Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Leap Year Traditions!

Fun Facts About Leap Year

Leap Year calendar2012 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days.
It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn't always match up.
That's because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.
Therefore, as the hours accumulated over the centures, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official.
The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four - 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.
Another stipulation ruled that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1900 was not a leap year ... but 2000 was! Go figure.
Thankfully, all this intricate plotting will continue to keep us in tune with the seasons over the next several thousand years.
Born on a leap day?
Leap year babies : Anthonio Sabado Jr. & Ja Rule
Leap Day babies: Antonio
Sabato Jr. and rapper Ja Rule.
According to astrologers, those born under the sign ofPisces on February 29 have unusual talents and personalities reflecting their special status.
Most have to wait every four years to "officially" observe their birthdays, but leap year babies typically choose either February 28 or March 1 to celebrate in years that aren't leap years.
Some famous people born on February 29
Born 1976 - Ja Rule, rapper
Born 1972 - Anthonio Sabato Jr., model & actor
Born 1916 - Dinah Shore, singer
Born 1904 - Jimmy Dorsey, bandleader.
Born 1792 - Gioacchino Rossini, Italian opera composer
February 29, 2012 event calendar
On the international scene, 56 countries will observe Rare Disease Day on February 29, 2012calling for more research into ailments that have no known cure
On a lighter note, international women's football meets to compete on February 29, 2012 in the annual kick-off to the Algarve Cup in southern Portugal.
Leap Day traditions - no man is safe!

While leap day helped official timekeepers, it also resulted in social customs turned upside down when February 29 became a "no man's land" without legal jurisdiction.
As the story goes, the tradition of women romantically pursuing men in leap years began in 5th century Ireland, when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about the fair sex having to wait for men to propose. Patrick finally relented and set February 29 aside as the day set aside allowing women the right to ask for a man's hand in marriage.
The tradition continued in Scotland, when Queen Margaret declared in 1288 that on February 29 a woman had the right to pop the question to any man she fancied. Menfolk who refused were faced with a fine in the form of a kiss, a silk dress, or a pair of gloves given to the rejected lady fair.

Leap year on stage & screen
The day also plays a pivotal role in the fictional The Pirates of Penzance, the most famous Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera that was translated to Broadway and the silver screen.
In the story, the hero Frederic realizes his apprenticeship binds him until his 21st birthday, but since his birthday falls on February 29, it means that technically he is only a young lad - and won't reach his 21st birthday until he is in his eighties!
A leap year poem to remember it by
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.
Let us know about any other leap year traditions...

Thrift shop chic!

Thrift shop chic is where its at! Just look at these models in outfits derived entirely from thrift and charity shops! Not only do they look amazing ,all these outfits cost peanuts and are brilliant in terms of your pocket and carbon footprint! Some of our most stylish friends refuse to pay full price for anything and manage to root around in thrift shops and put together outfits for next to nothing! And many of these friends are not poor they are demanding more for their money and have an eye for a bargain. Here are our top tips for thrift shopping.

  • Choose thrift shops in affluent areas as these items are likely to be of a high quality.
  • Browse regularly as bargains are likely to be snapped up quickly.
  • Develop a relationship with the staff and that way they'll let you know if there are any items coming in that are likely to be of interest.
  • Go in there with your eyes open and with a positive attitude. Thrift is chic and there are many bargains to be had if you just keep looking!
Good luck and let us know if you pick up any good buys!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Lavender in a pot!

Lavender is a wonder plant which can be used  for a myriad of health issues such as;

  • Lavender flowers (fresh or dried) emit a strong, aromatic, uplifting scent when crushed between the fingers. For a quick mood pick-me-up or instant stress relief, crush and roll between your fingers a few of the flower buds and inhale the scent slowly and deeply. The combination of breathing deeply and inhaling the lavender scent will calm nervous tension, anxiety and panicky feelings within minutes.
  • A relaxing, soothing tea can be made from the flowers. Just put one heaping tablespoon of the fresh or dried flowers in a tea pot, and pour boiling water into the pot. Infuse for about ten minutes. This tea calms the nerves, settles the stomach and “butterflies” and induces sleep.
  • Lavender essential oil can be applied like a perfume to the hair, neck, ears or other body parts. Smells delicious!
  • Add several drops of lavender oil to your bath for a soothing soak, or just add a generous handful of the fresh or dried flowers if you don’t have the essential oil.
  • To make sleep more restful, drip a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Another option is to wrap a handful of the dried flowers in a cheesecloth sachet, tie and throw in your pillowcase.
  • To soothe a sunburn, add a few drops of the essential oil to water in a spray bottle, and mist sunburned skin.
  • Wrap a handful of lavender flowers in a square of cheesecloth and tie with a string. You can also drip a few drops of essential oil onto the sachet for an extra aromatherapy boost. Throw the sachet in your dryer to make your clothes smell great. This will freshen up to 25 dryer loads!
  • Apply lavender essential oil to insect bites and stings, cuts, scrapes and abrasions. Lavender is very anti-septic and helps destroy germs that can cause infections.
  • Infuse fresh or dried lavender flowers as if to make a tea. But instead of drinking it, let it cool down and use as a hair rinse to reduce dandruff.
  • Pulverized lavender flowers can add a unique and delightful flavor to salads, custards, jams, jellies and cookies, especially sugar cookies. It is a culinary relative to mint, sage, marjoram and thyme and can be used in the same fashion as these herbs. Lavender is so versatile in the kitchen, that virtually any experimentation with it will yield favorable results.

  • Lavender is easy to grow from seed and is a truly remarkable plant that is well worth investigating. Lavender plants can be given as gifts which anyone would be delighted to receive.

    Friday, 24 February 2012

    Herb planters!

    Ever wanted fresh herbs on tap that you can pick directly off your window sill? It is easy to grow parsley, basil, coriander and rosemary. All of these seeds can be purchased quite cheaply and when they are a reasonable size they can be transplanted into these tin cans with their labels removed. These look great, are eco friendly ,give you a ready supply of fresh herbs and also make great gifts. Why not give it a go?

    Tuesday, 21 February 2012

    Easy pancakes!

    Easy Pancakes.

    • 4oz (100g) plain flour.
    • Half a Pint (250ml) of milk.
    • 1 Standard Egg. (Size 2)
    • Pinch of Salt (half teaspoon)
    • Making the Pancake Batter

      1. Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
        Make a small hollow in the center of the mixture and drop in the egg (not the shell).
      2. Begin to mix while gradually adding about one quarter of the milk. Continue to mix well until bubbles become visible in the mixture.
      3. Gradually pour in the remaining milk while continuing to mix.
        (if it's a bit too thick - then add a little water.)
      4. Pour batter into a jug for easier pouring into pan.

      Making the Pancakes

      1. Heat the frying pan, and place a small piece of lard/fat in the Center. Allow this to melt and spread over the pan.
      2. Get the pan nice & hot and when the lard begins to smoke slightly, stir and pour in some of the batter - approx 30ml or 2 tablespoons, or enough to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. (tilt the pan to help the batter spread evenly)
      3. Cook until nicely golden brown on the bottom. (shouldn't take too long)
      4. And now the only tricky bit of the whole operation - toss / flip the pancake to within an inch of the kitchen ceiling and position the pan to perfectly catch the pancake on the way down - cooked side up, easy.
      5. Cook the other side until nicely golden brown.
      6. Serve immediately with sugar, syrup, lemon or orange poured on top.
      7. Enjoy, anyway you want. 

      Have a great pancake day!

    Sunday, 19 February 2012

    #lfw Stella McCartney

    Well it's London fashion week when the designers, followers and journalists all flock to the latest shows. The clothes are divine but all with equally impressive price tags.
    But what about us lesser mortals who don't have £2000 per handbag  at least, though the Victoria Beckham Harper bag is absolutely divine! What about vintage purchases? Here's what we found at ebay. The above Stella coat buy it now for £440 and Stella jeans starting at £39.90! Ebay has brilliant vintage designer clothes which are well worth checking out! Why not give it a go?

    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Chocolate orange fudge!


    Prep: 10 minsCook: 10 mins | Extra time: 2 hours, chilling

    Wednesday, 15 February 2012

    Gorgeous hand made truffles!

    I've always wanted to have a stab at hand made truffles so found this recipe and decided to give it a try. These turned out so fab they are a real favourite. You could also package them in a pretty box complete with a ribbon for a great gift!
    This recipe gives a total of 36 truffles

    2 cups (or 360 grams) of milk chocolate cut in pieces (i used Tesco's budget milk chocolate)
    ¾ of cup of condensed milk
    1 teaspoon of vanilla
    ½ cup of chocolate sprinkles

    Melt the pieces of milky chocolate with a very low fire on the stove. Add the condensed milk and vanilla and mix well. Don’t let it get too hot or else it will change the taste of the chocolate. After it is melted and mixed let it cool for a while.
    Then put it on the refrigerator for approximately 45 minutes.
    After it has cooled in the refrigerator butter your hands and roll the chocolates into balls about 1 inch diameter.
    Pour the chocolate sprinkles into a bowl and roll the balls of chocolate in the bowl until it’s all evenly covered.
    You can also freeze them for later use. Just make sure to take them out of the freezer 5 hours before serving.

    You could use plain chocolate or roll in dessicated coconut for a different effect. Why not give it a go?

    Monday, 13 February 2012

    Something unusual for valentines day?

    Short of Valentine's ideas? Why not make these Valentine's coupons of treats that your Valentine can claim from you. All that is required is some card, pens and creativity. Ideas could include, breakfast in bed, a candlelit meal, a romantic walk, even cleaning the car or a massage, a movie, a hug and a favour.  Why not give it a go for an original and heartfelt Valentine's gift.

    Saturday, 11 February 2012

    Sustainable eco houses anyone?

    If natural,sustainable living is your aim then check out the  website http://earthfirst.com/7-amazing-handmade-eco-friendly-homes/ for some brilliant ideas of low budget, sustainable living. The house pictured has a hobbit like feel and was made primarily by a father and son and sits in a welsh hillside. Put together using straw bales, lime plaster and lots of natural wood the entire house cost in the region of £3000 to build. Check out the website for many other ideas if you are thinking about taking sustainable living to a new level. There is also a trend for making houses in a modular fashion and often shipping containers are used in this process. Why not research these ideas and see what you can come up with. 

    Friday, 10 February 2012

    Beating the recession!

     If your company looks like it may be making redundancies, what can you do ?
    1 Know the procedure
    If your firm has announced a redundancy program, it has to follow certain procedures. Make sure you know what these are, because if your employer does not follow them you can sue for unfair dismissal and could be awarded up to 90 days in compensation.
    Sophie Whitbread, right, employment lawyer at Charles Russell, said: "Many employers will not be aware of or will choose to ignore what the law says about your rights, so if you do not know what your rights are, you could find yourself unfairly dismissed and without adequate compensation."
    If your employer is getting rid of 20 or more staff, it has to consult more than 30 days before any redundancies, or 90 days if more than 100 employees are being axed.
    Staff should also be consulted individually by their employer. There should be a "dismissal meeting'' where severance pay is discussed. Those whose job is going should be paid at least one week's pay for every full year of employment, and may get additional compensation if they do not work out their notice period.
    2 Consider employment insurance now
    It is still possible to take out an insurance policy against unemployment, as long as your company has not announced redundancies or possible job losses.
    It's important to get the right policy, however, since some contain a number of exclusions and will not allow you to claim until you have been out of work for a long time.
    British Insurance can provide you with a policy that would cover £1000 of income every month for £39 a month – which could give you peace of mind on continuing with your mortgage payments.
    The policy will pay out if you are unemployed for 30 days or more, and there is no excess, www.britishinsurance.com
    3 Check you are not being discriminated against
    If you are an older worker, it is often more difficult to find a new job. That's why it is important to ascertain that your company is following the law and not selecting you for redundancy on the basis of age. Since October 1 2006, employers should no longer select for redundancy on the basis of age. The criteria should instead be based far more on merit – achieving targets, getting good appraisals, turning up to work on time and avoiding disciplinary problems. If large numbers of the people selected for redundancy are older, then you may be able to bring a claim for discrimination.
    If you fear this may happen to you, check whether you have legal expenses insurance added to your home insurance policy. This could be invaluable if you end up bringing a claim.
    Most insurers, including Norwich Union, Direct Line and Liverpool Victoria, sell this cover for about £20 a year. This will provide up to £50,000 towards legal fees if you decide to bring a case against your employer, be it for unfair dismissal or sexual, racial or age discrimination.
    Those who successfully win a case of age discrimination will find that payouts are uncapped, while those who win an unfair dismissal claim could be awarded a maximum of £72,900.
    4 Negotiate a tax-efficient payoff
    If you do lose your job, check you are not paying too much tax. Only the first £30,000 of any redundancy payment is tax-free. Anything above this is taxed at your highest rate. So if you are still on your company's payroll then full PAYE deductions will be made on payments of more than £30,000. However, if this money is paid after you have left the company and received your P45, then only 20 per cent tax will be deducted immediately.
    Employees will be required to account for the additional tax in their annual tax return, but as this will not have to be made for another year, this will give them a temporary cash flow advantage in the interim. Even with interest rates as low as they are, this money could be working for you, rather than Revenue & Customs.
    5 Try to retain benefits
    Ask your employer whether transitional benefits can be included in your leaving package. From the day you receive your P45 you may have six months or more with no life cover, medical insurance, or family income protection. It may be possible to at least retain this cover until the normal renewal date.
    You would probably end up paying significantly more for the same cover if you tried to obtain it individually than the cost to the company – so this is particularly pertinent if you are unlikely to obtain another job with similar benefits in the near future.
    6 Check your pension
    Try to make sure pension accrual is included in your severance pay, as this can be worth significant sums. You could consider asking for part of your redundancy payment to be transferred into your pension. This will not attract National Insurance contributions, so you may be able to negotiate a higher payment without it costing your employer anything.


    Home repossession is rising, and even those with relatively sensible mortgages may struggle if circumstances change. There is help if you come close to losing a home, and action you can take to avoid being in that position.
    1 Take advantage in the good times
    With interest rates at historic lows, monthly mortgage rates could be more than manageable. If your lender allows, you could overpay on your mortgage every month, which could provide a cushion if times get tough. Most lenders will allow some overpayments, often 10pc of the total you have borrowed every year. If your circumstances change, you might then be able to take a "mortgage holiday" to deal with the fallout. Overpaying can give you more equity in your home, meaning you could qualify for better deals when remortgaging.
    2 Seek out good deals now
    If you know you are coming to the end of a mortgage deal and fear you would not cope on your lenders' standard rate if rates rose, start researching deals. Use financial comparison sites or a mortgage broker such as London & Country to find the best.
    3 If you are struggling, talk to your mortgage lenders
    It is in no one's best interest for your house to be repossessed. Most lenders have procedures to help you if you are struggling, and may change your mortgage to interest-only for a period or consider reduced payments.
    Michael Coogan, CML director general, said the first step for anyone struggling to pay a mortgage would be to contact their lender and get advice. "If you take positive action to contact your lender, pay what you can, and show up to court and make your case, you are more likely to reach an agreement with your lender that allows you to stay in your home," he said.
    4 Know what help is available
    The Government is in the process of launching three schemes to help home owners stay in their homes, although not everyone will be eligible. Those who are out of work may be eligible for income support for the unemployed, which is already up and running. You will be able to apply for this at the same time as other benefits if you are eligible.
    At the really desperate end of the scale, the Mortgage Rescue scheme will buy back people's homes and lease them back to them.
    Almost every local authority has signed up for this scheme, so this may be an option for people who have no chance of paying their mortgage.
    We are still, however, waiting for final details of the mortgage support scheme, which may be the most useful. This scheme would allow those who lose their jobs (even if another member of the household is working) to defer mortgage payments for up to two years. It is expected to be launched next month pending further discussions with lenders.
    Adam Sampson, head of housing charity Shelter, said it was still not clear how many lenders would sign up or how many households would be accepted. "People need this help now," he said. "The predictions are that 81,000 families a month will have their homes repossessed in 2012."
    Further information on these schemes is available from advice services such as Citizens Advice, National Debtline, Shelter, and your local authority.
    5 Don't bury your head in the sand
    If you can't pay your mortgage, don't try to forget about it. A mortgage should be the first thing paid, ahead of credit card bills and other debts. "Ignoring your debt problems will only make them worse. Positive action will help you find ways to solve them," said David Harker, head of Citizens Advice. "Don't ignore letters or telephone calls from your lender; if you are not sure what they mean ask your lender or a debt adviser."
    6 Don't just hand the keys back
    In the early Nineties, stories abounded of home owners running away from their homes and posting the keys through their lenders' doors. Do not assume you can walk away like this. If the mortgage lender then sells your property for less than your mortgage, you could still be responsible for the extra debt and may be pursued years later. You will also still be responsible for the mortgage until the bank sells the home.
    Better to prepare that be left trying to deal with a situation when you are reeling from the shock of redundancy and struggling to make sense of the situation you find yourself in.

    Wednesday, 8 February 2012

    Knitted mittens to keep you warm.

    Mitten are a great way to keep you and your family warm especially in this cold snap. They are easy to knit and do not require the individual shaping of fingers required in gloves so are more straightforward. They will knit up in an evening or so and should come out quite cheap requiring a ball of wall or so to complete. You could always use up scraps of wool to create stripes or other patterns to suit your tastes. Check out www.knittingpatterncentral.com  and search mittens for free patterns. Why not give it a go?

    Monday, 6 February 2012

    Relax with hand made lavender bath salts!

    When you want to relax why not whip up your own lavender bath salts for a relaxing, fragrant and therapeutic soak.  Simply use natural coarse salt, add lavender essential oil and dried lavender. Scoop two tablespoons into you bath and lie back and relax. Bath salts also make wonderful gifts. Spoon into a jar, label and add a large ribbon. You could also add colourants or different essential oils such as lemon balm, orange, or neroli for an citrus invigorating effect. Enjoy!

    Saturday, 4 February 2012

    How to stop being a consumer!

    Is your life driven by shopping and planning what to buy? Do you regularly think your life would be better if you only had a designer hand bag, the latest 4x4 or a trip to the most fashionable skiing resort? But do any of these things actually make you feel better? Do you feel sort of hollow after the initial thrill of a new purchase? Here's how you can stop spending and start living.

    1. Consume Less
    The biggest step we all can take is simply to consume less. Often we will buy things we simply don’t need. Consider what is driving the purchase is it need or desire? A constant desire for more, new, fashionable stuff is not necessarily the road to a happy and fulfilled life. Consider what kind of happiness can be found in stuff and if it is related to true happiness and self worth.
    2. Make-Do
    Often we can make-do with things we already have, much of what we throw out or replace is based on perceived obsolescence. Look after, fix up and make-do; don’t replace something simply because there is a newer or more fashionable version out on the market. Learning to make do affords worth in the things we already have and allows us to be satisfied and content without wanting more or better or newer.
    3. Share, Borrow, Rent or Reclaim
    Instead of buying new there are many items we might only occasionally need, like tools, garden equipment, hobby and sporting goods. All of these are available for rent or could be borrowed from a neighbour or friend. This reduces clutter in our own homes, saves money and reduces waste. Also consider sharing with others that may be in need.
    Or consider recycled, pre-loved or used items as an alternative. They may not be the latest and greatest but they are a fantastic option for thrifty and environmentally conscience shoppers. So many items can be purchased second hand from clothing to furniture and household goods. Pre-loved is a great way save money, resources and waste and is often fun and exciting, you just never know what you might find.
    4. Buck trends
    Much of our consumption is based on fashion and trends prompting us to discard “last season” and constantly up-date to the latest fashion or model. We can place so much worth on being up-to-date but when this means constantly consuming and spending money and throwing out perfectly useable stuff it can seem a little backwards.
    5. Give up Shopping
    It is a little frightening how many of us have embraced shopping as a pastime or even hobby. On the weekends the shopping centres and malls are filled with people eager to spend hard earned money on all kinds of stuff. The more time we spend surrounded by stuff to buy the more likely we are to buy it. But we can adopt new and positive pastimes; there are many alternatives to shopping including visiting art galleries or museums, the park or beach.
    We live in a world that drives us to earn, to spend and only consider what we can gain and not the actual cost, the ethical or environmental cost. Yet we can save money and resources by weighing up our consumer habits and considering the options; and free ourselves from the constant pursuit of materialistic wealth by finding worth in what we already have.
    There is so much happiness to be found in life, experiences, relationships and nature, not in what kind of this or what brand of that sits on the shelf or hangs in the closet. And yet a simpler life is not dictated by any real convention; it is something achievable for all of us on different levels.
    Weighing up what truly makes us happy and dedicating our time and energy towards this end is the key. Often all we need to be happy is what we already have. Consider having at least one no spend days per month and see how you feel. Why not give it a go ? 

    Friday, 3 February 2012

    Top regrets of the dying.

    What can we learn from the dying? A palliative nurse has written a book outlining the top five regrets of the seriously ill and dying she has cared for. The results might surprise you ie no regrets about having more sex, money, working harder...
    There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.
    Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
    Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."
    Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
    1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
    "This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
    2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
    "This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
    3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
    "Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
    "Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
    5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
    "This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
    What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    Does money buy happiness?

    What's the research on this subject? Whilst we all know happy people who live hand to mouth surely having more money makes us happier and gives us choices? Or does it? Here is what humanitarian Deepak Chopra tells us.
          Money can't buy happiness. Happiness, however, can buy you a longer life. A new study published in the National Academy of Sciences found older people who are happy have a 35% lower risk of dying over a five-year period than unhappy people.
    But, how does one attain happiness? When asked this question, noted author and lecturer on spiritual matters Deepak Chopra had this to say.
    Chopra, the co-author of the book War of the Worldviews, says happiness can be boiled down to a formula.
    Happiness = set point in the brain (how you look at a situation) + conditions of living + voluntary choices
    Let's take a closer look at these variables.
    1. Set point in the brain
    Whether you're a glass half full or half empty kind of person is largely formed at a young age. "Unfortunately, this happiness set point is determined for us in our childhood in the first three years of our life," says Chopra. While that may be true, there is hope for those inclined to a pessimistic point of view. "You can change the way you think, you can start to question your limiting beliefs, you can take time to be silent and reflect."
    2. Conditions of living
    Here's where money comes into play. And, when it comes to happiness, money is not a big factor. "Only 10-12% of our happiness experience comes from money," Chopra says. "Real happiness comes when you have fulfillment, you have creative expression, you enjoy your work, you're engaged, you make other people happy, you have meaning and purpose in your life."
    So while it may not be the root of all happiness, money can lead to evil. "The love of money could be the root of evil," Chopra says, when people are concerned with money for money's sake.
    Tell us what you think by answering the poll to the right!