How to Make an Emergency Response Plan for Your Family

How to Make an Emergency Response Plan for Your Family

There’s an interesting saying that goes: “Preparedness is the calm before, during, and after the storm.” Indeed, it’s good to get started on the idea of preparedness, knowing how unpredictable life can be. Emergencies can take all manner of shape or size, ranging from individual episodes of illness to wide-scale natural disasters. The most common ones in Australia—such as bushfires, storms, and flash floods—often occur with little to no notice beforehand.

It’s never too early to teach your young children about the worst-case scenario. Neither is it an inconvenient time to brush up on knowledge you’ve acquired in the past, such as how to do basic first aid or how to conduct an earthquake drill. One of the tools that will be of great help in jumpstarting your household’s overall preparedness for emergencies is your own Emergency Response Plan. Queensland Government’s guidelines on preparing an Emergency Response Plan serve as an excellent primer, and they highlight a set of 3 principles that should be upheld by your family:

  • Know – in that your household members should know the mechanics of the Emergency Response Plan, and where inside your house to find all relevant materials;
  • Involve – in that all of your household members should be involved in the plans and are prepared to do their part;
  • Practice – in that each member should practice what to do and where to go, so that everyone’s movements are nimble and confident when the time comes.

We’re also compiling our own tips for you below. Here are 4 additional points of action to supplement your household’s own Emergency Response Plan.

  1. Stock up on knowledge and skills that will be of good use during emergencies. Some of the physical and mental skills that could prove vital in the case of emergency are: knowing how to apply first aid, knowing how to swim, and knowing how to defend oneself. You could allot some of your family’s time and resources toward acquiring first aid certification from a first aid training provider in Brisbane,local swim classes, or other related endeavours.

    These are just some ways to keep your bodies fit and your minds sharp under the pressure of an emergency. Your Emergency Response Plan is best implemented by household members who are both physically and emotionally prepared.

  2. Keep all channels open. Put together a comprehensive list of people who can convey knowledge, and/or offer assistance, in a dangerous situation. Your list of contacts might include the following:
  • At least 2 family members who are not part of the household (such as sets of grandparents or aunts/uncles/cousins);
  • Your/your spouse’s workplace;
  • The number of the school/s your children go to;
  • Your local council;
  • Medical services;
  • Service providers for electricity, water, telecommunications, and others;
  • Your local radio station;
  • The weather bureau;
  • Veterinary services (if your family owns pets), and;
  • Insurance providers.

Keep this list updated and within everyone’s line of vision. You can tack up hard copies to your refrigerator, bulletin board, and on the doors of your bedrooms.

  1. Lay out emergency scenarios with your family. Take an opportunity to sit down and to be candid with your family about the different situations that could unfold. Walk them through where each family member is likely to be (i.e. in school or in the office), which persons would act as the first line of communication (i.e. neighbours or relatives), and how you will keep in contact with each other (i.e. cellular phone or landline). This part of your Emergency Response Plan can take the form of a flowchart; you, your spouse, and your children could all take turns drawing and explaining.     
  2. Assemble a medicine kit, emergency food and water supplies, and emergency power supplies. Ideally, your medicine kit and your stock of food and water supplies should take you through a minimum of 72 hours in duress. Your medicine kit should contain all the medicines and medical implements needed for first aid, such as the following:
  • Plasters;
  • Ointments;
  • Safety pins;
  • Scissors;
  • Tweezers;
  • Thermometer;
  • Painkillers;
  • Cough medicine, and,

The medicine kit should also contain emergency dosages of medication for those in your household suffering from a chronic illness.

On the other hand, your supply of consumables should include non-perishable, easy-to-eat foods such as biscuits, dried fruit, canned meat, powdered milk, and of course clean filtered water. Complete the assembly with flash lights, batteries, whistles, and basic hand tools. A good practice is to label everything with instructions for use, and with their respective expiry dates. Replenish each of these kits as needed every few months.

All in all, these four tips should be of good use in compiling a unique, well-crafted Emergency Response Plan for your household. Here’s to the good health and safety of your family!

10 Advantages of Cloud-Based ERPs for Online Businesses

10 Advantages of Cloud-Based ERPs for Online Businesses

Large companies have been using ERPs or Enterprise Resource Planning software since the 90s. The system allowed businesses to integrate various departments and back office processes into one merged and synchronized database. This streamlined and automated system resulted in increased productivity and efficiency, allowing companies to be globally competitive in a fierce marketplace.

Such ERP systems like SAP used to be exclusively offered to bigger companies because of its initial implementation cost and the required resources needed to keep it maintained and updated. But these days, cloud computing or (SaaS) Software-as-a-Service technologies are bringing ERP to the mainstream—specifically, small and medium scale online enterprises.

SAP Business One is a perfect example of an ERP system that’s user-friendly and portable. It’s deployable on the cloud, allowing authorized access to your business’ real-time reporting and analytics anywhere where there’s an Internet access. As such, SAP Business One’s Cloud-Based ERP is the perfect fit for online businesses and e-commerce sites.

What can cloud-based ERPs bring to your online business?

Cost-Effective Software Solutions – Unlike traditional ERPs, cloud-based systems are paid via cheaper subscriptions. This frees up more of your capital for vital business investments. In addition, you don’t need to keep an entire team to keep the system running. This also frees up your IT department so they can focus on other income-generating projects for your business.

Integrated Database, Applications, and Platforms – What sets ERP apart from other business software application is its ability to integrate with a variety of third-party apps to give you a seamless all-in-one system. Even if your business uses various e-commerce websites for sales, the cloud-based ERP system can be customized to facilitate back-end integration to keep your database updated. Know exactly how much business is generated per channel so you can plan ahead and grow your sales accordingly.

Collaborative Business Process – In today’s society, businesses are no longer tied to one office location. You can have workers on different parts of the globe working together to grow your business. With cloud-based ERPs, physical network infrastructure to connect to workers is no longer necessary. You can have different departments such as accounting, marketing, warehousing, sales, and more accessing the same system and collaborating on the cloud.

Efficient Customer Service – Anticipate your customer’s needs and respond to their inquiries in real-time. Use the system’s accurate data reporting to gain actionable insights about your customers. By catering to your customer’s needs, you can achieve a loyal and long-term customer relationship.

Streamline Your Supply Chain – A complete ERP system not only facilitates Customer Relationship Management (CRM) but also Supply Chain Management (SCM). In the online retail business, it’s important to have stocks on hand or you risk losing customers to the competition. With ERP’s warehouse management system integrated with order management, you can anticipate demands for a product, ensuring you’ll have enough stocks for shipment.

Data Security – One of the inherent advantages of the cloud is data security. Since the data is not stored in employee’s laptops or portable devices, you don’t have to worry about data corruption as well as data falling into the wrong hands. Security experts are employed by the ERP provider to monitor your database and ensure that back-ups are constantly updated and ready if they are ever needed.

User-Friendly Interface – Cloud-based ERPs are built like any other modern app—intuitive and user-friendly. Unlike enterprise solutions of the past, you won’t need to undergo weeks of training to learn how the system runs your business. It’s even customizable to your specific business needs so you can focus on what’s needed to grow your business and not spend valuable time on modules that don’t apply to your organization.

Improved Accounting Practices – One of the challenges of a small or medium online enterprise is the tedious accounting process that must be accomplished. Fortunately, ERPs also streamline that process from generating invoices, processing of VAT returns, and more. Finally, you won’t need to be intimidated by the paperwork come tax day.

Scalability – ERPs are modular and can be customized according to your company’s growing needs. You are free to integrate new platforms and technologies as well as other business processes into the system. As a cloud-based application, it’s not tied to any hardware limitation so you can instantly access your system in almost any new device.

Fast and Easy Implementation – In the past, implementing a new system could take months of planning, development, testing, and training. But with this cloud-based application, deployment and implementation is almost instant. All you need to do is specify what you need for your business and have a bit of training to familiarize your employees with the system and you’re all set.

Succeed and grow your online business faster with the help of cloud-based ERP systems. These easy to use applications provide back-office process optimization, smart analytic technology, innovative database management, and it even helps you develop business relationships with suppliers and customers. Overall, ERPs help transform and evolve your enterprise so you can realize your goals.

7 Floral and their significance

7 Floral and their significance

It is buried deep down in our head that flowers are the best sources for unspoken words. The not only symbolises the feelings but also our thoughts for a person to whom we are offering the bunch of flowers. Do you know the meaning of flowers which you can give away to your loved ones?

If no, then scroll down the meaning of 7 of the significant flowers here to express what is hidden deep inside your heart and send flowers to Ambala and other regions in Haryana through online portals:-

  •    Roses

These flowers are always associated with love. I think since ages, this flower is considered as love flower. However, with the change of colour, the meaning of rose’s changes, here you need to bit thoughtful before giving it to your friend or love. Red roses represent the passionate love while pink stands for erotic romance. Yellow roses can be offered to your friends as a symbol of happiness whereas white brings peace and purity in life.

  •    Lilies

These flowers were used for commemorating by ancient Egypt people. However, this flower indicates, innocence, fertility and eroticism. Mostly these flowers are given to show your sympathy. Nowadays these flowers are not seen a flower of grief but an example of aliveness and festivity.

  •    Carnations

This flower is counted among oldest cultivated flowers. Carnations render friendship, happiness and love. Various colours signify various emotions. For good luck, white carnations can be gifted. Mother’s love can be meant with Pink Carnations. Purple one means the volatility whereas disappointment is conveyed by yellow carnation.

  •    Tulips

These flowers were the favourite topic of poets as they were associated with love and passion. Tulips also depict emotions according to their colours. Tulips are all occasion flowers as can be given at every celebration whether it’s your birthday or anniversaries.

These royal flowers represent cheerfulness, forgiveness and positivity.

  •    Sunflowers

Earlier seeds of sunflower were used to prepare bread. This flower is a symbol of happiness and longevity. This positivity bringing flower signifies adoration and loyalty.

  •    Daffodils

Daffodils were earlier used for healing. It is believed to fetch luck and fortune. Daffodils mean inspiration, they are also used to forgive, apologise, and sympathy. This flower gives a mixed reaction, according to different cultures.

  •    Chrysanthemums

These are believed to be China originated and were considered to the holder of life’s power. It contains healing properties. Roots of Chrysanthemums were used for curing headaches, To make a celebratory drink its leaves were used. While in salads, its petals were included. In a few parts of the world, this flower was a symbol of loss, grief and death. Despite so many negative emotions, this flower is linked to love, happiness and friendship in most of the world.

Elevate Your Wedding with Vintage Wedding Centerpieces

Elevate Your Wedding with Vintage Wedding Centerpieces

There’s something very charming and romantic about vintage items. These pieces hold stories of the past that touch the heart and make imaginations wander. If you’re looking for a way to elevate your wedding décor and turn up the romance, adding some vintage centerpieces to the tables will certainly do the trick. You can be super creative with these and there are many different options to choose from.

Whether you’re having a rustic outdoor wedding, a vintage wedding or even a modern wedding, adding vintage centerpieces to the table décor is a surefire way to inject some charm into the ceremony as well. Read on to learn about some of the most essential elements you can use to create your own whimsical and romantic vintage centerpieces.

Flowers

Flowers are as much of an essential part of the ceremony’s décor as wedding dresses are to the bride. You can never really have too many flowers when decorating for a wedding. For vintage centerpieces, it’s best to use flowers in soft colors and muted tones like cream, white, soft purple and pink, and pastel yellow. Add little pops of color that match the surrounding décor and incorporate some greenery into each piece.

Natural Elements

Elevate the charm of a vintage centerpiece by incorporating natural elements like wood or stones. Set the flowers atop a round wooden slab, use pebbles as fillers in small glass items or carefully place some smooth, round- and oblong-shaped stones around the other decorative elements of the centerpiece.

Candles and Candle Holders

Nothing says vintage romance quite like the right candles in the perfect candle holders. Depending on your wedding’s aesthetic and your own personal taste, you can use tall candelabras, thick pillar candles on vintage-style stands or lots of smaller holders with tea light candles.

Creative Elements

Have fun using various creative elements to put a unique and personal touch on each centerpiece you create. Incorporate items like mirrors, photo frames, pearls, books, bird cages and trays. Mirrors can be used like trays and really work well when they have a classic decorative frame. Stack a few old books on top of one another and set your flowers on top. Fill some round vintage bird cages with flower arrangements and hang them from the ceiling. Use vintage photo frames for each table number. Drape pearls and other decorative vintage elements around the centerpiece for a final touch.

Colors like brass, gunmetal, dull gold and cream are ideal palettes for a vintage theme. If you want to add pops of color, stick with royal shades like navy blue, plum, burgundy and emerald green.

Add a Personal Touch

When you’re putting your centerpieces together, consider adding a very special touch by choosing from special vintage wedding dresses to blend with the décor and incorporating vintage items that belong to your family into the centerpieces. Talk to relatives and see what kinds of special things you can gather. This will help put a unique and personal touch on each piece.

CBD Edibles – A Popular Way To Take Medical Marijuana

CBD Edibles – A Popular Way To Take Medical Marijuana

People who have been using marijuana for decades will know that when it comes to edibles, it can be a bit of a mixed bag. While there are THC edibles and THC-free edibles, each does a very different job and would be taken for very different reasons. With that said, why would you take each? Which is better for you and why would you prefer THC-free ones? Here we break it down a bit to show you the difference, effects and results of edibles and why you might want THC-free ones.

Edibles – An Overview

Edibles! They’re great, they’re tasty and they get the job done. Depending what you want out of your day in taking your medicinal marijuana, edibles can do just about any of the jobs you need doing and they do them well. Edibles come in a couple of formats, all of which are great for various reasons. CBD infused edibles which help you chill out, relax and can help reduce pain and anxiety and THC edibles which get you high – sometimes to a level where you ‘trip’ a bit if you take too much. Trust us – the latter is not what you want if you’re looking to chill, so you’re better off with CBD, or THC free edibles which will just help take the edge off when you get home from work – or even if you’re at work and need the edge off.

THC Edibles

These edibles are commonly known as things like hashcakes or hashbrownies, pot cookies or the like. They exist mainly for fun and to get you high, but in a slightly different way to smoking a joint. This is more of a heady mixed with body high, and if you eat too much you can end up having auditory and some visual hallucinations. Don’t worry though – if this isn’t your bag, they’re easily avoidable. Just look explicitly for THC free edibles.

THC Free Edibles

These are the perfect edibles for anyone who wants to take the edge off of their pain, anxiety, depression or any other issues they may have without getting high. Ideal for those who want to use an all natural product for their symptom management but want to remain able to function, go to work and generally still be productive. Many edibles with THC can make you generally very unmotivated due to the heavy relaxing effects, so CBD or THC free edibles are perfect for people who just want the edge taken off their issues in a great, health conscious, non-pharmaceutical way.

If you’re wondering which to try, the answer is easy: if you want to get high, THC edibles can be fun but go careful and don’t take too much. If you want to chill without the high, THC free is the place to be. It’s up to the individual in what they choose – some want the intense relaxation that THC can provide but don’t want to risk the anxiety or paranoia it can cause too. So at the end of the day – do your research and see which sounds the best for you!

10 Metrics Every Email Marketer Needs To Track

10 Metrics Every Email Marketer Needs To Track

 

When it comes to marketing and advertising it can be a daunting task to find the perfect way to make sure you get to your target audience. Between taking out ads on various websites, billboards and TV commercials all the way to email marketing, how do you know which is the best for you and your business? Did you know that less and less people are watching TV today, and even fewer pay attention to billboard ads? This makes email marketing a great idea when targeting specific customer bases. But which metrics will help identify the success of a campaign? Here are ten metrics every email marketer needs to track.

Email Open Rate

This is key to know just how many people bother to open your email and take a look at it. There’s no point sending an email to someone who won’t read it, right?

Click Through Rate

This measures how many people actually click on the links in the email and follow the links to services or products. Key to know so you know the marketing is working.

Bounce Rate

This is a metric to look out for to ensure that emails are being sent to “live” addresses. After all, there’s no point emailing addresses that are no longer in use!

Conversions

This metric measures the amount of people who clicked links and followed through with an action laid out in the email – either signing up for something, purchasing an item or service, etc.

Unsubscribers

This metric will show you the people who unsubscribed to your email marketing campaign. Key to understand its impact on potential customers as well as the relevance to your email list.

Forwards/Shares

This is a metric that can help you get an idea of potential word of mouth shares/new customers.

Spam Reporting

This, like unsubscribers and forwards/shares shows you the level of email addresses which are reporting your campaign as spam. This helps remove those emails which may not realise they’re subscribed. After all, you don’t want to continue sending mail to uninterested parties.

Return On Investment

Return on investment helps track how many conversions (ie: Sales) you had through a campaign to determine if you managed to break even or make a profit off the cost of the campaign.

Engagement Over Time

This metric will help you determine if your email list is reading your emails, understanding your services and products and ultimately purchasing them. Engagement is key to creating high conversions and keeping your customer base relevant and interested. So there you have several key metrics that are important to know about when creating email marketing campaigns and why they’re important to track. Good luck!

Dental Tips For The Whole Family

Dental Tips For The Whole Family

Regardless of your age, proper dental care is key to your overall health. Issues with your mouth, teeth, and gums can have a negative effect on the rest of your body. Without proper brushing and flossing bacteria can build up in your mouth and cause unwanted infections. Let’s look at ways to keep the entire family’s dental care on track.

Start Right Away

Children need to begin caring for their teeth at a very early age. Not only will this create a strong and healthy habit but it can prevent early tooth decay and cavities. Dental care should begin as soon as your baby gets a tooth. In fact, cleaning babies’ gums even before a tooth appears can ensure bacteria does not stick around. When caring for your toothless baby’s grin just use a wet washcloth, no toothpaste is necessary. Once an actual tooth appears you can try using a very soft, infant toothbrush to see how your baby tolerates it. Toothpaste is not recommended until at least 18 months, and then a very mild, low fluoride paste is best. Always follow your dentist’s guidelines.

Floss and Brush Regularly

You know the drill, brush and floss twice a day. Brushing at least twice a day removes the thin layer of bacteria on your teeth called plaque. When plaque builds up it causes cavities. Brushing your gums is also important to stimulate them and keep them healthy. However, be gentle. Your gums are sensitive and delicate. Don’t forget to brush your tongue. Bacteria loves to hang out on your tongue and besides causing bad breath it can affect your oral health. As important as brushing is, it can’t do it all. Brushing cannot remove the debris that is hiding between your teeth, only floss can do that. Flossing is key to keeping your entire mouth healthy.

Use Fluoride Sparingly

Fluoride is used to strengthen the teeth’s enamel to prevent tooth decay, but it should be used in small amounts. Too much fluoride has been known to cause white spots on children’s teeth. Most Americans have fluoride in their tap water and it can also be found in most kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride can also cause sensitivity in some people. If you or your child has issues with fluoride ask your dentist for advice.

See Your Dentist Often

People of all ages should visit the dentist at least every six months, more if you have dental concerns. If money is a concern, research dentists in your area who offer their services at discounted rates for those in need. In Boston, Dr. George Hatzigiannis is known for providing dental care to the underserved communities in his area. He is a well-respected dentist who gives back to his community. If you aren’t located in Boston near Dr. Hatzigiannis, there are numerous dentists across the country who offer similar outreach programs.

Avoid Sugar-laden Treats

Whether you prefer pop or candy, it is wise to limit how much you eat or drink for the benefit of your teeth. Acid erodes teeth enamel and sugars produce acid inside the mouth. The problem is compounded when those sugary treats are sucked for extended periods of time because the sugar and acid surround the teeth and sit there doing damage. You may be surprised to hear that chewing sugar-free gum after eating and drinking can actually help your oral health. Chewing sugar-free gum increases saliva and that saliva helps to rinse away harmful bacteria.

Protect Your Teeth

Your teeth are at risk regardless of the sport you play. From hockey to soccer to basketball to swimming, no sport is completely accident-free. You can avoid injuring your pearly whites by wearing proper protection. Mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and can be boiled and sculpted to fit your mouth. In addition to mouth guards, helmets are a great way to protect your teeth and your entire head. Not all helmets are created equal though, if your helmet doesn’t provide any mouth protection you’ll still need a mouth guard.

Avoid Harmful Substances

The dangers of tobacco use are well known, but you may not think about your oral health as an additional casualty when it comes to tobacco use. Smoking and using tobacco can cause numerous problems in your mouth from bad breath and yellow teeth to more serious issues, such as oral cancer and bone loss. Despite these potential problems, tobacco use remains one of the world’s greatest health problems. The best way to avoid dealing with tobacco side effects is to never start smoking or chewing in the first place.

Your entire family can benefit from good oral hygiene habits. These lifelong skills will keep them on the road to wellness and help them avoid the pitfalls that come with diseases and conditions of the mouth. If you can devote just two minutes morning and night to your mouth you will enjoy years to come of strong teeth and healthy gums.

 

Five Flourishing Health Science Careers

Five Flourishing Health Science Careers

Health sciences describe a large branch of the scientific field that deals with human health and well-being. Careers, including being a physician, nurse, medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, and radiology technician fall under this category. Such jobs are usually always in demand and can pay well. Therefore, students with a strong interest in science and who like to help people may want to consider a health sciences career.

A Master of Health Science Program can prepare one for a research career. However, other health science careers may be more appealing for those interested in working in a clinical setting.

Becoming a Physician

A physician, or doctor, practices medicine. Typically, in the US a doctor goes to school for four years to get their undergraduate degree. Often this is in a science-related field like biology, chemistry or physics, but the degree can be in any field. That being said, there are many science courses that are required to enter medical school. Therefore, even undergraduate philosophy majors must take biology, chemistry and physics lecture and lab courses to be eligible for medical school. These courses are also essential for taking the MCAT, the medical college admissions test.

After entering medical school, students can specialize based on the type of medicine they want to practice. For those wanting to become family doctors, an additional three years of training is required after the four years of medical school. This additional three years is called a residency. It takes place at a healthcare setting, often a hospital, where the resident sees and treats patients under the supervision of an experienced doctor. For other types of medical practices, the residencies may be longer. For instance, for those wanting to become surgeons, they must complete an extended residency program. For example, for brain surgeons, it is seven years. An exam is then taken to complete their education, allowing them to practice medicine. Additional exams may be necessary for certain certifications.

Becoming a Nurse

Nurses do more than just assist doctors in treating patients. Because they are around the patients more than the doctor, nurses can become very knowledgeable about a patient’s condition, and help with the specific regiment for the patient.

Unlike doctors, however, nurses must obtain a 4-year degree in nursing, not a degree of their choosing. They continue their education with a two-year training program called clinicals. Here nurses get hands-on experience in a healthcare setting. Like doctors, the nurses complete their education by taking an exam. The type of exam taken depends on the type of nursing a student wants to practice. Registered nurses, RN’s, take the NCLEX-RN test. In contrast, licensed practical nurses LPNs, who work under an RN and have fewer responsibilities, take the NCLEX-PN test.

Medical Assistants (MAs) are similar to nurses in that they help to check in patients and administer medication and vaccinations. However, to become an MA, students only need to complete a 9-12 month program. Students can also opt for an associates degree, which can take 18-24 months to complete. On-the-job training to be an MA is also available but much harder to find since many doctors may not have the time to train someone.

A Medical Laboratory Technician works in a clinic or hospital laboratory performing tests on patient specimens in order to help doctors properly diagnose patients. The technician collects samples and analyzes them using sophisticated equipment. Their job duties are similar to medical technologists, but the latter often act as supervisors to lab technicians and can perform more complex testing.

Radiology technicians also help in disease diagnosis. They do this using imaging machines like X-rays and MRIs. A related occupation is a radiology technologist who performs more complex imaging. A radiology technician prepares patients for their imaging, takes the images, keeps patient records, helps prevent unnecessary patient exposure to radiation through the use of protective equipment, among other tasks. An associate degree in radiology is required for this field. There is high potential for growth as technicians can move up to ultimately to run a radiology department.

These jobs are just a small sampling of the many opportunities for those interested in a health sciences career. An aging population, emerging diseases, and general illnesses present in any population ensure these fields will be needed now and in the future.

Reasons To Visit London This Christmas

Reasons To Visit London This Christmas

We’re approaching the time of year when everyone starts to think about one final mini-break before Christmas truly arrives. Those last two or three weeks of December always go past at a frantic pace, with little time to pause or relax, so many of us go away for a long weekend to charge our batteries before it’s too late.

There are plenty of places to go, both in the UK and abroad, but it might not always be wise or desirable to spend money leaving the country when you have the festive season approaching. You’re likely to be spending a lot on gifts and entertainment, so you don’t want to leave yourself short by blowing it all on a trip to Rome, even if that does sound wonderful.

The UK has plenty of destinations to choose from for a few days away. It sometimes feels like ‘the done thing’ is to head to the countryside for a while, and that can be a great choice. The scenery is beautiful, and it never hurts to get back to nature. At this time of year, though, it can be a little too cold and dark. So why not show England’s capital some love instead?

If you already live there, try Birmingham or Manchester instead. See what you can find further North. But if you don’t, then here are a few good reasons to consider London for a pre-Christmas visit.

See Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

If you’ve never been to Hyde Park, you’ll have no appreciation of the scale of us. Trust us when we say it’s a really big place. Every year, Hyde Park turns itself into a Winter Wonderland that would be the envy of any city in the world. The entire park becomes a living, breathing Christmas town full of entertainment and excitement.

There’s far too much going on for us to detail here, but just to give you the headlines there’s a magical ice kingdom, a full sized theme park, a Bavarian market, an ice bar, and a complete Land of Santa. There are ice sculpting workshops. There’s a comedy stage. If you could imagine such a thing, this is the Glastonbury Festival of Christmas. There’s entertainment and activities for adults and children alike, and plenty of it.

Hit The Casinos

Very few people don’t enjoy the thrill of an occasional flutter. Whether your chosen method is bingo, lotteries, roulette or slot machines, there are plenty of casinos to be found in London which should cater to your tastes. Recent years have seen a lot of gambling move online. While there’s no denying the sophistication and variety of Clover Casino’s Games and websites like it, with their range of online slot titles and friendly gaming environment, there’s still a lot to be said for visiting a casino in person every now and then.

London has quite the extensive range of them. Just standing in Leicester Square, you’re within walking distance of Horizons Casino, the Hippodrome Casino, The Rialto and the Empire Casino. With all the lights shining bright in the winter’s dark, it’s like you’ve somehow wandered into the middle of the Las Vegas strip. And who knows, you might even win yourself some extra Christmas spending money!

Walk The Kew Gardens Light Trail

Kew Gardens is a tourist attraction worth seeing all year round. The massive, beautiful botanical gardens hosts displays, lectures and events from all over the world. Guided talks can give you a sense of the history of both the gardens themselves, and the plants and features to be found there. The story of how the gardens were affected by both world wars is particularly emotional, but it’s the Christmas Light Trail you really have to see.

Every December, Christmas arrives at Kew Gardens, and the after-dark festive trail of lights become open for families to walk down. The incredible display features over a million individual bulbs. The woods become glittering canopies, as laser displays skip across the skies. It’s a truly awe inspiring experience which seems to get bigger every year.

Carnaby Christmas Festival

If you’ve never heard of Carnaby Christmas Festival, you’re in for a real treat. Carnaby Street is forever associated with the sixties, where the street, the bars and shops on it and the people who visited it seemed to sum up the entire era happening around them. It’s managed to keep its finger firmly on the cultural zeitgeist since then, and every Christmas it hosts a carnival.

The carnival looks like something that would be more at home in Rio de Janeiro in the peak of summer than London at its coldest. This year, the organisers have ordered in neon coconut trees, giant party poppers and exotic birds to give the street a Caribbean flavour, which should go well with the pop up food and drink stalls that always appear in the street this time of year.

All The Reasons You’d Go Any Other Time

Of course, you might want to avoid Christmas while you’re away. You’re going to have to deal with it when it arrives, so why not delay that for a little while and focus on something else while you’re away? So instead of doing any of these things – except maybe hitting those casinos – why not just do the things you’d do in London at any other time of year?

London doesn’t stop being London just because of the season. You can still visit Big Ben. You can still see the Houses of Parliament. It still has Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre. The Tower of London and the Natural History Museum welcome visitors all year round. You’ll definitely see Christmas decorations if you go to look at Westminster Abbey, but it’ll be so beautiful that you won’t mind. Go and take in the sights and sounds of a real East End market. Go to find out what all the fuss is about in Harrod’s, the world’s most exclusive department store. This is London. There is always something to do. There is always something to see.

If reading this has whetted your appetite, then why delay? Christmas will be here before you know it, and then it’ll be 2019. You deserve a break. Give yourself one!  

Top 6 positive benefits that going to college brings

Top 6 positive benefits that going to college brings

When it comes to living your own life and doing things your way, the opportunities to do so can come along from a fairly young age. You certainly do not need to wait until later in life to start taking control! One of the first major decisions many US citizens will have to make is whether to go to college or not, after high school.

This is naturally a pretty big deal and something to think about carefully. As always, this should be your own decision and you should only go if you really want to. Living the life you want is about making your own mind up and not being afraid to follow your instincts. College is actually a superb way to start forging your own path in life, and it has been shown that enrolling there brings many additional benefits to graduates.

As long as you are going because you want to and to start building the life you want, it is a smart move for many.

Awesome benefits that a college education gives

If you are seriously thinking about going on to college after high school, there are some great reasons to do so:

  • Get a better job and salary we’ll jump right in with the money issue first! While it is not everything in life, working in a career you enjoy that pays what you need to live well cannot be ignored. A college education has been shown to provide these benefits, with the average weekly salary of a college graduate being $1 137.00 compared to $678.00 per week for a non-college graduate. When you add in that is expected that by 2020, education after high school will be required to secure 65% of available jobs, it becomes clear why college makes sense.
  • More qualification equals more choice when it comes to having the education to forge the career you want, the extra qualifications you get at college come in handy. Having qualifications such as a degree will open up more career paths to you and mean you are not forced to take a job you don’t really want simply because it is the only one you can get.
  • Increased job security reports have found that the level of job security increases and unemployment is much lower for college graduates. This is because the specialist qualifications and skills gained at college makes you more valuable to an employer – they simply cannot easily find someone with the same skills to replace you. This is not the same for high school graduates, who often have basic skills that are easily replaceable.
  • Develop your social skills and network– it is not purely educational benefits that college life can bring you. One of the big pluses for attending is the way it will help to develop your social skills. Having to mix with new people and make new friends will greatly enhance your ability to engage with people. When you move into your adult life, this is a great skill to have for both your career and personal life. College is also good for networking – the people you meet here, from tutors to fellow students, can often prove helpful later in life for your career or on a personal level.
  • It makes you grow up many people have the feeling that they go to college as a child and leave as an adult, ready to forge their own lives into the future. The independence that college gives not only makes you more responsible but gives you an environment to make that transition into adult life smoothly. If nothing else, it gives you the time and exposure to new ideas that will help you decide what you want to do when you leave.

Fraternities and sororities – essential parts of college life

When talking about college in the USA, fraternities and sororities play a key role. While you do not have to join one, the many benefits they bring makes it something to consider. You should certainly not be put off by the lurid tales that some people tell about them! But what can joining a fraternity or sorority offer to members?

One of the key roles many play is in helping to develop your character and become a leader. This is naturally of great benefit for later in life, when leadership skills will allow you to shine. Transformational leadership is the method of achieving this and shows you how to mix action with character to produce amazing results. These kinds of societies also offer mentorship and help for members even after they leave college, which many find appealing.

College offers many fabulous benefits

From better career prospects to superb personal development and the chance to meet like-minded people, college is hard to beat. Of course, you should remember it is also fun, and will give you a great start to adult life. The friends and memories you make at college will last forever and help you in building the life you want afterwards.