Featured Slider

The Advantages Of A Cruise Holiday

There are so many ways to travel, and one which is exciting and has many advantages is cruising. It's not just a way to get to your destination, it's a holiday in its own right.  With all the facilities onboard some of the cruise ships, you don't even have to leave the ship if you don't want to.  There are plenty more advantages too. Let's have a look at the main advantages of a cruise holiday and why they are so popular in this day and age.

The ease of all-inclusive

If you have ever travelled all-inclusive before, then you will know how much easier it can make things. This is certainly true of cruise holidays, which are always of the all-inclusive type, and therefore a particularly easy way to have a holiday.  You don’t have to worry about anything not being included, or any further costs in particular, as you have it all arranged beforehand. Things that are included include delicious food, drink, entertainment from singers to magic shows, excursions and more. That makes it much easier to just sit back and enjoy the holiday - which, after all, is exactly what a holiday is for.

You can visit multiple destinations


A cruise is a great opportunity to travel for anyone who struggles to land on one particular destination. If you always find that you don’t know exactly where you want to go because you have so many places that are screaming out for you, or if you and your partner always argue about it, then going on a cruise can easily solve all of that. In most cruises, you will get to see a large number of destinations all as part of the same trip, so this is absolutely something that is worth considering. If nothing else, it means that there is likely to be something for everybody. Want a cruise of the Carribean? Tick! Want a river cruise through Europe?  Tick! You can see so many destinations in one holiday with a cruise.

For what you get it's inexpensive



Generally, for what you are getting on a cruise holiday, you are not paying as much as you might expect. 
Don't forget many include all your food and drink and excursions too as well as entertainment onboard. It can be especially inexpensive if you can manage to find a good deal with a cruise company if you know where to look. Shopping around with something like the Bolsover Cruise Club will throw up plenty of cruise deals that you can consider, so if you are trying to watch the pennies you will find that this is pretty easy to do it.

Easy eating great for fussy people


Eating is usually a big part of any cruise holiday, so anything you can do to make this easier is going to mean an easier and more enjoyable holiday. I have already mentioned that this will generally be included in the price of a cruise, but that’s not the only way in which eating is going to be easy. It is also because you will generally have a lot of choice in what you can eat, and that means it appeals to many people, even the fussy ones.  No worrying about where you are going to eat each day is a great perk too. There may be options to eat A La Carte as well for an extra supplement, and this is perfect if you want a change one night, or a more intimate romantic meal.

So here are the advantages of a cruise holiday. Have you ever been on a cruise? Does this type of holiday appeal?

*Collaborative post

The Joy Of Missing Out

The digital revolution has opened up many doors for us, and plenty of them have been positive. For example, I now work from home when in the past I wouldn't have been able to. With the creation of the internet and devices like smartphones, we literally have the world at our fingertips - so why does it also feels like we have the world on our shoulders? Digital platforms such as social media has allowed us to reconnect and stay in contact with friends and loved ones in what feels like a more intimate fashion that ever before. It has also bombarded us with perfect images of other peoples curated worlds which can sometimes feel overwhelming and create insecurity - even if deep down we know many of these images are filtered to the max and edited beyond their original composition. I mean, how many times have we met someone in person that we have mainly been following on the internet and realised they don’t have the airbrushed perfect skin or are much older than we have been led to believe?

FOMO - Fear of Missing Out 



Tap into any of your social media apps and within a few minutes it’s very easy to fall down into the rabbit hole of despair - everyone is either at an amazing party, on the beach or spending a huge chunk of money on items you have been lusting after for years. How can this be? How does everyone seem so...ahead of you all of a sudden? Well, I am happy to say that you aren’t alone in suffering from FOMO. In fact, it’s more common than you think especially with the younger generation.  A recent survey of 18 -25 years olds revealed that looking at sites such as Instagram, can make the suffer from FOMO - 50 percent in fact, with a further 46 percent saying social media makes them wish they could travel more and said it made them feel their own lives are unexciting. While 43 percent said they haven’t achieved as much as their peers.

JOMO - Joy Of Missing Out 


Ever log into social media in a happy mood to find it deflated within a few minutes of scrolling? This isn’t an isolated feeling, in fact there is a whole movement around stepping away from the screen, ceasing the scrolling and not attending events to impress your digital audience. JOMO - or the joy of missing out is basically the opposite of FOMO. It’s taking the time to enjoy just being you, or being you with other people away from the digital noise. It's certainly growing in popularity with companies like giffgaff making a JOMO generator to offer hints and tips on how to be more JOMO and sites such as experience JOMO being set up to actively encourage people to engage in this exercise. 


I have to admit I've been making a conscious effort to get away from technology on a regular basis and it does make me feel better when I do. The world isn't going to end if you leave your phone at home, so go out for a walk, get away from the technology and breathe in the fresh air. You will feel better for it.

So what about you? What are your experiences with social media, your phone and the impact that it has? Comment below but make sure this is after a period of digital detoxing so you get your JOMO time in!

3 Simple Lifestyle Changes That Can Help with Anxiety

Knowing the reason behind your anxiety can really be effective in managing it. Many of us have faced the signs and symptoms of anxiety, whether writing an exam or when interviewing for a new job. Some of us find it difficult to stop feeling anxious in seemingly ordinary situations, leaving a lasting effect on our quality of life. So, it is very important to figure out what is going on and why you are feeling so anxious. The fantastic thing about our brain is that it can rewire itself all the time; this is called neuroplasticity.

By making some very simple but not easy lifestyle changes, you can literally boost your brain’s ability to help heal itself and reduce your anxiety forever. Another thing to remember is that with or without medication, you will have to make some lifestyle changes. One of the most critical changes will be to change your diet; there are certain foods that can alleviate your anxiety, and there are some foods you need to avoid because they can worsen your symptoms. Below are three simple lifestyle changes that I have discovered that can help with anxiety.

Exercise at least five times a week 




Whenever you can exercise as much as you can. Thirty minutes of exercise five times a week has been shown to help anxiety and depression, according to Anxiety UK, a national registered charity. Exercising has amazing effects on the brain as when you start exercising your blood flow will increase, and your brain will be filled with oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. Exercise also produces more neurons in your brain, so it stimulates the production of new brain cells. The best time to exercise is early morning, as when you begin your day with exercise it is said your mental capacity for handling stress nearly triples. The reason is that our brain recognizes exercise as a period of stress, heart rate increases and the brain kicks into a fight or flight mode. As a defence to this supposed threat, the brain starts producing chemicals that can help in alleviating anxiety.

Exercise is also known to help you feel better, and the positive mental effects of exercising last almost the entire day. Starting the day with a moderate exercise session leads to better diet choices, a faster metabolism, more energy and a sense of accomplishment. Morning rituals to help with anxiety can be any physically stimulating activity, a trail run, an aerobics class, or even a brisk walk with your dog. Just get out of breath and have fun!

Cut back on coffee and caffeinated drinks




The problem with coffee is that it contains caffeine and consuming more than a cup or two of strong coffee in a day is a known cause for anxiety. Drinking too much coffee can worsen your anxiety over a period. Caffeine can create all kinds of body sensations that resemble a panic attack — consuming more than the recommended limit of coffee can create heart palpitations, tremors, sensations of anxiety, and nausea. Caffeine is also known to trigger panic attacks.

The way our body metabolizes coffee is partially based on our genetics. Coffee can be a silent cause of your anxiety, and for those of us who like to start our morning at the local cafe, this can be a tough habit to break. In this case, try substituting one cup for a herbal tea such as chamomile known to be calming, for example, or swap one caffeinated cup for decaffeinated. One thing worth mentioning here is that your morning routine can easily set the stage for the rest of the day. It may be easier for you to cut out that first cup than it is to cut out the second one. You should consider cutting back on coffee but also keep track of the caffeine content in other drinks like chocolate and all the energy drinks.

Yoga and deep meditation can help manage anxiety 



There are many meditation techniques in yoga. If you find yourself in one of the emotional spaces that make you feel anxious, one thing that can help is yoga and meditation. Yoga is filled with numerous activities that coordinate breathing with an empowering movement of the body, developing strength on the inside as well as the mind. So get practising meditation techniques. You will need that inner meditational strength to dig yourself out of that dark emotional anxiety that causes depression.

Dealing with anxiety is not easy, but you can help manage it. Other than medication and talking therapies, these three simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your anxiety. You must be aware that anxiety is not dangerous in itself, it may feel like terrible things are going to happen, but actually, nothing will happen. So help yourself, try these lifestyle changes and see if they work for you. I wish you a happy and prosperous anxiety-free life, and I hope you enjoyed reading my experiences that helped me with anxiety.

Ways To Decorate A Flat For Rent To Maximise Earning Potential

As an amateur landlord, you know the importance of saving money while not scrimping on the essentials. It’s a fine balance trying to kit out your rental flat to a high enough quality to attract the best and most reliable tenants without overspending and wasting cash on unnecessary additions to your property. To maximise your rental yield, you need to be savvy with your money and how you decorate the flat.  Take a look at this guide to help you decorate a rental flat without breaking the bank.

Decor


The most sought after rental properties are relatively plain and boring shells. Crisp white or magnolia walls complete with engineered wood flooring running throughout the pad creates an image of an easy to maintain interior for your tenants. Your potential tenants don’t want garish decor or plush carpets. Anything that might be at risk of getting broken or stained will have tenants running a mile as they will not want to lose their rental deposit come the end of their rental period. Keep things simple.

When focusing on each room, go for mid range essentials. Go for a resilient wipe clean paint for example. While a little more expensive than the budget brand, you won’t be slipping into a false economy as you won’t be repainting as often. When it comes to the furnishings, maintain an unfurnished pad. This puts the onus on your tenants to kit out the flat to their own personal taste with their choice of furniture, and you won't have to worry about your possessions being damaged.

Kitchens


The kitchen of your rental accommodation will be an important space that will dictate how much you can charge each month. You don’t need to opt for the designer bespoke cabinetry complete with granite quartz worktops, but don't opt for the most bargain basement units made of basic MDF. Go for something middle of the road that will last longer if you can, and head to showrooms to investigate the ex-display models. These can be perfect for rental flats as they may be top of the range but they might have had their drawers opened a few hundred times. Still, they will be up to half the recommended retail price and the kitchen will look top notch when you carry out viewings. Important in a competitive area for rentals.

Young Professionals


The main target you should be trying to hit is young professionals. This demographic has the most cash to splash and they want to have a well maintained property. Ensure that you show off your landlord credentials with boiler service certificates and PAT test reports for all of your electrics. Renting is still a tenants market so you do need to be head and shoulders above the competition. Enjoy creating a simple blank canvas that is near transport links and amenities. These are the key factors that will have young professionals flocking to your pad.

Being an amateur landlord isn't as easy as the swathe of current reality TV shows suggests. However, follow this guide and you will have a maintained rental pad that costs you the bare minimum but that allows you to reap a generous rental yield.

*Collaborative post

African Destinations To Visit For Manmade And Natural Beauty

Africa is a vast and spectacular continent. Not only is it culturally fascinating; it’s also stunning in a visual sense. Every country on this continent is unique, of course, but they each offer breathtaking natural beauty, and that’s a wonderful thing to have in common. It’s what bonds the nations of this continent. So, if you’re planning on exploring Africa, then these are the destinations you need to visit for manmade and natural beauty.

Marrakech, Morocco


Marrakech, or Marrakesh, is one of the most impressive cities in Morocco. As a nation, Morocco is culturally and naturally beautiful. There’s no denying that. Still, if you could only visit one place in the entire country, then it should be Marrakech. Firstly, it’s set in a beautiful location at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. This range of snow-capped mountains serves as a stunning backdrop for this atmospheric city. These mountains set the scene. They’re idyllic and surreal. Of course, they’re not just aesthetically-pleasing; they’re fun to climb, too. So, if you’re looking for an adventure, then you should consider hiking up these magnificent natural monuments and admiring the world from a great vantage point.

In terms of manmade beauty, you’ll find plenty of that in the heart of the city. It oozes historical significance. The El Badi Palace, in particular, is well worth visiting. This city is full of palaces and intriguing historical buildings, but the El Badi Palace is certainly one of the most intriguing. Architecturally, it’s gorgeous. You’ll find luxurious archways, peaceful openings which bounce light off the walls in a transcendent manner, and wonderful views of the city as a whole. Make sure you visit the Marrakech Museum, too. This vibrant and colourful museum reveals the intriguing culture of this fantastic country. Never have history lessons seemed so vivid and eye-opening. You’ll truly fall in love with Morocco and Africa as a whole, after visiting Marrakech. This city is a bustling, bold, and beautiful place to visit. It should definitely be one of the first destinations you should explore on your African excursion.

Cape Town, South Africa


South Africa is another spectacular country which draws tourists from all over the world. It’s easy to see why this is the case, when you see the country for yourself. You should start by visiting Cape Town. The capital of South Africa is an energetic coastal city with so much to offer to travellers. From glitzy modern skylines to crisp white beaches, Cape Town fits the definition of manmade and natural beauty in many different forms. Make sure you visit Clifton Beach, which has four beautiful coves. You also need to visit Boulders Beach (the name aptly sums it up) near Simon’s Town. This beach is home to a colony of African penguins, and that makes it a big attraction for plenty of tourists. Where else in the world can you see such incredible and unique wildlife on a public beach? That’s what makes South Africa so incredible. Of course, Cape Town, in particular, is the place to be, with so much to do,  so check out some of the tours when you are here.


However, South Africa  is not just Cape Town.  There’s much more to explore in this large country. You could check out the best South Africa tour in the area. This could take you on the Grand Southern Safari Tour. You’d go from Cape Town in South Africa to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (an iconic destination). Taking a tour such as this would help to introduce you to some of the other wonderful spots in South Africa, such as Swakopmund, Etosha NP, and Ghanzi. Africa is a sprawling continent, and each country has so much to offer to explorers.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe


As mentioned in the previous point, the Grand Southern Safari Tour will take you from South Africa to Zimbabwe. Given that it ends at Victoria Falls, you should take the opportunity to fully explore and appreciate one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Africa, never mind Zimbabwe. This stunning waterfall on the Zambezi River serves as a border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. If you want a truly memorable experience, you should try what is known as the ‘Armchair’. Essentially, you sit within a rock barrier near the edge of the waterfall, but it’s absolutely essential that you only do that with a professional during the September-to-December period. Still, if you’re feeling adventurous, this could be a unique and beautiful way to experience Victoria Falls.

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo is one of the world’s most impressive cities. and one of the main attractions for many people who decide to explore Egypt. If you’re going to take a trip to this truly impressive city, then you should definitely start by visiting The Egyptian Museum. Much like the city of Cairo itself, this museum isn’t content with providing the most breathtaking collection of exhibits in Egypt or even in Africa. People from all over the world come to this museum to see incredible ancient artefacts. The Tutankhamun Galleries, obviously, offer some of the most intriguing treasures on display in the museum. These artefacts are all genuine relics from the tomb of Tutankhamun. You should also check out the Royal Mummies. These fantastic exhibits are unlike anything you can find anywhere else in the world.

Of course, a trip to Cairo would be incomplete without visiting Giza. It’s only a few miles southwest of Cairo, and this ancient city is home to some of the most significant landmarks in Egypt. You’ll find the Great Sphinx of Giza and the Great Pyramids of Giza here. You might think you’ve already seen them countless times, but you’ve not truly appreciated them until you’ve seen them in person. It’s an entirely different experience. These are some of the oldest manmade structures on the planet. That’s a beautiful thing in itself, but the Sphinx, the Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure are all architecturally-astounding to this day. Khufu is the only one of the Seven Wonders to remain mostly intact. That’s a testament to the prowess of the ancient engineers responsible for these Egyptian monuments, whoever they were.

Masa Mara, Kenya


This is another wonderful destination that you should put on your must-see list if you’re planning on taking a trip to Africa. Kenya is a majestic country with so much to offer to visitors. In terms of natural beauty, you’ll want to visit Masa Mara. This is where you can go to see the Great Migration. It involves two million wild zebra, gazelle, and wildebeest migrating from the Masa Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti in Tanzania. You can even follow them back to the Masa Mara, afterwards. If you’re weighing up the tour opportunities in the area, then that’s definitely the one you should do. After all, it’s most people’s reason for visiting Masa Mara in the first place. But it’s also an opportunity to see Tanzania, so that’s why those two countries are often coupled together. Of course, even when those fantastic animals aren’t migrating, you’ll find plenty of wildlife in the Masa Mara, throughout the year. You might see huge herds of elephants, lions, rhinos, and even Cape buffalos. It’s a travel experience like no other. Plus, if your migration tour takes you to Tanzania, you could see the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, as well. You could even hike up it, if you’re feeling adventurous.

Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda


Uganda is a stunning country in Eastern Africa. The scenery is so diverse in this vast region, and the culture is incredibly diverse, too. If you’re looking for tranquil and ethereal beauty, then you should definitely visit the Rwenzori Mountains. This spectacular mountain range is located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It might be one of the most beautiful borders in the world. Not many countries can boast about stunning mountains forming their borders, after all. These monumental natural formations support glaciers and function as one of many sources for the Nile river. So, the Rwenzori Mountains aren’t just visually-transfixing; they also serve an important purpose in Uganda.

These mountains have a beautiful human history attached to them, as well. They are often linked to the Mountains of the Moon, which were historically cited as the source of the River Nile. Whilst you might simply want to admire these snow-capped mountains from the warmth and safety of their bases, many explorers do traverse them. It can be an arduous ascent, but it’s a rewarding one, too. If you want an experience like no other in Africa (or the world, for that matter), then the Rwenzori Mountains might be calling to you.

Let me know, would you like to visit Africa?

*Collaborative post

ContentCal Auto Publishing And Scheduling App Review

With so many companies needing to get noticed and marketing costs spiralling, many small businesses want a cost-effective marketing strategy to promote their business. This is where auto-publishing scheduling software comes in like ContentCal. This post is in collaboration with ContentCal, all opinions are as ever my own.

ContentCal. is a platform for planning and auto-publishing marketing content, a social media management tool in simpler terms. Signing up for ContentCal is easy and the basic account is free. There are also other pricing for business accounts (£9 a month), company (£29 a month), and premium (£79 a month).




The free account gives you a single user account with 4 social profiles, 1 calender and 10 posts per month as well as email support. A feature of ContentCal is the collaborative aspect, sharing ideas and creating content and collaborating together. 

So the first thing I would recommend is viewing the quick start guide video to give you a basic understanding of how ContentCal works.


Firstly you add calendars to your workspace and invite users. You can also set up a range of social media profiles within the calendar, namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

The social media calendar is easy to set up, in day by day, week or month view. The filters here are a useful function on the right to show categories or social media content and the search function allows you to find content based on a certain word or term. You can also export the content to an excel document.

What I liked is that its a very visual way of seeing when all your content is scheduled for. You can add ideas, reminders and notes to the Pinboard and drag posts from the Pinboard to the calendar and vice versa, and with the paid-for options managing multiple accounts is straight forward too. The Pinboard is an area in which to store those brilliant ideas and posts that you have but you are not ready to publish. 

So let's look at how simple it is to use. This is how to schedule a Facebook post.



As you can see it is fairly straightforward. All new posts are either sent to approval or can be approved now. 

Twitter is very similar to schedule too, however, there are some quirks that apply to all scheduling software. With all scheduling software, you have to ensure you don't post the same content on Twitter too frequently as it will refuse to post it. It's always good practice to ensure there are a number of different tweets in between the same post in my opinion. 



Twitter is also limited to 280 characters, and it will show you how many characters you have left to write so that's useful when scheduling. 





You can create a category for each post as well in the schedule section which can be useful for organisation, and also create hashtags to use.

After the social posts are published you can reschedule the post easily which is useful to do and you can view the analytics too, which is beneficial to see how well the posts are performing. 

Benefits of using ContentCal

ContentCal is easy to set up and intuitive and provides a great visual way to schedule content. The basic set up is free and the business account at £9 a month is very affordable. The way you can collaborate with others is one of the major benefits and viewing the analytics can provide incredibly useful data. If you've used other scheduling tools, it's very easy to move over to using ContentCal and it's free to get started. If you are looking for a cost-effective way of scheduling social media content then you can do no wrong trying ContentCal. 

Check out ContentCal and let me know what you think.
*AD