Tag Archives: drive

Choosing your Wedding Venue

Wedding-Venue-SearchChoosing your wedding venue is probably the biggest decision you have to make after the proposal. Everything else starts falling into place when you know where the reception will be held. In our case, we chose the venue, then we looked for a church which is not on the other side of the island. Then we proceeded with choosing our caterers, which was the next headache…

Before deciding on wedding venue, read through the points below, to form your basic wedding requirements:

  • Budget: Make sure the wedding venues you are looking at are within your budget.  Although daydreaming is nice, if you have a restricted budget, it is important to not waste time on venues that you can never afford. Harsh, but it will be a let down eventually. When looking at venues, make sure you ask the right questions, for example, are there any hidden fees involved? What is the overtime hourly rate? And how does it work? What are the payment arrangements?
  • Guest-list: Having an idea on the number of guests that you would like to invite would help ensure that all of them will fit comfortably in the venue. Further, it will also help you to determine if the venue is too big for your wedding party. You really wouldn’t want the wedding reception to look empty.
  • Availability: This is a crucial point when it comes to choosing the wedding venue. The reason I have put this as a third point is as I am a strong believer on the fact that one should know the budget and number of guests before starting to look at venues.
  • Weather-friendly: Make sure that the wedding venue is appropriate for your big day. If you are getting married in the dead of winter or in the hottest month of the year, make sure that there is an indoor space for all your guests. You might get lucky, and you will not need this space but best to be safe than sorry. If it is too hot, air-conditioning is a must, if it is cold or rainy, then a warm space (or at least an indoor space) is ideal. Have a back-up plan at hand for the worst case scenario.
  • Catering: This will be tackled separately, however one must keep in mind that certain venues have catering exclusivity, meaning that you cannot choose your own catering. In this case, make sure that the venue package is affordable, and that the venue’s caterer is to your liking. Food and beverage is essential in a wedding, and one simply cannot take it for granted.
  • Parking: Appropriate amount of parking the vicinity of the wedding venue is considered an asset now a days. Most of the guests will be attending with their own means of transport, and wouldn’t want to walk for half an hour to the wedding reception and back to the car. If parking is an issue, then make sure to reserve a parking lot for your big-day and instruct your guests to park there.
  • Ambience:  Think about the theme and the decor you are after. Does this match the style of the venue? If you want to dress up the venue completely to make it unique, yours, make sure you have budgeted the decor required. Ensure also the venue is ideal for your guest list. For example, if you are inviting elderly, make sure there are chairs available. As much as you wouldn’t want all the guests to sit down, you need cater for everyone’s needs.
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Wedding in Malta: How to get started

Daniel and I are both planners, which I’d say is of an advantage when it comes to organizing our wedding plan. We have heard about so many stories, where couples are stressed beyond compare, fighting every minute they get, that we were a bit paranoid. Truth be told, none of this has happened. Three months into the preparation, we have been very respectful towards each other, and we have managed to compromise on everything so far, be it budget, and choosing our providers.

We believe, that the hardest thing that we had to come up with was our budget. The main reason being that we had absolutely no idea on how much a wedding should cost.  We heard of weddings which costed 10,000 and others which were 30,000 and more! This confused us further, as we were unsure how two weddings which had roughly the same items (sizable venue and guest-list, food, DJ, open bar) could differentiate so much in terms of cost!

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So how did we come up with a budget? In reality, we did not! Wait, what? We decided on what we can afford. We decided on the guests we wanted to invite. I come from a large family, and we had to draw a line somewhere. We made the guest list, and we asked vendors for quotations based on these numbers. Then by priority, we started to add additional costs – listing the must haves and the nice to haves.

This is the must-have list we came up with:

– Gather an approximate Guest list and request quotations for food and drinks
Chapel & Venue – booked on the same day
Food tasting from top 2 or 3 caterers (based on price, reputation and wedding date availability)
Photographer – A beautiful memory to cherish in the years to come
DJ – a wedding reception without music, is not really a celebration. In Malta, DJ is the most common form of entertainment for weddings. Some choose to have a live-band or singer
Cars – Bare necessity is a bridal car and taxi for groom and our respective family
Hair & Makeup – We all want to look at our best for our big day
Rings – The symbol for our marriage
Invitations – Compulsory
Souvenirs – A small thank you gift for our guests
Clothes – Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen
Bride’s flower bouquet

Nice to have list:

Flowers (for the church)
Church Singer
– Themed Decor (for the venue)
Lighting
– Videographer
– Red Carpet (for the church)

How to Organise the Perfect Indoor BBQ In Winter

There is one thing we all miss in the winter: the ability to invite people around for an afternoon of barbecue. If you feel like your social life has suffered as the weather got colder, you might want to get creative and recreate the feeling of summer in your home, and hold an indoor party that cheers you up and makes your weekends more exciting. Below you will find a few tips on how to get started.

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Get a Quality Grill

There are plenty of great quality health fryers and grills you can use, and the results will be the same as on the flames. You might want to get an indoor electric or gas grill set up in your kitchen, or keep it outside, and have the party in the conservatory, if you have one. If you are not sure which type of meat will be the best for your indoor grilling, you can always ask your local butcher or farm shop for advice.

Make Loads of Punch and Mulled Wine

To warm up the atmosphere and your visitors, you might want to get the punch and mulled wine on the hob, instead of cold beer and wine. You can create your hot cocktails yourself, and lay them out for your guests to try and rate. Get your recipes and creativity going, and impress your friends this winter.

Create a Menu and Start Cooking

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Get some finger food on the menu, as well as the grilled meat. Offer bacon sandwiches, savoury pies prepared the previous day, and order some pastry from your local shop. Don’t forget about the fresh salad and entree, and get a bowl of soup out, so your guests can help themselves whenever they want to. You can make your own coleslaw, bake your rolls fresh, to go with the meat and the soup.

Get the Caterers In

Depending on the size of your party, you might want to get some help. Caterers can help you out with equipment that keeps the food warm and fresh, as well as laying out the dishes. Check out Singapore caterer ezBBQ to find out what services are available, and how you can make the most out of your indoor barbecue. Alternatively, you can order a hot pudding from a local catering company, and torch your own creme-brulees.

Add Lighting, Decoration, and Music

To get the conversation flowing, and cheer up your friends arriving, you can decorate your home with winter paintings and snowflakes. You might want to get a winter wax melt on the go, and install a mood light. Create a playlist that you can stream from your phone and control the volume according to what your guests are doing.

Just because it is cold and wet outside, your social life should go on. Organise a creative indoor BBQ party, and cheer yourself and your friends up. Make sure that you have adequate extractor fans installed in the house, though, otherwise, your house will smell of barbecue for a long time.

 

Destination: Cruise

If you are on a tight budget, and would prefer knowing how much your trip will cost you before even getting to your destination, then you are probably into the idea of going on a cruise! There are several other advantages when choosing to go on a cruise.

  • A cruise is as luxurious as it gets in terms of rooms – It is as moving hotel! Picture this, you have to unpack once, yet you get to see tons of different cities and exotic places. Your room will contain perks such as air-condition, flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, wardrobe space as well as tea and coffee making facilities.image.png
  • You don’t even have to think that far ahead on where to go for drinks or meals as you have several options under one roof. Not just that, but it is included in the price! On top of that, one can enjoy the entertainment provided. From live music, to west-end shows, to quizzes, casino and even stand-up comedy! There is really something for all ages!

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  • You don’t have to do much planning – You just have to be ready to go when the ship comes in. Who doesn’t enjoy being driven around – Less stress, more fun!
  • Traveling on a cruise is most definitely more convenient – You get to enjoy whatever you fancy, move around at your convenience, and appreciate the fresh air! Highly recommended for those who are claustrophobic or afraid of flying!

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  • If you enjoy socialising, going on a cruise is by far the best way to meet new people. People tend to enjoy chatting and getting to know each other, especially when drinking is involved.

There are many destinations to choose from, and you can get on a cruise ship from any continent in the world, as long as it has a port:

  • Sail from Newcastle, UK to the Fjords and Glaciers. This is a dream destination for me when it comes to enjoying a holiday in Northern Europe. This one week long cruise would take you to Flam, Skjolden, Bergen and Olden in Norway. These picturesque villages offer beautiful sightseeing opportunities ranging from mountains, to glaciers, to even historical cobbled streets.

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Nærøyfjord, Norway
  • Leaving from Montenegro Bay in Jamaica, embark a cruise liner for the next 15 days. Enjoy the rainforests in Costa Rica, Panama, the coastline in Colombia, old towns in Cuba, followed by the white sandy beaches in Mexico. This is truly a magnificent way of appreciating the simple life away from modern, hectic America.

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Havana, Cuba
  • The eastern Mediterranean offers so much when it comes to history; A 7 nights cruise would cover stops such as Alanya in Turkey, which is the legendary hangout spot for Queen Cleopatra, the holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and of course Crete – famous for the Greek mythology remains.

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Alanya, Turkey
 

Personally, I like the idea of going on a cruise, to relax and sample destinations. This way, I can decide which localities are worth revisiting for a longer time period in the future.

Perfect Perth

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Perth not only enjoys wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and a laid back demeanor but there is more to this captivating city than the myriad of bars, restaurants and activities. Perth’s pristine parkland, nearby bush, and river and ocean beaches allow its visitors to spread out and enjoy what’s on offer.

The transport system is fabulous but to truly take advantage of all that’s on offer you may wish to hire a car. Burswood Car Rentals offers free delivery to all city hotels allowing you to explore further afield and visit some of the less well known yet spectacular spots that cost next to nothing. (Please note that costs may apply for some activities)

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park is accessible from Rockingham which is less than an hour’s drive south of Perth. Swarming with marine life including sea stars and urchins as well as a number of fish species flitting through the shipwrecks and makes for excellent diving, snorkeling and wildlife watching. While in the water you’ll probably run into a pod of bottle-nose dolphins and can swim with these on the regularly operated tours.

Penguin Island, a breeding colony for an array of perth1incredible birds, has Little Penguins which breed in the burrows and you can watch them being fed at the interactive center.

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If you have a dive permit, The Saxon Ranger, a 400 tonne former fishing vessel takes residence at the Park. The boat is first purpose sunk dive wreck in the Perth metropolitan area.

Just 20 minutes east of Perth, sample the divine fruits of the vineyards of Western Australia’s oldest wine region at the Swan Valley and Darling Range.  Here you may indulge on award-winning local produce, discover the incredible local heritage or simply relax in the stunning bush-land of the Darling Range. The antithesis of the bustle of city life, it can be reached via road or aboard a Swan River Cruise from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

Sharing a glass of red with the vineyard owners, they are happy to recount stories of the generations of their families who owned the vineyards before them, some dating back to the early European settlers.

With over 70 eateries to choose from you are spoiled for choice or pack a lunch enjoying the breathtaking views of your surroundings.

You can also partake in many activities including horse riding, cycling and Indigenous culture.

perth2If you fancy getting even closer to some furry friends, head to Caversham Wildlife Park –  where close encounters with kangaroos and koalas is order of the day.

Alternatively you could choose to drive along the Great Eastern Highway to the blissful tranquillity of the Avon Valley heritage town in under an hour and a half. One of the few towns in WA to hold ‘Historic Town’ status, the proud residents of York have taken great care over restoring its many Victorian and Federation buildings. Due to retaining its heritage charms, it remains Perth’s favourite country escape.

No wonder this area is a top spot for romantic weekends or family fun.

Want to Drive Sooner Rather than Later? Here Are the Keys to Success!

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When you’ve decided that you want to drive, the wait between the decision and actually getting your license can be torturous. Most learners just want to get on the road and start exercising their newfound vehicular freedom. Well, the key to doing that is to become a driving pro in as short a time as possible. Here are some essential suggestions for you.

Start the preparations now

If you’re reading this article, you might be on the verge of taking your driving test. But it’s also possible that you haven’t even applied for a provisional license yet! It’s important that you do this as soon as possible. One reason you may not have done this is that you haven’t reached the legal driving age yet. Depending on where you are or what you plan to drive, this is generally between 16 and 18. But you can usually apply for provisional licenses three months before you turn of legal driving age! You should also get together any other documents you’ll need.

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Thinking theoretically

A lot of people get stuck on the theory side of driving. One of the great things about theory is precisely that – it’s just theory! This means you can start getting practice in whenever you want. Some forward-thinking parents even have their kids study in a couple of years before they can legally drive. Get familiar with the various highway rules, as well as how the average driver behaves on the road. Start getting it in your head now!

Formal crash courses

One of the most popular ways of getting through this process quickly is by doing a crash course. I know that “crash” sounds bad in the context of driving, but it’s not about crashing. A crash course in driving offers you the required practice and learning hours within a week or two. It’s intense and fast, and requires a lot of spare time. It also tends to be quite expensive. Most people won’t have the time or the means to do it in this fashion. But the option is there!

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Longer lessons

Instead of going into full-on, intense crash courses, you could simply take longer lessons. Most learners will only take hour-long lessons at a time, maybe once a week or every two weeks. But as long as your driving instructor is able to do so, you can get lessons lasting two or three hours. This ensures that your required learning hours build up much faster. Of course, you need to be confident that you can absorb all the required information when you’re doing it this way!

Practice tests

You know what accounts for a surprisingly large amount of time during this process? Waiting to take your test once you’ve booked it. The people who oversee these tests are very busy. You may have to wait for just a few days, or you may have to wait several weeks. That, of course, is if you can even find a time that accommodates both of you in that period of time! Imagine how much time is lost when you have to take your test again. Your test is going to be very different from your lessons, and this surprises most learners. One of the best ways to tackle this is to take a practice test beforehand. Check this site out to find out more about practice tests.

Build up those practice hours

Lessons cost a lot of money. But aside from car running costs, practice hours are virtually free! It’s important that you get as many practice hours in as you can. These are the hours that you spend with a licensed driver overseeing some informal driving. You need to accumulate a large number of practice hours before you can take your test. But the key to quick success could be to take on even more practice hours than is required. You need to perfect those maneuvers and really get your head around the roads and codes. This will give you a big advantage when it comes to taking your test and passing it first time.

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Know your routes

Do you know where your test is going to take place? If so, then it’s vital you check this area out before the day. Spend some of your practice hours there. One of the most common reasons for failure during a test is that the learner is unfamiliar with the territory. Even seasoned drivers are a little more cautious in new areas. You should make sure you know the roads as well as possible. Consider using your practice hours to cover the five or so mile radius that comprises that territory.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey has been in my must-see list for years. The reason it took me this long to visit is because it is in the South of Wales, and I have mostly traveled to the North and Mid Wales as it is more accessible for me, due to Manchester and Liverpool airports being so close to my destination (also I have never driven in the UK, but I probably should…).

I would say that the Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the most beautiful monastic ruins, not just in Wales or the UK, but within Europe. The location of the abbey is very scenic, and the village of Tintern is tiny. In fact, after spending hours in this serene place, we walked to the village for a snack. We even watched River Wye which runs behind the abbey and through the village. The river has been an important source of water which sustained the villagers and monks, and is till useful at this day and age.

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The abbey was founded in 1131, by the lord of Chepstow and the building and its surroundings kept growing exponentially until its closing down around 400 years later. In the 13th century, Roger Bigod rebuilt the church, and as a thank you his coat of arms was put in the glass of the east window. This church forms the largest part of what is still remaining today, and is a great example of welsh architecture of the medieval period, even if in ruins.

Although it did not have much importance history wise, what is left of this abbey is a major tourist attracting in the South of Wales, as is Caerphilly Castle, Raglan Castle and Cardiff Castle in the capital city of Wales.

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So Many People Make These Mistakes With Their Trip To Canada: Don’t Be One Of Them!

Canada is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. After all, it’s one of the most picturesque places you can go with dozens of lakes and mountains. And the cities are fantastic to take a look at with so much to see and do. However, so many people make mistakes with their vacation to Canada. Here are some things you should avoid doing when you make a trip to the country!

They don’t travel around by bike

You will be surprised how many people have to pay out to rent a car while on their holiday. But it’s often an essential while in Canada as you want to get out exploring while you are on your vacation. However, you should consider hiring a bike instead. While you are biking, you get to view amazing sights around you. Biking instead of going in a car means you can get to more secluded areas where you can see beautiful surroundings. Also, having a bike is so much easier to get around the cities such as Vancouver. Therefore, don’t make the mistake of hiring a car when you can get around much easier with a bike!

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They think it’s the same as America

A lot of people group America and Canada together as the same place! But it’s not the same, and the rules differ. For example, you won’t be able to use your dollars in the country; they have their own unique currency (Canadian dollars). They also have different rules to the USA when it comes to drinking. A lot of places you can actually drink at 18, unlike our rule of 21. Also, not everyone speaks English in Canada. A proportion of the people in America speak French, so it’s best to learn some basic words for your trip. Also, just because you are American, it doesn’t mean you can legally get into the country with just your passport. You might need to apply for an Official Canada eTA so that you can make a trip to the country. You can look online to see if you are required to get one when traveling from your state. You don’t want to end up stuck at the airport as you don’t have the right documents!

They think everywhere is within close distance

Did you know that Canada is actually much bigger than America? It has fewer people living there, but there is a lot more land! In fact, it’s one of the largest countries in the world. However, a lot of people don’t realize that, so they head to Canada thinking that everything is within close distance. But you need to check exactly where you are staying and how far away things are located before you book. For example, Vancouver and Toronto are actually a five-hour flight away from each other! Therefore, choose wisely where you want to stay. If you want to enjoy Niagara Falls while on your trip, you should choose Toronto. That way, you can enjoy famous landmarks like the CN Tower, while only being an hour and a half away from the magnificent waterfall.

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And don’t just stay in the cities while you are in Canada. There is so much more on offer in the beautiful countryside.

Travel Bucket List: Luxury Destinations I’d Love To Visit

I think having a bucket list is a great idea. Setting and achieving goals is how we can all progress in life. So if you don’t have one already, then you should! I have set one in general, but I think there are a few other things that I would like to add.

As a couple, we love to travel, so I need to include some more places that we would like to visit. Being able to travel in style would be amazing too. I would love to fly first class to a long haul destination and stay in a luxury hotel. Having a chef to cook for us while we are there would be the icing on the cake; quite literally! That would be the plan to do some day, each time we travel. I just need to make my millions! So here a few ideas and dreams of mine. Have you ever been to any of them? Would love to hear about it if you have.

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Caribbean Cruise

I think a cruise is one of the ultimate ways to see the world in style. You can get to experience a variety of places, as you sail around several countries and islands. The Caribbean would be one of the top choices. As there are so many of the islands that I’d love to visit, a cruise would help you to see plenty of them. I like the idea of hopping off and on as seeing some lovely places in this world. There are so many luxe cruise liners out there too. So it makes the time on board fantastic, and they’d make sure you are treated like a guest. All inclusive activities and food would be a dream.

Asia

Having been to Asia once before, it would be fantastic to visit again. It isn’t a continent that is necessarily synonymous with luxury, but there are plenty of places that fit the bill. Staying in a luxury hotel in Bali or on the island of Phuket would be a dream come true. The beaches in those places are second to none. White sands and clear seas make it perfect for relaxing, as well as diving and snorkeling. Not to mention the fantastic weather that is pretty much all year round. Even in the ‘rainy’ months, the temperatures are high. Asian food is to die for, so having it made for you each day would be amazing.

Italian Amalfi Coast

Italy is such a gorgeous location. The Amalfi Coast, including places like Capri, can get a little bit forgotten about. When you think of Italy, most people think of Venice or Rome. But the Amalfi coast area is just stunning. There are plenty of exquisite restaurants to visit, to try the Italian cuisine in style. A lot of them are tucked away off the main areas, so feel like such a private getaway. It would be awesome to have a little road trip along the coast, and stop off at all of the towns along the way.

 

I am going through changes…

Five more days, until I say goodbye to Betsson.
Yes, you heard things right.
I am leaving Betsson Group. 

After almost 4 years, I have decided to move on to a new challenge, to a job which will hopefully take me where I want to be. For years, I’ve expressed my unheard wishes, so I decided to take my future in my own hands, sort it out myself.

With a grunt, I shall leave behind, the company I have worked for the longest, and some of the best colleagues I ever had the pleasure to work with. Truth be told, all my closest work mates bar one, have moved on to another job role before me, so I am not too displeased with my current situation. Besides, friends should find a way to communicate and to meet up, so let’s see the outcome of this little experiment 🙂

So what will happen of me, and of SteffiSays?

I will be taking a much needed 4 weeks off, out of which, I will spend 1 week in North Wales and 2 weeks travelling (Roadtripping, baby!). Right after, I will do some house maintenance, and will start working in my new job in the fourth week of September. SteffiSays will stay, there’s no way I will abandon my personal blog which has served me so well in the past 2 years!

Excited?
Hell yes! 

Although for the time being I will not say much about my new job, I am ecstatic for this opportunity, and for a company to believe in me and see my potential. I believe that in my new role I will be able to make a lot of changes and positive differences to drive the company in the right direction and to the next level. So, CHEERS!

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