Van Renovations for Staycations this Summer

Staycations 

While travel seems like more of a possibility this summer than it did last year, many people are nervous to book expensive holidays abroad in fear that we may not be completely in the clear just yet. With this in mind, the humble staycation seems like an attractive option. 

Staycations can take many forms, from camping holidays to fancy hotel stays. They are often cheaper, and also more eco-friendly as they reduce the amount of travel time it takes to get to your chosen holiday destination.

One way people seem to be ‘staycationing’ this summer is through van renovations. Van renovating is a new form of glamping that we are seeing pop up over social media. 

Doing Up Your Van 

Van renovations seem to be another example of a ‘lockdown hobby’ that people all over Instagram have been undertaking.

Stripping one out and making it liveable is obviously a mammoth task with millions of things to consider, but to get you started we have pulled together a list of things to think about when renovating a van:

  1. Keep it simple; think about your main reasons for using the van. It’s probably going to be mostly for sleeping and driving, so build it accordingly. Having a little awning to come off the side so you can sit outside is a great idea, don’t waste space inside thinking you will socialise there. 
  2. One thing to remember is that if you are deep in a dark campsite, there’ll be little to no light, so make sure you are prepared for this. There are hundreds of battery operated lights available, from lanterns to Christmas lights which will make your van conversion feel like home. For the more eco-minded of you, solar lights are a great option.
  3. WATER! A rule of thumb should always be; bring more water than you think you’ll need. An obvious benefit to the campervan is that you will have plenty of storage to carry it. Consider putting it under the bed or even building an aqua-tainer to store it.

While this can be quite an expensive way to do a holiday initially, the advantage is that it’s an investment so it’s there whenever you fancy a little weekend trip!

Van Renovation Inspiration 

For more information and inspiration we have listed a few of the most beautiful examples of van renovations we have seen this year.

First up, we have @naturally.sassy. Ballerina turned home renovator, her latest renovation has been her ‘second home’ camper van which she travels all over the country with. Check out her Instagram for all things renovation.

Another one to watch for inspiration is @the.activ. This US-based couple boasts an impressive van conversion which they take to some pretty incredible parts of America. Have a look if you want serious travel envy. 

@vincentvanlife are the King and Queen of all types of second homes. Not only have they converted a van but their full-time home is a narrowboat. Take a peek at their Instagram to see what they get up to on the canals with their adorable pup, Wilf.

Globetrotter @mitch.cox travels all over the world in his aesthetically pleasing van with his beautiful girlfriend Cleo. The pair have decked this van out so incredibly, it even has a wall mounted tv and running water!

Finally, we have little van-family @pinepins. This van loving couple travels around Germany with their adorable little boy Fete. They’ve even named their van Rudi! 

How Shiply Can Help
From getting your van delivered to shipping your upgraded parts, Shiply is here to help. Post a listing here and have quotes flooding in within minutes for you to choose from.

A Guide To Upcycling

Upcycling has increased in popularity over the last 18 months as many people took on new hobbies over the pandemic. The term refers to improving, restoring or fixing older items that otherwise may have been disposed of. The finished product is obviously an improvement to the item but it is also a way for you to add your own twist and make it unique. 

Reupholstering chairs with new fabric, stripping and repainting wardrobes and even using old pallets to create furniture, are all examples of ways you can upcycle.

You can find a whole heap of inspiration on Instagram. From upcycling clothes to old furniture, some of our favourite accounts include;

  1. A Pair & A Spare @apairandaspare.com
  2. A Beautiful Mess @abeautifulmess.com
  3. Upcycle That @upcyclethat
  4. The House of Upcycling @thehouseofup
  5. A Beautiful Mess @abeautifulmess

Where to find these items to upcycle

Once you’re feeling inspired, it’s time to find items to upcycle. The first place to look would obviously be anything you own or your family owns already. If this is a dead-end, eBay, Gumtree, Schpock and charity shops are great places to find second-hand furniture and other things that need upcycling.

Advantages to Upcycling

The first advantage is economic. Not only is upcycling a great ‘hands on’ hobby but it is also a great way to recycle things that already exist instead of having to buy more. This not only is better for the environment, but also on your wallet! 

Creating gifts from upcycled items is much more personal and many people are now including upcycled items in their weddings. 

Making changes to your old items, big or small is a really easy way to breathe new life into old items. One man’s trash is another’s treasure has never been a truer statement.

Selling these items on

As well as being a cheap, planet-saving fun activity, selling these upcycled items is a way to make your money back. Listing them back onto eBay, Gumtree or even social media can drum up interest. And using Shiply to transport these items over to your new customers, is a further way to keep these costs down!

How Shiply Can Help Improve Your Garden For Less This Summer?

At the time of writing this post, over 50 million vaccines have been administered in the UK. It’s certainly impressive, but we aren’t out of the woods yet and restrictions will still be in place for most of the summer. One of the positives we can take from the whole situation is that it seems like the nation has come together with a common goal. The slight downside of this, however, is that everyone is thinking exactly the same things. Pub gardens open again? Book a table for the next month straight. Six people allowed in gardens? Buy every garden accessory you can get your hands on. This has led to a shortage of high demand items across the country as people look to improve their outside living space.

Thankfully, Shiply is here to help. Whilst we can’t find you that much-coveted table at a pub, we can help you to spruce up your garden for socialising. By allowing you to shop second-hand and still have the item delivered to your door, our platform opens up your search for garden items beyond standard online shops to places like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook marketplace. As many look to upgrade what they have got, you can be sure to find some great bargains for your outdoor space this summer.

people enjoying a drink in the garden

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Barbecues

The absolute staple of a good hangout in the garden – a proper barbecue. Whether you want a big American style gas barbecue or a more traditional charcoal griller, finding one brand new and getting it delivered at the moment is a tough task. You may find you have more luck browsing for a second hand one in the current market.

barbecue for garden parties

Table and Chairs

It’s all well and good having people over, but if you are going to provide food and drinks, they will definitely need somewhere to sit! Tables and chairs will get a lot of use over the next few months and so there’s never been a better time to buy yourself a great set. You could even go one step further and look at getting something like a hammock for the ultimate garden set-up.

Fire Pits and Heaters

Unfortunately, whilst the desire to hang out with friends and family in the garden has never been bigger, the British weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. As soon as the sun goes in, the temperature drops and it often means the end of the evening as the blankets just won’t cut it. Fire pits and heaters are a great way to ensure that the night can go on without sacrificing comfort.

Entertainment

Whether it’s an outdoor speaker, a table tennis table, or even a football goal, having something to do in your garden can provide hours of entertainment for those long summer days. It might even turn your garden into the go-to spot for your friends. Did someone say ping pong tournament?

Table tennis table for garden activitis

Regardless of what you want for your garden, Shiply can help get it to you. With rates up to 75% cheaper than standard, you can ensure that your bargain stays a bargain, even with delivery. Get quotes now!

Also, as a friendly reminder, please continue to be safe when carrying out or receiving deliveries through our platform, adhering to the guidelines regarding masks, washing your hands and maintaining ‘no contact’ deliveries.

Happy summer shopping from the team at Shiply!

Eco-Tips: How To Be A More Eco-Conscious Shopper in 2021

Here at Shiply, one of our founding goals has always been to provide a framework for deliveries that benefits not only the customer and the drivers but also the environment.

As a company we take great pride in the amount of CO2 saved by our platform since 2008 (nearly 173 million KG!), but, we also acknowledge that there are so many other ways we as individuals can help the environment. We’d also like to think that our customers want to help out too!

We’ve put together a little list of things to try to help you become a more eco-conscious shopper this year.

Buy Less Plastic

The most obvious, but still one of the most important ways to be a more eco-conscious shopper is to try and cut down on how much plastic you buy. We all know how bad plastic is for the environment (very bad) so I won’t hammer the point home, but here are some great tips for cutting down on your usage:

  • Bring your own shopping bags to the supermarket
  • Buy a reusable water bottle
  • Buy a reusable coffee cup
  • Say no to plastic straws and cutlery (there are alternatives such as bamboo straws) – also, dine in more to cut down on takeaway packaging
  • Don’t buy fruit and veg sealed in plastic – get your own mesh bag

There are many more ways to save plastic not covered in this list, so I do encourage you to do further research. Also, I will add an obligatory reminder to RECYCLE to the end of this. Really, it’s so important.

Rows of plastic water bottles

Cut Down On ‘Fast’ Industries

I’ve owned many jackets in my lifetime. I’ve also owned many bedside tables and foldable desk chairs. No, I’m not trying to create the most boring list of facts about myself that has ever existed, I am emphasising that items like these should not be bought as often as they typically are. Sure, a new Winter coat every few years is fine, but if you find you are in need of replacing one every year, you should think about buying something that may be a bit more expensive but will definitely last longer.

The same goes for furniture. Whilst certain brands offer an extremely appealing price point, you have to remember that they are able to offer this price for a reason, and that reason is that the quality is likely significantly worse and you will need to replace the item in the not-so-distant future.

So many of these types of ‘fast’ products end up in landfills either 6 months after purchase, or sometimes just as a mountain of unsold stock, that cutting down on demand for them would prove to be a big step towards cutting down excess waste in general.

Whilst the option of buying more expensively is obviously not readily available to everyone, the consideration of quality is, and this is something you can question with every single purchase you make – ‘how long will this last?’.

Vintage clothing store

Buy More Items Second-Hand

New isn’t always better! Following on from cutting down on the ‘fast’ fashion and furniture industries, you can go all-out and instead decide to simply buy something second-hand! This can be especially handy when the price of higher quality items is simply too much for you but you still want to avoid ‘fast’ industry companies.

For clothing, this can actually be a lot of fun. Throwback vintage looks have been in style for a few years now, and you may actually find that often the quality and fit can be preferable to newer designs. For example, I personally buy Levi’s jeans second hand as not only is it cheaper but the quality and fit are both superior to what you can buy nowadays in my opinion.

In the same vein, antique or second-hand furniture can often bear designs and quality that you wouldn’t find in your high street furniture store. Plus, upcycling can be really good fun if you know what you are doing and the item requires it.

One downside you may be thinking is that, especially during the national lockdown, it is much more difficult to look for second-hand items that would usually be found in brick and mortar stores. However, there are so many second-hand auction sites to browse (and so much time on our hands at the moment) that you are sure to find something you like, and if you need help getting it to you, you can always use us!

vintage piece of furniture

Cut Down On Meat And Consider Meat Alternatives

Ok, so this one really isn’t for everyone, but if you’re like me then you have watched enough documentaries featuring a sad David Attenborough that you are willing to give anything a go. I’m not saying you have to become vegetarian, but even just trying to not buy and eat meat for one day a week would be hugely beneficial to the environment, and you may find some added benefits to your health too. Win-win!

You can have fun discovering new foods and learning new recipes to cook, all whilst knowing you are making Attenborough smile (and helping the environment of course). If you really can’t bear the thought of an all-out veggie meal, why not try some meat alternatives? You can really get everything from chicken nuggets to mince these days – it’s definitely worth a try.

Selection of fresh vegetables

I hope you have found this list useful, and remember, if you do need something shipped for up to 75% less than usual rates (and want to consider the environment when doing so), use Shiply!

How Can Shiply Help This Christmas?

Shiply Christmas Logo

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we won’t all be able to spend our time with family over the festive period anymore. With the country now split into varying tiers with different restrictions, many of us are trying to work out how to celebrate Christmas in lockdown.

At Shiply, we still want to be able to help you have a great Christmas and so have put together some suggestions for how we can help this December.

Moving Presents

If you were planning to take your presents back to your family yourself and no longer can due to the new restrictions then Shiply can help. For as little as £23 you could transport all of your gifts to where they need to be so at least you can see them opened on Zoom!

We may be close to the big day, however many are still shopping online where your purchasing options are opened up to second-hand sites and auctions too. If you have found the perfect gift on Ebay or Gumtree but need it delivered, we can help.

With up to 75% off of standard delivery rates, you can be sure that your bargain stays a bargain, even after shipping fees. Whether it is a new piece of furniture, a big new TV or perhaps even a sought after PS5 that requires an extra helping hand to get where it needs to be.

Moving Back After Christmas

If you managed to make it home from university or from where you live to be with your family, then you may need help returning after Christmas with all of your newly acquired gifts! Shiply can help with getting all of your possessions safely transported to where they need to be. You can even get assistance with packing and unpacking by specifying this in the listing. This can be ideal if your family are unable to travel to help you due to time constraints or COVID-19 restrictions.

Even if you are more local and are just heading back from your parents but have a mountain of presents and food from the big day, hiring a man and a van to shift your stuff to where it needs to be can make your life that much easier this Christmas.

We know it’s different this year, but we hope everyone is still able to enjoy a lovely festive period in whatever way they can.

Merry Christmas from the team at Shiply.

The Impact Of Coronavirus On The Environment

Coronavirus has changed the world over the last few months, with the effects of the pandemic being felt in all different industries and walks of life. However, if there are any positives to be taken from the pandemic then the impact on the environment is definitely one of them. There has been a dramatic reduction of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, a drop that has not been matched before despite the wars, recessions, and previous pandemics that we have seen over the last century.


Carbon emissions for 2020 will be an estimated 2-3 billion tonnes less than expected. To put that into perspective, that is roughly the energy demands of India for a year. World War 2 saw carbon emissions drop by around 800 million tonnes, whereas the financial crash in 2008 saw just a 450 million tonne reduction. Admittedly our carbon emissions as a planet have increased since then, but as a percentage drop, it is still a much larger reduction than any we have seen before.


The reason for this is the lockdown. With people working from home and being asked to stay indoors there was much less traffic on the roads and less pollution from trains and buses. Planes have been all but grounded for the last few months as holidays became implausible. Bike shops have been inundated with work as people look to get on two wheels to get around rather than four.


Whilst all these changes are having a positive impact on the environment for now, as things return to normal it becomes increasingly clear that this may just be a blip. Carbon emissions following the 2008 recession actually increased by 6% after the initial drop, and experts think we are likely to see this same trend continue if nothing is made of the dramatic improvements to our environment that lockdown has caused. 


Whilst what happens with carbon emissions following Coronavirus is yet to be seen, it seems obvious that unless policies and technologies are implemented which both demand and enable the reduction of carbon emissions we can generally expect things to go back to the levels we experienced pre-lockdown.


We should all be aware however that environmental improvements are not completely out of our hands. As individuals, we have the ability to reduce our personal carbon footprint by doing things like recycling, avoiding unnecessary plane journeys, and walking or cycling for the smaller trips we make in our day to day lives rather than opting for cars and public transport.


Businesses should also try and make a similar promise. As a company, Shiply is and has always been committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the logistics and delivery industry in general, and our methodology remains the same. By putting customers in contact with drivers who are ‘going there anyway’ we reduce the amount of unnecessary, empty, or part-full vehicles on the roads whilst also reducing delivery prices for our customers by up to 75%.


Whilst there is still a way to go in the fight against climate change and environmental damage, there is still a lot we can do as individuals and as business entities. As always, if you want cheap quotes to deliver your items (and want to help the environment whilst doing it), visit our website and get started today!


Stat Source: BBC

Coronavirus Statement from Shiply

We are now all feeling the impact of COVID-19 and here at Shiply we just wanted to assure our customers, the transport providers and our employees that your safety and wellbeing is, and always will be, our top priority. We have created this short guide to answer some of your most frequent questions about our service during this time.

Is it still safe to carry out and receive deliveries?

Following the Government’s recent announcements, the service we provide has been classed as essential and advice from Public Health England is that deliveries are still safe as the virus cannot survive for long on non-metallic surfaces. For these reasons we have made the decision to stay open as usual in this trying period.

We know that many people rely on our services both to find work and to have their items moved around the country. We feel that with the right precautions taken we can still help facilitate safe transport and delivery around the UK at a time when many need it more than ever.

You can read the official Government guidance page here.

How can risk be minimised when carrying out and receiving deliveries?

Whilst the virus itself cannot be carried by the items being delivered, there are still precautions and measures to consider when carrying out or receiving a delivery:

Request ‘no contact’ where possible. Whilst we acknowledge that many items delivered through our site are not possible to deliver with no contact, we do ask that if the goods are small enough to allow for this that you and the delivery driver arrange this through our messaging system.

Wash your hands before and after the delivery. You should be washing your hands before and after carrying out a delivery. If the item does require two people to move it, try and keep your distance as much as possible.

Do not carry out or receive any deliveries if you are a risk. If you or anyone you live with is displaying symptoms or has been in direct contact with someone who has Coronavirus then you must not carry out deliveries until your two-week isolation period is over. You should also not receive deliveries unless they are ABSOLUTELY essential (e.g. food and water). This is when we are most at risk of spreading and you should be minimising all forms of physical contact if you are self-isolating.

You can read the full NHS advice guidelines (including advice on how to properly wash your hands after deliveries) here.

What are Shiply doing to help?

We have been following the advice of the Government and as such our entire office has been working from home since 16/3/2020. You can rest assured however that we are all hard at work keeping the service running and support lines will still be operating from 9am-6pm Monday to Friday should you have any queries or concerns. Details to contact us can be found at https://www.shiply.com/contact.

We are also taking part in the ‘Help NHS Heroes’ scheme and are waiving fees on these deliveries for NHS purposes so that food and supplies can be delivered to those helping in the hospitals who need it most.

Please note that we are following all Government advice and guidelines closely and will update this page as soon as any new developments occur.

Stay safe, from all of us here at Shiply.

Shiply’s Favourite Driving Films

With the Coronavirus meaning we are not out and about as much at the moment, we thought we would update our list of favourite driving films for all of you to enjoy. For added fun, try getting your friends to watch at the same time so you can discuss them too and treat it like a virtual film club!

If you are a lover of all things car related then you need to check these films out:

The Fast and the Furious

Shiply blog image

This is a classic movie and has something in it for everyone. A great (looking) cast, fantastic fast cars and loads of high-speed racing. There are now 8 movies in total, plus one spin-off , and we definitely recommend watching them all. We hear a movie marathon coming on. 

The Fast and the Furious is available to rent on Youtube.

Baby Driver

baby driver poster

Baby Driver roared onto our screens in 2017 and has solidifed itself as a thrilling heist film featuring one of the greatest getaway driving scenes in film history. Helmed by Edgar Wright and with a medley of A-listers and the soundtrack to boot, Baby Driver is definitely not one to miss if you enjoy high-octane action.

Baby Driver is available to rent on Youtube.

Drive

Shiply blog image

This is not only great for driving fans but also Ryan Gosling fans. This is an action packed movie and a great example of when a book to film adaptation works. The classic cars in this movie won’t disappoint any car lover and, without giving too much away, the chase scene is enthralling and will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Drive is available to rent on Youtube.

The Transporter

Shiply blog image

Jason Statham is simply fantastic in these movies. Just like The Fast and the Furious, Transporter has been made into a series of movies and there are now 4 in total, all equally as good as each other! He is an expert driver who gets paid to transport cargo, but of course the road is far from smooth.

The Transporter is available to rent on Youtube.

Cars

Shiply blog image

This cute little movie is perfect for the whole family. This is basically The Fast and the Furious, but in animation style and Pixar have got it spot on if you ask us. It is a charming colourful movie.  There is also a sequel for those that loved the first as much as we did!

Cars is available to rent on Yotube.

The Italian Job

Shiply blog image

A car classic. This flashy film won’t fail to impress it is packed with action, drama, romance and classic cars. There is also a recent remake of it but we definitely recommend the original.  “PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN!” and get this movie on. 

The Italian Job is available to rent on Youtube.

Dude, where’s my car?

Shiply blog image

Ok, this one is just for fun. If you just want some lighthearted teenage humour, then this is the one to watch. It’s silly from start to finish and Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott are comedy gold. 

Dude, where’s my car? is available to rent on Youtube.

We hope these recommendations can provide some entertainment whilst we are all practicing social-distancing, so happy watching from all of us at Shiply!

Why Second-Hand Furniture Is The Future

Heart shaped bench
Source: Google Images

Buying new furniture is exciting. It often means you have moved into a new space and need to decorate, giving you a chance to redesign your surroundings and the feeling of a fresh start. For a large majority of the population, it also means that you get to go to Ikea and eat as many meatballs as physically possible in one afternoon.

Whilst it is undeniably tempting to go and get yourself an entirely new setup, it is also a fact that buying brand new furniture every time you need something for your home or office has an impact on the environment due to the energy and materials used to make them. There are a number of really good second-hand furniture options for sale both in-store and online, and often you’ll find that they can give your space a much more unique feel. 

Ikea storefront
Source: Google Images

The one strong selling point of Ikea is that they seem to always have exactly the thing you need, whereas buying second-hand makes it harder to find what you want. However, this is not an excuse to not try. Think about how much time you spend looking online for the best deal on whatever your next purchase is, or if you are someone who buys second-hand clothes, think about how much time you spend trying to find the perfect jacket. This is time that you could spend looking for that perfect piece of furniture for your new place.

second-hand furniture
Source: Google Images

All you need to do is make a quick Google search for your local second-hand store and take a look, or if you don’t feel like leaving your seat you can browse sites like eBay, Gumtree, Etsy and Freecycle just to name a few. If you do find something online, you can use Shiply as an eco-friendly shipping option as the drivers are typically filling their vans on journeys they are already making (and it’s also up to 75% cheaper than standard rates!).

Even Ikea themselves are now testing schemes where you can hand in old furniture so that they can find it a new home. With all the emphasis on social responsibility at the moment it feels like the times are changing on fast flatpack furniture, so next time you need a new sofa, think about the environment and take a look at second-hand options before going straight to the meatballs!

A Roundup Of Weird And Wonderful Valentine’s Deliveries On Shiply

Ah, Valentine’s day! Whether you are married, in a relationship or simply pining over someone, February 14th provides the perfect opportunity to show a display of affection for those who choose to celebrate it.

Originally the date was supposed to represent the celebration of Saint Valentinus who, depending on who you ask, either provided an illegal marriage service to soldiers or cured a small girl’s blindness (or both, what a man).

It’s not entirely clear how the modern romantic notion of Valentine’s day came about (I think Chaucer had something to do with it), but it generally involves buying chocolates, flowers and cards and having them delivered to that special someone. As a shipping platform we have seen some lovely, strange and downright unfortunate Valentine’s day deliveries posted on our site, and we thought we would share them.

In one case, a user requested a staggering 50kg delivery of ‘love letters’ from Halton to France, a delivery which made a lot more sense once we saw the picture:

love letters sign

We also had another hopeless romantic from Yorkshire who, as a typical declaration of affection, sent a massive plastic heart along with matching stools to his lover in Aberdeen. If that doesn’t win them over, I don’t know what will…

There have been some users who, whilst we appreciate the romantic gesture, clearly haven’t read our terms and conditions. This includes one man in Wales who attempted to use Shiply to reunite him with his loved one in Southampton, with the delivery description simply stating ‘My Wife’… maybe just buy her a train ticket next time!

Another posted for her ‘boyfriend and his dog’ to be taken from Cornwall to Edinburgh a staggering four times in the run up to the big day – is there anyone out there who can play Cupid and help reunite this poor couple?

Unfortunately, our platform also sees the nasty side of Valentine’s day with an influx of less than romantic posts. These can range from the depressingly pragmatic ‘Ex-wife’s things’ going from Slough to High Wycombe, to the unnecessarily insulting ‘2 sofas, boxes of clothes, general stuff (ex boyfriend’s junk)’ going from Stamford to Peterborough, at least it sounds like things ended amicably…

Finally we have my personal favourite, a post seeking a van driver to make multiple bouquet deliveries throughout London on February 14th. Whilst this is most likely a flower shop looking to use our platform to hire a delivery driver for the day, I much prefer imagining a Casanova type who sends out so many roses that the most economical option is to hire his own personal delivery driver!

Whatever it is you need shipping this Valentine’s day, you can be sure to get quotes up to 75% cheaper than standard couriers if you post on Shiply.

Happy Valentine’s day!