Sewing Machine Buyers Guide

Janome sewing machine

There are many things to consider when choosing the perfect sewing machine. It can often be a confusing task, especially if you’re new to sewing or needle craft, or if you are looking to buy one as a gift for someone. We suggest trying out one from the Janome sewing machines range, here are some handy tips to help you.

Machines for Beginners

First of all, you need to establish whether the sewing machine is for a beginner or a more experienced sewist. A beginner will need a machine with a basic range of stitches, whereas an experienced sewer may require more features.

Sewing Projects

You need to have in mind what kind of projects you want to use the machine for, whether it be for dressmaking, repairs and alterations, home furnishings and upholstery, embroidery and quilting. A basic machine would be more suitable for those who want to do dressmaking, crafts, repairs and alterations. A machine with a wider range of stitches however would be better suited for projects such as embroidery, crafts, quilting and upholstery.

How Often Do You Sew?

Will the machine be used often? If the machine is for occasional use, then it wouldn’t be worth your time or money in investing in a large sewing machine with a large range of stitches and accessories, because they will never be needed.

For those who are looking to invest in a sewing machine that they know will be used regularly, it would be a good idea to look into ones that are sturdy with a metal frame inside.

Weight and Storage

Sewing machines can be bulky appliances, so you need to consider where you are planning on storing it. Will you put it away after each use, or will you be taking it to classes? Consider the weight and whether it’ll be too heavy to lift alone.

Many sewing machines come with accessories, so you need to consider where you can store them if you have limited space available.

Invest in a sewing machine that comes with a soft or hard cover to protect your machine from dust and dirt. The cover can keep the sewing machine safe and make it easy to transport.

Different Types of Sewing Machine

There are three different types of sewing machines; an electronic sewing machine, a computerised sewing machine and the overlockers.

An electronic one works by sending an electrical impulse into the needle from a single motor; you operate the machine via a foot pedal.

The computerised sewing machine is good for beginners and experienced sewers. You can manually control the functions of the machine, the speed and needle functions.

Overlockers are finishing machines, used to create hems and seams but can also have decorative stitching options. They’re great for sewing knitted fabrics too.

Confused by the Jargon?

There are plenty of technical terms that you’re bound to come across as a sewer, such as ‘bobbin’, ‘free arm’ and ‘feed dogs’. These technical terms can seem completely baffling but, we’ve found a list of sewing terms to help you understand them!

If you need any help with choosing the perfect sewing machine, what the machines functions mean and any general sewing queries, you can always speak to an expert – we recommend Franklins, who are always happy to help.

The Best Outdoor Ice Rinks in the UK

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Winter is setting in and the Christmas effect is in full swing – be it 2 months early! – but it’s time to start planning a Christmassy day out at some of the best outdoor ice skating rinks in the UK!

Canary Wharf Ice Rink

This year’s Canary Wharf ice skating rink theme is LuminoSity; over 8-thousand LED lights will be sparkling under the ice and illuminating skaters in colour. There will be a bar serving drinks and season snacks. For those who fancy watching their loved ones’ skate and don’t fancy trying it themselves, there will be a heated outdoor viewing terrace to relax in.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Parks Winter Wonderland ice rink is the largest one in the UK, set around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand under sparkling lights and festive décor. You can skate during the crisp winter mornings, the afternoon sun, a romantic twilight setting or under the stars. There will be live music playing and a bar serving hot drinks and festive drinks.

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

The 1,000 metres square ice rink is situated in the grounds of the Natural History Museum buildings, with rows of trees covered in fairy lights, and a Christmas tree in the middle of the ice rink. There is also a slightly smaller course for younger skaters to practice in. There is also a Café Bar overlooking the ice rink, with live music and a traditional fairground carousel.

Skate at Somerset House

Somerset House is the most beautiful backdrop to see whilst skating around the 18th-century courtyard. The 900-square-metre outdoor rink will be open for hundreds of skaters this year, and it’s sure to be the most Instagrammable destination this Christmas! Alongside the skating, there will also be a bar, private dining area and posh pop up shops, creating the most relaxing Christmassy vibe this year.

Nottingham Winter Wonderland

Set in the heart of Nottingham, this year’s Ice Rink is at its biggest size yet, decorated with LED lights and a large decorated Christmas tree in the centre. New for this year will be a ski-lodge themed boot room!

Despite their glitzy and simplistic appearance, ice rinks are complicated things to set up and maintain! Ice rinks require good quality and reliable diesel powered generators to power the coolers to maintain the ice rink and make it last as long as possible.

They’re also time consuming to make. Water has to be applied carefully and slowly, in order to make sure it is all the same thickness. An ice surface that is too thick requires more power to keep it frozen, which in turn can make it prone to going soft on top. However, if a surface is too thin, it can be dangerous for skaters as they could cut straight through to the ice.

Europe’s Strangest Hidden Gems

The Weirdest Attractions In Europe

Get off the beaten track this summer and see some of Europe’s strangest sights!

Fancy doing something a little bit different this summer? Why not head away from the crowds and visit one of the weirdest attractions in Europe. From torture devices to beer baths! From vampires to noses! Check out some of our favourite strange sights – we guarantee a holiday you won’t forget in a hurry! Before you leave, make sure you take out travel insurance for European holidays.

Museum of Torture, Siena (Italy)

The pretty Tuscan town of Siena is known for its historic architecture, local wines and bi-annual Palio – a medieval horse racing pageant held in the town’s central Piazza del Campo. However, Siena is also home to one of Europe’s strangest museums. The Museo della Tortura, as the name suggests, is a museum devoted to the art of torture. Here you can see a wide range of torture devices – from chastity belts and guillotines to hanging cages and iron maidens. This isn’t a destination for the squeamish!

Museo della Tortura

The Nose Academy, Lund University (Sweden)

For an equally strange museum experience, head to Lund University in Sweden. Here you will find the Nose Academy – a museum containing plaster casts of famous Scandinavian noses. Everyone from seventeenth-century astronomers to eighteenth-century botanists and nineteenth-century authors are represented here. A highlight is the ‘unknown nose’ – the museum’s tribute to the common man!

Dracula’s Castle, Bran (Transylvania)

Vampire lovers should head to Bran in Transylvania, which is where you’ll find Dracula’s Castle. This was the home of Prince Vlad of Wallachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler – the man who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Visitors are free to explore this atmospheric castle and soak up the gothic atmosphere. The estate was recently valued at $140 million, making it the second most expensive property in the world.

Dracula's castle

Cathedral, Mejoranda del Campo (Spain)

One of the most iconic attractions in Spain is Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. But the adventurous tourist can avoid the crowds at this popular destination and head for Mejoranda del Campo on the outskirts of Madrid instead. Here you will find a 90 year old man in the process of constructing his own cathedral. As a young man he was struck down with tuberculosis and promised the Virgin Mary he would build her a cathedral if she allowed him to recover. He got better and stuck to his word, building her an awe-inspiring shrine made entirely from scavenged materials. A truly unique sight to behold!

Hill of Crosses, Siauliai (Lithuania)

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania looks like the set of a horror movie. Lithuanians have planted crosses here for over 200 years in order to indicate their devotion to Catholicism – especially during the wars, when their religion came under threat. Over the decades this has turned into a thick forest of crosses, making for a truly unique and atmospheric sight. It attracts tourists and catholic pilgrims alike.

Hill of Crosses

Beer Baths, Tarrenz (Austria)

Austria combines its reputations for beer and wellness at the Beer Baths in Tarrenz! Underneath a 200 year old brewery on the outskirts of Innsbruck, you will find swimming pools filled with beer. Take a bathe – it’s excellent for the skin. After swimming in beer, thirsty visitors can order some to drink.

beer bath

10 Travel Tips for Visitors to Mexico

Traveling to Mexico for your holidays sounds like a very good idea, and in fact it is. However, if you want to enjoy your holidays at its best, then you need to read this article and pay attention to the 10 best travel tips you need to know before visiting Mexico. And you should pay special attention if you are a first-time visitor. Now that we have stated all this, it’s time to begin with the content.

#1 The People:

You just need to put your guard down a little bit, because people here in Mexico are very friendly and will make you to enjoy your stay. People in Mexico are always willing to help and are especially friendly to foreigners.

#2 The Food:

The food in Mexico is simply delicious. Make sure to taste the famous tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tortillas, tamales and more! You should also give a try to their delicious desserts! And don’t limit yourself to the typical and most mainstream cuisine, because Mexico has lots of dishes to offer!

#3 The Water:

You shouldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Always try to get bottled water, because drinking water here, or anywhere else, can make you feel ill. Even locals don’t trust their local water system. So save yourself from problems and just get bottled water during your stay.

#4 The Best Time To Go:

The best time to go to Mexico is in late spring. The weather is great and you will be able to save some extra money, because this season is known for being more budget friendly. So if you want to go full save-as-much-money-as-possible mode, then here you have our tip: travel in late spring and you won’t have any problem.

#5 Just Explore:

There are so many things to see in Mexico that you should start exploring as soon as you arrive. This country has the outstanding quantity of 32 UNESCO World Heritage sites! So you have a lot to check during your stay. Don’t miss out any chance and just embark yourself on the adventure.

#6 Un Poco De Español:

You should try to learn some Spanish. This will make your travel easier and will surprise the locals. You don’t have to become a master in Spanish, just try to learn some elemental phrases and you are all set. And don’t be afraid to speak, none is going to laugh at you!

#7 Shopping!

You should save a decent amount of cash for shopping, because here you will find many interesting things in fact. So be ready for a shopping rampage!

#8 Pesos:

Always try to pay in Pesos, this will save you from problems or misunderstandings. Don’t commit the mistake of paying only in dollars, this is a very important tip. So try to exchange your dollars to pesos as soon as you arrive to Mexico.

#9 Relax:

Use your time in Mexico to relax. Just disconnect yourself from the world and enjoy your holidays!

#10 The Weather:

Mexico is hot all the time. So bring appropriate clothes so you can feel comfortable in your journey and stay.

Top 5 Holiday Destinations for New Couples

If you want to embark yourself with your partner in the holidays of a lifetime, then this article is going to help you. As the title clearly states, we are going to check the best 5 destinations for new couples. This list has been elaborated carefully for you, so make sure to hook yourself up with this read, because after this you will have a handful of options for your next holidays, because each one of these destinations is simply awesome. Now that we have properly introduce you, it’s time to move on.


Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe: full of culture, exquisite cuisine and heavenly nature. But on this time we are going to recommend you to visit Rome, because this city has everything we have previously discovered, with the addition that it’s very romantic.

You can explore the Vatican City, and if you are a devote Catholic, then you can use this chance to pray and nourish yourself with the magic brought by this religious place. If you want our opinion, this is one of the cities you MUST visit at some point in your life, so visit it with your partner in your next holidays!


And what city can be more romantic than Paris? The French capital won’t fail to make of your holidays an unforgettable experience for you and your partner. Here you will be able to visit the emblematic Eiffel Tower, museums, eat in some of the best restaurants in the world, join city tours and a lot more!

Paris is a city full of culture, you have many museums to visit, full of art. And the city itself is a piece of art wherever you go: The Sacre Coeur, The Notre Dame, etc. One of the best destinations for young couples.

The Greek Islands:

Another excellent destination for you are the Greek Islands. Here you can do almost anything you want to. Want to dance with your loved one? Then you can join one of the many parties that take place in the Greek Islands every single night. Here you can also find delicious food, picturesque villages and towns, history, etc. A must-go-to destination for young couples!


Majorca is another excellent destination. Located in Balearic Islands, Spain, it has become one of the most popular destinations for young couples just like you. This island has everything you could ever need to enjoy your holidays with your significant other. It’s a perfect mix of nuances: rustic villages, romantic places and the magic of the Mediterranean Sea.

Buenos Aires:

And just to close this listing, here we have Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina. Here you will dance a sensual tango with your partner, and just enjoy the wonders of this romantic city. Buenos Aires is a magic city that won’t fail you, because you can enjoy its delicious cuisine, cultural events or just go for a walk amongst its beautiful streets.



Top 5 Wedding Destinations in 2016

If you want to discover the best wedding destinations for this year, then we invite you to read this article from beginning till end. We have picked the best 5, so you can choose one of them and visit it. This article has been written especially for you. Enjoy it and learn!


If you want to visit a tropical yet romantic place, then Aruba is the place to be. It has everything you may ever need to pass an incredible season with your significant other. Here in Aruba you will be able to enjoy its beaches and have a nice time with your partner.

This place is full of romanticism. You will be able to embark yourself on some romantic, interesting and exciting adventures with your loved one. Aruba is a very popular touristic spot, and as such, you won’t have any problem at the hour of finding a nice hotel. Or if you want to have a very private place, then you can always rent an apartment or a house in

In short: there are many things for you and your couple to do in Aruba. And after all, c’mon! It’s ARUBA!


Belize is another top wedding destination for 2016. It’s very hard not to fall in love with this singular, special, romantic and exciting place. If you are tired of your city-town routine, then there’s no better way to celebrate your wedding than bringing you and your loved one a getaway in an exotic and beautiful place like Belize.

This tiny nation has lots of thing to offer you, so you can enjoy some of the best holidays in your life. You can find plenty of resorts and options for accommodation here. It’s just a matter of searching online and you will find it. You can also join many of the tours – what a better way to enjoy your holidays in Belize?

Costa Rica:

If you want to visit another beautiful place with exotic yet beautiful beaches, then you need to visit Costa Rica. You will be greatly surprised by this nation from Center America. Its beaches are simply phenomenal, and you can find excellent resorts where to host you and your partner. On top of that, Costa Rica has friendly people, and this will allow you to enjoy your stay even more.


If you want to opt for something more classical, then there’s nothing better than Italy. A romantic place, whose architecture, culture and cuisine will bring you the holidays of a lifetime, because you will enjoy them with the one you love the most on this world.


And just to finish this article: Jamaica is another excellent wedding destination in 2016. An exotic place that will leave you speechless because of its beauty. If you want to pass some excellent holidays, then you should visit this place. We can guarantee you that you will pass some of the best days of your life here.