5 Reasons to go Camping This Winter

If you enjoy to camp with the family, your friends or perhaps even on your own, you may think that it is just something which you can do during the summer months. Whilst camping out on a warm summer’s evening may be nice, the best time to go camping in my opinion is just when the cold weather starts to hit. Many may think that I’m crazy but this is really the best time to get in touch with nature. Whilst trying to find some accommodation in Robin Hood’s Bay last year, we found a wonderful campsite with a winter offer on, we took it and realised just how great winter camping is, and here is why.

No Crowds

Camping on campsites around the UK during the summer can often be mayhem and it is usually packed with other campers. The result of this is traffic, long queues for attractions and local restaurants, as well as the volume of people taking something away from the overall camping experience. When you camp in the winter there are significantly less people doing the same.

No Bugs

There are few things more annoying when you go camping than swarms of midges molesting you as you try and enjoy nature. Most campsites are set in near water in forests and woods, the perfect environment for midges and bugs, at least when the weather is warm. The cold weather makes these creepy crawlies disappear however, and you can enjoy your trip without the 50 bites on your legs and face.

Beautiful

The winter months are when the British countryside is often at its best, when the leaves are stripped off the trees and the morning frost coats the forest floor. For me there is little more exciting about nature than when it is touched buy the winter weather, and sleeping in the heart of it is a great way to spend your time camping.

The Fire

A campfire is something that is a key part of any camping trip and there is nothing better than getting lost in your mind as you gaze upon the crackling logs and dancing flames. The best time to light a campfire is during the winter when you need to warm up after a day of hiking and adventure. In the winter the campfire is not just beautiful to look at but it also keeps you toasty warm.

Stars

Starry nights are one of the best features of a camping trip and you can count on far more of them when you go camping in the winter. Because the nights draw in far earlier and there is more hours of darkness you will have a great chance to see the starry night in all of its splendour. Winter nights are perfect for stargazing because the night is also much darker than it is during the summer months and you can spot constellations and planets with far more ease.

Why not try something different this year and pitch up that tent during the chilly winter months? You’ll love it!

Top UK Break Destinations For Your Autumn Or Winter Getaway

Now that autumn has well and truly set in and Christmas is on the way, you might be wondering just what you can do for that short break you find yourself needing toward the beginning of November. Just a little something to break up the monotony of the season before the hecticness of Christmas comes knocking, or maybe you’re looking for that great Christmas gift for the person who has everything. Perhaps you’ve been looking to find a cheap break somewhere in the UK – either for yourself or as a gift. Well look no further than one of these great options that will be sure to delight almost anyone.

Snowdonia

One of the most beautiful parts of the UK, Snowdonia is located in North Wales and covers an impressive swathe of land. Featuring Mount Snowdon, a relatively easy mountain to climb as well as truly breathtaking vistas, views and villages, Snowdonia continues to be a favourite for many. For the best experience, consider staying within the National Park itself, perhaps in a town such as Betws-y-Coed, a beautiful little sleepy village with a lot of charm and character. Catch the bus into nearby Beddgelert, a beautiful town where you can visit Welsh Prince Llewellyn’s former palace and learn about the fate of his loyal dog, Gelert.

Cornwall

The coast of Cornwall is awash with some of the most unique history in the UK. From the old copper mine chimneys that dot the skyline of the coast to the fun fair at Land’s End, and the magical history of such sites as Tintagel Castle, Cornwall is a place full of things to do for everyone from ages eight to eighty. Be sure to set aside time for just strolling the back streets of St Ives and driving the rugged coastal roads of the Lizard. Stop for giant cream teas at some of the most beautiful little tea houses and make friends with farmers who farm their ancestral lands. Cornwall has a little something for everyone, and is a unique place where you feel like you’ve come to another world.

Lake District

The Lake District is one of the most beautiful and sought after places for holidaying in England. With its rolling green hills, lakeside cafes and twisting, turning roads that lead you into the depths of the countryside where you’ll only find yourself and nature, it’s a delight for the outdoorsy person in all of us. Stroll through medieval towns and hike through the high hills to find stunning vistas and views. If you have a car you’ll be able to visit many of the regional towns such as Keswick, Derwentwater and Windermere – all of which have something to offer everyone, even if it’s just a beautiful backdrop against stunning lakes.

So there you have a couple of great ideas for Christmas gift travel options for the person who has everything. So if you’re looking for something in your own backyard for your autumn or winter getaway, consider one of the above options. So get your car packed for the next best road trip – you won’t regret it!

 

Top Travel Ideas If You’re Flying Solo

Are you a singleton looking for a great adventure without necessarily having to recruit friends or family to tag along? Or maybe you really want to get away but can’t find anyone to go with. If you’re like most people who are single and travel, you probably have noticed by now that when you try to get a group of friends or family together, inevitably people begin to drop out one by one until it’s only you still left standing, heading out on the road solo anyway. Maybe you’re through with all that and you’re ready to hit the highway on a cool singles trip to meet new friends along the way. Check out these hot holiday ideas for solo travellers like yourself.

Backpacking

There’s nothing like heading out on an extended trip backpacking while solo. It’s no secret that you meet far more travellers and people when you’re travelling on your own than with a friend or a group. Backpacking holidays are likewise a great idea if you don’t have a timescale or a really solid plan. Many people choose several countries that are near to each other by land and just take off for anywhere from three to six months. Popular areas include South East Asia, South America and often working holidays in the likes of Canada, Australia, New Zealand or working for NGOs in Africa.

Ski Holidays

Do you love the powder, the rush, the adrenaline of shooting down the slopes at speed while the icy cool wind blows across your face? Well, a singles ski holiday might just be what you’re looking for. You can book a singles ski holiday to many different resorts through Europe, a great option if you’re planning to travel solo as there is often no single supplement when you book a singles specific holiday. That means you can spend more on going out and meeting other solo travellers, or going on excursions, taking on activities and more.

Cruises

Cruises are a great idea for solo travellers, especially shy and unsure travellers as the cruise company takes care of almost literally everything. All you have to do is show up on time to things like meals, excursions, shows and other events. Everything you could possibly need and more is found on board the ship and so you can rest easy knowing everything is being taken care of for you so you can spend more time on the top deck relaxing in the sun or enjoying the scenery as it passes by.

Beach Fun

Solo beach holidays sound like they could be boring, but nothing is further from the truth. When you book a singles beach holiday you will be in the same area as other solo travellers, meaning you can meet new, great people to hit the sand with. What could be better than hanging out with new friends, sharing a picnic on the sand and going on new and wonderful excursions together, creating memories to last a lifetime?

So there you have a couple of fantastic suggestions and ideas for great holidays that you can enjoy solo. Who ever said you must definitely have friends along for the ride when you can just meet the friends as you go? Sometimes it’s better that way anyway! So what are you waiting for? Get those bags packed and hit the open road.

Visit Kochi to feel the Wonders of the Old World

The first European colony in colonial India, Kochi was occupied by the Portuguese from 1503 to 1530 and operated as the seat of power till then. This jewel of the Arabian Sea was an important spice trading center from the 14th century on the west coast of India, a tradition which exists till now. Kochi is home to a lot of historical monuments like the St. Francis Church built in 1503 is the oldest European church in India or the Pallipuram Fort which was also built in 1503 and still exists, earning it the title of being amongst the oldest existing European forts in India. Kochi is the personification of the saying ‘old is gold’.

How to reach Kochi

The first and foremost way most people look for is air travel and Kochi, with its Cochin International Airport (which is the world’s fully solar energy powered airport), is responsible for both the international and domestic flights. Availing tickets from far off places like Dubai to Kochi flights, New York to Kochi flights, Toronto to Kochi flights and more are easy.

Roads connect Kochi to its neighboring cities and states with ease since it is a node on the north-south corridor of the national highway system

Kochi is serviced by 4 major railway stations, namely the Ernakulam Junction, Aluva and Tripunithura, Ernakulam Town and Edapally and Kalamassery.

Things to do in Kochi

Surely people would love to explore the city and find out where they can entertain themselves in ways which are uniquely Kochi. So here’s a small compiled list:

  • Chinese Fishing Nets: Everyone must have heard how these are only seen in Kochi apart from in China. What’s so special about fishing nets that it deserves a special mention? Well, these fishing nets are fixed in land and have to operate by a lift so that fishing can be done. Not to mention that these are proof of once good ties between China and India.
  • Dal Roti: People from North India would surely love this place, as the name suggests and to its merit, earning a name as a restaurant serving North Indian food is not easy in a South Indian state. This place, with its laid-back ambiance and wooden tables, is popular for its parathas and Kati rolls. If anyone wants to experience homely, delicious, North Indian food then this is the place to go.
  • Elephant Training Centre: The unspoiled village or Kodanad is where the stranded baby and adult elephants are trained. Most hotels are successful in arranging trips to the village but if a more intimate experience is on the mind then going before eight will be advisable since then visitors will be able to lend a hand in giving a wash to the elephants. Watching these big animals roll around like babies is truly a pleasure to watch.

Kochi is a place which is rich in spicy aroma and old world architectural charm, combined with hospitable people. Visitors will enjoy getting soaked in the cultural and historical aura of the place.

5 Must Visit Los Angeles Wineries

A well-worn traveller once declared that if it is noon in South California and you are not already smashed, you should not even be in South California. And while that claim is, of course, debatable, it is true that the land can easily serve as a pilgrimage to all oenophile looking to while their time away with a ruby red drink swishing in a glass in their hand while enjoying the warm and fruity air. Although Napa and Sonoma usually come to mind when you talk such lazy, tipsy afternoons; Los Angeles itself isn’t too far behind. So, if you are looking to spend a wine-full weekend without having to drive for more than forty minutes, here is a list of some great wineries closer to home.

And, of course, wine always tastes best when it’s shared with friends, so if you’re thinking of making it a group affair, be sure to rent a charter bus or minibus out of Los Angeles; that way, no one gets lost along the way, and no one has to worry about driving if they have one too many.

The Rosenthal Winery

The Rosenthal winery in Malibu might be many things. But we will tell you one thing that it is not and, that is, overrated. Indeed, it lives up to everything you might have heard about it and then some. So, pack your bags for a weekend trip to this winery that serves up a Malibu-grown vino against the exquisite backdrop of the sapphire ocean waves cradling against a golden beach that is quite untouched by the fast-paced humdrum of the city of LA. A mere thirteen dollars will cover four tastings of very fine wine that you may choose to enjoy in the company of your favourite book or your loved ones. And as evening sets in, let the slow music beats from the beachfront light up the courtyard and fill your ears as you enjoy the scent and taste of the food sold by the nearby food trucks.

Cornell Winery

This winery in Cornell is perhaps a bit different from the others on the list. Considered as good as one the best wineries in the world, the most important part of the Cornell winery is its simplicity, from the way the tasting room breathes the rustic charm of a timeless countryside to the simple and comforting food offered at the Old Place restaurant located right next door. Make your way through the gallery and gift shop before heading to the bar behind where five samples of glorious vino will cost you a mere ten dollars.

Malibu Wines

If you are a wine lover in LA, chances are that you have already spent many a tipsy evening in the arms of this vineyard that is often treated as a rite of passage into the local wine scene. Families often choose to pack themselves a sumptuous picnic spread before heading to the many-hued vineyard and immense tasting rooms. Movie nights on Thursdays followed by a Friday night karaoke and a Sunday punctuated by yoga and mimosas is perhaps the perfect way to spend an extra long weekend. The collection behind the bar is delightfully plentiful but if you are looking for something less lazy, the Malibu wine safari will take you on a tour that brims with wine and nature and that lasts for two hours. You may even feed the animals you meet, making stops to drink the glorious vino offered in Saddlerock Ranch.

The Ojai Vineyard

Located about an hour and a half’s drive away from Los Angeles, the Ojai Vineyard combines the subtlety of the pinot noir with the exquisite taste of Syrah and a wide variety of white wine in their quiet nook of a tasting room. They have a collection of over three hundred different bottles and sometimes offer food that pairs beautifully with the drinks. But the best part perhaps is the Library flights that are held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and offer wines that have aged, and aged well, for at least ten to twenty years.

Cassa Barranca

Again located in Ojai, Cassa Barranca too offers wine but it does it differently than the Ojai Vineyard. A culturally-loaded sprawling estate sits smugly amidst the vineyard and can be rented for vacations. But, if you are not renting the place, the actual tasting room is situated in downtown Ojai. The wine served here is organic and has gone on to win several awards. You may partake of your choice of the same before you take a lazy stroll down the arcade, letting the wine colour the air and the clothes in the boutiques brighter. End the day by splurging on ice-cream and let the creaminess merge with the crispness of the wine on your tongue. Couldn’t get any better than this now, could it?

Cleansing Your Space – Why This Practice Isn’t Just For Spiritual Gurus

You might have heard about a ritualistic cleansing of your space a lot these days, especially since spirituality and new age tendencies are trending at the moment. Cleansing might sound like something only hippies do with incense and herbs, but it doesn’t have to be and cleansing your own space can be hugely beneficial. Do you ever come home at the end of the day at find that you feel sluggish, low and generally irritable? Cleansing yourself and your space can help get rid of the sludge of the day. Here are easy ways you can begin to purify yourself and your home – even if you aren’t up on the new age trends.

Energy Is Real

Many people are beginning to realise that energy is very real. In fact, you may begin to pick up on energies in your day to day life, such as how being around a person who complains all the time can make you feel low, or how being around someone angry can affect your peace and calmness. All of this is caused by energy in the atmosphere around you and it can latch itself onto you and stay with you, long after you leave the situation resulting in you taking it home with you and sharing it with your friends and family. A perfect example of this is if you have a customer or boss at work who yells at you, sending you into a mood that stays with you the rest of the day and into the evening.

Cleansing Is Easy

Cleansing your space can be as easy as pie. A great way to begin is to open all your windows in your house, including the front door. Sweep your floors toward the front door, imagining you sweeping up all bad energies with it and then symbolically sweep them out the front door. Go around to each room and bash out all your pillows, shake out your sheets and if possible hang them on the line to catch fresh air. Wash your floors and walls with your normal cleaner, but add a couple of pinches of salt – a popular purifier – to the water. Light incense in each room and if you have any to hand, putting crystals on places such as window ledges, headboard of beds, dressing tables and more can help to bring in positive energy to the room. You can put crystals elsewhere in the house as well for the same effect, just remember not to put magnetic crystals near electronics and to not get Selenite wet.

To cleanse your own body of negative energies, apply the same principles as above, such as adding salt to bathwater or shower gel along with crystals. You can make simple bath sachets with crystals in small muslin bags with your favourite herbs added for good measure.

You’ll Feel Great

Once you have done all this, the energy in the house will be significantly different and you should be able to feel it. You will want to spend all your time in your new, cleansed space, soaking up the good vibes and enjoying the feeling of peace and calm. This will help you relax and unwind in a more positive, beneficial way than going to the bar drinking or the like that you may do after work to try to relax and forget your worries of the office. Not only that but you will reap the health benefits such as being more chilled out, having less stress and being able to relax more easily. Win – win, right?

So if you’ve been looking for a great way to help chill out and relax, give cleansing your space a try. With so much negative energy and thoughts floating around in our world today it can easily come into your home and life, so keep it at bay with these handy, useful tips anyone can try.

A Wine Lover’s Guide To Earth’s Best Wine Regions

If you fancy yourself a bit of a wine connoisseur you may enjoy the tradition of vineyard tours and wine tasting. But where should you definitely go to experience the best that planet earth has to offer? With so many countries that offer their own takes on wine and winemaking, it can be daunting to choose the perfect place to head to if you’re a wine lover. That’s why this short guide to the world’s best wines will help you narrow down your next wine tasting destination.

Argentina

It’s no secret that the wines that come from Argentina are some of the world’s best. Add to that the fact that Argentina is an absolute delight to travel to and around and you’re onto a winner on all accounts. Between delicious Argentinian steak, the snow capped peaks of the Andes and the delectable wines, it’s easy to see why Argentina is the things dreams are made of. Take a week or two to stop at various ranches to experience the real Argentine life, wrangling and branding cattle and sipping wine with the backdrop of beautiful Patagonia in your sights.

Georgia

You might be thinking ‘Georgia the state?’ but you’d be wrong. This central West Asian country is nestled between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia and is home to such amazing climates throughout that it is ideal for growing all manner of fruits and vegetables – including grape varieties for winemaking. It’s been studied and shown that Georgian winemaking tradition goes back almost eight thousand years, making it one of the oldest and first winemaking regions in the world. That said, the Georgians really know what they’re doing when it comes to wine. Try it with kachapuri, a rich pizza-like dish laden with cheese.

Canada

Believe it or not, Canada is a huge wine producer, they just rarely export it, keeping it all within their borders for themselves, and for good reason. Produced in both British Columbia and Ontario mainly, the wines come in a variety of flavours and strengths. Such popular brands including Painted Rock, Cave Spring Cellars and Foxtrot, Canadian wines can usually be found throughout the country and are paired beautifully with local cuisines such as seared Elk steaks, regional lobster or buffalo. If you’re in the mood for something truly unique, have a taste of Canada’s famous Ice Wine – a wine produced by leaving the grapes on the vine until after the first frosts to produce a sweet, almost syrup like wine that is used almost exclusively for dessert.

South Africa

If you want to see the best Africa has to offer without diving into a totally different culture altogether by going to the likes of Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda, consider heading to South Africa – a perfect blend of Africa-meets-West. The western corner of the country around Cape Town is the best for sampling the wines on offer but they can be found most other places around the country as well. If heading out on safari take a bottle or two with you to enjoy after a day of watching the best of Africa’s wildlife go by in the likes of Kruger National Park, or head to your favourite Cape Town wine bar to toast a successful climb up Table Mountain. South Africa in their springtime is a great time to go, when the wildflowers are in full swing and you can find yourself lost in flower fields for ages. A perfect South African red wine would go down a treat on a picnic amongst the blooms.

So if you’re in the mood for a delicious glass or three of some of the world’s best vino, check out wines from one of the aforementioned locations. With wines steeped in history or challenging tradition, you will find the perfect flavours waiting for you in a bottle of one of these great options.

How To Update Your Cottage Country Bedroom

It’s easy to let things get out of date up at the cottage. It’s already furnished with the things you’d replaced in your home. You’re only up there on the weekends or (if you’re lucky) for a few weeks in the summer, and you have to make room in the car to bring up new furniture.

But the cottage should also be a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself. Human bodies are sensitive to their environments, and there’s no place that affects us more than where we sleep. Updating your bedroom in cottage country can help you relax and unwind on your getaways from the city.

First of all, let’s talk about light. Your bedroom at the cottage wants morning light. That means light curtains that you can draw at night that will still let the sun shine through in the morning. Thin white curtains should do the trick, while a lighter paint on the walls and in the fabrics are better at reflecting light. Use mirrors and lighter tones if you don’t have east-face windows and want to make the most of diffuse morning light. One of the best parts of cottage living is waking up naturally with the sun instead of an alarm clock. When the sun shines in on you in the morning, your body stops releasing melatonin (the sleep hormone). It’s the secret to waking up naturally and happily.

Second, it’s time to get rid of that squeaky old bed frame. You’re not getting a good night’s sleep when you hear creaking and metal groaning every time you or your partner shifts onto their side. An old bed frame can keep you up at night. You can find a huge selection of bed frames online for a reasonable price and even have it delivered, saving you room on your Friday night fight with traffic.

When it comes to bedroom furniture, wood will feel warm and appropriate for cottage living. Your headboard and any kind of night table or side table should be a real, natural-feeling wood. When you’re surrounded by the water and the woods, your home should feel earthy and rustic.

These are the kinds of things that will help you settle in after a long drive. If you’re not comfortable at the cottage, you’ll wind up struggling with the first night effect, where you struggle to sleep because you don’t feel comfortable in your surroundings. Pay attention to the details and make yourself feel at home.

Last but not least, don’t forget about the kids’ bedrooms. They should be easier-going than your own, but you can have a lot of fun with themes. For the cottage, keep things simple – you don’t want to have to redo everything when they get older. Stick to classics like nautical themes or cabin-in-the-woods, something they won’t be eager to see changed when they get older.

Updating the bedrooms at the cottage will make you feel more at home and relaxed. It’s your weekend getaway, your home by the lake. Make it feel like home.

The Benefits of Travel Blogging

As a world traveler, a travel blog is an excellent method to document your international exploits. Not only does a travel blog allow you to personally reflect on your travel experiences in a manner that is more introspective than simply reviewing your Photo Cloud, it also allows you to provide invaluable information to individuals considering exploring the places to which you have journeyed. If the intrinsic reward of writing is not quiet motivating enough, established bloggers have the potential to receive monetary compensation for their writing directly through their blog, travel sites, and also through special local promotions along their journey. If you are interested in starting a blog the first step is to find the best blogging platform and go from there.

Before the days of smartphones, one of the most important items in our luggage when traveling anywhere from the next city to lands abroad was our camera. Photographs are an essential tool in documenting any journey. While it is true that a photo is worth a thousand words, photos at times fail to express the cultural or emotional significance of an experience. One great feature of having a travel blog is that you can incorporate written stories alongside your photos, allowing you to preserve the individual significance of each new traveled experience.

One of the more altruistic components of developing a travel blog is providing first hand information to others about the places you have visited, which they would not be able to otherwise glean. TripAdvisor will let people know that the Louvre is one of Paris’ must see attractions. However, developing a travel blog will let these people know that if they plan their trip to the Louvre on the first Sunday of the month they will get in for free, and if they use the little know underground entrance to the Louvre – directly off the Paris Metro – they will be able to bypass the queue, which averages a two hour wait during peak hours.

A travel blog also allows you to document the vast cultural diversity and unique political customs that you encounter during your international adventures. Let your followers know that if they are traveling to Muscat during the holy month of Ramadan they will be expected to fast from sunrise to sunset, even if they do not follow the Islamic faith. Help your friends plan ahead for their trip to Havana by explaining that Cuba does not accept credit or debit cards from US financial institutions. Simply let your forgetful friends know if they are planning a trip to Argentina in July they should bring a jacket because the southern hemisphere’s winter is opposite to the northern hemisphere. Every travel experience that you document in your blog will truly impact future travelers.

Your writing as a world traveller is not limited to solely documenting your journeys or helping others plan their future adventures. A well established travel blog can easily generate passive income for you simply by monetizing your blog with one of the copious ad-based platforms available to personal websites. Travel sites and local tourist attractions also seek out individuals with well established travel blogs to do freelance writing for them, which is a great method of financing future adventures.

There are many incentives to consider when thinking about beginning your travel blog. Whether those incentives are personal or whether you are interested in documenting your experience for others, a travel blog is a great addition to your travel regimen.