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48 hours in . . . Bruges, an insider guide to Belgium’s city on water

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Little Bruges, the perfect pocket-sized medieval city, was a Sleeping Beauty. Laced with canals, it was one of the great North European trading ports in late medieval times. The magnificently detailed paintings of its artists, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, record its wealth in clothing, jewellery and ornament. Then it fell rapidly into decline and slept until rediscovered and restored to glory in the 19th century.

Today its new riches are in tourism, carefully managed and constantly refreshed by year-round cultural events, so that it retains the dynamism of a living city. The best way to appreciate all this is to stay a few days, luxuriating in the dreamily romantic boutique hotels, and visiting the rewarding museums and churches at your leisure. Above all, this is a place to walk and wonder, and there are still plenty of quiet corners to discover, where historic Bruges sleeps on.

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Travel & Escape

How to win the lottery — 7-time lottery winner shares 5 important tips

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Incredible as it may seem,the odds of matching all the winning Powerball numbers are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association. It means you’re much more likely to date a supermodel, get bitten by a shark, become the president of the United States, get struck by lightning, amongst other incredible feats than win the lottery.

However, despite the high odds of winning the lottery once, Richard Lustig has won the seven lottery grand prizes. Due to the rarity of his feat, Lustig wrote a book titled: Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning The Lottery, where he discusses the do’s and don’ts of playing the lottery and how to better your odds of winning the lottery.

Here are some of the useful tips shared by Lustig to better your chances of winning the lottery.

1.  Avoid “quick-pick” numbers that are autogenerated from the stores

While it might appear like every number carries an equal amount of “luck” in the quick pick method, but according to Lustig, it is advisable to not be lured by this.

“Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game, whatever game you’re playing. In this case, the hype, of course, is all about the Powerball right now,” said Lustig in a Forbes interview.

2.  Exhaust all your options

For many people who play the lottery, they typically limit their choices to “special dates” like anniversaries, birth month and dates and the likes.

While these dates carry precious memories, choosing them means you’re limiting yourself to less than half the numbers available from 1 through 31. Therefore, ensure you exhaust all of your options in terms of picking numbers.

“If you pick your own numbers and only play birthdays and anniversaries, you’re splitting the pot with 20-40 people. If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people,” said Lustig.

3.  Ensure you stick with your guts

In his book, Lustig recommended a specific way to find the numbers that you’re most comfortable with, but ultimately, never go back on a group of numbers that you believe would win you the jackpot.

“Remember, a set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers,” notes Lustig.

Therefore, while it is alright to repeat one or two numbers, it is necessary when playing multiple cards to have enough variety when grouping selected numbers. Doing this helps maximize your odds.

4. Maintain consistency

If you want to increase your chances of winning a particular game, it is important to consistently follow past and future drawings to get an insightinto the winning patterns—if any.

“Never miss a drawing in the game you’re playing. Every Saturday, every Wednesday, every week,” said Lustig.

5.  Know your limits and don’t be carried away

Winning the jackpot can be a life-changing experience for not only you but your loved ones, however, it is important not to invest so much money into lottery tickets than you’re willing to lose.

While buying 100 tickets gives you a better chance that buying 10, but only do this if you’re able to afford a loss—as lottery tickets are not a regular investment.

“One of the things that I preach to people all the time is budget, budget, budget,” Lustig says. “Set a budget of what you’re going to spend. Do not get caught up in what’s called lottery fever”

“Don’t spend grocery money. Don’t spend rent money. Figure out what you can afford to spend. Don’t worry about how much Joe Blow down the street is spending. … Figure out what your budget is, what you can comfortably afford to spend, and stay within that budget,” he continued.

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Travel & Escape

Europe’s most incredible cosy cabins for watching the Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights are a phenomenon likely to appear on the wish, bucket or to-do list of any intrepid traveller. And what better way to experience them in Europe than by bunking down in cosy cabins, surrounded by miles of forest, still water or the peaks of mountains. They might be pared-back but still boast polished elements, whether it’s a heated hot tub in Sweden, an ‘igloo’ extension in Norway or a glass roof above your bed in Finland. Nothing distracts as the Aurora Borealis flames across the sky – curl up under a blanket and take a look inside. . .

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Travel & Escape

The curious idiosyncrasies of the Icelandic, from elves and nudity to dark jokes and shark meat

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Iceland: the land of fire and ice, home to long winters, pickled foodstuff and perhaps the world’s most confounding alphabet. Considering a trip there? Arm yourself first with five of its more curious cultural quirks…

They believe in elves. Sort of

… at the very least, the ancient mysticism around them remains alive and well. According to an oft-quoted survey conducted by the University of Iceland, nearly 10 per cent of citizens actually believe elves to be real, while more than 80 per cent are on the fence but refuse to deny their existence.

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