Friday, 16 January 2015

Best and Worst Cities to Invest in Property

Property can be a wonderful investment. We only have so much land and if you have a prime location, you can make a killing. McDonalds is often referred to as a real estate company as their restaurants are in such amazing locations. If they were to sell the building and the land they would make a killing most times.

The current Worst Place in the World to Invest in Property is East Asia

China is not somewhere anyone would even consider investing in right now. There are whole cities which have turned into ghost towns. Watch the very good Vice documentary on this below:

Beside China, Thailand is also a place I would not advise you invest in Property. I believe Thailand is where a bubble is about to burst.

Personal debt is spiralling out of control and a slew of ignorant building projects have left the real estate industry on thin legs. One example is in the capital city of the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai, where 4 luxury malls opened up in a single year. There are only 150,000 living in the city and there were already 2 large malls. At least one of these new developments is doomed to failure with most betting on the extremely quiet Promenada.

If you could find a great value building contractor in Thailand, you may get something back on your investment, but it wouldn't be quick and it would also be fairly unlikely. You would need a good guy on the ground who can source quality imported workers from next door; Mayanmar (Burma). If it was me I would just say don't get involved, at least until the bubble bursts which should be fairly soon.

The Current Best Place in the World to Invest in Property is Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates

The reason why Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi make great investments is because of their location and their recovery from the world financial recession of 2008.

The UAE is a travel hub which connects Asia to Europe. Most flights use the 3 airlines for the 3 mentioned states; Emirates for Dubai, Qatar for Qatar and Etihad for Abu Dhabi. All are excellent airlines and Emirates was even voted the very best in 2013.

Dubai suffered its own economic downturn in 2006, two years before the global recession hit. This was actually a positive in terms of todays situation. The real estate market is set to peak mid way through 2015, making now the perfect time to invest.

I would choose Dubai over the others simply because Dubai is the one which has done the most to stand out. Etihad have sponsored Manchester City football club and the football World Cup will be held in Qatar, but they just aren't enough when you think back to what Dubai has achieved.

Dubai's rise came from oil money which began flowing like water in the late 60s. This has help fund the perfect planned city. What was once a dessert is now a bustling metropolis with every modern luxury and then some.
Dubai has gone that little bit farther than anyone else, to break records and astound the world with extravagant building projects. The construction companies in Dubai like F&A Contracting find that they have a constant stream of customers who want exciting projects such as luxury mansions and villas.

The fact that Dubai is now a travel hub means that there is no bubble to burst. It has had it's ups and downs and has survived admirably, thanks to some intelligent governing.

If I was looking for a project to invest in right now it would be a luxury home in Dubai, in fact I just recommended the above company to a friend a week ago.

Trends are hard to predict but I expect prices to rise slightly and then peak approximately mid way through the year. From then on I would expect 3-5 years of steady valuations.

Take a look at the video below for some of the wondrous projects which have made Dubai the best place to invest in property in 2015:


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Moving to Manchester and Learning the Slang

Manchester seems to be a region of the UK with lots of slang words and phrases. The most baffling one for me is that they call dinner "tea". Sounds crazy doesn't it?

I will soon be living in Manchester for a while so decided to look up some local terms. The Manchester Evening News had a great page for words and phrases that a "Manc" would use.

I also found the video below at a local school where you can learn English in Manchester. It appears they also address local phrases and words as well as English courses. Check out the video to get a feel for the accent too.



The description of the video sums up the phrases they focus on. Ones that were new to me included "mardy" meaning grumpy, "blinder" meaning great time and the others I knew or kind of half knew.

If you are going to live in Manchester I recommended saving the video and the newspaper link so that you fit in easier. If you can speak like the locals fo you will find communication much easier.

I went to Newcastle once with no research into local phrases and words. It felt like I was almost in another country at times. I had to get some Geordies to explain really basic things for them, which was embarrassing. So this time I am going prepared for Manchester.

If you think any words or phrases have been left out please add them in the comments below. This is probably my last post of the year. I hope everyone had a great Christmas (I still feel bloated) and...

Have a Happy New Year

Monday, 15 December 2014

Should I or Shouldn't I

I am thinking about dropping everything and going off around the world. I work online mostly and recon as long as I have a decent internet connection, I should be able to do it.

There are these guys calling themselves digital nomads and living in places like Chiang Mai in Thailand semi long term. There are plenty of other hotspots for these guys in Indonesia, Vietnam and outside of Asia.

The more I read up on this the more I think I want to do it. Especially with the January to march grey skies of the UK coming up. Hmmm, we shall see.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Cool Home Office Furniture

So I gave up my job last month as you may or may not know, in order to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Working from home has always been a dream of mine and it is now time to get things in order. Planning out a comfortable home office was top of my to do list. Here are the ideas I have come up with so far…


Desk

This desk is perfect for me. It has the modern yet retro style with clean curves. This should help to free space in your mind if you manage to avoid clutter. At least that is what I am thinking. I’m not sure where to find this one but this is the style I am after.


Chair

I originally started looking at more attractive seating for my desk. Then I realised that to increase productivity you need to go ergonomic. This ugly looking creating is very well rated and should be conductive to long writing sessions. It is on sale at the moment from Office Furniture Online for just £129, which is far cheaper than many similar chairs.


Lounge Chair

Regular breaks are essential and a comfortable place to take 5 is going to hep me recharge my batteries. This chair is stylish and comes with it’s own foot rest. I can just see myself relaxing with a book, meditating or dosing off in this thing. This costs £139.99 from Fabulous Furniture.




Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Xmas Gifts for Holidays and Sports

I have been getting into fitness recently so thought it would be a good idea to merge sport and travel in my Xmas gift ideas post.  Below you should find a gift or two for loved ones this holiday season.

Xmas Gift For Skiers

Part of my new getting in shape lifestyle has been about learning to ski. I have been to an indoor slope for lessons and my coach recommended the Sweetspot Ski Trainer to me too. It is an inexpensive little gadget that you use at home. Basically just attach it to your boots and then practice skiing.

The Sweetspot is quite big news at the moment in skiing circles because it really does mimic the feeling of skiing on snow. Anyway I own a pair and have been using it to prepare for my winter ski holiday in Switzerland. I haven’t done the real thing yet but skiing felt much easier and more natural at the indoor slope after a short time using the Sweetspot. Check out the video below for more information:

Xmas Gift for Gadget Lovers

I have been a bit of a gadget geek this year, reading and watching reviews of phones and tablets. When it comes to phones the HTC One was the top choice earlier in the year. Then the iPhone 5s came out and now looks to be the number 1 choice.

But my Xmas gift idea for gadget lovers has to be the new iPad Air. I haven’t bought one yet but it looks spectacular. The standard iPads were always too big and heavy for me so I have been using the Mini version. I was planning on getting the new Retina Mini but the reduction in weight and size of the full sized iPad has convinced me to move up to the larger size.

It isn’t cheap, especially if you want more than the basic 16 GB of memory, but it is a fantastic device with amazing reviews from everyone who has one so far. The size and weight will make it a joy to use when on holiday.

Xmas Travel Stocking Fillers

Here is a list of items which can be bought as small gifts:

- Quick drying, small packing travel towels. These can be found very cheaply on eBay or get a brand name for better quality.

- Power banks are small battery charging devices which most travellers will find very useful for recharging phones and tablets.  Prices vary but look for one with a large capacity and slim size.

- Other phone and tablet accessories. There are thousands of extras you can buy for devices now. Find out what your recipient owns then get on Amazon and find them a useful accessory. I am a big fan of rubber protective cases for travel. A good pair of earphones or lightweight headphones would also make a good gift. Owners of large tablets may appreciate a bluetooth keyboard. Portable bluetooth speakers are also a great idea.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Best things to do to improve your home on a sunny day

The weather in the UK has been great recently. It is times like these when we like to enjoy barbecues and visits to the park. It is also an ideal opportunity to get your home looking better. Here are some of the most effective ways to make good use of the good weather:

Clean your paving:

Break out that pressure washer and get blasting away! One of the first things people notice when they visit your home is the driveway. Pressure washing it will remove dirt and often bring it up like new.

Of course we all want to sit on the patio when it is a sunny day, so give that a good clean too.

Clean your roof:

Cleaning your roof is another great way to make a massive difference to the appearance of your home. This one is a little trickier because of the safety precautions needed. I opted to hire a specialist in for this a couple of months ago and the result is amazing. The company I used can be found here for anyone in Manchester or Cheshire (they also do paving).

If you are going to attempt to clean your roof then you will need to read up on the best methods. I recommend this page as a starting point. Remember that safety comes first so this isn’t a job you can cut corners on. It is certainly worth adding a treatment to protect the tiles in future.

Take a video to enjoy in the winter:

I got this idea from this site who make amazing videos from everyday scenes. You will need a good video camera or camcorder for this. All you need to do is find a good spot, lay the camera down (make sure it is level!), then record for a while. You can then save the videos and set them to repeat on your media player. I’ve made 3 so far and will surely appreciate them on my TV come winter time.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Loosing weight after a holiday

I recently went on a big 3 week holiday which meant eating out every night and drinking beer most days too. I came back looking like I had put half a stone on. I expect many of you have similar problems when you get back from a holiday. So here is how I lost the weight, and even a little extra.

1. Juicing
A juice extractor is a great investment. These machines differ from blenders because they remove all the fibre from fruit and vegetables. This means you are left with all the pulp which is thrown away (or some use it for baking or compost). The benefit of this is that it is really easy to get nutrients from vegetables which are too dense for smoothies.

Cheap juice extractors will do a pretty good job most of the time so there is no need to splash out hundreds on an expensive machine. In terms of recipes just be sure to include an apple and you will generally be fine to add combination of vegetables (excluding potatoes). I generally use one apple, a couple of carrots and then one or more of beetroot, celery, spinach, cucumber, tomato.

Make a pint of juice and have it replace one meal, or at least make one meal much smaller. They are fairly filling and if you want to fast track your weight loss, just make enough juice for 2 glasses and save the rest for later. Be sure to store in an airtight container and fill the juice right to the top. A good place to buy a juicer is Amazon because they have all price options and customer reviews.

2. Hypnosis
This one won’t work on everyone. You need to have an open mind. You can see a hypnotherapist which is likely to bring the best results. However these aren’t cheap and they take a good chunk out of your day with travel time. So I chose the self hypnosis route with this gastric band hypnosis CD. I have to say it sees to be working. Along with the juice I seem to be eating smaller portions and less snacks.

3. Get Active
Now this one is easier said than done if you are used to avoiding sports and other physical activity like me. The solution just kind of happened naturally when my partner suggested we try rock climbing together. I’d enjoyed it in the past but never really kept it up without a partner. Someone needs to hold the rope in case you fall and it just isn’t as fun with an instructor.

With my partner it was far more relaxed and enjoyable and there is an element of competition which adds some spice. So my advice is to encourage your partner or a friend to try something new. It doesn’t need to be a sport, couples love dancing classes, walking and tonnes of other things too. Just find something you will both enjoy and get out there!