Holiday Cottages - 8 Locations For Self Catering Holiday Properties

                     When you stay in holiday cottages you are actually staying in a self catering holiday property where you have the sole use of the property for the period of your stay. They are a popular option for taking a break or holiday away from the routine and stresses of daily life. If you tell people you are going on a "cottage holiday" or staying in a "holiday cottage", they may believe that you will be staying in a "traditional cottage" in the countryside. This may be the case but in the context of holiday cottages, the term "cottage" actually means a range of types of property that could be located in a number of different types of locations. Property Locations Holiday cottages are usually unique, individual properties and they are located in many different places. The eight location scenarios below are some of the most common that people choose when going on a cottage holiday: 1 - Major Cities - If you want the thrill and excitement associated with life in a city then a holiday based in a major city may be ideal for you. There are lots of things to check out and plenty of things you can do when it comes to city life. Tourist attractions often easily accessible within cities include: museums, art galleries and also other cultural places of interest like churches. As well as private transportation and taxis, cities generally have decent public transportation such as buses and trains in order to make making your way around reasonably straightforward. You can normally track down plenty of entertainment options in cities including theatres, music bands or cinemas. During meal times the number of choices can often be considerable with all kinds of things from take away services to fine dining restaurants as well as food from a variety of nations around the world. The drawback with respect to a city holiday is that you are not likely to find much relaxation as daily life surrounding you is very hectic as well as noisy. 2 - Countryside Towns - In comparison to a city based holiday, a town centred getaway will probably be a bit more restful. Also, being located in a town, you are able to more conveniently and swiftly travel to the more tranquil and natural surroundings near the town including: villages; open countryside; hills and mountains; as well as local or even national parks. Similar to cities, towns will most likely be vibrant although not as much as cities. A number of the things offered in cities may also be on offer in towns although to a more restricted degree. There could be a smallish local or even specialist museum; a modest art gallery or two; perhaps a local cinema; a number of local entertainment venues plus some cultural places to experience. Travel alternatives will likewise be limited, with a reduced level of public sector provision, and private taxis will tend to be in shorter supply. Meal time alternatives are also likely to be more restricted. Nevertheless, there should still be a decent selection of take away establishments along with other eating alternatives with food from several countries. 3 - Villages - Holidays located in or near villages may well offer the best compromise between a city and countryside location. The majority of breaks located in villages are likely to be more relaxing than city and town breaks. Villages are likely to be more peaceful and offer a restful atmosphere for anyone seeking an escape from the stressful aspect of daily life. Obviously, a village is normally near the countryside, and access to it is easy as well as quick. You could be located near to the open countryside; local hills, mountains and national recreational areas. The majority of things offered in towns and cities are not going to be available in a village, like museums, art galleries, cinemas, or any other local entertainment or cultural centres. On the other hand, if you carry out research and synchronize your holiday right, you could be able to visit a nearby countryside display, market or fair. Local transportation is more than likely non-existent plus mealtime choices will probably be very limited, with a couple of alternatives if you are lucky. The most likely dining opportunity will be a local village or country pub meal. 4 - Near A Pub - Staying in a property close to a pub is most likely not an advantage if on a town or city break because there will most likely be a number of dining choices near by which are also easy to get to. On the other hand, if located in a village or perhaps in the countryside, having a pub within walking range or perhaps a brief drive would provide an additional pleasant dining alternative. Also, you might want to have the odd beverage during the evening along with the opportunity of strolling back to your holiday property. That way, there is no expense or hassle associated with finding a local transportation option. 5 - Near The Ocean - Among the most common holiday preferences is to be located in close proximity to water. The most popular water based location is that of the ocean and especially near a beach. A lot of people really adore either to take it easy on a beach all day, preferably when the sun is shining; paddle or even go swimming in a warm ocean; or simply get fine sand in between their toes during a walk on a beach. Lots of people just enjoy being located anyplace next to an ocean as they simply take pleasure in walking along the coast and reap some benefits from the clean air plus ocean breezes. Provided that your own getaway will not be located in a coastal resort, your experience will probably be noiseless, tranquil and also therapeutic. Even though being located in a coastal town may provide you with some visitor attractions, culture and also travel alternatives, chances are it will end up being very commercial environment and particularly chaotic and stressful throughout peak holiday months. At places elsewhere along the coastline, visitor attractions, culture and travel alternatives will probably not exist. Often the local food close to the coastline can remain a bit more traditional compared to food found in towns and cities, and seafood cuisine is a lot more likely to be dished up using the fresh catch of the day. 6 - By A River - Very much like people enjoy being close to the ocean, rivers also happen to be fascinating to many people. There seems to be enthusiasm for being in close proximity to flowing water, especially rivers. Rivers appear to represent life, vitality and the life force of the world. Furthermore, as rivers appear to flow continuously, it reminds everyone that precious time continues flowing by us and thus life carries on. Your location along the length of a river will determine the options available to you. Nevertheless, the options that generally entice visitors to rivers tend to be venturing along the length of the river. First of all, lots of people really love to take a trip on top of rivers either in some sort of tourist cruise vessel or perhaps under their very own power within a canoe or another similar modest vessel. Secondly, many people appreciate travelling adjacent to rivers by walking, obtaining physical exercise whilst also observing others take pleasure in the river. Also, there are individuals who view fishing as both challenging and also a tranquil leisure time activity. 7 - Near Mountains - When located in the vicinity of mountains; your base will seldom be in a city or even big town. A minor town or a village is the most likely base when near hills and mountains. The primary factors behind people wishing to be close to mountains during a holiday will be to take part in walking and/or climbing pursuits. Men and women seem to be interested in hills and mountains for a number of reasons. They feel they need to ascend them as a challenge plus it also generally seems to have some kind of relaxing influence. Alternatively, some folk simply look at walking over hills and mountains as being a challenge which usually symbolically represents some sort of obstacle or even constraint in their life; or merely for the actual pleasure of it. 8 - In Open Countryside - Holidays located in open countryside will in all probability be based at or in close proximity to either a farm, or small community or village and have a number of advantages. One of the primary reasons for taking a break in the countryside is that it gives people the chance to quickly and easily gain access to country walking as well as cycling routes. Countryside breaks also fulfill the need to get away from the pace and pressure of daily existence. Within the countryside life feels slower and much more tranquil and therefore people tend to be more readily capable of relaxing. The attractive unobstructed vistas of both sky and landscape facilitate a feeling of peacefulness and being connected to the planet. Many people look and feel rejuvenated after returning home from a holiday in the countryside.

Holiday Cottages - Selecting Self Catering Holiday Accommodation Online

                     The use of the term "holiday cottages" can be considered a little bit misleading. This is because the term is actually used to cover a range of property types as well as a cottage, such as a house, townhouse, flat, etc. However, it is generally understood to mean self catering holiday accommodation where you are the sole user of the accommodation. If you feel the need to get away from the daily routines of modern life, holiday cottages are a great place to escape to. There are many options available to suit virtually everyone: from families with young children, family pets, or aged parents; groups of friends; or romantic couples. To find a holiday cottage you can use one of the two main options available: Go to a travel consultant and let them do all the hard work; Find one yourself via the Internet. Whichever option you go for, it is a good idea to write down a checklist for your holiday cottage selection criteria. If you use a travel consultant you will need to communicate your requirements to them. If you do the searching yourself, it is very useful to have your checklist available as you search. You should be able to save time and effort by comparing properties against the criteria on your checklist. Selecting Holiday Cottages Selecting a holiday cottage can be considered an iterative two stage sequence: Find a suitable website; Search the website based on your selection criteria. If the website does not have anything suitable for your holiday then find another website to search. Here are the two stages in more detail: 1 - Find Websites - Firstly you need to search for websites that have holiday properties available. There are three major criteria to consider: Location - In order to find a website you need to decide on the location of your holiday, including country, region and vicinity. Knowing this you can search for websites that have properties for the location you want to stay in. An example might be that you want to go on holiday to the country of England, within the region of Cornwall, in the vicinity of St Ives. If you decide to use vicinity search terms like "St Ives holiday cottages" or "St Ives self catering accommodation" you are more likely to get websites dealing in a smaller amount of local properties. If you decide to use region or country terms like "Cornwall holiday cottages" or "Cornwall self catering accommodation" you are more likely to get websites dealing with a larger number of properties. Payment Options - The website you choose to deal with may also depend on your payment preferences; and also how comfortable you feel when dealing with the website. If it is a small website or an individual property website, credit card facilities may not be available. To make a payment you may have to send a cheque; make a direct bank transfer; or use PayPal. Availability Checking - The website may not have a fully automated availability checking facility to provide up to the minute availability information. In this case, to check availability you may have to send an email to the website or make an enquiry to the appropriate telephone number. This will therefore slow down the process of finding a property. If you want to maximise security and minimise hassle during the booking stage, it is best to use a website that has credit card facilities and a fully automated booking system that provides up to the minute availability information. This would probably mean you need to use one of the larger websites that deal with many properties. Like me, once you have successfully and satisfactorily used the services of a large property provider, the chances are, you will continue to use them as the first point of call for future holidays. That is, unless they cannot provide you with a property in the location of your choice. My preference is to use "Cottages4You" that deal with properties on a national and international basis. If they do not have what I want then I use another large property provider. 2 - Finding Properties - Having found a website to search you can then undertake the detailed task of finding suitable holiday cottages or self catering holiday accommodation. This is where it is useful to have a list of criteria available to compare properties against. Here are some criteria you should add to your checklist: 2.1 - Holiday Reason - Once you know the reason for the holiday you will get a feeling for what kind of property you want. Being aware of the reason will help you decide on your other criteria: Is it a romantic or activity based break for a couple? Is it a group or a celebration holiday? Is it a quality time family break? 2.2 - Vicinity Scenario - Having used you location in terms of country, region and vicinity to find websites to search, you also need to decide on your vicinity scenario. This will most likely depend on the personal preferences of the people going on the holiday. It will be best if you discuss what you want as a group. However, these are a few common vicinity scenarios: Population Centres - Do you want to be in or near a city, town or village? Do you want easy access to a variety of eating establishments like restaurants, bistros and coffee shops? Amenities & Services - Do you want to be close to a beach, a park, or other visitor attractions? Do you want to be close to supermarkets and high street shops? Do you want medical facilities close at hand just in case there is an emergency situation or an illness? Isolated Locations - Do you want to be in the countryside; near mountains; by a river; or in an isolated coastal location?

Finding Holiday Cottages For Your Cottage Holidays

                       The term "cottage holiday" is used somewhat freely, but in essence it means a holiday taken in a self catering accommodation where you have the sole use of the accommodation. Holiday cottages are marvellous for escaping from the stresses and strains of everyday life. There are properties available to suit most people, including: families with children, pets, or elderly parents wanting to go away together; small groups of people wishing to celebrate on a holiday; or couples wanting some alone time. Finding Properties There are two primary methods for finding holiday cottages, via a travel consultant and via the Internet. The method you use will most likely be determined by the degree of detail and amount of effort you are prepared to be involved with during the process of selection process: 1 - Travel Consultants - A travel consultant should have good access to agents dealing in properties for self catering holidays. Should you already be using a travel agent for your holiday transport, it may be of benefit to also get them to find you appropriate accommodation as well. As long as you accurately define what you are looking for, using a travel consultant to do all the hard work of searching for and booking a holiday cottage could be a great advantage. On top of that, you would only need to make one payment to the travel consultant for both your accommodation and travel costs. If the travel consultant provides it, an additional benefit may be that you could obtain a payment option so that your costs could be spread over a number of months. 2 - Internet - As for many things, the Internet and search engines are super tools to help you search for and find suitable holiday cottage accommodation. The advantages of searching online include: Choice - With a wide selection of search results, searching online enable you to choose on the basis of your own criteria or preferences. Viewing - Many websites provide photographs of properties so that you can view them and get a sense of how suitable they are for you. Some websites may even provide virtual tours of properties which let you do a virtual walk through of the property. Tourist Information - Many websites will provide additional tourist information. This can help you make a decision on which property to book by identifying sights to see and activities of interest to you. You can make use of search engines such as Google or any other and you will be presented with various options for finding holiday cottages. There are quite a few websites run by either agents or tour operators where you can find a holiday cottage. A number of them also enable owners of homes to place their properties on lists and hence offer them as available for hire. You can search the Internet for a holiday cottage in several ways as outlined here: Nationally - You can search on a national basis for holiday cottages. If you want to find a cottage in the UK you could use terms "UK Cottage Holidays" or "UK self catering accommodation" or something similar. This should provide search results for a number of agents and tour operators that have a national property database. It may be that they also handle properties in a number of countries, including overseas. Regionally - You can search on a regional basis for a holiday cottage if you use a county term like "Devon Cottage Holidays" or a popular holiday area such as "Gower Self Catering Cottage". You can also try a term that covers a broad sub region of a country such as "North East Holiday Cottages". Locally - If you already know the name of a local agent or owner of holiday cottage, you may go direct to the website or search based that name. However, if you do not know of a local agent or owner you can search on a local basis for a holiday cottage using either: a city, town or village term like "Whitby Holiday Cottages"; or an area such as "South Devon Self Catering Cottage". Whichever method you use, it is highly likely that you will receive a large number of search results from which to start your search for a holiday cottage. It ma be that each search you make will provide results which include national, regional and local providers of accommodation. This happens as the bigger national providers also market to the smaller local areas. When I want to go on a cottage holiday I initially go to a bigger national holiday cottage provider with a good reputation. My favourite is Cottages4You. If I do not find an appropriate cottage with them that matches my criteria, I try other big providers or even smaller agents, depending on what is available for the area I want to visit.

Top 10 Benefits Of Cottage Holidays - Self Catering Holidays

                     Introduction If you want a deserved break to escape from the demands of everyday life, cottage holidays are a great option. They are especially beneficial if you are going on holiday with either: aged parents; small children or pets. Cottage holidays are self catering holidays where you have sole use of a property, which is usually owned by an individual. Do you want to escape from your demanding daily life? Do you need to get away from daily routine and tight deadlines? Are you weary of camping; tired of caravans or bored to death of hotels? If you answer yes to any of these questions then a cottage holiday could be what you need! Benefits There are several benefits of cottage holidays, depending on the reason for going away on holiday: 1 - Flexible Choice - When on a cottage holiday in a holiday cottage you are on your own schedule and therefore have the flexibility and choice: What - You can choose what you want to do on holiday. Where - You can go and stay anywhere you want in the world. When - You can go on holiday whenever you want at any time of year and do things when you feel like doing them. How Long - You can stay for virtually any length of time you want and do what you want for as long as you want. 2 - Individuality - The majority of holiday cottages are owned by individuals, which naturally means each property has their individual character stamped on them. 3 - Space - With the large majority of holiday cottages you get a larger space when compared with everyday hotel rooms and hence there is more room for the things you want to take on holiday. 4 - Privacy - A cottage holiday means you have sole use of the property and you therefore have a lot of privacy that can be perfect for families who want to spend some quality time together. 5 - Property Variety - You can take a cottage holiday in a variety of holiday accommodation types in a variety of sizes and configurations to match your needs. You could stay in a: traditional cottage; house; bungalow; barn conversion; villa; chalet/lodge, studio, apartment or flat; even a castle or manor house. 6 - Location Variety - Holiday cottages can be found in all sorts of locations: villages, towns or cities; close to a pub; by a river or next to the sea; close to mountains or in the countryside. 7 - Facilities Variety - Holiday cottages usually contain all the standard facilities found in a home and the design and character will vary between properties. You get a lounge, television and audio equipment; kitchen and cooking gear; bedrooms and clothes storage; bathroom and toilet. You could also get a garden; terrace and/or BBQ area. There could even be a pool or hot tub in luxury holiday cottages. 8 - Homely Comfort - As each holiday cottage was at one point a home for someone, they are like a home from home with all the comforts of a home. There are no set meal times or activity schedules like on a hotel or package holiday and if ever the weather takes a turn for the worst, you have a home to return to. 9 - Family Friendly - Choosing a self catering holiday cottage can be a great option for taking pets, children, or elderly people with you on holiday. 10 - Less Cost - If you compare a cottage holiday with a package holiday or hotel accommodation, the cottage holiday is most probably the cheaper option. Firstly you do not have to pay for facilities or food you do not want. Secondly, when catering for your self, food costs less, you probably eat less and do not waste as much. You also do not have staff that you feel you have to tip for their services.

Paint Your Holiday the Way You Want It to Be

                      Shirley's husband of 42 years died suddenly this spring of a heart condition. Brittany's husband served in the U.S. Army in Iraq for the past 9 months. This was supposed to be their first Christmas together, but he won't be home. Martha is homebound and lives in an assisted living facility; her family is hundreds of miles away. Stuart's son died; everyone asks how his wife is doing, but no one asks how he is feeling. Shelley was recently divorced and lives with her mother, again. There is a myth that holiday grief affects only those who have lost a loved one. The truth is holiday grief and anxiety affects many people-all experiencing different life changing situations that challenge them to find a reason for the season. For each, holiday celebrations will change; and they aren't going to be what they used to be. Perhaps, you remember the paintings and covers of the Saturday Evening Post during the 50's and 60's? Norman Rockwell's pictures always told a story. His pictures portrayed American life and values. People rushed to the newsstands to buy the prestigious magazine and find rapture in the scenes he illustrated. His era with Post ended in 1963, but his masterpieces continued to tell the stories of life the way it used to be. In our lives today, whether or not we grew up in Norman Rockwell times, we build visual images worthy of the Norman Rockwell collection of holiday paintings. In our minds, we remember the "ideal" holiday event and the positive emotions surrounding it. Rockwell's holiday themes depict a vivacious, spunky Santa full of surprises; frolicking children, and perfect families enjoying typical family gatherings; festive meals; building snowmen; and chasing the postman. Everything in his pictures is perfect. Rockwell once said, "I paint life as I'd like it to be." We are influenced by the great images of artists such as Rockwell. If only life could always be "as we would like it to be." Unfortunately, the realities of life are sometimes harsh. We try to avoid them by misinterpreting the truths and creating a mythical sense of euphoria. We struggle through the daze of holiday grief and give in to myths that complicate our already clouded view of the coming holidays. Grief and holidays come burdened with many myths. What is a myth? A myth is a story or something that is not true and may be handed down from generation to generation, like a legend. It is often a fabricated story or fact that cannot be validated. A myth, however, is something very easy to believe-because we want to believe it. Grief from loss makes us vulnerable to many myths. Things aren't always what they seem. Our beliefs and attitudes are very powerful forces in our lives. We have a perception of what the holiday should be like based on past holidays and "ideal" holidays. Often, our perception of the holiday may be a myth. We believe that everything has to be perfect or the holiday is not worth celebrating. What kind of holiday do you picture this year? Is it a season filled with doom and gloom or can you step aside from your grief and create a Norman Rockwell kind-of holiday in which everything is nearly perfect? Or, at least, a holiday that is the best that it can be. It's possible to change the myths and create new realities that will allow you to step through the season with grace and sanity, in your control. Here are a few ideas of how to expose these myths and replace them with a new reality. Myth: Holiday grief begins around Christmas Eve Day and ends right after New Years Day or when the decorations come down. Truth: Holidays may begin earlier for some people. In fact holidays may begin as early as Halloween. Around our house, the holidays began right before the deer hunting season. Typically we were experiencing first snow and the men would begin celebrating the "spirit" of deer hunting while the women began building the "spirit of the season" by shopping. This was the tradition. After our son, Chad, died, the tradition lost its glow. The harsh reality was-hunting wasn't as exciting as it used to be, and Chad wasn't going. Some friends gave us a DVD of Chad at one of his last hunting parties at the shack. It had been 14 years since his death. The DVD laid on our table, because we were both so fearful of seeing his image and experiencing the raw loss again. Finally, we played the DVD and with tears of great joy (and sadness) we witnessed the spirit of our beautiful son who loved to "clown around", dance, and hang out with the guys. It was a "good" cry. The holidays still begin around hunting season for us, but it's not about hunting any more. Gary gave up hunting, but I didn't give up shopping. The focus wasn't around Christmas and gifts, but rather around hosting a community holiday grief program and enjoying ongoing relationships with family and friends. So how do you dissolve the myth and create a manageable holiday? Plot out a time frame for your holiday season...whether it is a week, a couple of days or however long you think the "hard" times will be. Create a signal for yourself that tells you when that period of time is over. For us, the queue is taking down the Christmas tree. It's our sign of relief that the holiday is over and we can go back to routine. Prepare for the uncomfortable moments and the thoughtless questions and remarks. You are going to get them. In your mind, determine how you will answer and stick with your rehearsed answers. Plan an escape. If you are in a "captured" setting, drive your own car. Or have an excuse when you wish to leave. You determine when. I could picture Norman Rockwell illustrating this scene in today's world. I see a "get-away" car parked conveniently at the curb with the motor running when Uncle Jack pats you on the back and says, "You're strong. Keep a stiff upper lip." Myth: At gatherings, it is inappropriate to mention fond memories of our loved that died. It makes others feel uncomfortable. Truth: Holidays are a time for reflection. Remembering our loved one is essential to our good health and healing. Stories and memories will be with us for our lifetimes and are the one true source of pleasure. Create a safe environment and remember out loud. Say his or her name and chuckle at the rich stories of life. Shed a tear and follow it up with silently saying, "I still love you." Teach others that love lasts forever; that you need to remember; and this is your reality for handling grief. I could picture Norman Rockwell illustrating the scene today. The family may be gathered around a loose-bound, well-illustrated collection using the hottest scrapbooking skills. It's a volume of endless pictures that tell a life story through stamping techniques, assorted mementos, anecdotes and written interpretation of a particular event or day. A memory candle burns softly on the same table. Family and friends of all ages share the experience with mixed expressions: smiles, tears, chuckles, finger-pointing, and hugs. Myth: Traditions are something you do year-after-year, and they aren't meant to be changed. Truth: Just because we always did it that way doesn't mean we can't infuse our celebration with new ideas that fit into this generation of living and the present moment. Every family goes through lifestyle changes-and those changes affect how traditions continue or are discontinued. Kids move away and go to college. Parents become "empty nesters" and "snowbirds." Teen-agers want to spend more time with their friends rather than with relatives on a holiday. Elderly parents don't want to cook; so, they may opt for dinner out. At some point, we seem to outgrow traditions like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Maybe a death in the family is one of these times that means "let's try something new." So how do you dissolve this myth and create a manageable holiday? Be open-minded. Reflect on past changes in other families as well as your own. If traditions bring unhappy memories, change them. Don't be a puppet and let others tell you how to spend your day. There are no set rules. Create a family contest on who can come up with the best "new" tradition. It's admirable to take pride in the traditions that work. I can picture Norman Rockwell illustrating this scene today with a Christmas tree glowing in LED lights of red, blue, orange and fuchsia pink and grandma and grandpa engaged in a rousing game of WII bowling on the large screen plasma television. (Bet they beat the grandkids!) Myth: When the second holiday season comes around, I will be over my grief and can return to the old traditions. Truth: The second holiday may feel just as sad as the first. And for many, returning to the past holiday traditions is no longer desirable. The second holiday season for us wasn't as easy as I originally thought it might be. But because we changed the traditions during the first holiday season, it was easier to accept that the change was good, and we wanted to do it that way again. Remember grief is a process and that requires a different amount of time for healing for each of us. Don't hurry the process. If the second holiday is still a bit painful, you can try for the third-and in the meantime work at removing the barriers between peace and past. Holidays will always lack some of the precious moments of past years, but that doesn't mean holidays can't be good. A real positive influence in dissolving holiday grief is "giving to someone else." Giving-meaning not gifts, but time and of yourself. There are so many people with needs in every community. Volunteer at charity events. Ring a bell for the Salvation Army. Pick a gift name off the Tree of Giving. Do something for someone that "feels good."

Coping With A Loved Ones' Eating Disorder During the Holidays

                     For most people, the holiday season is a wonderful time of year. It is often a time of family reunion, socializing, and celebration - a time when families, friends, and coworkers come together to share good will and good food. The season is meant to be bright, happy, and full of the best of relationships. Yet, for those who suffer with eating disorders, this is often the worst time of the year. For those who are trapped in the private hell of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, the Holidays often magnify their personal struggles, causing them great internal pain and turmoil. At Center for Change, we have asked many patients over the years to share from their private experiences what the Holidays have been like during the years they suffered with an eating disorder. The women quoted in this article are of different ages, but all suffered with the illness for many years. As you read the following passages you will feel something of the agony of suffering with an eating disorder at this festive time of year. "Unlike any other normal teenager, I always hated it when the holiday season would roll around. It meant that I would have to face my two worst enemies - food and people, and a lot of them. I always felt completely out of place and such a wicked child in such a happy environment. I was the only person who didn't love food, people, and celebrations. Rather, holidays for me were a celebration of fear and isolation. I would lock myself in my room. Maybe no one else gained weight over the holidays, but just the smell of food added weight to my body. My anorexia destroyed any happiness or relationships I could possibly have had." -Nineteen-year-old woman "The holiday season is always the most difficult time of year in dealing with my eating disorder. Holidays, in my family, tend to center around food. The combination of dealing with the anxiety of being around family and the focus on food tends to be a huge trigger for me to easily fall into my eating disorder behaviors. I need to rely on outside support to best cope with the stresses of the holidays." -Twenty-one-year-old woman "Over the past few years, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season I have felt horrible. I felt trapped and like the food was out to get me. I lied on endless occasions to avoid all of the parties and big dinners that go along with the holidays. I felt horrible about my body and did not want anyone to see me eat for fear they would make judgments about me." -Eighteen-year-old woman These quotes from women suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating reveal the emotional intensity they feel during the holiday season. Their fear of gaining weight and becoming, in their minds, fat, gross, and disgusting, is the monster they must deal with every time they partake of any of the foods that are so wonderful and common to the holidays. Starving for the Holidays - A Tale of Anorexia Those struggling with anorexia are terrified of the holidays because they have no idea what a normal amount of food is for themselves. Most of them feel that anything they eat will mean instantaneous weight gain. In fact, some of them have said that just the sight or smell of food is terrifying to them because their fear of being fat or becoming fat is so ever-present in their minds. For some, just thinking about food is enough to create intense turmoil, pain, and guilt. Anorexia creates tremendous guilt about any kind of indulgence involving food. The eating of food becomes evidence, in their mind, that they are weak, out of control, and undisciplined. Anorexic men and women are often terrified of being seen eating food or of having people look at them while they eat. One client felt that every eye was on her at holiday gatherings. Many suffering with anorexia have shared their feelings of being immobilized by their fears about food. "My life with an eating disorder during the holidays is a living hell - constant hiding and fear, confused about life and hating every moment being surrounded by food. There was so much pressure, so many stares and glances, and days with endless comments. My whole life was a mess. There was so much pain and guilt inside of me and I didn't know where to turn, except to my eating disorder. I hated the pressure of eating the food, the constant worrying of offending others." -Twenty-two-year-old woman "It's hard to be around all the food and festivities. When I'm hurting inside and struggling with what "normal" food portions even are, I need the help, emotional understanding, and support of family and other people. "Handle with care, but please handle." Accept me the way I am. Let me back in the family" -Twenty-three-year-old woman The importance of these quotes from clients in treatment for anorexia is found in their honest expression of the tremendous pressure and conflict they feel inside in response to the normal food and social activities of the season. Their internal suffering and pain are often hidden from those around them by their continual remarks about "being fat," or may also be hidden in their patterns of avoidance and withdrawal from social involvements. The Hidden Beast of Holiday Feasts - Tales of Bulimia and Binge Eating On the other end of the eating disorder spectrum, a woman with severe bulimia or binge eating disorder finds the holidays are a genuine nightmare because there is so much emphasis on food that they become preoccupied with it. Binge eating and subsequent purges become even more prevalent because many of the foods and sweets that are associated with holiday celebrations are very enticing to them. The holidays can be a time of convenient indulgence, but also a time of great shame and self-reproach because of their secret life. Some even use the binge eating and/or purging as a form of self-punishment throughout the holidays. Women who suffer with binge eating or bulimia often live out this painful eating disorder hell in private and in secret, and often feel great self contempt. To many of their family and friends things may look positive and normal even while the sufferer feels significant despair and negativity about their loss of self-control. Those whose family members know about their eating disorder carry this awful feeling that they are the main attraction at the holiday dinner, where every trip to the food or to the bathroom is seen as a major defeat and disappointment to their family. "Christmas is the hardest time with my bulimia. So much food, so much love, and so much joy, but I could not feel the love or joy, so I indulged in the food as a replacement. It was hard to see everyone so happy before I made the trek to the bathroom. I felt unworthy to be happy. I didn't deserve the love and joy. I've discovered that if I can focus on the love and joy, everything else falls into place" -Eighteen-year-old-woman "The secrecy and lying make it very difficult for me during the holiday season. I have to decide whether to restrict my food or to binge and then sneak away to purge." -Twenty-two-year-old-woman Some of the painful consequences of binge eating and bulimia are found in the time, planning, and dishonesty that is required to protect and cover up their eating disorder during the holidays. They often feel hatred for themselves for the ongoing deception to family and friends to excuse or explain their behaviors. In addition, they live in constant fear of being "found out" by their significant others, or in fear of continually letting others down because of their inability to stop their compulsive behaviors. Family and Friends - Turning Potential Triggers into Gifts of Support Holiday ideals epitomize what is good about family and other personal relationships. Activities during this time of year can involve family members and friends in intense and often emotional ways. Unfortunately, those with eating disorders can find it terrifying to be emotionally close with other people. In such situations they may feel vulnerable and unsafe, and then revert to their eating disorder to restore a sense of control and self-protection. Some family dynamics, such as conflict, can be triggering to those with eating disorder difficulties. Struggles with perfectionism, feelings of rejection, disapproval, and fear of being controlled, are all cited frequently by women who suffer with the illness. Harboring strong feelings and beliefs that parents, family members, or friends find them unacceptable, inadequate, or disappointing is challenging for anyone, but is particularly devastating to someone with a painful eating disorder. Being immersed in a family setting during the holidays has the potential to dredge up old issues, fears, conflicts, and worries about family relationships. The resulting emotional disruption can feed the eating disorder and exacerbate the problem. "Having an eating disorder during the holidays presents quite a contradiction in my mind. I anticipate all the food and get excited, while at the same time I dread the many family members around. I feel that the family is over to "watch". I know that they simply want to reach out and help, but I feel that a big help would be to make a concerted effort to shift the holiday focus from the food to the underlying purpose. I wish the food could be a minor deal, just an accessory to the holiday, rather than the focus." -Twenty-year-old woman "Holidays, with all the food and family commotion, are pure hell when you have an eating disorder. For me, when the focus isn't on food and is on the real reason for the holiday, it's a big help. My family helped me out with this one, but I had to do most of it internally. Remember, it's just food, and we have more power than food." -Thirty-nine-year-old woman The following suggestions resulted from a survey question we asked patients in treatment: "What three suggestions do you have for family and friends who want to help the holiday season go a little better for a loved one suffering with an eating disorder?" The women offering these suggestions range in age from fourteen to forty-four, and their suggestions offer some valuable insight and understanding that could be helpful to you as a friend or a family member. Being compassionate about the struggles of the eating disorder illness can help make the Holidays less of a battle for those you love. The suggestions are: - Do not make a big issue about what your loved one is eating. A little bit of encouragement is okay. - Do not focus too much on food, it may only fuel the eating disorder. - Ask her how she is doing and see if she needs any help. - Do not become angry about how the she feels, just do your best to support her. - Offer a lot of support and be aware of what may be creating anxiety and try and understand what she feels. Be understanding, kind, and supportive. - Spend quality time with your loved one. - Make sure that the primary focus of the holiday is not on the food but rather on the family and the valued time you will share together. - Allow for other activities that do not involve food, such as games, singing carols together, opening gifts, decorating, and spending time just talking together. - Allow her to make a dish that she would feel comfortable eating. - Before the Holiday itself, and before family gatherings, make agreements about how you can best help your loved one with food. Honor the agreements you make. - Do not give her loud and attention drawing praise when she does eat. - Do not talk about diets, weight loss, or weight gain. It causes great anxiety and may increase a felt need to engage in eating disorder behavior. - Do not stare. - Learn enough about the illness and the triggers to help your loved one develop skills as well as strategies to defy eating disorder thoughts and urges. - Know something about her struggles, triggers, and behaviors. Then, if you see those, you can approach her after a meal in private and suggest ways she might be helped in some of those behaviors and learn ways you can be helpful and supportive. - If you see her struggling, ask if she wants to talk, but ask this in private. - Focus on how she is feeling inside, what issues she is worrying about, what her fears are, what she needs, rather than just how much she is eating or not eating. - Try not to focus too much attention on the eating disordered behaviors. - Be patient and nurturing. - Treat her with love and respect no matter what is going on. - Let her know that she is loved. - Help her take her mind off of food by generating a conversation with her about general or important topics. - Don't allow her to excessively isolate. - Be there for her emotionally and physically with hugs and messages of love. There are several themes that are evident in these suggestions for loved ones and friends by those suffering with eating disorders. One of the most important is to keep the primary focus and interest on the family member or friend - the individual beyond her eating behaviors or eating disorder. Consider well these suggestions, they are actually heartfelt requests. How Family and Friends Can Help During the Holidays Family members and friends need to know ways to help a loved one suffering from an eating disorder during the holidays. In addition to those suggestions offered above, the following suggestions from clinical professionals may also be helpful: - If your loved one is a child or adolescent in treatment, and/or if you are involved in Maudsley/Family Based Treatment, then continue with your regular outlined treatment plan through the Holidays. - If your loved ones is a child or adolescent with anorexia, then learn about the Maudsley/ Family Based Treatment approach. It is important to give this approach consideration. - If your loved one is an acute medical or self harm risk then arrange for intensive medical/psychiatric care immediately. - Get professional help for your loved one with those who have experience and expertise with eating disorder treatment. - It is important for everyone to be honest and up front with each other. When going into a family or social event, especially if people are aware of the eating disorder problem, it is helpful that everyone talks honestly about what will help and what will not help during the event. Armed with this knowledge, family and friends can set up some structure around holiday activities that is agreeable to all parties involved. Give reassurance about your desire to "be supportive" of them without trying to control every problem. You can respond to their feedback about what may be helpful to them by making positive adjustments. It helps to express love, gratitude, respect, and acceptance for your loved one. - It is important to emphasize the purpose for the celebration of the holiday and focus less on food or meals. If the focus is on the holiday itself and its true meaning and purpose rather than on the food or eating disorder, it will be easier for your loved one to focus less on it herself. Emphasize time together, activities, and traditions that transcend meals and eating. Let food become a support to the holiday rather than its central focus. - It is important for family and friends not to feel responsible and guilty for the eating disorder. There is no need and there is no good time to feel guilty or at fault for your loved one's eating disorder. The Holidays are especially not the time. Eating disorders are complex illnesses that are not caused by one person or one relationship. It is also important for the eating disordered person not to feel responsible for their family and friend's emotional response to the eating disorder. One helpful agreement around the holiday season is, "We will spend time focusing on the need for nourishment as previously agreed upon, and primarily, we will spend time focusing on each other and the things that are available and that are meaningful in our family or social setting." Let them know that you can look beyond the outward manifestations of the eating disorder because you are also concerned about the hurt, pain, fear, and guilt they are feeling inside. In acknowledging the pain inside, no one has to be at fault or to blame for the eating disorder, allowing positive family associations and caring to become the emphasis. There is no need to "walk on egg shells", especially when everyone understands and acknowledges the underlying needs associated with the eating disorder. Compassion is a wonderful holiday gift for someone with an eating disorder. - It can be helpful during the holiday season to break activities into smaller numbers of people, when possible. It is easier and less overwhelming to deal with five people than fifty people. Invite your friends or family members to participate in smaller, quieter, and less chaotic social activities and events. Simple talking and sharing as a small circle of family members or friends can do much to increase the sense of belonging and safety for someone with an eating disorder. - Encourage your family member or friend to gather extra support around themselves during the holidays. Additional support can come from extended family, other friends, community, and even treatment team members. If you recognize the benefit of these additional support people during the holidays, you can encourage this extra involvement rather than be hurt and offended by it. Sometimes, a person with an eating disorder might not be ready yet to receive the full love and support family and friends offer, but support and love them anyway! You can send the message, "We're here to support you and it's okay if others support you as well. We want you to have all the help you need during this time." - It is important for family and friends to remove any unreasonable behavior expectations or pressures of performance. Sometimes you want so much for things to be better that you do not realize how your disappointed hopes and expectations actually play out as triggers for the eating disorder. Letting go of these specific expectations in your own mind frees you up to respond to and enjoy whatever your loved one is capable of during the holidays. It would be more helpful to express a lot of warmth, love, kindness, and acceptance toward the person - "There is no pressure to prove anything to us during the holidays. We just want to focus on being together the best we can." Eliminating specific, overt, or implicit expectations will be more beneficial than almost anything else you can do. - It is important to offer care "giving" and not care "taking." Being a self declared nurse, dietitian, therapist, or detective takes you out of your most important role - "loved one" It is not your job to fix or solve the eating disorder. It is your job to encourage nourishment of the body and provide nourishment to the soul. Working too hard to stop the eating disorder behaviors during the holidays can fuel dishonesty and defensiveness which actually feeds the problem. You are not responsible to say or do everything right. Nothing you do or not do will take away your friend or family member's own responsibility to overcome and recover from their eating disorder. She/he is the only one who can do that job, but you can care, empathize, encourage, and share the process with them. The good intent you express is often more helpful than what is actually said or done. If your friend or family member knows that your heart is on their side, then you become a source of comfort, support, and safety to them.

All Inclusive Cheap Holiday Deals - Best Option Always

                     Today every individual is very busy and majorly involved in the walk of life. It doesn't matter whether you as an individual are living an urban or semi-urban life; it has become hard to give enough time to our dear ones. Though the living standards have improved, but with this improvement the stress level has also increased. Fortunately, to overcome from these sorts of stress levels and to meet the need of spending quality time with family members, today concept like "All Inclusive Cheap Holidays" is gaining new popularity. In fact, it is emerging as one of the best options to take the stress out of travelling and these days many people are even looking for all inclusive cheap holiday deals. The major benefit of all inclusive holidays is it not only sooth our beauty seeking minds, but also takes us away from the business of day to day hectic life. Today package holidays are popular not only among the people living with large families but even among young couples as well. In the last few years, all inclusive holiday packages have become an increasingly popular choice among all those who are looking to have cheap holiday deals. All inclusive holiday deals are emerging as best options to enjoy great value in a vacation. No matter what holiday destination you select, with these cheap holiday deals you always have the best and feasible option to save money, enjoy a lot, visit abroad and explore various destinations all across the world. If we talk in terms of its enjoyment and benefits, an all inclusive holiday deal provides you cheap holidays abroad along with complete package that usually includes drink and food facilities along with world-class accommodation as well. Adding to this, there are no 'hidden extras' on these holiday packages so you can easily fix on your budget exactly. You can easily have the idea of how much it is going to cost you till the last money before you start or complete your travel. Apart from this, the next most important benefit of all inclusive holiday is holiday resort. Most of these resorts often cater for families along with young children as well. In fact, all inclusive cheap holiday packages are actually very different deal from normal holiday packages. These deals are generally more geared towards families with young children. Besides this, most of the all inclusive cheap holiday deals even provide free entertainment for adult holiday makers in the evening and night too. Depending upon the cheap holiday package, there are chances that all inclusive resort might even provide baby sitters and a free taxi service into your all inclusive cheap holiday city as well. These days every leading travel agency and operator is busy in providing cheap holiday abroad deals in all inclusive holiday formats. Due to the constant demand and with most of the travel agencies around, today all inclusive holiday offers are also easy to find. In fact, in recent times many of the agencies have even started offering great value holidays abroad. Besides this, these days there are many all inclusive holiday abroad packages that takes to various resorts located at the different part s of the world and offer most suitable options to enjoy different activities like skiing, hiking, rowing, surfing, sailing or fishing. Spending few days in the green of nature or lying relaxed on the sandy beaches along with the family or with the loving ones is all that an all inclusive holiday package can offer. So without any doubt, an all inclusive holiday deals can just be the most appropriate options that can surely help you in overcoming from your stress and enjoy holiday. It is definitely one of the best options and will always remain best option to enjoy a great holiday without wasting any extra money. You get to know about the complete price before starting your holiday, which actually help you in having a tension-free and long-remembered holiday experience.

Holiday Home Insurance - Owners May Be Taking Unnecessary Risks

                     Letting your holiday home commercially has many benefits, however as with running any business it isn't without risk. It is therefore important to get the right holiday home insurance cover. Many holiday home owners may unwittingly be relying on normal home insurance cover or even more disconcerting have no cover at all. If you let your holiday home commercially for members of the public to take short term holidays, you should ensure that the insurer is aware; and that you do not fall foul of restricted cover when the property is not let. Look out for a policy providing cover in each of the following key areas: Property Owners Liability: Without question the holiday home owner should be concerned about the substantial risks posed by third party liabilities. In this litigious society any one who owns a business can all too easily find themselves on the wrong side of a compensation claim that can seriously damage their wealth. Make sure that your Holiday Home Insurance policy includes Property Owners Liability of at least £2,000,000 of cover. It is vital that you are covered in this way for injury to individuals, such as your tenants, visitors or guests and damage to their property. Most, if not all, holiday letting agencies will stipulate in their terms of business that you have this cover in place in order that they will act for you. If you manage the property yourself it is equally important that you have liability cover. However, that said, cover is no substitute for good risk management. It is therefore imperative that a full risk assessment of your holiday home and its garden is carried out and relevant safety legislation adhered to. Employers Liability: As an owner of a UK holiday let you might think that Employer's Liability is unnecessary. However consider this; in the course of managing your holiday letting business you will more than likely employ, even if only on a casual basis, a cleaner, a gardener, a handyman, a painter and decorator, to name but a few. Therefore a quality holiday home insurance contract should provide Employer's Liability of £10,000,000 to cover death or injury claims in relation to anyone that you employ at your property. Buildings Cover: You should not overlook the investment property itself - it is likely to be one of your major assets. To properly protect your holiday home property, you need to cover the buildings of your holiday home against all insurable risks for the full reinstatement cost, including any garages or outbuildings; fixtures and fittings; patios and driveways; garden walls, fences and swimming pools. You must not forget that you also need to include the cost of clearing the site in the event of complete destruction and the associated legal, architect and surveyor fees. Remember, the reinstatement cost is unlikely to be the same as the market value of the property or the price that you paid for it! If you under-insure your building you could fall victim to average being applied in the event of a claim. In a nutshell this means that, if your property is underinsured, your Holiday Home Insurance provider may not pay out the full amount of any claim, so it is important to work out the cost of replacement accurately and insure for the full amount.

Holiday Loans: Celebrating Holidays in Your Own Special Way

                      A holiday in many countries is a day set aside for celebrations and is considered a culture wide observation or activity. Since holiday is such a huge occasion, many people appreciate in their own personal way. Since holidays generally include travel to some favourite destination, it includes expenses. Well not everyone's pocket is ready to make expenses when you need it. Holiday loans can finance your holidays when you need it and conveniently pay them back when you can. Holiday loans are personal loans that are meant to pay for a special reason called holiday. Holiday loans are both secured and unsecured. This makes options for both homeowners and tenants. Unsecured holiday loans will not require any security and would be approved in lesser time. Tenants have the advantages of getting holiday loans via the unsecured method. Homeowners can place their home as collateral for secured holiday loans. However, alternative collateral like cars or any other valuable assets are also accepted. You would need to check with your lender for it. Using your home equity for paying for holidays is better than using a credit card to pay for the bills. Home equity loans for holidays are low interest and interest is tax deductible. Secured option for holiday loans will always carry lesser interest rate than the unsecured option. Holiday loans are typically short term loans that do not go beyond 2-5 years. Try to restrict your loan term and do not let it go beyond 10 years. Holiday loans amount start from as low as £3000 and go as high as £25,000. You can make any use of holiday loans - you don't necessarily have to take it for travel only. You can use holiday loans to make any expenses during the festive season. Well, in case you can afford it then holiday loans of value £25,000-£100,000 are available. Holiday loans have the adaptability to fit into any financial circumstance. Holiday loans are available for those with bad credit also. Usually all kinds of bad credit condition can find holiday loans. However, one should be realistic in their expectations. You will be required to pay high interest rates for bad credit and may not qualify for larger amounts. It is hard not to overspend on holidays but try to maintain caution. You don't want to add holiday stress to your special time. After all you have to payback holiday loans. Lets us walk on solid ground when it comes to loans. Plan repayment before you take holiday loans. Since you are paying for holidays with loans it is better to have a plan. Make a budget and a list of things you would essentially want to buy while you are on your trip. Refrain from paying for shopping with credit card. You would probably loose track of how much you are spending. When taking loans to pay for holiday make sure you are taking the best deal. Check out holiday loans rates and deals at the various lenders. A lot of money can be saved with the help of holiday loans comparisons. Go to different loans lenders read their offer carefully and then apply for a quote. See if the monthly payments for holiday loans suit your budget. Apply with a holiday loans lender that speaks to your requirements. Holiday loans are a logical and coherent way to get funds for holidays. With consumer holiday spending in 2005 reaching a £120 billion mark it is evident that holiday loans industry is growing. It should have been mandatory to go on a relaxing holiday if everyone could go on holiday without worrying about expenses. With loans you can unwrap this season a gift that you would cherish in the years to come - holiday.