Summer days out for car lovers

If you’re struggling with ideas for what to do for your car-loving friend or partner this summer, here are some ideas for activities or gifts that’ll give you and them a fun day out.

Go to a car festival

There are loads of car festivals out there that enthusiasts will love. The name the big ones, Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from 29 June to 2 July, CarFest (north) from 28-30 July and CarFest (South) from 25-27 August.

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Try a supercar/rally driving experience

A popular gift for car lovers and one that they won’t forget! Prices vary depending on the time spent in the car, so do some research before making your purchase. Many companies will specify the type of car that’ll be driven so make sure it’s one that they’d like to drive – they might even be able to drive their favourite car!

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Visit car museums

There are museums up and down the UK dedicated to cars, and many have regular events. Brooklands museum in Surrey is a great example, which hosts regular events including Auto Italia, Double Twelve Motorsport Festival and Motorcycle Day. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Go Karting

If you can get a group together, you can book a go karting day where it’ll be just your group on the course. If you’d rather go alone, many companies let individual drivers do laps of the course against the clock and you can take home a print-out of your lap times.

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Have fun!



Eco Father’s Day Gifts for an Earth-loving Dad

When you’ve got a dad that’s difficult to buy for, you might feel that you’re buying father’s day gifts year after year that are ending up in the bin, or put in a drawer indefinitely. For those wanting to give their dad something a little different, that’ll last long after father’s day has been and gone, below are some ideas that’ll not only last the distance, but will also appeal to your environmentally-conscious dad.


1. Refillable drinks cup

A must-have for every commuter, or anyone that’s always out of the house. A refillable cup/flask can keep hot or cold drinks for a long time, and is much more environmentally-friendly than having to wastefully throw away a paper/plastic cup every time your dad visits his favourite coffee shop. Many coffee shops have also recently started offering discounts to those that bring their own reusable cup, so it’ll end up paying for itself in no time.Shiply blog image

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2. Grow-your-own veg kit

For the dad that’s always in the kitchen, why not get him started on growing his own veg or herb garden? Many companies now offer home-growing starter kits, and there is a lot of information online to get him started. The RHS have a list of veg perfect for beginners, so he can get started on low maintenance produce first.

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3. Recycled material wallet/clothes

There are so many recycled products you can buy to give materials a second life. This wallet from Etsy is made of used bicycle inner tubes and tarpaulin, perfect for those that hate waste and like their accessories with a bit of reincarnation.

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4.Elephant bike

For a present with a story, the elephant bike is a fully-refurbished ex-Royal Mail bicycle, which posties used on their routes up until a few years ago.

For £250, you get a low-maintenance recycled bike in a choice of three different shades of green, and a bike is sent to be refurbished and sold in Malawi, where it could bring a host of new income opportunities for a local family.

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5. Sponsor an animal

You can sponsor virtually any animal online or at most zoos and animal shelters, from an aardvark to a zebra. Bonus points for adopting one near him – that way he can go and visit his adoptee regularly! There are some places where adopting an animal can give you a discount off an animal experience too, such as a llama trek.

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6. National Trust Membership

For the dad that loves castles, gardens and wildlife; for £64.80 a year, he could really get his fill of them. A National trust membership will allow him access to hundreds of locations across the UK with a gift he can use again and again. 

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Happy Father’s Day!

Top Tips for Festival Travel

Top Tips for Festival Travel

You’ve managed (often by some miracle) to get yourself a ticket to one or more of the big music festivals of the year. But how are you going to get there? Here are some travel tips for whichever method of transport you choose, or if you haven’t decided, might help you make your decision.


Pros – Direct to the festival entrance, can sleep on the journey, no stress of driving
Cons – Can be a long journey, limited to what you can carry

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Package deals – Coach/bus tickets are often sold in a package deal with your festival ticket, and in some cases, coach + festival tickets are released to the public before standard tickets. Even if the coach might not be your first choice of transport, you may prefer to tactically get a coach+festival ticket as this gives you two chances to get those must-have tickets. Remember though, if you do buy a coach+festival ticket package, you do actually have to travel this way as they often do not give you your festival ticket until you’re on the bus.

Research – If you decide to take a coach/bus later in the day, you will need to find companies yourself. Big companies like National Express or Big Green Coach offer festival-specific services, but others may only go to the nearest town. Make sure you do your research to have a realistic idea.

Hand luggage – You’ll often be on the road for a long time, so make sure you’ve got a smaller bag for journey essentials like your phone, snacks, earphones and anything else you think you’ll need easy access to.

Travel as light as possible – Easier said than done, but if you can minimise your luggage you’ll make your journey a lot easier. If you’ve still got too much, try asking friends in advance that are travelling by car if they can take some of your items, but be prepared, as this may involve multiple treks to the car park!


Pros – Speed, can sleep on the journey, no driving
Cons – Often expensive, rarely gets you the whole way

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Think about timings – A lot of people will be travelling to the festival this way and your train ticket does not guarantee you a seat. You may want to delay leaving until the crowds have died down. Book the train as early as you can to avoid disappointment and price hikes. Look out for cheaper off-peak times which could save you a nice amount of money.

There will often be more parts to your journey – The nearest train station could be right near the festival, or an unwalkable distance away. There will often be shuttle buses running between the station and the festival entrance, but if not, you may need to fork out for a taxi ride or a local bus. Make sure you know what to expect and if it involves a lot of walking, make sure you pack as lightly as you can.


Pros – Often cheaper, not governed by timetables
Cons – Driving can be stressful, long queues

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Choose your parking location strategically – If your friends have a camping area in mind, try and drive to the closest car park. This might not always be feasible, but the closest you can get to where you’re actually camping, the lower the stress levels will be when dragging all your stuff back and forth to the car.

Use apps to pinpoint your car’s location – If you’ve got your smartphone with you, pin your car’s location on Google maps. This will help you find it again, whether it’s on the way home, or whether you need to make multiple trips to the car throughout the weekend. This tip is also useful for your tent location and could save you a lot of time wandering around a field of similar looking tents in the early hours of the morning.

Don’t forget parking tickets/prices – Car park tickets/stickers are often sold separately, so make sure you’ve got yours stuck on the windscreen before you arrive. It also acts as a cool souvenir that you can keep in your car until the next festival

Try not to overfill – It’s easy to get carried away by packing everything you *might* need over the weekend. Be realistic about what you and your passengers can carry before stuffing the car full of gazebos, camping chairsand the kitchen sink.

Have a campervan? – Campervans are the ultimate festival swiss army knife as they are your transport, tent, and canteen, all rolled into one. Festivals will likely have a separate campervan ticket price, so make sure you buy the correct one. The only other thing you need to worry about is brushing away the envy from the other festival-goers!

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In summary, thinking about your transport options in advance can save you a real headache (and often a lot of money) than arranging it nearer the time.

Happy camping!

Top 5 Ugly Cars on the Road

If you watched the latest episode of Top Gear (Series 24 Episode 7), you will have seen the yacht-inspired SsangYong Rodius, a car that has been subjected to insults about its appearance since it’s launch in 2004, and described by BOAT magazine as the ‘World’s Ugliest Car’.

This inspired us at Shiply to write a list of what we think are the 5 ugliest cars on the road today:

5. In fifth place is the Suzuki Wagon R+. Not only does it look disappointing, reviewers also report its performance outside urban environments as a little ugly too…

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4. In fourth place is the aggressive-looking Nissan Juke. A small SUV made to rival conventional hatchbacks. We’ll stick to the conventional ones thanks…

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3. In third place is the Smart Roadster. We’d only just got used to the quirky, standard Smart Car, then this came along. It looks more like something out of the Legoland driving school than fit for a real road!

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2. Our runner up is the first generation Ford KA, which despite its ugliness, sold extremely well following its release in 1996. Thankfully the newer versions are easier on the eye.

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1. In well-deserved first place has got to be the Fiat Multipla. That crease below the windscreen looks like a pimply furrowed brow. The sooner it’s off our roads, the better!

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Do you agree with our list? Let us know!


Should Diesel Vehicles Be Banned In London?

Have you been keeping up to date with the news surrounding London’s air pollution? After just 5 days into 2017, one road in London (Brixton Road in Lambeth) reached its maximum annual allowance for levels of nitrogen dioxide. Yikes! 

This has now sparked major discussions on how we can work towards reducing air pollution in the capital.

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One possible solution is to ban all diesel vehicles from the roads in London. This campaign is greatly backed by medical professionals (surgeons, doctors and nurses alike) along with the mayor of London, Sadiq khan.

“Doctors Against Diesel claim 9,400 Londoners per year die prematurely from breathing in toxic fumes from diesel engines.”

Did you know that pollutants such as diesel contribute to health problems such as asthma, heart and lung diseases?

In the news, this week the mayor of London has come out and said: “motorists should be given up to £3,500 for them to scrap their old diesel cars and vans and replace them with cleaner vehicles”.

As it is from October onwards, diesel vehicles that enter the congestion charge zone in central London will pay an additional T-charge of £10 on top of the £11.50 congestion charge.

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Image Source: The Jakarta Post

Other cities who are working towards a ban on diesel vehicles include Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens

Is banning diesel vehicles completely the answer to the problem? Or will it create new problems?

Let’s wait and see whether the government acts and puts into place a national diesel scrappage scheme.

Source: BBC 

How To Save Money On Courier Services

Let’s face it, price matters. Who doesn’t love saving a few quid? Whether you frequently send a tonne of parcels or just the odd one here and there, we’ve put together a great guide to ensure you never overpay again.


Buy Packaging In Bulk 

This is especially important to those of you who send parcels regularly. Buy everything in bulk and you’ll save a small fortune. You can buy boxes of all shapes and sizes that are of a high-quality and suitable for posting online on websites like eBay and Amazon. Or alternatively, pop into your local Poundland.

Use A Comparison Site 

This makes a lot of sense. When booking flights, almost everyone uses a comparison site to get the best deal. Well, the same should be done when choosing a courier. You can do this on Shiply. You get free comparative quotes straight to your inbox and, just like eBay, you can read the couriers feedback left by previous customers.

Know The Dimensions

This may sound simple but it’s often something people forget to do. The more accurate you are, with the dimensions and weight of your parcel, the more accurate the quotes you receive will be.


Did you know that if you are an online business sending parcels frequently you can claim VAT back? Well, now you do, so make sure you keep all receipts and paperwork in order to do this.

7 Weird But Useful Items To Keep You Warm

The cold weather has been nonstop this month with a lot of temperatures going below zero. But to cheer everyone up we have put together this short but wonderful list of wacky and practical items that will keep you warm.


Yes. These are an actual thing! They are gloves specially designed for couples to hold hands and wear the same glove keeping the heat in.


Image source: Radius Design

Toe Socks

These have been around for a while and work similarly to a glove only they are for your feet. Not the most attractive socks (and a little strange to walk in).


Image Source: DeviantArt

Warming Pouch For Your PJ’s

This fantastic creation heats your pj’s for you. No more getting into freezing cold pj’s and you can also use it for other items like towels. Basically, whatever you can fit into it, you can heat.


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The Nose Warmer

We still can’t quite get our heads around this one. Do you hate having a cold nose? Then, this may be the answer to your nosy situation. It is basically a woolly hat for your nose.


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USB Heated Shawl

This is one for the office workers. These come in just about every colour and are sort of cute. You simply just plug it into your computer and let the fun commence.


Image Source: HelloTrade

A Hooded Scarf

This ingenious product will keep both your neck and ears warm. This all in one will save you the need of splashing out on a matching set. We call that win-win.


Heated Body Pillows

Yep, now we have seen it all. You could even use this as your Halloween costume. (Although if you are single this may scare off potential partners). 


Image Source: Trend Hunter



First Ever Train From China to Britain Arrived Full Of Socks

Last Wednesday (January 18th) saw the arrival of the first ever freight train from China to the UK. This fantastic train was filled to the brim with socks and suitcases!

After travelling 7,500 miles it came to its final destination in Barking, London. It took 18 days to arrive and passed through seven countries on its way here. Those countries included Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.

This 18-day trip by rail is faster and cheaper than both sea and air transport and weekly trains could be on the horizon between China and the UK.

Great things are afoot, I can feel it in my sole!



Image source: Channel News Asia

The Ultimate Moving House Checklist

Moving house is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of prepping and planning, and for some of us getting organised doesn’t come naturally! It can also be an expensive task that leaves your finances drained. Worry no more as we have put together the ultimate go to checklist for your house move. It is easy to follow and broken down into 3 stages.


Before Your Moving Day

– Lists, lists, lists! Who doesn’t love making lists? This is a good place to start. In the run up to your moving day, create a checklist of everything you need to do in the run up to your moving day and tick them off as you go.

– Give people plenty of notice that you are moving home. Inform all the relevant people of your change of address such as utility providers, friends, family etc.

– You will also need to redirect your mail which you can do this by visiting the Royal Mail website.

– Give yourself plenty of time to arrange a professional removal service. Compare free quotes on Shiply and book a removal firm at least 2 -3 weeks in advance.

– Before you start to pack, have a massive clear out! This is the perfect time to get rid of any unwanted or unused junk you may have lying around the house. You can sell them online on websites like eBay or donate them to local charity shops.

– Source strong packing materials. You will need bubble wrap, sturdy boxes and tape to keep your items safe in transit. You can buy packing boxes in bulk from websites like eBay.

– Don’t forget to defrost your fridge and freezer at least 2 days before you move. Also, remember to buy fewer groceries the week before you are moving. You won’t be able to transport most of this stuff and it will only be a massive build-up of waste.

– When it comes to packing electrics, take pictures of your devices, such as the back of your television, so you can easily remember what cord goes where when it comes to putting it back together.

– Label everything for easier unpacking.

– As you pack each room away clean as you go. So, when the day of the big move comes you won’t have much left to clean.


On Your Moving Day

– Pack an essentials bag or box for the day of your move and fill it with items like snacks, a change of clothes, towel, pyjamas and any toiletries you will need for your first night in your new home.

– Keep the kettle and tea bags somewhere they can be easily located as moving house is thirsty work.

– Be present when the movers arrive to load and unload your belongings. This will allow you to supervise where everything goes which will speed up the process of unpacking.

– After the movers, have loaded all your belongings into their van, make sure you check every room before locking up. Don’t leave anything behind!

– The same goes when the removal company has unloaded your items. Ensure the van has been completely unloaded and nothing is left behind.


After You Have Moved In

– Moving house can be the perfect time to look for new deals on your bills such as electricity and the internet etc.

– After the movers have left, do a quick clean of the new place before you start settling in.

– Don’t forget to leave your moving company feedback on the service they provided.

– Unpack your everyday items first.

– Have fun with decorating and organising and make it your own!

Preparation is key! The earlier you start preparing, the smoother the whole process will be.