How to Make your Long Distance Commute More Eco-Friendly

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  • By admin
  • October 27th, 2011

In the current economic climate travelling a long distance to work isn’t uncommon. This can be an expensive and time consuming journey as well as excessively contributing to carbon fuel emissions. If you want to cut your commute time, reduce your expenses and help the environment then here are a few tips to make your long distance daily commute more eco-friendly.

Consider Altering your Working Hours

You could significantly cut your commute time if you avoid rush hour, motorways and highways can be extremely clogged in typical rush hour times – sometimes adding hours onto your journey time. Speak to your boss and see if you can work something out that suits you both. It may mean a later start and finish time but could drastically cut your time spent travelling daily. Also, being stuck in traffic jams can be extremely bad for the environment as the car is on the road, releasing carbon emissions for a long period of time. Plus, the stop-start procedure of traffic jams consumes more fuel than driving at a steady pace, meaning you have to fill up more often.

Compare Transport Options

If you regularly take trips abroad as part of your job it can be tempting to use a hire car as your transfer option between the airport and your destination. However, other public transport options may be considerably cheaper and take the stress out of your journey. Many cities in Europe boast efficient train systems with fares which are usually a lot cheaper than car hiring costs. Plus, catching the train could be a safer option, especially if you’re prone to suffering from jet lag, as tiredness can significantly affect your concentration whilst driving.

If you really want to make your international job commute eco-friendly you could consider flying with a green airline. Using public transport when you land is also a great way to be green as it means one less car on the road!

Reducing your Car Fuel Emissions

If you have no or limited access to public transport and really have to use your car then there are a few methods to reduce your carbon emissions and fuel costs.

Always perform maintenance checks on your car as this can help to reduce your fuel consumption. A dirty air filter can apparently reduce fuel efficiency by up to 20%. Ill-inflated tyres can also increase fuel consumption as well as being dangerous to drive with.

Try to limit your gadget use also, Sat Navs require charging at a mains socket which adds to carbon emissions. Latest studies have been showing that gadgets are holding back plans to drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2020. If you really need a Sat Nav consider buying a solar charger which uses Sunlight to power your gadget – totally free, clean energy!

Car fuel emissions account for a large percentage of carbon emissions caused by humans. Cutting fuel consumption can help the environment as well as your pocket. If you feel you’re spending too much money on your international job-related travel then it’s time to compare cheaper, more fuel efficient options.

Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Just Motor Law who are motoring offence solicitors in the UK. You can follow Steph on Twitter @StephStaz for more green, money-saving and travel related posts.

How to Handle a Financial Emergency Abroad

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  • By admin
  • September 26th, 2011

Traveling abroad is an exciting adventure. However, it is not all about packing your bags and rushing to your destination. There are important details that need attending to as you make your preparations. In addition to getting your travel documents in order, securing accommodations,  and the like, you should also think through how you’ll handle a financial emergency if one should arise. If you were to get sick, injured, or robbed, you need to have an immediate plan of action, which will undoubtedly require ready access to cash.

Medical emergency

Every traveler should ensure that he or she has a plan for a medical emergency because illness can come with no warning. To start with, if you are not in good health, it would be unwise to travel abroad. If there’s any question of your health status, be sure to have a physical examination some weeks before your planned trip.

Most importantly, make sure that you have adequate health insurance cover in place. The insurance policy should be able to provide protection against emergencies, transport, evacuation and hospitalization while abroad. You may need to request and pay for additional coverage on your existing policy, but the money is worth the peace of mind. Before you get discouraged by the dollars you have to part with, consider the cost of not having the insurance in place as you travel.

Credit cards

Since credit cards work all over the globe, it is wise to have your card with you. Before traveling, it is essential to inform your bank of your plans so that they are aware of any international withdrawals that you would make on your visa card. The beauty about the credit card is that you do not have to carry a lot of cash around, which could end up being unsafe in a foreign land with a potentially high crime rate. Be sure to have the phone number for your credit card company handy, in case it’s stolen. You don’t wan to end up with a stolen card and have no way to cancel it.

Payday loans

In the absence of a credit card, and low funds in your checking account, consider a payday loan. This can be done online and the amount credited to your account within one business day after approval. Payday loans are available to those with a consistent amount of monthly income. The turnaround time is very quick, and as long as you can pay it back in a timely manner, the fees are quite reasonable.

Loans from friends and family

Ensure that you have the contact information of friends and family who will be happy to help in an emergency. Keep in mind that your cell phone might not be functional, and you might want to have the information in another form. Be sure to let the people on this short list know you’re traveling so they’ll be ready to help if necessary.

Last Ditch Options

If the above options have proved futile, you have one last option: selling off your personal belongings. Phones, jewelry, and laptops may bring in just enough money to save the day. While you’ll go home with less belongings, chances are good you’ll have a thrilling story to tell, which is a big part of the travel experience!

No matter what the destination or purpose of your trip, forethought is vital. As you plan your sightseeing tours, restaurants, and hotels, don’t forget to plan for unexpected. Being prepared turns potential disasters into minor mishaps. Plan well and have fun!

Photo credit: Multinational train by Artur Bergman/flickr

London resident Samantha Hathaway is a financial consultant and a content contributor for Payday Loans, a company providing payday loans for money advances when you need them.

6 Travel Tips For Expats

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  • By admin
  • September 26th, 2011

Packing

When packing to live abroad you need a different mind-set than you would for holiday packing. A key difference is that you don’t have a return journey to plan for; you are staying for a while and you will inevitably need to buy things whilst you are out there.

This means that you should focus on packing a few essentials for your first few days, so you can settle in and find some shops. Other than that, bring expensive essentials which would rather not have to buy another one of. Oh, and you might also want to bring photos and any other sentimental items to remind you of home.

Language

One of the hardest things about living abroad is the feeling of isolation. Wherever you are going, make a really good effort to get to know the language – you will almost certainly struggle when you get there, but studying for a few months beforehand will help you to fit in in time.

Google earth / maps

Depending on where you are going, having a look on Google earth / maps and even streetview if available can really help you to get to know where you are going. Try spending a few hours “exploring”, go find your house if you can, and get to know where the shops are etc. This will help you to feel a little more at home when you arrive. That feeling of familiarity goes a long way.

Get to know the locals

When you arrive you really need to go outside of your comfort zone and make an effort to interact with local people. Test your language skills a little bit at a time and go into the shops, bars and restaurants where local people gather.

Know the culture

The worst thing you can do when trying to fit in is to accidentally offend somebody or just not fully understand local traditions and cultures. It is worth spending some time reading up on local culture before you leave to make sure you are forearmed.

Find your community

There are thousands of expats living in every country all over the world and there are plenty of websites where they ‘get together’ to share stories, offer support etc. There may well be one specific to the country you are moving to. Have a look around before you travel and speak to others who have done what you are about to do.

These sorts of sites are a gift to expats, simply for the support you can get; you might even be able to get to know someone who will be living near you who can help you get to know your new home.

About the author

This article was written by Alex from wish.co.uk – a seller of traveling experiences and great days out to help you make more of your days off. Click here for more info about our driving experiences.

Moving Overseas? Don’t Forget The Hot Sauce!

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  • By admin
  • August 21st, 2011

When you travel overseas on vacation, you’re usually so busy that you don’t ever think about the things you’re missing from home. However, when you move overseas for months or years, you’ll find that it’s often the little things you miss the most.

If you talk with most expats about what they’re homesick for, most of them will mention some kind of food. Whether it’s their favorite spice, or a full holiday meal, they just can’t find a good substitute in their new country.

Before you move to a new country, look in your refrigerator, spice rack, and pantry. What are you constantly missing or refilling? Make a list of those items and head over to the blogs and forums for expats who are already living in your destination country. Find out if you can get the items you want at the local stores, and how expensive they are. You really won’t want to spend twelve dollars just to get a small jar of peanut butter.

Think about your favorite holiday meals, and what ingredients you need to make them. The holidays are often when expats really miss their friends, families, and traditions from their home country.

Before moving to Uruguay, I found out that they don’t really have spicy food there. As a former Texan, that’s kind of like saying that they don’t have water. Hot sauce on scrambled eggs is the best way to start my day, so I made sure to bring several bottles of hot sauce with me.

Those bottles also became a good way to make friends. You probably won’t be the only person missing a certain food from back home. Once the other expats from your home country hear that you have a rare and precious jar of Jif peanut butter, or Vegemite, or HP Sauce, you’ll have more dinner invitations than you can handle.

Unfortunately, you’ll probably only be able to bring over canned or bottled foods. So if your favorite food is a type of sausage or cured ham, you’re going to need to find a local substitute. If you’re thinking of bringing some seeds to grow your favorite vegetable, be aware that most countries don’t allow that.

When you’re getting ready to pack for your move overseas, remember that you can always buy more socks once you get there. Save some of your valuable luggage space for the foods that will remind you of home.

Scott Lilly writes about his experiences and tips for moving overseas at his blog MovingOverseasBook.com. You can discover all the things he wishes someone had told him before moving overseas in the expat guidebooks he has written.

Going to Toronto? Here Are Your Must-Do’s!

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  • By admin
  • August 21st, 2011

There is so much to do in Toronto that it can be hard deciding, particularly if you are on a short weekend getaway . If you’re a bit pressed for time during your holiday you can easily get home and feel as though you missed something. By carefully planning an itinerary, you’ll be sure to get to every attraction on your must-see list. Here are the top 10 things to do and see in the great city.

1. Toronto Zoo. Located in Rouge Valley, the 710 acre zoo is one of the largest animal parks in the world. Take a safari in the African Savanna and visit the Gorilla Rainforest while you’re there.

2. Ontario Science Center. An interactive museum, the center is a great destination for the whole family. Stop by the IMAX theater and see what’s playing on the big screen!

3. Greektown. If you’re aching for something unique for dinner, stop by one of the restaurants in Greektown. The authentic Greek cuisine on offer is sure to leave you satisfied.

4. Casa Loma. A 98-room castle, complete with secret passages, towers, stables and an 800-foot tunnel, the castle is nothing if not impressive. Be sure to tour the five acres of stunning gardens before you leave.

5. Kensington Market. Shops in the market are an eclectic mix of European, Caribbean and Middle Eastern tastes. Restaurants, shops and cafes abound in this bustling market.

6. Hockey Hall of Fame. The only hockey hall of fame in the world, the hall has been voted as Toronto’s Top Appeal Attraction by Zagat Survey. Hockey lovers will think they’ve gone to heaven when they walk through the doors of the museum.

7. Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. Fun for those six and over, the white water trip takes you down the Niagara River over white-water rapids and past jaw-dropping scenery.

8 . Square One Shopping Centre. Over 360 stores grace the area’s largest shopping mall. There are over 40 choices when it comes to lunch or dinner so take the entire family!

9. Fantasy Fair. A large indoor amusement park, the fair is open year-round and is fun for kids of all ages. There are nine full-size rides, a play village and an arcade all surrounded by over 160 stores.

10. Niagara Helicopters Limited. You’ve seen Niagara Falls but you’ve never seen them like this! The company has been in operation for over 48 years and has delighted thousands of tourists with their sky high view of the Whirlpool Rapids, American Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

Heather Johnson writes for HoneymoonDestinations.org, the best honeymoon research and planning website. Discover some great honeymoon ideas today!

30 Things You Should Take Care Of While Traveling With Seniors

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  • By admin
  • August 21st, 2011

Anyone over the age of 65 is referred to as an elderly person or a senior citizen. Senior citizens have variable abilities; it’s possible that some suffer from specific health problems while others suffer from decreased mobility. Some seniors can have the whole gamut of health issues, decreased mobility and decreased mental faculty thrust on them. If you’re traveling with elderly people, it’s best to know how to care for them outside your home, where you may not find immediate resources or assistance in case of an emergency.

How To Take The Proper Health Precautions
1. Before accompanying your elder on a trip, check with his or her doctor. Get a list of current ailments, ongoing treatments if any and prescription medications, dosages and schedules.
2. Get a written note of permission from your elder’s primary physician for the travel. The note should either indicate a clean bill of health, or else stipulate cautionary travel. In the latter case, ensure that you thoroughly understand what to do in case of an emergency.
3. If you’re traveling alone with your elder, make sure that someone at home, a family member or friend, knows where you’re going. Give them copies of your itinerary, passport and visa information, information on hotels where you’ll be staying and anything else you can think of.
4. If you have another companion to rely on during the trip, make sure that he or she is as conversant with the care your elder needs, as you are.
5. Personally pack, or supervise the packing, of all medications and medical equipment.
6. Learn medication schedules by heart, just in case the prescription goes missing.
7. Always take out health insurance for your elder before flying.
8. If you’re taking a cruise with your elder, ask for a list of the medical facilities on board and check if the cruise includes qualified onboard medical staff.
9. Ask for hotel rooms that have bathroom railings and slip proof tubs for additional protection
10. Ask your elder’s doctor for the names of recommended doctors and medical establishments at your destination. If possible, contact a few of the recommended doctors and let them know when you’ll be visiting that area.

How To Choose Travel Destinations
11. Choose your travel destination based on your elder’s abilities. If your elder has decreased mobility, it’s best not to go to a place where he or she would be required to walk.
12. Avoid hilly, rocky or uneven terrain. Even if your elder is able to walk, balance and coordination becomes a problem as people age, causing them to trip often.
13. If your elder cannot fly for long distances, or is unable to fly at all, choose to visit places close by that you can get to by car, bus or train.

How To Handle Wheelchair Requirements
14. If your elder is in a wheelchair, be sure to talk to your airline about wheelchair support.
15. At your destination, choose to visit only those places that offer wheelchair support. You can get this information from the tourism department in most countries.
16. If you’re traveling by car or bus, carry a collapsible wheelchair with you. Make sure the chair is lightweight enough for a single person to operate it.
17. You can ask your hotel to provide a wheelchair at your destination, or even obtain one from the local tourism department. Explore both options before leaving home.
18. When you book hotel rooms, always ask for a room on the bottom floor for your elder. Not all floors will be wheelchair accessible, not to mention the bother of pushing the chair on and off elevators.

How To Handle Air Journeys
19. Get the complete list of airplane flight health contraindications from the American Medical Association. It’s possible that your elder is ready and able to fly but is not allowed to fly due to an existing disorder or recent surgery.
20. While booking seats on the flight, ask for the seats in front of the aircraft section divider or the bulkhead seats for more legroom. The additional legroom will allow your elder to stretch their legs to prevent blood clot.
21. Be sure to inform the airline in advance if your elder has severe diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure issues or epilepsy.
22. Inform the airline several days in advance if you require oxygen canisters on the flight; there might be an additional cost attached to this facility.
23. Put all medications including diabetic supplies into your elder’s carryon luggage. Get the prescription filled before travel to allow for sufficient medication to last the trip, stopovers, and delays and so on.

How To Travel With Your Elder ON A Budget
24. There are some advantages to age; you can obtain discounts of 10% or more on standard airlines for people over the age of 62. The discounts are higher with trains and buses.
25. Check if you can obtain coupons from travel clubs and senior citizen associations to generate more savings.
26. Most countries have specific tour packages designed for the elderly; these provide discounts and a planned itinerary considering mobility and other issues.

How To Handle Mealtimes
27. Try to get your elder’s meals fixed at restaurants rather than fast food outlets. Restaurants can offer healthier choices and you can even get customized dishes made to prescribed diet charts at additional costs.
28. If your elder is not comfortable eating at crowded restaurants, try to get their meals delivered. Grumpiness and irritability can be signs of low blood sugar and it’s best not to take it personally
29. If your elder is finicky about finishing a meal, don’t pressurize. Don’t panic unless he or she simply refuses to eat; if that happens, contact a doctor immediately.
30. Travel causes changes to regular habits and this might affect your elder’s disposition and bowel movements. Try to stick to the same mealtime schedules to which your elder is accustomed.

Teena Celis is a travel writer working for gift ideas company Adrenaline, an Australian company that offers a large range of rally driving experiences all across Australia. Check them out for unique father’s day gifts ideas.

Softphones: Using Internet Protocol for Better, Cheaper Calls

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  • By admin
  • July 24th, 2011

In today’s mobile workforce, it’s important for traveling employees to have cost-effective phones in order to communicate with the office, coworkers, customers and clients. As everyone has all too often experienced, cell phones have their limitations; they work well if you are in range of a cell tower – but heaven forbid you should have a hill between you.

What’s more, you’re limited to battery life, roaming charges and the inevitable “drop” when you’re just at the point of sale with your customer or client.

Enter softphones.

A softphone is a software program that enables you to make telephone calls over the Internet, by simply using a computer. The primary technology used in softphones is VoIP systems (Voice over Internet Protocol), which allows for free or inexpensive calling.

Softphones allow you to place calls from your computer to a ground-based telephone line, or cell phone. All you have to do is use your computer as you would a telephone, and dial the number using the numbers on the keyboard. The cables of the computer network will act as a medium and transmit your call.

When using a softphone, you have a choice of what type of applications you want to communicate through: a handset or a headset. Both integrate directly into the computer’s USB ports, and both have great sound quality.

Headsets tend to be more popular because they are portable and hands-free, giving your traveling employees a familiar “work environment.” In addition, this type of accessibility gives your mobile employees more flexibility in how they can reach their clients, especially with the features.

Softphones are very similar to standard phones because they offer many of the same features: call waiting, call forwarding, access to voice mail, teleconferencing and speed dialing. The only “catch” is that you’ll need a VoIP phone system service provider. However, VoIP service providers are not only easy to find but they also guarantee a cost reduction to your business phone bill.

Softphones are ideal for businesses that are trying to keep their calling costs down, or who have employees that travel a lot. Company employees can now sit in a hotel room with Internet access, and make a hands-free call that is as dependable as a land line and as clear as if both speakers were in the same room.

About the author: Sylvia is a web content writer. She enjoys connecting with industry professionals to write articles on recent business trends, such as the the latest in telephone systems technology.

What are Eco-Friendly Phones?

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  • By admin
  • July 11th, 2011

Without a doubt, mobile phones are great devices. They can store important phone numbers and details for you. You can order food from them, no matter where you are. You can use them as map finders, and even browse the Internet. In fact, they are more than just a device nowadays; they are essential tools for the modern human being. However, did you know that you can get a mobile phone that is completely eco-friendly nowadays, and do your bit to help the environment?

Yes, as great as mobile phones can be, they do take a toll on the environment from the beginning of their inception. As with other manufactured items in the world today, mobile phones have thousands of components in them, which means that they also use up a lot of resources. Studies actually show that if you talked on your mobile phone for one hour every day for 365 days, you would end up producing the same amount of carbon dioxide that a jet uses up to fly to New York from London – believe it. The appearance of smartphones isn’t helping this predicament, either.

What you can do to help is switch to an environmentally friendly mobile phone, which comes with several benefits over its non-green counterparts. In general, eco-friendly mobile phones use up recycled materials during their entire production, styling and design with hopes of reducing the impact of resources on virgin materials. Plastics, for example, can be used around six times, which can reduce the amount of plastic filling up the landfill sites; and most eco-friendly mobile phones nowadays use recycled plastics during their production, as well.

Packaging has been a huge problem with these phones, too, because they are usually packed in boxes that are unnecessarily big for them. Manufacturers of green phones are now looking at this unnecessary use of materials during packaging and are making a big difference in reducing the use of these materials.

Eco-friendly mobile phones usually don’t use any harmful chemicals, either, like lead, mercury, cadmium, polyvinyl chloride or flame retardants. Plus, since they are designed to save energy, you won’t have to charge them as much. How great is that?

Basically, owning an eco-friendly mobile phone would be like owning a regular mobile phone – but with a much smaller carbon footprint. This means that a green phone will be environmentally friendly all throughout its design and production stages.

Of course, you should always look for a mobile phone that can do all of the things that you need it to and one that gives you useful services, has various applications, good network quality and attractive style. Fortunately, eco-friendly mobile phones do all of the things that regular phones do, too, but with an extra function: they have a much more positive impact on the environment.

Guest Post by Allice L. who writes on behalf of w3Toledo, a web design and Toledo seo firm that recommends this Toledo storage facility.

International Moving: Turning the Nightmare into a Dream

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  • By admin
  • June 13th, 2011

Being faced with a move overseas can be daunting, but if you plan ahead and do the right amount of research, you can find dependable, affordable international moving companies that will help you get your belongings from one place to another. You can either pack the items yourself, or you can have the moving company do it for you. Either way, you can be reassured that your things will get from your old place to your new one, shipped in shipping containers designed for this very thing.

If you opt to do the packing yourself, there are a number of things you should keep in mind so your items are packed well and can withstand the journey overseas. In all, there are seven simple tips that you can follow to ensure all your personal belongings will be shipped safely and securely.

1. Make sure you do not get the boxes too full. Keep each box around 50 lbs. This way, one individual will be able to lift, transport, and load each box by themselves.

2. Try to put items inside one another. If you nest your items of various sizes, you will be able to conserve space within the box, and you will reduce the possibility of items breaking.

3. Attempt to pack your belongings as tightly as possible. Because items can shift during transport, and especially during international shipping, you will diminish the likelihood that your things will get damaged if they do not have much room to move around.

4. Use a variety of packing materials to keep your breakables cushioned. There are a lot of different things you can use to wrap fragile items, including tissue paper, newspapers, wadded paper, towels, magazine pages. You should also line the bottom and sides of every box to make sure these items will be cushioned if the boxes are shifted by movers.

5. Load your boxes with the heaviest items first. Then, you can place the lighter items on top these.

6. Plan how you will pack your things before you actually pack them. This way, you can pack similar items together, such as kitchen utensils and dishes, books and magazines, and other accessories. This will make unpacking easier, and it will also help you to find the things you have the most immediate need for.

7. Use a marker to plainly label all of your cartons. This is an important step because you can notate which end of a box needs to be upright, and you can classify some boxes as fragile if there are particularly breakable items in one of them.

Moving can be a stressful experience, especially if you are moving overseas. So if you employ the moving services of a moving company with expertise in overseas shipping, you will have the peace of mind that once you get there, all of your things will already be as well. A good mover will be able to help you with any phase of packing and loading, and they will make sure that your items arrive safe and sound at your new home.

Awesome Scottish Food

admin
  • By admin
  • May 23rd, 2011

I love Scotland and Scotland’s fantastic range of culinary treats; I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite Scottish food, some food for thought!

You may not know, but Scotland was one a very poor Country when compared to that of their European neighbors in the North of Europe, which has had both advantages and disadvantages for the country.

Economically Scotland was like many of the eastern European counties today and exported many of its finest products. This is perhaps why the Scots adapted and produced some really delicious and hearty dishes which were protein rich and full of goodness with the remaining food stuffs. These foods have become ones which are renowned the world over and popular delicacies still enjoyed by the Scotch.

Once upon a time thought Scotland to be a cold place where lots of meaty soups and haggis like sausage was consumed – I was close but far away at the very same time, Scotland has a wealth of mouth-watering traditional foods, I thought I would share with you my favorite Scottish dish below

Traditional Haggis with Potato and Swede

Haggis not made in Scotland is completely different to the stuff sold in supermarkets. I’d make the same comparison for a Cornish pasty – they are only nice if made in Cornwall to the original recipes. Haggis is traditionally eaten on Burns day (25th January), it is available in most eateries and is delicious! Compared to things like beef burgers, I would rather have Haggis, at least you know what’s in Haggis in comparison to beef burgers or sausages.

Scots love potato and swede or as they call it ‘tatties and neeps’, scots often combine this with some greens and use the finest chappit potatoes for the mash. Haggis goes lovingly with these vegetables.

Trifley nice

Scottish trifle is made up of Shortbread, berries and cream as well as whiskey soaked fruit (optional). It looks and tastes delicious compared traditional sponge based trifle, this one to me is a mixture of ‘cheese cake’ and trifle can’t go wrong there!

I personally love a lot of the national meats including lamb, beef et cetera are all great breeds hardened to the highlands of Scotland they often provide lean tasty meats. Consider that many of these animals are kept on paddocks spanning all manner of scene including lush grasslands surrounded by ocean and mountainous landscape, why would you not want to eat from here? It always reminds me of why New Zealand lamb is amongst the best in the world.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, a traditional Scottish meal like this one, (or with a substituted steak for haggis if you can’t stomach haggis) is a straight forward, simple crowd pleaser which provides everything your body needs to remain healthy and have a really enjoyable meal.

Isaac writes for Reserve Travel Ltd, an apartments online booking company specializing in both Edinburgh Apartments and Glasgow Apartments</a>. Every apartment they list can be booked online.

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