Monday, 31 August 2015

10 Rules for losing weight without starving

After I turned 35 I realised how difficult it is to stay in shape. Basically I started putting on weight while eating the same things I did all my life. But while in my 20s the weight was falling off me, now it's a different story. I remember my Mum used to tell me how difficult it is to lose weight in her age (or once you are in your 40s and 50s) and now I can understand what she meant. But after a while, I discovered there's a way of staying in shape, as long as you are smart with what you eat (and best thing, you won't have to starve!)

These are 10 rules of staying in shape: 

1st rule: Stop eating before you feel full. I like to put the plate away while I'm still slightly hungry. I found that before when I ate until I was full, after about 20 mins after the meal I felt like bursting. So perhaps the food needs to settle in your stomach before you realise you had enough. This rule definitely makes me lose weight quicker.

2nd rule: Eat breakfasts rich in proteins. Porridge, boiled eggs, cottage cheese, dark bread sandwich with cheese or muesli with milk. This way you stay fuller for longer, protein gives energy for the day and allow burn fats quicker.

3rd rule: Don't snack between meals. Not even biscuits with your tea or a yogurt. Any snacks allowed are fruits and veggies (apples, bananas, carrots, tomatoes etc.)

4th rule: Cravings... If you really crave something, wait until your main meal, and eat just a small chunk of it (like half a Snickers bar as a dessert after lunch).

5th rule: Eating Out. Very difficult to navigate through it... When dining out, choose meals that are low in calories, no Italian meals, like lasagna or pasta. Stick to salads, boiled vegetables, fruit bowls as desserts. Go for things baked over fried. Opt out of mayonnaise or oil dressings. Jacket potatoes instead of roast ones. Go to Chinese restaurant instead of Indian. And eat slowly, with smaller chunks. Maybe engage in a conversation with other diner, so you'll be focused on talking and forget about the food.

6th rule: forget about big dinner! In Poland where I'm from, our main meal is in lunchtime, and evening meal is a small supper. It's never good to eat a heavy meal late (or 4 hours before going to bed). Remember to make your last meal of the day something light but filling, like a yogurt with a bowl of fruits or a salad with no dressing. Never eat anything after 6pm.

7th rule: Drink plenty of water. I personally don't like cold water, so I tend to drink 4-5 cups of tepid boiled water.

8th rule: avoid carbohydrates: potatoes, pasta, rice and white bread. This evil stuff will sit in your belly and hips for-ev-er!

9th rule: exercise! I know you thought you'll get away without it, but... Even doing crunches everyday will speed up your metabolism. Try doing between 30 and 100, as long as you do it everyday.

10th rule: Motivation. Before reaching for a snack, think twice: do I prefer 2 minutes of food pleasure or a lifetime pleasure of looking fab? For me it works (almost) every time :) And have a strong defined goal you want to achieve, that's the best way to help you shed pounds and stay in shape!

Good Luck!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Do you feel lucky?

We often underestimate the significance of luck. It's good to be lucky, things come easier to you. Like a new cashier point is opening in a busy supermarket when you're queueing, or you have just managed to squeeze before a tractor on the roundabout, so you're not stuck behind him. These little things can ease your journey through a day, and maybe through your life. Sometimes we don't even notice these little things, until we get few unlucky happenings. Like a screaming toddler sitting right behind you on the 3 hour flight.

From time to time, when luck is on our side, it has got even more grandeur effect on your life. It can actually save you from the car accident, robbery or even death. You can be saved by a stranger, by the traffic jam or a computer glitch. The survivors of 9/11 attack mostly have been saved by some unusual events that disturbed their daily routine and prevented them from being in the office at 9am that fatal day.

One such story is told by Elise O'Kane:
United Airlines flight attendant Elise O'Kane had wanted to work her usual trip from Boston to Los Angeles that month.
But in August, when scheduling her flights for September on the airline's computer system, she accidentally inverted two code numbers and wound up with the wrong schedule.
She managed to trade flights with other attendants for all her trips -- except for Flight 175 on 9/11.
So the night before, she logged into the computer system again and tried to request that flight. The system froze. By the time it finally processed her request, it was one minute past the airline's deadline for such changes.
Her request for Flight 175 was denied. She would have to fly to Denver instead of Los Angeles.
She missed the flight that eventually crashed into World Trade Center that day. She survived...
Full story is available on CNN website.

How often we are being held up in the traffic, are sat in the delayed train and curse our bad luck? Maybe we should be grateful that this situation is saving us from a disaster or an accident. Next time your daily routine is distracted or you can't finish your online purchase, sit back, relax and let it go. It's the mighty force directing you to the safe place. Just take this situation as it is and be grateful for the intrusion. It could be your lucky day!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Something resembling a plan...

It was fantastic day for a car boot sale. Bit cloudy in the morning, but by noon, when the car boot started, it suddenly cleared out and the Sun appeared. I had a massive clear out, so apart from my regular home decor which I sell online, I took some of my private stuff, from clothing, DVDs, CDs, tools etc. I was so happy to be busy, sold very well, and pocketed £90 - that's a result :) That goes straight to my bank account on monday. Adding to my savings towards a big trip.

I've spent whole day yesterday researching, and I begin to have something resembling a plan. As I won't be having loads of money when going to South America, and a slim chance of getting a job there, I will need to allocate myself in a dirt-cheap place (like Ecuador or Peru) for 6 months. Then find some decent flat (maybe 2-bedroom) in central location, with plenty of tourists. Also it has to have a Wi-Fi. I found plenty of inspiration here: Cheap places in South America.
Now the plan is to spend this time growing online business until some decent money starts coming in. In the meantime sublet the extra room to the tourists, earning some extra cash this way. Once I get a regular income from working online, I will be able to travel anywhere, and keep working and making money. So after 6 months have passed, I will then start travelling across South America, go to Mexico and Panama, later head towards new Zealand for 2-3 months and settle in Australia in the end. That is the plan! Finally something to go towards to, a direction. Now I have to stick to it, and do tiny steps everyday, to achieve it :)
Wish me luck!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Visualisation - the power is in your mind!

When you describe your flat layout to a friend and you see it with your mind's eyes, you are visualising. Anyone can do it. It's our imagination, and it often is linked to our emotions, as well .Do you remember when you smiled to yourself when you thought about the joke you heard last week? It's an emotional side of visualisation.
This powerful tool can also help you achieve what you want in life. So how does it work? You simply need to imagine yourself in a situation you want to be in - as a millionaire, having healthy, happy family and a loving partner, travelling the world, working as a head chef in a top restaurant... Do it everyday, simply relax, sit down, or lie down on the bed, close your eyes and spend this time visualising.

I devote 10 minutes everyday for that. I put on relaxing music from YouTube, close my eyes and focus on the situation I want to be in in few years time. I see myself sat on the beach, on a sun lounger, under the parasol, with my loving partner next to me. My wallet is filled with banknotes. I have a full manicure, deep sun tan, coconut cocktail in my hand, and a Caribbean music plays in the background. I try to stick to one situation, the same settings, that way it's more powerful. And it's important to imagine even smallest details in the settings - the colour outfit you are wearing, taste of the drink, sounds you are hearing, how does the surface of the table feel etc. This makes your visualisation more powerful.

Now, how does visualisation can get you what you want? Our mind is a really surprising and mighty force. By visualising you let know your mind, that you already are in that situation. You can see, feel and smell all that's around you. Your mind will think that you already have it, and now it's the best part - it will lead you towards that goal, towards that situation. You will suddenly discover that you are planning a weekend on the beach, where there's a cocktail hut (with coconut cocktails). You will find yourself in the shop looking at identical outfit you've been wearing in your mind's eyes. Or your friends will invite you to the pub, where there's Caribbean band playing that night. You will discover how powerful the visualisation can be, and it will bring you what you want in most bizarre ways!

I remember there was the time when I was visualising myself sitting by the BBQ with friends, having berry ciders and enjoying the view by my dream home. Within few weeks time one of my friends' was going through the phase of having BBQ dinners everyday in his garden, and my other friend ended up stocking on loads of berry ciders, as he came across some offer in the local shop. It's surprising, bizarre, how visualisation brought me what I wanted, although only some bits were delivered to my life, not the whole picture! Then I realised it's better to dream bigger dreams then too small. If you end up dreaming like me in the beginning about BBQ and drinks, that's what will be delivered, BBQ and drinks, and nothing else - hardly a big dream, right? So I make sure now to dream bigger, see myself on a tropical island, somewhere warm and exotic.
So good luck with your visualisation, and let me know how it went!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Schedule you day and follow bigger plan!

Ok, so you finally prepared a 5 year plan, which makes you super excited and motivated about achieving your goals. Now, after writing it all down, and seeing it in front of you, you need to divide the action plan into smaller chunks. For example, divide your plan for the first year into 12 small chunks for each month. Write down what you need to achieve by the end of each month. Make it reasonable and achievable. Remember the SMART rule: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time bound.

Each goal cannot feel out of reach, you must feel you can achieve it. It is important that your goal is specific. If you want to make more money, write down- I would like be making £300 a week. That is specific and can give you some more attainable ideas how to make this sum of money, instead of just saying: I would like to make more money. It leaves the target in a 'dreamyland', out of reach. Now, that is specific and measurable target. Is it attainable? You will need to analyse it. If you are selling CDs online at £4.00 each, you will need to be selling 75 of these each week to make £300. 75 CDs is over 10 CDs per day. So you know, that in order to make £300 a week, you need to be selling 10 CDs per day. That is measurable and attainable approach.

Selling CDs must be relevant with what you want to achieve in life, that way you will be motivated to sell more. Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you'll fritter your time – and your life – away. This is relevant approach.
Time bound gives you an idea when you would like to achieve your targets - do you want to be selling consistently at £300 per week in two months time, or by the end of this year?

Also don't forget to schedule your day, in order to see what to achieve, and know which direction to go. Write down what you want to sort out in a given day, do it in the morning, or a night before. Have it in a visible place, by your computer, so you often look at it. Cross the tasks off as you go along - it's such a great feeling! And try this little smart tip: once you start working on one thing, focus on it, and don't get distracted, by ANYTHING. No cups of tea, no checking Facebook, no dealing with emails. You will be surprised how more efficient your day will become! It's incredible how much time we lose each day on those little sneaky distractions!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Reasonability vs. Spontaneity

Is reasonability the only winning factor in making decisions? Does spontaneity have any right to be followed? I've always been spontaneous, followed my gut feeling at the drop of a hat, and I love that. Maybe not the best thing if you want to make a plan and stick to it, but it's more fun this way. Being reasonable kills fun factor, don't you think? 'Everything will work out' is fun way of planning things, right? Maybe it won't guarantee a good pension (but to have a good pension, you have to stay in one country all your life, anyway), it won't let you create a 5-year plan, but in the end it will let you experience one in a lifetime events. Running Bahamas marathon. Diving with jellyfish. Night walk on local cemetery (only for the brave). I'd rather do that (or plan it, anyway) then staying safe and reasonable. And salute to that!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The trivial pursuits

Very trivial happenings. If you have been selling on ebay, you can understand. Ebay has been very strict and demanding on sellers, but very forgiving with the buyers. Of course, they want to attract buyers, and most of the buyers are absolutely perfect. But there's odd 1% less then  perfect and likely to exploit the forgiving rules. I won't be digging too deep, but let's say, after 10 years, as a seller you have to bend over backwards just to get by. Being on this platform reminds me of a little quote I found in absolutely amazing book 'Brasil' years ago: "We willingly enslave ourselves for crumbs. For mere shadows of crumbs..."

So true, that's what the 'normal World' demands of us. Just work hard to pay the bills, and don't stick above the rest. Just inspire to be a little cog in the big wheel. Get stuck in the traffic on Bank Holidays and Christmas. Over spend when you're told to. Take a burden of a mortgage and kids. Don't ask too many questions. It sure reminds me of 'Matrix' - the reality we live in. Just paddling on the surface of life, trying not to dive too deep. You risk breaking the mould, the cookie cutter form, by following your dreams. And you have to try really hard to break the mould, and say no to the trivial life. No other peoples' expectations, no to being team player, sacrificing yourself for the greater good. It is difficult, but it's worth it. And there's many people out there questioning life, and the given rules. Some of them have the courage to create their own reality and become nomads, live on the tropical island teaching local kids, or become monks. What is your dream, what's your calling? Share it with me!

Monday, 24 August 2015

How to set goals?

Yes, that is a big question. How to set goals? Well, I have many theories, on paper. You know the tennis players, ballerinas, singers? They have a strict regime they follow, the commitment they abide to achieve what they want. But do they have these little pangs from time to time, when they just want to have a sofa day, and over-indulge on the jam doughnuts? What do they do? Do they just slap themselves in the face, and say, get a grip? Isn't it too big of a commitment? Change your life and devote it completely to one thing? But these people, the ones who make sacrifices, take a slap, are finally rewarded by being the greatest. By reaching over other athletes, who didn't make the commitment, and maybe did indulge on a doughnut. I admire these people. Their strong will, the sacrifice they make.

Now, by contrast, there's lil o'me. I have to admit, I never managed to commit to one goal, as my goals change at least twice a week, or at least they are being modified. Some of them survive the cocoon phase of three months, although these are rare and involve me turning everything around - and abandoning anything that involved my previous goals, courses I was taking, books I was reading and any given research. There was too many projects I started but never finished.

But travelling was one recurring commitment that never went away. Always present in my life, and too deeply rooted to neglect. It's my calling, my nature, and I cannot change it. And I'm proud of it, it's true what they say - 'Your longing is your calling'. I believe everything has got the reason, and I need to find my own reasons.

From now on, however, my readers, I make a promise to you and to myself. I have you as a witness, so I better stick to that promise. I will finish all that I started. The blog, the travels, the projects. I will commit to my goals. I will make sacrifices, and plans. And I won't quit at a drop of a hat. I need to make deeper ridges in my life, dig deeper to reach my goals. And stay positive! That will happen from now on.

But for now, Good Night :)

Power of positive thinking

I would like to talk to you today about something that has played a major role in my life for the past 6 months. It's called 'Positive Affirmations'. It is a powerful method that focuses on the way you think and talk about yourself, your life and others. It's aim is to bring you what you desire in your life, by you thinking that you already have it.
Let's say, you want to make more money. You are thinking to yourself: "I'm a millionaire, I can afford the best quality clothing, tropical holiday, and pay all my bills with ease and pleasure". You put yourself in that position by your way of thinking, you are affirming that positive situation, and you are attracting all that you desire. By thinking positively, you bring positive things into your life.
It is working, I have been doing it for the past 6 months, and it brought into my life exactly what I've been affirming, sometimes in quite surprising forms.

You start by paying attention to the way you speak and talk about yourself. Notice how many times you criticise yourself in your head, or say negative things when speaking with others. When you complain about your life, your money, weather, it's all negative affirmations. By focusing on negative aspects of your life, you attract more negativity.
By thinking of yourself as a failure, loser or lazy bum, you are affirming it and attracting more of these into your life.

Start by completely blocking the negative thoughts that come to your head, and replace them by positive ones. Had just an argument? Don't think about it, don't focus on this negative situation. Instead, imagine more positive outcome, reaching an agreement, laughing together, working towards the same goal. It will be very difficult at first, but by constant practise, it will become easier and easier as the time goes by.

Also don't complain! Each and every complaint is a negative affirmation, and tells your mind that you want more of that negativity in your life. Instead, think twice before telling anything negative (even about the weather) and instead focus on some small positive thing that you can find. Maybe talk about the fact that petrol prices dropped (ok, that's unlikely), or that you had a productive day, managed to stick to the diet, cleaned the house etc. etc. With time, you'll notice that you stop talking about negative things, and you actually notice how often people complain around you.

Something to think about: how many times have you seen a happy rich person complaining? And how many times have you seen a poor, disabled person on benefits complaining? Till tomorrow...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Everyone says I'm running away...

My dad always asks what I’m running away from with my travels. A few weeks ago, a commenter told me to stop running away and live life. And I once came across a blog called “Mom says I’m running away.”
I’m not sure why, but there is this perception out there that anyone who travels long term and isn’t interested in settling down or getting a conventional job must be running away from something.
They are just trying to “escape life.”
The general opinion is that traveling is something everyone should do—that gap years after college and short vacations are acceptable. But for those of us who lead nomadic lifestyles, or who linger just a bit too long somewhere before reaching that final homestretch, we are accused of running away.
Yes, travel—but just not for too long.
We nomads must have awful, miserable lives, or are weird, or have had something traumatic happen to us that we are trying to escape. People assume that we are simply running away from our problems, running away from “the real world.”
And to all those people who say that, I say to you—you’re right.
Completely right.
I am running away.
I’m running away from your idea of the “real” world.
I’m avoiding your life.
And, instead, I’m running towards everything – towards the world, exotic places, new people, different cultures, and my own idea of freedom.
While there may be exceptions (as there are with everything), most people who become vagabonds, nomads, and wanderers do so because they want to experience the world, not escape problems. We are running away from office life, commuting, and weekend errands, and running toward everything the world has to offer. We (I) want to experience every culture, see every mountain, eat weird food, attend crazy festivals, meet new people, and enjoy different holidays around the world.
Life is short, and we only get to live it once. I want to look back and say I did crazy things, not say I spent my life reading blogs like this while wishing I was doing the same thing.
As an American, my perspective might be different from the rest of yours. In my country, you go to school, you get a job, you get married, you buy a house, and have your 2.5 children. Society boxes you in and restricts your movements to their expectations. It’s like the matrix. And any deviation is considered abnormal and weird. People may want to travel, tell you they envy what you do, say they wish they could do the same thing. But really, they don’t. They are simply fascinated by a lifestyle so outside the norm. There’s nothing wrong with having a family or owning a house — most of my friends lead happy lives doing so. However, the general attitude in the States is “do it this way if you want to be normal.” And, well, I don’t want to be normal.
I feel like the reason why people tell us we are running away is because they can’t fathom the fact that we broke the mold and are living outside the norm. To want to break all of society’s conventions, there simply must be something wrong with us.
Years ago, at the height of the economic boom, a book called “The Secret” came out. According to “The Secret,” if you just wish for and want something badly enough, you’ll get it. But the real secret to life is that you get what you want when you do what you want.
Life is what you make it out to be. Life is yours to create. We are all chained down by the burdens we place upon ourselves, whether they are bills, errands, or, like me, self-imposed blogging deadlines. If you really want something, you have to go after it.
People who travel the world aren’t running away from life. Just the opposite. Those that break the mold, explore the world, and live on their own terms are running toward true living, in my opinion. We have a degree of freedom a lot of people will never experience. We get to be the captains of our ships. But it is a freedom we chose to have. We looked around and said, “I want something different.” It was that freedom and attitude I saw in travelers years ago that inspired me to do what I am doing now. I saw them break the mold and I thought to myself, “Why not me too?”
I’m not running away.
I am running towards the world and my idea of life.
And I never plan to look back.

Original post to be found at:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

House Sitting Job in South of France?

I have received an email this morning from a lady in South of France, regarding a house sitting job. She has got three dogs and one cat. She recently had a nasty accident, leaving her slightly immobilised. She's still at home, and expected to remain in the constant therapy for another 6 months. But she has to travel for regular checks to the hospital. Now she needs someone to walk the dogs regularly (since she cannot do it herself) and look after the house, keep it in good condition, probably maintain the garden, water the plants, answer the door etc.
She sounded very keen, and the assignment would take three months, from mid September till 15 December. That would be such a perfect solution, as that way I could go to Brazil afterwards straight away. My main target is to arrive in Brazil before the end of December, to celebrate NYE in Copacabana - and celebrate the brand New Year of travelling in style :)
Let's hope it will work out, the location sounds idyllic, tucked away in the middle of nowhere, in French countryside. I can see myself wandering around vineyards, going on long sunny car rides and stopping for occasional coffee, or a glass of wine, bliss...

Friday, 21 August 2015

First Pet Sitter Job!

Today I had my first interview for the house and pet sitter job. It's in the place not far away from me, about 15min drive, so absolutely perfect. It's lovely cottage tucked away in the countryside, with private 1.5 acre of land and gorgeous garden with the pond. Lovely couple with 4 Labradors, which are all related. Mother, two daughters, and one baby. Sweet kind Labradors. The guy has got very interesting job, as he is a professional yachtsman - so he's often away and travels for a living - a dream job! The lady works from home, advising people on packaging solutions for the grocery products that are being brought to the market - rather complex and interesting job. The house is fantastic, they do have two self-catering cottages on the back, that were made from converted barn, and now they rent them out.

So they need someone on various dates, to come and stay with the dogs while the lady needs to go away for the day, and the guy would be sailing. That would be staying there just for the day, and come home in the evening, or stay overnight, maybe over the weekend, if they wanted to take some short break, weekend away.

That works for me, the garden looked so fantastic, I can see myself having a morning coffee admiring the views, or enjoying the glass of wine in the evening - I will actually start having drinks just because it's called for!
Now, the best thing is, they want to pay me for that! Yes, absolutely! They will pay me for sitting in their place and walking the dogs. Absolutely amazing, and I'm so grateful, as there's so many house sitters applying for the jobs, so the owners have got rich pickings from all that are happy to do it for free. It's a bonus, and not bad for a first assignment!
Now, the plan is to meet them next week and come with them for the walk with their Labradors. It will be also a chance to see if the dogs will react to me calling them, as I'm the new person in their life, not their owner, so they might not feel the authority. But hopefully we'll work something out, that will be all my dearest, have a good life!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Time Is Money - How To Deal with a Mad Workload

My laptop is finally running faster, yes! After days of struggling to reset it myself, I called today for a help of professional. It cost me £25, ok, but I figured out - time is money, and the time I am spending trying to work out this thing, could be spent on my online projects, taking photos of new stock etc. So, I have done rare thing for me and I outsourced. Normally, I like to think of myself as a self taught and self-sufficient, but this time I thought I will speed my work load and increase a productivity tenfold if I leave it to a professional.

And it was such a great move, the guy turned up within an hour, cleaned the laptop within 10 minutes, and then re-installed my Windows 8. I will leave it as it is, don't want to install 8.1 as I had some issues resetting it myself after it was installed. Although I prefer the simplified 'Power-off' access in 8.1 I'll make a conscious compromise.
Ok, so here I am whizzing off on my shiny new operating system, and the laptop that makes no noises whatsoever. What a pleasure!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Can't Fight (Online) Fate...

Online work seems to be etched in my life line. It is an inevitable part of my being, no matter how much I try to drift in other direction, it always seems to find me. My affair with working online started in 2007, when I set up my first business, Little Black Cherry. It was (and still is, up and running, yet under different management) a Scene Emo clothing shop - who remembers that trend? Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy, Hayley Williams... These were the days. I have discovered a fascinating phenomenon called 'teenagers' and loved researching this market, what trends they loved, which idols they followed, and all about their culture. I really enjoyed doing that job, photoshoots, fashion shows, it was fun fun fun.

But after 5 years, I struggled to motivate myself to keep doing the same thing, I lost this passion I had in the beginning, my research was less thorough, my blog posts were more lame, and you could definitely see it in the shop, with the product descriptions, layout etc. I needed a change, I think I have a bit of Short Attention Span, this thing you see in some of the children. I love the change, I crave a challenge. So after meeting my partner, I moved to Cornwall, and was happy to get a break from the livelihood online.

But this crept back into my life, somehow, someday, like unwanted STI. Yes, it was back, I found myself writing Facebook posts again, sharing blog content all over the place, basically trying to leave a trace wherever it was permitted. This time, my online business was focused on selling furniture online, and I'm still doing it today. It's not bad way of making money, and with the minimum wage being rather steady, and commodities and cost of living going constantly up, it does make sense to take charge of your earnings.

Now, planning a move to South America, another subject seemed to find me, online blogging. I caught myself watching YouTube videos on how to make your blog successful, how to start earning money from your blog, and it feels like I'm heading this direction. I don't mind, I love writing, I think I've got a bearable readable style, and so far I know a thing or two on sharing content, getting traffic and researching the market. So that's my new career goal, to become a professional blogger and be writing for a living. It won't happen overnight, and it probably will take few good years, but I don't mind doing it, even if I will have to find a full time job in the meantime - boohoo :/

Monday, 17 August 2015

Vaccinations for South America

I'm in the process of sorting out all the necessary vaccinations before leaving UK, luckily NHS has got plenty of free jabs for South America. Hepatitis A and B as standard, but mine could still be valid since my trip to Sri Lanka, Rabies jab I  sorted in 2010, and got a booster, which covers me for 10 years - really worth doing for few quid extra. The ones they also offer at no extra cost are for Typhoid, Tetanus and Polio. You would simply need to sort out the Yellow Fever jabs yourself, but there's always some specialist clinic in every area that can offer that for a small amount. Basically none of these is mandatory before entering any country in South America, but from time they might require a certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever when arriving in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and few others.

Hepatitis A and B is rather important, as it protects you from most common stomach bugs when eating foreign food. It worked so far, we even ate street food in Sri Lanka, and I drank a water from the stream (no purification), although it was in the mountains, so that's this water had no chance of any contamination yet.

Rabies is recommended for your own peace of mind, if you get bitten by a stray dog, bat or a monkey, as they might carry the infection. Rabies can cause inflammation of the spinal cord and the brain. It is not transmitted by bodily fluids. Read more about Rabies here.

If you will be travelling to the rain forest jungle and stay in remote areas, it is also recommended that you get the Malaria protection too. You cannot get the vaccinations, but you can protect yourself by avoiding the mosquito bites. Mosquito net and the Citronella spray has been a godsend on our trip to Sri Lanka - the mosquitos absolutely resented the citronella spray, so yay for that!
Also it is recommended that you start taking malaria pills on a regular basis three weeks prior to your trip. In UK chloroquine and proguanil can be purchased from a local pharmacy. Read more about malaria prevention here.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Can you smell a memory?

Smells carry enormous amount of emotional information. We associate them with certain events in our lives, and some particular smells can bring so many clear and strong memories. It is incredible how our brain works.
I remember the first day when I moved to Plymouth, and on the first evening I went on the Hoe, where the grass was being cut earlier that day. The Sun was shining, the Drake Island was on the horizon with plentiful of boats around and the strong smell of freshly cut grass was in the air. It was such positive sensation, which gave me a feeling that moving here was great decision and only amazing things will happen from now on. Plenty of amazing things happened in Plymouth, and the freshly cut grass still brings this positive energy and memory of the first evening in Plymouth.

When a small shower comes on a sunny Summer day, sometimes you can smell a butter in the air. It's the rain water mixing with the hot tarmac that creates this unusual fragrance. Whenever I smell it, my memories take me to the P.E. lesson in my primary school, I must have been about 7 or 8 years old. We were jogging in the local playground, and it was a very hot day. Suddenly few clouds appeared and there was a small shower. This buttery smell hit my nostrils and I remember thinking how strange it is that you can smell butter here in the park. But I remember it vividly.

Sometimes a smell of ginger cake can take you to the Christmas at your Grandma, when you were a child. It can transport you to this moment, and you can see it all again so clearly, it is absolutely fascinating.
Have you got some unusual smells that you love and that carry some vivid memories?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Do you delete cookies before searching for flights?

Did you know that when you research flights online, the websites you're visiting store cookies (of course), but then they track your steps online, and when they spot you search for similar flights, they work on commission with flight operators and increase the prices? It is true, and the price can suddenly increase for up to £200 - £300, depending how expensive the flight initially is. It is not a housewives' tale, it is an actual fact. I remember when I started looking at the flights to New Zealand, the cost was about £800 - £900 from UK, then I was reading New Zealand guides, blogs etc. and after 2 weeks I looked at the flights again, suddenly the prices jumped up to £1000 - £1100, no joke. At that point, I was like 'oh, well it's not £800 as I thought'. And left it at that. But after viewing few travel videos and blogs, this was mentioned by few people. It is all to do with your IP address.

So, the best way, is not to research the flights on a regular basis using laptop at home, but leave it for one day (let's say 2 months prior to your trip, when apparently that's the best time to book), and then either block cookies on your laptop for the whole day and focus on searching the flight. Why can't you block the cookies for good anyway, and live in privacy? Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Cookies allow you to view the majority of websites, remember passwords, display content etc. so they are essential for everyday surfing. But, if you block the cookies for one day only, and don't do anything else online until you find the flight, you should be ok.
Another option is to use different laptops when searching for the flights. E.g. use computers in the library, our library has got at least 10 different computers. Just come one day, use one, the next day use another one. Genius! And don't trust the comparison sites exclusively. They work on commission, so might not show you all the flights, and you might find cheaper flights directly on the flight operator website. Don't shy away from 2nd, 3rd, and (yes it exists) 4th page of Google. They can contain a highly valuable pieces of information, and when you're on a mission to find the best deals, venture there too - Good Luck :)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Got 2 Be - Beach Waves!

Since I have cut my hair two months ago, I do love trying new texturizing products. There's so many on the market, and by that I mean Superdrug in Liskeard. It's hard to choose from what they've got on offer, and I suppose the selection would be even harder in bigger shop. But, I prefer the products that give a tousled, messy textured effect. I discovered that texturizing sprays work better then gels, moulds or waxes. I think these work on shorter messy styles on men, they don't seem to work on longer hair.
I wanted to try the Texturizing Salt Spray for a while, as I'm devoted to Got 2 Be by Schwarzkopf, I absolutely adore their products. I like the shape of the bottles, the eclipse line is so elegant in my opinion.

This spray - 'Beach Matt Mermaid Look' gives effect of beachy waves - texturize, body and tousle.
The instructions on the bottle say to spray it evenly on dry or dry-towel hair and scrunch or tousle-style as desired. I have used it as soon as I came home, on dry hair, with some products already in. I have flip my hair down and sprayed all layers evenly, from bottom to top layers, messing and scrunching the hair. I don't like to over-do it, but allowed the hair to take the product in. Then I have sprayed plenty of extra hold hairspray over all layers, and the look was really impressive, the wavy messy look I absolutely love, and it doesn't go flat or lose volume - well done Got 2 Be :)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

IT Jungle Treck

I've been fighting all day with resetting my Windows 8 (or is it 8.1 in the end?). What a pain... I cannot honestly understand how you can consciously apply for an IT job, it's a pure nightmare! I still haven't sorted it out. The thing is, my brother is an IT genius, and he loves nothing more than a computer enigma waiting to be solved, me not so much. But he pre-programmed the laptop I'm using, and it apparently came with original Windows 8, but then it was upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro. I do have the original product key to W8, but not to the other one. So when resetting Windows in the current state, the system goes bonkers and shows the error message all the time. 
I have dealt with this issue once before, when I cleaned my whole system last year. All I needed to do was to uninstall Windows 8.1 and install Windows 8, and all went smoothly, now for some reason I cannot do it.
I have spent about 3 hours this morning researching these problems on forums and YouTube, yet still cannot find the right solution for me... I might leave it is it is for now, and try again tomorrow.

On a better note, I have started learning Spanish from the phrase book I bought yesterday. I start to recognise the pronunciation system, 'll' is 'y', 'c' is 's' and 'qui' is 'ki' :) Some of the words are quite similar to Polish words, like bileto 'ticket' is Polish bilet. I am fascinated learning new words, and cannot wait to use them in practice. Listening to the rolling 'rrrr's of the Spanish people - or more so Ladinos - and hear their passion, I'm wondering how their temperaments differ from Polish or English? Look forward to making some discoveries :)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

New Travel Books

As my friend used to say, the way to achieve your goal is to follow KAP routine: Knowledge - Action - Perseverance. I've already started the first stage - Knowledge, and it involves reading plenty of books relating to the countries I want to go to, travel guides, tips on what to pack, how to keep your things secure etc. Today I have found few books in my favourite recycling centre in Chagford, if you ever wander to that area, I strongly recommend it. A browsing heaven, run by a team of new hippies, who love to collect, and people ever so often donate to them unwanted items. I never left empty handed, and they've got separate sheds for books, clothes, kitchenalia, furniture, crafts - you get the idea. But now... I'm drifting away from the topic...

Well then, I have stocked up on some vital literature on the Gap Year subject - I think it will be widely useful, more then the guides targeting tourists, as obviously tourists will be focused on sight-seeing, going to fancy hotels and restaurants, and if they spend a week in a tropical place, saving money is not their priority. So I think this book will be focused on more practical issues, as to how to save money on accommodation, how to look for jobs, what to pack and so on.
Another book is a South American handbook, written for people who want to explore this land and want to get to know it to really enjoy it. It has got over 1600 pages, which are very thin, that's why this book doesn't look bulky, but could be the one to take with me, as it's all in one, but won't take much space. I will leave a decision until last moment, as will probably go through many more books by the time I leave.

The third travel book is a Latin American Spanish phrase book. I know that Spanish that is used in Spain and Spanish in Latin America differ, I suppose like British and American English, maybe even more. I remember when I arrived to UK I used to hang out with some Spanish friends and they used to giggle when we were watching 'Desperado' as it was set in Mexico, so they used Mexican Spanish. Anyway, this phrase book covers all the places you might find yourself when traveling, so obviously the restaurant menus, hotel accommodation, bus tickets, camping, but also phrases relating to sport, post office, health and emergencies. It is pocket friendly, and I will definitely make a room for that.

One more thing I would love to get, is a 'Point It' booklet, where there are various pages with images, like children books, but for people who don't know local language. What you do, is simply point to the image you are interested in, like apple, when shopping, or bus stop when asking for the direction. Could be useful, but I like to think that I'm super-fast learner, and might not need it in the end? I could pick up phrases by talking to people, listening to the local conversations etc. by the end of the day that's how I learned majority of English when I arrived to UK. Should be fine.

Now the last book, is not a travel guide, but a wonderful biography by Nelson Mandela 'Long Walk to Freedom' - I have heard about it many times, and finally found it today, it will be a wonderful read, let's just hope I find sufficient time to go through all these books now! I have currently 10 lying on my side table :)