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Tired of the winter blues? After the magic of Christmas and the excitement of the New Year, many of us are now left feeling tired, wary and deflated. So, what better way to beat those January blues than to plan a little getaway?

London is great, but if you’re craving a change of scenery, why not plan a little staycation? Getting out of the city and enjoying a little break away can do wonders for recharging those batteries and beating the winter blues. To give you a little inspiration, below you’ll discover some great staycation ideas to keep you going in winter.

Enjoy a relaxing break by the sea

Few things can leave you feeling more relaxed and refreshed than a few days by the sea. Whether you’re looking to travel just outside of London, or you’re looking for a slightly further staycation, there’s lots of great seaside towns along the south coast to be enjoyed.

If you’re looking to stay close by, Brighton is an excellent choice. If you’d prefer to travel a little further afield however, Cornwall and Devon are pretty tough to beat. Both offer incredible scenery and a laid-back pace of life that you’ll find a refreshing change from the loud streets of London.

Spend a few days in the country

If you’re not keen on a winter seaside break, why not opt to stay in a house in the country instead? Head to the Cotswolds for a truly magical country getaway. With its breath-taking scenery and stunning thatched cottages, the Cotswolds are truly majestic. You can save a lot of money getting there too with super off peak tickets if you opt to travel during the week.

Some of the best spots in the Cotswolds to head to include Bourton on the Water, Blockley, and Lower Slaughter.

Get away from it all in the Scottish Highlands

Really want to get away from it all? A staycation to the Scottish Highlands could be just what you need. Inverness is a great destination to consider. There, you’ll find a number of great boutique style hotels, along with quaint home-from-home cottages you can stay in. Stay at a Lochside location for a true get-away-from-it-all experience.

Other highland destinations to consider include Glencoe, Loch Ness, Fort William and Aviemore. You’ll typically find winter breaks to the Highlands are surprisingly affordable.

As you can see, there are lots of places you can head to on a winter staycation. Whether you prefer a holiday by the sea, a relaxing rural retreat, or you really want to leave your worries behind and jet off to a remote mountain location, the UK has something to suit you.

Violence amongst the younger generation of the country has been at the forefront of the news for some time; including the epidemic of knife crime and gang-related issues occurring particularly across the capital. Steering young people away from crime is a hugely important task, with everyone from the government to community-based charities doing something to help prevent youth violence.

There is a growing pattern that the areas in which young people lack opportunities are the same areas that experience a higher level of crime and other related behaviours. Last year alone, 10-17 year olds were responsible for 21% of disposals given for the possession of a knife or other offensive weapon. This is something that has been a problem for some time; back in 2012-2013, there were just under 100,000 proven offences perpetrated by the same age bracket. There were also around 28,000 first time entrants to the youth justice system.

Knife crime, in particular, is at its highest over the last 8 years, with some of it coming down to the notorious gang culture found in parts of the country. London, in particular, is experiencing a huge problem in knife crime. So, how do you set about preventing it?

Early intervention

Trying to prevent youth violence in UK cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester can seem like an overwhelming concept. Early intervention has been cited as one of the more effective ways; in other words, becoming involved in prevention before someone has even had a chance to be associated with any sort of violence.

This comes mostly down to education and opportunity, particularly for those who are more vulnerable and most likely to be influenced into committing a criminal offence. Many charities and other organisations work at community level to integrate as many local people as possible, including the likes of youth clubs and schools.

 

Offering support and opportunity

Many young people will turn to gangs and crime as a result of lacking resources in their local area, leading to frustration and boredom. It can often start with anti-social behaviour and being a nuisance, gradually escalating to something much more serious. What’s more, the young population also fear attacks and bullying themselves, leading to the idea of needing to protect themselves.

With this in mind, improved support and education opportunities could be a necessary step in reducing the amount of youth violence in our cities. Educational workshops that teach new skills can be a driving factor in reducing crime, whether it’s through keeping young people off the streets or by helping them to see their own potential. Workshops, inspirational talks and even sporting events can all play a part in helping the young generation to follow a different path.

Local communities can come together to support initiatives, and provide positive influences for children and young adults.

Whether it’s a school, youth club or charity, everyone has a part to play in reducing youth crime. Providing young people with the chance to enhance their self-worth is priceless, and can ensure they are on the right path towards a good education and a fulfilling career.

Cutter & Squidge on Brewer Street has been chosen by Eaten, The Food Rating App, as the best latte in Soho!

Cutter and Squidge and Eaten are giving Londoners the chance to try a latte coffee for free between 10am-1pm on Monday, 28th January 2019!

Terms & Conditions:
1. Offer is valid from 10am to 1pm on Monday, January 28th 2019 at Cutter & Squidge, 20 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 0SJ
2. Offer is limited to one regular latte coffee per customer (oat milk available)
3. To receive your free coffee, follow @cutterandsquidge on instagram, download the Eaten App, and show your unique in-app barcode to the staff in store
4. This offer cannot be exchanged for cash, credit or any other product, in part or in full and is valid for a single transaction only

Travelling is something so many of us dream of, but so few get the chance. Whether it’s financial concerns, it’s not the “right time” or you’re worried about the effect it might have on your career or relationship commitments. For those thinking about travelling solo, it’s usually a safety concern. I mean, how safe is it really to travel the world alone?

Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that with a little research, planning and common sense, you can safely travel the world solo without running into too much trouble. Something your parents will probably be glad to hear. Here we’ve put together some of the simplest solo travel safety tips.

Get your insurance sorted – now!

Ok, so we have to talk about the importance of travel insurance – are you covered? You’d be amazed at how many travellers run the huge risk of travelling without it, and then pay the price (literally) when things inevitably go wrong. Travel insurance will cover you for trip cancellation, flight problems, lost luggage and lost/damaged luggage. Your travel medical insurance will help you with medical assistance, illness, broken bones, access to medical teams, transportation to hospital and even repatriation. You might not need it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Walk with confidence

Your nose buried deep in a map, looking around for street signs, scratching your head and wringing your hands in a panic are all tell tale signs that you don’t belong, you’re lost and you’re vulnerable. Making you the perfect target for scams, cons and even theft. If you’re visiting the Eiffel Tower then a wandering tourist is to be expected, but if the busy streets of Cairo? No. If you get lost simply head into the nearest café or bar and ask for help, walk with purpose.

Carry the business card or your hostel/hotel

This one is great if you’re not overly confident with the language yet or the signal or battery on your smartphone has let you down. Showing the business card to a local or even a taxi driver means they know you need help trying to get back to our accommodation.

Take a break

Travelling is incredible and immersing yourself in a new culture and vibe is a once in a lifetime opportunity. But it’s also exhausting and you sometimes you need to give yourself a time out. Becoming overwhelmed whilst travelling is common, so take a day to chill at your accommodation, head to a cooking class, or even take a guided tour of the cities best tourist spots.

Blend in

Try to avoid flashing your wealth or looking distinctly foreign. If the country you’re visiting is conservative then they might have dress codes you need to adhere to – so do a little research. Be respectful and polite. Things like buying a local paper will help you look more like you belong and it’s a great ice breaker too!

Blue Monday has been and gone but let's face it, we're still here in January, it's still pretty chilly, Christmas is a distant memory and any sign of spring is a fair way off.

All that chilly gloom needn't be an excuse for misery though. We're thinking of coining a new day, thoughtful Tuesdays, as we all know that doing something for others cheers you up and cheers them up in turn why not do something night for someone today, or this week even?

Why not send something nice to a loved one or a friend this week?  Brighten their day up with a bunch of flowers that's totally out of the blue. Always does the job!

Alternatively, make those dinner dates you never got around to before Christmas. I know it's all been a bit of an over-indulge since December but that's no excuse to hibernate.

Make a gym date, a vegan dinner date or a brisk walk in the park date with people you've not seen in a while.

Another way to brighten your feel good this January is to have a clear out. Get rid of all those clothes you never wear and drop them at the charity shop. Let them do some good for someone else rather than languish at the bottom of your wardrobe for another year!

All in all the best and surest way to cheer up both yourself and others at the start of 2019 is to get active and get giving out the 'nice'. Whether it's flowers, homemade cupcakes or a friendly phone call, it doesn't take much but it makes a whole lot of difference.