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Visit Europe’s Less Travelled Destinations

Think of weeks or short breaks to the continent, and the images that immediately leap to mind are Parisian boulevards and cafes, ancient ruins in Italy and the sun-soaked beaches of southern Spain. Indeed, prior to the pandemic, almost 90 million tourists visited France each year, 83 million entered Spain and 64.5 million went to Italy. But there are 44 countries in Europe in total, many of which you rarely hear about, and are totally off our radar when it comes to choosing holiday destinations. And for that, it is we who are missing out on some real gems that are bound to be tourist hotspots in years to come. Whether you travel independently or you prefer to take organised tours in Europe, now’s the time to discover somewhere new and wonderful… before the crowds get there!

Montenegro

Montenegro

If you want to visit a place that’s sure to be on everyone’s to-do list before long, then this is it. Known for being incredibly friendly and welcoming, this small country has a stunning coastline with historic towns clinging to the rocks. Then looming above the ocean are The Alps, meaning you could feasibly have a day that involves both alpine skiing in the morning and a dip in the Mediterranean Sea a few hours later.

Estonia

Tallinn

The old town within the city of Tallinn is Unesco-protected, and for a good reason. Its fairytale architecture and medieval streets are starting to lure the cruise ships and the holidaymakers, but it still doesn’t feel as crowded as many of its European counterparts. It's a must-visit in my opinion.

Slovenia

Slovenia

If you love the great outdoors, then you’ll find Slovenia very much to your liking. The Julian Alps provide great skiing and snowboarding in winter, and fantastic hikes in the summer, with alpine lodges providing warm beds and hot food. Cycling through the forested landscapes is increasingly popular, as is rafting down its beautiful rapid rivers.

Latvia

Latvia
A beautiful, sparsely-populated country with forest, lakes and ocean bordered by white sandy beaches. The only city of note is the capital, Rīga, which is cosmopolitan, stylish and with a good number of adventurous eateries to try. The country’s known for its fun and vibrant festivals, but if you need to escape to somewhere more peaceful, the forest and wonderful dunes are right on Rīga’s doorstep.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein
This might be one of the least-visited European countries, but that surely has more to do with its diminutive size and lack of international airport, than its natural beauty. Its population is smaller than Herne Bay in Kent, but it sits right in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria and is also home to some stunning castles.

If you want to find somewhere that’s away from the crowds, just find a world map and start researching the countries you’ve never heard of. The odds are most others haven’t heard of them either and that each hides a magnificent secret that’ll be yours to treasure.

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The Effects Of Stress And How To Reduce It

Stress is one of the most common body reactions. It involves a change in the environment that requires the body to react and adjust. The body reacts to these changes through mental, physical and emotional responses.

Stress is normal to the body. Various things 
happen that require the body to change throughout life and it is what makes you feel alive. There is both bad and good stress depending on what you do and how often you expose the body to stress.

Given that stress is a natural part of human life, everyone experiences it from time to time. Anything from daily work, family life, placing a bet to win the lottery or even more serious issues like the loss of a job or death of a loved one exposes the body to stress.

When you experience a stressor the body reacts by the flight or fight response. The body becomes active as the heart rate increases while your breath quickens and your muscles become ready for action. However, you risk various health issues if you keep exposing your body to stress, so it's good to be able to manage it.

Symptoms of stress

woman stressed

Stress can affect every part of the body whether physical or mental and can affect behaviour. Given the varying possible effects, different people also react to stress differently, therefore, there is a wide range of symptoms of stress.

Some of the common symptoms of stress are below.

Emotional symptoms


The emotional impacts of stress are easily noticeable. and include agitation, and frustration. You can also feel overwhelmed like you are losing control and you may also find it hard to take control being indecisive. 

Finding it difficult to relax or be at peace can also be due to stress. You could also start to have low self-esteem, feel lonely and feel worthless. You may also start avoiding people.

Physical symptoms

The physical symptoms of stress include; lethargy, headaches, stomach upsets, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and frequent colds and infections. You might also experience low sex drive, nervousness and shaking, and a dry mouth.

Cognitive symptoms

worrying woman

The various cognitive issues that come with stress involve; constant worrying, racing thoughts, forgetfulness, inability to focus and poor judgement. You can also tend to be overly pessimistic and tend to focus only on the negatives.

Effects of stress

Stress is a normal part of human life. The body is made to experience stress and react accordingly. That is why there is both positive and negative stress. Positive stress includes getting a job promotion that is wanted, getting married or winning a lottery jackpot. The stress involved here helps keep the body active and alert. It's a positive thing that has happened.  Negative stress includes being overworked, death of a loved one, or losing ones job. It's a negative thing that has happened.

If the body keeps getting continuous challenges without a break, then the stress becomes negative. At this point, the person feels overwhelmed.

Once the stress levels compound, it is when you start experiencing the symptoms like headaches, elevated blood pressure and sleeping problems. This is also the time when various health problems come in.

Stress becomes even more harmful when you resort to drugs and substances as a way to manage it. Instead of relieving stress, the substance only compounds it. Under the influence, you might feel free from stress. However, immediately you become sober the stress resumes. You can end up being addicted to deal with the stress. It's a negative coping mechanism. You need to learn how to live without stress in Lottoland's article about stress.

Ways to ease stress

While no one can totally avoid stress, you can find ways to ease it. Some of these ways include;

Eat and drink healthy food

While it might seem easy to resort to drugs, alcohol and caffeine to relieve stress, they will only increase the stress levels. You need a proper diet to keep you healthy and help the body combat stress.

Exercise regularly

hiking

Exercise helps the body manage stress as it keeps you in the best shape. It also helps in releasing endorphins, the hormones that keep you feeling better and having a positive attitude. Walking in nature has been shown to help stress. Other exercises you can try include hiking, cycling, dance classes or Zumba for example.

Practicing relaxation techniques


It is normal that the mind will wander from time to time. You might even start to overthink situations. The best way to keep your mind and body is by relaxing. Look for various relaxation techniques like meditation, imagery and deep breathing to keep you mindful and relaxed.

Establish your values and live by them

The best way to lead your life free from stress is by having values in life and sticking with them. For example compassion for others, authenticity and self-respect. From time to time life might get hard. You might also be in a position where you have to make hard decisions. However, with the values and principles you have in life, you will always know what works best for you.

Be assertive

Stress also comes when forced to do what you feel is not right. By being assertive you get the power to say no to anything that does not align with your goals or needs. That way being assertive helps you keep sane.

Bottom Line

Positive stress is good for the human body. You need to strive for it. Look for ways to achieve things or achieving new goals. However, always ensure you do not expose the body to repeated challenges without taking a break. Learn to cope with stress and you will feel better for it.

Where To Buy Diamond Jewellery At The Best Prices

Diamonds they say are a girls' best friend. They are also very expensive. If you are looking to buy diamond jewellery for yourself or a loved one there are certain places that you can get a bargain. After all, no one likes to waste money. So let's look at where you can buy jewellery at the best prices.

Online
You can buy diamond jewellery online at a number of websites. Buying online means it's easy to shop around for a bargain. Compare diamond quality with the 5 C's which are Cut, Colour, Carat, Clarity and Certification. For a real bargain lookout for sales such as Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. You can also check out user reviews online to see what others are saying about the company. Buying online is particularly good if you are looking for a choice from a range of diamond engagement rings.  Buying from an online site such as MJJewels means you can benefit from even greater protection under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, as you have 14 days from the day you receive your goods to cancel a contract for goods ordered online except. The only exception to this is made to order items. The jewellery on the MJJewels website is well priced for the quality you get. 

Charity stores

If you are open-minded about the style of jewellery you may find, It's worth asking at your local charity store if they have any fine jewellery in stock. Sometimes charity stores get goods from people who are deceased or house clearances and may have jewellery in stock that they have in a cabinet or under the counter. Staff, many of who are volunteers, are not experts in jewellery and you may find something that they have priced at a low rate, and maybe even diamond jewellery. It's worth visiting your local charity store and having a browse. You never know what you are going to find. 

Antique Fairs 


Antique fairs are great places to buy diamond jewellery of the vintage or antique nature. This means you will often find something unique and different no one else will have. Prices can vary but if you know what you are looking for you can grab a diamond jewellery bargain. A true antique is an item that is over 100 years of age while a vintage item is often thought of as over 50 years of age, however can be over 20 years of age. Another benefit of buying an antique or vintage piece of diamond jewellery is that the craftsmanship is usually very high. 

Auctions

If you want to find an item of diamond jewellery at a bargain price, it is worth checking out an auction site. Before you buy be sure to read about the item first in the auction guide and look at photos either online or in the guide. If the auction site is local to you you may be able to see the item in person. This will help you check the new or vintage jewellery for any damage or flaws which could affect its price. You can buy antique and vintage jewellery this way as well as new diamond jewellery such as diamond bracelets from stores that have closed down, and you may get a bargain. Think about how much you can bid before the auction and try not to get carried away and bid too much if you want a bargain. 

I hope you found this article informative. As you can see you can find a real diamond jewellery bargain if you shop around. From engagement rings to eternity rings and diamond necklaces to diamond earrings, you can get diamond jewellery at the best prices if you put time and effort into sourcing them. 

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Win A Hotel Chocolat H Box Ends 06/10

As we are heading into the autumn I thought I would run a nice little competition for my readers for their loyal following over the years. Today on the blog I am giving you a chance to win a Hotel Chocolat Everything H Box. As the world is still doom and gloom I thought this would be a lovely treat for one of my winners.


Hotel Chocolat is a brand I've worked with over the years but this competition is solely founded by me. I love their story, how they have a strong ethical stance on producing chocolate and pay their farmers a fair rate, growing cocoa beans in their own plantation in St Lucia. 

They have original chocolates too, their patisserie collection is a firm favourite of mine with their indulgent centres and fruity flavours. So let's get down to the competition. Today on my blog you can win this Everything H Box or a similar box if it is out of stock. Entry is via the Gleam app,  just let me know what your favourite chocolate is and entry is easy with a click of a button.  Good luck!


Win a Hotel Chocolat H Box

6 Top UK Staycations

This year it has been difficult to travel abroad, due to multiple testing and the traffic light system implemented due to the pandemic.  This has lead to many people staying in the UK. Of course, that isn't a hardship as the UK has some beautiful countryside, as well as historic cities and incredible things to see and do.  So if you are looking for some ideas of where to go on your next UK staycation, I have some inspiration for you. Let's have a look at 6 of the top UK staycation destinations for a holiday.

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands is just beautiful. We visited this year when we took a flight from Bristol up to Inverness and then hired a car travelling to Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Glencoe and Oban. On this trip, we missed Aviemore and the Isle Of Mull, and we didn't see the Loch Ness Monster so it's a great excuse to go back!  This area of Scotland is perfect for nature lovers. We visited the free Highland Folk Museum where Outlander was filmed and really enjoyed our visit. Also worth a visit is the Culloden battlefield, the site of the bloody last battle of the Jacobite Rising. 

Pembrokeshire

Tenby
Pembrokeshire is a personal favourite of ours, as it's a short drive from where we live in South Wales and it brings back memories for me as every year as I used to visit every year as a child. Tenby still has a place in my heart, the harbour is just beautiful and there are a few great shops and amazing beaches. Don't forget Saundersfoot, Pembroke and St David's too. Pembroke Castle is worth visiting as it's an interesting medieval castle. If you come to Pembrokeshire the beauty of the area won't disappoint you. 

Cornwall

St Ives
Cornwall is a top UK destination for its pretty villages, fabulous beaches and warm climate. Our favourite village in Cornwall is St Ives. It is famous for its artistic community and has some lovely shops selling crafts and pottery. It also has the wonderful Tate St Ives which is a fabulous little art museum. If you want to explore further afield, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is worth visiting to see rescued seals and The Eden Project is a world-famous eco-park and educational centre. Other recommended places to visit include Padstow, Fowey and Looe. 

Lake District

The Lake District is a popular area to visit in Cumbria as it has clear blue lakes, rugged mountains and interesting little market towns like Kendal, Amberside and Keswick. Lake Windermere should not be missed, take a boat trip on the lake, or visit the Beatrix Potter gallery where you can see her original artwork as well as the original manuscript for The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. Grizedale Forest has walking and cycle trails with art sculptures dotted around and the Lakes Aquarium has the UK's largest collection of freshwater fish. There is so much to see around this area for all the family.

Yorkshire

Whitby Abbey

Yorkshire in the north of England is known for its Roman and Viking heritage as well as medieval abbeys, castles and two national parks. We personally love York, a great historic city with amazing independent shopping. We recommend visiting for the York Christmas market to pick up some unique gifts. If you are visiting with kids the Jorvik Viking Centre is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors are taken through Viking scenes in carriages with the sounds and smells of Viking life all around them.  Other things to do in Yorkshire include exploring the Yorkshire Moors, visiting Castle Howard where Brideshead Revisited and Bridgeton was filmed and seeing Whitby Abbey, the inspiration for Mary Shelly's Dracula. 

Devon

Torquay

Devon in South West England is a popular UK destination and is well known to us as it's an easy 2 to 3 hour drive. Known for its soft sand beaches, breathtaking cliffs, fossil beaches, medieval towns and areas of outstanding beauty, a visit to Devon is always very memorable. Have a Devon cream tea where the cream is always before the jam, visit the English Riveria towns of Paignton and Torquay and learn to surf in Croyde Bay. We loved the little village of Lynton and Lynmouth connected by the funicular railways. 

For more beautiful UK staycations check out Luxury Coastal who specialise in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset holidays with an upmarket vibe. 

Let me know where do you like visiting in the UK?

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What To Do If You Have A Migraine

If you suffer from migraine attacks it can be very debilitating. Whether you have suffered for a while or are new to migraines there are some things you can do to manage the pain. Let's have a look at what you can do if you have a migraine.

What is a migraine?

woman with headache


A migraine is a moderate to severe headache often with throbbing pain. Other symptoms may be a sensitivity to light or a feeling of sickness, disturbed vision, and auras or sensory disturbances. Migraines can be triggered by stress, tiredness, certain food or drink and hormones related to women’s periods. 

Initial treatment

Treatment for migraines vary and the effectiveness is very individual. Initially, certain things are thought to help.

Sitting in a dark room or sleeping helps a large proportion of people. Other people find that eating something can help them too if hunger has brought on the migraine. 

Painkillers should be taken at the initial symptoms. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory painkillers like Ibuprofen or other painkillers like Paracetamol can help. Dissolvable tablets get into your bloodstream quickly and are a better option than normal tablets.

You may be able to buy medication especially for migraine relief over the counter and they are often a combination of painkillers and anti-sickness medication. Of course, always follow the instructions on the packet and take only the recommended dose.

GP advice

woman with migraine

If you find that over the counter medications are not helping it's best to make an appointment with your GP to discuss alternatives. They may suggest Triptan medication specifically for migraines. These medications were devised in the ’90s for cluster headaches and migraines. These should be taken at the first sign of a migraine. 

They may also prescribe anti-sickness medication if you have nausea when you have your migraines and this will be stronger than over the counter anti-sickness medication. 

Alternative treatment

There are some alternative treatments that anecdotal evidence suggests may work for some.

Acupuncture is one alternative treatment that is thought to help some people. A course of treatment rather than one session is mostly beneficial. As it's an alternative therapy it may not work for everyone.

Paingone Qalm is another alternative therapy for migraine relief. This treatment uses transcutaneous nerve stimulation which is applied directly to the forehead and is designed to alleviate migraine attacks. 

Preventative measures

Rather than treating the migraine when it happens, it's worth keeping a diary if you are having regular migraines to identify any triggers. Chocolate, processed food, alcohol and caffeine are common triggers of migraines and altering your diet so you avoid these triggers could be extremely beneficial. If stress is a trigger, then trying to avoid what is stressing you (easier said than done!) and learning stress-relieving coping mechanisms like meditation and exercise could help.  If tiredness brings on migraines, see if there is any way you can get more rest.  Try to identify what brings on the migraines and learn to avoid the trigger is the best advice. 

In conclusion, migraine attacks can be painful and debilitating but with a combination of pain relief, natural remedies, and preventative measures you can combat the worst of the symptoms.

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