Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Lads’ holidays with a difference

When you hear the term ‘lads’ holiday’, it’s easy to envisage rowdy groups of lads munching on kebabs and stumbling out of nightclubs in the early hours of the morning. So how about challenging the stereotype and opting for a more cultured group holiday this summer? Here are five great holiday destinations for your alternative lads’ holiday this year.

Soller, Majorca
Soller is nestled in the valley of the famous Tramuntana Mountains and has been virtually untouched by the mass tourist trade. For the active men in your party, rent a bike and explore the stunning landscapes. Or why not hike your way to the famous Puig Major? At 854 metres, it’s the highest peak on the island. 

Those that want a break from exercise can rent a car and explore the traditional Majorcan villages. The tiny settlement of Fornalutx was recently voted the most picturesque village in Spain and the nearest port, just three kilometres away, is ideal for those who desire some well-needed beach time.

This resort offers an array of restaurants, particularly in the main town square. Most serve traditional cuisine, such as paella and seafood, and plenty of Spanish wine. For culture lovers, a visit to the thirteenth century Church of Sant Bartomeu should be top of your list. 

Vilamoura, the Algarve
Known for its stunning beaches, holidaymakers can enjoy a range of relaxing activities in Vilamoura. The Old Course is renowned in the golfing world as one of the best in Europe. Remember to take a handicap certificate with you, as most clubs will not let you play without one.

Spend a day visiting the Roman ruins of Cerro da Vila, where graves dating as far back as the Bronze Age have been discovered. There is also a museum on site where you can view ancient relics and learn more about the Algarve’s history. For a little downtime, head to the idyllic Praia da Falesia beach and follow the coastal boardwalks for stunning views of cliffs and coves.

Come the evening, make your way to Vilamoura Marina, where you‘ll find a range of tavernas and restaurants serving delectable dishes. Enjoy the Portuguese specially grilled sardines as you gaze out over the beautiful harbour.

Caleta De Fuste, Fuerteventura
This laidback resort is perfect for those wanting to relax in the sunshine without a care in the world. There are excellent golden beaches with clear shallow waters to cool off in and you can enjoy a variety of water sports, such as banana boats and water skiing, on the main beach.

For those who would rather be under the water, visit the Deep Blue Diving centre and book yourself in for a scuba diving course. This company caters for all abilities and it’s a great experience to share with friends. When on land, quad bikes are the best way to explore and can be rented for a very reasonable price (just make sure you bring your driving licence). Bike off along the dirt tracks and explore this volcanic island in style, stopping off at various sandy lagoons along the coastal route.

Alicante, Costa Blanca
Alicante is an ideal resort for guys who want to experience traditional Spanish culture and excellent sunshine. Spend your days relaxing on Playa del Postiguet beach or snorkelling on Playa de la Albufereta beach. 

Make sure you visit the Basilica de Santa Maria, a glorious eighteenth-century church, which shows off the stunning Spanish architecture. Towards the outskirts of the town you will see the impressive Santa Barbara Castle, towering over the city from high cliffs. There are plenty of parks dotted around the city, which are great if you’re craving some shade and fancy a quick siesta under the trees.

In the evening, sample local cuisine at the Piripi restaurant and enjoy a mouth-watering array of tapas and seafood. Why not end your evening in the Desafinado jazz bar, where you can meet a few of the locals or other, like-minded travellers?  

Funchal, Madeira
Madeira offers sunshine all year round. Funchal is the island’s capital and offers an excellent combination of culture and activities to enjoy on your getaway. Sign up for a whale and dolphin watching boat tour, or visit the famous Mercado Dos Lavradores; a traditional farmers’ market.

Those who fancy a real holiday challenge can navigate their way along the sixteenth-century Levada trail, hiking high into the mountains. In the evening, head to Joe’s Bar to enjoy a few drinks and a great Portuguese atmosphere. If you’re looking to make a real night of it, Kool nightclub is the spot for you, the club is full of locals; very different from other Brit-centred nightspots in Europe.
Just because you don’t fancy partying hard in Ibiza or Magaluf, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a memorable group holiday this summer. Click the following links to find out more about hotels in Majorca, hotels in the Algarve and hotels in Madeira.

You can get more great holiday ideas from former BBC presenter John Carter in the latest issue of Sorted magazine – hot off the press! Click here to order your copy today.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Dads worth more than £3,000 a year for help and advice

With Father’s Day around the corner (June 16), I trawled the net looking for inspiring things to do to celebrate the big day. Unfortunately, most of the suggestions were rather nauseating – write your dad a poem, plant a tree for your dad, ask him what he wants to do – so I decided to write about the value of our fathers and the other important men in our lives.

This brought me into contact with an interesting piece of research from Saga Home Emergency. I know, it probably doesn’t sound that interesting, but I thought it was, so here goes.

The study showed that fathers spend two-and-a-half days a month, on average, helping out or advising their adult children on a range of practical issues. 

The most popular reason people call on their fathers is to help with DIY, with 46% of children asking for help with this. Around 42% get their father's help with a home emergency and 40% get financial advice from their dads.

On average, women get three days and men two days of help a month from their fathers. When multiplied by the average male salary, this equates to a whopping £3,387 a year!

While those aged 18-24 appear to be the most reliant, around half of those aged 35-44 still regularly turn to their dads for help. Even when children reach their fifties, a third of fathers are still asked for help with DIY, money matters and home emergencies.

Chief executive at Saga Services, Roger Ramsden, says: "Perhaps, if an emergency should arise on Father's Day, children will remember to give their dad a break and call out an expert. At the very least they should pop round to make their dad a well-earned cup of tea!"

That doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me - our dads certainly deserve to be treated this Father's Day; not just for the help and advice they give us, but for all they do year in year out.

Even better, you could sign your dad up for a subscription to Sorted magazine so he knows he is valued all year long. 

Alternatively, you could buy a bumper box of 40 copies for just £50 and treat all the guys who have touched your life!

How are you planning to spend Father’s Day? We’d love to hear your un-nauseating suggestions! Happy Father's Day to all our readers.