15 November 2017

Unexpected Factors That Shape Your Home

A close-up of a map with a pin stuck into it at the area of New York

In the modern world, your home has never been a more important place. With the hectic and chaotic nature of life, a lot of people will use this place as a refuge against the stress of life, and this means that it has to be perfect. There are loads of aspects which will impact this. But, of course, there is one which people will often ignore. To help you out with this, this post will be going through this factor, while also helping you to decide if a home is right for you.

The Location:
The factor you have to be considering is, of course, the location. Most people will choose this simply based on their job, where they currently live, or where they grew up. This doesn’t make sense, though, as there is almost certainly other aspects which you’ll want to consider. Below, you can find some examples of these, along with some ways to make an improvement.

The Facilities:
A place is only as good as the facilities and services it has to offer you. For example, if you have kids, good schools will be essential, and living somewhere with one close by will make things easier. Of course, though, there will be loads of things you can make use of. So, it’s worth thinking about as many as possible, along with researching some you may not have heard of.

The Climate:
Over the last few years, more and more research has been done to determine correlations between climate and happiness. In most cases, it has been found that warmer weather makes people feel better. So, it could be worth using a company like https://www.mybekins.com/ to find a warmer place to call home. Of course, though, you’ll have to think very hard before making a move like this.

The Culture:
Although it may seem pedantic, a lot of people will consider things like crime rates, nightlife, and other local culture when they’re thinking about a location to live. These sorts of metrics can be found all over the internet and can be very useful when you’re trying to find the place for you.

The Price:
In most cases, the price of the land a house sits on will dictate most of its value. This means that a move a very short distance away could make a house of the same size a lot cheaper. As long as this doesn’t impact the other aspects of your location, a change like this could be a very good decision.

The Building Itself:
Finally, it’s time to think about the building itself, and how the location might impact it. In different places, there are loads of varying construction and architecture styles. Having a home which embodies a look you don’t like will make it feel bad. This means that it could be well worth moving to find a home which better matches the aesthetic you want to cultivate.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start considering location when you’re looking for your next home. A lot of people will ignore areas like this, choosing to use budget or size as their guide. Of course, though, there are loads of things at play here, and you need to be able to balance them all.


*Collaborative post

13 November 2017

Top 5 Things To Do In Gran Canaria

I have finally made the decision, I am going on holiday next year!!  I haven't been away on holiday for seven years now so think that I am definately due some sunshine.

As always when I decide to do something, I research!  This is especially important when you are going away on holiday, not least for the amount you are spending.  You want to go somewhere that has everything that you want, for the best price.

This week I have been looking at Gran Canaria with Holiday Gems and thought I would share some of the research I have been doing, to help you with your holiday destination planning too.


Gran Canaria is in the Canary Islands, just off north western Africa.  The flight time is 4.5 hours, something to consider for those of you who don't like flying.  Personally, I love flying and enjoy it as part of my holiday.

Gran Canaria has both white sandy and black lava beaches.  Depending on whether you are looking for a busy, active holiday you might choose to go to Puerto Rico or for something quieter, somewhere like San Agustin.

Here are 5 things to do in Gran Canaria depending on what type of activity you like.

Drink Rum!

Let's face it, when we go on holiday we are allowed to have a tipple (or 5).  Gran Canaria is famous for its Arucas rum.  Gran Canaria has been producing sugar cane for 5 centuries now and during that time, has perfected its rum making which is now exported all over the world.  

There is a distillery that you can visit which is 15 minutes outside of the capital which gives you an afternoon experience of showing you how the rum is made and of course, allowing you to sample some of the many flavours of the rum!

Look to the Stars

For a night time activity, what is better, and more relaxing, than looking at the stars?  Gran Canaria is one of the best places in Europe to see the stars at night and there are two different observatories on the island that offer night walks.  Not something perhaps for a family holiday, but perfect for a romantic holiday away.

Go Swim with the Fishes!


Gran Canaria is great place to go scuba diving over various parts of the island.  If you are looking for a relaxed dive, looking at the fishes and maybe coming across a sea turtle or two.  For the more experienced, you could check out the El Cabron Marine Reserve, there is submerged wreck at Puerto Mogan or a cave dive in Las Palmas.

Take in some history

For me, it is important for me to take in some culture of the place that I am visiting.  To see the history of the country and what is important to those that live there.  

To achieve that, you can do no better than visit Teror which is a place of pilgrimage for the residents of Gran Canaria as it holds the state of the Virgen del Pino which is the patron saint of the Canary Islands.  There are also weekly Sunday markets where you can pick up handcrafted local items.  To check out some authentic and typical architecture of the island, go to the Plaza de Teror.

See the whole Island!


One of the best things about visiting an island is being able to see the whole of it in one day.  This is something that you can do in Gran Canaria.  There is a day tour available which enables you to see all four coasts of the island in a trip that takes around 8 hours and costs around £32.

You get to see everything from the pictureque fishing villages to the mountains, the banana plantations and also the famous Canteras beach.  

So what do you think?  Is Gran Canaria somewhere that you would think about visiting for your summer holiday?  Let me know!


Images all from Pixabay
Post in collaboration with Holiday Gems

8 November 2017

Wedding Traditions In Different Cultures


I love receiving wedding invitations. Once the excitement of receiving a wedding invitation has worn off, it’s time to start planning your outfit. My favourite part.

Choosing a guest outfit for a wedding in the UK is hard enough. You want to be individual but not detract from the bride and ideally, buy something that you can wear again. What happens however if you’ve been invited to a wedding abroad, of a different culture?

Just like the tradition that no guest wears white to a wedding in the UK, every culture has their own traditions and rules. It can be difficult to choose an outfit as a guest, as there are many traditions and symbols that you may be unaware of and you don’t want to offend anyone.

Together with Charles Tyrwhitt, retailers of timeless menswear, I am looking today at how the dress code of a wedding changes depending on the background of the newlyweds. in India, Japan and China.

India

What will the bride be wearing?

The bride and her bridal party often have henna on their palms, hands, forearms and legs.

In India, the lady’s dress depends on the region of India that they’re from. In some regions, the bride wears a saree which is a garment that looks like a long drape, in others she wears a lehenga which is a long skirt. Often the bride is dressed in red or another vibrant colour, her garments will be carefully embroidered with an impressive design.



What will the groom be wearing?


Similar to the women, it depends on what region of India the groom is from as to what they wear. Some husbands-to-be wear traditional dress, such as a dhoti which is a rectangular cloth ties around the waist. In other regions, they wear a sherwani (a long coat), a kurta (loose falling shirt that hangs below the knee), or a Western suit.

The men also have henna on their bodies but it is less elaborate and often hidden.

What should you wear as a guest?

At an Indian wedding, the bolder your outfit is the better. Wearing vibrant colours will mean you fit in with the Indian guests. Guests should avoid white or black as these are colours worn for funerals and mourning in India. It is also advised that red is not worn either as the bride will probably be dressed in this colour.

Women guests should not bare their shoulders, wear low cut tops or short skirts as this can be seen as disrespectful — a jewel-tone dress with a shawl is one appropriate outfit. The Indian female guests will most likely be dressed in colourful sarees or anarkali suits. Jewellery is important for women too, choose a statement piece for around your neck with matching earrings and bangles.

Men often wear a tailored kurta with a pyjama and a dupatta (shawl) can be added over the kurta. For their feet, sandals, jootis or chappals are often worn as these are comfortable and prevent overheating.

Guests might also be expected to cover their heads if the wedding is held in a temple. For this, women can wear a long scarf or pashmina over their heads and men are usually provided with a head cover such as a large handkerchief.

An Indian wedding is often a long drawn out event (it could be three days long!) so make sure you are wearing something loose and comfortable. 

Japan

Japanese weddings are very elaborate and it is acceptable for families to spend close to £75,000 on a wedding day. It is often the parents of the couple who organise the wedding, and they are willing to spend excessive amounts to save face. Because of the large scale of the weddings, the bride can have as many as 5 costume changes!

What will the bride be wearing?

At a traditional (Shinto) wedding, the bride wears a white kimono, but more recently Japanese brides wear a dress that has a traditional print.



What will the groom be wearing?

Traditionally, a Japanese groom wears a wedding kimono for the ceremony and then changes into a tuxedo. The formal kimono that he wears is called a montsuki, and often displays the family crest. More recently, younger grooms start the ceremony in a tuxedo too.

What should you wear as a guest?

At a traditional Japanese wedding, men were expected to be dressed very formally with a black suit and white tie. Now however, the dress code is more flexible and it is accepted for men to come dressed in suits other than black with various coloured ties. However, it is advised to avoid white clothes with black ties.

Women often wear dresses that are knee length or a coloured kimono to take on a traditional look. It is best to avoid showing any shoulder as this can be deemed a disrespectful.

China

What will the bride be wearing?

In China, it is likely that the bride will be dressed in red as it is considered a sign of good luck that can warn off evil spirits. In some regions, typically in northern China, the traditional attire for a bride is a one-piece dress that is embroidered with gold and silver designs. In southern China, the typical wear is a two-piece frock.

A bridal crown is part of the wedding costume for some brides too – it is worn for photography or for show at a grand occasion. For footwear, a special pair of shoes are often worn that are embroidered with a symbol — for example, a turtle or a deer which symbolizes happiness and longevity. 


What will the groom be wearing?
In China, the husband-to-be traditionally wears a black silk coat over an embroidered robe. Often, in the modern day, the overcoat is not worn.

The groom has to wear certain headwear too – this is usually a black hat with a red tassel. Some younger generations are not following the traditional dress code and simply wear a tuxedo or a Western-style business suit.

What should you wear as a guest?

When dressing for a Chinese wedding, avoid wearing red as this can be seen as trying to steal the limelight from the bride. It’s best to wear pink, peach or purple as these are all symbols of new life and happiness. A formal dress is suitable for a Chinese wedding.

Colours to avoid include black and white, as these symbolise mourning and black is considered to be the colour of bad luck.




*Collaborative piece

6 November 2017

Logojoy Review

On Friday on the blog I was talking about how different we can become between our online and offline selves.  How much we share of ourselves online and how that can sometimes get problematic, especially if you talk a lot about current affairs; as I do!

I have always had my picture as my profile image for my social media accounts, but now, I feel like I want to pull back a little.  Many times, as I mentioned on my previous post, I have had conversations only to be derailed and ignored on the basis of what I look like.

On that basis, I decided to leave imagery of myself to my blog only, and have something simply blog related as my social media representation.  I wanted something simple and to the point, which would let my words do the talking and not my face.  What do you think?



I created my new logo through Logojoy. I confess that I am not talented when it comes to creating images and need some guidance and a simple application that takes me through the steps to create the perfect logo.

Logojoy was the perfect vehicle for me to be able to create my new logo.  Below are some of the steps that you go through in order to create your image.



The first thing you do is enter your blog name or the title of your business and then proceed through to choosing at least five images as below, to start the designing process and gives the site an indication of the styles that you like.


From there, you can choose up to five symbols to go with your text.  There are many to chose from simply be writing down what you are looking for in the search bar.  This step is optional.





Once your symbol has been chosen, this then takes you to a screen where you can fully customize your logo with different fonts, different colours and designs.  You can from having something simple like mine to something really unique, simply by clicking on the different options.


The process of choosing a new logo through Logojoy could not have been easier.  It was a simple, step by step process that even I could follow with ease and from there, there are different packages that you can chose from depending on what you want to use the logo for.  I chose the 65 dollar package, which includes a high resolution logo, different colour options and also the social media kit for an extra 9 dollars which gives you perfectly sized logos for all of your social media accounts.

Logojoy is free to try out so you can spend as much time as you want creating the perfect logo before committing to buy.  There are so many different combinations that you can try out that I really recommend that you spend some time on the site trying them out.


  • Hope you like my new logo!



2 November 2017

Our Online Selves

Do you have an online and offline self?

I think that everyone does to a certain extent.  I know that I do.

The thing is, we have our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit; a million different ways to connect with people, share your thoughts and feelings and yet, no matter what platform you choose, there is still an element of holding back.

Do you ever have that experience where you realise that you have access to the whole of the internet but cannot say what you are really feeling?  That you have to censor yourself with the thoughts that you want to share?

It sounds silly doesn't it. But it is true.  As opinionated as I am, I censor myself.  There are always things that you want to say that you can't.  Because the trouble with the internet is, that everyone is on it.



That isn't to say that there are not thousands of people who freely share every thought that they have online, but what I seem to see is that generally, those are the kind of people who generally do it from a point of hate and/or are of the far right mentality. 

One of the things that I have to wonder is whether these people get such a huge following (Milo Yiannopoulos for example had thousands and thousands of followers lapping up his hate rhetoric before he was banned on Twitter) purely because they are saying the things that the followers want to say, but can't?

Or is it an element of "Well they have said X, it so now it is OK for me to say it too" I have to wonder.  I do not doubt that many of the people who spread and incite hate, either publicly or anonymously online, are perfectly normal people offline.

That is a scary thought actually.

On my part, I am more cautious.  Being a outspoken, left leaning feminist is something that I would never change about myself, but I confess that I do avoid certain hashtags and will not be as vocal about some issues as I want to because of the hate that I will receive back.  Adding the fact that I am fat into the mix always intensifies any replies that I have received.

People who have disagreed with me on a subject in the past have then gone through my blog, looking for photographs of me and have created memes and shown pictures of me (most recently in a bathing costume) to others in an attempt to shame me.  It doesn't, but it does feel like that they will creep into parts of your life where they do not belong and so, I remain cautious.

I do not think that these people should be called trolls.  They can be dangerous and can seriously mess with your life, both online and offline.

How open are you online?

The Hidden Health Precautions

When it comes to our health, there are always things that we can do everyday but don't even think about. Whenever you do something that impacts on your health, whether that impact is positive or negative, it’s the result of decisions made by you. You're the one in the driving seat, and you're able to change the way you’re heading. The precautions below are ones that pretty much anyone can start taking straight away.

Use Sunscreen Every Day You Spend Outdoors

Most people only apply sunscreen when it’s the height of summer and the sun is completely pervasive in the sky. However, many scientists and professionals are now saying that you need to apply sunscreen whenever you go outside. It’s s precaution that could be worth your time and energy because it helps to prevent skin cancer. That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s not something just you should dismiss or ignore. It takes a few seconds to apply the sunscreen, but the difference it makes could be huge.

Avoid Using Deodorants Containing Aluminium

Aluminium is incredibly bad for the human body when the two come into close contact. There are links between aluminium and some terrible diseases, so this is something that should definitely be taking seriously. Here's a list of some of the best deodorants that are aluminum free. That will help you improve your health in the long-term, while still staying fresh and smelling great. But those things are not worth putting your health at risk for, so take this issue seriously.

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Eat Fish Rather Than Red Meat

Red meat is not great for your digestive system if you eat too much of it. That’s why you should look toward the alternatives when you’re deciding what to fill your plate with at dinner time. Fish would make the ideal replacement. There are so many great types of fish to eat, so you won’t be missing out on anything. Fish is so much better for you, and it’ll mitigate the risks associated with eating too much red meat.

Sit Down Less

Sitting down is one of the most dangerous things for our collective health. Doctors are warning that people who spend all day sitting down will be more likely to experiment other health problems in the future. As a precaution, you should think about not sitting down so often throughout the day. Standing desks now make this possible, so maybe you should invest in one of these too.

Consider Your Exposure to Air Pollution

Moving out of the area where you’re currently living might seem like a pretty drastic thing to do. But it could save your health if your previously location forced you inhale polluted air all day long. You should definitely take this matter into account because the least you deserve is air that’s safe enough and clean enough to breathe.   

These little-known precautions will help you to stay as safe and healthy as possible, so make the most of them if you’re not doing so already.

*Collaborative piece