Skip navigation

What do you want to find on the web

The history of Santa Claus

Santa Claus being watched by a happy childThe jolly and white bearded figure in the red fur coat slipping down the chimney and riding his sleigh is one we are all familiar with, although he has actually only looked like that for little over a century. However, whether you know him as Father Christmas, Santa Claus or St. Nick, he has actually been around for a lot longer than that.

St. Nicholas
The story of Santa can be traced back to a 4th-century bishop, St. Nicholas, who lived in what is today Turkey. Due to a large inheritance from his parents, he was extremely wealthy for much of his life and chose to share that wealth with the poor. Whether he started the custom of hanging up stockings is not certain, although one story has it that he anonymously left a bag of money in the house of three poor sisters while they were sleeping. In parts of Europe during the Middle Ages, children were given gifts in his memory, usually on December 6, supposedly the day he died.

St. Nick.
Saint Nicholas remained an important figure in parts of Europe, especially the Netherlands, where he was known as Sint Nikolaas. Dutch immigrants to America brought the name and the stories with them, and Sint Nikolaas inevitably became St. Nick. However, Christmas celebrations in 18th-century America were very different from today, consisting largely of rowdy and alcohol fueled gatherings. In some areas, such as New England, the celebration was largely ignored.

Father Christmas
The name Father Christmas has origins in 16th-century England, where he was generally seen as someone who embodied the good food, revelry and overall spirit of the Christmas period. Father Christmas gradually came to be associated with Christmas Day on December 25, as Protestant England no longer observed St. Nicholas Day or the other saints' days. During the 19th century, he was depicted as wearing a green fur lined coat and spreading good cheer throughout the land.

The Santa image evolves
The image that we have today of Santa Claus can be traced back to several poets, writers and illustrators during the early 19th century who decided that Santa should have a whole new look. An 1809 book by Washington Irving depicted him flying through the sky delivering gifts in a flying wagon, while an 1821 poem by an unknown author added a reindeer pulling the cart. And the following year, a poem by Clement Moore called 'The Night Before Christmas' was published, which helped to create the Santa image we have today - a fat, jolly man in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer.

The merging of Father Christmas and Santa Claus
Some of the earliest drawings of the modern Santa were published in the 1860s and '70s in the American magazine Harper's Weekly. The artist Thomas Nast was commissioned to draw Santa every year for 20 years, and he gradually changed the figure over time, making him fatter and jollier, and adding his distinctive red outfit. The English Father Christmas and the American Santa Claus gradually came to be regarded as the same person.

The modern Santa
By the late 19th century, Santa had acquired most of the trappings that we associate with him today, including a workshop at the North Pole. The introduction of Christmas cards helped to reinforce this image, and the modern image of Santa then spread back to Europe where he was known by different names in different countries; Pere Noel in France, Father Christmas in the UK, and Grandfather Frost in parts of eastern Europe.

Santa may not be real, but you can still visit his workshop at the Arctic Circle in Finland, year round. And of course, millions of excited children all over the world would beg to differ when they wake up on Christmas morning to a full stocking.

Copyright © Henry on 2017

Related Links: Find below further links on topics related to Santa Claus and Christmas;
Information on Saint Nicholas
Information on Thomas Nast the person responsible for the modern image of Santa
More information on Santa Claus
Information on Santa's workshop

Find more Christmas articles in our holiday section

Read more 0 comments

How to enjoy Mijas Costa

Sunset at the beach, Mijas Costa, SpainMijas Costa is part of the municipality of Mijas in the province of Malaga, in Andalusia and lies at the heart of the Costa del Sol region. Andalusia lies along the southern coast of Spain and although once a major agricultural region, now relies on tourism as a major industry. The climate is Mediterranean and therefore has hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. You can reach the area via Malaga International Airport. One of the best ways to get there is to fly into Madrid and then take the TALGO train to Malaga. The train is very fast and the scenery is magnificent.

The town
Mijas Costa is the main commercial and residential area of Malaga and still has a lot of the old world charm of the pueblos blancos, or white villages. Once in town, you will want to take advantage of one of the old donkey taxis for a traditional view of the city. You can ride the taxi through the narrow cobblestone streets and view the old whitewashed houses with red tiled roofs lining the area. Mijas Costa joins together twelve kilometers of shoreline and includes El Chaparral, La Cala, El Combo and Calahonda.

The beach
The La Cala beaches are some of the best in southern Spain and are a major tourist destination. You can find jet and water skiing and para-sailing along the wide sandy beaches. There are also many beach restaurants along the way offering fresh seafood and the local beverage, tinto de verano. Even though La Cala has built up to a major commercial area, it still maintains a lot of its old world fishing village appeal. Many of the locals are British and German expatriates. Try to visit La Cala on Wednesday or Saturday to see the street markets full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as local crafts and artwork. If you are there on Saturday in the summer, stick around for the Flamenco festivals.

Day trips
A nice day trip from Mijas Costa is to visit the white village of Mijas. There among the narrow streets are the Fuengirola Markets. The village sits high up in the mountains and commands a magnificent view of the villages and beaches below. Mijas also offers the famous donkey taxis. Another day trip, especially for the kids is to the Mijas Aquatic Park for a day of fun in the water slides and rides.

For the golfer, there are several beautiful golf courses in the area, over 60 in the Costa del Sol region. They all offer the local dry, sunny climate allowing golfers to play year round. One of the largest and most scenic is El Chaparral. For tennis, there are two beautiful tennis clubs in Mijas Costa, the Lew Hoad, and the Club del Sol Tennis Clubs. For local sports, check out lawn bowling at one of the three Lawn Bowls clubs in Malaga.

Although there are many local shops in Mijas Costa and plenty of places to shop, you can also venture back into Malaga to visit the many fashion boutiques along the Alameda. While there, be sure and visit the Plaza de la Constitucion where all the local cultural events and festivals are held. Of course, there are also more modern indoor shopping malls located in the city. If you visit Malaga, take a ride on the Malaga Tour Bus. This is a very inexpensive way to see the area and it takes about an hour and a half.

For the fun in the sun, Costa del Sol adventure of a lifetime, visit Mijas Costa for a vacation you will never forget.

Copyright © Darryl on 2017

Related Links: Find below further links on topics related to Mijas Costa, Spain;
A travel guide to Mijas Costa
A travel guide to Costa Del Sol
An article on the best sight in Mijas

Tags: Spain, travel

Read more 0 comments

How to boost your motivation

A man has hiked to the top of a mountainThe human brain is wired to conserve energy. "If you've already got food, shelter, and warmth," the brain thinks, "what's the point of spending all this energy on a risky venture with unknown rewards?" To trigger motivation, you have to make a sales pitch to your brain, persuading it that your venture is not risky and that the rewards are real. The techniques below will do just that, and performed regularly will help give your motivation a boost.

Leverage Peer Pressure
Behaviors spread through social groups. You've seen this in action when people copy the hairstyles of celebrities. We are socially influenced by other people's behaviors and we feel an unconscious pressure to conform to them. Use this to your advantage by connecting and spending time with people who have already achieved the goal you are working towards.

Introduce Novelty
In novel situations, the brain becomes more alert and active. So every week, try to switch up your routine in some way. If the idea of running on a treadmill three times a week doesn't appeal to you, do dancing this week, tennis next week, martial arts the week after, and so on. Or if you're a writer, try writing from different locations every week. Introducing novelty will help you avoid boredom and give yourself additional stimulation

De-construct Tasks
Make challenging goals less daunting by breaking them down into smaller tasks. Your aim is to chart a step-by-step path from where you are now to where you want to be. For each stepping stone, always identify the specific actions you need to take. So you are not "building a business," a large, nebulous and daunting goal, you are "completing the business plan and attending the entrepreneur's workshop on Wednesday evening."

Build Competence
Psychologists have discovered that we are more motivated to complete tasks when we perceive ourselves to be good at them. Whatever you are aiming towards, identify skills or an area of knowledge that will aid you, and develop in that area. For example, if you're trying to start a business, you could buy and read the three best-rated marketing books of the moment.

Develop Relationships
Generally speaking,we are more motivated to take part in activities if they help us to build positive relationships, so seek out supportive people to work alongside. This could take the form of having a workout buddy, going to meet-ups or workshops, or even joining online communities. You could even find a "goal buddy," and have regular meetings to discuss your progress.

Identify Benefits
Making the positive impacts of your goal more salient in your mind will give you a boost in motivation. To do this, imagine you have fully achieved your goal. Then write for 20 minutes about what your life is like and how reaching this goal has benefited you. After that, write down the top five benefits, the ones that excite you the most, and review them every day.

Start Small
Motivation increases after you start taking action, so if you're not motivated, start small. If you can't be bothered writing, tell yourself you'll just do two pages. If you're not motivated to exercise, just do a five-minute workout. You'll find that after you get started, your motivation will increase and you'll end up doing more.

As sales guru Zig Ziglar said, "Motivation doesn't last. Neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily." These techniques are not permanent solutions, you need to do them consistently and regularly. But if you do, you'll find it easier to take action towards your goals.

Copyright © Warren on 2017

Related Links: Find below further links on topic related to motivation;
More tips to boosting motivation
Tips on introducing novelty into your life
Using visualization to help achieve your goals
Motivational quotes for inspiration
Learn something new today

Tags: lifestyle

Read more 0 comments

How to plan a Christmas celebration

A family Christmas celebrationPlanning a Christmas celebration can be tough for even the most organized of planners. After all, it seems like there is always one more gift to buy, one more present to wrap, one more RSVP to get, and one more hotel reservation to organize. Whether this is your first time planning a Christmas dinner or you're 20th, there are a few ways you can make sure that your celebration goes off without a hitch. Careful organization and preparation goes a long way in making sure you keep your sanity while making sure that your guests have a great time.

Write it down
First off, make a list of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Do the flowers need to be ordered by December 1st? Write it down. Does Uncle Rick still need to RSVP? Write it down. Do you need to pick up the turkey? Write it down. The more thorough and complete your list is, the better prepared you'll be as Christmas approaches. Make sure you keep track of everything you need to do, when you need to do it, and how much you'll be spending. Try to prepare as many things ahead of time as possible to avoid last-minute rushing around. For example, consider buying your turkey a few weeks advance instead of a few days.

It's also important that you remember to delegate responsibilities whenever possible. Do you really need to be the one to pick up Grandma from the airport? Is it something that your teenage son can handle? Do you really have to be in charge of baking all of the pies or can your nieces help out? Whenever possible, ask your relatives to assist you with tasks. This not only enables them to feel included, but it also gives you the opportunity to take a break from handling everything. Remember that being in charge doesn't have to mean you're in charge of everything.

Minimize gift-giving
Consider minimizing gift-giving as a way to reduce stress surrounding the holiday. Sure, gifts are an important and exciting part of Christmas, but it's not the only important part. Instead of getting a gift for everyone on your list, consider doing a Secret Santa or a White Elephant gift exchange. You could assign each person someone to shop for or you could have each guest bring a gift and then trade presents during the party. This will cut down on anxiety for everyone, but it will also reduce the financial burden of the Christmas season.

Remember that no matter how busy or overwhelmed you feel, Christmas is a time to celebrate with your family. Take the time to stop worrying about whether you have enough cookies and instead focus on having a good time. Your family comes to your celebration to enjoy your company, not simply to eat your food, so don't be embarrassed or ashamed to take some time to just have fun hanging out with them.

Copyright © Lorraine on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below links on other related Christmas topics;
Tips on planning a child oriented Christmas party
How not to get overwhelmed by Christmas
How to minimizing gift giving for Christmas
How to find the perfect present

Read more 0 comments

The best study tips

A group of students sitting around an outdoor tableStudying is imperative for students who want to do well in a class, but many students struggle developing solid studying skills. If you think your study routine is holding you back, here are eight simple things you can do to improve it.

1. Make a list of your assignments. It helps to write down everything you have to do so you don't forget anything. Having many different things to do can get overwhelming. Breaking tasks up into smaller subtasks can make them seem more manageable, so you can start doing them instead of thinking about how much work you have to do. Go through your tasks one by one, checking them off as you complete them for a sweet feeling of accomplishment.

2. Have a set study time. Sit down and plan out when you're going to do your homework, then stick to that time. For example, you could say that you're going to study every Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m., every Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m., and every Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. Treat all of your study sessions like a class that you absolutely have to attend.

3. Remove all distractions. It's hard enough to focus on studying, but it can be much harder if your phone is ringing and your friends are talking and your TV is making noise. It can be helpful to play some quiet music, especially if it's instrumental, but anything more will just keep you from your work. If your phone keeps ringing, you can choose to put it on Do Not Disturb mode or airplane mode, or just turn your phone off and put it away.

4. Time yourself. It's difficult for anyone to focus for hours on end, so it's good to take breaks so you don't burn out. Make sure that these breaks aren't too long, though; otherwise, you'll never get your work done. One popular way of timing your work and break times is the Pomodoro method: work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. Every third break should be longer (15 or 20 minutes instead of five) so you can relax and get ready for the next set.

5. Use active study methods. Passive studying, like reading from a textbook, gets boring, which means you're more likely to get distracted. Instead, try making flashcards, doing practice problems, or creating a study guide. If you absolutely have to read out of a textbook, then make it engaging by annotating (not just highlighting) the text.

6. Study with others. Collaborating with classmates can make studying easier because you can work together on difficult problems. Explaining content to other students can help you learn it better too. To make sure the study session doesn't get too distracting, you can use some of the other techniques, like making goals and timing work/break periods, to keep yourself and your group on track.

7. Space out your study time. You can make your studying time much more productive just by spreading it out over multiple days. Studying for 12 hours in one stretch will just tire you out. If you study for two hours a day for six days, or one hour a day for 12 days, you'll spend the same amount of time but it will be much more effective.

8. Stay healthy. Don't worry too much about getting perfect grades; studying is great because it helps you learn. But don't forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you eat right and sleep enough. This keeps you healthy and helps you get better grades too.

Copyright © Henry on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below more information on studying;
Tips on creating a study schedule
How to avoid distractions while studying
How to take a study break
Getting the most out of studying with others

Read more 0 comments

Finding the perfect present

A Christmas giftFinding the perfect present for the Christmas holidays is rarely an easy task. The right item for the right budget often seems impossible. Too often, the gifts are returned or enjoyed only for a short time. They are never really appreciated for the long term. Here are some ideas to find a gift that is a keepsake worth treasuring.

A book
Order a personalized book for your special someone. Even young children can appreciate a book that caters to them. You can start with something as simple as a bound photo book with images of the individual’s past and loved ones. Write quotes, expressions, dates and other tidbits in the book to make it even more special. If a photo book isn’t appealing, have a storybook custom ordered. These books take the photo and name of the individual involved and write them into the story. The recipient then has his own book to cherish. You can even submit the friends’ names to be included in the story. Companies that produce these books offer stories for both girls and boys and consider their ages for the different tales. Another idea is to have a family tree made into a book. Software is available to create these books and you can organize it to suit your needs. Add family photos, dates and extra information, such as birth city or anniversaries, for a special touch. When spending money on a personalized book, always get a hardcover version that is printed on archive quality paper to ensure it lasts for years.

Keepsake ornaments are an excellent way to commemorate the holidays. These are special ornaments that are brought out each year and you can even pass them on to the next generation. Look for ornaments where you can add photos so you can include images of the individual. Ornaments that record sounds are a great way to either send an oral message to the recipient or record a baby’s voice for them to enjoy when they are grown. Some ornaments are also small boxes where you can add your own token, such as a lock of hair, and make them into a little treasure chest for you to enjoy for years.

Handmade gifts
Handmade gifts are a traditional keepsake present. A rag doll that a child can carry throughout adulthood, a scrapbook of family memories or a collection of Grandma’s recipes are all special items that you can craft yourself. The recipient knows that you spent time thinking about him while you were making the gift, which makes it all the more precious. If you have a collection of old baby clothes or blankets, you can use the fabric to convert it into a quilt. If you aren’t handy with a needle, a local crafter can put the fabric pieces together for you.

Whatever you choose for your holiday keepsake gift, remember that it should not take up too much room when it is stored. Books, quilts and ornaments all pack easily into drawers, making them ideal for people who move or don’t have a lot of space. Gifts are often discarded if they are in the way or easily damaged during a move. Keepsakes should be easy to keep and evoke warm memories in order for them to last.

Copyright © Lorraine on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below links to help in choosing or making that perfect gift;
More tips on finding the perfect gift
Homemade holiday gift ideas
How to choose the perfect gift

Read more 0 comments

How to enjoy the French Riviera

The water feature in Nice, FranceThe world-famous Cannes film festival takes place every May in the stylish and glamorous seaside resort in the south of France. But if you visit the Cote d'Azur at other times of the year, this almost legendary stretch of the French coast offers plenty to see and do. Mention the Cote d'Azur, or French Riviera, to someone, and it conjures up a picture of beautiful beaches, stylish resorts, movie stars and luxury yachts. This part of the French coast, which stretches between Toulon and the Italian border, is home to some of France's most famous resorts and most beautiful beaches.

Most visitors to the Cote d'Azur concentrate on the larger resorts of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo. Many people begin their trip in Nice which has the region's largest airport and easy access to the rest of the Cote d'Azur, as well as nearby Italy. For those of us who aren't movie stars, Nice is a little bit less glamorous and less expensive than some of the other resorts. The main attraction in Nice is the old town with its narrow winding streets, colorful eating places, and the weekly flower market.

Apart from its annual film festival, Cannes is famous for its beautiful curving seafront, known as the Promenade de la Croisette, lined with flowers and palm trees. Cannes also makes a good base for taking a ferry ride to the nearby Lerins Islands, on one of which you can see the cell where the "Man in the Iron Mask" was imprisoned.

The principality of Monaco is one of the richest square miles on earth and Europe's second smallest country. The most famous attraction is the casino, where vast fortunes have been won and lost over the years. Monaco also has an excellent museum of oceanography; with over 90 tanks of fish and sea creatures, it's one of the best in Europe. Motor racing fans can also walk the route of the Monaco Grand Prix, which winds its way through the city.

Places to relax
The above-mentioned towns can be extremely crowded during the summer, and you can often find a more relaxed atmosphere in some of the smaller towns and villages along the coast. The beaches are noticeably less crowded too if you visit during the spring or fall. Antibes is a charming town which sits on the site of a 4th century BC Greek city and the excellent museum of History and Archaeology displays Greek, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts. There is also a Picasso museum, paying tribute to the painter who lived in the town during the 1940s. Another small town worth a visit is Villefranche-Sur-Mer with its narrow cobblestone streets, the castle overlooking the village and bustling waterfront. A highlight of any visit here is a trip to the Chapel of St Pierre with its spectacular interior.

Inland from the coast
The Cote d'Azur is justifiably famous for its beaches. But if you venture inland, you'll discover some of France's loveliest scenery. There are many charming villages in the hills overlooking the Mediterranean that are worth a visit. St. Paul is full of shops selling work by local artists and craftsmen; Vence has a bustling daily market and a cathedral with lovely stained glass windows.

People have been flocking to the Cote d'Azur for over a century for the glamour, and simply to see and be seen. But away from the expensive yachts and boutiques, you will find one of the loveliest parts of France - it's no wonder that many of the greatest artists of all time, including Matisse, Picasso and Chagall chose to paint here.

Copyright © Darryl on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below links to some more information;
Tourist information on Nice
Information on smaller towns on the French Riviera
More information on Antibes
Travel links in the directory

Tags: France, travel

Read more 0 comments

Teach your kids how to save money

A jar for saving money"I want that!" "Can I have this?" "I need it!" "But everyone else has it!"

Sound familiar? Many parents feel frustrated that their children have a lot of wants and needs, but aren't sure how to help their children learn about the importance and value of money. There are quite a few ways that parents can quickly help their children learn to appreciate money, learn to save money, and perhaps most importantly, learn how to handle money effectively.

First of all fully explain money
Make sure you talk with your children about where money comes from. Explain that grown-ups earn money by going to work. If they don't go to work, they won't earn money. Putting this in simple terms for your children also helps them to understand that your family has a limited amount of money. This will help your children understand that although they may want many things, there are also times when you may not be able to afford something. This is where saving comes in.

Show your kids how to save for a goal
Show your children the importance of saving money. Pick something you want to save up for as a family. For example, save up for something large like a vacation or something small like a pizza night. Write down the amount of money you want to save and tape it to a small jar. Each family can contribute money to the jar. Even if your kids throw in loose change, the jar will quickly fill up. When you reach your goal, you'll be able to enjoy the reward of your savings.

Get your kids used to choice
Don't control everything about your children financially. If you choose to let your child have an allowance or if your child as birthday money to spend, don't require or force your child to save it. Instead, let your child make his own choice but talk with him about it. For example, if your child wants to save up for a bike but sees a small car he wants, talk with him about the decision. Remind him, "If you spend your money on the car, you'll have to start saving again for the bike." Your child may find that this is a decision he's willing to live with but he may also decide he wants to wait.

Teach your kids to delay purchases
Remind your child to wait before making a purchase. There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking about a purchase overnight or even for a few days before making it. If your child wants to buy something but you would rather him save the money, consider having him wait a certain amount of time before you bring him back to the store to let him make his purchase. Make sure your child knows that you will always bring him back to the store when he decides he's ready to buy what he wants.

Copyright © Sarah on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below more information on teaching kids to save;
Teaching kids about money and the importance of saving
More ideas on teaching kids about money
Teaching your kids to save based on age group

Tags: family, home, money

Read more 0 comments

How to boost your creativity

A lady painting a picturePaul Cezanne, French painter and founder of the Post-Impressionism movement, once said, "It is so fine, and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas." Anyone who has ever tried to create something can relate to this. The blank canvas is so inviting -- the starting point for an infinite number of creations. Yet at the same time, if a starting point does not come to mind, the blank canvas can taunt you to the point of anguish. If you're feeling that way yourself, one of these remedies may help you break through the creative block.

Embrace Novelty
The brain, in trying to help us survive, is hypersensitive to novelty because what we are unfamiliar with might be dangerous. So when faced with novelty, brain activity increases as it starts trying to make sense of the new environment by digging into the old memory banks. Specifically, neuroscience research has demonstrated that novel experiences activate brain areas associated with memory and learning.

So if you're facing the blank page, change your environment. Go somewhere completely different to where you normally work. Go to a place that's "not your scene," talk to people you wouldn't normally speak to, and eat food you've never tried. If you can't physically do this for some reason, do it mentally -- imagine yourself in a different place, or time. Make use of novelty and new ideas will start to arise.

Connect with Your Work
This method applies to any piece of work that's based on something specific - an experience in your life, and emotion, a historical event - anything. First, use props to elicit an appropriate emotion. If you're writing a song about a breakup, you might read through old texts, or look at old photographs. Inspect any items you have that remind you of what you're creation is about, or listen to music that evokes the feelings you want to convey in your work.

Next, get a pen and paper, or use your computer, and start free-writing on the topic. This is not limited to writers -- you can do this whatever your medium. Continue for 20 minutes, without editing yourself or worrying about the quality of what you're writing. You're not actually working here, you're just getting your brain focused on the topic at hand to get ideas flowing.

Warm Up
When people play sports, they don't switch immediately from sitting on the couch to doing intense exercise. They ease into it slowly with some warm-up exercises first. This is not just for safety -- it activates neurons in the nervous system so the body can send signals to the relevant muscles more efficiently. Since the brain is made up of neurons too, why would creativity be any different?

Approach your blank canvas, be it a Word document, a guitar, or perhaps literally a canvas. Set a timer for 20 minutes and start. The key is to get into a non-judgmental state, where you're just allowing yourself to create without any care for whether it's good or bad. It's just a warm up, remember? You don't have to show this to anyone. After the 20 minutes are up, if you have some good ideas you can start editing, refining and developing them to see where they lead. If not, you can set the timer for 20 minutes once more, and start again.

As well as keeping your body in good condition, physical exercise also benefits the brain. Exercise increases brain activity in areas related to memory, learning, and concentration, and also increases levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps the brain grow new neurons and maintain old ones. Furthermore, the mind wanders during aerobic exercise, which can lead to new ideas. Most of the research on exercise and mental function has focused on aerobic exercise, so if you're feeling stuck, go for a jog, and pick up your work when you get back.

Work through it
Creative blocks are never permanent, and as Cezanne's quote illustrates, even celebrated masters suffer them at some point. So if this is what you are experiencing, don't judge yourself for it; it's part of the process. Even when you're not actively creating, ideas are still stewing in the background. Just use one or more of the suggestions above, keep working, and the "Aha!" moment will come.

Copyright © Warren on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below more information on some of the topics discussed in Warren's post;
Some ideas for doing something new
Some writing exercises for creative writing
An article on overcoming writers block

Tags: lifestyle

Read more 0 comments

How to keep your readers satisfied

A man reading a book in the parkEvery writer faces the same dilemma when crafting a story - how to keep readers coming back for more? A well-plotted story with compelling characters is key, but there are a couple of extra factors that keep readers engaged and begging for the next story. Creating a "good" story is easy - taking it to the next level is what many beginning writers struggle with, but luckily, that extra polish can be learned.

All stories need a hook to grab a reader, and then more reasons to keep reading, to be compelling enough to engage the reader so thoroughly that they forget the rest of the world even exists. There are many reasons why a reader can disengage from a story, but a major one is confusion. In their eagerness to craft a pretty sentence, too many writers forget about clarity. Clarity is necessary in writing, from an article to a blog post to a novel. Losing points for an unclear sentence that a reader stumbles over is an utter waste. Be clear. Say what you mean as simply as possible. Never give the reader a reason to pause and wonder what you meant by a certain phrase. The words can only flow as long as there is complete clarity of meaning.

Poetry isn't the only form of written word that requires a certain flow. Even a short story or a novel needs rhythm. A variety of phrasing, sentences of differing lengths - these and more are needed to develop a story with a cadence that's a pleasure to read. Even an exciting chapter can seem dull and lifeless if there is no variation in structure. Push your story to a professional level, bring a tale to life, and earn readers who will read anything you write by making sure your words are enveloped by a cadence that's as interesting to read aloud as it is in one's mind.

Throughout a story, a writer makes promises to a reader, but it's at the end where the final battle between writer and reader takes place. This is when all may be lost in a sentence. The promises need to be fulfilled, and the main plot's ending must satisfy. But there are other endings, too, within a story. These might include the end of a dilemma, of a sub-plot, of a minor character's journey, even of a life. It's the path to these endings that are the point of the story, the reason readers keep turning pages. The resolution of each of these parts is what provides a reader with closure. Too much, and there isn't a reason to read a sequel. Too little, and the reader will feel as though something is missing - a real problem in a standalone book in particular. Strong endings with enough satisfaction, surprise, and emotion will keep readers excited for the next story you write.

If you're worried about taking your stories to the next level then take into account these core rules. Do your words mean what you think they mean? Are your sentences conveying a clear concept? Does each paragraph have its own rhythm that flows smoothly? And are your endings, both minor and major, fulfilling the promises you made to your readers along the way? These concepts will smooth out your writing, fulfill your reader's expectations, and help you build a long-term career.

Copyright © Gotter on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below links to information on how to keep your readers satisfied;
Tips on how to master clarity in your writing
Tips on recognising and improving cadence in your writing
Tips on having good closure at the end of the story

Read more 0 comments

Great online resources for students

A tree diagram of web activitiesLearning online can be just as effective as taking classes in person. Some students that are new to online education may not be aware of all of the resources available online to supplement their course materials. In lieu of in person tutoring or study groups, there are many equally beneficial resources available online to explain math problems, setup a bibliography, or even write a thesis project. Here are some of the best online resources that can benefit online students.

1. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a website that offers in-depth video tutorials about a wide variety of topics from math to biology to history. Although this website covers a number of subject areas, it is an excellent resource for mathematics and science. People who need some help with a math class will love it because it explains mathematical concepts and provides examples in a clear and simple fashion.

2. Purdue Online Writing Lab
The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an essential resource for students taking any type of writing intensive course. This is a program run by the Writing Lab at Purdue University that provides information about how to write and organize a paper, how to set up a bibliography, and it even explains some grammatical concepts as well.

3. Open Stax College
OpenStax College is a revolutionary way to provide free online textbooks and low cost physical books to college students. This website is actually run by a nonprofit organization affiliated with Rice University and all of the textbooks are peer reviewed and written by experts. These are not the same books that you may have been assigned by your professors, but they are designed to cover the majority of the same concepts.

4. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a website that provides completely free books, particularly literature books. It was founded by Michael Hart, who coincidentally created the first ebook back in 1971. They provide many classic, public domain texts from Plato to Shakespeare. It is an excellent supplement for English and literature courses.

5. Bibme
Bibme is a completely free resource that will actually create and format your entire bibliography or works cited page. All you have to do is type in the name of the resource that you used and it will do the rest of the work for you. This website includes MLA, APA, and Chicago citation styles.

These online resources can be a godsend for students. The Khan Academy provides excellent math and science tutorials, Project Gutenberg and OpenStax offer free books, and Bibme and the Purdue Online Writing Lab will help you write your papers. Always remember that help is out there for any class that you are taking either online or off-line, so look to these resources for support throughout your studies.

Copyright © Henry on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below links to information and resources on online Learning;
Is online learning right for you?
The learning category in the niceanswers,com directory
The free online books category in the directory

Read more 0 comments

How to start playing croquet

Two people playing croquet in the parkFor generations, Americans have enjoyed the casual game of croquet at backyard parties or picnics at the park. Since its humble beginnings in France during the Middle Ages, the lawn game of mallets, balls, and wickets has spread and gained popularity throughout the Western world. It has even developed a competitive following, with several formal associations in existence. However, the great thing about croquet is that it can be played virtually anywhere by anyone. All you need is grass or dirt that allows you to put the wickets into the ground – and of course, a good croquet set!

Easy to play in the backyard
The rules of croquet are fairly easy to follow. They can vary somewhat at the competitive level, but for the typical backyard players, the basic rules remain the same and are easy to follow. Much like the game of golf, players must take turns hitting the balls towards a series of targets. Instead of holes, the balls are hit through u-shaped wickets, usually a set of nine. This is accomplished with long, wooden mallets. Generally, croquet can be played by two to six players. Players can be divided into teams, or play “cutthroat” against each other individually.

Flexible game-play
Sometimes the wickets are laid out in a certain pattern, though many times casual players place them wherever they wish. Like golf, the terrain can be used to provide natural hazards and obstacles. There are two stakes which are setup at the beginning and end of the croquet course. The order of play is usually determined the order of colors on the end post. Each competitor has a mallet and ball with corresponding colors.

Playing the game
Two wickets are placed in front of the first stake, marking the start of the course. Players must hit their ball through the first two wickets and then proceed to the next wicket. Generally, the course is circular, meaning the competitors follow the wickets around one direction to the second stake, hit the ball through the other two wickets to that stake, and then take an opposite route back to the first stake to complete the round. To win the game, a player or team must achieve the highest number of points. Points are awarded for every wicket passed through in the correct order and direction.

Croquet sets
There are quite a few quality croquet set suppliers. Many can be found online, while many of the brands are carried in major retail outlets. The cost of sets can vary depending on the materials, the number of players they allow, and the accessories they come equipped with, such as carrying bags. Generally, a good starter croquet set can be found for under $100. Some of the top manufacturers include North Meadow, Franklin, and Oakley Woods.

Copyright © Darryl on 201

Editor's Note: Find below links to more information on Croquet;
More information on Croquet
You can download the rules of Croquet and how to play Croquet from this web site
Watch a video on how to play Croquet

Tags: hobby, sport

Read more 0 comments

What is Science

Two flasks used in chemical experimentsAsk three different people and you will most likely get three different answers, Answers may range from science is everything, to science is a man in a lab coat, to its new technology. I also see many different definitions of what science is on the Internet and I have included some links to them here.

However I will sum up science in my own words;

To me basic science is the study of the world and the universe, and all that that entails. Basic science looks to find the facts behind everything that happens around us. As professor Julius Sumner Miller used to put it, science looks for the answer to “Why is it so". In order to find the facts all science must involve observation and recording, the data is then analyzed to extract its meaning. In order for science to be “good science” it must use proper scientific method.

This leads on to the rather bland dictionary meaning of “science” as the accumulated and established sum of knowledge this is proven to be fact, or what in science circles is often referred to as scientific knowledge.

In modern times the application of learned science to real world applications (technology,etc), often referred to a “applied science” has also become identified with the word “science” and so another meaning for science is now also the use of scientific knowledge in a practical application.

Types of Science
The wide variety of different sciences give some idea of the wide scope of scientific study which includes;

1. The classical sciences:- These are the ones that most people will identify easily as sciences and they are also known as the Natural sciences. They include sciences like;

  • Physics - The study of laws of nature.
  • Chemistry - The study of matter and it properties
  • Geology - The study of the natural materials that make the earth and the universe
  • Biology - The study of living organisms
But scientific studies nowadays have impacted in all areas of human study;
2. The Social Sciences:- These are specifically concerned with development of humanity and its interactions, These include sciences like;
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Communication Science
  • Psychology
  • Linguistic Science
  • Geographical Sciences
All sciences can usually be further broken down into more specific sciences, and hence there are more types of science than I could be bothered to list here.

The impacts of Science
Science and it impacts can be defined in three basic ways;

A. Scientific Research
This is the basic science that I referred to above and involves the use of the scientific method to search for new knowledge and facts in our world and the universe. The difference between scientific research and any other form of research involves the strict method which must be adhered to in order for the knowledge gained to be considered a scientific fact. Scientific research of itself creates nothing, but seeks to understand all, and in enlarging our knowledge base it leads to the discoveries that can be then used in applied science.

B. Applied Science
Also extremely important is the role played by the application of science in modern day life. Many people will identify with this more as science that scientific research itself. These applied sciences are often not about further scientific study, but rather the application of information learned from science to achieve a particular purpose or outcome. Such outcomes in the modern world include many different processes, for example;
  • resource extraction, processing and manufacturing
  • the creation of modern infrastructure
  • the invention and production of new technologies
However often both applied science and new scientific discoveries can occur in the same process and hence the distinction between applied science and research science can become rather blurred in many areas of the scientific profession.

C. Scientific Jobs
A large number of jobs are directly and indirectly related to science. Many scientific jobs nowadays are often concentrated around the applied sciences (e.g. engineering), but many are also a combination of both applied science and scientific discovery (e.g. biologist), with scientific research making up the remaining scientists (e.g. astronomer).

The word science was originally derived from the Latin word "scientia" meaning knowledge, but science has gone on to become not only, the study of all that we can know as humans (research science), it has also in modern times become the application of what we can create from all this acquired knowledge (applied science). The lifestyle we have today would be vastly different in a world without the applications from scientific research. From medical breakthroughs through to the latest electronic gadgets, our world has been vastly changed through the use of science.

Copyright © Maurice on 2017

Editor's Note: Find below other explanations of science;
The topic Science on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Another explanation of "What is Science"
A definition of Science by
Yet Another explanation of "What is Science"
Nasa's explanation of "What is Science"

Tags: Science

Read more 0 comments

Older blog posts

August 25th 2017, 12:10 PM The importance of having a financial plan 0 comments
August 22nd 2017, 9:26 AM Tips for shelling out on Halloween 0 comments
August 18th 2017, 10:08 AM How to be a successful Freelancer 0 comments
August 15th 2017, 9:16 AM How to fix a slow android device 0 comments
August 12th 2017, 9:19 AM Identifying and overcoming overeating disorders 0 comments
August 10th 2017, 11:10 AM How to carve and use a Jack-o'-lantern 0 comments
August 7th 2017, 10:45 AM How to use the "law of attraction" to find a job 0 comments
August 2nd 2017, 5:31 PM Superfoods that will help you nail those pounds 0 comments
July 31st 2017, 10:06 AM Ideas for families who can't travel 0 comments
July 27th 2017, 9:44 AM Quick ways to promote your book 0 comments