Tuesday, 31 March 2009


MyVoucherCodes.co.uk offers a wealth of ways to save money.

When you shop online Voucher Codes are a great way to save money. Also known as promotional codes, e-vouchers or discount codes, these are simply codes which enable you to get a discount / money off the listed retail price of many goods, at a range of different online UK retailers.

The vouchers can sometimes be short term offers of just a few days, so you have to keeo on the ball. It is always worth checking with the website before you buy so you don't miss any offers.

See http://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/

Friday, 20 March 2009

Mothering Sunday gift ideas - 3

"Borrowed" from the Daily Telegraph, we have 15 gift ideas for Mothers' Day, 22 April.

Second Five, Over £30:

1. Annual membership of the National Trust: From £35.63. www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Will give your mother access to over 300 houses and gardens around the country.

2. Coeur de Fleur scent: £58. Miller Harris, www.millerharris.com. 08445 610992. Warm, floral and very feminine.

3. 'Miami' clutch bag: £59. www.jigsaw-online.co.uk. 02083 925600. It's a jute bag which is cool, but delicate. Your mum will love it.

4. Sterling silver 'owl of Athena' drop earrings: £45. www.itsallgreek.co.uk. 02072 426224. For the wise and wonderful.

5. Picnic basket with bulit-in cooler: £42.50. www.dibor.co.uk. With a traditional look and feel, but with space for two bottles of wine.

We hope you all enjoy the day.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Mothering Sunday gift ideas - 2

"Borrowed" from the Daily Telegraph, we have 15 gift ideas for Mothers' Day, 22 April.

Second Five, £15 - £20:

1. Monthly magazine subscription: From £15 for 12 issues. www.magazinegroup.co.uk. 08448 267812. There's bound to be a magazine to cover your mother's interests.

2. A bunch of flowers: From £17.99. www.flyingflowers.co.uk. 08448 846595. Ah yes, say it with flowers!

3. Bridgewater mug: "Happiness for Mum is a Cup of Tea in Bed": £15.95. www.emmabridgewater.co.uk. 02073 715489. If you do as it says on the cup, she'll love it!

4. Mother's Day Box of La Duree macaroons: £11.60. www.harrods.com. 02077 301234. Very edible, but too pretty to eat! "They're from Harrods?" She'll love that!

5. Mother of pearl bowl: £18. www.thewhitecompany.com. 08456 788100. Decorative and useful. Need you look further?

Mothering Sunday gift ideas - 1

"Borrowed" from the Daily Telegraph, we have 15 gift ideas for Mothers' Day, 22 April.

First Five, under £15

1. White Peony with Pink Rosebuds Tea: £4.50. www.teaplace.com. Simply, a cup of tea, but refreshing, mild and rose-scented.

2. Prestat Rose & Violet Cremes: £14. www.prestat.co.uk. 02074 943372. Light and lovely chocolates that will remind her days gone by!

3. Gardening gloves: £6. www.cathkidtson.co.uk. 08450 262440. Help your mum protect her hands while she weeds the garden with these floral gloves.

4. Little rose manicure set: £12. ww.cathkidston.co.uk. 08450 262440. Help those hands recover after the rigours of gardening (with or without gloves!).

5. Marks & Spencer English All-Butter Fudge: £2.99. Available from M&S stores. Bargain!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Barclays Golden Isa

Barclays Bank has the best-buy rate Isa of 3.61%. It compares favourably with the average rate of 3.2% for fixed-rate Isas, but this one is a variable rate, so it could come tumbling down any day.

The bank has had some administrative problems with its Isa application processing, and some savers even lost out on their tax free allowance in the year. Barclays says it has fixed the problems, with an automated account opening process.

It does not allow transfers in, so you will have to find new money to fund this Isa.

It’s worth considering but be aware of its variable nature.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Euro will plunge "within months"

On 12 January we wrote that the pound could recover against the euro in time for the summer holidays.

At the time the pound was worth 1.127 euros and $1.52. Now it is worth 1.086 euros and $1.38. So things have got worse.

Yet, an article in Monday's Telegraph sounded an optimistic note for the pound against the euro - just as we previously said.

According to the article, spread betters are betting on a correction to the euro in the coming weeks. David Buik of BGC Partners said: "Quite a significant correction in the euro is coming in the next few months. The European Central Bank is behind the curve in getting to grips with its economic problems." The euro, he went on to say, was at risk due to the slowness of European policymakers to react to the recession.

Don't buy your euros yet if you don't have to. Wait for it, but the pound could be on its way back.

FTSE 100 Still Unstable

The simple conclusion after two months of watching the FTSE 100 is that the time wasn't - and isn't yet - right to invest in the stock market.

On 9 January the FTSE 100 was at 4,505.
A month later it had dipped to 4,291.87 (down 4.7%).

We hoped it would go back up, but no ... by Friday 9 March it had sunk to a new low of 3,530.73 - lower than the "low point" we quoted for November 2008. That is down 17.73% on the month, and 21.63% down over the two months.

The conclusion has to be that, at the moment, the market is too unstable to invest.

Yes, it may pick up from here, but the banking malaise continues to drag down the stock market, so there could be more bad news around the corner.

We'll stop pretending to invest, but keep a monthly watching brief for now.

Please note that this is for discussion only, and nothing in this blog constitutes advice.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Free DVDs with this weekend's Telegraphs

If you like a good film, then the Daily and Sunday Telegpraph newspapers may be worth an investment this weekend.

On Saturday the paper is giving away two free DVDs. These are:

- The Ipcress File, with Michael Caine
- A Room With a View, with Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham-Carter Daniel Day-Lewis

On Sunday, the two give-away films are:

- The Fourth Protocol, Michael Caine again
- Cabaret, with Liza Minnelli and Michael York

Check the cost of the paper before you buy. Is it worth for you?

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Great holiday bargains

If you're thinking you need a holiday, but you're not sure where to go, why not look for a bargain? Travel companies are beginning to enter a price war and you could benefit.

Reductions of up to 40 per cent have been seen on flights, hotels and holidays, with some Mediterranean hotel rooms available for just £5 a night!

Some examples are:
- Eurostar tickets cut by 40 per cent over the next few months to £49.
- Flights to Sydney with Cathay Pacific for £529 from June.
- Flights to Dubai £40 cheaper (15 per cent) than a year ago.
- Three-star hotels for two in Corfu, Turkey, Greece, Mallorca for £5 a night in May.
- Val d'Isere chalet with SkiTotal for £345 pp in March.

The bargains are out there. Trawl the internet and see what you can find that suits you, but aim at the bottom dollar - and keep it nice and low!