Why you should go to London

London is one of the most vibrant and historic cities in the world, it is also one of the largest cities in Europe that you must visit at some point in your life and is incredibly tourist friendly for people as there are so many hotels in London as well as flights, so if you need a good one why not check out London City Suites by Montcalm. Read on to find out more about one of the greatest cities in the world.


London is teeming with markets in various locations so it doesn’t matter where you stay, there is sure to be a place for you to visit around the local area. There are a large number of markets in London and these include food stalls, fresh produce, fish, meat and a number vintage goods. A market such as Old Spitalfields is known for it’s variety of foods and a market like Portobello is known for the large variety of vintage goods that it sells.


London has one of the best and most organised transport systems in the world that will allow you to go to anywhere you need to go. It has an extensive national, international, underground (the tube), light and overground rail networks. On top of this it also has an unfathomable number of buses that go basically everywhere possible in the city. The frequency of the services available is also very  good, so it doesn’t matter where you stay in London, you will be at your destination in no time.

The other advantage of transportation is the large number of airports that London has, so there is no reason not to go to London!

Tourist attractions

What would a city be without tourist attractions? London certainly has a number of tourist attractions that are rich in history and culture. There are many museums and historical sites that you must see such as Buckingham palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

London has a tourist attraction for any kind of traveller to visit and combined with the superb transportation system, accessing each one should be a walk in the park.


London is incredibly diverse in terms of cultures and nationalities, with a large number of Polish, Brazilian and Caribbean  people to name a few, this has certainly influenced the food and you can try a truly diverse range of food from a perfect steak at a top class restaurant to small Jamaican cafes serving spicy jerk chicken or mutton curry.

The Ebola Outbreak and Your Travels


The recent Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has received a lot of media attention of late and for very good reason, Ebola is an extremely deadly disease and has no known vaccine or defined treatment method. As the world is becoming more and more international and borders for travel begin to fall it is important that we all exercise a duty of care for our friends, family and others during and after travelling. We all have a responsibility to keep Ebola to a minimum, as well as other diseases. This Ebola crisis has caused many organisations to seek an effective method of treatment and one simple way you can help to contribute is to donate to the Ebola crisis through charity organisations such as UNICEF.

Understanding the Symptoms

Understanding the symptoms of Ebola and other diseases that are a risk in the country that you are visiting is extremely important, you need to make it a priority to learn some basic symptoms of diseases so that you can seek medical attention if necessary. One of the most dangerous things about Ebola is that the initial symptoms are things such as headaches, sore throat and muscle weakness, and these symptoms are very similar to influenza and other illnesses, and can cause a high risk of misdiagnosis.

Avoiding Ebola

Until more is known about how to treat the Ebola virus the best way to avoid the disease is to avoid areas where the outbreak has occurred, this is not to say that these areas should be avoided forever, but until the epidemic in these countries is controlled, or better diagnosis and treatment is developed it is best to avoid these countries if possible.

Be aware of other people that may have travelled to affected areas, you need to be aware of the fact that you will come into contact with others on your travels that may have been to one of the affected areas and this applies not only to Ebola and is a great general rule. A good example of this is letting quarantine and customs know that you have been to a place such as South America, which poses many risks due to the various tropical diseases. In the same way it is important to let people know where you have been, so that



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.

Sail through San Francisco – top tips for making your trip an easy one

San Francisco is a marvellous city for any wide eyed traveller looking to find all the great things that American cities have to offer. More than that, San Francisco is a cultural hub, a place where you’ll see and feel culture.

A vibrant foodie haven, a place of art and of course a city that comes with an abundance of must see tourist attractions – it’s a hard place to fit everything in for the traveller. Luckily for you, we’ve created 4 top tips for anyone heading to the city of bright lights.

San Fran

Image Source: Flickr

4  Top tips for travelling to San Francisco

  1. Dinner and dining plans

Thinking about checking out some of San Fran’s best and most beloved restaurants? You should be so lucky. San Francisco is home to devout foodies – if you want to be part of the scene for a few hours, it’s imperative to book well ahead of your time. So, do your homework and call well in advance if good food is on your to do list. Pier 39 in San Francisco will give you a great choice of eateries at a spectacular location; well worth getting along to.

  1. The Culture

A visit to San Francisco would not be complete without experiencing all this wonderful city has to offer.  Home to internationally recognized symphony, opera and ballet companies – you’ll never be short of a thing or do to do and see and it’s important to take the time to squeeze this all in.  Museum’s come in abundance – The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

The city is dedicated to the finest of classical and contemporary arts and of course is home to California Academy of Sciences which homes an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof. Our best advice is to plan and book ahead – these places are always busy. Create a schedule and ensure you have prearranged tickets for both the place and your travel arrangements to get there. In terms of location, Hotels in San Francisco are amongst the finest in the world and you’ll have no issues finding something central.

  1. Getting around

Don’t visit San Francisco and expect public transport to the standards of NYC or Europe. It can be good at best but a lot of the time, it’s confusing. There are two separate tickets you have to buy for BART (subway) and MUNI (buses/streetcars), don’t assume the ticket you bought for BART works on MUNI.  Taxis/cabs are few and far between and hailing one from the street is next to impossible. If you are tech savvy, consider hailing a ride using the mobile apps from UberLyft, or SideCar, they are much faster and more reliable than hailing a cab on the street. Or if you don’t own a smartphone – consider calling ahead to order for pick up.

  1. Clothing and shoe wear

Bring warm clothes, such as jumpers and jeans but leave your parka and ski gloves at home. It’s much easier to dress in layers, especially in a city like San Francisco were you are likely to be doing a lot of walking, you’ll be much happier dressing in layers. The average temperature here is about 62° F / 16.5°C, even in the summer. Thinking about packing those heels? Don’t. You’ll need comfortable walking shoes; San Fran is famous for its steep hills and avenues.

Two Top Movie-Themed Online Slot Designs

When it comes to understanding what makes a design great, it is important to consider all the different forms of creative design that is out there. A great deal can be understood about what instantly catches someone’s eye, and what characteristics most people find interesting, by broadening your understanding of design. Viewing the intricate details and trends that you find in online gambling video games, especially those that are specifically themed, is a perfect way to implement a whole new dimension of creativity. One of the most popular trends of online gambling games is implementing a movie-theme. This process of combining technology with two major fields of entertain, that of online gaming and Hollywood, is the perfect way to bring some much needed joy to the lives of many. The added bonus with these online gambling games is the fact that many sites, such as http://pokiespalace.com.au, offer the games free of charge, implementing in-game currency, so your life doesn’t have to come crashing down around you if your luck seems to fail. Here are two that definitely stand out.

Lord of the Rings

Who doesn’t love the Lord of the Rings? The weird and wonderful world of Middle Earth, created by the legendary Tolkien himself. Based on Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, this game features sounds and images from the official films, making sure that your experience of Middle Earth is as real as possible. The design pays special attention to the background image that play an important role in setting the tone. If you come across the evil all-seeing eye of Sauron, you definitely do not have to fear as much as Sam and Frodo did. This symbol can be used to change other symbols, increasing your chances of victory.

The Hangover

When one thinks about films and gambling, chances are The Hangover will be mentioned. It is almost like this movie was made with this game in mind. With video clips and sound bites straight from the film, along with the main voice over provided by none other than the hilarious gangster boss himself, Mr. Chow (also known as Ken Jeong), there is no reason not to love this game.

By Jason Swindon

Human Generosity

Everyone reacts to sudden wealth very differently, and whilst some choose to live the high life, others prefer to treat their friends, families and even strangers! We take a look at some of the most generous lottery winners of all time.

  • Nigel Page and Justine Laycock

In 2010, Nigel and Justine won £56 million on the Euromillions and decided to give their cleaner Denise Kelso their £400,000 house and their £19,000 Honda Civic as a thank you for her hard work cleaning their property for the last four years.

  • An anonymous French winner

According to an article in The Guardian, in 2014, an unmarried man in France scooped the €72 million jackpot and decided to give away €50 million of it to a dozen charities working for the disadvantaged.

  • Allen and Violet Large

World Lottery Club recently published an article about the Canadian couple who donated 98% of their $11.3 million win to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, fire department, churches and their local hospitals, the latter of which had treated Violet for ovarian cancer.

lottery 3

  • Ray and Barbara Wragg

After winning £7.6 million in 2000, the couple from Sheffield have given away £5.5 million to helping family, friends and other good causes including donating £10,000 towards the first MRI scanner in Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Weston Park Hospital’s Teenage Cancer Unit and £12,500 to send 60 Monte Cassino veterans to the battlefields where they fought. Each year they take a group of children to watch a Christmas pantomime and pay for 12 children to have a week at Whirlow Hall Farm.

  • Tom Crist

In 2013, Canadian Tom Crist won $40 million and decided to donate it all to charity in honour of his late wife.

  • Bob Erb

After winning $25 million in the Canadian Lottery in 2012, Bob has given away around $7 million including a $10,000 tip to a restaurant owner whose daughter had cancer and $300,000 to pay for dental care for Terrace residents who couldn’t afford it.

  • Sheelah Ryan

In 1988, Sheelah won $55.2 million and gave away the money until she died of cancer in 1994. She set up the Ryan Foundation which built low cost housing, helped the poor and paid rent for single mothers. Pensioners and the homeless were also helped through the foundation.


Best Pride events around the world

The first demonstration to publicly champion the rights of gay people was a picket protest outside Independence Hall, Philadelphia on July 4, 1965. This “Annual Reminder” continued year on year until, in 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, resulting in several nights of rioting. This was the point when the “glad to be gay” concept really took root, with the first Gay Pride march in US history marking the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1970. Happily, a great deal of progress has been made since those troubled times and today the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are widely celebrated around the world in a series of festivals, parades and other events. Here are a few of the best…

Best Pride events around the world

São Paulo Gay Pride parade 

Reckoned by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the biggest Gay Pride parade in the world, the Avenida Paulista in the city of São Paulo in Brazil throngs with participants every year; organizers claim total attendance in 2013 was five million people. The superb carnival atmosphere at Pride events, enlivened by striking, imaginative floats and outrageous fashions, means that anything goes when it comes to parade costumes, including sexy lingerie for men, plus weird and wonderful makeup, hairstyles and accessories for everyone.

Pride Toronto

In June 2014 Canada’s largest annual festival was awarded the privilege of hosting WorldPride, an international celebration to commemorate the history of the gay rights movement and celebrate the present. Every year in Toronto, ten days of celebrations include parades, parties in local parks and people from around the world gathering in neighborhoods and downtown across the city. It’s estimated that between 500,000 and one million people attend. Live music of all genres rock indoor and outdoor venues with events such as Alterna-Queer – experimental, homocore, rock and punk – and Blockorama – dancehall, house, hip hop, R&B and roots reggae.

London Pride

London Pride is one of Europe’s longest-running LGBT events and has been celebrating sexual diversity in the UK capital every June since 1972. With a number of major sponsors and plenty of sideshows, as well as the traditional parade, everybody is guaranteed a great time. Depending on preferences, participants can enjoy the Pride Picnic in the Park, listen to the London Gay Symphony Orchestra and attend a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in addition to watching the main parade. In 2013, some 15,000 people took part in the parade, while in 2014 this rose to 30,000 people, led by Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita and watched by approximately 750,000 spectators.

Pride in the USA

Among many other cities across the US, there are major parades in New York, where it all began, and in San Francisco, home of the iconic rainbow flag now used all over the world. The experience of participating in Pride is said to be exhilarating and exhausting in about equal measure. Those willing to check out their nearest Pride event will enjoy a marvelously colorful spectacle and a great fun day out.




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.



America’s best festivals

The history of the festival dates back to thousands of years Before the Common Era, in Ancient Egypt and Greece. As a popular way of getting people together, festivals began to proliferate in the 20th century, with the Woodstock Festival of 1969 arguably the best known, though the Monterey Pop Festival in California predated it by two years.

burning man festival

Today there is a profusion of festivals of all kinds throughout America, and though music and arts festivals are still huge events, there are a whole range of gatherings in cities and towns as well as unusual venues such as the desert and open countryside.

Festivals in America come in all sorts of guises, from the wild and wacky, such as the Frozen Dead Guys Days in Nederland, high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, to the serene and spectacular sight of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico. Festivals of food and wine are always popular, with Aspen and New York as hosts, and film festivals such as Sundance in Utah and Telluride in Colorado celebrate the art of filmmaking worldwide.

With so many festivals to choose from it can be difficult to decide, so here are three of the most interesting to consider:

Burning Man

A fascinating glimpse into counter-culture and stunning visual art, Burning Man takes place in the week running up to Labor Day, the end of August, in Black Rock City. This a temporary “city” created for the event, around 120 miles to the north of Reno in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. It attracts some 60,000 free spirits every year who participate in a whole range of workshops and events. It’s not a spectator event as such, though there will be plenty to see. It offers people opportunities to learn about themselves and others in a free-spirited environment, celebrating life and all the strange things that can happen during it. Participants can expect a week-long visual extravaganza with, of course, plenty of fire!

Newport Folk Festival

The oldest folk festival in the country takes place for three days at the end of July in Newport, Rhode Island, at Fort Adams State Park. The harbor can be seen from the site, and it’s been the setting for many world famous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Fleet Foxes and Emmylou Harris. Apart from the eclectic and high quality range of music on offer there is a Craft Market and plenty of good food and drink.

Maine Lobster Festival

This festival in Rockland, Maine is more akin to a county fair, with some 30,000 folk making their way there every year. The festival takes place around the end of July and the start of August and centers, naturally, on the lobster. There’s plenty of other seafood to try, and there are competitions, music and craft stalls to enjoy.

Travelers wanting to experience these festivals can check out affordable flights from Flights.com to get as close as possible to the venues.

Can Australia Retain The Urn?

Following Australia’s emphatic whitewash of England in their home country in the winter of 2013, Michael Clarke and friends will be hoping to repeat the feat in England in the summer of 2015 and keep hold of that extremely tiny but extremely valuable urn.

The Ashes are the pinnacle of cricket, and an event that every sporting fan looks forward to.

England were followed by a large (and long suffering) army of travelling fans and it is likely that Australia will be no different. Following their oh so convincing manner of victory, Australia will be in confident mood and expectant of a first series win in England since their 4-1 victory back in 2001. Will Mitchell Johnson repeat the deadly form that saw him tear through England’s batting order?

England however, will be hurting from the crushing nature of their defeat, in which they didn’t even come close to even managing a draw and posted scores which frankly were downright embarrassing, and will be determined to prove that the debacle of the previous winter was nothing more than a blip. Alistair Cook will also be willing to prove that he is able to juggle the captaincy and being the number one batsman, hoping to return to the sparkling form he displayed in the 2010 tournament in Australia.

England’s form since the Ashes has improved, albeit slowly. Having lost their two match test series with Sri Lanka 1-0, they then went on to beat India 3-1. Australia meanwhile followed up their memorable victory by clinching another impressive test win, 2-1 against the number one test side South Africa.

For the Australians that will be travelling to the UK to cheer on their heroes, preparations for the trip are likely to be well underway. After all, tickets for events like these are like gold dust. Of course spending a long period of time in a foreign country can be full of challenges and  unexpected obstacles, especially for first time visitors. While Travel Insurance is not usually on the top of anyone’s list when planning for a holiday, you’ll be mightily relieved to have it should you, for example, lose your luggage or have your passport stolen. A trip to watch your country play any sport is always memorable, and HBF Travel Insurance can help you make sure it isn’t remembered for the wrong reasons.

Whoever the victor, the Ashes is sure to provide cricket fans with a summer to remember.