Friday

Caves, mystic mountains, river falls and more

Dolphin Cove: Visitors can have the opportunity to interact and swim with dolphins at Ocho Rios
Located on the north coast of Jamaica, Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s natural treasures. This charming city is picture perfect with world-class resorts, authentic traditional cuisines, shopping paradise and pleasant tropical climate. Once a fishing village, Ocho Rios is a perfect destination to relax and rejuvenate for all travellers.

Dunn's River Falls: One of Jamaica's most-treasured locations and a picturesque spot, Dunn's River Falls, offers a hint of adventure to those with a willing spirit. Climbing the waterfall from the foot of the beach and gradually moving up the thundering cascades is a thrilling trail. The exhilarating blast of ice-cold spring water is a sheer majesty of nature for the daring scaling the waterfalls.

Green Grotto Caves
Green Grotto Caves: A prominent natural attraction of Jamaica, Green Grotto Caves is known for its striking structure of caves. The caves offer a unique adventurous experience with the central feature being the large labyrinth limestone cave with its unique rock formation. With an abundance of overhead ceiling pockets, visitors can also spot nine species of bats in the caves, three of which are indigenous to Jamaica.  

Ride through the dense tropical forest at Mystic Mountain
Mystic Mountain: One of Ocho Rios’s biggest attractions, Mystic Mountain offers a unique vantage point to the city. Featuring a series of zip lines crisscrossing the forest in a superb canopy tour, as well as the signature ‘bobsled’ ride through the dense foliage, the mountains offers a perfect tropical forest adventure tour.

Dolphin Cove: Jamaica’s premier marine attraction, it has all the makings of a great family adventure; offering the excitement of interacting with not only bottle-nose dolphins, but stingrays, snakes, iguanas and a host of colourful tropical birds as well. The magnificent Ocho Rios property has a natural cove which is surrounded by 5 acres of lush tropical rain forest. Visitors have the opportunity to interact and swim with dolphins, enjoying the thrill and love of these amazing lovable animals.

Kayaking and river tubing 
Kayaking and River Tubing down the White River: Kayaking and River Tubing down the tranquil White River in Ocho Rios is another popular activity. Experienced tubing guides will take you on a breathtaking three mile journey down the river. Kayaking is yet another adventurous option for the visitors. Your river ride by kayak takes you along the White River starting at The Old Spanish Bridge, from where you paddle your way through cascading rapids and crystal clear pools under a canopy of lush tropical vegetation.

Shaw Park Gardens 
Shaw Park Gardens: Often called the “garden parish”, St Ann overflows with colourful tropical flowers and lush greenery. A walk through these gardens reveals sculpted grounds with exotic plants, cool tropical rain forests brimming with countless species of ferns, up-close views of gushing waterfalls and rivers, and encounters with fish, birds and butterflies. High on the hills overlooking Ocho Rios, Shaw Park Gardens offers a breathtaking view of the seaside town surveying the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea.


Ocho Rios has some of nature’s best kept secrets in Jamaica. Visit and experience the marine treasures and adventure at this scenic destination.

Pic credit: Jamaica Tourist Board

Tuesday

Street style Indian fashion jewellery - traditional style statement rings - on Sale

Maharaja style, Indian traditional style statement rings
A diamond ring that gives a sparkle to the eye. An intricately designed neckpiece to bring a smile on your face. Gorgeous pair of earrings that make you walk tall, with your head held high and that stunning solitaire ring that is a symbol of an everlasting bond of love – jewellery can be anything and everything that adds a sparkle to a woman’s life.

As someone who loves accessorizing with jewellery, I believe a woman's choice in jewellery is the truest form of self-expression, a subtle reflection of who they are. So, here, through this blog, I will bring to you some of the most elegant street fashion jewellery collection, sourced from premium quality jewellery designers and dealers, all the way from India.

We at Eat.Explore.Shop know how much you love your jewellery, and a good piece deserves to be worn on multiple occasions. So, whatever the occasion, you can always rely on us to adorn you, the way you should be. Apart from jewellery, we are also bringing to you a stunning collection of intricately embroidered, colour popping handbags - exclusively for summers!

Check out the fresh from the street collection - Part I and order right away for a free UK delivery (England only). These pocket friendly prices won’t stay pocket friendly for long, so order now! To Order, leave your name, city/ county name and email address in comments below, and we will contact you.

This is just Part III - preview. Stay logged in for more stunning designs and styles coming your way!


TRADITIONAL INDIAN STATEMENT RINGS

Whether you are planning on coordinating with your favourite necklace or simply want to make a bold statement by rocking them separately, statement rings are an essential part of any outfit...




Traditional statement rings: Stunning, stone work statement rings, delicately set in with beads and golden motifs, for a show-stopping finishing touch to a special occasion outfit. Price: £5 each 

Pic credit: Suruchi Sharma Diwan 

Street style Indian fashion jewellery - Traditional earrings - on Sale

Traditional Indian earrings, popularly known as Jhumkas

A diamond ring that gives a sparkle to the eye. An intricately designed neckpiece to bring a smile on your face. Gorgeous pair of earrings that make you walk tall, with your head held high and that stunning solitaire ring that is a symbol of an everlasting bond of love – jewellery can be anything and everything that adds a sparkle to a woman’s life.

As someone who loves accessorizing with jewellery, I believe a woman's choice in jewellery is the truest form of self-expression, a subtle reflection of who they are. So, here, through this blog, I will bring to you some of the most elegant street fashion jewellery collection, sourced from premium quality jewellery designers and dealers, all the way from India.

We at Eat.Explore.Shop know how much you love your jewellery, and a good piece deserves to be worn on multiple occasions. So, whatever the occasion, you can always rely on us to adorn you, the way you should be. Apart from jewellery, we are also bringing to you a stunning collection of intricately embroidered, colour popping handbags - exclusively for summers!

Check out the fresh from the street collection - Part I and order right away for a free UK delivery (England only). These pocket friendly prices won’t stay pocket friendly for long, so order now! To Order, leave your name, city/ county name and email address in comments below, and we will contact you.

This is just Part II - preview. Stay logged in for more stunning designs and styles coming your way!


TRADITIONAL INDIAN EARRINGS/ JHUMKAS

Traditional Indian earrings, popularly known as Jhumkas, can add pop to any outfit, traditional as well as western. Very popular in the Northern part of India, Jhumkas are mostly handmade by the most skilled artisans...

Jhumka 1: These ultra light weight traditional Indian earrings are perfect to prep up any outfit. With intricate green and white meenakari work and stunning black beads, these jhumkas are a sure shot hit with traditional outfits. 
Price: £10

Jhumka 2: These ultra light weight traditional Indian earrings are your perfect go to companions to amp up the glam factor. Opulent, yet sophisticated, these stunning beaded jhumkas have an intricate green, black and red meenakari work and stunning green beads, making them look truly regal. 
Price: £10

Jhumka 3: Update your casual daytime look with the help of these unique earrings, set with stunning stonework. These black and green stone jhumkas with green beads can be worn with both traditional as well as Western outfits.
Price: £8

Jhumka 4: These ultra light weight traditional Indian earrings are perfect to prep up any outfit. Update your casual daytime look with the help of these unique earrings, set with stunning stonework. These black, red and green stone meenakari jhumkas in fish motif can be worn with both traditional as well as Western outfits.
Price: £8

Jhumka 4: These ultra light weight traditional Indian earrings are perfect for any and every occasion. Wear it to work or to a night out. Choose from Pure oxidized silver, to vintage gold or the good ol classic meenakari - these jhumkas are just the right size to amp up your look
Price: £5

Jhumka 5: Take your outfit from drab to fab with these ultra fashionable traditional Indian earrings. Made with gold wire and purple beads, these earrings are perfect for any and every occasion. 
Price: £5

Jhumka 6: Say hello to black and bold. These ultra light weight earrings are perfect for any and every occasion. Wear it to work or to a night out - these earrings are just the right size to amp up your look. Intricate design, metal finish and clasp lock. Price: £8

Pic credit: Suruchi Sharma Diwan 

Street style Indian fashion jewellery - traditional neckpieces - on Sale


Stunning street style Indian fashion jewellery
A diamond ring that gives a sparkle to the eye. An intricately designed neckpiece to bring a smile on your face. Gorgeous pair of earrings that make you walk tall, with your head held high and that stunning solitaire ring that is a symbol of an everlasting bond of love – jewellery can be anything and everything that adds a sparkle to a woman’s life.

As someone who loves accessorizing with jewellery, I believe a woman's choice in jewellery is the truest form of self-expression, a subtle reflection of who they are. So, here, through this blog, I will bring to you some of the most elegant street fashion jewellery collection, sourced from premium quality jewellery designers and dealers, all the way from India.

We at Eat.Explore.Shop know how much you love your jewellery, and a good piece deserves to be worn on multiple occasions. So, whatever the occasion, you can always rely on us to adorn you, the way you should be. Apart from jewellery, we are also bringing to you a stunning collection of intricately embroidered, colour popping handbags - exclusively for summers!

Check out the fresh from the street collection - Part I and order right away for a free UK delivery (England only). These pocket friendly prices won’t stay pocket friendly for long, so order now! To Order, leave your name, city/ county name and email address in comments below, and we will contact you. 

This is just Part I - preview. Stay logged in for more stunning designs and styles coming your way!

STATEMENT NECKPIECES


Update your casual daytime look with the help of these unique neckpieces, popped under a collar for an instant bout of dressed-down chic and maximum impact...


Bold Red 1: Bold statement neckpiece, adorned with tiny golden and red beads. Big red beads, green stones and coloured shells give this necklace a showstopping look. With an easy to tie black rope tie knot lock. Price: £20  


Bold Red 2: Bold statement neckpiece, in an unusual sweetheart shape adorned with tiny golden and black beads. The cylindrical red beads, along with bold green button studs make this necklace an all day wear. With an easy to tie, steadfast black rope tie knot lock. Price: £20  


Bold Red 3: Bold statement neckpiece, with a cute round center, carefully crafted with tiny golden and red beads. The green stone and button beads, along with stunning sea shells and an embroidered golden center of this statement neckpiece is sure to uplift any outfit. With an easy to tie, strong hold black rope tie knot lock. Price: £20


Bold Red 4: The most sought after statement neckpiece, in an unusual and interesting shape, adorned with tiny golden and red beads is sure to make heads turn. The stunning design and careful placement of colourful beads and shells give this neckpiece a bold and glamorous look. With an easy to tie, strong hold black rope tie knot lock. Price: £20

Pic credit: Suruchi Sharma Diwan 

Wednesday

Game of Thrones finale is coming - Who dies and How

Alas, this post is dark and full of potential spoilers…


The finale of Game of Thrones is always a dreaded one – you know, Ned Stark beheading, Red Wedding and Purple Wedding and so on. So, with the Season 5 finale not too far away, I’m sure we will see some or the other majorly beloved character having his/her head split open. While those who have read the books might have an idea as to what is coming (Winter, is it?) the lesser mortals like me, who have purposely refrained from reading the books to retain that element of surprise while watching the painstakingly addictive Game of Thrones, are bracing themselves up for what’s to come in the upcoming episode.

That takes us to the whole point behind this post. As a fan of ‘happily ever after’ (yes I love fairy tales, and yes, I have found my perfect prince charming) I too am dreading the finale, but I have prepared my mind by figuring out who all can die, and how, in the final episode – so that when I finally see that happening, my heart doesn’t go into the sinking mode. Clearly, the sinking process started after Princess Shireen was burned alive, by his own father, Stannis (urrghh) in Episode 9.

So here goes… who dies and how in the finale:
  • Arya finally gets to strike another name off of her list - Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard. Now that Arya in her ‘Lanna’ avatar has seen Meryn Trant in Braavos, she will seize the opportunity to kill Trant, probably at the local brothel, while he is trying to exploit another young girl. And as a tribute to her Water Dancing trainer Syrio Forel, she takes his head to Jaqen H'ghar, who in turn displays it at the House of Black and White. Win, Win! or Not. Maybe she will get punished for it. Time will tell. 
The dreamy: Jon Snow
  • Jon Snow has returned to Castle Black with all the wildlings, and Ser Alliser Thorne doesn’t look too happy about it. And if looks could tell, his looks spell trouble. There is a possibility that under pressure from his peers, for want of more food, more power or just general hate for the wildlings, Ser Alliser Thorne puts a knife in Jon’s heart. There you go, You seriously know nothing Jon Snow.
  • However, there is a twist in the tale – Soon after Jon’s death (which I’m hoping doesn’t happen, I so so love Jon Snow) the White Walkers attack Castle Black, and The Night’s King restores Jon back to life (as he did so with others in Episode 8) and makes him join his army. Jon Snow with blue eyes, might look cute. What say?
The ferocious: Tyene Sand
  • Doran Martell spoke about second chances, and Ellaria might just grab that chance. Now that Jamie is on his back foot, thinking about the truce between the Lannisters and the Dornes, happily taking Myrcella back to King’s Landing, Ellaria, with the help of her daughters, uses this opportunity to take revenge. She can't possibly kill Jamie, so she settles for the second best option - his daughter, Myrcella. A sick twist in the tale would be Bronn helping the Sand Snakes in executing their plan. After all he was saved by Tyene Sand – the most beautiful girl in the world (If you know what I mean *wink wink*)
  • Selyse tries to kill Melisandre for what she did to her daughter, Shireen, but being the red witch that she is, Melisandre burns Selyse alive for trying to kill her. Stannis continues to watch, and just watch, like he did when Shireen was burnt at the stake. Die, Stannis die!
  • Now that Theon aka Reek has told Sansa the truth about her brothers, there is a possibility that the two would grow close to each other, eventually helping each other from the clutches of Ramsey. We did see Sansa in a bold makeover at the end of Season 4, and there is hope that Season 5 finale might sprung a surprise in Sansa running away or better still, killing her tormentor Ramsey, with Theon’s help. Go Team Sansa. 
The royal partnership: Daenerys and Tyrion
  • And, the mother of all - Daenerys kills Tyrion and embarks on her journey to become the queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Now that she has the fire spitting Drogon by her side, Danny decides to go bad and what better way to do that than by killing Tyrion and avenging her father, The Mad King’s death? If not Jamie (the King Slayer) then Tyrion, big deal! Killing two birds with one stone, eh?
The untamed: Drogon
  •      Last but not the least, the Dragons go on a killing spree. What? you say. Well, we did see Daenerys' other two dragons breathing fire at her at the very beginning of Season 5, so it is all the more reason, the makers decide to end it all with the dragons killing one and all in Mereen. That will be one hell of a finale. The End!

These are my eight pointers. Which one do you think might come true? Have I left out any other plausible possibility? Leave your comments below.

Disclaimer: This is intended to be a light hearted, funny, hypothetical piece. Please do not get your blood boiled over any discrepancies or any hyperbole theories that are suggested in this post. It’s just intended for a good read. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday

Breakfast at Dishoom – A Bombay café in the heart of London


Dishoom, an original Bombay-styled cafe in Covent Garden
Being an Indian, I feel it’s my right to try out as many Indian eateries as possible and then tell my friends back home, which one in the UK matches which, back in India. Oh you know, the KFCs and the McDs in the UK are different from the ones we have in Delhi. There are no veg options available here! Ok, McDonald’s has one, but you get my point right?

Anyways, so I thought I’ve done lunches and dinners at a lot of places, how about trying out breakfast at some place new? That I happened to be standing right in front of Dishoom in Covent Graden at 10:15 am on a Tuesday morning, has nothing to do with my sudden decision making.

The relaxed and cool interiors at Dishoom
To be honest, I’ve been wanting to go to this place, ever since I got to know that there is a restaurant named Dishoom. The word Dishoom means ‘kapow’ or a ‘blow’ in Bollywood language. Something that you hear when a hero throws a punch at the villain or vice-versa. So, just for the love of this word and for my love of 70s Hindi films, I wanted to visit this restaurant that boasts of paying homage to the original ‘Bombaiya’ cafes as we call it.

The old adverts (here) and the crisscross white and black flooring (below) at Dishoom 


Thankfully, there were no long queues to stand in, and I was given a choice to sit either at the shiny marble-top round tables or at the comfy, old café style big sofas. I choose the shiny marble-top. Dishoom is a cool restaurant with an elegant interior. The walls are plastered with old Bollywood movie and movie stars posters and vintage-style adverts. The discreet lighting and black and white tiled floors, evokes a throw-back canteen feel.

The staff was extremely friendly, and attended to me immediately, handing out the menu and sharing the specials, but were manically over-attentive. For some unknown reason, they all always stood huddled together, talking in hushed tones, near the open-kitchen.

Breakfast Menu
As soon as I saw Bun Maska in the menu, I knew what I wanted to order. The Bun Maska is a Bombay classic, eaten almost everywhere. The bun is toasted hot on the outside, with a slice of butter inside and is enjoyed best by dunking the hot bun in your spicy or masala chai.

Bun Maska with spicy tea
I have to admit, the Bun Maska at Dishoom did disappoint me a little. I was hoping for the authentic fresh brioche bun, filled with a generous butter spread. What I got was a super toasted bun, almost charred on top and filled with a slice of butter. However, the spicy chai covered it up for me. It was the perfect masala chai. I enjoyed it so much, I ordered two. 

Nankhatai biscuits 
Their selection of sweet Nankhatai biscuits, sprinkled with sunflower seeds, and salted Jeera biscuits, with cumin seeds, was absolutely heavenly.

Egg Naan Roll 
Next I ordered the Egg Naan Roll, and trust you me, my taste buds were in for a surprise party. The naan came wrapped around two fried eggs, with runny yolk, chilli jam, cream cheese and spicy green herbs. Warm and gratifying, the Egg Naan Roll was such a flavour party, I tell you.

With such variety in budget prices, I really wanted to try some more, but as I was running short on time, I couldn’t. However, my friend, who is a regular at Dishoom vouches for their Bacon Naan Roll and Chole Frankie. She says, they are the best ever.

Next time, I coming for Chole Frankie and Breakfast Lassi. 

Friday

All about SALE - Top 5

Who doesn't love sales? I know I do. The rush of the discounts, the eye-catching display in the windows, the screaming placards announcing Up to 60, 70, 80% off! Oh bliss! 



So, this new post is about SALE!! Personally, I wait for these Autumn/Winter, Fall Summer, Spring/Summer sales. Why? Because you get everything cheaper, duh! The same coat that you saw in Zara for £39.99, will be made available to you for half the price at £19.59. Who cares if you need it or not. It just feels right at that price. Those shoes, oh well, "I already have a rack full of shoes," you argue with yourself, but when you see that 70% off sign, the same pair just starts to feel like a necessity. If you share these sentiments, don't feel bad, or feel alone. I'm 100% with you in this. (Like a soul sister, if that helps!) 

So, I thought of sharing this exciting news of current sales that are going on at some of my favourite brands. However, a disclaimer first: Although various brands and their products are mentioned and featured in this post I have not been paid by any of these brands to write this article and will not be receiving any payment for the publishing of this article. Please do not feel I am pushing any form of marketing upon you - the reader – instead I am just sharing what I think is a good bargain. Everything you read in this article are my own words and are not in any way affiliated with any of the brands mentioned below.




Now, let’s start with my absolute favourite - House of Fraser. It is my 'go to' shop for absolutely everything. Starting from apparels to shoes; kitchenware to home accessories; make-up to electricals - you will find everything under one roof. And how amazing will that be if all that you need is put up on a clearance sale? Yes, House of Fraser is offering up to 70% off clearance sale on dresses, dining & glassware and up to 50% off on knitwear, bags & luggage. There is also a 20-50% off on shoes, boots, beauty products and accessories. Kids, don't ya feel left out. There is a massive up to 60% off on kids clothing, toys and nursery goods. 

Here's how you can reach House of Fraser 

Next comes my second best favourite - Marks & Spenser. Have you noticed how they have gone all chic and cool and colourful, over the past 2-3 years? It's no longer the shop for dull and boring people (no offence). M&S has had a makeover and how! The store is currently offering a flat 20% off on knitwear and dresses and skirts. However, if you love M&S, I would strongly recommend signing up at their website for latest offers. They almost fortnightly do a one-day online sale, offering various discounts to their online customers. And trust me, it is worth registering. 

Here's how you can reach Marks & Spenser

In my top 5, the third position is taken by H&M. Their products are cool, hip, interesting and most of all affordable. So, it comes as an even greater joy when H&M puts a sale. Check out their cool jumpers, currently on up to 70% off. Their dresses too are on sale, making them a catch. Kids - again, you guys can have the coolest accessories starting from just £2. 

Here's how you can reach H&M



Now, moving on from clothes to shoes. I absolutely adore stuff from schuh. From slick slip-ons to trainers to boots to sandals, you can be sure to find an interesting display of collection. They also do bags (love their duffel bags), caps, bum bags and shoe care products. They are running an up to 80% off in their store on shoes, boots, uggs and trainers. Hey students, you are in for a treat. You guys get an additional 10% discount :) 

Here's how you can reach schuh

And last, but not the least, Office. They always have the most awesome collection ever, however the price is always on the higher side (for me at least!). So, I can't wait for the time when they put their collection on sale. Coz, that is the only time that I can afford to buy anything from that store (ironic, isn't it). So Office has a 70% off going on on selected boots, whereas there is an up to 50% off on spring styles. Mens smart shoes are £35 and under, whereas you can get your hands on a Vans pair for £25. 

Here's how you can reach office

Have I missed any of your favourite brands that are on sale? Let me know. I will add them to my list. Maybe pay them a visit too :) 

The beats of the ghatam

TH Vinayakram

Rhythm has always been a quintessential facet of Indian classical music, including the Carnatic tradition. In the contemporary generation of percussionists, perhaps no other individual has mastered the intricacies of the ghatam to the degree that Padma Shri TH Vinayakram, affectionately known as Vikku, has.

A Grammy award-winning artiste, Vinayakram gained worldwide recognition with his virtuoso work with the ghatam. I got an opportunity to meet Vinayakram and his son Selvaganesh, at the World Percussion Festival, where he performed with his group Sapthaakshara. Excerpts from a quick chat with Selva:  

"Our main criterion, whenever we perform, is to engage the audience through our music. We ask them to participate by making them give us a dhun or a beat, which we improvise on and present a jugalbandi," says V Selvaganesh. 



Selvaganesh earned worldwide recognition as a percussionist through tours with English guitarist John McLaughlin's group Shakti, of which his father was also a member. In his opinion, fusion music is an experiment, while percussion is an art. "Youngsters today are more focused on fusion music. Fusion is not bad, but the problem is that they get into fusion music before getting enough exposure or experience in that one form of music they want to experiment with," says Selvaganesh, who also performs as a part of Sapthaakshara. 

About the role of technology in music, Selvaganesh says, "Technology has played both a good and a bad part when it comes to classical music. The bad part is that anything and everything is now available online; people have stopped coming to concerts or purchasing CDs. The good part, however, is that it has helped widen the reach of our music. People are becoming aware and the concept of virtual classes is gaining popularity." However, he adds a note of caution, saying, "No matter how advanced we become, the internet or technology cannot replace the knowledge that a guru can give you. The presence and guidance of a guru is essential, especially in learning the ghatam." 

Monday

What is a credit score?

What you pay for a mortgage, your car insurance, even your mobile phone contract, most likely depends on three-digits you probably don't even know…


 
Thank you for your recent application to XYZ Bank. Unfortunately, after careful review of your application, we must decline your request at this time.
Do these words follow you whenever you apply for credit cards, or try to get car insurance? How about when you apply for home loan or car loan? Are you having nightmares about your financial future trying to understand a three-digit number called credit score and how it is calculated?

Well, let us start by telling you that your credit score is something that can either cost or save you thousands of pounds. However for that to happen, you must understand the ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of a credit score. Read on…

What is a credit score?
Say you are planning to buy a home, and for that you approach a bank for loan. As a responsible lender, the bank would want to make sure that you can comfortably afford to manage any new borrowing. Of course, they would also try to make some money off of you. To do so, they would need to evaluate all the relevant information regarding your financial behaviour at their disposal. This is where the credit score comes in. It provides them with all your credit history and helps them to assess the chances that you will be able to repay what you owe.

Simply put, a credit score is a tool used by banks to determine your eligibility for credit cards and loans and by insurance companies to determine if you are a good credit risk. Most of the times, landlords and potential employers also take this information into account, while finalising a probable candidate. Hence, if there is any three-digit numbers that hold so much power, it is this number.
Divided into categories, ranging from very poor (0-560) to fair (721-880) to excellent (961-999), your credit score defines your financial worthiness. People with a high score are generally seen as lower risk, and are therefore more likely to be granted credit - and most likely at better rates.

How is it calculated?  
Contrary to popular notion, your personal or professional information such as age, race, marital status, income and employment don't affect the score. However, there are a number of key components that can either make or break your credit score. Here are the five major ones:

Payment history: Making payments boosts your score, while missing payments destroys it.
Amounts owed: Debt can hurt your score, though installment loans (like student loans) are actually beneficial if you keep up with your payments.

Length of credit history: Old accounts earn more trust, whereas new accounts are regarded with suspicion. This means that a late payment on a two-year-old account will hurt your score more than if you’d had the card for two decades.
Types of credit used: Different kinds of credit impact your score in different ways. For instance, a credit card from a national bank carries more weight than one from a department store.

New credit: Multiple requests for credit, including credit inquiries and number of recently opened accounts in a short period of time mean you are a greater risk.
Apart from this, your electoral roll information and court records are also taken into account while calculating your credit score.

There are three major credit bureaus in UK - Equifax, Experian and CallCredit - which issue credit scores. These commercial organisations compile all information about you and supply that to a lender when you apply for credit. Since each pulls information from a slightly different network of lenders to compile its own report, the scores mostly vary from bureau to bureau.

Where can I find my credit score?
You have a statutory right to get your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, each year, for a nominal fee of £2. You can even opt for a free 30-day trial with either Equifax or Experian and check your credit score online. Bookmark these links for future use:




Useful advice
With identity theft becoming the buzz word in today’s Digital age, you should check your credit report regularly and report inconsistencies immediately. Elements on your credit report that don’t belong to you or mistakes such as wrong name or an old address, happen more often than you might think and can have adverse effects on your credit score.

While applying for loans or insurance, your score can mean the difference between a reasonable or outrageous interest rate, as well as the difference between an affordable or unbearable insurance rate, so take it very seriously.
Always check your credit report/ score after rejection so that you don’t fall into the nightmare scenario of the rejection spiral. Once rejected, go through your report carefully for errors and get them corrected, else you will be vetoed, again, not because of any error, but because of ‘recent searches’. 

Even though a credit score is derived from your financial history, it works towards predicting your future financial behaviour. So while, a poor history counts against you, having little or no credit history is equally bad, as it makes predictions less certain.
Never pay for a credit repair company. If you see these advertised, avoid them. If you are struggling and need personalised, professional help, see a non-profit debt counselling agency like Citizens Advice Bureau, Civil Legal Advice or StepChange Debt Charity.

And finally, instead of obsessing about your credit score, understand that good spending will be rewarded and bad spending will be penalised. Be logical, sometimes frugal and be smart. Learn the important elements – such as pay on time, keep your debts low, eliminate discrepancies and stick with your old bank and credit cards – and develop habits that will keep your credit score high for years to come. It is that simple.

 

Tuesday

Oscars 2015: Complete list of winners

 
 
Honouring the best cinematic talent from Hollywood, the 87th Academy Awards or the Oscars have finally wrapped up. Presented in 24 different categories, the winners for the most coveted film awards have been announced, putting an end to the suspense. While The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman faced a tie bagging four awards each, Whiplash managed to pick three trophies. Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything and Julianne Moore for Still Alice have been named Best Actor and Actress in a Leading Role.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Best Picture
Birdman
 
 
Michael Keaton in Birdman


Actress in a Leading Role Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Actor in a Leading Role
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Directing
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman

Actress in a Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Actor in a Supporting Role
JK Simmons, Whiplash

Foreign Language FilmIda

Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Writing - Original Screenplay
Alejandro G Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr & Armando Bo, Birdman

Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Music - Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup and Hairstyling
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Costume Design
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Music - Original Song
John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn for 'Glory' from Selma

Visual Effects
Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, Interstellar

Documentary Short Subject
Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Documentary Feature
Citizen Four

Film Editing
Tom Cross, Whiplash

Sound Editing
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper

Sound Mixing
Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, Whiplash

Production Design
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), The Grand Budapest Hotel

Short Film - Live Action
The Phone Call

Short Film - Animated
Feast

Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6

Sunday

Presenters and performances@ Oscars 2015

Here's the skinny on all the presenters and performances at Oscars 2015.

Drool factor: Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Leto





Source: Twitter (Hadley Freeman, The Guardian)

Awesome actors who've never won an Oscar


Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp- Being an A-List celebrity who has been immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame doesn’t guarantee an Oscar. Nor does winning a Golden Globe award. Johnny Depp’s films have raked in millions at the Box Office but it’s baffling as to why the actor has never walked away with the golden statue. His performances in Sweeney Todd, Finding Neverland and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was exemplary and Depp got nominated thrice for an Oscar for all three films. But Johnny Depp hasn’t been lucky. What does it take an actor of his caliber to clinch the coveted award?

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio: He’s smart, handsome and exceptionally talented. That’s Leonardo DiCaprio for you. The actor and producer started his career with TV commercials before doing soap operas like Santa Barbara and Growing Pains. Films naturally followed. Leonardo has established himself in Hollywood with films like Titanic, Romeo + Juliet. The Beach and Catch Me If You Can to name a few. Gangs of New York, Blood Diamond, The Aviator, Inception and The Departed only added to his success. But this Golden Globe winner has never been a recipient of the prestigious Oscar award. Leonardo has been nominated thrice. Films like Blood Diamond, The Aviator and What's Eating Gilbert Grape got him an Oscar nod but not the award. Wonder what causes a talented actor to miss the judges’ eyes. If not Leonardo, then who is the Oscar award fit for?

Richard Gere

Richard Gere: Humanitarian and actor Richard Gere has never won an Oscar and the reasons are obvious. Richard Gere is a Buddhist convert and a staunch supporter of the Dalai Lama. The Pretty Woman actor was banned the Academy 20 years ago when he took to the Oscars stage and used the podium to talk against the Chinese Government. Gere is known to take the cause of Tibetans in exile. Not only was the actor banned from setting foot on the Oscar stage, but he was also banned by the Chinese government from entering China for the stance he took. The actor took to the stage this year to perform a musical with his Chicago co stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones and Queen Latifah. But will the Academy forgive him and concentrate on his films rather than his stance to make him eligible for the prestigious award?

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise- It comes a shock rather than a surprise that Hollywood’s highest paid and one of the most successful stars has never won an Oscar! The Mission Impossible series star, whose career spans three decades in Hollywood, is considered as one of the top 100 movie stars of all time, a feat that is difficult to accomplish. Over and over again, Tom Cruise has been voted as one of the world’s 50 most beautiful people and remains an influential figure in Hollywood. Cruise was nominated thrice for an Oscar for his roles in films like Magnolia, Jerry Maguire and Born on the Fourth of July. Did the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences think otherwise?


Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt-In spite of being a heart throb for millions, an actor of Brad Pitt’s caliber has never walked away wit the golden statue. Interestingly, Pitt who has played a myriad of characters over the years has been nominated three times for an Oscar for the films The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Twelve Monkeys and Moneyball. Although Pitt has won other prestigious awards like the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for the same film (Twelve Monkeys) that also got him nominated for an Oscar, he wasn’t lucky there. It comes as a surprise as to why is one of Hollywood’s most popular and highest paid actors snubbed by The Academy?