Make the most of your Verizon iPhone with this easy money-saving tip!


In 2021, Verizon’s consumer revenues topped $23 billion, increasing 7.3 percent year on year. Today, Verizon is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States, serving over 120 million subscribers. Despite boasting breathtakingly larger customer numbers, Verizon continues to grow, expanding its offering an reaching an increasingly larger audience. None of this growth would be possible though, were it not for the overwhelming growth in smartphone demand. This insatiable demand creates a landscape well-suited to industry giants able to capitalise on increasing demand for the latest devices.

Surprisingly, the first smartphone was invented in 1992, only 29 years ago. IBM released the Simon Personal Communication, truly a revolution in consumer telecommunications. It was the first telephone to combine the functions of a cell phone and a PDA. Cell phones were still in their infancy, primarily there were used for calls. The Simon even accepted pages. Though its battery lasted only one hour, this early smartphone cost in excess of $1000. Irrespective, IBM sold over 50,000 Simons in the first six months. Though this might not seem like much in the context of today’s sales, then it was astronomical.

In 1999, Blackberry joined the smartphone bandwagon. Technically, this was the company’s first portable email device, not a smartphone. The firms first foray into the smartphone industry came in 2002, pioneering the full QWERTY keyboard—soon to be replaced with touch screens. The smartphone industry was revolutionised in 2007 when Steve Jobs released the first iPhone. Costing only £470, the first iPhone did not have 3G capability. Despite this, Apple sold 6 million devices. In 2008, Apple unveiled the App store, experiencing more than 10m downloads across the first weekend. In the first quarter of 2016, 17.2 billion applications were downloaded.

In 2008 the first Android phone was released. Today, Android is the dominant operating system in the smartphone market, serving over 2 billion active users monthly. The first Android device was the HTC Dream, it had a sliding keyboard, a multi-touch screen, 3G and a three-megapixel camera. According to Statista, the number of smartphone users has exceeded 2.7 billion, more than 35% of the global population. One wonders when this figure will surpass 50%.

This insatiable demand sees consumers upgrading their devices more frequently than ever before. Given devices remain relatively expensive, the majority of these new devices are purchased on contract plans with major carriers like Verizon. Verizon offers customers the opportunity to purchase a device and spread the cost over many months. These devices are locked to Verizon and cannot be used with any other provider. Whether you want to continue using your device in a more cost-effective fashion, or sell it to raise a little pocket money, there’s a secret all Verizon customers with locked devices need to know.

The savvy consumer secret hidden in plain sight …

The telecommunications industry has changed. The best available airtime and data packages are available through small SIM-only providers, not large airtime providers. However, locked devices exclude these competitive providers, meaning consumers are stuck with pricy contract packages from large carriers. This lack of flexibility translates to a lower sale value in the open market. Prospective buyers are willing to pay more for unlocked devices, knowing they are more flexible and offer a more cost-effective solution. SIM-only packages often offer unlimited data and airtime for £20-30 less per month. A sizeable amount of money in the context of a yearly requirement.

The cost-saving doesn’t end here. Travelling is more common than ever. Whether for business or pleasure, people travel frequently. When locked in a contract, smartphone users are subject to expensive roaming chargers. These are charges imposed by networks when using devices abroad. Unlocked devices are free from these charges. Travellers can simply find a local store and choose from any domestic SIM-only provider. Once they plug this SIM into their phone, they’re able to use their device and applications as they do at home, staying in touch with family and friends. This is a great option even when in a contract.

Getting your device unlocked used to be a serious pain, but services like DirectUnlocks have made this process super simple.If you want to find out how to Unlock Verizon iPhone then all you need to do is visit DirectUnlocks. All that is required is your device IMEI. Once you enter your IMEI into the website, DirectUnlocks can unlock your device remotely, often within just 6 hours without you needing to even leave your home. So, if you have a Verizon device, make the most of it with this simple trick!



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Thanksgiving recipes that are easy to make : Life Kit : NPR


Illustration of a group of friends passing food around the table at Thanksgiving dinner for a Friendsgiving.
Illustration of a group of friends passing food around the table at Thanksgiving dinner for a Friendsgiving.

Food writer Eric Kim is kind of a Thanksgiving expert — he’s been making the holiday dinner for his family since he was 13 years old.

“My parents didn’t know how to cook American food when they immigrated here,” he says. Kim and his cousins really wanted to partake in this very-American holiday so they took over the kitchen and fashioned a menu straight from the imagination of a 13-year-old: “Those early Thanksgivings had like five different pies and a banana pudding.”

He says the holiday evolved over the years (though the banana pudding remains a staple).

Eric Kim eats Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Augusta, Georgia in the 1990s.

Eric Kim


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Eric Kim

“The kids got better at cooking it, and then the adults looked forward to it. And then it became this beautiful kind of moment once a year where the adults could, like, sit back and relax.”

Kim says those early years of making Thanksgiving dinner helped him become the cook — and the New York Times food writer — that he is today. This year though, he’s on a mission to help everyone spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying their food and their company.

(See two of Kim’s original Thanksgiving recipes — Salt-and-Pepper Roast Turkey Breast and Cheesy Pizza Stuffing, at the end of the story.)

Cook smarter, not harder.

“I think people cook too much on Thanksgiving Day, and that’s really unrealistic,” Kim says. “What I want to do on Thanksgiving Day is be with my friends … or my family.”

Kim has devised a menu that’ll allow you to actually enjoy the day – by simplifying the meal in five key ways:

Make ahead

Spend the day before Thanksgiving doing the bulk of your work so that the day-of you only have to roast the turkey and reheat your sides.

Simplify your ingredients

Kim’s simplified menu relies on a pared-down list of ingredients used throughout the dishes: salt, pepper, butter, dried oregano, onion and lemon.

The food at Thanksgiving is already delicious, Kim says, so it doesn’t need a lot of extra flavor. “You’re taking these ingredients like sweet potatoes or green beans, radicchio … and just adding two or three things to them to make them shine and to make them more of themselves,” he says. “A lot of butter goes a long way.”

Illustration of a hand stirring ingredients in a bowl. A pepper grinder, bowl of salt, cut lemon, and plate with butter sit in the foreground.

Simplify your tools

Kim says you can make the full meal with just a sheet pan and a large skillet. The bone-in turkey breast is roasted on the sheet pan while all of the sides and gravy can be cooked stove-top in the skillet.

No oven acrobatics

Look for recipes that allow you to cook everything at one temperature. That way, you’re not having to figure out the logistics of when to put in one casserole for an hour at 375 degrees and another for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Kim designed his menu (peep his cheesy pizza stuffing here) so everything can be cooked at 350 degrees — which is also low enough so that you won’t be sweating in your kitchen all day!

Take the terror out of turkey

A lot of first-timers can get overwhelmed by cooking the turkey. Kim says it’s fine to just do a bone-in turkey breast. And he says, simplify your turkey prep. “All I do is I slather some butter all over it, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and I roast it.” (Try his recipe here.)

And for those turkey haters, Kim says part of the problem is that people usually overcook them. “As long as you don’t overcook it, a whole world will open up to you. It’s delicious.” To avoid overcooking, try using an electric instant-read meat thermometer so you’ll know exactly when it’s done.

With all that extra time you’ve got on Thanksgiving day now, you can focus on the important stuff like frantically cleaning your apartment, chilling the wine, finding the perfect pair of eating pants – oh, and spending quality time with your loved ones.

Enjoy the day … with whomever you’d like

Some of us are unable to travel home, or we’re stuck at work, or we’re estranged from our families. Some of us just want to be able to double up on this food-laden holiday. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that celebrating with friends is no less important. Kim says it’s a time to celebrate your found family.

“For me, Friendsgiving, it started out being the replacement holiday. It’s like, ‘Oh man, I can’t go home, so I have to be with … other people,'” says Kim. But throughout the years, he’s come to cherish the holiday.

“You’re not just celebrating your friends because they’re replacements for family, you’re celebrating them because they are your family. And I think that’s really beautiful.”

No matter who you’re celebrating with, Kim says, a little planning (and some prep the day beforehand) can help you enjoy the moment and the company.

Eric Kim’s Thanksgiving Recipes

Salt-and-Pepper Roast Turkey Breast

Roasted Turkey Breast NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Photograph by Bryan Gardner for The New York Times; Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne; Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Roasted Turkey Breast NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Photograph by Bryan Gardner for The New York Times; Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne; Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Time: 2 hours, plus thawing and resting

A bone-in turkey breast is significantly easier to cook than a whole bird, it takes a fraction of the time, and it still feeds a group comfortably. To ensure succulence, you could apply a dry brine the night before, but when you’re cooking just a breast, the greatest insurance against dryness is pulling it out of the oven the moment it’s done, and no later. (For that, rely on an electric instant-read meat thermometer; it’s the only way to get a truly accurate read on the internal temperature of your meat.) I like to roast turkey the way I roast chicken: unbrined but slathered in butter, showered with salt and pepper and popped into a moderately hot oven to get crispy skin. Once the slices are fanned out on a platter tumbled with lemon wedges, it looks like a veritable feast.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole (6- to 8-pound) bone-in turkey breast (see Tip)
  • 4 lemons, quartered, for garnish
  • Instant-read meat thermometer

Directions

1. Keep the butter nearby. Place about 1/4 cup kosher salt in a small bowl and keep nearby as well, along with a black-pepper grinder. Transfer the turkey breast to a large sheet pan and thoroughly dry all over with a paper towel; get it as bone-dry as you can.

2. Using your hands, very liberally rub the butter all over the turkey breast. (If the butter is difficult to spread, soften it further in the microwave in 10-second intervals.) Make sure to slather the butter on the underside and bones in addition to the entire surface of the skin. Wipe your hands with a towel.

3. Generously season the turkey all over with salt, especially inside the cavity. You don’t have to be precise here, but do go heavy on the salt — the turkey can take it. (In general, you should account for about 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt per pound.) Next, generously grind black pepper all over the turkey; again, no need to measure this. Let the turkey breast sit so the seasoning can penetrate the meat and allow the bird to come to room temperature, about 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the turkey breast in the oven, then with the oven door still open, carefully pour 1 cup water into the sheet pan. Close the oven door and roast until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, 13 to 15 minutes per pound. (To read the temperature, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of one of the breasts, making sure to avoid the bone, which will give you an inaccurate reading.) Very carefully rotate the pan halfway through roasting and add another cup of water if the pan looks dry. When done roasting (1 1/2 to 2 hours), the skin should be golden brown and crispy.

5. Let the turkey breast rest in its pan, uncovered, until cool enough to handle, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut along one side of the breastbone with a sharp knife, then the other, cutting each breast off the bone, and keeping the skin intact. Thickly slice each breast crosswise and serve on a large platter scattered with the lemon quarters. Taste the pan juices and, if they’re a little salty, stir in a little hot water. If they need more seasoning, stir in salt and pepper. Spoon the pan juices over and around the sliced turkey.

Cheesy Pizza Stuffing

Cheesy Pizza Stuffing NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks. NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times Cheesy Pizza Stuffing NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Photograph by Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Cheesy Pizza Stuffing NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks. NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times Cheesy Pizza Stuffing NYTCREDIT: Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Photograph by Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Time: 45 minutes, plus drying bread

Ingredients

  • 1 (12- to 14-ounce) loaf brioche or challah, torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more softened butter for greasing dish
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  •  Salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella

Directions

  1. The night before serving, spread the bread pieces on a sheet pan and let sit on the counter to dry out. Alternatively, you can bake them at 250 degrees until completely dried out and no longer soft, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to make the stuffing, transfer the bread to a large bowl. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-13-inch or 8-by-11-inch baking dish with softened butter.
  3. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and slightly browned at the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the oregano and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork, then beat in the milk. Pour the stock mixture and milk mixture over the bread and toss with two spoons until evenly coated. Add 1 cup mozzarella, and toss again until well combined. Let sit until the bread fully absorbs the liquid, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the stuffing and any accumulated liquid to the greased baking dish, spread out evenly and top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. (To make ahead, you can stop at this stage, cover the dish and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
  6. Bake, uncovered, until heated through and the cheese is melted, 15 to 25 minutes. (You may need to add a few minutes to the bake time if the stuffing has been refrigerated.) Sprinkle a pinch of oregano over the top and serve immediately.

You can find more of Eric Kim’s recipes here.

The audio portion of this podcast was produced by Meghan Keane.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have a good life hack, leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at LifeKit@npr.org. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode.

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7 Easy Ways To Pay It Forward And Feel Good This Holiday Season


It goes without saying that frontline workers have worked tirelessly to keep our cities safe and running over the last 18 months. Whether it’s the nurses administering healthcare, supermarket superheroes restocking shelves, or patient and persistent teachers educating children—there’s plenty of people we need to show our thanks and gratitude to. 

But perhaps one of the most unsung heroes of all are the loyal and trusted food delivery drivers that fueled us during the pandemic. Nothing made us more joyful than seeing our heroes in helmets pulling up with a brown paper bag loaded with deliciousness from our most missed eateries. 

So, when we heard that Sunbites were taking their Fuel Good Snack Truck to Sydney streets in October to surprise and delight delivery drivers, we knew it was a story worth sharing. The fuel good movement started with a three-day activation whereby Sunbites care packages and public thank you messages were hand-delivered to drivers waiting in delivery driver hot spots—helping them refuel and get through the day with the goodness of Sunbites whole grains. A feel-good story we can get behind and support.

We want to continue the Sunbites mission of fuelling good deeds and acts of kindness throughout our community, so we’ve wrapped up seven easy ways you can pay it forward to those who need it most. 

Donate Blood

If you’ve donated blood before, you’ll know there’s no greater feeling than knowing you’ve helped save up to three lives. What’s even better is that it only takes a short amount of time out of your day to make a huge difference, plus you find out exactly where your much-needed blood is transported after your donations, so you you can see where your good deed is going in real time. But the Australian Red Cross is always in need of more donors and without them, they can’t deliver the services critical to the health of our communities. So, if you’re eligible to donate, you can make a booking here. Time to roll up your sleeves!

Cull Your Wardrobe

Summer is fast-approaching and there’s no better time to get started on a full wardrobe clean out. Whether it’s that pair of jeans you haven’t worn since 2015, that gifted dress that’s never fit you quite right, or a slew of business skirts from a previous corporate role, chances are there’s someone else who would put it to better use. So if you’ve got a quiet weekend on the cards, make a note to schedule a haul. Once you’ve tackled the job, make sure to donate them appropriately to organisations such as Dress For SuccessRed Cross or Lifeline. Win for you, win for them.

Show Thanks To Your Food Delivery Driver

The Sunbites Good Fuel Company helped to show thanks and support to the food delivery drivers that fueled us through the pandemic and it’s easy to keep those feel-good moments rolling. Next time you order your favourite lazy Sunday meal or late-night snack, make sure to give thanks to your delivery driver. Either tip them on the app or even better, you can leave them a small token of your appreciation. A simple but effective way to thank the hardworking heroes in helmets that keep our faces smiling and bellies full.

Shout A Stranger Coffee

There’s only one thing better than coffee and that’s free coffee—or in this case, the feeling that comes from shouting a stranger free coffee. Serving as the ultimate pay it forward act, this one is super easy, inexpensive and highly effective in radiating caffeinated positivity. Next time you’re in line for coffee, let the barista know you’d like to shout the next person coffee and feel good knowing your small act has helped to start a positive chain reaction. Priceless. 

Donate To Christmas Fundraisers 

Christmas time is a joyous and celebratory season for most. But for some disadvantaged and low-income families, it’s a time of financial strain and stress. So if you’re looking to help bring in some festive cheer this season, giving a Christmas donation to those less fortunate is the perfect way to do so. Whether it’s financial donations, purchasing toys for children or donating food, there’s plenty of ways you can help to make another family’s Christmas, one to remember.

Support Local Business

Now more than ever we know how important it is to support local business and help the little guys get back on their feet. If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to let you know it’s easier than you think. When it comes to food shopping, make sure to opt for local butchers, bakers and grocers rather than always defaulting to big chain supermarkets as your support will make all the difference to their bottom line. If you’ve got a local retail business you love like a hairdresser, beauty salon or gym, always check to see if you can leave them a positive review online as this can be worth its weight in gold.

Practise Gratitude To Loved Ones

Life’s a lot easier when you’ve got people around you that support and care for you. Whether it’s a best friend that always provides an ear to listen, a work colleague that encourages and mentors you or even a barista that always manages to greet you with a smile and a pleasant chat in the morning—it really pays to turn those positive thoughts about that person into action. Why? Because it’s a kind thing to do and it will make you both feel good. Something as simple as an unexpected text, gift or act of service can go a really long way in sharing and spreading the love.

Keen to keep fueling good? Head to Sunbites, The Good Fuel Company to discover more about the delicious whole grain snacks you can feel good about.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Sunbites and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.





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A local’s guide to the Hunter Valley: ‘It’s easy to get caught in the tourist traps’ | New South Wales holidays


With more than 8 million visitors each year (in normal times) and just 90 minutes from the outskirts of Sydney, it’s easy to visit the Hunter Valley and get caught in the tourist traps. You name it, the Hunter has it – from a huge array of festivals and concerts to alpaca walking through the vineyards – it seems if there’s a tourism idea, someone has already thought of it. Like most busy tourist destinations, there are run-of-the-mill hotspots but if you look a little deeper there are some unique and remarkable experiences to be had.

The Hunter Valley is vast (covering 29,000 sq km) and includes Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, parts of the Barrington Tops and as far west as Muswellbrook, though for the majority of visitors a trip will include the wine regions of Pokolbin and Broke. With extensive mining and development, it’s a far cry from the untouched land of the Wonnarua people who inhabited the Upper Hunter for more than 30,000 years. Once the first grapevines were planted in the early 1800s, the region became synonymous with the vineyards planted in the shadow of the Broken Back Range.

A car drives down a dirt backroad in the Hunter Valley
A car drives down a dirt road in the Hunter Valley. The region has become synonymous with the vineyards planted in the shadow of the Broken Back Range. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

I’ve been a local for nine years and as a former tour operator have sampled much of what’s on offer. As the Hunter has morphed into a weddings-based destination (with its accompanying bucks and hens parties) you may wish to avoid the heaving distilleries, sparkling wine, beer and cider venues full of partying millennials. Another must-avoid is Monday traffic on a long weekend – expect long delays on the M1 for your return to Sydney.

The best time to visit is spring. Not only have the winter-dormant vineyards sprung to green life, but the weather is also milder. Though a visit in winter may not be as pretty, a glass of local shiraz in front of an open fire is hard to beat. Not every venue is open mid-week so including a Saturday as part of your itinerary will give you the widest choice. Most cellar doors now charge a wine-tasting fee (from $5 to $25-plus per person) and due to Covid-restrictions it’s essential to book every component of your stay well in advance. Long gone are the days of driving the Hunter’s lovely country roads and pulling into wherever takes your fancy (though you might find more flexibility with this mid-week).

Don’t miss

While you’re definitely spoilt for choice, you can’t visit the Hunter without sampling some of its local wines. Spending time with the winemakers themselves creates the most memorable experiences. Visit young gun Dan Binet at his Lovedale cellar door, Domaine de Binet. A tasting with Dan is fun and informative in an al fresco setting. You can also request a behind-the-scenes tour of the winery to gain some real insight into Binet’s process. A little further away from the main drag is Pierre’s Wines, Branxton. Peter Went is the owner/winemaker and his wines are some of the best in Australia – he provides a fascinating and very relaxed tasting.

Peter Went pours a sample of champagne from a vat at Pierre’s Wines
Peter Went pours a sample of champagne from a vat at Pierre’s Wines. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian
A wine testing set up at Pierre’s Wines in Branxton, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
A wine testing set up at Pierre’s Wines in Branxton. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

A trip to Broke is well worth the extra 30-minute drive from Pokolbin for a must-have tasting with the engaging Dave Fromberg at Running Horse Wines. The cellar door is stunning yet unpretentious while his aged wines showcase the best characteristics of local grapes without costing a fortune.

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Where to eat

As you would hope from a food bowl region, there’s plenty to eat, including fine diners – one of the best is the world-class Muse Restaurant, Pokolbin. Chef Troy Rhoades-Brown combines incredibly inventive flavours and uses many home-grown ingredients; the service is impeccable and the wine list extensive. Ask about their vegan degustation, too. To eat with the locals, visit the Royal Federal Hotel, Branxton. Good pub food with lots of Hunter wines, it’s busiest on a Sunday night.

The Royal Federal Hotel in Branxton
The Royal Federal Hotel in Branxton. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian
Burgers are plated in the kitchen of the Royal Federal Hotel
Burgers are plated in the kitchen of the Royal Federal Hotel. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

For a relaxed breakfast or lunch, ask for a seat on the veranda at Kawul, Pokolbin. Using punchy, predominantly native ingredients, it’s easy to switch off from the hustle and bustle while overlooking the vineyard and dam.

Where to sleep

For boutique self-contained accommodation set on 100 stunning acres, stay with Lucy and Jason at Block Eight Estate, Belford (from $350 per night). They have five beautifully appointed villas and prices includes a breakfast hamper and bottle of the estate’s wine.

One of the beautifully furnished private villas at Block Eight Estate
One of the beautifully furnished private villas at Block Eight Estate. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian
Lucy and Jason, owners of Block Eight Estate in Belford
Lucy and Jason, owners of Block Eight Estate in Belford. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

For a hotel experience, stay at Spicers Guesthouse, Pokolbin (from $220 p/n). The rooms are tastefully decorated and the onsite restaurant, eRemo, serves excellent high-end Italian. Enjoy a drink in the bar watching kangaroos frolic on the lawn or sit around the lovely outdoor fire in winter. Larger groups have hundreds of holiday homes to choose from such as Kelman Cottage, Lower Belford (sleeps up to 10 from $510 p/n). If you’re looking for budget (BYO tent) bush accommodation not far from the vineyards that coincides with live music and a festival feel, check out upcoming dates for Dashville (two nights including music from $65).

View from the top

A vineyard in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
A vineyard in the Hunter Valley. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

To get a commanding view of the Valley, visit the sculpture gardens and walk up Len Evans Memorial Lookout at Constable Estate or for those less afraid of dizzying heights, get up early for a dawn balloon ride with Balloon Aloft.

  • Todd Alexander is the author of the best-selling memoirs, Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga and You’ve Got to Be Kidding: A Shedload of Wine and a Farm Full of Goats. Both comedies detail his tree-change to the Hunter Valley.



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Make These 5 Easy Swaps To Get More Good On Your Plate


With fad-diets and gimmicks finally a thing of the past, we’ve re-assessed what healthy eating means to us. And rather than waiting for the New Year’s resolution we know won’t stick, we’re all about habits to get more good on your plate.

So to help us do just that, we’ve partnered with The Circle Awards People’s Choice winner The Swag—an ingenious bag scientifically proven to keep produce fresh for over two weeks—to do the hard work for you in five easy kitchen swaps. 

But remember, it’s all about balance—life’s too short to cut out the Tim Tams completely. 

Swap Noodles For Zoodles

We were skeptical of this swap at first, but it’s perhaps one of the easiest to make that doesn’t compromise on flavour. Just pop your zucchini through a spiralizer, boil for one minute max and swap out in your favourite dish—we’re talking spag bol, stir fry and even ramen. To keep your zucchini fresh and nutritious for over two weeks, be sure to pick up The Swag, a handy bag that locks in the goodness for longer. Cutting down on wastage with fewer trips to the shops? Yes please. 

Go Crazy For Quinoa

Dubbed one of the most nutritious foods on the planet by Healthline, quinoa is packed with fibre, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids—basically everything you could ask for in a grain. Spice things up in more ways than one with your next homemade curry and substitute the rice for quinoa, you’ll hardly notice the difference. The trick to getting it fluffy is to use twice as much water as quinoa in your pot and cook uncovered until the all water is absorbed. Once absorbed, remove from the heat and cover to let the quinoa steam for five minutes—it’s that easy. 

Slice Up Sourdough

If, like us, you’re in a love affair with bread in its many shapes and forms, perhaps the easiest swap you can make is upgrading your regular loaf to an organic sourdough from your local bakery. Made from a starter, a fermented mix of flour and natural yeasts help the bread rise resulting in less bloating, thanks to the process breaking down gluten. If you spent lockdowns honing your baking skills, keep your hard work free of toxic plastic storage bags and containers, and instead opt for the newly improved Bread Swag bag, now with an additional international drawstring to reduce airflow and avoid sweating. 

Hand placing a loaf of bread into the Bread Swag

Pass The Veggie Chips

Don’t be surprised if these end up becoming your new favourite snack for a night in watching Netflix. Forget your typical bag of crips and add beetroot, yams, parsnips and carrots to your cart on your next shop. The trick is to slice your veg of choice as thin as possible, we recommend using a mandoline slicer if you have one handy. Next, soak in ice-cold water for twenty minutes—to release starch, so they get crispy—drain, and pat try. Lather on olive oil and add your flavouring of choice—we opt for peri peri salt—and pop in an oven at roughly 150 degrees for 30 min, flipping halfway through. 

Get Around Frozen Grapes

No summer platter is complete without a bunch of grapes—and with the season fast approaching, why not pick up extra to pop in the freezer. So much more than the viral TikTok trend, the humble frozen grape is not to be overlooked when looking for an alternative to a sweet treat. Pro tip—if you like to keep your wine chilled, pop in a frozen grape instead of an ice cube to avoid your tipple getting diluted. 

Ready to get even more good on your plate? Keep your foods fresh for longer with The Swag. Ingenious produce bags, scientifically proven to keep fruit and veggies fresh, delicious and nutritious for longer. Shop the range here.

Design credit: Dom Lonsdale

Image credit: Supplied





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Still Want To Socially Distance On Vacation? Here Are 8 Spacious Resorts That Make Privacy Easy


As the country learns to live with Covid, Americans are packing their suitcases, again. However, many travelers, especially families with unvaccinated children, still want properties that make it easy to socially distance. Demand for wide-open spaces, private amenities like pools and kitchens, and contactless check-in to help travelers avoid lobbies, remains high. Here are eight resorts that make socially-distanced travel easy this fall and winter.

Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Washington

Located 80 scenic miles outside of Seattle and nestled on the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains is Suncadia Resort. This 6,400-acre all season property provides guests with an incredible mountain escape with plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventure and wide open spaces. Fall highlights include a plethora of Pacific Northwest recreation such as hiking, bike rentals, golfing, river floats, fly fishing, ATV tours, horseback riding, even axe throwing and archery. Suncadia also rents homes for guests looking to have more space and isolate further. Most recently, Suncadia implemented Wellness in the Wilderness, wellness experiences taken to the great outdoors. This programming allows guests to fully embrace nature while taking care of themselves mentally and physically. Sessions include rise and shine morning meditation among the trees, healing meditation while taking in the views of the Cascade Mountains, and hiking, full body circuits, family nature walks, gardening and more. 

The Green O, Greenough, Montana

From the Lipson family, known for introducing glamping to the West via beloved The Resort at Paws Up, comes The Green O. This hyper-modern interpretation of the great American dude ranch debuted during summer 2020. Welcoming adults only, The Green O sits on a 37,000-acre bison and cattle ranch outside of Missoula, Montana in the Blackfoot River Valley. That’s more than enough space to socially distance. Twelve one-bedroom cabins dubbed “hauses” (tree, round, green, and light haus to connote a distinct aesthetic), are scattered throughout the towering pine forest site. The 2-story tree hauses sitting 23 feet in the air. Round hauses feature a unique curved design. Green hauses provide complete forest immersion. Light hauses featured bump out windows for starry night viewing. Each haus boasts a fireplace, floor-to-ceiling views, a hot tub, and deck, as well as a private Lexus SUV to explore the property. Green O guests dine exclusively at restaurant Social Haus on seasonal, fire-cooked meals though have access to the same spa and activities as guests of Paws Up. With winter coming, that includes snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and even horseback riding.

tommie Austin, Austin, TX

Slated to open in fall 2021 and built for the spirited adventurer, tommie Austin is a new urban hotel experience located in the heart of downtown Austin’s vibrant music and entertainment district. Designed to encourage interaction as an epicenter for creativity, the hotel features 193 all king bed guest rooms and offers the efficiency and flexibility of select service, while tapping into the amenities of the dynamic locale. Imparting an infectious sense of adventure onto guests, tommie Austin celebrates individuality throughout every aspect of the modern reimagining of the hotel experience. Built for functionality with contactless check-in kiosk and mobile guest room entry, the hotel boasts a youthful all-day coffee shop and wine bar as an alternative to a traditional hotel lobby, inviting guests to effortlessly mix and mingle in the heartbeat of Austin. Nightly rates start at $199.

Montage Healdsburg, Healdsburg, CA

Montage Healdsburg made its public debut in January 2021 with a unique sense of place: a transformative hideaway where the renowned hospitality of Montage meets the authentic charm and scenic beauty of Northern California wine country. The 258-acre resort provides a perfectly situated launching pad to discover the best of the region, from iconic wineries to legendary culinary establishments. On social distancing, Montage fortunately was already pandemically prepared by design. Set among historic groves, 130 luxurious bungalow-style guestrooms and suites blend contemporary influence with environmentally conscious design, paying homage to the land. Guestrooms are situated along the hillsides, not on top of each other like many other hotels, and the resort does not feature elevators as they are not needed based on the design. Furthermore, there are a variety of open air experiences and outdoor activities for guests to enjoy safely, from archery to pickle ball and bocce ball, cycling, on-property nature trails for hiking and running, yoga in the vineyard and more.

Hana-Maui Resort, Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Located in the legendary town of Hāna on the eastern tip of Maui, Hāna Maui Resort is a lush 66-acre Hawaiian retreat set above Hāna Bay overlooking the Pacific Ocean offering an authentic Hawaiian retreat with vast rolling green hills and ocean views. Property highlights include expansive accommodations ranging from ocean bungalows to family suites, an open-air restaurant, Hāna Ranch Restaurant, spa & wellness offerings, two pools and immersive outdoor-oriented adventure/ cultural experiences like horseback riding, lava tube exploration, waterfall repelling and more. The resort debuted its Plane to Paradise package, featuring convenient access to/from Hana via a private, 10-Seat Cessna aircraft inclusive of sights of dramatic sea cliffs, plunging waterfalls, lush rainforest and magnificent arches and caves. Cutting travel time from 2.5 hours to just 14 minutes, the Plane to Paradise seamlessly transports guests to this far-flung paradise and one of the most isolated destinations within the state. 

Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, East Cape, Los Cabos, Mexico 

Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos offers an oasis with its open-air public spaces including the lobby and all dining venues, a low-lying architectural footprint with no need for shared elevators or hallways, six pools and a two-mile swimmable beach that allows for excessive space to spread out and relax. All guest rooms offer views of the Sea of Cortez and expansive private terraces ideal for hotel room workouts or private lounging. In addition, all first-floor guest rooms include private plunge pools to help guests further isolate if desired. Secluded from the tourist corridor, the East Cape is rich in nature and ripe with wide-open-space adventures from hikes to hidden waterfalls and endless desert dune off-roading, to snorkeling in one of the most biologically diverse bodies of water in the world, or setting sail out of the Resort’s private marina.  

Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, Big Island, HI 

Set on 865 acres along the picturesque Kona-Kohala coast within Hualālai Resort, the 249-room Four Seasons Resort Hualālai welcomes guests to an exclusive, oceanfront oasis. An idyllic waterfront retreat, the resort is surrounded by white-sand beaches, black-lava landscapes and the dazzling blue ocean of the Big Island’s North Kona coast. Latest news? The resort recently debuted a transformed look following a $100+ million renovation, contemporizing its aesthetic while holding onto the essence of Hualālai’s authentic Hawaiian architecture and design. A perfect socially distance getaway, the resort’s layout features two-story bungalows spread throughout the Resort’s eight acres with the absence of elevators. This allows for a variety of open-air space and the liberty to host a multitude of on-property activities and experiences spanning seven pools and five dining options, all with outdoor seating. 

Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, MX

Nestled in Mexico’s Riviera Maya is Mayakoba. Four luxury hotels – Andaz Mayakoba, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Fairmont Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba – sit on this 620-acre destination, surrounded by the natural beauty of lagoons, jungle, tranquil waters and a sugar sand beach, each featuring distinct personalities and amenities. The destination is carefully designed to enhance the beauty of the native landscape, and praises its connection to nature, culinary excellence, notion of wellbeing, cultural & sports activities. A passionate team of architects, biologists, geologists and engineers continue to protect life and beauty on the property by maintaining its ecosystem of endemic species. Mayakoba can be explored by boat, kayak, bicycle, or on foot and social distancing is easy for guests with an abundance of outdoor activities available, including a 3-mile-long nature trail; a championship golf course that hosts a PGA TOUR event; excursions through the new Mayakoba Dive and Water Sports Center; and the recently-debuted Mayakoba Dive School. Guests can cruise through the waterways via boat among more than 300 species of birds and native wildlife.



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Camping – ‘very easy’ ingredient to remove rust on equipment | Travel News | Travel


Camping was a very popular holiday option this summer. Many Britons headed out into the great outdoors and experienced nights away under canvas.

The number one concern with camping equipment may be the metal components.

To prevent rust and save time, money and effort come next year, Paul McFadyen, managing director at Metals4U, had some tips.

He said: “Different types of metal need varying levels of care, so distinguishing what you are working with first will help you understand how to store it correctly.”

To prevent rust and corrosion, Britons should first figure out what metal they have to safely pack.

Most camping equipment will have components made of steel, aluminium and copper.

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And while aluminium doesn’t rust, Paul said: “It does corrode. Without the right care, you may need to throw away the tent and buy a new one by the following summer. To stop this from happening, it’s essential to keep your tent in a dry area where there won’t be any likelihood of damp.”

To keep their equipment in the best shape possible, Paul recommends Britons keep their tent in the house if possible.

For copper crockery, it won’t be rust, or corrosion Britons need to watch out for.

Copper oxidises, but thankfully, “it is very easy to clean and all you will need is equal parts white vinegar and salt to make a paste.”

Paul explained: “You’ll need to pour the salt into a clean bowl and then slowly add the vinegar.

“Gently work the paste into the copper with a soft cloth to remove any signs of tarnish, rinse the item thoroughly in clean water, and buff dry.

“This should be enough to remove any oxidisation that has already occurred on your copper crockery and prevent further damage.”

In general, camping equipment should be cleaned before it’s packed away for the winter.

However, if this wasn’t possible, all is not lost. A very simple ingredient can help Britons tremendously.

Paul McFadyen, of Metals4U, said: “Rust is generally a tough type of corrosion to clean from metal surfaces, and therefore must be treated with the right care as to not damage your equipment.

“The best way to remove rust if you have already spotted it in equipment is to simply pour white vinegar evenly over the surface and give it some time to settle.

“An hour should be enough. Once you have done this, just wipe the residue away with a cloth and repeat if necessary, it is advisable to wear gloves to protect your skin from excessive exposure to the vinegar.”





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Hotel housekeepers share 14 tips for easy luxe touches to try at home






Hotel housekeepers share 14 tips for easy luxe touches to try at home






















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The importance of travel – Easy Reader News


Honorable mention
Easy Reader 2021 Anniversary Writing Contest
by Janice Nigro

Sometimes traveling, you don’t get what you expect. Like the time I was stranded on a small island off the coast of Australia. The island was not far off the coast, but box jellyfish and crocodile infested waters separated it from the mainland. It was also the rainy season, and a three night-four day hike at sea level ended on the fifth day with a helicopter rescue. 

The rescue cost me some extra days in the small town of Cardwell in tropical Queensland. My pack was left behind due to space issues on the helicopter, and was to be picked up the next day. Being the weekend, that plan got delayed until the following Monday, which meant I couldn’t leave until Tuesday. My conversation with the ranger could have gone badly, but I checked my rising anger, realizing I wasn’t in my own country and even worse, I was in a small town in a foreign country. 

My perspective on travel changed 180 degrees that day. I felt humbled. 

I had a similar feeling a few years later when I walked into the Utlendingsdirektoratet, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, to get my work visa for a six month sabbatical. I had a job and I spoke English, which is almost a second language in Scandinavia, but I didn’t feel much different than any other immigrant in that office. For me, moving to Norway was a life-enriching experiment. For many of the others, it was a matter of survival. Although I had a letter, and a contract from my employer, I was still at the mercy of the government, which was the same for everyone else waiting in the office. 

Outside of the immigration office, the feeling persisted. I arrived with my own idea of how the world works, but my previous perceptions didn’t matter in my new environment. To help myself integrate, I took Norwegian classes. Language class placed me in the company of people from many different countries. I started to form relationships I might not have otherwise. And I began to see what I had in common with people, worldwide, not our differences. 

A six month sabbatical turned into a seven year Norwegian adventure, allowing time for even more international travel. Some of the more memorable trips were the ones I took scuba diving in remote regions of the world. I cruised through areas of the planet where volcanic, or limestone rock islands support verdant jungles, with over 50 shades of blue lagoons. 

I met some of the most beautiful, funny, and smart people. But the people on these islands often lived in shacks, traditionally styled with palm trees and junk, or homes where there was no electricity and no indoor plumbing. If there was electricity, it came from a gas powered generator or a solar panel to keep the TV going during the day. 

The scenes are all romantic, when on a holiday. But I learned how little I knew about living on nothing more than the land and the sea. 

I grew up in the Midwest,but I felt different because of my coloring and features inherited from the Sicilian side of my family. My father’s first language was an obscure dialect, and we ate dishes native to his parents’ small village in Sicily. When I moved to Norway and experienced a different form of government and culture, I realized I was 100 percent American. It had nothing to do with what I looked like or what I ate. I remember announcing my epiphany to a Frenchman and an Italian one night, who both experienced similar revelations about themselves after living in Norway. 

The society in Norway is not dynamic. A friend of mine who lived in another country in Europe summed up the reason for her return to the United States this way, “You can always remake yourself in America.”

A trivial reason contributing to these differences between Norway and the U.S. is the population size. The U.S. is 330 million, while Norway has a population of only five million. Its small population influences all aspects of society, even the number of choices available for ice cream. 

Some of the feeling I had derives from Norway’s form of government. While the country ranks year after year as one of the happiest, there’s a cost, in terms of economic growth and achieving your potential as an individual. 

The control of the Norwegian government over society opened my eyes to the old-fashioned nature of the way any type of government works. And to want more government in our lives, as some Americans do today, strikes me as especially odd, considering how the internet makes it possible for more people to be even more independent. With civil rights the law since 1964, it’s up to the average American to do the work and show respect for their countrymen. 

The focus of the U.S. since its inception has been on the development of its people as individuals. It’s the most modern approach to the treatment of citizens of any country. 

So when I look around at today’s sometimes violent unrest in the U.S., to fundamentally transform America, I think one of the ways to solve these problems is for every 16-year-old to live abroad. Young people can find out for themselves how their peers live, and then ask themselves whom they should expect more from, their government or themselves. ER





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SYNLAB, IATA partners facilitate safe and easy travel


Geneva / Munich, August 11 (ANI): Europe’s leading medical diagnostic service provider SYNLAB and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have announced a partnership to facilitate safe and easy travel.

The two partners signed an agreement on Wednesday to incorporate SYNLAB’s extensive lab network into the IATA Travel Pass.

This will give airline passengers access to SYNLAB’s extensive and secure Covid-19 test service, benefiting from SYNLAB’s international capabilities. SYNLAB and IATA build on valuable experience gained during the successful pilot project of passenger testing in Colombia over the past few months.

The IATA Travel Pass allows passengers to find a licensed laboratory at the point of departure and be tested for SARS-CoV-2 at the request of national borders and health authorities.

After testing, SYNLAB will provide passengers with certified test results directly through the IATA Travel Pass. The app matches the results with the IATA Travel Path Registry for domestic entry requirements and generates an “OK to Travel” status.

Through the app, passengers can share their status and digital test certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel.

Willy Walsh, IATA Executive Director, said the validated Covid-19 test is important for restoring travel freedom for unvaccinated people.

The IATA Travel Pass aims to make it as easy as possible for travelers to find accredited laboratories so that governments can safely receive the test results they need to enter the country.

“By adding SYNLAB’s extensive lab network, travelers can more easily meet Covid-19’s travel requirements,” he said.

SYNLAB has a network of over 450 medical laboratories and over 1,600 sampling points in 36 countries. (ANI)

SYNLAB, IATA partners facilitate safe and easy travel

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