Travel

9 Reasons to Visit the Algarve

You probably already know that the Algarve region of Portugal is a hugely popular holiday destination with travellers from all over the world flocking to this area yearly. What you may not be quite so clear on is why, exactly, is it such a favourite with so many different types of travellers? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the area enjoys year-round sunshine and average temperatures between 20ºC and 30ºC. The natural white sand beaches lapped by warm, crystal blue waters are also a possible factor, or it could be something to do with the many vibrant towns and cities waiting to welcome you.

If you’re still not convinced that the Algarve is the destination for you, here are nine more which might just persuade you to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.

  1. Parque Natural de Ria Formosa

The Parque Natural de Ria Formosa is in the south and sits between the towns of Vale do Lobo and Manta Rota. Since 1987, it has been a protected area of 18,000 hectares of untouched marshlands, lagoons and lakes which are bursting with unique wildlife and rare birds as well as plants, trees and flowers. It’s a wonderful attraction for tourists which you can explore via a guided walk, a boat trip, a bike ride or even in a kayak.

  1. Vilamoura

The town and resort of Vilamoura is often referred to as ‘the Monaco of Portugal’ thanks to its sophisticated and vibrant atmosphere which is perfect for luxury getaways. The town is buzzing with energy, providing visitors with world-class restaurants, stylish bars, four excellent golf courses, beautiful beaches, exciting watersports, casino and, of course, the incredible marina which is home to jaw-dropping yachts. It’s also not unheard of to be able to indulge in a bit of celebrity spotting in this part of the Algarve. If you’re looking for a place to experience the best of the best, James Villas offer a wide range of luxury villas in Vilamoura.

  1. Faro

Faro is one of the most popular destinations for sun-worshippers as it’s renowned for the high levels of sunshine it experiences all year round. It’s also a great place to see some Moorish and colonial architecture and fascinating museums and historical buildings such as the Nossa Senhora da Assuncão Convent.

  1. Tavira

The picturesque town of Tavira is about 30km east from Faro and one of only a handful of towns which retains much of its original architecture. The whitewashed buildings and authentic roofs and chimneys are a beautiful sight to behold, and it is home to 28 churches and chapels, more than any other town in the Algarve. It also includes a Roman bridge which provides breath-taking views across the Gilão river. Make sure you take the time to sample the marzipan pastries, fig pastries, almond paste and caramel pastries from Tavira.

  1. Castro Marim

The town of Castro Marim has three beaches, all of which feature soft golden sands and warm turquoise waters. You’ll also find the river Guardania which is lined with banks of vegetable gardens and orchards as well as rolling hills of countryside and wildflowers.

  1. Carvoeiro

In the centre of the Algarve in the Lagoa region, you can find the coastal fishing village of Carvoeiro. It’s a very popular and lively hub for tourists for several reasons, but the main attractions are the wide variety of quality bars and restaurants, free live entertainment and the sheltered beach which is ideal for snorkelling.

  1. Monchique

The mountain village of Monchique is near Faro and is renowned for its natural thermal spa which has been drawing in visitors since the age of the Romans. The hot sulphur springs and baths amongst the woods of the Serra de Monchique mountain range.

  1. Praia de Odeceixe

If you’re looking for a quiet beach which offers fantastic surfing at any time of year, Praia de Odeceixe is the place to be. It’s a crescent-shaped and sheltered beach in the south which is rarely busy even in high season.

  1. Albufeira

Albufeira is one of the leading resorts in the Algarve which offers tourists everything they could ask for from a holiday destination. Although a peaceful fishing village by day there are plenty of bars and restaurants which create a vibrant nightlife. It is particularly well known for the beaches which include Oura, Gale, Vigia, Baleeira, Maria Luísa, Falésia and Olhos de Água. Albufeira is also home to some of the area’s best golf courses including Balaia Golf Village, Pine Cliffs and Salgados.

Family · Weddings

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding in 2019

Traditionally speaking, there have always been ‘rules’ about what you can and can’t wear to a wedding. However, as things move on, people are becoming more and more relaxed about wedding guest attire and it sometimes feels as though the rules have changed completely. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at five rules which have changed over the years to help you plan your summer wedding outfit for 2019.

White is Okay…SOMETIMES!

In the last few years, I’ve noticed a massive change in attitude towards wedding guests wearing white. In the past, it would have been a MASSIVE no-no to turn up to a wedding dressed in white, but it’s becoming far more common. My one piece of advice if you’ve found a white dress you like is to run it past the bride first, to see if she minds and brace yourself for a no with a back-up plan outfit. Radley have handbags in a whole range of colours which would be an amazing accompaniment for any wedding outfit.

Men Don’t Always Need a Full Suit

If you’re going to only the evening portion of a summer wedding, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a shirt and trousers but no jacket, and many male summer wedding guests will even forego the tie, in favour of an open neck. If you’re unsure, check the dress code with the bride and groom.

Think About Your Feet

If you’re a guest for the whole day, you’re going to be spending a LOT of time on your feet, so thinking about your shoes is essential. If you’re the sort of person who can wear skyscraper heels all day long, you’re good to go, however if you’re not massively comfortable in heels, look at different options such as wedges or kitten heels. Even flats are pretty acceptable these days!

Black is Back

As with white being a bit of a no-no, black was also considered taboo to wear to weddings, perhaps because of the funereal connection. However, these days, people wear black to weddings quite often. It’s still best not to wear ONLY black, but breaking it up with coloured pattern makes it perfectly suitable.

Not Too Much Flesh

One rule which hasn’t changed too much is that wedding outfits should be a little bit demure. Dresses which are very low cut or very short will probably make you stand out like a sore thumb – think about showing either legs OR cleavage, but definitely not both!

Have you got any great tips for choosing a wedding outfit? Please leave me a comment below.

Adulting

Four Easy Ways To Cut Down Your Spending

Sometimes when you look at your bank account the only thing you can really feel is a sinking sense of despair. It’s hard to know where all your money somehow vanishes to over the course of the month – but it doesn’t have to be hard when you start trying to save a little more cash. Here are some tips on how you can make your bank account look a little more cheerful by cutting back on your spending.

Go Cash Only

If you have a habit of using your credit card a lot without thinking about it, go cash only. It’s easy to allow small card purchases to add up over time – a coffee here, a shirt there – and you may be spending a lot more than you realise you are. If you get out a certain amount of cash every day, you will be more aware of what you’re spending and it will be a lot easier to stick to your budget.

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Start Meal Planning

Everyone’s done it: there’s no food in the house so you go out to dinner or you order a takeaway. The only problem is that they are a lot more expensive than what you could make at home, and also often a lot less healthy. At the start of the week, make sure that you begin to plan out your meals so that you know what you’re eating on what day. This will help you when it comes to buying groceries, and you also won’t have to wrestle with trying to decide what to cook for dinner when you get home from work.


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Invest In A New Car

It’s a great idea to invest in a new car. If you have a large car that uses a lot of fuel, consider how much you really need that – not only is it hugely expensive to run, but it isn’t great for the environment. Although investing in a new car might seem like a big expense, in the long run it will definitely be worth it. You could also think about getting a used car instead of a new car from somewhere like https://www.hiltoncarsupermarket.co.uk/locations/london – not only do they offer warranties which individual private sellers won’t, but you’ll also notice that your insurance costs will be lower and as the car will be worth less, you may even be able to pay in cash.

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Start To Use Your Local Library

Finally, make sure that you start to use your local library. Not only is it free to borrow books so you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying them, but there will be a lot more services there than you realised. There may be storytime sessions for your toddlers, reading challenges for your older kids over the summer, computer sessions for older people that you could encourage your parents or grandparents to attend – and you will also be able to borrow CDs, audiobooks and e-books, as well as making use of newspaper and magazine subscriptions that your library has. 

 

It doesn’t have to be hard to save money – these tips will add to your life in more ways than your bank account!

Driving · Family

The Advantages of Leasing a Family Car

The Advantages of Leasing a Family CarIf you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may be thinking about buying one, either old or new. There are, however, a lot of reasons to consider leasing a car, instead of owning one outright. Here, we look at five reasons for leasing a car and why it could be the best decision for your family:

Spec Upgrade

Most people who lease a car find that they’re able to afford a much better model than they would if they were buying the car outright.  your monthly payments are typically lower compared with other forms of finance, so you can lease a better make, trim or option. Take a look at Blue Chilli Car Leasing Deals. 

Peace of Mind

With a lease car, you’re going to be driving a brand new car, rather than one which is older. This means that you’re less likely to have breakdowns or issues which cause the car to be unreliable, so you’ll have peace of mind that you’re driving your family around in something to rely on.

No MOT

Because lease cars are usually brand new, they also won’t need an MOT. In fact, new cars don’t need an MOT until they’re three years old, so if you choose continue to upgrade your vehicle after a year or two, you’ll never need to deal with nail-biting MOTs again!

Easy Monthly Budgeting

Apart from fuel and insurance, when you lease a car you know exactly what motoring is going to cost you because your expenses are rolled into one – monthly payments, Road Fund licence and breakdown cover. And if you include a maintenance package, your ability to budget becomes even stronger

Value

When you purchase a new car, the value depreciates the second you drive it off of the dealers forecourt, but when you lease a car this is no longer a worry. You don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the car’s trade-in value or go through the hassle of selling it when it’s time to move on.

Business

Tech to Make Running a Small Business Easier

Whether you’re working from home as a one man band, setting up a side hustle in your spare time, or run a business which employs lots of people, there are certain bits of tech which can really make your life easier. We’ve put together a list of the top five tech items you can buy which will help to take your business to the next level:

A Good Camera

This won’t apply to all small business, but if you’re selling products or run a business which depends upon you have decent images to display then a good camera should be one of your main investments. If you don’t have thousands to spend but still want a high-end set up, look online for second hand stuff – lots of people plunge hundreds and even thousands of pounds on photography equipment, only to realise they never use it, and then sell it on for way under the new price.

Security

Ransomware has become a billion-dollar business and that makes sense: it’s finally a way for clever hackers to actually make money with their malware. We read about the stories of hotels, transit systems and city governments brought to their knees by security breaches like this, but we don’t hear of the thousands of small businesses that are also affected. To protect yourself you need to use a good cloud backup service, keep your operating systems updated and use a good security application in your company. If you run a shop or a business with its own premises, then having Verisure Smart Business Alarms protecting the place is also a good investment if you want to protect your stock.

Packing Machines

If your business requires you to package something, then investing in a packing machine from C Pack Ltd will save you time and money in the long run. They have machines which can package just about anything and they’re guaranteed to do it quicker and with less error than a human! They’ll even build a custom packing machine for your exact requirements.

Travel Laptop

If you spend a lot of time travelling for your business, investing in a good travel laptop could be invaluable. It will allow you to take with you all of the files you need for your business when travelling, and means that you can leave your every day tech at home because you have a dedicated laptop just for travel.

Cloud Services

The old fashioned way of doing things still clings on in some respects, with many people struggling to trust Cloud services because they’re just not as tangible as paper files or a physical hard drive. However, Cloud services are actually the safer and more reliable way to store your data and you’re less likely to suffer a loss with one of these services. That being said, managing your own Cloud network can be overwhelming at times which is why some businesses instead outsource these IT-related responsibilities to teams of IT experts. Moreover, when it comes to Managed IT Services Melbourne and other major cities all over the world are home to some fantastic teams of IT support professionals that can help you to work out the best possible solutions for your business needs.

Chatbots

You might see chatbots as something way out of your business’ league, or as something that’s just a bit too futuristic for your needs, but using chatbot software to deal with some of your communications can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.