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 at roof cleaning Cheshire for anyone in the area (they also do paving repairs).

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!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Is Hong Kong a good place to mix business and travel?

Hong Kong is actually the ideal place to mix business and travel. This small country is a hub for Asian business and has the perfect location as it is part of/next to China. There are many international corporations who have set up their Asian Headquarters in Hong Kong and thousands of expats from all over the world live there. Living standards are far higher than most places in China and the rest of Asia.
Those who have the time to mix travel with business will find it the perfect location. The international Hong Kong airport is located on Lantau Island which is easily reached by ferry, car or rail from downtown HK. This island is actually becoming the preferred location for expats as prices can be as low as 30% off the housing rates in downtown areas. Discovery Bay is a great example of a Lantau residential area which has a high standard of residential properties at reasonable prices. Tung Chung is another popular area on Lantau.