About Agata Adamczak

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Posts by Agata Adamczak:

Travelling tips for women

travelling woman

It is not easy to be a woman, especially when single and travelling solo. It sometimes seems to be a bit of a taboo topic but the truth is there is far more things women should be wary off when they’re exploring different countries. I admire women such as Isabella Bird or Ida Laura Reyer Pfeiffer, who both travelled solo back in 19th century. Many women, driven by fascination and courage overcame the cultural and biological constrains, and traveled the world. In some parts of the world a woman traveling by herself would be portrayed as weird and can even become a target of verbal harassment from the male crowd. If you are one of those strong and independent women, make sure you follow a few rules of safety and prepare yourself for any possible situation.

woman in travel

Here are a few points you should think about before and during travelling:

  1. Think about how you are going to manage your cash while abroad. There are different types of current account you can choose from. You can for example set up a bank account in a particular currency, for example in American dollars, to avoid paying extra charges for paying by card in the USA. You can travel with cash but that’s more dangerous and you don’t want to spend your relaxing time stressing about money in a hotel room that you left in a sock. You might also want to look at the travel checks or prepaid cash cards. Check if your bank has easy to switch bank accounts in case you need to deal with some unexpected money matters while abroad.
  2. Make sure you study what local women are wearing before going to the country. In many cultures, women have to have their shoulders covered, cannot sunbathe. You might want to avoid drawing unwelcome attention to yourself in general.
  3. Plan your itinerary each day and make sure you know how to get from place A to place B so you avoid getting lost. Don’t travel alone at night, take taxi where possible.
  4. A good idea would also be a wearing a fake wedding ring if you’re single. As silly as it might sound but it can work as a man repeller!
  5. Making eye-contact or smiling can be interpreted as a sign of encouragement in some countries. Be polite, but reserved.
  6. Classic, stay sober and never leave a drink unattended.

Above all, enjoy your trip!

Loft conversion ideas

LoftConversion

Like many people in the UK I’m saving for converting the space in the loft to make the most of the space in my house. I love bright and airy spaces and I particularly like removing as many walls as possible to create a living space, where one can run around the house.

For those who are new in this extension/conversion of the property business, a great source of information is the Planning Portal website , where you’ll find plenty of pointers on where to start. A loft conversion is considered there to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, provided certain limits and conditions are met:

> Loft conversions are NOT permitted development for houses on designated land (national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites)

> Any additional roof space created must not exceed these volume allowances:

*40 cubic meters for terraced houses

*50 cubic meters for detached and semi-detached houses

> An extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts a highway is NOT permitted development

> Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house

> No part of the extension to be higher than the highest part of the existing roof

> Verandas, balconies, or raised platforms are NOT permitted development

> Any side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed and non-opening unless the parts which can be opened are more than 1.7 meters above the floor of the room in which it is installed

> Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones, to be set back, as far as is practicable, at least 20cm from the original eaves.

> Work on a loft or a roof many affect bats. You need to consider protected species when planning work of this type. A survey may be needed, and if bats are using the building, a licence may be required.

After we decided on the size of the conversion, we meet all the legal requirements and the neighbors agreed on the ongoing work taking place next door, we are ready for the next step…choosing the windows. As I’ve mentioned I want my loft conversion to be bright. I want the daylight to be there all day so I don’t have to use electricity to lit up the place. I’ve been recently recommended an international brand called VELUX®, which sells window innovations, including roof windows, solar panels, and blinds (you can open and close them with the remote control!). You can check out VELUX shop to explore their products and get the prices.

Here are some loft conversion ideas I’ve gathered from their website and other sources. Which is your favorite?

roof windows

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loft-conversion

velux8

velux+1

Screen Shot 2012-08-14 at 11.42.53_1_small (1)This post is sponsored by VELUX.

 

Tennis Season is about to start – Tour of Europe

Camp_tennis

tennis girl

As the summer months are nearly upon us it’s a great time to not only start playing, but also watching some top quality tennis. If visiting during any of these tournaments, it’s well worth looking into tickets in advance or queuing up on the day.  For accommodation right on the doorstep, check out GowithOh who offer holiday apartments in all of these cities.

As an ATP World Tour tournament, the Mutua Madrid Open would be a great place to start the season, watching the world’s greatest players get warmed up for their two  upcoming Grand Slams. Held between the 3rd and 12th of May, this is the second most important clay-court tournament, behind only the French Open, played in the unique setting of the Caja Magica. Following last year’s controversial introduction of the first ever blue clay courts, it will this year be returning to the traditional red clay after the complaints from many top players.

madrid open

Onto the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open offers the perfect excuse for a city break to Paris. Taking place between the 27th May and 9th June, the Roland Garros tournament has a long-standing history of being the world’s premier clay-court championship. This makes the event a particular favourite (and a success) for many Spanish speaking players who tend to specialise in clay court play, including of course the current holder Rafael Nadal.

french open

Played at the end of June, Wimbledon is the third Grand Slam and one of the most prestigious two-week tennis events of the year. Full of tradition and history, this grass court tournament offers a much more unpredictable surface which many of the players are not so accustomed to – making it even more exciting as a spectator. Renowned for being quintessentially English, even buying grounds ticket is a must just to sit on Henman’s Hill (or Murray’s Mound) to sip on a Pimms, enjoy some strawberries and cream and take in the atmosphere as the Brits cheer on Murray towards his first possible Wimbledon victory.

wimbledon

Milan furniture Fair 2013 / Salone del Mobile highlights – Lighting

I’ve just came back from the Milan Furniture Fair in Italy and I must admit it has been a great trip and I got to see many fascinating designs both in terms of furniture/lighting and fashion. Milan is truly a capital of design full of elegant and well dressed people. I would like to start sharing some of the highlights of the trip with the lighting. Below are some of the most interesting pieces I’ve seen at the exhibition in Rho (outskirts of Milan) and in the show rooms scattered around Milan itself.

Milan furniture fair 2013 -  Rho

Milan furniture fair 2013 map

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Milan furniture fair 2013 lighting

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Stay safe while staying adventurous

jet ski adventure

Who doesn’t love adventures while on holiday? They’re exciting, they remind you of how great it feels to be alive and they give you a good story to relay to friends back home. But while you’re enjoying that adrenaline rush, remember that you, like everyone else, are mortal. Additionally, a botched escapade might not kill you, but could cause you serious illness or injury, the effects of which could range from a ruined holiday to a lifetime of disability.

To avoid all of these nasty experiences, here are some tips to help you stay safe while on holiday.

Get insurance

While you may be able to access quality health care at home, your coverage may not extend to care in medical facilities abroad. If you have a medical emergency or suffer a holiday illness, you could end up paying a lot more than you would have at home, just because you’re dealing with a different system.

Additionally, the standard of medical care varies greatly throughout the world. There have been cases in which patients have contracted HIV from contaminated medical supplies, or when an injury was improperly treated and worsened later. Furthermore, you may not be able to file a clinical negligence claim because different countries have different regulations for medical care.

However, with insurance you may be able to get coverage for medical evacuation, where you can be taken home and treated in your own country. Of course, without insurance, this option is astronomically expensive.

Check for licences

Before you attempt any activities or tours geared to thrill-seeking, check and see whether the company is registered or licensed. Also, do some research online and see what other travellers have to say, such as on TripAdvisor or on Lonely Planet’s forums. This will help you determine whether you will be safe on any of these expeditions.

holiday

 

Be a discerning diner

While eating local food can be one of the pleasures of travel, it’s also a good way to get sick. Since for different countries there are different regulations governing food quality and restaurant hygiene, food-borne illness is one of the most common problems travelers face.

To prevent food-borne illness, try to be careful about where you eat. Make sure to check the cleanliness of the dining area, and if you see evidence of filth, find a different place to have your dinner. You can also take a cue from the locals, and only visit restaurants and cafes that are full of patrons. Avoid establishments that are empty or have just a few patrons. Chances are, the local people know which places are safe and which are not. Plus, a full restaurant may indicate particularly tasty or popular food.

Go with your gut

Finally, make sure to listen to and honour your instincts. Only you can determine your comfort level, and if a situation feels unsafe then get out immediately. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy your adventure.

adventurous holidays

Going to Salone Internazionale del Mobile – Milan Furniture Fair 2013!

Milan furniture fair

I’m excited about going to Italy and attending the Milan Furniture Fair this year and I will make sure to share the experience with you on the blog. If you would like to attend I suggest you plan ahead due to the high prices of accommodation at that time in Milan. I suggest you book a hotel outside the city, for example at the Lake Como, which is based just a 40 min away by train from Milan.

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2013 (Milan Furniture Fair) is just like a Milan Fashion Fair but for the Furniture! The show is a global benchmark for the Home Furnishing Sector. The show sets trends for the interior designers across the world. Interior designers present their pieces every year, usually in April. This year Milan Furniture Fair is taking place between 9th and 14th of April. The event is open to members of the trade but the general public is welcome to come on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th. The show will take place at Strada Statale del Sempione, 28, Milano, Rho, 20017, Italy, so at the north west outskirts of Milan.

Milan Furniture Fair 2013 map

 

The opening hours are 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. Here are the prices for the event:

Ticket type

Online purchase

Purchase at the
fairgrounds

1-entrance card

Euro 20.00

Euro 23.00

3-entrance card

Euro 40.00

Euro 45.00

6-entrance card

Euro 52.00

Euro 58.00

1-entrance card + return ticket Milan/Rho Fiera

Euro 25.00

1-entrance card + 1-day Travelcard

Euro 27.00

3-entrance card + 1-week Travelcard

Euro 53.40

6-entrance card + 1-week Travelcard

Euro 65.40

Reduced one entrance card for students Euro 18.00 (not available for advance purchase)

The pass is strictly personal.
Every entrance into the fairgrounds will be deducted from your pass. 

Tickets valid only for the general public visiting the shows on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April:
Euro 36.00 Ticket for Two
Euro 41.00 Family ticket (valid for 2 adults + 1 child under 18)

Both tickets are valid for one admission only.

 

 

A first glimpse at Google Glass

Google Glass

Google has just realised more information on a new piece of technology they are working on – Google Glass. These glasses will have all the characteristics of a smartphone but their design as well as transparency of display are way more futuristic than an average smartphone. If you would like to own a pair of Google Glass you will have to sign up here and make a deposit of $1500.

So what will Google Glass do

Its display is transparent so you can just go around your day as usual but with some additional info popping out literally in front of you eyes!

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It takes photos while you’re experiencing the moment…

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It takes videos while you’re experiencing the moment…

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It streams live videos…

55

It provides interesting facts…

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It provides live information…

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It gives you directions…

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You can see how Google Glass meant to ‘feel’ in the video below. Looks like the coolest invention of Google after Google Earth to me!

Army of robots in the making

Terminator

These days we can see how some inventions can really change the way we live. Some new technology such as drones change the way we conduct the wars. A number of organisations across the world work every day on improving the weaponry equipment. One of the agencies DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is a part of the US Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military. One of their latest inventions are robots designed to help the troops on the ground, including a mule robot that can carry heavy equipment as well as a robot resembling a human. Watch all 3 videos below.  I must admit that watching them made me think about consequences of this kind of technology. Can you imagine an army of Terminators fighting the wars instead of humans???!!!

DARPA robot army

Fastest robot

Robot navigating obstacles

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