There’s nothing quite like a road trip when it comes to feeling the wind in your hair and the thrill of the open road. Road trips are a cheap way to truly get down to some proper exploring, and they can be physically and mentally rewarding too. Far cheaper than flights, road trips also give you total control over your destination and your stops. However, if you want to trim the budget even more, then these hacks from professional travellers might see you being able to afford a road trip much more often. Escape your comfort zone without worrying about your wallet, and embrace the open road in search of adventure.

Slow down

When the long, empty road is ahead of you, it’s always going to be tempting to slam your foot on the accelerator and speed along the route. Doing so might get you to your destination faster, but it could also end up costing you a lot more money. Not only will speeding leave you open to the risk of being stopped and fined, but driving aggressively has been proven to waste your gas too. Slow down, relax, and reduce your gas spend by up to a massive 30%. Of course, taking your time means that you also get to enjoy the atmosphere of your surroundings, and that’s always going to be worth more than how high you get your speedometer. There are some great ways to drive that can save you fuel money, so forget driving fast and concentrate on driving smart.

Consider your transport

If you’re planning to drive your own car, then you need to make sure that it is ready for the journey. Book it in for some maintenance because a breakdown mid-route could end up being very expensive while also ruining your journey. Most professional travellers understand that the best way to reduce car risks is to rent a car for the journey. Car rental is an excellent way to ensure that you get a more comfortable vehicle that is absolutely suited to the needs of you and your passengers. Chose a new model and you’ll even get the perks available, and those too can be a money-saver. Look at renting a car, and you may find that your expenses suddenly drop.

Plan your food

While it’s always nice to eat out in a new restaurant, those food stops can quickly become an extravagant expense. Three meals a day in diners and fast food places still mean spending money that you may not want to waste. Instead of pulling into the nearest restaurant, consider stopping at a supermarket as an alternative option. Grocery stores are a great way to save money on food. By getting a little more creative in the supermarket, you can save your budget, and be healthier too. You could even prep some meals and snacks to take along with you. Make sure that you have tools and utensils with you, and your wallet will thank you as you continue driving by all of those roadside diners.

Take the advice of professional travellers, and your road trip needn’t be a budget-buster. Plan your trip in advance, and you might just end up rushing to the car every time you have a spare weekend, and all without breaking your bank account too.

Post Comment Love

In a world of dodgy dating apps, Instagram stalking and ‘Netflix & Chill’, it may seem as though romance is dead – but is it really? A 2018 survey by eHarmony involving over 2,000 people found that millennials are the most romantic generation, but it could be possible that this generation simply have different ways of showing their affection. We’ve teamed up with Angelic Diamonds, retailers of bespoke engagement rings, to take an in-depth look at how romantic gestures and displays of love have changed over time.


What is romance?

Your parents or grandparents might sometimes talk about how the first got together – perhaps they went out for dinner, enjoyed a few dates to the cinema or even attended a dance or two together before deciding that they were a couple. There were no dating apps to help start up a conversation and no option to ‘ghost’ someone by not returning their texts — in fact, you might think that it was much more romantic back then. But, the older generation had their dating sites in the form of lonely hearts ads (the first one being published in 1695) and it’s likely that people still had the experience of being stood up. So, maybe it wasn’t that different after all. Perhaps it’s the way that younger people define and recognise romance that makes them seem less affectionate than the generation before them.


A recent survey found that the top five romantic gestures according to British people are:

  1. Hand holding (46%)
  2. Cuddling (44%)
  3. Giving a surprise gift (43%)
  4. A romantic walk (32%)
  5. Giving flowers (31%)

The differences became a lot clearer when different age groups were asked for their thoughts on romantic or chivalrous gestures from history. A huge 93% of over-45s believed there was still a place for them in the 21st century, whereas 37% of 18-24 year olds disagreed. In particular, ordering for someone at a restaurant was frowned upon and taking off a hat when entering a room was also considered outdated.

Romantic gestures by age group

Chivalrous acts from the history books aren’t the only thing causing different generations to disagree when it comes to romance. Studies show that they also express their affection in different ways:

  • 18-24: 90% say that they hold hands when they’re out for a walk, 70% make sure that they go on date nights together, and 68% enjoy making romantic gestures such as writing love notes.
  • 25-34: 79% enjoy making romantic gestures — more than any other generation.
  • 35-44: 15% less likely to go on date nights than older millennials. Holding hands during walks was the most common romantic gesture among this age group.
  • 45-54: less likely to buy their partner small gifts between birthdays and more likely to hold hands during a walk.
  • 55-64: 59% like to go on a date night and 49% enjoy making romantic gestures.
  • 65+: over 50% like to go on date nights and 40% like making romantic gestures. They were the least likely to buy gifts for partners outside of birthdays.

Everyone agreed that it was important to let their other half know how much they mean to them, with 68% of people across all age groups admitting that they say “I love you” daily and 65% kissing on the mouth for a second or two every day.


Showing your romantic side

So, if you’re looking for love yourself, what should you do other than following the typical romantic gestures for your age group?

Don’t be afraid to show your romantic side. One study revealed that 76% of Britons would enjoy having more romance in their lives but 57% said that they didn’t make romantic gestures because they didn’t want to be seen as cheesy! It might depend on where you live, too. If you live in the capital, definitely pull some romance out of the bag to woo your other half — an astounding 86% of Londoners said that they’d appreciate more romance in their lives.

A similar study on 9,000 users of the dating website Zoosk concluded that when users describe themselves as ‘romantic’ in their profiles, their matches increase by more than 24%. When the phrase ‘hopeless romantic’ was said, matches were boosted by 38%.

When deciding on that all-important date location, don’t feel pressured to splash out on the most expensive restaurant to make a good impression. Three-quarters of people surveyed in one study said that ‘snuggling in front of the fireplace’ is the most romantic date, followed by ‘candle-lit dinners’ (58%) and a ‘picnic in the park’ (45%).

As for things to avoid, people voted that mobile phone addiction, in particular at the dinner table (49%), was the biggest passion-killer. Closely followed by bad personal hygiene (45%) and rudeness (33%). So, no Snapchat or Instagram posts over dinner!

As we can see, the definition of romance has changed over time. But, this doesn’t mean that we’re any less romantic in ourselves — we simply have different ways of showing it. So, don’t be afraid to let your soft side show and display some affection.

My Random Musings



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Sodium valproate (also known as Epilim, valproic acid and Depakote) has been used as an epilepsy treatment for decades, being affordable and highly effective for dealing with a range of seizures associated with the condition.

However, there has been growing evidence in recent years that sodium valproate can be a danger to unborn children if taken by their mothers during pregnancy.

Use of the drug by expectant mothers has been connected with a range of issues in their children, including reduced intelligence and autism, however, the most serious health effect associated with the drug is the potential for a child to develop foetal valproate syndrome.

The advice from The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is that sodium valproate should no longer be prescribed to pregnant women of women of childbearing potential.

What is Foetal Valproate Syndrome?

Foetal Valproate Syndrome (FVS), or Foetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome (FACS), is the umbrella term for birth defects caused by exposure of a foetus to valproic acid while in the womb as a result of the mother taking sodium valproate while pregnant.

It is often not immediately obvious when a child is born that they have the condition and it sometimes take months or even years for some of the effects to be picked up on.

Common symptoms of Foetal Valproate Syndrome include:


  • Facial characteristics – including a small upturned nose with a wide bridge and epicanthic folds (where skin from the upper eyelids covers the corner of the eye)
  • Cardiac problems – due to malformation of the heart
  • Spina-bifida – where the spinal cord does not develop properly, leading to issues such as weakness, paralysis and incontinence
  • Cleft-lip/palate – usually requiring surgery to correct, resulting in life-long scarring
  • Genital abnormalities – such as the urinary opening being on the underside of the penis
  • Skeletal abnormalities – including contractions of small joints, long overlapping figures and deformity of the feet

Treating Foetal Valproate Syndrome

There is no cure for Foetal Valproate Syndrome, but there are a number of treatments that can alleviate the symptoms and dramatically improve a child’s quality of life.

These treatments will generally focus on dealing with the individual symptoms associated with Foetal Valproate Syndrome and may include one-off treatments, such as surgery, as well as on-going treatments for issues such as speech problems.

Typical treatments for Foetal Valproate Syndrome include:

Surgical intervention – May be required to correct issues such as a cleft palate, heart defects and those connected to spina bifida.

Speech & language therapy – Is often used where a child has issues with communication, including the effects of a cleft palate.

 Physiotherapy – To deal with issues with movement caused by spina bifida and skeletal abnormalities.

 Behaviour therapy – Which can be helpful where the condition has a cognitive impact.

 Occupational therapy – To help a child develop strategies for dealing with specific tasks they have problems with as a result of their condition.

Claiming compensation for Foetal Valproate Syndrome

There is increasing concern that there was a failure to warn women of the risks of sodium valproate, resulting in a Parliamentary debate and calls for a public inquiry.

If your child has been affected by Foetal Valproate Syndrome, claiming compensation may be essential. It can be used to ensure your child has all the right support in place to deal with the consequences of their condition for their health and lifestyle, giving them the best chance of living a full and happy life.

Sodium valproate claims can be complicated, especially where the claim is being made many years after your child’s birth. It is therefore strongly recommended to work with a solicitor specialising in these types of claims, ensuring they have the necessary expertise to help you secure the compensation your child needs.


It’s often at this time of year, when the kids go back to school and college courses start that we feel something is missing in our lives, as we get older; as this is the time of year for growth and personal expansion in terms of education


.Image Credit

Today, it’s never been easier or more convenient to learn from home thanks to online learning opportunities where you can study a plethora of high level academic courses, such as a RN-BSN program from the convenience of your home.  This is fantastic for those with children who are often trying to juggle family life with other activities such as a full time job, business, or quest for education.

You’ll have more than likely come across the saying “the more you learn the more you earn”, at some point in your life – which, whilst true, should not limit your view of the benefits of education, in that, there is much benefit in terms of personal expansion that is separate to the potential for financial gain.

The expansion in terms of your own personal development with regard to self-confidence and self-esteem can be huge.  In fact, the personal expansion that comes as a result of pursuing higher education has been proven to improve your mental health.

If you have children, it also offers a great way to role model, as kids tend to do what you do rather than what you say.

This means, if you are pointing out the importance of doing your homework, because you are having to do yours – they are much likely to respect and conform to your instruction of them sitting down, and finishing their homework.

In addition, there’s a feeling personal of pride that comes from making progress with anything in life, yet educational courses are particularly good for this, as most are structured in such a way that it is easy to track the progress you are making.

In addition to developing a greater sense of self-esteem and personal pride, there are, of course, a number of financial benefits to consider.

When you consider what the formula for making money boils down to it’s actually pretty simple.  People are compensated in direct proportion with the amount of value they provide; meaning if you want to make more money, you simply need to create more value – and one of the greatest ways you can create more value is to get more experience, knowledge and know-how so that you can work on higher value tasks.

Education comes in many forms, and whilst this article talks specifically about academic education – the benefits in terms of personal expansion are just as prominent when doing independent research, for instance, for a business endeavour.

In fact, whether you’re business minded or not, it can be useful to view education through an entrepreneurial lens, in the sense that you will want to consider the return on time, energy and money that will be created as a result of you undertaking a particular course.

This return on investment paradigm is good to bear in mind when reviewing your options as unless your education has a tangible outcome, for instance, a nursing degree that opens the door to a secure career within nursing, there is little return on investment other than the enjoyment derived from pursuing the course.

Is It Time To Get Back To Learning?

Mum Muddling Through

A study has concluded that private medical care and medicine is set to boom in emerging nations. The research, which was conducted by Swiss Re, has revealed that state-run services are going to be unlikely to keep up with the demand for premium quality health care. This high level of service is not only going to be demanded by expats but local communities as well.


The Swiss Re study came to some interesting conclusions, with the company predicting that the total expenditure on all types of medical cover, including international health and life insurance, will double within the next seven years in developing nations. In terms of figures, two years ago the total spend was calculated at £24 billion / $36 billion, yet Swiss Re predicts that this will hit £54 billion / $79 billion by 2020 in emerging markets. This expenditure is born from the fact that individuals are now demanding greater levels of quality in terms of health services, which will see private services boom across the entire spectrum, from treatment to medicine.

Over recent years, we have seen many progressions in terms of advanced medical technology, and people are becoming more educated about their health. We demand a better quality of life, and it seems that the majority of us are going to turn to private medical care to achieve this. There is no denying that, for the most part, the public hospitals in emerging nations cannot offer the premium quality medical care we are looking for. While there are some exceptions, people recognise that they will need to turn to the private medical centres if they are to receive the standards they demand. This is something we are willing to pay for, especially in the case of expats who often have to pay for public medical care in any case. Some of the private medical centres in developing countries are truly astonishing, boasting the most up to date technology and equipment, rivalling the main medical centres in Europe.


In terms of the spending on private medical cover, treatment and other related products, Swiss Re predict that the greatest growth will occur in emerging Asia countries, where we can see a rise from £6.4 billion / $ 9.4 billion recorded in 2013 to a predicted £21.6 billion / $31.8 billion in 2020. However, significant increases in spending can be seen across the globe. The market in Africa and the Middle East is predicted to double from £5.3 billion / $7.8 billion to £10.6 billion / $15.6 billion, whereas in Latin America the spending is expected to go from £10.1 billion / $14.9 billion to £17.2 billion / $25.3 million.

This is music to the ears for expats, and it also provides a great opportunity for anyone that is interested in nursing or currently works at a hospital in the UK. By taking a Masters in Nursing Online you could have the opportunity to work in some of the best and most impressive hospitals around the world. Plus, there are likely to be more and more job opportunities that come with this.

As you can see, the picture regarding private medical care and medicine seems very positive to say the least! It is certainly something worth keeping an eye on.

Confessions of a New Mummy