They’re a shining star in the blackest of nights. A solid rock when it feels like the sands of life are shifting beneath your feet. They’ve been with you through thick and thin. They’ve seen boyfriends (and maybe even husbands) come and go. They are always there for you come day or night, high or low to offer help, advice, comfort and support without judgement. They have our back when we’re right and they are quick to set us right without deflating our ego when we’re wrong. Our love for our best friends is unique in the world. As the world tries to pigeon hole us into the role of wife, or mother, our best friends see through these labels to who we really are. Although life has a habit of getting in the way and the pressures of work, family and fitness have a habit of impinging on our social lives more than we might like, even if you only get to see your bestie once or twice a year it’s vital that you make opportunities for quality time with your best friend. As the years melt into one another, and life places more and more demands on your time the quality of your time spent together becomes vastly more important than the quantity. Thus, we’ve compiled a list of wonderful days out that you and your best friend can enjoy together…

Bestie

Image by Flickr

Create your own scent together

Everyone has a handful of perfumes that they identify with and may well pick certain scents for certain occasions. A little bit of this for a day out at the park, a little bit of this for date night. But few people have a scent that truly encapsulates their personality. Spend a day on a perfume making experience, however, and you can do exactly that! You and your bestest friend can either create a scent that encapsulates your friendship or you can create your own individual fragrances. You’ll top the occasion off with afternoon tea together and be able to keep a bottle of your new scent as a memento.

Escape from a locked room together

There’s no better way for besties to bond than by getting locked away in a secret room by a serial killer. Or getting trapped in a museum after a heist gone wrong, or helping to find a missing secret agent. Okay, so these outlandish contexts may be fictional but breaking out of an Escape Room is a whole lot of fun for friends who crave a bit of adventure. You’ve likely seen one of these fun activity centres pop up somewhere near you. In order to escape the room you have to work together to solve a series of clues. It’s a real blast and a great test of how well you and your bestie complement each other’s skills.

Drink with class on a brewery tour

Any fool can take their bestie down to the pub, but a true friend takes their beloved best mate for a stroll around a brewery for an inside look at the science and art behind making their favourite tipple. You’ll learn a lot about the making of beers, wines and liquers as well as enjoying a tasting session. Because you’re worth it!

4 Ideas For A Brilliant Day Out With Your Bestie

The Pramshed

Every day we make decisions that affect our future, but have you ever thought about the impact learning a foreign language could have on your life? When I made the decision to start studying French around three years ago, I never imagined the varied ways it would end up influencing the rest of my life. Arguably, learning any foreign language can have a positive influence on you, but if you’ve picked French, here are some amazing ways it will change your life for the better!

Travelling gets easier

There are nearly 30 countries around the globe where French is spoken as a language. From Europe, to Africa, to the North American continent, you can find French speakers all around the world! Knowing this language will hugely benefit you because it makes travelling and visiting these places a heck of a lot easier. You’ll be able to veer off the standard tourist trails and really explore France, Madagascar, Haiti or a multitude of other amazing nations!

Culture grows closer

There is no better way to truly delve into a culture than by learning the language. Being able to speak French will make it easier for you to foster strong and lasting relationships with native speakers in other countries. Locals always appreciate it when foreigners make a genuine effort to speak their tongue, and you’ll find it a lot easier to make friends, which will lead to a deeper exploration of their culture, too. And by learning the nuances of the French language, you’ll be unlocking the fascinating features of the culture as well.

Career opportunities increase

Did you know that by learning French you’ll actually be giving your career a boost too? Bilingual and multilingual employees are always considered assets to companies, and not just because they’re capable of travelling easily to different countries for business. Learning French will increase your ability to multi-task and problem-solve, both of which are considered very desirable traits by potential employers.

Your brain stays happy

Hobbies are an excellent way to help you unwind from the stress and strain of your work life, and we all need good hobbies to get us through those tough days. Choosing to learn French as a hobby can provide you with some quality fun time, all the while teaching you important skills! By making French your hobby, you’ll be increasing your knowledge and challenging yourself. Taking French lessons and working with native speakers through sites like Listen & Learn, Babbel or even using resources from the BBC can help to give your confidence and self-esteem a serious boost, which translates to, you guessed it, a happier brain!

At the end of the day, learning French is definitely a win-win situation—regardless of whether you’re doing it to further your career or simply for the joy of learning. The French language will continue to influence and impact your life in a positive way long after you’ve stopped taking lessons and moved on to other things. All it takes is one decision to change your life!

 

My Random Musings

I would like to visit Italy and cannot quite get the idea out of my mind. I read about a book about Tuscany as a young adult which started off the desire to see the country for myself. With my depression gone, I am more adventurous and hope to be in Italy by the end of the year.

Art

Tuscany itself has some art treasures that I would love to see. I have a dream of taking my creative daughter to Florence. For some reason, I want this to be very much about just the two of us together enjoying and being inspired by art.

Opera

My brother is an opera singer and worked for many years at La Scala in Milan. Sadly he never invited me to visit. So it would be cool to head there under my own steam and perhaps to take in a little opera although I think my late Mum was more excited by the shopping!

The seaside

Like my sailor Dad, I love the sea and you only have to look at the  shape of Italy to see just how much coastline there is to enjoy. I look forward to investigating  the variety of beaches on offer from the tourist-heavy to quieter and more obscure fishing villages.

Food

We are most definitely a family of foodies. We all love pizza and pasta and just know it would be that much  better in Italy. Of course Italian cuisine includes lots of other special dishes so I will be sure to check out cured meats and truffles along with checking out different regions and their culinary delights.

Religious sites

As a child I used to hate how my Mum would take us to so many churches when we were on holiday. I famously angered her when I went to Paris and went to a market instead of the Notre Dame. However, as I was brought up Catholic and with more of a spiritual feel to my life these days, I would like to visit Rome. It is a city that pulls at my heart strings.

Right, I have convinced myself and will start looking at good dates for my Italian adventure. I don’t think my current battered case will be enough for such a trip and definitely not stylish enough.  I am quite temped by  Tumi products at Betty Hemmings especially the extra-deep globe-trotter suitcase. Big cases mean huge shopping sprees and why not on the adventure of a lifetime?

Do you have favourite places in Italy to share with me?

 

 

 

 

 

The Pramshed

Let’s face it, nobody dreams of the day that they’ll have an opportunity to catch a night’s rest at an airport terminal, but sometimes you don’t have any other choice but to lay down for a nap while you’re waiting for your flight. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, then you might have an overnight layover that you didn’t plan for, and that means at least trying to catch some Z’s before you take the next leg of your journey.

If you think that you’re going to have to sleep at the airport during your trip, the following tips can help you to enjoy a better more peaceful experience.

1.     Do Some Research

It’s hard to plan for a delayed or cancelled flight, but you can make sure that you’re prepared, and you know where to go should the worst happen. Take the time to research your backup sleeping options before you head off on your trip. There are plenty of major airports out there that at least offer Wi-Fi and chargers, so you can assess what’s available around you.

2.     Consider an On-Site Hotel

If you’re flying with a very large airport, then there’s a good chance that there might be a hotel located inside the actual facility. In that case, you don’t have to worry about the inconveniences of going through security and customs again. Additionally, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to get back to the airport on time if you get an alert that tells you that a new flight is available for you to board. If you have some money to spare and there is an on-site hotel available, then make sure that you at least check it out. After all, you might as well get a good night’s sleep if you can manage it.

3.     Protect your Belongings

If you really need to sleep in a terminal, then travelling light could be the key to making sure that you can defend your belongings and stop your valuables from being stolen. If you’re lugging around a suitcase or multiple bags, then you might want to check and find out whether the airport has facilities for storing luggage. Whatever you do, keep your money and passport with you always, and keep your bag close. If possible, resist going to the bathroom and leaving your luggage unattended, as security is always on the look-out for unattended baggage.

4.     Avoid Isolated Locations

If you’re travelling solo, then it’s important not to sleep in too much of an isolated location. While prayer rooms and yoga rooms might seem like a good place to get some rest, they can also increase your chances of getting robbed if these spaces stay empty for long periods of time. If possible, it might be better for you to sleep near your gate surrounded by other people. You should also check the departure board before you nod off to check whether there are any early flights leaving from the gate that you’re staying at.

5.     Create a Peaceful Space

Sleeping in a terminal isn’t a practice conducive to plenty of peace and quiet. However, you can employ some of the same tactics you might use on a flight if you wanted to get some extra rest. For instance, use a sleep mask to block out additional light, and use headphones or earplugs to get rid of any passenger chatter or flight announcements. If you’ve packed a toiletries kit in your carry-on, you can wash your face and brush your teeth before you sleep too.

6.     Prepare to be Woken Up

If you’re stressed, exhausted, and even jet-lagged from a previous flight, then there’s a good chance that you’ll oversleep and end up missing your next connecting flight. With that in mind, make sure that you have an alarm set on your phone that’s ready to wake you up when you need to go. Don’t be surprised if you’re woken up by security before you expect your alarm to go off, however. Some security guards will check terminals for sleepers, so you should be ready to show your boarding pass and explain why you’re there if you’re roused.

7.     Use an Airport Lounge

While most airport lounges won’t be available for overnight use, if you just want to get a few hours of shut-eye while you’re waiting to be moved onto the next flight after a cancellation, then you can always try heading to an airport lounge for a little more peace and comfort. In a lounge, you’ll be able to use food, showers, and soft comfortable seats to get the much-needed rest that you deserve.

 

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Exotic foods are that little bit different and definitely a very good reason to travel overseas to try something new and unusual.

We are a family of foodies. My Dad always encouraged me to eat local food when we were on holiday. His theory was that you could not possibly know what you liked if you did not try things. Also if you do not give things a go, you just might miss out on something very tasty indeed. His adventurous nature came from his years with the Navy I think where he visited Greece, Libya, Malta, Egypt and so many other far-flung shores

My mum was a cook by trade so had a natural interest in food too and would try to replicate things we had tasted on holiday when we returned home. She brought both my brothers up to be really good amateur chefs and both of them have turned to the preparation of food to make money in one way or another over the years.

So as a family we are pretty well-travelled but the one thing I would love to try are the exotic foods from Barbados having heard about them from an old college friend who hailed from that particular Caribbean island. I love rum and I would like to learn how to pair it with foods.

Barbados is exciting when it comes to cuisine as there are African, Asian, Indian and European influences. Food might be cooked using a wok, a grill or the wood stone oven.

There are a diverse selection  of cafes and restaurants and you may be surprised to know that Bajan food can be quite different to that on other Caribbean islands .

Bajan seasoning sounds wonderful with its notes of thyme, marjoram, green onions and parsley.

The national dish is Cou Cou and Flying Fish which is certainly a name to capture the imagination. Cou Cou consists of cornmeal and okra mixed with salt, peppers and Bajan hot sauce.

Inevitably fish is huge in Barbados and I would love to try fish balls often sold from the side of the road. There is nothing better than eating in the great outdoors.  It’s not just about the Flying Fish either so I would love to experiment with different tropical fish dishes including one that combines macaroni and cheese with fish. I would never think of that combination so would definitely give this one a try.

I love sweet potatoes already but the idea of covering them in sugar and serving with pineapples and cherries really intrigues me.

I am more convinced of the merits of plantains fried and topped with cinnamon but as I say travel broadens the taste-buds so bring on the culinary Bajan delights.

Now I just need to check out the other events and things to do in Barbados so am off to check out the luxury all-inclusive holidays from Destination 2 and then start saving up.

Where would you like to travel next to try some exotic foods?

Exotic Foods From Barbardos

 

My Random Musings