Posts by Hobby Steve

Beginners Guide To Singing

Singing

What is singing?

Singing is producing sounds, of the musical type using the vocal chords. A person who sings is called a singer or sometimes vocalist.

There are many types of music a singer can perform and they are often accompanied by instruments or “backing tracks”

Some singing types are gospel, pop, opera, rock and reggae.

Singers who perform as a career choice usually will pick one type of music genre and train their voice around it.

History of singing

Singing is known to be the earliest type of music. At the very beginning when people sang the lyrics were never wrote down but passed on.

Songs at the very beginning usually told a story or important information about culture, events and history.

Most commonly in the middle ages, singing was used as a way of chanting in religious practices.

In the 14th century western vocal music grew from a simple mono-tonal chant to more complex harmonies and arrangements. Singing with the help of instruments took over.

As musical compositions and structure advanced around Europe so did the songs, they quickly entered theatres in the form of opera and musical plays. Composers began to write songs that would be performed in concert halls.

Vocal music in Europe spread influence to other countries like the United States of America.

In some countries to this day they pass on their folk songs, one generation to the next, without them ever being wrote down.

Beginners Singing - The History of Singing

Beginners Singing

Beginners singing I believe is about finding your voice, your range and basically staying in tune. If you can do this then you’re half way there.

When beginning your singing journey don’t run before you can walk. You will need to find your singing voice, your pitch and your vocal range.

The 5 Basics Components of Singing

Singing is entirely made up of 5 very basic components so as you’re a beginner lets take a look at each one in a little depth.

1) Breathing

Your breathing is the very core of your singing and it’s the first thing you will want to practice.

Breathing is a very natural occurrence as you will know, something you do without a second thought. The way we breath normally and the way we want to breath when singing are slightly different. First you will want to learn how we breathe, then you will want to practice creating the foundation breathing for your singing voice.

Check out the guide to breathing for singing.

2) Pitch

At some point we’ve all heard someone singing out of tune or perhaps we ourselves have sang a song off key.

Getting the pitch right is very important for a good singing voice.  When we sing we create a pitch, this is the high or low frequency of a sound the vocal chords produce while vibrating at a specific speed.

A singer will have to hit various pitches with an amount of accuracy in a song, these coincide with notes and will determine if the song is sang well or not. These pitches will also need to be in tune with instruments or other singers.

Good practice to begin with is to learn how to recognise pitches.

3) Diction

Most songs will be telling a story or sharing feelings through the lyrics so it is very important that your audience can understand them clearly.

This is achieved with good ‘singing diction’ learning how to pronounce words while singing using techniques like tongue placement, mouth shapes and breathing.

Via lyrics you can connect with an audience. Good diction can mean the difference between a good or bad performance.

4) Rhythm 

In every song we listen to it has a beat pattern. You’re going to need to keep your singing in time with the rhythm.

Try to learn how to determine the various beat patterns, and sing along in time keeping up with the basic tempo.

4. Voice

Voice and our vocal cords are an essential component of singing.

Learn how to understand the voice and vocal cords, having this knowledge will assist you in developing good singing habits and to sound as great as possible.

Basic singing terminology

As you’re a beginner singer it’s good practice to learn the basic music terminology, this will help you understand while trying to learn.

There are a vast range of musical terms that are used to guide the musician when singing or playing a song.

The below terms are only touching on singing terminology, for a more in depth list check out the full glossary of singing terms.

Acapella

To sing without any music backing.

Allegro

A faster more lively upbeat tempo.

Alto

Lowest voice (female) in a choir group.

Andante

A moderate pace.

Ballad

A romantic song of a slower tempo.

Baritone

A male singing voice of mid range.

Bass

The lowest male singing voice.

Beat

A main accent/rhythmic unit used in a musical composition.

Bridge

The transitional passage of a piece of music that connects 2 different sections of a song, you’ll usually hear the bridge after the chorus.

Chorus

The main part of a song often repeated numerous times.

Duet

Usually a song with 2 parts sang by separate singers, often will have sections sang together in harmony.

Encore

When more songs are requested after a set by the audience, usually this is a sign of the audiences enjoyment.

Falsetto

A weaker voice, more commonly higher pitch.

Harmony

2 or more notes played together that create a lovely harmonic sound. Usually found backing up a solo singer.

Interval

The distance measured in pitch between two notes.

Key

The group of pitches and scale that forms the foundations of a song or composition.

Legato

To sing or play a song smoothly.

Medley

1 song made of many songs leading into one another.

Octave

2 notes that are 8 complete tones apart, giving indication the beginning and the end of a scale.

Pentatonic Scale

A musical scale that consists of 5 basic tones.

Pre-Chorus

The part of a song that is usually before the chorus and after the verse.

Quartet

4 musicians performing a song of 4 parts.

Rest

To stop singing for the note duration.

Scale

The musical term that refers to the notes of a key that will either ascend or descend in a specific pattern.

Semitone

Half of a tone.

Solo

To sing a song alone.

Soprano

The highest of classical female singing voices.

Stacatto

To sing in a short detached way.

Tempo

The speed of a song.

Tenor

The 2nd highest male singing voice in classical music.

Tone

A steady periodic sound. A tone is usually determined by its duration, pitch and intensity (or loudness)

Treble

The highest part in harmonized music.

Tune

The melody for voices and a succession of musical notes.

Verse

Usually the first part of a song which leads into a chorus.

Vibrato

A slight pitch variation during a prolonged note giving a more varied sound.

 

Beginners Breathing Exercises For Singing

The Straw Breathing Exercise

A very simple beginners exercise to help develop your singing breathing skills is the straw breathing method. You can practice this exercise while standing or sitting it’s your choice.

  1. To begin with imagine you are about to inhale through a straw, take a breath through the mouth with this imaginary straw and slowly count to four in your head.
  2. Keep your imaginary straw in your mouth and straight after you have inhaled start to exhale while again slowly counting to four.
  3. Try to keep a continuous steady pace of inhaling and exhaling, as soon as you have inhaled for the count of four exhale and vica versa.  Repeat this procedure 3 times.
  4. When you begin to feel comfortable take a very short break and start again each time making the imaginary straw smaller and if you feel confident increase the times you inhale and exhale for. Go from 4 seconds to 6, to 8 to 10.

Notes: Remember to decrease the size of your imaginary straw and increase the inhale and exhale counts as you become more confident with this exercise.

Yoga Style Breathing

Yoga is very much about breathing and relaxing. We can use yoga to help us practice our breathing skills. Again it’s your choice whether you are standing or sitting when performing this exercise.

  1. Find a peaceful place at home or outdoors.
  2. Shut your eyes and relax, focus only on your mind and breathing. Try to shut out all distractions.
  3. Once you are comfortable and feel relaxed begin to inhale gently and slowly through the nose until you believe you’re about a quarter of the way through your total lung capacity, then hold your breath in for around 6 to 10 seconds.
  4. Do not begin to exhale, instead continue to inhale until you reach halfway of your lung capacity then again hold your breath for 6 to 10 seconds.
  5. Continue this procedure to 75% and then 100% and remember not to exhale and to hold for 6 to 10 seconds at each.
  6. Next very slowly using your mouth exhale your full breath. Once you have finished with your exhaling open your eyes.
  7. Breathe again normally and then repeat this exercise a couple more times.

Note: Make sure you are relaxed and remember to hold your breath at 25, 50, 75 and 100% of your lung capacity.

The Best Beginners Vocal Warm Ups

Before performing it’s a very well known fact that you should warm up your vocals.

It’s good practice to do this before every performance or attempting to sing a song.

Here’s some of the more popular vocal warm ups used by both professionals and amateurs around the world. They are popular because they truly help!

As you would be expected to warm up your muscles before you was to exercise or compete in a sporting event, you should always warm up your vocal’s. Completing the warm ups can help to broaden your vocal range, protect you against damage of the vocal chords and generally give you a better voice.

Solfege

You’ve probably heard the scale Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do being used before, this is what they call a solfege scale. It’s a very popular warm up for a reason. Today we will just touch on the beginners solfege scale and warm up but when you are confident you can advance with the scales and go on to more difficult solfege exercises.

Follow the video below for a beginners basic solfege scale.

 

Siren Vocal Warm Up

Imagine making a siren noise with your voice, one example of this vocal warm up is the “NG” siren. Using the “NG” sound as a siren helps to warm up the vocal chords, it’s a gradual exercise which will help avoid you stressing out your voice. It uses both chest and head voice.

Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth which in turn should cause some “back-pressure” If you are doing it correctly you should feel the sound from the back of your mouth to the roof of your mouth.

Start making a siren noise using the “ng” sound, start from a low note and go up the scale, then back down again. Try to go to the highest note you can.


Lip vibrating (Trills)

Lip vibrating or also commonly known as the “Lip Trill” or “Lip Bubbles” are perhaps one of the most effective and useful vocal warm ups for beginners and pros alike.

Rather than me try to explain this step by step the following video explains all you will need to know about the lip trill and how to successfully carry this exercise out.

 

You can check out our beginners singing tips here for some great ways to drastically improve your singing voice.

Recommended online beginners singing course

I would always recommend singing lessons if you want to increase your singing skills. One to one lessons are always going to be the most effective as your vocal coach can assess where you need development, however, some of us just don’t have the luxury of time. There are many online courses available to help you increase your singing skills, some of them are fantastic. So in this article we will just touch on one of the most recommended on the internet.

Singorama

Singorama is an online course which is suitable for all levels, from beginner to professional the course will help improve breathing techniques, vocal range and give you a huge boost in confidence.

The Singorama course even comes with its own free software which allows you to record yourself.

The course takes you on a journey from beginner to pro and discusses breathing exercises and techniques, theory, harmonies, scales, posture and stage presence in depth. There are numerous lessons that take you through each section of the course and topic.

In total there are 28 different audio lessons, a pdf workbook, recording studio software and much more so as far as online singing courses go Singorama really does have it all. It’s been well received and there are many positive testimonials from people just like you and I stating that the course really helped them improve.

 

Check out the Singorama Course here

Singing FAQ

Where do I breathe from when singing my nose or mouth?

This highly depends on the style of music you are singing for classical singers some believe that breathing through the nose is more effective because it slightly warms the air as we inhale stopping you from drying your voice out. As a pop singer though It will be easier to breathe through the mouth.

Why do I run out of breath when singing? 

This is probably down to you not using your chest voice for singing. If you are running out of breath still while singing then you should continue to practice the breathing exercises mentioned in this article.

How do I increase my vocal range?

With practice and performing the exercises and warm ups previously mentioned in this article. You should gradually increase your range opposed to trying to quickly. You should perform scales gradually and do these as a daily exercise to increase your vocal range.

Why do I yawn when singing?

This I believe is down to a lack of oxygen however on the flip side it can be a good sign that you are doing things right and singing from the right place. Due to the soft palate raising when we yawn your mouth and body making the association with that. When raising your soft palate you will yawn, which is not a bad thing. Continue doing what you are doing eventually your body will get used to it.

 

Binaural Beats For Astral Projection

Binaural Beats

What are Binaural Beats?

Binaural Beats are two frequencies of sound are given to separate ears.

This creates a kind of auditory illusion by making the two frequencies of sound ever so slightly different.

The word Binaural is made up of “Bi” meaning two and “aural” which relates to the ear and sense of hearing.

To help you simply understand how Binaural beats work imagine when you strum two guitar strings together as you are tuning it. Once these sound frequencies get close on the strings of the guitar a slow pulsing beat can be heard.

The theory behind Binaural Beats can be rather difficult to grasp, but don’t worry it’s not all that important if you are here for Astral Projection and Lucid dreaming.

Let me just quickly explain the theory and how we calculate and we can move on.

To calculate the rate and frequency of a beat we must work out the difference in the two frequencies that are being played.

If you are listening to 2 frequencies one at 210Hz and one at 220Hz, then the beats per second would be 10 or 10Hz.

Binaural Beats and The Brain

To understand Binaural beats and how they effect the brain we must first understand how brain waves do.

Brain Waves and the brain

Rhythms Binaural BeatsThoughts, behavioral reaction and emotions are the results of neurons in the brain and electrical impulses (signals)

A large number of neurons are released together with the same pattern and rhythm these are synchronized and ultimately create what we know as “brain waves”

Brain waves vary in speed and sound frequency, from slow to fast, to low and high amplitudes & frequencies.

Brain waves can be categorized into 5 different major functions.

For Astral projection, there are only 2 types of waves that are relevant.

Delta and Theta waves.

Delta Waves are slow and loud and run from a frequency of around 0.5 to 3Hz. They are related to deep meditation, dreamless sleep and self-healing.

Theta Waves run from a frequency of about 3 – 8Hz and have been found to be related to meditation, intuition, creativity, the subconscious, dreaming and spatial navigation.

Various levels of these brain waves are released constantly at any given time.

What do Binaural Beats Do To Our Brains?

Different parts of the brain have different functions and purposes, the part we will talk about first is called the superior olivary complex. This can be found in the brainstem and will determine the direction of sounds.

The superior olivary complex performs an “entrainment” after synchronizing the different neurons.

So when binaural beats are played through the ear the brain then sends the sounds and frequency to the superior olivary complex which in turn creates change in brain waves.

Binaural beats can increase the strength of brain waves, which effectively will enhance or decrease emotional and other functions.

Benefits of Binaural Beats

  • Help with Anxiety – In a study with 15 volunteers, binaural beats that were played for 30 minutes in the theta range helped reduce anxiety.
  • Centre your attention – In studies using Gamma and Beta binaural beats students enhanced sustained attention and attention to visual details.
  • Lift your mood – Listening to 30 Minutes of Theta beats helped to decrease stress, fatigue and confusion in a study of 8 volunteers.
  • Ease Pain – A scientific study took 28 participants who suffer from chronic pain and made them listen to theta beats, the results showed that the pain was decreased.
  • Increase Memory – Listening to just 15 minutes of Theta binaural beats increased short-term verbal memory in a study of 20 participants. Working & Long Term memory were also dramatically increased using other binaural beats.
  • Help with meditation – Just 30 minutes of theta binaural beats increased the brain activity that is associated with meditation and a deep meditative state. This was carried out in a controlled study of 28 volunteers.
  • Improve sleep behavior – Theta Binaural beats improved sleep quality in a study of 15 participants.

It’s fair to say that binaural beats have been scientifically proven to have many positive effects.

Can Binaural Beats Help With Astral Projection?

So this is what this article has been leading to, this is what you have arrived here for! Let’s get to it.

Many people will tell you that Binaural beats can induce lucid dreaming or astral projection, this is simply not true. With that being said they can and will help you with astral projection.

In order to perform a successful astral projection, you will need to know how to astrally project and have at least practised the basic methods first.

Not only the knowledge of astral projection plays an important part but other aspects in your life to like a healthy diet, good sleep patterns, regular meditation etc

So if you are thinking of binaural beats as a shortcut into astral projection think again! Binaural beats will only assist and guide you. The rest is down to you.

The Beginners Guide To Astral Projection

Click here for our FREE astral projection beginners guide.

Are binaural beats dangerous?

Because binaural beats change the way our brains work and think for a short period of time there is often worries of danger.

However, binaural beats pose no danger whatsoever and are perfectly safe.

Do not obviously use binaural beats to astrally project while driving along a motorway though.

How do I use binaural beats for astral projection?

Often people will start by searching for binaural beats on music or video hosting sites like YouTube, Dailymotion or Spotify. You will find the right beats on them, what you won’t find though is the right quality.

If you are serious about using binaural beats for astral projection then you should look at using a professionally created and recorded beat.

We’ve found some great binaural beats at Ennora. They also have ones specifically for Astral Projection.

If you would like to listen to many different Binaural beats for free then you can sign up to Amazon unlimited here. This will give you access not only to Binaural beats for astral projection but binaural beats for other purposes, along with access to millions of songs.

TIP: Use headphones – It is important to use stereo headphones. This is due to the binaural beats using different sounds and frequencies. Alternating sounds are played through each side of the headphones. This can only be possible in stereo. Headphones will also allow you to block out background noise and distractions.

To use the binaural beats to assist you when you want to astral project simply go about your techniques the same way as you have learnt. Put your stereo headphones on and press play then carry out your usual technique.

There is no special way of using the binaural beats for astral projection just use them as an aid. Relax and listen while following out the steps from our beginner’s guide or whatever has worked for you in the past.

Binaural Beats and Astral Projection Summary

So to summarise this article of how binaural beats can help with astral projection:

  • Invest in quality binaural beats not free ones from media sites.
  • Use stereo headphones to listen to your beats.
  • Relax and carry out your astral projection technique as you usually would while listening to the beats.
  • Binaural beats do not induce astral projection but simply guide and assist.
  • Binaural beats are safe and not dangerous providing you are at home relaxed laid down when using them.
  • Binaural beats work much better when following a healthy lifestyle and with some experience in meditation.

Links & Resources

Best Binaural Beats For Astral Projection Here >>>

Beginners Guide To Cigar Smoking

Cigars

Warning: Smoking is not advisory, it is a very dangerous habit that comes with serious health warnings. We do not endorse smoking.

What are cigars?

Cigars are similar to cigarettes, they are rolled using tobacco leaves that have been left to dry and ferment.

Cigars are created in various sizes and shapes. For the purpose of this guide though we are going to be talking about the classic large cigar in general.

History of Cigars

It is often said that Christopher Columbus is responsible for introducing tobacco products to Europe.

In the 1400’s Christopher and his crewmen first experienced tobacco on the island of Haiti, which was known as Hispaniola back then.

Cigars and tobacco were also encountered in Cuba, where Columbus and his crew and had settled for a while. There were reports of the first types of cigar which were fairly primitive and were made by rolling dried tobacco leaves up in a palm leaf.

The popularity of smoking cigars spread rather quickly and soon European and Spanish sailors were smoking. Soon after it spread to Spain, Portugal and France.

Once smoking had hit France Jean Nicot had given his name to nicotine.

Fast forward a little and the use of tobacco had spread to Italy and when Sir Walter Raleigh ventured to the Americas it spread over to Britain. By the mid-16th century, it had spread to most corners of the world and pipe smoking became increasingly popular.

The Spaniards were the first to open up a cigar factory in Cuba in the mid 1500’s.

Some even believed that tobacco was good for you with many medicinal qualities, but Philip the 2nd and James 1st did not believe this and thought it was evil. They denounced smoking.

Israel Putnam allegedly brought back a large amount of Havana cigars during the Seven Years War which contributed to the popularity of cigar smoking in the USA just after the Revolution. He is also believed to have brought back Cuban seeds which were planted in Hartford and thus was born the popular Connecticut Wrapper.

Believe it or not, cigar smoking was much more popular than cigarettes at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th.

To view the full history of cigars then have a read of this.

History Of Cigars

Beginners Cigar Smoking

Believe it or not, cigar smoking is classed as a hobby and is a lot more popular than you would have thought!

Although I have to stress the dangers of smoking and would not recommend you begin this hobby, it can be very relaxing.

Cigar smoking is also a great way to socialise with others and a traditional way of celebrating.

Parts of a Cigar

Before one can become a true cigar smoker, then one should know more about a cigar! Let’s take a look at what makes up a cigar.

Wrapper

The wrapper is the leaf that is wrapped around the tobacco inside and is the only part of the cigar that should be seen.

The wrapper is arguably one of the most important aspects of flavor and aroma.

It’s also the only leaf that is seen so has to be the right color.

Here’s a very well written Cigar Wrapper Guide, should you want to learn more.

Binder

The wrapper is very delicate and thin to ensure the optimum taste this means that it’s not strong enough to hold in place the cigars contents. So they have to use a “Binder” leaf.

The binder leaf is usually stronger and has the sole purpose of holding everything in place.

Binder leaves usually have a very little amount of aroma or flavor and also contribute to the consistency in which the cigar burns.

As the wrapper is both fragile and delicate, it isn’t strong enough to hold the cigar’s contents on its own. Therefore, a coarser leaf is often selected to securely hold everything in place.

Head

The head is the part that you put in your mouth, this is often capped.

Band 

The Cigar band is usually made of paper or foil and loops around the cigar.

This is to tell you the brand or variety of cigar.

Foot

The part which you cut and light is called the foot.

Body/Barrel

The space in between the head and foot of the cigar.

What do I need as a beginner cigar smoker?

Quality Cigars

Check out the websites at the bottom of this article for your quality cigars.

Cigar Cutter

A matter of preference but as a beginner cigar smoker then you should opt for either the Alaska Bear Double Guillotine for a straight cut or the Colibri V-Cut for the perfect V cut.

Lighter/Matches/Butane Torch

Remember with a lighter to not use a zippo or other petrol fuel lighter, you will ruin the taste. Matches or a butane torch/lighter are perfect.

How to cut a cigar

Cutting a cigar is a very important process, cut it wrong and you will totally ruin the way it smokes and quite possibly it may just fall to pieces.

You may have seen in the movies people biting the ends of the cigar of, trust me you don’t want to do this. It may look cool but if you want to enjoy your cigar then avoid this method.

What we want to do is to ensure that the cigar lets the smoke run smoothly and feely through the end.

If you cut the cigar to far down the body, the wrapper may start to unravel. If you cut the cigar to far up it’s hard to draw the smoke through into your mouth.

As there are a lot of cigar shapes it can be quite difficult to determine, this is something that will come with practice.

As a guide, you usually want to cut approximately 1/16th of an inch from the head of the cigar.

This is why a cigar cutter is highly recommended it ensures the cut is clean and accurate.

The cigar cutter is like a guillotine and can cost as little as a few dollars.

Here’s a video for those who don’t understand what I have wrote:

How to light a cigar

Many people make the mistake of smoking the cigar as they are lighting it. This is wrong. It can leave a chemical taste in your mouth and completely ruin the taste of the cigar.

Most people opt to light the cigar with a standard lighter or match but some will use a butane gas torch.

To light, you simply hold the cigar to the flame, until it starts to burn and glow. Ensure you rotate the cigar and brown the edges barely. Try not to get the flame on the wrapper.

Next, take the cigar to your mouth and draw (puff) if it’s not lit properly or you feel like it needs more then take the cigar back to the flame.

You should repeat the lighting process until you feel the cigar is smoking to its potential.

How to hold a cigar

Yes holding a cigar is a big part of the cigar smoking hobby. Especially if you want to take this seriously.

Let’s discuss two kinds of acceptable ways of holding your cigar, then we will talk about how you should NOT hold your cigar.

Holding A Cigar MethodMethod 1 requires you to take the cigar and hold it gently in your hand, resting it between your thumb and three or four fingers.

Do not grip the cigar too tight, it should be that lightly rested in your grip that you can perform a rolling movement, rolling it back and forth with your thumb and fingers.

The size and length of the cigar will determine how many of your fingers you will need to use. Never use less than two!

Holding A Cigar Method 2Method 2 is what they call a pool cue grip. I personally prefer method 1 however this is completely acceptable in the cigar smoking community. I’ll try to explain but I will include an image to ensure you understand.

Take the cigar and wrap your index finger and thumb around it while it leans across your third finger, kind of like the grip you have when resting a pool cue in it.

How not to hold a cigar:

How Not To Hold A Cigar

So now we have the 2 basic acceptable ways that will make you look pretty cool, let’s discuss a commonly made mistake when holding a cigar.

This method not only looks wrong but it’s actually putting your cigar in danger. It’s unsupported and you run the risk of dropping it or the ash.

Holding the cigar between your index and third finger, with the rest of the fingers spread is how many choose to smoke a cigarette but is the most unacceptable way of holding a cigar.

How to smoke a cigar

Who knew that there was so much to learn about cigar smoking right?

To enjoy cigar smoking as a hobby you have to enjoy the different flavors that cigars can bring.

If you want to continue this hobby it’s important that you learn to smoke a cigar in the most enjoyable way without coughing up a lung or giving yourself a bad sore throat.

When I personally enjoy a cigar, I find a relaxing place to sit that is quiet and comfortable. I like to enjoy the cigar, every last draw.

You’re going to want to take a puff on the cigar every minute or so, don’t puff to fast and don’t puff to slow.

You aren’t going to want to inhale the smoke as you would do from a cigarette, you want to taste the smoke in your mouth and not cause damage to the lungs. Savor the flavor then exhale!

Cigar Storage

Cigar Humidor

Cigar storage is very important, if not stored at the correct humidity and temperature your cigar can potentially be ruined.

I will only loosely touch on this subject as until you know whether you are going to stick at the hobby of cigar smoking then it’s not something you want to invest in.

They are however a necessity if you want to take your cigar smoking hobby seriously and to the next level.

To store your cigars the best way is in a Cigar humidor, they help keep the cigar moist and at the optimal flavor. In a humidor, cigars will mature, without they will rapidly deteriorate.

There are many types of humidor available for many different purposes.

Travel Humidors will allow you to take a selection of cigars with you on vacations, business trips and such like. The travel cigar humidors fit nicely into a briefcase, golf bag, hand luggage and more.

Table Top Cigar Humidors are perfect for home storage, they allow you to store your cigars correctly while in reach. They range in size and can hold from as little as 10 to as many as 100 cigars.

A good cigar humidor will be constructed from the best materials and will be of high quality. Designed for the perfect storage of your cigars.

Be prepared though if you want something of real quality you can pay a lot of money!

That being said there’s a really good one that can be found here it’s made from cedar wood and includes a hygrometer and humidifier for below $50!

What are the best types of Cigar?

Cigars are mainly broken down into 3 types, much like coffee roasts each has its own unique flavor and strength.

Mild Bodied Cigars

Mild bodied cigars tend to have a subtle flavor, one that is soft in taste, not sharp or bitter.

I and others recommend:

Nat Sherman Sterling

Davidoff White Label

Medium Bodied Cigars

The most popular type of cigars, they usually have a rich flavor with the smoke being dense and rich too. A great middle ground cigar that pair well with coffee and a good bourbon whisky.

A couple of popular choices:

Tatuaje Tattoo

Camacho BG Meyer Gigantes

Full Bodied Cigars

The most flavorsome of cigar types is full-bodied. Depending on the cigar brand, full-bodied cigars can almost create a spice flavor. Rich and tasty and go well with a steak dinner!

Here’s a couple I recommend:

Ashton VSG

Arturo Fuente Anejo

Cigar Smoking Tips

 

  • Avoid using a zippo or petrol lighter to ignite your cigar. You could potentially ruin the taste of your cigar by allowing the chemical taste to enter.
  • Get the perfect cut by using a double-bladed guillotine cigar cutter, lay it flat on a hard surface, put your cigar in it straight up, and cut. It will take the correct amount from the head and leave you with a nice straight cut.
  • If you feel like your cigar is too tight, then gently massage it while squeezing it. This should loosen the insides. A more intrusive method is if you notice the cigar is tight before lighting take a skewer and poke a hole through it lengthwise.
  • Lighting a cigar that has gone out after being left sat can be achieved by tapping off the ash, blow gently through it, this will remove any stale leftover air. Continue to do this as you relight to help get rid of the sour flavors.
  • Keep your cigar burning nice and even by rotating the slower burning side of the cigar to the bottom.
  • Some people like to remove the label of the cigar, if you are one of these people leave it on when you first light up for a few minutes. This allows the heat to get to the glue from the label and loosen it. You won’t damage the wrap then when you remove it.
  • Don’t tap the ash! Roll it in an ashtray to remove. Don’t do this too early, Cigars are not the same as cigarettes. Optimal length is just over an inch. Don’t let the ash get too long or it will restrict airflow.

Useful Cigar Smoking Links & Resources

Simply Cigars – UK Online Cigar Shop

JR Cigars – US Online Cigar Shop

The Ultimate Cigar Book – Take your cigar knowledge to the next level with everything you need to know about Cigars and more.

 

Beginners Guide to Yo yoing & YoYo

Yo-Yoing (Yo yo’s)

 

What is a Yoyo?

A yoyo or also spelt yo-yo is a popular toy and has been that way for thousands of years. It is made from 2 spherical disks that connect to an axle, there is then a length of string which attaches to the axle with a loop.

What is Yo-Yoing?

Yo-Yoing, I’m not sure if that’s even a real word, is the art of releasing the yo-yo’s from about chest height and repeatedly reeling it in, catching the spool and then releasing again.

That description probably makes the whole thing sound rather plain, but add tricks and competition into the mix and you’ve got yourself a great hobby.

History of Yo-Yoing

Yo-Yoing has been going on for more time then you may imagine, it can be dated back to around 400BC.

There is a Greek Vase from the Antikensammlung Berlin collection which clearly shows an image of a young boy playing with a Yo-Yo, this is dated to 440BC.

It’s also believed that the spool/disc part of a Yo-Yo was also at times made from terracotta and was a toy offering to the gods when children reached a certain age.

The YoYo as we know it today was re-born in 1928 when a gentleman called Pedro Flores opened a manufacturing business in Santa Barbara. Pedro was an immigrant from the Fillipines and lived in the United States of America.

Due to the massive demand and popularity, within just one year Pedro had to open 2 more factories in LA and Hollywood.

Approximately 300,000 Yo-Yo units were being manufactured and distributed per day.

The success continued (read more about the history)

Beginners Yo-Yoing

Where do I start?

The only way to get involved with Yo-Yoing is to head off and get yourself a yoyo! There’s little you can learn about this hobby from reading.

The only way you’re going to be a pro is practical practice, it’s a skill you will develop and just like any other skill the best way to learn is to practice as much as possible.

With that being said I can teach you what the best equipment is, some beginner tricks and techniques and how to get the basics down, read on!

What YoYo’s are best for beginners?

Before we recommend a good Yo-Yo for you let us take a closer look at one and break down what components it is made from, what materials can be used and how they all come together.

Yo-Yo Shapes

Yo-Yo’s can come in different shapes and sizes but there are generally 3 different shapes they are made in.

Types of Yoyo

Classic

The classic shape is the yo-yo you have probably seen on the shelf in stores or on TV at some point, it’s exactly how you would picture a yo-yo. The shape that started the Yo-Yoing trend.

Modified

Modified Yo-Yo shapes can also be known as ‘flywheel’ or ‘modern’

They have become increasingly popular over the last 15 years, with hobbyists combing shape elements and streamlining the original designs to maximise performance.

The modified Yo-Yo’s can increase spin times and perform better for loop tricks.

Inside it has rounded smoother walls creating a larger gap and is generally smaller than the wing shape we talk about below.

Wing Shape

A wing shape Yo-Yo is another popular style of Yo-Yo and you may well have also seen this shape before.

It has a larger space between the discs allowing the YoYo to be caught on the string much easier.

Wing-shaped are also known as a flared gap or butterfly Yo-Yo and you will often find that the higher end yo-yos are created in this shape and are probably the most popular type.

I believe the popularity of this shape is because of the tricks you can do with them.

Yo-Yo Axles

 

Ok so the next component is the axle of a Yo-Yo, sit down grab a drink because there’s a lot to learn about yo-yo axles.

To put it simply the axle is the component of a yo-yo which holds it all together, this is also what the string is attached to.

The axle component of a yo-yo has a large impact on how it will perform.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of yo-yo axles available.

Fixed

A standard fixed type of axle is commonly seen on the basic classic yo-yo, the axle is part of the structure and does not move independently.

Ball Bearing

Highly increasing performance of loop tricks, this type of axle has a ball bearing between the inner and outer parts of the axle. The ball bearing also increases the responsiveness of the yoyo.

Clutch

Also known as the brain, Yomega were the first to make the Clutch Axle popular with their Yomega Brain Model.

Clutch Axles uses a force known as centrifugal, to wake the Yo-Yo up and in effect automatically return back up to your hand.

As the Yo-Yo spins the centrifugal force forces the clutch open, and as it slows down it starts to close. This makes the Yo-Yo return.

Yo-Yo’s with this centrifugal clutch technology are a great choice for beginners. They simplify the amount of skill needed and assist you in performing tricks. Once you have mastered this type of Yo-Yo it is advised to move on to another type so you are not reliant on the clutch.

Trans

Transaxle YoYo’s have a fixed axle that sits in a sleeve, this also turns freely.

The sleeve in effect allows the yoyo to spin longer because it dramatically reduces any friction when the yoyo spins.

Commonly the sleeves are made up from metal or plastic.

Non-Responsive Ball Bearing

Quite possibly the latest trend, non-responsive ball bearing yo-yo’s do not “wake up” when you perform the sleeper trick and pull the string to return.

To make this kind of axle and yoyo return there is another trick you will have to learn that is called a bind. This effectively brings the string together in a bunch while it is spinning, and forces the yoyo and string to catch returning the Yo-Yo to your hand.

It may sound like the worst kind of Yo-Yo but it actually opens the door to a whole new world of tricks that can’t be performed on any other kind of yoyo.

It’s another great type of Yo-Yo for beginners and although it’s hard to master the “bind” once you have you’ll be on to all kinds of awesome stuff.

The fun thing about Yo-Yo’s in 2018 is that you are not limited to one kind and because of the range available now the tricks you can perform are endless!

 

Yo-Yo Materials

Yo-Yo’s are manufactured using 3 different types of materials, they all have an impact on how the Yo-Yos perform. These are 3 basic materials:

Wood

The very first yoyos were crafted from wood and still to this day are manufactured using wood.

Plastic

Plastic is the most used material when manufacturing yoyos and the majority are made this way.

They are often made from a very durable and hardened plastic and are made in many different designs and colors.

Metal

Yoyos that are created from metal often out perform other materials but are more expensive to buy.

Aliminium is usually the metal of choice because it is lighter than most other metals.

They are also normally heavier giving them a longer spin time.

Yo-Yo string

It is good practice to replace the string on your yoyo often, you will find that if you let it wear too much the string will eventually snap.

A good choice for yoyo string is to choose a blended string that is made from two materials, polyester and cotton.

Recommended Beginners Yoyo

We could list numerous Yo-Yo’s for beginners but I don’t want to overwhelm you with choices, I will just recommend the one I started with and one that has a great reputation with people just starting out.

Henry’s Lizard Yo-Yo

Henrys Lizard YoYo

Henrys Lizard YoYo’s are a great beginners yoyo this is largely down to the fantastic performance.

It’s manufactured in the “butterfly” shape which we discussed earlier in this beginners guide and has a slider bearing response system.

Not only that but you get a free book of tricks and cool flamed travel bag!

  • Dimensions: 62mm x 32mm
  • Weight: 68g

Check out Henrys Lizard YoYo on Amazon >>>

How to YoYo?

So your Yo-Yo has arrived and now you want to know how to use it.

To begin with we need to master the basic movement of throwing the yo-yo down, bringing it back up and catching it in your hand.

Before you even think about learning tricks you will need to have the basic part mastered, it’s not as simple as it sounds, but it sets the basis for lots of other tricks on the yo-yo.

The Basic Yo-Yo Throw Down 

So here’s a short video and a written step by step.

 

Step 1: 

Place the yo-yo on its edge in the palm of your hand, it wants to be placed in the centre of your thumb and your middle finger.

Your arm wants to be extended outwards just below shoulder height and make sure you have the string over your middle finger. The string should also be over the top of the yo-yo.

Step 2:

Bring the yo-yo up in your hand and arm like you’re about to flex your biceps and then flick your wrist and arm downwards to throw the yo-yo straight down, try your hardest not to let it go to the side.

Step 3: 

As the yo-yo gets to the end of its length of string you need be ready to make it return.

When it’s at the bottom slightly tug upwards and the yo-yo should climb the string and return back to your hand.

 

Beginners YoYo tricks

Once you have mastered the art of throwing down the Yo-Yo and returning it to your hand, you are then ready to learn your first tricks!

In this beginners guide to yo-yo’s, we are only going to discuss the most common and most basic, all of these tricks will also give you the core skills and techniques to advance to more difficult ones.

Never the less they are all pretty impressive!

How to do the sleeper on a yo-yo.

There’s a video above if you prefer to watch and learn, in effect the sleeper trick is about “putting the Yo-Yo to sleep” this is achieved by throwing the yo-yo down and making it spin for a length of time as it hits the bottom of the string, opposed to it returning.

Step 1:

I’m presuming you have the basics locked down as I’ve explained above and can perform the basic throw down and return. So now throw the Yo-Yo down as in the basic method.

Step 2:

This time though you don’t want it to return so as the yo-yo gets to the end of its string you need to, at the right time, pull your hand and cushion the landing (like a tiny flick)

Step 3:

The Yo-Yo should now be spinning at the bottom of the string in what they call “the sleeper”

Step 4:

After watching in amazement at the success of your first proper trick, to return the yo-yo, tug up. It should now climb the string and return to your hand!

Note: Ensure your YoYo string is neutral and not too tight as this could stop you from performing the sleeper trick. A good way to do this is to unravel the string until the end and re-spool it but ensuring it’s not to tight around the axle.

How to do the forward pass on a yo-yo.

Step 1: 

Take the Yo-Yo in your hand like you learnt when doing the “Throw down” this time though you aren’t going to hold it at the front of your body you will be holding to your side, switch it so that the back of your hand is facing forwards.

Step 2: 

Now you will be throwing the Yo-Yo directly in front of you, you achieve this by flicking your wrist and swinging your arm in a forward motion.

Step 3: 

Again as in the “Throw Down”, once the yo-yo gets to the end of the string, you will be giving it a little tug. You will also need to flip your hand over, palm up and catch the Yo-Yo.

Note: This can be quite difficult to master so don’t be disheartened if you don’t grasp it the first few times, as long as it hits your hand after the tug you are on the right track. Keep practising and you will soon be catching the Yo-Yo!

How to do around the world on a yo-yo.

For this trick to work, you will need to have mastered the “sleeper” and “forward pass” tricks. So if you haven’t I’m afraid you will have to go back and keep practising.

Step 1: 

Firstly you need to get yourself ready to do the “forward pass” yo-yo trick. Throw out the forward pass but don’t tug as it gets to the end of the string.

Step 2: 

Where you would usually tug as it gets to the end, you should swing in a 360 degrees arc shape, over your shoulder and behind your back. For the whole trick the yo-yo needs to stay and the end of the string spinning in the sleeper while it travels around.

Step 3: 

As the Yo-Yo returns home, in front of you, tug at the string and bring the yo-yo back to your hand.

Note: Safety is paramount with this trick, ensure you have a lot of space around and above you and that nobody is stood too close.

How to do walk the dog on a yo-yo.

Step 1:

For this awesome “walk the dog trick” you should begin the trick by performing the sleeper trick but this time throw it down hard so it’s a much faster and longer sleeper.

Step 2:

Move the yo-yo forward while letting it sit gently on the floor. Allow the “sleeper” spinning motion to drive your Yo-Yo forward pulling it along the ground.

Step 3:

As the Yo-Yo comes to the end of it’s spinning motion, slightly pull back and the Yo-Yo should return straight to your hand.

Note: The Yo-Yo may snap back while in step 2, but do not worry just keep practising you will get it soon enough. Also be aware of the surface you are “walking the dog” on as some will damage your Yo-Yo.

How to do rock the baby on a yo-yo.

Step 1:

Hopefully, by now you can throw down a mean sleeper and it spins….well forever! So throw it down, as it sleeps lift up the yo-yo hand until it’s just above your head.

Step 2:

With your other hand, the one that is not holding the Yo-Yo put it out in front of the string. With your fingers apart and your palm facing your body. In between the YoYo string and your body. With your little finger, about a third of the way down the string catch it with the top of your thumb and little finger.

Step 3:

With the hand that is holding the Yo-Yo grab the string, a good few inches above the Yo-Yo

Step 4:

Bring your Yo-Yo hand slightly above your free hand creating hopefully at this point the triangle shape. This is known as the cradle. If by now you are lost you should really press play on the video above as this trick is much easier to learn while watching, opposed to reading.

If you have done this correctly the Yo-Yo will be able to fit nice and snug in the middle of the “cradle” of string that you’ve created.

Step 5:

Rock the yo-yo or “baby” back and forth between the cradle.

Step 6:

Tug the Yo-Yo while letting go of the yo-yo string and it should snap back to your hand.

Note: This is probably the most advanced trick I will mention on this beginners yo-yo tricks guide, it will take some practice and hard work! Keep going persistence is the key!

Useful YoYo Resources & Links

YoYo Tricks – A comprehensive how-to guide for hundreds of YoYo Tricks.

YoYo Expert – More elaborate and advanced Yo-Yo tricks, Videos and Store.

40+ Epic Yo-Yo Tricks Book – Each trick comes with clear step by step instructions and easy to follow illustrations.

Beginners Guide To White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

What is White Water Rafting?

White water rafting is an adventure sport and outdoor hobby in which you use an inflatable raft to travel along a body of water normally a river, mainly on the rough parts where there is white water.

In the UK and the US, there are also many whitewater centres you can visit to take part.

Traditionally you will be a part of a team while on the inflatable raft and will need to work together to navigate the waters.

A Brief History

The earliest recordings in the history of white water rafting were around 1811 when someone had planned to navigate the Snake River located in Wyoming. At this point in time, they did not have the right experience or equipment and they believed it too dangerous.

In the 1840’s Horace Day and John Fremont would create a rubber raft to survey the Rocky Mountains.

In the early 1900’s Clyde Smith went on to lead the first commercial raft trip along the Mad River (Snake River, Wyoming)

By the 1960’s & 70’s white water rafting companies were born and popularity and demand was on the up!

Finally, in 1972 White Water rafting was added to the Olympics in Munich and since then the interest and popularity has continued to increase.

White Water Rafting Equipment List

White Water Rafting Equipment List

The beauty of white water rafting is that as a beginner you can experience the hobby before you go out and purchase your own equipment.

Most whitewater rafting centres will rent you the equipment that you will need to partake, so you can decide if the hobby is something you will continue with before buying personal equipment.

That being said I’ll include a list of what equipment is needed for white water rafting so you know what to expect and learn more about this wonderful white-knuckle water hobby.

What equipment do I need to start White Water Rafting?

Wetsuit

The type of wetsuit you would require highly depends on the location you are white water rafting in, this is all down to weather conditions and climate.

You’ll want a wetsuit that keeps you warm but allows you to move freely without any problems like chafing or discomfort.

If you are in somewhere like the UK where the waters and temperature can get rather cold you’d probably want something like a 4/3 wetsuit.

For a warmer climate then a 3/2 suit would be the better option.

Check wetsuit prices 

Helmet

A helmet is a must when whitewater rafting, with there being so many dangers in the water you need to protect your head.

The waters will drag you around quite rapidly and there is a huge risk of banging your head against rocks, paddles or even the person sat next to you!

A good choice would be a bright colored helmet that is easy to see in case you fall in the waters.

There are a variety of whitewater helmets available and some have a peak to keep the sun from your eyes.

Check Rafting Helmet Prices

Footwear

Grip is the most important aspects of appropriate footwear for rafting.

Most people will opt for wetsuit boots, these are waterproof and help keep you warm.

When buying wetsuit boots you should ensure they have the best grip possible this will help you if you fall in and give you much better support.

Hiking boots with a good grip are adequate!

Buoyancy Aid/Flotation Device

A buoyancy aid is also commonly known as a personal flotation device.

Their main purpose is to help you float and they achieve this by filling the jacket with a type of foam.

When purchasing your own Buoyancy jacket you should choose one that is lightweight and allows you to move freely without compromising your movement at all.

They are designed for both male and female users based on body weight, this is something you will want to get properly fitted from a specialist shop.

Check Prices of Flotation Devices

Paddle

Choosing the type of paddle that is right for you is a must if you are going to be rafting frequently.

It’s not just as simple as picking a paddle and making do especially if you want to get the most out of your white water rafting experience.

Firstly you will need to consider your height and strength, if you are smaller than 5 and a half foot then you will want a shorter paddle. If you are taller a longer paddle. This will ultimately put less strain on your arms, shoulders and back.

Paddles come in a range of shapes and sizes, generally speaking, cheaper paddles are quite robust and will not perform as well as a more expensive paddle.

A good paddle will have a flexible shaft and a stiff blade.

Shafts can be made from a large range of materials and give different amount of flexibility.

Blades vary in size, width and style. They can be symmetrical, spooned, dihedral, asymmetrical and more.

Where can I go White Water Rafting?

Whitewater Rafting centres are located all over the world.

The best way to find where you can go white water rafting local to where you live is to perform a simple Google search.

Go to Google and type in ‘White Water Rafting near me’ you should be presented with your local centres on the Google maps or at least other websites that should be able to help you find somewhere to go locally.

How to

Before you get into the water and go white water rafting you should learn a few basic things.

Most importantly safety procedures, as the actual practical will be best learnt in a team and with practice.

In the next section I will teach you the basic white water rafting signals for communication purposes, these will help keep you safe.

This is a very basic rafting beginners guide as there is no real way of teaching white water rafting other than getting out there and experiencing it for yourself, that being said it’s always good to have a basic knowledge of the important aspects to help you be prepared for your new hobby.

White Water Rafting Basic Signals

A basic set of signals have been established as a form of communication, learning these signals is a must and can potentially be life-saving.

A more comprehensive and full list can be found on the International Rafting Website

Before you get started with whitewater rafting it is a good practice to learn at least the very basic of signals.

They are known as the universal river signals and are used worldwide.

Stop – Take your paddle and raise it over your head, parallel, and pump the paddle up and down.

After the stop signal has been performed the other rafters should wait for an all-clear signal before continuing.

All clear – Raise the blade of your paddle or a single finger directly overhead. Try to turn the paddle blade flat to increase surface area.

Help/emergency – For emergencies in the water there are a couple of ways you can signal this, one is to hold your paddle vertically and wave the paddle back and forth.

Whistle available? Blow three long whistles and wave.

OK – Simply pat the top of your head repeatedly this will let the rest of the group know your ready to continue.

Here’s a helpful video to show you some of the basic signals. It’s good practice to learn these before you start as they could potentially save your life.

Techniques

How to paddle

Firstly the crew should be spread evenly to both sides of the raft with an even number on each side.

Taking your inside hand grip the top of the paddle.

Take your outside hand and grip the stem of the paddle.

To move the raft forward push the top end of the paddle away and pull the stem inwards.

To move backwards pull the paddle stem from one hand and push the top end away with the other hand.

To steer the raft and move left and right: To move right, crew on the right should paddle backwards and the crew on the left forwards. To move left the opposite applies.

A fantastic infographic can be found here.

Check out this video if you prefer to watch

What to do if you fall out of your raft

This was something that scared me before I first went white water rafting. I actually never fell out but my brother did. Most importantly before anything is really try not to panic.

There are trained professionals firstly in case of emergency and secondly it’s actually all part of the experience and this happens constantly. Embrace it and have fun! Here’s a few tips to bare in mind if you do fall out to help you.

Stay calm is the most important tip, by staying calm you keep your reactions and senses at a maximum and you’re easier to assist.

Don’t try to stand up, there are rocks you may get your feet caught in.

Don’t try to swim! The current is strong you will not be able to swim against it and are putting yourself at risk of injury and physical exhaustion if you do.

Float down the river on your back, if you are being pushed downstream by the current, lay back, put your feet out in front and wait for a rescue raft.

Where possible try to reach for the rafts safety rope, all rafts are fitted with a rope around the exterior. If you fall out the first thing you need to try to do is reach out for this rope, this will stop you from being dragged away from the raft.

Keep hold of your paddle, I know this will be pretty tough if you fall in but by keeping hold of it it extends your reach and may help your crew or the guides to pull you out.

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting Safety Tips

  1. Wear a life jacket/flotation device

    This is so important and it is mandatory when visiting a white water rafting center. Ensure that the jacket is fastened correctly with all of the buckles clipped. You should make sure that you have the guide fit your life jacket so the jacket is nice and tight to your body but not tight enough to effect your breathing. You should not be able to remove the jacket over your head.

  2. Hold the paddle correctly

    As explained previously your outside hand should be on the shaft of the paddle near the base and the other should be placed over the T grip at the top of the paddle. You must hold the paddle this way as the T grip is hard and if not controlled it could smash you in the face.

  3. Listen to the safety talk

    Your guide knows what he or she is talking about, before you go out on the river you should as standard procedure have a safety talk. You should always listen intently and if you have questions do not be afraid to ask. This will ensure that you are fully prepared for your rafting experience.

  4. Always stay calm 

    Never ever panic, you are in safe hands and there are many professionals watching over you. Stay calm and aware of what is happening.

  5. Always wear full safety & protective gear

    This is so important, you should always wear the full kit no matter what. Helmet, lifejacket or flotation device, hiking shoes with a good grip and a wet or drysuit! The protective gear is always worn for a reason and may just save your life.

  6. Stay in the raft

     

    Do your very best to stay in the raft, you can ensure this happens by listening to your guide in the pretalk, preparing yourself before hand and concentrating. You obviously want to enjoy the experience but try not to mess around. Pay attention to your surroundings and watch for rocks.

    If you hear “Bump” being shouted from your guide you should straight away lean inwards and place the top of the paddle (the T grip) on the floor of the raft, keeping your hand over the grip. This should ensure you stay in the boat. If you hit the rock straight afterwards return to your seat and continue to paddle. If you fall out, refer to the section above about what to do if you fall out of the raft.

  7. Swimming

     

    Swimming in a swimming pool is totally different to swimming in the river, you should be aware of some special swimming techniques. The “down river position” and the other is the “Michael Phelps”

    Down River swimmers position is on your back nose to the sky. Feet out with toes upwards and knees slightly bent. Your feet should be down stream so if you come in contact with a rock you can use your feet to protect yourself. Keep your bottom tucked up to avoid nasty bumps.

    Michael Phelps swimmers position is onto your stomach pointing to where you want to go and swim until you get out of the river.

    NEVER STAND UP IN THE RIVER.

Rafting Water Grades

In White Water Rafting, Waters are divided up into 6 grades and this is known as the international scale of difficulty. The higher the grade the more dangerous the water becomes with the Class 6 being a potential fatality risk!

Class 1 

Class 1 whitewater grade describes water with fairly fast moving current and with little or no obstacles in the way.

Class 2

Class 2 is perfect whitewater for the beginner, whitewater rapids that are fast moving but with a wide channel. There will be a few obstructions for you to manoeuvre if you desire but can be easily missed if you do not want to.

Class 3

Whitewater with a class or grade of 3 is for a more experienced whitewater rafter, with intermediate rafting skills. It will have a powerful current and be very fast moving. There will be plenty of objects in the way and you’re going to need some skills to manoeuvre them, in order to get down the river.

Class 4

Intense, but predictable rapids that need precise boat handling and fast manoeuvres under pressure. Moderate to high risk of injury to people in the water. Dangerous obstacles, large waves, holes and narrow shoots. Experience highly recommended.

Class 5

High risk of harm or injury. Class 5 rapids are very aggressive and strong with demanding courses. The use of all professional equipment, advanced rescue skills and a vast knowledge and experience of rafting is needed.

Class 6

Could be fatal! This is the worst kind of rapid, Class 6 is for the experts only and even then there are huge risks with potentially severe consequence. The challenge of class 6 is gruelling, vigorous and would take years and years of practice to navigate.

FAQ

How dangerous is White Water Rafting?

Whitewater rafting is not without its risks, but that is the same for most adventure and sports hobbies.

To put some perspective on this, bicycle riding is more dangerous than white water rafting statistically.

As long as you act responsibly, follow all safety guidelines and only raft in river grades according to your level of expertise the dangers and risks are very low.

What you should not take White Water Rafting?

There are certain items that you do not want to take with you on the raft. These would include valuables, cell phones, wallet or purse, money, unsuitable clothing and last but not least fears and a bad attitude.

 

If you have any more questions about white water rafting or want to discuss this amazing and exciting hobby then please leave a comment below in the comment section we would love to hear from you.

Beginners Guide to Coffee Roasting at Home

Coffee Roasting

 

What is Coffee Roasting?

Coffee Roasting is the process in which you bring out the flavour and aroma in raw green coffee beans. It is achieved with heat and turns the coffee beans from green to brown.

How does Coffee Roasting Work?

Using a high temperature the green beans are roasted, this causes a chemical reaction. When at optimum taste and flavour the now brown coffee beans are cooled to bring the process to a halt.

Coffee roasting is not as simple as it may sound, there is a skill involved, one that can be learnt over time which is what makes it a pass time and hobby. You will have to develop a skill that allows you to determine when the roasted bean is at optimum flavour and aroma. It all boils down to a split second window, roast too much or not enough and your whole batch can be ruined.

Where do Coffee Beans Come From?

There are two types of coffee plant, the Arabica or the Robusta, both come from the seeds of berries, which means your coffee beans start their life as fruit. The difference between Arabica and Robusta can be found here. 

The berries are left to become ripe, they are then picked, processed and dried out.

Coffee plants and their fruit are grown and cultivated in more than 70 countries worldwide but primarily they are grown in the equatorial parts of The Americas, India, Africa and South-East Asia.

Ripe Coffee Beans

 

Stages of Coffee Roasting

With an incredible, 800 different types of flavours and aromas, roast coffee actually only has four main, basic types of roast.

Light Roast Coffee

Simply put a light roast coffee is roasted for the shortest period of time, absorbing the least amount of heat of all 4 types of coffee roast. Light roasted coffee is of a light brown colour and usually are not roasted beyond what they call the first crack.

The first crack is where the beans expand and crack when they get to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In regards to flavour, light roast coffee beans taste almost acidic and earthy. They contain the highest amount of caffeine because the more a coffee bean is roasted the more caffeine is burnt off.

Some of the familiar names you may have heard of in the light roast coffee category are Cinnamon roast, half & light city and New England roast.

Medium Roast Coffee

In the USA the medium roast coffee is probably the most popular with the highest sales. With a medium brown colour and a non-oily surface, the medium brown cup is full of flavour and traditional. At around 410 degrees Fahrenheit the medium roast coffee is complete just before the second crack.

As they are heated for a longer period of time the amount of caffeine medium roast contains is less than light roast.

Some familiar types of Medium Roast Coffee are City, American and Breakfast.

Medium/Dark Roast Coffee

Medium roasted coffees have a little amount of oil on the surface and are a medium brown colour. The flavour is almost spicy and aromas are noticeable.

Medium Roast coffees are achieved at the beginning of the second crack at around 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

They contain more caffeine than Dark Roast but less than light or medium roasts.

Some popular coffees in the medium to a dark roast category are After dinner and Vienna.

Dark Roast Coffee

Dark Roast can appear almost black and are very dark in appearance. The dark roast coffee is heated for the most time of all coffee types and contains the least amount of caffeine.

Dark Roast Coffee is often used in espresso and can taste rather smokey and bitter, they may also have a charcoal flavour to them.

Heated to around 465 degrees Fahrenheit and beyond the second crack is when dark roast coffee is ready.

Popular types of dark roasts include Espresso, Spanish, Italian and French.

What Equipment do I need for Coffee Roasting?

The best thing about taking up coffee roasting as a hobby is the minimal amount of equipment you will need to get started, you can do it even when working with a very small budget.

  • Unroasted Green Coffee Beans (mandatory) – You will NEED to purchase unroasted green coffee beans in their raw state, a good rule of thumb is to buy double the amount of green coffee beans according to the amount of roasted coffee you want to produce. So for example to produce a pound of roasted coffee you will need to purchase 2 pounds of unroasted beans. My favorite raw coffee beans
  • Skillet (budget method choice) – Using a skillet is a difficult method but a good option to those of you working with a budget, all you will need is a good quality cast iron skillet. We found a fantastic skillet on Amazon for a bargain price with thousands of positive reviews (Check Price on Amazon)
  • Popcorn popper (budget method choice) – Yes, you read that right, a popcorn popper. Not just for popping popcorn so it seems. Also a very good way of roasting coffee, you can’t just use any old one though. To roast coffee at home with a popcorn maker It will need to be a hot air and open top, that allows you access to the coffee beans while roasting so you can stir them. The Hamilton Beach Hot Air Popcorn Maker is often used for roasting coffee and has received very positive reviews.
  • Oven (budget choice) – You can use your oven but this is probably the most difficult way to carry out the roasting process.
  • Hot Air Roaster (best choice) – Hot air coffee roasters are by far the most simple method of roasting coffee beans, you simply add your raw coffee beans and press a button. Voila, the whole roasting process is automated. Kind of takes the fun out of the home coffee roasting process, that being said you’ll end up with your perfect roast coffee each time.  Check out the FreshRoast SR500, we’ve written a little more about further down this guide.
  • Metal Colander 
  • Oven Tray
  • Airtight container – For storing your roasted coffee beans in once they have been roasted to your preference, the airtight container should be stored in a cool dark place to ensure they last for the maximum amount of time.
  • Digital Scales – Digital scales or normal scales are perfect for weighing out the correct amount of raw coffee beans before adding them to be roasted.

How to roast coffee at home

There are several methods you can choose from when roasting coffee beans depending on the equipment you have, some are more straightforward and simple than others.

I have taken the 4 most popular home coffee roasting methods and explained step by step “how to” with each.

Method 1 – Roasting Coffee at home using the oven

Before you try this method you should know that of all the roast coffee methods this is the least popular, and the least effective/successful.

The beans will not be as evenly roasted as other methods and the flavours are often not as desired.

It really is a method of trial and error and the type and standard of your oven will play a huge part in your final product.

That being said it’s a method you can try straight away without the need to purchase any more equipment.

  1. Firstly you should preheat the oven to around 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While waiting on the oven to reach optimal temperature, lay your raw beans out on the pan, ensure they are even and cover the whole pan without overlapping each other. You will need a pan that has numerous small holes with a slight lip to keep the beans in the pan, I use a vegetable steamer basket.
  3. Once the oven is at the correct temperature place the pan of beans onto the centre shelf/rack in the oven.
  4. Leave the coffee beans for about 15 to 20 minutes and at this point, you should start to hear a crackling and popping noise (first crack)
  5. If you want a more dark roast then you should continue to roast, remember to stir the beans around a little every few minutes to ensure an even roast.
  6. When you have reached your preferred roast you should put on your mitts and remove the pan from the heat immediately.
  7. Pour them directly into a colander, take a second colander and empty them back and forth into each other. If you haven’t got a colander then you can pour them onto a tray with cookie sheeting and slide them around for a while. This part helps the bean aerate and removes residue.

Method 2 – Roasting Coffee Using a Skillet

For this method, you can either use a large cast iron pan or skillet.

For the best possible taste ensure that the pan is clean before use as you don’t want the coffee flavour tainted by last nights dinner.

  1. Place the pan or onto the stove/hob. Bring the temperature of the pan to around 450 degrees Fahrenheit or less if you are wanting to achieve a lighter roast. At this point, it’s a good idea to have a thermometer to check the temperature.
  2. Once you are at this temperature you can add the raw green coffee beans. Only add a maximum of 8oz of beans. Stirring at this point is very important if you want to roast the beans evenly. You will need to manually stir with a spoon or spatula as there is a much higher chance of burning the bean.
  3. At around the 4 minutes mark, sometimes longer you will hear a popping or crackling sound coming from the pan, the beans are now at the start of the roast. The beans will also produce a coffee scented smoke that is really strong. Depending on how you want your roast, light to dark it is an important time now for you to watch.
  4. Check the colour of the coffee beans regularly, when you have achieved the roast you desire it’s time to pour them out onto a metal colander. You will need to continue to stir the beans until they have cooled.
  5. Once the beans have cooled remove them and put them in an airtight container and store them in a dark and cool location.

Method 3 – Roasting Coffee Using a coffee air roaster

Using a coffee air roaster really does take all of the complications out of it, it makes things as simple as selecting your preference, pressing a button and hey presto perfect roasted coffee beans.

As I previously mentioned I personally own the Freshroast SR500 and I haven’t got a bad thing to say about it.

  1. Measure out your coffee beans into the coffee roaster.
  2. Press the pre-set setting that you want to use for your personal preference of roast coffee.
  3. Once the roasting time has passed you can choose to press a button for an extra cooling cycle if you wish.
  4. Now remove your roasted coffee beans and place them into a storage container for later use.

That is really how simple it is once you have a coffee air roaster, if you are not confident in doing things more manually but want to have the perfect roasted coffee beans then this is your best option.

It may cost more to buy but it makes the process so simple and will save you lots of time in the long run.

Method 4 – Roasting Coffee with a popcorn popper

A very popular home  method, however, before I explain how you can achieve roasted coffee with a popcorn maker I need to make you aware of a couple of things.

Using a popcorn popper for roasting coffee with almost definitely void any warranties you may have with the products this is because you are using it beyond its intended use.

There also is a possible risk of fire. So use this method at your own risk.

  1. Switch on your popcorn popper and let it warm up for approximately 30 seconds, then quickly add around half a cup of raw coffee beans. (Max amount will be when the popcorn popper barely rotates the beans)
  2. Leave the lid off the popcorn popper for now and begin to stir the coffee bean inside, once the beans inside start rotating more easily you can then add the lid.
  3. Soon you will start to see the silver skin of the coffee appearing from the chute, this should have taken place around 2 and a half minutes into the process.
  4. At around 4 minutes the bean should hit the first crack and you will start to hear crackling from the popcorn maker. You are now at the light roast stage of your coffee if that is what you want to produce (skip to 7) if not continue.
  5.  After another minute or so a different type of crack can be heard, it should be more muted but higher pitch than the first crack. You are now at the second crack stage or medium roast. If this is the roast you desire you should stop now (skip to 7) if not you can continue.
  6.  I only usually take it to around 30 seconds from the second crack and have never really let it go much further as this is my own preference, however, should you want a darker roast then leave for another minute after the second crack I would suggest. You should be able to observe the bean and tell.
  7. Switch off the popcorn popper, put on your mitts or gloves, and pour out your coffee into your colander (Warning the coffee is extremely hot)
  8. Take a second colander and pour the roasted coffee beans between the two of them, back and forth, this will aerate the coffee beans. (If you don’t have colanders you can use a tray with cookie sheeting and slide the beans around)

Best Coffee Roasting Machine

There aren’t many coffee roasting machines available on the market, well at least not good ones anyway.

The coffee machine we are going to discuss is a fantastic price and has received great feedback.

FreshRoast SR500 Automatic Coffee Roaster

Freshroast SR500 Automatic Coffee Roaster

  • Very Simple to use, perfect for beginners.
  • Clear container so you can visually check your coffee bean preference.
  • Chaff and oil collection.
  • 90 grams of raw beans capacity which yields around 78 grams of roasted.
  • Manual stirring or select high fan for even roasts.
  • Quietest air roaster; Great visibility; Very simple to use; Chaff collection; Durable; Small footprint; cooling cycle

With over 300 positive reviews the Freshroast SR500 is the perfect beginners coffee roasting machine.

You can fully automate the roasting process and yield perfect roasted coffee to your preference every time.

The default setting is around 6 minutes which will give you a light roast all you have to do is press a button to add 6 seconds to the timer. You can press as many times as you like until your roast coffee is as you like it!

I love that the chaff cleaner is located on the top of the machine making it super easy to clean.

Remember guys when you are roasting coffee with the SR500 to ensure you have ventilation, roasted coffee beans can give off quite a strong unpleasant odour while roasting.

You can grab this coffee roaster for a great price

(Check Price & Reviews for the Freshroast SR500 on Amazon)

How to store your Roasted Coffee Beans

Once you have your roasted coffee beans you’re going to want to store them correctly so you keep the flavour and freshness locked in, this part is very important.

The moment the coffee beans are roasted they will start to lose flavour and aroma. This is down to heat, light, air and moisture.

To keep all of the flavours locked into the roasted coffee beans for the maximum amount of time you should keep them sealed in an airtight container at room temperature.

I recommend keeping them away from light and heat. So you will need to find a nice cool and dark place like a cupboard away from the oven or other heat sources.

Here’s a perfect airtight opaque container for storage (Check Price on Amazon)

Home Coffee Roasting Tips

  • Disable smoke alarms and open windows if you are roasting coffee beans, but remember to turn the smoke alarm on afterwards. Roasting coffee will produce a lot of smoke!
  • If you are roasting coffee beans in a skillet or pan then invest in a thermometer, a candy making thermometer will be perfect.
  • The darker the roast the less caffeine the roasted beans will contain.
  • Continuously check the colour of the beans and listen for the sounds to ensure you get your optimal preference for roast coffee.
  • Be careful going beyond the second crack this is when the bean will start to burn.
  • Always clean any equipment you use to roast your coffee afterwards removing all of the skin and residue (known as chaff)
  • Try different methods for a different amount of time until you find your favorite roast bean.
  • Some new popcorn makers have a built-in cut off which won’t allow them to go beyond a certain temperature these can’t be used to roast coffee.
  • If you are using a popcorn popper to roast coffee beans then opt for one that allows you to stir the beans so they do not burn.
  • Store the roasted coffee beans for about 3-4 days before using them. This is to allow the levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen gasses to decrease, to avoid a metallic flavor.
  • Use a quality green bean, before you become an expert coffee roaster you will need to find quality ingredients.

Summary

Home coffee roasting is fairly simple to achieve and a great inexpensive hobby and pass time!

Primarily it’s all about preference and finding the right roast for you, this is achieved by experimenting and practice.

There are many more resources available on the internet if you want to take your roasting to another level, but in the meantime, we hope this beginners guide to coffee roasting has been helpful and got you started!

If you can think of anything we have missed or perhaps have a question to ask then please leave a comment below and we will be sure to get back to you!

Coffee Roasting FAQ

How long does it take to roast coffee?

The length of time taken to roast coffee depends on what type of roast you are wanting to create from light to dark roast.

The darker the roast the more time it takes to roast coffee. It also depends on how you are roasting the coffee and what method you are using.

How long do the roasted coffee beans keep?

If you have followed my storage advice above and kept them in an opaque and airtight container in a cool and dark place then on average the beans will last around 3 weeks.

That being said if you are very careful with storage you may find your beans will last up to 6 weeks.

The beans can last longer, however, after time they will start to change or lose their flavor.

Can you roast coffee without a machine?

Yes, you certainly can you don’t need to invest in an expensive automated machine to roast coffee you can choose to use a skillet or the oven in the kitchen! These methods though are much harder to grasp, making it harder to get the perfect roast.

Can you re-roast coffee beans?

It is possible to re-roast coffee beans but I would strongly advise against it, the flavor will not be nice and you’ll end up with a kitchen full of smoke!

The Beginners Guide To Astral Projection

Astral Projection

 

What is Astral Projection?

Astral Projection is when your astral body detaches itself from your physical body, very similar to an outer body experience, and travels to the astral plane. The most common time it occurs is in a near death experience or during a serious illness. With practice and patience, it is possible for you to achieve astral projection on demand.Astral Projection

If you’ve recently seen the film “Dr Strange” then you will know that one of his primary superpowers is astral projection.

The art has been practised for centuries, especially in Ancient Egypt & Greece.

Beginners Astral Projection

If you have no experience and are just starting out in Astral Protection then you’ve come to the right place.

Before we teach you a method to reach the astral plane it’s best to know some basic information.

Please remember this article is the very basics and fundamentals and should be used as part of your research only. I am by no means an expert and have only just started out on my journey into Astral Projection.

For a more in depth book full of knowledge and guidance I highly recommend you read “The 90-day guide to Astral Projection

Dangers of Astral Projection

You should first be aware of any dangers.

These are few and far between but nothing comes without risk.

Mental & Physical Exhaustion

At times you can return from your Astral journey feeling mentally and even physically drained and exhausted. If you are not prepared for this and don’t fully understand why it can be very startling and scary and may even lead to a feeling of depression.

Addiction

Once you have mastered the art of Astral Projection it may leave you wanting to be on the Astral plane all the time. In extreme cases, people begin to care more about the Astral plane than they do their day to day lives. A healthy balance needs to be found.

Incorrect Grounding

Incorrect grounding can cause numerous problems in your life, for example, loss of concentration, bad social interaction and actual physical pain.

The physical pain is caused by your body trying to force you back into you it.

All of these dangers though that I have just written can be fully avoided with the correct knowledge and proper methods.

The Silver Cord

I believe knowledge of the silver cord is mandatory before you practice this ancient art.

The Silver Cord is the unseen cord that connects you to your physical body, stopping you from getting lost in the astral plane without a way to get back.

Knowledge of the Silver Cord can help get you back to your body on demand.

Protecting your Cord is important and fairly simple to achieve, you can do this by regularly meditating and cleansing your chakras.

How to Astrally Project

So now you know some of the basics you want to know how to Astral Project!

As this is a beginners guide then I will keep the step by step guide very simple and clear. There are many more things you can do to help with the Astral projection which I will discuss later on in this article.

Astral Projection Step 1 

Ensure that your environment is distraction free. Switching mobile phones to silent is a good idea, you’ll be amazed at how many times a message or call has distracted me from trying to project.

Astral Projection Step 2

Lie down on a comfortable surface this can be anything from your bed, your sofa, your floor. Wherever you feel most comfortable is perfect. A good tip is to also be wearing your “comfy clothes” these can be pyjamas, nightgowns or in your birthday suit if you prefer lol

Astral Projection Step 3

Contrary to popular belief you don’t want to be trying to fall asleep, your end goal is to let your body sleep but to keep your mind awake. Try to clear your mind and focus on breathing gently in and out, relax.

Astral Projection Step 4

You should now continue to relax until you start to feel tingles, these are what we call vibrations. It’s easy to lose focus and become excited when you feel these vibrations as they are a sign that you’re nearly there. Getting excited will stop you from your projection. Stay calm and continue to relax.

Astral Projection Step 5

After you begin to feel the vibrations (tingles) Keep your eyes closed, stay relaxed and then envision your astral body leaving your physical body. You should imagine that your astral body is rising up. Try to allow this thought part of the process to feel natural.

Astral Projection Step 6

At this point, you should begin to feel like you are rising upwards an almost floating feeling. If you do then you know that you are about to Astral Project. If you don’t then continue to relax and repeat step 5 again.

Astral Projection Step 7

This is the final step and this is where you should now be able to see your physical body lying where you left it. If you can congratulations your Astral journey is about to begin. Do not become scared, embrace the feeling and experience.

Getting back from Astral Projection

A question I am often asked is how you get your Astral body back to your physical body when you want to leave the astral plane.

This is the tricky part and will take some practice.

At some point you may have already experienced astral projection, however, you may not recall any of it.

Remembering your experience is a huge part of visiting the astral plane especially if you want to reap all of the benefits that are associated with astral projection.

The key is to slowly reconnect.

When you are in an astral projection, your memories and experiences are not captured by your physical brain, they are captured by your extra-physical brain. What you need to do is to transfer this information.

A good technique is to repeat names, places and experiences out loud while on the astral plane. So if you meet someone while you are there then repeat their name out loud several times. You can do this with places and experiences too.

Some people before they begin astral projection like to use self-suggestion. This is a very simple yet powerful technique and is achieved by repeating a sentence such as “I will remember everything about my astral projection” you can repeat this 10 – 15 times. Saying it out loud will help. You should use self-suggestion after you are relaxed.

Before you return from your astral journey to connect with your physical body you should remember to approach this part slowly, don’t rush.

While returning you should be very focused on remembering your experiences.

Before jumping out of bed or waking up once you have reconnected lie for a few moments and try your hardest to remember your experiences.

This part of the reconnection and recollection will take some focus and practice don’t expect it to just happen. Be patient it’s worth it!

If you would like to see a beginners video on how to to Astral Project then check out the YouTube video below

What are the benefits of Astral Projection?

 

Reach other planes of reality

It is believed that Astral projection and the out of body experience allows us to reach other realities and dimensions. This, of course, opens up endless possibilities on where we can travel and what we can see. Many have said they have seen the place we go after we die, and some also believe they have visited their previous lifetimes.

Speaking to passed loved ones

There are many reports of people who have mastered the art of astrally projecting and then visiting loved ones that have passed away and even being able to talk to them!

I must say this sounds like very advanced astral projection so don’t expect to get there just yet it may take years and years of projection and practice.

Understanding and dealing with loss or death

Once we have experienced astral projection and the OBE you will realise that death is non-existent! While in the astral plane you will exist away from your human shell.

As your astral projection skills advance the fear of death starts to subside as you grasp the concept of death not existing.

Memories or recollection of a past life

The more you astrally project the more you will have recollections of your previous lives. These experiences and memories give us more information about ourselves, give us a greater knowledge of universalism and can help us overcome trauma and in some cases self-cure illness.

Increased parapsychic abilities

The Astral projection experience can help expand our psychic capabilities and extrasensory perceptions.

Speed up maturity and awakening 

Visiting the astral plane leaves our bodies in a physical state of sleep, but our minds are fully awake. You avoid the loss of sleeping time and can still learn. You will use that time where usually your mind, as well as your body, would be asleep to increase knowledge and experience.

Both your spirit and maturity will naturally evolve.

If you’re ready to start your astral projection journey then be sure to take a look at these 5 simple tips for astral projection.

Astral Projection FAQ

 

Is sleep paralysis related to Astral Projection?

I personally have experienced sleep paralysis, I remember the first time being a little scary and overwhelming, that much so that I had to research the condition to be prepared for if it happens again. According to research sleep paralysis is the perfect time for astral projection. Sleep paralysis puts you in a state where your astral body is able to detach from your physical body much more easily.

Is Astral Projection Safe?

Astral Projection is safe, well as safe as being asleep in your bed. You still are at risk from anyone hurting your physical body. It is not possible for anyone to hurt your Astral body.

There are many myths surrounding Astral projection including getting lost and your physical body being open for possession.

Can you Astral Project While Awake?

When you Astral Project you are awake, well at least your mind is. This is a big part of the process and the hard part to master. Keeping your mind awake while letting your body sleep is key.

What physical effects are there while you Astrally Project?

What is the difference between Lucid Dreaming & Astral Projection?

Lucid dreaming is not real, Astral Projection is, however, a real experience.

To help me explain this question I will need to show you the key differences.

Lucid dreaming – You are asleep, you are in complete control and this experience is not real it is a dream. You completely control the surroundings, the people, the outcome and the experience. You can completely manipulate every aspect of your dream while lucid dreaming and your consciousness is still attached to your physical body.

Astral Projection – To achieve astral projection you can’t be sleeping. Astral projection will happen just before the first stage of sleep, so therefore this is a real experience. You have no control over the aspects of astral projection. Your consciousness will leave your physical body and travel to the astral plane. The only thing you have minor control over is conversations and interactions. When your astral projection experience is complete your consciousness will rejoin with your physical body.

How long will it take for me to be able to Astrally Project?

This really is not a question you should be asking, it’s not something you will get right the first time. Astral projection takes dedication, devotion, time and a lot of practice.

Before you master Astral Projection you need to understand each aspect and stage.

It is not possible to tell anyone how long it will take you to learn as each person is completely different. Instead of wanting to learn overnight try to find enjoyment in the process of learning.

What are the benefits of Astral Projection?

The main benefit of Astral Projection is peace of mind and a spiritual sense of healing and well being. You may also find the experience exciting and magical.

Recommended Astral Projection Links & Extra Reading

90 Day Guide To Astral Projection

Cleansing the 7 Chakras

Beginners Meditationm

Beginners Guide To Ghost Hunting

Beginners Ghost Hunting

What is Ghost Hunting?

Ghost hunting is an adventurous hobby or pastime, and sometimes even a career choice. It involves investigating locations that are said to be haunted.

The main objective is to gather evidence and support to the existence of the ghost or ghosts and other paranormal going on’s.

Some people choose to ghost hunt with just a camera and no other devices and do it for the thrill. Others are more serious about the hobby and will use a variety of electronic equipment.

Ghost hunting became increasingly popular with the creation of the TV Programs such as “Ghost Hunters” and “Most Haunted”

It can be a very fun, enjoyable and interesting hobby and we hope this ghost hunting beginners guide gives you enough information to get started.

Check out this video of paranormal sightings.

 

A Brief history

Ghost hunting, more specifically paranormal investigations, are found to date back to around the 18th century.

I imagine though that ghost hunting has been going on for centuries though and as long as people have believed in the paranormal and spirits.

The hobby increased largely in popularity when the TV series Ghost Hunters and Most haunted aired.

Common Terminology

The Afterlife: The place you go after you die. Life after death.

Anomaly: Something out of the ordinary which can’t be explained.

Apparition: A ghost-like image of a person, an unexpected sight.

Cold Spots: Areas in a location that feel cold, often associated with a spiritual presence.

Ectoplasm: A strange substance that can be emitted by spirits when communicating.

EMF: Electromagnetic Field or Electromagnetic Frequency,  EMF fields are used to determine spiritual presence. Measuring the change in electromagnetic fields.

Entity: A spirit or ghost and sometimes even a person.

EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena is the act of capturing voices and sounds from the spirit world.

Exorcism: The spiritual and religious practice of expelling a spirit or demons from a possessed person.

Ghost: A Spirit that wanders our world often after their human shell dies.

Ghost Hunters: A person or people who conduct investigations into the paranormal to try and prove the existence of spirits.

Ghost Lights: Sometimes also known as orbs, strange lights that appear as colourful spheres.

Haunting/Haunted: A location where there appears to be paranormal or spiritual activity.

Medium: A person who acts as a medium between this world and the spirit world, someone who communicates with ghosts.

Orbs: Mostly in the shape of a sphere, a translucent white coloured light, sometimes slightly tinged that appear in photos.

Paranormal: Something that defies scientific explanation, a term often used to describe ghosts, UFO’s and other unexplained things from outside of what we call normal.

Physical Manipulation: When A physical object is moved by a ghost without human interference.

PK: Also known as Telekinesis and Psychokineses

Poltergeist:  A mischievous or bad spirit who make a lot of noise and can move things with ease.

Portal: A spiritual doorway through which spirits enter and exit the location.

Possession: When a person, or even inanimate object, is taken over by a ghost and they then control the person or it.

Residual Energy: When an emotional event leaves residue from energy on objects or locations, these hauntings and residue will often repeat a single event over and over again.

Séance: A gathering of a few individuals with the purpose of making contact with the spirit of a deceased loved one or other spirit.

Spirit: A soul of an individual who has passed on to the afterlife but continues to be observed in spirit for in a specific location.

Vortex: The centre of spiritual energy.

Where can I go Ghost hunting?

Ghost Hunting Locations

The best thing about ghost hunting is there are a vast amount of places you can go as long as you can get permission.

There are also many organisations that arrange trips and outings if you are lazy and don’t want to look for your own ghosts.

Some ideas of places you can go ghost hunting are:

Abandoned buildings

Don’t be fooled by the age of a building either, just because the building is new does not mean that the land does not have a history.

Historic buildings

Over time many historic buildings have gained more spirits attached to it, a lot of historic buildings are also open to the public giving you a great first place to start. Lots of historic buildings have had ghost sitings and hauntings. Doing your research and asking members of staff will help you get started.

Previous Sitings

A great place to start is to visit sites where there have been ghost sitings, there’s already evidence to suggest that there is a paranormal presence. You can use the internet and social media groups to research these sites and if you can find the people who have seen the supernatural, then you can gather more information by talking with them.

Woods and Forests

Over the years forests and woods have been largely associated with the paranormal and many are said to be haunted. I’m not sure why woods and forests have become so popular with ghost sitings. Before heading down to the woods nearby research first, try to look for ancient woods and not new forest land.

Cemeteries

There are many reasons why cemeteries are a good place to go ghost hunting before you begin though remember that you should respect where you are don’t go trampling on peoples graves.

It has been said that spirits are drawn to their former bodies and that cemeteries can be portals to the other side.

Organised events

Organised events are the perfect place to start ghost hunting and to get a feel for whether you will pursue this hobby more seriously. The research has been done for you and you already have permission. It’s a great place to meet like-minded individuals and pick up some advice.

Ghost Hunt Location research

Once you are decided upon your location its time to use Google and other literature to do some more in-depth research.

This research will help you figure out if you will first need permission from the proprietor if you’ll need a ghost hunting team and what equipment you will need to take on your trip.

You can perform Google searches, visit your library, talk to the locals nearby the haunted location, and speak to other people who have been to the place that is reported as haunted.

Another great way of researching is in newspaper archives.

Planning is very important at this stage, you’ll need to know what times the ghosts were seen, Where the ghosts were spotted, the history of the location and more.

All of this information will lower the chance of you having a wasted hunt!

The research stage of ghost hunting can be just as exciting as the actual hunt, it builds anticipation and can be very educational.

Before you go

Ghost hunting safety

Before you venture out on your first ghost hunting trip you will need to know a little more about the dangers and safety measures to prevent them. The last thing we want is for you to harm yourselves.

So here are a few ghost hunting safety tips to ensure you are prepared for what lies ahead.

  1. Visit the location in the light
    Your ghost hunting should take place at night, however, you should plan a visit beforehand in the light. This will allow you to check the property or location so you can plan an emergency exit should you need to, check for damage and other potential risks and hazards.
  2. Go with friends or a team
    Going ghost hunting alone is a bad idea, having a team or some friends with you will help keep you safe in case of an emergency.
  3. Take a safety kit
    I’ve listed the components of this ghost hunting safety kit in the next section. Having this kit with you at all times will protect you in case of an emergency.

Ghost Hunting Equipment

Ghost Hunting Equipment
Image Source: https://www.ghosthuntingsource.com/

The equipment you use depends entirely on how serious you want your ghost hunting hobby to become.

The best thing about ghost hunting for me is it’s a great pastime for all budgets. It’s a good idea to first have a few outings with a minimal amount of ghost hunting equipment so you can decide whether the hobby is for you before spending money on the more serious tools.

Here’s a quick list of the equipment you will need and some extras should your ghost hunting hobby budget allow you to.

Ghost hunting equipment list 

Ghost hunting safety kit (mandatory)

The ghost hunting safety kit is made up of a few components.

I believe safety is very important when hunting and this kit could potentially save your life or at the very least save you from injury.

First get yourself a backpack and put in a first aid kit, food and water, a mobile phone, extra layers of clothing, rope and some spare batteries for your flashlight. If you are on any kind of medication or suffer from asthma ensure you take what you need with you.

Flashlight (Mandatory)

You will definitely need a flashlight, this is paramount for your safety.
When ghost hunting you will be in dark places, which could be part derelict, this means you can’t see trip hazards and potential danger. You can get great LED torches and flashlights now at a very small cost.

Make sure you also have some backup batteries, buy rechargeable batteries this will save you money in the long run!

Check out this rechargeable tactical flashlight (Check price on Amazon)

Paper & Pen (Mandatory)

Some paper and a pen or preferably a notebook or journal dedicated to recording your experiences as and when they happen.

Some people also try a technique called automatic writing when they are out ghost hunting. You can see more about the automatic writing technique and how you can do it here.

A Camera (Mandatory)

If you can’t afford to have a professional camera then the one on your phone device will suffice. That being said anyone who wants to take the hobby more seriously will want to have a range of different cameras.

With digital editing and manipulation available it’s hard to even have a picture as proof these days.

If you can afford it a DSLR camera and a Polaroid or film camera, it will allow you to take pictures in 2 different ways giving you harder evidence.

Thermometer (optional)

It is believed by many that when you are in the presence of ghosts or other paranormal entities that the temperature will drop and be rather cold.

A good digital thermometer will allow you to test temperatures of locations and areas helping you find the cold spots.

EMF device (optional)

EMF detectors measure the change in electromagnetic fields and it is widely believed that ghosts and the spirit world will alter the electromagnetic field surrounding you while in their presence.

You can’t rely solely on an EMF device as proof but it’s a great bit of kit to have in your ghost hunting arsenal and will allow you to take the hobby to another level.

Check out the Ghost Augustine K2 EMF Meter. Great reviews, simple for beginners to use and most importantly it works fantastic!

Audio Recorder (optional)

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena and is a standard process that ghost hunters use when out ghost hunting, the goal is to capture audio with paranormal sounds or even voices.

Again depending on your budget will depend on what kind of audio equipment you purchase. A digital recorder or cassette recorder will suffice, but you can go as far as high tech equipment with external microphones if you want to take the hobby more seriously.

You can pick digital audio recorders up for a great price!

Your first trip ghost hunting!

So you’ve got your equipment, you’ve done your research and you have your location and permission. What do you do now?

Before anything, you should have visited the site in the daylight and planned your safety regime. This is very important.

If you are going at night and won’t be getting back until late then make sure you are well rested and if possible have a nap before, this will make sure you are alert and ready for what lies ahead.

Pack your equipment and check that you have everything needed, check it twice!

When arriving at your location you should check your digital equipment and turn on the time and date stamp on both your video recorder and your photo equipment this will make analysing your findings much simpler.

Before entering some people like to say a little prayer as a form of protection to stop spirits from attaching themselves to you or your equipment.

Pre Investigation Prayer

Heavenly Father, God of the Universe,

We all come to you in prayer tonight for our protection.

Please protect our bodies, souls, equipment, and all personal possessions from any harm.

We ask that You send your angels to guard us against all evil and malevolent spirits and protect us with Your white light.

We give permission to Your Angels to intervene for us on our behalf.

We pray that You allow the spirits to show themselves to us and allow us to obtain evidence of their existence.

Lord, let our endeavours tonight, not be in vain.

Please allow us to have a safe and eventful investigation tonight.

We pray that no spirit or ghost, of evil will or intention, be allowed to attach themselves to any of us or our belongings and that they not be allowed to follow us to our homes or enter therein.

We pray Lord that You also protect all of our fellow paranormal investigators from any harm tonight and allow us all a safe journey to our homes.

We pray these things in the name of the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Your first ghost hunting trip continued…

You’re now ready to enter the location with the team and your equipment!

Once you are inside don’t get excited and go running around, make a plan and visit each room. While you are in each room thoroughly investigate and take lots of pictures, video and recordings.

Ask politely if anyone is there and to give you a sign of their presence. Talk to the spirit world like you would talk to a friend, be polite and friendly.

If you have more advanced equipment like EMF readers then be sure to make use of them and record the meter readings in each area of the location you visit.

Make a note of anything that could interfere with the EMF reader, anything electrical. Things like sockets, lights and switches can all cause shifts in the EMF.

For the purpose of photography and video, you should also look for objects that may cause a reflection or glare. You may want to cover shiny surfaces where possible to avoid any reflections in pictures or video which could interfere with your investigation.

Follow your gut feelings while in the house and try to clear your mind as much as possible, take pictures even in places you aren’t looking directly at, point the camera wherever you feel the need to.

Continue your ghost hunt throughout the whole of the location covering every accessible area if somewhere is too dangerous to get to which may pose a risk to your safety and cause injury then do not attempt to enter.

Have respect for the location and leave it exactly as you found it.

When your paranormal investigation has concluded you should gather together and say another prayer of protection.

Concluding the investigation Prayer

In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all spirits to not follow any of us home or attempt to bind to us personally.

God bless you and may you find peace and love in the Lord and in the afterlife and be free to move on to the next plane of existence as God wills.

I hereby command all demons and inhuman spirits to go where Jesus Christ tells you to go, for it is he who commands you. 

Amen.

Beginners Tips for Ghost Hunting

  1. Don’t go ghost hunting alone, you should take a friend or go with a group it’s always good to have extra ears and eyes and to confirm any sightings. It’s paramount for your safety too!
  2. Research, get permission and do not trespass. You should carry some form of identification with you and if you can a letter granting you permission.
  3. Talk to the ghosts as you would talk to a living person. Be polite, ask questions, ask for their permission to take photographs and video, remember before you leave to thank them and say goodbye.
  4. Be respectful not only to the location owner by leaving the location as you found it but also to the spirits. Don’t charge in running around and being loud disrupting their home.
  5. Prayers and Wards some people like to say a prayer of protection before entering the location, others also where religious wards and protection.
  6. Take lots of pictures and video footage, whenever you feel like it. If your gut tells you to take a photo in a certain direction then do so, take pictures in places that you aren’t even looking in. The more pictures and video the better. Also, make sure you have your spare batteries and you have plenty of storage space on your device.

Analysing your investigation data

Once you’ve been on your ghost hunting trip and recorded your data and evidence it’s time to analyse.

You should have at this point media like photographs, video, audio and perhaps even wrote some notes.

Firstly you will want to find a quiet place away from distractions, layout your evidence and findings in front of you and take your time to review everything and if you can grab a friend to help or even one of the ghost hunting team who went with you that will help a lot. Two sets of eyes are better than one!

You will want to transfer any digital media to your PC or laptop and if you have had film photos printed then organise these in front of you.

Digital Photographs

For analysing photos you will need a graphics program installed. A good free graphics program is Gimp.

You can use the zoom magnifying feature to zoom right in on your photos and the manipulation features to adjust and fine-tune brightness, contrast, saturation and more.

Be sure to examine each part of every photo as you never know where orbs or anomalies will show up.

Digital Video

Video footage will be the hardest part to examine and can be very tiring and hard on your eyes. It’s better to analyse the video footage in shorter sessions.

If you see anything out of the ordinary jot down the time so you can easily return to double check with fresh eyes.

To edit and view video footage you can use AVS video editor it’s completely free. This program will also allow you to cut snippets from the full video file an save separately.

Digital Audio

To begin with, you will need the software for editing and listening to your digital audio. Audacity is one of the best free audio editors and analysers available.

At this point, you’re going to want to plug your headphones in, preferably ones that block out any background noise allowing you to hear any suspected EVP’s. Again if you hear anything out of the ordinary, jot down the time of the audio.

With audacity it allows you to cut sections from the big audio file, it will also allow you to finetune by removing background noise and can enhance audio.

Cross Checking Your Media

If you think you have found something then it’s time to cross check the other media.

So for example perhaps you think you heard an EVP on your audio file, you noted the time, so now skip to the same time on the video and re-analyse to check to see if there is anything out of the ordinary on the video footage.

If you have a photo of something, then again you can skip to the same time in the video or in the audio.

Tip – Always ensure you have time and date stamps switched on in your camera and video camera before going on a hunt.

Analysing the media data is the longest and hardest part of ghost hunting, it can be very tiring. Don’t rush and if you start to feel too tired come back to it another day, you don’t want to run the risk of missing anything because you are fatigued and tired.

Create a folder on your computer with the time, date and location of each ghost hunt so you can revisit your evidence.

Summary

Ghost hunting can be exciting and educational not to mention exciting in a terrifying way! Always remember to stay safe don’t take silly risks and plan your outings. I would love to hear from you all, ghost stories, sightings or maybe you have some advice for our beginners. Be sure to leave a comment and happy ghost hunting!

Ghost Hunting FAQ

Is Ghost Hunting Safe?

Generally speaking yes it is safe, your biggest risk is injuring yourself in the dark. As long as you are responsible and you use your common sense and the safety tips I’ve listed above you should be very safe. Don’t go ghost hunting if you have heart conditions or such like!

Are Ghosts Actually Real?

Isn’t that the whole point of this hobby and why you are interested? To prove that they are!

There have been millions of sitings and many unexplained videos and photo evidence it’s hard to believe that there isn’t such thing as ghosts. This question will always be debated. I believe!

Where can I go ghost hunting near me?

You can go to many places as long as you have permission to be there, use your imagination, old buildings, previous sitings, historic places etc you can even go on an organised ghost hunt with other like-minded people. To find a ghost hunt near you, go to Google and type “Ghost hunt” followed by “your locality”

Useful Ghost Hunting Links & Resources

Ghost & Paranormal Forum

Beginners Guide To Tarot Cards & Reading

Tarot Cards & Reading

 

What is Tarot?

Tarot which has previously been known as Trionfi, Tarrochi, Tarock among other names, is a pack of cards that have been used for centuries.

As per a usual deck of cards, Tarot has four different suits which vary depending on the region they originate from.

Tarot can be used to play card games or for spiritual readings and cartomancy.

History of Tarot cards

History of Tarot Reading

Tarot Cards have been used throughout history, starting from the middle of the 15th century. It wasn’t until the 18th century, however, that they were used for divination and cartomancy.

There is a belief that the Tarot cards can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, but no hard evidence can support this.

Originally Tarot cards were created for the purpose of a game.

Check out the full history of Tarot Cards here.

Tarot for Beginners

What do I need to start Tarot Reading?

 

To begin reading Tarot you won’t need a lot and the investment is tiny, especially for what you get in return from the hobby.

I’ve made a little list of what you need to start with, it’s only the Tarot Cards that are mandatory and anything else is optional.

  1. Tarot Cards (Mandatory)
    You will need a pack of Tarot cards, the next section after this list will explain how to choose tarot cards that are right for you. (Check Tarot Cards Price on Amazon)
  2. Tarot Dictionary (Optional)
    As a beginner, a good Tarot dictionary will help you learn all of the meanings of the cards and can be used as a great reference when looking up meanings. You, of course, do not need to purchase one if you are working with a budget as the information is available online. That being said it’s nice to have a book at hand.
  3. Candles (Optional) 
    Using a colored candle, appropriate to the reading can help create energy for your reading and create a more relaxed aura, making the reading more accurate. Check out this candle colors and correspondences guide. If you are stuck for the color to use, using white is quite general.
  4. Crystals (Optional) 
    Crystals can be used to “recharge” the cards and to help with cleansing. You should store your cards in a container or bag with the crystals. This is, of course, optional and not mandatory.
  5. Container for your Tarot Cards (Optional)
    Your cards should be respected, kept in the original box, you can also opt for a special container or bag to keep your cards in to protect them.

How do I choose a Tarot Deck?

Choosing your first tarot deck can be an overwhelming process with so many types available. Each has their own artwork, stories, energy and such like.

With the way in which we do our shopping changing, the process has also changed. Some people prefer buying online but with some, they like to keep it authentic and want to physically see and feel the deck.

My personal opinion on this is as long as you are drawn to the cards it doesn’t really matter. It’s just about feeling a connection.

Some good tips when choosing your first beginner’s tarot deck to follow:

Connection

The main aspect when choosing your first tarot deck is to try to feel a connection. One that intuitively grabs you.

Try to feel the energy from the cards if you are doing this while shopping online browse the deck images to see if you feel any kind of connection if you’re in an actual shop then pick up some decks in your hand. Does any of them feel right? Always trust your instinct.

Experience

If you have arrived here and are a complete beginner with little to no experience of Tarot or decks then a great starting Tarot deck is the Rider-Waite deck.

The Rider-Waite deck is probably the most basic and simplest to understand with the most information available.

Usage

With there being a large range of different Tarot decks this means you can find one that is more suitable for what you will be using Tarot for.

Here are some examples of different decks and their purpose. If you are unsure on a Tarot deck you have found Google has a wealth of information available in an instant.

Types of Tarot Decks

Osho Zen deck – Helping find an inner peace and tranquillity in life.

Druid Craft – Earth-based rituals and practices.

Goddess Tarot – Connecting you with your inner Goddess.

If you intend to become a professional Tarot reader then you should have numerous decks for alternative purposes so you choose the most relevant for your situation and client.

Choosing a Tarot Deck Summary

There are more factors that you can consider, the size of the cards with Giant, Mini and standard available. Traditional or modern? Imagery and more.

Do not let the choices become overwhelming above all you should follow your intuition.

If you don’t like the cards you are choosing simply replace them.

Don’t spend too much time thinking about it, it should be a spontaneous purchase that is guided by emotion and feeling.

Best Beginner Tarot Spreads

When just starting out in Tarot it is the best practice to keep things as simple as possible, don’t run before you can walk.

You should not try to begin with elaborate and complex spreads, this will not help you learn and may even put you off the Tarot hobby.

Beginner Tarot readers should choose the most basic of spreads to begin. This will help you learn and help your progress.

The following spreads are very simple and are perfect for beginners.

Past, Present, Future

Three Card Tarot Spread

Past, Present & Future tarot spread is a 3 card spread and is a very popular beginners tarot spread.

Drawing your cards place them from left to right directly in front of you. The card to your left is the past, in the middle is the present and to the right the future.

It is important that although we know what has happened in the past that this card is present, the past card allows us to have a deeper understanding of the bigger picture. It tells us who we are and what’s occurring in the present.

The present card tells us where we are now in our lives and can give us clues and an indication of where we will be going in the future. Both the past and present card give us a deeper insight of the future card.

Finally the future card, this card tells us where we are going with our life right now. The future card is not set in stone and can be changed by the choices we make in the present. That being said, the future card shows us where the energy is flowing and the time of the card reading.

This is a great beginners tarot spread as it is simple and effective. It allows us to get a great deal of information concerning life right now and where we are heading in regards to the question we have asked. From this reading, we can make choices about what we need to do to move forward.

Card a day

A very basic and simple tarot spread, as the name suggests it is as simple as drawing a single card per day.

Before drawing the card for the day you will need to focus your energy and asking a question like “What’s in store for me today?” later on before you go to sleep try to relate your experiences that day to the card you pulled.

The Card a day tarot spread is perfect for a beginner because it gives you chance to build intuition and learn more about the cards.

Situation/action/outcome

Another great 3 cards spread for the beginner is the situation-action-outcome tarot spread. It’s a perfect spread for guiding people through situations which may be confusing.

As per the past present and future spread you will draw three cards from the deck starting from the left through to the right.

Draw your first card from the deck this will be placed to your left, then draw a card in the middle this is your action card and finally place a card to the right for the outcome card.

Keep your mind open when drawing the cards, the situation card may not be what you expect it to be in regards to the situation you are going through but often or not what is happening in our lives is not what we think is happening.

The action card is the action the cards are telling you to take in order to get to the card on the right, the outcome card.

Check out this video for some basic Tarot spreads.

Reading Tarot Cards

So now you have an idea of the basic spreads for beginner tarot readers we now need to know the fundamentals of how to read those spreads.

Firstly, we need to understand what the Tarot deck of cards is made up of.

In a standard deck of Tarot cards, they are made up from 78 cards, each one of these cards has a different picture, story and meaning.

There are 22 major Arcana cards, 56 minor Arcana cards and 16 Tarot court cards.

Located in the Minor Arcana cards there are 16 court cards, each showing us different characteristics.

There are also 40 cards which are numbered and organised into 4 suits, swords, pentacles, cups and wands. The 10 cards per suit show us daily encounters or situations.

Major Arcana Cards

The Major Arcana cards are lessons of karma and spirituality. Representing the path to self-awareness and showing us the different points in life that we encounter as we try to grasp a deeper understanding.

Major Arcana cards teach us deep and spiritual lessons.

Minor Arcana Cards

A reflection of the choices and trials that we face each day.

The Minor Arcana cards give us a deeper understanding of current problems or choices in day to day life, they may also be connected to present issues that perhaps have a small influence on life.

Individual Tarot card meanings and insights

For a deeper insight and meaning into what each card represents I have found a fantastic tarot website.

It is simple to use simply hover over the card and it will present you with a meaning.

You can view all the individual meanings of the cards on the Biddy Tarot website here or alternatively use the Tarot Dictionary book as a reference.

Tarot Card Reading Tips

It’s easy to overcomplicate Tarot and to feel like you aren’t capable of becoming a Tarot reader. These handy little tips should help you through.

  • Study the cards not a book – While learning to read Tarot you should not rely heavily on books and articles to find out what the cards are telling you or what they mean. The cards give a unique reading to the questions asked and for an individual person. What does the picture on the card tell you? What connection does the card have?
  • Learn one way from the start – At the very beginning of your tarot reading journey, you should make a decision between learning the reversal meanings from upside down cards or not learning them. If you are a complete novice learning the reversal meanings can be overwhelming and will take you a lot longer to grasp. I would advise not learning the reversal if you want to be able to read Tarot sooner, focus on the images and energy connection of the cards.
  • Practice on family & friends – A huge part of learning tarot is the practical and not the literature. Don’t be afraid of doing free readings for your family & friends. Use your intuition, focus on the energy of both the card and the question asked. Remind them that you aren’t an expert yet and you appreciate any feedback.
  • Respect your Tarot Cards – Treat your cards as you would your best friend, after all, you are going to be relying on and trusting the advice that they give. Keep them clean and in the original box. Store them in a special place, some even use crystals for healing, cleansing and recharging the cards with energy. Amethyst is the number one choice.
  • Bless and cleanse your cards – When you first receive your cards you should perform a blessing ritual on them and after each use, you should clean them. You can find more information on blessing and cleansing cards here.
  • Take notes – Taking notes in a Tarot journal is a popular practice if you perform a daily one card draw you should write your observations and what you interpret from the card. This is a huge part of learning Tarot.
  • Memorise the cards with keywords – Don’t try and learn all the cards and their meanings straight away this will give you a huge headache, over complicate and perhaps even damage your confidence in being a Tarot reader. A very good method for learning Tarot is to learn 2 keywords for each card. Then elaborate on the keywords.
  • Connect with the cards – Making tarot personal and doing a daily reading for yourself is a great way to connect with the cards. Connect your day to day life and experiences with the cards. Go through the cards and look at the images, forget the actual meanings, for now, connect images with your personal life.
  • Stay confident – Have faith in yourself and your connection with the cards, if you get stuck with what a card means, or the connection talk or think more about the imagery or official meaning of the card you may be surprised and stumble across the connection. Remember it is ok to not understand at the beginning it is all part of the learning process. Keep your confidence.

Mistakes to avoid while Tarot reading

  • Do not read while overly emotional – Reading when overly emotional is a bad idea, you’re likely to draw the cards you are most scared of drawing, which will make you more emotional. Give yourself time to calm down, clear your mind and wait before asking the cards questions.
  • Do not look up all of the card meanings – Of course, as a beginner, you will need to use references for meaning but do not rely too heavily on them. You will need to find your own interpretations using the imagery and your gut as well and incorporate this into the card meaning.
  • Do not overcomplicate the spread – To begin with, a maximum of a three card spread will suffice. Don’t jump straight in and complicate things or else you will find yourself overwhelmed.
  • Do not interpret the cards to see what you want to see – A common mistake is to take what you want to hear or see from the Tarot cards not what they are actually telling you. If you are reading for yourself or a friend then you may be emotionally invested, it is a good idea to use tarot forums or other tarot readers for their interpretation.

Beginners Tarot Reading Overview

Tarot reading is not something that somebody can teach you, it’s something that you have to learn yourself.

I hope this guide gave you enough of the basic information to help you with your Tarot reading journey.

Remember to be patient, to rely on your gut and not books or literature. Connect with the cards and create your own interpretation, have faith in your spiritual energy.

If you have any more questions about beginner tarot then please feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to help you as much as I can.

Tarot FAQ

How many cards are in Tarot?

In a standard deck of Tarot cards, there are 78 cards in total made up of 22 major Arcana cards and 56 minor Arcana cards these are divided into four suits.

Can anyone read Tarot?

It is possible for anyone to read Tarot cards, that being said psychic abilities and using intuition is not the same. Reading Tarot cards is a skill and with practice, learning and dedication anyone can develop it.

Does Tarot predict the future?

I do not believe the Tarot predict the future, what I believe is they give you advice. Your future is yours and the Tarot give you enough advice and insight for you to change it through the choices you make.

Do Tarot cards always have the answer to a question?

No, they do not, sometimes the answer will not be available or it will give a very vague or complicated answer.

 

Beginners Guide To Slot Car Racing

Slot car racing

 

What is slot car racing?

Ever played Scaletrix? If so then you pretty much know what Slot car racing is. If not then allow me to explain: Slot car racing is a competitive hobby of racing model cars around a track, the cars are guided around this track by a groove in which the cars slot into.

Slot car racing has become increasingly popular and has advanced over the years, and serious competitions now exist. Some even build their own model cars from scratch using their own mechanisms, parts and materials.

History of Slot Car Racing

Slot Car History

The first ever manufactured slot car was created by Lionel in the USA and was available from 1912.

The cars got their power from a toy train that was sunk in a rough and connected to a battery. Not much different from the modern slot cars we see today.

There were approximately 12,000 sets manufactured by 1915 when for unbeknown reasons Lionel discontinued the set.

Over the next 40 or so years there were even more slot car racing sets that came and went from companies like the Bachman Brothers and Marx. These were often clockwork powered.

Marx, in 1938, was manufacturing and selling the “Motorcycle Cop & Car Speedway” it was a single track and included 2 clockwork vehicles made from tin. There were 2 keys included and you powered the cars by winding them with keys.

Not only did Marx at this point in time manufacture this clockwork set they also had launched an electric speedway, this was much more expensive.

They returned 20 years later in the 1960’s and started to produce cheaper slot car toys for Sears department stores targeting the general public.

The 1960’s was the decade that slot car popularity soared and the USA was the very heart of the slot car universe.

Now fast forward 50 years on, Europe, especially Italy and Spain has largely taken over the slot car world.

To read a full history of Slot Car Racing check out this article.

 

An introduction to Slot Car Racing

In this guide, you will learn the basic fundamentals of Slot Car Racing as a hobby, you will learn how to get started in slot car racing.

We are by no means experts in the fields and if you want to take slot car racing to a more serious level then we suggest the following reading materials.

How does a slot car work?

Slot Car Component Diagram
Image Credit : https://www.pendleslotracing.co.uk

The slot cars are powered by a miniature electric motor. They are placed onto a track that has a thin groove, each lane has a groove. The cars each have a small blade that fits into the groove on the track. With this blade fitted into the groove, a small amount of electricity is collected, this is what powers the vehicles to be moved around the track.

There are 2 types of controllers that are used these are analogue and electric. The electric controllers are most recommended for beginners, due to the added control and ability to use with a vast array of cars. Analogue controllers work slightly differently and deliver the needed amount of voltage to the slot car.

Slot cars are made up of numerous components:

Motor

This is what powers your slot car in can be placed in many different positions including the front, middle and back and then sideways, angled or inline. Just like a full-sized car, it uses small gears which allow the motor to power the axle.

Axle

Again like a real car, the axle is the steel bar that the wheels are attached too.

Body

The body of Slot cars are moulded to a scale of the real car it is based on. Contrary to popular belief the shape of the body of the car has no impact on how the slot car performs, unlike that of a real car. The factors that affect the performance of the slot car the most are the weight distribution and the mass.

Chassis

As with a real car, a slot car has a chassis this is the bottom part of the slot car. The chassis connects and attaches all of the other car components. It usually is a single piece, however, it can be made with a separate motor pod component.

Guide Flag

A small piece of plastic that pivots, this part sits in the slot of the track and holds the braids.

Braids

The braids are made up of copper metal and are what provides power to the car, this happens when the braids and the track contact. To increase the performance of the car you should learn how to adjust the braids correctly.

Magnet

If you’ve played with slot cars before you will know that they can fly off the tracks, magnets are used at the front and back to help keep the car on the track. Stronger magnets are often used in beginners cars.

Interior

The interior of the car is often a replica of the real-life version, some cars will even have a little moulded plastic driver sat in the driving seat.

Types of Slot Car

 

Analog Slot Cars

 

Analog Slot Car types were the first ever type created over fifty years ago now, this is the traditional slot car setup.

Traditional analog slot car setups should be made up of 2 or more separate lates with the same amount of cars, controllers and players.

Each lane and car is controlled separately by the controller and player.

Generally speaking cars from most manufacturers made in analogue can be used on any tracks. So, for example, a car made by Carrera can still be used on a Scaletrix track.

Digital Slot Cars

 

The main difference between the digital slot car type and analogue is that the digital will allow multiple cars in the same lane, with some even having the ability and parts to be able to switch lanes.

Most digital systems won’t allow you to cross cars and tracks made by different manufacturers without modifications.

 

What do I need to get started Slot Car Racing?

 

Before you head off to slot car competitions and slot car meetings you’re going to want to build up your skills.

The only way you can do this is with good old fashioned practice.

The beauty is you can purchase your own slot car set online have it delivered to your door, set it up and away you go!

All you’re going to need to begin with is some patience and a good slot car racing set! Ever heard of Scaletrix? Then if you have you know exactly what the best manufacturer of slot car is.

As a beginner, you should look for a 1:32 slot car set.

In the set, you should get a car(s), the track, controllers and power supply.

You can even buy extra track eventually and build up the size and shape of your set.

Top slot car Manufacturers

 

Scaletrix

Scaletrix is one of the first slot car manufacturers and has been around for years, they are also perhaps the most well known of all brands.

They produce cars mainly in 1:32 scale in both analogue and now digital systems.

Scaletrix target mainly the “toy” market which leaves their cars with less performance than others.

In spite of this Scaletrix are still the preferred choice for beginners.

Their tracks and cars are very popular and although lacking in optimised performance they still dominate a large section of the slot car market.

Scaletrix Website

Carrera

Carrera is also one of the biggest manufacturers and brands in the hobby of slot car racing.

They produce cars, tracks an accessories in 3 different scales these are 1:24, 1:32 and 1:43 and are the only major manufacturer that have produced a track for 1:24 slot car systems.

A brand that is popular in the slot car world, they have created an impeccable name for themselves and have a great balance of performance and quality products.

Carrera Website

Ninco

A Spanish company that has been around for the last 25 years, Ninco create 1:32 slot cars in digital and analogue.

They have created a great reputation in the slot car racing world, producing high-quality cars and tracks for more serious slot car racers.

Ninco has their very own track system which is slightly wider than those of Scaletrix for the intention of accommodating wider cars.

It is possible to combine the use of Ninco track with Scaletrix using adapters.

Lately, Ninco has produced a fantastic digital system which caters for up to 8 cars on the track.

A quality brand name who create fantastic slot car systems, a brand you can trust and rely on.

Ninco Website

SCX

Another Spanish company, SCX is confusingly known as Scaletrix in Spain whereas Scaletrix is known as Superslots.

Predominantly SCX creates tracks and systems in the 1:32 scale in both Analogue and digital.

All of the SCX tracks are fully compatible with Scaletrix tracks.

They are currently up and coming in the Slot Car hobby world and have so far produced a wide variety of quality products.

SCX Website

What are the best beginners slot cars?

As previously mentioned the best slot cars for beginners are the 1:32 type, these are the most popular sized in the hobby.

You’re going to want a car with pretty strong magnets to begin, the magnets help you stay on the track.

Remember though as you start to get better and your slot car skills increase you can remove your magnets or even start upgrading your slot car and track.

Try not to use the magnets for too long, this could have a negative impact on the progress of your racing skills.

As you start to feel more comfortable with your system remove your magnets to allow you to develop your slot car racing skills.

Types of Slot Car

Types Of Slot Car
A Carrera 1:32 Slot Car

 

There are many scales of slot car that are available.

1:24th

1:24 slot cars are larger so aren’t usually found in the home, typically these are used at club tracks or in commercial promotions in a bigger building. This is due to the size of the slot cars.

1:24 slot cars are built on the scale of  1 unit of length on the slot car equates to 24 units on the actual life-size car.

1:32nd

The most popular for home slot car enthusiasts and perhaps the most popular worldwide.

1:32 slot cars are scaled as 1 unit of length is equal to 32 units of the full-size car it is based on.

1:43rd 

1:43rd scale slot cars are becoming increasingly popular in the Slot car racing world, they are often sold as children’s toys but due to the moderate space requirements and cost they have become more popular with adults.

1:43rd cars are scaled as 1 unit is equal to 43 of the model of car the slot is based on.

What are the best beginners slot car race tracks?

 

To begin I think it’s better to choose a more simple track with an oval shape.

This will help when learning how to control the slot cars and keep them on the track.

There are a couple of different types of tracks available in the slot car hobby these are explained in the next section.

Types of Track

Slot Car Track Types

 

Plastic Slot Racing tracks

This type of track is created with moulded plastic. Often the plastic tracks are made in sections allowing the design and shape of the course to be extended and changed.

These sections are less expensive and fit easily together, that being said, where the track pieces join each other, it leaves a bump and can have a negative effect on performance. Due to the increased number of electrical connections the voltage can drop considerably.

Some people use the plastic tracks for permanent setups by filling in the cracks where sections are joined and then smoothing them over. The power rails can also be soldered.

Most home slot car setups and sets you buy from the shop are plastic racing tracks.

Routed Slot Racing tracks

For competitive slot car racing or for someone more serious about the hobby routed slot car racing tracks are usually a more popular choice. Using one or two pieces of chipboard/MDF the entire racecourse has the guide slots and grooves cut in it. They typically use a router machine or CNC, giving the track a smooth surface.

 

Beginners Slot Car Tips

 

Practice, Practice and more Practice

As with anything in this world if you want to get better at something you have to keep practising.

Ideally, you should spend a little time each day practising with your slot car setup, even the pros dedicate time to advancing their skills.

Be patient slot car racing can be at times very frustrating especially when you are flying off the track constantly.

Slow down take your time and keep persevering!

Slow Down

Slow down! It’s not all about maxing out the speed of the slot car, the objective is to get around the track and just like in real life you’ll need to slow down around the corners.

As you get used to taking corners you can gradually increase your speed a little each time until you find the maximum speed you can take it at without leaving the track.

Get to know your car better!

Add Grip To Tyres

Sometimes when you first purchase a slot car system the wheels of the car can be rather shiny this, of course, has a negative effect on handling.

Some would suggest you take some fine grit sandpaper and add a little grip by rubbing the surface of the wheels.

Recommended Beginners Slot Car Tracks

 

After taking in all the information so far about how the cars work, the scales, the tracks it’s probably going to seem quite daunting.

So I’ve done a little research and found the following to be the most popular sets to get you started in your hobby.

The sets will allow you to practice and get used to how to drive them effectively.

Very simple tracks in a 1:32 scale.

The following are recommended by experts from around the web for beginners.

Scalextric 1:32 Scale Mini Challenge Race Set

  • Scalextric Mini Challenge2 x 1:32 Mini Slot Cars
  • Two-speed settings and Lap Counter
  • Digital Plug Magnatraction System Ready
  • Create 4 different track layouts
  • Track total length 484cm this would require 191cm x 132cm space

A great beginners set, the Scalextric Mini Challenge is the perfect beginner’s slot car system receiving many positive reviews from around the globe.

Check Price On Amazon

Carrera Evolution Ferrari/Mercedes 

  • Carrerra Ferrari Evolution Race Champs Slot Cars1 x 1:32 Mercedes F1W05 Race Car & 1 x 1:32 Ferrari SF 15-T Slot Cars
  • 5.3 Meter Racing Track With 2 Loops
  • Space Required 200 x 80cm
  • 2 x Controllers
  • Based on Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso

This rivalry Carrera set is great for beginners who want to take the hobby a little bit more seriously and jump in a little deeper. Great reviews and a good quality set with tough and robust pieces (ready for you crashing off the track a lot)

Check Price On Amazon

Scalextric Ultimate Rivals Race Set 

  • Scalextric Ultimate Rivals1 x 1:32 BMW Z4 GT3 & 1 X 1:32 Mercedes AMG GT3
  • Track Length 4.9 meters
  • Space Required – 210 x 140cm
  • ARC ONE System (App Race Control)
  • 9 Possible Track Layouts

The ultimate rivals slot car set from Scaletrix is the revolutionary new ARC one system. In a nutshell, this allows you to download the app and customise your slot car racing. Choose the number of laps, Penalties for jump-starting, fuel consumption and much more! A great start for beginners entering the world of slot car.

Check Price On Amazon

 

Slot Car Set For Kids

 

A lot of the small children’s slot car sets are toys opposed to serious hobby tracks, so the reviews seem to be a little mixed from around the internet.

In my opinion though as long as your child has something that functions as a slot car racing track and is very basic then it’s a good start.

You should be looking for a slot car setup with a very basic layout in the scale of 1:32

I believe if you want to buy your small child a slot car set then it should be about fun first.

A great example of a kids slot car set:

Carrera CARS 3 Slot Car Set

Cars 3 Carrera Slot Car

Based on the highly successful Disney movie Cars, this slot set is sure to peak your child’s interest.

Manufactured by Carrera so you can be assured of quality.

Most importantly it won’t break the bank!

  • 2.4 Meter Total Track Length
  • Dimensions:93 x 45 cm

Check out the price on Amazon today.

Slot Car Racing Summary

 

There’s only so much I can teach you as a beginner, to be honest with you slot car racing is something you can teach yourself completely! This guide is just to try and answer any questions you may have before you get started.

Most of the knowledge you will gain in your time slot car racing will be about modifications, upgrades and the equipment available, which is far beyond my expertise.

Expert slot car racers and people who have been enjoying the hobby for some time, built their very own tracks, supe up their very own cars, some even travel the world to compete professionally!

If after reading this guide you are still quite serious about starting the hobby then in the next section you will find further reading and lots of useful information.

You can comment below and add anything you think I may have missed and if you have more questions then ask away I will do my best to help you find answers 🙂

 

Slot Car References & Useful Websites

Slot Car Racing Clubs in the UK

Slot Car Racing Clubs in the US

Slot Car Magazine & Forum

Slot Cars FAQ

What is slot car drag racing?

Slot car drag racing is a type of slot car racing based upon a drag race. The slot race takes place on a long straight length of track often scaled to a quarter-mile.

How fast can slot cars go?

The speed of slot cars are again based usually on a scale and this is known as “Scale MPH” so a 1:32 scale car would be measured over a distance of 1:32 of a mile. The fastest recorded slot car was a Honda F1 model by Scalextric and it reached a whopping speed of 983 “Scale MPH”

However, without scaling the speed this would be approximately 30 MPH which is still pretty impressive!

This was, of course, a tweaked and modded slot car so don’t expect yours to go as fast just yet. Still anywhere between 10 – 14 mph.

What are digital slot cars?

Digital slot cars a relatively new type of slot car. Each car is fitted with a chip relevant to the system. The rails found on the track are permanently live and all lanes have the same feed.

Each individual slot car is set to the controller of the driver who owns the car. Once the driver pulls the control trigger data is sent to the car in “data packets” down the slot track rails. The data chip which is fitted in the car then decodes the data in a way such as this – Car number 1, 75% power. The data then gives 75% power to the motor system in the car.

Other forms of digital slot car racing are infra-red systems. The track has sensors and they can read the data from the player’s car as it travels over them. This is used for cool things such as lap timing. Slot car racing is becoming more popular and more complex so it’s only natural that with tech advancing slot car racing does too.