How to Get a Real Fir Christmas Tree for Just £5…

Buy a £25 Christmas tree from IKEA before Christmas Eve and you’ll get a £20 shopping voucher to use any time from Monday 5th February to Monday 2nd April 2018.

How to get the pick of the bunch

You’re very lucky to get a 6-foot(ish) Fir Christmas tree for £5 at IKEA, they typically go for £40 in garden centres – but if you want the perfect Christmas, of course you can be choosy…

1. Measure the height of your ceiling

Remember, your real fir Christmas tree will be on a stand and will likely be topped with a decoration – so it needs to stand at least a foot below the ceiling.

2. Check your IKEA Christmas tree is fresh

You have two easy ways to do this. Pull a needle off and bend it in half, if it snaps in half, then you’ve found yourself a fresh tree. Also, fresh cut fir trees have flexible branches – but be careful that it doesn’t snap or spring back and hit you when you’re checking it.

Practical tips for decorating your IKEA Fir Christmas tree

Now for the fun part – there are no hard or fast rules for decking the halls, have it your way, but bear this in mind…

1. Cut 1 inch off the bottom of your tree trunk and get the tree in water quick

2. Position it wisely

Face the bare side towards the wall, keep it out of direct sunlight (which will discolour it) and away from heaters or drafts (which could make it wilt and lose needles quicker).

3. Fairy lights first, tinsel next, then everything else

Turn your lights on when you’re spinning them around your Christmas tree – when they’re lit up, you can see where they need to go and if you have any gapping dark patches.

4. Hang three of the same or similar ornaments in a triangle pattern

Only if you want to make it look balanced and easy on the eye, that is. For a more professional look, decorate your Christmas tree to suit your home and buy your baubles in batches to make your Christmas tree look well-co-ordinated – some of the best decorated Christmas trees follow a colour scheme.

5. Finished? Walk out the room for a few minutes

When you come back in and look at your IKEA Christmas tree with fresh eyes, you can make a few final tweaks – but don’t faff too much, you’ll never stop, and Christmas is stressful enough. It’s perfect enough as it is.

You can’t spend your £20 IKEA shopping voucher in the IKEA restaurant or the IKEA food store. Participating stores only, call IKEA to check offer availability at your local store.

Which Are the Best Mobile Phone Companies for Customer Service and Coverage?

The latest generation of phones is causing customers to queue around the block. Tech programs are going into overdrive talking about features, edgeless screens, biometrics and front-facing cameras.

While the tech may be ticking boxes, what about the providers? Mobile phone service providers may offer you the latest handset upgrades and plenty of free texts, but if you have a problem then who answers the phone quickest, who has the best call centre and who gives you that extra special customer service experience? Time to find out.

Somethings really are too good to be true

Rule number one is to avoid tempting adverts. Every carrier is very good at promotion. It’s whether they’re any good at the aftercare and service that really matters. Those fantastic deals carriers offer in slick advertisements may look seriously tempting, but you’ll also notice a sea of small print at the bottom of the screen. That’s just the contractual obligations they’re required to tell you about up front (such as contract length, monthly fees and charges, roaming costs etc), and once you look at your contract you’ll see that it’s the tip of a very big iceberg floating on a sea of get-out clauses.

It’s important to do your homework thoroughly before you pick a carrier, not just with regard to the latest model of phone and how much data allowance you get every month, but to find out about how they look after their customers, whether that hefty allowance is rolled over, or if there’s a more suitable deal for your particular level of usage.

Contact-NumbersUK-phone-companies-customer-service

The Market Players

Putting aside the handset issue for the moment (where carriers are pretty much on a level playing field), let’s have a quick look at the major players in the UK market.

1. O2

Probably the largest and best-known of the carriers, they have a good track record when it comes to customer service quality, and put loyalty rewards at the top of their list of customer perks. Inclusive roaming in 47 European destinations also makes them popular with travellers who don’t want to get stung with high roaming charges abroad.

2. Vodafone

The granddaddy of the bunch, Vodafone is still going strong and has excellent coverage in both the UK and Europe. They too have introduced inclusive roaming, and have a good choice of tariffs. Vodafone’s customer service number is good, but it can take a while to get through to a real person on their support lines.

3. EE

Slick, trendy, and with the emphasis on providing superfast 4G speeds up to five times faster than 3G, they’re let down a little bit by their patchy coverage, even in city centres.

Contact-NumbersUK-best-phone-companies

4. Plusnet

This popular provider piggybacks off the EE 4G network, so it’s technical specs are good. It’s also keen to emphasise that the company has UK-based customer care centres, and have really put the onus on providing a friendly, trustworthy service.

5. Giffgaff

Cheap, cheerful, and very popular among younger users, this contract-free service was recently voted uSwitch Network of the Year 2017. Its tagline – ‘The mobile network run by you’ – makes it feel friendly, with a real community spirit. Consequently, it has a very good reputation when it comes to their customer services. With no contractual obligations to tie customers to the brand, Giffgaff has to work harder to keep their customers from jumping to other providers.

6. BT Mobile

Mobile contracts are a very small part of the BT operation, despite being the main provider of communication infrastructure across the UK. BT still has a bit of a struggle when it comes to its customer care reputation, but does offer packages that bundle everything from mobile contracts through to TV and broadband into one easy-to-manage contract.

There are plenty of other providers such as Virgin Mobile, Three Mobile, and even Tesco, so the best option is to use a comparison site to get the lowdown on deals, offers, and rates.

Go for the smaller carriers for a personalised service

Picking the most popular carrier isn’t always the right decision, and you’ll need to think about what exactly you want from your provider. If you’re a frequent traveller then Three Mobile’s excellent overseas service would be a good choice. However, Lebara Mobile, a very small company that piggybacks off Vodafone’s network, delivers some of the cheapest international call rates on offer.

Smaller providers also have to work harder to build their customer base, so you’ll usually find that their customer service is far friendlier, more personal, and deliver a better customer experience.

Everything Worth Knowing About Apple’s New iPhone X

It’s the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever made, marking the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and you can soon pre-order one in space grey or silver…

With the Roman numeral 10 in its name, Apple’s iPhone X is radically different to all that came before it. It’s the first iPhone without a Home button, for starters, it’s made of glass and unlocks when you look at it. But as ever, it doesn’t come cheap – on Wednesday 27th October 2017, you can pre-order the 64GB iPhone X for a cool £999 or the 256GB version for a whopping £1,149, getting it shipped straight to you from Tuesday 3rd November 2017. You’ll have to move fast, because they’ll be snapped up in no time at all.

Alternatively, upgrade your current phone without breaking the bank when you get a deal from your current network:

Call EE, Vodafone, Three or O2 to register your interest in the iPhone X now.

Get an iPhone made of glass

Soak it in water or cover it in dust, the new iPhone X is as durable as it is elegant. Both the front and back is made of glass that Apple claims is the strongest ever used in a smartphone, complete with a band of highly-polished surgical grade stainless steel around the edge. That gives you a phone that’s all screen, with 5.8 inch Super Retina Display following the curves of your device.

Look at your iPhone X to unlock it

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Forget Touch ID. When it comes to unlocking your new iPhone X, Face ID will project more than 30,000 invisible IR dots onto your face to create a mathematical model – unlocking your iPhone when you look straight at it, even when you wear glasses and look different with time. Not even a photograph will get you in, and your identity is protected because your image is securely processed on your iPhone X, not in the iCloud.

Apple Face ID is powered by the world’s most powerful smartphone chip – the A11 Bionic with Neural Engine performs a whopping 600 billion operations per second.

Swipe up to get to your Home screen

Say goodbye to the Home button that iPhones have had since 2007, because you now swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone X to go Home from anywhere – thanks to the on-screen buttons and gestures that Apple’s iOS 11 software supports.

Capture the highest quality videos on a smartphone ever

Film clearer videos with Apple’s new True Depth camera on your iPhone X thanks to the automatic stabilisation – whether you’re creating a 4k video up to 60 frames per second or a 1080 slo-mo up to 240 frames per second. The video encoder gives you real-time image and motion analysis.

Blend the real world with augmented reality

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You don’t need a virtual reality headset to make digital images appear on top of real-life images. Create your own world using ARKit on your iPhone X to make dinosaurs appear on basketball courts, for example.

Snap oh-so professional selfies

Shoot stunning selfies with both the front and rear cameras on your iPhone X, by experimenting with the five styles on Portrait Lighting. Use the shallow depth of field effect to keep your face in sharp focus and blur the background in natural light, for example. Alternatively, brighten your face with Studio Light, create dramatic shadows with Contour Light or spotlight your face against a deep black background with Stage Light – you can create a classic black and white version of this with Stage Light Mono.

Better yet, your iPhone X can store up to twice as many photos and videos, so you can keep snapping until you get that perfect shot – without mass-deleting.

Shoot better photos than on any other iPhone

Create better high dynamic range (HDR) images. Flip your iPhone X over and you’ll spot two individually calibrated cameras – the new and improved dual 12-megapixel wide angle camera and a telephoto camera, complete with a new colour filter, deeper pixels and faster auto-focus in low light, so you never miss the action.

Feel like a professional photographer by snapping photos that have uniformly lit backgrounds and foregrounds, thanks to iPhone X’s Slow Sync and new quad LED True Tone Flash that adjusts the white balance to match the surrounding light for you.

Charge your iPhone X wirelessly, fast

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You don’t need to plug it in when your iPhone X needs more juice – stick it alongside your Apple Watch and AirPods on the Apple AirPower mat, coming in 2018 – your battery will be 50% charged in as little as 30 minutes. Better yet, you can stay in touch with your mates for longer on your iPhone X, because its battery life lasts two hours longer than 2016’s iPhone 7.

Turn yourself into an emoji

Bring emojis to life by making them smile or frown as you do. The expressions you record on iPhone X’s True Depth camera can be animated onto 12 Animojis, including the panda and poo, unicorn, robot and more, ready to message to your mates on the pre-installed iMessage app.

Call EE, Vodafone, Three or O2 to register your interest in the iPhone X now.

All images and video copyright Apple via YouTube.com.

8 Must-watch Films This August Bank Holiday

From Disney classics to battles for freedom, love and the future of space, here’s the lowdown on the films to watch at home on Sky this August bank holiday weekend…

Kick back, put your feet up and the television on from Saturday 26th to Monday 28th August 2017. All of these films are yours at the touch of a button on your remote and if you’re not a Sky customer, fear not, call to get access to all of these must-watch films and more.

1. The Boss Baby

How about an epic animated battle between babies and puppies to start your August bank holiday weekend? Round up the kids and meet Tim’s new little brother, The Boss Baby – an Espresso-drinking, sushi-nibbling talking baby on an undercover mission to stop puppies stealing all the love. There simply isn’t enough to go around. If he fails to thwart the Las Vegas launch of the ‘Forever Puppy’, he’ll be stuck with Tim’s family forever and nobody wants that.

Buy and keep The Boss Baby on Sky today.

2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Ever wondered how Princess Leia got her hands on the Death Star plans that she hid in R2-D2? This prequel to 1977’s A New Hope is your blockbuster answer. With the Galactic Empire established and the Jedi all but extinct, the Empire captures Erso – who’s crucial to the development of the Death Star. It’s up to his daughter to get the blueprints and restore hope to the galaxy before the Emperor uses them. Follow the story of how she joined forces with the rebels and robot K-2SO.

If the Force is with you, buy and rent Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Sky today.

3. Moana

If your little ones liked Frozen, they’ll love Moana this bank holiday weekend. She’s the 16-year-old daughter of Polynesian tribal chief Tui, and Te Kā, the lava demon of earth and fire, is slowly killing the island they call home. With fish dwindling and plants dying, the ocean choses Moana to restore the heart of Te Fiti by sailing oceans full of monsters to the island of Montunui – where the shape shifting demi-god Maui waits to guide her on her watery quest.

Buy and rent Moana on Sky today.

4. Hidden Figures

Pay tribute to three African American heroines – watch Hidden Figures, their true story, this bank holiday weekend. Together, the trio battled severe sexism and racism in segregated Virginia to become crucial NASA maths checkers in the 1960s American Space Race against Russia. Dorothy Vaughan fights for promotion, Mary Jackson is utterly determined to become an engineer and Katherine Johnson is the only African American in a special task group. It’s an unforgettable gritty tale of intelligence and gumption.

Watch Hidden Figures on Sky today.

5. Secret Life of Pets

Terrier Max was the luckiest dog in New York, living it up in his Manhattan apartment block. That is until his owner brought Duke the mongrel home from the pound. As they jostle for top dog, they become stray and not only escape animal control, but also an army of abandoned pets led by an unhinged rabbit, Snowball. Can they make it home or ever get along? Find out.

Watch Secret Life of Pets on Sky today.

6. Beauty and the Beast

It’s the fairytale you know and love, complete with the original music, a few new songs and the indomitable Emma Watson. Disney gave Beauty and the Beast a live action, modern reboot so you can spend your bank holiday following Belle, an independent and fiery young prisoner at the Beast’s castle. It’s that age old question of whether love conquers all, so find out whether Belle can look past the ferocious Beast’s hairy exterior to find the Prince’s kind heart and soul inside.

Buy and rent Beauty and the Beast on Sky today.

7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Teenage Jacob took his late Grandad Abe’s stories with a pinch of salt – tales about a childhood spent battling monsters during the Second World War. Intrigued, Jacob goes hunting for answers where Abe grew up an orphanage for peculiar children on a Welsh Island. And that’s where the magic happens. He’s whizzed all the way back to 1943 where he meets the young residents and Head Mistress Miss Peregrine for all manner of mystery and spellbinding adventure.

Watch Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on Sky today.

8. Kubo and the Two Strings

Magic, adventure and friendship, the Japanese story of Kubo and the Two Strings makes for perfect viewing this bank holiday. See, Kubo’s mum forbade him from going on adventures – worried the Moon King and his twin witch daughters would attack him again, having already stolen his eye. But the young storyteller soon discovers his family’s secrets and so he enters a magical quest to save his fishing village – armed with a few sheets of paper and a magical lyre, a grumpy monkey and samurai beetle sidekicks. Will his magical suit of armour protect him from evil?

Play Kubo and The Two Strings on your Sky box set from Saturday 19th August 2017.

The 5 Best Last Minute Breaks in Europe

Planning a last minute summer getaway? Here’s where some of our favourite travel bloggers recommend you jet off to…

If you still don’t have plans for the summer, fear not, because you could still bag a cheap last minute deal with travel agents like Thomson Holidays – but time is of the essence so get booking. Here’s a dose of holiday inspiration, helping you to whittle down your options, whether you’re a party animal or history buff, beach goer or culture vulture.

1. Dubrovnik, Croatia

The 5 Best Last Minute Breaks in Europe

So much more than a filming location for Star Wars: Episode VIII and Game of Thrones, where the King’s Landing scenes unfolded and dung was thrown at King Joffrey. Dubrovnik is a UNESCO world heritage site, famed for its seafood, freshly plucked from the Adriatic Sea. From September to October, you can expect sunny skies, warm sea and fewer crowds, so why not catch the cable car up to Mt Srđ for a bird’s eye view of the Baroque churches in the medieval walled city?

Travel blogger Natalie Redman from Up Your Vlog is planning a trip, telling us, “Known for it’s distinctive old town and gorgeous views, this city is fast becoming a popular tourist spot. I think this is also a place I’ve been looking at for mine and Sam’s holiday so keep your eyes peeled for a holiday post to find out where we decided to go!”

2. Budapest, Hungary

The 5 Best Last Minute Breaks in Europe

How about a trip to the Hungarian capital, Budapest? The city’s bursting with neo-graphic and art nouveau architecture, from Roman ruins to the Jewish District. And there’s plenty to keep you entertained, whether you feast on fresh goulash soups and Palinka fruit brandy at The Great Market or catch the river cruise past Parliament, cross the iconic Chain Bridge over the Danube River or watch a fountain light show on Margret Island in the middle of the water.

There’s no better place for a spot of rest and relaxation, enjoy the massages and wellness treatments on offer at the famous thermal baths, such as Szechenyi. Rhian Westbury has visited Budapest twice in September, saying, “There’s plenty to explore in the city, but with so many natural hot springs, you can spend a day relaxing in the warm waters and getting a massage.”

3. Barcelona, Spain

The 5 Best Last Minute Breaks in Europe

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without one of the oldest cities in the world. Barcelona has it all, from tapas bars and white sand beaches to one of Spain’s most iconic shopping streets, Las Ramblas. Take in the sites, like La Sagrada Família, Park Güell and iconic Gaudí landmarks on a bike tour through the narrow streets or climb hilltop Montjuïc for panoramic views, sculpture gardens and a trip to the castle.

Emily Ray, The Cosy Traveller, couldn’t imagine a better last minute holiday hot spot than Barcelona. “Colourful, world-famous art, delicious food on every corner – and when you get tired of that, just head to the beach! I’ve never visited a city that’s offered so much. It’s great for those who want to sunbathe, for those who want to shop, and for those who want to sightsee.”

4. Ibiza, Spain

The 5 Best Last Minute Breaks in Europe

If your idea of a good time involves a whole lot of sun and partying, Ibiza is your rite of passage this summer. Imagine dancing the nights away with a Pina Colada in hand at Club Pacha, throwing shapes at the Bora Bora parties on Playa D’en Bossa or tucking into Spanish Paella on Sunset Strip in San Antonio. And if you need to recharge, hop across for a mud bath on the neighbouring island, Es Palmador.

Travel blogger Rachel Nicole visited Ibiza a few times, seeing every side of the Spanish island, “From the insane superclubs, incredible sunsets, picturesque beaches and charming capital city, there’s something for everyone…  Aside from pushing myself out of my comfort zone to go parasailing, experiencing the beautiful sunset at Cafe Mambo and seeing David Guetta at Ushuia were highlights of the trip. I do have to admit, it’s quite an expensive island but it’s well worth it!”

5. Naples, Italy

The 5 Best Last Minute Breaks in Europe

Naples boasts three castles and a plethora of world class museums, such as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale showcasing frescoes, sculptures and mosaics from excavations in Pompeii. And it’s also home to the best pizza in the world, so venture down to Naples Harbour and wrap your lips around a slice.

Travel blogger Oana Roua has been to Italy more than 15 times, from Alpine top to volcanic bottom, but it’s Italy’s third largest city that keeps her coming back. She explained, “Love food? Then head down to Napoli and enjoy the city which gave pizza to the world: a stone oven baked dough topped with tomatoes which grow on the volcanic soils at the base of Mount Vesuvius, mozzarella di Bufala Campana, basil and olive oil. So simple but so delicious!”

Cover image of Barcelona copyright Rceluch, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Dubrovnik image copyright Jorge Franganillo, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Budapest image copyright ParisSharing, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Barcelona image copyright Umberto Nicoletti, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Ibiza copyright Michela Simoncini, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Napoli image copyright NWojtowicz, licensed for use under Creative Commons.

Awesome Things to do with the Kids During the Summer Holidays

Wondering what to do in the summer holidays? Well, look no further than these summer activities for the kids…

If you have little ones in tow, family days out don’t come much better than these, so make the most of the school holidays this summer and get stuck in. From dinosaur safaris to mind-boggling Lego creations and a trip to the theatre, here’s how to keep the kids thoroughly entertained from Saturday 22nd July to Sunday 3rd September 2017.

1. Dinosaurs in the Wild

Convince the kids they travelled back in time to 67 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the planet. Dinosaurs in the Wild is a mind-boggling immersive experience, perfect for budding palaeontologists, that sees your family touring the laboratories at TimeBase67, where scientists are studying living dinosaurs. And it’s one of the coolest things to do in the summer.

Watch an autopsy on a Pachycephalosaurus and see dino eggs in incubators, baby Triceratops running around, plus the iconic T-Rex and Ankylosaurus, one of the largest ever dinosaurs. This dinosaur safari is just the right about of scary for young children.

Call to book your tickets with SeeTickets

Dinosaurs in the Wild is at NEC Birmingham until Wednesday 23rd August 2017. Fantastic for children aged 6 to 12. Experiences last 70 minutes.

2. Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes

Whether you’re a fan of Batman or Superman, a visit to Art of the Brick should come top of your list of things to do with the kids this summer – it’s the world’s biggest collection of superhero-inspired Lego artwork, made up of nearly 2 million Lego bricks.

All the coolest superheroes and villains from the DC Comics universe will be there, from Wonder Woman and The Joker to Harley Quinn and even a life-size Lego model of the Batmobile. There’s so much, in fact, it’ll take you an hour just to explore the entire exhibition, and when you’ve seen it all, you can build your own Lego sculptures at the end. How about that for a creative summer holidays with the kids?

Call to pre-book your tickets with SeeTickets and skip the queue.

3. Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue

Do one better than sticking Paw Patrol on the tellie. Round up the kids for a trip to the theatre this summer, to see their favourite cartoon dogs on stage for an action-packed 75 minutes. Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway is due to race Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger in the Great Adventure Bay Race, but she’s missing. Can Paw Patrol find her in time? Watch Marshall and Chase, Skye and Rubble, Rocky and Zuma as they become the dream team and race to the rescue. 

Call to book your tickets with SeeTickets.

Paw Patrol is on stage at various theatres from Saturday 29th July to Sunday 27th August 2017. Great for children aged 1 to 6.

How Airbnb Hosts Can Protect Against Parties and Vandals

Want to let your home on Airbnb, but worried about the consequences? Don’t be.

There’s plenty an Airbnb owner can do to protect property against party animals, thieves and vandals – from laying down the house rules to getting to know your Airbnb guest before they arrive. Take these easy precautions…

1. Turn off ‘Instant Book’

Find out why your Airbnb guest is travelling and, oh-so much more importantly, why they chose your Airbnb in particular. Asking for ‘Booking Requests’ before you confirm their booking lets you check their profile and read Airbnb reviews left by previous hosts – giving you an idea about who they are and how they’ll treat your home. If you decline their booking for any reason, your listing won’t suffer, so don’t worry about dropping down in the search results.

2. Refuse third party bookings

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Nip parties and vandalism in the bud by knowing exactly who is on your property at all times. Only accept bookings from guests who plan to stay at your Airbnb, never anyone booking on behalf of unknown friends or family. When they try, simply ask them to create an Airbnb account and book directly, giving Airbnb their full name, email address and phone number, profile photo, payment information and a confirmation that they accept your house rules. You could go a step further, asking for guests to be verified or to show ID when they check in.

Add a line to your ‘House Rules’ explaining that only registered Airbnb guests are allowed in your property and everyone will have to leave your property if the person who booked doesn’t arrive. If you’re concerned, call Airbnb contact number UK.

3. Cover your home with the right insurance

Airbnb insurance comes in two ways – Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance programme covers up to £600,000 of injury or property damage and every Airbnb booking is protected by the Hose Guarantee, for free. But the latter doesn’t cover your cash, pets or shared areas, so check the terms and conditions or call the Airbnb customer service phone number to find out more.

It’s well worth considering extra insurance, such as adding dedicated Airbnb cover to your Admiral home insurance policy, for example. But crucially, you must tell your home insurance company that you’re an Airbnb host, otherwise, they could refuse to pay an insurance claim, even when it has nothing to do with an Airbnb guest.

4. Charge a security deposit and cleaning fee

Guests are more likely to respect and care for your home when they have something immediately at stake, such as £100s of security deposit. Feel free to claim for an extra person fee when unexpected guests arrive without warning – call the Airbnb customer service phone number for help settling disputes over deposits.

5. Make every guest commit to your ‘House Rules’

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Ask your guest to read and accept the House Rules on your Airbnb listing before you accept their booking and give them a printed version when they arrive, to jog their memory. Explain that the area is a great place to party, but your home certainly isn’t. Set their expectations by explaining what is and isn’t acceptable, so they can’t make excuses. For example:

  • Can they smoke? Will you fine them if they do?
  • Can they bring pets or wear shoes inside?
  • Are any rooms or areas off limits?
  • Will you charge extra to use the washing machine or for lost keys?
  • Do they need to set the alarm or keep the front gate locked?
  • When is check in and check out? Do you expect them to strip the bed before they leave?
  • What’s the WiFi password?
  • Will you ask them to leave immediately if they break the house rules?

6. Trust your instincts

Think twice about sharing your home on holidays like New Year’s Eve. Hide your valuables if it gives you peace of mind. Cancel their booking if you have serious doubts. Or let one room, instead of your entire home, if you want to stay and keep an eye on things.

7. Contact Airbnb customer service team

Call Airbnb customer support for advice at any stage of your Airbnb experience.

Save a Fortune on Amazon Prime Day 2017

Snag a bargain this Amazon Prime Day, from 6pm on Monday 10th July to midnight on Tuesday 11th July 2017. You won’t need a single Amazon promo code…

Whether you pay for the privilege or register for your free 30-day trial, it’s well-worth being an Amazon Prime customer this summer, because you’ll have exclusive access to 100,000 Amazon Prime Day deals.

The 30-hour flash sale will see prices crunched across the website, so wait until Monday 10th July 2017 if you want to pay less for anything from a tablet to a pressure cooker, hair straighteners, laptops or whatever you have on your Amazon wish list.

Last year, saw two types of Amazon Prime Day deals – Lightning Deals that ran for a fixed amount of time with a limited number of products, and Deals of the Day, which ran for the entire 24 hours.

So far this summer 2017, a few Amazon offers were made public, but shoppers won’t truly know how big the reductions will be until Amazon Prime Day itself.

Caffeine-lovers can expect to save 50% off the De’Longhi Nespresso Lattissima Touch Automatic Coffee Machine, for example. Save 30% on your new 43-inch 4K Ultra HD LG Smart TV, yours for just £385. Or pay £30 less for your little one’s Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet.

How to Get the Best Amazon Prime Day Deals

Amazon Prime Day 2017

Shop Amazon as you normally would, but if you’re serious about snagging the best bargains or specific products, try this…

1. Download the Amazon App

What to buy something specific? Forget refreshing your screen until it’s put in the sale, find and mark it in the Amazon App to get alerts and avoid missing out. You can also see Amazon Deal of the Day ‘Today’s Deals’ and hit ‘Upcoming’ to see what Amazon will put in the sale next.

2. Check you’ve found a genuine bargain

Use CamelCamelCamel to find out whether Amazon has ever listed a product for a cheaper price than what you’re offered on Amazon Prime Day. Alternatively, check whether it’s cheaper somewhere else with ShopSavvy because Amazon’s competitors will more than likely drop their prices on the same day – as John Lewis and Curry’s, Argos and Tesco Direct got in on the action in 2016.

3. Sign Up for Amazon Family

Get 20% off nappies by registering for Amazon Family and shop exclusive discounts on maternity clothes and more when you create your child profile.

Cover Image copyright Mike Seyfang, licensed for use under Creative Commons.

How to Have the Ultimate Sports Night In

From food to face paint and fancy dress, follow these tips from our favourite bloggers if you want to host the sports party of the summer…

1. Get your TV sorted

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“Make sure you’re subscribed to a sports channel which is showing the sport you intend to watch – Sky is a great service for this,” Jacintaz Three reminded us.

Need to watch Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports Live Stream or BT Sport on Sky? Check the Sky Sports schedule and call to watch the big match. SkyTV and BT Sport customers have the biggest selection of live sport at their fingertips, including most of this summer’s best sport

On the big day, just position your TV so everyone can see it, crank the volume up loud and make sure everyone’s sitting comfortably – do a head count and order cheap beanbags from Amazon or eBay if your sofa isn’t big enough for everyone.

2. Plan a feast fit for sports fans

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Don’t fancy takeaway? Prepare your eats in advance.

Blogger Gemma from Life is Knutts recommends, “A one pot meal – such as chilli, bolognese or lasagne, which you can just serve up with some rice, pasta or garlic bread and salad. Or buffet food – such as Bread, Quiche, Pizza, Meats, Cheese, Salads, Arancini and nibbles. Oh, and don’t forget the sausage rolls! Puddings – such as Profiteroles, Pavolva or some nice homemade scones with Jam and Clotted Cream.”

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Alternatively, take Raising the Rings’ health conscious advice, “The ‘men’ who come round here like the gym, they watch their macros and they weigh their food… It doesn’t stop them having a fabulous curry, chilli or spread by the way! Trust me when I say we don’t scrimp on the desserts either.”

3. Drink to your team’s success

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Keep an eye out for bargain drinks offers at your local ASDA, Morrisons or Tesco. “There most certainly will have to be a copious selection of beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – to ensure every sporting fan is catered for,” Simone from Married to a Geek explained.

4. Dress the part

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“Yes, what you wear for a viewing party is important. Personally, I love getting into the team spirit and wearing my All Blacks rugby shirt, although my current one doesn’t fit so I need to buy a new one sharpish,” From Fiona enthused. “If you don’t have the relevant team strip why not wear their colours instead? Find a red jumper to wear instead of a Lions jersey or top to toe black if you’re supporting the other team. In case you’re wondering I actually support both teams, it’s a long story but either way, it means I’m happy with the result.”

Want more? “Get some face paint out and colour your cheeks / forehead with the colours of the flag of your supporting team,”Jacintaz Three recommended.

See what you can get on Amazon or eBay and order in advance.

5. Round up your mates for a few half time games

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Keep your mates excited during half time or help calm those pre-match jitters with a game or two.

“Whilst you’re waiting for the main event of the sport to start, why not have some garden games setup such as giant jenga, boules, football or darts? These are great ways to keep people entertained whilst you finish off any last minute preparations,” said Gemma from Life is Knutts. “Alternatively, just stick your fave music playlist on, turn the speakers up, sort out the garden furniture, and sit and chat with a drink and some nibbles. That would be my preference!”

Football Fan image copyright Rafiq Sarlie, licensed for use under Creative Commons.

How to Get Cheap and Cheerful Thomson Holidays

Pay less for your Thomson Holidays by taking your child for free, haggling with your travel agent or going to the right place at the right time. Here’s how to get yourself a bargain summer break, winter holiday or 2018 Thomson trip…

1. Chose a cheap place to visit

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Surprisingly, it could be cheaper to whisk your family away to Bali than Spain this summer 2017. Thanks to a risky exchange rate, long haul exotic adventures could prove cheaper than a traditional European break. So if you’re serious about saving money, why not trek through jungle, sail around tropical islands or explore Bangkok in Thailand with Thomson Holidays?

2. Go all-inclusive

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Depending on your package, Thomson all-inclusive holidays promise three meals a day, as well as snacks like afternoon tea, soft or alcoholic drinks and all manner of fun. Think volleyball or football and evening entertainment, like stage shows, barbecues and quizzes – leaving you to relax knowing everything’s paid for and also stay on budget.

3. Explore Thomson last minute deals

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Didn’t book nine months in advance? Browse Thomson late deals up to eight weeks before you want to go – the ‘Last Minute Holiday’ filter gives you a choice of summer and winter 2017 deals, last minute long or short haul trips, city or beach breaks. Save £425 per person on a week-long Thomson all-inclusive holiday to Greece, for example.

Call Thomson Holidays before booking, to check the price online is actually still available.

4. Be flexible with your dates and flights

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Searching for your Thomson Holiday online? Tick ‘flexible by +/ -3 days’ to see if you could get the same trip for less. Plus, Thomson Holidays’ Flexible Flying program lets you chose your flights with other airlines – giving you the chance to fly for less mid-week or at a more convenient hour. Use the ‘Flight Insight’ tool on ‘momondo.co.uk’ to compare 150 routes or try to predict the best time to buy your flights on ‘kayak.co.uk’ which tells you whether the cost is likely to go up or down within seven days.

When you book your own flights, Thomson Holidays will take 70% of the cost as your deposit, leaving you to pay just 30% of your flight cost eight weeks later.

5. Take your kid for free

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Book a Thomson Holidays trip for two full-paying adults and your little one could come for free – flying for free, sleeping free in selected hotel rooms, apartments or villas, eating for free on the same board as you and riding the free transfers to and from the airport. Thomson’s free child places sure are generous.

6. Spread the cost of your Thomson Holidays

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Take advantage of Thomson’s Low Deposit Scheme to help you split the cost of your holiday. Pay a partial deposit to secure your holiday and hand over the rest eight weeks later. That’s £75 per person for your short or mid-haul holiday, for example, or £125 per person to book your long-haul trip. And if you decide to cancel your holiday within 14 days, you should get a full refund.

7. Haggle with Thomson Holidays’ travel agents

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Decide the highest price you’re willing to pay for your Thomson Holiday, before calling today. Aim for the biggest discount by asking them to improve the cost per person, not the total cost of your holiday. And if that doesn’t work, ask if there’s a discount for paying the full amount immediately or whether extras like car hire and days out can be included in the price.

You’re more likely to whittle the cost down on long haul trips, because travel agents have to sacrifice their commission to give you a discount. But a slim chance is still worth taking for cheaper Thomson Holidays.