March 15, 2018

Adventuring on The Cheap

Leaving behind the consumer driven culture and rat race most of us are subconsciously programmed to live can be a fabulously liberating experience, yet, giving it all up is too scary a prospect for most people. This is most likely why a lot of people choose to find a balance between living a settled life in one place with pockets of adventure throughout the year.

There is one thing with travel, however, that remains a constant - no matter who you are, where you go, or how much you travel; just as a jumbo jet requires fuel to facilitate its journey… so do you… and, the fuel we’re talking about here is money.

Once upon a time, overseas travel was considered a luxury of the wealthy or the elite, yet today, almost everyone in the Western World is able to travel at a relatively affordable cost, indeed the concept of traveling has become so ubiquitous we almost view it as some form of “human right”. There is, however, a limit to how much adventure you can squeeze out of your budget and in this article we’re going to uncover a few fundamental principles to help you adventure on the cheap.


Whilst it’s good to have a general direction, it’s important to remain flexible and be open to going with the flow - as otherwise, you might end up spending a lot of money in order to stick to your detailed point-by-point itinerary. Admittedly, in life, most people have to plan their travels around other commitments such as work - but if you’re looking to squeeze the most from your budget, it pays to be flexible, especially in consideration of booking flights.


A large expense when traveling are accommodations; even in countries known for being cheap such as SE Asia, the price can mount up particularly if you appreciate some home comforts.

There is, of course, the option to house-sit and if you’re really on a budget, there are sites such as workaway that allow you to volunteer for around four hours a day in return for free accomodations and food. Then, if you’re looking to do something truly adventurous you can opt to fund-raise for an adventure such as to climb kilimanjaro for charity as this way, your costs are covered and you’re also raising money for a good cause.


Flights can take a huge chunk of cash from your travel fund. The best advice is to search for cheap flights via comparison engines such as or as these compare hundreds of flights by most airlines in the world to present you with the cheapest deals for the dates and destinations you are looking for.

Try to be as flexible with your departure and arrival locations as possible. If you were flying into London (England) - it might be worth searching for flights to the whole of the UK, as, let’s say there’s a flight to Manchester (just two hours from London by train) which is $200 cheaper - it would make financial sense to book that flight and travel to London on a cheap train ticket.

Another thing to consider, if you were traveling from the US to Ireland, as an example, is that it might be a lot cheaper to book a flight to London and then book a separate flight with a low cost carrier such as RyanAir (fares from London to Dublin can be as low as $5 if booked in advance).

In essence the more flexible you are the cheaper the flights you will be able to find.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Revive Your Inner Blogger In North Carolina

If creativity is an essential part of your day-to-day job, you may experience a creative block every once in a while -- you know, that terrifying moment where your mind is so cluttered that you can’t find any ideas anywhere. As a blogger, creativity is highly important, as there are elements of uniqueness & consistency that you need to respect. If you can’t post regularly enough, your followers will grow bored and look for an alternative, another blogger to replace you. In short, if your creative alter ego is feeling weak, it’s time for a change of scenery to explore new landscapes, new colors, and new ways of thinking. You need a creative retreat, a getaway trip to reignite your imaginative fire and energy. If you can afford to spend a few weeks in a writing workshop with a professional tutor, it can dramatically improve your skills and provide you with tips to tackle the creative block. But if you don’t have time for this service, you should plan a getaway weekend in a naturally inspiring place such as gorgeous North Carolina.

Identify your issues as a blogger

As a blogger, you might be struggling with the competition. Indeed, today’s blogosphere relies on your ability to write compelling and relevant articles to attract your audience, as well as expert knowledge of social media strategies. Today’s blog is a business, and sometimes the perfect successful images of other similar blog-businesses can put your survival – and creative sanity – at risk. While blogging is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, for the blogger included, it is easy to see how the competitive atmosphere can push you into a tight corner where writing an article means hard and painful work. So if you feel that you are running low on motivation, inspiration and even joy of writing, it’s time to take a break and learn to look at your writing from a different angle.

Why NC?
You might wonder why North Carolina is so important, as a blogger. That’s primarily because your core skill is writing, and North Carolina has some of the most famous literary icons. So book a room at the Best Western Pinehurst Inn in Southern Pines and trace back the steps of famous writers. The Literary Hall of Fame in town is a great place to start. There you can find out more about Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry, and Timothy Tyson, to name but a few. If you’re looking for inspiration in a comedic style, look back at David Sedaris whose inimitable style has been inspired from his childhood around Raleigh.


Why is it so inspiring?
What makes North Carolina so inspiring? For a lot of people, it’s the juxtaposition of gorgeous landscapes, beautiful lakes, and iconic views. There is a sense of poetry in the scenery which can trigger your imagination and your sensibility too. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should move to NC to become a better blogger. But make sure to record the light, the smells and the sounds to memory for your future articles.

North Carolina is a state that combines a rich social past and an inspiration sensorial environment. Whether you’re a travel blogger, a fashionista, or a beauty InstaStar, you’ll find there new ways of observing the world.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

March 14, 2018

Sea, Sand and Saving Up: You CAN Afford to go Away This Year!

When you work hard all year, taking a week or two break to relax is just what the doctor ordered. It's a chance to kick back, unwind and spend some quality time with your loved ones. The only problem is travel can be expensive, and if you're not left with buckets of disposable cash each month you might be wondering if going away is a possibility at at all. The answer in most cases is yes, there are lots of ways you can afford to get away - travel doesn't have to be five star luxury. Here are some of the ways you can save money and make that summer adventure happen!

Do Some Overtime
You could work one day during the weekend, or for a few hours in the evenings if extra work is available. You could then use this extra money towards your vacation. For most of us, work is a means to an end and the idea of spending more time in the workplace might not fill you with joy. But keep visualizing your getaway, it will be worth it in the end and it’s a chance to get on your bosses' good side too!

Earn Money From Home
There are plenty of ways you can earn money from home in the modern world thanks to the internet, and best of all it’s completely flexible so it’s something you can do around your full time job. You could monetize your blog, join a freelancing site or even set up your own small home business. These kinds of things are something that will serve you well and can be a great way to earn money year round, but especially great in the run up to summer when you want t boost your income so you can go away.

Sell What You No Longer Need

Most of us are sitting on a big chunk of cash just with our unwanted items around the home. Old phones, tablets, computers and consoles can all be a chance to sell and earn money there. Broken or unwanted jewelry can raise some money if you take it to a jewelers, even things like clothes and disks have a market for them, someone will be willing to take them off your hands. You could sell on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook groups. You could sell to speciality online companies who buy and sell these kinds of things. Either way, whatever it is you have, someone else out there will want it. It’s a good way to raise some money towards your trip, as well as have a de-clutter in the process.

Find The Best Deals

Make sure you’re always shopping around for the best deals, from flights to hotels, transfers, luggage, clothes, even currency. Shop the sales and scour bargains online from places like eBay. Waiting until the last minute and booking a last minute deal is another option, you'll just have to get an expedited passport if yours needs updating and you find a great deal for earlier than you expected! This is a good option if you don't mind too much where you go, it can actually lead to you going on some incredible trips to places you wouldn't originally have considered.

Go on a Less Expensive Trip
If you're on a budget, there are plenty of options for less expensive getaways. How about an all-inclusive trip? These are fantastic - as once you've paid you have peace of mind that your food, drink and activities around the resort are paid for. No worries about needing lots to spend, or running out of money part way through. Going on a road trip in an RV is another one to consider, you can hit the open road and see lots of amazing sites, and you have your accommodation and transport in one. Camping is another, fun for all the family, cheap and cheerful. You could go bird watching, orienteering, build a campfire, sing songs, cook under the stars and have a wonderful time without spending much money. You can even bring your dog, so no boarding kennel fees! Finally, going on a shorter break could be the way to go if you want to get away but don't have lots of money to spend. A mini break or long weekend of three or four days will of course be less pricey than going away for one or two weeks. Anywhere you travel to is always worth the experience, so don't feel like it's pointless going away just because you won't be going five star.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

March 13, 2018

3 Self-Care Tips To Improve Your Day

Taking care of yourself is very important. I like to encourage people reading my blog posts to be more mindful and treat themselves right. You need to do little things now and then to make you feel happier, and reduce your stress. So, here are a few self-care tips that are guaranteed to improve your day:

Take Some Time To Meditate
It’s impossible to take care of yourself when you aren't taking care of your mental health. It’s great that we’re seeing more people speak out about mental health issues in the mainstream media these days. It’s slowly but surely eating away at the stigma, which is a wonderful thing. It seems like lot of us are always anxious or nervous about things in our life, and it eats away at us. I find one of the best things you can do is to meditate every day. Take a few minutes out of your morning and evening routine to just breathe, relax, and feel at peace. It’s a really good way of quickly lowering your heart rate, getting rid of panicky feelings, and taking care of your mind.

Go On A Netflix Binging Session
Sometimes, you just need some time to yourself. You just want to lie under your duvet and waste away the hours doing very little. We all need a day like this from time to time, I like to think of it as you charging your internal batteries. Of course, lying in bed doing nothing isn’t the best idea as it can lead to feelings of depression. Instead, you should have a little Netflix binging session. Choose a new series, and spend a few hours watching it on a weekend or Friday night. Now, I have two key tips when it comes to a good Netflix binging sesh. First, make sure you have good internet as there’s nothing worse than buffering your stream! There’s so much detailed information out there about different internet services, and I find that ones without a data limit are the best for streaming. Secondly, make sure you don’t overdo it with your snacks. A sugar high will always result in a sugar low, which makes you feel bad! So, cool it on the sweets and chips & just focus on relaxing.

Take Part In A Social Media Cleanse
This is one of my favorite ways of taking care of yourself and making your day better. The idea is that you go on all your social media accounts, and cleanse them of any negativity. If there are people on there that you don’t like - unfollow them. Let’s face it, we all scroll down our feeds and see some people you follow and just get angry because you don’t like the things they post. They could be exes, people from your school days that are constantly moaning or complaining about things, etc. It will brighten your day considerably when you remove negativity from your social channels, trust me. Plus, if you have a blog like me, or maybe run a popular social media account, you get a few haters from time to time. Block anyone that makes negative comments, not because you can’t deal with them, but because you have no time for negativity!

Try these self-care tips, and I bet you'll feel a lot better in a short space of time.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Vintage T-Shirts: The Comeback Fashion Kid Of 2018

Vintage t-shirts are always popular with fashion lovers, but this year they’re getting a bit more attention than usual, proving to be a top fashion trend on the catwalks and beyond.

It’s easy to see why a vintage tee is such a popular item, making a cool addition to your casual outfit or dressing down your evening look. Whatever your style and taste, there’s a classic t-shirt style out there for you. Dig out your vintage threads or head to your nearest high street store to check out the new (old) kids on the block.

The 90s classic: Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo by Ralph Lauren
In the 90s, you couldn’t fault the classic t-shirt, denim combination (think Saved by the Bell), and it’s a look that’s come full circle for 2018. Tommy Hilfiger has seen somewhat of a resurgence lately thanks to the star power of its latest poster girl Gigi Hadid, while Gap is also making a return in the world of casual wear. Often seen as the way to wear designer at the more affordable end of the spectrum, a classic brand t-shirt is one way to embrace the trend. You’ll find plenty of styles at places like ASOS, Urban Outfitters as well as from the brands themselves, with sweatshirt styles also making a popular addition to any collection. Take a look at boot sales and eBay for some genuine vintage styles, as sometimes there’s nothing better than the real deal!
The retro brand tee: Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Guinness

As another popular style making a comeback, the retro brand tee is the perfect item for some off-duty cool. Faded, worn and nostalgic, if you can find one of these in your wardrobe, then you’re all set. If you haven’t got any of these lurking around your drawers, there are plenty of brand logo tees to choose from that will do the job. With spring and summer just around the corner, a retro brand tee is ideal for teaming with your favorite denim shorts for a look that’s easy to wear and reliable for those days where you can’t decide how to dress.

The slogan t-shirt: sassy, silly and oh-so-true
The slogan t-shirt is a look that will never go out of fashion. A popular style to wear every day or to the gym, they’re fun and even sometimes flirty, and can be a great way to say what’s really on your mind - without having to say it. Take a look at some great slogan t-shirts featuring everything from film and TV quotes to pure sass. Slogan t-shirts also make great pajamas, gym gear or lounge clothes so you’ll get a lot of wear from your chosen styles.

Retro t-shirts are a wardrobe staple, with plenty to choose from when it comes to style and color. They’re an easy-to-wear item that looks great with your favorite trainers and denim combination and a great way to bring some 90s nostalgia back into your life. As one trend you know you can wear again and again, it’s definitely worth investing in some cool vintage tees for your wardrobe.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

March 9, 2018

Bringing Up Baby - How You Can Help Your New-Mom Friends

Having a baby is exhausting work. Even if you don’t have children of your own, you will probably understand just how demanding bringing up a baby can be, especially if it is your very first. We all know a friend or a relative who has had a newborn, so we’ve probably seen just how stressful it can be!

If one of your closest friends has just had their very first child, you will no doubt want to help them out as much as you can. Not only will you be doing your friend a huge favor, but it also means that you will be around a lot more for hugs and snuggles with the little one! However, if you have never had a baby of your own, you might not be sure what the best ways to help them are. There will be plenty that you can do, though - here are some fantastic things you might want to offer to your friend.


Of course, one of the main ways that new parents need some help is to look after the baby every now and then. But they might not want to ask you outright if you are able to babysit for them as they won’t want to feel like they are putting on you. So, it’s a nice gesture to tell your friend that you are available for babysitting duties whenever they need you. That way, she can sneak off for an afternoon or an evening with her partner so that they can enjoy some well-earned quality time together.

Bring Her Food
New moms are extremely busy all the time, and they don’t get the chance to have much spare time to look after themselves. So, your friend’s diet might go a bit haywire once a baby comes onto the scene. To make sure that she doesn’t end up living off unhealthy convenience food and takeouts (or even baby food!), you should take them some food. You can always cook her something at yours and take it over with you. Alternatively, why not cook a meal for both of you at hers? It would be neat to do some batch cooking so that you can enjoy a meal with her and have plenty of portions to freeze for her to have at a later date. That way, you can be happy knowing that she’s eating healthily when you aren’t around!

Don’t Offer Any Advice
You certainly shouldn’t lecture your friend and try to offer them any advice. Even if you think that they could use it, don’t try to give it to them as it could come across as very patronizing. It doesn’t matter if your sister or another friend has some babies that you have helped out with in the past. You still aren’t in a good position to offer advice. The best thing you can do is to keep your opinions and thoughts to yourself and instead just help your friend with practical things, such as cooking and cleaning.

Take The Baby Something Cute
You shouldn’t forget the baby in all this! Why not take him or her a cute gift when you go and visit? Not only will this be a really nice gesture, but it also gives you the chance to get your friend something useful that she might need. You could even personalize your gift for an extra-special touch. Things that will come in really handy include bibs, new clothes, and blankets.

Offer To Clean Her Place
So, you’ve already cleaned for your friend, now why not do a spot of cleaning for her as well? At the minute, she might be so busy that she won’t have time to de-clutter and tidy up the rooms, and her cleaning the bathroom might just be a quick wipe around with a cloth! I’m sure that she will be really appreciative of this extra help. Don’t feel like you have to do a complete spring clean. Just getting the house back to normal and in ship shape will be perfectly fine.

Listen To Her
Being a new mom can be slightly isolating and lonely. For instance, moms usually have to stay at home all day alone with the baby while their partner goes out to work. Because of this, your friend might be going slightly stir-crazy! I’m sure that she could do with a friendly face to talk to and have a good catch up with. So, if you ever have a spare couple of hours, it’s worth popping around for an hour or two so that the two of you can enjoy a chat. Make sure that you don’t take up most of the conversation, though as I’m sure she will have a lot to tell you. It’s important that you listen to her as she might have some complaints or worries. If she sounds super stressed, be sure to tell her that you are always around if she ever needs any help. And don’t forget this is a great chance to snuggle up with the new baby!

Look After The Pets
Does your friend have any pets? If so, these might be getting ever so slightly neglected now that there is a cute little baby in the house! Your friend might really appreciate it if you spent some time taking care of these animals. If she has a dog, ask them if she would like you to take it out for a walk. She might even ask you to take it to the groomers for her. It might be nice to pick up some dog or cat food on your way over. This is something that could easily slip your friend’s mind when she goes out shopping with the baby. Don’t forget to spend lots of time petting and snuggling with the pets. They might feel like they have had their nose slightly pushed out in favor of the baby!

There are lots of ways you could help your friend and newborn, but always ask her first if there is anything she can think of.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own. 

The Best Environments To Live In For Health & Happiness

Home is where the heart is, and when the home promotes health and happiness, the heart expands in kind. Few people put that much thought into what kind of environment they would like to live in. Most are driven by circumstance, such as the location of their workplace or the distance from their families and friends. However, if you have the opportunity to choose your home’s location a little more specifically, then it might be worth making the most of this to try and give yourself a healthier and happier life on the whole. There are certain qualities which local environments can have which make it more likely that you are going to be happy and healthy, so let’s take a look now at what those are - and how to find them.

Quality Of Air
Something which has been proven to make a considerable difference to your health in the long term is the quality of air in the area in which you live. There are certain locations which are much more suitable for promoting a high quality of air, and it’s definitely worth looking into what those are if you are serious about taking proper care of your health. The best example is to live in the mountains, as famously, mountain air is very much the best for you. Your lungs will be more likely to be in a healthy state for longer, and many people say that it actually improves their clarity of mind as well. If you take a look at Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties, you will see that it’s not too hard to find a decent place to live in the mountains, so this is definitely worth thinking about if you want to take care of yourself as best as you can.

Not everyone always seeks out a place of quiet in which to live, but it is absolutely a medical fact that quieter neighborhoods are better for your health than noisy ones. If you are already something of a country buff, then you might be perfectly happy finding a dwelling out in the sticks somewhere. But if you have lived in the city all your life, and you are keen to try and get some peace and quiet, you might find that it is actually quite difficult to make the transition from city to country. Nonetheless, it will be worth it. Studies show that those who live in quieter areas are less likely to suffer with stress-related diseases and disorders, and more likely to be able to keep calm in the face of adversity. These things make a difference, so it is worth looking into if you are keen to make a change like this in your life. Of course, there is a balance to be had here too, as you also want to make sure you don't end up somewhere where there are no other people at all. Which brings us neatly on to the next important element of what constitutes a healthy environment to live in.

In its own special way, the sense of community a place does or does not have has its own distinct effect on how healthy a place it is to live in. If your local area is completely devoid of people, it might not actually be the best place to live, as having a community around you is a vital element in having positive mental health. People often overlook the importance of mental health; the truth is, it is just as vital as any other aspect of your health, and should be treated as such. Having people around you is the number one way to ensure that you are happy in the long term - but there is much to be said for different people having different levels of socialization in their life. You might be someone who needs a lot of people around you, or you might instead prefer to have only one or two. Finding your balance is vital to ensuring that you have the sense of community in your life which you need.

Access To Fresh Foods
These days, it is of course easy to get hold of anything, and have it delivered - via the Internet - to your door. Still, there is much to be said for the possibility of having fresh food around you in your local area. Studies have shown that if you have a lot of different options around you for getting hold of fresh food, it leads to a much better quality of life. You are more likely to eat well and to therefore be healthier in body and in mind - and in this way you can see how even these little things make a huge difference to your overall quality of life. This is yet another important thing to consider if you want to live as healthily and happily as possible.

We are natural beings, and the more time we spend in nature, the better. If you find that you don’t have much chance to get out in nature, then you might want to change this in order to be a little healthier on the whole. If you therefore choose to live somewhere out in nature, you will find that it makes a huge difference to your physical health. It will also be one of the best tonics for any mental issues, so in this way you are doing what is best for yourself both physically and mentally. Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a nature person, you will find that getting out in it a lot really does help. Work hard to find somewhere out in nature if you want to do everything you can to be healthy on the whole.

As long as your local environment has all or at least some of the above, you will find that it helps you to be much healthier and happier - and it will even help you to live a longer life.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own. 

March 7, 2018

Finding A Special Gift, The Scientific Method

Choosing a gift is rarely something that can be called easy. You want to find something with real meaning and real value to the recipient, not just another gift card. So, how do you ensure you’re getting the gift that will blow their socks off? When all else fails, turn to science. Here are a few gifts that science has shown can have the biggest impact.

The Experience
It has been shown that people tend to look back much more fondly on memories than the actual gifts themselves. This can mean that taking the time to put some presentation into a gift, whether you preempt it with a little ceremony or hide it somewhere as a surprise, can make just about any giving experience a lot more memorable. But it has also proven true of experiences like concerts, spa days, and even vacation gifts. The experiences can often be more meaningful than any physical object.

Rarity & Collectability
That’s not to say that the object isn’t important. Even if you’re anti-materialist, giving a gift is the time to set it aside. When you find something rare, valuable, and collectible, like the first print of a book or even a more unique gift like if you’re looking to buy gold coins from a country someone has been to before, it works on multiple layers. First of all, a rare and valuable gift makes your loved one feel rare and valuable, themselves. We can’t deny the social component of gift giving, either. Having something rare to display and show off in the home gives people a little more pride in their place. It might sound a little petty, but it’s important to contribute to that sense of esteem. Lacking it isn’t good for one’s emotional health.

The Personal Touch
Handmade gifts get a bad rap in the media and it’s not fair or justified. While there's no doubt that it can sometimes be used as a lazy option, to make the gift more 'legitimate', you should focus on the handmade gifts people actually want. Interestingly, the appeal of the handmade gift, the fact that it’s bespoke and only for the recipient, doesn’t just apply to gifts you make yourself. Having something else made for them has been shown to be valued just as much. The artistry and time that goes into a gift can often prove more valuable than the price tag or even the functionality.

Do A Little Good
With that in mind, sometimes the physical gift might be nonexistent or just a token compared to what it represents. Giving to charity as a gift isn’t always a surefire success and it should be saved perhaps for those of your loved ones who are most dedicated to a cause or to doing good in their own time, but it can also be said that they create a positive feedback loop which involves both parties in a little altruism.

Above all else, a gift that shows how much you know someone will be the most valuable of all, but some people have difficulty tapping into those mental reserves and get a real mind-blank when it comes time to choose. If that’s the case, let the tips above set you in the right direction.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.