Business

Take Your Business to the Next Level

Starting a Small Business
Photo by Clark Street Mercantile on Unsplash

If you’re starting a business, be it a shop selling handmade items or a restaurant serving high-end dishes, you’ll want your premises to make an impact. Most of us walk around only half-noticing our surroundings, so creating a space which is enticing and exctiting to prospective clients can make a big difference when it comes to your profits. When making plans for yur new premises, you should be thinking about how you can take your business to the next level and blow your competitors out of the water – here are some suggestions of how to do it:

Get Your Design Right

If your new premises is an empty space, it’s full of potential but it can sometimes be hard to visualise. Invest in bespoke interior architecture  which will compliment your business and create a space that your customers or clients will WANT to spend time in. Restaurants often benefit from a variety of seating areas, from large open areas for big groups to smaller, more intimate nooks for couples. Adding to your architecture could help you to create all of these in one space.

Think About Your Signage

Shop and restaurant signage can be a tricky thing to get right. You want something that represents your shop and looks good on the front of the business, but it also needs to look fitting in the street location and complement the surrounding businesses. Sticking out like a sore thumb ight get you notices, but if everyone else has muted, vintage styling and you opt for a neon sign that you can see from space, you might not win too many friends!

Sound it Out

When it comes to shop and restaurant design, it’s also important to consider music, volume, and how it will sound around the space and affect customers. Research has proven that background music has a direct effect on shopping behavior, so it is something business owners should always keep in mind. Bluetooth speakers are the ideal solution to creating a pleasant shopping environment for retail stores and small businesses.

Adulting · Parenting

Are Single Parents Being Penalised? #CostOfSingleParenting

Single Parents
Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

One thing you may or may not know about me is that I am basically a professonal bargain hunter. I never pay full price for anything, unless I’ve fully satisfied myself that there’s not a discount code or voucher that I can use, or some way to bring a price down before buying. I collect points for everywhere I shop, never EVER pay full price for a pizza without searching for a voucher code and I even shop around every three months to get my contact leanses at the cheapest price.

This summer, we’ve been trying to do things as a family and we’ve been fortunate to get ‘family’ tickets for a lot of places, thanks to the fact that we’re a “two adults and two kids” family, which is where most discounts are firmly aimed. However, it got me thinking about the fact that single parents are being penalised and missed out of discount opportunities, despite the fact that with just one adult, they’re probably in greaterneed of offers and discounts than anyone.

PayPlan has put together an infographic showing the true cost of the summer holidays to a single-parent family and some of the figures are truly eye-opening:

Do Single Parents Feel Penalised?

As well as missing out on the discounts, being the sole breadwinner must be daunting for many. I thought I’d ask some of my single parent friends if they felt that they were penalised for being a non-conventional family and about the difficulties they’ve faced. Here are some of their comments:

Zoe (Insta: runningonempty_mummy) said “I’m new to the single mum world and notice it all the time – family tickets [aimed at 2 adults and 2 kids], holidays abroad – I got charged a supplement, kids eat free with two adult meals bought etc”

Sarah said “I’m not a single parent but I travel and go out a lot on my own with my 5 year old. I find I can’t use child free places on holidays, I have to sometimes pay single Supplement in rooms as he’s only 5, I can’t take advantage of family deals at the cinema (even with the husband we don’t have enough kids to make the min number) I also effectively pay more per head on the train as well as with groupsave other adults can travel free bringing cost per person.”

Mandy said ” I had an argument in [a cinema] once; they had this promotion on for families for tickets and like a snack combo thing, which worked out cheaper than me and sienna and a snack combo, but they wouldn’t let me have it”

Sian said “Not [a single parent] anymore, but continue to be sick of having to be quizzed as to who I am to my daughter when bringing her home from abroad get no one ever cares what kids I’m taking out the country!! Just because we made the mistake of putting a fathers name on birth cert doesn’t mean we should be interrogated and humiliated at every UK airport!”

Toni said “Private renting is my biggest problem. I work but obviously don’t earn enough to be able to private rent a house without claiming top up and no one accepts it. So i am left renting a damp house with a leaky ceiling because I am worried if i complain i will be evicted and homeless.”

Are you a single parent? Do you feel like you’re overlooked when it comes to money saving opportunities? Do you experience other difficulties? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, please do leave me a comment below.

Days Out · Family

Best Family Days Out in Cambridgeshire

Best family days out in CambridgeshireEveryone loves a family day out, and it’s a great chance to bond and explore the world together. Cambridgeshire has a lot to offer in that regard, pleasing clans the world over decade after decade. There’re great transport links here too, so you can quickly get the train from Huntingdon to Peterborough, with very little fuss – you’re never cut off in Cambridgeshire.

However, if you need further inspiration as to what you can get up to here, here’re 3 good ideas for family days out in Cambridgeshire.

Punting in Cambridge

Punting is iconic of Cambridge, and Cambridge is iconic of Cambridgeshire. Even young kids can get involved if they’re positioned toward the middle of their parents’ flat-bottomed boat. You can explore all the small rivers of Cambridge this way, and ease into a serene and relaxing day spent drifting along the water with your loved ones.

Don’t want to do any of the legwork yourself? That’s okay! In Cambridge, you can take guided tours while punting, the same way you can clamber aboard an open top bus in most of the major tourist cities and have a guide inform you on your surroundings. It’s certainly a tranquil way to pass the time with your folks, so give it a go!

The Riverside Park

The Riverside Park can be found in Huntingdon, and here your family can enjoy a lot of different activities. These include walks along the river, hay meadows, canoeing, river cruising and there’s even an enclosed children’s play area for the day’s activities. The park has a nice and quiet atmosphere, so if you’re looking for somewhere to lay low and unwind, The Riverside Park is that perfect place you crave.

In the summer, you can also expect to find concerts and local bands showcasing their talents too. Therefore, there’s a nice laid-back vibe here that feels more like a gathering of village locals than a big bustling city park that’s teeming with strangers. In the end, you wouldn’t be the first person to swap a city for some country living, so pay a visit if it sounds like you’d all love it there.

Nene Park

Located in the heart of Peterborough, Nene Park is full of things to do for the whole family. It plays host to Ferry Meadows, which is one of the largest country parks in Cambridgeshire. Train rides, open water swimming, sailing, climbing and of course long walks, it’s all available here. There’s a lovely cafe to be found here too, so if you or your kids need a little rest at any point, you’re covered!

You can also tailor your day even further to your needs by utilising the Ferry Meadows events programme if you have a particularly big family on an ambitious adventure. Pick out what you want to do and get to it! In any event, there’s seemingly endless woodland, meadows and water to play in here, providing everything you need for a great family day out.

#LoveYourself · Adulting

Ways You Can Get Out Of A Slump And Back In The Swing On Things

https://unsplash.com/photos/12yvdCiLaVE

For some reason, life has this strange way of handing us lots of adversity. Sometimes it is fine to deal with; sometimes it’s even quite fun as it provides us with a challenge and helps us veer away from the mundanity of everyday life. A lot of the time, however, it can be quite draining. We’re already very busy with everything on a day-to-day basis, so throwing in a few curveballs isn’t exactly what we want. Maybe it’s the universe’s (or God’s, if you’re a believer) way of providing a balance. Who knows? What we do know, though, is that it takes a lot of effort to climb out of certain issues.

Are you in a bit of a slump right now? Well, that’s not good. I hate when those come along. We know what we have to do in order to get back to normality, but, for some reason, we’re stuck in the mud and cannot reach where we need to be.

While they’re a real pain in the backside to get out of, the good thing is that we can (and do) get out of them. We just need to do a few things to boost ourselves mentally and physically. Everyone has a different way of viewing the world and doing things, so there’s no fixed way that everyone should heed. Here are a few that you could try to see if they work, though:

Do Something Your Worried About Every Single Day

It’s a paraphrased quote that’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s the idea that you’ll grow as a person and a personality if you constantly face something that you don’t feel you can. Now, everyone should probably do this, whether they’re in good spirits or not. It can make us improve so much, so it’s a great little piece of advice. For someone in a tricky situation, though? It would do them a world of good. The idea is to become more accomplished and much more mentally sound than they were before. Improving on one’s self? There aren’t many finer ways of getting out of a slump. 

Exercise More Often

When you exercise, you have way more of a bounce in your step. You also gain a mental boost as the good chemicals in your body start flowing at a fast rate. So don’t hesitate to do it, either you choose to workout at home or you prefer working out in the gym, doesn’t matter just do it. It can get a lot of people temporarily out of depression and immense states of anxiety.  It can get a lot of people temporarily out of depression and immense states of anxiety. The prospect of exercising always seems daunting beforehand, but you always feel so much better afterwards. With that post-workout attitude, you might feel as though you can conquer anything.

Get A Car And Start Driving

It sounds a little odd, but having a car is a lot different from being a pedestrian. You have the freedom to go out and view the world. You have that confidence in yourself to go wherever you want. You feel more mature and capable. These all make you feel a lot better about yourself. Simply hopping online, and looking at places like Stephen James, AutoTrader, and similar sites might initially shift a large burden. 

Stay Hydrated

This is a huge one, and it’s quite frustrating to hear if you’re not in the mood. But a lack of fluids in our system genuinely makes a massive difference to our mentality and our thinking patterns. We’re made up of the stuff, so we need to have it in us at all times. 

Family

Are There Lords & Nobles in Your Family Tree?

Family TreeMy Uncle Mick is an avid genealogist – he’s spent a lot of time researching our family tree and has discovered loads about both my Nan and Grandad’s sides of the family. Although I don’t have the time or patience for researching my heritage in the way that Mick does, I love the thought of unearthing the secrets of past generations and piecing together what our family history looked like. Just in case you were wondering, my Nan’s family were largely Irish and my Grandad’s family all come from within about a 1 square mile area of the East End of London for several hundred years back!

It got me thinking about the reasons for researching your family tree, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you here:

A Royal Surprise

If you’re a fan of “Who Do You Think You Are?”, you’ll know that it’s not completely unheard of for people to discover royal lineage in their family history. However, if you don’t find any royal relatives, you could always buy yourself a title! Buying a Noble Title is easier than you might think, and if you can afford it, you could end up a Lord or a Baron!

Preserving Your Story

Family stories and anecdotes can be unbelievably interesting, but if there’s no-one to pass them along, they’ll eventually get lost. Husband’s grandmother was German and lived as a child through the Second World War. As an adult, she wrote a memoir which makes an amazing accompaniment to the family tree and is something that can be shared through the generations.

The Fun of the Process

Family history research can be like working on a giant puzzle for which you may never find a final solution – there are always more details to be added or people to be found. A eureka moment of discovering an elusive third cousin twice removed or even details on a secretive grandfather is sweet indeed!

Bringing Your Family Together

One of the key parts of researching your family tree is speaking to your relatives, asking them questions about what they know of relatives who have passed, and working together to piece together the puzzle. This can be a fabulous experience for everyone involved, giving you a reason to spend more time with the ones you love and to reconnect with family members who you may not get to see very often.

Have you done any family tree research? Have you found any royals in your bloodline? Have you uncovered any huge family secrets? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.