17.3.20

Ten Top Tips: Working From Home Efficiently

In this uncertain and daunting time with the world pandemic of Covid19, it is becoming more and more common for people to work from home. If this isn't something you have ever done before, the prospect can be many things, scary, difficult, boring or isolating. The fact however is, that you could possibly lead a healthier and happier life working from home if you implement the right tips and tricks. Working from home has its benefits, and for the foreseeable future at least, it's good for people to self isolate in order to stop the spread of Covid19. If you are currently concerned about your health or someone else's, please use the NHS Guide to assist you which can be found here

So how exactly can you survive the quarantine period at home, efficiently, happily, healthily and even possibly eco-friendly? It's time to find out how. 




It's all about balance. As with anything in life, working from home may very wrong, suddenly being in the domain that you usually relax in but if you know that you thrive in this environment and have always easily felt that you could do you work from home, then this could be your time to really shine and also reassess your career in general. Many jobs indeed can be done at home; for many industries however, this just isn't an option and it's important to remember that working from home in this time is in fact a luxury and must be treated as so. The problem may in fact be that in the end, you feel too comfortable working from home and the change back to the office 9-5 life may be too taxing. However, by working from home you are already:

  • Relieving carbon emissions from driving or using public transport
  • Less energies/powers used collectively in the offices 
  • Ability to continue using your eco-friendly lifestyle at home if your office doesn't support.


Tip Number One - Keep Working Hours Strict! 

It is very easily to slip out of the 9-5 routine and choose 11-7 or midday until midnight, and these are unhealthy for the mind and body. Stick to your routine as you would at work. This is important for your body clock and your state of mind. Have a designated hour for work and extra time for breaks. Screen breaks and short walks are brilliant to stay healthy. Set timers on your phone if you have to, this way you do not get distracted by the time when you are away from your colleagues. 

Tip Number Two - Keep Hydrated

It's easy to not keep hydrated when you're working, and this applies in the office as well at home. Whilst it's much easier to nip to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, it's much better to not take too much to 'feel' like you're at home. You are only based at home. Your office has picked up and moved to your house, but you are still working. Ensure you have an eco-friendly water bottle or a regular bottle of choice to keep topped up with water. Add a little bit of fruit to add to flavour and vitamins. Take a look below to shop: 

 Shop here

 Shop here 

 Shop here 


Tip Number Three - Try And Create An Office Space

Having your own space at home may be difficult depending on your living circumstances. However, if you are able, create a little desk space wherever possible and add to it all the essentials as if you are back in the office. This will allow you to feel as if you are at work. If you feel comfortable working from bed then that too is OK but for those who need a little bit more incentive, then creating a working space will be vital. This may also be investing in an office chair (if your business is allowing this on expenses) but if not, ensure that you can still support your lumbar region if you are relying on a dining room table. Lumbar cushions are available quite plentifully, so this is undoubtedly going to assist you when your poor posture starts to take its toll.



Wayfair have plenty of incredible choices for desks that range from small pieces to larger spaces for your work, no matter what it is. In addition to this, they have plenty of styles to adapt to any type of decor or colouring you have in your home. Shop here.

Desk space

Tip Number Four - Block Out Distractions 

If you live at home with others, you may find turning off difficult. However, it is possible to utilise your headphones to their best advantage. If you don't have a pair of noise cancelling headphones you can always purchase a pair if you think it will benefit. If not, there are plenty of Apps that offer white noise and noise cancelling sounds that should allow you to block out the surroundings. Some of the best Apps are:

  1. myNoise
  2. Relax Melodies
  3. White Noise Lite
  4. Noisli
  5. Parrot Zik
Tip Number Five - Get Dressed At The Very Least 

It isn't customary to put on a face of make up every day if you're working from home but getting dressed to a relatively professional standard will ensure that you are feeling more as you would out and about and gives you a bigger incentive every day to work. It's certainly easy to sit around in PJs. Comfortable and practical clothing is best but this will allow you to feel less sluggish, especially after lunch. 

Tip Number Six - Take Walks After Working Hours 

Keeping active is by far one of the most difficult things for those who work from home to keep up with. It can affect you relatively quickly and getting unfit is certainly something that will hinder you in your daily life. Be sure to take a brisk walk as and when you can, either before , this applies to going to the gym. If you go to the gym before or after work, then keep that routine going. It's important to not let this slide because once your body adjust to a new, less active routine, it will take extra effort to regain that level of fitness you desire. 



Tip Number Seven - Let Your Surroundings Inspire You 

Allow this quiet time (if you have this at home) to inspire you. Your home is most likely your haven, with items around you that inspire. Create a mood board, now is certainly the time to make the most of upping the positive vibes in your life day to day. The lovely Victoria [Apartment Number 4] wrote a whole Blog post dedicated to creating a stellar vision board - click here to read. Whether it's surrounding yourself with photos of the things you want, using crystals and candles, there are lots of things you can do and keep around you at home that would not be permitted in your office, so it's time to start embracing this. 

Tip Number Eight - Put Your Phone Into Flight Mode

Whilst this may seem a relatively easy tip, it is more than easy to be distracted by social media and other messages. Without a boss hovering over your shoulder, or other prying eyes, you will find that there is no harm in checking your phone every so often but this is a very bad assumption to make. Ensure you keep it in flight mode or in another room altogether and disassociate yourself with it as you would to avoid distraction. Messages and social media can wait, see it as your end of the day treat to see what you've been missing out on, but avoid using it during the 9-5 working day.

Tip Number Nine - Don't Let Yourself Become Too Isolated

All of us are certainly at risk of becoming isolated regardless of working from home or still working with the public. The dangers of this are also important to consider, as social contact is important for our mental health. If you are concerned about gathering in large groups at home, then be sure that you take the time to have phone calls, video chats or agree to meet in a safe open space such as a park to have light exercise and a catch up. Walking in open spaces is still considered safe at this point in time. Losing touch with reality is one issue that you may encounter in the early days of working from home but it is fixable.




Tip Number Ten - Be Eco-Conscious With Energy 

Working from home will naturally up your household bills. We will use more heating and more hot water. If you are conscious of this or worried about the impact it may have on your quest for eco-friendly living, you can always opt for some simple changes within the house that could assist you. Firstly as we approach spring, you may still find the weather is cold and you do not want to be cold in the house. Limit your usage by having the heating on for set hours and then allow it to cool before turning the heating back up. You can also look at some other little tips:


  1. Use hot water bottles to keep you warm 
  2. Wear extra layers
  3. Use blankets to sit on your lap which will also keep you cosy 
  4. Unplug things that don't need to be on all day
  5. Use energy efficient bulbs 
  6. Eat all left over foods and reheat where possible 
  7. Utilise your radiators to dry clothes instead of your tumble dryer (it also makes you house smell divine)




At the moment, the biggest priority for all is to minimise contact, go out less into public places and try to slow the spread of the virus. Working from home does in fact have a huge number of benefits and although the new routine may take some time and it may feel a relentless struggle, you will quickly find your feet. Take the time to meditate if you can, write down your worries but write down your goals too. Realise that you're most likely saving money and think of what you are capable of - because it is a lot.

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12.3.20

5 Unique UK Locations For A Weekend Break

During the uncertainty of travel amidst the world pandemic, maintaining calm and sensible is key, much the same as is with our travel plans. The UK is full of many unique and interesting destinations, off the beaten track that aren't swamped by thousands of tourists and boast both beautiful views and exciting things to do. 



Travelling within the UK for the time being is an interesting concept, mostly because we are able to cut down on carbon emissions that are caused on planes and some trains - coach travel is the most favourable due their low emissions. So how exactly can we enjoy the UK with its usual abysmal weather? Well, the key to enjoying the poor weather is to find indoor places that have activities as well as great locations that can still be enjoyed during rainfall.









The UK is home to many unique and intriguing places that will leave you feeling exhilarating and give you inspiration for more UK travel. All of these places are near either train or bus stations which will make your travel much easier if you are not using a car. The UK has plenty to offer and springtime is one of the best times of the year to start taking advantage of the beautiful scenery.

1. Ripon, North Yorkshire 

Yorkshire has some hidden gems that is for sure. Every country lane in Yorkshire leads to a village or town, or countrywalk, riddled with majestic qualities, pure country air and always the typical northern humbling smile. With oodles of artistic flair and style, Ripon possesses so much potential for people who love to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Just a few short miles out of spa town Harrogate, Ripon is a city, with a stunning Cathedral, picturesque riverside, lots of little vintage shops and bargain shops that make this a lovely getaway for someone who enjoys Yorkshire life at its best. It is within driving distance to York where there are plenty of hotels and B&Bs in the area. The cobbled streets of Ripon are full of charm. Places in the area of interest for all are:

Lightwater Valley - Theme Park 
https://www.lightwatervalley.co.uk 

Newby Hall And Gardens
https://www.newbyhall.com

Workhouse Museum, Ripon
https://riponmuseums.co.uk/museums/workhouse_museum_gardens/

Ripon is also now home to one of the county's biggest five star hotels, the newly renovated Grantley Hall, a beautiful spa hotel, that offers a divine luxury feel, with some of the country's best facilities. Their wellness retreat, mixed with opulent design and exceptional dining, including their Shaun Rankin restaurant (Grantley Hall), is 5 out of 5 across the board. 


Grantley hall ripon
Image: Tatler





Booking.com

2. East Grinstead, West Sussex

East Grinstead is nestled down in West Sussex away from the hustle and bustle of London, around twenty seven miles south to be exact. It borders Surrey and Kent and is a civil parish in northeastern corner, boasting lots of little shops, souvenir shops and cafes with some beautiful Tudor buildings. The number of vegan cafes in the area is rising also. East Grinstead itself may be tiny, but it's the surrounding areas that make this such a prime location for a weekend away. It's close to London, it's well connected with trains and coaches alike and if you wish to, you can also visit some of the more acclaimed parts of town. For a while, Saint Hill Manor in the area is the HQ of the some may say 'cult' religion Scientology but the manor itself is free to look around, but you may find yourself stumbling upon the staff members who will be quick to try and convert you to their ways. Nonetheless, the building is stunning and is a Grade II listed Manor House. Other things in the area to do are: 

Ashdown Forest 
https://www.ashdownforest.org/home/index.php

British Wildlife Centre
https://britishwildlifecentre.co.uk

National Trust - Standen House
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen-house-and-garden


Photo: L Ron Hubbard 






3. Kendal, Cumbria

Kendal may be a popular choice on the list, but it is fair to say that it should certainly be up here. At a faction of the price of neighbouring Lake District, Kendal offers much cheaper accommodation and has many places of interest in the town itself. The river Kent runs through Kendal and it is very well connected via car from the M6. Kendal is a prime location if The Lake District is a destination you'd like to visit but the town itself is full of hidden gems, including it's famous Kendal mint cake which can be found in many of their confectioners. Just outside of the National Park, its location means that for walkers and history lovers alike, it boasts many activities for all. Budding photographers and artists will feel very at home here, the areas in and around Kendal are perfect for setting up your easel and paints. In addition to this, it has many museums and restaurants for food lovers, its most famous restaurant, Greenhouse Restaurant, situated in Castle Green, a local and stunning restaurant that will tempt your tastebuds. Take a peek at what else the area has to offer for that much needed weekend away:

Abbot Hall Art Gallery
https://abbothall.org.uk

Kendal Castle
https://www.visitcumbria.com/sl/kendal-castle/

Sizergh Castle 
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sizergh









4. Buxton, Peak District

This little area of the Peak District in Derbyshire, has plenty of luscious green and pleasant land around it. Nestled in the west of the peaks, it is an all round location for families and couples alike. Boasting caravan parks and hotels, Buxton, home of the mineral water, has a feel good vibe with the fresh woodland air surging through it. Buxton is a spa town and you'll find that despite it's remote location, there are a few things to do - it is also well connected to Manchester. The hotels and air BnBs in the area may not be as prevalent in the big cities but there is a camp site for those who take their caravans or camper vans. For walkers, this will be heaven, there are lots of trails and touristy things to do that won't be overcrowded through the springtime. Some things to do in the area are: 

Pooles Cavern and Buxton Country Park 
https://poolescavern.co.uk

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/buxton-museum/buxton-museum-and-art-gallery.aspx 

Buxton Crescent
https://buxtoncrescent.com







Booking.com

5. Cirencester, Gloucestershire 

Known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire certainly has some hidden gems and some of Britain's most idyllic streets and villages. The Cotswolds certainly does bring in the tourism, but Cirencester, a little market town in The Cotswolds, it is the larger area with shops and restaurants that certainly feel a little more like Central Europe in parts than England. The town square boasts similar vibes to that of Prague, Czech Republic or Poznan, Poland. It's relatively quiet and quite idyllic in many ways, with plenty of coffee shops, Toro Lounge is a popular choice for vegan eaters. So whether you want to find the outdoors or amble around quaint museums, Cirencester could be a lovely choice: 

Corinium Museum 
https://coriniummuseum.org

New Brewery Arts
https://www.newbreweryarts.org.uk

Chedworth Roman Villa 
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth-roman-villa







England is home to a plethora of exciting locations, the top five have been chosen based upon their locations, accessibility and facilities that are good for both disabled and non-disabled travellers. As always, checking on booking.com to see what they have to offer for the dates you wish to travel is always helpful to ensure that you can grab the best deals of the moment. From hotels and B&Bs, there is always something for all budgets and styles. Get inspired to travel within your own country, now more than ever, let's take advantage of what is on our doorstep.

Booking.com


Here are some more hotspots for 2020 that will make you lust further after UK travel: 

  • Barnstaple, Devon
  • Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent 
  • Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
  • Stamford, Lincolnshire
  • Cannock, Staffordshire 
  • Skipton, West Yorkshire
  • Hexham, Northumberland
  • Alnmouth, Northumberland
  • Penrith, Cumbria
  • Andover, Hampshire
  • Bath, Somerset
  • Martlesham, Suffolk
  • Wroxham, Norwich


Be inspired. Start planning today.


*Not sponsored.


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8.3.20

Four Locations On America's East Coast To Inspire

America’s East Coast is full of mysteries, exciting gems and home to some of the most incredible views of America; beautifully encompassed by the swell of the North Atlantic. How do you narrow down the locations that are both full of culture and beauty. Here are five locations down the East Coast that you may not have thought to visit during your time in the USA. From lemon infused lobster rolls in New York, to casinos in Jacksonville and white water rafting in Maine, there is something for every traveller; the luxury traveler and adventurer. Let’s begin with five eclectic places to visit this year that are brilliant for both solo and families alike.




Portland, Maine 

There is nowhere quite as picturesque as Maine. With sprawling coastlines, majestic coastline lighthouses, rocky terrain, and snowy winters, there are plenty of things to see across Maine. Portland is Maine’s largest city and one of the most bustling. It has the famous Old Port Waterfront, which features working fishing wharves. It’s idyllic for a stroll and nearby houses the famous Western Promenade and before you reach it, there are lots of converted warehouses which give you a true traditional feel, now full of shops and places to grab a coffee. Down along the banks near the promenade, you are able to see the best of what the city had to offer in terms of views of the mountains beyond. Be sure to stop here for a drink and soak it all up. 



It is at its peak tourist time through summer due to its relatively average summer temperature and low rainfall. It’s generally a cooler area, but you may find summer is filled with tourists. Still, there is plenty to keep you occupied if you’re in the area, you don’t have to stay central to Portland as there are optional trips you can take from the city which make for lovely family day trips! One of them is: Casco Bay Islands.







Portland has its own airport so travel back and forth is made much easier, it makes it a great travel stop along the east coast. The city of Portland offers plenty for the discerning diner. From luxury to more casual, you’ll find what you need. Some of the most famous casual spots to grab a plate of fine seafood, includes Duckfat and Central Provisions, which are headed by James Beard Award-winning chefs and finalists. It seems to be the place for training chefs, with access to some of the most delicious food, a lot of it being seafood. It does however have plenty of sweet treats to offer, some of the best dessert places in the state are in Portland. Some of the best restaurants in the city are:

1. Anju Noodle Bar: 7 Wallingford Square #102 Kittery, ME 03904

2. The White Barn Inn Restaurant: 37 Beach Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043 (207) 967-2321

3. Palace Diner: 18 Franklin St, Biddeford, ME 04005, (207) 284-0015

4. Chaval: 58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102, (207) 772-1110

5. Local 188: 685 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102, (207) 761-7909


Philadelphia, PA
You may be aware of Philadelphia from the 1993 Tom Hanks movie, but Philadelphia really has a lot to offer for the city lover. It makes for an ideal city break with its majestic skyscrapers, but without the hustle of Manhattan, Philadelphia has everything easily located and the suburbs are on your doorstep. It is a versatile city, it has the vibe of New York, with a lot of the same personalities, it has a thriving financial and business district which makes it a popular choice for people in business. The "City Of Brotherly Love" is a city for the people, and it is a melting pot of a vast array of nationalities, so many people have settled in Philadelphia over the years. It’s relatively popular for its Italian bakeries and restaurants as well as the famous Irish bars and Irish potato candy! A true Philadelphian delicass, which must be tasted whilst in the city. 

Booking.com

It has a huge history of medicine and this is quite prevalent among some of the city's many museums. Some of the country’s best and most proclaimed doctors have studied right here in Philadelphia and there are many teaching hospitals in the city, which makes it favourable for people abroad coming for exploratory treatment and trials. It has been known as a relatively underrated city for some time, tourism exists but it is not perhaps as boosted as it should be, you won’t find a huge descent of tourists there, which may go in your favour as a traveller. A place where sport blossoms, there are plenty of places where you will see the influence of baseball for example. As we previously mentioned, there was an influx of Italians who moved into the city and today it’s a great place to have a taste of Italy! Philadelphia’s Italian Quarter is one of the most authentic in the country and you can truly have a taste of little Italy once you're there. The city itself is full of incredible museums also. 

1. National Museum of American Jewish History

2. Museum of the American Revolution

3. Science History Institute

4. The Franklin Institute

5. Philadelphia Museum of Art







Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle beach is perhaps one of the finest that the east coast has to offer in terms of an all American town that provides American culture and southern hospitality with beautiful coastal scenery and of course, great food. It’s a family orientated place, lots of parks, outdoor activities and plenty of museums. The primary focus here is the beach front, with many activities to enjoy. If you are around the east coast with friends, this Myrtle Beach is the best place to kick back with friends. Entertainment and fun is at its core and this all comes at an affordable cost; another reason that makes South Carolina a great place to visit on your great American road trip.







In terms of location, it’s practicality geography wise is vital, there is good access to all surrounding areas. The beach is full with fun activities, games and arcades for the children; and the famous Ferris wheel which encapsulates the entire town including incredible views of the South Atlantic. It has a great vibe for families, so if you're thinking of moving to the USA, then South Carolina has plenty to offer. Working abroad in the USA doesn't have to be difficult, you can apply for a working visa here which allows you to apply for the necessary visas/documents to allow you to work there temporarily. If the USA has been on your list for a while, be sure you're taking advantage!



Virginia Beach, Virginia 


Virginia Beach is a popular spot among younger travellers, as it boats so many clubs and bars. It’s long beach is ideal for tourists, and families, but rather it has a more cosmopolitan feel and there is a three-mile broad walk with stretches straight along the beach; it’s stunning and refreshing ocean walk which is ideal in summer. The bayside First Landing State Park is also the memorium to mark where the Jamestown colonists from England landed; meaning it’s also quite the melting pot of nationalities also! There is an aquarium, Marine Science Centre, where you can catch a glimpse of the Atlantic ocean life, sharks, rays and seat turtles, which is a fascinating day out for the children. 



Virginia Beach has both the coastal element as well as a small city vibe. Its town centre has plenty of eateries and shops, in fact it seems that Virginia Beach is home to some eco-friendly attractions also, which mean that it's by far a up and coming place that is taking the word 'green' seriously. Getting eco-friendly as a traveller is one of the best things that you can do to limit your carbon footprint. Travelling may not be 'green' but it can certainly be adapted and travel smart with some of the most eco-friendly travel products on the market, you can link up to the best travel products here.
Eco friendly museums, pational parks, sports arenas, amusement parks, farmer’s markets, resorts, and even shopping can be Virginia Green certified which is an exciting thing for tourists and residents alike.  Here are just a few examples of Virginia Green Attractions:
  1. Kings Dominion—Doswell
  2. Maymont—Richmond
  3. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden—Richmond
  4. Virginia Living Museum—Newport News
  5. Birdsong Pleasure Garden—Luray
  6. Burnside Farms—Haymarket







If America is on your hotlist for 2020, then the East Coast is certainly a wonderful Spring destination. A road trip down the East Coast is a delight, with plenty of little cosy villages, all American towns, with both luxurious and affordable accommodation along the way, from woodland spas to large resorts with luscious beaches and pools. There are plenty of authentic and unassuming accommodations along the way, that will allow you to feel the true heartbeat of the East Coast with the very best to offer. Book a trip today and see where your next adventure may take you.





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