‘Bags of Air’ From Adele Concert Sell on Ebay

In case you were wondering if the title was correct, yes, there were bags of actual air, supposedly from one of Adele’s concerts, selling on Ebay. Not only were they selling, they were also selling for some pretty decent money, with one bag receiving a bid of £1500 before the big bosses as Ebay stepped in to diffuse the situation, and quickly removed the listing. (Nice try). On one particular listing, the ‘air’ was supposedly from one of Adele’s Australia concerts and it was trapped inside what can only be described as a large sandwich bag. Once Ebay removed the listing for nothing other than ridiculousness, the seller then re-listed the item. Because the item was now a thing, and has already caused a significant amount of scandal, she now had a lot more to go with. The listing title now reads; ‘The Original legit Adele live air bag (ebay removed my original listing).’ Unfortunately, this time round has not been so much of a success and the current bid stands at around £9.50.

Adele has been recently touring Australia and, as usual, tickets were like gold dust, which could perhaps explain why people are willing to purchase air from the event (?). Anyway, in case you weren’t there, we can fill you in on some of the action. One night Adele welcomed a drag queen on stage, another saw her shouting at a security guard for telling fans to sit down (who needs health and safety when you have Adele anyway?) and there were even reports that in order to conceal herself from fans until the very last moment, Adele was being wheeled to her venues in a box – are we missing something or are tour buses with blacked out windows not the in thing anymore? Apparently, the box is wheeled right into the venue and many just mistake it for a piece of kit being wheeled around, little do they know, actual Adele is sitting inside. I wonder where that box is now and how much I could get for it….

Other ridiculous things you can buy (and sell) on Ebay…

Believe it or not, if you are looking for something particularly unique, you can actually just search ‘weird stuff’ in the search bar of the ebay home page because this is a real category, that actually exists. However, this is only for the very brave amongst us. You have been warned…

  • Golf ball removed from the inside of a snake…

Yep. A few years back, there was an auction that was selling golf balls that had previously been removed from the inside of a snake. As legend has it, the golf balls were being used to encourage hens to lay eggs, when the snake got into the hen house, mistook the balls for eggs and ate them. Yup. It is thought that the golf balls were put on Ebay in an attempt to raise money for a new wildlife hospital. So, all’s well that ends well!

  • A Haunted Rubber Duck

    According to the owner of said duck, the bath toy had the power to possess children. Presumably wanting rid as soon as possible, the seller declared in the item’s description that he would not take any responsibility or answer any questions about the duck once the item had been shipped. In the end, curiosity got the better of someone, and the item sold for $107.

  • One single Cornflake

    Complete with measurements. This was basically a guy seeing if he could sell a Cornflake on ebay, just cos. The Cornflake unsurprisingly had no takers at first but then someone bid 1p (presumably, again, just for a laugh) and apparently it all kicked off from there. After a couple of days, the cornflake sold for a massive £1.20. It seems that he managed to sell it just in time as Ebay were suddenly on the case, asking him to withdraw the sale of the Cornflake unless he could provide a ‘best before’ date.

  • The Meaning of Life

    Way back in 2000, a man from North Carolina claimed to know the meaning of life and decide to share his knowledge with the world, by selling it on Ebay. The meaning of life did only sell for $3.26 which makes us question its accuracy slightly…

  • Britney’s Bubblegum

Britney Spears chewed a piece of bubblegum and spat it out at a Wembley concert in 2000. The woman that caught the bubblegum sold it on Ebay for a whopping $14, 000.

One in Five Brits Struggle to Save for Retirement

According to Nationwide Savings research, Brits are struggling more and more to save for their retirement and it has been revealed that in today’s current climate, one in five Brits will head into retirement with just £2,500 in savings – barely enough for a family holiday and is actually the average monthly wage sum before tax. Whilst a lot of Brits will struggle when it comes to giving up work, many do have a healthy attitude towards saving. Ahead of retirement in the UK, the average person expects to have £42, 244 stashed away to see them through, with a smaller amount of 12% want and expect to have £100, 000 in their accounts by the time they retire.

The interesting poll carried out by Nationwide surveyed 2000 adults of working age as they anticipated retirement. The aim of the survey was to get a feel for Nationwide’s saving habits as ISA season slowly approaches. when looking into current cash ISA’s it was revealed that the average person has no more than £13, 191 in their ISA account which in some cases has been a build up of a number of years of saving. This means that the current maximum amount of £15, 240 is nowhere near being reached by many, which makes the enhanced limit of £20, 000 an even more of an unrealistic target. The new £20, 000 limit will come into effect on 6th April. Unsurprisingly, just 13% of customers deposited the maximum amount last year (1 in 8).

it seems that many Brits do struggle to stash their money away and the main problem lies not with overspending as such but with actually having spare money to save in the first place. The poll showed that a huge six in ten people don’t have any spare money to ‘put away’ at the end of the month once all expenses such as bills and food are bought and paid for. One third dismally described their situation as ‘just about managing’ when it came to their finances and claimed to have nothing to fund any unexpected bills. 11% said they are struggling to pay bills as it is and many don’t see the situation improving anytime in the near future. Overall, just a tiny third of the people surveyed expressed optimism and excitement about their financial future in Britain.

When it comes to life’s treats and luxuries such as a new car or holiday, it was encouraging to see that almost two-thirds of the people surveyed would save up rather than turn to credit for help with payments. With many sensible and choosing to save in a tax-free cash ISA, there are, however, those that admit openly that although they struggle and want to save more, have no desire to cut back on their current spending.

To encourage saving and to make the gruelling task a little more easy, slightly more flexible ISA’s have been introduced for 2017. The new rules mean that you can continue to input the maximum annual allowance, as well as withdrawing from the account. Previously, if you withdrew from your ISA account, part of the annual paying in allowance was lost. 20% of savers that do need to withdraw from their saving ISA will pay it back in at the same level. Most of the time the money was withdrawn because they needed to use it for whatever they were saving for; deposit for a house or car etc.

It seems that for many, paying into a savings account is habit and a way of life and it helps them pay for some of life’s most expensive purchases. However, it seems that some do need a little more incentive when it comes to saving money rather than spending it. The ISA’s have proven that even if people were to save a very small amount per month, they could end up with a significant amount saved for the future.

 

The ASOS Guide to Fashion Week

asos-fashion-week
Image Copyright: ASOS

Fashion week. The prestigious event held in major cities around the world to showcase eccentric fashion for the coming months. Only the worthy are invited to such events. Actors, Musicians, Fashionistas, Bloggers, you name it, they’ll be there. The frow is reserved for such people. Nearer the back you’ll find magazine journalists and the like taking notes for their next piece. Where are the average people who enjoy fashion and trends, you ask? They’re in work. At home. Doing something other than looking at pretty things walking down a catwalk. They have no time for frivolities. That’s why ASOS have decided to bring us up to speed daily with their Fashion Week Exclusive Page!

Each day of Fashion Week as it happens around the world, ASOS are offering 20% off of key trends seen on the catwalk! These can be found on the ASOS Homepage under ASOS Fashion Week. Expect to see gingham, florals (what else?), and everything MAJOR that’s happening this S/S. Critics are expecting this year in S/S wear to be filled with crazy and bold designs, contrasting with the somewhat timid approach designers took to last year. Some shows this Fashion Week will also be showcasing some looks for F/W, lending you some ideas on what to bag when the high street stores launch their late winter clothing lines this year.

Think 90’s bold style and colourful 70’s flowers when it comes to clothing this S/S season. Beach chic is all the way in with woven basket bags and linen sandals. Chanel has even alluded to floral patterns for the more demure fashionista this season. Whatever your style, ASOS have you covered, take a look at their Fashion Week exclusive no matter your style, you’re sure to find something to suit your style every day of the iconic event.

Over on the ASOS Twitter account, you will also find all you need to know about key topics during Fashion Week around the world, as we all as top tips for styling pieces and colours. Don’t miss their tweets about Chanel, Gucci and many more runway shows happening this week.

If you love fashion, the ASOS Fashion Week Sale is not to be missed. Everything from dresses, jeans, shoes and accessories can be found for a fraction of the price offered by stylists and designers gracing the catwalk this week. If you’re looking to create your own iconic looks this S/S, take a look through the ASOS range. They stock from a number of different high street stores, as well as their own line.

 

British Airways Faces Hefty Fine for ‘Running Out of Toilet Roll’

A British Airways flight has been delayed for a grand total of five hours today, not due to a serious technical fault, a passenger fatality or an absent pilot, but due to something much more serious…the aircraft had a serious shortage of toilet roll. The flight, which was due to depart Gatwick and take its excited passengers to the Caribbean was held up for a grand total of five hours as it attempted to locate the bathroom essential. The BA flight was held on the ground due to it not being prepared to standard, and that meant its toilet roll supply was not restocked. Cue an influx of seriously pissed off passengers…missing a day of their holiday due to missing toilet roll…you really couldn’t make it up.

The aircraft was a Boeing 777 and it was carrying 280 passengers. Rather than departing Gatwick at 1.40 pm on Sunday afternoon, it was almost 7pm before the flight left the ground (toilet roll and all). If your flight is delayed for a certain amount of time, you, as a passenger, are entitled to compensation for your troubles, according to European Legislation on flight delays. In this circumstance, each passenger could be entitled to up to £520 of compensation, meaning that loo roll gate could force British Airways to pay out a total of £145, 600 in compensation. Wow.

If that wasn’t bad enough, of course there was a knock on effect, and the delayed outbound flight meant that the returning flight was also delayed, leaving nearly six hours after it had intended, again requiring compensation from British Airways. In total, the Airline could have no choice but to pay out £300, 000 to its delayed passengers.

Understandably, many passengers took to social media to vent about the delays and couldn’t quite believe the cause of it. Some blamed the cost-cutting efforts of BA on the shortage of supplies which, of course, had now backfired miserably. The only good thing to come out of loo roll gate was the food and drink vouchers BA issued to each passenger whilst they waited in the terminal. We’re pretty sure they would have rather been on their way to the Caribbean…

The huge delays comes just a week since another Boeing 777, this time from Heathrow to San Francisco was delayed due to an unwanted mouse running free on the aircraft, which again meant the airline had another hefty compensation payment to deal with. Just a few more weeks like this and British Airways could find themselves in some extremely deep water. It isn’t just the compensation that causes expenses, but also the delay time in general and the amount they are expected to pay out in food and drinks vouchers to every passenger. Speaking of loo roll gate, the captain flying the plane that day explained to passengers that never in his 26 years of flying had he experienced something so trivial have such a huge effect on passengers. Part of the problem may have been down to the fact that British Airways had switched ground handlers at Gatwick earlier this month. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Another time British Airways spectacularly failed their customers…

During the summer, British Airways introduced a clever new computer system which allowed passengers to check in unattended, a little bit like a ‘self service’ machine in a supermarket. However, instead of speeding up the lengthy check in process like it was supposed to, the systems caused such delay and confusion that many missed their flights due to the enormous check in queue that formed. The bottom line to this spectacular failing was that the check-in systems were not working properly and there were reports that people were waiting around 90 minutes to simply check into their flight. Amongst those was celebrity Philip Schofield who tweeted his disgust at the airlines way of handling things and warned anyone travelling with British Airways that day to ‘come early’.

A once trusted and reliable airline for people all over the world, and a wel respected global brand – has British Airways given up?

Package Holidays for Summer 2017 you Need to Book Now

The miserable British, winter weather is enough to make anyone wish they were on a beach somewhere, cocktail in each hand and the sun so hot you forgot what January feels like. Package holidays are generally a winner all round, sun, sea, sand, all-inclusive food and drinks and some gorgeous, luxury hotels – what could possibly go wrong? Of course those that want something to look forward to will be booking their trips thick and fast, and we have found some of the best deals so that you don’t miss out on that much-needed summer sun!

On The Beach

If you want a cheap and cheerful trip to Europe, On The Beach have many great package deals, some exclusively for adults and some great for kids and families – a good mix to suit everyone. Our pick of the best include:

Mukarnas Spa and Resort

Located on the stunning Turkish Riveria, the Mukarnas spa and resort is a 5* paradise in Okurcalar, Alanya. Amazing beaches and quaint, authentic villages are just a stone’s throw away. If you do not wish to leave the resort you can enjoy the luxury amenities such as the two swimming pool’s the hotel’s gym and their wellness spa. The food is second to none with plenty to choose from in the breakfast and dinner buffets, or if you prefer, you can go a la carte and select your food from a carefully put together menu. It is possible to go both half board or all-inclusive whilst staying at this resort. Got kids? They will be entertained for hours on the water slides and in the top-quality kids clubs that run throughout the day. A perfect, high-end break for both couples and families alike.

Cost: The first week in June for 2 adults would cost £118 per person, including flights.

Thomas Cook

A top choice when it comes to holiday providers, Thomas Cook have a great range of luxury and cheaper holidays depending on your budget – and there is always a rep on hand when you arrive to ensure everything about your trip runs smoothly and give you information about activities available in the local area.

Beatriz Costa and Spa

Spend seven nights half board at this gorgeous hotel located in Costa Teguise, the Canary Islands. Thomas Cook points out that this hotel has a particularly peaceful setting so is great for anyone looking to relax or unwind for a week. This deal includes a half board package which also means guests will have a 50% discount on spa access. The impressive Thalassotherapy centre will bring you total relaxation, or if you prefer to unwind in other ways the tennis courts and tropical gardens may just do the trick. Also kid friendly with plenty of fun activities.

Cost: £320 pp for a week half-board departing 24th April and returning 1st May 2017.

Thomson 

The great thing about Thomson is their Sensimar holidays – not great for families with kids but perfect for couples who are looking a bit of luxury, peace and quiet. Leave the stress of everyday life behind you and jet off on a luxury break. Our favourite pick for the summer:

Sensimar Eden Binibeca

Situated high up on a rocky cliff top in Menorca, there is no mistaking the amazing views this hotel gives, just by looking out the window. Perfectly secluded in the hotel, just a five minutes walk will take you to the village of Binibeca which is full of gorgeous restaurants for you to choose from. You really will have the best of both worlds. Both half board and all inclusive options are available. The decor of the hotel is simple and contemporary, with light, airy colours to tie in with the hotel’s focus on wellbeing. Entertainment is available but pleasing yourself is very much the aim of the game on this relaxing retreat.

Cost: For a week starting the 11th August, you can travel here half board with a partner for £719 per person. For an extra £252 in total you can upgrade both of you to the all-inclusive service. 

Virgin Atlantic 

Virgin is great if you are looking for go a little further afield than holidaying in Europe and they have great deals to places in America such as New York and Florida as well as holidays to the Caribbean. You can always guarantee top quality when you travel with Virgin and they are known to look after their customers extremely well. The best package we found is definitely not one to be missed:

St James’ Club Antigua

Situated on the gorgeous Caribbean Island of Antigua this hotel is both luxurious and soaked in culture. The hotel has two beaches, one including non-motorised water sports and another more for relaxing. There are also swimming pools in the grounds of the hotel and tennis courts for those that like to stay active. If you want to go all out you can book to stay in one of the royal suites which includes floor to ceiling windows, private balconies, deep hot tubs and even his and hers showers. The all-inclusive buffet restaurant includes foods from all around the world – all of a high quality and the range of activities for the kids is endless.

Cost: £1385 per person flights, hotel and all inclusive. The holiday starts from 6th July for 1 week. It will depart from London Gatwick.

British Airways

Known mainly for their flights, British Airways also have a great range of package holiday deals to Europe that could definitely save you a lot of money. It is worth checking the British Airways website during sale times as you may be able to save even more on your summer holiday.

Porto Azzurro Aparthotel

Take a trip to the fabulous island of Malta and stay in Porto Azzuro, located in the stunning St. Paul’s Bay. The family run hotel will bring peace and tranquility to your holiday and you can enjoy the selection of pools that are available at the hotel. Choose from either a hotel room or a self-catered apartment – depending on how you like to holiday! Malta is also known for its brilliant diving and this hotel is in the perfect location to be able to take advantage of this.

Cost: From the 1st – 8th July for a double or twin room, £480 per person for flights and hotel. 

New to Netflix February 2017

Wondering which new titles are coming to Netflix this month? Below we have the full list of releases intended for this month. You can expect a month of new Netflix originals and classic films from the last few years. There are also some romantic releases around Valentine’s day for those hoping to have a cosy night in with your loved one….Or by yourself with a huge pizza (if you are planning on doing that I’m jealous). Here is our breakdown for you:

1st of February
  • Aquarius ( Season 1 )
  • Paris Is Burning (1990)
  • Sun Belt Express (2014)
  • Under Arrest (Season 4)
  • Tickling Giants (2016)
  • Les Beaux Malaises (Season 1 to 4)
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree (2016)
  • Bitten (Season 1 to 3)
  • The Furchester Hotel (Season 1)
  • Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)
Paris is Burning

Released in 1999, Paris is Burning is a documentary which follows ball culture throughout the 80’s in New York City. It focuses solely on African-American, Transgender, Gay and Latino communities and has since become a cult classic. It explores a multitude of themes, such as class, gender, race and sexuality in the city.

2nd, 3rd and 4th of February
  • Beastly (2011)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Season 1) Netflix Original
  • Riverdale (Episode 2) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Imperial Dreams (2017) Netflix Original
  • Heartland (Season 7)
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 2 – Episode 13) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
Santa Clarita Diet

The new Netflix original from Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant is a mix of comedy and horror, according to reviews from early reviewers of the show. The couple star as estate agents in Santa Clarita, when Barrymore changes into a flesh eating zombie. This is where the fun begins…

5th, 7th, 9th of February

  • Garfield’s Pet Force (2009)
  • Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special (2017) Netflix Original
  • Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (Season 2 – Episode 6) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Warrior (2011)
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

Adapted for Netflix from a series of novels, The Mortal Instruments focuses on Clary, who learns that she is a Shadowhunter on her 18th birthday. Shadowhunters protect humans from demons, and the show chronicles Clary’s journey of self-discovery in a world of legend and myth.

10TH, 12TH, 13TH of Feb
  • Abstract: The Art of Design (Season 1) Netflix Original
  • Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (2016)
  • Riverdale (Season 1 – Episode 3) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Reign (Season 4 – Episode 1) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Magicians: Life in the Impossible (2016)
Abstract: The Art of Design

Abstract: The Art of Design focuses on the leading designers all around the world. Premiering on the 10th this month, the documentary series will follow designers in the world of fashion, architecture and other creative industries.

 

February 14th

  • After Earth (2013)
  • Girlfriend’s Day (2017)
  • Katherine Ryan: In Trouble (2017) Netflix Original
  • Project MC2 Valentine’s Day Special Netflix Original
  • Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (Season 2 – Episode 7) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • White Nights (2017) Netflix Original
Girlfriend’s Day

Debuting on Valentine’s Day this year, Girlfriend’s Day encapsulates murder, romance and greetings cards… Ray, a former writer, is determined to create the number 1 greetings card for a brand new holiday: Girlfriend’s Day.

February 15th,16th,17th

  • Aram, Aram (2015)
  • The People vs. O.J Simpson (Season 1)
  • The Smurfs 2 (2013)
  • Cuckoo (Season 3)
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 2) (2012)
  • Chef’s Table (Season 3) Netflix Original
  • Dragons: Race to the Edge (Season 4) Netflix Original
  • Riverdale (Season 1 – Episode 4) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 2)

In the final installment of the The Twilight Saga, Bella, Edward and Jacob must face their biggest plight yet, the Volturi. As a new vampire, Bella is learning a lot about herself and her new powers, but is she strong enough to protect the ones she loves? The original Twilight film was released in 2008, and the saga is based on a series of novels written by Stephenie Meyer.

February 18th,19th,20th,21st

  • 100 Meters (2016)
  • Reign (Season 4 – Episode 2) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Divergent (2014)
  • Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (Season 2 – Episode 8) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
Divergent

Also based on a series of books, the Divergent film follows Beatrice Potter, a young girls who lives in a dystopian future. She msut choose between factions, where you will spend your role for the rest of your life. The rest of the series is a comment on society today, and breaking the norm. A great watch for dytopian lovers.

February 22nd, 23rd, 24th

  • Annie (1982)
  • The Good Lie (2014)
  • The Bank Job (2008)
  • Death at a Funeral (2007)
  • Riverdale (Season 1 – Episode 5) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Legend Quest (Las Leyendas) (Season 1) Netflix Original
  • Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1) Netflix Original
  • Veggietales in the City (Season 1) Netflix Original
Ultimate Beast Master

Another new reality series to premiere on Netlifx this month is Ultimate Beast Master. Throughout 10 episodes, contenstants will have to battle their way through obstacle courses. Every winner from the first 9 episodes will enter the final “Beast Master” challenge.

February 26th,28th

  • Reign (Season 2 – Episode 3) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (Season 2 – Episode 9) Netflix UK Weekly Episode
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Season 7 and 8)
  • 1000 Ways to Die (Season 3 and 4)
  • Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes Netflix Original
Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes

After touring his show in over 100 cities around the world, Mike Birbiglia’s show, “Thank God for Jokes”, is finally coming to Netflix at the end of the month. Rounding off a great mix of new releases for Netflix users!

Pack your Bags…The Top 5 Coolest Airbnb’s you Need to Visit

Airbnb is definitely the increasingly popular accommodation choice for travellers old and young alike. Not only is it convenient for quickly booking somewhere to stay and great value for money, it also allows you to see the world from a completely different perspective than if you were staying in a hotel. You can stay with real residents who will teach you about their culture, the best places to eat and the tourist hotspots you might as well avoid. What’s more, you can stay in some of the coolest accommodation around – without blowing the budget. A treehouse in the middle of a rainforest for a few nights? A hut on stilts on a remote island? A penthouse in the middle of New York City? Why the hell not.

The Seashell House – Isla Mujeres

Ever wanted to live inside a seashell? Well now is your chance with the exquisitely designed seashell house located in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The location and the house itself are nothing but total paradise. The house used to be secretive, meaning it was pretty difficult to visit and book a stay, but the owners have now shared the accommodation via Airbnb, meaning it is now a world famous spot. For a two night minimum stay you will get a private pool, to king beds, a kitchen as well as a BBQ at your disposal. Aside from the boiling hot weather, amazing views and absolute tranquillity, the Seashell House is a truly unique experience and, as one reviewer put it, somewhere you have to stay ‘at least once’.

Nakagin Capsule Tower – Shambasi, Tokyo

If you want an authentic Japanese experience during your visit to Tokyo, then this is definitely the best way to go about it. The capsule tower offers an insight into the nitty gritty of Japanese life, designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa in 1992. Staying at the Capsule Tower is definitely a great opportunity. Inside, as you can imagine is pretty basic as the rooms are small and built purely for convenience but being the first capsule tower built in Japan for actual use, it’s a pretty cool experience.

The Gypsy Wagon – Joshua Tree, California

This traditional Gypsy Wagon is definitely located off the grid. Be at one with the great, peaceful outdoors as you stay in an authentically designed gypsy wagon, which has all the amenities of a tiny home (2 beds and one bathroom). It is completely solar powered and the location is stunning. Joshua Tree is all about being at one with yourself and nature, enjoying how therapeutic it can be to watch the incredible stars. The land is also great for natural medicine and is close to the National Park Noah’s Purifoy. If you want to feel a great sense of community, you can head to Downton Joshua. Described by reviewers as a ‘magical experience’. If you fancy something off the beaten track, this is definitely worth a go.

Geodesic Glamping Domes – Killin, Loch Tay

From as little as £75 per night, be at one with nature the glamorous way, with a Glamping dome. The domes are part of the Loch Tay Highland lodges, which has recently built a dome village. The scenery is nothing short of sensational, as is known in the Scottish Highlands and the domes are modern, heated and can be set up as a double bed or two singles on request. Outside of the domes are picnic benches and fire pits where you can sit and enjoy your breakfast looking out over the stunning Ben Laweres Mountain Range. No electricity is available inside the domes but a beautiful, converted shared stable block contains all the amenities you would need such as showers, electricity and a kitchen.

Carlowrie Castle – Edinburgh

Yes, this is an actual castle. This listing sleeps sixteen people and is located near Edinburgh airport. A perfect stag/hen party hangout, a wedding day, or simply if you want to indulge your inner extravagance. A whopping £1000 per night to hire, you will probably need to find 16 willing friends before you consider this bad boy. Alternatively, you can stay in the private suite which is located inside the castle. This is the height of contemporary modern luxury with all the authenticity of a traditional setting. The estate itself is 32 acres and is located in the notoriously beautiful Scottish countryside. You will also be fully catered during your stay. Where do I sign?

 

Pensions Need to Keep Up with Baby-Boomers Ever-Growing Technology Use

In a recent study conducted by Aviva it was revealed that 84% of over 45 year old’s were in complete control of their finance because they had become accustomed to using online banking, despite it being a prime example of the growth of technology. Amazing technology is used worldwide on a day to day basis, what with Playstation’s new virtual reality headset and the new Xbox Play that allows you to play your favourite games pretty much anywhere, it’s safe to say you’re falling behind massively if you’re not tech savvy. However, whilst it may be feasible to manage day to day finances using the internet, it seems that when it comes to retirement funds 68% of 45-68 year old’s have said that they find it near impossible to sort out their pensions online and whilst 62% have said that they are in complete control of their finances due to online banking, less than 28% feel that they are also in complete control of their pensions.

It may be a pretty infamous stereotype that old people and technology do not go hand in hand but according to Aviva’s latest retirement report, this myth could be dispelled in the near future, with 69% of over 45’s admitting that they are tech adopters in today’s society. So if this is the case, why do only 29% of pensioners say that they feel confident with managing their pension online? Many have realised that using the internet to manage their finances, whether it be day to day banking, savings and investments or paying utility bills has a positive effect on their finances due to its efficiency which highlights the opportunities that are currently being missed when it comes to pensions and the world wide web, and how technology can help greatly when it comes to retirement planning. It seems it’s about time that pensions were hauled out of the stone age.

If anything, managing pensions online will hopefully help people to feel that they are better in control of their finances and Aviva are encouraging those that don’t use it already, to start doing so, and in the meantime are urging banks to make it easier and more accessible. There is a pension scheme online service that is available on the Government website but users are warned that at busy times the service may become quite slow. You will need a user ID, a password and an activation code to log in. There is also the pension tracker available from Aviva which allows you to manage your pension wherever and whenever suits you. For those that might be a bit unsure, all of the information you need to know about making sure your retirement is financially secure can be found on the Aviva website. Aviva believe that if more people begin to manage their pensions online, they will be more clued up and therefore more likely to ensure that they are financially stable later in life.

Thanks to recent studies, there is countless proof that today’s baby-boomers are not afraid of technology, with 58% going online at least once everyday to read the news and half even check social media which less than 10 years ago would have been pretty much unheard of. One-third,(probably the extremely savvy exceptions) use the internet to listen to music, so there really is no excuse to not make the most of expanding technology and manage pensions online. You can also make sure you are not over-spending by using available budgeting tools, which are currently only used by 11% of 45-64 year old’s.

How to Do Christmas On a Budget

Christmas tree
Christmas tree

There are no two-ways about it; Christmas is the most expensive time of the year. We tell ourselves we’ll save for it throughout the year, yet we never do. That leads to spending all of December in a haze of panic-buying and scrimping, all whilst trying to maintain an aura of festive spirit. Here’s how you can make the most expensive time of year affordable, with a little bit of planning and a dash of common sense.

Planning

  • Plan for affordability – what can you afford to spend? It’s better to know what you can’t afford to spend before you spend it, rather than have a case of buyer’s remorse.
  • Take advantage of supermarket stamps to save towards Christmas – Asda, Morrisons, Iceland and Wilko are some of the best schemes to go for.
  • Set up a Christmas cupboard in your home and fill it up with presents as you encounter them throughout the year i.e. during the January sales or summer discount events.
  • Send your Christmas cards in plenty of time – the last Royal Mail date for Christmas post is usually the 20th of December for 2nd class.
  • If you’re travelling by train, book in advance – fares are available 12 weeks before the date of travel and this is when they are at their cheapest. Virgin Trains is particularly good for this.

Finances

  • Sell things that you don’t need on eBay to add to your festive fund.
  • Use shopbots and comparison websites to find the cheapest price – a lot of people instantly think the likes of Amazon are the cheapest, but it can be useful to shop around, especially with retailers who offer a price match service.
  • It’s best to budget, but if you must borrow, use a 0% credit card. Just pay it off before the 0% period ends.
  • Use cashback sites such as Quidco to get money back when you buy presents online.
  • If you’re buying something for over £100, paying by credit card adds an extra level of security as the credit card provider will make sure that you get your money back should anything go wrong.
  • Take advantage of free Christmas activities in your area – carol concerts, walking through Christmas lights, visiting the Coca-Cola truck.

Presents

  • Check local charity shops for stocking fillers, they sometimes have items still in their packaging or nearly new toys for children.
  • Create a memory jar of photos and handwritten memories for a loved one.
  • Make your own bath bombs by mixing 1kg of sodium bicarbonate and 500g of citric acid in a bowl with food colouring and flavouring. Mould them using biscuit moulds or similar.
  • You could make your Secret Santa at work ‘a pot of gold’ using a bowl, chocolate coins and a scratchcard or two.
  • Make an old-school mixed tape for a friend/partner with their favourite songs or songs that remind you of memories you have created together.
  • Make a coupon book that the recipient can redeem- think homecooked candlelit meals for a partner, babysitting for a friend and DIY for your parents.
  • Choose a quote that means something to the recipient and print it with some cool typography and a cheap frame.
  • Make a cold weather mug with toasty bed socks, hot chocolate and marshmallows.
  • Make a food hamper of special treats that they love, or a pamper hamper so that they can indulge themselves.

Decorations

  • Buy an artificial Christmas tree – you might be shocked at the initial expense, but you’ll be able to use it for years to come. A real one is so expensive and most of the needles have dropped out by the time Father Christmas drops the presents off anyway.
  • Make your own decorations such as paper icicles, salt dough figurines and popcorn garlands – get the kids involved as the perfect Christmas craft activity.
  • Create a wreath using green and red wool – just wrap the wool around styrofoam balls.
  • Collect pine cones to make cute festive decorations – make a winter figure or spray paint them with gold and silver.
  • Turn plastic cartons filled up with water into ice lanterns by freezing them and adding a small light bulb.
  • Paint a plastic deer toy with glitter for a sophisticated Christmas ornament.
  • Make paper ornaments for your tree – use border punches with different strips of paper and staple them together at the edges.
  • If you have a small space or budget, use baubles to decorate a plant you already have.
  • Fill glass ornaments with Christmas scenes, such as miniature trees and artificial snow.

Christmas Dinner

  • If you’re serving pre-dinner canapes, make your own. Try cheeseboard sticks for a twist on a classic Christmas treat, or mini jacket potatoes. For a meat canape, try Spanish-style chicken skewers or chorizo and gruyére puffs. For vegetarians, a cranberry camembert puff is super tasty, or a spinach and potato empanada.
  • Smoked salmon is a popular starter choice, but they can be expensive. Try making salmon pate or buying salmon bits from your local supermarket. With salmon bits, you can make a potted salmon rillette or potato cakes with salmon and cream cheese.
  • Look out for discount food in the run up to Christmas and freeze it. It will be fine if you freeze it before the expiry, defrost it and use it straightaway.
  • Invite your guests to bring a dish to Christmas dinner i.e. one person makes roast potatoes, another makes Yorkshire puddings and another makes sprouts. It saves money and helps guests feel like they are contributing to their meal.
  • Make your own mince pies – use cheap mincemeat and jazz them up with orange/lemon shreddings etc.
  • Buy a plain Christmas cake from the likes of M&S and decorate it yourself using marzipan and other baking bits.
  • Make your own mulled wine – it will fill your home with a beautiful smell as it warms.

Netflix Announces Offline Playback – What Does It Mean?

Netflix offline playback
Netflix offline playback

We’re all partial to a good Netflix binging session. There’s nothing like settling down on the sofa, pressing play and emerging hours later, covered in crisp crumbs as the TV asks pitifully ‘Are you still watching?’ OF COURSE, I AM. However, there’s now been an incredible announcement by Netflix, and it’s big news for the binge watchers, particularly ones on the go. You’ll now be able to download some of Netflix’s best content to watch online. Think of the possibilities…you can watch on the train, on the plane, and in a wifi not-spot. You can keep the kids happy on long car journeys. You’ll never be behind if you’re stuck in a hotel room travelling with work. Bless you, Netflix. Let’s take a look at what the offline playback feature means for us all.

What is offline playback?

Offline playback is a brand new feature that up until recently, Netflix was reluctant to add. Even as close as a few weeks ago, the company were denying that they would ever make offline playback, aka the ability to watch shows/films later, a feature with the Chief Product Officer labelling it ‘too complex’. However, the company has now had a HUGE turnaround and announced today that it will offer the service from today! It’s completely free to existing users and if you update your Netflix app, you’ll see a new category called ‘available to download’.

Rival services such as Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer have allowed users to download content for a while now. Even Sky has got in on the act with the launch of Sky Q, so it’s easy to see why Netflix has finally given in, even though it will cost them a lot in licensing.

The director of Product Innovation at Netflix said that the feature had been added for ‘the people who want to continue their Stranger Things binge on the plane or in places where the internet is expensive or limited”

Indeed, it does take away the potential problems of trying to stream Netflix over a data connection, so phone companies may not be thrilled with the news as users use less data as a result of downloading their shows instead of streaming them.

What will I be able to watch?

Due to the potential licensing issues, at the moment it is mostly Netflix original content that you can download. That means the likes of Orange is the New Black, Narcos, The Crown and Stranger Things are now available to download, with other original shows to follow in the coming weeks. To download a show, just click the button on the details page and it will be stored for you to watch later.

Films such as Eat, Pray, Love, The Talented Mr Ripley and An Education are also available to download at the time of launch, as well as Netflix’s original show Black Mirror, a scientific series which explores the daunting effects of technology in the future.

What are the limitations?

For some of the shows, you must start watching them within 48 hours of downloading them. Once you begin playing it, you’ll see how many hours you have left to watch it. In addition to this, you’ll have a timeframe of around seven days to watch the content- it depends on the licence for that particular programme or film.

Once again due to licensing, with some titles, you will only be able to download a certain amount of episodes from the same licensing agreement, so you might not be able to download a whole series if you are extensively travelling, for example.

If the model is proven to work, it could be that the strict licensing agreements are lifted slightly, allowing you a longer time frame or bulk downloads from the same licence, but this depends entirely on the licence agreement.

At the moment, you can’t see which Netflix shows are available to download from a PC/laptop, which is frustrating. It could just be that Netflix hasn’t rolled it out to PCs yet, given that the update was only announced today, or it could be that they are only granting the download option to mobile devices through the app- again, frustrating for people who watch on their laptop.

Will Netflix be adding more programmes in the future?

Yes, Netflix is planning to add more of its original content such as its Marvel shows in the coming weeks and months.

It’s unknown yet if shows purchased from other networks will become available to download. It depends on whether the networks will grant Netflix a licence- the process could be very complicated.

However, with many people reacting to the news that offline playback is now available in a positive way, networks could spot an opportunity and grant Netflix the licences.

Netflix has said today on its UK Facebook page that it is working ‘with all of our partners’ to get downloading rights, telling one user to ‘watch this space’, so we should soon see more programmes and films become available.

Will you be using Netflix’s new offline playback feature?