Amazing Alabama: What To See and Do

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If you’re into a side of history with your travel, then you may want to discover the state of Alabama. With the global lens firmly focused on US politics right now, what better location to explore than somewhere that’s home to some of the most significant landmarks of the American Civil Rights movement? So for a US trip that goes beyond the usual theme parks and movie studios, take a look at these must see attractions:

Talladega Super Speedway

Seeking some fast and furious escapism? Then immersing yourself in the action at the world-famous attraction could be on the cards. You can camp on site by tend or RV which makes it a unique experience, and soak in even more of the exciting motor racing atmosphere by gaining pre-race pit access. An unforgettable, all-American experience.

Civil Rights Trail

There are plenty of historic sites that figure large in the US Civil Right movement in the state, which is particularly fascinating at this moment in time with the Trump government heading up a return to extremist thinking, Start at the Dexter Parsonage Museum, where you can see the place that Civil Rights leader Dr, Martin Luther King and his family lived in the 50s and 60s. An interpretive centre gives access to archive footage and videos explaining Dr King’s pastoral life, community and family. The Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham is an educational research centre dedicated to promoting human rights and will let you see the legacy of movement as it is today. And the Rosa Parkes Museum is another must-visit, featuring exhibits dedicated to the impact and legacy of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, located on the site of the former Empire Theatre – a fascinating walk through history on a topic that is so relevant today. Stay at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa for a convenient base to explore the region from.

Alligator Alley

Designed in 2004, this working farm was designed as a natural habitat for its reptilian occupants and is home to over 450 alligators, from babies to mature adults. Take your family on a nature walk, feed the gators and even get the chance to hold a baby alligator in the Gator Station. Ospreys, owls, turtles and bullfrogs can also be found there.

The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

Whether you’re a fan of the beautifully constructed literature or a latecomer who simply enjoyed The Great Gatsby movie, a visit to the former home of the Fitzgeralds in Montgomery is a fascinating insight into this talented and dysfunctional couple. This centre aims both to preserve the literary legacy and to actively work with new young writing talent, with some fascinating artwork and artefacts on view.

U.S Space and Rocket Centre

With one of the world’s largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia, your trip will literally be out of this world. The capsule from Apollo 16, a space travel simulator, a Skylab solar array and lots of other objects and space memorabilia await. There’s also an IMAX cinema that screens space footage and daily movies. From the fascinating history of the Space Race to the modern-day International Space Station, the exhibits are so evocative and really bring the story to live.


Travel Goals for 2018

Posted in family trip, lifestyle, personal, travel, vacation
on January 6, 2018

It’s quite ironic that even if there’s a VAT here in the UAE, I am still thinking of more travels to have this 2018 with my family.  2018 will be a year of new beginnings, new hopes, new chances, new plans, new goal-settings, and more memory-making, and definitely more travel.

I have been through a lot of painful stuff the past 2 years. I am more than happy to leave them in the past and focus on more important things that money can’t put a price tag, like spending more time with my family, learning new skills, be better in my blog posting, delve in my creativity, and definitely include more travels this year and onwards.

I know it will take a lot of money to be able to do all those travels but I believe in this quote and this year, it’s probably the one I am going to live by whether I have enough money or none. There are always opportunities to travel even locally.

(photo not mine, due credit to the owner/from

Happy Traveling folks!

Packing Tips For Sporting Holidays

Posted in lifestyle, packing tips, travel, travel tips, vacation
on January 5, 2018

If you’re heading off on a sporty holiday, either in the height of snowy winter or under the summer sun, you’ll be well aware that packing efficiently is very important.

You’re likely to find yourself balancing a desire for light luggage with your need to take all the equipment you require to your destination, so there are many decisions to be made about what should be prioritized.

That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and consider what options you have, as you prepare for your vacation. In this article, we’ll help you along your way to a stress-free packing experience by sharing some of our top tips on how to get your holiday gear sorted.

Choose the correct clothes

Before moving on to packing your equipment, it’s important to think about what you’ll be wearing as you go about your adventures while on vacation.

Original women’s workout clothes from Tommie Copper are a great idea if you’re going to be doing any sort of vigorous sport while on your vacation. Items such as over the calf socks, wrist and ankle sleeves or compression leggings won’t just help you stay at a good body temperature, they’ll also make sure you look good!

You’ll need to make sure you organize your clothing choices around the local temperature at your destination. If you’re going to Canada in the middle of winter, you’ll certainly need warm coats, but Australia in the height of their summer will dictate that you wear shorts and T-shirts!

And while your sporty gear should be your focus when packing clothes, you shouldn’t forget your more boring clothing needs. You’ll need some casual clothes, for example, for when you head out to eat or have a few drinks in the evenings.

Consider hiring bulky equipment

If the extent of your sporty endeavors on holiday will be having a dip in the sea, then throwing your trunks or bikini in a suitcase won’t take up much room, but if you’re looking to do something a little more active, then there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself taking lots of equipment with you.

Golf, for example, requires clubs, while activities such as rock climbing can entail a whole host of safety harnesses, chains, cables and more. That’s why hiring equipment once you get to your destination can be a good move. If you’re going to be visiting a golf course or a rock climbing center, chances are they’ll be able to either provide you with the kit themselves, or point you in the right direction.

Not only does this mean you can pack a little bit lighter, you also won’t have to worry about your equipment going missing or getting lost in transit.

Don’t forget airline rules

As any seasoned traveler knows all too well, airlines often lay down quite strict rules about what can and what can’t be taken on board a plane.

If you’re planning to take bulky sporting gear on board an aircraft as hand luggage, you may need to look closely at the rules in order to prevent a nasty surprise at the airport.

Items such as lacrosse sticks and fishing hooks, for example, may need to be stowed away in checked baggage rather than hand luggage. It’s also a good idea to consult your specific airline in advance to double-check. While airlines may be the main mode of travel for many of us, it’s not just airplane passengers who have to think carefully about what can and can’t be taken on board. Amtrak, for example, prohibits carry-on bags that weigh over 50 pounds.

It’s not just the gear

Even if you’re a die-hard sports fan, there are still lots of other items you need to think about taking with you when you go on a sporting holiday.

By neglecting your other necessary holiday items or leaving it all to the last minute to sort out, you could well find yourself in a sticky situation. That’s why you still need to do all those mundane pre-trip tasks, such as making a list of clothes to pack or ensuring your travel documentation is safely tucked into the front of your bag.

Remember: while your sporting gear and equipment is important, you don’t want to forget your toothbrush!

Ultimately, it’s clear that there’s plenty of fun to be had on a sporty holiday, either here in the USA or around the world. By planning ahead with your packing and following our top tips, you can ensure that you have a stress-free vacation preparation experience.

Child-friendly Places to Visit in NSW

From wildlife sanctuaries to amusement parks and more, the state of NSW is full of places and activities that are perfect for children and adults alike. Check out some of the best places in NSW to keep your little ones entertained on your next Australian adventure.


Taronga Zoo & Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo Credit: Pixabay

With a spectacular location overlooking Sydney Harbour, award-winning Taronga Zoo is an unbeatable destination for animal lovers and budding zoologists. With over 4,000 animals to see and more than 20 shows to catch per day – as well as guided tours and the occasional concert – there’s always something happening at Taronga Zoo.

Those looking for an immersive experience can even stay overnight in safari-style tents, surrounded by the calls of Taronga’s native and exotic inhabitants.

Located in Dubbo, roughly 400 kilometres inland from Sydney, Taronga Western Plains Zoo is Australia’s oldest open range zoo.

Instead of gates, walls and fences, Taronga Western Plains Zoo uses concealed moats to separate visitors from animals, allowing you to imagine what an encounter in the wild would feel like!


Note: Although Taronga is NSW’s most famous wildlife institution, there are plenty of fantastic venues to explore across the state. For more animal adventures, check out Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside, Blackbutt Reserve in New Lambton, Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, and Mogo Zoo on the NSW South Coast.


Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Do your kids have an adventurous streak? Then head to one of NSW’s treetop adventure parks for the chance to embrace this spirit in a safe and scenic environment.

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures is one NSW’s most popular treetop adventure parks, offering different experiences to suit all ages and abilities. The Treetop Walk winds 1500 metres through the beautiful rainforest canopy on a walkway suspended 20-30 metres above the ground. Although this walk is suitable for all ages, Knights Tower (a viewing platform situated at the end of the walkway) is not accessible to prams.

If your children are at least 5 years old and over 105cm tall, they can also choose to embark on a Zipline Tour. This thrilling journey involves crossing suspension bridges and flying along a series of steel cables strung 35 metres above the forest floor!

With professional guidance, breathtaking views, and the option for parents to ride tandem with smaller children, Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures is perfect for the whole family.


Luna Park

Photo Credit: Pixabay

For some old-fashioned fun with a modern backdrop, there’s no going past Luna Park Sydney. Built in 1935, the huge grin which marks the entrance of Luna Park has become a beloved icon for generations of Sydneysiders.

Take your children to Luna Park to experience the nostalgia and simple joys of times gone by. Here, you can saddle up on the hand-painted carousel, marvel and laugh inside the Big Top, grab a bite to eat at the Coney Island Café, and clatter along the tracks of a rare wooden roller coaster.

Round out your visit with a ride on the ferris wheel, whose colourful carriages enjoy magnificent views of Sydney Harbour and a skyline from a completely different era.


Billabong Ranch

Make a trip to Echuca, found on the NSW-Victoria border, for a crowd-pleasing outing that’s perfect for groups with a range of interests. Billabong Ranch sprawls over 390 acres and includes a fun-filled activity centre with enough activities to interest practically anyone.

Horse lovers will be spoilt for choice – the ranch has a range of trail rides designed for both experienced and inexperienced riders, as well as pony ride options for younger guests. Guests can also get active on the bouldering wall, challenge themselves on the obstacle course, or strike up some friendly competition with a game of table tennis, beach volleyball, or ten-pin bowling.

As if that wasn’t enough, there are also friendly animals for petting, bungy trampolines for bouncing – even camels for riding! The archery and mini-golf courses are especially popular during wet weather, so you can all have a great time at Billabong Ranch at any time of year.


Jamberoo Action Park

Less than two hours south of Sydney, Jamberoo Action Park is one of the wildest places to cool off in NSW. This theme park features 15 rides spread over 40 hectares of landscaped parklands near Kiama.

Ideal for children and parents alike, Jamberoo Action Park delivers high-speed thrills as well as more easygoing entertainment. Take the little ones for a paddle at Billabong Beach – a play area designed specially for young children – or join your budding adrenaline junkies on hair-raising rides such as Funnel Web and The Perfect Storm.

New to the park in 2016, Jamberoo’s latest ride hurls riders along a 290-metre trajectory to reach speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour! Of course, you can always float around in the wave pool instead.


So get organising and plan your school holiday adventure now!


About the Author

Alex is a 23 year old lover of life, brunch & adventure. After moving to Sydney when finishing a journalism degree, he began his blog Inspire A Better Life to positively influence others to get out there and see all life has to offer. Join Alex as he discovers this life one day at a time, documenting his thoughts and other along the way!

Join the Let There Be Light £500 Blogger Photography Competition From Urban Cottage Industries

I am an aim and shoot kind of photographer in my family. My daughter and husband are the fancy shutterbugs who know how to use their D-SLR cameras. I just rely on my dependable iPhone camera to provide me the snaps I need for my blog posts. But, Urban Cottage Industries may give me a chance to improve my photography skills with their Let There Be Light Blogger Photography competition!

Since buying the accessories for a good camera is a hefty undertaking, winning this competition will surely help in acquiring them.

The #LetThereBeLight Blogger Photography Competition is from the generous Urban Cottage Industries and they are giving away £500 worth of vouchers of photography equipment from Amazon. That is one hefty price to be given to the lucky winner.  5 Runner ups will also get a price which is a nice personalized Moleskine Notebook.

Joining is simple but you do need to have your own blog.

Read the mechanics below and the full T&C here.


To enter the competition, publish your “Let There Be Light” blog post on your own blog containing two images – one showcasing natural light and one showcasing artificial light – including a follow link to

I am sure you will have plenty of photos to select from because of the recent holidays. Those will surely yield colorful, vivid, photos worthy to showcase in this fabulous competition. Of course, you can choose whatever photos you like as long as you follow the requirements.

All entries must be made via a blog post and submitted by 31 Jan. 2018.

Entrants via social media must tag @urbancottageind and use #LetThereBeLight in their post when linking to their blog post.

Once you are done with your blog post, notify them via email ( and your email must must include a link to your post, your name, and email address.

Don’t forget to read the full terms and conditions I have included above before the mechanics so you’ll never go wrong.


And here is my entry for the competition.

For the natural light, I used this photo taken during our family outing last 29 December in Dubai Parks and Resort. I feel the view in the Riverland area is so calm and captures the natural sunlight we get in this part of the world year-long.



For the artificial light, I am submitting this very Christmas-y water fountain with green hue in the same park before we headed home. It changed to several colors like blue, red, and this green which were all reminiscent of a fun Christmas. And not to mention, those Christmas lights hanging on the trees at the background made this photo more magical!



Good luck!


Packing Tips For Holiday Goers

Posted in lifestyle, packing tips, travel, travel tips
on January 3, 2018

Just the thought of packing for a vacation can be enough to make you want to leave everything until the last minute, however, you know in your heart that’s really not a good idea. In fact, the earlier you can reasonably make a start, the better. If you allow enough time you can properly plan your packing and make sure the clothes you want to bring are clean, the medications you use are in plentiful supply and you won’t run out of essential toiletries while away from home. Always check in good time that any necessary paperwork, for instance visas and passports, are up to date and valid.

Quality not quantity

Obviously, you will be packing to suit the weather at your destination so choose climate appropriate gear and if you’re unsure go for light layers so you can warm up or cool down easily. Clever packers often opt for clever clothes, such as reversible tops, coats, shirts and dresses. That way you can get two different looks from one garment. Most people pack too much and find they return home with clothes they haven’t worn so reduce the quantity when packing. Choose items that you will get more use from, for example, zip-off pants will turn your beach wear shorts back into full length or cropped pants again to wear for the cooler evenings.

Smart moves

When you are packing smaller items make the most of the space by folding or rolling stockings, socks and scarves and putting them inside shoes. If you like to fold tops try doing two or three at the same time as they will crease less if folded together. It can help if you choose one or two main colors for your vacation wear and assemble your outfits around them, so that you have plenty of matching items. Choose comfortable shoes and perhaps some hiking boots if you are likely to be walking a lot and spending a lot of time outdoors, especially if you are traveling to someplace such as Canada where there are some amazing walking trails.

Stay comfortable

Most travelers like to stay fresh and comfortable, and whether you are taking a flight, a train journey or a road trip, it’s useful to keep small essentials handy, such as wipes and tissues, so you can always freshen up easily. No need to sacrifice your beauty routines either, there are plenty of ingenious products available in small packages at to keep wrinkles at bay, maintain smooth skin and even give your eyebrows a rapid makeover.

Accessorize your look

Finally, choose jewelry and accessories that will enhance your outfits – they are smaller and easier to pack than extra clothes and by changing them around you can easily adjust your look. Neutral colors tend to work best for bags and shoes as they are more likely to match other garments and each other.

Always keep your valuables in a safe place, including your travel documents, credit cards, cameras, phones or any other items that are important to you. Enjoy your vacation!

Safety Tips For Pregnant Travelers

Posted in lifestyle, safety, safety during travel, travel, travel tips
on December 30, 2017



Pregnancy is the most exciting period of every woman. Looking forward to having another member of the family often feels fantastic for both the mother and father. But sometimes, there could be worries about traveling and doing other fun activities. If you are you are pregnant and planning to go on a trip, there is no need to worry. We are about to share some tips that will help you travel safely without having any complications.

Consult your doctor

Regardless of the stage of your pregnancy, there is a need to talk to your doctor before traveling. Pregnant travelers need to know of all the risks involved when going on a trip. Health experts say that uncomplicated pregnancies have a small risk of developing problems when on traveling. But talking to your doctor will help you know what to avoid doing during your trip.

Pack sensibly

There are things that you should not forget to carry for your trip. When packing for your trip, keep your pregnancy in mind and carry everything that will make you comfortable. Ensure to bring comfortable shoes for walking. Some of the things you should not forget include wipes, diapers, ID card, insurance documents, contacts of the nearest hospital and your people at home. Whether you are some months away from delivering your baby or a few days, carrying prenatal records is essential. It will help the doctors treating you in the event you need medical assistance during the trip. Not only will the doctors have a starting point you will make your treatment quick.

Travel by road

While flying can be the fastest way to reach your destination for the trip, traveling by car can be useful. This is because you have more access to medical emergency medication and can have frequent stops to ease yourself or stretch. While traveling by a vehicle can have more advantages over other means, do not be on the move for more than six hours. Ensure you take pregnancy nausea medications ahead of traveling.

Stay hydrated

Drinking lots of water when you are pregnant is imperative but is also critical when traveling. According to experts, pregnant women need to drink 12 glasses of water daily. Drinking lots of water help to make sure the production of milk is on course and there is a renewal of the amniotic fluid. Drinking plenty of water helps avoid false labor pains.

Eat healthily

Though you are away from home, eating healthy is vital for your health. Avoid eating fast foods and instead, pick a healthy alternative to control your pregnancy desires while traveling. Eating small meals and frequently may help avoid nausea and hypoglycemia. Eat as many vegetables and fruits as you can. It will help you gain more minerals and vitamins and prevent constipation. If some foods may not be available at your holiday destination, ensure to carry them along.


It is normal for any pregnancy women to feel tired. Ensure to have enough sleep and take breaks regularly. Resting will be helpful to you as you will get the energy you need to move around.