Monday, 10 December 2018

Five Steps To A Sparkling Smile

Everyone deserves a sparking and friendly smile. Most people when asked will say that if there is one thing that they can do today to improve their smile it would be to have a whiter smile. However, with today's modern diet it can be difficult for people to achieve a dazzling white smile on their own.

Unfortunately, staining food and drinks, the ageing process and poor oral hygiene practices can lead to our teeth yellowing, making it very hard to keep those pearly whites clean and bright.

What you can do to get whiter teeth



There are a few things that you can do to help improve the brightness of your smile and the whiteness of your teeth. Let's take a look at five tips for obtaining the dazzling smile you deserve:

1. Reduce or avoid staining food and drink

We all love our favourite food and drink items but many of them are not our friend when it comes to keeping our teeth white. Try to minimise your consumption of highly staining drinks such as coffee, tea and red wine.

Many acidic foods can be very damaging to your teeth and can cause a lot of staining or discolouration over time. Try to reduce your consumption of acidic fruits such as lemons and grapefruit, tomatoes are another highly staining and acidic food that can erode tooth enamel and allow your yellow-coloured dentine showing through.

Eating and drinking sugar-laden food and drink can also cause plaque build up on your teeth that can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay can cause severe discolouration to your teeth. Even eating what most people believe to be healthy berries and fruits can deliver a high sugar impact as well as staining from the rich pigments contained in the fruit.

2. Use a straw to drink with

You can bypass your teeth and avoid a lot of tooth staining by sipping your drinks through a straw. Using a straw presents a simple barrier between a staining drink and the surface of your teeth. It can also help to prevent staining from food and drink by cleaning your teeth soon after you have finished your meal and drink. Avoid plastic by using a paper straw or a reusable metal straw.

3. Keep a good oral hygiene routine

There is nothing better to help keep your teeth clean and free from plaque build up and staining coatings from food and drink than to brush your teeth twice per day, floss at least once per day and visit your dentist for regular deep cleaning.

4. Stop smoking

If you smoke, then you are not only putting your health at risk, you are also increasing your risks of tooth staining. The nicotine and tar contained in tobacco smoke can easily leach into gaps and fractures in your tooth enamel and leave tell-tale yellow or brown stains on your teeth.

5. Get your teeth whitened by your dentist

Your dentist should be your first call when you want to get your teeth professionally whitened. They can give you a thorough oral examination and recommend a tooth whitening procedure that would be the most effective for you to follow. This may involve in-office treatments at your dental surgery, an at-home overnight whitening system, or a combination of both.

By far the quickest and most effective way to give yourself the sparkling smile you deserve is to book yourself in with your dentist for a professional teeth whitening procedure.

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Friday, 7 December 2018

How To Save Money On Your Mobile Phone Contract

Traditional mobile phone contracts see customers happily sign up to a two year deal to get their hands on the latest iPhone for ‘free’ and end up paying more than £50 each month for the privilege.

Yet some people, me included, spend much less on their mobile phone bill and that got me thinking about sharing my knowledge with you, especially when an estimated four million people have been charged £490 million for handsets they already own!

Obviously I can’t promise you’ll cut your bills dramatically, but follow these tips and there’s no reason you should be paying more than £15 a month.

Go SIM only




The cheapest deals are ones that don’t come with a smartphone included and they’re SIM only deals. With a SIM only deal you either keep your old smartphone or buy a new one outright and pay just for your minutes, texts and data.

As well as the lower prices, the good thing about SIM only deals is that they give you a lot of flexibility. You can get contracts that run from as little as 30 days and most only last 12months, rather than the 24 month deals you’re tied in to on a phone contract.

Because you are no longer paying for a shiny new smartphone, the monthly costs are also a lot lower.

Some networks also offer discounts for family plans where if you take out one sim only contract, then you receive discounts on any others you take out on your plan for other family members. This is worth considering if you have teenagers and BT Mobile offer the best value family plan at the moment with 20% off every additional sim and they’re only 30 day plans too.

Should I avoid a contract phone altogether?

I’m a total convert to the SIM Only contract but there are some deals that can make sense, especially on less popular phones. Some older devices that have been out for over a year can be picked up on cheap deals that will match SIM only or only put you out by a few pounds over 24 months.

Don’t just look at prices on the main networks


You are probably familiar with the main networks in the UK: O2, EE, Three and Vodafone. But there are lots of others called MVNO’s that “piggyback” on the main networks signal.

You can get exactly the same reception as someone on O2 if you use giffgaff for example. If you look at the prices, you will usually find the prices on these smaller providers far cheaper than the main brands. For reference here’s a list of ones you should consider: 


Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile who use O2
Asda Mobile, Virgin, BT, Post Office Mobile use EE
Voxi use Vodafone
ID Mobile and Smarty uses Three

Make sure you check the coverage of each network before you part with your money, the Ofcom Mobile Coverage checker will show you reception across the four main companies.

It’s also easy to move your number to a new network if you switch so don’t be afraid to move providers. All you need is your PAC code which your existing network must issue if you request it.

Don’t pay for more minutes/ text/ data than you’ll actually use

One of the biggest ways you can waste money on your phone bill by paying for data you don’t use. This is often done via clever upselling.

You will often see deals that are just £2 more for double the data which sounds great. Except you don’t always need more data.

You should be able to get an idea of how many minutes and texts you use each month and there are some useful data usage apps and calculators for working out how much data you need. As a rule, unless you are constantly streaming video you’ll not need more than 1GB or 2GB.

Compare prices and cashback



Just like you would with your household bills, it’s important to compare the entire market. There are so many price comparison sites now so use them all and see if they have different deals available.

Factor in the extras and freebies

I wouldn’t choose a deal based purely on extras, but if prices are similar it’s worth seeing what you can get. For example if you use your phone abroad, Three might be the best choice because they have a lot of inclusive roaming destinations.

Call your network to see if they’ll negotiate

If you are on an existing deal it’s worth calling your network to see if they can do you a better deal. Ask to speak with the ‘disconnection’ team as they have access to cheaper deals to try and convince you to stay.

Don’t wait for your contract to end to start finding deals

Whatever you do, don’t let your existing contract run over at the higher monthly price. Plan ahead and look at deals the month before it ends, that way you’re ready to switch as soon as the contract ends.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Old Rhinebeck Inn - A Historic American Farmhouse In Dutchess County New York State

Recently we were lucky to visit the beautiful Dutchess County area of New York State. Dutchess County is located in southeastern New York State, between the Hudson River on its west and the New York–Connecticut border on its east. It's an area of America, with lush green countryside, with vineyards dotting the landscape, farms selling their tasty produce and plenty of outdoor activities.



Our stay for the whistle stop press trip with Dutchess Tourism was the Old Rhinebeck Inn, an early American style farmhouse built around 1745. Located three miles away from the little town of Rhinebeck, just over two hours drive from New York City, this little gem of a farmhouse is tucked away in a rural location surrounded by meadows and trees. 


We had a warm welcome from Cindy who helps run the farmhouse with the owner Jonna and on arrival were offered local apple cider, which is a non-alcoholic beverage like cloudy apple juice. It was delicious and just what we needed after the drive.

The inn began as a home to the farming family of Johann Michael Pultz and his wife, who extended the house room by room as they had more children.

The four bedrooms at the Old Rhinebeck Inn are all individually furnished in a rustic style. Each room is filled with antiques and has an air
 of comfort and cosy luxury. Each room has a private bath and/or shower, eco-friendly toiletries, hair dryers and plush soft robes, as well as all the modern conveniences you expect these days like free W-Fi, USB chargers, Netflix and satellite TV.


The little touches in this place make your stay feel extra special. Each room has fresh cut flowers, a guest fridge with complimentary soft drinks and a welcome plate on arrival with scrumptious cookies. Complimentary tea and coffee were available on each floor and fresh milk (including almond milk) provided on request. 

Our room was called the Plow and Harrow suite. A large suite, this consisted of a cosy sitting room, a stylish and rustic bedroom and a cool modern bathroom. 


The furnishings fitted in with the American farmhouse feel. I was particularly impressed with the bed that was huge and really comfortable with a memory foam mattress. The room had a sofa, small table, bedside tables and a little nook to store your clothes. An in-room fridge full of cans of complimentary soft drink were very welcome, and not seen very often in a hotel room.







The bathroom consisted of a shower, separate claw foot bath, toilet, and sink. Everything was suitably pristine and spotlessly clean, which is super important don't you think?

Toiletries were eco-friendly and the accommodation has a Trip Advisors Green Leaders platinum level for its eco-friendly practices such as recycling and growing their own vegetables. 

The view from the bathroom and bedroom was of the green fields below but was shaded so no one could see you too. 


There was a gas fire in the room, which I would think would be very welcome on a cold winters day, keeping you cosy and warm.

We had a glimpse of the other rooms as well and some of the highlights are below.














As you can see the whole place was gorgeous and the photos really don't do it justice.  Each room was decorated authentically and in compliment to the history of the inn. 



Breakfast was served at 9am in the dining room and included items such as homemade vegetable frittata, baked french custard pancakes and other scrumptious delights that change on a regular basis. Dishes incorporated organic milk, the freshest eggs from their own chickens, and vegetables picked that day from their garden. 



We were treated to Bircher muesli which was possibly the best I have ever had, avocado toast with radish which was seasoned perfectly, baked eggs with salmon and crispy sauteed potatoes. Juice was a cherry and berry mix packed full of antioxidants. Everything was healthy but tasty too and you certainly wouldn't go hungry with the food on offer. 



Rooms at the Old Rhinebeck Inn start at $225 a night, which for the standard of accommodation I think is fairly priced. It's not cheap certainly but in this instance, I believe you get what you pay for.

Would we stay here again? Most definitely! I've always wanted to stay in a homely American farmhouse, being brought up with the Waltons TV show in the 1970s. The Old Rhinebeck Inn exceeded every expectation I had on the decor, the amenities and the warm welcome. The breakfast was outstanding and the quality of the ingredients was exceptional. Cindy and Jonna are friendly and warm and were great company too. 

For more information on what to do in the area check out Dutchess Tourism.

If you are ever staying in the Rhinebeck area or want a luxurious base to explore Dutchess County then I can say with my hand on my heart you can do no wrong staying here.  Exceptional.

Olde Rhinebeck Inn
340 Wurtemburg Rd,
Rhinebeck, 

* This was a complimentary stay as part of a press trip

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Choosing Kitchen Worktops

If you are having a new kitchen fitted or you are upgrading your kitchen by refurbishing it, one thing you will have to think about is the kitchen worktops. Replacing them on a old kitchen can make all the difference to the overall look of the kitchen and they are also an integral part of a new kitchen, but there are a surprising amount of options to choose from.

All kitchen worktops have to be hardwearing and withstanding food preparation. They come in a variety of prices and have a different aesthetic look depending on the substance used. To take you through the various options, here is a guide to choosing kitchen worktops.  

Marble


Marble worktops give a luxurious high-end look in a kitchen. Even piece of marble is different so your worktops will be unique. Marble is cool to the touch and doesn't get hot so it is good surface for people who like to bake a lot and make pastry. It's fairly easy to maintain and clean with wam water and a mild detergent. It can scratch over time as its a natural substance but you shouldn't notice it much due to the natural design of the material.

Glass

Glass has a variety of benefits. It is modern and chic in a kitchen and is heat resisitant and very durable. It's easy to keep clean and hugienic too. It comes in a variery of sizes and shapes and colours to fit in with any kitchen. The only problem with glass is that it needs frequent cleaning and can be expensive. 

Laminate

Laminate is a great budget option, so if you are on a limited budget consider this. It can be made to look like more expensive worksurfaces and is scratch and heat resistant. It's easy to mainain too. Laminates don't seem to last as well over time however and can peel or even burn and melt.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is often used in industrial or high-end kitchen restaurants. It has a very modern look so wouldn't be suitable for more traditional style houses and kitchens. It is strong, easy to clean, waterproof and antibacterial. It can give off a look that is cold and clinical however. It's not a cheap option as well.

Wood



Wood works well in a traditional kitchen, especially in a older house. Maple, oak and beech are popular choices. The look of wood improves with age and every piece of wood is unique, They are naturally resistant to germs and bacteria. Wood does need some upkeep however. They need to be oiled regularly to ensure it is protected from water and they can mark with heat so avoid putting hot pans and dishes on a wooden work surface. They are reasonable in price but more expensive than laminates.

Composite 

Composite worktops where two or more materials are combined together can be hardwearing, very hygienic and easy to install.  Diresco worktops are one such example and they are made of a combination of granite granuels, high quality resin, authentic quartz, and varying pigments. With a range of natural looking finishes its a luxurious finish that can be surprisingly cost-effecive.

As you can see there are a number of different worktops you can pick for your kitchen. Which do you have in your kitchen?

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Monday, 3 December 2018

My Seven Wonders Of The World And Win Your Own Version

The world is such a fantastic place and we all have places we want to visit and cross off as we meander through life. Many of us have 'bucket list' ideas of places that are our ultimate destinations too, perhaps Japan would be in there or New York or Venice. 

There are also those wondrous constructions that are really awe-inspiring, perhaps built by an ancient civilisation or a new modern wonder of architecture that is iconic, somewhere that, if you visit, you know you've been there, and the sort of destination that could be in our own personal seven wonders of the world. 

So when Exodus Travels asked me about my seven wonders of the world, the places I have visited and places that I want to visit that fill me with a sense of wonder and awe then I had to think long and hard. Should I focus on destinations such as Iceland or Sri Lanka or should I focus on constructions like the traditional seven wonders of the world, or should I just mix it up? 

Well here are my seven wonders of the world, personal to me, let me know what yours are, and enter here to win your own seven wonders of the world with Exodus Travels.

Colosseum, Rome, Italy



Rome is an amazing historic city, and one of the must-sees is definitely the Colosseum, an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city. It was used for gladiator contests, reenactments of famous battles, dramas based on Greek mythology and public executions. In its day it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators.  If you have ever seen any movies about gladiators, you can really imagine the spectators putting their thumbs down when a gladiator lost a fight. 

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia



At the southern end of Red Square, Moscow, St Basil's Cathedral stands out with its colourful decor. The patterns and colours make for a striking and awe-inspiring sight. Built from 1555 to 1561, this masterpiece would become the ultimate symbol of Russia and was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to celebrate a battle victory the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. It is now a World Heritage Site.

The Top Of The Rock, New York, USA



Why the Top Of The Rock you may ask? The iconic view of New York from the top of the Rockefeller Centre is a view that means you are in one of the best cities in the world, with the bustling working city below you! The Rockefeller building is a large complex of 19 buildings but it's most famous for the view which takes in the Empire State Building. The view of New York City is simply breathtaking.

Statue of Christ The Redeemer, Rio, South America



Ever since I saw it on children's television programme Blue Peter in the 1980s I've wanted to see the statue of Christ The Redeemer in Rio. At nearly 30 meters tall excluding the pedestal, you can't miss it as it dominates over Rio. The statue of Jesus with his arms open is made of reinforced concrete and clad in a mosaic of triangular tiles. Even though I am not religious, it would surely be a sight to see.

Roman Baths, Bath, England, UK



The whole city of Bath in the South West of England is a UNESCO world heritage site, known for its 18th Century Georgian architecture and its natural hot springs. The Roman Baths are in the centre of the city, dedicated to the goddess Sulis by the Celts and then adopted by the Romans and dedicated to their goddess Minerva around AD60. The Romans kept the original Celtic name calling the site ‘Aquae Sulis‘.  The Roman Baths are no longer used for bathing but to see this ancient site and read about the history is enthralling. A must visit.

The Taj Mahal



The Taj Mahal epitomises India and nothing says India more like it. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site it was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife - with construction starting in 1632 and finishing in 1653. Made of marble it is a beautiful building both inside and out and inside the gorgeous decor has intricate flowers, calligraphy and geometric shapes all around.

Pompeii, Italy



My last wonder of the world are the ruins of Pompeii near Naples, Italy. Since I studied the eruption in AD 79 of Mount Vesuvius in school and the aftermath of the volcano erupting I have always wanted to see the remains of the cities decimated. It has erupted many times since - the last being in 1944. It's a sobering place, after all, many people died but it's such an important historic site, and you can learn much about life in those days as much was preserved, such as buildings, graffiti and even the outline of the bodies. 

So these are my seven wonders of the world. What are yours?

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Friday, 30 November 2018

Silver Diamond Necklace At The Pommier Review

The Pommier is an accessory website that brings all the latest, best and most creative designers to you in the comfort of your home. From chic dresses and bold tops to beautiful bags and pretty scarves, they have all this and more. I'm always on the lookout for a new bag, so I loved the selection they had, but the jewellery caught my eye the most - surprise surprise!


The designers here are up and coming, and the quirky designs by Origami jewellery and Good After Nine really stood out. I've reviewed one of the designers featured before too Fei Liu Fine Jewellery and they also sell Adexe Watches which I own, so I was excited to see more designs and pick one for myself.   The emerging designers are sourced especially so you feel you are seeing stars in the making. It's this vibrancy and energy that sets The Pommier apart.

I settled on a design by Myia Bonner called the 'Classic Diamond Necklace'. 


The classic diamond necklace is just a gorgeous design. Made in sterling silver the pendant that dangles from the silver chain is in the shape of a diamond.  The geometric design is symmetrical and ever so pretty and the pendant is a good size, not too big or too small. There are no actual diamonds in the pendant so it's well priced too. 


I really like the simple chain. It's a curb chain of a decent thickness, so you know it will be strong but also it's dainty enough to look elegant. The chain is 41 cm in length but had an extender at the back so it will go to 45 cm. This is approximately 18 inches for those of us who still think in inches! Extender chains are a clever idea as you can adjust the necklace to suit what you are wearing and your neckline.


The necklace comes in two different finishes as well - gold plated on silver and black rhodium plated silver. If you are a gold lover but can't afford the real thing, this gold on silver version is well priced. If you want a slightly more modern look the black necklace would suit. In fact, why not have all three designs to ring the changes?

Priced at £75 for all the different finishes I think the price is affordable too and although it's not super cheap, you know you are getting quality sterling silver. If you want cool and quirky or fresh and wearable then check out the website and see if there are any designs you love as much as I love the diamond necklace above.

Connect yourself to a talent base of global designers by shopping on The Pommier website, go on, you know you want to!

Let me know, what do you think of the necklace I have chosen? Do you like to follow fashions trends?

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Thursday, 29 November 2018

Fixes For Common Household Problems

When it comes to problems around the house, it can be tempting to call in the professionals to deal with them - although this can often be very expensive. Sometimes the problems can be easily fixed though - here are some fixes for common household problems that you can do yourself.

Fix Up Your Furniture

Furniture can be easily damaged in the house, especially if you have children and/or pets running around the place. Should you have some small scrapes on your wooden furniture, a shelled walnut is perfect for buffing them out thanks to the oil it deposits which makes scratches disappear. If the scrapes are a lot bigger, consider applying a damp washcloth and then using an iron on it for ten seconds - the wood should swell and push out any dents.

Boost Your Homes Water Pressure



One of the big problems in houses can be the lack of water pressure.  This can be easily rectified by boosting the pressure with a water booster pump such as the Complete Pump Supplies Water Booster Pump. No trickles from the tap any more.

Got A Hole In The Wall?

A hole in the wall is an utter nightmare but is more common than you think. It may seem like you need to call someone in but a hole can be easily sorted if you know what to do. Use a simple filler to fill the hole, if its tiny you may need to make it slightly bigger so the filler can adhere. Other larger holes could be sanded flat and painted or for a final option, head to a hardware store and grab yourself a wall repair kit.

Blocked Drain Problems?

I think perhaps the worst problem in the household is a blocked drain - and it is something we often don’t want to deal with ourselves. Often we try ourselves with a chemical solution, it doesn’t work and we call someone out as it has actually made it worse. But a blocked drain can be simply sorted naturally.

A blocked drain is usually caused by a clog on the P-trap of the sink, the bit where the pipe curves underneath. Put a bucket below to catch any spills, unscrew the bottom part, clear the debris and screw it back - that should usually sort any drain blockage easily.

Are You Getting Rusty?




Rust can be a big problem in houses and it can seem really hard to get rid of. However, if you try using some cleaning powder and a mildy abrasive sponge, you should be able to buff it up shiny and new. Make sure the basin or whatever you are trying to sort out is completely dry, sprinkle the cleaning powder onto the rust and slightly dampen (do not make it soaking wet as this won’t work) the rough side of your abrasive sponge. Then scrub. The rust stains should flake off!

Can’t Get Into Your Drawers?

A bedside drawer that won’t open is a nightmare but this too can be easily sorted. I
f they are on a metal track, remove the drawers and apply WD-40 before putting the drawers back in. Easy peasy. If they aren’t on a metal track, try this trick of rubbing the flat side of a candle onto the bottom corners of the base of the drawer. This should make it much easier to slide in and out.

Mold Making You Mad?

My final tip is to get rid of mold. Now usually this is quite easy to keep away from if you have a regular cleaning routine but all houses end up with some mold at some points. Try mixing one part bleach to nine parts water and apply to the spot with a non abrasive sponge. Leave for 30 seconds and then be sure to rinse thoroughy.

What fixes do you have for common household problems?

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Simple Tips And Tricks To Stop Your Flowers Dying This Winter

It’s always a worry in the winter months whether your plants will survive. After all, the poor weather can often cause the flowers to deteriorate and die, and spending less time in the garden means you don’t tend to the plants as often as you should. In fact, a lot of gardeners have to then replenish their flowers when spring arrives. However, the winter months doesn’t mean the end for your flowers if you do prepare in advance. There are some easy ways to ensure they stay alive so your garden stays looking beautiful during the winter. Here are some simple tips and tricks to stop your flowers dying this winter.



Make sure they are situated in the shade

One of the top reasons why flowers often end up dying during the winter months is the fact that the cold weather affects them. The heavy rainfall and snow can cause the flowers to die in the cold weather. If you want to stop your flowers dying this winter, you should make sure they have significant shade during the cold months. It might be the case they are placed in some form of polytunnel or greenhouse during the winter. This will provide them with the shade and warmth they need to still grow well. You can also use some form of garden fabric or blanket which will cover the flowers during winter. That way, the fabric will get wet rather than the flowers when there is heavy rainfall or snowfall. If the flowers are in pots, you can place them well underneath furniture like a bench from Sloane and Sons Garden Benches, which will give protection and significant cover from the bad weather.

Put the flowers in pots inside the home

It’s also a good idea to bring more sensitive plants inside your home in a pot to ensure it doesn’t die during the winter. As Cnet explains, you should really try to bring the plant in before the temperature drops below 45 degrees (7 degrees c) at night. Replant the flower in a good-sized pot which will allow room for it to stay healthy and grow well, then place it in a warm area of your home where it will have access to some form of sunlight. You can buy an indoor plant light which can give it the sufficient sunlight it needs to grow well in the winter months. Remember to only water it when needed as flowers don’t need as much watering in the winter months.

Do some winter mulching

Another thing you can do to your flowers to ensure they last during the winter months is to do some mulching before the frost and snow arrive. For example, you can use compost, straw, dry leaves, newspaper clippings and wood chips to place it all around the
 base of the plants. As this article reveals, try to place it 4 to 6 inches around the base of the flowers. This will ensure that the flowers are protected from the harshest winds and freezing conditions during this winter. Just make sure you remember to remove it when the warmer weather arrives so that the flowers can get access to the sunlight. As well as providing protection, it can help to insulate the plants and help the flowers to get their much-needed necessary nutrients in the winter.

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Top Five Favourite Christmas Vacations

Have you ever thought of going away for Christmas? I must admit, it is very tempting, to leave the hassle of Christmas preparations and whisk myself and my family off somewhere else, stress-free. So whether you want to go somewhere hot and get away from it all, or somewhere cold and have all the trimmings of Christmas but in a different country, here is my top five favourite Christmas vacations. 

1. A beach holiday somewhere hot 



There are a number of countries that have hot weather in the Winter and if you are tired of the cold and wet UK Winter why not jet off somewhere hot at this time of year?  The Canary Islands, Aruba, Mexico, South Africa and Australia all have great weather in December. 

Instead of having a Christmas dinner why not embrace the culture and have the local cuisine, how much fun would it be to have a barbecue in Austrailia or burritos in Mexico on Christmas Day? Not for everyone maybe but I would love some sun at Christmas for sure.

2 A festive break somewhere cold




A holiday away from the UK but somewhere festive and cold would be another option.  Nowhere does Christmas markets like Germany for example, so visit Hamburg, Frankfurt or Berlin and nosh down on sausages and mulled wine whilst shopping for Christmas decorations. Be wary if you stumble upon the 'adult'' Christmas market in Hamburg though as you could be in for a shock!

You could also visit Vienna or why not visit Prague with a fabulous Christmas market in the Old Town Square? There are lots of choices of where to visit in Europe in Europe for a festive Christmas.

3. A Christmas shopping trip



I can't imagine anything more exciting than combining a Christmas break with going shopping,  especially when it's somewhere you don't go every day. Paris is beautiful at Christmas and there are a number of Christmas markets selling Parisian gifts.

For the ultimate Christmas shopping trip though, New York must be the most popular. At the centre of the festivities is the Rockefeller Centre with its famous Christmas ice rink, and not far away is Central Park with its market with over 100 vendors. Of course shops such as Macy's are a must see too for their infamous Christmas displays. Tell me who wouldn't want to go to New York at Christmas?

4. A staycation in a luxury hotel 

If you don't want to fly anywhere or travel long distances at Christmas, you could just pack all the family up and go to a luxury hotel... why you could just leave the family at home and go to a luxury hotel on your own!

Seriously, although Christmas dinner can be expensive, you won't have to shop, prepare and cook Christmas dinner, and hotels in the UK are good at Christmas festivities. We went away to a hotel only a short distance away a few years ago and the combination of a stay in a luxury hotel with the use of the spa and pool and Christmas dinner all cooked for us, made for a relaxing break. 

5. A Christmas ski holiday 



Whether you are an expert skier or a novice, a Christmas ski holiday always looks a lot of fun. Perfect for families you can combine the fun of a snow-filled break with skiing, snowboarding and all sorts of snow-based activities. 

Mark Warner have some lovely sounding ski holidays in European destinations such as Austria and France with Christmas festivities thrown in. Enjoy mulled wine and mince pies for afternoon tea and Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.  You may even see Santa himself! With many resorts having festivities on and off the slopes it can be a fun way of celebrating Christmas.

Tell me have you ever thought of going away for Christmas? Where would you idea Christmas vacation be?

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

5 Mistakes You Don't Want To Make When Selling Your Home

We all know moving home is a stressful time but so is selling your home. You have to get your house ready to sell,  sort out a valuation and put it on the market. There are so many mistakes you can make, and each one could lead you to not selling your home.  So here are 5 mistakes you don't want to make. Good luck with selling your home!

Asking too much 


There are a number of things you can do to ensure your house is priced correctly for the market. Some of these are checking how much similar houses in your street sold for, looking for current houses on sale in your street for a comparison and tracking house price trends nationally. If you are using an estate agent to put your home on the market, they can help and advise you to the price, taking into account their experience in the area. It's important to price your house realistically to sell your house fast. 

Neglecting repairs

People want to pay the lowest price when they are looking for a home to buy. Ensuring your home is not neglected and is safe is important to get the best price possible price, so don't neglect repairs. Whether that is broken tiles, misted double glazing or even peeling wallpaper. If you are on a limited budget get the repairs done that affects safety first, then get the cheapest that can affect the look of the property. It's never good to neglect any problems with your property anyway.

Not staging your home 


Staging your home is a skill that can earn you money. At the very least you should ensure it is spotlessly clean, decluttered and tidy. A lick of paint can make everything look fresh as well, and if you are doing this neutral colours work best. Why not try the well known but clever idea of baking some bread or brewing some coffee, to make your home smell inviting? The trick to staging your home is making it look the very best whilst still making it looked lived in. You can even pay someone to stage your home for you if you have the money. 

Staying emotionally attached

When you get to the stage of putting your house on the market you need to emotionally detach yourself from your home. Removing personal items from show like photos can help. It also allows your viewers to see themselves in the space too. When people come to look at your home, don't feel upset if they make comments about it, they have no history there like you do. You have to think objectively about your home's strengths and weaknesses and see it from the viewers perspective. 

Not saving enough

When you sell your home you hope it will make you money but selling your home costs money too, so ensure you have a pot of money set aside to sell your home before the process starts.  Repairs to your home cost, paint and wallpaper costs if you are going to spruce up your home, as well as paying someone to stage your home if you go down that route. Estate agents fees can be anything from 1 to 3 per cent for example. This is before moving costs. So be sure to have a pot of money saved before you sell your home. 

So these are 5 mistakes you don't want to make when selling your home. Do you have any tips?

*Collaborative post

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