Lessons in the "Lifestyle" Category

Christmas and the advent calendar

Christmas is coming. Yes, it’s that time of year folks. So having an advent calendar is the ultimate countdown to Christmas. It’s a calendar that you hang up in December. There are 24 windows or doors on it. Each day you open a different window on it, so if it’s the 8th December, you open the 8 window, which can reveal a chocolate. It’s something that most of us have done since we were knee high.

The advent calendar starts on the 1st December and ends on the 24th December. Traditional advent calendars show various religious scenes, but they could also show different aspects of Christmas, bible verses, or different winter scenes.

Catalonia declares independence from Spain

Yesterday, in Barcelona, the Catalonian parliament declared independence from Spain. They did so, just before the Spanish government enacted article 155 against them.

The Spanish government immediately dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a snap election. Madrid then imposed direct rule on the newly self-declared ‘independent’ country.

Last night, following the declaration of independence in the Catalonian parliament, the people of Barcelona and Catalonia celebrated, though not all of its citizens agree with the new situation.

So what exactly does your mobile phone do?

So what exactly does your mobile phone do? These days, most mobiles have a vast number of different functions and apps on them. Today, we’ll look at some of them.

Consider though, how you would manage to do all of the things you do now do on your mobile, if they hadn’t been invented. How did we manage to do these things in the past?

Most mobiles, these days, have a camera on them. In fact, the current trend is to have two cameras front and back, for selfies and for taking other photos on. Mobiles also have video cameras on them. We can send and receive messages and talk to people on video using Skype, Viber, and Facebook. Incredible!

Saudi Arabia agrees to let women drive

Recently the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced that a royal decree had been issued, allowing women to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018. This is a landmark step for the ultra-conservative country.

Saudi Arabian women have been celebrating the news that they will finally be able to drive. Currently, they still need either a male member of their family, or a male chauffeur, to get around. Many women have previously been jailed for trying to drive in the Kingdom.

The gains will be enormous for the oil rich country, as women will now not need to spend vast amounts of their salaries on hiring male drivers, so their spending power will thus increase.

Ryanair cancels numerous flights

Recently, no frills airline Ryanair cut as many as 2,000 flights from its schedules. Ryanair has said this is due to its pilots and crew having to use up their annual holiday entitlement.

More than 400,000 passengers across Europe have been affected by the flight cancelations. Many passengers have been left stranded, broke and unable to get home. Ryanair has published a full list of affected flights that have been cancelled, which cover a six-week period.

The budget airline has offered full refunds for passengers affected by the cancelled flights. When the news first broke passengers received a text message, asking them to call a premium rate phone line, which left them more out of pocket.

The best and worst airports and airlines in the world

Today, we are going to talk about the best and worst airports, and airlines, in the world. Try to think of your own experiences, when reading this article.

Most of us, at some point, will have had an opportunity to travel around the world, using different airlines and airports. Some terminals are old, others modern. Their facilities can vary from very good to dire. The same applies to airlines.

According to AirHelp, who conducted a survey, the best airport in the world to visit is Singapore Changi, followed by Munich in Germany, and then Hong Kong. Copenhagen was fourth, then Helsinki. The main metrics to rate the airports were their quality of services and claim processing records, as well as their on-time performances.

How safe is your office or tower block, if there is a fire?

How safe is your office or tower block, if there is a fire? It’s a hot topic, following the dreadful news story about the recent London tower block fire at the Grenfell Tower, in White City, London.

How could the fire have happened? Apparently, it was a faulty fridge, in a fourth floor flat of the building that caused the terrible fire. It spread rapidly, mainly because of non-fireproof cladding that had recently been fixed to the outside of the building.

So, if you work in a high rise office, or live in a high rise tower block – just how safe are you in it? Safety standards seem to vary in each country. Are there regular fire drills in your tower block? Do the occupants assemble a safe distance away from the building?

The Millennium Snowflake or Generation Snowflake

Today, let’s talk about the Millennium Snowflake or Generation Snowflake. These phrases refer to the current young generation. They are used to characterise young people of the 2010s, who, it appears, are more prone to taking offence than their peers.

Snowflakes are said to be less resilient than previous generations. They can be emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own thinking. Snowflakes are said to be delicate and unique. They are furiously intolerant of those who dare to challenge them. To be fair, the term Generation Snowflake is a bit derogatory. It originated in the United States. Snowflake Generation is a slang term that made the Collins Dictionary 2016 edition.

Prince Philip to retire

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is to retire from public engagements from the autumn of this year. The announcement was made at Buckingham Palace yesterday.

When someone said to the Duke, who is 95, “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down, sir,” he replied, in his typically humorous way, “Well, I can’t stand up much longer!”

The decision was made by Prince Philip himself. Her Majesty the Queen has given her husband her ‘full support’ to step down. He will be 96 in June.

May Day celebrations in Europe

Today, let’s talk about how May Day is celebrated in some parts of Europe. For many, it is a traditional workers' holiday.

In Greece, one of the more popular activities on May Day is fire jumping. This is done after the sun sets. Women dance around the lit fire. The children wet their clothes and hair, before jumping over the fire. It is a symbolic act, to keep away winter and disease. Another popular tradition is picking flowers, and creating a May Day wreath, to hang on their doors. It is meant to bring people closer to nature.

In France, May Day is really a day off for its workers. French people like to give family and friends little sprigs, bouquets, or even whole plants of lily of the valley, for good luck. The more bell-like the flower, the better the luck.