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Walking Holiday Inspiration

For some people, the idea of a holiday is all about kicking back and taking things as slowly as possible. That’s all well and good - and definitely has its benefits! - but sometimes, you might find yourself just wanting to do something more. 
The idea of a walking holiday might sound like something that isn’t appropriate for younger people. “Isn’t that the kind of thing retirees do?” you might wonder, images in your mind of guys in comfortable trousers trekking up the side of a mountain with a walking stick in hand. “Is that really something that could hold my attention?” 
Well, for one thing, you’re not going to know unless you try! The benefits of a walking holiday are plentiful. First and foremost, it’s still a holiday, albeit one that might result in the occasional blister. Secondly, you’re going to be improving your fitness while enjoying the sights. Another benefit is that you don’t have to necessarily take off to far-flung lands and battle with flights and the hassle therein; there’s plenty of delights you can find right here at home, giving you a chance to walk your way to happiness on a weekend break that’s good for mind and body… 
So if you want to give it a try, the only question that remains is: where should you go? 
In some ways, the choices are limitless. You could technically go on a walking holiday a couple of miles away from your house, if you don’t mind walking through a supermarket car park or through a shopping centre. No, in truth, when people think of walking holidays they more tend to think of stunning vistas and amazing scenery - you need something to inspire you to keep putting one foot in front of another! 
The best place to start is by looking for a National Park that interests you. These are special locations on the map, designated as truly beautiful, and usually involving more than a couple of challenging hill or mountain walks. While there is no way of getting a true consensus of which is “the best”, there are a few frontrunners known for their spectacular views. 
The Brecon Beacons are so stunning they have been subject to a nature documentary by the BBC. Covering a large swathe of south Wales, the Beacons offer hills to climb and cosy Welsh pubs to relax in afterwards. You can stay in the Beacons themselves or head to a major city. You’re more likely to find places to stay in Swansea (around 30 minutes drive from the Beacons) if you travel on short notice, for example. 
Remaining in Wales, consider Snowdonia, though this time on the northern tip. The nearby coastal city of Caernarvon is stunning and complete with an ancient castle that you’ll want to explore, while Snowdonia itself is a climb worthy of a true fitness fanatic. The surrounding park is also full of wonderful hiking trails, but could you resist the lure of the eponymous mountain itself?
If you want to venture outside of the Wales, the Peak District in England should be calling to you. The Peaks, situated in Derbyshire, offer some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. You can also visit the picturesque town of Bakewell, or explore the history of the “Plague Village” of EyamT. If you’re a fan of astronomy, then the Peaks also host a selection of amazing “dark sites” of a quality that will let you see the Milky Way on a clear, moonless, night.
The only question that remains is: which one do you visit first?
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A Trip So Good You Won't Want To Leaf

If you’ve never been to Canada before, it’s easy to underestimate the vacation potential of the country. If you’re willing to brave the cold, however, a trip to Toronto can be one of the most fulfilling and deserves a place on your bucket list. The culture, the sights, the places you can go, it easily ranks as one of the best cities in North America. So, what are some of the must-see parts of Toronto?Picture by John Vetterli

The best times to go
In general, you might think you want to skip Winter trips because, indeed, Canada gets it rough. But the truth is that it might be worth braving for some of the best events of the whole year. The Toronto Light Fest makes a gorgeous show of the city’s historic Distillery District, for one. But any time is just as good as the other. There’s always something happening, from the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival for the artistic minded to the Mississauga Waterfront Festival bringing family friendly fun including concerts, a carnival, and a petting zoo.

The best view of the city
Of course, you can’t talk about Toronto without looking at that skyline. The CN Tower is easily the most recognisable part of the city and offers views you’re not likely to get as easily anywhere else. It’s highly accessible to the public and it even has a restaurant up there for those who want to dine with a great view.

The best place to eat

If you’re a foodie, the CN Tower might be great for a view, but it’s not the best place to get food in the city. That honour belongs to Kensington Market. As quirky and diverse as it is popular, there are spots for all sorts of cuisines. Not too far from the market is a Michelin Star winning sushi place, as well.

The best views outside the city
We can wax poetic about the city for ages, but one of the biggest mistakes is failing to leave the cities when you visit. Just make sure you have your ID and all your travel papers with you. Contact the Canada eta website to see what you need because the friendly, easy-going Canadian attitude falls away pretty quickly otherwise. From Toronto, it’s only a day trip away to some of the most gorgeous sights in the whole country, including Niagara Falls and Blue Mountain.

The best Canadian castle
We’ll finish looking at one of the lesser spotted gems of the city. When you think of castles, you primarily think of Europe, but Toronto has its own expansive, stately version. Casa Loma is no fake castle, either, with an imposing tower, gorgeous gardens and a wine cellar of almost 1800 bottles of vintages you’d be lucky to even get a whiff of.

Toronto has something for everyone, from history buffs to foodies to people who just want a gorgeous view. Just make sure you’re packing warm. It might have its mild months, but you’re not likely to spend any time in Canada without encountering some Canadian weather.

Travelling For Exercise

There’s a lot that can be learned by travelling to another country - and not least how to organise yourself to get to the airport in time. People travel for different things; some may be going to pick up tips on creating different cuisines, others may be jetting out to see family, while the majority step on a plane to take them to a far away place where they can shut off from their everyday life and spent some much deserved time relaxing. Then there are those that travel for exercise.
Enter a Marathon
If you’re good at running, or have at least done a couple of marathons in your home country before, it’s time to branch out. There has been a rise in people travelling the globe to run different marathons. The difference in climate in some cases can both test and stretch you to your limits, which is something that is effective in exercise - especially if you are wanting to enhance what you have been working on. It’s a great way to fit in a holiday with a purpose - but remember to apply for an ESTA from ro plan in applying for a visa before you go. You will have to plan this a couple of months in advance, and there may be stipulations to you entering to run, such as raising a certain amount of money for a charity. Other marathons or set races may require you to enter a ballot to be able to participate, so it may not be a straight-forward route in; you could end up having no ticket at all. 
Enrol in a Class
There are sports and exercises which are completely developed in a certain country and thrive throughout the population. For example, India is the birthplace of yoga; you will be much more suited going and learning tips and tricks from the professionals that have been doing it their whole lives, in the surroundings that this exercise is based on. There are specific yoga retreats that you can go to which will help you to learn new poses, enhance your posture, give you guidance on how to teach it and develop on your best practice. 
Take Away Tips And Give Them Back
In different places around the world, you will find a different way of doing things. We are brought up to appreciate everything around us as the norm, the same way that those in different countries do with way that they conduct their exercises, as is seen on Being able to take on board their advice, and offer and exchange your own guidance and tips, can be a great way to expand on what you already know. Keep an open mind and, as long as you know it’s not going to harm you, embrace it and see how you can work these things into your routine when you get home. It may not even be specifically sport related - it could be a simple change to your diet which could boost your performance.

Weird and Wonderful Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

Not having white teeth can lead many of us to feel embarrassed, to shy away from photos and be afraid to smile. There are many methods out there for helping to keep our gnashers pearly white. Many of use specialist fluoride toothpastes. Some of us will even shell out on laser treatment. Others have turned to a number of weird and wonderful natural treatments. Here are just a handful of those less explored options, all of which could help transform your teeth without the need for chemicals or lasers.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
Baking soda is that ingredient in our kitchen cupboard that never gets used, but seemingly has multiple uses. One such use is being able to help clean our teeth. This gritty substance is great at removing plaque, however using it alone can be harmful as it can wear the enamel down on our teeth. It’s best mixed with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is particularly useful for getting rid of bad breath and is the perfect anti-bacterial remedy. Brush your teeth between meals with this mixture and you’ll soon start to notice the difference.
Oranges and lemons
Some claim that oranges, lemons and other citric fruit are brilliant for whitening teeth. The peels in particular when grounded up and mixed with hydrogen peroxide can make a great artificial toothpaste. Part of this could be citric acid in these fruits. However, studies have suggested that using this treatment too regularly could start to wear down your teeth due to the acidity so be careful.
Oil pulling
Swilling natural oils around your mouth for five to twenty minutes can be an effective natural teeth whitener known as oil pulling. You can also rub the oil on your teeth with a washcloth for a similar effect. Coconut oil is the most popular solution for the job with some companies providing specialist oil mixtures. On top of keeping your teeth healthy, this treatment is also great for your gums.

Activated charcoal
Charcoal might seem like the last thing you want to brush your teeth with. However, this product is brilliant for drawing out plaque and colouring that causes staining. Rinse your mouth out thoroughly afterwards, repeat two to three times a week and you could start to see a noticeable difference. Using activated charcoal to brush your teeth with isn’t recommended if you have crowns, caps or veneers.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known largely for being a natural anti-biotic. It’s also a brilliant tooth whitening substance however, particularly when removing dark staining from smoking and coffee. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which is brilliant at breaking down plaque and other stain culprits. Being acidic, it should be used in moderation like citric fruits. After brushing with apple cider vinegar, you’ll have to brush with regular non-fluoride toothpaste and then rinse out in order to get the full effect of its tooth whitening capability.

The Secrets To Looking Good As You Age

Ah, to be young and beautiful forever would be a fine thing. But just because the years are slipping by, doesn’t mean you have to lose your beauty. In fact, staying looking at best is easier than most of us realise, we just need to but a little bit more effort in than we do when we’re young. Here are a few tips to keep looking great even as the years roll on by.

Being in the Right Environment

Some things you can’t control. Your genes are one of these things. However, how old you look doesn’t just come down to genes; it’s also about your lifestyle. If you smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, or live a stressful life, then you’ll naturally age faster than a person who lives a clean and relaxed life. If you live in a small city apartment and barely get outside, you might look older than a person who lives by the sea and takes long strolls each morning, for example. 

Having the Right Tools

Of course, it’s not possible for us all to live a life that’s conducive to staying young - and in any case, the experts can’t figure out what lifestyle choices actually contribute to younger looking skin. Because of this, it’s worth exploring the beauty tools that are available to you. Anti-aging creams and applying the right makeup might make all the difference, as might a touch up here or there; new cosmetic doctors have techniques that are non-invasive, so it doesn’t have to be a big deal. It’s all about mixing your lifestyle choices with a few modern practices to make sure you look your best.  

Dressing Right

Any older person who tries to dress like their “one of the young kids” will be found out pretty quickly. However, who says fashion is reserved only for the young? If you stay on top of the fashion trends for your age bracket, you’ll be looking good and feeling confident at the same time. A lot of how well we look is dependent on how we’re dressed, so it’s one of the simplest ways to stay looking good. You’re never too old to dress well!

Looking After the Skin

It goes without saying that if you look after your skin, you’ll have fewer issues than someone who uses and abuses it. If you’re going to spend long hours in the sun, use plenty of suntan lotion; nothing will age you quicker than not protecting your skin from the sun’s rays. Moisturising and making sure you drink plenty of hydrating fluids can also help.

Accepting the Flaws

And finally, one of the best ways you can look good as you age is to accept your flaws. There’s not a single person on the planet who’s perfect, and you’ll still look good even if you’re not absolutely flawless. If you walk out into the world with confidence, you’ll already be on your way to projecting a beautiful image. Add in the few tips outlined above, and you’ll look stunning!

The Best Sports To Lose Fat

There are many goals that people commonly go for in terms of their fitness. One of the most common of all is the desire to lose some fat. Often, this is in particular areas, such as the belly or the arms. But wherever it is, you might want to know some of the great ways that you can lose fat while still having fun. Although it does not often seem as though this is easily achievable, in fact there are a number of sports which enable you to lose a significant amount of weight while still enjoying yourself hugely. Let’s take a look at some of the best sports for losing weight.
This first is an obvious one to many, if only because of the famously ideal physique of many professional swimmers. If you are keen to lose weight in any area of the body, you will find that swimming is a powerful and fast way to do just that. There is also evidence that swimming competitively can be even more slimming, so if you are keen on that then it might be worth a go. Of course, even if you just go by yourself to your local pool you will still see the benefits. What’s more, you might be surprised at just how fast you see them. Swimming is great for anyone who wants to lose weight in no time.
Cyclists tend to be in pretty good shape, and there is a good reason for that. As well as being a good way to get around town, cycling can help you to slim down in an effective manner. It is particularly powerful if you want to get your legs looking better or you want to lose fat from your arms or belly. If you want to go down this route, it is hugely important to stay safe. This means getting the appropriate bicycle insurance, wearing the proper equipment, and taking it slowly, at least at first. Even slow cycling can help you to lose weight fast, and it is also much more enjoyable. However you do it though, cycling is bound to help you reach your fitness goal in no time at all.
You don’t have to want to knock people out to practice boxing. You can go to your local gym and practice against a dummy or punching bag. But even doing that will probably work wonders for your weight loss. Boxers can be all sorts of shapes and sizes, as we all know, but if you are keen to simply lose weight then you will find that throwing some punches can really help you to get to your desired fitness goal. What’s more, there is plenty of evidence that a little frequent boxing can be one of the most effective stress-relievers going, so there is another benefit to be had from it as well. Boxing might not be for everyone, but you might be surprised at how enjoyable it can be - and it is worth looking into if you want to lose weight fast.

What To Do And See In London This Summer

London bridge.jpeg
There is a long-standing antipathy between the capital and the rest of the country. In the recent Brexit referendum, London voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union and yet, broadly speaking, the rest of the country voted to leave. The antagonism that people in the capital feel for everybody else is felt in return. The pace of life is different, and many Londoners have a quick temper when it comes to tourists who do not rush everywhere all the time. Londoners may also feel that they are more educated (a claim that has some merit) and more cultured than people who live elsewhere. However, the fact remains that London is an incredible place full of exciting, interesting things that you have to see. This is particularly true since summer is upon us. Heading abroad has become more expensive since Brexit so many people are planning to stay in England this year. If you are one of them, here are a few things to see and do in ‘the smoke’ this summer: 
First, you need to decide on where you are going to stay. If you will just be in the capital for a few days, you may want to indulge yourself and get a room at a place like Dorsett City London. It not only boasts a 24-hour gym, it is within walking distance of Brick Lane, so when you are tired from working out, you can go and get some of the best street food in the city. If you are staying a little longer and you are working with a budget, there are lots of great hostels in London. You should check out a place in Bloomsbury. It is in the heart of the city (just ten minutes from Soho) but it is quiet and has a beautiful, relaxing park where you can catch some rays if you want: Russell Square. With two universities nearby, it is also quite a young area, which means cheap bars. 
If you like art, then there is no better place to be than London. The Barbican Centre will be hosting the UK’s first major exhibition of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, a New York artist who died 1988 at the age of 28. If British art is more your thing, Tate Britain is hosting a retrospective of David Hockney while the Tate Modern is showing a collection of modernist photographs belonging to Elton John. None of these shows should be missed. 
However, you may just miss all of them if you want to go to a music festival instead. The capital has you covered there too. If you like hip hop, especially politically conscious rap, you should check out the Lovebox music festival which is hosting Run The Jewels. If you prefer pop, British Summer Time will return to Hyde Park this summer and boasts Florence and the Machine as well as Mumford and Sons. 
If you go to London without seeing a West End play, you will have made a big mistake. An adaptation of Dickens’ novel A Tale Of Two Cities will be showing this summer, as well as Tennessee Williams’ seminal A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof featuring the inimitable Sienna Miller. 
Whether you stay for a quick weekend or dedicate a week to the capital, you will not be disappointed.

CrossEyes Independent Opticians Newcastle


Its pretty crazy how things can change. Go back 15 years, back to the school playground, day in and day out you would hear children pick on and bully others kids for wearing glasses. "Four eyes" "Speccy", were often heard, and you would watch bullies steal peoples glasses so they couldn't see. Now, glasses are one of the most sort after accessories on the market. Whether it be glasses or sunglasses both are extremely well loved at the moment. The problem is there are so many to choose from, aviators, cateye, wayfever, round or square, how are you meant to choose something that suits you but also follows all of the current trends. Well, I may have a solution for that.
CrossEyes is located on High Bridge in Newcastle City Centre, and is probably the most instagrammable opticians I've set foot in, and from experience I've visited quite a few.
Not only is CrossEyes pretty epic to look at, the service is 5 star. The sight test itself is the easy part for you as a customer, the difficult part is frame and lens selection, how many times have you stood in an opticians not having a clue where to start looking? How many time have you asked youself, what shape suits my face? The staff at CrossEyes take time to help you choose a shape and size that suits your face, not just which frame is most popular at the moment. They are open to offering you suggestions as well as helping you choose between the final two. All of this in the least pushy way possible, by the end of my visit I felt like I had just been shopping with a couple of friends, I was made to feel that comfortable.
"The CrossEyes concept is built on honesty, dedication and smart design. Through honest and hardworking employees, and low and transparent prices, CrossEyes is able to create an environment where you receive the right guidance when looking for quality spectacles. CrossEyes has hundreds of different custom made frames, which ensures that everyone can find glasses suitable for both their look and personality."
Another great thing about CrossEyes that really appealed to me, was how different their frame selection was to other opticians. I have a lot of experience and knowledge about glasses, as I've worked in the business for over 3 years. I am yet to see anywhere else that sell glasses with such creative detail and style, yes they do sell aviators and cat eye frames, however they are nothing like the ones you've seen elsewhere. They have such extravagant colour selections, and their coloured mirror tinted sunglasses are stunning. I'm honestly so excited to visit again to pick up some sunglasses for my summer holidays, knowing that its very unlikely that anyone else will have a frame like mine.



Things You Must Do While Travelling

When you travel to different countries, staying in your hotel for the entirety of your stay won’t give you much of an experience of the culture. Similarly, you don’t have to wait for locals to tell you secrets about where to go and what to do – use your intuition. Of course, safety is paramount, so if you’re told to stick to certain areas for security purposes, do so. However, there are lots of ways you can make sure you’ve had a real authentic taste of the country before you leave. Here are some:


Travel the Way the Locals Do
It’s always tempting to jump on a tour bus because you get to see the main attractions without much effort. But, using local transport will give you a bigger insight into how life is led in the country and you may even pick up some tips on where to go and what to do. For example, tour buses in Rome operate until 6pm every day but jumping on the Metro is just as easy and you get to see life from an Italian’s eyes while you’re there.

Take a Good Camera
If you love to travel, having a decent camera is important. A camera can act as a travel diary so you remember every part of your stay. From the people you meet, to the places you go and what you eat, it’s all easy to forget sometimes. Without a camera, you may find that your travel experiences start to blend into one memory and as hard as you try, you won’t remember all the little details as the years pass by.


Party Like Its 1999
You may prefer a nice cup of tea and a movie when you’re home, but never miss the opportunity to let your hair down when you’re away. Visit the local bars, go to a silent disco or ask your hotel staff if there’s anything going on in the area while you’re there. You may be lucky enough to time your visit at the same time as a local festival. Drink the recommended drinks and taste the local cuisine while you’re out. And remember, have fun!


Travel Within Travel
You’ll sometimes be given the opportunity to go on excursions. This means that you can visit other cities and towns close by. It may mean a bit of travelling and you’ll sometimes have to stay overnight but cram in as much as you can with the time you’ve got. You’ll regret it if you don’t.

Speak the Language
You’ve probably learnt some basics already, so use them. Don’t be afraid to say something wrong because the locals will correct. You’ll learn more by trying than not saying anything at all. This usually leads to basic conversation and exciting new discoveries. If you want to learn some basic words before you head off on your trip, you can pick up language books at most book stores or go to sites like Babbel and choose your language.

Travelling the world changes you in wonderful ways, so take whatever opportunities cross your path.

© Pretty Little Gym Addict

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