Categories
Coupons & Offers

New homeware business is perfect for gifts (and here’s how to get a discount)

Shoppers looking to make their house more homey can now turn to a new interiors business in North Staffordshire. Chelsey Buckley's new venture, Array Homeware, offers a variety of items at affordable prices. The full-time dispatcher for ISS technical services started the business in February to keep herself busy during the coronavirus lockdown.

It has since reached customers in the UK and around the world. Most read: Swingers rate dogging sites of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire The 28-year-old, from Audley, said: "I wanted to bring really nice, affordable homeware.

I chose the name because I wanted to bring an 'array' of interiors. What I am doing is purchasing anywhere between one and six of each item so I can have a variety of different interiors. "I do homeware pieces for the kitchen and garden lanterns.

It's contemporary and modern, shabby chic and I also sell retro items. I wanted to offer a range of different vibes. More top stories

Morrisons under fire over response to collapsed man - after girl, 15, calls 999 'I'm so proud' - Quick-thinking daughters raise the alarm after mum's epileptic fit We tried to do a weekly shop at Aldi for just GBP10 - here's how we got on

Covid-denier and shopworker in slanging match over face mask Swingers rate dogging sites of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire "I love my home and homeware.

I'm on Instagram and I see all these home accounts, it's a big industry. People love finding new things for their homes and I love seeing people's homes with different interiors and the way they arrange things. I like bringing people a bargain as well, there's nothing better.

"I started it to keep me sane during the pandemic. Money was a bit tight at the beginning of the lockdown, with my partner being furloughed. If I wanted anything new for the home, it had to be a bargain, so it forced me to kind of shop around.

And then I thought, if I can get myself these bargains, I can bring them for others too."

Chelsey Buckley with one of the striking items on sale at Array HomewareChelsey Buckley with one of the striking items on sale at Array Homeware

The prices on the website start at GBP4.50 and the most expensive item - a wicker tray table - is GBP37. Chelsey sources her stock from across the UK and hopes to open her own shop one day. "I've had loads of support, which is amazing," she added. "You don't even know these people, but this brings so many people together.

There's a lot of small businesses also showing support which is fantastic.

Chelsey Buckley sells the items through her online businessChelsey Buckley sells the items through her online business

"I didn't really have much faith in myself to begin with. I put out on Facebook if anybody would be interested in buying some items I found pictures of and they said they were, which gave me a bit of courage. "It makes me feel really good.

In time, I am hoping it would take off and the dream would be to have a little store. Not signed up to the newsletter? Try it outhere

Sign up now to receive it for freehere "I want to try and keep the prices as affordable as possible. I offer local delivery as well.

Within three miles of my home address, it's free. "I'm switching it quite often so, instead of ordering a palette of one item and being stuck with it, I want to be able to have new stock arriving weekly and change it all the time. I want to have something for everybody."

Customers can grab 10 per cent off their first order through the Array Homeware website.

Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles

Categories
Coupons & Offers

New homeware business is perfect for gifts (and here’s how to get a discount)

Shoppers looking to make their house more homey can now turn to a new interiors business in North Staffordshire. Chelsey Buckley's new venture, Array Homeware, offers a variety of items at affordable prices. The full-time dispatcher for ISS technical services started the business in February to keep herself busy during the coronavirus lockdown.

It has since reached customers in the UK and around the world. Top story - Live: Police tape off road in North Staffordshire The 28-year-old, from Audley, said: "I wanted to bring really nice, affordable homeware.

I chose the name because I wanted to bring an 'array' of interiors. What I am doing is purchasing anywhere between one and six of each item so I can have a variety of different interiors. "I do homeware pieces for the kitchen and garden lanterns.

It's contemporary and modern, shabby chic and I also sell retro items. I wanted to offer a range of different vibes. More top stories

Morrisons under fire over response to collapsed man - after girl, 15, calls 999 'I'm so proud' - Quick-thinking daughters raise the alarm after mum's epileptic fit We tried to do a weekly shop at Aldi for just GBP10 - here's how we got on

Covid-denier and shopworker in slanging match over face mask "I love my home and homeware. I'm on Instagram and I see all these home accounts, it's a big industry.

People love finding new things for their homes and I love seeing people's homes with different interiors and the way they arrange things. I like bringing people a bargain as well, there's nothing better. "I started it to keep me sane during the pandemic.

Money was a bit tight at the beginning of the lockdown, with my partner being furloughed. If I wanted anything new for the home, it had to be a bargain, so it forced me to kind of shop around. And then I thought, if I can get myself these bargains, I can bring them for others too."

Chelsey Buckley with one of the striking items on sale at Array HomewareChelsey Buckley with one of the striking items on sale at Array Homeware

The prices on the website start at GBP4.50 and the most expensive item - a wicker tray table - is GBP37.

Chelsey sources her stock from across the UK and hopes to open her own shop one day. "I've had loads of support, which is amazing," she added. "You don't even know these people, but this brings so many people together. There's a lot of small businesses also showing support which is fantastic.

Chelsey Buckley sells the items through her online businessChelsey Buckley sells the items through her online business

"I didn't really have much faith in myself to begin with.

I put out on Facebook if anybody would be interested in buying some items I found pictures of and they said they were, which gave me a bit of courage. "It makes me feel really good. In time, I am hoping it would take off and the dream would be to have a little store.

Not signed up to the newsletter? Try it outhere Sign up now to receive it for freehere

"I want to try and keep the prices as affordable as possible. I offer local delivery as well. Within three miles of my home address, it's free.

"I'm switching it quite often so, instead of ordering a palette of one item and being stuck with it, I want to be able to have new stock arriving weekly and change it all the time.

I want to have something for everybody."

Customers can grab 10 per cent off their first order through the Array Homeware website.

Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles

Categories
Coupons & Offers

On the hunt for activewear that’s kinder to the planet AND super stylish? Hush has got you covered with its £20 off discount code

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced this, but seeing the world slow down for a minute during the pandemic has made me take a step back on my consumption of fast fashion. It's forced me to really look at the fabrics and materials a lot of my clothing is made of, and make much smarter and more sustainable choices because of it.

Since the gyms have reopened and I'm no longer confined to the four walls of my house - or my local park - for my daily exercise, I've been wanting to invest in some new gym gear to mark the occasion and make my reappearance. That said, I'm definitely more conscious as to what and where I buy from so I began my search for Hush discount codes.

These are the 17 best wireless headphones for running, working out and taking work calls
Advertisement

Hush's activewear line is nearly all made from recycled or organic materials, hence why I was googling for Hush discount codes, so you can save money while being kinder to the planet with your purchases.

I knew I needed some jazzy new 'fits to make a statement in, things like leggings, some running shorts and perhaps a new cute sports bra.

Luckily I came across Hush's Friend Referral discount, which gets both you and your friend GBP20 off your GBP80 basket - that's my summer workout essentials sorted! We're talking yoga pants and other workout clothes that are as stylish as they are sweat-wicking. Hallelujah.

The best running shoes for women in 2021 (and how to choose the best pair for you, according to an expert)

Hush discount codes: GBP20 off your GBP80 basket when you refer a friend

So how can you claim your GBP20 discount from your GBP80 shopping cart?

It's easy peasy. All you need to do is go to the Hush discount codes section of our website and click "get voucher" next to the offer to claim your exclusive discount. You'll get a little pop-up to tell you exactly what to do to get the money off, and it's valid for new and existing customers.

Hush has a whole host of other offers running if you miss out on your GBP20 off.

There's free delivery when you spend GBP50 or more, 10% off skirts, sandals and shorts, and 10% off tops, T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Claim Your Discount

Advertisement
The best fitness trackers for women to help you achieve your fitness goals and keep you motivated

PSA: there are more savings to be had through us.

Head this way for Adidas discount codes and over here for Nike discount codes (consider your loungewear and gym wardrobe elevated).

We've also got some JD Sports discount codes and Sports Direct discount codes, in case you're after some bargains.

For more from GLAMOUR UK's Associate Commerce Writer, follow her on Instagram @georgiatrodd.

Categories
Coupons & Offers

UK Homebuyers Are Worried About A Property Market Crash

UK Homebuyers Are Worried About A Property Market Crashpierre9x6 / Pixabay

Why are we worried about a UK property market crash when we've only just recovered from the last one?

Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

Walter Schloss eBook

Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

According to Google, the search for "UK house price crash coming" has spiked in recent weeks, but research by estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed that while homebuyers are worried about a potential property market crash, the market has only just recovered from the previous one when accounting for inflation. Why The Term 'Value Investing' Is Redundant Warren BuffettWhat does value investing really mean?

Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Some investors might argue value investing means buying stocks trading at a discount to net asset value or book value. This is the sort of value investing Benjamin Graham pioneered in the early 1920s and 1930s. Other investors might argue value Read More

Barrows and Forrester analysed house price data over the last two major economic recessions in the 1990s and 2008 and while both lasted for just five quarters in terms of the impact on national GDP, the impact on the property market lasted far longer.

The 1990 Recession

In Q3, 1990 house prices started to drop from an average of GBP58,773 with the market bottoming out in the final quarter of 1992 at GBP53,213. It wasn't until the third quarter of 1996 that they recovered to their pre-recession level (GBP58,854). However, the research by Barrows and Forrester shows that when adjusting for inflation, this pre-crash house price high actually sat at GBP136,613 when the recession hit.

When allowing for inflation, their research shows that the market didn't truly recover until the third quarter of 1999 when the average house price finally climbed to GBP142,566, meaning the property market crash due to the recession actually lasted nine years, not six.

The 2008-09 Recession

When the recession hit in the second quarter of 2008, house prices had already started to cool from the highs of GBP189,503 seen in Q3 of 2007. They then plummeted from an average of GBP183,082 and continued to do so until the first quarter of 2009 when the market bottomed out at GBP155,701. It wasn't until the second quarter of 2014 that the average house price returned to its pre-recession levels (GBP185,362), exceeding the 2007 peak the following quarter (GBP191,260).

But again, when adjusting for inflation, the average UK house price when the recession hit in Q2 of 2008 actually stood at GBP249,812. This house price benchmark is one that the current market has only just returned to in Q1 of this year when the average house price hit GBP252,873 across the UK. So while the property market crash lasted for five years on paper, the inflation-adjusted recovery timeline actually spans almost 13 years.

The Next Property Market Crash

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:

"With the end of the stamp duty holiday nigh, many market naysayers are starting to call the next property market crash from the comfort of their keyboards and this negativity is starting to filter through to homebuyers and sellers. However, the reality is that when looking at the actual value of the market when adjusting for inflation, we've only just recovered from the last market crash. Despite this, the market has been running red hot of late, with buyer and seller confidence at an all-time high and it goes to show just how influential market sentiment is when it comes to turning the cogs of the UK property market."

1990s Recession

Quarter Year Timeline Average UK House Price Inflation-Adjusted Timeline Inflation-Adjusted Average UK House Price
Q3 1990 Start GBP58,773 Start GBP136,613
Q3 1991 End GBP57,959 End GBP127,252
Q3 1996 Recovery GBP58,854 - GBP112,979
Q3 1999 - GBP80,443 Recovery GBP142,566

Average house prices sourced from the UK House Price Index and then adjusted for inflation to equivalent 2020 prices

2008-09 Recession

Quarter Year Timeline Average UK House Price Inflation Adjusted Timeline Inflation Adjusted Average UK House Price
Q2 2008 Start GBP183,082 Start GBP249,812
Q2 2009 End GBP157,806 End GBP216,473
Q2 2014 Recovery GBP185,362 - GBP212,230
Q1 2021 - GBP252,873 Recovery GBP252,873

Average house prices sourced from the UK House Price Index and then adjusted for inflation to equivalent 2020 prices


  • Barrows and Forrester is a multi-award winning, independent lettings and estate agent located in Birmingham.
  • James Forrester has worked within the property industry for 20 years, 10 of which have seen him apply his expertise within the Birmingham property market in particular.
  • James is also a director of StripeHomes, a company specialising in top-quality new build developments in the North East and Midlands.
  • As a result, James has an unrivalled knowledge of the sales, lettings and new build sectors, making him an accomplished, all-round property market commentator.

Categories
Coupons & Offers

Northern Ireland High Street Voucher Scheme: Local businesses you can support

It's not long now until we'll be able to sign up online for our High Street Voucher, available through the Department for the Economy's new High Street Stimulus scheme. The voucher will be on offer to everyone in Northern Ireland over the age of 18 and can be used in any bricks and mortar business, with the aim of stimulating in-person shopping. It is likely the vouchers will be up for grabs in autumn and what's even better - they won't just be limited to retail.

You can spend your voucher in almost any business that takes cards or contactless payments, the Department for the Economy has said. So, restaurants and cafes are on the table too when it comes to spending your pre-paid voucher. With GBP100 to splash, we've found some of the best independent retailers to support.

In what has been a tough year for local businesses, they need it. 1. No Alibis

The quaint book shop on Botanic Avenue is the perfect spot for picking up new reads. By supporting the store, you could also be supporting some Northern Irish authors. No Alibis stocks lots of books by local authors, and it's a great alternative to online sites like Amazon.

2. Maggie Mays If you're on Botanic Avenue already, you might as well pop into this cafe for lunch or dinner too.

Maggie Mays has plenty of options on its menu, including kids' meals and a vegan and vegetarian selection. The restaurant also has other locations: one on Malone Road and another in the city centre, on Castle Street. 3.

Born and Bred In this art studio and gift shop on Ann Street, you'll be able to get your hands on extra-special finds for yourself, or a pal. Central to the business's ethos is to help local artists thrive, and by spending your voucher here you'll be doing just that.

Some of the gifts on offer include Belfast-themed prints, accessories and homeware. 4. St George's Market

Chock full of independent retailers, St George's Market in Belfast is guaranteed to have something special you can find to take home. Since the voucher only requires a card machine, any retailer in the market will be able to accept your voucher as long as they take card or contactless payments. 5.

The Strand Arts Centre cinema Grab some popcorn and make your way to the independent cinema located in the east of the city. The Arts Centre plays plenty of films, ranging from independent, locally made film to Hollywood blockbusters.

There are plenty of other local businesses nearby on the Holywood Road to support whilst you're there too. 6. Memento floral design

If you're hooked on the house plant craze, local florist shop Memento will be right up your street. Located on Ormeau Road, the store offers aesthetically pleasing flower posies, bonsai trees and an extensive number of indoor and outdoor plants for all seasons. 7.

Dragon records Belfast

(C) Dragon Records/Facebook Dragon Records

On Wellington Place is Dragon Records, a local record shop which stocks an eclectic range of music suited to all tastes. With a vinyl revival well underway, why not head on down with your voucher to pick up your favourite albums - old and new. 8.

Bread and Banjo This bakery on the Ormeau Road offers some of the best freshly baked bread in Belfast. There are a whole range of items to feast on, and it's not limited to bread either.

Pastries, scones and cakes are also available.

You can pre-order for collection too - including challah bread on Fridays.

For the latest breaking news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter here.

Categories
Coupons & Offers

Outdoor space and broadband top UK homebuyers’ lists as pandemic changes housing needs

The stamp duty tax break and the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers have also created a further surge in housing market activity after the first COVID lockdown was lifted last year. Photo: Getty

The stamp duty tax break and the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers have also created a further surge in housing market activity after the first COVID lockdown was lifted last year. Photo: Getty

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way people live their day-to-day lives, prompting companies to change the way they do business and UK households re-evaluate their housing needs. 

New figures highlighting the shift in trends, show demand for family houses with outdoor space, proximity to parks and broadband connectivity rose during the crisis as lockdowns, social distancing and remote working confined people to their homes.  Outdoor space, broadband connectivity and proximity to parks have become more important qualities amid COVID, with transport links and the distance to nearby cities bearing less weight in homebuyers decision making.  According to a report from London-based bridging lender Market Financial Solutions (MFS), 92% of UK buyers consider the garden or outdoor space to be the single most important factor when house hunting. 

89% of those considering purchasing a property, said square footage was the most important.  With the changes in the workplace and rise in working from work, broadband connectivity is now the third most important consideration. In April 2021, 88% said this was a crucial factor, compared with 82% in 2019.

"It is no secret that the pandemic has altered people's perspective on what they want and need from their homes," said Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS. "Remote working and social distancing mean the majority of Britons now spend much more time in their own homes, while access to outdoor space for both exercise and socialising has become far more important."

Image: MFS

Image: MFS

The Homebuyer Wishlist 2021 report shows quality and finish of the interior (85%) was fourth on the list, with proximity to public spaces and parks rising six places to number five -- 84% of homebuyers consider this to be important, whereas only 79% said the same two years ago. Signalling a true shift in housing needs, transport links were only cited as important by 67% of buyers in April 2021 - a 13% fall from 2019.  Story continues

Proximity to the nearest town or city has also declined in importance, with 74% selecting this option compared with 87% previously. Industry data throughout COVID has pointed towards an exodus of homebuyers from towns and cities into the countryside, where they can purchase larger properties and have access to more green space.  MFS's research found 24% of buyers had become more tempted to live in a rural area since March 2020.

But, when it comes to long-term outlook, 27% think remote working will remain the norm post-pandemic. "The tapering down of the stamp duty holiday is also going to have an impact on the market," Raja added. "Buyer demand is sky-high at present, and while this is unlikely to suddenly evaporate, the removal of the tax break might curb this demand somewhat." Read more: Space race: Property prices in least populated areas soar amid remote work boom

The stamp duty tax break and the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers have also created a further surge in housing market activity after the first COVID lockdown was lifted last year. It comes amid recent reports about the UK's stampede to buy homes before the end of the stamp duty holiday -- a discount brought in by chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the market under strain from the COVID-19 pandemic. The tax break can mean a saving of up to 12% on the UK's most expensive properties.

It was due to end on 31 March and was extended until 30 June. UK house prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years in March after Sunak announced the extension of the stamp duty holiday. Property prices increased 10.2% in the year to March 2021, up from 9.2% in February this year.

This was the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since August 2007, according to official figures. According to Rightmove's (RMV.L) house price index, the average price of houses coming to market in May were up 1.8%, or GBP5,767 (£8,183), to GBP333,564, surpassing the previous all-time high recorded in April.  Data from the Bank of England also showed mortgage borrowing in the UK hit GBP11.8bn in March, the strongest month since records began in 1993.

The previous peak was in October 2006 at GBP10.4bn.

Meanwhile, figures released by housing website Zoopla at the end of April showed demand for UK property is up 27.5% year to date in 2021 when compared with average levels in 2020.

Watch: What do stamp duty cuts mean for buyers and house prices?

Categories
Coupons & Offers

UK days out: how to save money on tickets

The weather is improving, lockdown is easing and after months of staying at home, many of us are raring to get out and about. For families in England, half-term has arrived but even if you haven't got children to entertain, you may be considering a day trip or two over the next few weeks.

(C) Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

If you want to treat yourselves to a trip to a paid-for attraction, the good news is that you may not have to shell out for the advertised fee - there are a range of vouchers and offers you can use to cut the cost. Money woes, plus a need to keep numbers down for physical distancing, mean that some of the usual offers have been stopped.

For example, ZSL has suspended most promotions at London and Whipsnade zoos, with the website saying this is so it can "control numbers more effectively and ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience".

(C) Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images The Oblivion ride at Alton Towers.

Jasmine Birtles of the website MoneyMagpie says: "I don't think there are a huge amount of offers at the moment, so you have to do a bit of digging." Fortunately, Guardian Money has done some of the spadework for you, and here's our guide to where to look before you book. Be aware: currently most attractions insist that you book in advance.

You can still be a bit spontaneous, as lots of the offers can be booked online and tickets quickly downloaded, but in most cases you cannot just turn up.

Vouchers

For some of the UK's biggest attractions, including Legoland, Alton Towers and the London Eye, Kellogg's is running its annual offer on cereal packets and packs of snacks including Fruit Winders and Rice Krispie Squares. Its free adult ticket vouchers can be used at more than 40 places - sites owned by Merlin Entertainment in the UK, plus several attractions in Ireland. The vouchers can be used by an adult accompanying either another adult or a child and typically mean you get two tickets for the price of one charged at the gate price.

This is generally more expensive than the online price you are offered if you book direct. At Legoland Windsor, tickets the gate price is GBP53 per person, whatever day you want to go. The offer buys two tickets for that price.

Booking direct costs GBP29 outside peak times such as half-term, and GBP39 in them. There are some special offers if you book direct, such as a GBP25 ticket for an adult and a preschooler during school days through much of June. Off- and on-peak, the voucher works well for two adults or an adult and a school-age child at GBP26.50 each.

You can book via the Kellogg's website, either well in advance or on the day. National Rail's two-for-one deal offers a second ticket for free if you are travelling by train. The scheme usually has a long list of attractions but many are not offering the deal currently, so make sure you check online before you travel.

For example, the deals for the Tower of London and the London Transport Museum are currently unavailable. Legoland is, again, an option, and for the same price as with a Kellogg's voucher. You need to book via the National Rail site.

For Cadbury World the offer is 30% off the standard price but you get access to the online prices. For tickets after half-term, two adults can visit for GBP26.60 rather than the GBP36.10 they would pay if they booked directly. If you have an annual gold card that goes with an Oyster card season ticket, or a paper season ticket, you can use the deal.

If you don't, for attractions in London it can be worth seeing if you can buy an overground ticket for the last leg of your journey to secure the offer. Hampton Court Palace, for example, isn't currently running the deal but when it is, buying a paper ticket for the last stretch of the journey is cheaper than paying GBP24 for a second visitor ticket. Tesco Clubcard vouchers are another option. "A lot of people will have got really good Clubcard balances now as they've been buying all their food there over the past year," Birtles says.

Some of the partnerships have been put on hold but there are still deals with attractions around the country. Clubcard holders exchange 50p worth of points for GBP1.50 towards the ticket price - and you can use them in part payment and top up the difference, meaning you can reduce the cost even if you do not have a stack of points.

(C) Provided by The Guardian Youngsters learn about the Jorvik Viking Centre in York. Photograph: Charlotte Graham/Rex/Shutterstock

Each GBP1 spent at Tesco earns you one point, and 150 points earn you GBP1.50 worth of vouchers - so for every GBP150 you have spent you can save GBP4.50 on a day out. There are other ways to earn points, including doing online surveys.

The vouchers do have an expiry date. Those that were due to expire on 31 May have been extended for another six months, so if you have already got some, you now have the summer to use them. For GBP15 worth of vouchers and a fiver you could meet the GBP50 it costs to get a family of two adults and two children into the Black Country Living Museum on the Thursday of half-term.

For the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, an adult and a child could visit for GBP7 worth of vouchers. Make sure you check when you need to use your vouchers - with the Eden Project, for example, you need to redeem them by midnight the day before your visit.

Annual tickets

(C) Provided by The Guardian Conwy Castle in Wales. Photograph: John Davidson Photos/Alamy Stock Photo

Sometimes, an annual season ticket, or membership, is a good option - if you plan your visits well, by the end of the summer your days out could be free. At the National Trust, membership costs GBP72 a year for an individual, GBP120 a year for a couple and GBP126 a year for a family with two adults.

How quickly it pays for itself depends on which attractions you visit. Tickets for some of the big country houses are GBP15 each for adults, so trips to five of them would mean you more than break even on an individual ticket. Family prices at the same attractions are GBP37.50, so on your fourth visit you will be in pocket.

It is the same at English Heritage, where annual membership is GBP64 for one person and GBP111 for two, family tickets are priced the same and up to six children go free with each adult. A family visiting Scarborough Castle, Whitby Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey over the course of a week's holiday would pay GBP79.80 for standalone tickets. Tesco Clubcard points can be used towards annual membership for English Heritage, the Royal Horticultural Society - which means you can visit its gardens for no extra fee - and Cadw, which looks after Conwy Castle and other historic buildings in Wales.

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, and Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire also have season tickets that can be used with the points. The membership for English Heritage through the offer is GBP110 for a family, so you will need GBP37 worth of vouchers to cover it in full.

Passes

There are several schemes that offer discounts for an upfront fee. The LittleBird website runs a Family Pass that offers discounts on days out, among other things.

The pass costs GBP1 for a month's trial, then GBP3.49 a month, and you can cancel at any time. In June, offers include Go Ape and KidZania - although the site does not publish how big the discounts are on those. For Africa Alive in Suffolk it is offering 20% off all entry tickets - a saving of GBP4 for adults and GBP3 for children.

The attraction offers 10% off to NHS workers without a voucher. The London Pass is expensive but if you are planning to visit more than one place, it might save you money. Passes are priced according to how many days they last.

For one day, an adult pays GBP54 and a child's pass costs GBP34. If you could manage London zoo and the Tower of London in the same day, you would save GBP4.90 on off-peak tickets and GBP10.90 on peak prices as an adult. But you might prefer to spend the whole day at each one to get your money's worth.

Half-term headache: is it all sold out?

(C) Provided by The Guardian P-P-P-point at a penguin: London zoo is a popular attraction during half-term. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

If you are reading this and haven't yet booked tickets for your May half-term day trips and attractions in England, now's the time to act.

When Guardian Money checked on Thursday, some popular attractions such as Chester zoo had already put up the sold out sign for the entire week. There, Monday 7 June was the first available date to book. Others such as London zoo and Whipsnade only had availability on some days, and the slots were almost disappearing before our eyes.

At Legoland Windsor there were some days where there were only afternoon tickets left. Alton Towers still appeared to have good availability, although there was one day where you could only buy a twilight pass, for entry after 4pm. We had to queue to get on to the website for The Making of Harry Potter tour at Warner Bros Studios in Hertfordshire and then it appeared to be booked up for families until 6pm on 19 July, although there were tickets for individuals and couples available before that.

However, if the attraction you want to visit has no slots available on the day you wanted to go, don't give up hope. Many are letting people switch their booking to another date if someone in their party is showing symptoms of Covid-19, if they are isolating or there are restrictions on travel in place (although refunds are typically a no-no). For example, at the London Eye, you can move your ticket up to five times up to the end of 2021.

So it is possible that last-minute tickets will pop up as a result of people having to change their plans. If you have the flexibility to go on the same day, it may be worth checking the same morning. If getting into central London is a possibility, this could be the week to check out some of the capital's attractions.

A lack of overseas tourists means some of London's biggest draws could be a lot less busy than normal. The London Eye - where you get 30 minutes riding in one of its 32 pods - had good availability for all days up to and including Sunday 6 June when we looked. Meanwhile, the Tower of London had either medium or high availability for all days.

Blue Peter badges bring benefits

(C) Provided by The Guardian Architectural seating at Kew Gardens. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

Blue Peter badges are an achievement in their own right but they come with the bonus of free days out for their holders. More than 200 attractions around the UK will let Blue Peter badge winners in for free in normal times.

Some of these, for example, London zoo, have suspended the promotion but at others such as the Black Country Living Museum, you can book a free ticket for a child. Badges are given for a range of achievements, including sending in written creations and pictures to the BBC show or taking on sporting or environmental challenges. Christina Davis's daughter Hermione earned her badge two and a half years ago for designing and building a shelter out of recycled materials for the programme's tortoise.

(C) Provided by The Guardian The footballer Marcus Rashford wears his Blue Peter badge. Photograph: BBC/PA

"I was surprised when I got the letter about the badge - I thought you might need to do something really amazing to get one," Hermione says. "I put it on straight away when I finally received it.

I was definitely proud." Christina says: "The children want the badge - they don't want it for the free entry. It's the parents who that's a great thing for." Hermione won a diamond badge as well as the traditional blue one. "It's the normal one that she wants to wear out - and people recognise it and comment."

Hermione has used it a few times, including on trips to Kew Gardens and, her favourite so far, London zoo. "I like the reptile house," she says. The family is planning a trip to the New Forest soon, and Christina has found places they can visit if the weather is bad. The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire will let Hermione in for free with her badge and the photocard that goes with it to prove that it is hers.

Last year was a bumper year, with more than 113,000 badges awarded

These were introduced after the badges began to be traded online as people realised the perks of having one.

The badges can be won by anyone aged between six and 15, and there are details of the requirements for each one on the BBC website. It can take a while for the applications to be processed but if you apply now, you may be set for the summer holidays. The BBC says everyone who writes in to the programme receives a letter, and the majority also qualify for a badge.

Last year was a bumper year, with more than 113,000 badges awarded. Blue Peter's editor, Ellen Evans, says the badge is "about so much more than just being able to get into attractions. Viewers can write in to Blue Peter and receive a personal letter and badge back in the post, and in a digital age there's something quite special about that."

Badge winners are also part of a "unique club", she says - current holders include the astronaut Tim Peake, the writer Malorie Blackman and the footballer Marcus Rashford.

"Blue Peter is all about being taken on an adventure, and what's great about the badge is that once kids earn it, they can then enjoy their own adventures with their families in real life, too."

Categories
Coupons & Offers

First Homes scheme for first-time buyers explained

Low-income workers in England will be able to apply for a discount of up to 50% on a new-build home under a new affordable housing pledge due to launch next month. First Homes, as it's known, will launch on June 28 - exactly one year after being confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Under it, first-time buyers will be able to get at least 30% off a new house - and in some cases a half price reduction.

It will see private developers ring-fence 25% of their properties for buyers who qualify for the discount. The scheme will be available to people who are trying to buy a home in the area they grew up, work or currently live in - but are unable to do so because of rising house prices. It is estimated that it could save struggling buyers an average of GBP100,000 off their home.

The government has been consulting on exactly what the First Homes scheme will look like for over a year - and has now revealed its final plans. Here's everything we know about how it will operate.

What is the First Homes scheme?

(C) Getty Images The scheme will be reserved for first-time buyers only

First Homes is the government's latest affordable housing promise and will offer reduced properties to first-time buyers purchasing new-build flats or houses in an area connected to them - such as the place they work. Under the scheme, buyers will be able to get on the ladder for at least 30% less than market value, and potentially up to 50% off in some cases.

The minimum discount eligible Brits will get off their homes will be 30%. However, the government has now announced it's possible that the discount could be as high as 50% off. That is because local authorities will have the discretion over the size of the discount - this will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Who can apply for a First Homes discounted house?

The scheme is only for first-time buyers - and will not apply in Wales or Scotland, the government has confirmed.

And to reserve it for those that need it most, it won't apply if your combined household income is over GBP80,000, or GBP90,000 if you live in London. If you can afford to buy one of the homes with the discount and your savings, you also won't qualify. Buyers must use a mortgage for at least 50% of the price of the discounted home.

Local authorities will also have the flexibility over who qualifies for the first three months. For example, some authorities may give key workers or people who pass the 'local connection' test, first dibs. Local connections may include (but are not limited to) current residency, employment requirements, family connections or special circumstances, such as caring responsibilities.

After three months of the home going on sale, extra conditions set by the local authority will be removed for any First Homes which haven't been sold or reserved.

Will there be a cap on house prices?

There will be a cap on the price of First Home properties, meaning after the discount has been applied, you won't be paying more than GBP250,000, or GBP420,000 if you live in London. But this price cap could be even lower, depending on whether your local authority chooses to lower it.

When will it launch?

(C) Getty Images It will also only apply on new build homes

The scheme will launch on June 28, 2021. However many of the homes are still in development, meaning they are unlikely to be ready before next year when you can move in.

How do I apply?

Unlike Help to Buy, there will be no formal registration for the First Homes scheme.

Instead, hopeful buyers will need to do their own research to find the developers taking part and then apply directly through the company. Buyers can use the official Help to Buy website as well as property websites such as Zoopla and Rightmove to help locate new developments in their chosen area. Some of these will host first-time buyer events and open days where you can enquire and place offers on newly-built and in development properties.

There's also no deadline to hit to apply for a First Home - it all depends on the development and when the property is ready to be moved into.

You'll have to sell it for the discount you purchased it for

(C) Getty Images The discount will have to be passed on

There's one important small print rule buyers need to be aware of. When it comes to selling up, you probably won't make any huge gains relative to fluctuations in the housing market because it will have to be sold to someone (a first-time buyer) who is also on the first-homes scheme. The idea is that this will help circulate affordable homes amongst the group that need it most.

But it means you'll need to sell it with the same discount you bought it for. For example, if you bought it for 30% off market value, you'll also need to sell it for 30% off what it is now worth. However, the sale will not be subject to the same GBP250,000 (and GBP450,000) price caps in London.

Crucially, that also means there is a risk that if the property value goes down, you could end up selling it for less than what you bought it for.

Propertymark, which oversees estate agents, said the scheme is a "creative initiative" and one that could "really work" but warned it could send house prices rising even further.

Chief executive Nathan Emerson, said: "We have a very busy market right now, full of hungry buyers, and there is a danger that introducing more buyers without increasing supply could further push the supply and demand out of balance, meaning house prices would continue to rise," the company said.

Categories
Coupons & Offers

City breaks in the UK to escape to for less than £60

Many Brits have opted out of travelling abroad this year due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Some holidaymakers are choosing to have a trip closer to home instead - and with breaks away for less than GBP100 who can blame them? A number of travel companies are currently offering budget breaks and major discounts as the economy gets back on its feet.

However a number of discount sites such as Wowcher, TravelZoo and Groupon are offering even better deals that won't break the bank too much. One of the deals includes a Liverpool overnight stay for two for just GBP39. We have compiled a list below of some of the best holidays deals the sites have to offer, with most trips costing less than GBP60 for a limited time only.

UK stay for two for GBP60

(C) 2017 Marlon Bunday Photography The Jurys Inn Birmingham is right in the heart of the city

Wowcher are offering a luxury stay at a Jurys Inn or Leonardo Hotel for two with full English breakfast at a choice of 31 locations. The deal costs just GBP59 for two people and is valid for stays from May 17, 2021 until Dec, 31, 2021. It comes with an overnight stay in up to 31 locations of your choice from Manchester, Cheltenham, Oxford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Plymouth, Liverpool, London Heathrow, and more.

Settle into a cosy twin or double guestroom in a conveniently located Jury's Inn or Leonardo Hotel - both renowned for their service and contemporary comforts. The offer also contains a daily full English breakfast and holidaymakers can upgrade to two nights for GBP99. One voucher covers two people and the deal must be booked by June, 13, 2021.

Spa stay for two with wine You can stay in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire at four star spa hotel with breakfast and a bottle of wine from just GBP59. The Wowcher deal is for an overnight stay at Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel & Spa for two people with breakfast, one bottle of wine and 1pm late check out.

Get comfortable in a standard double bedroom with Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV, air conditioning, en-suite bathroom, and food and beverage facilities. Enjoy a refreshing bottle of house wine on arrival and a hearty full English breakfast in the morning. The deal is GBP59 for two people for arrivals on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday.

For stays on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday its GBP69. One voucher per two people and is valid for stays from May 17, 2021 until Oct, 31, 2021. It must be booked by July, 31, 2021.

Bargain stay in Liverpool for GBP39

(C) Getty Images The National Lottery Open Week

Stay in the centre of Liverpool's Ropewalks district at The Resident Liverpool for less than GBP20 per person with this deal, which saves up to 33% on direct rates. You'll be 15 minutes' walk from the Royal Albert Dock, Tate Liverpool, and the Beatles Story, so you can explore the city with ease. The deal is valid from Sundays to Thursdays until December, 20, 2021 - pay an extra GBP15 for stays on Friday and GBP36 for Saturday.

It includes an overnight accommodation in a King Room for two - get the voucher deal here. Purchase a voucher from Travelzoo then call the hotel directly at 0151 7052 626 or email [email protected]ls.com to make a reservation for your desired travel dates. Guests can combine multiple vouchers for longer stays, subject to restrictions.

Scenic pool stay for GBP59 Resting a short distance from the town of Swindon, Alexandra House Hotel offers four-star accommodation within 20 acres of scenic grounds. Groupon have a deal for a Standard Double Room for Two with Breakfast for GBP59.

Deal must be booked for dates between May, 17, 2021 - October, 31, 2021. In a 20-minute drive, travellers may visit the Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway, paying tribute to the old means of transport, or Lydiard House and Park, a 260-acre country park. The hotel boasts a collection of 154 contemporary bedrooms that are thoughtfully furnished and feature light colour tones.

The rooms come fitted with en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, radios, ironing facilities, and tea- and coffee-making equipment. The price applies to a double room, and not per person - book here. Night in Leeds

Balancing an exciting English city with historic hallmarks, sweeping green countryside, and classical country houses, Leeds has something for everyone. Wowcher are offering an overnight for star Leeds stay for two with breakfast for GBP59, or a two-night stay for GBP99, saving you up to 49% off the Jurys Inn Leeds's prices. If you can't decide between a city break, countryside getaway, or historic sightseeing, choose all three with a trip to Leeds!

Staying for up to two nights, you'll have plenty of time to get a slice of each.

Deal is valid for stays from May, 17, 2021 until December, 31, 2021 and must be booked by July, 4, 2021.

Categories
Coupons & Offers

City breaks in the UK to escape to for less than £60

Many Brits have opted out of travelling abroad this year due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. Some holidaymakers are choosing to have a trip closer to home instead - and with breaks away for less than GBP100 who can blame them? A number of travel companies are currently offering budget breaks and major discounts as the economy gets back on its feet.

However a number of discount sites such as Wowcher, TravelZoo and Groupon are offering even better deals that won't break the bank too much. One of the deals includes a Liverpool overnight stay for two for just GBP39. We have compiled a list below of some of the best holidays deals the sites have to offer, with most trips costing less than GBP60 for a limited time only.

UK stay for two for GBP60

(C) 2017 Marlon Bunday Photography The Jurys Inn Birmingham is right in the heart of the city

Wowcher are offering a luxury stay at a Jurys Inn or Leonardo Hotel for two with full English breakfast at a choice of 31 locations. The deal costs just GBP59 for two people and is valid for stays from May 17, 2021 until Dec, 31, 2021. It comes with an overnight stay in up to 31 locations of your choice from Manchester, Cheltenham, Oxford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Plymouth, Liverpool, London Heathrow, and more.

Settle into a cosy twin or double guestroom in a conveniently located Jury's Inn or Leonardo Hotel - both renowned for their service and contemporary comforts. The offer also contains a daily full English breakfast and holidaymakers can upgrade to two nights for GBP99. One voucher covers two people and the deal must be booked by June, 13, 2021.

Spa stay for two with wine You can stay in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire at four star spa hotel with breakfast and a bottle of wine from just GBP59. The Wowcher deal is for an overnight stay at Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel & Spa for two people with breakfast, one bottle of wine and 1pm late check out.

Get comfortable in a standard double bedroom with Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV, air conditioning, en-suite bathroom, and food and beverage facilities. Enjoy a refreshing bottle of house wine on arrival and a hearty full English breakfast in the morning. The deal is GBP59 for two people for arrivals on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday.

For stays on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday its GBP69. One voucher per two people and is valid for stays from May 17, 2021 until Oct, 31, 2021. It must be booked by July, 31, 2021.

Bargain stay in Liverpool for GBP39

(C) Getty Images The National Lottery Open Week

Stay in the centre of Liverpool's Ropewalks district at The Resident Liverpool for less than GBP20 per person with this deal, which saves up to 33% on direct rates. You'll be 15 minutes' walk from the Royal Albert Dock, Tate Liverpool, and the Beatles Story, so you can explore the city with ease. The deal is valid from Sundays to Thursdays until December, 20, 2021 - pay an extra GBP15 for stays on Friday and GBP36 for Saturday.

It includes an overnight accommodation in a King Room for two - get the voucher deal here. Purchase a voucher from Travelzoo then call the hotel directly at 0151 7052 626 or email [email protected] to make a reservation for your desired travel dates. Guests can combine multiple vouchers for longer stays, subject to restrictions.

Scenic pool stay for GBP59 Resting a short distance from the town of Swindon, Alexandra House Hotel offers four-star accommodation within 20 acres of scenic grounds. Groupon have a deal for a Standard Double Room for Two with Breakfast for GBP59.

Deal must be booked for dates between May, 17, 2021 - October, 31, 2021. In a 20-minute drive, travellers may visit the Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway, paying tribute to the old means of transport, or Lydiard House and Park, a 260-acre country park. The hotel boasts a collection of 154 contemporary bedrooms that are thoughtfully furnished and feature light colour tones.

The rooms come fitted with en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, radios, ironing facilities, and tea- and coffee-making equipment. The price applies to a double room, and not per person - book here. Night in Leeds

Balancing an exciting English city with historic hallmarks, sweeping green countryside, and classical country houses, Leeds has something for everyone. Wowcher are offering an overnight for star Leeds stay for two with breakfast for GBP59, or a two-night stay for GBP99, saving you up to 49% off the Jurys Inn Leeds's prices. If you can't decide between a city break, countryside getaway, or historic sightseeing, choose all three with a trip to Leeds!

Staying for up to two nights, you'll have plenty of time to get a slice of each.

Deal is valid for stays from May, 17, 2021 until December, 31, 2021 and must be booked by July, 4, 2021.