Canadian City Breaks: Top Five Highlights 

A city break can be a glorious thing – the chance to explore a city that you’ve not seen before, sampling the cuisine, the culture and the entertainment that is within its limits.

While it may be tempted to jet off  somewhere close to home for your vacation, it’s worthwhile to fly all the way to Canada and see what the cities are all about. With so many city delights on offer, it’s difficult to choose where to head, but these five highlights of the country may help. If you’re planning to visit more than one of the following cities then we recommend you rent a car when you get there, who doesn’t love a road trip? It’s the best way to truly experience a new country and its cities.

Vancouver

It may not have as much history as some of the other Canadian cities, but it certainly makes up for it in experiences. Mountains and beaches are both at home here, with skiing on Grouse Mountain during the winter and surfing at Wreck Beach during the summer months being popular pastimes for locals and visitors alike. Whether you choose to be active and take part in these sports, or you’d prefer to stay on the city streets, browsing the shops, dining out or taking a stroll through Stanley Park, there’s plenty to see and do.

Montreal

From the 17th century architecture to the modern day skyscrapers, Montreal has an abundance of sights and attractions to see during your visit. As darkness falls, there’s a popular party scene while your days could be filled with tasty culinary treats, world-class museums and fabulous shops. Take an elevator ride several storeys below the surface and you will be able to see the Underground City too.

Toronto

Toronto is big, real big, so if you’re heading here, you may want more than a day or two to explore it. So much diversity is packed into this one city, which will likely leave you pleasantly overwhelmed. Take a trip to the top of the CN Tower to see for miles around, or explore the various multicultural corners, including Chinatown, Greektown and Little Italy. Plus, Niagara Falls is less than two hours away . 

Ottawa

Canada’s capital may not be massive and may not be as historic as some of the other cities, but it certainly makes up for it when it comes to relaxation, laid-back attitudes and a fabulous charm. Lively, vibrant and clean, the city is full of delights, including a myriad of museums, boutiques and family-friendly sites.

Canada has plenty of cities to explore – take your pick for your next city break!

Everything You Need to Prepare for an Awesome Road Trip

A road trip is always a great idea. You can get a lot of awesome experiences along the way, plenty of stories to tell on your travel blog, and of course more than enough pictures and beautiful videos for your Instagram and YouTube accounts. It doesn’t have to be a particularly long road trip either. A simple trip to a neighbouring city or a nice drive through the countryside can be as epic as a long road trip.

everything-you-need-to-prepare-for-a-long-road-trip-geek

To have an awesome road trip, however, there are a few things you need to prepare. We are going to go over the complete list of things to prepare right here in this article.

A Route

One of the first things to do when preparing for a road trip is to prepare a route. Set a destination and start looking into the different roads you can take for the most thrilling experience. You can use tools such as Furkot or the popular app Roadtrippers (available for iOS) to help you get started.

Plan stops along the way, but leave some room for spontaneous visits too. You never know what you may find once you’re on the road.

A Car (and a Valid Driving License)

Your car needs to be in good shape for the trip. The last thing you want is to have to deal with breakdowns and car problems in the middle of nowhere. Alternatively, you can rent a car specifically for the trip.

If you want to rent a car for the road trip, make sure you can turn the car in at the destination, especially if you’re going on a particularly long trip. This will allow you to fly home instead of having to drive all the way back.

A valid driving license is also necessary. Fortunately, passing your driving test is now very easy to do. You can rely on resource centres such as Top Tests to help you practice your theory, making it easier to ditch your provisional license and get a full driving license.

Safety Items and Preps

Another important thing to do is to make sure you’re safe throughout the trip. For this, you need to prepare some safety and emergency items. A complete set of meds and an emergency kit, apps to help you get in touch with friends or family in the event of an emergency, and additional knowledge about emergency services (and amenities) that you can access easily along the way are among the things to focus on.

You can also use apps like HotelQuickly or Booking.com to find last minute deals on accommodation, just in case you need to make an emergency stop or you cannot make it to the next city. These apps can help you find the nearest hotel by using your last known GPS position.

Other Basic Kits

Last but not least, make sure you have these basic items prepared for the trip:

  • Some cash for expenses and emergencies.
  • Entertainment! Get your Spotify playlists downloaded and make sure you prepare some movies to keep you entertained at night.
  • Simple games to keep you from getting bored on longer roads.
  • Don’t forget your camera and some spare batteries!

That’s it! With these simple preparatory tips, you can plan – and have – an awesome road trip. Don’t forget to share the experience with company; it’s always best to go on a road trip with at least one friend.

What makes the perfect rugby tour?

I have been playing rugby since I was five years old. When my mother dropped me off at the field on that first day I was nervous to say the least, little did I know that I was going to absolutely love and make lifelong friends. I think every kid should play a little rugby because of the respect you learn, how to work as a team and most of all the bond it creates between your team mates and you.

Boys-rugby-tour-in-Europe

It’s a bond that is very difficult to break because after playing with the same group of guys for ten years in one of the toughest team sports there is you really will do anything for each other. If one link in that bond breaks during a match then it’s going to be a very bad afternoon.

This bond is not just made on the rugby field during a match or even on the training ground, a lot of it happens off the field. There is no better way for a team to bond than go on a rugby tour. I have been to France, Holland, all over the UK and even Thailand on rugby tours – after each one we certainly were closer as a team. It goes without saying that there’s always a little bit of over indulgence off the field, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

So what exactly makes a perfect rugby tour? From my many experiences on tour I think these are the top 3.

Good Planning

Usually as a team you get a free ride and it’s the coaches or another senior member of the club that organises everything. Making sure the transport is spot on, the hotel decent and prepared for a rugby team, but most of all that everyone has paid their deposits on time is key.

Having Fun On The Field

Sometimes on tour you will have to really have your game head on and play seriously because you’re in a tournament. At other times you will be playing a one off match against a local team, whilst everyone wants to win there is always an element of fun about it. This is because it’s not for a cup or in a league. So the main thing is to enjoy it because you’ll probably never play that team again.

Having Fun Off The Field

This is usually where the hosts excel and make it a trip to remember. Bonding with the opposition, regardless of what happened on the field, is the perfect way to round off the day. Not only will they show you their favourite bars and be your personal tour guides,  but I am almost certain that you will have an amazing song session in their bar. If it’s a foreign club they always like to hear some English rugby songs and vice versa.

Picking a winner in the Grand National

It’s that time of year when it is time to start thinking about the Grand National. I know that all of us in the UK absolutely love this race and enjoy having a little flutter on it, whether it is one pound or one hundred nearly all of us will try our luck. The Grand National 2015 promises to be a real treat with some fantastic horses vying for favouritism before the off. Some times people choose their horse at random based on it’s name, but personally I think it is a much better idea if you make a more informed decision. We all want to see our horse leading the pack at the final corner don’t we? Here are some great little insider tips that will help you pick the best of the bunch. Good luck!

download (85)

Consider the history

It is always a good idea to look at the horses that have run in the previous year’s race. You will be able to see how well they have done and how much they understand the course. The Grand National is one of the toughest races in the world, so picking a horse that has proven it can complete the course is a real bonus. With the high fences and large field you want to make sure that your runner is not going to be overwhelmed by the whole event.

Look out for the form

A very good guide for the horses is how they have performed earlier in the season. By looking at the results of some of the earlier races in the season you will be able to get a good idea of what type of form your horse is in and how they are shaping up for the Grand National. The good thing is that they will usually have run against horses that are also entered into the race, so you can see which horses are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition quite easily!

Keep an eye on the press

In the weeks leading up to the race you will see more and more articles appearing in the national newspapers about horses to watch. You will also notice that there are a lot more jockeys on talk shows than usual, they are on there talking about which horses they think will run well and who they think we should back. That’s expert advice for free on the tv, so don’t switch channel because you never know if they could be giving you the winner!

 

Ideas for your Childs Summer Vacation

Another school year is rounding up and it’s time to start thinking about what to do and where to go this summer with your children. It can be a stressful time, the children have lots of time to occupy and we as parents still need to keep working and going about our regular schedule. It’s a lot of pressure on parents. We want our children to be looked after and not spending their entire vacation in front of a TV or video game screen.

 

If you are looking for a list of options that will keep your child busy, entertained, learning and active this summer keep reading to find out how.

 

Tutor

The summer break is a long one and often students get back into school in the fall and spend a good portion of first month relearning things they learnt last year. Now is the perfect time to capitalize on maintaining what they have studied so far and to pick up the slack on subjects they were struggling in. Finding a tutor can be a great way to keep your child on the straight and narrow. Tutoring doesn’t just have to be academics either. Consider hiring a tutor to teach your young one how to play an instrument or learn a language. One on one learning time with a tutor is an excellent way for your child to learn, and interact this summer.

 

Summer Camp

It’s important for children to be active and outdoors. At summer camp a child learns a lot about friendships, social skills and discover a lot about themselves. Placing your boy or girl in a summer camp is a fun for them and convenient for you. Summer camps can be focused on an interest such as sports, music, religion or academics. Speak with your children and discuss the prospect of learning a skill while making friends and doing some fun activities.

 

Sports or Leagues

The summer is a perfect for experimenting with new sports and hobbies. Your child may discover something they are brilliant at. Just like summer camps, friendship and teamwork skills will be developed when your child plays sports. It doesn’t have to be competitive, just something to get them out of their comfort zone and experience new activities. Perhaps your child isn’t very physically active, there or many leagues like chess or art or science clubs that children can participate in.

 

Taking photos like a pro

What does it take to become a good professional landscape photographer? Well there are many qualities needed, for example one needs to be fit both physically and mentally. Imagine the shot you are longing to capture is up on a mountain or hill which requires you to continue on foot when no other form of transport is of any use You have to be able to trudge on wearing warm heavy clothing whilst lugging weighty expensive equipment, this takes strength and stamina, therefore fitness is a number one requirement.

7912---base_image_4.1424267613

Taking hundreds of shots of your subject is not necessarily the right way to find your ultimate composition, whereas if you make only a few but selective shots that you feel satisfied with, you come to realise that patience leads to quality and that is the order of the day.

The weather plays a pivotal role in your work and as everyone knows it has a habit of instantly changing it’s mind. To the photographer this can be a Godsend or a nightmare therefore one must go properly equipped to deal with these vagaries that nature will throw at you. Warm clothing and suitable protection for your expensive camera equipment are so important along with everything a survival kit comes with. By ensuring this the photographer will remain confident, safe and retain motivation.

If you want to capture a sunset for example arrive early and scout the area out arund your location selecting the optimum vantage points. It is silly to arrive with only minutes to go and then realise that the best shot would have been achieved on the other side of the of the valley. As well as getting there early it is well to remember it pays to stay a little later as you never know what might occur. Avoid staying in one spot at your location, move around the area and make full use of the changing mood and light of your subject.

Make sure the equipment is of the best standard, one of the most important pieces is a good quality tripod, essential on varying terrain and leaving you hands free. Find out what other colleagues use in their work and view the results on line. If you are impressed with the results then maybe this model of camera or another may well be suitable for you and your aspirations. Again the lenses you choose will dictate what type of shot you wish to make depending on the time of the day, do I use a filter for this or that subject. It’s a matter of finding out what the really good practitioners are using to make their mark on professional landscape photography.

There are many professionals that are easy to find on line who are are willing to share their trade secrets from the written page or more excitingly on photo workshops all over the world in stunning locations. There you can gain some real hands on, invaluable practical experience. So whether it be abroad or at home, just click on and the world is truly your oyster.

 

How to Organize Your Life, and Keep It That Way!

 

The kids need to get new shoes for school. The car needs a service. The kitchen tap is broken and you forgot when the plumber is coming to fix it! Does this sound like you? With so many things happening in your daily lives it can be hard to keep up with what you’re doing and what needs to be done. If you’re looking for a reprieve, you’ve come to the right place!

organize2

Get Online!

One of the best and most convenient ways to get your life organized is to take it online – and not the social media kind of online. If your struggle is more around what you need to get from the store, or what your kids’ school supply requirements were, signup for an online note taking service that can let you take notes and access them anywhere you are. One of the great advantages of these services is that you can add notes on the fly – say for example you’re at your child’s dance class and the teacher reminds you to get a ‘pink, size 5 pair of ballet shoes with a green flower on them’. You can quickly add this very specific item to your list right there and then and check it off your digital list when you’re at the mall.

Have the Work Done for You

Having trouble getting to the grocery store or find that you’re constantly getting home and realizing you forget some vital items? You’re not alone. Look for a reputable service such as Peapod that can do the hard work for you and take your grocery order online via your smart phone and have it ready to be picked up without you having to leave your car! These are the kinds of services that can speed up your daily errands.

Assign Your Tasks

You may have heard the word ‘delegate’ thrown around in an office, but that doesn’t mean it can’t apply to your life. If your kids have an important date coming up or a special requirement before class, put them in charge of it. Take some time to show them how you yourself manage their daily tasks and give them the opportunity to do it for themselves. Not only is this a great learning experience for them, it’s one less item that you have to think about as you rush around.

With just these three great tips you will be well on your way to reducing stress and ensuring your daily life runs a little smoother. Remember, they only work if you stick with them, so don’t be afraid to really give them a try and see how beneficial they can be.

 

Buying baby gifts made easy

Buying a gift for the baby of a friend or your family can sometimes be a tricky task. You want to make sure that the gift you buy is appreciated by the parents and also something that is not just going to be thrown in to a cupboard and forgotten about.

tumblr_mq5cnaz7xC1ri6yzco1_1280

To help you through the minefield of buying the ideal baby gift we have drawn up a list of 5 essential tips that you should follow. Take them in because they’re going to make your life a lot easier in the future. Do you have any great tips that you’d like to share with everyone? Or any experiences you think can help? All you have to do is pop your thoughts down in the comments section below this article, I can’t wait to read them.

Is the present practical, sentimental or for the future?

This is a very big question that you need to ask yourself; do you want a present that is practical, a present that will be used for a long time or maybe you would prefer to buy something like an ornament with sentimental value.

Practical – clothing, blankets, nappies or baby blankets.

Long-term – toys, books, baby photo albums.

Sentimental – engraved gifts, rattles and keepsakes.

Picking the right size

When you’re buying clothes for a baby the best idea is to pick the size 0-3 months and upwards. Don’t worry if the baby is newly born because in the first few months babies grow rapidly, buying new born sizes is just a waste when buying a present because after a few months they will no longer be of use. The best materials to look out for are organic cotton and wool.

Don’t forget mum

Of course becoming a mother is a big gift within itself, but you shouldn’t forget mum when buying baby gifts. It’s always a nice little touch to buy something special. Some great ideas include; massage vouchers, a weekend away, candles or a big hamper full of goodies for both mum and baby.

If you are looking to not break the bank on gifts then always keep your eye out for bargains or groupon vouchers that will help you get some amazing deals!

Athletics Shoes Explained

We all like to stay active or have made plans to get fit in the new year as part of our many resolutions. One thing that is important, no matter what your goal, is to make sure that you have right type of athletic shoes on your feet when your exercising. So it is important that you pick a pair of shoes that match your routine and also your body.

Before you make a start you should set yourself a budget, be lenient because you might find that the perfect shoe for you are a little over budget. If they will improve your performance and make the experience better then they are certainly worth the investment. My advice would be to look for special offers or do as I do and check out what great discounts with groupon you can find.

running-shoes

Running Shoes or Cross-Trainers?

If your main reason for buying a pair of athletic shoes is because you jog or walk regularly then running shoes are the way to go. This is simply because they have been specifically designed for the heel-to-toe motion. I would almost certainly chose this toe of shoe per walking shoes because running shoes have been designed for a far wider range of foot type and they are also built to last much longer. Cross trainers are for you if your regular routine includes activities such as aerobics, kick boxing or weight lifting – really any activity that is perfumed on a tough surface where you will be moving from side to side.

What type of foot do you have?

There are many different designs of athletic shoes which cater for varying types of feet. They have been specifically designed to lessen the impact that your feet take so that it prevents injury and also improves performance. You should really get an expert to take a look at your feet to let you know what type of feet you have. But here’s a little guide if you want to do it yourself, you will have to look at the soles of a pair of worn shoes to tell.

– Top Outer Edge Worn – This means you’re a supinator, and supinators’ tend to have feet with high arches that will roll in an outward direction. To compensate for this you will need trainers that have cushioning which will absorb the shock.

– Evenly Worn – This means your feet are neutral and you plant your feet with an equal weight distribution. The ideal trainers for you will be ones labelled stability or moderate stability, which will give you an even balance between support and cushioning.

– Top Inner Edge Worn – You are what is known as a pronator, this means that your feet will always roll in an inward direction. Pronators’ feet commonly have either flat arches or low arches. The perfect trainers for  you will be the motion-control or high stability designs, they will make sure that you feet stay in a better position to be aligned with your legs.

Inspiration – All Around You

Here’s а challenge: Find inspiration іn ѕоmеоnе whо bugs you. Yes, seriously. Find whаt іt іѕ thіѕ annoying person gіvеѕ tо thе world. Lооk fоr whу thіѕ person іѕ special. Yоu wаnt tо knоw why? Bесаuѕе whеn уоu dо that, уоu realize thаt wе аrе аll beautiful, special individuals. Wе аll соmе frоm thе ѕаmе creation. Whеn уоu саn ѕее wіth nеw eyes thаt еvеn thоѕе people іn уоur life whо annoy thе heck оut оf уоu bring light tо thе world, уоu wіll bеgіn tо realize hоw special уоu are! And hоw muсh уоur light іѕ needed. Bесаuѕе wе аrе аll connected; wе аrе аll mаdе оf thе ѕаmе stuff. And please, don’t compare!

Yоu аrе needed, nоt bесаuѕе you’re better, but bесаuѕе уоu аrе you. Thаt іѕ key. Yоur “annoying” friend іѕ special tо thоѕе whо resonate wіth hіm оr her. Yоu аrе special аnd inspiring tо уоur “peeps” whеn уоu аrе walking іn уоur true nature – bеіng thе beautiful YOU thаt уоu are. Whеn уоu compare, compete, judge – уоu hide thаt light а lіttlе bit mоrе bесаuѕе уоu bеlіеvе thаt іn comparison, you’re “less than” оr “more than,” whеn іn fact, wе аrе аll thе ѕаmе beautiful creation іn dіffеrеnt packages. Generally, people annoy уоu bесаuѕе there’s а behavior thаt reflects bасk tо уоu ѕоmеthіng іn уоur оwn life you’d lіkе tо change.

Or, thеу demonstrate ѕоmеthіng уоu wіѕh уоu соuld dо but аrе afraid of. If уоu flip thаt around, уоu јuѕt mіght find thаt inspiration саn соmе іn thе strangest оf forms. Frоm уоur annoying friend. Or еvеn non-friend! So, саn уоu spend thе week finding inspiration іn everyone, еvеn thе mоѕt annoying оf people? Thіnk аbоut hоw finding inspiration іn thеm will, perhaps, inspire уоu tо ѕее hоw special уоu are. And maybe, fоr them, finding inspiration іn YOU wіll аllоw thеm tо appreciate, love, оr finally ѕее what’s special аbоut themselves. It sounds simple, аnd іt is. But аѕ usual, аlthоugh іt mау bе simple, thаt doesn’t mеаn it’s necessarily gоіng tо bе easy. Thаt is, untіl wе decide іt is.