January 31, 2018

Fight Back Against The Aches And Pains Of Work

If you spend every day hustling, it’s quite likely your body is going to start complaining about it at some point. Never has the term “daily grind” been so appropriate. You don’t have to simply sit back and take it, though. Fight back against the aches and pains of the workplace with the following tips.

Guess What’s Back?
It’s back pain. It’s one of the most common physical complaints heard by any doctor and it’s also the leading cause of disability, so it’s not something to be treated too lightly or ignored. There’s a lot you can do to reduce the impact of back pain. Prescription painkillers can treat back pain just as well as they treat headaches but moving frequently can also be a huge help. It's important to tackle the underlying cause as well, which is most often holding a bad posture for hours on end. If your boss isn’t willing to, consider shelling out for an ergonomic chair and make sure you’re level with your workstation, not reaching up to your keyboard or looking up at your monitor.

Something Painful Afoot
Perhaps your job doesn’t involve a lot of sitting, but a lot of standing and walking around instead. That can still be dangerous for your back, but the pain can manifest a lot more readily in your feet and legs, due to the impact of walking all day and poor circulation. For foot pain, shop now for effective working shoes that offer proper arch support. For circulation, compression socks can make a huge difference in reducing swelling and aches.

Raise Yourself Right
If you’re frequently lifting boxes, equipment, or other heavy loads at work, then it can just take one bad lift to give you a serious injury. Make sure you learn the proper lifting techniques, making use of assistance where possible, and lifting with your hips and not your back. If it’s a very common part of your job, then it’s worth talking to your boss about getting manual lifting training from an accredited course. If they say no, then they could be failing to meet health and safety regulations.

Stretch Those Legs
It’s not true of all jobs, but there’s no doubt that more and more workers are living a more sedentary lifestyle. Beyond back pain, this plays a huge role in weight gain, blood pressure, even stress and depression. Even if you’re new to working out, you have to make sure you balance a sedentary work life with a more active personal life. You might have a lot of opportunities to be more active at work if you look for them, too. For instance, the next time your boss needs a coffee run or someone to go get supplies, volunteer yourself first. Take any opportunity to get up and on your feet without looking like you’re simply taking a break every hour.

Those aches and pains might be more than just an annoyance - they could be the sign of a deeper underlying problem that you need to tackle before it becomes a seriously threatening issue. If a certain pain starts becoming a lot more common, then don’t delay - talk to your doctor about it as soon as possible.

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

January 29, 2018

Great Gifts For The Single Gal Pal In Your Life

Ladies, it wasn't that long ago that I was single. It was as wild and exciting time - it was also as mildly terrifying as it was sporadically entertaining. You may look at your BFF and think she has everything, but she might not have a partner in her life. No one is defined by a relationship, yet everyone wants to spend their time with someone they love. Going out and hitting a club can be difficult, though, especially in the 21st century. Isn’t there an app for that now? To help a friend in need, think about getting her a gift that will add value to her love life.

With that in mind, read on to find out more.

Astrology Handbook
You and your friend may think that horoscopes are a waste of time, but there is more than meets the eye. Okay, the idea that the stars have aligned just to improve a person’s relationship status is a bit much. Still, the idea that there are answers in the skies is similar to astronomy, and that is by no means a joke. To get your bestie started, try this guide to astrology compatibility from AstroStyle and flick through the best bits. It’s amazing how often the tips on love, sex and relationships come to fruition.

OkCupid Subscription
Dating is done online now quite often, with Tinder being the undisputed king. However, the tide is turning and cyber daters are turning away from the burning red flame. Instead, the online community prefers novelty apps such as Bumble and OkCupid. For starters, it’s nice to be the one to make the first move rather than wait for a match to find their courage. Plus, Tinder tends to be a code word for “hookup.” Okcupid and Bumble are much more relationship-friendly and that is what most BFFs want for their friend.

Weekend Vacation
We’ve all seen the movies. A single woman goes on vacation, falls in love and lives happily ever after. Sure, it doesn’t work out that way 99% of the time. Still, it’s a perfect gift even if there is a 1% chance. There’s nothing like the idea of sipping cocktails on a beach checking out the local scene. If all else fails, at least they’ll get a couple of weeks away from the stress of being single. Sometimes, a girl just needs a break from the constant questions and sly remarks. A weekend will be fine because a week is too expensive!

Boys Are Stupid Book
At times, enjoying single life is tricky. Everyone is happily attached and they are still searching. Plus, boys are a nightmare! So, instead of encouraging introspection, get your bestie to project on men. Let’s face it – it’s usually their fault. (JK) And, the book “boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” includes the added pleasure of funny jokes. At the least, your best gal pal should have a good laugh.

Are there any other items you want to include? Get in touch and voice your opinion.

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

January 28, 2018

Changing The ‘I’m Too Poor To Travel’ Attitude

When you look at a map of the world, you'll probably find hundreds of towns, cities and countries to put on your bucket list. In truth, most of them are literally, and figuratively, thousands of miles away. Geography is one thing, but the cost of booking a flight, finding accommodations, and supporting yourself while unemployed is other all in and of itself. "I’m just too poor to travel" is a mindset in which lots of prospective explorers have, yet you have to find a way to stop feeling that way if you want to fulfill your dreams. Where there is a will there’s a way, and traveling is no different.

Do you want to cross things off of your bucket list? Here’s how to find the money and realize you are never too broke to do a little adventuring.

Little By Little
Oasis once sang, “little by little; we gave you everything you ever dreamed.” For travelers, this is a motto to keep in your head at all times. Finding $5,000 for six months’ worth of living seems impossible in the beginning as it’s quite a large number. However, you soon begin to realize that it’s attainable once you start small and work your way to the top. Simply cutting out alcohol and fine dining are two sacrifices travelers make on a weekly basis. Similarly, moving in with roommates or switching to a cheaper apartment are also alternatives. Every penny helps, especially from a mindset point of view.

Bag A Bargain
There’s no reason to pay full price for every expense. In fact, backpackers are unbelievable when it comes to bagging a bargain. Firstly, they shop around before they commit to anything booking-wise. The best airline miles credit cards might offer cheaper seats than standard companies, which is a massive saving in the long run. Or, hotels and hostels could have promotions on rooms because it’s the off-season and they have spares. Shopping around can save you a small fortune and help regulate your budget.

Work And Play
Some countries are strict on holidaymakers making money. The US and Australia are two examples, although the latter does have easy-to-secure visas. Still, lots of countries around the world couldn’t care less about your employment status. These are the ones which are perfect for finding part-time work to supplement your savings. Working behind a bar or at a hostel are potential money-makers even if it’s only a few bucks an hour. Hostels tend not to pay, yet they provide free food and accommodations. A mix of business and pleasure is the way forward for the cash-strapped.

Dive Into The Deep End
Truthfully, there’s no way to know how much a journey will cost. There are too many variables to factor in to get a solid estimate. So, all you can do is book a flight and test the waters. You might end up running out of money in a month and coming back home. Still, four weeks in a foreign country is better than a month doing the same thing over and over. Hopefully, you’ll have plenty of cash to extend your trip past the original deadline.

Money is important, but it isn’t everything. So, do you still think you’re too poor to travel?

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

January 22, 2018

Be The Airbnb Guest You'd Want To Host

Thinking of staying in an Airbnb rental on your next vacation? There are certainly many reasons why you’d want to, from the very low cost to being able to stay away from the usual crowds of tourists. But once you get into your Airbnb property, there are certain ways you will be expected to behave and act. After all, if you are staying in someone’s guest room, you can’t exactly treat the rest of the house as your own home! It’s all about having some respect for someone else’s home.

So, are you new to the whole Airbnb thing? Here are some tips to ensure that you are the type of guest that you would want to host in your own home.

Respect Your Host’s Privacy
First of all, it’s really important to remember that you are staying in someone else’s very own home. There might be some rooms which they would rather you didn’t go into, even if they are in them. For instance, if you hear that they are watching the TV in their living room, they might not appreciate you just walking in and joining them. So, it’s best to stick to your own room and give your host plenty of privacy.

Thank You Will Go Along Way

Remember to always say please and thank you. This may just be basic manners, but your host will really appreciate it all! In fact, once you get back to your own home, you might want to send your host a personalized thank you note just to show how much you appreciated their hospitality. You’ll be able to buy personalised thank you notes online or in your local stationery shops. Sending these small notes will help you get a good review on the Airbnb website!

Tell Them Your Schedule
Once you arrive, it’s a good idea to swap schedules with your host. If you have an excursion planned one day and you expect to leave the accommodation very early, then it’s important you let your host know so that they aren’t wondering what is going on if they are awoken by hearing you. Learning your host’s schedule will also inform you if they ever expect to be up early or home late any days while you are there.

Keep Things Neat And Tidy
Your host will have to tidy and clean the room once you leave so that they can get it ready for the next guests who are staying in the room. So, you should try and do them a favor and keep the room as neat and tidy as possible. If you make a lot of extra work for them once you have gone, then there is no way they will leave you a five-star review! The best way to figure out whether or not your room is clean enough is to just ask yourself if you would be happy with it at home. If not, then you should start tidying up a bit more!

Have a great trip!

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

January 21, 2018

The Beach: More Than Lazing About

The beach -- we’ve all been there, or want to go there, at least one would hope so. It sounds like a little peace of heaven on Earth, lying comfortably on a sandy beach with your back getting toasty from those warm sun rays. It truly is an experience like no other, but the truth is that other than lying around, sipping drinks and swimming, there isn't too much to do....or should we say, you don’t do much. That's totally fine, you’re there for a vacation after all, not to run around collecting seashells just to have something to post about on Facebook - but every once in a while you could go and do something different, even if just for variety’s sake. Your next holiday is probably not the first or the last one, so take this opportunity to experience something new, something different, something that will stick around your memory for a while.... Why not do it in Australia?


Take A Dive
There is a lot more to diving then competing with your friends in school over who could keep their breath the longest underwater. Instead of the pool, you'd have a gigantic body of water, full of all sorts of wonders which would not be possible outside of that underwater metropolis. Coral reefs can be found here, and are very much their own entity, which should be respected, cherished, and most of all, admired. The great barrier reef is possibly one of the most beautiful sights to behold as humans, and even though it is of this Earth, it certainly does not look like it. With color combinations and shapes which are even hard to imagine, it is most definitely something that you will remember for your whole life, and you can see it all, merely through some snorkel tours around the area. It really is that simple, so why wait?

Water Sports Galore
Australia is known for its cooler-than-cool surfers and all those “sick waves” which we’ve all heard about before. But really, what is it actually all about? Is it just cool teenagers impressing girls, or is there something much more? Well, considering the usual weather in Australia, beach sports and  water sports are a pretty popular activity among most people who live near water. Are you looking for something exciting, yet serene, and somewhat refined at the same time? Why not give kayaking or canoeing a shot? With the potential to speeding along, yet with the possibility of slowing down and just taking in the vast majesty around you, it is often a popular pick. 

Are you the more adventurous type who likes thrills and adrenaline pumping shenanigans while still keeping cool in the water? Maybe you could go and join those cool surfer dudes sometimes. Or maybe, you prefer the option which is even more relaxed than kayaking, and would just like to go sailing? Not that sailing is effortless, it's actually far from it, but once you get out into open water, the world is your oyster to admire, all while sitting in your rocking boat, just taking it all in. There’s more than enough to do on Australian shores, and if you haven’t found something that caught your eye, you just aren’t looking hard enough.

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

January 19, 2018

Sights To See Before Global Warming Wipes Them Off The Map

The Earth is full of beautiful and breathtaking attractions which have been around for centuries but sadly, they might be here for much longer if the world continues to heat up at an alarming rate. If you need any evidence to support global warming, just look at the sights that are in jeopardy. It’s a sad and heartbreaking thought that the Great Barrier Reef might not exist in fifty years time. So, before they disappear completely, why not see them in all their glory while taking the utmost care to protect these beautiful sites in all their majesty?

Here are some to tick off the bucket list.

The Dead Sea
You probably know the Dead Sea as the expanse of water that is ten times saltier than an ocean. Also, you’ll have seen the videos where people float thanks to the buoyancy of the H2O. What you might not know is that this beautiful stretch of sea is vulnerable because of mining. Nope, not in the sea itself but the Jordan River, the main water source. Experts believe the Dead Sea is losing 2 billion gallons of water per year, which is an appalling & shocking amount. It is a possibility that sinkholes will soon appear, redirecting the extra water.

Joshua Tree National Park
The Joshua Tree National Park is America’s very own natural attraction in the Mojave Desert, California. The trees got their names thanks to Mormons who thought they shared a resemblance to the prophet. Unfortunately, these trees don’t have any other biblical qualities such as the resurrection. The prognosis is that the lack of rainfall & nutrients in the Mojave is causing the plant life to die and stop reproducing. Yes, even desert plants need water, five inches per year to be exact. In recent times, the droughts have only brought one-inch, which isn’t nearly enough.


Niagara Falls
On the border of the US and Canada, the Niagara Falls are a cascading waterfall which descends deep into the ground. Shockingly, the natural power of the water is under threat due to Arctic blasts. Recently, the east coast has experienced chills which have measured -16 °C on the temperature scale and they have actually frozen the falls. As unlikely as it sounds, some meteorologists predict a mini-ice age could hit the country before long. Whether that’s true or not, taking a trip & checking into the Travelodge At The Falls seems like a good idea, doesn't it? Then, you can explore the rest of New York state too. 

Machu Picchu
The ‘Lost City’ is high up in the Peruvian Andes, yet thousands of tourists visit it every single week. Humans aren’t the only reason it’s at risk, though. Changes in climate mean the area is subject to regular landslides and erosion in the supporting rock. If that isn’t scary enough, contractors are trying to get in on the action by building as close to the site as possible. All this could mean that the site found in 1911 might not be around much longer. That's a terrifying thought.

Should you get the opportunity, you won’t want to miss out on these unbelievable sights.

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

Living Paycheck To Paycheck? Learn How To Break The Cycle


With all of the financial constraints we find ourselves under, it's little wonder that the vast majority of us are living in a paycheck to paycheck fashion. It seems like soon as we find a way to get on top of our finances the bills come in, and then money that went into your account finds its way right back out. This is a very frustrating the cycle to be trapped in, but how can you break it?

Know Exactly What You Pay For
We all have standing orders, and we set them up, so we don't need to keep track of them all. But, after a while, there may be things you find that you're paying for out of your bank account that you don't need to pay for anymore. Are you still paying out for that computer insurance from three laptops ago?! Get a handle on your finances and your outgoings, and you know exactly how much you spend every month. Look at this in comparison to what you take home, and do the math -- maybe you'll find some unnecessary expenses you can cut out.

Can You Increase Your Incoming Cash?
Are there ways and means for you to earn extra money? If you don't want to compromise your lifestyle, then this may be your only option. Of course, there are options for you to clear your debts, such as acquiring short term loans with no credit check, which is very appealing when you have bills to pay off immediately, but it can dig you into more debt in the long-term. If you need to get a cash injection upfront, something like an extra job will give you the means to pay it off effectively. Remember, we don't always have to go and apply for a part-time job, as it can take a long time to make a positive impact on your finances, you can also attempt freelancing from home. Sometimes freelancing is a more lucrative option, depending on the skills you can provide.

Cutting The Budget
It's usually your lifestyle choices that have an overall impact on how you spend. If you find that you need to live your life a certain way, such as socializing every weekend, then it's your daily expenditure that you need to cut down on. This means saving up your pennies by curtailing your budget during Monday to Friday. A very good example to consider is how much you pay for one single coffee on the way into the office. You may argue that you need that coffee, as most of us do, but the cost of that cappuccino alone -- when you consider the number of times you have it in a week...then in a month...then in a year -- it soon builds up. In one coffee, you are paying a very hefty sum! So instead, consider making your own coffee at home. Look at ways to cut your energy bills, by changing providers or setting your thermostat to a lower temperature when you leave the house. Take a look at the food you buy too; this is usually the biggest expense in our daily lives. You can still live a healthy lifestyle by cutting back on unnecessary food groups, such as sugary foods.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck, these are just a few of the options you have available to try to save a little money. Best of luck to you!

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

January 15, 2018

Going to the Pacific Northwest? Check Out These Things to Do

The Pacific Northwest is sometimes overshadowed by other more talked-about regions of the US like California or New York, but there are plenty of reasons why you should reassess your priorities to journey up here. Still not convinced? Maybe you will be at the end of this article…

You Can Always Get a Great Meal and Cup of Coffee

The Pacific Northwest has fast emerged as a premier destination for foodies over the last few years. Restaurants pride themselves on serving high-quality, fresh food, and you can find different cuisine from all over the world. If you want to wash all this down with a nice cup of coffee, there is no shortage of choices. After all, Seattle is the city where the very first Starbucks was established, but there are plenty of more independent choices if this is what you prefer.

The Scenery and Environment Are Loved
This is an area of the world where the people are really proud of their scenery and environment - and they have every reason to be. Get out into nature and there is a photo-worthy landscape pretty much every way you turn. You can even visit a real rainforest in Washington state, where there are plenty of hiking and biking opportunities, as well as Also, an area where the environment is really cared for, and there are always new initiatives to protect Mother Earth whenever possible.

You Can Pop Over into Canada
The Pacific Northwest is a great place to pop up into Canada. Vancouver is a fantastic city to visit which continues expanding year on year. As well as having a buzzing central area, you have coastal scenery and mountains right on your doorstep, making it the perfect destination for lovers of the great outdoors.

There Are Still Plenty of Touristy Things to Do
Sometimes, it is still fun to be a typical tourist when you head to a new place, and there are plenty of opportunities to do this. The Space Needle in Seattle is probably one of the most famous attractions, and you can ascend right to the very top on an elevator ride. From here, you can enjoy views stretching across the city and beyond. The Best Western Plus Navigator Inn & Suites provides a good accommodation choice nearby to Seattle.

You Can Go Island-Hopping
Take a trip over to the San Juan archipelago off the north coast of Washington and you can go island-hopping around the 172 land masses. The four biggest ones - San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw - are all connected by ferry, and they are perfect for outdoor activities such as kayaking and nature-watching. Each island has its own appeal, making the perfect excuse to visit several of them.

The Pacific Northwest is only likely to increase in popularity as a travel destination, and these are just a few of the things that you can enjoy about this fascinating part of the world.

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

3 Lifestyle Choices That Are Holding You Back

When you’re in a bit of a rut, you could admit defeat and let things carry on as they are, blaming the world around you for your situation -- or you could realize that you might be in that situation because of your lifestyle choices. Everybody falls on hard times at some point in their life but the reason that things aren’t going the way that you want them to might be because you aren’t making the necessary changes in your life. By changing these lifestyle choices that are holding you back, you may be able to get where you want to be.

Borrowing Money

Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress these days and debts are the main reason that people struggle with money. If you are constantly relying on borrowing to cover your monthly expenses, you’ll always have the creditors looming over you. You won’t be able to save up money to spend on vacations or other valuable experiences. Your life will be completely focused around paying those debts off. You should try to clear those debts as quickly as possible and then change spending habits so you aren’t relying on borrowing any more. The easiest way to clear all of your debts is getting a consolidation loan from somebody like https://debtconsolidation.loans. They’ll take all of your existing debts and make them into one simple monthly payment. It’s far easier to keep track of and clear your debts. Once you’re debt free, start writing down all of the money that you’re spending and identify any places where you can make cutbacks and start living within your means.

Listening To Negative People
The personality of other people can rub off on you and if you spend all of your time with negative people, their pessimistic attitude will spill over into your life. It’ll stop you from finding the motivation to make positive changes in your life. You need to learn to discount the opinions of negative people and not let their attitude stifle you. If it becomes a real problem, you may even want to consider cutting them out of your life completely.

Not Exercising
The majority of people don’t get anywhere near as much exercise as they should but if you want to live a happy and fulfilling life, it’s vitally important. It’s obviously important for your physical health but more importantly, it will help keep your mind healthy. Exercising regularly gives you more motivation and makes you far more proactive so you can start making positive changes in your life. It will also improve your overall mood and stop you from getting bogged down with negative emotions. People often neglect exercise because they think that they don’t have time but, in reality, that’s just an excuse much of the time. Getting up 15 minutes earlier and doing a quick exercise routine will set you up for the day and keep you healthy, then you can do longer workouts on evenings and weekends when you’ve got more time on your hands. Visit womenshealthmag.co.uk for some great Youtube workouts you can do at home.

All of these lifestyle choices are just holding you back -- stop them today and you’ll see a huge improvement right away.

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

January 11, 2018

Birthday Gifts on a Budget

If you are currently working on a tight budget, and there's a loved one's birthday coming up – be it your best friend’s or your sister’s – you may be worried about how you are going to be able to afford a present. However, you don’t need to spend a lot in order to give someone a good gift. You’ve probably heard this saying before and thought, “yeah right, no one wants a cheap gift!”, but the key to any good gift is to show your thoughtfulness. This is something that money cannot buy and it will be greatly appreciated. So, with that in mind, read on to discover some good suggestions…

Say it – One of the best ways to show someone how much they mean to you is with words. This does not mean that you literally have to say something out loud and claim this is a present. Instead, why not look for something with a thoughtful quote on it? You can find some amazing ideas at greetpanda.com. From cards to pillow cases, there are many affordable presents that can have a quote printed on them. Choose something that means a great deal to you and the person you are buying for, and you can guarantee you will have given them one of the best gifts anyone could have.

Photographs – A photograph may seem like a simple gift but it is something that means a great deal. It’s a personal gift, and personal gifts mean the most. You can find more personal gift suggestions at independent.co.uk. But, if you like the sound of a photo, there are numerous options you can consider. You could get a special photograph printed of a time that you and your friend spent together. Or, why not create a photo collage or album? There are lots of websites online that give you the ability to do this with ease and affordability. Or, if you have children, you could get a photograph of them framed and give it to the recipient if they are close with your kids.

Make your own gift – The third and final suggestion that is bound to go down well is if you make your own gift. You don’t need to be a particularly crafty person to make a present for someone’s birthday. There are many guides and tutorials online that will help you along the way. Plus, you are giving someone something that they will not be able to find anywhere else. You are giving them something that has taken a lot of time and effort on your behalf. And so, this is bound to be appreciated!

Hopefully, you now have some ideas that you can use when looking for birthday gifts on a budget. From something with a personal touch, such as a photo of your kids, to a quote that will make the recipient smile, there are plenty of ways to make someone’s birthday special without breaking the bank.

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

January 10, 2018

Is January The Month To Plan Your Next Trip?

We all know that January is a month of the blues; it’s a come down from the hype of Christmas for many plus it is still freezing cold and rainy -- generally, just not a month to enjoy. There's a very easy way to beat those blues once and for all; plan your next vacation. You might want to something for the summer, or maybe you need to inject some heat and adventure into your life a lot sooner? Valentine's day is swiftly approaching. That is a great time to get away with your loved one. Perhaps you want to set up a girls vacation, a family trip, or just a solo adventure? Whatever you want to do, use this month to plan the exciting times ahead.

A lot of people have the misconception that planning a holiday takes up all your time, or that it can be done in one night, when really, planning a trip can be as spur-of-the-moment or as detailed as you want to make it. Spend some time looking at destinations, get where you want to go booked quickly, and then you have plenty of time between now and the vacation to figure out what you want to do out there.

So where do you want to go? There are so many wonderful things to see in the world, from the seven wonders of the world to heated natural pools on remote islands. Do you want a relaxing, beach vacation where you can wake up staring across the horizon? Then go to the Maldives. For a unique stay in an igloo with a once in a lifetime view of the Aurora Borealis then head to the Netherlands or Iceland. Go on safari, climb Everest, or, if you're up for an unusual adventure, visit the plague catacombs of Paris. Whatever you've always wanted to see - go and see it! Life is too short to leave it for another time.

Hotel and Flights
Now that you have figured out a destination, it’s time to get the details of how you're getting there and where you're staying sorted. You can easily get your flights and hotel booked through one website, but it can be worth shopping around to get the best price. There are so many options for accommodations so don’t think that you just have to settle for the same thing every time you go travelling. Research hotels that have great reputations in the country you're going to - search for the best Shandong hotels in China, for instance. It's the same idea if you’re going to be travelling around a lot and are thinking about staying in a hostel, like the Plus chain in Europe, which has great reviews.

With the big details sorted and booked you can now start thinking about the fun little things like what to do and what to wear. You have plenty of time to make your plans so your first list should be made up of all the things that you want to do while you’re there. Start by researching each place or thing then make a list of what you really want to do. The second list should be of all the things that you need to take with you. You might have a decent amount of clothing already, but everyone loves buying at least a few new things while on a trip. Although, if you’re heading somewhere where will you need special clothing - like skiing, or hiking, or climbing, you will need to make sure to buy the right things ahead of time.

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

January 9, 2018

Three Ways You Can Book That Summer Vacay Without A Pay Raise

I get it -- January is here. The dark mornings, the even darker nights, and the cold weather certainly doesn’t inspire you to get up in a morning, does it? I know the feeling. But there are also many positives that January can offer as well -- the opportunity to wipe the slate clean, the beginning of a brand new year for fresh ideas and new plans, etc. 

Sometimes, the daily grind can get you down as you start to get back to some form of normality after the festive period, which it's often the ideal time to get a holiday or vacation booked to give you that extra boost you need to go to work and pay the bills. But.....do you feel comfortable enough to pay for a summer vacation right now, without the need for an instant cash boost to your wages? I wanted to share with you three simple ways you could something rolling without it costing an arm and a leg. The answers are literally right in front of you.

Look for funding through your unwanted items
We all have things we no longer want and need. Items in our wardrobes that no longer fit or are part of our style anymore. Kitchen gadgets we don’t use. Old technology like computers, mobile phones or gaming systems after upgrades. While these are only a few examples of the potential items you might have that you no longer have a use for, it doesn't mean that someone else won’t. Selling online on websites like eBay can be a great way to boost your income, and who know it could even pay for the whole vacation.

Boost your disposable income by confronting your financial situation
January can often be described as one of the toughest financial months as you start to feel the hit of that festive spending, but actually it is also a great chance to really get in tune with your financial situation and make some good changes. Debt can be a big hindrance to our income, and so often taking control of it instead of hiding under a rug can actually free up some income on a monthly basis. There are some great debt settlement companies that could help you tackle it once and for all, and consolidating your bills could actually free up money and save you in interest costs. You could also look at your outings and highlight some of the bills you could easily do without.

Seek out bargain sales or discount codes
This is certainly the month for a bargain, what with all the sales and discount codes available, so you may find that you could actually book your summer vacation for a fraction of the price if you hunt out those good deals. If you are flexible with dates and even locations you may be able to pick up the bargain of the century and have a great holiday to look forward to.

I hope that has inspired you to get looking for your next vacation away.

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

January 7, 2018

How To Inject Some Individuality Into Your Style

When everyone buys their clothes from the same shops, and you’re desperately trying to keep up with the latest fashion trends from the red carpet and catwalk, it can be all but impossible to maintain some individuality. In today’s day and age, everything you thought was quirky, and niche about yourself has been done to death and probably has quite a few subreddits dedicated to it. You may even find you can’t tell your Instagram feed from most of your friends’, and on a night out it can appear like you planned and coordinated your outfits. Well have no fear, below are a few basic ideas to help you shake off the changeable nature of fashion and find your signature look.

Have A Look
Everyone has no doubt heard the infamous Yves Saint Laurent quote “Fashion fades, style is eternal.” It beautifully captures how you should approach your outfit choices. Some of the most timeless fashion icons have had very simple outfit styles that they built their wardrobe around. James Dean made jeans and a plain t-shirt the epitome of cool for men everywhere. Audrey Hepburn became synonymous with the little black dress and the up-do. Marilyn Monroe was red lipstick and simply styled, figure-hugging dresses. Stick to simple outfits that accentuate your figure. Avoid the latest trends, or you’ll simply end up buying clothes that will only last you a few months until the next trend comes in.

This is where you can add a little flair to your outfit. Sticking with a basic fundamental outfit choice allows you to customize it with some simple accessories. Think shoes, belts, watches, and jewelry. A simple outfit is a blank canvas; your accessories are the paint. Use matching or contrasting colors. Be as bold or a subtle as you like. Take inspiration from the on-season trends, while also being honest with yourself about what you actually like, rather than what you think you should like. It’s all well and good buying everything you see that is remotely “on trend” but if you feel uncomfortable wearing your purchases, they are wasted money.

Rock It With Confidence
This is the most important part of creating and honing your style. You have to carry it with confidence. It took a few years for David Bowie to become recognized as a fashion icon; before that people just considered him a guy in some weird outfits. Dress how you want to dress and wear your clothes with confidence, that’s how you go from being a trend-follower to a trend-setter. It may seem intimidating at first to step out of the comfort of your own home in a style that is truly your own, but when you stop comparing yourself to others and really be true to yourself - the happiness it will make you feel will shine through. Remember, the best accessory you can ever wear is a smile, so lift your head up high and own your style. Whether that is black lipstick and villain t-shirts, or a polka dot swing dress and kitten heels - everyone deserves to be comfortable in their own skin and fashion.

Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas on how you can add your own spin on any outfit, and not fall into a crowd of trend followers.
*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

January 5, 2018

Arranging A Party Without The Stress

No matter what the reason is for throwing it in the first place, arranging a party can always be prone to stress and worry. However, as long as you manage to approach it in the right way, you are also always able to make it a little easier on yourself and those around you. The trick is to know what you need to do in order to make it a little simpler, but without sacrificing anything that you might want to achieve with your party ideas. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the ticks and tips which you can use in order to make throwing a party a lot easier, and much less stressful on the whole.

Start Early
Put simply, the earlier you start planning, the better. This is a great way to make it much less stressful, because you won't be sacrificing quality by throwing things together at the last minute. The more time you have to plan out your party, the more likely it is that the plan will actually work out, and this will mean that the party will succeed much better. It will also be a much less stressful time for you, as you will have more time to plan everything out. Keep this in mind, start as early as you are able to, and you will find it really does help in making the whole process much easier to deal with.

Recruit Some Help
Who is around you who can possibly help you to create your upcoming party? Once you start to look around, you will probably - and hopefully - see that there are many individuals who might be willing to lend a hand. This could be family members, friends, or really just about anyone who you think will be eager to help you out. Having even just a couple of other pairs of hands on board will mean that you are much more likely to be able to plan your party without too much stress, even if it just means having someone to help put up decorations on the day itself. Recruit whoever you can, and make it a lot easier on yourself at the same time. You will be very glad that you did, and it will probably help to have another pair of eyes on everything as you are creating the day itself anyway. That way, any problems will be more likely to be caught before they actually cause ongoing issues.

If you want to be able to have a little more time on the day, then you can always have many of the necessary items delivered rather than going out to get them. Having things delivered means you can stay and man the fort, and at the same time have everything that you need in order for the party to be prepared as fully as it needs to be. You can arrange for a local flower delivery, for instance, as well as to have the food arranged and brought in, and even the decorations. You might be amazed at how much this can really help, and it is something that you should seriously consider if you are wondering how you will make it all work out as well as possible. Deliveries can free up your time in a big way as well as make it much easier to arrange your party.

The Guest List
You need to have a strong idea of who is actually on your guest list as early as you can. If you don’t, then it can be one of the quickest ways to confuse the whole thing, and before you know it you have a party which nobody is really sure of what is going on. Make sure you sort out your guest list as early as you can, and then send out invitations to those people early too. This will keep your numbers up, as well as get people excited for the event itself, and it will mean that you have a better sense in your head of how much you need to prepare in terms of food and so on. To make this even easier, make sure that you ask people for RSVPs to the invites, so that you can be sure of just how many people will be able to come to the party.

As long as you bear the above in mind, you should be able to arrange a party which everyone will love, and which will go down as one of the best - yet without causing yourself undue stress in the process.

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

January 2, 2018

Winter Is Here: Time To Flock South

Some people think it’s a good idea to save their travels until the summer, but let’s think about this for a second. If summer is hot anyway, and there are plenty of fun events and happenings going on, then why spend that time somewhere else?! It makes a lot more sense to stay put when the weather is nice, and explore a new destination when the weather is freezing, and everyone’s hibernating! Below, we take a look at a few tips that’ll ensure you’re able to enjoy a winter break fully.


Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Here’s the thing about winter in the United States: if it’s cold here, then that means it’s hot somewhere else! When it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, that means it’s summer in the southern hemisphere. You have half the world just waiting to be explored. Take a look at Sydney, or South Africa, or Argentina, or anywhere else below the equator. And it won’t just be hot there: it’ll be full on summer mode, which means a population ready to have some warm weather fun, and plenty of happenings.

In the United States
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to visit far-flung destinations to get a dose of fun. You can get it without even leaving the United States. There’s a reason why so many people flock to Florida when the chill begins to hit the northern parts of the country. Plan an epic road trip, and along the way, you’ll soon see the freezing temperatures give way to the kind of heat that makes you want to put on all those summer clothes and begin living again.

Choosing the Right Time
OK, so we’ve already established that the weather can be pretty grand outside, and that should be incentive enough to pack your bags and head to the airport. Now the only question left to answer is when you want to go? If you ask us, there’s no better time than mid-January. This is the time of the year when there’s really not much going on -- spring still seems a long way off, and the good times of the Christmas period are slowly becoming a memory. You could say that it’s worth going as soon as January 1 rolls around, but let’s not be too hasty. It’s always nice to leave a few weeks of downtime; that way, you’ll be able to build excitement for what’s to come. So pick a date that allows you to count the days: it’ll make it all the more special when the day finally arrives.

What To Pack
You’re likely to be currently living in thick coats, warm boots, and a scarf and hat. Well, you can put them on the shelf for a while, because you’re not going to be needing them where you’re going! It might be January when you depart, but you’re heading towards a place where everyone will be wearing summer flip flops, bikinis, and light maxi dresses. As such, make sure your bags are filled with all your favorite summer clothes. Although, it’s always a good idea to throw in a sweater or two, just in case the nights get chilly. Also, don’t forget those colorful beach accessories that’ll help take your outfit to the next level.


Taking Care of Your Skin
Now, we move on to the important stuff. You’ll have been in cold weather for some time, and it will have been quite a while since you were lapping up those sunshine rays. As such, it’s important that you’re taking steps to protect your skin. You can’t move from freezing winter temperatures to peak summer sunshine in one fell swoop! Load up on sun lotion, moisturizer, and other skin-protecting items. You’ll be thankful for it when you look back at your vacation snaps, and you don’t look like a burned lobster.

Keeping the Tan Through to Spring
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be exposing some skin to the sun! You just have to do it slowly. This, after all, is a great opportunity to work on your tan. If you want to keep your tan for as long as possible when you get back - and who doesn’t? - then make sure you’re fully exfoliating your skin before you leave. That will mean it’ll be new skin cells that you’re showing to the sun, so your tan will stick around for a longer period of time.

Now that everything is arranged, it’s time to start looking forward to those long sunny days on the beach!

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