Thursday, 27 January 2022

Stockholm in three days Part 1

 


I love travelling and I always regret that I was not brave enough to go solo travelling in my student days. However its never too late to do the things you have always wanted, so when my daughter asked me to go to Stockholm for a long weekend  in March 2020, I jumped at the chance.

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, it is a very cosmopolitan city. The city stretches over 14 islands, it has many universities, shopping plazas and plenty of Scandinavian history with the Royal palace situated in the city center. There is lots to see and do and the plan was to discover all  these amazing  places during our three day city break.

The weather in Stockholm in March is between -1 to +5 degrees C, so it is good to go well prepared with warm clothes that you can layer, take a hat and scarf and gloves and good shoes if you planning on exploring the city on foot.

This was no luxury five star hotel break, it was going to be a city break on a budget. What I mean by that is that we had booked a hostel for our accommodation and lots of free walking tours to explore the city. It is possible to travel on a budget and still have a great experience.


Our city break was for three days, Fri- Sunday. We flew from London Heathrow to Stockholm Arlanda Airport, the flight is very short and convenient and as we had opted for only carry on luggage so it was a breeze to get in and out of the airport and we saved on paying for additional baggage.

Morning flights mean you get a chance to enjoy breakfast at the airport and get an early start to your vacation. To make the most of a short break it's a good idea to set off early and return late, that way you make the most of your time especially for short breaks.


Stockholm is a beautiful city and the airport is only 25 miles away. At the airport, it is really easy to buy tickets for the Flygbussarna airport coaches which run every 15 minutes to the Stockholm City Terminal, the journey takes only 45 minutes and costs approximately £10.00 one way.


We had booked our two night stay at City Hostel, it is in a central location in Stockholm and it is only 15 minutes walk from the city bus station and city center. To enter the hostel there is a flight of stairs, this may pose a problem for some one with a disability.



My student days experience of hostels was cold dormitories with shared bathrooms and toilets and freezing communal kitchens. However when we arrived at the hostel we were staying at I was pleasantly surprised.

The reception is manned between 9 am and 6 pm. It is not necessary to pre reserve the rooms however it is advisable to do so during peak season and if you want a private room.



Our flight was an early morning one as we wanted to make the most of our long weekend. City Hostels offer to store your luggage safely in a locked secure area on arrival if you arrive early and they also offer to store luggage on check out days if you want to go exploring before your return flights or on ward journey. 

We found this really useful and made use of this facility on arrival as well as on departure day as our return flights were in the evening.




Since we were able to to drop of our bags we went out exploring the town and to pick up some groceries for our breakfast for the next two days. 

The standard of living in Sweden is high. It certainly is not a cheap city as food and drinks are costly amongst other things.






After exploring the town and enjoying a late lunch we checked into the hostel. Checking in was an easy process and in no time we were in our room enjoying a coffee and the famous cinnamon bun planning for the next day. 



The hostel can accommodate up to 79 guests per night. There are options of 6,8,10 and 12 bed dormitories, and also private rooms that have a tv.



We had booked a private room which had bunk beds, the bottom being a double bed and top bunk being a single bed. The rooms are compact but very clean. There was a small hanging rail, a desk and a chair in the room and a TV . There were usb charging ports, plenty of sockets and bed linen was provided. As we were travelling light we rented the bath towels at a very reasonable rate of £ 1.50 each. 


The communal space and corridors were well lit and there were security cameras for safety. Modern wall art graced the corridor walls, the decor was clean and minimalist giving the hostel a very sleek feel.


The hostel had male and female showers and toilets which were immaculately clean and all had hair dryers.The sharing kitchen was well equipped and the lounge area had sofas with plenty of books and board games, free tea and coffee which was an added bonus.There was a laundry room and a quiet working station area equipped with computers and WiFi was readily available too. 


The charge for the private room was approximately £ 50.00 a night so £25.00 each which is pretty reasonable for the location. The location of City Hostel is convenient, immediately next door is a 7 Eleven mini market that was open till late selling all essentials, coffee, food and house hold items. A five minute walk around the block there is a larger supermarket and there were many coffee shops, bars and restaurants in the vicinity.



The kitchen was extremely well equipped with crockery, plenty of storage for food and also had an oven and microwave. Although we did not cook, we did have breakfast at the hostel and really enjoyed chatting to the other travellers staying at the hostel. I liked the idea where people could leave any unwanted non perishable surplus food in the pantry for others to use instead of wasting it by throwing it away. 



My experience of a hostel stay was very pleasant and comfortable, If you are looking for clean basic accommodation with no frills I would highly recommend City Hostel. In my next post I shall feature Stockholm City and things to do on a budget and places where we ate.




You can watch the you tube videos of our Stockholm trip below:

Day 1


Day 2


Day 3



Have you ever stayed in a hostel in recent times? Do share your experience in the comments below.

You can also read all about my Peak District Hostel stay at Castleton

Monday, 24 January 2022

Why Your Business Should Have a Digital Marketing Strategy

During lock down I started my online cooking classes. It took a lot of preparing, planning and executing to get every thing in order. From planning the classes, testing recipes and getting all the equipment was just the beginning. Next I had to create a the business plan, do market research  and plan a budget. These are not the only things that are required, to target the right niche and understand your business a digital marketing strategy is very important to make your business survive in these tough times.





A digital marketing strategy highlights the specific goals that you want to achieve from your digital channels and provides a sense of direction for those activities. Without a strategy, efforts are meaningless and there’s no real way to understand your performance. I have teamed up with an SEO agency in Hertfordshire to explain why your business needs one.


Understanding the Competition

Healthy competition is great for business as it creates opportunities to learn and grow. By carrying out research on your competitors you can look at what they are doing to take your own learnings, fill in the gaps and improve on your performance. That might be content ideas that drive traffic and those that don't perform so well. On the SERP in particular, you can use your competitors to see what content Google favours and that visitors want to see.


Improve Efficiency

Monitoring and investigating how your budget is spent can help you to increase your ROI and get more bang for your buck. It's simple enough, without monitoring you won’t have a clue as to how well you’re doing. There are many tools out there that can help you keep an eye on this such as Google Analytics that allows you to track your conversions and revenue. You can even drill down to find out which channels are performing the best and identify problem areas that need to be addressed.


Understand Your Customer Better

Reviewing analytics can also help you to better understand your customers, what they love and do more of it to bring in additional revenue. Again, this is all information that you can access through analytics tools that allow you to see where your customers are spending their time and where they are “bouncing” off. This can help to boost customer satisfaction and user experience which is more than likely to be rewarded by Google and other search engines.




Starting up a business needs a lot of thought and planning and if executed properly and methodically it can pay off. Do lots of research and plan accordingly. Have you ever thought to start up your own business? Do share your any useful tips you may have  in the comments below.

**collaborative post.


Friday, 19 November 2021

Choosing a Bicycle.



As a child I never learnt to ride a bike and I never felt that I had missed out. It was only after I had kids and we taught them to ride bikes I started to feel left out, especially when we went on forest holidays and my partner and girls rode bikes and I had to walk everywhere. I decided to take adult bike classes and learnt to ride a bike.  am still a beginner when it comes to bike riding but I am certainly closer to my goal. The next stage is to purchase a bike, there are so many options to think of and consider.


What Are Your Needs For A New Bike?

Determining your needs for a new bike can be easier if you already ride on an occasional or regular basis. Think about the things that you like about your current bike and features that could improve your riding lifestyle. You may need to do more research if you haven't ridden in a while or want to learn to ride. Find out more about popular bike builds, including the vintage-inspired beach cruiser for women, and options for off-road riding.

Image from six three zero

Cruiser vs. Hybrid Bikes

A cruiser bike can be the perfect choice if you ride recreationally on paved or other smooth surfaces. Hybrid bikes are good for riding on trails. You can also ride a hybrid bike on the road, as these builds unite road and mountain bike features. You can cover more distance and ride at faster speeds on an electric hybrid bicycle.



Image from six three zero

Casual riders may prefer cruiser bikes. These bikes and comfort bikes are also good choices for commuters and others who ride bikes for transportation. Hybrid bikes are suitable for riding on and off of the road on trails and unpaved paths.


Getting a Special Gift for the New Year

If you want to commit to fitness or reducing your carbon footprint in the new year, the gift of a bike supports these goals. You can get as good of a workout on an e-bike as you can on a manual bike. E-bikes make it possible for you to push your limits.

Many people ask can ebikes go up hills, and the answer is yes. You can ride uphill with relative ease on a multi-speed bike. An electric motor and options for pedal assistance or full electric power only make elevation changes easier.


Plan Your Rides To Decide On a Bike

Planning the rides you plan to take can be a decisive factor with regard to the bike you need. If you want to ride at the beach or on level or paved surfaces anywhere, a cruiser bike or comfort bike can be the perfect option. These bikes prioritize a smooth ride over speed.

A hybrid bike is the best option for riding on trails and other off road terrain. You can get a manual hybrid bike or a 250W or 500W hybrid e-bike. A 250W e-bike has a top speed of 24 miles per hour with pedal assistance or 15 mph full electric. These models have a 30-mile pedal assist

range and a 15-mile full electric range. A 500W e-bike can reach 28 mph with pedal assist or 20 mph full electric and has a 40-mile pedal assist and 20-mile full electric range.

A new bike can significantly improve your riding lifestyle and encourage you to go for rides more often. With all of the options available for manual bikes and e-bikes, it is easy to find the right bike for your riding lifestyle. E-bikes make it easier to rely on cycling as a mode of transportation, while all manual and electric bikes can make exercising more convenient.

Whichever bike you opt for make sure that it suits all your needs as it’s something that will last you. Do you have a bike? Which type would you recommend for a beginner like me? Do share your suggestions in the comments section.


*Collaborative Post

Sunday, 25 July 2021

UK Bloggers August 2021 Giveaway

 


UK Bloggers August 2021 Giveaway 


The last few months have been a tough time for one and all. We have all struggled in our own ways , some with job losses, some with stress, isolation and loss of loved ones. I have found my blog has been a saviour for me during these tough times. Its been a space where my readers have continued to support and motivate me by visiting and commenting and keeping the blog live.
In view of this continued support from my readers, I have teamed up with UK Bloggers to host a giveaway for £120 M&S E-Gift Card. Please do enter the giveaway below:


Meet the Bloggers


The following UK bloggers have all come together to contribute towards this giveaway, offering you a chance to win an M&S e-Gift Card worth £120. Kindly support us by visiting some of the websites below or following us on social media pages. 

 CatsKidsChaos | Spillinglifetea | Real Girls Wobble | Missljbeauty | Monethalia | Koody | Felifamily | Hannah and the Twiglets | A Life Of Lovely | At Home With Alice | Make Money Without A Job | Earn Money Do Good | So Nostalgic | Craft Multimedia | The Grumpy Olive | Cantwells Cabin | StressedMum | Alice in Sheffield | Dull to Desirable | It's Me Chrissy J | Best Things to do in Cambridge | Two Plus Dogs | Thrifty Chap | Jupiter & Dann | Miss Tilly And Me | Being Tilly’s Mummy | Internet Wages | Life With Ktkinnes | Christmas With Katie | Life in a Break Down | Simply Saving | A Suffolk Mum | A Life Less Plastic | Fresh Design Blog | Wotawoman Diary | StaceyLBlogs | Socially Rach | Best Things to do in York | Brunch or Breakfast? | Lodges with Hot Tubs | Fruit Picking Farms | Citrus Spice and Travels | A Life With Frills | Life Changing Side Hustle | Honest Mummy Reviews | Wander & Luxe | My Tunbridge Wells | Travel Bugs | Mind over Money Matters | Discover Kent


The Giveaway Prize

One lucky winner will win a £120 M&S e-Gift Card! An M&S eGift Card can be can be used online at marksandspencer.com or in over 700 M&S stores across the UK.


Terms and Conditions

1. There is only one prize of a £120 M&S e-Gift Card. 
2. There are no runner up prizes. 
3. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway. 
4. The closing date for entries is midnight on 08.08.21. 
5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the websites involved, but you only need to enter on one website. 
6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget below and complete one or more of the tasks - each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw. 
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw, increasing your chances of winning. 
8. One winner will be chosen at random. 
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their email address, or a replacement winner will be chosen. 
10. The winners' names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this). 11. The prizes will be dispatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their address. 
12. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. 

How to Enter:
To enter the giveaway, simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entries below:
Good luck!

Friday, 23 July 2021

Summertime Renovations on a Budget

 

Summer is a good time to get your house in to ship shape. It's the perfect time to apply a fresh coat of paint, get those much needed renovations and repairs done. It's ideal time to get your boilers serviced, your carpets cleaned and curtains laundered.

Together with the home renovations, it's important to have that family time, book a holiday and make the most during the school holidays too.An economic holiday is to do a staycation in another city. House swapping is a great idea too, as is camping and chalets holidays  Sometimes just a weekend away is enough to relax and enjoy family time away from home and get a change in scenery..

All these extra things do eat into our set monthly budget and we often find that our finances start to suffer during the summer months.This is when cashasap.co.uk come in handy. They are the perfect way to access payday loans without any hidden costs. Short term loans are a form of unsecured credit offered at higher interest rates. It can be a solution for times when you don't have the money and need a small amount to tie you up for those extra expenses.The loans can be accessed online at any time, which makes it simple and convenient for you.  

Photo by Pedro Monteiro on Unsplash

These are the minimum criteria you need to meet to apply for a cashasap.co.uk loan. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be in full or part-time employment
  • Be a UK resident with a UK bank account and a linked debit card
  • Fully and honestly fill out our application form
  • Have a working mobile phone and email address
  • Be able to afford the repayments over the term of the loan.

There is no queuing, to get the loan you are required to fill in an online form.Once approved the money is directly transferred to your account. First time customers are limited to a £400 loan although this limit can grow to £750 pending successful repayments and continued qualification for a cashasap.co.uk loan. The loans can be for 35 days or you can opt for a multi month instalment loan for up to 6 months.

Of course renovations are important but do be mindful that you only take out a loan if you can afford to pay it back. You can always find other inexpensive ways to spruce your home 

  • Move furniture, dust and clean under it. Air your soft furnishing in the sun and deep cleaning them to give them a new lease of life.
  • Upscale furnishing that you have, a fresh coat of paint or vanish gives old furniture a new dated look
  • You can get fabrics purchased in charity shops that you can make cushions and throws with.
  • Swap labour with friends who can come and help out to save labour costs, and payback by returning the favour.
  • I have found that buying a large pot of white paint and a smaller pot of coloured paint and mixing the two to get your desired paint colour is cheaper than buying premixed coloured paint.
  • Sometimes you just need a few new pieces to add  to your room to lift the rom up and give it a fresh look.  



Photo by David Pisnoy on Unsplash

I hope that you take inspiration from this post and spruce your home and make it ready for the winter These are just a few ideas for home renovations, do you have any ideas that you have? Please do share them in the comments section below.

**collaborative post.