Browsing Tag



Travelling by train in the UK – some tips

June 5, 2014


Are you thinking of taking the train somewhere?  I think about it all the time… I usually say that the best feature about Grantham is the train station! I take it to go to the airports or to just go somewhere else in the country. I ride the train frequently… it’s my life line to the rest of the world. As such, I’ve learned a few tricks on how to navigate it. 

Buying the tickets

  • Try to get them in advance, as much as possible. Check the for prices and just to make sure you are getting the best deal, also check the train company’s own website, as that might save you at least the booking fee. Alternatively, try Take The Train as it will spot the cheapest ones for you straight away.
  • If you find that your trip is way too expensive, try buying separate tickets for the different parts of the journey. It sounds weird but it works in some situations – for example: a ticket from Grantham to London, during peak times can cost on average £86 or more. If you get a ticket to Peterborough at around the same time, it can cost you as little as £6 or £7, up to £11, depending on the train. If you then get another ticket from Peterborough to London, you can get it for £29 or £31 on average. It’s still not dirt cheap but it almost halves the cost of the initial ticket. It doesn’t make much sense why it is like this, but it’s worth trying. If you’re on iPhone, you might want to try the app Tickety Split (up until this date, I don’t think there is an alternative for Android, sadly). I’ve never used it (I’m on Android) but it does the ticket splitting for you. Check out what the MoneySavingExpert has to say about it. Needless to say, you should try and avoid peak times at all costs.
  • You can also try buying two separate singles, as it might work out cheaper than buying a return ticket. Unless, of course, you want to buy an open return.
  • Most train companies will offer a group discount for parties of 3 to 9 people. Check here before you buy as it might be worth it.


Make yourself comfortable

  • Most inter-cities trains will have power sockets, so I always book the window seat. It might not be the best arrangement if you need the toilet, but I also avoid that as much as possible. At least you know that your phone won’t be out of juice by the time you arrive to your destination or if you’re on a very long trip, why not plug in your laptop or tablet and watch a movie?
  • When I take an early train (as is sometimes necessary, when catching flights) I also like to have my cushion handy, not just for the flight. As it’s early, most people will also be napping, so do the same!
  • When I’m not watching my pennies too closely, I actually like to buy a hot drink at the station, especially during those horrid grey and cold days. My favourite is the chai latte. Yum! Other than that, avoid buying food or drinks at the station – it’s usually a rip off.


Don’t forget to mind the gap! Do you have any suggestions of your own?


Accessorize My Outfit

March 27, 2014

Recently Emma, the lovely lady behind Accessorize My Outfit got in touch so I would try out her new website and maybe help her promote it. I had a look and the concept was very interesting,  aimed at anyone who needs to (you guessed it) accessorize an outfit.

How many times have we bought a dress for an occasion and have no clue how to accessorize it or simply don’t have the time to trawl all the shops in town? Emma’s idea is aimed at situations like this and all you have to do is upload a photo of your outfit, fill in some details and sit back, while the Accessorize My Outfit team searches their UK artisan database for the best options. I liked the idea a lot because I think it’s very important to support small businesses, after all in rough economic times, they are the life saver of many families. The service is totally free for the user and there is no obligation to buy the suggested accessories if you don’t like them.

I asked Emma a few questions about her project, as I always find it inspirational to hear the stories behind the creative process of starting a new business. I always hope that stories like this help other women feel empowered by these examples of success, to go out and start their own projects.

1- When did you start your business?

Accessorize My Outfit officially launched on the 30th of January 2014.

2- What gave you the idea for Accessorize my outfit?

I have always been passionate about fashion and have a unique style of my own. My sister got married last year and I needed some accessories to go with the dress so I reached out on Facebook and was overwhelmed by the number of responses that I got, and thought what an easy and fun way it was to shop. I ended up with accessories that were designed specifically for me, right down from me choosing what materials and colours I wanted. So from this idea the site was born and I knew I had spotted a gap in the market.

Apart from absolutely loving being a Mum and spending time with my children, my other passion is Fashion. I have always loved clothes and especially accessories. My imagination, creativity and personality are shown in what I am wearing and how I look!

I am also a huge supporter of UK Artisans and I love the idea of being able to promote some of them through my new business venture.

3- How does it feel to make a living out of something you love?

I have had a very successful 20 years career in I.T. On first meeting me though, many people have been surprised by my career choice and have expected me to be doing something in the fashion industry! After having my second child, I took redundancy and looked to find a job that fitted in around family life – almost an impossible task! Accessorize My Outfit not only allows me to work in an industry that I love but it allows me to spend quality time with my young children.

4 – Any advice for other ladies who might want to start their own businesses?

Running your own business is not easy but it is incredibly rewarding. My advice to anyone who is thinking of giving it a go is keep a positive mind. “Where there is a will there is a way” – as they say!

5- What is the next step for Accessorize my outfit?

Although Accessorize My Outfit is very new, I believe I have a unique business, that has the potential to be very successful and I have the ability, enthusiasm and commitment to make this happen.

Why don’t you try it too? Let me know what you think! If you have a small business you can also get in touch with AMO, if you are interested in being part of the network.

Thank you Emma for reaching out and good luck for your project!



Things to do in Brighton

October 2, 2013

Last weekend was spent by the sea in Brighton, with my hubby and it was lovely. I really didn’t want to leave! Brighton has so many things to see and do, if you choose to travel there for a “dirty weekend” or just to enjoy the sights. If you are lucky it will be sunny and you can also enjoy a bit of relaxation on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves. I arrived on Friday night and left on Sunday and although we didn’t get to stay for too long, it was enough to see and do a few things. Here’s a few illustrated suggestions of what you too can do:

You can walk along the beach and take in the views of the sea.

Enjoy the lovely architecture on the sea front. Mr D and I are Art Deco aficionados so we end up playing ‘Spot the Art Deco Building’ game.

Watch the seagulls. There’s so many of them everywhere and they are very lively!

Go on the ferris wheel to enjoy a whole new different perspective of Brighton, narrated by Steve Coogan. It cost us £18 for the both of us but as it wasn’t too busy we got to go around a few times and you get to see stunning views like the one below:

Go walking on the Pier (seen above) and get some candy from the old little shops. I love the fact that the quaint shops and the whole structure are still original.

Have your fortune read in the tarot cards while sitting inside a gypsy cart.

Take time to wander the streets and lanes. There’s plenty of interesting details everywhere as well as all types of shops and foods.

Visit the Royal Pavilion, built in the Indo-Saracenic style that was popular in India throughout the 19th century.

Walk around the Pavilion, enjoy the lovely gardens and see the little animals.

Enjoy the beautiful and colourful flowers in the gardens, before visiting the Brighton Museum & Art Galleries. More on that on my next post.

Say hello to nice and beautiful kitty cats. As a future crazy cat lady this is obviously a point of attraction.

 Look for the interesting graffiti scattered around town. There’s lots of beautiful street art everywhere!

If it’s sunny, lie on the beach and take a nap. It’s the best way of recharging your batteries ever.

Look for the pretty pebbles at the beach.

Buy a colourful plastic toy to take home with you as a souvenir!

We didn’t want to leave but the time came eventually. Before you do, take some time to appreciate the beautiful 19th century iron work on the train station’s structure.

There is plenty more to see and do, if you have more time. There are lots of restaurants and bars, with affordable choices that won’t leave you wanting for more. Have you been to Brighton yet? What is your favourite thing to do there?