It’s hard to find reasonably priced accommodation in Edinburgh in August during the Festival. I was looking for somewhere to stay in central Edinburgh that was within a 30 minute walk of the venue near the Royal Mile for a Thursday evening event in the city.
The cheapest private room (as opposed to a shared room in a hostel) that I could find using the HotelsCombined price comparison website was £47 including breakfast, for a single room with shared bathroom at Edinburgh First, the student halls of residence. It’s located around a 30 minute walk from Princes Street.
I thought that £47 was a bit pricey, but I managed to get the price down to £36 on the ebookers app through a combination of a mobile deal, a 15% discount voucher and £2 off through ebookers Bonus+.
If you travel to London by the national rail network, you are eligible for the 2 For 1 London promotion, which offers two for the price of one admission to many London attractions.
When I clicked on the 2 For 1 link on the Virgin East Coast website, I was directed to the Days Out Guide website.
It’s a real time-consuming pain trawling through all the offers in London. For each offer which you select, you have to enter the departure date of your outward journey and the station from which you depart. Then you have to print out a voucher for each attraction.
I was a rather perplexed by having to give my departure date, but not my date of return. According to the FAQs section on the Days Out Guide website, the 2 For 1 vouchers are valid until the date of your return.
You must take your outward and return tail ticket, along with your voucher, to present at each attraction.
The 2 For 1 London promotion also sounds like an administrative pain for the attractions.
I don’t understand why the venues can’t just give two tickets for the price of one on presentation of your train ticket when you arrive at the attraction ticket office?
A huge amount of brand marketing is done online these days, from extensive social media campaigning to online advertising. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect offline marketing of your business – it’s a fantastic way of creating brand awareness that can, in fact, lead people to your online content as well.
Here are four brilliant ways to increase your offline presence.
1 Always Have Business Cards
If you’re looking for a physical item to promote your company, the first thing that should come to mind is a card. Create a professional business card from a company such as Helloprint and get a set printed, then use them to help spread the word. This can be done naturally at a networking event, after a sales pitch, at a social occasion or elsewhere. Often friends and family are happy to have a handful in their purse or wallet too, so they can be shared easily if the opportunity arises. It’s also worth leaving a stack of business cards where your target audience can find them so they can take one if they like, as it makes for less pressure.
There is a range of new giffgaff PAYG Sims (goodybags). From 2 September 2015, their goodybags offer 4G and the ability to tether (set up you own WiFi hotspot using mobile broadband).
As I mainly use my mobile phone for data, I had a look at the £20 goodybag which offers ‘Always On Data’, plus unlimited minutes and texts. The ‘Always On Data’ gives you the first 6GB per month at 4G speeds and permits tethering. But if you go over the 6GB limit, then your connection speed is reduced to 256kbs between 8am to midnight.
According to the results of the latest Cash Happy Survey by Sun Life, featured in the infographic below, Scotland is the happiest place in the UK.
The average monthly household take home pay in the UK is £1,970. Just over 80% of this income goes on living expenses such as housing, clothing, food, transport and loan/credit card payments. This leaves a national UK average of £381 spare cash per household per month.
Evidently, if your household has at least £390 a month left over after paying your living expenses, then you are likely to be happy. Scotland has the highest average spare cash at £454 per month per household.
Identity theft is when someone else uses your personal details, usually for financial gain, e.g. to fraudulently apply for a loan or credit card.
You may not even immediately realise this has happened to you. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly check your bank and credit card statements for any transactions that you don’t recognise. You should also beware of suspicious emails and phone calls which claim to be from your bank.
It’s a pain to sort out identity theft once it comes to light. It could temporarily adversely affect your credit rating, making it harder for you to obtain financial products.
It’s simpler to try to protect against identity theft happening in the first place.
Review of Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook– I’m delighted with my Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook which cost £180 at Argos. It has a 13 inch screen, 2.3GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 13 hours battery life.
It was bad news when the keyboard on my Samsung NC10+ netbook went wonky, during a press trip in France for my travel blog. Some of the letters and the backspace stopped working. I tried all sorts of things, but ended up having to use the on-screen keyboard. This happened the day before I was due to take part in a Guardian online chat about blogging as a career option. Suffice to say that necessity lead to brevity in my responses.
On arrival home, I started to look for a replacement device for when I’m out of the office. My Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet is fine for replying to the odd email or pinning photos to Pinterest, but if I need to edit or write an article for one of my sites the on-screen keyboard isn’t adequate.
Initially, I thought I’d buy a 10 inch tablet with a keyboard case. I found some with reasonable specs for around £75 on eBay. However, I wasn’t sure of the quality of the device, if the battery life (up to 5 hours) was sufficient and how easy it’d be to type on that design of keyboard.
When I was looking at tablets on the Argos website, I noticed an Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook for £180. The 13 inch screen, attached proper keyboard, 2.3GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and the up to 13 hours battery life, also ttracted me.
I was angry to receive an email from BT entitled “Important Changes to Your BT Services”. I was expecting this, as I’d read that there was a price hike in the offing.
In my opinion, the phrase “prices are increasing” should have been in the title versus the less attention grabbing “changes to your services”.
The first paragraph of the email says “we are always looking for ways to give your more”.
What a load of nonsense when they are increasing prices at a time when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation is 0.1%. It should have said “we are always looking for ways to charge you more”.
I had to log onto the BT website to get a personalised illustration of the effect of the price increase, which amounted to an increase of 90p a month on the combined cost of fibre broadband and unlimited anytime calls. I’d already paid £169.60 upfront for 12 months line rental though the BT Line Saver scheme, so wouldn’t be affected by the £1 a month increase in line rental.
A couple of weeks before I visit London, I usually have a rake around to see if I can find any cheap theatre tickets. In my experience, lastminute.com offer the best deals, but I also check on the theatre’s own website before booking.
I’m a bit more confident booking the lowest price London theatre tickets which I can find, as, so far, I’ve never had a terrible seat.
I spotted cheap tickets for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on lastminute.com, priced at only £3 to stand in the Yard for The Oresteia (an ancient Greek trilogy).
I wasn’t sure how my legs would bear up to this three act play, but I thought I’d give it a try, especially as a ticket in the seated area cost £25.
I checked out the Globe theatre’s website. They offered £5 standing tickets, but there was an additional £2.50 transaction fee. It was a much better deal to buy through lastminute.com, as the price of £3 included booking and credit card fee.
I decided to go for the 18.30 Sunday performance of The Oresteia at the Globe Theatre. There was a performance at 13.00, but I thought that it could possibly be a bit hot for me then. Maybe thoughts of sunburn are a little optimistic. Who knows with the British weather.