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.

Candles; 3 Essential Safety Tips

Candles have become something that everyone seems to have in their household, especially during festive and holiday periods. They are a fantastic addition to any home; their scent and relaxed lighting set the perfect tone for any occasion. Yankee Candles have some of the best options on the market right now!


Of course we all know about candles but we must never forget that we must always exercise caution when using them. Candles are brilliant, I for one love them, so follow these must do safety tips to make sure everything goes to plan the next time you want to set the perfect mood in your home.

Trim the wick

This is such a simple thing to do and the best part is that it only takes a few moments! When you trim the wick of your candle it will change how the flame will burn. The idea is to get s relatively short length of wick, this is because the flame will be under control and also extremely steady. If you light a candle that has a long wick then the flame increase in size and you will notice that it flickers uncontrollably. If you have a long wick the chances of it catching on to a nearby decoration or cloth is increased. The ideal length for your wick should always be around about a quarter of an inch.

Move decorations away

Of course, if you have your candles perfectly positioned in between your beautiful decorations it does look beautiful and illuminates your decorative pieces – this is however an accident waiting to happen/ You need to move decorations to a safe distance where the flame has no chance of reaching them, this includes all decorations! If a small draft comes in to the room the direction of the flame can change in an instant and set a light to the surrounding decorations. So put your candles in a safe place, out of areas where a draft might come in and always out of the reach of your kids and pets.

Keep an eye on them

Once you have lit your candle don’t instantly forget about it, you should pay attention to it. If you can, sit there and watch whilst it burns for a minute or two to make sure that it is burning correctly. Then come back to it every now and then to make sure that everything is in order. Try to avoid burning candles in rooms that are not always occupied such as bedrooms and bathrooms, this is because you will not know there is a problem until it is too late. As a rule of thumb – if you cannot directly see the candle them don’t light it up.

Common mistakes to avoid for beginner inline skaters

Inline skating looks easy doesn’t it? You just put one foot in the front of the other and off you, some people think it’s as simple as walking but soon realise that it is is far from that! Anyone who thinks that it is as easy as walking should remember one thing – we all had to walk before we crawled! It is important to spend a lot of time making sure that we our time when trying to learn inline skating. The great news for all beginners is that it is much easier to learn how to skate than walk!

inline skates

I’ve listed some mistakes that a lot of beginner skaters make, and even the advanced ones, try to avoid these and I guarantee you that it will save you a lot of pain and frustration!


Choose the skates that fit you


If you don’t want to end up on your backside all the time then don’t borrow someone’s skates, especially if they have a different size foot to you. You have to remember that it’s your first time skating and you can’t put yourself at a huge disadvantage. If the shoes are too big your feet will be moving around all over the place in there. Not only will you have difficulty standing up but you’ll also wake up with some of the worst blisters you’ve ever had! Check out Locoskates for some awesome options!


Going down hill is not the best idea


It sounds simple right? Go to the top of a hill, point your feet downwards and off you go – wrong! Too many people have fallen out of love with skating so quickly because they headed for the hills and ended up hurting themselves. Remember, it’s always best to say no until you are ready because your body doesn’t need to take the pain so early in your skating career!


Always use protection


Make sure that you’re ready and wearing the right gear, going skating with out protection is a major no no! It is a crazy idea to hit the road without wearing all the padding that is needed. Remember that when you start you are going to take a few falls, make sure you have enough protection on their to keep your skin and bones safe.

Passport to style: Travel inspiration for the home

The interior design of a home reflects the personality, likes, and interests of the homeowner. Elements of international home décor, from individual items to complete room styles and decorations, may also make their way into the interior design of the home. Whether it is a way of honoring one’s ethnic heritage or a means of remembering a favorite vacation destination, adding a touch of international flavor to the interior design of one’s home can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

Asian-style home décor tips

Asian-style home décor tips

Exotic and enchanting, Asian décor is most often associated with the Far East, particularly China and Japan. Asian décor draws from natural sources and is often very minimalistic in style. Interiors are designed to create a sense of peace and balance; the color palette is very natural with varied shades of earth tones and greens dominating. Additionally, more luxurious interpretations of Asian style include bold accents of red, black, and gold.

East Indian décor, a sub-style of Asian décor, features intricate embellishments, bold jewel-like colors, dark woods, and brass accents. Moreover, tapestries are a staple of East Indian design, as are canopies.

African-style home décor tips

More than simply animal prints and tribal statues, African-style home décor is as rich and complex as the massive continent that inspires it. The color palette for African style is warm and neutral, with bold geometric patterns, dark woods including mahogany and ebony, as well as sturdy styles of beds, chairs and, tables being the norm. African-style home décor can mesh very well with contemporary décor and modern styles, making it easy to work in elements.

Home décor from around the Mediterranean

Countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Spain, Greece, and North Africa, have been intermingling styles since the time of the Roman Empire. Not surprisingly, Mediterranean interiors and sub-styles blend together elements from these different cultures, using a lush color palette of aqua, terracotta, azure blue, coral, and natural browns and greens in a wide range of patterns and textures to create relaxing, refreshing interiors. Mediterranean home décor also makes use of luxurious touches such as plastered walls, textiles in silk and wool, as well as rustic wooden touches, wrought iron accents, and hand-painted tiles.

The Greek sub-style utilizes a rich azure blue as a primary color, with a light neutral or, preferably, pure white background, while earthy shades and bright blues and oranges are more frequently seen in Spanish sub-styles. Moroccan sub-style is easily recognized in warm browns and purples, as well as intricate pattern fabrics and Arab-influenced accents.

Adding international accents

It is easy enough to add some accessories and furniture pieces to the home to give rooms an international accent. Old-fashioned travel posters, particularly those with an Art Deco-style, add international flavor, as do old photos, prints, and paintings of world destinations. In addition, framed maps are a nice travel oriented touch, as are old suitcases and postcards.

Adding a globetrotting touch to a home may be small-scale or all encompassing, with a wide variety of international styles and ethnic décor from which to choose. From Africa and Asia to the ancient culture of the Mediterranean, international style can dress-up a home to suit anyone’s taste.



Things to do in Budapest

Budapest is one of Europe’s most up-and-coming destinations. With cheap direct flights from the UK and inexpensive accommodation to be found right in the city centre, Budapest is a great value option for a long weekend.

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 5.49.02 PM

Fabulous accommodation right in the heart of the city can be found on Air BnB (, where large apartments are rented out very cheaply – the best thing about this service is not only the extra space and privacy compared to a hotel room, but also that your host will be a great source of in-the-know tips for exploring Budapest and a useful contact for any problems that might arise.

It’s not only the value of the city that’s impressive; the capital itself is both beautiful and interesting, with hundreds of things to keep visitors busy throughout their stay. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Thermal Baths

There are several baths to choose from in Budapest. The most popular is probably Széchenyi Baths, for its enormous size, lavish surroundings, and hot water temperature. Even in winter, it’s a wonderful place to have a soak with the steam of the water meeting the cold air, creating a dramatic visual effect. Old men play chess with each other during a morning dip and it’s one of the public baths in which both men and women are allowed – many others have regulations on the times at which each gender can visit.


Budapest has a huge range of dining options, so you needn’t spend the whole weekend feasting on goulash – although it is delicious! There are two Michelin-starred restaurant (and undoubtedly there will be more to come), Costes and Onyx. For something more traditional, the Central Market Hall sells a huge range of Hungarian food and is a good place to find lunch. Local food is also served at Múzeum, which has been a Budapest institution for over 125 years.


Budapest is certainly not short on bars, the most famous of which are the ruin bars. Szimpla Kert is the most well known and a great place to get chatting to fellow travellers; the quirky bar has good music and a buzzing vibe. For something less alcoholic, Gerbeaud is one of the city’s top spots for coffee and cake dates. It’s a good place to write your postcards and call home, something that doesn’t have to be pricey.


There is so much to see in Budapest, but some sights not to miss include the ornate St. Stephen’s Basilica, the statues of Memento Park, the incredible façade of Parliament, best viewed from the Buda side of the Danube, and the colossal Great Synagogue.

Golden Oldies Music Shows 2014

It looks as if it’s going to be a bumper year for music festivals featuring some of the greatest musicians ever to have emerged in the world of rock and pop music. With many long-established musicians and bands doing well at the Grammy Awards, such as the gods of heavy metal Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr picking up an award too, the stage is set in 2014 for some great performances from stars both old and new.images (76)

Ever since 1969’s Woodstock Festival, which featured among others Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead, music festivals have been a magnet for music lovers of all ages, mixing acts that appeal to an older audience with newer performers that pull in the younger crowd. The great thing about festivals is that everyone gets the opportunity to listen to music they might not be familiar with, whether it’s Bruce Springsteen and Elton John or Mumford & Sons and Pharell.

So what’s happening in 2014? Here are a few of the best festivals around.


Perhaps the granddaddy of all festivals now, this iconic festival in the magical setting of Glastonbury, England, is a global event attracting the music world’s biggest stars. The Rolling Stones headlined in 2013, U2 have played, and the organizers like to keep the full line-up under wraps until closer to the end of June event. Confirmed acts already include Dolly Parton and Blondie, and there will always be a massive surprise in the run-up to the event.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Kicking off towards the end of April, here’s a festival to attract fans of all ages. Eric Clapton, the doyen of blues musicians is on the bill, and fellow bluesman Johnny Winter is also performing. The Latin/rock sound of Santana will get the feet tapping, and the all-out intensity that comes with one of rock’s greatest stars, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will prove a huge attraction.

Soundwave 2014

Head Down Under to catch one of these Australian festival events at the major cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. Featuring the likes of Green Day, Korn, Alice in Chains and Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, there’s something for everyone’s taste in the line-up.


Head southeast of Nashville, Tennessee to Manchester to catch the amazing Bonnaroo Festival. It’s a brilliant mix of the old and the new, with Elton John and Lionel Richie among the former, and Kanye West, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys for the younger crowd.


Taking place close to Nantes in France, Hellfest is the ultimate festival for lovers of heavy Metal. The classic purveyors of doom and angst, Black Sabbath will be one of the headliners there in June, and, and will be in the company of other British heavy rock household names, including Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Status Quo. With top American rockers Aerosmith also on the bill it’s a great showcase of pulsating riffs and dazzling guitar solos.


A guide to planning an alternative family holiday

There’s no reason why you have to stick to the same tried and tested family holiday model every time you go away – especially if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous. We’re going to give you some tips about how to plan an action-packed family break, as well as suggest a few options that are open to you.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.05.28 AM

Start planning…

Firstly, it’s best to plan your holiday as a family, because this will help get the kids really excited about where you’re going and what you’re doing – a real blessing if you’ve got disinterested teenagers.

Secondly, to give you peace of mind when you’re arranging your break – and to make it easier for you – it’s best to go on an organised tour. This doesn’t mean you’ll be restricted in terms of what you do; in fact, it could open doors that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

The companies that offer adventurous family trips have extensive knowledge of the destinations they serve, which means they can introduce you to parts that you may not find on your own, as well as having connections with a host of activity providers who can make sure your holiday is full of thrills and spills.

Where to go

When you’ve taken the decision to be adventurous with your family break, the world really is your oyster. There’s such a wide variety of places to explore when you open up to the possibility of going off the beaten track. The following are just a few of our picks that we think are particularly good for families.


Borneo in Malaysia is a wonderful choice if your children love wildlife, as there are some amazing reserves and sanctuaries on the island. Of course, Borneo is most famous for its orang utans, which you can get unbelievably close to at a rescue centre in Sepilok.

You can also go on jungle walks to see some more of the local wildlife, such as the proboscis monkeys that live in this part of the world, or even take a trip down the river to explore a little further afield. Mum and dad will certainly appreciate the chance to unwind in the natural hot springs in Poring, while you can all round off your trip with a bit of rest and relaxation on one of Borneo’s beautiful beaches.

Costa Rica

For plenty of action and adventure, Costa Rica is a fantastic choice. It boasts a wide variety of landscapes, including volcanoes, rainforests and beaches, while it’s become something of a mecca for travellers looking for an action-packed break.

On a family getaway here you can go white water rafting, fly through the rainforest canopy on a zip line, canoe along the coast, cycle around a volcano and go horse riding with the local cowboys. There’s certainly a lot to keep people of all ages occupied, making it a fantastic choice for families with older children who’ve got an adventurous streak.


You don’t have to fly halfway around the world to find action and adventure, though, as there are lots of places in Europe that have plenty to offer on that front. One such example is the island of Gozo, which is part of Malta.

The emphasis here is on coastal activities, with kayaking in sea caves, mountain biking along coastal trails, abseiling and climbing on cliffs, and snorkelling in the warm Mediterranean waters that surround the isle among the things you can look forward to.


Tintagel: the castle and beyond

If you love myths, legends and history, then a staycation is absolutely bound to suit you. Why? Because there are so many wonderful castles and other characterful historical sites to explore right here in the UK. In my opinion, if you want the ultimate experience you should make a beeline for Tintagel Castle, which you’ll find on the north Cornwall coast.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.04.09 AM

Below, I’m going to tell you all about this spectacular castle, as well as clue you into a few of the other things you can do in the surrounding area. Meanwhile, if you’re after some practical information on organising your trip, like listings of good places to stay, Sykes Cottages is a really reliable resource.

All about Tintagel Castle

One of the most magical things about Tintagel Castle is that it’s steeped in legend – something that helps to draw visitors year after year. It’s said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, a story that has fascinated locals, visitors and historians alike for around 800 years.

Standing on a really dramatic part of Cornwall’s coastline, the castle occupies what’s known as Tintagel Island. But, despite its name, it’s actually no island, being attached to the mainland by a narrow strip of land.

The surrounding scenery is absolutely breathtaking – think the crashing waves of the coast, dramatic cliffs and wild headlands. In fact, it’s actually the views that a lot of people come up here for! The castle is reached by climbing up around 100 stone steps – a walk that helps get you in the mood for the brooding ruins that await you at the top.

Heavy walls, steep steps and cliff edges will greet you on arrival, and you can walk through the shell of the castle picking your way across cobbles and flagstones, as well as grassy, rocky patches where nature has triumphed over the bastion.

Once you’ve finished exploring the castle itself, you can take a walk to another legendary site, Merlin’s Cave, which is located just below Tintagel Castle. Be careful though – it’s only accessible at low tide; at high tide, it fills with water.

Local sights and attractions

While the castle is what most people come to see, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to do in Tintagel. The village of the same name, for instance, is an absolutely brilliant place to visit – especially since it has embraced its associations with Merlin with gusto, allowing you to continue the experience you began at the castle.

Things to do in the village include visiting the ancient church of St Materiana’s, which is on Glebe Cliff. An impressive example of Norman architecture, it has barely changed over the past 900 years. What’s more, it’s also home to some fascinating historical artefacts.

It’s also worth paying a visit to Tintagel Old Post Office, which probably sounds odd at first, but this 14th-century building is incredibly atmospheric. Once upon a time, it was a farmhouse, but these days it’s managed by the National Trust and hosts an array of events – most of these are family friendly, so coming here could be a particularly good choice if you’ve got the kids in tow.

And, just as a parting tip, if you’ve got a sweet tooth (like me!) then make sure you don’t leave without heading to Granny Wobbly’s Fudge Pantry – you’ll be bowled over by all the amazing flavours. Plus, all the fudge is made onsite, and in a traditional fashion.


Alternative European city breaks

Most people looking for cheap city break deals in Europe focus on the big hitters – world-famous cities such as Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, and the like. The appeals are obvious: iconic landmarks, top museums and galleries, strong tourism infrastructures and packed events schedules.

However, by ignoring cities with less celebrated names, you could be missing out, not only on fantastic culture and heritage, but also some great deals. To broaden your horizons a little, here’s a rundown of a few of Europe’s alternative city break destinations and the reasons why they’re worth a look next time you’re booking a holiday.


Friedrichshafen, Germany

The vast majority of visitors to southern Germany head for the capital city of Bavaria, Munich, where you’ll find famous attractions such as the Nymphenburg Palace, the Oktoberfest beer festival and a wealth of museums and galleries.

Friedrichshafen, on the other hand, is most likely a city that has flown completely under your radar – until now.

Situated 200km to the south-west of Munich on the border with Switzerland, Friedrichshafen enjoys a prime location on the banks of picturesque Lake Constance. A relatively new city, Friedrichshafen was founded in 1811 and is best known as the town where Ferdinand von Zeppelin built and launched his first airships in the early 20th century.

Airships are still part of the city’s charm today, and intrepid guests can take to the skies in a modern Zeppelin for a bird’s eye view of the town and the lake. Other attractions include watching theatre, opera and ballet at the Graf Zeppelin Haus, exploring the Dornier Museum, and cycling on the shores of the lake.

Innsbruck, Austria

Most people don’t look much further than Vienna and Salzburg when they’re planning an Austrian city break, which is shame given what cities such as Innsbruck, in the west of the country, have to offer.

Known more as a base for skiing trips, the city is actually a delightful place to visit no matter what the time of year, with its pretty, multicoloured buildings enjoying a spectacular mountainous backdrop.

Use the funicular to venture into the mountains for skiing or walking and cycling, depending on the season; seek out paintings by the old masters in the city’s art galleries; or sample some hearty Austrian beers in a brewpub.

The city holds many events throughout the year, so check out the programme and book your holiday to coincide with the one that takes your fancy. These include ART Innsbruck, the international fair for contemporary art, which takes place towards the end of February.

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

You fancy a bit of Spanish sunshine and culture, so it’s a toss-up between Barcelona, Madrid and Seville, right?

Well, perhaps, but have you considered Palma de Mallorca? The Balearic Islands might not be a culture vulture’s most obvious landing place, but this island city has more than enough charm to please even the most discerning of city breaker.

Enjoying a spectacular waterside setting, Palma is a delightful place to be. Boasting fine architecture, including a stunning Gothic cathedral; great shopping; art galleries and museums; and restaurants and bars, Palma is far from merely an entry point for those heading for Mallorca’s sandy beaches and is most definitely a city that needs to be sampled over a number of days.


Alcatraz Island’s diverse history

No holiday to San Francisco is complete without a trip to Alcatraz Island. As well as being the site of one of the most famous maximum security prisons in the world, its history is far more varied and far reaching than that. If you don’t believe me, read on or book yourself a trip with Air Express and experience it for yourself. Remember that you need to make sure you have enough time on your holiday to visit Alcatraz, get in touch with ESTA USA to ensure that you have the correct visa with enough days to visit this infamous site.


These days the name Alcatraz is synonymous with crime and punishment, as well as a lack of hope, but the moniker has much more mundane origins. In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala named it La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translates as the Island of the Pelicans. He was charting San Francisco Bay and this small uninhabited island was somewhat featureless save for the birds.


By 1847 the US military was looking to secure its land and saw the potential in the island as a site upon which to build a fortification. A number of geological surveys were carried out and by 1853 construction had begun.

It was kitted out with impressive guns and cannons that could sink a ship at three miles distance. Despite this might never really being put to the test, the island became a symbol of US military power.


As modern weaponry had made much of the island’s artillery obsolete, officials began to think of using Alcatraz as a location for holding captives. Its isolation and the freezing waters that surrounded it were seen as particularly advantageous to this use.

In 1861 the first 26 prisoners arrived from the Civil War, but by 1898 with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the island’s number of inhabitants had swollen to 450.


The earthquake that shook San Francisco in 1906 made it necessary to find an alternative place to the mainland to confine civilian prisoners and Alcatraz was chosen

as their destination. By 1912 it was decided that a purpose-built cell house needed to be constructed and this was full to capacity when the 20s came roaring in.


Despite its isolation, conditions within Alcatraz were not too bad in the intervening years – baseball field was built and regular recreational activities were staged. By 1934, the running of the prison became too expensive and it was closed down.

Ownership fell into the hands of the Department of Justice and as the Great Depression took hold, crime rates spiralled out of control. There was a need for a prison that not only incarcerated criminals, but acted as a deterrent. Renovations on Alcatraz began.

Tool-proof bars and window coverings were installed, along with gun galleries, teargas canisters in the ceiling above the dining hall and cement poured into the utility tunnels. Engineers were making Alcatraz a place of no escape and creating its dreaded reputation.

Under the watchful eye of strict prison warden James Johnston, the first inmates started to arrive. Among them were Al Capone and George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly. There was one guard to every three prisoners and even Capone once confessed that Alcatraz had got him licked.


Over the years there were 14 attempted escapes from Alcatraz, but the most famous was carried out by Frank Lee Morris and Clarence and John Anglin. All three managed to escape from the cell house, but it has never been established whether they survived the freezing waters of the bay, as they were never seen again.


The prison was closed and the island all but abandoned in 1963 and despite various proposals was not made into a shopping centre and hotel complex or a West Coast version of the Statue of Liberty.


Between 1969 and 1971 a large group of Native Americans took over the island, hoping to create a heritage centre for their culture. Conditions were difficult and after an

accidental fire burnt down several key buildings, federal marshals removed all the remaining inhabitants.

Graffiti that was daubed on some of the structures, including the water tower, can still be seen today. Despite a general no tolerance policy of such painting across America, officials have allowed it to stay as it marks part of the island’s unique history.

Present day

Alcatraz is now an ecological reserve, due to the colony of western gulls that have made their home on the former prison island. Since 1973 when it was opened to the public it has also been a popular tourist attraction, with one million people visiting every year.