• Top 5 Things to Do in Belfast, Ireland

    When you think of Ireland, you might think of the bigger cities like Dublin or Cork- but Belfast is one of those lesser-known spots that you’ll leave feeling like you discovered a treasure. Located in a picturesque area between mountains and coastline, Belfast has a fascinating history, buzzing cultural life and compact size perfect for exploring by foot. So book a plane ticket (Belfast international airport arrivals can be found here), and get started on these top 5 things to do in this great Irish city:


    Check out the Titanic Exhibition

    You probably didn’t know that the Titanic was built in Belfast! The city has an impressive exhibition that’s fun, modern and interactive- even bringing some visitors to tears. Unlike some regular dry and boring museums, this exhibition actually lets you ascend the Titanic using 3D technology, float among the wreckage and take a cable car ride through the shipbuilding process. An important fact that’s emphasized here is that the wreck was due to human error, not poor shipbuilding! As they say in this town, “She was alright when she left Belfast!”


    High Tea at the Merchant Hotel

    Taking high tea is one way to really immerse yourself in the culture here in Belfast. The plush and cozy Merchant Hotel is the perfect luxurious spot to enjoy a high tea in the midst of a day of sightseeing. You’ll enjoy tea with delicate pastries in a gorgeous gilded atrium complete with chandeliers and live piano music. For the ultimate experience, check in for a night or two to enjoy the full luxury treatment at the hotel.

    Get a Birds-Eye View from the Dome

    One of the best ways to check out any city is from one of its highest points! Head to Victoria Square where you’ll find the Dome, offering one of the best vantage points of Belfast. The best part is you don’t have to spend a dime. You can take an elevator up to the top for free, whatever the weather.

    Grab a Pint at the Duke of York Pub

    A visit to Belfast isn’t complete without a frosty pint of Guiness, is it? The Duke of York Pub is tucked away down one of the most charming courtyards in the Cathedral Quarter of the city. You’ll feel completely at home at this cozy pub with a real Irish feel. Enjoy the beautiful and historical surroundings on your walk to the pub, and get to know the local crowd over a pint or two.

    Take a Walking Tour

    Belfast is great for those who love to explore their surroundings by foot. Its compact size makes it easy to see all the main sights in a day. Seeing the city by foot lets you take your time to explore all the nooks and crannies, boutiques tucked into side streets, small pubs and cafes brimming with local culture and small art galleries and historical sights. You can follow some walking tours in guidebooks or sign up for a walking tour at any of the guesthouses.



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  • A Look at Malaga’s Top Museums

    I’ve got a real passion for art and history so I’m always urging my friends and family members to take holidays where they can soak up a little culture. One destination that really fits the bill in this regard is Spain and, although I haven’t been there yet, Malaga is a city that particularly stands out as being perfect for a culture-focused getaway.

    picasso museum malaga

    Given that it is among the largest cities in the country, I don’t think you will have any trouble finding museums or galleries to take in. If anything, you might struggle fitting all the fantastic sights that there are on offer into a single holiday!

    As such, I recommend that you spend a little time planning what attractions you would like to visit the most in advance. While you can do this after you have taken care of essentials like booking a flight to Malaga from Birmingham and sorting out accommodation, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t make a head start on planning which museums to see as soon as possible!

    Pablo Picasso is undoubtedly one of Malaga’s most famous sons – not to mention being among the world’s greatest artists – so I certainly recommend you get an insight into the life and work of the local hero. The best place to do this, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the Picasso Museum.

    Established in a direct response to the artist’s wish for his work to be shown in the place he was born, this institution’s permanent collection features more than 200 of Picasso’s pieces. These include, among others, Acrobat – an oil painting that was made in 1930 – and Insect, a ceramic work that contains blue decorative motifs.

    In addition to being a great place to find out more about Picasso’s career, the museum hosts a range of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Many of these focus on artists that have some kind of connection to Picasso, with previous shows looking at the work of Alberto Giacometti and David Douglas Duncan.

    Admission to the museum’s permanent collection costs €6 (£5.10), though if you just want to see the temporary exhibits you can buy a separate ticket for €4.50. Alternatively, you could get a combined ticket for €9 that will provide you with full access to the entire institution, while a range of package and discount deals are also available.

    To get an even fuller flavour of Malaga’s terrific culture, I suggest you head to the Museo Carmen Thyssen. Situated in the 16th century Villalon Palace, this museum focuses on 19th century Spanish art, with a particular emphasis on art that has been produced in Andalusia.

    Casas Carbo Ramon, Maria Fortuny and Francisco de Zurbaran are just some of the artists whose works are exhibited in the permanent collection, though the array of temporary displays will always offer lots of variety in terms of the works you can see. This is supplemented by a fantastic range of events, including workshops, seminars and cinema screenings, so you can easily have a fun-filled day out here.

    You will have to pay €6 to see the permanent collection, while €4 will get you admission into the temporary exhibits. A combined ticket for both parts of the museum costs €10.

    Whether you go to the Picasso Museum or Museo Carmen Thyssen – or, even better, both – I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic cultural city break in Malaga.


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  • The Women Must Wear Hats At The Kentucky Derby

    Ok, so maybe they don’t have to wear them(so to speak), but 99% of the female crowd that will visit the Derby each year will come with the biggest and wackiest hats they can find. Why? Because it’s tradition. They will also stand out from the majority of the crowd if they don’t wear one. This is typically NOT a good thing either.

    kentucky hats

    You see, for over a century now, the Kentucky Derby festival every May has attracted the creme de la creme. From celebrities and rock stars, to football players and US presidents, the Derby has managed to find its way into the hearts and souls of every passionate horse racing fanatic. For weeks and days leading up to the festival, hungry punters will place a bet on Kentucky derby online or in a physical shop, so that when the actual races come around, they can enjoy the day without having to put any bets on.

    The derby is also known as the Run for the Roses and this parlays to the fashionable hat wearing ladies that descend on the Churchill Downs race course. In fact, there are over 150,000 people on average every year turning up for the festival in Louisville.

    Ladies that turn up without a hat of some sort will definitely get a few inquisitive looks from others. If you are serious about grabbing some of the lime light and making a bold statement then wearing an old fashioned girls cowboy hat will definitely cause the whispers to start!.

    Since there’s a hat parade each year at the Kentucky Derby, you will want to come with something a little more “in fashion” to stand a chance of winning. There is a lot of history and culture behind the hat parade so this event can sometimes grab worldwide attention from the media.

    If you are intending to go to the Derby then you will have to decide how many hats you are going to wear. Typically, women usually will wear between 4 and 5 different hats throughout the week. The last thing you want is to wear the same hat twice. That’s a definite no-no!

    The Derby is a long standing national event in America and has a long, rich history associated with it. Traditions like wearing hats are there to be adhered to for the sake of prosperity, so definitely try and make the effort to comply. You will end up having a wonderful experience and you will treasure the photographs forever.



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  • Pizza – a dish for every taste

    When you travel to any destination across the globe, there is an extremely high possibility that you will find some kind of Pizza restaurant. Although it is a type of food that is traditionally associated with Italy, you will often find that every region will apply its own unique ‘twist’ to a pizza – this is something that is made possible by the amount of different topping combinations that can be added to a simple crust. Some restaurants will even create a sweet dish out of pizza – using chocolate sauce, marshmallows and other items of confectionary.

    When you take a trip to Italy, you will realise that even Calzone (rolled, stuffed pizza) is remarkably different. While an American or British Calzone will be entirely plain on the outside, an Italian Calzone will have extra topping added to the top of the dish. If you think that ‘overstuffing’ is an activity that is only reserved for American diners, you may be surprised to know that many Italian pizzerias take great pride in stretching their Calzone to the absolute limit before adding more to the top of the completed pizza.

    When looking at the actual outer crust of any pizza, this is also an area that has given people a huge amount of creativity. The idea of a simple ‘Stuffed Crust’ is relatively old-fashioned, as these have now evolved beyond inserting a simple strip of cheese. Some restaurants now prefer to take an extremely long hot dog, and roll it into the entire crust perimeter. Garlic-based products have also become a popular choice for stuffing, and some take-out outlets have experimented with inserting mini hamburgers as well. This shows that there is more to a pizza than the regular toppings.

    From country to country, the range of available pizza toppings can vary greatly, and this creates an extremely diverse dining experience. When travelling on a layover, a pizza can be a quick and convenient dining option and so it always makes sense to carry your credit card when heading out for something to eat. You may want to apply for a credit card (?????)  if you haven’t got one just in case of an emergency. There are plenty of online credit card providers, do your research, compare cards (?????) and choose the one that is best suited for you.

     Cheese lovers may wish to take a trip to South Korea????, where it is possible to order a three-layer triple cheese pizza. This dairy-based feast includes a generous helping of Cheddar, Camembert and Emmental, along with a choice of traditional pizza toppings that can be added. This Asian nation has now developed a tradition for bizarre pizza ingredients, and they have also invented the ‘Mizza’ – a healthier option that replaces the traditional crust with a layer of rice. Other possibilities in this region include a crust that has been filled with sweet potato mousse, as well as a cookie crust pizza that may appeal to those with a sweet tooth.

    Although cheese is a major component of any pizza, it is also possible to enjoy this classic dish without a single shred of it. Alternatives to cheese include cooking eggs as a topping, and you can also enjoy a dairy-free topping that is mainly tomato. This is the fundamental benefit of pizza – it is one of the most flexible dishes in the world that can be adapted to all tastes and dietary requirements. Most supermarkets even have the bases ready-made for you, allowing you to jump straight into the creative stage.


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  • Going wild in the Big Apple

    New York, New York!

    As far as cities go, the Big Apple is one that most people dream of visiting. I dream of a Carrie Bradshaw-style shopping spree and cocktails with the girls, all with the skyscraper background. Others dream of visiting the various landmarks and doing the tourist route. Whatever your dream, or reason for visiting New York, there’s one thing it will always be – big, brash, loud, colourful and downright wonderful.

    Flights over the Atlantic are plentiful year-around, and you’ll find fantastic value these days, with the price much lower than it ever has been. Thankfully, that means this is now a destination accessible to all. The downside however is the flight, yet jetlag and tiredness can be reduced by a little clever planning, and that, my friends, involves booking airport extras to enhance your travel plans.

    Airport parking is a godsend to reduce getting to the airport stress that often plagues a holiday. Another fantastic add-on is the airport hotel. I recently stayed at one of the hotels near Luton Airport, and I’m now hooked on the convenience, not to mention the price! There are facilities available country-wide, and you’re sure to find something no matter where you’re flying from, including north of the border. There are a wide range of Edinburgh Airport Hotels to choose from, with something to suit every budget.

    A break fit for Carrie Bradshaw deserves a rested start, and if you don’t fancy staying in the heart of the airport, you’ll find off-site hotels too, check out this range of Gatwick hotels with AirportHotels.com. A meal and cocktails prior to travelling is the aim, with a fresh face at the airport the result!

    Once you arrive in the biggest city you’ll probably ever see, you’ll be spoilt for choice for activities, but there are some places you must visit, such as the Empire State Building, Lady Liberty aka Statue of Liberty, the sombre Ground Zero, Times Square … the list goes on and on.

    If you’re into shopping, like me, then those saved pennies from airport extras will come in very handy, with a visit to Macy’s or Bloomingdales definitely on the agenda. Clothes are generally a little cheaper in the USA than they are here, so see what you can find, and come home a fashionista Carrie would be proud of.

    Another suggestion is to head to Broadway and see a world-class show. You’ll never have the chance again, so grab it with both hands!

    When night-falls New York comes alive, in fact New York never sleeps! Bright and loud, you’ll find something whatever your choice of entertainment, from a sports game, a show, a club, a top-class meal, a comedy show – anything you desire, you’ll find.

    There’s a reason they call this the city that never sleeps, and the range of activities on offer means nobody will ever bored. For sheer entertainment value, you’ll be wide-eyed with wonder, and I doubt that one trip will ever be enough.

    The Big Apple – take a bite out of it and savour every second!

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  • Keeping Afloat With Current Accounts

    With the state of today’s economic climate, it’s becoming increasingly important to carefully manage our money and to make sure it’s securely protected. That’s why it’s very wise to check out new bank account options from the start to see which type of account will best suit your needs and requirements.

    atm machine

    If you’re the type of individual that needs a simple way to access and manage your money on a day to day basis, then a current account will be the perfect one for you.

    A current account is one where your money is considered “ready money”. This means that you can access it whenever you desire – along the lines as if it was physical cash in your hand. It should be noted that some accounts, like savings account do not provide you with this feature, so if you need to set up direct debits and other standing orders, then you will need to ensure you have a current account in your name.

    Not all current accounts offer the same benefits. It’s possible to switch bank accounts online and to shop around in order to ensure that you’ve the correct current account for your needs.

    For example, different providers offer current accounts with different interest rates, while others offer side bonuses like insurance options and protection in the unlikely event that your secure details are ever stolen.

    With your current account you will also receive a cheque book and debit card, which means that you can make payments swiftly. Most current accounts also include online features so that you can keep a track of all your financial transactions from anywhere.

    In order to open a current account you will need some form of identification like a passport or drivers licence along with a certificate that proves you live at your current address. If you are under 16 years of age then you will need to bring a parent with you and they can provide their address details.

    Nowadays, the majority of people use current accounts to help them with their financial situations. They have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Without a current account, or any sort of account for that matter – you leave your money in a vulnerable state. If you keep your money in your house and it gets broken into, you have no comeback from your insurance company as they will say that all large sums of money should be kept in a bank.




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  • 5 Places to See in Andalusia, Spain

    If you’re planning a trip to Spain, make time for Andalusia, the region in the very south of the country. This warm region consists of the 4 cities Malaga, Seville, Cordoba and Grenada in a diamond shape. It’s so easy to travel between these cities by bus, and there is so much to see, so here are 5 sights not to miss:

    Picasso Museum- Malaga

    Malaga is probably the most overlooked of the Andalusian cities. Although many travelers arrive to the Malaga international airport, they often pass over the city en route to the more popular destinations. But spend a day or 2 here and explore the beaches and extensive Picasso Museum. Admission is free on the last Sunday of the month, and you can see 223 of Picasso’s pieces on display.



    Watch a Flamenco Show- Seville

    Flamenco is a huge part of the culture all over southern Spain, and Seville is a fantastic place to catch a show. Tablaos are the biggest venues for flamenco shows, entertaining the crowds with extravagantly choreographed dances while dinner and drinks are served. You can also find a more local scene with smaller flamenco shows at the local bars in town.


    Explore the Alcazar- Seville

    You might not have guessed it, but Europe’s oldest royal residence is found here in Seville in the south of Spain! The gorgeous Alcazar is made up of many buildings and gardens, lush with detailed architecture, sunken ponds and decorative pillars. Wandering through the grounds will take you right back to royal times.

    See the Mezquita- Cordoba

    A visit to the Mezquita will leave you awe-inspired of the amazing Muslim architecture. The building started here in 600 which makes this mosque nearly a millennium and a half old! The interior of the mosque is filled with red arches, colorful mosaics and richly gilded prayer niches.


    Visit the Alhambra- Grenada

    A visit to the Alhambra palace through Alhambra Palace Tours is an absolute must while in Andalusia! It was originally built as a fortress in the 9th century and later converted into a palace in the 14th century. Experience the beautiful Muslim art and architecture, gardens and spectacular views. You must book a tour online beforehand, as spots for Alhambra Palace tours book up quickly here.

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  • Activities for Young Mothers to Pursue in Florida

    Florida is a fantastic destination for young mothers to visit on holiday with their children. There are many activities to pursue and enjoy, from beaches to parks to theme parks there is plenty to see, do and most importantly enjoy. Although going to Florida can be quite expensive, you can save money by comparing flights to Florida at cheapflights.co.uk.


    The Florida beaches are a perfect destination for families and especially young mothers to visit on holiday. Hutchinson Island has 22 miles of beaches where you can enjoy activities such as tennis, Frisbee and golf. Your kids can enjoy building sandcastles, paddling and swimming in the sea while you soak up the sun. Beaches are a great place for relaxation and as a young mother that is exactly what you deserve. Enjoy the tranquillity of Florida’s finest beaches, read a book and build up your tan and show off that you are a young and beautiful yummy mummy.


    Disney World
    Your time in Florida should definitely include a trip to a Disney World, this is an exceptionally magical place to visit with your children. You cannot get the same experience anywhere else in the world! With rides that are perfect for people of all heights and ages you are bound to find something suitable for you and your family. You are guaranteed to have a thoroughly exciting and thrilling time when visiting Disney World.

    As well as fantastic rides and amusements, there are many bars and restaurants with amazing food to experience. At night time you can enjoy magnificent, awe-inspiring firework shows or see a magic show and some wonderful musicians.


    State and Natural parks
    If you’re a young mother who enjoys exercise, visit the Suwannee River Trail in White Springs in Florida. Here you can explore caverns and go hiking which are exciting for both you and your child. You could also have a fantastic family picnic whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery this part of the world has to offer. Work off any unwanted calories from holiday over-indulging by hiking up hills. Take in the tranquil ambience of Florida’s natural landscapes.

    For a historical adventure visit the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, here you can learn about the history of the slave trade. It’s also a place where you and your family can acquire skills in canoeing.


    Water Parks
    For those thrill seeking, young mothers with an abundance of energy, visit a water park such as Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach which are a part of Disney World. You can enjoy exciting shoots, slides and water rides. There are pools where young children can play and simply have fun splashing around.

    Sea World is another fantastic place to take kids, or even just for you if you are interested in sea life. Get up close and personal with dolphin and exciting tropical fish. Sea World is a fascinating place where you will learn a lot about marine life and have a whale of a time!

    There are many different activities that you can enjoy as a young mother, with or without your family. Whether you want thrilling, exciting activities or tranquil relaxation, you will certainly have a fantastic, fun-filled holiday in Florida.

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  • Cancun’s Best Bits!

    As one of the more popular choices for Spring Breakers as their holiday destination of choice, Cancun is often tarred with the “wet t-shirt competitions and wasted college students” brush. In recent years, it has been struggling to shake off this rather negative reputation, and is now doing its best to attract travellers of all ages and backgrounds.

    Cancun is now known for its award winning restaurant cuisine, as well as its beautiful beaches and gorgeously warm ocean waters. Get yourselves down to the Yucatan Peninsula to experience some (or all!) of Cancun’s best bits.

    The Best Restaurant – La Habichuela

    As far as architecture goes, Cancun is well-known around the world for its stunning Central American style. La Habichuela takes this as its starting point and adds a bit of extra Mayan flair, making it a memorable place in which to eat.

    Luckily, the food there is fantastic too! It takes its name from its signature bean, the habichuela, and as such you should make sure to try the cream of habichuela soup! You should wash it down with the house special cocktail, made with Xtabentún – a liqueur made from anise seed and fermented honey. Did we mention it’s an aphrodisiac?

    The Best Museum –Museo Maya de Cancún

    In the hotel zone you will find the newly built Museum of Mayan Culture, complete with a massive archaeological site for you to explore. It opened towards the end of last year, despite all the buzz around the rumoured Mayan predictions of the end of the world, and luckily we’re all still around to appreciate it!

    It took six years to build, but it was worth the wait – you can see the remains of the Woman of the Palms, a 14,000 year old skeleton discovered nearby, in one of the three major exhibits. In the Sala Maya you can study all sorts of incredible Mayan architecture and art.

    The Best Gallery – MUSA

    MUSA (MuseoSubacuatico de Arte – the Underwater Museum of Art) is, believe it or not, an art gallery beneath the waves. Founded by Jaime Gonzalez Cano, the gallery features more than four hundred life-sized sculptures made out of pH neutral clay by the renowned English artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

    You won’t see anything like this anywhere else in the world, so book your flights to Cancun now and strap on your scuba diving gear! Diving down deep, you will see these amazing sculptures take on a life of their own – they were designed to attract the retreating coral back to Cancun.

    The statues are being slowly covered, turning into a unique coral reef. “The Dream Collector” is one of the most striking pieces, but the one that leaves the fondest impression is the replica Volkswagen Beetle – truly something that has to be seen to be believed!

    Whatever type of holiday you’re after, you’re sure to find it down in Cancun. Avoid the Spring Breakers and you’ll have a great and relaxing time exploring the Mexican landscape.

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  • Holidaying In Algarve

    Portugal remains one of the world’s hottest vacation destinations, with perhaps the most prestigious of them all in this beautiful country being the Algarve.  Boasting beautiful beaches, fantastic temperatures, relaxing resorts and picturesque towns and ocean-front vistas, Algarve is a traveler’s one-stop shop for partying and paradise.

    There’s more to do in Algarve than simply laze around on one of its several golden-sanded beaches, however.  If you’re planning on hitting up Algarve for your next holiday and are looking for things to do, then here are the places to go.


    Lagos is the place to be if you seek a thriving nightlife with fine cuisine and interesting locals.  As many people say, Lagos is the “carnival queen” of the Algarve region and has something to offer anyone from its characteristic cobbled streets.


    This quaint town is for those who are seeking a bit of a quieter holiday that has less of a partying atmosphere.  Featuring fine views of a steep and wooded countryside, Monchique is a top choice for travelers who seek relaxation and who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of towns like Lagos.


    This ancient city that’s set along a peaceful river is another hot destination for anyone who’s seeking a relaxing and laid-back vacation.  This area is perhaps amongst the oldest in all of Portugal, with its history dating all the back to the Roman times.


    If you’re going for the “real” Portuguese experience, then Faro is the place to go.  Featured in the area is a medieval quarter that treats visitors to a taste of what ancient Portugal was like several centuries ago.

    But if checking out Portugal’s history isn’t you thing, one thing about Faro’s for sure: golfing is the most popular sport in this town.  You can find a ton of different courses crafted by some of the world’s most popular golfers, such as:

    • Monte Rei (Jack Nicklaus)
    • Oceanico Faldo (Nick Faldo)
    • Oceanico Victoria (Arnold Palmer)
    • Oceanico Pinha and Oceanico Old Course (Frank Pennink)
    • Vila Sol (Donald Steel)
    • Vale de Lobo Ocean & Royal (Henry Cotton)

    Sagres And Carrapateira

    Should water sports and surfing be your thing, then Sagres or Carrapateira are definitely the places to go.  Located out on the west coast of Portugal, these fun-loving towns are charming and filled with laid-back locals who are sure to show you a good time.


    Located on the Western seaboard of Portugal, Portimao is yet another golfer’s dream get away located in Portugal.  Not only will you be able to find beautiful beaches resting along the banks of the Arade river, but you’ll be able to golf on a number of some of the world’s most popular golf courses, such as:

    • Morgado (European Golf Design)
    • Onyria Palmares (Frank Pennick & Trent Jones, Jr.)
    • Penina (Henry Cotton)
    • Pestana/Gramacho (Ronald Fream)
    • Pestana/Vale de Pinta (Ronald Fream)

    You can read the reviews and ratings of the Algarve golf courses here. If you’re interested in going to Algarve solely for the golf, then we live in a world of specialist golf holidaymakers, like Golf Kings – so have a look at the site if your idea of a holiday to Algarve is just golf, golf and more golf.

    Algarve is stunning and is more than deserving of the attention it has had in recent years. Whatever you do once you’re there, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. Happy travels.

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