Hotel vs. Villa: What’s Right for Your Family Holiday?

If you’re thinking of booking your family holiday, then you have a few big decisions to make. Not only do you need to choose where you want to go and some of the activities you’re going to take part in, you need to decide where you’ll stay. The place you stay will play a big part in your holiday. Will you stay in a hotel, where lots of families stay, or will you stay in your own private villa? What’s best for your family holiday?

Private Villa vs. Family Hotel

The type of holiday you want will vary depending on the sort of family you are. Many people like to stay at a family hotel as they see it as less hassle than a villa. Not only that, they have the opportunity to meet other families. You can meet couples, and your children can make friends with other children. This can make for some great holiday memories! However, a private villa is great if you have a larger family. If you just want some family time together where nobody else can interrupt, hiring a private villa is a good idea. You can see the type of villa you could be staying in on sites like QualityVillas.com.

Private Pool vs. Communal Pool

Would you rather have your own private pool where you’re free to come and go as you please, or a communal pool? Having the luxury of a private pool can be amazing. One thing you will need to bear in mind though, is supervising young children.

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Eating Out Vs. Eating in

When you stay in a family hotel, you usually have a number of options when it comes to food. You might like to eat out some nights, or in the hotel restaurant the rest of the time. You might even find an all inclusive deal where you get meals and drinks included in the price. When you stay in a private villa, you also have the option of eating in. You can buy fresh, seasonal ingredients from wherever it is you’re staying, and cook some local meals if you feel brave enough. You could even buy a takeaway and have that at your villa!

Space

When it comes to space, a villa can’t be beaten. You’ll have private bedrooms, bathrooms, your own pool, living room, and even a kitchen. You won’t get nearly as much space in a hotel. If you’d like all of the comforts of home with your family holiday, then a villa is definitely the best choice for you.

If you want to mix with other families during your holiday and make friends, then staying in a hotel is a good idea. Staying in a villa is great if you want some family time. Bear in mind that some villas will also come with washing and cleaning, so you don’t even have to worry about that if you don’t want to. Do you have any family holiday tips of your own you’d like to share? Leave them below!

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How To Save Money On Beauty And Bathroom Essentials

Life is expensive, especially when you have a family to look after. With bills, gas costs, and food shops to pay for, often there’s very little left over for treating ourselves. We all deserve to look and feel our best, which is why it’s so important that we can get our hands on all the beauty and bathroom bits and bobs that we need.

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If you need to tighten your purse strings for a while, you are most probably wondering how you will afford the little luxuries. Such as facial scrubs, bath bombs and makeup. While these might not be household essentials, we all deserve to look and feel good. The good news is that if you’re savvy about how and where you shop, you can stick to your budget and afford all your must-have beauty bits and bobs. Want to know how? Then make sure to keep reading below:

Stock up during sales

Your favorite store has a sale on? Great, stock up on all your must-have items while they’re on sale. While this might mean spending a lot at one time, in the long-run, you’ll save yourself money. To ensure that you don’t miss any sales, sign up for email alerts from all of your favorite beauty and bath stores. Then, every time there is a sale on, in-store or online, you’ll get an alert about it.

Use discount stores and websites

If you have a browse online, you should be able to find some discount stores. For example, http://lensdirect.com is an online discount store that sells lenses at low prices. This site may only sell contact lens related items, but there are plenty of other sites that sell all sorts of beauty products. So make sure to take the time to source these sites, so that you can save on your essentials.

Downgrade to less pricey brands

This one might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people refuse to do this. Many people make the mistake of thinking that for beauty products to be any good, they must be designer. However, that’s not the case. Often, drugstore brands have products that are just as good quality as their designer counterparts. They just come without the pricey label; that’s all. Make the switch, and the chances are, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Collect samples

If there are products that you love but can’t afford at the moment, stockpile samples of them instead. Most beauty brands offer samples, so whenever you’re shopping in-store, ask for a couple. You can also apply for free samples online, from sites like http://freebies.about.com, which is worth doing as often the sizes are larger.

Start couponing

We’ve all seen those shows where couponing buys a $300 shop for just $20, and all thanks to couponing. Okay, so you might not be able to make such huge savings, unless, of course, you become an extreme couponer, but you can definitely save by couponing. You can find coupons online and in magazines, all you need to do is cut them out.

Want to save on your beauty and bathroom essentials? Take note of the tips above, and you can do it too.

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We’re Back!

Hey everyone!

A lot has happened in the world of Star Focal, but we are back and we plan to make things better than ever! First I wanted to give you some updates on what has been going on and why we have been MIA!

The last year has been super tough! My oldest daughter started Kindergarten, my younger daughter is in preschool and my brother-in-law that we take care of started his Senior year in High School. As some of you know, my youngest is Autistic. This year we started with more therapy as well as more schooling and it has been eating up all my time. When I am not figuring out this therapy thing I am trying to figure out this being a mom thing and it all tends to get a little crazy in this house!

At first I was doing fine, but then things started to slip away and I started to feel more and more useless in my own house. I swear every time I got something done I would have to re-do the whole thing just to be able to move on. Not only that but it felt like everything was breaking! My car broke down and so did my husbands, my marriage was falling to pieces and Star Focal was not getting anywhere. Every where I looked made me feel like a failure and I needed a change.

After a much needed vacation and some me time away from the kids and everything else, I have started to pick my feet back up! I even got bangs!! I know this kind of seems like a New Years thing, but for me this started a couple of weeks ago. Things are slowly getting back to the way they were and I am excited to start sharing with you guys again! I missed you!

Okay so on to what’s new! As I said earlier, I got a new hair cut. I got about 6 inches cut off from the back and who knows how much cut for the bangs and it really does feel better! Not only is my hair no longer in my face all the time it gives me more motivation to actually do something with my hair instead of just putting it in a bun every day.

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Another new thing that you guys have not seen yet is out new kitty Kali! She is super sweet and can be a bully at times too. This is our new little monster.

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There is a lot more going on, but I figure that I have vented enough for today!

What has been going on with you guys? Let me know in the comments!

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How To Create A Beautiful Smile

A smile is so important. It communicates many things. A smile will let people know you are happy and friendly. It confirms you want to be where you are. And it says hello. Too many people are unhappy with their smile. There are plenty of things that go into a really great smile, so we’ve put together some ideas on how to create your own beautiful smile:

Lips

Luscious lips are not the most important part of a smile. However, looking after your lips helps you create the beautiful smile you want to achieve. Rolling exercises where you roll the lips together helps keep the blood flow to your lips. You should always apply chapstick to prevent your lips looking sore or dry. If you feel a cold sore coming on, treat it immediately to prevent an unsightly outbreak. Wear a quality lip gloss in a good, natural shade.

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Teeth

Teeth are naturally quite yellow. This is the dentine color underneath the enamel. As the enamel wears with age, the yellow color shows more. A cosmetic dentist can help you whiten your teeth safely. You might choose veneers to cover your teeth or even a bleaching treatment. White teeth are thought to symbolize youth and good health. Dare to show your beautiful teeth off when you smile.

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Flickr is the source of the image

Eyes

Our eyes give us away if the smile is not genuine. You can add some sparkle to dry eyes with refreshing eye drops. Give the impression of an open eye look with eyeliner and mascara. This draws more attention to your eyes when you smile. A lot of us have to smile when we’re not feeling particularly happy (like in customer service!). But genuine smiles look beautiful, and it’s all thanks to your gorgeous eyes.

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Posture

Our body language really does speak volumes about what we’re truly feeling. If you are slouching, it can suggest you’re feeling tired and unhappy with your surroundings. Do your best to stand up tall when you smile for the maximum impact. Keep your shoulders down and back in a relaxed position. Make sure your head is sitting squarely on your neck and not drooping. This might even help you increase your energy levels. Now smile and let everyone know you’re the most confident girl in the room.

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Flickr is the source of the image

Skin

Some people don’t like how their skin wrinkles when they smile. It’s true that we all naturally have crows feet and lines next to our mouths when we smile. It is actually part of the charm of a beautiful smile! A big smile is really noticeable and will help others feel happy and relaxed too. If you are worried about your furrows, then keep up a good skin care routine, with plenty of moisturizers. This helps keep your skin smooth, supple and elastic.

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Flickr is the source of the image

If you love to smile when you’re happy, then you shouldn’t worry about how that smile looks to others. Enjoy the happy moments. Let your smile tell the world you are in a good mood. Who knows? You may even pick up a few happy followers along the way.

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Is Cosmetic Surgery The Best Option For Improving Your Appearance?

As women, it’s only natural that we always want to look our best. We eat salads for lunch, practice yoga before bed, and make sure to only use products that we know are good for us. Sometimes, however, doing these things isn’t enough, and we start to wonder whether cosmetic surgery might be the best option.

Over the past few years, plastic surgery has become incredibly popular. Women and men of all ages are opting to go under the knife, to improve their appearances.

While plastic surgery has become more popular, it’s important to realise that having a procedure should not be a spur of the moment decision. It should be something that you take the time to think about, to ensure that it’s the right option for you.

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To help you do that, I have put together a guide that will allow you to decide whether cosmetic surgery is the best route for you.

Do you have low self-esteem?

Many people have low self-esteem as a result of not liking something about their appearance. People who are happy with how they look tend to be happier and more confident and enjoy life that much more.

If your self-esteem issues are caused by something that you can change, try to change it, before considering surgery. For instance, many women have low self-esteem because of issues with their weight. However, this isn’t an issue that should be dealt with surgically.

If your low self-esteem is caused by something that you can’t change, surgery could be the answer. One of the main reason women go under the knife is to reverse the effects that come with aging, such as saggy eyelids. If you suffer from this problem, it can make your feel incredibly self-conscious. However, there are plenty of eyelid surgery services that can fix this for you.

Do you know what you want?

Many people want to improve their appearance but are unsure of how they want to do it. If you are going to have a cosmetic procedure, you need to be sure about the treatment that you are having.

Take the time to sit down and think about what it is that you want to improve about your appearance, before having surgery. If you rush into a procedure without properly thinking it through, you may end up regretting it.

Are you concerned about your weight? Do you have negative feelings about your facial features? Do you want to get rid of the signs of aging? Whatever you are worried about, you need to ensure that you are certain about what the right procedure for you is.

Can you afford the cost?

When it comes to undergoing cosmetic surgery, it’s important to think about the cost. You might be dying to improve something about yourself, but if you can’t afford it, it’s not worth it.

Get in touch with a cosmetic surgery clinic and ask them for a consultation for the procedure that you want. This will not only give you an idea of the cost of the treatment, but it will also allow you to ask any questions that you might have.

If you want to improve your appearance and are considering having surgery, you need to ensure that it is the right option for you. Take note of my tips above, and take your time coming to a decision.

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How To Reduce The Signs Of Aging On The Face

The aging process is inevitable, but I’m not going down without a fight! Luckily, I still have youth on my side, and that’s the best place to start protecting yourself. The earliest signs of aging start to creep in on your face and skin. And, experts say the first effects begin to take hold in your late twenties. So, it’s never too early start! The better you look after yourself now, the longer you’ll extend your life, and ward off those pesky aging signs.

But first, what are those signs of aging? Well, it all starts with your skin. The face is almost always the first telltale sign. The eyes start to tire, and lines begin to burrow into your brow. The hands begin to show the first signs of age too. You may also notice it in your hair, as it turns dry and thin. These are all symptoms of the same few lifestyle elements. Today, I’ll show you how to reverse them.

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Reduce stress

Stress has a habit of showing up on our bodies. We hold tension in our back and shoulders. This gives our bodies a hunched appearance. We hold our tightness in a very visible position. Not only that, but stress is visible in our eyes. We hold our worries and stresses there, and the dark circles grow darker and bigger. Take active steps to reduce stress and you’ll watch it drain from your body. Take up yoga, and learn to centre yourself for twenty minutes every day. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and learn to take things in your stride.

Get a better night’s sleep

There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep! Your natural eight hours are the best way to rejuvenate your skin and replenish your cells. As you sleep, the body repairs damaged cells and brings them back to life. That’s what gives your skin that natural glow. By cutting your sleep cycle short, you interrupt this process. Your skin will look dry and cold. Try to get an early night and plenty of rest!

Increase natural anti-oxidants

Most people tend to turn to the pharmacy or beauty stores when trying to reverse the aging process. We see the TV adverts for creams, serums, and treatments. But, we tend to forget that all the best options are right under our nose. Natural foods and liquids are the best way to reverse those signs of aging. Eating a better diet and drinking lots of water is a more effective method than any of those expensive creams! Even herbal tea and berries are natural anti-oxidants that clear the skin effectively.

Treatments

Of course, some treatments do work wonders. I find that microdermabrasion is particularly effective. It scrubs away the dead skin, revealing the younger, beautiful skin underneath! I like to treat myself to one session a month, and it helps fight off those pesky aging signs. One of my friends also recommends acupuncture, but I’ve yet to try it!

The face is the first place to show those telltale signs of aging. I’m still young, but it’s never too early to start!

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Easy Ways To Hide What You Don’t Like About Your Body

Let’s face it, we all have bits we’re not entirely happy about. Some days bring even more problems to the mix. Whatever you don’t like about your looks, there are always some simple yet clever ways to hide it. So don’t panic. Read on and see if any of these ideas help you achieve the look you want today:

Bad Hair Day

We’ve all had them. And some days are worse than others! If your hair is being wayward, then

tie it back. This will stop it shooting out all over the place. You may need to add some hairspray to tame those wilder tresses. Of course, you can always wear a hat or use a hair band to hide any hair line problems. If you’re starting to spot the dreaded greys, then grab yourself a home dye kit from the local chemist. They are quicker than waiting for a salon appointment.

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Flickr.com provided this pic

Blemishes, Wrinkles, Eye Bags

When your skin is letting your down, it’s time to fight back with some age-appropriate skin care. If you’re not under twenty-one anymore, then blemishes should be treated more subtly. Spot cream can burn your skin if you’re not a teenager anymore, so use it with caution. Instead adopt a cleanse, tone and moisturise routine. Check out some makeup ideas from http://www.chichicosmetics.com for a new look to cover any problem areas.

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Big Chest, Little Chest

A lot of us are bothered by the size of our chest, no matter what we’ve been graced with. Choose fashion that suits what you’ve got, rather than what you wish you had. Ruffles, seams, and other decorations on tops give the impression there’s plenty there. If you’re big chested, look for square cut collars and plunge Vs to make the most of your womanly shape. Wear a bra that contains what you’ve got, even if you have to buy a bigger size than you would like.

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Flickr.com provided this pic

Tummy Trouble

If your belly is bothersome, then you have several options. You can choose longer length dresses with an empire line. The fabric will drape over your tummy, hiding any contour you’re not happy with. Control underwear can also flatten out tummies. Wearing fashion items with waistbands smaller than your waist can create a ‘muffin top’ look. Choose looser fashion instead. A long length top can be a great way to elongate the appearance of the body.

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Thick Thighs

If your legs are chunkier than you would like, then you could be one of the lucky girls who can build good muscles in this area. The bubble butt may be within your reach. And toned thighs are looking hot this season. If you’re after a more slender leg, then try an A-line skirt to give the illusion that less is at the top.

Fashion and makeup are great ways to hide those bits we don’t like the look of. We can’t do much to change our bodies overnight, but we can make the most of what we’ve got. Love the body you’re in now.

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4 Reasons You Should Buy Custom Jewelry

Lots of people are now opting to leave standard products behind and invest in custom jewelry. That is because there are many advantages to getting something unique. Whether you’re getting married or just want a new accessory, bespoke items are always the best. I’ve been buying custom products for many years now. I’ve never once seen something in a shop that couldn’t have been improved. Considering all that, I thought you might like to understand my motives. On this page, I’ll provide four top reasons custom jewelry is right for you. Best of all? I’ll even explain how you can make it a little cheaper!

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Custom Jewelry Is A Good Investment

There is no getting away from the fact that an investment in custom jewelry is wise. You will own something unique. There isn’t going to be another item like it anywhere in the world. If you buy from a top designer, the product is guaranteed to increase in price. That means you could sell it in later life and make a fortune. Of course, you won’t want to do that if you’ve purchased a wedding or engagement ring. However, it is easy to part with necklaces and bracelets that hold little relevance to your life.

Custom Jewelry Will Make You Stand Out

Like it or not, most people buy their fashion and jewelry items from the same fifty stores. That is why you often find yourself wearing something similar to your friends. Personalized and unique items are sure to make you stand out from the crowd. They’re also fantastic conversation starters. So, those of you who want to leave your friends feeling jealous should get in touch with an expert today. Most use CAD software for custom jewelry, which also means you get a chance to check and alter the design before the manufacturing process begins.

Custom Jewelry Can Highlight Your Personality

People who wear bright colors are often considered to be happy and bubbly. Likewise, people who wear luxurious items are deemed to be professional and serious. You can create whatever impression you like with your personalized items. Some designers will allow you to send them a basic concept before adding the final touches. That means you can let your personality shine.

Custom Jewelry Can Be Fun

There is no limit to the ideas you can use for your custom products. Maybe you are obsessed with a particular animal? I’ve seen some fantastic rings and necklaces made with Panda designs over the years. Me? I like horses, and that is why my engagement ring features an image of Black Beauty. I had it made at a local shop two years ago, and it cost $2,500. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Whoever said jewelry couldn’t be fun was lying.

I hope you have a great time this summer, and that you get lots of bespoke jewelry to compliment your outfits. Make sure you bookmark my blog if you haven’t done so already. As you have seen, I publish lots of posts that might be of interest to you.

Happy shopping ladies!

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Strapped For Cash? My Money-Saving Tips For Online Shopping

Do you love online shopping? The problem with buying things online is that it can get expensive fast. If you spend every evening sitting at home shopping, you could rack up lots of debt in no time. Whether you’re buying jewelry or books, it can become costly before you know it. If you don’t want to quit shopping, there are some easy ways you can save yourself some money. Here are some of my top tips that should help you along the way.

Consider collection only deals

One of the most expensive things about online shopping is the delivery fees. If you want to avoid paying for these things, you can do so by looking for collection deals. For example, if you are shopping on eBay, you should look for the ‘collection’ tab. When you click on it, you will find a whole host of people selling items to collect. That means that you can save money by picking up the item yourself.  You will also find that stores offer the same service. If you live near a particular shop, you can reserve an item online and pick it up at your leisure.

Look for second-hand items

New items tend to be quite expensive, but what about second-hand things? If you want to save yourself some cash, you should look for online stores that sell refurbished items. For example, if you’re buying a watch, stores like Precision Time sell second-hand models. That means that you can pick up a quality product at a fraction of the original RRP. Often, these things are as good as new, which means that you get a real deal. Look online and see what stores you can find.

Check out the coupon codes online

Before you buy anything online, you ought to look for coupon codes. If you are buying a microwave, for example, check for discount codes on the net. You never know, there may be a special deal running that you can use. If you make the most of this idea, you could find that you save yourself a small fortune on goods. There are loads of sites that offer free discount codes to people. Check them out and save your cash.

Add something to your basket (but don’t buy it)

When you are browsing a store online, there is a simple trick you should try. Put the item you want in your basket and then just leave the page open. This method will make the store owners think that you have forgotten to buy the item. Of course, no shop wants to miss out on potential business. You may find that you get a promotional email from the store reps offering you a discount or deal. This message is their way of trying to persuade you to buy the product. If you use this tip, you could save money when you buy things online.

I hope that my tips help you when you next decide to have an (online) shopping spree. Let me know if they work for you.

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How to Buy the Perfect Piece of Jewellery as a Gift

So, you want to buy somebody jewellery as a gift. Buying jewellery can be a really nice and thoughtful thing to do. Jewellery is beautiful, and can make people feel very special. If you want to show somebody that they are special to you, one of the best ways you can do this is with jewellery. But how can you be sure that you’re going to buy something they absolutely adore? Read on to learn more…

Decide on Metal Colour

First thing’s first, you need to decide on a metal colour. You have 3 options; gold, rose gold, and silver. The one you choose will depend which you see them wearing the most of. If they always wear gold, buying them something silver could be a big mistake. Some people like to mix it up, but you need to be sure first. Do a little snooping and pay attention so you know what they prefer to wear. Ideally, they’ll wear a metal suited to their skin tone. Different skin tones suit different metals. Silver might make one person’s features pop and another look washed out. Buying something you think will suit them but you know they’ll like is a good idea. You want this gift to be thoughtful!

Work Out the Receiver’s Style

It isn’t all about metal colour; it’s about style too. Everybody has their own unique style, so make sure you take that into account. If the person you’re buying for doesn’t like anything too glam and you go and buy them a big statement ring, they probably won’t wear it. They’ll appreciate the thought, but it’ll go unworn. Is this person unique? Retro? Classic? Glam? Try to work out their style before you go and buy them something.

Check for Authenticity

You don’t want to give a fake piece of jewellery or something low quality as a gift. You want this piece of jewellery to be impressive, so you need to put some real effort into finding something great. One way you can do this is by checking for authenticity. Some items will come with a certificate of authenticity, but you’ll need to look for signs with others. If you don’t know anything about hallmarks, check out some guides online for gold and silver hallmarks explained. That should help you to determine whether something is worth the money or not!

Design Something if You’re Confident

If you’re confident and you have a larger budget, you can always design something. It isn’t too difficult, and an experienced jeweller should be able to guide you through the whole process so you come up with something you really like.

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picture credit: Flickr

Ask Family and Friends

If you’re still unsure, there’s no harm in discreetly asking family and friends what this person might like. They might know their tastes a little better than you, or have some good ideas of what they like.

Ready to go out and buy the perfect piece of jewellery as a gift? Use this guide and you’ll do a great job!

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