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Guest Blogs

Knowitall.ch often invites local experts in their field to contribute to their own blogs on our site. This means not only you will benefit from the useful recommendations that we make on our News pages, but you can also profit from some of the great advice and tips that these experts have to make on their favorite subjects. Whilst each of these bloggers has been recommended to us at some point during the evolution of Know-it-all passport and  knowitall.ch, obviously we are not able to test out all the suggestions they make on their blogs, nor do we necessarily agree with all their opinions.  So if you do find one of their tips useful (or not!), do let us know!

To make these blogs more accessible to you, we have now decided to group them altogether in one section, entitled Guest Blogs, accessible from our main menu bar.  We will also post the most recent blogs on the home page of our site in the right hand column.

We are still building up this area of the site, and are looking for bloggers in a number of sections, including Your Home, Travel, and Leisure, so if you feel you have a useful contribution to make in either of these areas, and have the time to submit blog entries approximately every month, then please get in touch!

birgit blog June 2018

June is here and the children will be out of school before you know it! Mothers everywhere are thinking about how to keep their children occupied for the Summer Holidays. For those mothers with kids who struggle with sensory issues, this can be an even greater challenge.

Going swimming at the lake, hiking, visiting a museum, the park, or going to a movie are some examples of fun summertime activities, but for kids with sensory issues, these simple outings can be extremely stressful. Planning ahead can reduce your child’s stress and make an outing more enjoyable for everyone.

First decide if you should let your child know what to expect in advance. This can greatly help reduce stress for children on the Autism Spectrum but can make things worse for children who worry and overthink about the upcoming event.

If you do feel preparing them for the outing will be helpful, talk to them about it as far in advance as possible, mark it on the calendar and answer their questions. It can be helpful to write up a checklist/timeline of what they can expect to happen.

Be sure to include things they may not like so much, like putting on sunscreen or wearing a hat. But don’t forget to offer them some things they do like, for example, packing their favorite lunch or that you will buy them an ice cream.

Giving children some control over the situation can help make it less stressful. Offering choices within your boundaries can make children feel better about an uncomfortable sensory experience. For example, you can offer a choice of sunscreens, cream or spray, or a choice of when to put the sunscreen on, before we leave the house, or when we get to the lake.

Sunita June blog Celine

By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk

Céline Le Roux Schaer discovered Ashtanga yoga during a stay of several months in India in 2007. This practice seduces her as much in the exploration of the relation to the body as in its philosophical and spiritual dimension. Beyond physical practice, yoga is therefore a way for her to know herself and the world around us. These different approaches complement each other and nourish her evolving practice, with every experience on the carpet or in life being an opportunity to learn and make her way on the path of yoga. She finds inspiration in everyday life, in contact with nature, with her children, and in workshops with teachers. In her teaching, she emphasizes the development of self-awareness, emphasizing in particular the fundamental role of breathing. One of her goals is to help students take ownership of their practice and evolve in the way that best suits everyone. There is not preaching or teaching with Céline just love, kindness and compassion.

I had the great opportunity to attend her classes and meet her. I hope you enjoy the interview!

How did you get to where you are today?

I like to see life as a process, everything being in movement, nothing is ever completely still. I would say that this journey, paved with encounters, travels, teachings, joy but also chaos and pain, love, work and of course my family, made me who I am today and influenced highly what I do. I have always tried to follow my heart and my passion, believing deeply that doing this, I would wake up every day ready to do something meaningful that will hopefully also pay my bills. And this is where I am today.

Irina June blog BBQ

By Dr. Irina Schurov, LiveRight

BBQ season has started and, for the next 3 months. we are going to be enjoying this glorious method of outdoor cooking in the company of our friends and family. Sounds wonderful!

However, I would like to remind you that BBQ food, while delicious, has its own “dark” side. Luckily, by being conscious of it, we are able to minimise any harmful impacts and really enjoy the otherwise very healthy BBQ!

So, what exactly do we need to know?

Research clearly shows that cooking meat over a flame at high temperatures can cause certain carcinogens to form. For example, AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCA (heterocyclic amine) are all products that can cause oxidative stress, inflammation, damage to DNA and can, therefore, potentially lead to cancer. You may think this very insignificant and irrelevant to you. However, one specialised study has demonstrated that people who consume grilled, barbecued and fried meat regularly have 60% more chance to develop pancreatic cancer. The harmful chemicals produced when fat drips onto the hot coals, cause chemical reactions and toxic smoke which then contaminate the food and, through inhalation, affect our lungs.

Claire Doole EYCHModerating a Q&A style panel discussion for the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

After a busy month of moderating for the UN, European Commission and trade federations in Brussels and Geneva, plus running how to moderate workshops for public and private sector institutions, I wanted to share my top 6 tips for stimulating panel discussions.

The common theme is that while a professional moderator always adds some sparkle, it is difficult to wave a magic wand, if the event organisers have not thought editorially about the panellists and format.

Tip number 1

Select the right panellists for the topic. It sounds obvious, but too often panellists are chosen for political reasons rather than for what they bring to the discussion. Even the most seasoned moderators find it very hard to stimulate an engaging discussion with people who don't have opposing views or different perspectives.

There is nothing worse than a panel where everybody says the same thing. In this case, as the moderator you have no option but to play devil's advocate. I was once forced to do this during a discussion on refugees. Afterwards, a young student in the audience came up to me and accused me of not liking refugees. I told her that I used to be a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency but my role was not to like or dislike but to stimulate discussion.

elisabeth forest june blog
Photo credit: Gabrielle Ward

By Liz Forest, EMF Management

I recently read in a local expat group on Facebook a post by someone looking for a recommendation for an “honest carpenter”.

It turns out the person writing the post was actually looking for someone to install a custom wardrobe in their home. What ensued was a short explanation of the job (i.e., some shelves, a hanging bar, and a sliding door to hide it all) and the fact that the person had already received offers from two carpenters “for the same amount”. The person was clearly in search of a third offer significantly below this threshold. I read this to imply that both carpenters might be perpetrating highway robbery as the job was too simple for anyone to be paid such an exorbitant amount (NB: embellishment is my own).

These kind of posts are rife on FB. To be completely honest (in the spirit of the sought-after carpenter), they evoke in me a tiny bit of sadness followed in quick succession by incredulousness and a fair amount of frustration. Why?

Well first, as I run renovation projects for a living, I would normally be able to reply to such a FB post with the names of at least two or three truly honest carpenters with whom I have collaborated in the past and who do magnificent work.

Next, before replying, I have to ask myself if the writer means:

  • Honest = can be trusted when left alone in your home with your stuff
  • Honest = does not lie
  • Honest = does not cheat
  • Honest = performs the task as requested
  • Honest = does not try to take more of my money than I believe they are entitled to take for the job I want and need them to do