Why Do People Like Escape Rooms?

Being trapped in a room and having to solve a series of puzzles in order to find a way out under a strict time limit, would for some people, be their idea of a living hell. And yet the popularity of escape rooms has risen dramatically in the past few years, even despite films such as Escape Room and SAW depicting the terrifying possibility that they could be used for more sinister means. So why, despite going against many of our natural instincts, are people so in love with escape rooms?

Well, firstly we need to look into the fact that escape rooms are a full body, immersive, game experience and a chance for a person to become someone else for the duration of the game. Escape rooms provide their participants with a real life gaming experience, an opportunity to engage with and simulate a popular gaming scenario. Just as video games have been dubbed as ‘addictive’ due to their stimulation of adrenaline, so are escape rooms, people love a challenge and quickly get hooked on the feeling of winning and outcompeting their escape room environment. Just as we used to enjoy playing hide and seek as a child, escape rooms appeal to adults looking for fun and adventure, with the ticking time limit and background fear of being locked in adding to the excitement.

The variety of escape rooms available also play into their success, ensuring that their is a game to suit any player. You can travel back to ancient Rome, fight off zombies in an apocalypse or visit a royal palace, the escape room provides the player with the option to be a part of any number of different worlds and to form their own character within it. From fairy fantasies to zombie nightmares there’s a style of game for all age groups and any number or players, making them appealing to a wide range of people. There are even games such as tiki palace escape room, where the objective is to earn more time in room by completing the hidden puzzles. People get a buzz out of different things, for some people the fear of being in the escape room in a horror style scenario adds to their adrenaline hit and the game is no longer simply about beating the tasks or the timer but about staying alive, for others, it’s all about the mental challenge, and the complexity of the puzzles themselves.

Another important reason why escape rooms may remain so popular is their ability to be played by a group of people, encouraging a feeling of bonding and teamwork as the challenges are overcome. As a social activity with a focus on teamwork and communication they seem perfect for group activities such as a hen or stag do, birthday parties or even work based team building days, companies love them as a way to view how their employees work in high pressure situations.

In essence escape rooms are a very clever activity that taps into a human desire for social, varied, immersive games that release regular hits of adrenaline and offer a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. No wonder they’re so popular. Have you ever tried one?

Top Five Benefits of Online Casinos

The world of online gambling is continuing to grow. Now worth over $50 billion, it’s clear that more and more people are starting to enjoy an online game from the comfort of their own living room. Not only do online casinos offer the traditional roulette, poker, craps and blackjack, but they are also now offering a lottery game. This branching out is just one of the reasons as to why so many play online casino games every single day.

If you want to get into the world of online gambling, here are the top five benefits that you can reap! Just remember, however, that you should only bet what you can afford and you should try to find out the terms and conditions that come with each game before taking the leap!

  • It’s Convienenant 

One of the main reasons as to why people live online casinos is that it makes gambling more convenient. There’s no denying that visiting an online casino can be fun. But why would you venture out to a physical establishment when you can play the same game from your home? Giving you more time to play the games, you won’t need to worry about getting in your car, on a bus or a train to visit a casino.

  • The Payout

With the popularity of online casinos increasing, the competition within the industry is ever-growing. Trying to offer you better bonuses and rewards, a handful is now offering tempting payouts. It’s a little known fact that the payout from online casinos is better than that of land-based casinos. This might be because they don’t need a physical premise – therefore they don’t need to pay for electricity bills, rent, etc.

  • They Offer A Great Selection of Games

As online gambling has become more prevalent, new and exciting games have been introduced. Yes, land-based casinos have a large selection of games. But online casinos offer a range of slots, poker, lottery and more options for you to choose from. No matter what your taste or budget, there is an online game for you.

  • The Bonuses

Online casinos have a great range of bonuses available online (an example of which is the eurocasino bonus). Giving you a reward for the first deposit that you put in (which can sometimes be a match bonus or welcome bonus), you will be able to have access to a wider range of games and be able to play for longer. Of course, these bonuses do have their own conditions, so it’s important that you research this before taking part.

  • You Can Choose Your Level of Stake

A key benefit of online casinos is that they give you the option of how much you want to gamble. Physical casinos, on the other hand, tend to set minimum limits as they have overheads to pay – leading you to spend far more than what you initially planned to. By giving you the option, you will be able to start the game low and raise your bets when you want.

How To Make Payment Easier For Your Customers

Making it as straightforward as possible for your customers to pay when they are shopping on your website is vital for increasing sales for your business. It is why your checkout page is so essential. It is the place where your customers hand over their payment information and finally part with their hard-earned cash, helping you to make that all-important profit.

Here, we explore different ways to make it easier on both you and your customers.

Provide a variety of payment methods

Customers expect so much more than just traditional debit or credit card payments. PayPal, Stripe and various other payment methods are now expected, which you can learn more about. Up to 40% of people think that just having one payment method to choose from looks unprofessional and even suspicious, and would abandon their purchases and look elsewhere if their preferred method of payment was not available. This shows how important it is to have a variety of payment methods available to your customers.

Let customers pay without creating an account

Almost everything we do online now involves creating an account and registering. That’s fine – but think about the number of usernames and passwords we have to remember, and of course, it is recommended that we do not use the same one for different things for security purposes. Many people will simply give up if they can’t remember their details, so alongside a signing in option, allow them to make a purchase as a guest. If you do require signing in to make a purchase, don’t make your password requirements too complicated and make it simple for them to retrieve their details if they forget.

Provide reassurances on security and privacy

Whenever personal information is involved, you always need to go out of your way to showcase the security measures you have in place. Many customers have left a purchase due to having concerns about payment security. You will want to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your website in order to provide a secure connection and encrypt credit card information, and, if you trade within the European Union, you will need to make sure you are PCI and GDPR compliant.

Keep distractions to a minimum

Your checkout page is the very end of the sales cycle – the last step. With us having shorter attention spans than ever before, you do not want anything to distract them from completing the checkout process, such as no adverts. The last thing you want to do is get them all this way and then encourage them to click off to a potential competitor. Your main objective here is to see people through to making the final payment so eliminate everything else, including the navigation bar at the top and requesting only essential information.

Follow the tips mentioned above, and you will not only increase sales and decrease shopping cart abandonment, but also create an enjoyable experience that people will come back to and recommend family and friends.

Three Things Removal Companies Must Have

Moving home is stressful at the best of times and when you’ve got a lifetime of memories to be delicately packed and shipped, you’re looking at finding a removal firm that knows and values how important your shipment is to you and your family.

It’s important that you find a removal company that speaks your language and that you can trust with your precious cargo. In this blog, we take a look at three things your removals company must demonstrate before you hire them for the big job of moving you across state.

Communication

The last thing you need when trying to organise a move is to spend hours on the phone to a company and no-one picking up. Even worse than that, when you do finally get through you spend hours explaining your query and are left unclear whether your problem or question has really been answered or not.

You’ll have a good idea from your first impression of the company whether they are going to be good communicators. How did they deal with you when you made your initial inquiry? Was the information they gave you clear and easy to understand? How did they handle any questions you had? If there are any red flags with any of these questions, consider talking to other companies about your moving needs.

Speciality

For the most part moves, long haul or just across town, are fairly straightforward. You have your key dates and it’s up to the removal firm to pack you and unpack you at the other end. But now and again you’re looking for something a little more specialised. This might be because you’re transporting fine art, antique furniture or because you have a piano that needs some extra care.

Rather than finding a general moving company, you’re looking for experienced piano movers. It might seem straightforward to move an instrument of this size but the awkward shape and the ease in which it can go out of tune or get damaged, makes it a job that only the experts should handle.

Give Options

Moving home isn’t cheap and your removal company should offer you options that reflect your budget. They should show the various options around moving insurance as well the different packages they offer when it comes to packing. You might choose for your removal company to pack up everything for you, from plates to shoes or you might choose to save a little money and do the job yourself, requesting boxes from them to do the job.

When it comes to moving home, you want the experience to be as stress-free as possible. Getting all the logistics in place so the move runs smoothly is hard enough, so you want movers on your side.

Shop around, pay special attention to the communication and what options your removal companies offer you and find a firm who matches your expectations and your budget. Get packed, get moved and get settled with movers that you can trust.

Making The Land Around Your Business A Bit Healthier

Your business may be operating out of a brownfield site, and whilst the environmental repercussions of that aren’t exactly massive, a continued use of the space may just add up over time. And when you think about it, offsetting your business’ carbon footprint is the name of the game in the modern day and age!

Even if you’re not working in an agricultural or environmental sector, you can do your bit to grow out and green up what’s surrounding your commercial property. So, to make your business look picture perfect from the outside, and to help make sure the world you’re living in and working out of is sustainable for the future, here are some ways to make the land your company owns a bit healthier.

Is it Green Enough Out There?

The greenery surrounding your business might need working on. After all, the more green and healthy your environment is, the more natural biodiversity you’re introducing to the area – and if you work within the inner city, you’re definitely going to be in need of a few more plants and trees around. If to clean up the air, if nothing else!

So, you might want to think about pulling your gardening gloves on, or hiring a team of professional gardeners to do the job for you. You’re going to need to til and irrigate the soil, at the very least, to make it usable and healthy for the years ahead. And the more you prepare now, the greater the rewards you’ll be reaping in the future; think about all the new plants you can dress your curb up with, as well as starting your own community vegetable patch. Simply put, focusing on your environmental greenery helps both the natural world and the human one!

Think About a Water Source

If you’re working on a property that has surrounding greenery, and space for a bit more, you can turn your mind towards including a water source. This is a great addition to any garden, whether it be a domestic or a commercial one, and you’re definitely going to enjoy seeing the new wildlife it brings to your working area. There’s nothing like peeking out of the window whilst at your desk and seeing a whole host of different birds and pond life come to visit!

And speaking of ponds… It’s the most accessible form of water feature, and could be a great focal point for your commercial landscaping design. Think about the curb appeal it would add to your business front; don’t worry, it won’t take much upkeep once it’s been built when you have something like a Tsurumi submersible pump in place to keep things flowing.

The land that surrounds your business, as part of the property you invested in when you first started out, deserves a little more love and attention. Hopefully we can help you give it!

These Tips Will Help You To Improve Your Business Logistics

If you run a business, there’s a high chance that you’ll have to deal with a lot of different expenses. The biggest one will most likely come from buying and transporting product, so if you want to save money, then this is a great place to start.

Optimise your Warehouse Layout

Having a great warehouse layout is crucial if you want to maximise your level of productivity. You have to make sure that your team can find all of the products they need, and you also need to make sure that any items that are selling well are located near the front of the warehouse. This will make it much easier to transport them and you will also find that it saves your team time too. Of course, it’s also important that you track your sales too. If a single product becomes more popular then you need to have a flexible strategy so that you can move it into a prime-picking position. Cross-docking is a fantastic solution here.

Best Picking Strategy

The faster your team can pick their orders, the more efficient your business will be. For this reason, you have to make sure that you have the right strategy. There are so many different methods to choose from here, so take your time and choose one that reflects your business structure and the type of products that you sell to your customers.

Technology

You’d be surprised at how much technology and robots can speed up the warehouse process you have. Voice picking is also very useful, as it gives your workers the chance to be way more productive. Rather than having to check notes or even picking requirements, they can just use their voice to direct operatives to pick the items they need, and this completely eliminates the need for handheld scanners and even clipboards too.

Stock Planning

Balancing the demand of certain products in your warehouse can be difficult to say the least. You need to make sure that you have the right amount of stock while also meeting customer demand. On the flip side, you also have to ensure that you don’t have too much money wrapped up in slow-moving stock as this will take up space in your warehouse and it will also make it much more difficult for you to streamline your stock management.

Transportation

Your warehouse will only ever be as efficient as your transport. If you have a great warehouse process then this will speed things up for your business, but if your transport strategy is slow or clunky then this will undo all of the changes you’ve made. If you want to help yourself here then it helps to look into GPS fleet tracking companies as this is a great way for you to find out where your transport is going while also finding out if there is anything that you can do to enhance the process. You can also find out which drivers are underperforming too, which is another major bonus.

Pipe Systems For Those In The Agricultural Sector

There is no denying the fact that plastic pipework systems are considered the best option when it comes to utilisation for agricultural purposes. There are many reasons why this is the case. This includes the likes of the fact that plastic pipework systems are chemical resistant, they are flexible to use and install, they are highly durable and have a long life span, they make great use for irrigation, and they are of course very lightweight too making them easy to use and transport as well.

But, how do you actually find the best quality plastic pipework systems? No matter whether you have just bought an orchard for sale or you have cattle, you need to ensure quality at your agricultural business. After all, if you don’t opt for quality then you are not going to benefit from all of the fantastic benefits just stated.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the company and the brand in question has all of the pipework pieces you need in order to complete you system. Imagine how frustrating it would be to order all of your pipework only to note that you are missing a key component. You then go back on the website only to find that the company you have purchased from don’t actually sell the part you need in the specific brand you have used. You will then have to find a different make that fits with your system, nonetheless this is not a recommended route to go down. Thus, remember to consider everything from threaded fittings, to large bore fittings, to cutters, to compression fittings, to all of the accessories too.

In addition to this, you should always make sure you go for a company that has experience in the industry. By doing this you can be certain that their products are of a high quality and that you will have a great helping hand available should you need one. If you can find a company boasting over ten years’ experience then you know you have done well. This shows they have been selling their products for a long period of time and thus must be doing something well. Not only this, but they are likely to have vast experience in the industry and thus they can provide you with any information or help needed. This is something that is not always guaranteed when you go for a start-up company – it is too much of a risk, especially when dealing with something as important as pipework systems.

Aside from this, you should also take note of the different brands of pipework sold by the company. If the business offers several different brands of pipework then this is always a good sign because they have relationships with several big players and therefore will present you with quality products. In addition to this, make sure they state that their plastic pipework pieces have been developed in order to comply with the Drinking Water Inspectorate and WRAS.

If you use this article as a guide and follow the three main points then you should have no trouble finding the perfect plastic pipework for you. Make sure that all of the fittings and pieces you need are available and ensure there is a good selection of brands too. In addition to this, make sure the company has a good level of experience and look out for regulations, especially those concerning drinking water.

Making Nature Part of Your Child’s Life

We’re beginning to understand more and more how important it is for humans to have nature as part of their lives. Though we’ve been pushed inside in recent decades, the fact remains is that we’re creatures who belong in the great outdoors. Of course, there are advantages to having a safe and warm home to call our own, but that doesn’t mean we should turn our back on nature altogether! And especially for the sake of our kids. Children are spending more time inside than ever before, and there’s research to suggest that this isn’t a great thing. Below, we take a look at a few ways how you can make nature a more significant part of your child’s life.

Outdoor Adventures 

You can talk and talk about nature, but the best way to get the true experience is to simply be there. As such, you should look at taking your children on outdoor adventures as often as you can. There’s no better way to spend a Saturday than out of the home, with your loved ones, exploring somewhere beautiful. One word of advice, however: for the sake of your children’s love of nature, try to avoid exerting too much control over what they do when they’re there. They’ll fall in love with the outdoors much more easily if they’re able to discover what they like about it on their own.

Where You Live

It is, of course, difficult to infuse too much of a love of the outdoors if you live in an urban area. People who grow up in an urban area are much more likely to develop a mild phobia of nature compared to those who grew up with it all around. As such, if you’re planning on moving, why not make it to a place that has the beauty of the outdoors everywhere you look? Lake Murray Real Estate has homes that have nature all around. If you live in a home located in the outdoors, you won’t need to make special trips to give your children the magic of nature. It’ll be right on their doorstep: they’ll grow up with it as part of them.

In the Yard 

Whether you live in a natural or not, you can always make the most of your yard. There, your children will be able to fall in love with nature in a more direct way. You could develop a vegetable garden, for example. How to cultivate veg that you then use for the evening meal is a great lesson for anyone to learn, and especially kids. As well as food, you can look at attracting wildlife, such as birds, to your yard.

A Little Bit Every day

It can take a long time for people to fall in love with nature, but be patient. If you can drip feed your children with a little bit every day, they’ll ultimately grow up with an appreciation for all the benefits of the outdoors. Whether it’s a short walk or a trip to the park, make it happen.

Six Tips For Moving Abroad

Moving abroad can be exciting, but stressful at the same time. There’s a lot of decisions to make, and a lot to plan if you’re seriously considering such a big move. Here are some simple tips to make the decisions a little easier.

  1. Give it some time after you move. The excitement of moving to a new country can wear off quickly when the realities of living in a foreign country hit you. The first months can be stressful, as you try to negotiate a new culture or not speaking the language. Even if you’ve moved to another english speaking country, challenges like sorting out bank accounts, setting up utilities, and struggling to make friends can make the transition difficult. Give it six months for these things to settle down, so you can tell if you actually don’t like your new home or just don’t like moving challenges.
  2. Find a relocation expert to help you find a new property. Where finding quality properties is half of the challenge, it’s important to get smart help to help you not only find the home, but negotiate the legalities of buying or renting abroad.
  3. Resist going home while you’re still getting used to your new country. Even if there’s a great flight deal, if you head home while you’re still settling in, it can set you back in negotiating your new life. When you’re home, everything is easier, with no language barrier or culture confusion. The ease might tempt you to call time early on living abroad before you’ve given it a fair chance.
  4. Pick up some language basics. As a tourist, you can get away with very limited use of the local language, as long as you struggle through the pleasantries like hello, goodbye, please and thank you. As an ex-pat, you’ll need a little more. It can help you to settle in and start to build connections, and will show your new community that you’re trying. Learn some simple phrases, like ‘this, ‘that, some numbers, and the words for ‘here’ and ‘where’. This can help you ask for directions, book a taxi, buy food and lots of other things. Whether you ask for ‘two please’ at the cinema, point at a map with ‘here please’ in a taxi or point at a cake and say ‘that one please’, your new words can open up a lot of options.
  5. Ask other ex-pats for their survival tools. Bonding with the ex-pat community can really help you to find the best resources for life abroad, like apps or websites. For example, maybe they can recommend a takeaway with english menus, a handy app to navigate local public transport or a Facebook group for local ex-pats.
  6. Try to avoid making comparisons. Life can work differently in other countries to the way you’re used to, and it can be easy to make unfavourable comparisons. If you find yourself wondering why the stores close earlier, or the banking system is complicated or why you can’t buy your favourite cheese anywhere, try and balance it by noticing the things that are better, like better options for public transports, cleaner streets or better coffee.

Precision In Business: The Fine Line Between Success And Failure

Precision is a word that often gets used in business, but what does it mean, and why does it matter for your business? To start with the dictionary defines precision as ‘the quality, condition or fact of being exact and accurate.’ Does this mean anything to you? It might make sense in science or manufacturing, but in business, how does it relate? There is often thought to be a fine line between success and failure in business and precision could be that line; the only difference that will make the difference between the success and failure of your business. You can use precision though to your advantage and make sure your business is on the success side of that line. Being precise in everything that you do may seem like hard work at the beginning, but like everything else, once you get used to it, it just becomes routine.

Precision Will Get Results

Being precise in your business ‘doesn’t mean you need to use digital flow meters to measure everything (although it depends on the industry). It just means that if you make it best and standard practice to operate with accuracy, quality and precision in your business, from the smallest job to the largest, then you will always be improving and because of that, you will see your performance and sales results improving.

Precision Matters In Your Proposition

Being precise in a proposition means getting to the point, forget the jargon and the business-speak, the BS and all the cliches. Don’t tell a prospect anything irrelevant to try and make yourself sound good, just deliver a precise proposition. It is vital to use simple, precise language and remember that less is more, never expand on your core proposition, as ‘it’s more impressive to hold some things back and reveal the benefits about yourself over time.

Precision Is Key In Your Passion

‘There’s no point faking passion or exaggerating passion. If ‘it’s a real passion, then ‘there’s no danger of overdoing it, but if you still need to harness your passion with precision, then that’s okay. Be precise with the language you use when you become passionate and ‘don’t use too many superlatives like, ”amazing”, ”unique”, ”incredible” and ”unbelievable”. Precise, sincere language works more effectively, and examples help to prove the passion.

Precision In Your Clients

Precision is a critical component for a solid, sustainable customer base. Rather than thinking that ‘you’ll just sell to anyone to make money, the best way to create a dynamic, sustainable pipeline is to target with precision and identify your client target niche and stick with it.

Precision In Your Team

To create a team who are going to deliver the results you need and make your business work successfully and as smoothly as possible, then you need to keep them focused and motivated, and the way to do that is to apply precision in the way you lead them. Make sure you have a precise definition of your culture, the vision and precisely what is expected of them. Also, make sure you demonstrate precision in your leadership and lead by example. If you’re not precise, you certainly can’t expect the rest of your team to be.

4 Petrol Stations Complaints Every Road Tripper Has

It’s a student’s favorite way to spend the summer. For a working adult, it’s by far the preferred solution to unwind and relax after a long and stressful period. Finally, healthy seniors love nothing more than rediscovering the freedom and sense of adventure of their youth behind the wheel.

In short, everybody loves a good road trip. But both amateur and veteran road-trippers share common complaints when it comes to stopping at the fuel service. Indeed, when you’re on the road all day, petrol stations are often the only breaks you can afford to take before you reach your destination. In other words, holidaymakers expect a lot from these breaks; and they’re too often disappointed by the services they find there.

There is nothing yummy to eat

When you’ve been in a car for 4, 5 or even 8 hours, the last thing you want to eat is a dry sandwich and a dull pack of chips. Food cravings are a natural part of a road trip, and they are, in a way, surprisingly healthy. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to have to fuel the body with high carbs and sugary foods when you’re on the road. Driving is tiring, and being thrown left and right in a car – your body perpetually fights against car motions – consumes a lot of energy. Both drivers and passengers want high fat and high sugar food such as warm s’mores to replenish their energy levels. Needless to say, petrol stations that offer fresh and warm food from the kitchen are more likely to appeal to travelers.

There’s nothing to fix my car!

When you spend many hours driving, your vehicle needs proper fuel and care. Filling up the tank isn’t going to be enough. A road trip could require additional automotive lubricants or even a change of oil. However, only a few services can offer the products and equipment drivers need. It would be helpful for petrol stations to maintain a close relationship with their fuel and oil supplier. Finding someone such as New Era Fuels who can deliver car lubricants overnight can make a significant difference. Petrol stations need to be equipped to provide more than just petrol!

The toilets are filthy

What’s the most common thing every road tripper does when they finally stop the car? They go to the restroom! Clean and fully stored toilets can considerably improve their break. Nobody likes to hover over the toilet seat because they’re too worried about hygiene to touch the surface! Running out of paper or soap are also so frequent that many holidaymakers carry everything they need in their bag. Petrol stations need to improve their facilities to meet their guests’ expectations. More importantly, maintaining your toilet area also benefits your staff.

How come you can’t stay open at night?

Last but not least, nobody can predict how long they will be on the road. Traffic jams can delay their arrival time. Getting lost could also affect the journey. Therefore, no driver likes to stress out at the idea that the petrol service could be shut if they arrive too late. Keeping those open 24/7 would be a major improvement for all.

There’s no road trip without a decent petrol station that can help you to relax and recharge before continuing the journey. It makes no doubt, from a business perspective, that fully equipped and modernized stations along popular roads could make huge profits.

Why A Screen-Free Week Could Be Just What You Need

Make no mistake, we’re not here to discuss the perils of getting hooked on modern technology and culture. TV, video games, online communities and the like are all fine ways to spend your time, but sometimes you might feel like you need a break. For that reason, we’re taking a closer look at some hobbies than can help you spend the occasional moment away from the digital world and more time in the real world.

See more of the world

The online world is connecting us further and more quickly than ever, exposing us to viewpoints, interests, and people we might never otherwise encounter. However, it’s important to actually experience some of the world for yourself rather than through a screen. Checking out local museums and galleries, as well as traveling, can help you live a little more broadly, rather than simply reading or watching more broadly.

Learn a new skill

Taking the time out to learn a brand-new skill, discipline or hobby isn’t just a distraction. It helps us grow as people and makes it easier to learn other new skills that may become vital later in our careers or life. Everything from picking up fishing with sites like Fishing Sun to cookery courses make it a lot easier to dip our toes in the water of brand-new skills. As such, the internet makes it easier to be a more well-rounded person offline, too.

Broaden your mind

There’s no shortage of art or creative culture to expose yourself too online. However, there’s simply no replacing trying some creativity of your own. Taking a break from the computer to try learning an instrument, visit your local library, or to pick up a paintbrush can help you be more expressive, rather than someone who solely consumes.

Connect with your family and community

Many of us have online communities that can feel just as real as the people around us, but it’s still essential to maintain the bonds of family and community that help us feel truly connected to the world. Taking a trip with the family, finding a local class or hobbyist group near you, or using sites like Do It to connect with charitable and volunteer efforts can help use create a more socially enriched life.

Lower your stress levels

Some say that the impact that social media and how we interact with online communities is overblown. However, there’s no denying that being connected to a screen 24/7, always being in reach, and always being accountable, does put us under some pressure. A staycation away from the home can offer a break from that pressure and let us take a moment away from some of our usual stresses.

Finding something to connect you with the world around you can help you live a richer, fuller life and find new ways to relax besides sitting in front of a screen all day. You might even find that the break makes you even fonder of the pop culture and online distractions you already enjoy.

Break The Mould With An Awesome Date Night

Are you planning a date that is going to be both memorable and exciting? This means that you might want to avoid the classics like the cinema or restaurant and instead aim to dazzle. If so, then we think these are going to be fantastic choices for you.

Private Karaoke 

We know karaoke seems a little cliche, but it’s not when you do it the right way. What you’re looking for is a modern karaoke bar. Instead of getting up on stage in front of complete strangers, you will be able to have your own private booth. There you can be provided with drinks from friendly staff that will keep them coming all night long. You also don’t need to worry about issues with having to sit through countless people who are tone-deaf. While this can be quite a fun thing to share between the two of you, it’s great for a group date too.

Ax Throwing 

Okay, yes it does sound a tad scary at first but safe ax throwing is a real past time. You can enjoy this in an environment similar to a gun range or a place where you might throw darts. It’s definitely a good choice if you are thinking about ways that you can impress your date. Nothing says macho quite like being able to throw an ax at full speed and hit a target right on the money. This can be a spontaneous date that you plan as a surprise. They might not love the idea at first, but we think they’ll soon come around.

Skydiving?

This isn’t going to be suitable for everyone. You’re going to need your date to be a little bit of a daredevil. It’s also quite expensive. Even tandem skydiving will cost you a couple hundred but this does make it quite impressive, doesn’t it? We don’t recommend this one as a first date, but for putting the spark back in your relationship? Absolutely! We think this will require a certain level of planning too. It doesn’t quite fit as a spontaneous date option, but that’s okay. It could still be great fun for you and your partner.

Escape Room

Another chance to show off? Perhaps, because this time you’ll be able to demonstrate your incredible intellect as you manage to ensure that both of you escape the room. These come in plenty of different themes so you’re bound to find one that provides the fun-filled adventure that you have been searching for. They are all over the place too and quite a reasonable cost for a date. You just need to make sure that you are selecting the right difficulty. If you have never tried this before it’s best to select an easier option. The good news is that difficult levels are clearly labeled on the sites. As such, you don’t need to worry about asking when you’re there.

We hope you love these ideas and try them yourself. Whether you’re going on a couples’ night out, getting away from the kids or impressing them for the first time, we think these could be some fantastic choices.

Making Your Backyard A More Active Place

Being active is something we all love to do (even when you’re a self-confessed couch potato), and it’s something we don’t really get encouraged to do in a way that speaks to us. We’re told time and time again to try exercise, because it’ll make us feel good and get us into a shape we’re proud of, and then we’re shown the benefits of running on a regular basis. And for most of us, that’s just way too boring!

It’s because of this that you should focus on the garden you have outside your house, and in particular, the backyard that’s just sitting pretty in front of it. If you’ve got a big, empty backyard on your hands, make sure you’re filling it up with fun and friends this summer time! You’ve got plenty of ideas to get on with, and plenty of ways to make them happen, so let’s try and inspire you.

Think About Adding a Pool

If you’ve got a backyard big enough, or you’re someone has some savings put away that aren’t doing anything else for you, adding a pool to your outdoor space is a great way to encourage yourself to treat your backyard as an active space. After all, swimming pools are great places to cool off in over the summer, and they’re great for making sure you’re exercising early on Sunday mornings, without needing to leave the house to hit the gym.

So, if your backyard and bank account do fit the conditions above, why not look into an option like this? It’ll add some more value to your home as well – if you’re in a place in your life to be thinking about financial investments, this could be a great way to set up for one!

Make Your Yard Sport Friendly

Most of all, you need to encourage a space in which you can move, and in which you feel energised to play games and take part in outdoor activities. You want a backyard that can host mini games of football or baseball, or even just to shoot a ball around in without being too loud or non-window friendly…

Depending on the kind of sport you’re into, and what games you watch most on the TV when you’re inside, you’re going to have to make different changes. For example, some sports are going to require heavier modifications than others, such as basketball, which you might need an in ground basketball hoop for. Games like football, on the other hand, only need a bit of chalk to mark out the nets for!

One is clearly easier to set up than the other, so depending on your budget and the time you have to spend outside on a daily basis, you might want to opt for one above the other.

Turning your backyard into more of an active place to be doesn’t have to be tricky. Move some plants here, fix the fence up there, etc. But don’t be afraid to spend some money!

4 Ways To Enjoy A Staycation

We seem to have come full circle with holidays in recent years. After a few decades worth of steady growth, the overseas holiday looks to be on the decline. There are several potential factors in the fall. The amount of money that some people have available may have declined. Political factors affecting the economy mean that people are reticent to spend the money that they do have, and are inclined to save more instead. Added to this, there are the environmental concerns of relying on air travel when it causes high levels of pollution.

With this in mind, many people are deciding to have a stay-cation. If you’ve not come across the term before, it means a vacation without leaving the country.

There are many great ways you can enjoy the country that you live in. Often, we overlook visiting unexplored parts of our own countries, because it feels as though it just isn’t exotic enough. There will be countless great places that you can visit without the need to jump on a plane, many of which could be exciting or fascinating.

Hire A Holiday Home

You could have a stay-cation relaxing in one of the new homes near Litchfield Park. Use it as a base to go off and visit the neighboring towns. Go for hikes, or just relax in the grounds.

The best thing about hiring a holiday home is that you can cook for yourself if you like. Obviously, you can still eat out as much as you like, but you get the option to do either. This could be good to help you keep the costs of your holiday down lower.

Take A Camper Van Around The Country

If you’ve ever fancied taking off in a vintage Volkswagen Camper van, why not hire one and take it around the country? You will have the freedom of stopping wherever you like and sleeping in the back. You can drive anywhere you want, and take your time getting there. You have your home on your back.

There are many rental companies out there, as well as private owners who will lend their vehicle for a cost. You really would be the envy of all of your friends.

Camping

The most basic way to enjoy a break away is to pitch a tent and relax. You can have a break where you move from place to place, taking your tent with you. Most modern tents can be assembled in a relatively short space of time. And if you have an airbed, then it can be quite comfy,

Glamping

If you like the idea of staying out in the outdoors but are not sold on the idea of sleeping in a small tent, why not go glamping instead? You generally will get some furniture, and there are some elements of comfort in a glamping tent. Some even have beds and sofas in them. You can enjoy some of the day-to-day comforts while enjoying getting back to nature.

Cash in a Crisis: 7 Ways to Ensure You’ll Never be Without Money

Ah, money. The great leveller. No matter how much of it you have, it’s never enough. No matter how well paid your job may be or how modest your lifestyle, in an uncertain economic climate, it can seem as though financial hardship is never more than a missed paycheck away. Whether you work for yourself, own your own business or are in a salaried job, whether you are single or married, whether you live alone or cohabit the chances are at some point you will find yourself having some sort of money troubles. You might find yourself struck with an unexpected bill, you might experience car trouble, you might have to bail out a friend, family member or loved one. Your employer could make you redundant or you might get lost in the shuffle of a corporate restructuring.

The fact is that none of us can predict what the future will hold for us or our finances. And in order to insulate yourself from long term risk, it’s important to be prepared. Here are some ways to ensure that when crisis strikes, you’ll never be without cash…

Know what not to do

Perhaps the most effective thing you can do to avoid financial crisis is to know which actions will make the situation work. Predatory payday lenders may seem like the perfect solution to your financial problems in a time of crisis but their exorbitant interest rates can cause you to get stuck in a quagmire of debt from which you may find that there is no recovery. While some countries and territories have put legislation in place to prevent pay day loan companies from using predatory or unethical lending practices they can still cause debts that can create more problems than they solve.

Get serious about saving

Most of us have at least some sort of savings account. But do we use them?… probably not as much as we should. Your parents may well have taught you that 10% of every paycheck you receive should go into your savings. But in an era where the cost of living seems to rise dramatically each year and yet our wages remain the same, this isn’t always feasible.

However, even if times are lean when it comes to your finances, that’s no reason not to at least put something away every month. Can’t do 10%? No problem, but 5% in and increase it to 15% when your finances are looking more stable.

And if you’ve been using the same high street savings account since you were a kid, perhaps you need to find an account that works harder for you. Here are some of the best interest rates from all over the world.

But remember, even a good savings account can only work for you if you actually use it. So be sure to put something aside every month.

Cling to your collectibles!

None of us collects collectibles because we intend to sell them. They bring us pleasure and joy even if all they do is sit on a shelf. However, cling to them and keep them in the best possible condition and you may find that they prove a reliable safety net if you fall upon hard times. You never know what might be worth big money in the future. Think of all those kids who bought Star Wars figures in the early ‘80s and would now be sitting on goldmines if they took better care of their toys. Even something as quotidian as Pop Vinyls can be worth a small fortune. Check out this list of the most valuable Funko Pops!

Always know the value of your home

Okay, so selling your home is a very extreme option, but it always pays to know the value of your home, so make sure you stay in touch with a reliable real estate agent like The Hupman Group. Remember that selling your property isn’t the only way in which you can make money from it. In fact, when you own your own property, you always have a high-value asset. You can release some of the equity on your property by remortgaging, or simply let out your spare room on Air BnB or your local equivalent. If you have a home, you always have options.

Every day I’m side hustling

Remember that your income needn’t necessarily be dictated by your day job. In fact, there are many ways in which you can make money in your free time with a side hustle. No matter what your circumstances, education or areas of expertise, there’s an excellent chance you can find a side hustle that suits you.

Of course, your attention and energy will be limited after a long, hard day’s work which is why it’s so important that your side hustle stem from something that you enjoy and / or are passionate about. From writing blog posts about your favourite music to walking the neighbourhood dogs in the evening, there’s no shortage of ways in which you can get paid for doing things you enjoy. And who knows? Your side hustle may find success and snowball into an opportunity for full-time entrepreneurship helping you to break through the glass ceiling that your employer has placed on your wages.

If you must borrow, borrow smart!

This post isn’t hear to say that you should neither a lender nor a borrower be… but if you have no means of recourse but to borrow, don’t let panic push you into poor borrowing decisions. Even if you don’t have the best credit, you can still borrow smart by choosing low interest loans and credit cards. Use a credit checker like Experian to determine your credit score and find the best deals.

Remember that little changes can make a huge difference!

Finally, remember that little things can make a big difference when it comes to saving money and keeping financial crisis at bay. Bringing a thermos of your own coffee rather than stopping into Starbucks to get through a rough Monday morning. Packing your own lunch instead of being tempted by local restaurants and fast-food outlets. Walking or cycling instead of treating yourself to a taxi. The little bit you are able to save here and there adds up to a lot by the end of the month!

Giving Your Children The Best Possible Childhood

Many parents go into their roles as a mother or a father with a sense of dread. They assume that their default position will be “bad parent,” and thus take steps to limit the damage. They do everything they can to ensure that their child isn’t too messed up by their actions or inactions. While this isn’t the worst approach to parenting, there is an element of “fear” involved. Instead of taking a fear-based, damage-limitation stance towards parenthood, why not look at proactively working towards giving your child the best possible childhood? There are multiple things you can do to give your son(s) and daughter(s) a thriving start in life! We take a look at a few ways below.

Engaged Parenting

Children need a lot of things to be at their best, including shelter, food, and so on — but there’s one thing that might just be more important than the rest, and that’s parental love. It’s all good and well working hard at a job to provide things for your children, but not if it comes at the cost of spending quality time with your kids. So make sure you’re a presence, and that you spend time with your children: there is no substitute for it, and it can be difficult to make up for it later on down the line.

Freedom To Have Fun

You do, of course, want your children to stay safe — but there’s a big difference between keeping them safe and wrapping them up in cotton wool. Your kids should have the freedom to have fun — there’s plenty of time for them to fall in line and act more seriously/cautiously when they’re older. When they’re young, let them play without limitation: it’s a period of their life they’ll never get back, and plus, it’ll set them up for a happy life.

Outdoor Adventures

There are advantages to living in a city, but probably not if you’re a small child, and all you want to do is have adventures with your siblings and friends. At that age, a concrete jungle is simply limiting. If you live in a city and can’t change, then make sure that you’re taking your kids on regular adventures in the outdoors. If you can move, look at investing in a Wyndham Ridge estate, and give your children an opportunity to have all the outdoor fun they could want. There’s nothing quite like growing up with nature’s playground all around you.

Stay Positive

Life can be difficult at all times, and especially so when you’re raising children. If you let the pressure build up, you’ll either eventually take it out on your kids, or they’ll just intuitively pick up that all is not well. That won’t make them feel good! As such, it’s important that you’re taking steps to remain positive and happy. If you feel at your best, you’ll find it much easier to give your kids more of the same. Your happy must flow out to others from within.

How To Get As Much Out Of Selling Your House As Possible

We all love the homes that keep us safe, warm, and private. But sooner or later, it’s time to say goodbye. We had our fun, and we made some amazing memories in this current place, but situations change, and with that comes the need for an entirely new location. It’s something we’ve all done before or something we’ll all have to do in the future, so it’s not too much of a big deal. It can hit you quite hard, though, huh?

As exciting as it is looking for a new place and fantasizing about how the future will look, you still have to do a little work with this present home. You’ve got to make sure the place sells. You’re also going to want to get as much dough as you can from the sale! Other than smoothly transitioning from one home to another, your main goal in this whole process is to make as much money as possible. The way you do that is by making the home the most beautiful, attractive, and desirable spot around!

While it would help to be a builder, an interior designer, or an estate agent, you don’t actually have to have expert knowledge in order to do well in this particular activity. Increasing the value of a house is something that we can all do. Sure, some may do it better than others, but it’s certainly a task we can all complete capably. Let’s go through some stuff you can do to up the stature and prestige of a home.

Do Some Research First

As we said before, we don’t have to have all of the qualifications and years of experience, but getting as much info about this stuff as you can would absolutely boost your chances of doing well. There are hundreds of guides, tutorials, and blogs about the property world. If you have some free time at any point, you should probably read up a thing or two on this tricky business.

Speak With A Consultant

You’ll probably be using Real Estate Services to help sell the property; they’ll be able to drop you some hints here and there. But before you even get to that stage, you might want to speak with a consultant. These guys and girls make a living from literally guiding firms and individuals in the right direction. They pride themselves on being able to get you what you want, so you can more or less guarantee they’ll hand you some gems.

Renovate

It might be a little costly, but renovating certain areas of a house could make those numbers on the advertisements shoot up. People want new, interesting, and beautiful homes; they’re not after old and used places. They especially value places like the kitchen and the bathrooms. Those two areas are huge when it comes to a home’s value and overall feel.

Little Touch-Ups!

This is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure the price rises. Small changes can make a big difference. When someone comes along to value the house, they take into account a lot of aspects. One of those is the style, quality, and décor of the inside. If they feel as though it has been left and not really shown much love, the value may not be anywhere near it’s potential. Go over some places with an extra layer of paint. Strip the old-fashioned and outdated wallpaper. Upgrade the windows to a more modern style. Make the place stand out – it’s more than just the same old four walls and a roof!