Visit Turkey in style with the kids this summer

Families with children under five who have struggled to find a luxury tot-friendly resort in Turkey are now in luck, thanks to award-winning baby-and toddler-friendly holiday company, Tots To Travel.

Travel in luxury with your tots this year...

Travel in luxury with your tots this year…

Working in partnership with five-star multi award-winning Hillside Beachclub in Fethiye, Tots to Travel has expanded its exceptional villa and resort portfolio into Turkey for the very first time.

Using their expertise in creating tailored family holidays, Tots to Travel has helped create a range of extra benefits at this beautiful resort designed to make travelling with little ones a joy.

Because safety and luxury can go hand-in-hand, the family-friendly company has selected only the most appropriate accommodation best suited to very young

Family room with terrace

Family room with terrace

children: balconies, access, window security will all have been checked in person. Rooms are carefully chosen so that there is a separate living space allowing adults to unwind when the kids have gone to bed.

To save on parents’ much needed luggage allowance and reduce the stress of packing, Tots to Travel’s Essential Kit Guarantee has been introduced. This ensures all key baby provisions – from Blackout blinds to cots, hand blender to high chair – is provided on site. A Tots Toy Hamper has been added into all rooms, filled with age-appropriate toys for the under-fives.

Wendy Shand, Founder of Tots To Travel said: ‘We’re thrilled to extend our portfolio out to Turkey, at such a stunning and popular destination that offers the height of luxury. Our aim, as with all our villas and resorts, is to take as many of the stresses away from parents when going on holiday while not compromising on quality. This enables families peace of mind so they can relax and enjoy time together and takes the pressure off pre-holiday packing: so much of what you would normally take is already waiting for you!’

Hillside Beach Club has long been a favourite destination with families who have younger children over four. The choice of room type, range of restaurants, pools,

Kidside - Kids club for children aged 4 -7 years

Kidside – Kids club for children aged 4 -7 years

three private beaches, spa and wellness centre – even a floating cinema and a kids club – have made it a clear choice for families year after year. Wendy continues:‘we are the only company that have designed this offering at Hillside Beach Club for our youngest customers, at no extra cost. We know it’s going to be popular!’

Tots To Travel will be featuring three room types at Hillside Beach Club. The Hillside Family Suite with Terrace, which sleeps four in two bedrooms, plus one infant in a cot, starts at £1842pw. The Hillside Family Room with Terrace sleeps two in one bedroom, plus an infant in a cot, starts at £1474pw. The Hillside Family Room sleeps two in one bedroom, plus an infant in a cot and starts at £1474pw. All prices are on a full-board basis. Flights are not included.

To book Hillside Beach Club, or any of the five-star resorts and villas in the Tots To Travel collection, visit: www.totstotravel.co.uk. Or call the team of family travel experts on: 0800 014 2770.

Peaceful protest scheduled against Trafford budget cuts – make your voice heard

A group of Trafford residents opposed to the Council’s proposed £24m budget cuts are holding a peaceful protest outside Trafford Town Hall at 6pm on Wednesday 18th February to coincide with the full budget meeting that evening.

Trafford Town Hall

Trafford Town Hall

Steven Lavery, from the group ‘Trafford Residents Against Cuts’ said: “This is crunch time for saving many vital public services and the voice of residents really does count. We have just seen the Council back down on their decision to cut some school crossing patrols, thanks to pressure from protesting parents. We need as many residents to show their support before we lose our children’s centres, disability services and more.

“We know that there are many people who want to voice their opposition but won’t be able to get to the Town Hall for the protest. You can still have a voice by joining our mass tweet at 6pm that night. Follow us on Twitter @TraffordAction for more details.”

TRAC have also launched an opinion poll to find out whether residents would consider paying more Council Tax in order to save some services. Steven says: “We know Council Tax is unpopular but £2 per household per week could put a real dent in the planned cuts. We’d love to know what residents think.”

Trafford Residents Against Cuts

Trafford Residents Against Cuts

Link to council tax opinion poll -                                                                           – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Trafford_Council_Tax

A Trafford service user is taking Trafford Council to court over the lack of choice offered to residents in the planned adult social care cuts. The Court Case will be heard on Monday 16th February at 10am at the Civil justice centre, Bridge Street, Manchester. Residents are welcome to attend.

TRAC have already handed a more than 2,000 signature strong ‘Save our Services’ petition to the Council. It is still open for anyone wanting to add their signature at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/tmbc-save-our-services

NEW RESEARCH REVEALS THE UK’S MOST LOVED (and hated) BRANDS

So it would appear that the UK has taken Amazon to heart, we have a love/hate relationship with Facebook and political parties get the ‘hate’ vote.

Amazon

Amazon – Internet Retail Giant we ApPear to Love

London ad agency, isobel, has conducted some timely research to establish the UK’s most loved (and unloved…) brands.

The survey, conducted in association with OnePoll, polled 1500 UK consumers (18+ and nationally representative), asking them to identify brands against a number of ‘love’ characteristics. The survey also asked respondents to identify those brands, if any, they hated.

Heinz - nation favourite

Heinz – nation favourite

Surprisingly, Amazon, the internet retail giant, is the UK’s most-loved brand polling almost half of the votes (48%); the next three places are taken by food stalwarts Cadbury, Walkers and Heinz with BBC1 demonstrating national affection in 5th.

The rest of the top 10 is occupied by Google (6th), Kellogg’s (7th), retailers Boots and Tesco (8th and 9th respectively) with ITV, the UK’s oldest commercial network, taking 10th spot.

Commenting on the Top 10, Paul Houlding, Managing Partner, isobel said:

“It would seem that longevity works wonders for most. All, bar two of the top 10, predate the 1960’s – with top honours going to Cadbury (1824). Affection, it seems, has been hard won. But it’s not just about affection, it’s about relevance and usefulness and what better proof of that formula than Amazon and Google. Brands that are useful to us, brands that make our lives easier, brands that do what they promise. The question is, can they keep it up? 170 years from now will they have been as resilient as Cadbury?”

With a general election less than three months away the UK’s political parties are firmly under the spotlight and keen to curry favour with the electorate.

However, the isobel Brand Love survey has revealed that the main political parties are amongst the most-hated brands in the UK.

UKIP, the controversial independent party, has been identified as the UK’s most hated brand polling almost one-third of the votes (30%) – closely followed by the Tories in 2nd place (27%) with Labour in 5th and the Lib Dems 6th.

The Top 10 ‘unloved’ brand list is completed by Marmite (3rd), Ryanair (4th), McDonalds (7th) and Starbucks (8th) with Facebook and KFC taking the last two

Love it or hate it?

Love it or hate it?

spots.

“It will come as no shock to anyone (least of all the politicians themselves) that the political parties are all in the same unloved boat” says Paul Houlding “but will it concern them? When it comes to polling day are we voting for the party we love or are we voting for the party of most use?”

Are we beginning to fall out of love with Facebook and Twitter?

The research has revealed that the UK has a love/hate relationship with Facebook, the social media giant.

The site, that has over 1 billion active users, polled 27% of the votes to take 15th place in the love stakes but also hit the hate highs with a top 10 ‘hate’ ranking of 9th.

Twitter has also failed to impress in the love stakes polling only 11% of the votes in 65th – one place ahead of Vodafone and two behind NatWest.

Paul Houlding said: “Social media changes by the second and consequently so does our relationship with it. Facebook, the one time newbie, is now the granddaddy. And there is the suggestion that we’re suffering from Facebook fatigue. Is it as exciting? Do I still need it or want it? And with cyberbullying and privacy issues an ongoing concern – perhaps it’s a social media platform we’re beginning to fall out of love with?”

Key findings:

· Gender divide: men vote for Walkers, women for Cadbury.

· Aldi makes the top 20

· BA takes top airline love honours with easyjet in 2nd – beating Virgin Atlantic in 3rd. Ryanair fails to show the love.

· Audi voted the UK’s most-loved car brand.

· Apple, which consistently tops consumer polls, disappoints in 35th place.

· Nationwide is the most-loved financial institution (44th) – one place behind Persil.

THE TOP 10 MOST-LOVED BRANDS:

1 Amazon

2 Cadbury

3 Walkers

4 Heinz

5 BBC1

6 Google

7 Kellogg’s

8 Boots

9 Tesco

10 ITV

TOP 10 MOST-HATED BRANDS:

1 UKIP

2 Conservatives

3 Marmite

4 Ryanair

5 Labour

6 LibDems

7 McDonalds

8 Starbucks

9 Facebook

10 KFC

 

Manchester features in New York Times travel list

The New York Times has singled out Manchester as the only UK entry in its highly-esteemed annual list of Places to Go 2015.

Manchester

Manchester skyline

The city ranks number 26 out of 52 destinations that the publication considers to be most worthy of travel from the United States. The list is an eclectic combination of lesser-known places as well as those that offer a new reason to visit in 2015.

The Whitworth

The Whitworth

Citing ‘a flurry of cultural openings’ including the Whitworth, HOME and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, the city’s listing suggests that 2015 will be the year that Manchester ‘shows off its sophisticated side’. It also acknowledges the significant number of unique hotels getting ready to open, most notably Hotel Football.

Commenting on the announcement Nick Brooks-Sykes, director of tourism at Marketing Manchester, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to see Manchester being recognised in this way, in what is set to be an exceptional year for cultural tourism. Marketing Manchester has been courting the US market through promotional activities and campaigns for many years so this is a real coup and we hope that it will inspire a new wave of travellers to discover the city.

“In addition to the culturally significant moments described in the listing, Manchester will also enjoy landmark events including the fifth Manchester International Festival, Manchester Pride’s 25th anniversary and a leg of the Rugby World Cup. It’s also the 20th anniversary of the Manchester Arena which Billboard magazine recently recognised as the third busiest music venue in the world.”

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a fantastic

Hotel football taking shape

Hotel football under construction

accolade for Manchester. The combination of sporting, cultural and historical highlights taking place this year ensures that 2015 is set to be exceptional for this northern city. This is certainly reflected in the visitor figures as Manchester is the UK’s 3rd most visited city for international visitors (after London and Edinburgh) and received almost a million visitors (988,000) in 2013.”

A flurry of cultural openings fills the 2015 calendar of this now edgy city, beginning with the completion of the Whitworth, a ₤15-million renovation and expansion of the former Whitworth Art Gallery into its adjoining park with an art garden and sculpture terraces in February. In the spring, the ₤25 million HOME, a film center and theater, will open. Last fall, the Regency-style former home of the 19th-century writer Elizabeth Gaskell, known to her publisher, Charles Dickens, as “Scheherazade,” opened as a visitor attraction. But it’s not all high culture. This soccer stronghold will be home to Hotel Football, opening in March next to the Old Trafford stadium. The hotel, backed by five former Manchester United players, is one of four new boutiques in the pipeline.

To view the list of ’52 places to go in 2015′ click here :)

BREAKING NEWS: Cheese Sandwich Consumption hits all time low

A Great British classic, the traditional cheese sandwich, is in steady decline according to a recent survey of 2,000 adults.

anchor+cheese

The survey, conducted by Yougov and commissioned by Anchor, looked into the nation’s eating habits and discovered that although we place cheese as our favourite nostalgic sandwich, we just aren’t tucking into them that often. In fact, 55% of those surveyed had not eaten a cheese sandwich during the past week.

BRITAIN’S TOP NOSTALGIC SANDWICHES
1. Cheese (21%)
2. Egg and Cress (17%)
3. Ham (14%)
4. Corned Beef (11%)
5. Jam (6%)

And it looks like the younger generation have forgotten how great tasting a cheese sandwich can be, as only 13% of 18 -24 year olds have eaten one in the last week compared to a quarter of 45-54 year olds.

There’s also a north south divide when it comes to tucking into our favourite lunchtime sandwich with 50% of northerners enjoying a cheese sandwich in the last week, vs. only 35% of Londoners.

Louise Thornton from Anchor said: “It’s a real shame that the cheese sandwich is in decline. It’s a deliciously simple pleasure that’s easy to make, cheap to create and so a perfect treat. We can’t wait to remind the nation what they are missing out on during our tour of the UK.”

Anchor Cheddar is going on tour to 100 locations across the UK from 6th February,campaigning to get the British public supporting the classic cheese sandwich once again.

Visit www.facebook.com/anchordairy to follow the tour and #getonboard with their campaign.

Visit http://www.facebook.com/anchordairy to follow the tour and #getonboard with their campaign.

Trafford Residents Urged To Join Month Of Peaceful Protests

With little over a month to go until the Council meets to discuss the proposed £24 million worth of budget cuts, a group of local residents are  urging people to join them in protests to save vital services.

Residents at the last peaceful protest

Residents at the last peaceful protest

Stephen Lavery, from Trafford Residents Against Cuts (TRAC), the group behind December’s peaceful protest outside the Town Hall, said: “If these cuts go through, families, young people and the disabled in Trafford will lose vital services. We are not talking ‘nice to haves’ here, we are talking Sure Start centres, school crossing patrols, youth centres and £3.7 million from the learning disability budget – the kind of services people rely on every day.

“We are not radical activists here, just ordinary residents trying to save

TRAC are urging residents to join the protest

TRAC are urging residents to join the protest

services which are being hit hard by the fallout from the banking crisis. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been on a protest in your life, this is about us as local people looking out for our community. The failing banks were bailed out to the tune of billions of pounds. We don’t want our successful services to pay the price.”

Leading up to the budget Council meeting on Wednesday 18th February when these cuts are to be debated, three protests are planned to to take place:

From 8:15am on Tuesday January 20th, protest to save the School Crossing at the main pedestrian lights on Chester Road in Gorse Hill.

From 8:20am on Tuesday January 20th, protest to save the School Crossing at Washway Road/Eastway in Sale.

Main protest against the cuts, from 5pm on Wednesday January 21st, outside the Town Hall on Talbot Road to coincide with the Executive and Council meetings. TRAC will be handing in a petition against the cuts with over 2,000 signatures.

Sarah Haughey, member of TRAC said: “Come along, bring your children, your loudest voice, anything you have to make a noise – raid the kids’ toy box if you need to. After the recent accident in Sale where a lollipop man was hit by a car, the Council has to think again about the risks of making these cuts.”

TRAC are also planning a further ‘We Love Trafford’ protest on Valentines weekend, starting at Stretford Library and ending at the Town Hall and will release more details soon.

Trafford Town Hall

Trafford Town Hall

Max Branning’s ‘car clocking con’ could get him some serious time

HPI are highlighting the Dangers of Buying a Clocked Car on the back of a popular soap storyline.

Don't copy Max - Be aware of ALL the facts

Don’t copy Max – Be aware of ALL the facts

HPI, the provider of the HPI Check, is warning used car buyers to beware of fraudsters who turn back the clock on a vehicle’s mileage, as highlighted in

Max Branning

Max Branning

the current EastEnders storyline. Motor dealer Max Branning and car mechanic, Ben Mitchell have struck a deal to ‘clock’ cars that Max is currently selling from the used car lot ‘Deals on Wheels’.

In reality, 1 in 20 vehicles checked by HPI every day has a mileage discrepancy.

On average, a clocked car could cost an innocent buyer £1,497 more than its true value and, following the EastEnders spotlight on the practice of car clocking, HPI is urging people looking to buy used cars that they make sure they know the hidden history by visiting www.hpicheck.com before parting with any money.

Neil Hodson, Managing Director for HPI said: “Clocking is not just a TV soap storyline, it’s a very real threat to car buyers. Interestingly, altering a car’s mileage is not illegal but not declaring that mileage change to a potential buyer when selling on the vehicle definitely is, as highlighted in Britain’s favourite soap. Sadly, true life unscrupulous sellers see the clocking of a vehicle as an easy way to raise its price and make some extra cash by putting thousands of pounds onto the price tag.”

HPI is continuing the battle against so-called ‘clockers’ with its ePetition calling to close down mileage corrections firms that are believed to be fuelling fraudulent activity. Mileage correction firms claim to offer a service to amend a vehicle’s mileage for legitimate reasons; however a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OfT) concluded that there were very few legitimate reasons for a vehicle’s mileage to be altered, despite there being over 50 companies offering such a service in the UK*.

Deals on Wheels

Deals on Wheels

“Sadly, there are real life characters similar to the Brannings and Mitchell’s in the world, so beware. Ensuring you buy from a reputable car dealer is one way to avoid being caught out,” continues Neil Hodson. “But if you are buying privately we would always recommend carrying out an HPI Check, that way you can be sure the mileage is not going in reverse.”

HPI’S TIPS ON SPOTTING CAR CLOCKING *
Check the service history – Check the mileages displayed in the service history and look for service stamps from a genuine dealer. Ideally the service invoices will accompany the service history. If in doubt, contact the servicing dealers and check the mileages they recorded at the time of the service.
Speak to the previous keeper – Get in contact with the previous keeper (details can be found on the V5/logbook). They can identify the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it. Make sure this adds up with the current mileage.
Trust your judgement – Check who the car was last registered to on the V5. Was it registered as a company car but has done less than 12,000 miles per year? Or is it 15 years old with only 20,000 on the clock? Look for any evidence that indicates clocking.
Check the mileage – It has been known for clockers to wind back the mileage when you first view the vehicle and then return it to its original value once the transaction is complete. Make sure you check the mileage is the same when you pick up the vehicle.
Look for signs of wear and tear – Does the wear and tear on the vehicle match its mileage? Be careful to look out for signs such as worn seats, steering wheels and other vehicle parts. Also look out for brand new easily replaceable parts; the wear and tear should be consistent with the vehicle’s displayed mileage.
Conduct an HPI Check – HPI’s National Mileage Register has over 170 million mileages recorded on it, and can identify mileage discrepancies recorded against the vehicle.

*Many of these signs could be innocent, so look for more than one of the above as possible evidence of clocking.

Visit HPI at

Visit HPI By clicking This Link

 

Mum of Sophie Lancaster receives OBE at Buckingham Palace

The Price of Wales has honoured Sylvia Lancaster, founder of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in her daughter’s memory, for her work stamping out hate crime.

Sylvia OBE

Sylvia Lancaster and her OBE

 

The mother of Sophie Lancaster, murdered by a gang who attacked her and her boyfriend, said her OBE is a ‘validation’ of all those young people targeted for looking or dressing differently.

Sylvia Lancaster said: “He talked about Sophie, and about gang culture I’m sure she would be proud. To be here, and we can talk about it, cant we? –You’re here in Buckingham Palace – it’s very special…It’s not just about the work that we do, it’s a validation of the work that we do and of the alternative subcultures as well.”

Sophie was 20 when, in 2007, drunken teenagers in a park in Bacup attacked her and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby because of their alternative appearance.

Sophie and Rob

Sophie and Rob

Rob survived the attack but Sophie, who was kicked and stamped on as she cradled her injured boyfriend never regained consciousness and died in hospital 13 days later.

Sylvia said she hoped her charity, which aims to challenge prejudices towards people from alternative subcultures and campaigns on hate crime legislation, would offer troubled youngsters hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Made in Manchester Awards – Shortlist announced

The Made in Manchester Awards have revealed their shortlist ahead of the award ceremony in February 2015.

Made in Manchester Awards

Made in Manchester Awards

 

The awards celebrate the best of Manchester’s young talent in the financial and professional sectors, recognizing excellence in innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, training and development and leadership.

Spanning 10 categories across the financial and professional sectors and including theMade in Manchester awards Manchester Champion Award, entries will be judged by sector experts in a two-tier competition process; a written entry form and an interview for the shortlisted applicants, to ensure a ‘fair, credible and professional process’.

The award ceremony will take place on Thursday 5 February 2015 at the Hilton Manchester, Deansgate with tickets available for purchase at madeinmanchester.co.uk and a list of 2014 winners can be found here

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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