Best things to do in Paris during winter

Paris, France in the wintertime

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A wonderland of beauty to be explored!

Paris, also known as one of the most romantic cities of the world is found in France. Paris is filled with a lot of fun activities and various tourist attraction sites that offer entertainment to the visitors. It is also among the best countries leading in business, arts and cultural activities. It hosts the largest art museum in the world and other monuments and historic buildings that are a must see during your visit to this beautiful city. But of course, you already knew this. So what’s there to do in the wintertime?

The city is normally not congested during this period as people prefer being indoors and tourists are few making it an ideal time for a vacation with your family.

There are many activities that you can do during this winter season to make your stay in Paris more exciting and memorable. Some of them include:

Visit Paris’ monuments and historic buildings

During the winter season, indoor activities seem to be the best and a visit to these sites is one of the best activities to do. Visiting these sites will enable you to see and learn about the history behind the monuments and the buildings. The ones that you must visit are the Paris catacomb, cathedrals and churches, the Paris Opera houses, Notre Dame archaeological crypt and the Saint-Jacques tower. You can even buy your Eiffel Tower tickets in advance! Additionally, you run the chance to see them lit up with Christmas lights – a very unique way to see them, indeed!

Visiting the Christmas markets

France has the most wonderful markets in the world. Christmas falls during the winter season and a visit to Paris won’t be complete without a visit to these markets. These markets are popular with christmas gifts, handcrafted ornaments and different food supplies. some of the major markets include the strasbourg, Christmas market at la defense and Christmas market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

Enjoying the lovely nightlife

At night, Paris streets are the place to be. The trees that line up the streets are normally lit up with beautiful lights that will warm your heart throughout the night. The restaurants also offer the most delicious French meals that will warm your body.

If you’re lucky, there will be a fresh falling of snow. Just to see the building, and old cobble-stone streets of the older parts of the city in this fashion are truly breath taking! Though winter is a deterrent for many, I personally love Paris in the Winter!

How Modern Technology Has Helped Us Live Better in Our Senior Years

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Modern technology goes way beyond smartphones, Facebook and selfies. It goes right into our very core and into the way we live our lives. Technology has improved the quality of our lives by a lot, even if we don’t actually realize it and we are more than indebted to those men and women who made everything possible.

How does modern technology help us live better lives in our senior years? The number of advantages contemporaneity has brought with it is almost endless. We have gathered some of the very best pieces that have made seniors’ lives much, much better these days. Read on and find out more.

Hearing Aids

Today’s digital hearing aids are so different than what seniors used to wear just a few decades ago! For starters, modern hearing devices are much more efficient in maximizing the sounds and in helping people actually distinguish what they hear. Even more than that, most of these devices are extremely discreet and they can be very comfortable too. In other words, every single flaw older hearing devices may have had has been completely changed by modernity – and we cannot be anything but thankful for this!

Home Comfort

Aside from the appliances that make everyone’s lives easier, there are lots of home-related items that can truly improve our level of comfort. Adjustable beds and electric recliner/lifting chairs are just two of the most commonly encountered modern living aids for the seniors and they are extremely appreciated by people from all over the world. These items provide us with more independence, freedom of movement and comfort – three of the essential ingredients for a happy life in your senior years.

Better Communication

Learning how to use a computer or a tablet may feel like rocket science for someone who hasn’t dealt with this kind of “equipment” before. However, the truth is that all of these pieces of IT engineering come with lots of benefits. Among them, one of the most important benefits is related to the fact that you can communicate cheaper, faster and more with the people who are dear to you. It doesn’t matter if your daughter lives in China or if your grandson is travelling through Europe – you will nevertheless be able to keep in touch with them. And that’s truly priceless for our senior years!

Better Entertainment

Being retired doesn’t mean that you like getting bored. On the contrary, this is a time to discover and re-discover the world – and modern technology places this at the tip of your fingers. You can book affordable holiday packages, you can learn about any topic in the world, you can watch your favourite movies and you can listen to your wedding song – all by using one simple device.

Better Medicine

We may not have found cure to many of the diseases haunting us, but the truth is that modern technology plays a crucial role in the way we perceive medical services these days. We have more chances than ever to be healthier and better serviced from a medical point of view and that’s a true advancement indeed!

How to reduce energy consumption on Technology

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There is no doubt that this century is the century of technology. There are so many new technological advances that it is mind boggling. And since the cost of technology such as cell phones, mobile devices and computers has dropped significantly the acquisition of technology has also become much easier. However, one problem remains – all these gadgets require energy to function. Not surprisingly, many people are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption when they employ technology for their daily activities. Let’s examine a few of these methods.

Solar power – this is one of the most reliable sources of energy at the moment and the great news is that it is totally free. The pioneers of the solar energy revolution must be very happy now because their faith in this form of technology has been justified. The cost of acquiring a solar energy system has also dropped significantly making a shift to solar energy a practical option. If you are worried about your home or office electricity bill, do consider shifting to a solar energy system soon. Eventually, this system pays for itself so that you no longer have to depend on other sources of energy like fossil fuels.

Green buildings – the science behind this is simple. Basically, an architectural team will work to design a building that will not require as much energy to operate (compared to today’s energy inefficient buildings that is). There are many technologies that are incorporated into green buildings. You have rooms that are designed with glass windows that let in the sun yet do not require as much air conditioning to keep cool. This lowers lighting bills. You also have buildings that switch to LED lighting to keep lighting systems more energy efficient. Some architects may also design buildings that have trees and plants on the roof – this allows the sunlight that usually shines directly on the building to be deflected. The end result? A building that does not trap heat as much as before plus has a rooftop garden for aesthetic purposes.

Concept vehicles – car manufacturer Mazda has already come out with a car that relies on water to operate. This is a drastic shift from the previous dependence on fossil fuels. Other scientists have also designed solar powered vehicles as well as electric vehicles that rely on solar energy stations to power up. This is very promising as a solution to cleaning up our air now being polluted by vehicle emissions.

How to Get a Bank Loan Approved Quickly

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There is this misconception floating around that you will need to pass through the eye of a needle before you can qualify for a loan from your preferred bank. The truth is, banks want to make loans to the public because this is one way they can make a profit. However, since bank loans are usually big amounts it is not surprising that banks are very careful about whom they give a loan to. So how can you get that bank loan you want fast?

First, you need to prove to the bank that you are a good risk. This means you have the capacity to repay the loan within the timeframe you agree to. This is where many lose their nerve and back off. But to be a good risk all you need to prove is that you have a regular influx of income as well as assets that can serve as collateral for the peace of mind of the bank officials.

Second, you might need to have a guarantor to sign the bank documents with you. This means the guarantor is vouching for your credibility as a good risk because if you fail to repay the loan for some reason the guarantor will absorb the liability. So the guarantor also has to prove that he/she has a regular income and stable assets to repay the bank with in case you default on the loan.

Third, it is very helpful to have a history of managing credit well. This is called building a credit history. In the US you would need to consult the credit bureau while in the UK you need to contact the credit reference agency. The names differ but the organization’s function is the same – to compile a record about your use of credit among different financial institutions. If you have built a great credit history and you have no history of defaulting on payment of credit then a bank would be more accommodating of your request for a bank loan. You might even qualify for a bigger loan amount than you initially requested for.

In the end, getting a bank loan approved is a case to basis thing. You might have an easier time applying for a bank loan than most of the people you know simply because banks evaluate loan applications on a case to case basis. So take heed of the steps outlined above when trying to get a bank loan approved.

5 Steps to Stop Drinking

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If you think that you might have a drinking problem, or know someone that you think might need help, these steps can help you start on the road to recovery.

  1. Make a commitment: Deciding to stop drinking doesn’t have to be a decision that occurs overnight. It can be a gradual process that you commit to after weighing the pros and cons of drinking. Researching treatment centers in your area may help you decide on a course that will work for you.
  2. Create Goals: Stopping drinking is less likely to work if you plan to suddenly give it up. Instead, create goals to help you in the process. Decide not to drink on weekdays or weekends, or cut down on the amount that you drink, and then set a realistic day by which you plan to give up drinking.
  3. Get Help Getting Sober: Becoming sober can feel like a lonely process. Seeking help from people who have experience can help you go through withdrawal safely and comfortably at respected alcohol rehab centers.
  4. Find New Hobbies: In order to maintain your sobriety or regain a healthier relationship with alcohol, you need to find new things to replace alcohol. Finding new hobbies, taking care of yourself, finding new ways to deal with stress and triggers and having resources can all help you maintain your sobriety.
  5. Seek a Treatment Plan: No matter what you do, you will likely continue to have cravings and triggers long after you have decided to stop drinking. To avoid dealing with triggers and cravings by unhealthy means, it is important to have a treatment plan in place. can help you determine a plan to stop drinking and stay sober after you have taken your last drink.

If you, or someone you care about has a drinking problem, contact Sherwood Hills Recovery Resort for more information on getting help.

Staying healthy on your journey

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One of the most important aspects of daily life you need to prepare for when embarking on any journey is your health. Even if you are perfectly fit, exercise regularly, and eat well, you must prepare for all possibilities. Accidents happen, foreign foods leave your stomach unsettled, and after awhile, the psychological effects of travel add up.

Use the following tips to prepare yourself and ensure that whatever comes up on the road, you will be ready for it – or at least know where to find someone who can help you.

Stock up on prescription drugs, especially if you’re on an open-ended trip. This is key if you are on a long-term prescription, such as birth control. While various brands are available over the counter for quite cheap, it is less available in certain places and you absolutely want to be protected while you’re on the road.

Speaking of protection, you may want to stock up on condoms as well. If you’re traveling in Asia, popular condom brands can be difficult to find and local brands tend to be of the smaller variety, which can prove problematic.

Depending on your pace when traveling, it can be difficult to maintain a regular exercise schedule, and to keep track of what you’re eating. It’s essential to get some exercise each day, to not only stay fit but also for your psychological well-being. While indulging in local fare is part of the fun of traveling, make sure you’re keeping a relatively balanced diet, lest all the indulging leaves you feeling sluggish and irritable.

Mental health is just as important – if not more so – than your physical health. Traveling for long periods of time, living completely outside your comfort zone, being away from familiar faces, all of these can take a toll on your psyche.

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Depression can also take hold on a trip, and become aggravated by the fact that you’re in a foreign place, unsure of what resources are available and feel unmoored so far from home. Research the types of mental health facilities available where you’re going in advance, and find out about the availability of counseling and medication. In countries such as Thailand, medications such as Xanax are available over the counter, though it is preferable to find a doctor who can advise you on the proper meds and doses for your circumstances.

In some cities, Western hospitals offer some psychological services. But in more remote parts of the world, it helps to have the contact information of a therapist who offers Skype sessions, in case you find yourself adrift and in need of therapy.

Being prepared to attend to your physical, psychological and emotional health while traveling relieves you of that stress and gives you peace of mind as you embark on your journey. And it will allow you to keep your cool if and when the situation turns dire.

Packing, Storage and Removal Tips

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Planning a trip for the family that’s longer than your average two-week annual jaunt to the beach is an exciting time for everyone. What to do with your possessions to keep them safe while you’re away, however, is something that often gets overlooked. Of course, you can simply shut the front door and set off, but these days we’re all a little more security conscious than that. On a longer trip you might want to think about packing up at least your most valuable possessions and putting them into storage for safe keeping.

Effective Packing

  • Sturdy, well built boxes are your best friend. Choose more smaller ones rather than fewer big ones. Smaller boxes are easier to carry and there’s less chance of filling them so full that the bottoms fall out when they’re lifted.
  • Use good packing tape to seal them. Cheaper tape tends to come unstuck over time, which will leave boxes in danger of falling apart when you come to collect them.
  • Protect delicate, valuable items with bubble wrap rather than newspaper or tissue. Paper is fine, however, to use as a cushion between crockery items. Fill gaps in packed boxes with extra padding to stop things rattling around.
  • Label every box as you fill it. Arm yourself with a black marker pen and list the contents on the outside of the box. You may think you’ll remember, but faced with a dozen identical boxes later on, you won’t.
  • If you’re storing furniture that comes apart, you’ll save space by disassembling it. But remember to tape the fittings to the furniture so they don’t get lost.

Efficient Removals

Depending on how much you’re putting into store, you may need to ask a removal company to help or hire a van if your own vehicle isn’t big enough. Make sure you arrange dates as early as possible so you’re not panicking at the last minute. If you’re taking on the services of a man with a van for removals, find out if you’ll need to help with the loading and unloading. If so, try to make sure you’ve got plenty of helping hands, along with someone to watch the kids if they’re too young to help out. Kids love helping, so if they’re old enough, allow them to carry some lighter things themselves. It’s all part of getting ready to go away, and will make them feel more a part of the planning.


Organised Storage

Self storage is perfect for those times when you want somewhere secure to put your valuables. Local and convenient, storage facilities are easy to get to and have late opening times so you can get on with storing in the evenings if necessary.

Terms are flexible too, with rental periods from as short as a week. For those with just a few items, rooms roughly the size of a telephone box will perfectly fit the bill, while at the other end of the scale there are units that will hold a house full of possessions.

An alternative is to ask family or friends to store boxes for you, but some might not relish the responsibility of taking care of the items that are most precious to you. Professional storage that takes security seriously gives everyone peace of mind, and leaves you free to simply enjoy your trip, knowing everything will be safe until you get home.

Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. For more packing, storage and home removal tips, see their website or blog.

5 ways an active social media presence can increase your business risk

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There are over 2.2 billion active social media users worldwide, which, considering the entire global population is around 7.3 billion, means that there is a lot of pressure on companies to engage in social media activities through fear of being left behind in competitive new markets. Many companies are uncertain about social media, not just because they haven’t got a complete grasp of how to use it effectively, but also because the use of social media within your business can bring great risks. Here are 5 ways an active social media presence can increase your business risk:


 Some companies ban the use of social media completely during company hours, some only allow access to marketing and digital teams, and some encourage employees to be as active on social media as possible. Most companies now have their own social media policies, but businesses who employ an open, free-use policy can find themselves at risk from excessive social media use in the workplace. This can have a serious impact on productivity and employee focus, and increase exposure to viruses or malware.


While you may be able to control or regulate employees’ use of social media within the workplace, activity outside of work hours is much harder to control. Employees can unwittingly damage a company’s image through inappropriate online conversations or spontaneously posting things that reflect badly on a business. Many employees take to their own social media accounts to vent about frustrations in their work life, and this can have a negative effect on recruitment, morale and business reputation. In larger high profile businesses, this can spark a chain of events that ends in lawsuits and people losing their jobs. Careless use of social media can also bring management practices under severe scrutiny, as well as damaging business deals and relationships.

When Twitter CFO Anthony Noto, publicly tweeted: “I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16–we will need to sell him. I have a plan.” It was clearly intended to be a private message, but it kicked up a storm of speculation surrounding who Twitter were about to buy and a string of negative media coverage.


One of the benefits of social media is that it enables businesses to interact with consumers on a far more personal level. It also enables customers, clients or associates to publicly express their views about a business. In many cases scores of negative reviews or comments can be crippling for sales and public image. Positive attempts to use social media to your company’s advantage can easily be turned against you by an unforgiving public.

In 2014 the New York City Police Department fell victim to this sort of negative backlash, after tweeting: “Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD”. They were hoping to raise awareness around how much work the NYPD do in the community, however, hundreds of people used the hashtag to highlight images of police brutality, once again seriously damaging the NYPD’s reputation and fuelling tension on the streets.


No one is immune to hacking. Even Microsoft’s official blog and social media accounts were hacked multiple times in 2014 by the Syrian Electronic Army, in order to post pro-Bashar al-Assad messages. While this stunt perhaps did not damage Microsoft as a business, it did highlight that even the world’s most powerful technology companies are at risk to cyber-hacking. Even Twitter executives have had their Twitter accounts hacked, and Anthony Noto was in the headlines again when he appeared to send out a series of tweets linking to spam sites.

Hacking does not just put your business at risk in the form of a few embarrassing Facebook or Twitter posts though. It can also lead to leaks of passwords, private messages, marketing data and in extreme cases, like the famous Sony email hacking, it can result in the public exposure of company emails, staff salaries, confidential documents and employment records.


If your employees are interacting regularly with social media then there is a chance that confidential information, ideas and intellectual property could be stolen by rival businesses. On top of this, many companies are unaware of what intellectual property they are giving away for free, when they engage with in social media activities, as many social media sites take ownership of images and information that are uploaded through their platform. All user agreements and contracts should be thoroughly reviewed before being agreed to, even when agreeing to terms from companies that you may feel like you cannot afford to avoid, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Another mistake that has led to countless lawsuits is the sharing of other people’s intellectual property through social media channels. Photos and videos on Google are usually not free for use, but many employees fall into the trap of believing that if they have obtained a video, audio file or photograph from a well known website, that they may use that intellectual property how they please. This is, of course, not the case and your business could find itself tangled in an expensive lawsuit.

Concerned about your companies’ social media exposure? With every business comes a unique set of risks, and it’s important to speak to a specialist professional risks insurance broker such as Bluefin Professions with cross-industry knowledge to discuss your requirements and ensure your business is fully protected.

A beginner’s guide to investing

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Making financial investments has, in the past, been thought of as a specialist area in which only a certain type of individual with a specific knowledge and character can be truly successful. Even today, some people harbor the inaccurate perception that investing requires a great deal of expertise to mitigate risks and make money.

In reality, all of us balance risks against potential reward on an almost daily basis, and this is essentially what investment involves. All it takes is some careful consideration of all the options, coupled with some good financial advice from a trusted source to ensure the markets are properly understood and to build and maintain an impressive, profitable and secure investment portfolio.

Is investment for you?

Investing has become increasingly popular in recent years and far more widespread and diverse as an activity than in the past. There are a range of reasons that have contributed to this phenomenon, but expert commentators point to developments in technology and online platforms providing insight and access into financial markets to a greater range of people, combined with people’s increased confidence and determination to make their money work in the most effective ways.

That said, however appealing it might be, making financial investments is not for everyone and it is crucial that you develop a broad understanding of all the key elements before making that first step.

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Research, research, research

To that end, the single most important thing you can do is research and, in doing so, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your goals? Understanding your financial goals is fundamental to creating a strong investment portfolio, as everything you do will come back to these objectives.
  • What is your attitude toward risk? All investments come with an element of risk and it is important to understand the difference between high-risk investments that usually come with higher potential reward and low risk investments that usually come with lower potential reward.
  • How much can you afford to invest? While making financial investments can be inherently risky, the best way to minimize such risks is to never invest more than you can afford. Only then can you be sure that such activity will not cause you more financial problems than it solves.

Your answers to these sorts of questions should provide you with a solid grounding to help you decide whether you are ready to engage in the process of making financial investments.

Expert advice and support

While recent technological developments have made it easier than ever to make financial investments, the most successful investors invariably do so with specialist support. This is a huge, complex, and potentially very daunting area and having some support from a trusted organization that specializes in this area can be the difference between success and failure, when it comes to devising your personalized investment strategy.

Such experts will provide insight and guidance with regard to studying the markets. They will help you identify what is succeeding and recommend what you should avoid to build and maintain an effective investment portfolio.

Once this information has been established, a good financial advisor can then help take you through the process of actually investing in something. Depending on your goals and the areas in which you have an interest, investing could include some or all of the following:

  • Bonds: Purchased from a government or corporate entity, these are a form of debt that provides means to lend your money with the promise of gaining interest. Bonds are one of the least risky types of investments and therefore often appeal to beginners.
  • Stocks: While the rewards are potentially higher, stocks generally present a greater risk to investors because they represent a form of equity. As a result of purchasing stocks, investors essentially become part owners of a business.
  • Mutual Funds. This term is used to describe the situation where a group of investors pool their resources to purchase a collection of stocks and bonds, usually through a professional manager. The risks are spread across a range of investment options with a view to balancing risks and rewards in the most effective way.

Excitement and reward

Although it can seem daunting, the rewards of making financial investments are so significant that you should not be easily put off. Making the right preparations is key, and doing some basic research to fully understand all the relevant issues, then enlisting some specialist support, will provide the foundations for the best possible chance of success in this exciting and rewarding field

Climbing to Everest Base Camp

Mount Everest Base Camp

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Welcome to the Rooftop of the World

Everest base camp in Nepal offers you one of the most adventurous and exciting hiking trips in the world. It offers you a chance to try and reach the highest peak in the world, 8,848 meters. The Nepal route is popular for its safety guarantee. The base camp is 5,380 meters high. You can fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, 2,860 meters, before hiking to the base camp which takes six days to give room for acclimatization. To reach Base camp with your supplies, you will need the help of the Sherpas or porters and their animals, mostly Yaks.

Hiking necessity list

You will need to buy a permit before the climb. The cost depends on both route and season of your climb. There is also a bond payment to facilitate garbage collection from the mountain area. Ensure your luggage is light yet containing all the necessary materials. Recall to pack hiking boots considering you will have to walk about 5 to 6 hours daily (and light shoes to put on in the evenings); UV sunblock, camera and powerful binoculars; clothing for trekking in heat and humidity as well as for the very cold moments; water disinfection drops; a light weight sleeping bag; and a first aid kit with fabric bandaids as only them can stick to sweaty feet.

Hiking trip

There are no roads to Khumbu area where Everest is located. Trekking from Lukla to Everest base camp will take you about 8 to 10 days. From Lukla airport you will pass through villages, all with accommodation and dining facilities. The first day will have you travel 6 miles in 6 hours. The next day will see you reach Namche trekking through the Sagarmatha Park where you have to pay 1,000 rupees as a non-resident visitor.

The ascent is steep to Namche, 3,440 meters, with no lodges a long the way thus you have to carry enough drinks. Once there, it is advisable you take a day or two for acclimatization. There is a bazaar hence your stay is reasonably made comfortable. While there, you can take excursions to the nearest villages offering local culture and mountain sceneries. On leaving Namche, you pass though Kenjuma and Sanasa villages where you can buy souvenirs especially if you will take a different descent route. You can finally spend the night at Tengboche, 3,870 meters, where you will find the air to be thinner.

You will then pass several villages including deboche where there is a must-see nunnery and Pangboche where the monastery is. On reaching Periche, take a day or so to acclimatize. It is from here that you head to Lobuche. Here, the lodges are normally full you might sleep in the lobby or share a room with a stranger. Henceforth to Gorak Shep, 5,160 meters, the trek is good taking only 3 hours. It is from here that you visit the Everest base camp from where you have the most exquisite scenery of Mount Everest and its surrounding mountains. The view is more magnificent if you climb the nearby Kala Patthar hill, 5,643 meters.

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Health and safety

Despite the Khumbu area being generally safe, it is prudent to have your most important valuables closely guarded. The Yak people are normally social but could be very temperamental. When giving them way, always stand on the upper side of the path. Combat altitude sickness by descending to lower altitude immediately you suffer severe headaches, dizziness or palpitations. Altitude sickness can be fatal. Avoid drinking untreated water. There are medical clinics with qualified medics in major villages hence there should be no worry. There is also a solely emergency rescue center manned by volunteers.

As you decide on your next adventure tour, try this trek up the highest mountain in the world. It is a lifetime feat. Whether an amateur or a veteran, just know your skills, strength and perseverance have never been tried if you have never taken the trek to the Everest base camp.