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Cookbook Conundrum, Which Books to Give as Gifts this Christmas

 

Theoretically cookbooks are an easy win as a Christmas present.  Even if your recipient never ever cooks from the darn thing, much pleasure will be gained from drooling over the lovely pictures.

But surely, you would like your giftee to actually cook from the book you’ve given them? Too many cookbooks contain convoluted recipes with hard to find ingredients and require the use of obscure kitchen kit.  Not all of us want to bankrupt ourselves and spend 6 hours in the kitchen just to cook one flipping recipe.

Well here are 5 great cookbook gift ideas for Christmas, all of which contain recipes that are inspirational, but simple, and don’t involve too many ingredients.

1. Nigella Lawson ‘Simply Nigella’

Nigella always seems to know how to conjure up unusual, gorgeous flavours with the laziest of efforts.  And she does it yet again with ‘Simply Nigella’.  The idea behind this cookbook is to strip things back to basics and tap into the rhythms of our cooking lives, with recipes that are uncomplicated, relaxed and delicious.

Simply Nigella’ is by no means a clean eating book - there is plenty of classic Nigella naughtiness and gluttony in the form of chocolate liquorice cake and chocolate cookie dough pots.  But there is a definite leaning towards more wholesome offerings, with on trend healthy eating ingredients making an appearance, from matcha, kimchi and miso to chia seeds and avocado.  However it’s all done with Nigella’s distinctive flourish and irreverence.  Some of the ‘semi healthy’ delights include miso salmon, matcha cake with cherry juice icing, cauliflower & cashew nut curry, sweet potato macaroni cheese and chai muffins.

Ultimately it’s a really straight forward cookbook with dishes that are easy to throw together and comforting and uplifting to eat.

 

2. John Whaite ‘Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients’

John Whaite was the winner of bake off in 2012 and he’s gone from strength to strength ever since, he’s now written four cookbooks and runs a beautiful cookery school in the Lancashire countryside.  The premise of ‘Perfect Plates’  is that all the recipes contain just five ingredients (although basic ingredients like oil, butter and seasoning don’t count as an ingredient).

The recipes, as well as the stunning accompanying photos, are decadent, inspired and fabulously creative. And bonus, it’s easy, fun cooking.

If you’re looking for lazy weekday dinners, John has quite a few up his sleeve. There’s the fried gnocchi and mushrooms with crispy fried sage which is just gorgeous buttery naughtiness! And then there’s the ham and fennel pasta made with cream - ingredients that are just lovely together – the subtle fragrance of the fennel with the strong meaty ham and cream in the background work so well.

And when you’ve got a bit more time, why not wow dinner guests with ox cheeks in port with parsnip mash? And for dessert serve up chocolate fudge cake made with condensed tomato soup. It’s sounds bizarre, but try it, you’ll be amazed. And it’s ridiculously easy to make.

 

3. Nigel Slater ‘Eat’

‘Eat’ is bursting with beautifully simple and quick-to-cook recipes, in fact in total it contains 600 easy recipes and ideas for midweek dinners.

Nigel’s introduction in the book sums up what  ‘Eat’ is all about: ‘sometimes, we just want to eat...... This little book is for those times. The recipes here are straightforward and within the grasp of most of us. I would like to think that many of them will work for those who have never cooked anything in their lives. It is not a book of detailed, obsessively honed directions. Sometimes cooking is about the classics, but it should also, surely, be a light-hearted, spirited affair, alive with invention, experimentation, appetite and a sense of adventure.'

From sizzling chorizo with potatoes and shallots; to sharp and fresh green soup,  Vietnamese-inspired prawn baguettes and one-pan Sunday lunches, this cookbook will have something for everyone.

 

4. Katriona MacGregor ‘Healthy Speedy Suppers: Quick, Healthy and Delicious Recipes for Busy People’

This is absolutely what is says on the tin. If your giftee needs quick, simple and deliciously healthy recipes, ‘Healthy Speedy Suppers’ will inspire anyone who feels too tired or busy to cook at the end of the day. Katriona MacGregor started her Speedy Weeknight Suppers column for The Telegraph online in 2013, after returning to London office life caused a slump in her diet.

Resolving to break away from eating ready meals and cheese on toast every night, she began developing recipes that took no more than 40 minutes to make, were packed with good quality, wholesome ingredients, and tasted fantastic. And she’s well and truly succeeded.

 

5. Anna Jones ‘A Modern Way to Cook’

Anna Jones trained as a chef with Jamie Oliver at Fifteen.  She’s a vegetarian and passionately believes that meatless cuisine can be exciting.  ‘A Modern Way to Cook’ really delivers. Anna’s recipes are simple to make but somehow exotic, surprising and healthy.

Her curry leaf and smoky celeriac pilaf is a real winner, it’s like a vegetarian kedgeree - spicy, fragrant and unusual. And try the lentils with roast tomatoes and horseradish -  a plate of multi-flavoured, multi-textured deliciousness!  The wholesome earthy lentils provide the base to sweet squelchy roast tomatoes with creamy horseradish for a kick and garlic and thyme breadcrumbs for crunch.

And if you’re bored of your breakfasts and fancy a reboot, Anna does a superb Nordic breakfast bowl. A slow cooked porridge with grated apple, almond butter, raisins, coconut yoghurt and all manner of nuts and seeds.  

And for the ultimate healthy nibble Anna’s salted almond butter choc bars are quite something. Think really fresh tasting bounty bars, but better for you.

Six Beautiful Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas

Gift giving at Christmas can be a wonderful experience. Watching your favourite fellow humans open presents they love from you will proffer all kinds of good feelings.

 But we spend a lot more cash than we need at Christmas. According to Nationwide, “people in the UK spend, on average, £117 on Christmas presents for their partner, £145 on presents for their children, and even £20 on their pet.”

 The solution? It’s simple. Create beautiful, handmade Christmas gifts that are just as thoughtful and much less expensive than anything you could buy at a shop.

 Even if you simply want to do something different this year, get your friends or family involved for some valuable bonding time, or crafting is a hobby you want to explore further, these six brilliant gift ideas are a great (and affordable) way to try something new this festive season.

 

 1.Galvanised Shrubbery Pot

 Add a personal touch to your green gift this year! Turn a galvanised bucket into a trendy plant pot that will twinkle its way into your loved one’s heart.

 You will need:

 A chalk pen

  • Galvanised buckets
  • Fake or real greens
  • A vase for each bucket
  • Ribbon
  • Battery powered fairy lights

Step 1: Using your chalk pen, write whatever you desire on each bucket.

Step 2: Add water to each vase and then place your greens inside.

Step 3: Place each vase in your buckets.

Step 4: Tie a ribbon around the top of the buckets.

Step 5: Add fairy lights by wrapping them around the plant.

 

 2. Charming Wreath

 Get creative and add your own personal style to this enchanting wreath that will look gorgeous on someone’s front door this winter.

 You will need:

 Green floral wire

Step one: Spray the embroidery hoop with your desired spray paint colour. Leave to dry for two hours.

Step two: Attached your faux greenery and ornaments to the bottom of the hoop using the thin floral wire.

Step three: Secure additional greenery to your taste.

 

 3. Mischievous Pine Cone Elves

 A fantastic gift for the little ones. Create an adorable felt Christmas Elf and inject a little magic into somebody's home this festive season.

 You will need:

Step 1: Cut out your felt pieces using a small cone hat pattern.

Step 2: Blanket stitch the felt triangles into cones and sew a bell on top.

Step 3: Cut out small felt triangles to create elf feet.

Step 4: Glue the feet on the bottom of the cones.

Step 5: Using dots, draw on eyes and a mouth onto the wooden balls.

Step 6: Glue your felt hats onto the wooden balls.

Step 7: Glue the Elf’s head onto the cones.

Optional: Create felt scarfs and glue them so they sit around the top of the cones.

 

 4. Homemade Raspberry Lemon Sugar Scrub

 Give your friend this chemical-free scrub and make their TLC time extra special. Coconut oil is amazingly nourishing, and sugar is a natural exfoliant that will leave the skin glowing.

 You will need:

 Granulated sugar

  • Coconut oil (melted)
  • ¼ tsp Raspberry extract
  • ¼ tsp Lemon extract
  • Red food colouring (optional)

Step 1: Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, then add the lemon and raspberry extract.

Step 2: Continue mixing until you are satisfied with the scent and colour.

Step 3: Spoon your mixture into a jar and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes, then leave it at room temperature.

Optional: Create your own labels and attach them to the jar with some twine for an extra festive effect.

 

5. Reindeer Treat Bags

 These simple gifts are super-easy to make and a great stocking filler for kids. You might even have some leftover chocolates to make your creative work all the more enjoyable!

 You will need:

 Maltesers

Step 1: Mix your chocolates together in a large bowl.

Step 2: Put two strawbs into the bottom of your bag.

Step 3: Carefully place your mixed chocolates into the bag.

Step 4: To secure the bag, tie one brown pipe cleaner around the top and fix in place like reindeer horns.

Step 5: Stick your googly eyes just above the middle of the treat bag.

Step 6: Store in a cool dry place.

 Optional: Fill your reindeer treat bag with animal treats for a seriously-cute present for your favourite pet.

 

6.Jewelry Storage Frame

 Do you know someone whose middle name is shabby-chic? Then this gorgeous handmade jewelry storage will surely put a smile on their face this Christmas.

 You will need:

  • 1 Medium or large picture frame
  • ½ Plywood backing cut to size
  • Hooks and screw eye hooks
  • Screws
  • Paint
  • Gorilla glue

 Step 1: Measure your layout, keeping in mind how many earring hooks you want to install and (if possible) the length of the necklaces your chosen gift receiver has.

Step 2: Screw the hooks into the plywood to your preference.

Step 3: Glue the plywood backing to your frame using the gorilla glue.

Step 4: Leave the glue to settle for one hour.

Step 5: Paint the frame and plywood with your chosen paint.

Step 6: Leave to dry for two hours.

 

What will you create this Christmas?

It seems that Santa’s elves might not be the only ones crafting Christmas gifts this year! It might take a little extra effort to create your presents from scratch rather than heading towards the shops, but the benefits will be worth it.

 Create your own presents this year and …

 Save money

  • Personalise your presents
  • Display your thoughtfulness
  • Create multiple gifts easily
  • Improve your crafting skills
  • Get your family and friends involved in the present making process
  • Eat your leftovers! (Except maybe the plywood and screws…)

 

Eight Cooking Courses to Satisfy Your Culinary Curiosities

  “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing” - Julia Child

 If you’ve ever experienced curiosity about how the delicious food on your plate came into creation, you’ve come to the right place.

 Get your chef hat on and discover how to be better at cooking and how to recreate your favourite dishes from around the world.

 Feel inspired by experts who are passionate about food, and find ways to get your family involved too (unless the idea of other people in your kitchen makes steam pour from your ears …)

 Here are eight sensational cooking courses that will help you achieve all of the above, revolutionising the tasty cuisine coming out of your kitchen.

 Padstow Seafood School

Riverside, Padstow

 Fresh seafood cooked to perfection can be a joyous experience for your taste buds. But the skills required to cook this tricky ingredient so expertly can be difficult to build on your own. So, if it’s your goal to become a connoisseur of seafood, Rick Stein’s Padstow Seafood School could be your best stepping stone.

 Discover how to marry tastes of the ocean with delectable flavour combinations while overlooking Cornwall’s stunning Camel Estuary. An exceptional array of wine is yours to enjoy, and you get to eat everything you cooked under expert tutelage.

 Price: £95 for a half day. £1,690 for a four-day residential course.

 

Cordon Vert Cookery School

Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham

 Are you a recent vegetarian? Or has it been a lifestyle choice for years? Perhaps you’ve just decided to go vegan and feel a little overwhelmed by your new dietary restrictions. Cordon Vert Cookery School was created for people like you and has been around since 1982.

 Recognised as the World’s top vegetarian cooking school, a course here will help you gain a greater understanding of vegetarian and vegan food (and gluten-free food if you fancy), giving you techniques and recipes to take away that will transform your at-home green menu.

 Price: £195 for an evening class, £1678.70 for a Professional Diploma

 

School of Wok

61 Chandos Place, London

 Learn how to cook Asian food so great you’ll never have to eat out to savour your favourite Thai, Chinese or Japanese dish again. Based in Covent Garden, the School of Wok draws its inspiration (and ingredients) from nearby China Town.

 Explore the nearby markets and learn vital information about cooking with Asian food. The tutors here are known for being both patient and informative, and with the free-flowing wine and artisan beers, you’ll be cooking mouthwatering dishes in a deliciously relaxing environment.

 Price: £95 for half a day. £750 for a five-day course.

 

Ballymaloe

Shanagarry, Co. Cork, Ireland

 Eating what you cook from a course at Ballymaloe is closest to wild eating you can get (without the risk of snacking on poisonous berries!) Formed by celebrity chef Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell, the school uses the freshest of ingredients sourced from its one-hundred acre organic farm; it’s no surprise that Ballymaloe’s defining principle is sustainability.

 So, if you’re looking to learn wholesome clean-eating recipes that endorse green living, this charming cooking school residing in wild Ireland will deliver in fantastic ways.

 Price: £30 - £175 for half a day, £5,585 for five weeks

 

The Avenue Cookery School

3 Enterprise Way, Wandsworth, London

 Thinking of getting your family more involved in the kitchen? The Avenue Cookery School can help you. This is a family-run business with a friendly and fun vibe; learning how to cook here is something to enjoy rather than endure!

 There are a plethora of classes to choose from, with some specially aimed at children while others are centered around a specific ingredient, like fish. Or perhaps you want to brush up your chopping skills. Take a knife class and never fear the onion again.

Course prices vary

 

Food at 52

96 Central Street, London

 Vietnamese, Italian, Moroccan, Southern Indian, and Spanish cuisine; learn how to cook all of these different types of dishes at Food 52. The choice is entirely up to you, with separate classes for each gastronomy.

 And the recipes are easy to follow, giving you a prime opportunity to build your confidence if you feel a little uneasy in the kitchen. And the best part? Make sure you go into your class hungry because at the end you’ll be devouring everything you make!

 Course prices vary

 

Burro e Salvia

252 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London

 Burro e Salvia is all about pasta (and nothing else, but when you love pasta, do you care?) Take a course here and discover the secrets behind cooking Italy’s finest pasta from scratch.

 Burro e Salvia’s pasta workshop will teach you how to create Italy’s staples like lasagne and tagliatelle, to more complicated shapes such as tortellini or cardinali. And if you really want to test yourself, book a Semolina course and work with water-based dough (serve your friends the unique ear-shaped orecchiette and they’ll be talking about it for days!)

 Price: £45 - £65 for one hour or one and a half hours.

 

“Great cooking favors the prepared hands.” - Jacques Pepin

 Now you have an incredible selection of cooking schools to choose from. So identify what you want to learn, whether it’s brushing up your skills with a knife and chopping board or your ability to recreate a dish you’ll never want to stop eating.

  1.  Then embark on an expertly run (and fun) cooking course, and gain newfound love and confidence for producing food that will satisfy and exceed your expectations.

November Prize Draw - Win £100 Worth of House Cleaning

Send us a photo of your garden in it's Autumn colours for your chance to win £100 worth of free house cleaning!

With a mild Autumn forecast across most of the UK, gardens are looking beautiful with vibrant reds, greens, browns and golds.

We are giving away £100 of house cleaning to one lucky person and all you need to do is send us a picture of your garden in its Autumnal glory for your chance to win.

Everyone who sends us a picture will be entered into a prize draw and a winner will be picked at random on November 31st and informed via email. Photos will also feature on the Time For You blog and social media accounts.

To enter, simply click the button below and follow the instructions, providing your name, city, phone number and email address.

Good luck!

 


Prize Draw Rules


● Entry to the competitions is restricted to one entry per person please.
● Multiple entries will be disqualified.
● Automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified!
● Competitions are open to UK residents only unless otherwise stated
● Prizes can only be claimed at a valid UK address unless otherwise stated.
● A winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
● The winners will be contacted via email and their name will be displayed on our website.
● The Judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.
● The competition will run from 01/11/17 until midnight on 31/11/17.
● https://timeforyou.cleaning/uk/ is compliant with the data protection act. Our policy is such that we will not pass on your details to any third party without your prior consent. 

 

How to Make Home Made Lemon or Lime Curd

How to Pick a Colour Palette for Your House

Having trouble picking the perfect colour scheme for your next decorating project?


Check out these inspirational ideas that will help you choose the ideal colour combination for your home.

 

The Ten Best Art Galleries in Europe

 

 

There are many reasons why travelling across Europe is an incredible thing to do. Each country offers exceptional beauty, richly diverse cultures, and wonderful experiences unique to their origin.

And another enticement on top of all those things?

The continent’s internationally treasured art galleries.

Discover the best of these, and join hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Europe every year to experience astounding art from different centuries, nationalities and influences.

The Louvre, Paris

The Louvre first opened in 1793 exhibiting five-hundred and thirty-seven paintings of royal and religious inception. Today, thirty-five thousand pieces of art can be found here, from canon works like the enigmatic Mona Lisa, ancient Islamic art, to dark and obscure European paintings.

This accounts to one of two reasons why Paris’ treasured monument is one of the most visited art galleries in the world. And the other? The building itself. The Louvre is spectacular both day and night, with the grand museum encompassing its legendary glass pyramid. Walk from the Place de la Concorde through the statue filled Tuileries Gardens to add another layer of architectural majesty to your trip.

Muses Picasso, Barcelona

Picasso once said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Set your eyes on Picasso’s earlier works, and understand how his unique way of seeing the world is carried from his formative years as an artist into his adult life.

For fans of his work, an insight into the foundations of his genius and his love of Barcelona is a must experience. And be mesmerised by the surrealist, beautiful architecture the gallery is housed within. It’s also worth purchasing an audio tour to deepen your understanding of his many iconic paintings.

Fine Arts Museum (Kunstmuseum), Switzerland

In northern Switzerland, between the borders of Germany and France, lies Basel. Situated beside the picturesque Rhine River, this city is both stunning and rich in history, with buildings dating back to medieval 15th century. Basel is also home to the oldest and largest collection of public art in Europe.

Basel’s Fine Arts Museum, also known as Kunstmuseum, features jaw-dropping works from the early 15th century to the present day. And its display of elaborate Renaissance art is a treat to behold within this mammoth building, with works from Witz, Cranach, Picasso, and Braque (to name but a few).

A tip for your visit: Get in for free between the hours of 5 pm and 6 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Similar to Muses Picasso in Barcelona, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an ode to one of its most celebrated treasures. Works from this renowned artist paint a vivid picture of Van Gogh’s colourful, yet tragic life. Any art lover can appreciate the magnitude of seeing his pieces such as ‘Sunflowers’, ‘Almond Blossom’, ‘The Potato Eaters’ and ‘The Bedroom’ in person.

It’s easy to spend a whole day here experiencing the retelling of Van Gogh’s life through his art. And it’s worth picking up a multi-media headset for an in-depth tour (as well as being an excellent way to block out the real world on a busy day).

National Gallery, London

If I told you the National Gallery was free to visit in London (the land of expensive things), I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t believe me. But it is, and this is all the more amazing once you experience how brilliant it can be.

One of the most visited museums in the world, the gallery offers a spectacular display of over two-thousand Western European paintings from 13th to 19th century.

Walk along the gorgeous inlaid wooden floors while gazing at work from the likes of Turner, Degas, Monet, and Botticelli. Finish your afternoon here with tea and cake at the gallery’s excellent cafe.

East Side Gallery, Berlin

Have a mini-break in Berlin and witness art interwoven with the city’s deep history. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, talented painters from across the globe came together to combine their artistic genius.

They created over one-hundred paintings on the remnants of the wall, which was once the divide between East and West Germany, and transformed this landmark into an open-air gallery for all to see.

Street art infuses colour, intrigue and iconic representation of the late 20th century along a mile-long stretch of the wall. It’s a break away from Europe's more traditional galleries, but no less impressive.

Europe: An Art Lover’s Paradise

Easily transform your travels around Europe into a retelling of the continent's ancient history through phenomenal art. Each gallery discussed here has its own unique story to tell; experiences you, your family and friends will speak of and remember for years.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The Rise of Supper Clubs and How to Find One in Your Area

 Meeting new people can be difficult, especially when you lead a busy life. It takes time to find a way to socialise with potential new friends or network with business connections.

 Add that to the stress of going to a venue alone, and not knowing if the people you meet are looking to form new connections; this can make your goal to expand your social circle a trial (when it could be something fun).

 The good news? There are events you can easily access that are designed to eliminate these stresses.

 We call them supper clubs: events where the numbers of attendees are small, the food is excellent, and the potential to meet like-minded people is high. Learn the genius behind these low-key events, how to join them, and enjoy forming new friendships in the process.

 What is a supper club?

It’s 1935 and you’ve been transported to a smoke-filled, dimly lit room, full of chattering voices. You’re sat at a table with people you don’t know, but the easy flow of conversation helps you relax. The cabaret is on stage giving an electric performance, and your feet tap to the smooth rhythm of jazz.

This is an American supper club, the origin of these unique occasions. After a delicious dinner, the entertainment lasts through the night, as does the flow of drinks and sophisticated chat.

 You’re back in today, experiencing a British supper club for the first time.

 It’s a scene that has adopted the thrilling ambiance of its American counterpart. But many aspects have evolved to fit our modern society.

 The club is smaller and more intimate. People are engaged with each other, moving around the room rather than being stuck to a table. There’s great music, food, and drink. And the best part? You want to meet everyone there because you share something in common.

 This is the main purpose of supper clubs, and why they are so popular today. They create an intimate environment, bringing people together who are unlikely to meet elsewhere to share common interests, occupations or hobbies.

 It’s the perfect remedy for the difficulty of meeting new people when we have busy lifestyles. And locating a venue doesn’t have to be hard work when you know where to look...

 Finding a Supper Club Near You

 These events are located across the country, both in cities and in rural areas. They are usually formed independently, by individuals who host a club in their home and serve several courses of excellent food.

 This can create the assumption that they are tricky to find and join. Which is true, when you don’t know the following search tools. Luckily, you’re going to learn them.

1. Explore on social media

Finding your nearest venue can take just a few clicks on Twitter or Facebook. Simply enter ‘supper club’ as one key phrase in the platform’s search bar and your location as another. This will bring up the latest posts containing those words on your feed, with information that should point to a local event.

 From there, you can browse through any upcoming occasions of interest, find the host or an attendee, and message them to gather more intel to get yourself an invite.

 2. Talk to people

 The next time you go out for drinks with a group of people, ask them if they go to a supper club. Because advertising through the word of mouth is likely to be the best way to hear about these events.

 Why? Because hosts want to keep their numbers down, otherwise it could turn into a party. So they might choose to advertise on a smaller scale rather than online, using invited attendees to spread the word, decreasing exposure.

 3. Use a website search tool

 Both Eat My World and Supper Club Fan Group are websites and social media pages that allow you to search for events local to you. You can explore different options based on your location, taste in food, and interests.

 You might have to register to prove that you're a real and committed person. But this is a good thing: the information you provide will help your host bring people together who are compatible.

 4. Use an app

 Download the Supper Club App. This is a great tool for foodies because you can share recipes with the people you connect with during an event. Not only can you find venues through this app, you can create your own club. How do you do that, you ask? Well...

 5. Create your own supper club

 Perhaps you haven’t found a club nearby that interests you, or you prefer the idea of being a host and not a guest. Either way, you could benefit from creating your very own dining event. All you need is:

  • A clear concept (perhaps you want to bring people who have the same job together, or like the same sport)
  • An attractive menu
  • A space in your home that can be set up for a dinner party
  • A ticket price
  • A varied guest list (ask your friends to invite someone they don’t know)

 Build brilliant connections over dinner

If getting to know diverse and interesting people, eating delicious food, and relaxing in a cosy, informal atmosphere is your thing, then you’ll get the most out of supper clubs. So use what you’ve discovered here to easily add a new level of socialising to your life, and enjoy the exciting experiences that will happen as a result.

 Have you recently wined, dined, and socialised in this way? Or perhaps you’re a host? We’d love to hear about it, so please share your stories below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 travel hacks to get you the cheapest flight possible

It’s not uncommon to spend way more whilst on holiday than you initially plan to. Drinks, food and excursions can easily break your budget which is why it’s important to try and save before you go by getting the cheapest flight possible. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find the cheapest flights out there.

Timing is everything
In order to get a good price it’s important that you don’t book too late or too early. On average travel bloggers tend to recommend that you book your flight around 50 days before you intend to fly. While you might think that booking your flight months and months in advance will save you money you may find that your flights are as much as 20% more expensive than if you booked them later on.

Learn to be flexible
On top of booking, at the right time you should also try and be flexible with when and where you fly. Websites like SkyScanner check all the available flights around to find you the cheapest option on the date you want to fly but if you can be flexible by a few days either side they have many more flights to choose from.

Drink some coffee
Another sure fire way to save money on your flights is to be willing to fly at unsociable hours. The most popular flight times are mid morning but if you’re willing to fly late or very early then you might find that the prices drop. Load yourself up with coffee or pack some sleeping tablets to recharge while you fly to your destination.

Embrace the spam
Those of us who are regular internet users tend to be pretty switched on to marketing tricks these days. So even when we rush through online checkouts, we tend to remember to opt out of receiving future marketing messages. However, when we do this we are missing out on the chance to hear about special deals. Often airlines will reward mailing list subscribers by making them the first ones to hear about flash sales and special deals, so join the club and check your emails regularly.

Look at all the possibilities
As well as being flexible with where and when you fly you should also compare other options. Grab a pen and pad and look at the prices for flying alone compared with flying with a partner. Look at how much a flight is all together and then look at how much it would cost if you booked it as two single tickets. You may find the results surprising.

Do you have any special tips and tricks for finding a super cheap flight? Tweet us at @TimeForYouGroup and let us know.

Cheap things to do when in Barcelona

With a beautiful beach, fantastic food and a laid back vibe, Barcelona is one of the most popular places in the world to visit for a weekend break. While other popular destinations in Spain like Madrid and Valencia can be costly, Barcelona can be enjoyed on a relatively low budget. Here are some of our favourite things to do for free or just a small amount of money.

Visit the museums
Like many big cities, a handful of museums in Barcelona are entirely free to visit at certain times. Between 3pm and 8pm on Sundays museums like the Museu Picasso and MUHBA are free of charge.

Park Guell
One of the most popular tourist sites in Spain, Park Guell captures the imagination and genius of one of its most famous citizens – Antoni Gaudi. With buildings full of mosaic and colour, Park Guell can be explored mostly for free and there are fantastic views of the city and the coast.

La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s most famous creation – La Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most iconic building in Barcelona. With construction beginning in 1883, the building still remains unfinished and the latest construction estimates put the completion date to be 2026 – a century after the death of its chief architect. An avant garde Cathedral unlike any other on the planet, the view even from the outside is breathtaking.

Las Ramblas
Linking the shopping quarters of Placa De Catalunya to the beach, Las Ramblas is a long street with a pedestrian walkway that extends past bars, restaurants, shops, vendors and street performers. It’s a great place to people watch and there are plenty of places to stop and have a coffee or grab a bite to eat if you have the time. History buffs take note of the bullet holes in the brickwork of many of the buildings - foot notes from the Spanish Civil War.

Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
The Barri Gotic or Gothic Quarter is one of the city’s most charming areas. A stone’s throw from the beach, its narrow streets and squares are full of impressive architecture like the Cathedral of Barcelona.  You will also find plenty of free walking tours which will help you to better appreciate its rich heritage.

Food markets
Delicious food is one of the big draws of Barcelona. Food markets are dotted across the city and even if you’re not eating the sights and smells are a delight for the senses. La Boqueria is known as Europe’s biggest food market and can be found just off Las Ramblas. Santa Caterina meanwhile is less well known but preferred by the locals for a more authentic selection of food.

Visit the beach
Your feet will probably be aching after a long day exploring the nooks and crannies of Barcelona. So end your day with a visit to the beach where you can rest up, go for a swim and soak up the sun entirely free of charge.

Have you visited Barcelona? What did you do with your time? Tweet us at @TimeForYouGroup and let us know.