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Take the Hassle Out of Travel

Hey Cats,


Travelling is often a great way to expand your worldview and learn about other countries and cultures. Even when you travel within your own country, you can speak to people you wouldn't normally meet and see things from new perspectives. Sometimes, it feels like travelling is different to simply going on holiday. There's more movement involved, and probably less lying on beaches too. Since it can mean a lot of actually being on the move, by train, plane, car or even on foot, you need to be well-prepared. Women can have some unique concerns while travelling, as well as some universal ones.
Learning to Pack Perfectly
Whether or not you're good at packing for your travels isn't dependent on gender, but women are often seen as having a problem with overpacking. While there could be a relation to gender, it's more likely to be your personality that influences how easy you find it to pack everything you need into one suitcase. If you love fashion, you might struggle to choose your favourite items. If you're always super prepared, maybe you can't help packing a raincoat, even though it's going to be 30 degrees the whole time. There are a few things that will help you whittle everything down. Start by making a list of necessities before you pack. Try taking things that have multiple purposes too. A scarf or pashmina can keep you warm if it's chilly but also make a great beach coverup.
Creating a Care Kit
When you're actually on the move, it's not always easy to access the things you need. You might have two bags, including a main suitcase or large backpack, plus a smaller bag. You won't always have easy access to the bigger bag, and even when you do, it's hard to get something out of it without rummaging through it. One smart idea is to create a care kit with all the things you might need during your journey and keep it in your smaller bag (i.e. your cabin luggage). You can include miniature toiletry bottles, sanitary products, makeup for touchups, and anything else that might be essential on your journey.

Handling Your Time of the Month
Dealing with your period while travelling isn't exactly something you want to do. But unless you take birth control that stops it, planning a trip around when you might get your period isn't easy. If you don't want to deal with it at all, you can take tablets to delay your period. These are useful for anyone who doesn't take the contraceptive pill. They use a hormone called norethisterone and can delay your period for up to 17 days. If you're happy to handle your period, though, you just need to be prepared. Make sure you have your preferred supplies, whether it's pads, tampons or even a menstrual cup. It's worth thinking about which option might be most convenient depending on where you're going and what you're doing.
Staying Safe on Your Travels
There's often a lot of fuss about how safe women are while they're travelling, especially if they're going alone. While women do need to be vigilant, you can travel safely if you learn about where you're going and how to mitigate any dangers. You might feel safer travelling with others, but don't let fear stop you travelling alone if you want to. One of the most important things you can do is research your destination to find out what you can do minimize the risk of certain dangers. If there are any ways you don't feel comfortable modifying your behaviour, like dressing modestly, it might be best to give a destination and miss and opt for somewhere else, where you feel free to be yourself.

Creating Backup Plans
One of the most stressful things about travelling is when something doesn't go to plan. If you miss your train, your coach doesn't turn up, or your hotel has lost your booking, it can leave you panicking. While you don't need to go overboard, it's a good idea to think of backup plans in advance. Find out about alternative transport routes if there's a risk your original plan might not work out. Have information about other accommodation in the area in case you need to find somewhere else. If you're travelling abroad, it's always useful to have information about the nearest embassy or consulate too. They can help you out if anything happens, from a lost passport to trouble with the police.

Travel can be a hassle, but it's meant to be enjoyable. If you get organised, you can spend more time enjoying yourself.



How Easy Is It To Put A Band Together?

Hey Cats,


Music inspires me as it is such a powerful tool for sharing an idea, a message, or a feeling. Do you ever love music so much that you find yourself humming a tune over and over? Sometimes music is the best way to express yourself so you can let that mood out, or just get rid of some excess energy. This is why I’m always amazed when performing artists seem to have so much control over what they’re singing and playing.


So how easy is it to put a band together? In reality, it probably depends on your musical abilities and the sounds your bandmates can create. But music, like everything else, can be learned, right? You can practice and get your beat going and out comes something that resembles a pretty good song.


If you’re in a musical mood, why not start creating some songs of your own? All you need is a couple of instruments and some willing band members. Ideally, these are people you can get on with and who share your passions and ideas. Great bands have great chemistry, and this helps any audience forgive the odd wrong note or mistake.




As for the instruments? Your voice is a pretty important one, so it’s essential you look after it. No more screaming at idiot politicians on the news! You will probably need a drummer to keep the beat going. After that, a guitar or two, or maybe even a keyboard. Pianos are pretty easy instruments to get started on. If you’re a beginner, it might be worth looking at Williams legato 88-key digital piano reviews before you buy your first keyboard. You’ll need something you can physically carry, and that will provide the range you need.


Lessons can really help. Not many teachers are keen to tutor an entire group, especially as they would have to travel to you. Instead, meet with teachers that are specialists in your particular instrument one-on-one. You each need to know what you’re doing before you can start to meld and gel as a band.




Rehearsal space can be a challenge at times. You might have space in your garage, or one of you might have a big enough living room to fit everything in. It’s really important you meet regularly and practice in between. Don’t restrict yourself to the covers you already know. Experiment with your sound, and see if you can put your own tracks together. This can soon become a full-time hobby, but that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a few dollars from it too.


As you start to get better, you could start to look for gig opportunities. Start locally to save yourself travel time and money. If people like you, why not record a couple of sessions and create your own CD to sell? Get a FaceBook fan page going with all your details and the forthcoming gig dates. And, of course, build yourselves a website!


Of course, it doesn’t matter if you’re not good enough to earn your millions. As long as you’re having fun, then the music has fulfilled its purpose. Love it!



Getting The Girls Together: Top Tips For a Great Night Out

Hey Cats,
When you’re at school, college or uni, it seems like the friendships you forge in those years will last a lifetime. Our teenaged selves are utterly convinced that that we’ll see each other at least once a week for fun, frivolity and all around Hell-raising even if we have to take out our dentures and tuck our skirts into our girdles to do it.

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The reality is that as we settle down, establish our careers and start families it gets harder and harder to make time for the girls even as we treasure their friendship.

Every once in awhile it’s absolutely essential to plan a legendary girl’s night out to make sure that the flame of your friendship stays kindled.

Here are some tips to help you to do it in style!

Plan and commit

Loads of friends noncommittally say “We really should get together some time”. Rarely does anything come of it. So start planning early! Decide on a date that suits everyone and get things started by setting up a Facebook event and try to get people to commit as early on as possible.

Be sure to post regular updates in the event to keep the girls’ interest stoked and share ideas.

Plan it around mutual interests and an agreed budget

The important thing is getting to see one another, catch up, spend some quality time and have a few laughs. This can be a quiet affair or an extravaganza but the important thing is getting together.

Some of your friends might be earning more than others, some might have more time commitments than others. Some might be drinkers of fearsome reputation, others devout tee-totallers. It’s important to find an activity for your night out that will suit everyone’s tastes and budget.

Take lots of pictures, but be careful about sharing

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The explosion in smartphone technology means that you may be far more able to take snaps of the highlights of your night than you were in your teenaged years. By all means snap away so that you’ll have memories that’ll keep you smiling for years to come, but be considerate of others when sharing them on social media.

Not everyone is comfortable with their image being shared, so be sure to get permission from everyone in an image before you start sharing and tagging.

It’s also worth thinking about any sensitive implications photo sharing might have among girls who weren’t inviting or couldn’t make it.

Make it a girls’ getaway

This should be an opportunity to get away from the pressures of work, family and the other half for everyone so sometimes a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered. Make sure that everyone’s transportation is sorted out as far in advance as possible… Although it’s far more fun if you can all go together.
 
If you’re planning on making a weekend of it, make sure you’re staying somewhere that’s easy for everyone to get to and within everyone’s budget. I recommend Toprooms for finding good accommodation on a budget that will suit everyone.

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Save Money With My Top Picks From Freebie site

Hey Cats,

I know it is only the second week of the month and if you're anything like me then you're already counting down the days until payday. With saving for a wedding I am trying to save every penny I can to help towards the big day. I have spoke about great ways you can save money before such as using Survey sites to earn a little extra or even still treating  yourself but with a half price voucher.

You can also try and save cash by checking out freebie sites like Gratisfication UK offer freebies online. I like grabbing freebies because  it gives you a chance to try a product before buying them. You often get money off vouchers towards a purchase too and well lets face it who doesn't like a freebie?

I love checking out these kind of sites to see what they have on offer. So I had a look through to find my favourite freebies. To get a lot of the freebies you may have to fill out a small form and get a little junk email but you could always set up an email just for this kind of thing I just use my old email and then you don't have to worry about important emails getting lost. Others are competitions but then you get a chance to win a better prize. I love the sound of this soak and sleep hamper and will be entering to win it myself.


There are lots of things on offer from baby items to money saving vouchers. The one I love browsing most is cosmetics. It can also be a good way to find out about new brands or even new launches from high end brands you may already know and love. On the gratification UK site you can find things like soap and glory eyeliner, hand creams and much more.

The site is really easy to use and you can even pick up freebies by looking on your phone. Juts have a look at all the different categories.

I really love lenor and I signed up for this free offer. It is a fantastic way for brands to get people talking about their product and trying it out. I haven't tried the wild flower lenor yet but I love the golden one they do and it usually leaves my clothes soft and fresh.

If you are shopping it is worth having a quick look at sites like this to see if they have a voucher code available to use.  You can get money off helping save money to get that item you want or saving cash like me for that special day! Have you used a freebie site before? What was the best thing you found on them?





Getting Ready For Your Next Travel Adventure: Conquer The Paperwork

Hey Cats,

Your thinking of going on an adventure right? So, the plans are in place. The backpacks have been hauled out of storage. The passports are put somewhere safe. But are you definitely ready to go? Before a big adventure, there’s always a million and one things to do. And in all the chaos of getting ready to go, it’s inevitable that something will slip through the net. So, whether you’re a list maker or a wing-it type, here’s a list of things to help jog your memory before you go.

Psst - decided that you want a new adventure, but not sure what to do or where to go? Check out one of my recent blog posts for some inspiration.

Visas and applications


While travelling is fun, exciting and spontaneous, you can’t forget about the more sensible side of things. Depending on where you’re going, you might need to apply for visas. Some are easy, like the electronic travel authorisation system for Canada. But others need far more time spent on them, and some even need to be done on paper or in person. Make sure that wherever you go, you have the right paperwork with you. Take copies of your travel insurance, your medical insurance, and anything else that might help, such as a driving licence. If you’re really struggling with visas and paperwork, why not look at booking with an operator or tour group that can complete this for you?

Contact details

Firstly, sort out a phone that you can use anywhere in the world. Some phone models are locked to operators and tariffs, so make sure you buy an unlocked phone that you can use any kind of SIM with. Then, find a tariff that will let you contact your loved ones whenever you need to. Some companies offer great rates, and might even throw in bonus presents. It’s easier now to stay in touch, as nearly all the places you’ll stay will have Wi-Fi. But to be safe, make sure you have some mobile data. This is a very useful article about using your phone abroad.


Then, give your details to a few family members and friends. If you’ve got any contacts in the country you’re visiting, swap details with them too. It’s a good idea to write down any useful contact details, just in case your phone breaks or goes missing.

Medical needs and insurance

From insurance to medication, it’s vital to sort out any medicine-related needs before you leave. If you’ve got an ongoing prescription, see if you can stock up, or whether you can get it in the country you’re going to. Your doctor will be able to give you the best advice on this. If you’re going to a country that requires vaccinations before entering, make sure you get these done in plenty of time. Some have very strict time limits, so you need to be careful what you get done and when. If you’re taking out medical or travel insurance, make sure you’ve got a copy of all the paperwork, and you know exactly what’s covered. For example, if you’re going skiing, and you’re covered for medical treatment but not getting off the mountain, you could be in trouble! If you’re a bit puzzled by insurance, here’s some great tips on what to look out for.

Do you have all your paperwork ready?


Always Be Beach Ready

Hey Cats,

Summer is here, and that means longing to or actually hitting the beach. Are you beach ready right now? What the hell is beach ready anyway here are my tips for hitting the beach this summer and staying safe and happy and having a kick ass time. The beach can be a scary place for some people so be kind to others and enjoy the natural beauty in each other while you enjoy the allure of the world. What is more beautiful than human kindness and taking in the waves as the sun sets with the sand between your toes. Can you tell I am just full of wanderlust?



Choose Awesome Beachwear and Accessories

All bodies are beach bodies and a persons choice of what to wear to the beach should be respected. A while back there was huge uproar when a company advertised implying only small bodies should be able to wear bikini's on the beach. Bigger bodies, smaller bodies and everyone in between can make any clothing choice they choose from a killer bikini to not baring anything never judge or make anyone feel anything less than amazing for what they wear especially at a place as empowering as the beach.


So no matter what your size, age or gender if you want to rock that bikni go for it. Choose something you're comfortable in. I dig bright colours with a a cute print and you can pick up some super cute beach towels which are like watermelons and pizzas or rocking flamingos if you prefer a fun quirky style. Don't forget those big sunnies.

Apply Some Fake Bake


Fake tan can really do wonders. Not only will it give you a healthy glow, but it can go a long way to masking scars, stretchmarks and other spots you might be self-conscious off if having them lasered is not an option, or you can go to a professional salon like California Sun. Personally my legs never naturally tan and always remain milk bottle white so sometimes I like a bit of tan to help me feel like I have an all over colour.

Get Rid of Unwanted Hair


Most women prefer to be smooth and hair free in their bikinis, but constantly having to shave or epilate can be a nuisance in the summer. If you want to always be beach ready, you should look into Hollywood Skin Hair Removal or professional waxing instead. Not only will you get a smoother finish, but hair will grow back much slower too. If you prefer to grow out your hair then that is awesome and of course discount all of the above but as a woman with PCOS unwanted hair has been something that bothers me personally and a lot of other PCOS suffers. I respect everyone's own choice with their own body and I hope dear readers that you do to,



Little Touches

A good make up setting spray is a must if you're a make up junkie and you don't want it to budge while you splash about in the sea or sun it up. You get them for really inexpensive prices these days or if you are just a good mascara grrrl go for a waterproof option instead. Paint your toenails so you are ready for that snapchat or instagram post with the waves lapping your feet and the sand between your toes. Most of all wear a healthy dose of sun cream and have shade or a hat available keep hydrates and stay kind to each other.





Magical Ideas For A Winter Break

Hey Cats,
Does the winter time leave you feeling a bit down? The long nights and cold winds can drain all the energy out of you, can’t it? I’m determined that this coming winter is going to be a bit different. I’d love to treat myself to a special winter break away. I’d save some money by budgeting well for Christmas and then blow it all on a fabulous few days that would leave me invigorated and full of energy. So, here are the options.
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A road trip in the South of France
The area around Nice is spectacular at any time of the year. By visiting in the Winter, you get to avoid the crowds. I would stay in Nice itself but hire a car so that we can do loads of exploring because lazing on the beach is not an option! If it’s warm enough I’d love to go for a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and pop into the Matisse Museum.
A day trip to Monte Carlo is at the top of my holiday list. I just have to see the harbor with all the huge yachts and exclusive restaurants. I may even blow some of my hard-earned cash in a casino.
Snow spotting in Lapland
I may decide to embrace winter and head somewhere with proper snow such as Lapland! I adore the look of the tree hotels and would love to spend a few nights in one. There are so many unique experiences to try in Lapland. I just have to be pulled on a sled by huskies or reindeer through the magical countryside.
I’d also love to see Levin Lapinkyla, a traditional farm in Lapland. Smoke saunas, Finnish culture, reindeer, and alpacas sound like heaven to me!
A romantic break in a Scottish castle
How romantic would a break in a 15th-century Scottish castle in the depths of Winter be? Very! The spectacular Argyll Tower is just 3m from the sea and in between the showers, we could go for bracing walks on the amazing 3 miles stretch of beach. The perfect way to get there would be to fly into Wick airport but arriving by car on the spectacular coastal road is not a bad second option.
Once the bad weather sets in we can retreat to the fabulous restaurant or snuggle up in front of a blazing peat fire. Sampling a glass of Scotch whiskey would keep us warm.
Overall, there are a few things that every winter short break must have. It's best to head for somewhere that is not too far away because traveling can be tricky. Allow plenty of time for your journey.
Head for somewhere that has plenty of indoor attractions and entertainment and cosy restaurants and cafes where you can retreat when the bad weather sets in. Packing for a winter break is easy! You need one pair of warm walking boots and one smart pair. Loads of layers so pile in the T-shirts and jumpers and a waterproof layer. Don't forget gloves and a hat!


5 tips for dating online

Hey Cats,

As many of you may know I am getting married to the man I love....once we have saved enough money EEEKK. However what many of you don't know is the story of how we actually met! We met online over 3 years ago now on a dating site! Once upon a time meeting new people and especially dating online was a big taboo but you would be surprised with how many people are now taking the leap and trying the online world. It makes sense really in a world that is so full of social media, computers and a digital age that naturally we will start using that to explore the dating world. So if you haven't ever considered the option of dating sites because you think that you won't find love there then let me give you a few tips and see if you want to have a go for yourself,


Be Honest

The main thing about dating sites is setting up a profile to somehow link up with potential matches. Various sites do this differently for example OkCupid use a match percentage system where you can answer questions and see how your matches have answered or some are much more shallow and come down to just seeing a picture and seeing if you like the look of them.

Ultimately though the first thing people will see are your pictures and your profile. The best thing to do with your profile is let your personality shine through. I am pretty sure mine had some awful joke and all the bands I loved. The most important thing though is being true to yourself because sadly not everyone online is, We have all seen the show Catfish it is the ultimate binge viewing.



You may look banging on a picture from two years ago but use recent pictures, don't pretend to like something just because the other person is a hottie and loves darts because you will get found out at the end of the day and it will all just make for an awkward date. Plus I find it helps find a true match for you! Being plus size in the dating world I was always upfront and used full pictures and let me tell you it can also help get rid of some idiots that it isn't worth wasting your time with. you are beautiful however you come so just make sure you let your real beauty shine through and you will find a better match.

Talk to varied people

Dating sites give you the chance to speak to a wide range of people and just because you are chatting with someone does not mean you have to meet up or even be romantically linked. It is important that you realise that consent is a huge thing and just because you chatted to someone doesn't mean you owe them anything but you can also talk to some really interesting and different people compared to those you may meet naturally. Sometimes speaking to someone with different interests can be where you actually end up meeting your match!

With varied people I also mean varied locations. There is life outside of your town and at the end of the day a whole new adventure could be waiting for you. If you would have told me a few years ago I would be living in the country I never would have believed you. Plus a date is the perfect excuse to explore a new place.



Try specialist sites

The world of online dating has something for everyone from people who actually just want a friend to people who have a kink. You can find dating sites for single parent dating which is a great way to meet other parents who know what it is like to date when you already have children. Dating sites always seem to be marketed at a younger audience but if you are a little more mature and want to meet people around your age then you could try a site that is tailored towards over 50's dating. Using targeted sites like this can already skim down the selection of people and can also be a way of avoiding awkward things like your son finding your profile if your not ready to talk about it or just want to keep it private for your own reasons, There are dating sites for alternative people and adventurous types. Just make sure you are not getting trapped into a big payment scheme. Some dating sites will ask for a payment but try the free trials first and see if you like it before committing to a payment,

Have fun and stay grounded

Sometimes when people try online dating they can't believe how suddenly they are in demand with lots or even just a select few always wanting to talk to them. Make sure you know what you are looking for and that you don't get so caught up in the sites that you barely look up from your phone or laptop. Still go out and enjoy yourself online and offline.



Always be safe

Most important of all is safety! Don't give out your address or even be careful with who you decide to add onto your social media and phone. When meeting up which you should totally do if you feel right about the person make sure it is in a public space and let people know you are going. It can be tempting to let someone come and pick you up or come to your home but just take things st your own pace and in your own time,

SO are you going to give it a try or have you already had a go at online dating before?


*collab