Where To Travel For Amazing Cultural Experiences

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Guest post by Laura

Travelling really broadens your horizons, and getting to experience and live amongst different cultures is extremely rewarding. If you want more than just pretty beaches and tourist attractions, here are some of the best places to visit for amazing cultural experiences.

Learn about Ancient Rome’s incredible culture by visiting the numerous historical sites and museums. You have the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Roman Forum and the Spanish Steps to name a few. Rome was once the most powerful city and civilization in history. Culture and traditions in Rome today are a reflection of its historic past while celebrating the modern world. The culture features an eclectic mix of fashion, the arts, and historic architecture. It is this contrast of ancient and modern culture and traditions that really defines Rome. Modern work buildings are steps away from historical monuments making it a fascinating city of contrasts. In Rome and Italy in general, food is an important part of the culture. Fresh vegetables, inexpensive cuts of meats, pasta and cheese, are typical ingredients in Roman dishes. Recipes are full of flavor and reflect old Roman traditions. Food establishments are aplenty in Rome. From pizzerias to cafes to trendy restaurants to take your pick from.

Colorful clothing, vibrant spices, extravagant celebrations and elaborate singing and dancing. India is certainly a place to come to if you’re looking for culture and excitement. India’s culture is said to be among the world’s oldest, with sources describing it as ‘the first and the supreme culture in the world.’ Language, religion, food, and the arts are just some of the various aspects of Indian culture. It is a very diverse country, with more than 1.2 billion people, making it the second most populous nation after China. There are numerous sites of historical importance. You can see the home where Gandhi lived and died, the Agra Fort, Gateway of India and the tomb of Humayun are just a few of them. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. These are collectively known as ‘Indian religions’, each of these has their own distinct cultures making it a truly diverse place to visit.  There are spectacular buildings to see- the most well-known example of Indian architecture being the Taj Mahal. However, India also has many ancient temples too. You could check out India travel forums to work out the best places to check out on your trip. India is well known for its film industry, which is often referred to as Bollywood. Indian dance, music and theater traditions span back more than 2,000 years.

Jerusalem is one of the world’s most ancient cities. It’s historical, cultural and religious significance is inconceivable. Jerusalem’s primary sites of interest include the Old City, the Via Dolorosa, the Wailing Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Dome of the Rock. Jerusalem today is packed full of cultural events. From a light festival to an arts festival to various religious festivals. There is the Israel Festival, with its international dance, music and theater productions. The dress code in Jerusalem demands modesty and so be sure that you are dressed appropriately. Doing your research before your trip so you know what will be expected of your clothing is important.

Image Credit: Pexels

Coping With Regret: Practical Solutions That Really Work

how to cope with regret

If you’re an avid Instagram follower, you probably come across several quotes related to regret every day. The reality is that all of us have regrets of some kind. There’s no point in dwelling on them. The thing to do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find solutions. It’s rare to have regrets that can’t be remedied in some way, shape or form. If you have regrets, here are some practical solutions that will actually work.

I regret not working hard at school or university

You didn’t the grades you wanted, and now you’ve given up on your dream job. Does that sound familiar? If so, it’s way too early to let dreams fall by the wayside. Yes, it may take you longer to get where you want to be. But success will be all the sweeter. When you work for something, it feels even more amazing when things fall into place. If you spent school days chatting to friends rather than focusing on assignments, it’s not the end of the world. You could always repeat courses or sign up for night classes. You could resit modules or do a different university course. Look into internships or apprenticeships. It may be possible to get the job you’ve always wanted without straight A’s.

I regret that breakup

Do you think about an ex all the time, or spend your days stalking them on social media? If you think your shot at true love has sailed, think again. Why can’t you reconnect or reach out? Have you made any attempt to get in touch, say sorry, or try and work things out? Love is something you should never give up on. If you think there’s even the remotest chance of a happy ending, give it a shot.

I regret having a tattoo

Did you have a tattoo without really thinking about the consequences? Or have you simply changed your mind? Has something you used to love become a mark you don’t like anymore? The assumption is that tattoos are for life. The good news is that this isn’t strictly true. If you hate your tattoo, or you’d rather not have it, look into tattoo removal. It may take a few sessions, but it’ll be worth it when you’re tattoo-free.

I regret not travelling when I had the chance

Do you daydream about exotic beaches? Do you wish you’d seen more of the world? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us would love to explore more. It’s true that there are more convenient times to take time out to travel than others. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ve missed the boat. You’re never too old to travel. If you’re worried about money, make your adventure a working holiday. If you’ve got a job you love, ask about taking a sabbatical or take all your leave in one go. Start saving with a goal in mind. You may be taking risks by travelling. But very few people ever have regrets about seeing more of the world.

It’s normal to have regrets. But don’t let them get you down or define you. Bounce back, and look for practical solutions. Just because you’ve made mistakes or missed opportunities, doesn’t mean you should give up. Be positive, and try and open new doors.

How to Get Back in Touch With Nature

how to get back in touch with nature

Tap, tap, tap, click, click, click, beep, beep, beep. There: I’ve put most of the sound and experience of modern life in simple word form. Just for you. You’re welcome.

To say that the people of the 21st-century are the first to deal with a lack of appreciation of nature would be an overstatement. But there’s definitely a unique disconnect between the urban and the rural that’s more pronounced now than it’s ever been. But it’s not entirely due to a lack of wanting to experience or appreciate the natural world more.

If you’d like to know how to get back in touch with nature, here are some steps you can take to help you get out there and appreciate the world around you some more.

  • Go on more adventurous walks

“Go walking more” is the first and simplest piece of advice you’d expect to see in an article like this. But for a lot of people a walk means roaming around their local, very urban area. Of course, a walk is a walk and is always good. But you should be on the lookout for “greener” areas to walk about in.

There are usually areas within walking distance of everyone that aren’t as urban as their immediate area. But even if it’s a short train ride away, why not take it? Remember that walking in green areas has its own benefits.

  • Get to know animals a bit more

Find out more about the animals you see. What kind of animals do you see everywhere? If we discount cats and dogs, then the answer is probably birds. Birds are a great starting point for delving into animal research. Don’t underestimate how fascinating birds can be! They are dinosaurs, after all.

Of course, you shouldn’t be stopping at birds or other local animals. You should get out there and meet more exotic ones. Next time you’re looking for a vacation, investigate some of those possibilities. Companies like the Safari Club make Africa a great place to meet our animal friends, for example.

  • Let your art be inspired by nature

Do you paint? Write stories? Compose songs or poetry? You should consider getting some inspiration from nature. They don’t have to be pieces that you’re going to share with others, or that will enter your official “canon”. Make some personal pieces as a means of getting out there and paying close attention.

How to Make Your Beauty Routine Healthier.

how to make your beauty routine healthier

There is a pretty good chance that there are a few ways you could make a positive change to your beauty routine. From getting glowing skin to lustrous hair, here are a handful of ways how to make your beauty routine healthier. Read on to find out more…

  • Be generous with the moisturiser

Rumour has it that Beyonce goes to bed each night with her face almost dripping wet with moisturiser. Well, if it’s good enough for Queen B…! Don’t skimp on your moisturiser before you go to sleep each night. Be generous. It will keep your skin fresh, plump and of course, moisturised! On this occasion, less is actually not more!

  • Use a mineral foundation

Heavy, chemical-loaded foundations are bad news for our skin. While they have the ability to give the impression of healthy, glowing skin, underneath they may be really blocking your pores. Swap to something lighter, like a mineral foundation. You can still get great coverage, but your skin will be better off for it. Take a look at mineral make up from Tropic Skincare for an example of healthy ingredients. You can also get other makeup products that are mineral based. If you like you what you find with the foundation, branch out. Mineral eyeshadow is a great next step.

  • Use a paraben free shampoo

We’re hearing more and more that parabens are not good ingredients in our beauty products. It’s advice we should be listening too. Spotting them isn’t always so easy, so go careful. While there is no solid proof yet, you might want to take the safe route. If you do want to continue using your shampoo with parabens in, just use it less regularly. Mix it with a chemical-free one every few days to give your hair a break!

  • Go steady with the dry shampoo

Ah, dry shampoo. Where would we be without it!? It can be a total lifesaver at times. If you’ve woken up late when you were meant to be washing your hair, or just haven’t had time for a few days, it can rescue you. Spritz a bit on and your hair looks freshly washed. But don’t use it too often. Recent findings have suggested that excessive use can lead to dryness, dandruff, and sore patches. Mix it up with normal, wet shampoo and your hair will thank you for it.

  • Wash your brushes daily

When was the last time you gave your makeup brushes a really good wash? If it was any more than a week ago, it was too long! Given the amount we use makeup brushes, and the amount of products we load on then, it’s really not surprising how grimy they can get. Makeup brush cleanser used to be pretty pricey, but there are now some of the market that are much cheaper. Washing them once a day might feel too much to you. If it does, wash them every four or five days or so instead.

Attending A Wedding? Top Ways To Get Ready!

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Blog post contributed by Laura

As much as it’s great to celebrate your friend’s big day, there are a lot of things you need to do to get ready for her big day. Here are the top ways to prepare for the wedding.

  • Find an outfit

One of the first things you should do after being invited to a wedding is to find something to wear for the big day. It’s a great excuse to buy something new to wear for the special day. Go shopping with a friend and try a lot of different outfits on. Remember to choose something which is quite formal as it’s a very special occasion. You should also buy some comfortable shoes if you are going to be attending the whole day. Otherwise, you will end up with blisters which are never fun!

  • Get a haircut

You want to look fabulous when you attend a wedding, so it’s time to get your hair booked in. There will be lots of photos on the day, and you want to ensure you look your best. Make sure you book the appointment well in advance so they can get you in before the big day. If you can’t afford a haircut, ask a friend to help you style it on the day. Your whole outfit will look great if you have lovely hair.

  • Start exercising

It’s a very good time to tone up if you are going to be attending a wedding. You will be in lots of photos of the big day, so you want to be happy with how you look. Therefore, you should be eating healthier, and start exercising more in the build up to the wedding. Try and do at least 20 minutes of exercise a day to help you keep in good shape. Make sure you are drinking enough water too, so that your skin will look great when you attend the wedding. You want to be able to fit into that new dress you bought. Otherwise, you will be popping to the shops the day before to find something else.

  • Buy a gift

Make sure that you respond to say you are going to the wedding. They will have spent a fortune on their fabulous invites, such as lace wedding invitations by Pure Invitation, so make sure you do respond. You then need to check the invite to see if they mention a gift list. If they do, you can choose them something from there to buy. A lot of brides and grooms are choosing money instead nowadays. In this case, it might be wise to give them some money but buy a small gift as well.

  • Get plenty of sleep

Another thing you should do when attending a wedding is to get plenty of sleep before the wedding day. A wedding day is not only a long day for the bride and groom but for the guests as well. You will be there for nearly 12 hours if you are going for the whole day, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before. It can also help you look better for the day and will ensure you are in a great mood.

PLANNING A LONG WEEKEND IN LONDON: WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU’RE THERE.

Planning A Long Weekend In London: What To Do While You’re There!

Blog post contributed by Grace

London is the perfect place for a long weekend away. Sometimes, we need to take some time out to relax and unwind, and often to do that, we need longer than a normal weekend. I am a real London lover, I’ve been there multiple times and always have the most amazing trip.

Being such a big place, if you want your trip to the city to be a success, planning is a must. This means, booking your hotel, transport, and tickets in advance. This helps to keep costs low and ensures that your trip is memorable for all the right reasons, not because you had a rubbish time.

With so much to see, it can be hard to know what to do while you’re in London. Should you do the touristy things – Big Ben, The London Eye, etc., or things that are a little less well known? I would recommend a mixture of both, just make sure to skip anything that you’ve already done. Follow these tips to planning a long weekend in London.

  •  Nice places to stay

This will completely depend on your budget. You can find some great deals on discount websites like Secret Escapes and Wowcher, so make sure to check out the deals that they are offering. For budget-friendly accommodation, Premier Inn and Jury’s Inn are both good options.

Of course, if money isn’t an issue, The Savoy, The Ritz, and The Hilton are all good choices. There are also places that are a little bit less well known but just a wonderful. Charlotte Street Hotel, Hazlitt’s, and The Bingham are all fantastic options to look into. They’re just as classy as The Hilton but are less well known and a little cheaper too.

  •  Best places to drink and dine

London is renowned for its array of delicious world foods, and it sure doesn’t disappoint, as long as you choose the right restaurant, that is. There are, of course, various chain restaurants to choose from, Jamie’s Italian being a popular one. But there are also some fantastic independent places as well.

Beirut Nights, for example, known as the best Lebanese Restaurant in London, is an independent eatery. There’s also The Ledbury, a French restaurant that’s famous for its fare. And, of course, Arabica Bar and Kitchen, famed for its breads and sharing platters. The best place to find restaurant recommendations is on Tripadvisor, so have a browse before you go. It’s a good idea to have an idea of the best places before arriving; else you may end up eating somewhere that doesn’t offer what you want.

  • Things to see and do

There are plenty of touristy things to see and do – Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace, and The House of Parliament, to name a few. But there’s also plenty of other things to see and do, such as exploring the city’s many art galleries. There’s various shopping facilities, Oxford Street and Westfields are the most famous. However, there are also lots of smaller shopping areas, such as South Kensington and Covent Garden.

London has plenty to see and do, which is what makes it the ideal place for a city break. It’s just a case of researching where you want to stay, dine and drink, and see and do, beforehand.

 

SIMPLE TIPS FOR GETTING MORE SLEEP.

simple tips to getting more sleep

Blog post contributed by Laura

If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, there’s a good chance you are damaging your health. Sure, when you’re younger, you can get by. But as you age, start having children, and lead a much busier life, you need a lot more recovery time. A recent report I read revealed that the average British person loses out on an astonishing whole night’s sleep every week. Once in awhile won’t do any harm, but if you are doing this regularly, it can lead to some serious conditions. Depression, high blood pressure, and cancer are all common issues that can develop if you aren’t getting enough shuteye.

So, follow these simple tips for getting more sleep. Feel free to leave your own advice in the comments section at the end.

♡ Remove distractions

Sounds can come from anywhere, no matter where you live. But, if you can identify the source of noises that are waking you up, you can do something about it. Double – or triple – glazing can help keep out traffic noise, or loud morning wildlife. You can even try earplugs – but my advice is to get them fitted, as they can be uncomfortable otherwise. If you are a parent, of course, you might just have to suck it up for a while. But, the sleepless nights will pass eventually.

♡ Have a warm bath

Part of the problem many people have with getting to sleep these days is that everyone watches TV or started at a smartphone before bedtime. Bright screens are not good for getting you into relaxation mode! They actually make your brain work a little harder, so it takes you longer to go to sleep. Instead, turn off the TV or phone, and go take a warm bath. Good quality waffle dressing gowns are perfect for wrapping up in afterward. Read a good book instead of watching TV – or find another way to relax. It will start to wind your brain down properly, and you will find you get off to sleep quicker. Also, make sure you have a good mattress and pillow set. It can make the world of difference!

♡ Track your sleep

While smartphones can be terrible for your sleep, they can also help you find out about the quality of shuteye you are getting. Sleep tracking apps or monitors can help you learn how often you wake up at night, and how long you spend in REM sleep. Many people suffer from disturbances, but don’t even realise it. With a monitor, you can pinpoint your patterns and disturbances and come up with a plan to solve them.

♡ Wake up earlier

I like to think of myself as an early bird, but I understand that not many people share my enthusiasm! However if you’re struggling to get good quality sleep, an earlier rise in the mornings might just help. It will only take a few days before your sleep cycle starts to change, and you will find yourself getting more tired earlier in the evenings. You are, in essence, resetting your natural body clock. And, with a little luck, you will have a much better night’s sleep from then on.

3 Tips for Organising a Group Trip to the US

3 Tips for Organising a Group Trip to the US

Blog post contributed by Laura

Solo travel can be fantastic fun, but you don’t necessarily want to do it all the time. Arranging a group trip can be just as interesting. Although it can be more complicated to organise. There might be several times when you want to take a group of either adults or children on a trip. Maybe you’re an educator arranging a trip for your class or school club. You might be organising a holiday for a group of friends, or a church group or other social society. If sorting out a group trip is hard, then arranging one in the US is even more difficult. Before you get started on your American adventure, here are some things to keep in mind.

♡ Find Group Deals

Whenever you’re booking a holiday for a big group of people, it’s essential to check out group deals. You will always find better prices if you’re taking lots of people. It’s one area where booking for a group beats solo travel by far. There certainly won’t be any single supplements. You can start by looking online, but if you can’t see anything suitable straight away, don’t let that stop you. If you find something interesting, you can get in touch with someone to discuss your needs. Many companies will be happy to accommodate you if you tell them you’re going with 10, 20, or even more people.

♡ Arrange Transportation

One of the most important things to sort out is your transportation. Getting anywhere with a large group of people is hard, but it’s more difficult if you’re going long-distance. You’ll need to start with flights to get you into the country. It’s important to book early and to speak to someone at the airline if you can. Make sure you pay attention to any limits on numbers. Some airlines will only take a maximum number in one group for a single flight. You also need airport transfers and travel on the ground. Using a service like Chicago Charter Bus Company makes it easier to get around and keep everyone in one group. You won’t need to split up into lots of different cars or minibuses.

♡ Accommodation, Meals, and Activities

You can find some excellent accommodation deals for large groups too. Depending on the size of your group, you might consider a hostel. You can get 10 or more people in one dorm sometimes, which can be helpful. However, you might also want a hotel or even to stay in self-catered accommodation. Look at your options to see which is a better deal and which ones suit your needs. Think about how to do meals too. Your options are to make group bookings at restaurants, split up into smaller groups, or cook for yourselves. It’s important to keep your numbers in mind for activities too. For example, you might not want to try and squeeze all of you into a small museum.

A group trip to the US is possible if you put your mind to it. Of course, if you want to, you can get someone else to arrange everything.

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

how well do i know myself

Blog post contributed by Laura

We live in a culture that isn’t all that concerned with knowing about one’s own thoughts and feelings. We’re more concerned with going out into the world and taking from it what we want. That might be a car or a house. It might be a new job. It could even be a partner.

But because the focus is so outward, we spent very little time getting to know ourselves and our preferences. Many people can walk blindly through life never really considering who they are at base and what they want. That is not to say that we never think about ourselves. In fact, we probably think about ourselves more than is healthy. Many of us worry about what other people think and whether we are valuable. But this isn’t the kind of thought that leads to greater knowledge of oneself. Rather it’s the type of habit that leads to greater despair, anxiety and depression.

Knowing ourselves is imperative. It’s how we find out whether what we’re doing is actually aligned with our beliefs, thoughts and preferences. Without knowing at root who we are and how we came to be, we can muddle through life and never get that satisfaction we seek. So what can be done about it?

♡ Listen To Yourself

One thing you’ll learn as soon as you start doing some introspection is that you aren’t a single self. In fact, you are multiple selves, all in constant negotiation with each other. There’s a self that wants to eat a burger from the Heart Attack Grill. And there’s a self that’s screaming don’t do it for reasons of self-preservation.

Getting all the aspects of your personality around the table is an important first step. So many people aren’t truly honest about what their desires are that they often end up repressing them. This, of course, rules out finding out more about yourself and can lead to other problems down the road.

♡ Persevere

The process of finding out about yourself is a long and a difficult one. And it’s one that calls for many different approaches. You might try meditation or psychiatry online video lectures. Anything, in fact, that can reconnect you to your authentic self.

♡ Find Your Inner Child

Most mental health professionals agree that your childhood has an enormous impact on your adult life. In many ways, it defines the person that you later become. That’s why it’s important to go back into the past. By exploring your childhood, you’ll be able to trace how you got to where you are today. Along the way, you’ll find out some important truths about why you are the way that you are. And that will help contextualise your thoughts and feelings today.

What’s more, you might find that you unearth unresolved issues from your past. These might be painful at first. But dealing with them can help to improve your quality of life today and in the future.

Processing what happened in your past can help you be more robust and outgoing in the future. And that can ultimately help you avoid problem behaviours.

Why You Should Visit the North of England

things to do in sheffield

Contributed by Laura

Whether you live down South and are looking to travel elsewhere in the UK, or are already in the North, spending sometime in the North of England for a weekend break is a great decision. Here are just a few reasons why you should visit the North of England.

♡ A super friendly place

The North of England is really well-known for being friendly. However, if you spent every day of the week on the tube in London, it can be hard to believe. But it’s true!

The reasons why are debatable. Some say it’s to do with the fact that Northerners have a less frenetic way of life. Because they take the day slower, they are less stressed. In turn, this feeds into them being more generous to strangers. Others argue that Northerner behaviour isn’t phenomenal, it’s just that Southerners are extra unfriendly.

Whatever the reason, there is no denying the generous spirit up North. Even in big cities like Sheffield and Leeds, somebody will say hello to you on the street. They’ll let you get on the bus you’re both waiting for first. They’ll offer up their seat on the train to the elderly. And they love calling one another affection pet-names; even total strangers!

So, if you need a dose of kindness, escape up North and feel the love.

♡ Loads to do

Sure, it’s not London, but many of the North’s big cities has almost as much on offer. The theatre scene in Manchester is vibrant. The shopping in Leeds is vast. The combination of city centre and countryside found in Sheffield is staggering. Sheffield has a thriving independent scene; you can literally spend days looking around vintage shops & little coffee shops! There is also great food in Sheffield. And places like York and Lincoln are old-fashioned and beautiful enough just to spend a day doing free sight-seeing. Time Out magazine no longer focuses on London; it now has branches in both Manchester and Leeds also. Use it as a handy guide for what is on each week. If you’re thinking about heading to the latter, check out these 20 great things to do in Leeds.

♡ Incredible scenery

London has amazing architecture. Places like Brighton and Devon have the sea. But the North has some of the most incredible natural scenery. You’ve got places like the Peak District and the Lake District, not to mention Derbyshire, just outside of Sheffield. Take a trip up North and go and soak it all up. Mix up the way you see it, too. The train is a great way to see the Peak District. Or head up, up, up and away with a helicopter tour. Companies like http://www.pleasureflightsltd.co.uk specialise in tours up North. Seeing things from a helicopter is also a better option than hiking or cycling for weekend breaks, as time is likely to be tight. If you’re a history fan, you could see Chatsworth house from above. Or, for football fans, how about a bird’s-eye view of Old Trafford?

♡ It’s not as far away as Southerners think!

Sure, driving up North can take a while. But the length of time it takes on the train isn’t bad at all. It’s only 2 hours 20 minutes from London to Leeds, for example. Plenty of time for a long weekend before heading home!

Image Credit: Then Lets Begin



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