October 17, 2018

A Wise Investment: Taking Care Of Your Needs First

If you lead a busy life, it can be a challenge to make extra time for yourself: career, family, your other half, and a list of jobs and chores to do all seem to ensure that you’re always kept on your toes. If your life is fulfilling and happy, that’s great; you’ll be able to continue to work towards those dreams you’ve always had. However, if there are things that you feel like you’ve always wanted to do or achieve; these will stay in your mind until you’ve given them a good go. Personal achievements and goals can result in higher confidence and self-esteem, and many of the things you could go out and do will help to enrich your life.

Whether it’s a level of education or qualifications, you’ve always wanted to boost your career prospects, or learning a skill that would give your lifestyle a boost or make it easier; there’s no time like the present to give it your best shot. The following are some motivations and ideas, inspiration, and advice for those who are ready to do something for themselves, and want to prioritize their dreams and goals for a better future.

Focus On Your Qualifications
As well as potentially furthering your current job and career; a boost to your education and qualifications could lead to you heading towards a field of work you’ve always dreamed of. It can be easy to get stuck in a job you don’t enjoy after you finish school or college, as your bills and everyday expenses will have taken priority. But, it’s time to take some control back and make some changes so that you can budget for, and free up some time, to head to school, college, or online, to gain what you need. You can check out courses related to operations management or perhaps you’ve been dreaming of teaching or counseling; there’s no time like the present to take charge of your life and ensure you’re fulfilling your potential.

Putting extra work into giving yourself the means to take a new career path that you’ve always dreamed of, will not only provide your income and lifestyle with a potential boost; you personal satisfaction and happiness will benefit too.

Add To Your Skill Set Learning new skills or improving some existed ones, will only ever enrich your life. They may take up some valuable time during the process; however, having them under your belt will ensure that your future is far easier. Therefore, it’s time to start planning how and when you can begin your journey to improving your skill set and your life. Perhaps it’s your job that you want to focus on, and in order to reach the next level in your career; you’ll need to get a boost in your skills in the workplace. Now is the time to list the things that will help you move up the ladder in your place of work, and give you the added confidence in the office you might be craving.

Discuss a career path or plan with your boss; they may introduce the training into your working week so that your time management isn’t disrupted too much. Or it might just be time to prepare yourself for extra hours in front of your computer or heading to learn outside of work hours. Bear in mind that this busy schedule won't last forever, and will only lead to bettering your life as a whole.

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

October 2, 2018

When Your Refrigerator Breaks Down 3 Days Before Thanksgiving (And Other Life Disasters)

Life can certainly be a little challenging from time to time. In fact, things do tend to have a habit of going wrong at the most inopportune moments, it like they are deliberately trying us or something! Happily, there is usually a way of dealing with most of life's disasters effectively. Read on to find out more.

Your refrigerator breaks down three days before Thanksgiving.

Yup, it does happen, and it's usually just as you start to get ahead with the food prep, and everyone has confirmed that they are traveling across the country to come to yours for sweet potatoes w/ marshmallows, rolls, dressing and turkey.

Luckily, it's not the end of the world even if this does happen! In fact, it's so easy to get a new refrigerator delivered in less than 24 hours now that we can order them online! That depends on you having the money to buy one outright, of course, and money can be sometimes be hard to come by with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up.

Luckily, there are some simple solutions to this, including using a firm like Bonsai Finance for an emergency loan. They that can help you purchase your new refrigerator and still not eat into the family's Christmas budget.

Of course, to stop your freezer full of food from slowly defrosting and leaking onto the floor, you will need to act fast. If possible, ask if you can store the most expensive items in the neighbors' fridge freezer, before they start to defrost. You could even cook some things and keep them cool and covered until you new device arrives the next morning!

Remember that if all else fails, there is bound to be a reasonable priced diner in your area that is offering a traditional Thanksgiving lunch. Of course, if you end up going there, you won't have any washing up to deal with either!

You accidentally smash a family heirloom, and grandma is coming over for dinner.

It was her pride and joy, and she bequeathed it to you on the strict understanding that you would guard it with your life. Then SMASH, and the treasured family heirloom is no more than a pile of shattered pieces on the ground.

Argh, doing this can be so frustrating and upsetting all that the same time, especially if you've been making sure to take special care of the item and put it in a safe place. Sadly though, accidents do happen and whether you are to blame or it was your dog/child/partner that caused the breakage, there isn't a lot of point crying over spilt milk.

Of course, you have several options here, the first being collecting up all the pieces and then using a powerful all-purpose glue to stick them back together again. This usually only works if the pieces are large enough and have not sustained any additional damages such as Fido chewing on them though, and even then it might not quite look like it once did once reassembled.

Another option is to look for a similar piece, something that is a lot easier now you can buy vintage items from sites like eBay and Etsy. Yes, it may mean you are a few dollars out of pocket, but surely it's a better option than having to explain to granny why her decorative plate is no longer proudly displayed in the dining room? 

Your kid suddenly has outgrown their bed.

What is it with kids, eh? They seem just to grow overnight! Of course, this usually isn't too much of a problem, even when they start becoming too tall for their clothes, as a new pair of pants usually won't break the bank.

A new bed, however, can be pretty expensive, and while it's a significant milestone in their development, it can certainly be tough to find the cash if you haven't planned ahead.

Of course, the real trick here is to have thought of this situation way before it happens, as many children's beds are convertible from cots, to toddler beds, to normal size singles now. Yes, such items will cost a little extra at the time you buy them, but think how much you will save in the long run.

Alternatively, if your brain was too scrambled by hormones and sleepless nights when your little one was first born and you didn't get a convertible bed, don't stress. After all, it's nearly always possible to pick such things up pre-loved for a fraction of the price they would cost new.

In fact, on any given day in your town, there will be someone redecorating a room and getting rid of a perfectly good single bed. All you have to do is find a way to get in contact with them! Try Craigslist, the local free ads, or even eBay if you're stuck, and remember applying a quick coat of chalk paint to older single bed and replacing the mattress can provide you with an excellent result at a fraction of the price.

Your best friend won't speak to you, and you have no idea why!

Don't you hate it when someone you care deeply about gets in a mood, and you don't know why? In fact, the emotional toll can really make it seem like the end of the world. It isn't, of course, and there are several ways to deal with this sort of situation to alleviate the stress involved.

First of all, you could just let them be. Perhaps the person is not talking to you because they need time to calm down, and will resume communication when they have a little more perspective on the situation?

Secondly, it usually can't hurt to apologize, even if you not entirely sure that you are apologizing for. After all, it shows that you value the relationship and care whether it continues or not.

Also, once you have bridged the initial rift, you can begin a real dialogue and work out the issue, in earnest. Of course, you shouldn't take the blame for things that you don't feel are fair, yet admitting your part of the problem can be a great way to get things back on track again. In fact, it can even help you avoid a future life disaster with your nearest and dearest too.

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

October 1, 2018

3 Great Ideas For Personalized Gifts

How do you buy someone the perfect gift? It’s a question that people have been struggling to answer since the invention of gift giving. Do you just buy the most expensive thing you can find? Maybe that works for some people, but if you don’t put that much thought into it, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on it. People say that it’s the thought that counts -- and even though it might be a bit of a cliche, it’s true. The best gifts are the ones that are personal to the one that you’re giving them to. If you’re struggling to find a great gift for somebody, personalized gifts are ideal. That’s why there are so many companies selling them these days. They’re the perfect way to immortalize family memories and milestones in a nice gift which will mean so much more to a person than just getting them something expensive that they don’t really need. If you like the idea of getting personalized gifts, these are some of the best options.

House Portraits

The house that you grew up in or your first house with the family are important places in your life. Even if you’ve moved on from those places, they still hold a special place in your heart. That’s why a house portrait is such a great personalized gift idea. Get a photo of their childhood home or another place that is important to them and commission an artist to do you a portrait of them. It’s sure to bring back good memories every time they look at it and you can’t get a better gift than that.

Personalized Bobbleheads
If you’re looking for a light hearted personalized gift, bobbleheads are a great choice. There is a great company called likenessme that can create some incredibly realistic looking bobbleheads from a photograph. You could get them one with their own face on it or maybe another family member. Getting parents a bobblehead with their kids on it is always a winner. There are a lot of different styles to choose from so you can match the bobblehead with their interests and hobbies as well.

Photo gifts are so popular and there are companies that will print a photo on pretty much anything. You can get a standard canvas done with a favorite family photo on which is great, but why stop there? Cushions are one of the most popular photo gifts out there because they’re a practical and fun way to immortalize a great family memory. These make especially good gifts for grandparents. They’ll absolutely love a nice cushion with their favorite picture of the grand kids on it. They’re also the ideal present for animal lovers too; get hold of a picture of their pets and get some cushions made with them on.

Personalized gifts are so much better than just grabbing something off the shelf. It shows that you’ve really thought about it and they’re far more likely to cherish it for a long time.

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

September 6, 2018

Tired of Cross Country Road Trips? Try These Alternatives

There’s something magical about exploring different places in the car. Whether you love taking trips with your family or alone, you will feel free and flexible when you take the car. However, the problem is that you will be too busy looking at the traffic and the road ahead, and see less of what’s there to explore. There are some more sustainable and better connected ways of getting around and seeing more of the country or your state, too. Read about them below. 

Whether you are taking the bike on the rack of your car or hire it at your destination, you will love the fresh air and the exercise. You can make the most out of your time by planning your route and finding scenic bike routes to tackle. It might be a good idea, however, to arrive prepared, as accidents and punctures can make your vacation less enjoyable. Take your friends and family members, or simply set up a starting point in a hotel in the mountains, so you don’t have to carry all your equipment with you.

In the summer, you can also take or hire a motorcycle to see the small villages, the dirt roads, and park down almost anywhere. While you will not have the same level of comfort as in the car, the great views and the opportunity to go off the beaten path will compensate you. Whether you are heading for a festival or a bike rally in a different state, you will certainly enjoy the ride and the wonderful scenery.

If you are interested in exploring the waters of the country or a specific state, you will certainly find boat rides comfortable and enjoyable. You don’t have to own one, either. Find a boat club at your location and plan your route. Check whether or not your license is valid, and head to your destination. Moor in wherever you want, stop for a quick walk, and visit places not accessible by car.

Of course, nature lovers can go on a long haul hiking trip, too. If you are a beginner, and are looking to tackle a hundred miles or more, you might need to join a club, so you don’t get lost and can benefit from the experience and guidance of more seasoned hikers. Whether you go on an expedition or a leisurely hike with camping, you can see more natural beauty than you would if you stayed on the highway.


Train Rides Across the Country

There are some great historic train rides across the country that will allow you to sit back and enjoy the scenery. You don’t even have to sign up for a full package; decide where to get on and off, which towns to book a hotel in, and how long to spend at each destination.

Road trips are great and comfortable, but you are missing out on scenery's that are off the beaten path. Next time you plan a vacation, try these alternative ways of getting around.

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

Three Or More Is A Crowd, But Could That Benefit Your Next Trip?

If you’ve ever traveled solo before, the chances are that you’re reluctant to look back. Let’s face it; it doesn’t get better than exploring new places alone. This way, you can really get stuck into sights and cultures. You don’t have to worry about keeping to anyone else’s time frame. Instead, you’re free to do what you want, when you want to. You could even go days without speaking to a soul if you fancied. What could be more peaceful?

But, we’re here to tell you that solo travel may not be the only way. If you’ve turned down trips with others on the quest for your lonesome goal, you may be doing yourself a disservice. The fact is, group travel has benefits, too, even if you’ve lost sight of them. So, next time your friends ask you to go away, consider the following reasons it might pay to say yes.

Shared Responsibility

One huge downside to solo travel is the responsibility. When it’s only you going, everything lands on your shoulders. If you don’t sort things like your flight and accommodations, no one will. And, that can lead to some anxiety in the lead-up. In fact, until your bum is on that plane seat, you may feel pretty stressed out. Yet, it should go without saying that you share responsibility the moment you travel with others. While you’ll still need to sort things like your plane ticket and luggage allowance, the rest can be a group effort. After all, everyone needs to think about how to get to the hotel, not just you. Knowing that the weight isn’t all on your shoulders could really eliminate pre-trip stress. And, that’s got to be a goal worth working towards.

Cutting Costs
Let’s be honest; solo travel can also get pretty pricey. Your only real accommodation choice will be a hostel or hotel, where you pay through the nose per night. By comparison, traveling with friends means you could split the cost of an apartment between you. You can bet that’ll work out cheaper each night, and you’ll have a better space to return to. This cost-cutting benefit doesn’t just apply to where you sleep, either. When traveling in a group, you can splash out on luxuries without leaving yourself out of pocket. In Spain, for instance, you could split the cost of a car rental. If you want the full benefits of a stay in the Caribbean, you could even turn to something like a Caribbean yacht charter together. That kind of luxury just wouldn’t an option on your single budget.

Safety In Numbers
It’s also worth noting the old ‘safety in numbers’ argument. The plain fact is, solo travel is far from risk-free. Hence why you may feel the need to stick to your hotel resort after hours. When traveling in a group, though, this isn’t something you need to worry about. You could explore whole towns during your evenings and rest easy that you’ll all look out for each other.

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

This Is How To Indulge In Luxury Travel

When it comes to travel, everyone has their preference over what they want to do. Some will love to explore the areas nearest to where they live. Others will love to go on faraway adventures. But then there are those of us that love nothing more than to indulge in luxury travel. Travel can be special no matter how you experience it, but if you’re someone that really loves the finer things in life, then nothing can quite beat luxury travel in the most incredible locations. But if you’re someone that has never experienced it before, you may wonder exactly what you need to do to really make the most of the experience that you plan? Let’s take a look at what you can do to really enjoy some luxury travel.

Use A Concierge
First of all, before you even lift a finger to look into options, you’re going to want to think about working with a concierge or luxury travel planner. Now, you could look into booking places for yourself, but you may find that you get better deals and better recommendations by using a service like this. You can often get the best hotels in the most incredible spots, and the best suites to go along with them too. Plus, you may find that they can arrange added luxury extras for you to enjoy when you are there too - like champagne on arrival or incredible experiences.

Hire A Plane
Now, a lot of people will prefer to fly business class to enjoy the best possible experience. And that’s definitely cool. But why not go one step further? You may even want to fly private for the ultimate in luxury experiences? With your own private plane, you can really fly in style, enjoy your journey, and start off the trip on a complete high too.

Choose A Dreamy Destination
From here, you’re then going to want to make sure that you pick the best possible place to enjoy your luxury experience. There are so many incredible luxury destinations in the world, so why not visit one of them? Most of the time, you will find that the place you pick really does set the tone of your experience.

Enjoy First-Class Food
Another thing that can really add to your experience is the food that you eat. Because there’s nothing better than dining at a first-class restaurants and enjoying the most incredible meals during your luxury break. And with so many amazing restaurants in the world, it would be rude not to!

Explore The Local Scene
But lastly, you’re also going to want to make sure that you really look to take in and explore just about anything and everything that you can. For some people, luxury will mean not lifting a finger, and that’s definitely cool. But sometimes, you can feel as if you’ve had the most luxurious experience of all when you’re able to see the most breathtaking sights and enjoy the most exhilarating experiences. So don’t be afraid to get out and explore.

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

August 24, 2018

Five UK Ski Resorts to Try This Year

Many people plan a ski trip in the winter and keep an eye on the snow reports to find out when they should book their tickets. However, due to the recent changes in UK weather, you don’t even have to go away to enjoy some snow related fun. There are peaks in Wales, England, and Scotland that are only a few hours away, so you don’t have to plan ahead; simply jump in the car or on the plane and you are ready. Below you will find a few suggestions for your next trip.

Lecht, Aberdeenshire
If you head to Scotland this year hiking, you should check out Lecht 2090, which is over 2,000 feet above sea level. It is a beginners’ resort, so if you are just trying your skis on the first time, this is the place to start. You will be able to stay close to the Cairngorms National Park, go hiking, try snowboarding, and choose from various accommodation options to suit your budget. Further, you will be impressed by the low daily pass prices, too.

Fort William, Scotland
In case you haven’t explored the stunning Nevis range of Scotland yet, head over between January and March and see what’s in store, Unfortunately, snow - like in most UK resorts - is not guaranteed, but you can go on hikes and take some amazing shots for your Instagram feed. When the snow is there, you will be able to take advantage of the 12 lifts and great prices, but there are also dry slopes just in case.

Raise, Cumbria
If you are a huge fan of the Lake District in the summer, you should see it in the winter, too. There are great beginner slopes at the Lake District Ski Club where you can enroll to a beginner’s or advanced training while you are there. You will need to obtain a membership and a season ticket, but - if you get lucky - you can visit every week if you want to and improve your skills. If you just want to give it a go once, guest day tickets are also available.

Weardale Ski Resort, County Durham
While this resort can’t compete with some of the European destinations, such as ski rental in Val d'Isere, you will love the friendly atmosphere and the great pubs nearby,. There are great facilities and accommodation. It is important that you phone before you arrive, to make sure that the lifts are in operation and the resort is not full.

Dry Slopes in Wales, Plas Y Brenin
If you would rather not wait for the snow to arrive and take your chances, you can try one of the great dry slopes in Wales, The Plas Y Brenin resort has not only skiing facilities, but also mountain sports, water rafting, and amazing hiking trails or Wales. Take your bike, get your mountaineering training boosted, or simply take in the fresh air and exercise outdoors.

Next time you are planning a winter trip, consider these UK ski resorts and winter sport centers first.

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

August 22, 2018

5 Secrets to Make Travel More Enjoyable

Travelling might be one of the most eye-opening and exciting things to do in life, but it can also be one of the most frustrating and problematic depending on what happens. For most people, the flight can be boring and tiring, and for others, the idea of being unable to communicate with locals is frustrating. In this post, we’re going to list five simple but effective secrets that will help make travel more enjoyable.

1. Learn some phrases 
You don’t need to learn an entire language just to visit a country, just a few phrases will help you out in the long run. It will also show the locals that you’ve taken the time to learn their language, and that will garner you some respect!

2. Two wallets 
Juggling two currencies can be a pain sometimes, so get yourself a second wallet that contains all of the travel cards and currencies you need so you can leave your regular wallet in your luggage for emergencies.

3. Be open
 The worst thing you can do when travelling is to become close-minded. Be adventurous and open instead by trying out different types of foods, speaking to more people and embracing new cultures.

4. Slow down
Don’t rush around trying to fit a hundred things into a single day. Instead, slow it down and limit the number of things you’ve planned so you can slow down and enjoy them instead.

5. Deal with jet lag
Succumbing to jet lag can eat away one or two days of your life. Use this infographic below for a schedule on when and how much to sleep in order to beat jet lag.

Image Source: Mattress Advisor

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