March 30, 2018

Recharge: Getting Your Headspace

Life can seem to get busier and more hectic by the week; whether it’s work, family and friends, or your lifestyle in general that you focus on, you can end up with little time for yourself. However, too much work and stress, and not enough time to give yourself room to breathe, can lead to fatigue and array of health conditions. If you become sick due of working too hard, it can affect your confidence, well being, and your ability to achieve the goals you’ve set. Therefore, it’s crucial to give yourself some free time regularly so that you have the headspace to unwind, refocus, and recharge. Whether it’s an hour or so a day, or some time away from your normal environment for more prolonged periods; you’ll always return to your hectic and busy life with a much-needed boost and plenty of positivity about what lies ahead.

Luckily, there an array of options for you to make the most of, and they’ll be something to suit every lifestyle and budget. The challenging part is to schedule in that much-needed time, so let's get that part out of the way first. Grab your calendar or diary and prioritize some time on particular days or weeks for the foreseeable months ahead. Then, it’s time to start booking things and committing to your free time so that you can’t fill it with work or other situations last-minute. Grab your notebook and pen and begin to write a list of the things that you feel with help you free your mind and give it some TLC. The following are some ideas and inspiration for those who want to put their wellbeing and health at the top of their to-do-list, for a productive and happy life.

Get Away
If there’s somewhere that you’ve always wanted to go, or sights you’ve always wanted to see; book your plane or transport, find a great hotel, and start packing your suitcase. There’s no time like the present to organize a trip away from all the stresses and strains of daily life and to soak up new surroundings. Whether you go for a long weekend or a couple of weeks; a getaway for yourself is the perfect way to focus on your enjoyment, happiness, and health.

Something New
If you’re a person who loves to utilize their time, whether you’re relaxing or not; it might be time to take up a new hobby, lesson, or activity. Whether you’re being creative, exercising, or learning new skills; time to focus on yourself as you concentrate on something else will ensure that you’re not thinking about work or that meeting you have next week. You’ll also be enriching your life, and coming away with a potential lifelong passion, so don’t be fearful of giving something new a go.

Simple Things
Sometimes, it’s the simple things that can do you the most good. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve read a book, or sat and enjoyed a coffee alone; schedule in some time to do them. Run a bath and switch off your phone so that you can try that new face mask, or go and watch that movie you’ve been dying to see. Whatever you choose to do; make it all about yourself, and nourishing your mind for a happy and healthy future (however hectic it might be).

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

March 29, 2018

5 Thoughtful Ways To Say Thank You

At different times in your life, you’re likely to find occasions where you want to say thank you to someone. In fact, this is something that can happen quite regularly. When you’re very present, and you practice gratitude, you’re likely to find dozens of times where you want to show your thanks to people in your life. Maybe your parents helped you out, your grandparents made you dinner, or a friend bought you a gift? Well, it’s always nice to say thank you. And sometimes, you’ll feel as if saying the words thank you just aren’t enough. Sometimes, you just want to be able to take that idea a step further to really show how grateful you are. So let’s take a look at five thoughtful ways that you can do this.

1. With A Gift
First of all, you may actually want to get a gift for the person in question. A really common way to send a gift is with flowers, jewelry, or even with a pretty wall printable. Depending on the person that you’re getting the gift for, you may find that choosing something a little more personalized for them could work out well too. The idea here is to put a lot of thought into the gifting that you’re choosing, so that you know it will be something that they love, and a great way of showing your thanks.

2. With Your Time
But saying thank you doesn’t always have to be about material things. In fact, sometimes, the best way to show how grateful you are to somebody is with your time. Let’s think back to the idea of your grandparents making you dinner. Well, it’s safe to say that they’re really going to appreciate you taking some time out to visit them or take them out for a walk to something simple like that. A lot of the time, choosing to spend your time thoughtfully is a great way to show how appreciative you are.

3. With Actions
As a step on from that, it’s also always great to show just how grateful you are with your actions, and not just your words. Because, as we all know, actions speak louder than words. So choosing to be thoughtful with your actions and doing something nice for the person in question in return is a great option here.

4. With A Handwritten Note

Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. To take the time out to put your words down on paper and deliver a handwritten thank you note is a very kind and thoughtful gesture. It may be simple and old-fashioned, but it’s very effective.

5. With Baked Goods

And finally, you know the way to a person’s heart is often through their mouth! So taking the time out to whip up some baked goods is a really kind and thoughtful way to thank you. Particularly if you know the person in question has a sweet tooth or you know their favorite dessert, this will always go down a treat.

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

March 28, 2018

Beautiful European Towns That You Should Explore

If you’re planning a trip to the continent of Europe then you have your pick of fascinating countries to visit. You’re spoiled for choice. But you might be looking for a real one-of-a-kind adventure. Maybe you don’t want to visit the most popular city for a change, and that’s a good thing. There’s more to a country than its capital, after all. Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, and London are all wonderfully exciting cities, but they’re not representative of their countries as a whole. It’s time to dig a little deeper so that you can truly explore some of the beauty that this continent has to offer. Here are some beautiful European towns and cities that you should explore.

Edinburgh, Scotland.
If you want to visit a city that feels like a quaint town on a massive scale then Edinburgh certainly fits that description. Whilst we discouraged capital cities in the introduction, Edinburgh really is an exception. It’s a city like nowhere else in the world. You won’t find glass skyscrapers cluttering business districts here; you’ll find fascinating architecture, beautiful natural sights, and a lot of things to do. You should definitely visit the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions if you want an otherworldly experience. You can blow your mind with some visual and interactive optical illusions that are scattered across several floors before getting to the roof to admire Edinburgh in all its splendor.

Polygyros, Greece.
That’s probably a Greek Town of which you’ve never heard before. Polygyros is the capital of the Greek region of Halkidiki, and it’s a fascinating place to visit. You could get a taxi in Thessaloniki when you arrive at the airport and head straight to Polygyros. Visiting this town really is an adventure. It’s a beautiful place that sits just south-west of the famous Cholomontas mountain, and that mountain is definitely worth visiting whilst you’re there. It’s a stunning natural spectacle. In terms of the town itself, you should spend some time admiring the intriguing buildings you’ll find there. The St. Nicolas Church and the Town Hall are both stunning examples of quaint Greek architecture. You should also visit the Folklore Museum if you’re intrigued by the history of this beautiful place. It really is a hidden treasure.

Wells-Next-The-Sea, England.
England might not always be a warm or sunny location, but it certainly offers a lot in terms of wonderful little towns and villages. The seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea makes up for its lack of sun by being a beautiful location in its own right. Whilst it looks better under a bright summer’s glow, this town has a lot to offer all year round. Spectacular views from the coastline are well worth the visit. The beaches are also a lot of fun. You’ve got everything from the classic beach huts to venues selling fish and chips - another classic staple of British culture. The forest in the nature reserve that lines the beach is also a picturesque place to explore. This really is the perfect seaside location for an adventure.

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

The Best Countries For The Hungry Traveller

Seeing as food is something that motivates a lot of us as human beings, it’s very clear we travel in search of the best plates in high end restaurants to the most greasy yet belly filling burgers from the dives down in the most metropolitan areas. And because of that, going in search of everything the world has to offer us on a plate is considered one of life’s greatest joys! Why not try it out yourself?

If you’re looking to get back on the road, it’s time to hit up all of the best countries to eat in. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad in your search for the best foods known to man. Try to consider it a pet project you’re going to dedicate a good few months to; after all, you can learn a lot of life skills (not to mention new recipes) on your way there and back again.

From the best lunch in Carmel, CA to the street vendors down in New Orleans, if you head to America, you’re going to find all sorts of cuisines to delight in. And they’re all going to have their own unique recipe spins, and that’s something to get excited about! Every state you go in and out of will be known for a different food or drink, and being able to try every single one on your trip is your traveler given right.

When you come across a place that has a neon sign up, offering you the best sandwiches this side of the Mojave, or you witness the inside through the window and see the red tiled floor, you’re in the pinnacle of the American cuisine dream. Head inside, sit down and take your order, and make sure you’re ready for the portion sizes. Don’t forget to tip your server when you’re stuffed and on your way out again!

Mexico is a place that has a lot of influence on the cuisine of the rest of the world, particularly its American cousin. And it’s no wonder people take it up so easily when it’s one of the most delicious food types in the world! There’s so many spices on offer in a single plate of food that you’re going to be tasting the enchilada you just ate for weeks, and you’ll always be coming back for the burrito.

The ingredients are always fresh and blended together, giving you a complete picture of the perfect taste. And the people who made these dishes originally have handed down their recipes to the people working to serve you the best taco you’ve ever had, so you know it’s going to better than anything you’ve ever tasted before.

When you’re next out on your way to the airport, consider if where you’re going is famous for good food. Of course every country has their own delicacy, hand crafted with love, so make sure you indulge in it whilst you are there. You won’t ever regret the decision! 

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

March 27, 2018

How To Get Your Energy Back

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There comes a time within your life where you may find yourself running low on energy. Your battery is on its last legs and you need to take a much needed time out. This isn't necessarily something that happens with age, because you can lose your energy in your twenties, right through to your elder years. Energy can be both physical and mental, and it can drop for various reasons.

The most important thing that you can do is to try and pinpoint why you don't have much energy. Have you changed a routine in your life that is now leaving you tired? Are you ill? These are all the sorts of questions that you will want to ask yourself. Once you have an idea, then you can focus on how to make things better.

When you don't have much energy, you will feel drained and generally exhausted, and if you don't look after yourself properly, you may slide down that slippery slope of depression, and once you're there it's very hard to climb back out of it. Depression causes you to lose interest in things you may have once enjoyed. You might stop being as social as you were - closing yourself away at home and avoiding any other contact or tasks because you simply can't handle even the thought.

So to avoid this from happening at all costs, you need to keep hold of that energy. Here's how:

Sleep is highly underrated -- people are constantly busy and on the move, and they forget just how important getting a good night's sleep is. It's like plugging your phone to charge in order for it to be full again. Regardless of the career you have or the lifestyle you live, you need to ensure that you get enough sleep, this being at least 7.5 hours every day. One way that you can make sure of this is by sticking to a routine - even on the weekend when you don't have to be up early - you should go to bed the same time. If you are often on your phone or staring at a computer or tv screen, you need to shut everything off 2 hours before you plan on going to bed. This is because the bright light stimulates the brain - waking it up. So you will find it a lot harder to fall asleep. Keep everything dark and cool, and you should drift off into a nice, natural sleep.

Control Stress
The more stressed you are, the more energy you're burning on something that shouldn't be given attention. Stress is such a bad emotion that causes an awful lot of havoc on your whole entire being. It not only makes you feel low within your mind, but you could get ill from it. You are more prone to have a low immune system when stressed, you are more likely to get acne, lose sleep, get headaches, and feel miserable. One great trick for trying to combat stress is to simply breathe. It sounds awfully obvious, and yet taking a second - or five minutes to really focus on your breathing works wonders. Deep breath in, deep breath out - breathing in the goodness, and breathing out any negativity you're holding. Meditation comes in many different forms, but applying the basics to your lifestyle can have a wonderful impact overall.

Supplements are a brilliant way to give your body things they need in a contained form, being able to target specific areas that need that little bit of extra help. Certain products work to stimulate parts of the brain that make you feel more energized and ready to target the day ahead of you. These are great if you're having to go to work or study, as they increase your productivity so that you can get more things done by focusing better and blowing away any brain fog that you may have been prone to getting before. Not only that but you can even feel more energized physically, allowing you to do physical tasks with a lot more ease. You can find out more online, so do your own research until you know exactly what's right for you.

Slow Down
If you feel as though your life is running a mile a minute, then you need to just slow down a little. If work is getting rather hectic all of a sudden, then calm it down. If things are out of your control, then ask to have a word with your boss. While this is never something anyone wants to have to do, sometimes your health is more important than your ego. And besides, your boss should respect you for being honest and admitting that things are getting a little too much for you at the minute. Come up with an idea that suits both of you, whether that be lightening your workload for a while, or even just taking a couple of days off to focus on getting yourself back to where you were. So discuss your options, and don't be afraid to put yourself first for once.

Eat Right
Eating foods that have sugars in them that absorb slowly will mean you are able to burn through the day slowly, rather than in one go and then be tired for the rest of the day. This means things that are high in fibre, nuts, and healthy oils like omega 3. You should also try and eat small meals more regularly, rather than just a couple of big ones, and this will make you last longer and stretch your day out. It can also manage to trick the brain because you are keeping it steady with all of the best nutrients and vitamins instead of feeling fatigue after a big meal - which quite frankly always triggers you to feel sleepy because you've burnt off so much energy just from eating it all.

So the next time you're wondering why you feel so exhausted - remember everything that has been mentioned and apply them to your lifestyle.

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

March 24, 2018

Why Being Aware Of Tragedy Helps You Live A Better Life

Being aware of tragedy can help you live a better life. This might seem opposite to what we expect. How can thinking about the harsh realities of life keep us happy and positive? Well, there are many reasons for this. After all, naivety is no virtue. It is a childlike quality, something which we must protect in our youth. However, as adults, we all know in our own way just how difficult things can become. If not personally, through the news stories we are often subject to.

Staying an aware and informed citizen is something that gives you a true platform to be a good person. Here’s how:

An uncommon response to tragedy is gratitude -- while this is not always common, it shows that while difficulty can occur in the unlikeliest of places, so can complete and total good. It makes you more sensitive to the beauty and warmth around you, especially if you haven’t really been perceiving this for some time. It also makes you more tender and appreciative of your potential for good. This means simply being less quick to anger, being more accepting of people, and more ready to listen to those around you. Distaste and unhappiness is easy to fall into when you’re not comfortable or grateful for your surroundings. Remember, it could be much, much, much worse.

Being aware of the tragedy of certain areas of life is a great way to take the first step in combating it. Not only this, but it gives you the power to truly define what this means to you. For example, it is difficult to learn of the rates of starvation in the world. However, once this is digested, you have the ability to decide your avenue of action. Do you begin, or do you simply let that statistic continue? Of course, not all of us have such noble goals, but finding small problems that we can help with is always much better than hiding our heads away from that difficulty. It might give us emotional pain to confront this straight on, but with courage and Bible verses about hope at our side, we can truly become the people we would admire ourselves as.

Children are often sheltered from the harsh realities of life. Good. That’s important for development. A child should be afforded a childhood, and all children deserve a great childhood. However, as they mature and gain into their adolescent years, they become curious about the world. They want to know more. Your job as a parent or other other responsible role is to ensure they are drip-fed this appropriately and comfortably. Children who are fully sheltered without learning this for themselves are often novices and naive well into adulthood. There’s a popular expression quoted in the Bible, that ‘the meek shall inherit the Earth.’ However, more risky and modern translations of this phrase are ‘The Earth will be inherited by those who are strong but choose to be kind.’ This is a new interpretation that completely solidifies the fact that strong good will always be a pure and justified thing. However, in order to get there, people must be aware of suffering.

With the right courage, facing the world through this lens can grant you a feeling of true ability, and the actions you take will be appropriate and redeemed.

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

March 23, 2018

Embracing The Things Of Old Age

Our society sometimes treats old age in a number of strange ways. Far too many people see it as a problem to be fixed or a sign of decay. But the truth is that being elderly is a gracious part of life, and one which can be dealt with beautifully if you know how to. As it happens, there are a number of things you can do to make this part of your life easier, and it’s worth looking into those if you want to be as happy as you would hope to be. In this article, we are going to look through a number of the things you should be doing to make the most of your old age - no matter who you are and whether or not you have thought much about these in the past.

Change The Mindset
First of all, if you are still worrying about aging, or viewing it as something which you need to try and fix, you first need to make sure that you try to change your mindset. In reality, this is the only fix you need to make. Old age can be a wonderful time if you approach it in the right way, and there is no reason not to enjoy it or make the most of what life still has to offer you - which is probably plenty. If you are struggling to change the mindset, you might want to think about what kind of blockages you have which are getting in the way. Dealing with those will help you to transform how you think of being old, and that will almost certainly mean you can approach to with a much fresher mind. This is worth doing if you want to be happy about the stage of life you find yourself in.

Remain Active
The truth about how to age in such a way that you can continue safely is to remain as active as possible for as long as possible. The more active you are, the more likely it is that you will be able to keep healthy for longer, so it is important to try and find ways to do this. It might be a case of joining a local sports club of some kind, or even just making sure that you go to the gym once a week. A Lot of people your age do this, and there is no reason not to do so yourself. The more active you remain, the more likely it is that you will be able to keep strong and healthy for as long as you would like to. If you are starting to find it difficult to remain active, get a friend to buddy up with you to help you along. That alone could make all the difference.

Prepare For Needing Assistance
No matter how fit you may remain, you will suddenly find that there are a number of ways in which you begin to need help. The more help you need, the more likely it is that you will feel embarrassed or worry about asking for it. But it is important to ensure that you do not shy away from asking help just when you need it most - and for that reason, you should also be sure to prepare yourself for it as best as possible as well. There are many ways to prepare yourself for needing a little assistance. You might need to install mobile medical alerts in your home - learn more here about those in more detail - or you might need to have someone's number on standby at least, just in case. However you are going to do it, you should make sure that you are not afraid to ask for the help you need when you need it.

Eating Better
You will probably find that it suddenly becomes much more important than ever to eat right - even though it is obviously important at every stage of life to some degree. But in old age, eating right and eating badly can make a huge difference to how you feel, how likely you are to contract illnesses, and so on - so you should be sure not to overlook this vital part of staying healthy in old age. It’s worth speaking with your doctor or a nutritionist and drawing up a meal plan for your weeks, so that you can be sure of eating everything you need to eat as well as possible. This will help you to keep healthy, be more energetic and get better sleep too.

Sleep Soundly
Speaking of sleep, that too is important in old age, and it’s something which you should be sure not to overlook if you want to be healthy and well in your elderly life. If you’re struggling to sleep soundly, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are making it as easy on yourself as possible. You should focus on exercising and eating as well as you can, making your room as comfortable as it can be, and keeping relaxed. The more you appreciate your sleep, the more likely it is that you will be able to make it happen more often and therefore keep yourself well for much longer.

Looking After Your Mind
As well as the physical side of health, you also need to make sure that you are taking good care of the mental side of your health. In many ways, this can be much harder to do, and it is easier to overlook - but it is also one of the most important things to consider in old age for anyone. The better you look after your mind, the more you will be able to retain your mental faculties and happiness no matter how old you get, so make sure that you are focusing on this as best as you can. You might be surprised at what a difference it makes, and it is surprisingly easy to look after your mind if you are patient with yourself and you know what you are doing with it on the whole.

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

March 22, 2018

Facing Up To Any Problems In Your Life

Do you have a habit in your life you know is holding you back? You probably do. We all have our own problems, whether they be habits, addictions, or just simple bad behaviors from time to time. And sometimes we get really sick of them interrupting our daily lives, and we know something has to change. So if you’re finding yourself at this impasse in your life, it’s time to face up to the problem you want to solve, and here’s some tips on making sure you’re successful in your efforts.

Get Realistic with Yourself

From the simplest of habits to the biggest of problems, when it comes to making changes, nothing happens overnight. So you’re going to have to get real with yourself, and give yourself some good time and a chance. People always tell you to take baby steps for a reason, after all.

You need to be your own best friend, and that means celebrating any achievements you take as well as critiquing yourself. So before you check yourself into a place like the Seacrest Recovery Center, ask yourself if you’re at that moment in your journey yet. Just because you haven’t made the progress you think you should have doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress in the first place!

Look in the Mirror Regularly
If you know what you look like when you look in the mirror at the start of trying to change, you’re going to notice a marked improvement when you look in the mirror each day as you go on and on. Even when you’re just trying to stop procrastinating so much, looking in the mirror can be a part of your morning routine, and the first time you don’t put it off means you’ve got a good foothold on a healthy schedule!

You can notice all the parts of your skin that are looking healthier, how much of a glow you now have, and admire your hard work all set out in front of you. Being a little more healthy upstairs always has a good effect on our physical appearance!

Depend on Your Friends...
And family, if you have that kind of relationship with them. Just being around the people we love can make us feel ten times better, and make any struggles a lot easier to get through. Tell them what you want to accomplish, and then let them hold you responsible for keeping to a behavior or a deadline.

You’ve got someone there backing up whenever you need them to, and someone to make light of the situation whenever you can’t see the funny side. And let’s face it, cracking a joke always makes a situation feel easier to handle.

Facing up to the problems in your life is going to take time and energy, but you can soon make a good habit out of a bad one. Take it a step at a time, and don’t get yourself down over any setbacks; you’re doing very well for yourself!

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

March 20, 2018

Survival Tips For Your Next Family Holiday

Family holidays are supposed to be fun, right? Hmm… we will let you be the judge of that. However, if your experiences are similar to that of other families up and down the country, you can expect temper tantrums from your kids, arguments with your partner, and your own personal meltdown when everything does not go according to your well-orchestrated plans. Yes, family holidays can be very stressful indeed.

To help you get through your next family vacation, here are a few survival tips. You will thank us for them later, we're sure!

Survival Tip #1: Cut down on travel time
If you are traveling with kids in tow, you know you are in for a rough ride. A long journey can be hard and tiresome for all of you, especially when that familiar chorus of “are we there yet?” reverberates around the car or plane. Kids get bored easily, so do yourself a favor and try and book a holiday not too far away. Either that, or pack your carry-on with as many games, toys, and snacks as you can manage for the journey.

Survival Tip #2: Expect disaster
If something can go wrong, it will go wrong, especially on holiday. Your child will throw your hotel keys into the sea, your partner will end up spending the vacation ill in bed after drinking one too many tropical cocktails, and you will realize you ended up leaving your traveler’s checks on the sideboard at home. Disaster looms at every turn of the tide! Of course, you can plan ahead to try and avert some of these nightmares, but don’t fret if disaster does strike. Consider it part of the experience, and try and laugh them off as best you can.

Survival Tip #3: Travel with others
Don’t travel as just one family! You are doing yourself a lot of favors by traveling with another family, provided you get on with them, of course. You can then share some of the responsibility in looking after the children, have an extra arm for support, and have somebody else to share those precious memories with. Whether they are friends or members of your extended family - grandparents are great babysitters - this is something you should seriously consider if you need that moral and physical support.

Survival Tip #4: Don’t forget the kids
Make the kids part of the planning, provided they are of age and understand that money doesn’t grow on trees! By getting them excited, and in considering what they need from a holiday, you are cutting down a lot of the stress that comes from their sayings of “I’m bored” and “Are we going home yet?” So, resist your idea of touring all of the museums in your chosen city or lying on the beach all day. Your kids won’t be impressed! Find somewhere you will all enjoy, and you will all have a better holiday as a result.

Survival Tip #5: Remember your own needs
As a follow-on from the above, remember that it is your holiday too. While you should focus some of your planning on the children, you also need a break. So even if you are trawling around a theme park all day, or playing dress-up at ‘Captain Jack’s Pirate Adventure’ (if such a place exists), you need your downtime too. If you do have childminders with you, then great, go off and do your own thing. If not, at least find a hotel where you can unwind while your partner takes over - take a look at the hot tub and swimming pool at the Comfort Suites Marquette for example - sublime! By taking time out to rest, you will be better prepared to brave the rest of the vacation time, even if you do have to tour the ‘Barbie Princess Theme Park Of Love’ (which doesn’t exist - we checked - but you get what we mean).

Of course, your family holidays may go without a hitch, and stress may be something you have rightly left at home. Still, we hope our advice helped a little, and in any case, we hope your next family vacation time is a fantastic one!

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

A Walk On The Wild Side

We all have different priorities when we go on vacation. Some people intend on nothing more than a tan. Others focus on historical sites. And, some of us head away to see, first-hand, the wildlife of different locations. Seeing animals you don’t have at home is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s no wonder, then, that this is a common vacation priority.

But, how can you be sure to see the wildlife you’re going away for? Some of us are lucky enough to see all sorts of creatures on our travels. Others head out and don’t see as much as a lizard. In truth, that’s the nature of wildlife. These aren’t creatures in a safari park back home. There’s no guarantee that they’ll make an appearance during your stay. But, you can at least increase the chances of it by taking note of these three pointers.

Choose the right destination
If wildlife is your priority, take time to choose a destination which lends itself to the cause. It isn’t enough to just assume that animals will be at any destination. Instead, you may need to head out and find them. Africa is an obvious option here, with its many opportunities for safari. Equally, somewhere like the Galapagos Islands won’t disappoint, with its status as one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife. By booking yourself into somewhere like the Finch Bay Hotel here, you’d be following in Charles Darwin’s very own footsteps. Equally, less expected locations, like Pig Beach in the Bahamas, could make way for an out of this world wildlife experience. Do your research, and take the time to decide which animals you would most like to get a good look at.

Visit at the right time of year
It’s also worth noting that time of year matters a great deal when it comes to wildlife. Often, animals migrate or hibernate during colder seasons. The last thing you want is to get halfway around the world and find that all the animals have gone already. To make sure it doesn’t happen, research migration patterns and hibernation periods. By getting an idea of what wildlife each area offers, you can easily find out when nature will be at its best. And, that’s when you want to visit.

Stay away from tourist-heavy areas
It’s also worth bearing in mind that, to see the best wildlife, you may want to steer clear of tourist areas. Admittedly, some animals do congregate where people are. But, if you want to see the real natural environments, you should head a little further afield. In fact, the more remote the area, the better chance you have of seeing some spectacular sights. Something like a hiking holiday would be fantastic for this. That is, of course, if there aren’t any dangerous animals around. Bear in mind, though, that it’s essential you clean up after yourself every step of the way. These areas have stayed wildlife-rich for a reason. Don’t damage the ongoing beauty of such areas.

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

Experience Texas In All Its Glory

Texas is the land of the free, and the land of tasty BBQ food. People flock there all year round to experience some of the best food, culture, and excitement they’ve ever had in their life. A lot of people use it as a stop off on route 66, but there’s no reason why you can’t make this amazing state your holiday destination for a week or two. We’re here to show you the amazing things you can do and experience in Texas, have a read on to find out more.

Food & Accomodations
A lot of people head to Texas purely for the food, and make it their mission to experience the wide variety of BBQ food that Texas is able to produce. You will definitely leave this state a stone heavier if you have an appetite for good food. The burgers would no doubt have to be the best part. There are restaurants all over the state servings the biggest most monstrous burgers you will have ever seen in your life, but it’s all freshly cooked to order so you know you’re getting a good meal, however greasy it is. You better believe they’re going to supersize everything as well! When the day of either eating or exploring is finished, you’re going to need a comfy place to let the day digest. Luckily for you there are plenty of fine established that have lovely rooms waiting for you. Just take the Holiday Inn Dallas Richardson as an example. Ideally located with plenty of things to do around it. In other parts of the state there are similar establishments offering the same facilities. Something you might also like to consider is alternative accommodation. There are things such as luxury lodges or campers that will allow you to have a more rustic experience of Texas. They might be a little more on the pricey side, but it’ll be more than worth it for the experience you have.

Day Time Activities
There are plenty of things to do in Texas that will keep you nice and occupied. One of the most relaxing and therapeutic would have to be a walk down the San Antonio river. It is a long walk way of flowing rivers with restaurants, bars, and shops lined all along it. On a hot Texas day, the cool shade you’ll find from the trees along the walk will make it the perfect conditions for a stroll along the river. If you’re into your walking and hiking, it’s definitely worth having a hike around Big Bend National Park. It’s a famous landmark of Texas and the views and scenery you’ll experience will be amazing. There’s also a lot of outdoor activity centers in the park that offer things such as rock climbing if that tickles your fancy. Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit more lively, and a lot less walk-y, the Moody Gardens amusement park should definitely be on your hit list. It’s 242 acres of fun, with plenty of rides and even and aquarium. This is a perfect day out for both families and couples.

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

Knowing How To Defend Your Corner

Life is not easy. It’s important to know how to navigate it if you’re to achieve a sense of meaning and joy. While no one would say that life is easy what with all the responsibilities and sometimes sad scenarios we must encounter, it’s a true tragedy for that same person to say that a positive life cannot be achieved. It absolutely can. Life is what we make of it for the most part, but you must grow in strength. This is what the beautiful encouragement behind faith and health efforts have been telling us for so long. You can live as a timid creature, or step by step try to make yourself brave and confident. This doesn’t mean putting on your ‘war face’ to make it through life. It means growing your roots and spreading your presence, just like how a great tree develops over time.

One of the most important things anyone can learn in this approach is how to defend your corner. While the old bible adage is read as stating ‘the meek shall inherit the Earth,’ one of the newer and more accurate readings translates ‘meek’ into the more profound ‘those who are strong but choose to be kind.’ This means a great deal for your perception regarding your own development. To be good, competent and just, you have to develop yourself so those decisions mean something.

Here are some tips for doing so:

Refine Yourself
A child is nothing but potential. It is open, filled with beauty and joy. As a child must grow, it must enter a period of discipline. This is why we have them attend school. They must learn the social and intellectual game to the point where they might make good citizens, no matter where on the socioeconomic or intelligence distribution they fall into. Refining yourself then is a matter of taking potential and becoming better through discipline. It means pursuing hobbies and becoming great at those that most suit you.

It means caring about your career, or caring wholeheartedly about raising your family. It means investing yourself in something you consider to be beneficial and wholesome. Refining yourself takes time, energy and effort. It gives you a foothold to truly caring about your lot in life, and equips you to defend that if need be, through whatever means is most appropriate. Invest in yourself, and you automatically become someone who has something valid to say through that effort alone.

We are stronger in numbers. Sometimes this means simply being fully truthful about any and all negative situations you might discuss with your family. It might mean truly discerning in competent services such as Hope Lefeber to help you through a difficult time. It might mean outpouring your emotions instead of stoically pushing them in. Remember, you are a node in a wide span of connections, and the more you can attempt to be truthful and appreciate of what you have, the better your situation becomes. Caring about yourself individually will lead to neglecting others, but only focusing on caring about others will certainly make you neglect yourself. In order to lift your burden and be a good person at the end of it all, truth, and the willingness to approach difficult situations must come forward and connect you to people, rather than pushing you away from them. This leads to a much healthier, happier life, and raises your ‘team’ to help you defend anything you need to.

With this in mind, defending your corner will become a natural response to difficulty, and not something born out of desperation or fear. Before long, you’ll realize how strong you are!

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

March 19, 2018

There's More To Texas Than You Might Think

If you're thinking of taking your family somewhere on holiday, you might be looking at the different US states to try and make the decision. This can be hard to do, and there is so much to consider when it comes to each state. But one state in particular which often seems to be chronically overlooked is Texas. Whatever you think you might know about Texas, chances are there is much more. It is known as the state in which everything is bigger, but there’s a lot else to say for it - and you might be surprised at what a good state for family holidays it can really be. Let’s take a look at some surprising reasons to visit Texas this year.

The Rodeo
You might have mixed feelings about going to a rodeo, but the truth is that it can be a fantastic way to keep the whole family entertained for an afternoon. If you are worried about the safety elements of it, don't be: the truth is, there is hardly anywhere in the world where it would be safer to see a rodeo. What’s more, it can be some of the most thrilling entertainment you will ever get your kids to see - not to mention the fact that it is likely to mean you are actually getting to see the real Texas. Go and see a rodeo, and you can be sure that you will have an experience you will never forget.

The Countryside
As it happens, Texas is also home to some of the most beautiful country settings anywhere in the country or the world. This is not spoken about much when people think of Texas, but the truth is that it is surprisingly amazing, and if you visit somewhere like Lake Jackson you might even be blown away the beauty of the surroundings. Going to stay at Comfort Suites Lake Jackson and spending some time basking in the natural sunlit countryside will be a great way for any family to bond, and it is something that you can do very cheaply as well. No matter what your family enjoys, this is something that will always be considered enjoyable. If you think your kids could benefit from some beautiful countryside views, Texas just might be a great place to go and get that done.

The Size
Something you can’t ignore about Texas is its sheer size - but did you know that this is also one of its main selling points? Texas is huge, and because it is so big it means that it is a good place to take the whole family. For a start, you will never have to worry about you or anyone else not being able to see or do enough, as there is so much that this is basically impossible. But it also means that if you like you can get lost for a few days together, maybe even take a road trip and wind up somewhere unexpected. The size of the state means that you can be sure of having a varied experience on your holiday.

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

Staying Safe On That Big Road Trip

The family road trip is one of the best ways to go out and explore for less, saving on the costs of hotels, the flights, and much more. It also gives you the opportunity to see much more than the average vacation and to enjoy a sense of adventure and discovery on the way. However, when driving such long distances, safety should always be a concern. Here, we’re going to look at some of the big risks and how you make sure you deal with them responsibly.

Get yourself a tune-up
Before you head out, make sure you take the time to have the car closely checked over. Check the oil levels, the brake pads, the tires, and get a tune-up from your garage. If you’re close to a routine replacement such as an oil change, it might be sensible to go ahead and get it in advance now. It might even be worth learning some simple DIY maintenance skills that you can take on the road with you, too. Road trips are extremely long-drives which means that they can test the limits of your car much more than your everyday commute. Make sure the vehicle is as ready-to-go as possible before you set off.

Rest up before the big day
Drowsy driving can be a serious risk. As shown at, driving while you’re tired has been shown to be almost as dangerous as driving under the influence. Your reactions are going to be much slower, you will have trouble keeping your focus on the road and your perception of your surroundings is going to be compromised. All of that can easily lead to an accident and the premature end of the road trip. Finding the balance between sleeping and driving on the road is crucial. Start your best habits early by ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep before setting off. If you wake up tired, then you should even consider postponing the departure a little while so that you can take another nap.

Don’t forget your emergency kit
It should be in every car, but most drivers don’t spare a thought towards putting together an emergency kit like But they are especially crucial during those long multi-day driving voyages. A tune-up can prevent a lot of breakdowns, but there is always the risk that it might happen. The emergency kit should contain a first aid kit, sunscreen and bug spray, as well as warm blankets to keep everyone safe if there is an accident or breakdown. A spare tire, a pair of jumper cables and some rudimentary tools might be able to help you get back on the road, too. It’s a good idea to bring safety gear, too. One of the biggest dangers of breaking down is not being seen by other cars on the road. Bringing reflective triangles to place around the car and reflective vests to wear can help other cars better see and avoid you, or perhaps even stop to offer a hand.

Batten down the hatches
There are risks from within the car you should be concerned with, too. Before you set off, give the interior of the car a deep clean. Look on the floor for any bottles, toys, or other small objects that could roll around and get stuck under the pedals. When you’re packing the car up, batten down the bags and other larger items so that they don’t slide around and become a potential risk by unlodging. It’s not the most pleasant of thoughts, but if you do happen to get into an accident, everything in the car is going to experience a sudden push of force. Large bags that aren’t kept in the boot or otherwise locked down can go flying which can be extremely dangerous.

Make sure everyone is buckled up

Naturally, you should ensure that everyone is locked down just as securely as those bags. They can do a lot more harm if they’re the ones that are sent flying. In most states, it’s a law, but everywhere, it’s common sense to make it a rule that everyone stays buckled up. If you’re bringing small children, take a closer look at their child seats and make sure they’re secured fast with the pinch test.

Share the road

On a road trip, you’re a lot more likely to share the interstate roads with vehicles you might not see as commonly in your hometown or city. Trucks are much more common, and they bring with them a level of risk you might not be aware of. As states, the size and weight of trucks make them a particular threat, as does their comparative lack of visibility. They have bigger blind spots than a car, so be sure to give them plenty of room. Similarly, be prepared to do the same for motorcyclists. Just as a car can easily slip into a truck’s blind spot, a motorcyclist can easily slip into yours. If you spot one, try to stay aware of where they are and don’t make any sudden turns or maneuvers without indicating.

Take plenty of breaks
If you have someone else with you on the road trip that can drive, it’s sensible to switch up the drivers at every stop you take. Otherwise, you should be prepared to take more breaks. Not only do you need to find places to sleep as soon as you start feeling drowsy, you have to ensure you hydrate and eat off the road. Otherwise, energy levels can flag, and you can start losing focus. Apps like make it easy to plan out more stops in advance. But if you ever start feeling drowsy or like your attention is slipping, take the next available stop.

The potential risk of a road trip shouldn’t stop you from planning one. So long as you’re as responsible and prepared as possible, the chances are you will have no issue at all. Just never get complacent when spending that much time on the road.

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

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.