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Ghana to ban Shisha, electronic cigarette by June

Ghana is working to ban the smoking of the wind-pipe tobacco popularly known as Shisha and electronic cigarette by the middle of 2018.

This is according to the Principal Research Officer at the Ghana Health Service, Divine Darlington Logo.

He revealed this on the sidelines of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health held in Cape Town, South Africa which was held from March 7 to 9.

If it becomes successful, Ghana will join Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania as African countries that have banned the wind-pipe tobacco.

“First time we did a study to cover electronic cigarette and Shisha we were surprised to hear that the youth are now moving away from the traditional tobacco use in cigarettes to Shisha and the electronic cigarette which we were not aware off,” he said.

Dr Logo GHS

Dr Divine Logo

The research conducted by the Ghana Health Service also revealed that the prevalence of Shisha smoking stands at 5.3 per cent higher than traditional tobacco use which in the cigarette which is 2.8 percent.

Meanwhile, electronic cigarette smoking prevalence stands at 8.5 percent among the youth.

Shisha

-Shisha

The research which is yet to be released according to Mr. Logo identified the prevalence among especially the youth between the ages of 13 to 15 years.

The call for the ban has become necessary based on WHOs concerns about the harmful effects of Shisha tobacco on human health and hence recommended the ban to all countries, parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC Parties).

It is dangerous, damaging, and addictive to human lives, according to a WHO Advisory note.

Shisha contains many of the same toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke, although Shisha smokers are at a higher risk of suffering the same types of diseases caused by cigarette smoking.

Like cigarette, it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead

The smoke that emerges from the water-pipe contains numerous toxicants known to cause lung cancer, heart diseases etc.

There has been growing misconception that smoking the fruit-scented tobacco through a bowl and tube could be used to cover up alcohol or drug abuse.

The WHO Advisory note also revealed that the smoke from one water-pipe smoking session is almost equivalent to puffing 100 cigarettes.

“Shisha use is more harmful than the cigarette when you puff one is like you have smoked one full cigarette stick,” said Dr. Logo.

Mr. Darlingnton Logo is worried the trend is becoming alarmingly dangerous.

The Tobacco Control Regulations, 2016 (L.I 2247) entered into force on January 4, 2017, do not have measures for Electronic Cigarette for that matter Shisha control.

Sadly, Electronic Cigarette could not be classified under Tobacco Control in the ACT that has been passed because it is Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).

The ENDS, which is also called e-cigarettes, personal vaporisers, vape pens, e-cigars, or vaping devices are products that produce an aerosolised mixture containing flavoured liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.

Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) therefore, unfortunately, does not have the regulation right now to control Shisha and Electronic Cigarette.

Steven Shonguo, Acting Director for Non-Communicable Diseases Cluster at the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa, said because most of the Shisha are imported, what is important is that measures to ensure there is no illegal importation of Shisha and e-cigarette should be put in place.

“It is important to intensify monitoring of the products; internally we apply the existing tobacco control laws in the country, and the framework convention on tobacco control,” he said.

Technical Advisor for Tobacco Control at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung disease (THE UNION), Anne Jones, says Ghana must take lessons from success stories of other countries that have banned it.

“The tobacco companies are same people who own the electronic cigarette; they are marketing strategies to make money. It gets people who have never smoked the traditional cigarette to get hooked on to nicotine which will eventually get them addicted to taking tobacco products”.

Mr. Logo says, however, revealed that “we are working with Ministry of Health to ban the use of electronic cigarette and Shisha. It is more dangerous than cigarette, as far as public health is concerned, banning it is the only way out in Ghana and i can assure you by the middle of this year that has to be done”.

A floating pizza bar in the middle of the South Pacific

As our two-engine speedboat starts the journey back to Port Denarau Marina, a major port on Fiji’s main island, we lurch to an unexpected stop.

A seal on the fuel injector on the engine has loosened, so we sputter back to the mainland at half the usual pace.

But the possibility of such a transit hiccup is the chance you take when visiting a floating pizza bar in the middle of the South Pacific.

Opened in 2013, Cloud 9 bobs above Roro Reef in the Mamanuca archipelago, about 45 minutes off the west coast of Fiji.

“Prior to Cloud 9, Fiji was famous for family getaways and swaying palms, but it was really, really quiet,” Bar’el Wachtel, co-founder of Cloud 9, tells CNN Travel.

“There’s still not a lot to do, but Cloud 9 offers a gathering spot for people to come from all the hotels and experience a different kind of place.”

A ticket to paradise

If a buoyant bar in the middle of the ocean sounds like someone’s pipe dream — that’s not too far off the mark.

An Australian DJ, sailor and avid surfer, Wachtel dreamed up the remote bar with friends during a surfing trip in Fiji.

“I’d always been from a marine background — my father is a yachtie and circumnavigator — and the sea has been my home for a very long time,” recalls Wachtel.

“Surfing brought me to Fiji as a visitor about seven years ago. It’s a really tricky place to surf, because the breaks are so isolated. You really need a boat to access everything. We thought it’d be amazing to have a meeting place, closer to the breaks.”

When scouting locations, Wachtel and his business partner chose the spot carefully.

They finally settled on a crystal-clear lagoon, about nine miles southwest of Fiji’s famous Cloudbreak swell.

Thanks to surrounding islands, the relatively shallow water is generally protected from the strongest winds and waves.

The restaurant has one mooring, so it sways gently in the breeze and, in case of a storm, a boat can tug it to safety in about one day.

Build it and they’ll come

Cloud9 Fiji floating pizza restaurant

Designed by Fiji-based architect Lisa Philp, the floating restaurant was constructed using three different types of local wood: mahogany, raintree and treated pine.

The two-story structure sits atop two pontoons, while sun shades protect guests from the intense rays and solar panels power the entire operation.

“We wanted people to be able to move easily in and out of the water, to have some dry areas, and also plenty of shade,” says Wachtel.

“The over-water structure allows guests to access the reef in a way that’s not possible if we were to have just set up on land.”

The most complicated part of the process wasn’t in the restaurant’s construction, but in the building of relationships with various local stakeholders.

“Here in Fiji, there is the government and then there are the land owners, the indigenous custodians of any area. Gaining their support is crucial to being able to operate everywhere in Fiji,” explains Wachtel.

The hardest part was about six months after opening.

“We encountered a lot of hurdles,” he adds. “I needed to move to Fiji and take over the operation, because my first business partner, who was the original manager, didn’t get it right.”

A day on Cloud 9

Cloud9 Fiji floating pizza restaurant Cloud 9 was mostly a hangout for serious surfers when it first opened, but the guest list has expanded considerably over the years to include young couples, groups of friends and even a few families.

With two daily sessions, Wachtel estimates that the place welcomes roughly 200 visitors a day during peak season.

When guests disembark from the ferry, they tend to find their own little nook.

Each level offers varied seating arrangements, including large day beds, shaded communal tables, bar seating and rows of sun-soaked reclining chairs.

Once settled, you can rent snorkel gear, jump from the top deck and swim around the reef, where you’ll find colorful coral and a smattering of fascinating fish.

“A lot of places offer a party on an island, but I was attracted to this project because it’s unique and it’s authentic,” says Wachtel.

“You get the feeling of being really far out, but you still have a sense of proximity to a lot of important tourist destinations, such as Port Denarau.”

The floating paradise also lures music lovers from all over the world, thanks to a rotating roster of guest DJs, including international DJ Ant J. Steep — an Australian DJ and composer who fills the air with mellow, moody electronic beats.

“Since I was coming from a music background, it was important for me to figure out a way to throw parties out here and provide a cutting-edge music policy,” says Wachtel.

Following each guest DJ performance, Wachtel uploads the set to Cloud 9’s Soundcloud account so visitors can tune in at home.

How’s the pizza like?

Served on thick wood butchers’ boards, thin crust, wood-fired pizza is the order of the day.

 Cloud 9 Fiji floating pizza restaurant

There are about six options available, including classic Margherita and Hawaiian (topped with ham and pineapple).

It’s maybe not the best pizza we’ve ever had, but we were impressed with the homemade dough (made fresh every morning) and crispy crust.

“Pizza was an elegant solution, because we have environmental considerations out here,” says Wachtel. “With a full menu, you need to have a full kitchen.”

“Waste is obviously a very important logistical consideration for us — we have to transport everything back to the mainland and we want to preserve the beauty of the area, so we do everything we can to minimize waste.”

At the bar, day drinkers can order tropical cocktails from every shade in the rainbow, a few local beers like Fiji Gold and Fiji Bitter, and a handful of wines and bubbly.

“Obviously having a fully stocked bar was very important,” recalls Wachtel. “We wanted to have the raddest lounge bar in the world — a meeting place in the middle of the ocean.”

Source: CNN.com

Would you sleep in a glass pod hanging off a cliff?

Would you sleep in a transparent capsule hanging off the side of a Peruvian mountain?

That’s the idea behind the spectacular Skylodge Adventures Suites, glass lodges precariously situated on the side of a cliff in Peru’s Sacred Valley.

If you’re brave enough, these crystalline pods are accessible only after climbing 400 meters (about 1,300 feet) of the rock face or hiking a daring trail featuring a zip-line network.

The motivation behind these dramatic lodges was to offer “a unique experience that that [reconnects guests] with nature or make them realize what really luxury can be,” Natalia Rodriguez, the SkyLodge manager, tells CNN Travel.

The suites are the brainchild of adventure company Natura Vive — who want their guests to embrace their inner adventurer: once you’re ready to leave your suite, you can zip-wire down to the ground below.

Inside these 24- by eight-feet pods, guests are treated to views worth marvelling over– alongside four beds, a dining area and a private bathroom.

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– Inside, guests are treated to fantastic views — alongside beds, a dining area and a private bathroom.

The beds have down pillows and quilts, ensuring you’ll sleep well if you aren’t distracted by stargazing.

Rodriguez says the main challenges of constructing this unique structure were “getting things up there” and “designing it to handle winds.”

Don’t worry though — the pods are crafted from aerospace aluminum and weather resistant polycarbonate — so Natura Vive promises they are secure and guests are safe.

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– A stay in the lodge includes a gourmet dinner with bottle of wine and a hearty breakfast.

This unconventional vacation will set you back roughly 1335 Peruvian soles/$400 for one night. The price includes private transportation to and from your lodge, equipment, guides — plus a gourmet dinner with bottle of wine, and breakfast overlooking the valley below.

For those who’d rather not stay the night, SkyLodge offers a lunch-only, Peruvian gastronomic experience — from 770 Peruvian Soles/$237 per person.

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-The SkyLodge suites are for adventurers only.

Peru’s Sacred Valley — home to natural wonders, greenery and archaeological ruins — is book-ended (more or less) by two UNESCO World Heritage sites: former Imperial capital Cusco and 15th century Inca citadel Machu Picchu.

The SkyLodges are well positioned to allow guests a day or two to admire the Valley from above, before venturing below and onto Macchu Picchu.

Fashion Friday: Meet Serwah Armah-Koranteng — US-based Ghanaian connecting Africa to the world

In an industry where it is easy to get lost in the plethora of competitors, one African lady has found her feet, shining forth brightly in the fashion world and carrying others from her home-continent along with her fast-rising fame.

From her modest home in Columbia, South Carolina, US-based Ghanaian fashion icon, Serwah Armah-Koranteng, is on a mission to bring the world closer to fashion ideas and talents from Africa.

Serwah believes that as a fashion entrepreneur, she owes it to Africa and the world to unearth talents and opportunities within the industry, and thereby create entrepreneurs – and it has been a fulfilling task since 2014 she tells myjoyonline.com.

– Serwah Armah-Koranteng

For close to five years, she has leveraged on the power of the internet and other entrepreneurial tools to connect fashion talents from Africa with U.S businesses, organisations and manufacturers, who have interest in building business partnerships overseas.

Her first event in 2014 was aptly titled: “Africa is not a country”, which was not only a multi-cultural fashion show, but also a forum to discuss the cultural diversity of the different African nationals in her community and their belief systems. Although she had targeted Africans, it turned out that participants at that successful maiden event came from different parts of the world.

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“The feedback from this show was encouraging, so I decided to continue it as an annual event to commemorate the Black History celebration here in the USA,” she recounts.

Aside from her fashion outfit, AfricStyle Initiatives, which plans and executes fashion and networking programmes with the aim of spreading “the love of God” and promoting brands from the U.S and all African countries, she is an astute unisex designer herself.

Serwah-fashion

“My fashion shows are held twice a year and part of the proceeds goes to my local community and my overseas partners. Each year, my schedule permits two major fashion shows where I showcase my designs and products. My products – clothing, accessories, home decor, all with African print fabric – that are showcased at the fashion shows are 80 percent made by me right here in the U.S. The rest come from Ghana, Kenya and South Africa,” Serwah says.

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Serwah says she is always looking for partners and sponsors to help young people learn a skill or make use of their skill by producing and selling made-in-Africa products through her platform.

“I also use my platform to support young talents with seed money to produce products that benefit my platform,” she explains.

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Accomplishments

Serwah has had four successful events within the last four years, and she is confident her fashion events could pass easily as the “largest African networking fashion show in Columbia, South Carolina.”

Serwah-fashion

“I have been featured in Columbia Fashion Week and currently serve as an International Fashion Coordinator for Columbia International Festival where I coordinate fashion shows for adults and children from over seventy-eight different countries – all to the glory of God,” she is modest.

Serwah-fashion

She is currently working on her Summer event which will be a display of Ankara necklaces and bags to show the beauty of the African print and to demonstrate that the prints are not only used for clothing but can also be used for accessories and decoration.

“I am also working on having hands-on training in Ghana and US on branding and presentation of products with an emphasis on selling abroad. I had quit my full-time as a nursing professional job this year to focus mainly on business and projects, so this should tell you how serious I am in pursuing this,” she said.

For Serwah, consistency and trust have been her watchwords.

Serwah-fashion

“My goal for 2018 is to partner up with some businesses or organisations in Ghana and other African countries to help educate our people on entrepreneurship, building a business network and also branding of products.

She says she would love to work with anybody, however, to earn her trust, she must be convinced without a doubt that the person’s passion for his or her brand.

Serwah-fashion

“Although I have the desire to help, I am also keen on accountability,” Serwah says.

More photos of Serwah’s designs are published below.

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Inside Sweden’s new floating hotel

A good vacation is an escape from the every day and this upcoming resort in the Swedish Lapland, couldn’t be further from normal life — it’s literally floating on a river in the middle of nowhere.

ArcticBath is a new hotel adrift on the Lule River in the Scandinavian north — a glacial haven of snow-tipped forests, world-class fishing, amazing wildlife and the Northern Lights.

The resort is from the team behind the region’s acclaimed Treehotel — the quirky brainchild of owners Britta and Kent Lindvall, situated amongst the forest canopy.

ArcticBath will offer a similar mix of luxury and nature — inspired by the wild, stunning Swedish surroundings.

Homegrown ethos

Arctic Bath Hotellrum (1)

The unusual design of ArcticBath has a homegrown history.

“You don’t have to copy things made elsewhere, it’s not interesting,” says ArcticBath articitect Bertil Harström — who worked on the project alongside Johan Kauppi. “I think the interesting things come from your own history and your background.”

Bertil Harström tells CNN Travel that the zany design is inspired by Swedish log-shipping traditions.

Arctic Bath patio

Until the mid-20th century, logs were transporting along Swedish waterways. En route, the timber would often get stuck on the rapids and form clusters of floating logs.

The architect recalled this image from his childhood — and it became his main inspiration for the new design.

“It was a symbol for that era,” Harström says. “So I chose to build this idea around the connection to the forest in the north.”

The resulting circular structure is a striking combination of man-made and natural influences.

“I don’t call myself a sophisticated intellectual architect designer, I work with more conceptual structures,” says Harström.

Internaal and external

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The resort is home to six, 25-square-meter hotel rooms alongside saunas, a cold plunge pool, spa treatment rooms, a restaurant and bar and the central open-air bath.

Visitors will access the resort from a wooden walkway.

“You can say that the building is rather introvert, the focus is on the inside,” says Harström. “So if you see it from a distance, you will have some problems to guess what is inside.”

During winter, the resort will be frozen into the ice. During the summer it’ll be floating in the river.

The center of the bath will offer spectacular panoramas of the Swedish night sky above.

“It’s not a traditional façade in architecture,” says Harström, who also worked on one of the treehouses for the nearby TreeHotel. “I think TreeHotel prepared the world for ArcticBath as the next project.”

Local community

Arctic Bath Winter side

Harström says locals in the nearby village of Harads have been very encouraging about the project, especially after the success of TreeHotel:

“They are confident now […] that it will be something good for society,” says Harström.

The designers and owners are also conscious of protecting the environment — as well as providing an excellent tourist experience. Harström says their ambitions are supported by the local government.

Arctic Bath Topview winter

“They have been positive, and now we have all the papers that we need for starting up the building process,” explains Harström.

ArcticBath is due to open in the latter half of 2018.

Proof you should never go out to eat on Valentine’s Day

Scoring a reservation at a buzzy new spot or one of your favorite restaurants may seem like a major Valentine’s Day coup, but proceed with caution. Here’s a piece of insider knowledge that those in the restaurant industry might hesitate to tell you: Valentine’s Day is the worst possible night of the year to dine out. Having dined out on this holiday, I’ve firsthand witnessed these pitfalls.

The fundamental reason: you won’t get a true taste for what the restaurant has to offer. With a high demand for reservations, many restaurants choose to serve a prix-fixe menu in lieu of the establishment’s greatest hits. Not because it makes for a better meal, but because a prix-fixe menu reduces cost and complication. The problem: it can be unfamiliar to both the cooks and wait staff, inviting more opportunity for mistakes both in the kitchen and in terms of wine pairings and menu choices.

Contributing to the chaos, tables get shuffled around and squeezed in to accommodate an increased head count. You might end up in a subpar location (near the dishwasher) or seated at a wobbly, rented table, as has happened to me. More significantly, the arrangement alters the flow of service. An increased number of tables means more orders for waiters to manage, which spells trouble even for veteran teams. Add these factors to the pressure of making this night memorable for the moony-eyed couples, and blunders are bound to happen.

I find it much more romantic to stay in and instead treat my boyfriend and myself to a bottle of Champagne (or Barolo) and a simple but special cheese and charcuterie plate, something hands-off that keeps the cleanup to a minimum. (A mountain of dirty dishes can be quite the mood killer.) Typically, we make a Valentine’s Day dinner out of baguette, our favorite cheeses, charcuterie, and luxe accoutrements, like membrillo, cornichons, and marcona almonds. Pair with a couple glasses of wine and a sweet treat sourced from a favorite bakery or a choice assortment of chocolates, and you have the makings of an ideal meal to linger over.

Ultimately, the decision to dine out or stay in is up to you and what feels right to where you are in your relationship, but I wholeheartedly suggest choosing an intimate evening in and instead booking a prime reservation on a less-loaded night.

‘You marry the family’ is annoying advice, but don’t ignore it

If you’ve ever had a serious relationship, you’ve definitely fielded the never-ending barrage of questions: “How many siblings does he have?” “What is his mom like? Does she like you?” “When are you going to meet the family?”

Then, inevitably, these questions terminate in the singsong, oft-repeated phrase: Don’t forget, you don’t just marry an individual, you marry the whole family.

Even though those words make me want to rally for a nationwide, collective eye roll, I have to admit that after almost four years of marriage with parents-in-law, seven sisters-in-law, and four brothers-in-law in the picture, there’s no denying the truth in that overused statement.

So, why is it so irritating?

Because it conflicts with two very primal instincts we all get when we fall in love: The first is our desire for intimacy, and the second is our certainty that the relationship we have is unique and unintelligible to those who are outside of it.

There’s no bigger damper on those instincts than to admit there is a large group of people involved who have a right to an opinion on your relationship. Everything in our bodies wants us to scream, “No, this is just about us; no one else matters.”

Nevertheless, the fact remains that you can’t separate your spouse from the family they came from. What you can do, though, is realize that “you marry the family” is a big generalization. There are ways in which that is very true and ways in which it is untrue, and figuring out the difference will help you make a better decision about who to marry and how to ease family-related tension after you marry.

01. You can’t ignore family relationships.

There’s no way to get out of the reality that your spouse’s family history will have a major impact on your relationship. It matters whether your spouse grew up in a loving home or a harsh one, a broken home or a whole one; it matters how his parents chose to parent and it matters how his character was formed as a child. If there are things you don’t like about the way your spouse and his family treat one another, it’s important to discuss it because it’s almost guaranteed to come up in your married life together at some point. And that goes for the good things, too. If there are things you really like about your future spouse’s family relationships, you can feel more confident that you will have a similar experience together.

One of the things that gave me a lot of peace while dating my spouse was his level of respect and care for his mom. You could clearly tell that this was demanded of him and instilled in his character from a very young age and it gave me confidence knowing that this behaviour would probably influence his treatment of me and later, influence the behaviour of our children toward me.

Your spouse is different than his family, but he was formed by his family and it’s a big mistake not to take that in to account when making a decision about marriage. In that sense, you very much “marry the family.”

02. You can create your own family culture.

On the other hand, despite what may have been the case with either of your families, you can find comfort in the fact that your family unit is still separate and comes first. This refrain has been a peace-creating balm for my own marriage since my spouse and I come from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

Our first year or two of marriage was difficult because our respective families had very different ways of doing things, like different foods at the holidays, different expectations about what’s polite, and how to share news with other family members. There are even differences in little things like the fact that my family loves sitting around the living room with paper plate dinners and his family would never not eat around a properly set table. It was a major worry for both of us that our own family would either morph into a carbon copy of my spouse’s family or mine depending on who won the cultural tug of war.

Fortunately, we realized that while we didn’t have the ability to change the cultures we were raised in, we do have the ability to dictate exactly how we would like our own family unit to be. We picked some traditions and expectations from each side that we liked and threw out the ones we didn’t like. As a result, we’ve formed a family that has its own culture.

Of course, our respective families still have a big place in our hearts and we enjoy participating in their way of doing things when we visit. But now we can remind our kids: at home, we do things differently.

03. Your vow is to your spouse alone.

When we’re married, we’re asked commit to a life of self-sacrificial love, where we put our spouse’s needs above our own. Love also demands us to make ourselves utterly vulnerable, revealing our flaws and weaknesses and accepting those of our spouse. These commitments are so intense, no wonder it feels a little off-putting when we’re told we need to “marry the family” as well.

When you say “I do” you are opening your heart to embrace a group of people who love and care about your spouse and therefore have some natural right to a relationship with you and especially with the children that might come from your union. That said, while we should always try to maintain a healthy relationship with our partner’s family members, we can discriminate when it comes to deciding the level of influence certain family members have on our own family unit and the level of intimacy of those relationships. So, yes, marriage involves loving each other’s families but our marital commitment to our spouse is a higher priority, and that’s an important difference.

As annoying as it may be to hear, we can’t avoid “marrying” our spouse’s family, to some degree. And that’s a good thing. But don’t freak out that you will be required to share every marital decision with your husband’s nosy Aunt Susie because your marriage with your spouse is something very different and much more intimate than any union you’ll have with his family.

 

Source: verilymag.com

‘Fashion Friday’: How to nail the Christmas party look (clue: don’t try to be cool)

It’s not cool to admit to liking Christmas parties.

Cool people go large at pop-up rooftop negroni bars, or at Burning Man, then roll their eyes and make snide jokes about photocopiers when the Christmas Night Out rolls around. More fool them.

Christmas is the only time of year when, as a grownup, you go to a party knowing you’ll get cake. Result.

Also, Christmas parties are about having fun, not about posing and being cool. This is possibly why the cool people don’t like them, come to think of it.

And a festive dress-up is the nicest kind: indulgent and cosy, rather than exposed or difficult or provocative. Anything that requires shapewear or a faffy strapless bra situation can wait till New Year’s Eve, thank you very much.

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The best Christmas party clothes don’t try and transform you into anyone you are not, but instead elevate tired, five o’clock you into a sparklier, twinklier eight o’clock version of you.

The best-dressed person at a party is rarely the most dressed-up person.

But if high-octane isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a party look.

Your look can be a gorgeous black trouser suit with flat shoes. Just add a printed blouse, and perhaps a glass of red for a flash of colour. Forget scratchy lace: creamy chubby cord is very Nordic hygge-chic, amped up for evening with an excellent earring and a pop of blusher. You can bypass the hold-your-tummy-in school of dressing and opt for an emerald-green satin, long-sleeve blouse and sequin jeans in a toning colour.

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If you are going to invest in one party piece in 2017, make it a blouse. It has gone from dull workwear to classic dinner do, and is now joining the party, ice cubes clinking. A slinky blouse works with everything – jeans, velvet miniskirt, leather trousers – and catches the light without adding too much disco-ball sparkle.

Accessories? This is the season to bring out your most impractical bag, or show-stopping heels. (Wear them with a long, loose, floaty dress for an easy evening update on the midi-skirt-and-knit you’ve been wearing all autumn.)

Leave to-do lists and the hand-sanitiser at home, and swing your smallest, silliest bag. Heck, wear a pair of cat ears, if the mood takes you. You know that Coco Chanel rule about looking in the mirror then taking one thing off? It doesn’t apply during advent. If anything, you need to add one crucial extra finishing touch to complete your party look. Mince pie, anyone?

 

Source: The Guardian

Dine with the fishes at world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant

A warning to travelers heading below sea level to dine at luxury Maldives resort Hurawalhi’s 5.8 Undersea Restaurant.
Your manners will likely be left up on the surface — along with your shoes.
Cutting off one’s companion mid-sentence is almost a certainty as you rush to point out one of the remarkable sea creatures swimming by, whether it’s a reef shark or — if you’re lucky — an octopus.
You might even find yourself giving your dining partner the silent treatment, mesmerized by the marine life that have made the stunning coral reef their home, from colorful parrot fish to moray eels and tiny mantis shrimp.

Largest of its kind

Opened in late 2016, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant is the world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant. Its name comes from the depth at which the restaurant sits — 5.8 meters (about 19 feet) below the surface.
This huge construction weighs 400 metric tonnes and is 90 square meters.
To access the restaurant, diners walk across a pier towards the resort’s over-water Aquarium Restaurant and head down a separate path to a long, winding staircase.
Each of 5.8’s 10 tables offers views of the outside action.
The coral landscape, which stretches around the edges of the tubular structure, draws all shapes and sizes of sea life right up to the glass, leaving you with the inescapable feeling that you’re the one on display and the sea life are actually looking in at you.

Does the food match the scenery?

It’s tempting to feel sorry for the chef tasked with creating a menu that competes with these views.
But during a recent visit by CNN Travel, German chef Bjoern van den Oever’s dishes had us not just excited for what was swimming by the glass, but what would next appear on our plates during the seven-course dinner.
“it’s a lot of pressure,” admits van den Oever, who works with a team of six chefs.
“You have to keep up with the surroundings, you don’t want people getting bored by the food. So we have to always keep the food exciting as well.”
Maldives Hurawalhi
As a result, he says lot of people have underestimated the restaurant and come in with low expectations — only to be blown away.
“We wanted to create something special,” he says.
“More like where people can sit and have a whole theater of things going on. Not only the fish outside, but also on the plate. So everything was very inspired by the surroundings: the coral life, the fish. And there’s a lot of small details where you can look on the coral and you get the reflection on your plate.”
Courses include a mix of unique meat and seafood-based dishes that emphasize the flavors of the local and imported ingredients. For example, there’s the “Diver Scallops,” served with apricot and almond vinaigrette.
“We take one product and we try to make the best out of it,” says the chef.
Maldives Hurawalhi
German chef Bjoern van den Oever oversees the menu at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant.
courtesy Hurawalhi
“So you have scallop in two ways: You have the seared scallop and then the scallop tartare. Which shows, basically, both the raw and the cooked scallop so we have a better experience eating the dish.”
All courses — sent down via a tiny elevator near the kitchen above — are paired with a selection of top wines, selected by the resort’s sommelier.
In addition to the seven-course dinner menu there’s a four- or seven-course lunch. Diners from other resorts are welcome to visit — provided they don’t have kids in tow. Hurawalhi is an adults-only resort.
According to van den Oever, some diners even fly in just for lunch.
“I became a chef because I wanted to make people happy,” he says. “And with a restaurant like this, it’s very easy.”

If you build it, the fish will come

The natural reef landscape framing 5.8 was created by Hurawalhi dive instructor Paige Bennett.
“Basically what I did is [find] dislodged coral blocks, which were not healthy,” she says. “Then, I transported them to the restaurant in hopes that it would start to regain these coral animals that live inside.”
In the beginning, it was an experiment, so she started out with small pieces. Then, after a couple of weeks, the corals regrew.
Maldives Hurawalhi
Aerial view of 5.8 Undersea Restaurant.
courtesy Hurawalhi
Knowing that certain fish live in symbiosis with certain corals, she chose the pieces that would attract specific fish, which would then attract other marine life.
“Once I saw that it was going to work then we started to take bigger blocks and create a natural reef landscape, something that would attract fish in a way that is representative of the Maldives.
“It’s an actual living, thriving reef system and ecosystem, which will grow on its own.”
Though the sheer breadth of sea life drawn to 5.8’s corals is to be expected given the diversity of the Maldives’ marine ecosystems, Bennett admits they were surprised by just how many species decided to move in.
“That’s what makes it so rewarding now,” she says.
But long before any coral was built came the most difficult task of all — actually building the restaurant.
Manufactured in New Zealand, the restaurant’s glass is 15 centimeters thick and was shipped in one entire piece then lowered down with a special crane — a process that took two years in total. (Footage of the lowering can be viewed in in the above video.)

Hurawalhi Island Resort

Though the chef says there are diners who visit 5.8 from other resorts, most are in-house guests of Hurawalhi.
Located in the Maldives’ Lhaviyani Atoll, this five-star luxury resort was designed by Japanese architect Yuji Yamazaki, of YYA New York, and is owned by Crown & Champa Resorts.
Just a 40-minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport, it’s made up of 90 spacious, contemporary villas. Sixty are over-the-water villas and 30 are on the beach. Some come with infinity pools.
The resort offers a variety of dining and drinking packages, from half-board to all-inclusive. In addition to the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, there’s the over-water Aquarium Restaurant and the beach-side buffet-style Canneli Restaurant. (The spread is vast yet of a high quality — exactly what you want in a buffet.)
Maldives Hurawalhi
Hurawalhi offers a mix of over-water and beach villas.
courtesy Hurawalhi
Bars include the Coco Bar, located on the beach and open 24 hours. Aquarium Bar is over-water and offers indoor and outdoor seating. The small Champagne Pavilion, also over-water, sits at the end of the Ocean Villa jetty. It’s the ultimate place for a sundowner. Bonus: Pods of dolphins regularly pass by.
In terms of activities, the resort offers a wide range of sports and excursions both on and off land, many of them free.
The dive center caters to beginner and experienced divers and can plan dives on either the resort’s house reef or to some of the Lhaviyani Atoll’s 50-some dive sites.
But, this being the Maldives, even the snorkeling is incredible.
Due to Hurawalhi’s unique position in the atoll, the area attracts a huge array of marine life, such as manta rays, reef sharks and — as we experienced first-hand with Bennett — a group of massive sea turtles that regularly gathers to feed on sea grass.
Hurawalhi Island Resort, Lhaviyani Atol, Maldives; +960 6622000
Source: CNN

The big lie of the beauty industry

I am a woman in my late 20s who spent too much time in the tanning bed and the sun growing up. I could blame it on “it’s what everyone was doing at the time” excuse, but quite frankly, I should have known better.

As I approach the 30-year mark, I am blown away by how much I have aged over the past year. I feel as though I woke up one morning and looked 20 years older: dark circles under my eyes and an ever-increasing amount of fine lines that are not so “fine” any more.

It all is really throwing me for a loop.

To make matters worse, I log in to social media to see all of my friends have no wrinkles, no blemishes and now I am convinced I am going to look like an 80-plus year old by the time I turn the big 3-0.

And then I find myself googling the latest “age-reversal trends,” hoping there is some magical, pain-free, super economical option out there that will reverse my aging situation. The results are limitless, but none of them seem to fit the parameters of cheap, painless and effective.

As a woman who fights hard to believe God has designed my body, skin and mind with a specific, unique and perfect purpose in mind, there is something deep in my heart that stirs when I go into these aging freak outs.

You see, my head knows the truth:

I am perfect just the way God created me to be.

The Lord looks at my heart, not my outward appearance.

God does not “see” as the world sees.

And I believe these things to be true, I really, really do. So why is there a tension? Why do I find myself wondering if there are any verses in the Bible about God being OK with botox or anti-aging procedures?

Recently, I was sitting around a table with women a few decades older than I. Each woman present had gorgeous, flawless skin—perfect everything. Each woman was someone I immensely respected. As the evening continued, the topic of beauty maintenance came up and I quickly realized there are some serious regimens going on and that those beautiful complexions were not as effortless as I had thought.

They were not effortless at all. Their efforts to fight the aging process required time, money and a lot of energy focusing on what they wanted to change about their appearance.

By the end of the dinner I wasn’t sure if I should schedule a consult with their plastic surgeon or pull out my Bible and start memorizing Scripture about what God says about beauty. Because to be honest, all I felt after walking away from that night was ugliness.

It took me a couple days of processing to come out on the other side of this “war” on aging. And I am still just barely crawling in my stance on this conversation.

But do you know what the main thing that comes to mind when I start to think about this whole mess?

God created time. And while He is not impacted by the constraints of time, we as His creations are. Our time on this earth is linear with a period on the end of it. Which means each moment that passes is drawing us closer to our last breath.

And our time is limited on this earth. When I think about the day I will stand before my creator and give an account for how I spent my time, money, talent and resources, I don’t think I’ll have extra stars in heaven for pursuing a wrinkle-free forehead.

So how do we combat the cultural pressure to not age?

We start talking about this topic. We stop obsessing over what we see in the mirror. We pause before making that appointment or buying that crazy expensive product and we ask some deeper, harder questions: Why am I really doing this? What is the root?

In the interim, I am learning to be OK with all those lines, because my worth—your worth—is not dependent on perfect, wrinkle-free skin. This truth will be stuck on repeat in my mind for a while.

So Satan picked the wrong generation of women to mess with.

We won’t get swept away by his sick efforts to make a female generation chase perfectionism.

We are planting our feet. We are saying no to those procedures, those costly products and to a goal we were never meant to run after.

 

Megan Ramsey

MEGAN RAMSEY

 

Source: relevantmagazine.com
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