Lighting Up the Celebration: Responsible Fireworks for an Unforgettable Event

31/01/2024

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Fireworks



Fireworks are the epitome of celebration, so if you're hoping to incorporate fireworks, in a responsible way, for an unforgettable event, then read on! In this article, we delve into innovative ways to ensure a truly one-of-a-kind experience for everyone.


Why Should You Incorporate Fireworks?

Create Lasting Memories

Fireworks have a unique ability to create long-lasting memories. This stunning visual spectacle doesn't happen all that often, and the exhilarating bursts of light and sound create a sense of wonder that captivates audiences of all ages. Just make sure you have enough space so everyone can keep a safe distance, be mindful of neighbours and pets and bringing in a  professional company is always best. 

Add Excitement

When guests know a fireworks display will accompany an event, it creates a palpable sense of anticipation. It provides a focal point for guests to gather around, creating a sense of unity and camaraderie, not to mention, a good talking point.

Set the Atmosphere

Fireworks can be the perfect tool for creating an atmosphere. Whether you're going for grandeur, romance, or celebration, they can help set the perfect ambience that reflects the mood and theme of your celebration.

Celebrate Milestones

If you're celebrating a significant milestone, Fireworks can add a sense of significance to the occasion. So why not celebrate your birthday with a stunning display?

Create Unity Among Guests

Fireworks are a shared experience, and they bring people together. A sense of unity and community can be felt as people huddle together for warmth and look up at the sky. Do be aware of neighbours though and preferably do this away from built-up areas in socially acceptable times. 



fireworks




Where Can You Incorporate Fireworks?


At Weddings

Fireworks can elevate a wedding celebration, adding a touch of magic to the occasion. A firework display can also create a breathtaking backdrop for wedding photos, so it's important to consider the perfect moment to light up the sky.

New Year's Eve Parties

New Year's Eve is synonymous with fireworks, as people around the world gather to ring in the new year with spectacular displays. A New Year's Eve party without fireworks is sure to end in disappointment. It's a tradition that unites.

Corporate Product Launches

An event where you're less likely to see fireworks is a product launch. However, fireworks are sure to make for an unforgettable event. Whether you're celebrating a successful year, launching a new product, or hosting a milestone anniversary, fireworks can help to impress clients, employees, and stakeholders alike. It's a way that your business can make a statement.

Community Events

Community events, such as festivals or fairs, can also benefit from the inclusion of fireworks. They bring people together from all walks of life to celebrate shared interests and experiences. A firework display at the end of the event can serve as a grand finale, leaving attendees with a sense of awe and appreciation for their community.


Safety Considerations

It's important to prioritise safety when incorporating fireworks into your event. Follow all local regulations and safety guidelines. Provide clear instructions to guests on where to safely view the fireworks and have designated areas for spectators to gather in.


In conclusion, incorporating fireworks into your event adds a touch of magic, excitement, and entertainment that elevates the entire experience for you and your guests. By considering the benefits of fireworks, the perfect timing for their inclusion, and the variety of events they can enhance, you can create unforgettable moments and cherished memories that will last a lifetime.


fireworks

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5 ways to live more sustainably in 2024

21/01/2024

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cycling

* This post may contain affiliate links.  

Now more than ever we know we need to do what we can in terms of cutting down our personal impact on the earth and that some of our daily habits need to be changed to encourage this. However, it's not a bad thing, in fact, these changes usually have a positive effect all round and are fairly easy to implement. Changes like this also need to be seen as long-term goals and nothing one and one situation - I've already do most of these things. 

So here are 5 ways to live more sustainably this year

1.  Travel - focus on flight-free destinations and reduce your car use 

We all love to go on holiday but if you are based in the UK with Europe right on your doorstep, there are so many ways to completely cut out flying while still enjoying a sunny destination while taking advantage of the fantastic trains and bus networks across Europe. Travelling by public transport is the most sustainable and often economical way to go, in 2022 I took my kids Interrailing across Europe and it was one of the best things we have ever done and not a plane in sight. 

When it comes to daily travel, try and make sustainable swaps, such as if your destination is within cycling distance then try that inside of driving, or ditch the car for bus or train commute. Also try and actively walk to more places if possible. 


train travel
Interrailing across Europe


2. Eating - Grow your own and have more meat-free days

You don't have to fully commit to a plant-based diet to have an impact, just having more meat-free days will massively help. Instead of just meat-free Monday why don't you try and adopt a veggie-based meal three times a week? Planning meals in advance also helps to reduce waste and remember to compost left over food because it all helps.

If you have a garden or outdoor space why not focus on making it as wildlife-friendly as possible this year, you could let your grass grow longer, plant more wildflowers and flowers that attract bees, hang up a bird feeder and create micro-habitats and also why not try your hand at growing your own food? If you don't have any outdoor space then why not consider volunteering at a community allotment, I do and its a lot of fun and a great way to meet people and spend more time outdoors. 


grow your own


3. Ditch fash fashion for second-hand finds

I rarely buy anything new and now with apps such as Vinted and Depop there is hardly any reason to not buy second-hand - it's easy, economical and sustainable. Charity and secondhand stores are also great and when you are done with your item why not list it online and continue the circular fashion loop. 

Also instead of throwing a garment away because it has a hole, or has lost a button, either repair it yourself or get it repaired. I recently dropped a pair of trousers off at a local seamstress to fix the zip that had broken - it was cheaper and easier than going into the city to buy a new pair. 


thrifted fashion
My favourite second-hand jacket and top

4. Make eco swaps and support B Corps

We all need to start making small changes when it comes to our purchases. If you can reduce the need for plastic even better, such as changing to shampoo bars and creme deodorant. Not everything it suitable to be purchased second hand so when we are making new purchases try to go with a company that has sustainability at it's core, such as B Corp Brands which is an accolated awarded to businesses that promote positive social and environmental change. I recently needed a new duvet and discovered Simba, the first B Corp sleep brand and is made in the UK using sustainable products and is committed to reducing emissions as well as offering a robust recycling service. I've been so impressed with my Hybrid duvet from Simba, I know its' going to last a really long time which is also important when making purchases, longevity is sustainability. 

5. Energy 

With energy prices having skyrocketed over the past 2 years, its not only beneficial for the environment for us to be more energy aware but also for our pockets and saving money. We all know to turn off lights when we are not using them and to turn our thermostat down along with taking shorter showers and laying warm clothes instead before putting on the heating but we can also look at alternative energy such as installing solar panels or switching providers that use wind turbine installation company for power. There is a whole array of renewable energy options on the market today and many more in the pipeline, here is a really informative article about the renewable energy sources choices out there. 





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Beat the Cold: Adventurous Winter Date Ideas

19/01/2024

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outdoor cooking


The winter season can be a magical time of year, filled with cosy movie nights with family and friends and hot chocolate, yes it is a lot colder but despite the drop in temperature, it's still a great time for adventure seekers. If you are looking for some active or outdoor ideas that go beyond a brisk winter walk then hopefully this blog post will give you some inspiration.  Don't let the cold weather keep you from having fun with family, friends or on your own – embrace it and get ready for some exciting winter date ideas!

Have hot chocolate in the woods 

My kids and I love heading out into the woods with our Ghillie kettle 0 similar to a Kelly Kettle, getting the small (and very controlled) fire going and heating up water for a warming hot chocolate out in nature, we do this every winter and it's something we really look forward too. If you don't have a camping stove or kettle then just take a flash out with you and a picnic blanket to sit on, you will surprised how fun it is.

Try cold water swimming

 Most people by now have heard about the benefits of cold water swimming and the colder the better, however, this is something that takes getting use to and needs to be approached with some level of caution. There are groups up and down the country that are open to beginners such as mental health swims and as with anything to do with swimming outdoors, safety in numbers. If you don't fancy heading in thre sea or river this time of the year, many spas and health retreats now offer ice tubs for you to have a dip in and get that adrenaline pumping.  


cold water swimming



Hit the Slopes even if they are artificial ones

While except for Scotland, in most of the UK you cannot guarantee snow but that doesn't mean you can't get out on the slopes and either learn a new skill our touch up on your skiing and snowboarding abilities. Most cities have artificial slopes, Cardiff my local city does and places like Tamworth have great indoor facilities using "real" snow. There are of course 5 ski slopes open annually in Scotland so that is always an option. However, it would be dreamy to be able to go skiing in Utah is a must-try for any adventurous couple, with its world-renowned ski resorts and stunning mountain views, it's no wonder Utah is known as the ski capital of the United States.

Tick off a bucket list Winter hike

Who says hiking is only for the warm months? Bundle up in your warmest winter gear and hit the trails with your loved one. Winter hikes offer spectacular views of snow-covered landscapes and peaceful solitude away from the crowds. Places like Pen Y Fan in South Wales is stunning this time of the year with it's snow-capped peaks.

Research some nearby hiking trails and plan a day trip to explore together. Make sure to bring plenty of snacks, water, and a camera to capture the beautiful scenery along the way.

Pen Y Fan
Pen Y Fan in South Wales in the winter




Embrace the Cold

Instead of hibernating indoors during the winter months, embrace the cold with your family, pets or even significant other by trying out one of these adventurous date ideas. Whether it's hitting the slopes or cuddling up by the fire after an exciting day, these winter activities will make you enjoy the colder season more.

So bundle up, have fun, and don't be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone – you never know what amazing experiences await! Keep exploring together and making the most of this magical time of year.

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7 Tips for Stunning Landscape Photos

12/01/2024

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Sugarloaf mountain



For those who don't know, I have a degree in Photography and I love to travel so I thought I would share a few tips on getting the best results when heading outdoors with your camera. The allure of a mountain range, the serene expanse of a valley, or the dynamic colours of a sunset draws people to a particular photography genre, landscape photography. Yet, the journey from a casual snapshot to a breathtaking landscape photo is often challenging because it's not just about having a high-end camera or finding the perfect location. Taking beautiful photos of nature requires understanding and harnessing the subtle details of light, composition, and perspective.

But what if your attempts at capturing the grandeur of landscapes leave you feeling more frustrated than fulfilled? What if, despite your best efforts, the images you capture do not quite echo the majesty of the scenes before your eyes? The solution lies in knowledge and technique. Whether you're a seasoned photographer or just starting to explore the vast world of landscape photography, there's always room for growth and improvement. Below are some tips you can apply to elevate your landscape photography from ordinary to extraordinary.


1. Composition Techniques


A stunning landscape photo is a well-composed one. A guiding principle for good photo composition is the rule of thirds. Most if not all modern digital cameras and smartphones have a “rule of thirds” mode, which you can activate by going to the settings and turning on the grid (or the equivalent).

Place the vital elements of your landscape along the grid or at the intersections for a more balanced, visually appealing shot. You can also use leading lines, such as paths, rivers, or even patterns in the landscape, to create a sense of depth and direction, drawing the viewer's eye into the main subject. Don't hesitate to experiment with different compositions to find the one that best tells the story of your landscape.



mountain range




2. Explore Different Perspectives


The angle and perspective from which you take your shot can dramatically alter the story you’re trying to tell with your photo. So, when it comes to landscapes, don’t just settle for the typical eye-level shot. Climb to a higher vantage point for a bird's-eye view or get down low to capture an interesting ground-level perspective.

Experimenting with different lenses can also change the entire feel of your landscape photographs. If you're not ready to invest in a wide range of lenses just yet, consider a lens hire service. This allows you to experiment with various types of lenses, such as wide-angle or telephoto, which can provide new creative avenues for your photographic endeavours without the commitment of a large purchase.
 

3. Create Depth in Landscapes


Depth is what transforms a flat image into a three-dimensional scene that invites the viewer to "enter" the photograph. To achieve depth in your landscape photos, include details at various distances from the camera. This layering of the foreground, middle ground, and background produces a sense of scale and depth that makes your landscape photos more engaging and realistic. Also, consider using a smaller aperture (higher f-stop number) to keep as much of your scene in focus as possible to enhance the sense of depth in your image.


4. Utilise Filters Effectively


In photography, filters can significantly enhance the quality of your images. A polarising filter, for example, can reduce glare, deepen the blue of the sky, and bring out the richness of colours, especially in foliage and water. Neutral density filters, on the other hand, allow for longer exposure times even in bright daylight. This helps achieve that silky smooth effect in moving water or clouds. When starting, experiment with different filters to see which one suits your style and preference best.



sunset hour


 

5. Optimise Camera Settings for Clarity


The mastery of camera settings is a game changer in landscape photography. A smaller aperture is typically preferred, as it ensures a greater depth of field and sharper focus. Also, don't shy away from using a tripod to stabilise your camera. This is crucial for blur-free images, especially when using slow shutter speeds or shooting in low-light conditions. Finally, toy around with your ISO settings; a lower ISO minimises noise, creating clearer, crisper images. The bottom line? Understand and experiment with your camera settings to capture landscape photos that truly stand out.


6. Understand Your Landscape


For photographs that truly capture the essence of a landscape, the first step is to understand it. Different landscapes, from deserts and mountains to rivers and seas, require different approaches. Research the area you plan to photograph by understanding the geography, the typical weather patterns, and even the time of year. These factors can all influence the output and knowing about them can help you anticipate certain elements like cloud cover, the quality of light, or even what kinds of flowers will be in bloom. Being informed also deepens your connection with the landscape to allow you to portray it more authentically.


7. Keep Compositions Simple and Powerful


When capturing the grandeur of landscapes, it can be easy to fall into the trap of including too many elements in your photo. However, simplicity can often be more powerful. A minimalist approach can create a more impactful, memorable image by highlighting a few strong elements: a lone tree against a vast sky, a single mountain peak piercing the clouds, or a quiet stream meandering through a forest. These simple scenes can carry immense beauty and emotion. Ultimately, it’s about letting the landscape speak for itself.

Capturing One Landscape Photo at a Time

Landscape photography is about sharing how you see the world through a camera lens. It's also a journey of continual learning, experimentation, and, most importantly, enjoyment. So go ahead, take your camera, and step into the great outdoors. With patience, practice, and these tips in mind, you can easily capture the breathtaking beauty of nature through photos. Happy shooting!


mountain landscape


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How to have a positive Co-working experience as a digital nomad

11/01/2024

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Digital nomad

*This post contains affiliate links.





With a growing industry of digital nomads, self-employed freelancers and those switching from an office environment to working from home permanently, many are enjoying the new flexibility of being able to choose where and when they work and in what kind of environment.

As a creative freelancer myself, who can work from anywhere that has a fast internet connection, I wanted to share some insight to my experiences of trying out different working environments. I've worked from coffee shops, libraries, hotels and backpackers while travelling and co-working hubs in my local city, I also have a home office. For those who travel and work Nomadic Matt offers up some great digital nomad tips. I found each has its pros and drawbacks, which I will share in this post.

Which working environment is best for a digital nomad?

1. The Coffeeshop 

Nearly all coffee shops have free fast wifi and while this is good for checking email or just touching base with clients, coffee shops in general are not a great option for anything that is going to take longer than an hour. Firstly you will need to purchase food and drink and secondly, I've seen a rise in coffee shops limiting laptop use to 1hr to prevent people sitting for hours on end while spending very little, which is fair. It's also not the most social atmosphere if you are looking to bounce ideas off other creatives.

2. Local Libraries

Council-run libraries in the UK all have free-to-use fast internet (well at least 95% do) and most will have desks and plugs you can use. There is usually no time limit and it's a great free option although can be lacking in terms of social connections or creativity. Also you need to be aware of being on a shared server which can pose security issues for things like mobile banking and libraries may also block certain websites. 

3. Home Office 

Now I love my home office but sometimes I find I can start to lack motivation or inspiration day in and day out and connecting with other creatives can be really helpful at times so there are definitely some drawbacks to working solely from home. 

4. Co-working hubs

Personally, I think every digital nomad should give a co-working hub a go at some point, you don't need to use them all the time but it can be a boost socially and creatively being around others who work in similar industries. Also many are now offering more flexible approaches and you can often get a hot desk on a daily basis and don't have to lock into longer-term or monthly contracts. If you do your research and look around you will also be able to find a variety of options to suit your budget depending on facilities, space and how many days a week you want to use it. 


digital nomad


With every situation, including co-working, you need to create some kind of routine to get the most out of it. Here are some tips on having a positive experience while using a co-working hub

1. Have a daily to-do list

It can be easy to become distracted in a co-working space so ensure you find a quiet desk and consider using headphones to zone out any unwanted noise and and have a clear to-do list for the day with tasks you want to complete.

2. Take regular breaks

It's important to step away from your laptop or phone regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes to help you both physically and mentally recharge, doing this can help improve your well-being and productivity. Also, go for a short walk or grab a coffee and connect with others throughout the day when you feel like you're hitting a slump. 

3. Connect with others during your breaks

Co-working hubs are great spaces to meet other like-minded digital nomads and freelancers although you do need to put a little effort in to get the most out of it. In most co-working spaces they will have a social area where people can share ideas, grab a bite to eat and enjoy social interactions with others, something you won't get when working from home. 

4. Be a conscientious co-worker

Co-working spaces are just that, sharing and working in a space together, so make sure to tidy up after yourself, keep your space clean and be aware of others around you. Help to create a positive atmosphere while being kind to your other co-workers.  

5. Don't go into a co-working space if you are unwell. 

There are lots of viruses going around, from colds and flu to stomach bugs, so please be aware of your fellow digital nomads and do not go into a shared space if you are not feeling well. Some hubs may offer some form of rapid testing and in other places such as in Oregon, it is legal for employers to conduct drug screening as part of the hiring process so they may have stricter rules in co-working spaces depending on the area and country, needless to say if you feel you are coming down with something but don't count on it, always best to stay at home until you are feeling fully well again before heading into a shared working space. 

6. Take snacks and stay hydrated

A lot of co-working hubs will have some kind of small kitchen space and coffee machine at a minimum, so may even have a small cafe on site but always ensure to bring along plenty of snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day and to prevent a midday slump. 

If you are a digital nomad or freelancer or someone just switching to working at home full time then I hope you found this useful. The main thing is to be flexible, try new things and look for a routine or setup that works for you. 



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London to Ibiza, why Winter is the best time to visit the island

03/01/2024

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Ibiza

*This post contains affiliate links 


Ibiza, for many people the first thing that comes to mind is "party town" and yes in summer that is very much the case but the cooler months are completely different and locals back this up with many of them recommending visiting the Island in winter and here is why.  

1. Less crowded and more relaxing

I won't beat around the bush here, Summer in Ibiza is very busy and crowded, mainly with a younger crowd but the same cannot be said for the off-season months appeal to a different crowd, those who want to explore the island and take in the fantastic natural landscapes and sunsets as well as relax, in peace. Going off-season also allows you to soak up the local charm and heritage the island has to offer. 

2. Mangable temperatures

In the summertime temperatures easily rise above 30 degrees and for many, this can be quite taxing, especially if you want to get out and explore the island. During the off-season temperatures are still warm and sunny but are a more comfortable 18-24 degrees, making long trips to the market or hitting one of the hiking trails a far more enjoyable experience. 

3. More affordable

You can grab great deals on flights, travel and hotels during the off-season with many accommodations offering special discounts. It's also easier to avoid the over-priced tourist restaurants and take time to discover local gems. 


Ibiza
Ibiza old town



How to get to Ibiza

While flying is of course the most direct route it's not the only one and if you have time, the journey down can be quite an adventure and you can get to the island without even stepping on a plane. Here are your options.

1. A direct flight from London to Ibiza on a commercial airline takes around 2hrs 30mins and an array of both budget and mid-level islands fly from London as well as other airports across the UK.

2. The quickest no-fly option is to take the train from London to Barcelona and then the ferry from Barcelona to Ibiza, the whole journey takes around 2days, with the ferry being anywhere between 8-14hrs, one option is taking the overnight ferry and booking yourself a cabin and arriving well rested. Man in Seat 61 gives a great rundown of what you need to book for this option. 

3. If you fancy driving and taking the dog along with you, you can drive down to Dénia in Spain and take the quickest of the ferry routes over to the island with the ferry being just under 3hrs, this would probably be my option moving forward now that I love to bring my dog along for the ride. 

4. There is of course for the high flyers out there or business travellers or perhaps a group of friends celebrating a big event and wanting to go all out, taking a private jet from somewhere like Biggin Hill Airport could be a real option. Going private is by far the quickest option as it also means much less time spent checking in and you would only need to arrive around 15-20mins before departure, the flight itself matches those of commercial airlines from London, coming in at around 2hr 30 actual flying time. If you fancy really arriving in style then click here to book a private jet from London to Ibiza and start planning your trip now and this could be the cherry on the cake if you are heading to the island as part of a larger family or friend group. 


Ibiza sunset


What else makes Ibiza unique in winter. 

1. Almond blossoms 

Did you know that there are almond trees all over the island and when they come out to bloom in pretty white and light pink it can be a truly magical sight. The best time to see this is between January - March. It's also recommended to see them in the light of the full moon, when the flowers take on a silver-white glow. 

2. The Winter sunsets

Did you know that the sea and sky have a much wider spectrum of colours in the winter, making Ibiza's winter sunsets are actually even more spectacular in the cooler months. 

3. Visit the walled city of Dalt Vila.

Located right in the heart of the city centre, the best way to experience the walled city is by getting lost among the cobblestone streets and climbing to the top of the monument castle, something which can be rather unenjoyable in the summer when it's too hot. 


Ibiza


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