The Trip of a Lifetime Comes With Strings Attached

Since my parents divorced, my father has planned fantastic trips with each of his children. He has selected the location, and planned every last detail. In the past we have had some amazing times, and once in a lifetime adventures. But now, I am faced with a conundrum of sorts. My dad has offered to take me to Namibia, a place I have never gone and would hate to miss out on.

However, I am conflicted because my dad plans to do some kudu hunting while we are there. Now, it comes as no surprise that he is interested in this as he has the heads of a cape buffalo, bison, an elk and numerous other animals mounted on the walls of his home. He hunted and killed each of them himself, and takes tremendous pride in those trophies.

As for me, well I am opposed to hanging these so called trophies up, and cringe when he tells me the stories of how he captured each. Up until this point he has kept his hunting trips separate from those involving me. But, here we are, and I must decide where exactly that line between me and the hunting lies.

I suppose this might sound like the ramblings of a poor little rich girl to some, but it is something I am struggling with at present. Hunting is not a moral issue, and I am not a vegetarian so where do I stand, and will I make it to Namibia next July?

The Qualities to Look for in the Best Reclining Chairs

For some a reclining chair is their oasis, the place they stake a claim on and expect to be vacant when they want it. As adults they can assert their ownership, and make it so that no other family member, visitor, or stranger dare take the liberty of sitting in it when it is where the owner wishes to use it for their own purposes.

Yet, all reclining chairs are not created equal, and should not be purchased without some specific knowledge. Before committing oneself to a particular sliding chair it should be confirmed that it is comfy, space conserving, and of course stylish too. The perfect recliner will be a complete package, meeting all of the requirements listed above.

There are countless of these motion chairs on the market, but many of them are bulky so they stick out like a sore thumb amongst other more refined pieces of furniture, and though comfy, not really what you would consider attractive. Thus, they fall short, and considering the important role they are meant to fill, they are unsuitable.

But rest comfortably knowing that the truly great recliners do exist. And once found, will be what is most highly coveted in the home when it comes to unwinding. Every king or queen of the castle deserves one to call their own.

The Proven Effects of the Stability Ball

Whether you call it a fitness ball, Swiss ball, stability ball, balance ball, sports ball, Pilates ball or exercise ball the inflatable ball is acknowledged to be one of the best tools for strengthening a person’s core. It was invented by an Italian plastics manufacturer back in the sixties. The puncture resistant ball was then known as the Pezzi ball, oddly it is one of the few things people do not call it today. They were put into use as treatment equipment in both England and Switzerland for infants, children and adults with medical problems.

Once the ball made its way across the ocean to America, it went from being a physical therapy tool to one for athletic training. It has been recognized as so valuable in building strength it is used in general fitness routines, professional athlete training, yoga and Pilates. It is now a staple in gyms, and fitness classes around the world.

But why is it so beneficial? Well, when using the ball one’s muscles (mainly abdominal and back) are engaged to establish stability. Over time, repeated consistent use builds those muscles. It also can be incorporated in a wide variety and range of exercises, so an individual need not get bored with it. Additionally, because there are so many ways to use the ball, the body can be challenged in different ways, thus never becoming too familiar with those movements. So, the body can continue to show results over a long period of time, whereas the body is less impacted by doing the same repetitious actions of other exercises.

Travel Options to Portrush

Northern Ireland has fast become a popular tourist destination since the troubles of recent history ended. Indeed, millions of pounds worth of investment has been pumped into Northern Ireland’s economy, which has breathed new life into this beautiful corner of the world. One of the main tourist attractions in the country is Portrush, which is situated along the north coast and comprises a mile long peninsula that extends into the Atlantic Ocean, providing excellent views over Donegal, Scotland and Giants Causeway.

Renowned for its clean, sandy beaches and superb family entertainment, it is of no surprise that Portrush continues to be one of – if not the most – popular tourist destinations in Northern Ireland.

Dunluce Castle is one of the main attractions in the area and is truly jaw-dropping. Situated on the very edge of a crag overlooking the ocean, the castle’s spectacular positioning makes it among the most beautiful and romantic in the world. Due to its precarious location, however, the castle has been subject to landslides over time! Nevertheless, this amazing spectacle is a must-see and guided tours of the castle are available and there is also a gift shop and visitor centre on hand.

As previously mentioned, among the main attractions in Portrush are its beautiful beaches. It may not be the Algarve, but this fantastic stretch of Atlantic Ocean coastline is punctuated by limestone cliffs, caves and golden sands. Picnics are popular in this area and there are boat rides available that unlock a much greater appreciation of the majestic cliffs than can be acquired up close. The sand dunes along the coast also provide plenty of family fun and relaxation.

There are also a good number of activities to enjoy in the Portrush area, from fishing and surfing to golf, walking and cycling. In fact, Portrush is renowned for its impressive golf courses, including the Dunluce Links – a demanding and spectacular range loved by golfers from all over the world. There are also a number of top quality restaurants, shopping centres and night clubs in the area. In short, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Portrush.

Finding Portrush is a relatively straightforward process from any major city in Northern Ireland, such as Belfast or Londonderry. If making your way from the UK, the shortest ferry route is from Stranraer or Cairnryan to Larne or Belfast, while there are longer routes from Liverpool and Fleetwood.

Air travel is by far the quickest mode of transport, however and it is advisable to fly into Belfast airport before heading towards Portrush. Birmingham Domestic Flights, for instance, are readily available to Belfast and domestic operators provide a good service at competitive prices. Reaching Portrush from Belfast by car involves a relatively straightforward route across the A12, M2, A26 and A29. Portrush railway station operates more than 20 daily (week day) routes to and from Belfast and Londonderry, so this is probably the easiest way to reach one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland.

Winter Style Guide

‘Fashion’ is a concept that can be applied to a multitude of different fields, from interior design and music to hobbies and holiday destinations. Most commonly, however, fashion is a term used to describe popular trends in clothing and accessories, something which has a tendency to change both frequently and drastically. Fashion trends are often completely different from season to season and endeavouring to remain en vogue often requires a great deal of shopping!

This season there are a number of key looks that are particularly prevalent in women’s fashion, one of the most popular of which being military-inspired tailoring. Classic army and navy styles were a huge hit on the autumn/winter  catwalks and can easily be incorporated into any winter outfit. For the fashionistas amongst you there’s a vast array of fabulous military-inspired coats and jackets available on the high street, all of which feature sharp cuts and rows of buttons. Otherwise why not try layering khaki tones for a less obvious homage to this winter’s military fashion? Other popular women’s fashions this season include tartan prints, (faux) fur, soft goth and all things red. Jewellery trends have gone super-sized and this winter the emphasis is on chunky beads, large bangles and statement necklaces. As far as other accessories are concerned, winter is all about hats, flats, boots of all varieties and the ever-popular, hugely flattering, waist-defining belt.

Fashion isn’t just something for the girls, however, as men’s clothing also follows seasonal trends and the men’s autumn/winter  catwalks were chock-full of cardigans. Though a few years ago these were mostly relegated to your grandfather’s wardrobe, these are now a staple for every stylish guy. They are available in a wide spectrum of colours (anything from the traditional black and grey to more adventurous indigos and reds), can be worn with almost anything and are great for layering all year round. In a similar vein patterned Bill Crosby style jumpers are also hugely popular and what’s more snug in the chilly winter months! Other important trends for men this season also include sharp tailoring, dark fitted jeans, checked shirts and grey coats and jumpers. Hot men’s accessories for winter are oversized beanies, neckties, alpine-patterned woollen scarves and leather boots.

Children’s clothing also tends to follow fashion trends, though it has to be said that these are heavily influenced by the styles also popular with adults. For example, a softer take on the military style can be seen in many children’s coats this season and colourful layering is as prevalent in kids’ clothing as it is with adults’. There are some styles that are exclusive to the younger amongst us, however, such as brightly coloured t-shirts printed with cartoon and film characters, Disney clothing being particularly popular with younger children.

Therefore whatever your personal taste, there’s an item of fashion clothing out there for you this season, meaning you can both stylish and feel warm during the frosty Christmas season!

A Travel Guide to Tampa

Tampa is one of the most popular and sought-after destinations in Florida. It is the state’s third largest city and is known for its luxurious beaches, first class entertainment and its trendy art scene. The climate is warm all year and the city has one of the highest annual sunshine totals in the entire United States. The sea is warm enough for swimming almost all year round – with sea surface temperatures along the coast peaking up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of August.

Tampa is well known for its superb nightlife, which is frequented by the locals and the large numbers of tourists visiting the region, especially between June and August (which is the peak season). It also hosts a large number of museums and historic buildings (most notably in the Ybor City neighbourhood), which will be of interest to those seeking some cultural activities, while others simple revel in Tampa’s subtropical paradise. Naturally, the city has offers a large number of restaurants – some notable restaurants that have received excellent reviews include Roy’s, The Rack and Capital Grille

When visiting the city, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to view the famous Sunshine Skyway (the largest bridge in Florida) – towering to a height of 431 feet and 5.5 miles long. If you are looking for a little adrenaline rush, why not visit the Busch Gardens where you can enjoy thrilling rides such as the rapid rides or the roller-coasters. Or perhaps you are one of those people who just likes to enjoy soaking up the sun on the beach. Be aware of the sun’s strength and apply strong sunscreen between the months of April and September.

Nearby, the resort of Clearwater offers more world-class beaches and fantastic nightlife. Also, if you want to travel further then a day trip to Disney-world is also an option, heading northwest towards Orlando on the I4. If you are feeling particularly adventurous then take a long day-trip down to Miami or the Everglades along the I75.

In terms of transportation, the best method for travelling in and around Tampa is to hire a car. This is best achieved by booking your car hire before you travel and arranging for a pick up at the airport, which is also where you would take the car back when you leave Tampa. For car hire Tampa offers all types of vehicles for the individual driver. Whether it is a minibus or a Porsche, you can book them online before you travel and enjoy using them at your own pace.

Adventure Travel Jobs – Skills and Requirements

Finding the right job is one of the most important aspects of anyone’s life. No one wants to be stuck in a job that they are not entirely happy with because spending so much time of almost every day in discontent is enough to send anyone “around the bend”. For those adventurous people amongst us, this causes a real problem because there are almost no jobs that fulfil the constant urge for physical activity and adventure. The jobs that do exist to fulfil the needs of the adventurous can seem few and far between which makes getting such a job quite a difficult task. But such jobs certainly do exist and only those who do their research and gain the appropriate level of practice will succeed in getting them.

People often do not realise that they may hold a skill which will already give they a foot in the door for an adventure job. For example, for those with an interest in water sports, why not look into becoming a water sports instructor. This job would require that you become a professional in instructing water sports and this is something that can be achieved from companies such as the UKSA who specialise in providing courses involving yachting, powerboats, kayaking, windsurfing and many more.

Interested in adventure jobs with a bit more of a solid base? (that means snow as opposed to water). The growing popularity for ski holidays in recent years has created waves and waves of jobs in accommodation, events organisation and sales at popular ski resorts. For those who are fond of skiing and want to live and work in the shadow of snowy mountain ranges, the “ski host”, “chalet manager” and “ski event manager” jobs that are available through a number of companies (such as Crystal and Flexiski) require that applicants are experienced in skiing and have an enthusiasm for the slopes.

One of the more general jobs within this field is the “activity instructor” or “activity manager” job which is usually involved in looking after children, teenagers or families that are taking part in some sort of adventure activity such as camping or some sort of holiday such as a quad biking expedition. Surprisingly, to be eligible to train on the courses that are tailored for this type of job, companies such as Kingswood actually require you to have minimal qualifications so that their course is a natural progression from your school life. These courses will provide you with the relevant insight into the adventure activities industry so that you are in the know when it comes to anything from which tent to buy to the dos and don’ts of map reading.

A Guide to Gym Clothing and Accessories

Its that time of year again and we have decided to get fit and start working out. It is important that you chose the right clothing to wear for your workout routine, what you wear whilst working out is just as important as doing the exercise itself. You want to make sure that what you are wearing is suitable for the exercises incorporated into your workout; the wrong outfit can make the difference between a great session and a bad one!

If you have decided to join a gym and you need to choose the appropriate clothing and footwear. So, where to begin?

The most important item for both men and women is your training shoes, these are the one thing you need to spend some time choosing and these should be the one thing you spend the most money on as a good pair of training shoes will make all the difference to your sessions – before, during and after, what footwear.

Consider what forms of exercise you will be undertaking, most people when at the gym will undertake all types of exercise from the treadmill to the rowing machine via the cross trainer. If this is the type of workout you plan on doing at the gym then a good pair of cross-trainers is what you need, they will provide you with all the correct support for all the different activities you will be undertaking.

For women, another really important item of clothing is your sports bra, it should be comfortable to wear but needs to provide you with the correct support for the exercise you will be undertaking. They can be bought to help control different impact levels and each sport is assigned a level, if you are going to be undertaking multiple forms of exercise I’d recommend going for the highest level of support that way you have covered all eventualities. The bra should be relatively tight fitting and hold everything in place when your body is moving but still comfortable to wear. Make sure you try a few on when you’re looking, just to ensure you find the right one. Jump around in the changing room, run on the spot etc – is it keeping you supported, if not keep looking. Next to footwear this is the second most important item of clothing for a woman.

When it comes to training bottoms, shorts and tops all you need to remember is they should be practical for what you will be using them for, they should have enough give in them to allow you to participate properly and they should also be comfortable to wear, not too tight. The fabric used today in most of the training clothing you can buy is specially designed to help absorb sweat and keep the body cool in turn helping you get a better workout.

It’s not all about style and trend, you need to make sure your clothing and footwear are appropriate to ensure your training efforts are maximised and the risk of injury is minimised.

Malaysia Travel Guide

The tropical region of Malaysia lies south of Thailand and Singapore, It includes the Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo, separated by the South China Sea.

Easily reached by air, land and sea this is a great place to travel and experience the diverse mix of cultures, great food and beautiful sights found in Malaysia. A short distance from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur lies Port Klang which is the main arrival and departure point for cruise liners. If you are travelling by air, the International Airport at Sepang caters for flights from many international cities.

People have migrated to Malaysia from India, China, Indonesia and many other areas, resulting in a culture rich in diversity and acceptance. There are many different languages spoken here, English is widely used along with Malay and Chinese.

Kuala Lumpur, on the Malay Peninsular, is famous for its skyscrapers, restaurants, shopping malls and markets. The roadside restaurants of Jln Alor host a diverse range fantastic food, while the shops and markets provide great bargain opportunities. Alternatively you can enjoy the great nightlife on offer, from bars to nightclubs.

Along with the museums and tours there are great parks and nature reserves to visit such as the Bird Park in the Lake Gardens, which is the world’s largest walk through aviary, or the Elephant Conservation Farm in Kuala Gandah.

The beautiful beaches of Lankawi and Penang offer great opportunities for relaxing in the warm sun or for swimming and watersports including white water rafting and scuba diving. There are many other activities such as bird watching, exploring caves, hiking and cycling.

The Cameron Highlands have a slightly cooler climate and is great for hiking and exploring tea plantations and rose gardens. The Buddist temple at Brinchang is well worth a visit.

The port city of Malacca is famous for its spices and was once at the centre of the spice trade. Its multicultural society is influenced by the Chinese, Portugese, Dutch and British among others, which, as a result has created a city rich in food, language and architecture. Some great places to visit include the Portugese A Famosa Gate and the neoclassical Victorian Fountains. The Maritime Museum is a great place to start exploring the local history along with the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum.

In Borneo you can visit Sarawak where you will find ancient villages and farms, you can explore jungle trails and take river trips through the rainforest.

The stunning rainforest is over one hundred million years old. There is much to explore with wildlife, exotic plants and remote tribes who still continue their customs and traditions which have lasted for hundreds of years.

Malaysia offers something for every one, the climate and location make Malaysia a perfect destination for cheap cruise holidays and vacations.

Things to Know About Mardi Gras in New Orleans

This year Mardi Gras in New Orleans falls in February, which means pre-partying has been taking place for weeks already. The big day itself, Fat Tuesday, will be February 21. For those travelling to the Big Easy in Louisiana to participate in these festivities the following interesting tid bits should be acknowledged.

First off, the Monday before the big day, referred to as Lundi Gras, is also a time of revelry. So, if you are concerned that after the weekend of parades and formal balls has passed that there will be a lull in your holiday on Monday, it need not be. Actually, one of the more curious tradition takes place on the river, right by the cities official River Walk.  There the King of Mardi Gras, Rex along with other notables such as the magnanimous King of Zulu arrive by boat to be greeted by the mayor. At which time he or she hands over the “control of the city” for Mardi Gras Day. Something well worth attending.

On another note, the timing of Mardi Gras is based in the Catholic religion. So be aware of the fact that come Wednesday morning all craziness ceases. Those you saw dressed in costume the night before will be in their Sunday best, and on their best behavior to attend Ash Wednesday Mass. The difference between the two days will be as dramatic as can be found anywhere.  For of you hitting the parade route, “Laissez less bon temps roule!”