Thursday, 7 June 2018

Ever thought about starting your own travel career?

I think everyone has that one family member who knows all the tricks of the trade when it comes to booking holidays. Whether it's what time of year is best to book your family getaway or what to say to get a room upgrade - in my family that person is my mam. Honestly, if you need a holiday but struggle to get it just right, that woman has a way to create the trip of your dreams!



I follow so many different bloggers who have been able to make travel their business, and honestly - it's pretty inspiring! I think most people would love to say that you've explored the world and made a decent amount of money from it too. Whether it's from press trips at the finest restaurant or luxury flights to a bustling city destination, when you work in travel you can guarantee each day will have something new and exciting to offer.

If this sounds like something you're pretty good at, then creating your very own travel agency might be easier than you think! There are even places like Explorer Travel that can help you make this dream a reality. I've mentioned previously about the different ways I've looked into creating my own business to work from home and create the perfect work/life balance while my kids are young. It hadn't even crossed my mind that you could create your own travel agency from the comfort of your living room. 

If you're passionate and committed to building your life around your love of travel, then you could easily argue that it's hardly like work - it isn't even 9-5 working hours if you don't want it to be! Travel is one of the most satisfying industries to work in, and when you love what you do it makes it all the more rewarding. Even more so if you spend your morning doing 'work admin' on a sun lounger in the latest hotspot destination!

*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Explorer Travel. Content written by myself.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Master The Art Of Detoxing In A Healthy Way*

The word detox send shivers down many a spine and has most people reaching for a brown paper bag. Detoxing has had a bad reputation of late with weird and unhealthy cabbage soup detoxes, the werewolf diet (look it up) and the baby food cleanse making a mockery of the idea of a detox. A detox should be a cleansing of the body allowing it to then re-energise and help you feel more alert and healthy. Take a look at these simple ways you can detox in a healthy and measured way to reveal a healthier and happier you.


Food

By going on a detox diet you will inevitably feel hungry at times, but this should lessen after a couple of days as your body gets used to a new eating routine. Unless you are undertaking a juicing cleanse, there is no reason to cut down on the quantity of the food you are eating, simply switch up the morsels you put into your body. Have a ban on all fried foods, starchy carbs and sugar. Cutting these out of your eating plan for a week or two will see you shift the pounds and feel more energised.

Opt for plenty of beets and radishes in your diet, and ensure that you include an abundance of berries. These are full of antioxidants that will promote the detox process and help combat free radicals within your body.

Yoga

Detoxing doesn’t have to be all about your physical health. Yoga or pilates are fantastic ways to detox the mind and aid in the management of your emotions. If you are particularly stressed at work or are anxious about something, a wheatgrass shot won’t help you cope any more effectively. Through breathing exercises, certain postures and mindfulness meditation, you can alter thought processes for the better and find yourself thinking more clearly.

Vices

If you are partial to overspending on your credit card, smoking or drinking too much at the weekends, it might be time to seek a more balanced and healthier lifestyle. By following a guide to drug detox, you could become cleaner, healthier and happier without a constant craving or addiction hanging over your head.

Sleep

Detoxing is all about giving your body time to adjust and rest. You may find that after three or four sessions of yoga, some super green smoothies and a more nutritious diet that you may be hitting the sack earlier in the evenings. This is a positive step towards detoxing naturally. Try and aim for at least seven hours of shut-eye every night to ensure that you are well rested.


Embarking on a detox needn’t be a negative experience or something that you have to endure. You shouldn't be holding your nose for fear of gagging every time you take another spirulina shot. Detoxing should be fun, educational and a positive experience to allow you to become more attuned to both your physical and mental well being. Follow this guide to ensure that you detox in a healthy and measured way.


*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

You Need A Side Hustle!

Generally speaking, I like to have my fingers in a few pies all at once. As well as working in a school for 30 hours a week, I'm also a local councillor, a volunteer, a part-time crafter, a mam and wife, and even a side-hustler. If you've never heard of a side-hustle before, it's pretty much work you do on the side of your 'real' hustle. Mine comes in a few forms - because clearly I like to keep myself busy - and I'm going to suggest a few ways you could pick up a side hustle too! 



Sell your unwanted items
Ebay has been around longer than the beginning of time - or it feels that way at least - so you've no doubt used it before. While I use eBay as a novice and only list things occasionally when they offer free listings, I know people who buy things cheaply and sell for a profit on eBay. You do need to look into setting up your own business page if you are buying things specifically to sell - but I reckon if you give yourself a good clear out you could easily make £1000 on items lying around the house. 

Matched Betting
I've spoken about matched betting before and how I earned over £10,000 tax-free last year using it. I was able to pick up the lingo and techniques needed while I was on maternity leave and it was a huge boost to our deeply cut maternity income. These days, I dip into matched betting when there is a big event coming up (hello world cup!) as it does require a few solid hours dedicated to it if you want to make a big ol' pot of money. Of course, matched betting isn't for everyone, but if you wanted to see more gambling site reviews before you start then that might ease your mind a bit. 

Become a Virtual Assistant
This is actually something I am in the middle of setting up now! As a blogger and all-round savvy digital gal, I was asked by one of my friends to help them with their social media outreach for their business. What slowly started off as a steady Facebook and Instagram job, soon saw me redesigning websites and setting up newsletters for other local businesses. As I work term-time in a school, I am hoping to really set my VA business up before the summer holidays start and work on some bigger projects while I have the extra time. Keep your eyes open if you've been considering a VA for your own blog or business! 

Of course, the list of side hustles could go on for days, so I might have to do a 'part 2' to this list! If you have a side hustle that's on the more unusual side then I would love to hear about it! 


*Disclaimer: Collaborative content. Content written by myself.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

A Little Life Lately

I haven't posted a life update in aaaages, so now feels like as good a time as any. I guess I sometimes feel put off from posting because I feel like I'm a boring gal with nothing new to tell anyone but I'm hoping that isn't true! 


Since my last update in March - I've slowly slipped back into the habit of reading. I recently finished Big Bones by Laura Dockrill and really enjoyed it. I also read Clean by Juno Dawson, which is the first book I'd read by Juno and although I quite literally couldn't relate to any of the characters, I do enjoy reading about women who don't fit the traditional tropes. I'd definitely like to read more from Juno Dawson as I know they're really popular in the YA bookiverse. I'm about to start Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls which *I think* is based along the time of the Suffragettes and therefore is bound to be right up my street. My pal Gemma let me read her copy, so I really must read it as soon as I can and return it! 
In non-reading news - I have started to study for my Maths A Level! Man, I love to punish myself, don't I? Joe is currently studying Mathematics with the Open University, and I've got to say I've always been slightly jealous. I loved maths at school and even considered a maths-based career, but stupidly dropped the A Level and kept on with another choice instead - which I've always regretted! So, better late than never, I have took a great plunge into self-learning and paid a small fortune for the privilege to take maths again. Of course, A Levels and GCSEs even have had a huge overhaul since I sat them a decade ago and are ridiculously hard so I feel like I've set myself a doubly difficult challenge. #PrayforChelsea

I'm sure loads of other exciting things have happened, but I had my hair cut this morning and now have a cute lil bob. I don't have any decent pictures of it yet, but it will no doubt make it's debut on instagram soon! 

That's about it for now, hopefully the next update won't be so far away! 

Monday, 21 May 2018

Simple (and Healthy) Ways to Speed Up Your Weight Loss*


We all know that carrying excess weight is bad for us in so many ways; from increasing your risk diabetes and heart disease to making it more difficult for you to exercise, there are few good things about being more than few pounds over your optimum weight, and that’s why it’s not surprising that so many people put themselves on a range of strange and unusual, not to mention often unhealthy, crash diets. They reason that the sooner they lose the weight, the healthier they’ll be, and they’re willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve those aims ( the cabbage soup diet anyone?).

However, crash diets can not only be dangerous, and very miserable, but they don’t work, Sure, you may lose some weight initially, but when you stop (and you will stop because those diets are not sustainable) there is a very high chance that you will put it all on and then some.

It’s madness when you consider that there are plenty of simple, and healthy things you can do to speed up your weight loss without resorting to extremes…

Understand the Process of Weight Loss

The reason why so many people fail to lose weight, or why they take longer than necessary to do so, is because they simply do not understand how weight loss works, They do not realise that you tend to lose a lot of weight in the first week or two because your body is shedding excess water and that once that has gone, weight loss will slow down to one or two pounds a week (people who are very overweight may lose a bit more). This leads to disappointment, which leads to binges, which lead to crash diets and it’s a neverending cycle. If you know that eating less, moving more and getting more high-quality nutrition into you does work if you do it consistently, and you know that the scales won’t always show you a huge loss, you will be in a far better frame of mind to do what needs to be done and see the weight drop off.

Sort Out Your  Sleep Schedule

If you're doing everything right - eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, maintaining a calorie deficit, doing a little exercise - and your weight loss has slowed down beyond what is normal, it might be worth examining the quality and quantity of your sleep. If you don’t get a full night’s sleep on a regular basis, the hormones that control your metabolism are likely to be affected and cortisol will be released, encouraging you to eat to excess and store those calories on your belly. So, make sure that you go to bed and get up at the same time, and if you need to, take some sleep supplements to ensure that you drift off with ease. Sleep is much more important to successful weight loss than most of us realise.

Switch to Green Tea

Green tea, or green tea supplements, are thought to give the body a boost when it comes to burning fat, So, if you swap your usual cup(s) of tea for the green variety, it may well give you a little boost that will see your losses speed up a little. Not only that but green tea is packed with anti-ageing antioxidants that will work wonders for your skin too. What’s not to love?

Shorten Your Workouts

Have you been spending hours at the gym working out like your life depends on it, only to find that the scales aren’t moving as swiftly as you would like? It could be that you are building muscle, and although you haven’t lost any weight you have lost inches, or it could be that despite spending so much time on them, your workouts aren’t exactly optimum for fat loss. A study by the University of Copenhagen discovered that people who worked out for just half an hour every day lost the same amount as people who worked out for an hour and they believe this is because the people who worked out for a shorter period had more energy left to be a bit more active during the rest of the day. Not only that, but high-intensity interval training, which takes far less time (a few minutes in some cases) is known to burn more fat too. Try it and see if you notice an improvement.

Eat Almonds Before Activity

There is some evidence to suggest that, because almonds contain the amino acid L-arginine, they can help you to burn more calories when you exercise. So, instead of eating a banana or rice cakes before you hit the gym or pound the pavements, eat a few delicious almonds instead ( they’re great in smoothies).

Drink More Water

How much water do you drink? If you aren’t sipping water throughout the day, chances are that you might succumb to cravings because it’s so easy to get dehydrated and when that happens, you can mistake the signals your body is sending you for hunger. Not only that but drinking more water can help you to feel a little fuller between meals too.

Stop Drinking Your Calories

While we’re on the subject of water, it’s worth considering how much of it you drink compared to tea, soda, alcohol and other beverage that contain often empty, calories. If you’re drinking lots of beverages throughout the day, you could be mindlessly adding lots of calories to your diet too, and by replacing most of this drinks with water, or if you must diet versions, you should be able to speed up your weight loss further.

Calculate Your BMR

It’s all well and good cutting your calorie limit, but if you don’t actually know how many calories you burn in the first place, you might not be getting it right and your weight loss results might not be as good as they could be. So, use a good BMR calculator to work out how many calories you need to lose 1-2 pounds each week and try your best to stick to that number.

Good luck with your weight loss efforts!


*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

3 Special Ways To Say Thank You*

In today’s increasingly impersonal world, it’s not surprising that we may feel a little isolated from time to time. Our reliance on technology sees us walking through life with our heads bowed or our capped with a pair of soundproof headphones. It seems like we’re putting ourselves in a  bubble that we’re increasingly reluctant to come out of. There was a time when we used things and loved people. Now it seems we’ve got it the other way around, we love things and use people. We use social media apps to communicate with our friends and swipe through dating apps to find our perfect mates. More and more, it seems that our attitude towards choosing a life partner and buying groceries online is becoming and increasingly blurred line. Yet, every once in a while we’re reminded that not only do we rely on other people more than we’d like to admit, other people are actually… pretty awesome!


If a friend, a relative, a work colleague or your significant other has done something lovely for you recently, it can seem like the words “thank you” simply aren’t enough. If you want to say thank you in a more special, lasting or significant way, there are lots of ways to say it…

Say it with a letter

In an era where we communicate increasingly in GIFs and emojis, the lost art of letter writing is a beautiful and personal way to say thank you. Go all out and use posh paper and a calligraphy pen if you want to go all out. Let’s face it, rarely these days do we get anything other than bills and junk mail in the post these days and a letter is not only a pleasant surprise, it’s a unique and personal gift that is inexpensive and readily available but extremely thoughtful.

Say it with chocolate

Sure, we all remember those old adverts, “say thank you with Cadbury’s Roses”, but while these may be fine for casual occasions, you might want to go all out if you want to say an extra special thank you. For a high spec riff on the familiar chocolate box, say it with a gift box from Hotel Chocloat, or better yet how about a personalised chocolate gift from Thorntons with your own message iced on the chocolate itself or printed on the box?

Say it with a hamper

There was a time when hampers consisted of a tin of spam, a battered looking plastic wrapped cake, a few pork pies and a bottle of third rate bubbly. Thankfully, when you send a hamper today, you can do it with much more elegance and class. There are a wide range of different hampers out there to suit all tastes.

From boozy hampers to hampers filled with tasteful accoutrements for the home. From hampers packed with beautiful baby clothes to hampers brimming with lavish bathroom products. Whether your intended recipient unwinds at home with long hot bath, a hot flat white or a tall gin and tonic, there’s a hamper out there for them.

So the next time someone does something wonderful for you, don’t just say thank you, make a gift of your thanks!




*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Parents As Role Models: How To Be The Best*


The act of having a child is pretty scary. Well, the first bit isn’t, but it becomes a lot less fun afterwards! It isn’t simply the fact that mums and dads have to be responsible. As far as the majority of parents go, there seems to be a gene which makes them cut out for the role. Unless they are terrible human beings, hardly anyone mistreats their flesh and blood. No, it’s the second part which is terrifying: setting a good example.

No matter your intentions, it’s possible to get this part dead wrong. And, there is no one else to blame because their behaviour has come straight from the source. If that doesn’t send a shiver down your spine, nothing will! The only things mothers and fathers can do is take charge and try and be the best possible role model.

Of course, in a complicated society like the one we live in today, the job is getting harder and harder. Imagine if there was a cheat sheet, something to refer to in a time of need. How amazing that would be! Psst – take a glance underneath.

Attach Your Mask First

Jordan Peterson recently made headlines by debating Channel 4’s Cathy Newman. One of the things to come out of the interview was his rule for life: take care of your room. The metaphor simply means that you should get your house in order before trying to fix the rest of the neighbourhood. As basic as it sounds, it has relevance in the role model stakes. Attaching your oxygen mask before helping others has a variety of effects. Obviously, you’ll lead a healthier and happier life as a result. But, as importantly, you’ll naturally transform into an example for the kids to follow. By watching you eating well, exercising and socialising with friends, they will copy these vital cornerstones of life. Always help yourself before helping others.

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Ask For Help

Mums particularly can feel as if they are the ones who have to shoulder the immense burden. Obviously, parents are the ones that must deal with problems and set positive and constructive examples. Still, there are others who can pitch in and take the weight off when life gets hard. Simply reaching out to a husband or partner is an excellent start. People will say they should be involved anyway, but parents tend to split roles depending on gender. Mums, for example, are better at offering advice to young girls because they have been through the process. Sometimes, even if it doesn’t work, the dad can try and improve the situation. A different perspective often works wonders. And, if not, at least the kids will be mad at someone else!

But Don’t Rely On Others

No self-respecting parent lets strangers guide their kids, right? You would imagine this to be the case yet millions of mums and dads are guilty of this very act. Think about the times when a celebrity has done something wrong and is vilified in the media. The excuse for the hate is that they are a role model. Believing this to be true is an admission that someone else is having a greater impact on your child’s life. Considering they can’t ask for advice or guidance, this should be worrying. Also, think about the best way to address the situation. Simply saying they are trash isn’t healthy because it inhibits rational thinking. During difficult, topical discussions, play devil’s advocate to boost critical thinking skills.

Spot The Signs

Everything seems to be going smoothly until a train hits and smashes the family into pieces. Parents say “I never saw it coming,” but the truth is that the signs were there all along. The reality is that you weren’t looking hard enough or ignored them. Teenagers sneak alcohol to their rooms and go to parties, but that’s no reason to research rehab information and stage an intervention, right? Honestly, it depends on the context and the seriousness of the situation. Regardless, the attitude to take is not to lament the fact that teenagers will be teenagers. Whether it feels like a big deal or not, you have to react to teach them about the dangers of alcohol abuse. The same goes for cigarettes, drugs and sex. Being firm but fair teaches them valuable life lessons.


Show Them You’re Not Perfect

Some kids love to brag about how their parents never fight. Although it makes for peaceful home life, it doesn’t do their upbringing any favours. In fact, experts believe it leads to a condition which is called conflict-free relationships. As the name suggests, it’s the process of avoiding problems head-on and sweeping them under the carpet. Regarding a relationship, this can be potentially unhealthy as one person may rule the other. As regards to school and work later down the line, it’s a sure-fire way to stunt progression. Anyone who isn’t going to put themselves out there won’t get noticed and will stagnate. Parents should show their kids that they address issues proactively and maturely. For example, if there is an argument, don’t wait until the kids are in bed. Speak about it passionately without shouting and screaming and show them the value of disagreements.

Put Aside The Guilt

Teaching kids valuable lessons is hard because they have leverage. Ignoring a parent and holding a grudge will hit you and your partner where it hurts. There’s nothing like being jilted by your son/daughter and it makes you feel guilty. Giving into this emotion solves the stand-off yet teaches them nothing. In fact, it shows that being irrational is advantageous, whereas people in the real world won’t stand for it. Mums and dads have to put the guilt to one side and realise good role models piss off their children. Sadly, it’s an occupational hazard of leading by example. Of course, if the cold shoulder persists you should find a solution such as talking and explaining the decision.

Do you think you can be a better role model for your children? If you answer yes, how so?

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.
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