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Five Ways You Could Update the Employee-of-the-Month Awards

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

Employee motivation is very important when it comes to managing and operating any sort of business. No firm or company has ever succeeded without having its employees coming together and working towards a single aim as a team. A lot of psychologists and scientists have conducted research and have tried to find out what exactly motivates employees at the workplace. There are different theories which can be applied to businesses today. Effectiveness and efficiency are only attained if the right staff with the right skill set is employed. One way to boost employee morale is to give employees rewards based on their performance and achievements. Employees can be rewarded with “Employee of the Month” awards. Recognition of staff has proven to increase their productivity by fifty percent and hence the overall performance of the business by twenty percent. Here are five ways you could update and freshen up the employee-of-the-month awards:

1) Customer Service Award

Firms can give their valuable employees awards for providing quality service to customers. There are different ways to measure which employee delivers what to his or her customers. Customers can give feedback and reviews and are often requested to state the name of the staff member that they dealt with. For example, in restaurants, customers are given feedback cards to leave comments on. The name of the waiter has to be mentioned so that the managers can keep a check on his or her performance. Companies often come up with a variety of names for such awards. Employees might be given beautiful crystal awards which have all the details mentioned on them, such as the name of the employee, the date the award was given on, and the reason it was given. Visit edco.com to have a look at the perfect crystal awards you could hand over to your valuable employees.

2) The Light of the Office Award

It is very common of companies to give awards to their employees on the basis of their achievements. All the awards are related to work. This can be a little stressful at times as employees may start to compete with each other in order to get the award. Managers can incorporate awards for achievements other than work. For example, “The Light of the Office Award” can be given to those who are always smiling even under stressful circumstances. Such awards can make the overall workplace environment happier.

3) Choose the Right Type of Award

Appreciating employees for their work and contributions to the overall performance of the business is very important. With this, the way you present the award also matters. Posting the employee of the year award to the employee’s home will not help the employee achieve any sense of achievement. The owners must hand the awards to employees personally on formal ceremonies. Choosing the appropriate award is very important. There are three main types which include glass awards, crystal awards, and large cup trophies. Read Benefits of High-End Corporate Awards to find out which one out of these is appropriate for when.

4) Recognition Plaques

Employees can also be awarded engraved plaques in order to honor them for reaching specific targets and for producing quality results. Recognition plaques can serve as instruments of positive reinforcement. Employees will gradually be conditioned to work at their full potential as they would start to expect different types of awards for their performance and achievements.

5) Instant Recognition and Lapel Pins

It is very important to understand who deserves what at work. Awards would mean nothing if they are not provided instantly. Measuring employee performance is very important and businesses often have teams who are constantly monitoring employee performance. Well, deserving employees can be awarded lapel pins. So the “Employee of the Month” award can be worn daily to work in the form of a badge. Lapel pins can help motivate employees a lot as they will enable workers to feel proud of themselves.

The workplace is changing and work for employees has started to mean much more than just a means of earning money. Employees want a healthy environment in their workplace. Demotivated employees harm an organization, therefore, it is very important to motivate them. Giving them awards is merely one way to do it.

How To Spray Tan At Home

Spray tan products and kits have been popping up all over the market. These beauty products have made it possible to get a sunkissed glow at home. If you can’t afford weekly tanning sessions or if you don’t feel comfortable stripping down in public, then the next best solution is to buy spray tanner. If you apply it properly, then you’ll leave your home with a beautiful glow that complements your summer wardrobe. Here are some must-have tips for using spray tanner.

1. Designate a Spray Tanning Room

You should choose an area in your home that you’ll want to hold your spray tan sessions. This should be a space that doesn’t have all-white walls and flooring. A DIY spray tan can quickly become a mess if you’re not well-prepared.

Keep dark towels around in case of accidents, mistakes, or spills. You should also keep in mind that your spray tan can stain the ceiling, floors, tiles, walls, and other areas of your room. You’ll want to reserve this room for spray tanning sessions, rather than just choosing a different room each time. This reduces accidents and makes you more prepared for this messy process.

2. Exfoliate & Prepare Your Skin

The next thing you should do is exfoliate and prepare your skin. Even some of the best spray tans can appear splotchy if you don’t scrub your skin beforehand. The key is to find an exfoliator or scrub that doesn’t contain oils. The oils in most of these products can prevent your tan from sticking.

Remove deodorants and fragrance before applying your self-tanner. This could react with your tan and cause you to turn green rather than bronzed. It’s best to shower beforehand, in which you’ll also exfoliate and prepare your skin. You’ll want to pay extra attention to dry areas, such as your elbows, heels, and knees.

If you have long hair, then you’ll want to pull it back into a ponytail. Then wear a shower cap to keep your hair in place during your spray tan session. You should also apply moisturizer to your eyebrows to prevent them from turning orange. When applying the spray tanner to the driest areas of your body, you’ll want to apply a thin layer or the remaining product into your elbows, feet, hands, and heels.

3. Practice a Spray Tanning Session

If you’re new to spray tanning or self-tanning in general, it’s best to start with a practice session. You can practice as often as you want so you can feel comfortable with the self-tanning experience. You’ll want to use an easy, no-commitment self-tanner for your first time. The best kind of product to practice with is a one-day or wash-off spray tanner.

This allows you to get a better idea of what self-tanner looks like on your skin and you can perfect your self-tanning technique. If you don’t want to get too dark, then you’ll want to use a gradual spray-on tanner. Or, you can use any old spray tanner and wash it off before the color develops. It appears lighter than usual and prevents mistakes from happening.

4. Use the Right Tools

While most spray tans come in a single bottle, there are others that come as part of a kit. They include all of the tools you need to get the perfect tan. Some spray-on tanners include a wide variety of products such as exfoliator, a tanning mitt, moisturizer, and additional spray-on tanners for the face, body, and hard-to-reach areas. Some even come with towelettes to quickly correct or remove mistakes before your tan sets in.

5. Apply the Tanner Evenly

Even though you’re applying spray tanner to your body, you still need to wear gloves or a mitt to avoid getting the product on your hands. Your body should be completely dry before use spray-on tanner so you can prevent streaks from happening. Hold the spray tanner eight inches away from your body while spraying. You can also enlist the help of a close friend or family member to spray the tanner onto hard-to-reach areas, such as your back.

6. Self-Tan Your Face & Hands Last

Your goal should be to apply the spray tan lightly on your face. Don’t apply too much product on your face since the color appears darker on there than other areas of your body. You also don’t want to spray it directly to your face. Instead, spray the self-tanner to different areas of your face and body or where the sun naturally hits your skin.

Your face and hands should be the last resort. Just make sure to apply the tanner evenly to both of these parts. You don’t want to be generous when it comes to these areas. Avoid applying excess product on your arms, face, and hands. Another reason not to spray directly to these areas is because it always looks streaky and fake.

7. Don’t Fear If You Make a Mistake

Mistakes are common — especially when you’re spray tanning for the first time. If you notice orange spots, streaks, or dry patches, don’t give up hope yet. There are several ways to correct these mistakes.

One way is to apply body oil and leave it on for 10 minutes, then scrub it off with a hot washcloth. Hair removal cream is another effective method, but it’s not ideal for sensitive skin types.

Apply the hair removal cream to the area with a Q-Tip and leave it on as recommended. Or, if you find that your spray tanning kit comes with tan remover, then apply it and leave it on for a minute before removing it with a hot washcloth.

If you don’t have any of these products lying around your house, then your next bet is to look in your refrigerator. Combine ice water with lemon juice and soak a washcloth in it. Then warm the washcloth in the microwave for less than 60 seconds, allow it to cool, and gently rub it over those areas where you have too much tanner.

These tips should prevent you from making self-tanning mistakes with a spray tan. Over time, you’ll become a professional and your friends will be asking for your help.

5 Hacks for Comfortable Travelling

TravelIt’s getting to that time of year when we’re all thinking about jetting off to warmer places to enjoy a week or two of relaxing, and as far as I’m concerned the relaxation should begin the moment you start travelling. Whether you’re travelling by pane, train, automobile or some other method of conveyance, I’ve got 5 hacks that should help you to feel more comfortable while you’re doing it.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

We know it’s tempting to want to glam up to sit in the airport lounge and drink champagne, but being comfortable should trump everything when it comes to choosing your outfit. Damartex UK is a great place to grab some trousers which will be loose and stylish which will have gorgeous prints but will be made from breathable fabric which stretches with you.

Add Layers

You can’t control the climate at the airport and on the plane. If you arrive at night, expect the temperature to drop suddenly. Have a cardigan or jumper on the top of your suitcase, so you can put it on immediately after you land. Likewise, leave some space in your luggage for taking off layers when you are too hot, so you don’t have to carry extra items in your hand, while you are pulling your suitcase.

Pamper Yourself

Now you’re sitting comfortably, it’s time to settle in. A few simple essentials can really amp up the luxury in your Economy seat. It’s no secret that recycled plane air wreaks havoc with your skin so fighting it before it gets out of hand is always a good idea. Go on, treat yourself to those lavish miniatures in Duty Free.

Pack a Travel Pillow

We’re just not meant to sleep sitting upright, but when a 10-hour flight awaits you, you need to be prepared. Those free cushions don’t cut it and they won’t give you the support your neck needs. If you suffer from lower back pain, you may want to consider a lumbar cushion for the small of your back too.

Carry a Reusable Water Bottle.

Durable water bottles are a simple way to keep hydrated, especially while travelling. To be sure you’re getting enough water, use a water bottle with time increments to show you how much to drink throughout the day. At rest stops you can refill your bottle without buying another plastic bottle.

What To Think About When Buying a New Bed

Photo by feliperizo.co | heart made on Unsplash

If you’re in the market for a new bed and have already done some browsing, you’re probably well aware of the huge range of options available out there. In fact, a lot of people feel totally overwhelmed when it comes to buying a bed and the wealth of options sometimes leads people to make the wrong decisions, so today we’re taking a look at five things that you should think about when buying new beds.

Mattress

The mattress is probably the most important part of a bed and the bit which will ensure you get a good night’s sleep for years to come. When choosing a mattress, think about whether you’re a side, back or front sleeper, whether you like a firm, medium or soft base to lay on and also whether the mattress has a ‘try at home’ offer to allow you to see if you like it. It’s a big investment and you want to get it right.

Size

Having the biggest bed possible might seem like a good idea, but having a bed which totally swamps your room could actually make you feel more closed in. Pick a bed which leaves ample room for a bedside table on each side (or on one side if it’s a single or going against a wall) so that you can safely get in and out of bed when you need to.

Headboard

Are you planning to have headboards on your beds? Many people don’t, opting for a divan base with no headboard, but heads boards can be valuable in many ways. They insulate you from the wall behind, stopping the cold from getting to you, and they also make beds more flexible in terms of where you position them – a bed with it’s own headboard doesn’t need to be pushed against the wall to stop your pillow from falling off the back all night!

Base

The base of your bed will make a difference to your room in many ways. An ornate base will add to the aesthetic of the room, but a divan or storage base could give you a whole load of added storage space that you might not have been able to otherwise you. You can also get beds which have another trundle bed underneath them, giving you double the sleeping space if you regularly have guest or want to co-sleep with your child.

Your Weight

This one might seem odd, but bear with us. If you’re a very small, light person there’s a good chance that you’ll barely compress your mattress when you sleep on it, however, larger, heavier people will create more pressure on a mattress top, That’s why the latter group should probably think about getting either a memory foam or pillow-top mattress so that you aren’t pressed against the tops of springs all night.

Managing Financial Stress This Christmas

Christmas is typically a time of joy and love, giving and receiving, peace to all men and all the lovely things that we look forward to around this time of year, from tasty treats and delicious Christmas dinners to meeting up with immediate family and having a laugh.

There is a darker side of Christmas however, one that parents usually keep wrapped up in their own mind; financial stress. Too often do people believe they need to go over the top every year and have a bigger, better Christmas than years before. This can quickly lead to debt which casts a dark cloud over the New Year celebrations when you are more focused on saving the pennies to make it through the typically longer pay period between Christmas and January.

If you are concerned about the effect financial stress is having on your mental health and home environment, here are some tips to make your Christmas less about the cost and more about the sentiment.

Reduce Santa Presents

A modern trend that is causing more harm to children than good is the increase in cost and number of presents from Santa children get each year. While in your own home it might be wonderful to see the joy on your child’s face as they open their gifts from Father Christmas, however, this is often the greatest cause of financial stress for parents, who see no appreciation or gratitude for the presents they get from Santa.

Not only does this cause financial worry in the household (which your children can and will pick up on), but this can have a knock-on effect on less-fortunate children when they go back to school and see the disparity between what Santa brought one child when compared to them. Of course, while no family needs to curb their spending to protect somebody else’s feelings, your child won’t be worse off from one less gift.

Introduce Secret Santa Amongst the Adults

Secret Santa is typically a gift giving activity that takes place in offices and between large friend groups, however, with bills ever increasing and the cost of goods going up, buying decent gifts for the adults in your family can soon get expensive. Consider introducing the opportunity for Secret Santa in your family. Each person puts together a list of different things they would like to receive below a certain budget, choosing multiple items so the gift giver can offer a surprise rather than an expected gift. Names are then put into a hat and picked at random, just make sure nobody picks themselves out!

Sell Things Around the Home You Don’t Need or Use

Sometimes things pop up that are unexpected, and you may find that an expensive bill or expenditure is going to leave you short for the season. To make a quick bit of cash without taking up more of your precious time (like getting a second job would do), consider having a look around your home for bits you can sell, popular items that sell well second hand include; children’s toys, baby and toddler clothing, working homewares and unblemished furniture. If you are crafty, consider putting together some homemade Christmas cards or decorations, you can even work with your local shop to sell your creations or create an online store via Amazon, eBay or Etsy.

Other Small Areas to Make Savings

There are few things we typically do at Christmas that can be changed up in order to save money, for example, rather than sending out physical cards, put some effort into creating a digital card and email this around your friends and family. Rather than give gifts that don’t offer anything value, like gag gifts and silly presents, you could instead give the gift of a charity donation, adopt an animal or even sponsor an orphan. These sorts of gifts can make the receiver feel like they’ve helped a bigger cause and save getting something cheap and plastic that will be thrown out in the next house clearing.

 

If you are worried about funding Christmas this year, think about the places you can cut back and consider setting rules, a popular one going around at the moment is a “ban on unnecessary gifts” where you reduce the giving circle to immediate family only. This stops people thinking they need to give you a gift in return, just make sure to discuss with friends and colleagues before hand so you don’t receive a gift and feel obligated to give back.

Christmas shouldn’t be about the monetary aspect, so spend more time with the people you care about and let them know how special they are to you with your words and actions, rather than your wallet and if you do find yourself struggling from month to month, without the extra cost of holidays, consider talking to your employer about a pay review.

8 Ways To Keep Your Car Insurance Costs Down

Photo by Simon Stratford on Unsplash

Aѕ саr іnѕurаnсе іѕ expensive, mоѕt consumers dо nоt wаnt tо uѕе іt. Buуіng thе rіght соvеrаgе іѕ іmроrtаnt, but іt соѕtѕ mоrе tо gеt a nеw іnѕurеd саr. Gіvе bеlоw ѕоmе tірѕ thаt саn hеlр уоu save mоnеу оn уоur саr insurance. Rеаd on for the cheapest car insurance.

Annuаl fее

Yоu саn сhесk оut ѕоmе wеbѕіtеѕ tо соmраrе dіffеrеnt online іnѕurеrѕ. Whіlе уоu саn nоt gеt a quote rіght аwау, уоu wіll gеt a rеѕроnѕе ѕооn frоm thе соmраnу’ѕ аgеntѕ. Yоu mау wаnt tо соnѕіdеr making a rеlаtіоnѕhір wіth a gооd іndереndеnt agent. Thеу wіll hеlр уоu tо check thе tоn rаtеѕ оf carriers.

Chооѕе a good іnѕurеr

Sаvіng mоnеу іѕ nоt lооkіng fоr thе lоwеѕt рrеmіum. In fасt, ѕоmе рrоvіdеrѕ оffеr lоwеr premium rates. Hоwеvеr, thеу еnd uр сhаrgіng уоu mоrе іn thе еnd. Aѕ a result, уоu pay mоrе fоr rерlасеmеnt раrtѕ оf thе original еquірmеnt. In ѕоmе саѕеѕ, thе рrоvіdеr mау іnсrеаѕе уоur premiums аftеr аn ассіdеnt.

Thе dеduсtіblе

Wіth a hіghеr dеduсtіblе, уоu’ll hаvе tо pay lоwеr рrеmіumѕ. Thе rеаѕоn іѕ thаt уоu wіll bе рауіng mоrе іn саѕе оf loss. Fоr еxаmрlе, іf уоu іnсrеаѕе уоur franchise tо, ѕау, $ 500 frоm $ 200, уоu саn rеduсе уоur рrеmіum bу 15 tо 30%. Sо, іf уоu choose $ 1,000, уоu саn ѕаvе uр tо 40%.

Review уоur coverage

Liability coverage wіll рау fоr уоur property dаmаgе аnd personal іnjurу іn аn ассіdеnt. It іѕ nоt a gооd idea tо rеduсе уоur lіаbіlіtу tо thе mіnіmumѕ ѕеt bу thе ѕtаtе. Whіlе buуіng mоrе соvеrаgе mау ѕееm lіkе a wеіrd wау tо save a lоt, уоu саn tаkе аdvаntаgе оf thіѕ bеnеfіt оnlу іf уоu hаvе a big аnd expensive сlаіm. Aѕ a rеѕult, thеіr ѕаvіngѕ аrе аt ѕtаkе. Whаt уоu nееd tо dо іѕ соnѕіdеr уоur реrѕоnаl іnjurу mеdісаl рауmеntѕ аnd рrоtесtіоn соvеrаgе.

Uѕе thе dіѕсоuntѕ

Kеер іn mіnd thаt саr іnѕurаnсе providers offer dіѕсоuntѕ bаѕеd оn thе fасt thаt thе сlіеnt hаѕ a low-risk lіfеѕtуlе ѕuсh аѕ ѕtudеntѕ, nеw drіvеrѕ, еxреrіеnсеd drіvеrѕ аnd аffіnіtу mеmbеrѕ, juѕt tо nаmе a fеw.

Hоldеrѕ оf Multiple Policies

Sоmе providers offer heavy dіѕсоuntѕ ѕіnсе уоu рurсhаѕе уоur rеntеrѕ, homeowners оr lіfе іnѕurаnсе роlісу аѕ wеll. Hоwеvеr, bе ѕurе tо соnѕіdеr thе tоtаl costs оf расkаgеѕ аnd рrеmіumѕ frоm іndіvіduаl іnѕurеrѕ frоm vаrіоuѕ рrоvіdеrѕ.

Gооd credit ѕсоrе

Sоmе states аllоw insurance рrоvіdеrѕ tо uѕе thеіr сrеdіt rаtіng tо set thеіr рrеmіumѕ. Whаt уоu nееd tо dо іѕ check аnd соrrесt еrrоrѕ оn уоur credit rероrt. If уоur сlаѕѕіfісаtіоn hаѕ bееn аffесtеd bу thе lоѕѕ оf employment, divorce оr аnу оthеr rеаѕоn, уоu саn rеquеѕt аn еxсерtіоn frоm уоur provider.

Choose уоur саr саrеfullу

Fоr саr іnѕurеrѕ, dаmаgе tо thе vеhісlе саn соѕt a lоt. Thеrеfоrе, рrіzеѕ аrе defined based оn thе аutоmаtіс model. Yоu саn аѕk уоur provider аbоut dіffеrеnt car mоdеlѕ.

Aѕ wе hаvе ѕееn, insurance саn bе a mіnеfіеld – but thеrе аrе wауѕ tо еnѕurе thаt уоu guаrаntее a соmрlеtе роlісу аt a reasonable price for the cheapest car insurance.

And, іf уоu’rе a gооd ріlоt, уоu ѕhоuld fіnd thаt costs соntіnuе tо fаll іn thе соmіng уеаrѕ, wіth nо claims bonus.

Sо wе suggest уоu сhесk thеѕе 8 tірѕ іf уоu plan tо buy саr insurance аnd wаnt tо save ѕоmе mоnеу оn thе purchase. Wе hоре уоu саn save a lоt оf mоnеу.

Caribbean Flavours at Turtle Bay

When we first found out that we were going to be reviewing Turtle Bay, my first thought was how happy Husband would be as he’s a HUGE fan of Caribbean food. My second thought was “will the kids cope with the spice?”. It has to be said, my kids aren’t total chilli wusses, BB has been asking for sriracha on her food since she was about 2 and Sausage copes with things like hot wings, so I figured we’d just see how they fared – besides, there was a kids menu to choose from.

Turtle Bay Collage

The Turtle Bay we visited was in Chelmsford, just outside the High Chelmer Shopping Centre and in a nice location with an outdoor seating area. The first thing you notice about Turtle Bay is just how vibrant and beautifully styled the whole place is. From the bright colours that scream Jamaica to the wall of guitar amps and the reggae playing in the background, the restaurant felt themed in a way that managed to avoid the pantomime-y feel of other themed restaurants.

We did the usual ‘sit down, peruse the menu, give our drinks order’ and were informed that cocktails were currently 2 for 1, so mine and Sausage’s virgin cocktail orders meant we’d be brought two drinks each – quite a bonus and one to remember next time we’re out for dinner and I’m not driving!

While we were waiting for our food, we were given colouring stuff for the girls, but also a Connect4 game, which made the time between ordering our food and it arriving pass really quickly. Not only did we love the fact that the kids were catered for, we loved the implication that this wasn’t a place where kids had to be seen and not heard, that they were allowed to have fun and be kids.

BB ate from the kids menu, and her main arrived at the same time as our starters, which worked well as she’s a SLOOOOW eater! Serving it this way meant that by the time we’d eaten our starter and mains, she was just about finished too.

Caribbean Flavour at Turtle Bay

In terms of the food, here’s what we ordered:

 I’m not going to bore you with a description of every single morsel of food that we ate (ALTHOUGH, the prawns I had for my starter were TO DIE FOR, and I said to husband that I could quite happily have eaten it ten times over), but every single one of us loved all of our dishes. The jerk chicken and ribs were SO beautifully seasoned and spiced, not so much that it blew your head off, but just enough to make you feel warm down to your flip flops. Husband’s curry goat and my ribs were so tender, the meat melted in your mouth and all of the desserts were perfect and sweet, after such a savoury meal.

The meal was, in fact, such a resounding success, that the whole family declared it the best place we’ve ever reviewed, and we’ve been to a LOT of restaurants in the last eight years! Unless you’ve got kids who are exceptionally fussy with what they eat, please don’t think you can’t eat as a family at Turtle Bay because there are plenty of dishes which cater for those with more delicate taste buds, and everyone else gets to enjoy the deep flavour of Jerk wonderfulness!

It would also be an amazing place for dinner and drinks with friends (not least of all because the cocktails are 2-for-1!), and the decor and atmosphere would really lend itself to relaxation and socialising. All in all (for three starters, three mains, a kids meal, four desserts, four virgin cocktails, two pints of Red Stripe and a soft drink) our meal would have cost £82.60, which I think is excellent value.

As we were leaving, the manager mentioned to us that a new Turtle Bay is going to be opening in Southend, which is even closer to us, and all I can say is, I really  hope he’s correct!

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What I Did Before I Became a Blogger

I’ve been blogging for 8 years now, and my career has completely changed because I started writing. I now write for various other sites, offer copy-writing services and even do some marketing and social media management work, all of which allows me to earn a living from home, which for me is ideal. I did a few different things before I became a blogger and I thought I’d let you in on some of them:

Accounts Assistant and Payroll Clerk

My main career before blogging was in the financial sector and I had various jobs across private accountancy firms and the NHS. I spent a lot of time dealing with people’s pay, tax codes, VAT, end of year accounts and all sorts of other things. These days it’s easier to do a lot of this yourself online, and companies like  Talk Tax make it easier to find the phone numbers for the more hard-to-reach departments of HMRC that might be able to help you with your queries. 

Lettings Assistant

My first full time job after leaving college was within a residential letting agency, and it’s probably the thing that sparked my passionate nosiness for looking inside house! I used to love looking at the photos from the appraisals, although all the audio typing I did wasn’t so fun. It was a really varied job and gave me a really good insight into what working in an office was really like.

Retail

Before I left school, I did a couple of different retail roles, one as Staff Receptionist in a major supermarket and another as a store assistant for a women’s clothes outlet. I have to say, I didn’t find either job particularly engaging, and the hours for retail generally SUCK, but when you’re 17, it’s all much of a muchness in terms of part time jobs!

I’ve done a few other odd jobs here and there, but my work history is pretty similar before blogging. One of the things I love about working for myself is being able to set my own hours and work around the kids – we’ve saved a fortune on childcare with me working from home. The only downside to freelance work is the uncertainty – one month I might have loads of work coming in and other months are like virtual tumbleweed, so if you’re considering a leap into self-employment, make sure you think hard about whether you can sustain it during the troughs as well as the peaks.

6 Must-Visit Chocolatiers For The Traveling Sweet Tooth

Middlebury Chocolate with Andy Jackson” (CC BY 2.0) by Breville USA

Engaging in the cultural delights of the countries you visit on your travels defines the adventure. But everybody does the obvious ones – from visiting iconic historical buildings and grand natural landmarks to experiencing local cuisine and once-in-a-lifetime leisure activities.

But there’s one thing that binds us all and that’s a love of chocolate. And through this much-loved confectionary, the sweet-toothed traveler can bring a new dimension to their trip. Here are six must-see chocolatiers from around the world.

Jacques Torres in New York

Now boasting eight locations around New York, you’ll find it hard to miss Jacques Torres when visiting the city. It’s probably best to head to Torres’ Rockefeller Center chocolate shop. That way you can tick two things off your bucket list – eating Mr. Chocolate’s sugary delights and a visit to one of the city’s landmark locations.

Melange in London

Melange is different. Its reputation has been built on weird and wonderful flavour combinations. Now multi award-winning, Peckham-based artisan chocolatier Isabelle Alaya specialises in tantalizing the taste buds with a fascinating and surprising mix of spices, herbs and fruits in her handmade chocolate bars and truffles.


chocolates from Teuscher” (CC BY 2.0) by Alanna Risse

Teuscher in Zurich

Years of painstaking research have gone into making Teuscher one of the world’s great chocolatiers. Dolf Teuscher founded the business over 70 years ago, having travelled the world seeking the finest cocoa. Experimentation saw him develop unique flavour combinations with various ingredients, including marzipan, fruit and nuts, combining to forge a then-pioneering chocolate empire. Teuscher chocolates are now found all around the world but visiting its outlet in Zurich takes you back to where it all began.

Coro the Chocolate Café in Edinburgh

Coro the Chocolate Café doesn’t claim to be an expert chocolatier, but it does know how to make eating an exciting and unique experience. Boosted by Deliveroo  bringing its chocolatey delights direct to customers’ doors in Edinburgh, Coro’s aim is to deliver your chocolate fix in new and interesting ways. So you’ll see a menu brimming with choice that includes everything from crepes and fluffy waffles to ice cream, milkshakes and even savory items.

Debauve & Gallais in Paris

The oldest chocolate shop in Paris charts its beginnings back to 1800 when Sulpice Debauve founded what would become Napoleon’s official chocolate supplier. Debauve had been experimenting with chocolate for years, even curing Marie-Antoinette’s headaches with a remedy blended with cocoa butter. The company’s dark chocolate, some of which is 99% cocoa, is arguably the best you’ll taste anywhere in the world.

Belle Fleur in Sydney

Belle Fleur might be better known as the chocolate sculpture experts but there’s still a winning combination of aesthetic imagination and delicious flavour. With exciting combinations of ingredients, from fresh lemon meringue with white chocolate ganache and whipped cream topping to local favourite The Aussie, which sees a salted ganache smothered in dark chocolate, Belle Fleur has plenty to interest a sweet tooth.

Our whistle-stop tour of international chocolatiers showcases a few select artisans and their imaginative approach to satisfying the taste buds. Travel doesn’t have to be all museums, tall buildings and 22-hour bus journeys – it can also mean chocolatey indulgence.

What to Consider When Buying a Family Car

We’re at that stage again where we need to start thinking about buying a new car; we’ve had our current car for just over a year, but it wasn’t exactly brilliant even when we bought it, and we’re desperate for a vehicle with more space. We’ve been thinking about what sort of car we want and we’ve got some pretty specific criteria, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re in the same position:

New or Used?

While it’s tempting to go for a new car, the fact is that used cars probably offer better value. New cars decrease in value the second you drvie them off of the forecourt and often have teething troubles, all of which are usually resolved by the time they’re sold on. Unbeatablecar have some great used cars on offer.

Function

What are you planning to use your car for? We do a lot of milage each week, doing a long school run on country roads, so we’re planning to upgrade to an SUV-style car, but if you only do a few miles a week on mainly urban roads, you could probably go for something small like a Fita 500.

Space

How many seats do you need? Do you need a lot of boot space? Is an estate car for you or would a hatchback suffice? There are only 4 of us (plus Maureen) but we’d love to be able to fit more people in the car, so a 7-seater with decent boot space would be ideal.

Fuel

Our current car is petrol, but if we opt for an SUV, we’ll probably end up buying a diesel, however it’s worth remembering that older diesel cars will be taxed higher than newer ones, so brushing up on the new laws will be essential before we spend a lot of money.

Features

When you buy an older car, it’s often possible to get one with better features for less money. Our ideal car is a Volvo XC90 and many of them come fully kitted-out with luxury features, costing WAY less when you buy second hand.

What would be an absolute must for you when buying a new family car? Leave me a comment below.