Tag Archives: plan

How To Fill The Time While You’re Traveling

What a lot of people don’t tell you about traveling is that it isn’t all fun. Although you get to explore some incredible cities and see new things every day, there are times when you’re waiting around for a bus or sitting on a dark train through the night or trying to get over jet lag at 3AM in an uncomfortable hostel room bed, and at those times, traveling really doesn’t seem like as much fun as it’s cracked up to be! Here are some tips to help you get through the hardest and loneliest parts of traveling the world…

Start Reading

There’s nothing better than an e-reader to get you through some rough times. Download your favourite books to dive into whenever you feel a little blue – try Harry Potter or the Game of Thrones series for exciting reads that you’ll be able to dip in and out of. Not only will it provide you with something to do, but if you don’t feel like talking to anyone then reading is a surefire way to tell them that you’re busy and to back off.

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Get A Streaming App

Streaming apps can enable you to watch movies and TV shows on your devices, whether that’s your smartphone or your tablet. Being able to watch a half-hour comedy on your tablet with your headphones on underneath your sheets as the hostel you’re staying in will help you feel a little more grounded and it’ll put you in a much better mood. ShowBox is a popular app among Android users – the latest version APK download link is here if you want to check it out. Just remember to take an extra charger so your devices don’t run out of juice too quickly.

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Plan Your Trip

One of the best things to do if you feel a little bored and down is to start planning the next phase of your trip. Even if you’re about to head home, why not start a list of the next countries that you plan to visit? If you’re feeling a little lost and you miss your friends and family at home, opening up your guidebook and deciding what attractions and cities you want to visit next will remind you why you wanted to start traveling to begin with. It’s also a good idea to start looking at your budget to make sure that you have a decent money situation – you want to make sure that you can travel in financial comfort.

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Make Friends

Finally, use any moments of loneliness to start making new friends. Other people traveling will be remarkably friendly and could prove to be friends for life – and even if they’re only backpacking friends, that’s okay too. Some people are perfect to have as friends for a certain part of your life before parting with goodwill towards each other. Strike up conversations with people who seem friendly but make sure that you stay on your guard and remember that if any situation makes you feel uncomfortable it’s totally okay to remove yourself from it.

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Mistra Bay nature walk

One thing I struggle with in Malta is to choose where to go to enjoy a lovely nature walk. Finding a place which is not crowded proves to be difficult at the very least.

At this time of the year, Malta is at its greenest. It encourages me to go exercise, snap some photos and enjoy a picnic with loved ones or friends.

Recently my boyfriend and I have visited Mistra Bay. Previously, I have only frequented this area in my childhood for swimming and BBQ-ing. This time round, our plan was different, and I was pleasantly surprised by the nice views once you get walking along the cliffs. The shallow water is lovely to look at, the breeze is fresh and clean.

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My excitement was hardly contained when we came across what looked like an abandoned room, with a very panoramic view. Walking into it, and absorbing the scenery… Reading through the graffitti, I found a mark which said that this was a fire-station. We tried to come up with reasons why this was suitable, but seeing that there were no villages or towns close by, it hardly made any sense to have one at this location, on the very edge of the cliffs.

We stopped for tea and snacks further up, facing the breathtaking St.Paul’s islands. I have never looked at them from this angle; gorgeous none the less!

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Photos used are owned by myself. Please ask for permission if you’d like to use them.

Kickass Bacon Pancakes

We all love our pancakes, and I prefer mine savoury. Not just savoury, but served with crispy bacon and butter. Sometimes, when I am in no rush and fancy a big breakfast, I even cook eggs and sausages. You could say, this is my version of an English breakfast.

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg, lightly whisked

Serve with crispy, streaky bacon and butter (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
  2. Whisk in the lemon juice, whole milk and egg
  3. Leave the combined batter in the fridge for 20 minutes
  4. In the meantime, you can heat a non-stick frying pan and start cooking the streaky bacon in its own juices, until golden
  5. Clean the non-stick frying pan, and over medium heat, start frying the batter to make these lovely, fluffy pancakes. If your pan is good, you don’t need to put oil or butter.
  6. Allow around 2 minutes on one side, flip with a spatula and wait another 1 minute. Lower the heat if you notice that the pancake colour is darker than golden.

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With this recipe I make 9 pancakes of roughly 15 minutes in diameter. Serve with crispy bacon and butter, or anything else you might fancy for your breakfast!

And, if you don’t feel like making them yourself, look for some destinations that serve pancakes for breakfast.

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.

Things a’changing

There are days, when I question things about my life, and my choices. Today has been one of these forsaken days. Actually, I have been at it since 3AM, but that is beyond my point.

I was thinking about back in 2011, when I had my first Christmas alone, living far away from my family, friends, and on top of that, in another country – How courageous was I, to take such a big leap, leaving everything and everyone behind!

Before then, I have never lived alone, and I had no idea about the kind of responsibility and effort it entails to live and make ends meet at the end of the day, and month when all bills came crawling up. I have done a great job, and learned a lot from this experience.

When I have moved back to Malta, I was not willing to move back with the family, as I enjoyed my independent life too much to let go of it. So much so, that within a year of renting, I purchased my own property.

Although this made sense financially, this has indirectly tied me to this country without even realising at the time. Now that I have settled down in such a “grown up” lifestyle, it seems to me that I have become more self conscious when taking decisions. And I shall give you an example. This week, I was meant to travel, but my plans fell apart, and I have decided to give up the holiday based on two reasons:
1. I should not travel alone at night
2. Accommodation has risen up in price (it also being Christmas holidays, and included NYE), and a last minute purchase would have costed me my entire savings for my holiday.

If I did not have my house to worry about, and if I were not such a wuss, I would be in the UK right now, enjoying cold weather, possibly fog and snow, and beautiful beautiful scenery. How silly am I? Where has all my self confidence gone? What has tarnished my spirit in such a way?

And if you are wondering why I wrote this and why I am sharing this with my readers, it is because I want to be able to read this whenever I need to, so I do not repeat such thing ever again. And also, to try to keep reminding myself that not all my decisions in the past years have been as bad.

Now to try and live life guilt free… and keep moving forward… >>>

Flee To Florida, And Escape The Rain!

It’s dull, drizzling, and the sky is really lacking inspiration. It no longer feels as if winter is around the corner… it’s here, and it’s here to stay! But, don’t fear. Some parts of the world are never really that cold, or miserable. One of the great examples, and a great holiday location is Florida. If you’ve never been, you’re really missing out. This post will go through the State of Florida, city by city, to inspire your next big trip!

Orlando

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You’ve probably heard of Disneyland in Paris, right? Well, Orlando is home to something a little bigger; Disneyworld. It’s also home to several other large theme parks, including Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. All in all, there are over a dozen theme parks in Orlando. And, some of them are the biggest in the world.

Like much of Florida, much of the Orlando area is filled with marshland and swamps. But, you’ll also find miles of white, sandy beaches to the east of the city. In areas like this, wildlife refuses to budge. This makes for a city that feels like it’s at the heart of nature, while still incorporating nightclubs and shopping into the mix.

Tampa

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For lovers of history and culture; look no further than Tampa. This city focuses more on intellectual pursuits than either of the others. The city has numerous zoos and aquariums, making it perfect for youngsters who don’t like rides! It also has several museums, and even plays host to the famous Busch Gardens; an African-themed amusement park.

Most of the cities nightlife and dining can be found in the Ybor City neighborhood. This area is steeped in history, having been established by Cuban and Spanish tobacco workers at the turn of the 20th Century.

Miami

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Miami is one of America’s hotspots for fashion and culture. For those who want to spend the nights on the town, Miami is the place for you. Much of Miami consists of art deco buildings and trendsetting diners. It truly is the best place to go to sample some of the finer things in life.

The city is famous worldwide for its beautiful white, sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean. Miami is a popular spot for surfers and other extreme water sports, adding, even more, culture to the already bustling city.

Getting yourself into a hotel in Florida is easy as pie. You have so many options available; the hardest part really is choosing. You can spend two weeks in a luxury hotel, or have a stint in vacation rentals in Florida. The world truly is your oyster. It’s best to avoid traveling to a place like this with food included in your trip. You’ll want to get out and try all of the different offerings these cities have for you.  Remember to take plenty of dollars with you, too!

All that’s left to do is get planning! Make sure that you plan well to avoid any unwanted issues on your journey. Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

8 things to strengthen one’s relationship

Given the last 13 years of somewhat unsuccessful relationship “experience”, I have tried to gather and combine a list of things or tips, which I think would make or help in having a satisfying and working long term relationship.

  1. Honesty; Possibly the most important thing of all. Always be honest and truthful to each other, on all things in your life, be it as a couple or individual. Honesty helps you feel more comfortable and assured on where you stand in your love affair.
  2. Be respectful – Mutual respect is important in maintaining a healthy relationship. The wishes and feelings of each other are valuable even when you disagree. Be genuine and show interest in your partner’s life and hobbies – such things can only bring you closer as a couple.
  3. Trust – This is the foundation of a happy and fulfilling relationship. It take time to build trust and can be lost in a split of a second if one feels betrayed. Examples of being trustworthy are: being reliable and following up on your promises, share what you feel and always say the truth, be a safe place for your partner, be consistent (not only when it is convenient or things are going well).
  4. Be considerate – Keep each other in the loop, ask for holdinghandssunseteach other’s advise in decision making, especially when this will affect your life together as a couple.
  5. Affection – don’t just say that you love your partner; demonstrate it. Kiss each other good morning, be passionate, hold hands in public, take pictures together – make memories… surprise each other with a romantic date or a gift.
  6. Know your Priorities – Although we all lead busy lives, we should always find time for our partners. If you don’t see this as important, perhaps you should spend some time to think about this and why you are hanging onto a relationship which you don’t feel devoted to. If we all invest as much time on our relationship as we do texting, playing games, on social media and watching TV  or films, we might actually have a meaningful relationship.
  7. Security – Show that your partner can count on you to be there in times of need; be it emotionally or physically.
  8. Be a team  – You are stronger together, as a team. Make plans, ensure you have shared goals and same purposes and views long term. Work together.

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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.

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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Travelling Abroad With Kids

 

Family holidays are what memories are made of; fun in the pool, ice creams and sand castles on the beach. But taking young children on holiday requires a fair amount of planning and consideration. To keep your holiday fun-filled while keeping safe and everything running as smoothly as possible, here are a few things to bear in mind.

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Get Vaccinations Up To Date

You won’t always need specific vaccinations when you’re travelling abroad depending on where you’re going. However children should be vaccinated with their regular childhood immunisations. Ideally they will be vaccinated at the routine times for their age, although if you are due to travel abroad it’s likely that these will need to be done more quickly. It’s important be be aware that not all travel related vaccines are effective in infants, and in some cases they may not be recommended at all due to the risk of doing more harm than good. Making sure your child’s regular immunisations are all up to date before travelling is important, for the full list of jabs they need check out this.

 

Hire a Car

It’s no secret that young children get restless quickly. Instead of lugging them (and all of their stuff) onto public transport you might find it’s easier to hire a car. You can load everything into the boot before you leave each day, and you have much more control of getting from A to B. Most car hire companies will offer hire of children’s car seats and booster seats too, giving you one less thing to pack.

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Get The Right Visas

A huge number of countries require Visas before you’re able to enter. For example if you’re from outside the US, you’ll require an American Visa application in order to visit. Both accompanied and unaccompanied children no matter what their age require their own independant Visa. It’s quick and easy to do, most are granted online within seconds although it’s recommended that you do this seventy two hours before you’re due to fly. The same applies if you’re an American looking to leave the US, you and the children will require Visas for a large proportion of places- so make sure that’s all sorted in advance. Something to bear in mind when you’re travelling abroad with kids, as they won’t just be covered under your paperwork.

 

Plan Activities

Having a rough idea of what you want to do while you’re away (with the willingness to be flexible) can help to add some structure to the chaotic fun. Don’t try and cram in too much, instead choose a few key activities and assign them to certain days. Leave plenty of time before and after each trip or excursion to relax and rest.

 

Choose The Right Travel Insurance

In most cases you will be able to get cover through a family policy but it’s important to read through carefully, or you could end up out of pocket if you need to make a claim. You will need something with a high level of medical cover, and which includes all of the activities your children will be doing on holiday. This is why it’s worth spending time on the point above and planning some activities beforehand, so you have an idea of what you’ll be doing. Swimming, biking, outdoor games- make sure they are all included. Don’t skimp to get a cheaper premium cost, you’re much better off making sure they’re completely covered.