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All Posts By Leah Wimpenny

Thailand Extends its Tourist Ban at Maya Bay

By Posted on 3 m read

Adventurers and travellers hoping to witness the stunning white beaches and towering limestone cliffs of Maya Bay, Thailand, might have to change their holiday plans.

Although due to re-open to the public this month after a temporary tourist ban, Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) have announced the Maya Bay ban will stand indefinitely.

It is not unusual for the DNP to close parks and beaches off from tourists, with a variety of spaces being closed due to extreme weather impacts or the need for ecological regrowth, what has come as a surprise is that Maya Bay is still closed after its original Tourist Ban implemented in July.

The DNP expressed that Maya Bay saw as many as 2.5 million visitors in 2018, which is a rise of half a million people year on year. The majority of travellers visit from Phuket, which is less than an hours travel away from Maya Bay by speed boat.

Maya Bay, part of Thailand’s hot spots for travellers, is part of Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, which has been popular since the film release of The Beach, starring Leonardo Dicaprio, released in the year 2000.

The original plan for a fourth month rejuvenation period was aiming at reviving the island’s decimated corals in a bid to preserve the island’s nature. It was also discussed that the area will be installed with boat jetties for tourists, amongst the implementation of other activities.

Concerns for some of Thailand’s most beautiful natural beaches and clear blue waters being under environmental attack are great, as some areas simply cannot keep up with the flow of human travellers. Natural areas need time to rejuvenate from excessive human activity, as Maya Bay has long since been a location for young people to sunbathe, snorkel, party and take pictures, the island is in need of a well deserved rest.

Almost twenty years of heavy tourist traffic has taken its toll on Maya Bay, and the ecosystem is still suffering devastation after a four month break. Aspiring travellers are not the only people left disappointed by the news, as local citizens use destinations like Maya Bay as areas of huge financial drive.

Maya Bay prohibits overnight stays, with no hotels, hostels or housing on the island there is not one inhabitant and people tend to enjoy the islands beauty for a day long period before returning to Phuket, or other nearby areas.

The decision for extended closure follows on from the continued closure of Boracay, which is due to reopen to tourists this month although not completely. Unlike Maya Bay, which is a small isolated space, Boracay is home to around 17,000 people, many of whom are locals that are invested in the tourist industry. The DNP released information over the ongoing 6 month long closure of Boracay to stem from its once natural beauty and crystal waters becoming a cesspool.

Should both Maya Bay and Boracay re-open in their entirety, which in time it is believed they will, there is thought to be a new plan in place that manages tourist control in a bid to keep the environment healthy. In the meantime, locals can apply for financial support through the Philippines government, who offer approved funding to help local economies during tourist closures.

Travellers are reminded to ensure the environments visited are treated with care and respect, and that the natural wildlife is protected, and litter is not left behind or discarded into the sea.

 

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Zippo Circus is in Town But Not Everyone is Happy

By Posted on 2 m read

In a progressive society such as today, using animals a means of entertainment is something that is widely viewed as a cruel, unnecessary and outdated practice.

Zippo circus, a travelling establishment that uses animals in some of its acts, is travelling in the UK for the next month and is getting some rather serious stick over its practises.

These might not be the animals you would immediately think of when you head the word circus, there is not an elephant or lion in sight, instead, Zippo use a variety of budgies and horses during their show.

The Zippo Circus is set to be in Guildford this week and at Hampstead Heath, London, later in the month, but with the use of circus animals come serious debate.

Over 750 people have already signed a petition that started on the 5th October to see the circus banned due to implications of animal cruelty.

The argument most protesters have is that the horses and budgies are in an unnatural environment, made to perform while subjected to loud noises and bright lights that are thought to cause the animals an unprecedented amount of stress.

That being said, the circus continue to debate their case and prove the welfare of their animals is in good hands. With supporters of the circus stating that people use horses in show jumping and riding daily, and are unable to clarify the difference. It is very much a grey area.

The Zippo circus website has a large section dedicated to the care and welfare of its animals, with proof of veterinary history and animal health inspector reports.

Animal Health Inspector, Sharon Edwards, gave a glowing report of the animal care provided in 2017 and expressed no welfare concerns surrounding either bird or pony. All the circus horses have a valid passport and are a popular feature amongst children who enjoy having photographs taken with the animals after the main circus events.

While this will always remain a tricky topic of debate, as the title of: Circus Animals, has an awful lot of  stigma attached to it, and rightly so in relation to the treatment of circus animals before animals rights; Ring-Master Mr Norman Barrett insists his love for the animals and offers explanations of their living quarters, as well as openly discussing any suggestions for improvement of animal care.

Animals lovers want to be reassured of the safety and well being of animals and the recent debates are putting some animal lovers off purchasing tickets. Zippo Circus aim to offer comfort and reassurance through regular animal welfare checks.

The Zippo Circus is appearing at Bannister’s Field between the 11th & 16th of October, and at Lower Fairground Site, East Heath Road between the 18th and 28th.

 

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The Hipster Food of 2018 Has Been Proven Non-Vegan

By Posted on 2 m read

Veganism is something to has skyrocketed in the past two years with more people changing to the vegan lifestyle by the day.

For some, the entire change comes through as perhaps a sort of trial and error base, or as a new phase diet, but for most vegans, the whole philosophy surrounding the refusal of any food that could have negative implications for animals, is something to live every day life by.

There is however, a new catch that might have people rethinking their diet plans, as it turns out that the hipster food of 2018, Avocado on Toast, isn’t actually a strictly vegan meal.

For starters, the toast is fine, usually. Traditionally made from yeast, flour, water and salt, bread is something that can be consumed by vegans no problem, but commercially sold breads, such as ones that blanket a packet bought sandwich, contain dairy produce such as whey, a milk based protein. The Toast however is certainly not the problem here.

Shockingly, it has been revealed that the much loved superfood, the avocado, isn’t actually vegan. For the same reason the majority of vegans choose not to consume honey, as humans interference with bees during harvest can mean the health of the bee is sacrificed, bees have a role to play in avocado cultivation. With bees already becoming dangerously extinct, the devoted animal lovers don’t want to risk any more harm.

Avocados as we know and love them, cannot exist without bees, which leaves a bit of an ethical dilemma to come into play for people who choose not to consume any item of food associated with the use of animals or animal produce.

Avocados are a crop that naturally can be very difficult to cultivate, so the crops rely on bees in a sort of unnatural way. This is due to bees cultivating crops, and then these crops being transported to new locations via lorries or trucks which, whether on purpose or not, relocate the bees for further cultivation in different climates.

This is the same for a variety of fruit and veg, including broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers and even cherries. The strict ethical regulations of a vegan diet stretch far and wide and this news comes as something that could prove to be detrimental for a vast majority of everyday vegan dietary requirements.

Not all Vegans will class the unnatural farming of bees, be it direct or indirect, as something that they determine concern for dietary requirements, but it has raised an interesting discussion for both vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians and meat eaters alike.

Vegans make a huge contribution to the reduction of animal suffering annually, and it does seem somewhat impossible to avoid all types of animal farming in modern food supplies, regardless, the avocado being deemed a non-vegan product has come as a huge shock, and is certainly one that will raise debate.

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Yomdel Await the Christmas Season for Spike in Sales

By Posted on 2 m read

Established in 2014, Yomdel is a multi-award winning business, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom to implement 24/7 managed live chat services.

Founder Andy Soloman, an entrepreneur and catalyst for change, remains the company’s resident Business Growth Expert, hosting an enviable track record of standing up for businesses across the UK and ensuring voices are heard. With a particular focus on SMEs, Andy offers both motivation and direction at companies through a hands on, pragmatic approach.

Today Yomdel handles around 70,000 chats each month on behalf of clients and is trusted by more than 2,000 UK estate agents, including Fine & Country, Chestertons and Belvoir. It is also a trusted establishment across financial, legal, construction, automotive and events sectors as well as a variety of other industries.

The British Retail Consortium, a trade association that represents all forms of retailers, from independently owned small establishments to large retail chains across the UK have revealed their Like-for-Like Retail Sales Statistics. The British Retail Consortium is representative of 80% of UK retail trade by turnover and shows the performance of UK retail businesses based on actual sales from participating companies.

The latest figures show that in September, the retail market saw a 0-2% fall. Andy expressed: “The performance of the retail sector has been slowly subsiding since June as consumers move away from the season of summer spending and reign in the purse strings in anticipation of the festive season.”

“A Christmas spike in retail activity will be warmly welcomed by the sector, but until then there are still some tough months ahead for both consumer and retailer alike as demonstrated by the weakest sales performance in five months. Stretched household income continues to put a strain on consumer sentiment while retailers struggle to balance the inflated cost of goods with remaining competitive on price.

“A no deal Brexit may cause problems further down the line due to complications with the import and export of goods, but in the short-term, we should see a more muted level of spending as uncertainty continues to deter consumers from any unnecessary financial outgoings.”

Yomdel acquired mystery shopping in June of this year and implemented experiential customer research business 360 perspectives into its suite of available products, to enhance digital customer service experience, and extend services aimed at being a close business growth partner to its clients.

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A Christmas Party Like No Other at Winterville

There is no better time than Christmas to bring everyone together for an all new experience.

With Winterville, London, you can expect an alternative Christmas party playground, brought to you by the creative minds behind Field Day and Street Feast, Winterville is returning to Clapham Common this winter, transforming the Kingdom’s Capital into a Christmas sensation.

Expect Live DJ’s, Must-see Comedy, roaming Magicians, Raves for Kids, Mexican Wrestling, Musical Bingo and a family Christmas show held on one of London’s famous double decker buses.

Elsewhere in the pop up town within the City, you can experience ice skating on an outdoor ice rink, enjoy sensational food from Street Feast and lose yourself in the Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Maze.

If that wasn’t enough, you can catch club nights in the Roller Disco, play Crazy Golf on a UV powered course, take a ride on the Big Wheel and enjoy the finest cocktails and craft beer in themed bars, with unique gifts on offer in the Solo Craft Fair.

It’s a spectacle unlike any other, taking over the heart of London from the 15th November till the 23rd December. The ultimate Christmas extravaganza is set to be filled with five whole weeks of Christmas cheer, overflowing with unmissable entertainment and incredible food and drink.

If you fancy moving away from the traditions of turkey, stuffing and sprouts, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge yourself in some of the finest taste sensations from around the world, with festive frozen Pumpkin Spice Rum or a Hot Buttered Bourbon.  

The Spiegeltent tent offers cabaret and performances, and you can take time to fulfil the thrill seeker in you by spending time on fairground rides, a line-up of amazing activities means there isn’t a moment to lose this Christmas.

From a private tent for fifty people, to larger scale hire that can host over 4,000 guests, including private food traders, bespoke activities and much more. Winterville provides an unforgettable setting for all Christmas parties, both big and small.

Booking a Christmas party with Winterville means you’ll still be talking about it 365 days later.

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The Latest Travel Trend, Going Solo

By Posted on 2 m read

Travelling has long been equated with breaking free, branching off and finding oneself.

While going on an alcohol infused all girls or all guys party holiday has also been a trend for millennials (ages 22-37) over the past few years, these seem to be taking a back seat, with adventure experiences taking over as more popular trips.

The latest in travel trends comes from the solo traveller, with rising numbers showing that huge amounts of the population want to experience the world on their own.

Baby Boomers, the generation that precedes Generation X, born between 1946-1964, are the most likely to hit the trend, with 40% of people aged 54-72 having already travelled solo.

Booking.com conducted a survey surrounding the new trend, which showed 1 in 4 people expressing a desire to travel the world alone, and recent Google search trends indicate a 40% increase in searches related to solo travel.

Travelling alone comes with many benefits, from being able to keep track of money and spend it how you wish, to sticking to your own time frame and experiencing only what you really want too.

Although you might miss the company of friends and family, solo travel is thought to offer you the best way to connect with a new culture and meet new people, as you can interact with local people and enjoy time in the company of others without any restrictions.

It is thought that travellers look more approachable in couples or as a single person which makes meeting new people all the easier.

Accommodation can also be much cheaper as solo travellers are more likely to spend time in hostels or shared accommodation which can dramatically cut down on hotel expenses.

Travelling alone means everything is up to you, maybe you’ll take the trains through Europe, or backpack across the Himalayas, perhaps you’ll find a new bar and make it your local for a while, or maybe you’ll fall in love with a country and extend your stay.

Every decision is down to you and you alone.

The main fear that stops people from travelling solo comes from an uncertainty on personal safety and potentially the feelings of loneliness. If you can overcome doubts though, travelling alone could be one of the best ways to see the world.

For some, travelling in larger groups will always be the preferred type of exploration, but it might be worth tackling travels with one close friend or your partner, to see of any difference in overall experience. If you’re considering solo travel, this can be an ideal way to get a sense of more quiet adventure, before taking the plunge to enter the big wide world on your own.

 

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Halloween Spectaculars in Manchester

By Posted on 3 m read

With Halloween creeping in, now is the time to start planning what to do on the spookiest date of the year.

Manchester is offering plenty of tricks to keep you occupied in the season of terror but plenty of treats too, so 2018 could be the year you try Halloween in the city.

Manchester is even being involved in a Monster take over, so look out, beware, there’s monsters everywhere. Seriously…

Between the 25th and the 28th October, a group of ghouls and beasts are being let loose over the city, peeping from windows, hiding in trees and even climbing up buildings! An unmissable sight so be sure to have your camera at the ready.

Manchester City Centre is getting involved in the Go Green for Halloween scheme with an array of city centre buildings and shops boosting a spooky green tone to get city lovers in the spirit. The streets of Manchester are also getting glammed up, with pumpkin lanterns in the thousands being scattered over trees and lampposts.

If you’re local to the area you’ve probably already heard of the ghost stories surrounding the enchanted forest, homes to witches and mystical creatures alike. Thirty birch trees at 4 meters high in St. Ann’s square deliver a pop-up forest, home to the witch’s house and sporting a trick or treat trail on the 27th and 28th October. Be sure to wrap up warm and you might even get to meet the witch herself, if you’re brave enough.

If you fancy something a little more active, a pop up mini golf is to be held on Market Street on the 27th and 28th October, inspired by wacky circus characters and fairground freakiness. The game is free to play but hard to win, winners do however have a chance at winning some free golf games courtesy of Junkyard Golf, so it’s definitely worth giving this one a try.

Once the sun goes down, the Manchester Writing School, the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies and Manchester Children’s Book Festival have got a rather memorable evening in mind. A digital campfire and some marshmallows make the perfect space to tell some harrowing ghost stories while you settle down under a blanket and enjoy a hot chocolate in the spirit of the season.

If none of this sounds quite your cup of tea there is something for the animal lover, with the spooky-style dog show taking place on October 28th. Head down to Exchange Square to witness the cutest pooches in some frightening costumes.

Still not impressed? Why not grab a bed sheet, get your walking boots on and join in with the community for a world record attempt of the biggest ghostly walk to date! Spooky, Silly and potentially ground-breaking, the walk is taking place on the 27th October, and is in aid of helping Big Change Manchester, a charity in support of the city’s homeless.

Manchester is really pushing the boat out this year, so get yourself to the city.

Who knows when there will be another opportunity to witness its buildings in a splendour of green glow or being overtaken by monsters.

 

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Forget Winter, Whisky is Coming

By Posted on 2 m read

With fans already hyped up of the Game of Thrones Series 8 release, set to be some time in 2019, with sadly no official date given by HBO yet, there is something you could enjoy in the meantime to help with those Game of Thrones blues.

Johnnie Walker have teamed up with the network behind the series, HBO, and created an all new Whisky inspired by the most enigmatic characters of the show, the White Walkers.

Following in true Harry Potter take-over style, the Game of Thrones is everywhere, and now you can even keep a piece of it in your freezer.

Designed to be served ice cold, the White Walker Whisky is created from a blend of two single malt scotches, from Cardhu and Clynelish distilleries in Northern Scotland.

Standing at a fairly impressive 41.7% ABV, the Scottish drink is noted to have hints of caramelised sugar and vanilla tones, the perfect makings for a smooth tasting scotch.

Johnnie Walker is the number one Scotch Whisky brand in the world, so Whisky Lovers and Game of Throne lovers alike have high hopes for the latest innovation, which is already available on Amazon for £34.

The iconic 750ml bottle hosts a white and blue thermochromic pigmented-ink casing, that will glow once frozen, a nice little hats off the White Walker’s of the serious with their glowing blue eyes and snow white skin.  

Already set to be a favourite amongst fans, the development of this limited-edition drink is set to get avid lovers of the show collecting bottles in celebration of the final series.

The Game of Thrones is HBO’s most successful televised franchise to date, and DIAGEO already has a deal in place with HBO for a selection of Game of Thrones inspired wines and beers to be out soon.

If you’re a fan of the show, and a fan of a good old fashioned still whisky, this could definitely be going on your Christmas list!

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New Study Reveals Startling Benefits of Fungi

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A new study has revealed that mushrooms could be a lot healthier than we give them credit for. The mushroom is one of the very few natural sources containing Vitamin D and is now being asked for in high demand as a superfood fungi! They are already known for their immunity-boosting benefits and anti-cancerous properties but there have been some even more surprising health factors uncovered.

The journal of medical food have published a study that only adds to the benefits of the beloved mushroom. Researchers from the University of Malaya in Malaysia have shown regular consumption of the fungi can enhance nerve growth in the brain and therefore help in delaying the development of age related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The study uncovered that certain edible and medicinal mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that offer neuroprotective and cognitive benefits to protect again neurotoxic stimuli such as inflammation that can lead to risk of various diseases, especially disease that comes with time such as those that effect the elderly.

The researchers believe that current drug therapy for neurodegenerative diseases are ineffective and cause unnecessary side effects that only provide short term delays in disease progression. New solutions need to be developed and they have faith that mushrooms could remarkably be a base for this research, with over a hundred species and some still unknown the mushroom is already a wonderful natural medicine in many cultures, and soon this could be integrated into modern western medicine to aid the development in treating Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other various other diseases that currently have no cure.

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Threat of Bacon Shortage due to Increased Demand

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Food shortages have been causing panic, first it was prosecco, then avocados, then Nutella and now the latest food we appear to be having troubling sourcing is bacon. A national favourite especially as part of a greasy fry up to cure a hangover is under threat.

Pig farmers are struggling to keep up with consumer’s appetite for pigs! Fortunately for Brits, the shortage isn’t having a large impact just yet but across the pond citizens of the USA are feeling the damages. Bacon reserves in the US are at their lowest for half a century and the US department of agriculture have revealed a 67% year on year drop in pork belly inventory levels.

It is believed that the shortage will be resolved in time with farmers producing more pigs for slaughter, so Americans won’t be too short on BLT’s for long although the cost of them is said to increase (so we will wait and see how people respond to the news of expensive bacon prices).

It is widely believed that a pig can be prepared to become bacon at as little as six months so don’t worry bacon lovers (and apologies to vegetarians) you won’t be short for too long! Twitter users soon joined in the discussion referencing the lack of bacon as an apocalypse and the end of the world as we know it. These tweets might be taking it a step too far but the issue is there, more pigs are needed to keep up with our eating habits, who know bacon had such an impact!

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