Toronto's West End Roncesvalles Lofts - Designed With Flair!

In west-end Toronto's funky Roncesvalles hood, a new contemporary condo building called "Roncesvalles Lofts" located at 25 Ritchie Avenue near Dundas Street west and Roncesvalles Avenue is attracting attention.

This European neighbourhood is known for its wonderful ethnic eateries, bistros, food markets, pubs, bakeries and fabulous coffee shops, as well as its own Revue Theatre. Walking down Roncesvalles Avenue has an organic feel that both delights area residents and visitors alike, who leisurely stroll along the streets for outings with the family or just an excuse to walk the dog.

Urban buyers are looking for interesting condo options, and Roncesvalles Lofts has the clean architectural lines and avant-garde design that is drawing interest. Named in Toronto Life Magazine as one of the Best Resale condos for 2012, this mid-rise live-work development, houses 37 lofts ranging in size from 685 to 1,950 square feet and have been selling from the $280,000 to $580,000 range. The styles vary from one to two levels with some suites having terraces or patios. The contemporary interior suites are bright and airy with windows galore, allowing for an open and spacious feel. The bathrooms are luxurious with rainfall showers and deep soaker tubs to relax in. The building's only amenities are a party room and an outdoor garden courtyard and water fountain, which should help keep the maintenance fees low, down the road. It's comforting to know you aren't paying for the extras that often are never used.

This edgy urban location offers fast and easy access to downtown Toronto with the Dundas streetcar or Dundas Street West subway station along with the Bloor GO Train Station. Metrolinx plans incude this stop to connect to Pearson International Airport, making it a breeze for air travel without having to find parking for your car or an expensive limo! The West Toronto Railpath runs along the eastern side of the tracks and has been developed as a trail for pedestrians and cyclists to connect to the north, south and eastern neighbourhoods.

Everything you'd desire from Loblaw's Grocery to bistros, cafes, markets and quaint restaurants are steps away. Within the area is High Park and at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue and King Street you'll find Lake Ontario. Urbanites that love water recreation often choose the Argonaut Rowing Club, which caters to Toronto's west-end rowing enthusiasts. Being able to row along Lake Ontario's shoreline is a dream come true! Local residents that are downsizing and first-time condo buyers are both finding themselves attracted to the contemporary Roncesvalles Lofts, that offers space with an interesting twist away from the ordinary.

Work-Care Balance

It was one of those crazy weeks where you wonder how on earth you are going to get everything done.

I had just returned from my grandson's graduation in Saskatoon, which was lovely, but this also meant that I had been out of the office for several days. I knew that the mail would be piled up at the door and my inbox would have several hundred new emails demanding attention.

My youngest son, who has been accepted in the Social Work program at the College, had agreed to begin working as part-time administrator in my office for the fall. He knew that I was feeling a little overwhelmed and offered to travel back with me and spend a week learning and helping with the catch up in between looking for accommodations for his family.

We knew that our time together was precious and that we had to take advantage of every snippet between clients as well as waking hours after they were all gone. It was late night after late night.

When my daughter-in-law arrived, she pitched right in by buying groceries and preparing meals while Mark and I worked steadily on the "to do" list.

By the end of the week there had been both good progress at work which was satisfying but I was absolutely exhausted! Even though it was early afternoon when Mark and family left for Saskatoon to begin packing for the move, I crawled right into bed and slept for hours. When I woke up, I did feel more like myself but decided to commit the rest of the weekend to self-care.

My home was instantly converted in my mind into a day spa. The "to do" lists" were not allowed to have any priority. What is normally a hasty morning showers were replaced by long, leisurely soaks in the tub with bath salts that had been received as a Christmas gift. Simple but nutritious meals were prepared quickly and enjoyed slowly. New but previously neglected magazines became a pleasant alternative to reading books and journals on heavier topics.

And talk about rest - I didn't use or need an alarm but instead allowed my body to determine when it was time to wake up.

We all talk about the importance of balance in our lives and yet we seldom practice what we preach. Imagine what would happen if you always drove your vehicle at full throttle without doing any maintenance? It wouldn't take long until it would break down.

It's time to re-evaluate your choices again. Are you working too hard without healthy breaks? Or perhaps you are taking too many breaks without doing any work?

Good health comes from a combination of hard work and self-care.

The goal for this week is to plan and consciously practice "balance" in your life.

Family Holidays in Italy - Fun Filled Adventures!

If you and your family are getting fed up of going to the same family resort year in year out and you and want to try something different and exciting with your kids this summer then why not try an exciting family holiday in Italy? Some people are fine with going to the same place but for others they need a good change!

There are many fun and enjoyable family activity holidays based in Italy and there are many places to visit and see. Some of the most popular include: Horse Riding in the Tuscan countryside, Quad Biking in spectacular Tuscan sunny surroundings, fun-filled watersports holidays in Sardinia, great city sight-seeing breaks in Rome or Milan, skiing in the Italian Alps and much, much more!

Family holidays in Italy are perfect for families who love nothing more than being outdoors and having lots of activities to take part in. Young people and children need something to keep them entertained while they are away and with family holidays in Italy you definitely won't hear the words "I'm bored"!

Many travel companies offer family holidays in Italy and choosing one to book with really depends on exactly what you want. For example, you maybe want a hotel with a pool, with sight-seeing and shopping, or perhaps a campsite near the beach with lots of exciting watersports activities to try, the choice is endless and entirely up to you and your needs. The price range varies too, from luxury to budget, but make sure to browse around as some companies offer much more for your money than others!

For example, you and your family could spend time in a 3* hotel with an abundance of activities on offer, such as horse trekking, swimming in the pools or at the nearby beach, excursions and picnics, walks, mountain biking, hiking, quad tours and lots, lots more! If all that seems a bit too much there is also time to relax and enjoy a hydro massage in the heated mini spa pool and indulge in some spa treatments.

If you and your family like active holidays, family holidays in Italy are ideal for you! Sounds like fun doesn't it? Don't take my word for it, get online and do some exploring of your own and maybe even book your own fun-filled family holidays in Italy and see if you can handle all the excitement! You won't be disappointed.

Questions to Ask Your Tour Planner When Designing a Vacation

Some people dream of a vacation at a land of balmy beaches, crystal clear water and rusting palm fronds. Some prefer a quiet retreat in the mountains or the untainted corners of woods, while others want to explore cultural festivity and historical treasures.

Whatever type of holiday you covet, planning it in advance enhances your experience. Deciding where to go, how to go and preparing itinerary in advance help you get most out of it. Today planning a holiday is not a hassle, as countless of travel companies provide professional assistance in this matter. However, you should know what to ask the tour planner when designing your vacation. Here are some important questions to ask before finalizing a vacation deal.

How much do I need to spend?

Most probably, you already know your budget or your capability to spend on this vacation. But you should still ask how much you need to pay to have a worthy vacation. Sometime, a little acceleration in budget enhances travel pleasure many fold. Say your travel planner the maximum limit of your spending and ask a vacation to fit it. However, you need to determine the type of trip before you even start planning. Ask your vacation budget in detail - know each and every expense in advance so that you can make quicker and less-stressful decision en route.

Where would we go?

Once you have set your destination, ask about your itinerary. Get a list of attractions you will explore during the vacation. Consider each one in your group, and see if the itinerary matches their interest or not. Of course, it should have something inviting for everyone. You can suggest the planner about the places you want to visit.

Which facilities would be availed during the stay?

Vacation is a source of fun & pleasure, and your accommodation has a big impact on how delightful it is going to be. What you get depends upon what you pay, but you should ask about the amenities you have in the package. Make sure you get facilities to match your specific needs, if any. Ask if the hotel has swimming pool, especially if you're going with kids. Business facilities like Internet connectivity would be required for business travelers. Honeymooners should ask about special arrangements for couples.

Which travel documents do I require?

One of the most important questions, especially if you plan an overseas trip is about travel documents you need to carry. Ask about Visa policy, duration of passport validation and other special permits needed for that particular country. If you don't have the documents ready, ask if they can help you in this matter. Many travel companies help travelers in preparing their travel documents.

Apart from that you should ask about the payment mode, special discounts and other terms & conditions before finalizing a travel deal. Take well informed decisions to ensure you get the best deal anywhere.

Achieving Real Weight Loss

The state of health in America is not very positive. As of today, according to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 65% of adult Americans are considered overweight and 30% of those are considered obese. Cancer - much of it preventable -- has now surpassed heart disease as the number one cause of death and the number of people who know they have diabetes is now up to 14.6 million.

But what are the causes of increased weight gain, what is science telling us about this 'condition', and most importantly, what can people do about it?

It's no surprise that most Americans are eating more than they need and are less active than they were meant to be. According to recent findings by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average daily caloric intake of Americans is 2,757. Compared to 1970, this is an increase of 523 calories per day. It takes roughly 3500 calories to gain or lose a pound of weight. If a person increased or decreased their daily intake by 500 calories a day, there is the difference in weight - you can gain or lose in a week with that difference. It's very easy to add an extra 500 calories a day to a person's diet. Just a large order of French fries will do it! The same is true with NOT eating that extra order of French fries, however.

Although some statistics show that there is a slight increase in leisure time activity across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), physical activity drops in children from 69% at ages 12 and 13 to 38% for young people between 18 and 21. Between 1991 and 1997, the CDC reports that the percentage of students who attended a daily physical education class dropped from 42% to 27%. If adults are not staying physically active, and children are not getting physical exercise in school, the message they receive is that exercise is not important. Studies show that if children do not learn healthy eating habits and exercise habits when young, they will likely struggle with healthy habits as adults. Could we be killing our kids by not taking care of our own health, setting healthy examples for them, today?

But not all people struggling with weight are just sitting around, not exercising and eating ice cream and French fries. Could there be something more going on? Researchers are now looking at what genetics can tell us about weight gain. Some people suffer from the need to eat large amounts of food, no matter how full they feel. Researchers are looking at a substance in our body called Leptin. Studying mice, they find that those mice who have very little Leptin in their bodies tend to eat more, thus they gain more weight, suffering from obesity.

But there still is no real solution available for people suffering with large amounts of weight. Although supplement companies have quickly jumped on the bandwagon to capitalize on what preliminary research is telling us about Leptin, these supplements are still false promises that just guarantee emptying the pocketbooks of the hopeful who feel there is no other help for them.

What about the claim that some people just can't lose weight, no matter what they do? I have a program that requires clients to document their intake of everything they eat for 30 days, sending me their daily report. What consistently has developed from this is a new awareness to the client of 'hidden' times they eat. It's common for a client to say, 'I had no idea I grabbed ice cream when I was mad at my husband', or, 'I had no idea I was eating that bag of chips while working at the computer!' As a consequence, every client who goes on this program loses weight. Many people state, as a matter of fact, that they just can't lose weight anymore. Many claim it's their age, menopause, you name it. However, when real changes are made, the body does still respond, no matter what the age.

In every case that a person's intake is closely monitored, and the calories are decreased, people have lost weight. Even in the case of a 1000 pound man. At home, all he did was gain and gain. By the time he was over 1000 pounds, unable to breathe or move, he was hospitalized. In the hospital, he was put on a strict 1200 calorie diet. While there for six months, on this diet, he lost 600 pounds. Although in later interviews he claimed he never ate much at home and didn't know why he couldn't lose weight at home, the facts speak for themselves. It still is just a matter of calories in versus calories out.

So what does a person do? According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), there are three keys to permanent success to weight loss. The NWCR was established in 1994 by two university professors and is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance in the country. Currently the NWCR has over 5,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds of weight and kept it off for at least a year who are eligible to join the ongoing research study. What researchers have discovered is, regardless of how people have lost the weight, keeping it off has included several necessary consistent steps: Success for these people have included following a low-fat, low-calorie diet and regular exercise. However, let's look at a few more details; many successful NWCR participants exercise for a total of 60-90 minutes a day, regularly. Many break it up through the day, and almost all claim they hated it to begin with, but now it's just a part of their lives. They made a choice to avoid regaining their weight and love their lean and active lifestyles. Another consistent aspect of participants is they all eat breakfast. This is another habit that many had to get used to, but realize how important it is to eat a good meal at the beginning of the day in order to avoid cravings and high calorie snack foods later in the day. Three-quarters of all participants weigh themselves on a weekly basis, just so they can catch any increases that may slowly be developing, and take corrective action before it's out of hand.

Support is critical to success. Many people who struggle with weight already know that they just can't do it, themselves. They have proven this. However, often they are unwilling to admit they need help, thus they struggle for their entire lives. First of all, when someone has emotional eating issues, it's critical that they seek the help of a qualified therapist they can work well with. Someone they can share their feelings with, who they feel they can confide in and trust. Next, it's important to also find a Registered Dietitian (RD) to help them learn how to apply the wealth of nutrition knowledge they already know to their own lives. There are many people who call themselves 'nutritionists' and many 'food coaches', but these people are not educated in all aspects of nutrition the way an RD is. The third important piece of the support team is to find someone who can help them learn how to become more active. If a person is very overweight, it's important to find someone experienced in this population, not a 'hunk' who now likes to train others to look like 'hunks' or competitive body builders. Most people are not interested in looking like they just won the Mr/Ms America pageant; they just want to lose weight, feel great and feel they can enjoy shopping for clothes again.

The ultimate key is to eat fewer calories than the body needs. However, with exercise, the need for decreased calories will be less than if a person tried to lose weight by dieting alone. The topic of TOO few calories is beyond the scope of this article, but if a person ate too few calories, they then will burn their own body muscle tissue for the needed fuel, thus defeating the purpose of exercise, which is to increase lean body mass so the body will burn more calories at rest. However, once a person learns to listen to their own body cues, they can learn how to tell when they are eating too little, as well as too much. So, first they control their calorie intake. Then they do some type of physical activity. As we have seen above, this must be consistent. It could be as simple as taking a walk, but it should be every day, every month, for the rest of their life. Most of the participants in the NWCR site walking as their primary exercise. Not a day here and there, then skip a week; it has to be consistent. Once the walking gets easy, then there should be some type of activity that increases muscle endurance or strength. Weight training isn't the only activity that can do this, although it's the most common. I challenge everyone who is reading this article to think of what activity you would like to do if your weight was not an issue; it may be wall climbing, it may be hiking a mountain, it may be snow skiing, maybe Pilates or Yoga.

It's a hard road to travel when a person has a large amount of weight to lose. They feel like there is just no hope and it's too hard to even attempt it. Most in this position have tried more times than they'd like to admit. Or, they have allowed life to get away from them, and they now look in the mirror with disgust, but just feel overwhelmed and don't understand how to get their old body back. They feel they have no control over their life. It is possible! Read through some of the success stories from participants in the NWCR, Just as with anything else in life, though, if you want to make it happen, you have to work through the struggles to achieve the rewards.

Osaka - A Japanese City Packed With Unmatched Highlights

They say taking an expedition to the Far East always proves to be a stimulating one. Do you agree with what's stated? Some may have a different notion altogether with respect to the statement as there can be a contradiction that have captured the minds of the people. There are quite a few nations in the Far East that are really worthy of your visit and worth every penny. There is one such nation that is jam-packed with interesting attractions and is steeped in history. Now, that's what we call pampering yourself.

Before we proceed with this article, let us pose a question at you, shall we?

When you ponder about Asia, which is the country that normally strikes your mind? Is it China? Is it Indonesia? Did we hear no? Voila! It is Japan. And, why wouldn't it? Japan is one of the exceptionally popular nations of the world that have made unique contributions to culture, cuisine and science. If we talk about massive conglomerates, you may be amazed to know that most of the organizations are Japanese.

We are sure that you must have heard about Osaka, which is the third largest city in Japan. It is deemed to be the second most vital city of the country and is located in the Kansai region. As a matter of fact, it is one of the oldest Japanese cities that have a huge population of 2.6 million people. This Japanese city is packed with rivers, parks, mountains and shops as well that make up for the fact why Osaka is one of the most visited cities of Japan. You can take cheap flights to Osaka from Birmingham if you want to know more about the city.

Osaka is also known as the culinary capital of the country. The tourism in the city has been witnessing a major chunk of the tourists going up in the air to this city as it bestows the travellers with hot spring resorts, ancient castles, amusement parks and the list doesn't come to a halt.

What if we make your journey to Osaka a pleasurable one?

There are various modes of transport that you can avail in order to reach the city. There are two airports in the city from which the international flights operate: Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport. You can book cheap Osaka flights for a memorable tour.

When you touch down in the city, you can visit the attractions such as Osaka Aquarium, Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky Building, Minami Market City Center, Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine and many more.

You can opt for an accommodation considering your budget as there are a number of hotels in Osaka serving your needs. So, what are you waiting for? Just grab flights to Osaka with a travel agency of repute that can provide you some of the unparalleled deals on cheap air tickets that are simply beyond compare.

Northern Cyprus Property: What's the Attraction?

Northern Cyprus. Miles of rugged natural coastline, secluded sandy coves and beautiful un-spoilt beaches, lapped by the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Framed by the peaks of the magnificent 'Five Finger' mountain range, down into the central plains stretching between Famagusta and Nicosia, it is truly one of the last un-spoilt destinations in the Mediterranean. A haven of natural beauty, with pine clad hillsides and miles of sandy beaches making it the unique destination most people believe no longer exists. The coastline of North Cyprus offers some of the finest and safest bathing in the Mediterranean. The crystal clear waters are wonderful for swimming, snorkeling, sailing and skiing.

An ancient island, inhabited since the Stone Age, it is the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. Past inhabitants have included Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Venetians, Ottomans and British. The heritage and culture from these civilizations are evident all over the island, but none more so than in the North, where sites of historical interest abound. The castle of St Hilarion and the Abbey ruins at Bellapais are just two of the wonderful relics of these past times, and still exude atmosphere.

The identity of the island is very Cypriot however. The warm and welcoming nature of the people is one of the first things you notice when visiting for the first time. Go into any of the local towns and tavernas you will experience firsthand the friendly atmosphere that makes you feel immediately at ease. Many of the local people speak and understand English and encourage visitors in their attempts at the language. There are several places where you can learn to speak Turkish in a relaxed atmosphere, something to keep you busy through the cooler winter months perhaps!

A food lover's paradise, you don't have to wander far to sample delicious fare freshly prepared with the abundant local vegetables and locally caught fish. With over 300 restaurants and tavernas to choose from, it would be impossible not to find somewhere that wouldn't satisfy the most diverse of palates. The local Cypriot food is of course influenced by Turkish culinary art, although there are many excellent restaurants specializing in European and international cuisine. An evening stroll down to the harbour in Kyrenia will find visitors spoilt for choice between numerous bars and restaurants where you can sit and while away the hours whilst enjoying a leisurely meal. Eating out is still relatively inexpensive, and always a great pleasure! There are several nightclubs in and around Girne (Kyrenia) for those who wish to have a more active nightlife!

The cost of living in Northern Cyprus is notably less that in the UK, but standards are on a par, with the added bonuses of fantastic scenery and weather! The number of permanent British residents is growing every year, and integrating with the local communities, rather than outside them as has been the case in other countries favoured by ex-pats. A legacy from the British colonial days means that traffic drives on the left and since car hire is cheap and easy, travelling around is no problem.

In the past two years, Northern Cyprus has experienced a true property boom. Property prices have doubled in the last year, with still more potential for capital growth. There are many different types of property to be found, from large and small villas to town centre apartments. Popular choices amongst these are the gated complexes of apartments being built by SeaTerra, one of the largest developers in North Cyprus. Out towards the East side of Girne, their projects are set next to the village of Esentepe and further along the coast road towards Tatlisu.

The fact that so many people are now becoming aware of Northern Cyprus shows there is huge potential for more tourists to start visiting the area. This seems to be a European and even worldwide awareness. With around 215,000 people living there permanently, this figure more than doubles in the summer months. With both a new golf course due to be opened shortly, and plans for a 400 berth yacht Marina just along from Esentepe, this will no doubt prove to be a big draw for those who have not as yet discovered this wonderful place. At the moment there are about 60 hotels in the region, with another 11,000 beds planned and in the process of being built. More than 60 flights per week arrive at Ercan Airport during the summer, this grows steadily and countless other flights bring people to Northern Cyprus via Larnaca in the South. The winter tourist is also increasing in numbers hugely proving that the secret of Northern Cyprus is well and truly out.

This article has been provided by Karen Arter, marketing manager for Cyprus SeaTerra a specialist Northern Cyprus property developer. For further information visit or

Are Your Fire Doors Up to the Mark?

Personal safety within the built environment is paramount and one of the most common dangers facing people within any building is that of fire. Public premises have long been the focus of attention for fire officers and building control inspectors, as a mass of people entering a building, whether it be an office complex, a department store, a factory or a hotel, has to be kept safe should a fire break out.

Doors used in many of these buildings have often been functional and as such the creation of fire resistant functional looking internal fire doors has long been established. However, more recently, the modern home environment has evolved and fire safety must be considered there as well. As land prices have risen, architects and developers have adapted their house designs to change the footprint of newly built houses. Three storey homes have become commonplace on new housing estates as developers have learned to use the vertical space to create living accommodation.

At the same time, apartment blocks and sheltered living complexes have led to buildings which are often multi-storey and interconnected. These multiple occupancy buildings require the highest standards of protection in respect of fire safety. When you take up residence in your new third floor apartment, you need to be able to get out of the building should your neighbour below forget to turn off the chip-pan!!

Quite rightly, building regulations are demanding that higher and higher standards are achieved to ensure that the occupants of buildings are kept safe, but at the same time, the people living in these multiple occupancy buildings desire more decorative doors within their homes rather than the more functional items that might be present in an office complex.

To the uninitiated, selecting an internal fire door and ensuring its compliance can be minefield. Just because a door feels heavy doesn't mean that it will offer protection in the case of a fire. The design and construction of a fire door is a science in itself. Often, the specification involved makes the door more expensive that might first be expected. This is particularly common when glazed fire doors are required. It is vital that appropriate fire glass is used within the aperture, but more than that there is a care of duty placed upon the developer of the building to ensure that any doors installed where fire protection is needed have been manufactured in the appropriate fashion and have been independently tested to ensure compliance.

The door itself is only part of the story as it is the whole assembly, including the door frame, which acts as a barrier to flames and more importantly smoke. The fire door is fitted with intumescent seals which expand in the presence of fire; the temperature at which the seals deploy is above the level of human survival. So, unless all of the assembly is fitted correctly the fire door will not work properly which may result in unnecessary harm to building occupants. Once the fire door assembly has been fitted it should be checked every six months to make sure the door can function correctly if required.

Fire doors should always be purchased from reputable suppliers who can demonstrate the correct certification for each door they supply and can offer advice about installation. One never knows if a fire door will work until there is a fire when it is too late to discover that it is not up to the job. Don't cut corners as someone's life may be at risk!

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Winter

Our recent run of frigid temperatures along with the ice and snow inspired me to write this article about winter weather safety. Winter safety depends on a few factors. These factors include your age, the weather conditions outside and where you are located. And please do not lay on top of your roof like the guy on the Allstate commercial to see if you'll fall through. You'd freeze to death before hand or people will think you're super weird.

For those of us with little ones we have a different set of safety concerns than an elderly person would. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great guidelines for keeping children safe and warm during the cold weather months. I thought I'd highlight a few of them for you.

What to Wear
Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities. Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don't forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.

The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.

Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and should be kept out of an infant's sleeping environment. Sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets is preferred.

If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be tucked in around the crib mattress, reaching only as far as your baby's chest, so the infant's face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.

Hypothermia develops when a child's temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.

Make sure that your children have a hat and gloves or mittens on when they go out to play. There are so many cute hat and glove sets out there even the most fashionista little girl or tough and rumble little boy can find a set they like. Also sites like Etsy offer cute handmade hat and glove sets if you are looking for something that is "custom-made". If you would like to try your hand at either knitting or crocheting a set you can probably find a pattern on the internet.

As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Speech may become slurred and body If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.

If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. 104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.

Do not rub the frozen areas.

After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink like warm tea, warm hot chocolate or warm milk (especially good with nutmeg, a little sugar and vanilla extract).

If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

Winter Health
If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child's room at night. Saline nose drops or petrolatum may help keep nasal tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.

Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant's first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.You can also add a bath product that contain colloldial oatmeal like Aveeno, Nature's Gate and store brands like Walgreens, CVS, Duane Reade etc

Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and flu.

Children 6 months of age and up should get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu

Sun Protection
The sun's rays can still cause sunburn in the winter, especially when they reflect off snow. Make sure to cover your child's exposed skin with sunscreen. Zinc oxide is great for covering little noses and if you can find the colored zinc like the surfers use the kids might be more willing to let you apply it.

Fire Protection
Winter is a time when household fires occur. It is a good time to remember to:

Buy and install smoke alarms on every floor of your home
Test smoke alarms monthly
Practice fire drills with your children
Install a carbon monoxide detector outside bedrooms

The elderly also have a special set of need during the winter. They too need help sometimes even more so since a lot more elderly people are living alone. Some tips for helping your elderly friends and family members during the winter:

Winter Safety Tips for the Elderly
Check daily on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who live alone.Some communities have Senior-In Home Visits or Elder-Check call-ins. These services check on the elderly and make sure they are okay.Your local area on aging should be able to direct you.

The elderly and very young should stay indoors as much as possible. Offer to shop for elderly friends and relatives. Just like in the summer with heat, it takes some time to get acclimated to cold weather.

Wear layered clothing outdoors for better protection from the cold. Wear a cap to prevent rapid heat loss from an uncovered head. Cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite.

While indoors, try to keep at least one room heated to 70 degrees.This is especially important for the elderly and small children to prevent hypothermia.

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.

Eat high energy foods along with warm beverages and soup.

Sleep warm with extra blankets,a warm cap, socks and layered clothing.

Keep ahead of advancing winter weather by listening to NOAA WeatherRadio.

An ice storm will take down power lines,knocking out electricity. Check battery powered equipment before the storm arrives.

Check your food and stock an extra supply.If there are infants at home, make sure you have enough infant formula or baby food. Include food that requires no cooking in case of power failure. Make
sure pets and animals have shelter and a water supply.

Check your heating supply.Be careful when using fireplaces, stoves or space heaters. Proper ventilation is essential. Don't use charcoal; it gives off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide. Keep flammable material away from space heaters and do not overload electric circuits.

Dress for the conditions when outdoors. Wear several layers of light-weight,warm clothing; layers can be removed to prevent perspiring and subsequent chill.

Outer garments should be tightly woven, waterproof and hooded. For the hands,mittens, snug at the wrists, offer better protection than fingered gloves

Our vehicles also need special winter care. So here are a few tips to keep your car winter ready:

Car Care Tips for Winter
Check the battery, lights, antifreeze, heater/defroster, belts, hoses, filters, oil, wipers and brakes.

Carry the basics-an ice scraper, a snowbrush, a small shovel, tow chains and jumper cables-in your car.

Also add a winter survival kit with items such flashlight with extra batteries,battery powered radio, snack food including energy bars, extra hats, socks and mittens etc. has a great web page that tell you what else you'll need for winter driving.

Add chains to your tires if necessary.

If for some reason you get stranded do not leave your vehicle and try to walk to safety! If you are able to call 911 and let them know that you are stranded. Some additional tips include:

Stay in your vehicle.

If you have a cell phone, call the police for help, but be careful not to run down your battery if you can't get through.(I know I said it just a few lines ago but I want everyone to be safe)

If you have an emergency kit, use supplies conservatively.

Attach something to your antenna or window, and leave your dome light on at night to alert emergency personnel.(I would recommend a bright colored scarf or cloth in a color like shocking pink or lime green. Something that people can see easily. No white or black)

Check your tailpipe occasionally to make sure it's not blocked with snow. Clean the pipe out if necessary to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Run the heater for about 10 minutes every hour, depending on how much fuel you have. Also keep a space blanket and a few blankets use them to keep warm

Leave a window cracked to let in air, and also to prevent the car from becoming sealed from heavy ice and snow.

Don't sleep if you can help it, especially if the engine is running and you are alone.

Move your arms and legs periodically to keep your circulation going.

Winterizing your home is just as important and here are a few tips to help you do just that:

Winterizing Tips for Homeowners
Clean those gutters. Once the leaves fall, remove them and other debris from your home's gutters -- by hand, by scraper or spatula, and finally by a good hose rinse -- so that winter's rain and melting snow can drain..

Block those leaks.One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out,

First, find the leaks: On a breezy day, walk around inside holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames, electrical outlets.

Buy door sweeps or draft dodgers to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk or apply tacky rope caulk Outlet gaskets can easily be installed in electrical outlets that share a home's outer walls, where cold air often enters.

Outdoors, seal leaks with weather-resistant caulk. For brick areas, use masonry sealer, which will better stand up to freezing and thawing

Insulate yourself.Check your attic and see if you have the proper amount of insulation for where you live. Your local home improvement store like Home Dept should be able to help yopu with this.
Check the furnace First, turn your furnace on now, to make sure it's even working, before the coldest weather descends. A strong, odd, short-lasting smell is natural when firing up the furnace in the autumn; simply open windows to dissipate it. But if the smell lasts a long time, shut down the furnace and call a professional.(It's a good idea to have furnaces cleaned and tuned annually. Costs will often run about $100-$125.)

Get your ducts in a row.According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house. (Check out this audit tool for other ideas on how to save on your energy bills this winter.

Ducts aren't always easy to see, but you can often find them exposed in the attic, the basement and crawlspaces. Repair places where pipes are pinched, which impedes flow of heated air to the house, and fix gaps with a metal-backed tape (duct tape actually doesn't stand up to the job over time).

Ducts also should be vacuumed once every few years, to clean out the abundant dust, animal hair and other gunk that can gather in them and cause respiratory problems.

Face your windows. Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows.

Budget to replace them a few at a time, and in the meantime, buy a window insulator kit, Basically, the kit is plastic sheeting that's affixed to a window's interior with double-stick tape.

Don't forget the chimney. Ideally, spring is the time to think about your chimney.Don't put off your chimney needs before using your fireplace, A common myth is that a chimney needs to be swept every year, But a chimney needs at least be inspected before use each year. Bird nests, the occasional oddball item like a tennis ball can cause trouble if not taken care of
Ask for a Level 1 inspection, in which the professional examines the readily accessible portions of the chimney.

Woodstoves are different.They should be swept more than once a year. A general rule of thumb is that a cleaning should be performed for every ¼ inch of creosote, anywhere that it's found. Ash is primarily lye -- the same stuff that was once used to make soap, and it's very acidic. It can cause mortar and the metal damper to rot,. Check out CSIA'S Web site for a list of certified chimney sweeps in your area.

Reverse that fan. Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of.By reversing its direction from the summer operation, the fan will push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable. (Here's how you know the fan is ready for winter: As you look up, the blades should be turning clockwise)

Wrap those pipes. A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained Next, go looking for other pipes that aren't insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces -- pipes that run through crawlspaces, basements or garages. Wrap them with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, available at hardware stores. If you're really worried about a pipe freezing, you can first wrap it with heating tape, which is basically an electrical cord that emits heat.

Check those alarms. This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works. Also, invest in a carbon-monoxide detector; every home should have at least one.

I hope these tips will help everyone have a safe and enjoyable winter.

Generating a Laugh in Edinburgh

Every year in August, Edinburgh becomes a world stage, the centre of everyone's attention. It becomes home to one of the year's cultural highlights - Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thousands of artists and visitors descend on the beautiful Scottish capital to experience some of the best and worst shows of their lives. Hotels and hostels get booked out far in advance, and 'festival lets' see flats rented out at extortionate prices.

Predominantly a comedy festival, Edinburgh is where many stand up comedians make or break their careers. Here, the reviews really matter.

Most locals have praise only for the paid shows, but you can get lucky with free shows as well. You never know, you could see the biggest rising star in comedy whose shows will be completely sold out next year.

There are also many more shows to see from theatre to live music so everyone is catered for, making Edinburgh the perfect destination for families or groups of friends with different tastes.


With over 200 venues scattered throughout town, the festival means spaces are opened up to the public that normally don't even see the light of day. One of the biggest venues, Underbelly, takes over the old bank vaults on the city's famous Cowgate, an old Church on the Royal Mile is transformed into a bar and late night locale, and many other pop up venues take over abandoned buildings and yards throughout town.

The city's streets and squares (Bristo Square, Charlotte Square, George Street and more) see tents and other temporary structures erected to accommodate the crowds.

Not only do all these venues need stage equipment such as lighting and sound systems, but many also require air conditioning, and transportable toilets.

Most venues boast bars and some even feature food kiosks that all require refrigeration of some sort, as well as tills and lighting.

For event equipment hire companies in the area it is one of the busiest and most fruitful times of year. Rumour has it extra gear has to be flown over from places like Ireland to deal with the excessive demand as it is also music festival season elsewhere in the UK.

One of the biggest gains is felt by the power generator rental industry who hire out generators to power all the temporary equipment. It isn't unusual to see these tucked away in discreet locations at venues throughout town, quietly humming away yet providing such an important service without which the festival couldn't be as loud, proud and visually effective.

Exploring The Best Airports In the World

We usually associate airports with the fun things in life, namely holidays! But there are millions of travelers who use airports more frequently than just once or twice a year. For these frequent flyers, the airports are essential for their comfort and well being. A well run airport needs to come across as many things to different groups of people. Above all, it should be efficiently operated with no delays or other negative attributes. Here is a look at the airports currently regarded as the world's best!

Incheon International Airport - Seoul

It is currently regarded as the best airport in the world (for the second time). It won this award in 2009 and is recognized for its outstanding quality on offer to passengers and visitors alike. Despite its size, the airport is run so efficiently that you may feel that you are in a much smaller and personalized setup. Keep a look out for the top ten list next year and do not be surprised to see Incheon right at the top again!

Singapore Changi Airport

This modern airport is an almost permanent fixture in the top ten airports' ranking. It ranked top for leisure amenities and business passenger scores. The international transit votes also saw Changi at the top of the pops. The airport is laid out in an aesthetically pleasing way, and this has a positive effect on passengers, especially those staying a little longer in the terminals.

Hong Kong International Airport

Coming in at number three, Hong Kong International Airport has won the top 10 award eight times already. It ranked top for airport dining and also for airport cleanliness. In fact, this airport has been in the top three for the last ten years. This is a testament to the quality and efficiency by the excellent management crew. The dining situation is enhanced by the variety of Asian food on offer to the passengers of this very busy business hub.

Amsterdam Schipol Airport

The highest ranked European airport has long since held a reputation for efficiency and excellent standards. Schipol leads the way in its treatment of transit passengers and is consistently voted the best airport in Europe for this same reason.

These Awards

The Airport Awards held in 2012 are made up of a survey taken regarding three hundred and eighty eight airports worldwide. Over twelve million passengers are asked for their opinions of these airports. Asian airports always perform highly in comparison to European and American airports and this is because of the attention to details and the excellent service culture that are ingrained in the staff of these excellent airports.

What Makes a Good Airport?

The attention to little details is usually the deciding factor when an expert decides on the best airports in the world. Something like free WiFi is always a good place to start. The catering also needs to be a notch above the rest and the shopping should be something to write favorably about. Above all, the airport should be very clean and the facilities need to be world class!

How Much Does HGV Training Cost?

There are a few different factors which go into the cost of HGV training. So how much does HGV training cost? It depends on where you live, what type of license you want to obtain and which school you choose. All costs should be figured out and planned for to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.


This one is rather obvious, but it's something which many prospective HGV students don't take into account until it's too late. Where you live plays a critical role in how much you will pay for HGV training, simply because you may have to travel significant distances to get to and from your training each day.

Due to the short duration (typically five days) of most HGV training courses, this isn't as big a deal as choosing a university or a job clear across the country. Nevertheless, it's important to factor into your overall training costs.

If you need to travel in order to obtain your HGV license, be sure to plan out your travel expenses ahead of time. You may need to stay in a hotel for a week if the training facility is far from your home. If there are relatives who live nearby, see if you can arrange for temporary accommodations - there's no point in spending money unnecessarily. You should also plan out money for meals and basic living expenses during this time.


Each school will charge slightly different rates. If you find a school with lower rates than most others, be sure to find out why. You may have gotten lucky and stumbled across a way to save money. Unfortunately, you may also have found a school with offers less than ideal training. Do your research and find out if a school is reputable before giving them any money.

General Guidelines

How much does HGV training cost? There is no definitive answer, but there are some general guidelines you can use to pick a reasonable school. Typically, an HGV driving course will cost somewhere between £800.00 and £1,150.00.

Types of Licenses

The type of license you obtain affects the cost of your training. The two most common types of licenses are the Category C and C+E. A Category C license will authorize you to drive a vehicle or trailer up to 7,500 kilograms in total weight. A Category C+E license allows you to drive any truck or trailer with a total weight of over 7,500 kilograms.

Category C license training typically costs between £800.00 and £1,100.00, while a Category C+E license usually costs between £925.00 and £1,150.00. In most cases, students are advised to go for their C+E license right away. It gives you a broader range of potential employment opportunities.

HGV training for either type of license usually lasts for five days. For most of this time, you will be in vehicle, learning hands-on with an instructor. This type of training is very valuable, and doesn't waste time with a lot of unnecessary paperwork.

So how much does HGV training cost? As you can see, several factors contribute to your final cost. Not all factors apply to everybody, so be sure to create a budget using your unique circumstances. At the end of the day, however, HGV training is one of the least expensive ways to put yourself in control of your financial future.

Orlando, The Vacation Station

If you were asked to name 10 reasons why you vacationed in a certain place, you would probably start slowing down as you reach 5 or 6. But with Florida the list goes on and on. Theme parks are the obvious choice and could fill more than 10 places without a doubt just on theme parks alone.

Starting at the top

1. Magic Kingdom - Everyone young and old will find this just the most magical place to visit, from the minute you park you vehicle, you can feel the atmosphere. The staff are friendly from the minute to step from your car. Where else can you choose how you approach the park entrance? By Monorail, it takes you round the edge of the Lagoon, past some of Disney's resort hotels, depending which way the Monorail is running will depend on which hotels you see. Or take the Ferry Boat to the park entrance, the ferry glides across the Lagoon, giving you the opportunity to take your first shots of Cinderella's Castle. Space Mountain is also seen from here plus some of the Resort Hotels. Once at the gate, you are then able to see the Characters open the Park with Mickey Mouse being the guest of Honour. The turnstiles are then opened and you are then allowed to wonder around at your leisure through the different lands created to make this one of the most memorable days of your vacation. From the Tiki Rooms to the afternoon Share a Dream Come True Parade, you will find it all too much to take in, in just one day. We recommend you allow at least 2 days if you have not been there before. The Parade's are just out of this world, showing character past and present, but you need to prepare, the best positions start to be taken 2 hours before the parade starts. This is also a good time to visit the attractions you have missed should you feel that the parade is not for you. You will be sorry if you miss it.

2. Epcot - This is a different type of theme park all together. This is split in to two areas. Before I begin, if you are wondering what EPCOT means, then here you are. Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Future world if you wish. The first part is all future world, how things could be in years to come, including some of the most exhilarating rides available. TEST TRACK is a must for any car enthusiast, where as Mission: Space is for those budding Astronauts in the family. This is truly a fascinating place. Then things just get better. The World Showcase is created around a beautiful lake, surrounded by 11 countries of the world. Each themed to match the country, some of them include restaurants, gift shops, attractions and shows. Time just flies by as you walk from one country to the next. The sights, sounds and smells that you experience is just fantastic.

3. Animal Kingdom - A much quieter park compared to some of the others, the pace is much slower and can also be one of the nicest days out. A good mixture of animals and attractions will make this a winner with all family members. Festival of the Lion King is a show not to be missed by any Lion King Fan. Join the circle of life as you sit in the theatre, and see the performance you will remember for years to come. Magic and Humour is all thrown in, this is the show for you all. Kilimanjaro Safaris is next, you travel through the savannah, passing wild animals most people will never get the chance to see close up, Giraffes, Rhinoceros, Elephants and Hippopotamus are just a few of the animals you will see on this jungle trip. Kali River Rapids are sure to cool you down after returning from your jungle trip. All together another fantastic day out.

4. MGM Studios - Scenes from Hollywood start your day off as you walk down the streets of this make believe film studios. Fantastic thrill rides like the Tower of Terror will have you screaming for more. Take a Limousine ride with Aerosmith on one of the fastest rollercoaster's you will encounter. Live shows throughout the day from Beauty and the Beast will bring memories flooding back for young and old. You can get close to the action and get a feel of what it's like to be in the spotlight. Playhouse Disney is a must for the younger guests, fans of Bear in the Big Blue House, Winnie the Pooh, Rolie Polie Olie and Stanley all appear on stage and bring the BIGGEST smiles to those little faces you will see all day. The best end to your day at MGM Studios is FANTASMIC. Mickey and friends perform in front of a massive crowd, fountains, flames and music bring a fantastic end to a fantastic day. This is one show you will be talking about for some time to come.

5. Seaworld - Seals, Dolphins and Killer Whales, this is what you can expect to await you when you visit this Aquatic Theme Park. The wild life here are just fascinating, if you are a fan of Flipper or Free Willy, this is the place for you. View the surrounding Orlando sky line when you ride the Sky Tower in the centre of the park. Shows throughout the day show just how intelligent these animals are. You even get the chance to feed the dolphins and the stingrays. Watch Shamu and his trainers as he performs amazing stunts, in and out of the water. Not exciting enough? Dare to go on Kraken, Seaworld's Rollercoaster. This is awesome, not for the faint hearted. The ride is floor less, you basically hang from your seats as you are twisted and turned through a series of corkscrew turns and steep drops, glued to your seat with the shear speed of the ride. Ride it if you dare, You have been warned.

6. Discovery Cove - Dolphin Lovers are in a world of their own here. Both Swimmers and non Swimmers can enjoy a day with their favourite animal. Interacting with these amazing creatures face to face. For a day to remember for ever. Souvenir Photo's are also taken for the guests to remember the time they have had there. Although one of the more expensive days out, it is probably by far the very best for some guests.

7. Island of Adventure - Thrill Ride fans are in for a treat. The Hulk must be the FASTEST off the mark Rollercoaster in Orlando, you feel like you have been shot from a gun when this ride starts, the adrenaline really starts pumping. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman is a 3D thrill ride, like nothing you will have been on before. Dropped from a multi storey building, you are plummeting to your doom when Spiderman comes to your rescue. Phew that was close. Seuss Landing is a great place for preschoolers to enjoy themselves with A Cat in the Hat, Caro-seuss-el, the merriest Merry Go Round ever made, things just don't stop here. The youngsters will just love it.

8. Universal Studios - Lights, Camera, Action. From Shrek 4D to Twister - Ride it out, this is a great day our for all film fans. The famous Jaws ride will have you on the edge of your seat as you ride the waves of the shark infested waters. Terminator 2: 3D is a must for any fan of Arnie. I could not believe my eyes the first time I saw this live in front of my own eyes. Knickelodeon Studios is a definite must see, especially for the teenagers and younger. You may also be lucky enough to be there on one of the filing days and even get to be in one of the shows. Other shows are also filmed at Universal Studios, so keep your eyes and ears open. This could be your claim to fame.

9. Old Town - Situated on the US192, this is a replica of old style USA, Ferris Wheels, Vintage Car Cruises and Vintage Motorcycle Cruises make this a fantastic place to spend a few hours at the end of your day. There is something for everyone here, A shop where you can buy goods from back home in the UK, have a refreshing beer in one of the bars, have your palm read, the relaxed atmosphere helps you unwind and take in the sights. Unless you are feeling very daring, ride the Skycoaster, glide from around 300ft in the air, over a lake, at speeds of around 60mph, rather you than me.

10. Kennedy Space Centre - Right, you've tested Mission: Space at Epcot, now its time to see the real thing. If you plan your vacation in advance, you may even be lucky enough to see a shuttle or rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. It is also possible to have lunch with a trained Astronaut but this must be booked in advance. You can actually see some of the International Space Station which is being assembled there. The exhibitions are wonderful and it makes you wonder how these machines actually survive the journey they make.

Obviously the things I have mentioned are only a fraction of what you can see and do at these parks, I could just go on for days listing all the fantastic things for you to see and do. All the attractions above (apart from KSC which is around 1 ½ hrs drive) are all within 20 minutes from each other and more importantly 20 minutes from some of the best accommodation Orlando has to offer. Visit for accommodation that will start your dream holiday the way it was meant to be. The attractions above a just a minute selection of what Orlando and Florida as to offer. One thing you can be sure on, to make the most of your time in Florida, Planning is the key. To make the most of every single minute, you should plan each day in advance and try and stick to your plan where ever possible. This way you will get the best value from your park tickets and your time there. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Who Needs a Spring Break Beach Trip When You Can Relax by Your Pool?

Have Fun and Save Money this Year with a Swimming Pool

It is almost that time of year again when thousands of people will start planning their fun and relaxing spring break vacations. College students are often the largest group of people to embark upon this seemingly national pastime, which is ironic as many students live on a tight budget.

In this economy, saving money is a necessity. This does not mean you have to sit around for a week with nothing to do, however. If you want to have a mini-getaway, why not throw a party with close friends and family at your house? There really is no need to travel thousands of miles to have a good time because while vacations are nice now and then, sometimes it is better to be money-conscious.

Get a Swimming Pool! Service It Too Though

Continue the New Year right by making responsible financial decisions. You may need to invest a bit of cash in pool maintenance, especially if you are new to swimming pools or have little time to care for a pool. At any rate, a swimming pool will always beat spring break beach trips in cost-savings in the long run. More than this, the latter has become somewhat cliché and hyped up. The media glorifies this week in a fascinating and exotic light, which is the main reason so many people spend their paychecks on fancy trips.

Do You Really Need to Take a Trip? Great Pool Service is at Home!

The important thing to think about is your personal situation. It is in your best interest to go on a spring break beach trip? Will it really matter if you stay at home as opposed to heading to the closest coast? Chances are most people would be better served lounging poolside at home.

For those of us who work full-time or have other commitments that keep us busy day-in and day-out, just getting away from the normal grind is fun enough as a break. What better way to relax than by swimming or sunbathing next to your own pool on your own time? Be the person that everyone will be jealous of when they return with empty pockets due to wasteful spending. Get creative and invite your friends; better yet, start getting your party plans together now. You may be surprised at how many people will be into the idea.

Ready Made Curtains for Your Home

Curtains play an important role on the overall look of the house and they are also what determine the amount of light getting into the house. To give your home that attractive look, you will need to ensure that you choose the right curtains in terms of the length, color, fabric and even the patterns and designs. Your home will always stand out when the curtains blend with the rest of the room, the furniture and the artifacts in it.

Most people prefer having their curtains custom made since they can have the ultimate final decision as to what they should look like. This process can be a bit costly and time-consuming though in the end the desired results are achieved. Luckily for those who do not have the time or the patience to wait till the curtains are made to their specifications, there is the ready-made curtains option.

The best thing about ready-made curtains is that they are also designed attractively, using the best fabrics and accessories and come in all colors and patterns hence it is easy to find something that will work well with your rooms and their surroundings. Some of the stores offering ready-made curtains also offer different services along with them such as alterations. This service means that you can have the curtains altered to suit the requirements of your doors and windows. You can for instance have them shortened or get a few highlights added so that they suit your windows and the house in general.

You can also find ready-made curtains in very good and quality fabrics. The stores make it easy for you to find something you can work with by showing you what they have and providing important details such as the fabric and pricing. On-line stores have actually become the best option for busy people who shop for ready-made curtains. This is because you can check what the different stores have to offer at your own leisure without having to travel from store to store, checking the different curtain options. It is easy to buy the best, provided you know what you are looking for.

Ready-made curtains are beneficial in the sense that they do not require any time to make and they are also cheaper compared to those which have to be made from scratch to your specifications. You have the pleasure of seeing them put up almost instantly. There is a much wider variety and newer designs to choose from on-line.

Things to Consider for a Beauty Salon

Finding a beauty salon is not as easy as one-two-three. There are things that you should consider in order to satisfy what you need.

Does the salon offer services that you need? Are you comfortable with this salon are they good enough to render their services to you? Below are some of the things that you must take into consideration in finding the best beauty salon.

Services Offered.

Know what are the services they are offering. As I have said before, ask if they have the services that you have a need for. Some beauty salons don't have they same services. Many beauty salons are expanding their services. Some of them may have kinds of services that you are looking for while others don't have and vice versa. Other salons don't only offer hair styling, manicure, pedicure, hair coloring and some of the basic beauty treatments.Sometimes they have acne and wart removal, Botox injections and scar removal.

Price of the Service.

If you think that the services they have are so high that your budget could not handle them, do not take a risk and don't just go for it. Don't be afraid to ask questions on the prices of their services. If the salon has a cheap price for their services, it does not mean that they have a good service. Just look for a price that is not too high nor too low.

Environment of the Place.

Every salon has a different environment. Some of them are specialized in family services and most probably customers are usually in groups or families. If you don't want this type of establishment then look for a beauty salon that will fit the atmosphere that you are looking for.

Salon's Service Time and Location.

You should also take into consideration the location of the beauty salon. It's not good to go to a salon that is too far away. This may result in arriving late at a party because you may consume extra time travelling. It is not also wise to choose a salon that is slow, especially if you have a busy schedule. This will just ruin your schedule. As much as possible, choose a salon that will fix your face and hair fast.


It is very important that a certain establishment must be cleaned not only in the general working area but also the equipment they are using. Check the floor if they sweep the hair every time they have a hair service. Take a look at the equipment and the accessories they are using. Make sure that they are utilizing and sterilizing their equipment. It is also important that their staff have a clean and professional look. These tips are the major things that you should take in to consideration in looking for a beauty salon in order to satisfy what your beauty needs.

How to Find the Best Cooking School for You?

Are you passionate and deeply in love with the art of cooking? Do you wish to learn more on the fundamentals of food preparation and hone further your kitchen skills? If you agree with both questions, then enrolling yourself in a cooking school is perfect for you.

Cooking schools nowadays are not scarce in number. In fact, there are plenty of culinary schools offered in the country. Because of its great number, choosing the right cooking school can be quite difficult. It is highly preferable to have an easy access on the internet and your local directories. You can use these resources to contact and to know more on the different cooking schools. You should browse on promotional pamphlets and visit school websites. Here are following things to research on in order to find the best cooking school for you to study in:

1. Location, Cuisine and Finances

In your search for the right cooking school, the first step is to do inquiry on the cooking schools you would like to enroll in. You should place grave focus on the location, types of cuisine and the price of cooking courses of each cooking school.

With regard to location, it is best for you to select the one nearest to your residence. This will save you more time are saved in traveling to and fro. Another thing to consider is the type of cuisine you want to focus on. Knowing what cuisine you want to be solely competent with will narrow down your options. As for the financial aspect, you should also check out how much money you should spend in order to avail their culinary education. You can search for the financial programs offered by each school. These can assist you with the expenses. Do pick the school that fits well with your budget.

2. School Visit

After brushing on these basic details, allot some time in visiting each cooking school. Try sitting in and observing the flow of their actual classes. Assess if you feel comfortable with the classroom ambiance and the class protocols. You should also take note of the student-teacher ratio. A smaller number of students is preferable. It will give the instructor enough time to focus on each student. If given the opportunity, do converse with the students. Ask them their honest evaluation of the school's curriculum, scheduling and the effectiveness of their instructors' teaching methods.

3. Accreditation

See also if the school is accredited. Accredited schools are those who have been existent for a minimum of five years. Culinary schools with accreditation mean that they had passed the standards of quality culinary education.

4. Externships

Cooking schools with externship opportunities are valuable perks. Schools that offer training in a real kitchen restaurant setup can improve your time management and cooking skills. You are also given a chance to assume the position of a real chef prepping up some sumptuous dishes and at the same time, collaborate with other sous chefs. These immersions can pave the way to multiple job offers if perceived to be passionate and talented in cooking by varied employers.

5. Employment Assurance

One important criterion in determining the quality education of a school is reflected on the employment status of its graduates. Take time in investigating the statistics of graduates who have a work related to the field of culinary arts. A very good cooking school usually gives career guidance seminars and programs that assist students in finding appropriate food establishments to work with.

A comprehensive research is a smart approach when you are still discerning which cooking school to go to. Interviews and school visits are equally important. These two gives you the intuition and feeling if you fit soundly with the cooking course or not. Take advantage if the school gives you an opportunity to sit in and observe their class in action. Reflect also if your daily schedule falls well with your cooking classes. This will prevent unwanted hassles. It is a plus if the school you decide to go is accredited, has externship programs and yields happily employed graduates. Indeed, careful selection of a cooking school can pave your way to an exhilarating gastronomic career.

How to Prepare for Your First Skiing Holiday

Now you've decided to take the plunge and try a 'cold' holiday for the first time, wading through all of the possibilities can seem a little daunting, especially if you are not going with experienced friends who can help and advise... So many options to consider and so much jargon - the whole process can be pretty off-putting and take enjoyment from what is supposed to be a relaxing (well, kinda) holiday! Apologies to our American / Australasian / Asian / African readers as the information here is mostly relevant to European ski holidays.

In our first article here, we'll consider the first of the various accommodation options you can choose from - Catered chalets, which are very popular amongst British (and increasingly, European) visitors to the Alps but not so common elsewhere...

Catered chalets are fairly unique to the skiing world and are quite different to any holiday you've had before. On catered chalet holidays you can truly relax as almost everything is done for you (aside from the actual skiing... ) as you will have 'staff' - a chalet boy / girl who usually 'lives-in' the chalet. Picture having an 18-21 year old maid, if you like (who is probably tanned, dressed in the coolest snowboarding gear, MUCH better at skiing / snowboarding than you and able to handle hangovers extremely well... ). It is normal for there to be one chalet staff member per 6-10 guests. The chalet staff member is there to cook breakfast and dinner, keep the (usually free) wine flowing, clean and wash up after you. In some chalets the chalet staff offer ski-guiding or 'hosting' which means that they will show the guests around the ski area, however this would probably be limited to people who have been skiing before as it really is a guided tour rather than instruction on how to actually ski or snowboard.

Unless you are part of a large group who are taking 'sole occupancy' of the chalet - i.e. taking up the whole building (chalets commonly sleep any number of guests between 8 and 30), you will share the chalet with others, however you do not share a room with someone who is not in your party.

Chalets are a wonderful, social way to make new friends on a skiing or snowboarding holiday. There is always a great mix of abilities and reasons for being on the skiing holiday - don't be intimidated by the possibility of sharing a chalet with a bunch of judgmental professional skiers, you are much more likely to be sharing a chalet with a group of friends who are there for the free wine and who will be only skiing for a couple of hours a day after their hangover has worn off and before the 'apres-ski' band start at the pub, or a family group with the lovely little Grandma who doesn't ski at all.

So there you go, we hope this is useful info for you and in the next article we'll have a look at self-catered apartments, hotels and 'other' options.

Samburu Maralal Camel Derby, Kenya Safaris

Maralal Camel Derby is an internationally recognized annual event held in Yare Camel Camp in Samburu County, Maralal town in Kenya, East Africa. The event started in 1989 known by the name Maralal International Camel Derby and has been taking place every year in August since then. The Derby is a sporting event that has been used as a way of creating awareness on the diverse culture and tourism potential to foster peace among the communities within the county of Samburu. It draws participants from all over the world- Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, England, France, Spain, Japan, China, Mexico, Sweden, Holland, Italy, South Africa and many other countries. Entrants register for participation. Camels are available for hire and come with saddles and handlers.

How to get to Maralal
Yare Camel Camp is 3km south of Maralal on the main Nyahururu road, Samburu County. From Nairobi, the distance is 345km, (230km tarmac and 118km graded murram). The road safari takes you through some of the remote and arid areas of Kenya quite ideal for adventure safaris. Air transport is available by hiring charter flights from Nairobi.

Where to Stay
Yare Camel Camp has 15 bandas with single, double and twin accommodation arrangements. It has also ample space for camping. Visitors can take their own tents or hire from the camp. The Camp has a restaurant which sits 60 people, a well stocked bar with enough sitting capacity, a nice special beer garden area, and a large conference room. The rates of the bandas are pocket friendly and suites all types of clients. Maralal town also boasts of many hotels.

The activities in the event include camel races for both professionals and amateurs, peace run featuring morans from the different communities, Samburu Cultural Night that offers a unique cultural experience with music, dance, traditional foods, arts and crafts and two traditional Samburu weddings. This creates the perfect blend of culture, adventure and action.

Other attractions in Samburu include;

Samburu Culture
Samburu culture is rich in many traditional things like songs and dances, artifacts, nomadic lifestyle, values, beliefs systems, role of all age groups and many more. Learn more about;
1. the medicinal plants of the Samburu,
2. how to make spears, swords and other implements by visiting the blacksmiths,
3. how Samburu traditional foods are made- milk, meat and blood,
4. how to start fire by rubbing two sticks together.

Guided Nature Walks and Safaris
Samburu has varied climatic and physical features that offers a rich environment for guided nature walks. The climate ranges from humid highlands conditions to extreme desert environment. Time for safaris range from full day to two weeks depending on the stamina, time and interest of the client. One can go to the forests or arid areas. Others are interested with particular scenic attraction areas like the 'house of God', the breathtaking 'World's End View' escarpment.

Photography safaris
Samburu land offers plenty of features, traditions, and wildlife for photography. Every turn of the way is interesting- Birds, wild animals, hills, anthills, mountains, caves, valleys, dances, attires, are plenty.

If you are planning a vacation to Kenya in August this is an event that you should not miss in your itinerary as part of your safari to Samburu.

Planning A Trip To Laos? Are Independent Travel Trips Or Group Tours Right For You?

If you're an adventurous vacationer who's looking for a one of a kind travel experience, a trip to Laos might just be the vacation for you. Before you go, learn what you can see and do in this country and decide whether independent travel trips or group tours are right for you. Here are some of the highlights that you can expect during these vacations and the benefits of each type.

About Laos

Laos is a small country located between Vietnam and Thailand in Southeast Asia. The local currency is the kip and one U.S. or Australian dollar equals about 8000 kip. Vacationers can expect to find dishes that include sticky rice and papaya salad that's spiced with chillies. If you're looking to enjoy local cuisine, definitely try laap and noodle soup. Coffee enthusiasts should drink it like the locals do with plenty of ice and some sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of each glass, but if you want something stronger, have lao lao, a rice distilled spirit. If you're not used to strong drinks, mix it with a soft drink because it can be extremely potent.

Popular destinations in the country include the town of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, the Plain of Jars and Buddha Park. Luang Prabang is one of the most well-known spots and has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What Can Travellers Expect With Independent Travel Trips?

If you're planning on utilising independent travel trips instead of a large tour with a group, you'll be able to customise it to your specific needs. In Laos, this means that travellers will receive one on one personalisation and attention. Vacationers taking independent travel trips will be able to sightsee in Luang Prabang without compromising on exactly what they want to see. Travellers who take independent travel trips will also be able to linger if they find a particular sight interesting, as well as ask their guides detailed questions without worrying about other vacationers. Additionally, they'll be able to choose their own accommodations, which helps a great deal because they can either choose to stay in a luxury hotel or a less expensive one without concerning themselves about where the rest of the group wants to stay.

What Can Travellers Expect With Group Tours

One of the biggest benefits of group tours is that these trips are generally less expensive than independent travel trips. They can be slightly less personal, which means that travellers may not be able to leave an attraction exactly when they're ready and may need to wait patiently to ask the guide questions. However, group tours in Laos can include multiple destinations, including Nong Khiau and the Nam Ou River, Kamu Lodge and Chiang Rai. By booking group tours with an experienced tour company, travellers will be able to receive a unique vacation at a great price. Additionally, many travellers who go on a vacation with a group find that they enjoy getting to know their fellow vacationers and leave with some new friends from around the world.

How To Find The Right Tour Company

If you're not sure which type of vacation in Laos is the right choice, the best thing to do is to call a company that specialises in corporate travel and other types of vacations. Look for a well-established tour company that has a number of tours and corporate travel destinations to choose from. Trips to Laos aren't easily duplicated so it's important to use a company with a proven track record so you can ensure that you have an unforgettable time.

Know More About Myanmar

Traveling to Myanmar is one of the most fun-filled trips one could ever have. With its natural wonders and rich culture, travelers are able to learn more about the country's local people, tradition, and other interesting things that it can offer. If you are planning to travel to this particular country, it is always wise to know the best travel tips you can find. For travelers who are looking for a wonderful array of cultural and historical tourist spots, Myanmar will never disappoint you.

Myanmar Interesting Facts

This particular country is situated in the Southeast Asia, with an overall area of 678,500 square kilometers. Myanmar is known to be rich in natural resources with a climate that is generally humid. It was once named as Burma, but in 1989 it was changed to its present name. This particular destination is considered to be a part of Southeast Asia's "rice basket" due to the fact that the major export out of the country is rice. The country itself consists of 135 primary races, which include Chin, Kayin, Kachin, Mon, Bamar, and Kayah.

Places To Visit

1. Mandalay - It is known to be the culture capital of the country. This particular landmark is known for silverware, stone carvings, silk wear, tapestries, and bronze casting. It is where the Royal Palace is found. Apart from this, Mandalay is known to be the second largest metropolitan in the country. This city was established by the famous King Mindon.

2. Yangon - Due to its wonderful parks and beautiful lakes, this city is tagged as the "Garden City of the East." Known as the capital city of the country, Yangon is home to various modern tourist facilities and hotels. It is where you can find the Shwedagon Pagoda. Travelers will also enjoy the great array of tea shops, markets, and tree-lined avenues.

3. Bagan - It is famous for being the place of 4 million pagodas. This city is situated in the region of Mandalay. It is formerly called Pagan and known as the cradle of the early Myanmar civilization.

4. Amarapura - In 1783, this particular destination was founded by King Bodawpaya. The name Amarapura means City of Immortality. This place is known for the industry of Silk Weaving. It is near the Mandalay city and travelers can reach this destination by car.

5. Inle Lake - For the local people, this lake is like a gem. It is situated in the Southern Shan state hills. With its amazing wonderful sceneries, travelers will surely have a relaxing stay.

A Suitable Destination For Every Traveler

If you are visiting this country, it is necessary to know that you can find a great array of accommodation in the country. It is wise to have some cash along with you during your trip. Taxis are everywhere so you won't be worrying too much about your transportation. In addition, English is widely used which is why you will not have a hard time exploring the country.

Indeed, Myanmar is a suitable destination for every traveler like you. Always equip yourself with enough travel tips and knowledge about the country so that you will have a fun-filled travel experience.

Stop Carrying A Single Purse To All Events

There are certain fashion routines that women can grow far too comfortable in. They might wear the same sweater or jacket on a daily basis, simply because these garments are comfortable. Although feeling comfortable in what you have on is important, maintaining a well-groomed and perfectly coordinated appearance is vital for making the right impression. This is true in both professional and social circles.

If you are ready to revamp your look you, must be prepared to make a few daily transitions. One of these is choosing to have more than one handbag on hand so that you can coordinate your purse with your outfit properly. It is important to remember that handbags should look good with your wallet and your shoes among other things.

Having a familiar standby for your purse is not the best way to coordinate a flawless look each and every time you leave your home. A large, slouchy bag can look great with skinny jeans and a smart pair of boots. This same bag, however, will detract from your appearance significantly if you attempt to pair it with a form-fitting evening gown.

It is certainly permissible to have one bag that you favor above all others. This, however, should be stylish, well-kept and high in quality. You can stock it with all of your day to day necessities. When you need to transfer your personal belongings to a smaller purse, you can easily find them in the internal compartments that you have had ample opportunity to familiarize yourself with.

You must have at least one tiny clutch, one over-sized clutch, a large bag for everyday wear, a casual tote for weekend wear and a super trendy novelty bag. Clutches will look great with evening gowns and other formal wear. A small clutch is ideal for events that require you to only travel with personal identification, a credit card or small amount of cash and a very nominal amount of make-up. A larger version of these tiny purses will allow you to carry more, such as your phone, keys and other personal necessities.

It is not necessary to spend a fortune building this area of your wardrobe. You can search for wholesale handbags online. The suppliers who offer these goods make it possible for everyday individuals to build comprehensive collections of fashion accessories even when working with very nominal budgets. You can grow your collection at a feasible pace, all the while looking for promotional codes for your favorite designers and online merchants.

Best Retirement Cities

Once more, "baby boomers" are contravening the rules. This significant group has bumped traditional retirement off its precedence. While retirees before flee to Leisure Worlds, boomers are considering what to do in the next phase and where. Studies estimated seventy percent of those forty-five years old and older are planning to continue working in their "retirement" years. Financial stability is not the only reason, pure enjoyment of work or desire to try something new are reasons that keep these boomers on the job.

Amongst those people aged forty to fifty-four, only 4.7 percent, which is fewer than one out of twenty, will move across county lines every year, although even a fewer will move across state lines. A large portion of them will stay put but with some occasional traveling here and there. The reason for this is that a lot of boomers see their homes as legacies. Still some would look for the best retirement cities where they can live, work, and relax all in one.

For those who decide to move, sometimes the draw of the "familiar" is an answer. A lot of them will move to be near family; the divergence between baby boomers and older "silent generation" is that the younger faction is not rebelling against their family ties, in fact remaining close to their family ties. Some of the most common settings or the best retirement cities surroundings that baby boomers look for include: college towns for a familiar feel; a new locale, one with appealing cultural and recreational activities; purchasing vacation homes with view to being there in the future.

A research team viewed ten criteria considering the interests, needs, and tastes of Americans age fifty and older to come up with some of the best retirement cities for the baby boomers. Although not all towns stand out in every category, each town ranked high in several and a lot scored high in nearly all. The criteria included: availability of jobs given that this group will work beyond the age of sixty-five; affordable housing; culture and entertainment; access to outdoor recreation; safety; colleges and universities; sense of community; proximity to complete well-regarded health care facilities; good public high schools since many of them will have teens at home; and ease of getting around.

The three of the best retirement cities from the set criteria include:
Loveland/Fort Collins Colorado is one of the best retirement cities both for its older residential areas of single-family homes under huge trees and the newer outlying neighborhoods the spring from grassland summons visitors with stunning mountain views and easy access to year-round outdoor fun. Both places are just forty five minutes from Denver and are neighboring cities facing the majestic Front Range of the Rockies.

Median house price: $198,655 in Loveland and $221,714 in Fort Collins

Bellingham, WA

This western find is located on a bay along the Pacific Northwest coast in the middle of Seattle and Vancouver. Set with a seaside marina, lush forests, freshwater lakes, Victorian historic districts, and to the east is the snow-capped Mount Baker. All the natural charms combined with affordable neighborhoods and recreational opportunities make it one of the best retirement cities, and have enticed a slew of transplants in recent years.
Median House Price: $163,000

Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina

These places are deemed to be one of the best retirement cities with its dynamic city area anchored by the state-of-the-art and biotechnology facilities situated in its Research Triangle Park and through more then ten higher-education institutions, just three hours from seashore and close to mountains, plus the most affordable and flamboyantly diverse of three towns.
Median House Price: $147,000

Other best retirement cities include: Sarasota, Florida; Fayetteville, AR; Charleston, SC; Asheville, NC; San Diego, CA; San Antonio, TX; Santa Fe, NM; Gainesville, FL; Iowa City, IA; Portsmouth, NH; Spokane, WA; and Ashland, OR.

Top Five Must-See Beaches in the Philippines

When thinking of a tropical paradise, many people imagine Bali but the Philippines offer a wonderful alternative. The beautiful nature, the serenity and the clean beaches have all increased the popularity of the archipelago.

If you love the beach, the crystal blue water and the picturesque appeal of the marine flora and fauna, the beaches are just right for you. Here is a list of the five must-see beaches of the Philippines.

1) El Nido Beach, Palawan

The town of El Nido is located 420 kilometres away from Manila and is often labelled as the best beach destination of the archipelago. In 1984, a large portion of the beach was declared a turtle sanctuary and later on, the entire area became a marine reserve.

El Nido is often called the last frontier. It impresses with the virginity of the nature, the peacefulness and the entertainment opportunities. You can try caving, kayaking and even island hopping.

2) Boracay, Aklan

Boracay's popularity as one of the best beach destinations has increased a lot over the past few years. The small island is located south of Manila and White Beach, its most famous tourist spot, has received a number of prestigious awards.

The fine white sand and crystal blue waters are the most prominent characteristics of Boracay beaches. In 2012, Boracay received a best island in the world award by Travel + Leisure magazine. Despite the popularity, Boracay still has some secluded beaches and romantic sites that offer privacy and serenity.

3) Siargao Island

Surfers have certainly heard about Siargao Island, since it is considered the number one surfing spot of the Philippines.

Cloud Nine is incredibly popular among surfers and as such, it is always crowded and noisy. Siargao Island, however, does have some secluded, peaceful beaches where you will get to enjoy nature to the fullest.

4) Mactan Island

The island of Mactan brags some of the finest Philippines beaches. It is located very close to Cebu Island and Mactan attracts numerous tourists because it is a coral island destination. Some of the best diving experiences in the area are available there.

Mactan Island is also the home of Mactan Island Aquarium - the only attraction of this kind in the Visayas. The accommodation options are suitable for every taste and preference and if you really value your privacy, you can choose one of the Mactan private beaches for your vacation.

5) Panglao, Bohol

Panglao Island is a limestone unit that brags numerous caves, one of which supplies the entire island with water. Alona Beach is one of the Panglao places that attract an incredibly large number of tourists.

The Panglao beaches are very similar to the ones on Boracay - fine white sand and crystal clear water. Panglao offers one of the best diving experiences but its popularity has made the place a bit crowded.

To read about it is very different from seeing for yourself and exploring the beauty of the Philippines. Do you like white sand, coral reefs, diving and lush greenery? If your answer is yes, you should certainly consider organising a vacation. The islands of the Philippines are welcoming, peaceful and suitable for everyone. Just choose the one you like the most and start exploring!