hit.  I don’t think I will be making any other chocolate cake again.

So if you’re looking for a cake that looks really impressive and tastes as good as it looks here it is.

This is an Annabel Langbein chocolate cake recipe.

Cooking time: 1 hour

 Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour

2 cups sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

¾ premium quality cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

200g butter, softened

1 cup milk or unsweetened yoghurt (I used 1 cup of trim milk in my cake)

3 eggs

1 cup boiling coffee

 Instructions

Heat your oven to 160C. Grease the sides and line the base of either a 30cm round cake tin or 2 x 20cm round cake tins with baking paper. I used one 20cm tin and put part of the batch in first and cooked it and then cooked therest of the mixture once the first cake had cooled.

Place all the ingredients above in a bowl or food processor and mix or blitz until just combined and the butter is fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin or tins and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin. If you’re not using it at once, it will keep fresh for around a week in a sealed container in the fridge. You can also put it in the freezer uniced.

Here is my first layer. The second layer of the cake was even bigger.

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  I iced the cake with the ganache (recipe below) and then put melted frozen berries on top.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

Chocolate Ganache

I used two 250g blocks of dark (62%) Whittakers chocolate and one 500 ml bottle of cream.

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Chocolate

Pour the cream into a medium pot and heat it until it is very hot but not boiling. Bubbles should start to form around the edge of the pot. Remove from the heat and add the broken up chocolate to the pot. Stand for a couples of minutes. Then stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Put it in the fridge to set. I made the ganache the night before and took it out in the morning and let it sit for a bit on the bench to soften a little before icing the cake.

Feeling stuck?  How to decide your next career move

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No job is perfect but if you’re dreading going to work each day then something’s got to change.  We spend about a third of our adult lives at work so we might as well try and enjoy it.  The most important thing is to make sure you don’t feel ‘stuck’ in a job you aren’t happy in. There are always options, it’s just a matter of which one works best for you in your current situation. Continue reading