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5 Tips for Buying Your First Home

Are you starting to think about taking that first step on the property ladder? Perhaps you have been saving hard for that deposit and now feel ready to take the plunge? Buying your first home is an exciting experience, but stepping into the unknown can be a little scary, which is why today we want to break the process down for you in our 5 tips for buying your first home. 



Get some mortgage advice

The first thing to do is get some mortgage advice. You need to ensure that you are in a position to borrow the amount that you are hoping to and check that your credit history enables you to get a mortgage.

Your mortgage advisor should talk you thought the full process and they will be able to let you know how much you will need to pay back each month and over the full term of the mortgage. 

Think about location

Now that you are happy that you can borrow what you need, you need to pin down the ideal location for your first home.

You might choose to be near to your work, your family or your friends. You might choose to do something completely different and set up home in a neighbourhood that you have always dreamed of living in. 

Think about the reality of your chosen location. Does it fit your needs on a day to day basis and are the properties affordable to you in that area? 

List your must-haves

We all have these when it comes to buying a house, so you need to write a list of your must-haves for your first home. You might be keen on it being a house, or perhaps you love the idea of apartment living. You might need a certain number of bedrooms, or it might be outside space that is key for you. 

Note down those things that you want and then divide them up into things that are essential and then things that you would be willing to compromise on.

The property hunt

Armed with your preferred location and property must-haves you can begin your property hunt. While you can do a lot of this on the internet, it is always worth getting in touch with local estate agents too. Brief them on everything that you are looking for, advise them that you are a first time buyer and that you have a provisional mortgage offer in place. 

Agents love a first time buyer as you can move quickly on a sale and they will let you know of any new suitable properties about to come onto the market.

When you find that perfect pad, put in your offer, and fingers crossed it will be accepted.

The practicalities

Now that you have found your home, you need to place a full mortgage application with those property details, instruct a solicitor and arrange a removals company for the big day itself, you could try https://www.mybekins.com/locations/henderson-nv-movers/ 

A house sale can typically take between two to four months, so work with those timescales and keep in touch with the agent and your lender and solicitor throughout the process. 

Before you know it you will have those keys!

Paris Travel With Kids

Famed for high brow culture, the city of lights, Paris is an ideal city destination to enjoy with the whole family. Even if the cultural side of Paris isn’t what the kids might have in mind they’re sure to enjoy eating roadside crepes, diving into the famous sweet shops, Disneyland Paris and climbing the Eiffel Tower. Paris is a very exciting city with an unbeatable ambience. The museums are kid-friendly, there are fun transportation choices and fantastic food. There is really easy access to the main tourist attraction too which makes it ideal for even the littlest of kids.





Have a look below at some tips on travel to Paris with kids:

Things To See And Do

There is plenty of kid-Friendly things to do and see in Paris. It’s packed to the brim with museums and although some are more kid-friendly than others, with a little bit of research you’ll know exactly which ones to hit. Try not to force them upon the kids as some adults have been known to. Take two days to explore a place like the Louvre, it’s important to make sure it stays fun for both you and the kids so, take it slow and play it by ear.

As well as it’s museums Paris has a fair few churches that show off a range of architectural styles. From its Gothic-style churches like Sainte-Chapelle, and the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, that sadly was struck by a devastating fire in April this year, there is plenty to see.

The Eiffel Tower is always a hit with kids as long as they aren’t afraid of heights, it has three hundred steps, but there are two levels of elevators if you have smaller children with you. The Eiffel Tower even has a special guidebook available to visiting kids. In it, you will find the answers to questions that children may have about the tower.

Places To Stay In Paris

Whether you chose to rent an apartment or look for Paris hotels for families there is a wide range of choices when it comes to places to stay. Wherever you choose to stay it’s a good idea to make sure it will accommodate a family and isn’t too far from all the places you want to see. If you’re planning on visiting Disney Land Paris you might want to stay a little outside of the main city.

Outside Paris

On the outskirts of Paris are two completely different attractions that are both are ideal for the kids. You have the Palace of Versailles which is a World Heritage site with amazing outside gardens and mazes and then you have Disneyland Paris, which is world-famous for being a magical place to visit with the kids. You will find that the attractions and characters are completely different from its American sister and the music is played in French. Be warned if you don’t want to go to Disneyland as it’s advertised all over Paris city.

These are just a few of the top tips for travel to Paris with kids there are other things to consider such as travelling there and how you’re going to get around the city. Do you have any other tips that you can share in the comments section below?

Mookie xx



Why You Should Consider Adding Lash Extensions to Your Repertoire As A Mobile Beautician

Why You Should Consider Adding Lash Extensions to Your Repertoire as a Mobile Beautician
If you are running your own beauty business, then it can be good to sometimes add new things to your menu, and be able to offer your existing clients a more varied service, as well as potentially bring in new people. If you currently do make-up, nails, or hair, or all of the above, then there are various other beauty treatments you can learn how to do, stock up for, and provide. These can mean things like eyebrow shaping with threading, waxing or conventional plucking, pedicures, acrylic nail extensions, and all kinds of other popular treatments you are likely already well aware of the market for. However, one option you may not have considered, as it is still really just starting to catch on as a conventional beauty treatment in some areas, is lash extensions.
Why Are Lash Extensions A Good Service To Offer?
Lash extensions have been popular for at least a decade, but are now really moving from being a special occasion thing or something only the most glam women have, to a fairly normal part of a lot of people's beauty habits. Having lash extensions can mean a better and more defined eye shape and lash line, while also saving the wearer time by meaning they don't have to apply eye make-up every day to have a reasonably made up look. Lash extensions can range from very long, thick party lashes that can even feature bright colors or metallic effects, through to very natural lash looks that simply enhance the lashes by making them appear much thicker, longer, and darker, without any mascara. 
Why Are Lash Extensions Good for Mobile Beauticians?
One great thing about lash extensions is that to be able to do them for people at home, you don't need to carry a lot of expensive, heavy tools and kit. The lashes themselves, as you might expect, weigh next to nothing, so you can keep a wide selection in your collection in order to create the perfect look for your client on the fly. Other than that, you only need the special adhesives and basic beauty tools like tweezers. Lash extensions are also great for repeat custom, because they do need to be replaced fairly regularly, and they are great for when somebody wants a new look for a special event.
How Easy is it to Learn?
Check out The Lash Professional, who can offer all of the eyelash extension supplies that you need to get started and also offer a one day online eyelash training course that teaches you how to use the products. The more stylistic side of learning to apply eyelash extensions will also be covered in your eyelash extension course, and is not too tricky for people who are used to working around the eyes - for instance people with experience in brow shaping and eye make-up, and you'll soon have a great feel for how to create all different looks with different lashes.
If you are looking to add a new service for 2020, then it is well worth looking into how you can begin to offer eyelash extensions to your clients, and plan how to advertise your new beauty offering!
Mookie xx

Settling Down Abroad? What Are The Best Places For First Time Expats?

Becoming an expat is a big move in anyone’s life. If you’re going to sum up the courage to move halfway across the world to a country that you weren’t born in, you’re taking a huge step, that anyone would find hard to undertake themselves! And of course, some places are better for us than others.

So, if you’re curious, we’ve listed three of the best places for a first time expat to move to below. Or maybe you’re thinking of upping sticks and want to know where to head first? Maybe you’re the picky pal in your friend group, and you want to be sure you’re headed somewhere you know will work out for you. Either way, these are some great suggestions for you!

Person Wearing Beige Sweater Holding Map Inside Vehicle
Pexels Image - CC0 Licence

Melbourne

Australia is a big country, famous for its hot weather and exotic wildlife. And if you’re looking to become an expat for the first time, moving to Melbourne might be the best first step for you! It’s a big city, with lots to do, and that’s just what you want from your first foray into foreign culture. You’ll have access to all kinds of arts and entertainment, and there will be plenty of doctors around if anything goes awry with your health - it’s a traveler’s dream!

New York City

The Big Apple. It’s the wonder of many travelers, and it’s only many bucket lists the whole world round. You’ll get to know the infamous subway system, and you’ll learn how to walk fast and keep up the pace; there’s a lot to see, and a lot of people on the streets. Very few people use their own transport here, so if you don’t have a car to take abroad (because that gets pricey too), you’ll fit right in!

But finding the right nyc address can be a bit tricky, of course. It’s quite a high profile, high traffic area, and rent costs can be high. But if you’ve saved up for a 3 or 6 month trip away, you’ll want to splash the cash to stay here - it’s common to have roommates here too, so you’ll definitely be able to mingle with the locals whilst you’re away!

Tokyo

Maybe a bit further afield than you were thinking, but Tokyo is a great city for a first time expat. You’ll travel halfway across the world, which is an achievement for any traveler, and there’s always something going on in this city.

It might be a bit of a cultural shift, and you’ll need to look up the social norms before you go, but it won’t be too much trouble for your already impeccable manners! And there’s a great nightlife scene, and all kinds of new experiences for you to get to grips with; ever heard of a capsule hotel?

Settling down abroad can be scary, but if you want to go, check out these big destinations first. They’re great for first time expats, and you might just find a new home.

Mookie xx





Keeping Your Kids Entertained During School Holidays


Let’s be honest, keeping your kids entertained on the weekend can be difficult. So when faced with the prospect of a week or several weeks off for school holidays, you’ve got a lot of entertainment that needs providing. So here are some suggestions for keeping your kids entertained during school holidays.

Get Outside
Times have changed, and nowadays, children can’t just play outside without being watched by their parents. However, it’s still important that your children are getting some fresh air and are playing outside. So make the time to spend an afternoon or morning at a local park or playing area. Take a picnic and make a day of it! Get them out of the house and keeping their fitness levels up with a kick-about or playing on some outdoor obstacle courses. It can be a great way of wearing them out too so that you can have the evening to yourself at least.


Teach Them Baking
Being able to cook is a good skill for anyone to have. We all have to do it at some point, and so there’s no reason as to why you can’t start them off early. They’re going to at least get some cooking skills, within the school but you might as well have a few baking sessions over the school holidays in preparation. It’s a basic lifestyle that everyone needs and you want to help give them a good relationship with food and to know how to cook their own food from scratch, rather than using all processed ingredients in their meals.


Get Arty With Hand Painting
It may be a little messy and every parent’s worst nightmare, but painting and using colourful pens and crayons are good to help with your child’s creativity as they get older. Set up a station outside with a table and cover this table with plenty of newspaper to keep it protected. Have anything that’s needed to clean messy hands afterwards outside also to avoid bringing in anything or anyone that has paint on them. Once they’ve had fun, peg them up to dry and then perhaps frame them or stick them on the fridge to show them that they’ve got something to look back on.


Play A Board Game
Sure you’ve probably just got a discount code for Playstation Plus on latest deals, but too much technology can be bad for your health. Too much time spent in front of a screen can hurt their eyes, and they need a rest every so often. So how about you get traditional and dig out the old board games that you used to play as a child. It’s a great way of having a family night in and encouraging a little bit of a competitive drive. It also helps keep the board game era alive and thriving as it competes with the popularity of the digital world.


Being able to keep your children entertained during the school holidays is hard, but giving them as much as you can will make their memories of time off school that much better.


Do’s and Don’ts for Your First Trip to New York City


For many people, visiting New York City is up at the top of their travel bucket list. Perhaps you are fascinated by the bright lights, the iconic Broadway, and all the amazing things to see and do in the Big Apple. But for many people who visit NYC for the first time, it’s not uncommon to have no idea what you’re doing. Getting your bearings can be difficult, particularly if you’re not used to city life. I have put together some top tips for visiting New York for the first time, whether you want to learn more about saving money, getting around or finding the best things to do.

Avoid the Tourist Traps:
Times Square and Rockefeller Centre May be iconic, but avoid staying here as they are also massive tourist traps. Sure, go and visit them and take a picture for your Instagram feed - the giant ice rink or the giant, flashing billboards at Times Square make ideal backdrops - but staying here is bound to cost you more than anywhere else in the city. Explore less touristy areas if you want to find out more about what the city has to offer.

Get a City Pass:
If you’re planning on staying in New York for a few days and want to see as much as you can while getting the best value for money, then getting a Citypass is a great idea. You can sign up for yours and have it delivered to your home in time for your trip. And the pass will give you access to most of the main attractions in the city, including the 9/11 Memorial, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and much more.

Take Advice from the Locals:
When it comes to finding places to eat, then the best people to ask are the locals - New Yorkers are bound to know where to avoid, and where to find the best food at reasonable prices. Little Italy, for example, might be raved about outside of the city but in reality, according to the locals, it’s nothing more than a couple of streets lined with expensive souvenir shops and other costly tourist traps, plus a couple of restaurants selling mediocre Italian food. If you want to taste the best Italian food in NYC, then head to Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, where there are scrumptious pizza, cannolis and rice balls on offer from the various Italian shops and street food carts lining the street.

Research the Subway:
The NY subway is one of the best ways to get around the city, so it’s no surprise that it’s busy pretty much all the time. So, before you go, the best thing to do is do some research on the subway so that you know what you are doing - this will save you getting confused and frustrated and help you stay out of the way of others as you get around the city. One of the fastest ways to annoy New Yorkers is by blocking the turnstiles, stairways or the entrance to the train - so keep it moving. And, make sure that you know how to use your MetroCard and have it ready to swipe when using the subway. And while it might seem tempting, don’t get in an empty subway car - your nose will thank you for it.

Understand the Walking Etiquette:
Walking is one of the primary ways of getting around the Big Apple, so it’s no surprise that many refer to the sidewalk in NYC as the highway or freeway. It’s important that you keep the traffic moving when walking in New York, otherwise, you could become an obstacle to others fairly quickly. Make sure that you don’t end up causing a sidewalk traffic jam. If you need to stop to figure out directions, take in the sights around you, or if you’re strolling along slowly, then it’s best to keep to the side so that others can easily get past you.

Avoid Driving:
There’s really no reason to drive in NYC, with most attractions in walking distance and the subway covering pretty much everywhere you might want to visit in the city. As tempting as it might seem to hire a car when you arrive at the airport, you’ll quickly regret it as the traffic is horrendous and there’s nowhere to park. The same goes for taxis - you might want to ride in an iconic yellow NYC taxi, but the truth is that the experience most likely won’t be the same as what you are used to seeing in movies and TV shows. Typically, NYC taxis are fairly pricey compared to other ways of getting around the city, and thanks to the traffic, it’s usually faster to get to your destination on foot.

Dress Comfortably:
Chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time walking around the city, so make sure that you are dressed comfortably. And, since you’re likely to be walking outside a lot, then make sure that you are dressed for the weather. It can get fairly cold in NYC during the winter, so if you’re visiting at this time of year, make sure to wrap up in a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves. If you want to fit in, then dress comfortably but stylish - and make sure that you’re wearing a pair of comfortable shoes that can take all the walking you’re going to do. Boots, flats, loafers, oxfords or All-Stars are usually a better option than standard sneakers. And, try to avoid wearing your souvenirs in public - your ‘I Heart NY’ sweater will look a lot cooler outside of the city.

Avoid Chain Restaurants:
New York is full of chain or themed restaurants, but these aren’t the best places to spend your money. The Big Apple is home to hundreds of incredible, independent restaurants and diners that aren’t Red Lobster or Olive Garden, so unless you’re coming from a completely different country and have never eaten at any of these places before, then you won’t regret skipping them in favour of something new. Just outside of Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen has an amazing range of food and drink on offer, and if you enjoy curry then Little India is the place to be.

Save Money Getting There:
Last but not least, there are many ways to save money on getting to your NYC destination. If you are flying, then check out the flights to New York on a site like Fly Porter – found at https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/usa/new-york. Porter Airlines offer fast check-in, easy gate access and a VIP service all at reasonable prices.
Keep your eye out for the best deals. You can also save money on your flight by flying into a smaller New York airport rather than the main hub, JFK. And, don’t forget to check out times for trains into the city from the airport so that you can save on a pricey cab ride - getting a cab after landing could set you back upwards of $30.


If you’re planning to visit New York for the first time, then have fun! There’s so much to see and do, so keep this handy guide with you to make sure that you are able to make the most of your trip.



My Swimwear Looks While On Holiday In Albania

Hello everyone. 

I'm currently on holiday in Albania and since I only brought hand luggage it was limited how much swimwear I could bring. So before I left I considered a few factors that was important to me.

1. Functionality. If it's practical and easy to move in. 

2. Support. If it give my huge busy good support and doesn't risk the dreaded "my boobs are floating out of the top" incidents. 

3. Colours and design. I wanted different colours and patterns so I could mix it with beach wear I brought. 

With this in mind I chose these three styles. 









Five Ways Technology Can Improve Your Life

    Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

There are often arguments that technology is ruining our lives. However, there are a number of ways it has improved them and even more ways you can embrace it and let it improve your life experience further. From the ease of online shopping to talking to friends and family who have moved to the other side of the world to dating and meeting your partner, technology has changed the way we live and how we do things. But what else can you use it for to make sure you're living your best life?

Technology Can Improve Your Health
While many people will argue with this statement because there are more kids playing computer games and adults slumped in front of the TV than ever before, technology has offered so much more than that in terms of our health. You can monitor your calories and get help losing weight with apps such as My Fitness Pal and Lose It. Your phone will automatically count your steps without you even thinking about it meaning that if you're trying to get your 10,000 quotas, it can be easy to do as you'll know where you're up to and how many more you have to do. There are apps such as Couch 2 5K, which can help you ease into running and train you in how to do it so that you can eventually run a 5K. Other apps work with Fitbits and other fitness trackers and can give you a whole load of information about your activity and health that you never had before. This can be extremely motivational, and as they say, knowledge is power, so once you know what you're doing and where you're at, you can start doing something about it. There is also a tonne of communities online who can help to motivate you, give you tips on what you're doing and help you to improve. You can connect with others, whether it's a professional personal trainer who can help you online and share tips and stories with people doing the same diet as you. Finally, there is also the benefit of Doctor Google who you are advised by professionals against using, but the internet does mean that you can check your symptoms and work out whether it is something you need to go to the doctors about or something you don't need to worry about. The internet increases awareness of illnesses and generally gives people more knowledge. You can find out simple things from information about sleep to what a specific skin pattern means.

Technology Can Save You Money
It might be expensive to buy some of the equipment outright, but overall technology has meant that you can save a lot of money. For example, Smart Home Electronics means that your life is more comfortable, but also your home is greener, and your utility bills will be less. There are also now a number of apps which can help you to save money and budget, effectively manage your finances so you can see what's going where and what you need to spend and how your money is frittering away. Then there's the shopping, while it has made life a lot easier and meant that we don't have to go shopping any more physically, online shopping has meant that you can get things a lot cheaper, there are more discounts available, voucher codes and subscriptions online.

Technology Can Save You Time
As well as saving you money, it can save you a lot of time too. Whether this is in your personal life and is a case of shopping online or perhaps in your business and it's productivity software you've got or need which gets everything in one place, means that your staff can see everything in one place and they can all communicate in the one place.

Technology Can Protect You
Some people think that technology has meant that the world is more dangerous, with online grooming, easy access to strangers and easy access to disturbing content and videos and cybercrime. However, technology has also meant that you can keep track of where your kids are by their phones, keep tabs on who they're talking to and what they're saying. Security technology for the home and businesses and even having to put your fingerprint in your phone have meant that it's far more difficult for thieves to get hold of your information. For example, something like Jumio's Netverify can protect you from complex frauds and smart home technology can mean that you can check your home while you're away on holiday and even get a notification when your doorbell rings.

Technology Can Improve Relationships
As long as you're not being unsociable and sat on your phone while having dinner with your partner, then technology can be brilliant for relationships with family and friends. It has meant that you can keep in touch with people all over the world, online dating has made life easier to meet potential partners, go dating and even meet friends who are into the same hobbies as you are. There's video calls which are great for being able to see people but emails as well for getting a message across instantly. Sharing photos, arranging nights out and finding people from your past are some other examples of how technology can and has improved relationships.






Staying In Touch With Friends When You Have No Internet


In our comfortable lives, we often forget that we would be reduced back to the normal way of things if the power went out. We’d have to cook our food somehow without an oven or cooker, we’d have to take a bath by boiling water into a bucket, and we’d have to eat food that’s completely fresh. Thankfully, power outages are really rare. What’s more common than power outages however is the internet cutting out. Companies have issues all the time and although your internet might not have gone out, the same company you employ probably has another area that did. This can also happen when internet providers are updating their backend, which happens almost monthly. Usually, this goes down without a hiccup but every now and then for some odd reason, the internet does cut out. So how can you still keep in contact without any WiFi at home?



Get downloading quick

One of the best apps on your smartphone for quick messaging is FireChat. It's a simple app to understand and use, which is why it's also so popular. For one thing, FireChat has a bright orange logo so you can spot it easily in among all your other apps. The key is, your friends need to download the app as well which is a highly likely prospect. With over 1 billion downloads, FireChat is by far the most popular free messaging service that is peer to peer. As long as you have an account and the app installed you can text chat with each other without having to use the internet. All you need to do is create a group first, this will then be open to anyone who knows how to look for it. Once the friends you want are in the group, it will stay open indefinitely and only close if you manually do so.



A working brand ecosystem

We all know Apple for their brand ecosystem, whereby once you’re in you need to stay in because everything you use is within the sphere. Things like iCloud, iPhone, iPod, AirPods and more are all intertwined. Everything you need is in one place which has been remarkably successful for Apple as a company. However one thing is for sure, there’s more you can do with such a brand network. With iMessage, you can send emails in the form of SMS. This way you can talk to your friends even when you have absolutely no connection whatsoever. This is how to connect iMessage to Mac using the SetApp suite. All your apps are in one singular place but you can also download any kind of new app and add it to your library. The iMessage app is just one of many that have purposefully been designed for Mac users. Many need to keep up with their business duties so now you can send emails in the way of SMS and MMS for pictures.


It's rare that your internet will cut out for too long but just in case you don’t want to remain the dark ages for too long you can use these methods to stay in contact with friends even without a connection.



Dream Destinations for Your Bucket List

There’s no experience quite like being able to wake up in a foreign land, ready for an exciting adventure ahead. And every time you come home, it’s like you see the world with a new set of eyes. Travelling is definitely a great way to shake up your daily routine, and if you’re looking for more places to add to your bucket list, have a look at some destinations below and book the trip of your life.

Japan

Named by premier travel site Travel + Leisure as the best travel destination of 2018, Japan is a country where cultural extremes come to play together. Its capital Tokyo is full of neon-lit streets and high-tech innovations — it’s the stuff of science fiction novels. Opposite to that is rural areas like Kobe and Kyoto, which boast oriental beauty that are quintessentially Japanese. The Japanese are also known to be one of the most respectful cultures in the world, so you’re sure to feel welcome.

   
     



Morocco

In Morocco, there’s no shortage of variety. From the rainbow-coloured buildings to the rich spice markets and sand dunes, you’ll never run out of things to discover. According to blogger Becky Bedbug, plus size travellers often write off Morocco because of the heat and potential for “chub rub,” but it’s a place where all sizes are accepted with open arms. “Bigger women are massively appreciated,” it explains. “It [was] nice to know I could walk through a city and be admired rather than looked down on because of my size.”





India

As the world’s seventh largest country, India is a melting pot of cultures. It spans from the towering mountains of the Himalayas, all the way to the sacred Ganges and the lush greenery of Kerala. And of course, who could forget the famed Taj Mahal? The iconic mausoleum even inspired its own Hollywood film. Aptly called Taj, the 2008 film is said to be a South Asian take on Romeo and Juliet. On the other hand, gaming platform Slingo also draws inspiration from this fascinating country in its Indian-themed games like Nirvana and Bollywood Story. These give gaming enthusiasts from across the globe an idea of what the country is like, hopefully inspiring everyone to go beyond the stereotypes and witness its wonder in person.





Norway

Gaping fjords, majestic snowy peaks, picturesque rivers, and pristine skies — Norway has it all. This Scandinavian country is also known for playing host to the most priceless show on Earth, the Aurora Borealis. This visual phenomenon can be seen in Lofoten (where I grew up and spent my first 18 years on this planet), which rests right beneath the auroral oval. Apart from that, the Nordic country is also home to some amazing wildlife, like polar bears, elks, and whales.





The Bahamas

The Bahamas has long been the poster child for the ultimate beach getaway. With crystal clear waters and its perpetual summer weather, it’s a destination where you can let go of all your city woes. But even if people live in bikinis and swimming shorts, plus size holidaymakers have nothing to worry about. The Resort is a welcome addition to the islands and is specially designed to accommodate plus-size guests.





What are your dream destinations? Please share them with me as I would love to hear them.