You’re headed to Phoenix and you’ll be ready for activities once you get there. Arizona’s landscape and temperatures make the entire state an outdoor playground. Here are things to do in and outside of the Phoenix area.

See a Waterfall

Tonto Natural Bridge Falls presents a break from the dry climate of Arizona. Observation decks allow visitors to catch a great glimpse of water tumbling down the 180-foot drop. For a different perspective, travel 300 feet down to gaze at the falls from the ground up.

Take a Balloon Ride

Temperatures rise during the daytime hours so a range of vendors offers balloon rides at all times of the day. See the sunrise from the sky; it’s a unique viewpoint and something you will never forget. Balloon rides are common throughout the state, so take your pick of vendors residing close to the Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains.

Go Mountain Biking

How do 16,000 acres of open terrain sound? To mountain bikers, it’s a dream come true. Depending on your interest, you could rent bikes and take a short ride through or do the entire 18-mile journey, making your way across the Sonoran Desert.

Watch Baseball

Arizona has year-round mild weather, making it a perfect place for spring training and minor league games. Scottsdale Stadium is home to the San Francisco Giants who train for months in the winter before the regular season starts in April.

Climb Rocks

Head to Lookout Mountain Preserve where you can find a single wall with multiple climbing routes. It’s a spot where advanced climbers come to have fun but beginners can get experience there too. It’s best, however, to go with someone who has experience climbing for loose rocks and steep sections pose a serious challenge and safety hazard.

Catch the Sunset

You must go to the top of South Mountain to see the sunset like never before. See a grand, panoramic view of Phoenix while taking in the last embers of the day. There are no words to describe the array and change of colors that occur within a span of 20 mins.

Ride’em Cowboy and Cowgirl

Try a hand at being a cowboy or cowgirl at the Ponderosa Stables. While you’re bouncing up and down in your saddle, open your ears to hear the guide’s history lesson of the area and how cowboys got by years ago. Take a breakfast, daytime, or steak dinner ride, which ends at a restaurant known for cooking-up tasty meat.

Get In the Water

Big Surf is located in Tempe and features waterslides that are not for the faint of heart. It’s an opportunity to cool down at an almost beach-like setting. It’s a great place to take the kids but can be fun and relaxing for singles and couples too.

Take a Walk

There are too many walking trails in the state to mention but you will enjoy Horseshoe Bend. It’s a short walk that ends with an incredible view. Be wary of friends and family members with mobility issues, however, for the trail is not wheelchair accessible. Don’t forget to bring a camera.

Living Arrows
Photalife

Inject some modern style into your kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and when they begin to look a little dated, it’s only natural to want to transform the room into a modern space. A streamlined, contemporary kitchen design, combined with integrated appliances, thoughtful lighting and a mix of levels that helps to keep your room clutter free whilst leaving you more space to relax and entertain might sound like a dream – but it can be a reality.

Worktops

The beauty of a contemporary kitchen design is that both plain white and vibrant colours look great on kitchen worktops. If you want a slightly less clinical feel to plain bright white then manufacturers such as Silestone and Ceasarstone are now producing man-made composites that look like natural materials. Of course, while they can look just like marble or concrete, the real benefit of these surfaces is that they are much easier to look after than natural stones, particularly very porous ones such as marble. They’re also fabulous for creating feature splashbacks – for instance book matching a faux marble – with less of a financial outlay than, say, Carrara. Kitchens have evolved and as their colour and any pattern are consistent, the choice has grown over the past few years to include everything from pure brilliant white to zingy orange.

Appliances

Clean lines are important in contemporary kitchen design, so if you think of yourself as the next master chef and have your heart set on a range cooker, choose one of the more modern steel models from Mercury, Smeg or Rangemaster. Integrate as many appliances as you can as clean lines must continue across appliances too. If possible, place items such as washing machines and tumble dryers in utility rooms. Keep sightlines clear by installing simple below cabinet, in-ceiling or pop-up extractors rather than fancy hanging pendants, keep fridges and freezers behind closed doors and invest in good-looking, hardworking built-in cooking appliances and a sleek glass zoned induction hob. Finish off with a few modern day luxuries such as a boiling water tap offered by Quooker, pop-up power points and cool lighting.

Clean lines

The clean sleek lines continue into your kitchen units with handleless cabinets. The in-frame construction of handleless cabinets gives your kitchen an edge on some flat fronted designs and makes it extremely durable. In smaller kitchen spaces, the absence of handles helps to make a room feel bigger, while in a kitchen with lots of cabinetry, it prevents an overload of steel handles. If you don’t want to commit to all handleless doors then you can give a run of classic cabinets a modern edge by dressing them with sleek bar handles, adding modern built-in appliances and topping with cool composite worktops. For added contemporary chic, mix and match styles incorporating flat-fronted wall cabinets.

Stay neat

It’s good to have a focal point in your kitchen, and make a statement but it doesn’t necessarily work for all kitchen paraphernalia. Focus on one appliance, a KitchenAid mixer for example. The key to maintaining the clean lines in your kitchen is keeping it uncluttered. Hiding kitchen clutter, particularly in open-plan kitchens is essential, so plan in plenty of storage with deep pan drawers, tambour units to keep small appliances, crockery and china out of site. Floor to ceiling handleless cupboards can hide a multitude of sins so if you have space, they’re a good investment. Remember, though, for your kitchen to work efficiently, you’ll want easy access to all these things when you do need them, so we recommend siting pan drawers by ovens, larders close to prep areas and china close to the dishwasher.

Modern kitchen design tips

Go fine
Create an illusion that your units are a piece of furniture with ultra-thin worktops that are ultra-modern. Or try wrapping a composite work surface in a contrasting shade or material around cabinetry on islands and at the end of runs.

Pick simple surfaces
Keep your design sleek by choosing glass or composite used for a splashback and large-format floor tiles with a matching grout.

Play with levels
Think about adding a high breakfast bar to an island for relaxed eating or create several levels on a peninsula with a raised area to hide the washing-up from dinner guests.

Trip the light fantastic
Why not get creative with your lighting? Use plinth lights to make base units look like they are floating or adding LED strips to the interior of wall cabinets or shelves to highlight favourite accessories. They can create the perfect mood in the kitchen whatever the kitchen.

Is the wedding industry coping in the digital age?

As an industry heavily focussed on the selling of experience and quality, the wedding industry’s performance in the new digital age is interesting. With brides needing to try on their wedding gowns before they buy, grooms having several suit fittings, and of course, who would want to miss out on the opportunity to have a tasting session at your venue for your wedding breakfast?

But with new technologies and social media apps, is it time for the wedding industry to make a transition into the digital world?

Shopping online, from the comfort of our homes, has become increasingly popular in recent years. A report revealed that around 87% of UK customers have purchased at least one product online. From the year 2016, digital sales have increased by 21.3% and are forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017. But does this mean that wedding vendors will have to make the transformation online, too? Retailers of diamond shoulder engagement rings, Angelic Diamonds, investigates further.

Changing the search process

The industry has already seen the effect of the digital age in some ways. With apps such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook; brides and grooms can find so much inspiration for their big day with just a few clicks. Modern couples are now using new technology when wedding planning. In fact, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding — with 41% of brides following photographers on social media, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.

The internet is also changing the search process of couples, as they search for inspiration for their big day. According to The Huffington Post, 61% of brides search for gowns through their mobile (up from 27% in 2011) and 57% search for wedding vendors in the same way (this figure was 22% in 2011).

Companies in the wedding industry are finding ways to benefit from the digital age, too. The apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists, and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s go-to platform for all their inspiration, a digital alternative to a wedding fair. Suppliers who have not yet invested time into creating a social media profile for their business could be missing out on free exposure.

Social media can be used to allow couples to look back on their day from the point of view of their guests, too. 27% of modern couples said they would do this by creating a hashtag for their special day.

Gaining new exposure

It does not look like the wedding industry is set to decline any time soon. Whilst it is likely that companies will need to go digital at some stage to stay up to date with the latest technologies and keep their head in the game, there might always be a place for them offline within the industry.

Some industries, such as clothing, are able to operate successfully through a solely online presence. However it is very unlikely that the wedding industry would thrive in this way. Wedding fairs have been around for centuries, and there is a reason for that; whilst modern couples use social media for visual inspiration, wedding fairs are still a great way for suppliers to engage face-to-face with potential customers. For most people, their wedding day is the biggest day of their lives so it’s important that they can speak face-to-face with suppliers and physically see what they have to offer.

It is suggested that the wedding industry embraces the digital world in a different way to other industries. It appears that it is during the inspiration stages of the wedding planning process that the internet is most useful. The industry is not yet ready to wipe out all traditional methods of wedding planning. There’s no question that there is still a demand for the physical processes. Maybe, it’s just time for suppliers and other industry professionals to use digital as a means to extend their business and gain more exposure.

Sources

https://www.confetti.co.uk/news/wedding-report-2015
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-douglas/part-1-the-past-present-f_b_9294420.html

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mummascribbles

Bobble hats are so perfect when out and about on chillier days.

Let’s face it there is nothing more lovely than a nature walk at this time of year checking out all the colours associated with Autumn, vibrant oranges, reds, yellows and purples.

Bobble Hats

I want to introduce you to the top quality winter bobble hats from leading sports head and neckwear brand Buff. Available in a wide variety of colours and styles, the Buff range has something for everyone and will protect your loved ones from the elements this winter in comfort and style.

I can confirm that the hats are such good quality with a large fun bobble on the top. Vitally, there really do keep your head warm which makes you more comfortable when keeping active and is actually good for your health too.

Buff have a wide range of hats and neckwear in diverse colours and for all members of the family even the dog! They make ideal presents too and with Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to check them out.

These hats have magical powers as I took this selfie and think I look quite good in it.

Bobble Hats

Jacky Ha-Ha Book

Family Fever