A Holiday in Turkey – Is it the New Spain?

Some four hundred thousand Brits now own holiday homes abroad, Spain has been the most popular of destinations over the past twenty years; it has however become very expensive and more than a little over developed in recent years.

As a consequence many have begun to look elsewhere for their ´place in the sun´. Turkey has seen a huge rise in interest both as a holiday destination and a place to invest in property, people who were astute enough to recognize it as a potential ´hotspot´ as little as eight years ago could have seen their property increase in value by as much as 500% in that time; and whilst Turkey too has seen a decline in demand during 2009, property values have not dropped in the more desirable Mediterranean resorts, (one such resort being Kalkan) to the degree they have in the likes of Spain.

The possibility of Turkey´s acceptance to the European Union has also fuelled speculation in the property market there, whether they will ever achieve acceptance (or indeed actually want to) is yet to be seen. This is the account of how I became one of those ´Brits abroad´: -

I first went to Turkey, rather reluctantly, I might add, on holiday in 2000, and was very pleasantly surprised at how green the country was, I had expected to find a dusty arid country, how wrong I was! I was also very pleasantly surprised at how warm and welcoming the Turkish people were; having holidayed in Greece for some years I had always believed the Greeks would be difficult to beat in their hospitality, the Turks did just that.

My wife and I returned some five years later, having booked a holiday in a very swish hotel on the Dalyan delta, we were disappointed six weeks before being due to depart, to be told by the holiday company that we could not go there as the hotel was having work done and that they, the holiday company, would not allow their guests to have what was not the perfect holiday experience. They told us to choose something else from the brochure and regardless of cost they would honour the price we had paid and even refund us if there was a difference. My wife had seen Kalkan but dismissed it due to the transfer time from the airport feeling that it would be too long, however, given the situation we decided that we would endure the two hour transfer (it turned out to be one and a half). We chose a villa holiday instead of a hotel and hit the jackpot!

Kalkan, we decided very quickly was an idyllic place to holiday and whilst walking down one of the narrow cobbled streets one evening to enjoy a pre-dinner drink stopped to look in an estate agents window (as I´m sure many of you have), before I knew it we were making an appointment with the agent to view some properties the following evening. Meeting that particular agent was yet another amazing stroke of luck, he was a charming intelligent man who´s English was impeccable.

The following evening arrived and I have to say that I personally was not too enthusiastic, as I believed that I was wasting valuable time, I never actually expected to be buying a house. The agent who we learned was called Kemal met us at the appointed time and took us to view the first property, which he had chosen as a possibility. It was an imposing four bedroom detached property with magnificent sea views and a swimming pool; it was newly built and was being marketed at £140,000. It was without doubt a lot of house for the money, however, there was an apartment block right along side it with twelve balconies all of which looked over the swimming pool, a serious privacy issue which immediately ruled that one out.

As we drove away from that villa Kemal asked, “what are you looking for, do you want detached?” I rather facetiously said ´of course´ (remember I had little or no intention of buying) “do you want a swimming pool?” ´ Well obviously!´ He then took us to another newly built in fact not completely finished villa, at what point my attitude changed I cannot actually say, I just knew it was going to happen! This villa again was a four bedroom detached with pool and panoramic views over the bay and astonishingly £15,000 cheaper! We left Kemal that evening feeling like excited school children, a couple of days later and a couple of telephone calls back to the UK to our bank manager and we were signing on the dotted line!

From thereon Kemal did everything we gave him power of attorney (not an easy decision to make with someone you have only just met) and he completed the deal, we became the proud owners of our own piece of paradise seven months later. The piece of paradise is called Villa Katmar, a vaguely Turkish sounding word? No just a combination of parts of our names.

Becoming a property owner in Turkey for us was a very easy and stress free experience, however, a WORD OF WARNING, not everyone we know had such an easy transition into becoming a Turkish villa owner! As in any country it depends very much on the people you deal with and applying a little common sense! I have to say we were very fortunate to have had that almost accidental meeting with Kemal; it could have been a very different tale had we done ´business´ with someone else.

If you are contemplating buying in Turkey then I would urge you to consider Kalkan and if you do then again I would have no hesitation in recommending Kemal Safyurek of Mavi Estates.

Body Massage: 3 Useful Gravity Tools

Have you been lurking around in the massage store lately? Maybe you are thinking about which gadgets to buy for your home massage. These gadgets can save you time and effort during desperate times (when no one can give you a massage). The best thing of all, they are not too expensive, considering they are widely available to consumers.

Which ones should you buy? There are so many of them in the market. Often times, a beginner will get confused immediately when choosing one from the shelves. Let’s dive further into the issue of gravity-assisted massage equipment and their types in this article.

Foot rollers

This is an all time favorite for everyone in every household. They are round in shape and have a flat surface. Once you step on it, you can rotate yourself clockwise or counter-clockwise. Some models have different surface texture like grooves. Some have many rolling balls on them. What is the point of stepping and rotating yourself using these? Well, you can stimulate nerve endings and reflexology points on your feet. An alternative is using foot soles that have tiny knobs in your shoes.

Back rollers

These look like kitchen rolling pins that are used to flatten flour dough. You roll along with it on the floor, making the back roller in between your back and the floor. However, like the instructions says, don’t roll your back on the knobs (if they have any). This is because it can come in contact with your spine directly and hurt it. But most people seem to ignore this advice and roll their way because it feels comfortable anyway. Still, don’t let it touch your spine directly!

Stretchers

There are many types out there. But there is one that is very useful for your back. It is called the body bridge. It is a curved table that looks like an inverted U shape. Therefore, when you lie on it, your hips are at the peak and your heads and feet nearing the ground. This way, you are letting the gravity do the stretching work for you.

Dealing with a Bad Consumer Product Review

A consumer product review is a vital part of ensuring the quality of a product. After all, who knows more about how it actually works than the people who buy it? An unbiased review can be an invaluable asset when it comes to selling products and services. A customer recommendation will go a long way toward helping endorse a product and make it appealing to other consumers. On the other hand, a bad review can bring sales to a screeching halt.

It's fear of a bad review that inspires many sites to remove product reviews from their web pages altogether. If consumers do not have a chance to express their opinion, they will not have the chance to give a bad product review. The problem with that logic is that consumers may aggregate sites that do not include a consumer product review have something to hide. If they did not, they would not give their customers the chance to let them know what they think?

The best way to promote sales and still establish feelings of friendship and trust with your consumers is not to eliminate the chance of a bad product review, it's to deal with it. What stores do you respect more, those that sweep their customer complaints under the rug so as not to accumulate bad publicity or those that are open and honest and willing to fix their mistakes?

Here are some quick and easy tips to dealing with a bad product review that will help you to keep your customers happy, your reputation intact and your consumer product review forum working the way it's provided to:

1) Always ensure that when you post the option to make a product review you include a space for them to give you their contact information (preferably only by e-mail). Make this mandatory; you can not fix a problem if you can not reach the person who is having it.

2) Troll your review forums daily to locate bad reviews immediately.

3) As soon as you find a bad review, make note of it in your records. Including the consumer having the problem, the product or service that they purchased and the issues that they are having. Chances are good that if the problem is associated with the product it will pop up again.

4) Note whether their complaint deals with your product or your service. Many consumers love their products, but if they have had a difficult time making a transaction with the company involved they will walk away unhappy.

5) Contact the consumer immediately and offer to work with them to correct the situation. Treat these complaints the same way you would a customer complain if you were working in a physical store and they were able to speak to you face to face-assume that the customer is always right and do what you have to do to leave them happy with the situation. This may mean a refund, a repair (free of charge) or a product switch or upgrade.

6) Encourage them to post a listing of their experience with you on the consumer product review forum to let other consumers know that you are a seller who is willing to do what it takes to do the job right.

What’s So Funny About Workplace Safety? How Humor Can Help Create a Safer Work Environment

A recent study found that there is a positive correlation between employee happiness and workplace safety: the happier the employees were, the safer the work environment tended to be.

Of course, this could also be a chicken and egg relationship:  maybe people are happier when they feel safe?  I know I’d be happier if I didn’t have to worry about my own safety every day!

But this relationship does make sense to me. When employees are more engaged, more inspired, or just plain happier, chances are they are less stressed out,  more communicative, more creative and more alert.  People who actually want to be at work on a Monday morning are going to, I think, be more aware of their environment and more conscientious about their working environment and the well-being of their coworkers.

But beyond the general “feel good”, morale-boosting humor factor, I believe there are several ways humor in the workplace can create a safer work environment:

Humor is an effective stress buster

Stress is totally in the eye of the beholder  – it’s not the events themselves that create stress, it is totally our interpretation of the events that causes us stress.  And since humor is an effective way of changing how we look at things, tapping into our sense of humor can reframe day-to-day challenges and help us see problems in a more grounded, realistic light. Humor, in other words, helps us keep mole hills as mole hills long before they threaten to erupt into mountains.

We also need to remind ourselves that when a stressful situation happens, we have 100% control over how we react to that situation. Humor helps us gain a sense of control over our emotions by allowing us to choose a more positive reaction.

So what does all this have to do with safety?  A lot, I’d suggest.

Stressed out people don’t think clearly,  tend to make more mistakes, and often do things in a hurry-all of which can lead to more accidents in the workplace.

Simply put:  stress can blind us to the hazards around us; whereas humor can enlighten us by helping us keep cool, calm and collected. 

Humor can help you deliver your safety messages more effectively

To communicate effectively,  you need to stand out from the herd to be heard. Humor is an effective tool that can help your messages stand out from all the noise, keep people awake, and help people remember the safety messages for a long time.  (There is, after all, a reason that 70% of all award-winning ads incorporate humor in them.) 

Humor is a reframing tool, so it can be used to help people see your safety messages in new ways. And because smart humor appeals to both logic and emotion, humor is incredibly effective at doing what any good communication strategy needs to do – connect the brain to the heart.

Some people worry that humor might trivialize a serious message, but with a little creative thought, this needn’t be a concern. Any safety message, no matter how serious, can benefit from a little levity thrown into the mix.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you are serious about safety in your workplace, then you better think about getting serious about your use of humor!

Humor can make your (sometimes) dreadfully boring safety meetings come to life

I’ve been there-I drew the shortest straw, and thus had to represent my department at the mandated monthly safety meetings.  In other words, I, like most of the other folks at the table, HAD to be there.

But wouldn’t it be better if people WANTED to be at your safety meetings? If they WANTED to be fully present?  If they WANTED to participate and share their ideas?

Meetings don’t have to suck the soul out of everybody attending them to be effective. You really can make meetings more productive and have more fun at the same time.

Adding some humor to the meeting agenda, having a fun ritual to kick off or end the meeting, including door prizes in the meeting, opening up your safety meeting with a funny safety-related quote or showing humorous safety videos, are all simple but effective ways of bringing a little fun and energy into any safety meeting

HA + HA = AHA! Humor sparks creative thinking

There is, in fact, a huge correlation between humor and creativity. Humor in the workplace reduces stress, promotes lateral thinking and again, helps us see things in a different way. Both humor and creativity are about looking at your challenges and seeing them in a fresh, new way.

So if you need to get creative about solving some of your safety issues, creative in terms of how you secure more money out of the old budget, or you need to get more creative with your safety messages, then, once again, a little humor goes a long way.

Humor in the workplace builds trust and fosters more open, closer working relationships

This has been born out in study after study – teams that laugh together, work well together.

If you are part of a team where there is a high level of trust, and positive, supportive communication with each other,  then it is that much easier to offer  feedback and call each other out when someone is doing something in an unsafe manner.

Humor can help us disagree with each other, without being disagreeable, so no matter how touchy a safety issue is, humor helps build the kind of working relationship between co-workers where it’s easy to be open and honest with one another.