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Mother’s Day – Have you left it too late?

First of all Mother’s Day seems to have come around very quick this year. It seems early, and in fact it’s only a week earlier than last year here in the UK.

Here is a useful table of the mothers day dates to help you remember for years to come. Actually its to help me 🙂

Year Mothering Sunday (brits) Mothers Day (yanks)
2011 April 3 May 8
2012 March 18 May 13
2013 March 10 May 12
2014 March 30 May 11
2015 March 15 May 10
2016 March 6 May 8

Last year I remember seeing lots of tweets around May time for Mothers Day. I had to question myself. Basically my wife almost celebrated 2 mothers day. She will tell you my short term memory is pretty rubbish!

if you are looking for last minute mother’s day gifts then your best bet is to get a bunch of flowers. I know it may seem a bit boring to get the same type of gift, but you can’t go wrong. As a man, my wife has mentioned in the past ‘I’m not really that fussed’ about flowers, only to find out a few years later that I was wrong. I was being tested and she now tells me she does like flowers.

I ordered some flowers for my Mum the other night from They have a really nice range. The only glitch I had which made me panic for a moment was the flowers I wanted couldn’t be delivered in time for that special day this coming Sunday. Luckily enough for me I was able to choose another nice bunch which did allow delivery for the Sunday. A bit odd but hey ho!

If you can’t afford to buy anything then the best gift to any mum will be to make sure they just don’t have to lift a finger and can enjoy a relaxing day while you take care of the kids, tidying up, cooking and any other chores. Just give them a big cuddle, breakfast in bed and they will be happy.

Some Random Mother’s Day facts for you, courtesy of James Murray from Hitwise

Mothers day stats

New Year and time for a new web project

As you may have noticed I don’t tend to blog that often on here. Mostly when I want to promote a new website, but when I do I hope to provide something useful to help people save money generally. However this time, my new web project isn’t about saving money, its about helping people learning something new, putting a smile on peoples faces. I have decided to setup a website about Random Facts and post daily with interesting, weird, fun, cool and mostly random facts and hopefully stuff that you will not have seen before.

toprandomfacts.comThere is way too much negative stuff these days, with the economy, people out of work, sad news and bad press that I want to liven up the online atmosphere and provide something that will make people happy and laugh. After all don’t they say laughter is the best medicine and all that!!

So head over to my new website here:

Follow on twitter for the latest updates here: Or like our page to get updates via facebook here:

We’ll also be pinning on Pinterest here too soon:

If you have seen a fact and would like to share it and join the social community then please get in touch. We will be promoting this heavily over the next few months so watch this space.

Are you looking at the long term when buying your garden furniture.

Spring is just a couple months hence, and the promise of nice weather might have you turning your attention to your garden area. If you plan to host family and friends for outdoor events this spring and summer, consider investing in new garden furniture that will withstand the test of time. Here’s what you need to know about thinking long-term when buying new furniture for your garden seating area:

Which Type of Wood is Best?

While many types of materials are used to make garden furniture—including plastic, resin, iron, and aluminum—wood is one of the most attractive choices not only in terms of quality, but also aesthetics, as it seamlessly blends into the natural surroundings. Pine is one of the least costly options, but it may not be your best bet in the long run, as it is more susceptible to decay and damage than some of your other options. If you do opt for pine, make sure it’s pressure treated, a process that helps to safeguard the wood from rot and decay for up to 30 years.

A better option for garden furniture is red cedar, a wood which is notorious for repelling pesky insects due to its scent. This rich reddish wood contains naturally-occurring oils that help protect against insects and decay as well. It’s a good middle-of-the-road option if you don’t want to spend a fortune but want a high quality, durable wood. Cypress is also a good mid-budget option that, like red cedar, is highly resistant to rot and decay.

Even better than red cedar is grade A teak, a tropical wood that is primarily native to Indonesia. What makes grade A teak so desirable is that it is incredibly strong and durable. Teak also contains natural oils that make it repel water and moisture, which proves to be a huge advantage in the wettest spring and summertime months. Of the options, you’ll find that teak is the most expensive, but the amount of usage you would get from teak garden furniture over its projected 50-year lifespan would make the investment well worth it.

Don’t forget to check out some garden lighting it will enhance your new furniture.

Maintenance Tips

Increase the lifespan of your garden furniture by following some simple care and maintenance tips. First of all, make sure to cover your furniture with waterproof covers when it is not in use, and store in a cool, dry place during the bleakest winter months to protect it from decay. If your garden furniture does become wet, make sure to move it from the grass to the patio and pat it down with a cloth to help it dry more quickly. Scrub down your furniture every few months with a stiff brush and warm water to eradicate dirt, which can deteriorate your furniture, and scrape off any sap you find with a small knife. Apply a water or oil-based sealer to pine, a water-based stain to cedar, or specialty teak oil to grade A teak every six to twelve months to help prevent colour loss as well as damage and decay. The silvering of wood furniture is ultimately unavoidable, but you can slow down the process with proper maintenance and care.

Unusual Christmas Gift Ideas 2012

If you are like me, you leave Christmas shopping right until the last minute. Planning ahead helps when you decide you want to buy all your presents on Xmas eve. Below are some Christmas Ideas which might help you plan and where best to buy these gifts.

It doesn’t matter who you are buying for, sometimes it can be difficult to come up with fresh unique ideas. Below are a few ideas to help you out:

Slipper Socks
hello kitty moccasin slipper socksSocks are one of those gifts that most people expect to get at Christmas, so why not break that habit and get that person some slipper socks instead. They are suitable for both Men and Women and even children too. They won’t break the bank and are a nice cosy gift, like pyjamas which you may look forward to wearing while watching those Christmas movies. Need an extra idea to fill your children’s stocking then we found these hello kitty slipper socks online.

Where to get them – goto

Monopoly Millionaire
monopoly millionaireA classic game with a twist. Monopoly has become a household name as so many people own the original board game. This game has a unique selling point and we think it will be a hit this Xmas. Basically the first to win a million wins.

Where to buy – we found amazon had the best price listed here at £13.99

Afternoon Tea for Two
Enjoy a bit of luxury once in a while. Need a break from the kids in the new year. How about Afternoon Tea at Harrods. Something a little different and a nice surprise for your partner. It’s always a nice treat to go up to London. Look out for deals as there are often so good offers available.

Where to buy – are offering Afternoon Tea for 2 at Harrods for only £58 with a best price guarantee

Novelty Sports Golf Balls
novelty golf ballsMost Dads love golf and golf gifts, so why buy them something different when its what they’ll like. How about getting some of these bright novelty golf balls. Perfect for those sports fans.

Where to buy – price £9.99 only

Personalised Teddy Bear
personalised teddyNo matter how old you are sometimes you will never grow to old for teddies. Not me, but I know someone very close who still likes to snuggle with some teddies. Our daughter loves them and now has a huge collection, so large we are going to have to move out of our double room and share her single bedroom so she can have it!! have some lovely teddies that can be personalised here. Price is £22.99 but what a perfect gift.

Save on Sky TV, Broadband and Phone Calls

A few months back we had a letter from Sky saying that our TV package is going up in price. God damn it!!

Although it was only going up by about £1 something, my wife and I were even talking about how we were thinking about cancelling sky and going to Freeview as we didn’t think we used that many of the Sky channels. Anyway we noticed a few friends on the social networks had called up and threatened to cancel sky and managed to negotiate a discount on their monthly payments.

I called up Sky last night and spoke to someone in cancellations. I basically said we have been talking about cancelling sky and then you increase our monthly payments. We are not longer able to afford to pay and wanted to know what our options are. They guy went away for a few minutes and come back and said they could offer us 25% off for the first 6 months. However this was only off our TV package. No discount off the broadband and our Line Rental and phone calls are managed by BT.

We are only on the Entertainment Extra package which was costing us £21 per month. Sky broadband is costing us £17.50 as there is no Sky Broadband in our area. They basically piggy back on BT broadband and charge us. At the time when we took out sky 4 years ago, this was the condition of our package deal.

So I wasn’t that excited about the £5.25 per month saving. I went on to say I may have to cancel as I don’t feel this is that good a saving. I explained you get better deals as a new customer. He wasn’t budging. He went away and come back and said, all we could offer is 20% off for 12 months which is less saving per month but will save us more in the long run. So I ended up going for this with the view we may still cancel and go to freeview at some point.

So for a quick phone call to Sky you can save save money. Albeit not a lot in my case, it’s still a saving. Some people are saving as much as 50% in some cases but I suspect they have much bigger tv packages.

TV total saving over 1 year = £50.40

Next I get a phone call from BT on the same day, offering to reduce our broadband payments if we move to them. They offer me free broadband and free line rental for 6 months. They also say the broadband speed will be approx 17gb and I’m only getting 8gb at the moment. After 6 months the monthly payments will be £13 per month. There is a 10GB download limit per month but to be honest we aren’t using that much as we don’t stream videos etc. So we will save £4 per month on our broadband but won’t be paying £17 for the next 6 months. Happy days. This is on an 18month contract.

Broadband total saving over 1 year = £150

BT also mentioned that in January the line rental will go up to over £15 per month. At the moment its about £14.50 or something. I don’t remember the exact figure. The BT guy advised me that if we phone up BT Customer Services and ask to be put on the annual saver which you pay upfront you can save this way. At £15 per month for 12 months this would cost £180 per year. The annual saver is only £129 if paid upfront. This is a saving of £51

Phone Line Rental saving over 1 year = £51

Total saving by reducing our sky package, switching broadband provider and paying upfront for line rental is £251.40

Now what can we spend this extra money on 😉

Have you managed to save on your SKY TV, Broadband or Phone Calls and Line Rental? What tips can you share?

Why do people turn to Payday Loans?

Payday Loans have been getting a lot of press coverage lately and so I thought I’d share with you why people turn to Payday Loans to help with their finances. Understanding this may hopefully give people a different opinion on these loans.

Yes these loans have huge interest rates associated with them and this can seem like they are ripping people off. The fact of the matter is that the interest is only charged over a short period of time so the APR which is for the year doesn’t reflect the true cost of interest. It’s best to work out how much you will need to pay back.

Everyone has different financial circumstances. Many people will struggle to make ends meet every month. Their are people that have bad credit history and have no other means to get the cash. Their are people that need the money to pay for emergency situations and they simply haven’t got the money at that time to pay for whatever emergency has arisen, such as boiler breakdown, faced with huge repair bills.

Some other reasons why people use Payday Loans

  • Cars broken down
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Unexpected travel costs whilst abroad
  • Short term car finance – to pay the deposit
  • Banks won’t lend you the money

If you are in a situation where you need short term cash quickly, consider your options. Can you borrow off family or close friends? Does your bank account allow you to go overdrawn without hefty fees? Can you wait until payday? If you really need the money today, then go to a same day loans company but remember to pay it back on time, otherwise the interest will mount up and that’s when you’ll get into financial difficulty.

How to avoid the need for Payday Loans

  • EBay stuff you don’t need
  • Budget your outgoings so you can manage your finances better
  • Create an emergency savings fund for these situations
  • Cut back on luxuries

If you are faced with an urgent need for cash, why not ask for an advance from your employer. Some employers will agree a payment plan to help you out and usually interest free.

Holidays without flying!

As a dad with children myself I appreciate how hard it can sometimes be taking little ones on a plane. Luckily my own children are great on planes however I have heard some horror stories!

A great solution to flying can be getting a ferry and then the transport is not a necessity but a feature of the holiday that kids will love.

A lot of people think ferries are an old method of transport and no longer used, the truth could not be further. The ferry industry is bustling, with many routes to choose from.

One such route is England to Amsterdam; you can see a list of the England to Amsterdam ferry routes here.

The ferry does take slightly longer than a flight but as I mentioned does have the great advantage that the children will remember it as part of the fun, not just part of the journey!

So next time you’re planning your family holiday, don’t overlook the ferry option.

Cheap Alternative to the iPad – Blackberry Playbook Best Price

My wife brought me the IPad 2 almost 1 year ago and it’s great, except that now I don’t even get a look in. She now no longer uses her laptop and chooses to use the IPad instead.

The thought of getting her laptop out, starting it up and listening to the loud fan puts her off. The laptop heats up after a little while and becomes uncomfortable on your lap, so I can see what tablet computing is so much better for just about anything. Play some games that don’t tax your mind so much, check your e-mail, browse the interweb or watch movies. But an IPad comes with a big price tag.

At alternative is the BlackBerry Playbook. It offers a 7 inch screen, HD front and rear cameras. Today I found the best price for blackberry playbook starting at £129.99 at PC World, discounted by £270.00. The 16GB version is only £129.99 while the 32GB version is only £20 more at £149.99.
blackberry playbook

Reading some of the reviews from Reevoo and there is some useful stuff to help make up your mind whether this is a suitable product for you.

‘great battery, lovely keyboard and wonderful size’ but limited support for apps

If you aren’t bothered about missing out on all the apps available at itunes and you just want to use it for general use like Internet browsing, email, camera etc, then this could be a great alternative and save you a few hundred quid.

Most of the reviews seem very good and I don’t think you can complain much for the price.

But the most funny review which I thought was worth mentioning…

‘Good Points i bought the playbook for my wife as a 20th wedding anniversary present, she was really pleased, she spent the next few nights constantly bouncing up and down on my lap…..thanks playbook…thanks blackberry… Bad Points i’mtoo knackered for any bad points.’

If you are looking for where to buy blackberry playbook, we recommend you visit PC World Here as they are doing the best deals at the moment.

Back Blogging after an Amazing Holiday

It’s been a long time since my last blog post and so I don’t just forget about this blog, I’m going to start blogging again. However trying to find the time with running several other big websites is difficult but I’ll do my best. I have just come back from our family holiday which was excellent. We all had a great time and I have come back with a clear head and some focus, so it’s back to reality now.

If you are looking to go on holiday and like a bit of luxury, well a lot of luxury, then we can highly recommend the Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. Here is the website

<< princesa-yaizaHere was the view from our balcony

This was our 2nd visit to the same hotel resort. We went back in May last year and it was even better the 2nd time. The hotel and resort offers so much for young families. The hotel has several restaurants offering different dining options to suit all needs. The food is amazing and the staff are excellent, friendly and well mannered and like to cater for your every need. Just what you would expect from a 5 star luxury hotel.

We stayed on Bed and Breakfast basis as we like to venture outside the hotel. You can choose to eat in one of the restaurants and pay extra for those extra nights and they do offer a huge choice of food. For breakfast you could get pretty much anything you wanted from their buffet. For lunch we tended to eat either at the pool bar or beach bar. In the evenings we favoured the Restaurante Volcan De Timanfaya.

For the kids, there is a indoor soft play area open morning and night, they have children’s evening entertainment shows every night and Molly even learned a song or too and some Spanish too (she’s only 4 years old!). They have a children’s pool in the main hotel with 2 adult pools. 1 pool is salt water and is great to just float in. They also have a kids club with 2 children’s pools called Kiko Land. This offers 10,000 square metres of fun-filled children’s activities, so plenty to keep the kids entertained.

The hotel also has a night club as well as several different areas where you can chill out in the evening listening to live music whilst drinking one of many cocktails. My wife was selecting my drinks some evenings and I really liked the white russian cocktail. The local beer tastes great and doesn’t seem to give me a hangover which is a bonus.

Outside the hotel offers an sandy beach on the doorstep with a beach bar open throughout the day and night. In the day you can get snacks at very reasonable prices and in the evening you can unwind with some cocktails overlooking the sea and sunset. The beach itself is very clean and the sea water is a crisp clear green.

As you walk outside the hotel you can turn left and walk to the mariner where there are shops and restaurants and some nice boats to look at. Walk to the right of the hotel and walk along the promenade to the port where you can get boat day trips and even head over to Fuerteventura if you so wish. We did the trip to Fuerteventura last year and didn’t really like it, well not the part that we visited but I’m sure there are other nice parts. Before you get to the port you will be greeted with many restaurants offering fresh local fish, the best steak I’ve had in a long time and many more local dishes. The restaurant owners are very friendly and create a great atmosphere. We were lucky enough to be there when the Euro 2012 games were on and watching the local restaurant owners cheer as Spain went through to the finals was a fun and exciting evening, with Fireworks going off most evenings but a great firework display especially on that evening!

If you are looking for a for a family holiday with a bit luxury, not too busy, but not too quiet, then the playa blanca resort is ideal. We booked with Sovereign Holidays. We also used them last time and they are very good. We had some big discounts which saved us a lot of money too, including free child place for our 2 year old, early booking discount, £50 back for using them again, 100 Euro resort credit, so I think we saved well over £1000. It cost us approx £2600 for a family of 4 for 10 nights on bed and breakfast. This included flights, upgrade to a family suite, private airport lounge, private taxi, 2 free entries to the spa in the hotel and the free euro resort credit. We were also greeted with champagne and chocolate strawberries in our room for being returning guests to the hotel.

Airport Parking for Brummies

Do you know of anyone who lives in the Midlands, near Birmingham, then please recommend to them Airport Parking Birmingham for the best prices on Airport Parking at Birmingham Airport. The website offers Brummies or those flying from Birmingham Airport the cheapest parking options available by booking online. It compares all the parking options from the leading parking providers in the UK to give both details of each car park and the prices available for the time of booking.

My tip is to book online and in advance. If you leave it until the last minute or pay when you get to the airport, then you will pay about 50-60% over the price you’d pay by booking online. So please recommend this to your friends who may need to use this airport on a regular basis.

They can also book Birmingham Airport Hotels through the site. Staying overnight is a hassle free way of traveling and means you can skip the traffic and start your holiday in style