Days Out

How To Beat The Queues At Theme Parks

Theme park season is now upon us so we’ve asked Liz Walsh from Topdogdays to put together a few handy tips & tricks to help you get ahead of the queues.

1. Early Access

A number of theme parks now offer early access to select guests.  This can provide you with the chance to enjoy a number of rides & attractions before the park even opens to the public. When searching for Alton Towers Tickets and Deals look out for early ride time available to some ticket holders or check out the early access perk available to hotel guests at both LEGOLAND Windsor & Chessington.

2. Early Bird

The quietest time at any theme park tends to be the first 60/90 minutes of the day.  The car parks & ticket booths are generally open in advance of the park so ensure you are ready to go as the gates open for the day.  Look out for any information on ride closures and head directly for an attraction where queues are likely to build throughout the day.

3. Parent Swap Passes

Parent Swap Passes allow parent/carers with young children a chance to enjoy the thrill rides without have to queue twice through the use of a priority entrance, (parent 1 will still need to use the standard queue).  This free pass is now available at a number of theme parks including Drayton Manor & Thorpe Park and helps you to fit more into the day.

4. Fastrack Tickets

A fastrack ticket is a paid method to bypass the queues and is in addition to your entrance charges.  There are a range of packages available but look out for single fastrack passes that are often available for just a few £’s allowing you to get a couple of more popular rides under your belt.

5. Queue Checker

Plenty of theme parks now provide apps/electronic boards that offer information on real-time queues around the park.  Use this information to plan your day, bypassing the worst of the queues at popular attractions.

6. Non Queue Attractions

As crowds begin to build, intersperse rides with non-queue attractions for some light relief.  Most parks today have a good range of playgrounds, themed shows or even zoo & aquarium experiences away from the crowds that can offer you all a much earned break.

Happy theme-parking!

Happiness · Health

Don’t Let Anything Stop You from Getting Back to Your Normal

Have you not been feeling yourself as of late? Have you, for whatever reason, felt a bit different to how you normally feel? Whether it’s a mental or a physical plight that is making you feel a bit off you can rest assured that there is help out there. There are services that willing and waiting to help you. All you have to do is accept their help.

If your physical wellbeing is in fact bringing you down, and causing you a great discomfort at that, then why stand for it any longer? There are host of professional services out there just waiting to right any wrongs in your body, so use them! You don’t have to spend all of your hard earned cash on bills, food and treats for your family, you know. It is absolutely not a waste of money to spend your cash on a bout of treatment for YOUR aches and pains. Whether this be in the form of a local chiropractor in order to ease your back and neck troubles or a professional massage parlour to relax your muscles, you do it. There’s no point continuing with your everyday life if you feel any discomfort, and there’s no need to do so either. No matter how big you think your problem is you should get it sorted in order to retain the standard of living that you deserve. Even the slightest of pains can be treated, and they really should be before they escalate any further.

Massage

There’s also no shame in taking care of your appearance if that does indeed ever make you feel anything less than normal. Now, you can’t hide your face away at all times which means you do have to subject it to things that will damage it. But you can still take care of your skin, you know. Similarly, you can’t realistically protect your mind from being stretched or frazzled at some points in the day if you live a hectic life. Sometimes life will throw stressful situations your way which will leave you feeling less than normal. But what’s stopping you from getting back to normal once the ordeal is over? If you are feeling nowhere near 100% in your own mind you should never be tentative to tell others. You should never be afraid to say ‘I won’t be coming out tonight’ if you don’t feel mentally up to it. Mental health is sometimes not given the care it deserves, so why don’t you buck the trend by bettering your mental wellbeing.

Mental health

Everybody deserves to feel brilliant every single day. Granted, there are a load of everyday plights that seemingly try their best to stop this. But it’s not about stopping with these plights it’s about managing them to suit you. For example, you can’t stop taking your kids to school in the winter and subjecting your face to the blistering winds. You can, however, fight the effects caused by these winds and keep your skin ‘normal’. Whatever ‘normal’ is for you, you should never let anything stop you from getting back to it!

 

Money

Bundles Get You More Bang For Your Buck!

DealsTV, Phone and Internet bills can cost a lot these days for the top quality services that are available. Getting the best deals for your television channels, as well as your home landline phone usage and your internet broadband deals can be tiresome, hard to do and end up being very expensive. Getting a bundle from one company can see the total amount of bills that you are paying decrease sharply. This is without doubt one of the easiest and best ways for you to get discounts and find yourself paying the minimum amount for all the best deals on all three different things, which are, in this day and age, all essential for modern everyday life.

Not only does this often work out a lot cheaper, it is also a lot more hassle free, convenient and easier to pay and keep on top of. By choosing a bundle, there is a fixed price each and every month and your money only goes out to the same company every month, making managing your finances much easier. With separate bills coming from all over the place from several different companies, it is hard to keep on track and on top of what you are paying for and in some cases, this can lead to a lapse in concentration and see you forgetting to pay bills, which may be dangerous and less than ideal for managing your finances if you forget to pay a bill and it becomes overdue, as you may think you have more disposable income available to you.

By paying for all three services together and not separately, it also makes any repairs, maintenance, complaints or issues you are having much easier to deal with. Contacting the customer service department of any company can often be particularly bad in some cases and they have become somewhat notorious in daily life to the everyday home user, however, this problem becomes magnified when trying to communicate with potentially three separate companies, rather than just dealing with one, which is a major advantage of getting a bundle deal.

Which Bundles Are Available?

Many companies offer bundles at reduced and discounted prices compared to buying each service separately. One of these is the Sky bundle package, which offers a speed of up to 17 mega byte broadband speed and one of the largest selections of channels of any of the other bundle deals, with 270 channels. The contract is for 18 months and the price is competitive with many other companies. The broadband is perhaps not as fast as others, however, this is the compromise that is made between having a slightly slower broadband and having the best selection of TV channels. This package is ideal for people who use the internet casually and do not require an extremely high speed for things like running your business from home or for people who are avid gamers.

Other packages are also available from many different companies, with the main companies offering the largest savings and some of the best deals being BT, Virgin, Now TV and EE, all of which offer bundles to save you money by paying your phone, internet and TV as one package payment per month. In terms of the cost, several different bundles will vary and this is due to the quality of each service that you pick. Choosing a Sky bundle for example can be tailored to your individual needs to get the right bundle for you and in terms of the general cost and price range of the bundles from all the different companies that offer them, this will typically start from around £30, up to anything around £60, the large variation in price primarily due to the quality of services that the company you have chosen provides.

Top Tips For Bundle Shopping

It is always important to do your research and make sure you understand exactly what you are going to be getting when it comes to choosing the bundle for you, it is important not to just look at the price as this often does not tell the full story of the quality of services that you are provided with and whether this will suit your needs.

Fitness

Exercise for Life: A No-Excuses Miniguide on Being More Active

With obesity now considered a worldwide epidemic, it’s estimated 1.5 billion people exercise less than 20 minutes a day if at all. With this almost complete lack of inactivity affecting so many of us, it’s clear to see that living a healthy lifestyle certainly isn’t taken as seriously as it should be.

In fact, whilst motivation to turn over a new, healthier leaf and get exercising often spikes in January, statistics show a huge 80% who join the gym after the new year period end up quitting within just 5 months. This clearly suggests that the ‘new year, new me’ motivation isn’t enough to maintain a good exercise routine, and most people require something more to encourage them to keep it up.

Considering how easy exercising is, there are literally no excuses not to do it – it’s simply all a matter of choice. So, if you want to start exercising properly and stick to it (for real this time!), here’s a quick mini-guide offering top tips to get you moving.

Establish why you don’t want to exercise

Before even starting to come up with an exercise plan, it’s important to identify the exact reasons behind your inactivity. If you find yourself frequently saying ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I’m too tired’ or ‘I don’t have the money’, it’s time to accept that these are merely excuses and not genuine reasons for why you can’t exercise. If tiredness is a factor then adding a CBD Pre Workout to your plan to give you the energy to exercise could really help.

If you have a medical condition preventing you from working out then that’s an entirely different story, but identifying your primary excuse for not exercising and doing something about it is key. If you’re ‘too busy’, start making exercise more of a priority and if you ‘don’t have the money’, forget about the gym and work out from home instead!

Test exercises out

If you’re tempted to jump straight into the gym, perhaps it’s better to begin with some home exercises first. This way, you can establish your current level of fitness and exactly what you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Then, when you feel comfortable and ready to increase the intensity of your workouts, you can either join your local gym or purchase some user-friendly home equipment like the Sole F80 treadmill.

Work out with others

It’s a proven fact that exercising with other people increases motivation and significantly reduces the chance that you’ll quit. Simply having someone else there will not only encourage you to work harder but also make it more difficult for you to cancel a workout session. After all, you’ll not only be letting yourself down by not exercising but will also be letting them down too by cancelling on them!

Whilst avid gym-goers will say exercise is fun and easy, it’s not that simple for a lot of other people. If you find yourself consistently quitting before you’ve even seen any proper results, you’re certainly not alone. But, if you’re realistic with what you can do and eliminate any common excuses you frequently use, you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to your exercise routine and get the body you’ve always wanted!

Relationships

Creative Date Ideas You’re Underestimating

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Any sort of date should be a fun date, but why not consider something a bit unconventional? Here’s a quick list of creative date ideas that you and your partner shouldn’t underestimate. The less well-worn the path of your date is, the more memorable it will be!

Try a new recipe

Find a recipe that you’ve never tried before and cook it together. The results may not be perfect, but working together on something like this will definitely create interesting memories! Besides, it could be argued that a recipe that doesn’t come out perfectly can actually make the whole thing a bit more fun. Try looking for recipes in diets that you don’t follow – for example, if you eat meat, then be adventurous and try a vegan dish.

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Watch a strange film

A lot of couples go out and watch the latest blockbusters or romantic comedies. But why not find an independent cinema in a less obvious location and watching some arthouse flick or documentary film? You may discover new areas of cinematic interest for the both of you. These sorts of films are also more likely to produce engaging conversation afterwards. As fun as I’m sure Thor 3 will be, how likely is it that you’ll both have anything much to say afterwards other than “that was awesome!”?

Go to a jazz bar

Most cities these days have a jazz bar hidden away somewhere, even though many people think that jazz bars are long-forgotten relics that are nowhere to be found these days. A jazz night is a classic date night idea, but it’s in no way antiquated. Some bars will play old-time stuff, but many will feature musicians playing new and original material – and modern jazz still continues to be as fun and adventurous as it always was. Get some formal wear ready – find a nice suit or a long evening dress online – and search for a nearby jazz bar for a truly different evening.

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Have a games night

People are always underestimating the power of board games. Of course, it could be argued that board games are best played in a group. But there are actually a bunch of board games out there that are perfectly fun with two people. Try out the best board games for couples – or, if you’re really not into the board game scene, consider taking turns with a video game.

Have a picnic

Sure, you could have a nice lunch indoors. Or you could go to a restaurant, which is where most couples will go if they want to have a date that features food. But why not save a bunch of money (those restaurants are not kind to your wallet, after all) and have a picnic? The season is right for it, after all. (Or, at least, it’s getting there.) Be careful about your wine selection, though – you don’t want to end up drinking too much in a public field! If you really feel like having a wine-heavy picnic, then even a back garden picnic can be amazing.

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Walk the dog

A lot of dog owners tend to see walking the dog as a pretty banal daily duty. Sure, when you first get the dog it can be pretty exciting, but over time it tends to be something just one person in the household does, with people often taking it in turns just like any other chore. But consider actually going on a long walk together with your dog. And if you don’t have a dog, offer to walk your friend’s dog, or consider searching for people online who need the occasional dog walker.

Go for a hot air balloon ride

Not for those afraid of heights! This is another ‘classic’ date idea that seems to be grossly underused these days. As long as there’s a big enough field nearby, you can probably find a business nearby that offers hot air balloon rides for couples. Remember that there will probably be someone else in the basket with you, though, unless one of you happens to be a licensed air balloon pilot!

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Recreate your first date

Assuming that you’ve been with your partner for some time, it may be a good idea to try recreating your first date. Go to the same restaurant or watch the film you first saw together. You can recreate this at home, too – cook the same meals you ate that night and rent the same film you saw, or see if you can find it on Netflix. A trip down memory lane can really bring back some sparks.