Monday, 18 April 2016

Australia For 20-Somethings VS Australia for 40-Somethings | Travel

Given its distance and expensive costs, visiting Australia can be a point that languishes on our bucket lists for years. However, whether you’re 20, 40, or anywhere in between or above, Australia remains a fantastic place to visit. Here are some ideas for doing Australia whichever age category you fall into.

15548097152_39d505ce92_o.jpg

The Beaches
For 20-Somethings
Bondi Beach
Sydney’s Bondi Beach is an incredible destination for a younger traveler in their 20’s or 30’s. It is so much more than just a stunning beach. It also boasts bustling shopping, watersports activities and buzzing nightlife. There are lots of places to camp and park up your motorhome in the local area too, plus it’s close proximity to Sydney is handy too.

For 40-Somethings
The 12 Apostles
If you’re no longer interesting in huge crowds and thumping music, Australia has more than enough other beaches to keep you happy. How about visiting the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road? There is a tourist centre where you can pick up some information before setting off on a coastline walk. 

The Tours and Trips
For 20-Somethings
Dirt biking in Cape York
If you’re visiting Cape York with friends, motorbiking through this remote area of Australia could be a great idea. It is one the biggest areas of wilderness left in Australia. You can spend a few days traveling in a group on motorbikes, camping along the way. The scenery is stunning and it’s way to more exciting to see it from a bike than a car or van.

For 40-Somethings
A Wine Trail
When it comes to Australian wine, all the natives know that Barossa Valley is home to the best stuff. So good, in fact, that it’s award-winning!  A Barossa Valley Wine Tour, for example, incorporates a visit to multiple cellar doors and, of course, lots of tasting along the way.


12160114744_76793880ac_o.jpg

The Activities
For 20-Somethings
Watersports
Young, fit and healthy people shouldn’t make a trip to Australia without at least some watersports activities! Most of Oz’s big cities are on the coast, meaning there is water aplenty! Thrillseekers can go for surfing or hire a speedboat. Or, if you’re looking for something a little calmer, how about paddling or canoeing?

For 40-Somethings
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House might be stunning from the outside, but did you know it is also incredible on the inside. While many visitors focus on the outer architecture, consider treating yourself to a show there. There are over 450 performances here each year! It’s not just opera either! There are also circus shows, ballets and more.

The Accommodation
For 20-Somethings
Motorhome
Camping is undoubtedly the cheapest accommodation option in Australia. However, if you have a bit more in your budget, how about hiring a motorhome? You could spend a few weeks travelling down the East Coast, stopping off wherever you fancy along the way.

For 40-Somethings
Villa

Food is pretty expensive in Australia. This is why renting a villa, as opposed to a hotel, might be a wise decision. Unlike hotels, villas come with kitchens. This means that you can save money by making food at home. You’ll also have a fridge to keep your wine cool.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tips For Planning The Perfect Vegas Vacation | Travel

(Image Credit)

Las Vegas is one of the most exciting states in the US for many people. Known as “Sin City,” it’s one of the only places in the country where all your desires are realized. However, you don’t have to spend your entire trip inside a casino. There are also some unusual venues for entertainment and great activities too. Today, I’m going to present a quick guide that highlights the best ways to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch. As with anything in this world, planning is the key to success.

Book your flights and accommodation together
There are hundreds of different travel companies in Las Vegas. Most of them offer fantastic package deals to people in your position. In nearly all circumstances, it’s cheaper to book your flights and accommodation together. That is because you can get discounts if you use the same specialist, and they have arrangements with the hotel owners. Just don’t forget the importance of travel insurance if you want to avoid issues. No matter where you want to stay; you’ll find a travel company that can help. Also, if you try to visit the state between the months of November and February; you’ll find it’s much cheaper.

Buy your show/event tickets in advance
There are always excellent shows taking place in Las Vegas all year round. If you’re visiting the area, it’s wise to buy your tickets well in advance. You will benefit from online discounts, and you won’t have to stress about the event selling out. People who like magic will probably want to stop off to watch Penn and Teller’s stage show. However, there is something for everyone, so there’s no need to worry if that doesn’t seem appealing. It says at vegastickets.com/national-finals-rodeo-tickets that the 2016 National Rodeo Championships are around the corner. Most sports enthusiasts will never have seen anything like that before. It’s a huge show with some of the best talent in the world.

Reserve restaurant tables before you travel
It stands to reason you’ll want to eat at some famous restaurants when you visit Vegas. However, some of the most popular venues can sell out at particular times of the year. It says at timeout.com/las-vegas/restaurants/best-restaurants-in-las-vegas that you’re going to be spoiled for choice. To avoid disappointment, you should consider making reservations before you leave home. The last thing you want is to end up eating at a burger place when you wanted a top quality steak, right? Thankfully, nearly every business of that nature in Sin City now has a website you can use. You don’t have to pay anything upfront to make your bookings, and so you should think about doing that a week or so before you’re due to arrive.

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places on earth, and I hope you love it as much as me during your vacation. With a little bit of planning, nothing can go wrong. Now is the time to search online for events and activities you might enjoy. Make a shortlist and then start buying tickets to ensure you never get bored out in the desert. Also, remember to pack some warm clothing because the temperature always drops when the sun goes down.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Tips for Selling Handmade Cards Online | Stationery & Lifestyle


If you run a card-making business, you’ll probably be selling some of your products online. You may start off on something like eBay or Etsy, but as you gather customers you’ll want to start up your own site – which opens a new set of challenges!

You don’t just start a website and wait for orders to roll in – you have to get it right, so here’s some pointers to help you do just that.

Make sure your site is easy to get around
You need a working shopping cart that uses a reliable payment service. PayPal is a good one to start with. Everything needs to be laid out clearly – by size, colour, season, event and message – and the personalisation service needs to be user-friendly and easy to change if someone makes an initial error.

Take your time with photos
Nothing turns off buyers more than oddly-angled and poorly-lit photos. Use a macro setting if you want close-ups, use sunlight (or daylight) with no flash and crop and edit as best you can. Use a plain background for group shots and avoid “busy” images.

Use social media wisely
Season your social media with your presence – don’t drench it! Posting update after update and link after link will lose you followers. Use as many sites as possible, but sparingly. Get involved in discussions but don’t promote yourself in them – let your name do the talking. Do keep customers in the loop, though. Been on a paper-cutting course? Let them know.

Start a blog
Make sure you update it regularly as well. Your blog should be visible to search engines to display your work, as well as to keep fans and clients up to date with your latest projects and seasonal offers. Blogging boosts sales.

Have two price tiers
If you have a really popular design, do a budget option. Invest in some inkjet cartridges – they can be ordered on the web cheaply – get printing and you’ll reach more of the market.

Bring the online into the offline
Craft fairs, school fetes, wedding shows, expos – make sure you have business cards with your website details on them. Your cards may be available online, but customer relationships can start in person.

Stay fresh
Stop flogging designs that don’t sell. Always look to bring new designs in. You can find out what’s trending by looking at other sites – although never be tempted to copy someone else’s work.

Get into magazines
Offer batches to smaller craft magazines, or other hobby publications. There’s cat magazines, craft magazines, wedding guides – as long as your design fits the mag’s theme. If you’re offering seasonal cards, remember that most magazines have long lead times, so approach them in the summer. Click here to read more about lead times.

Offer great customer service
Send orders out on time, communicate regularly and always try to exceed expectations. Those cards that don’t sell well – include one as a freebie. Even if it isn’t on point for that customer, they’ll remember the gesture and may send it to someone who does like it and orders more.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5 Great Places To Buy A Holiday Home | Travel

Are you considering buying a holiday home abroad? Here are four places you should consider taking the leap.

France
If you live in the UK, buying a holiday home in France is a great idea. First of all, it’s close by. You can be there in a matter of hours. Secondly, there are tonnes of different options for getting there. You can fly, sure, but there is also the ferry, the Eurostar and of course, the car! This proximity and flexibility means that going every couple of weeks is viable. You’ll also have to save up less to get there! France also has better weather than the UK; although where doesn’t!

The Telegraph put together a list of 20 great places to buy in France. Towns in Brittany and Provence both make the list, the latter of which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own property in. Plus, it’s only an hour from St. Tropez for when you want to top up your tan and live like a celebrity.

Spain
Spain has had a property nightmare over the last few years. When the economic downturn occurred, developers were in the process of building thousands of holiday homes. Homes that were priced around the 200,000 mark were suddenly selling for 100,000 or less.

Recovery is now slow and gradual. As a result, bargains are still be had. Like France, it has a close proximity to the UK. You’ll need to move fast. Experts have predicted that the majority of these great deals will be gone by 2017. The also advise buying away from the sea and beaches for the biggest savings.

16114863450_15f6a37bff_o.jpg
(Image source: Photo link)

Caribbean
Caribbean holiday homes are what dreams are made of. Along with your new home, you get reliable, sunny weather, blue skies and seas and a slower pace of life. The locals are overwhelmingly friendly across many Islands. The car reg plate slogan in Aruba is “One Happy Island”. You can’t argue with that.

While the journey out there might not be the cheapest, once you get there your money will go far further than it would elsewhere.

Given how much further your money goes in the Caribbean, you’ll be looking at luxury villas with private pools and incredible vistas. Take a look at Real Estate on Nevis, a small island just 36 square miles big. Be warned; you might fall in love.

Nova Scotia
While classed at Canada, it only takes five hours to fly to Nova Scotia from London. This short flight time means budget flights are available. You can set off to the airport after work and be there by midnight!

The population of Nova Scotia is around the 940,000 mark, meaning plenty of space and free areas to roam. With 4,360 miles of coastline, you can find a piece of this to call your own without much competition. You can stay for up to half a year each year without needing to apply for a visa extension, and you can get a lot of land for your money. Acres and acres in fact.


As for what it looks like? Well, you only need to do a quick Google search to see the beautiful, rugged landscapes.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

How styling your home can help you sell faster | Lifestyle


First impressions count. When a potential buyer walks around your home, the slightest thing that looks like it could cause a problem is too much for them, and they will take their money elsewhere.

They’re incredibly difficult to please, but there are plenty of little tricks you can use to give your home that extra bit of wow factor. So, make sure you follow these top tips, and you’ll be packing up your boxes for the move in no time.

Give your curb appeal a boost
This is the first thing a buyer sees before they walk in the door, and that initial “yes” or “no” on the doorstep could affect how they see the whole house. Make sure the lawn is cut, any gravel paths are tidy, there are hanging baskets in summer and wreaths in winter. You want to make your house look instantly inviting.

Is your garden letting you down?
Your garden can be a real selling point for your property, but it could also be letting you down when potential buyers come to call. Are there trees that have grown out of control? Are there weeds that have taken over the paving stones? These days, the garden is seen as an extension of the living room, and is often a space for entertainment. So be sure to clear up any areas of overgrowth, and look at investing in some plush garden furniture.

Don’t underestimate cleanliness
This is absolutely vital; the cleanliness of a property instantly affects the way a buyer feels about it. It could have all the potential in the world for a fantastic family house, but buyers often perceive a lack of cleanliness as a lack of care and attention. They will assume other parts of the house that they can’t see will need more work. You should also look for ways to “tidy up” things like exposed wires, loose cables and any cases of peeling paint.

Re-think brash colours
Bold colours are a statement of your personality, and when selling a property, you want it to be the buyer’s personality that they see. Go for neutral tones and pastel colours to make a room look brighter. Dark colours can also make a room seem smaller, as well as put off any potential buyers who happen to hate your favourite shade of orange.

If you need help, call in a professional
Don’t be afraid to ask for help with staging your home, as there are many professionals who can help show your property at its best. Emblem Furniture are one such company who can provide everything from rugs and artwork to beds and desks, with only the best expertise on offer. Visit their home-staging page at emblemfurniture.co.uk.

I hope you find these tips helpful when you next come to staging your home to sell; you can find more ideas here. Do you have any tips for people putting their home on the market? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Make Your Wedding Stand Out Amongst the Crowd | Lifestyle

Wedding Kiss Balloon Drop
(Image source Flickr)

Sometimes, we like to tell ourselves that the aesthetic of the wedding isn’t important. If you boil it down to the key factors - a proclamation of love, a legal bind, friends and family - then you can see how that is somewhat true. But let’s face it; we love to be able to frame the memory of such an important day with dazzling features.

One of the ways we can make a wedding feel beautiful without detracting from the main factors is to be subtle. Subtlety in itself can help your wedding stand out amongst the overblown events people often see. People go to a lot of weddings in their lifetime, and the memories of them can often blur into one. Make sure yours stands out.

The venue
Are you thinking about marrying in a church? Come on. Isn’t that what everyone you know has done? What a million television characters have done? A church is a predictable and often dusty venue. Why conform to the masses?

Tutbury castle
(Image source Flickr)

Technically, you can get married anywhere you like. We’re not saying you should get married in your living room, but you should certainly look in places other than a church. There’s Tutbury Castle, the medieval ruins supposedly haunted by the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots. There’s also Carnglaze Caverns, a beautiful set of underground caverns that can hold weddings.

The invitations
The wedding invitation is something you want your guests to keep. It makes for an amazing memento if you get it right. Don’t just send out a card that says “Save the date”! These are going to your friends and family. Be more fun and creative!

For the style of the invite itself, you should consider laser cut wedding invitations. Make the message inside something personal and informal. You don’t want it to look like you hired some company to copy-paste a generic invite template in all the invites. Consider writing a unique message to all the guests. That sounds like a hefty task, sure. But if they’re important enough to be invited to your wedding in the first place, then perhaps they’re worth it.

A Nervous Groom
(Image source Flickr)

Pets
Why not invite people to bring their pets? Of course, this will all depend on the venue to which you’re going. And many people don’t even want kids at their wedding, let alone animals. But let’s face it: a puppy dressed as a groom would be a great addition to any wedding. Maybe this suggestion is a little silly, but give it some consideration. Please? It would be so cute!

The gifts
We considered the wedding invitations as mementos earlier. A physical item by which someone can remember the day is an amazing addition. Why not consider some custom gifts for your guests?

It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy. We’re not talking about buying them all a car, here. But how about getting some custom t-shirts for your guests? Maybe you should get something like I WENT TO (wife’s name) AND (husband’s name)’S WEDDING AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID T-SHIRT? It should be something they will see immediately and know it was from your wedding.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Foolproof Tips To Find Your Personal Style | Fashion


Personal style is one of those terms that is always thrown around like we all know what it means. On an ordinary level, sure. We know that personal style refers to the way that someone wears something. What they might choose, how they might accessorise it that separates them from everyone else. But what about our personal style? Do we really know what suits us? Can we identify our style with ease or do we simply “know it when we see it”? It may seem self-indulgent at first but really taking the time to understand your own personal style can have lots of benefits. Firstly, it will save you money. We have all been in a situation where we want to wear something new, hate it, and never get around to returning it. We also might buy the same kinds of things time and again because we have forgotten what we even had! Knowing your personal style means you’re less likely to take the risks that won’t suit you. But you’re more likely to be able to adapt trends to fit your own style, because you know exactly what that style is. Personal style isn’t about owning as much as possible or even looking great in absolutely everything. It’s about getting wear out of your existing wardrobe and looking great in what you have. At its best, personal style captures your personality, flatters your body type, and looks effortless. With a few quick steps, you can discover your own.

Look Through Your Existing Wardrobe
Begin by taking an honest look at the clothes you already own. Are you minimalistic? A hoarder? Do you clearly favour the style of one season over another? Many of us love the Summer for example and so have tons of strappy tops and sandals. Others are Winter lovers and splurge on warm coats and cosy sweaters. What you own is a good indicator of what you naturally gravitate towards. Select a few of your most worn items and try to think of a few words that capture them. If you find you wear a blazer, scarf, and cashmere sweater, then classic, chic, and tailored might work. If you like maxi dresses dresses, sandals, and floppy hats, how about bohemian, feminine, and relaxed? Write down what springs to mind and see what else in your wardrobe fits it. When you’re out shopping, recall the words and see what fits that aesthetic. You’re less likely to be drawn to things that don’t go with anything else in your wardrobe.

Get Inspiration
Browsing magazines or websites like justrichest.com for celebrity style can be a great place to start. Identify a few people who you think look great and get specific about it. Why do you admire their style? Is it because you like the way they dress for their body? Or maybe you love someone who breaks the rules? Is it the textures, colours, or materials you like? Perhaps it is just the overall “personality” of the outfit. Whatever the reason, start thinking about the impression you’d like your own style to create. Many people have describing style and clothing as creating a character. It doesn’t have to be as literal as feeling like a different person, but we all want to feel like the best version of ourselves. Think about the image or personality trait that you want to project and ask if your clothes reflect it.