Business

Will 2016 be a year to save or invest?

For quite a while people have been holding back on their investments. Whether for a car, house, flat or just daily purchases.

A friend of mine has seen people reducing their day-to-day spending and for instance having a coffee with no pastry because budget was tight.

January and February 2016 are no exception.

Are people actually saving for 11 months in order to be able to buy want they want for the festive season (presents, drinks, food, holidays…etc). But, is Christmas not a bit too excessive making the following months a real struggle?!

Modern lifestyle is almost perceived as wanting to own everything. Is this to be seen as cool or wealthy?

A few years back (early 2000) not that many people had a mobile: it was rare. Nowadays, it is consider as strange, if you don’t have an email, computer and smartphone. You have to be “connected” with the latest technology and ideally got one of these wearables. How did we do previously?

Is social media draining our spare time or is it actually bringing something positive to our already busy schedules?

Families are rushing to work and school then it is a kind of a race to reach their beach holiday destination. And it is the same when it is time to go back to the daily routine. An endless and stressful pace for parents and children.

So, how can individuals find enough time to make an appointment for home/flat viewing when there isn’t already enough hours in the day to complete basic tasks?!

Investing in a property is also something which takes time. There are various stages and a couple of acquaintances managed to get their properties after 6 to 8 months following several appointments with solicitors and banks.

A neighbour who works part time hours has decided with his wife (and new born) to buy a house and a second hand car at the same time! In this particular case, investing to get on the property ladder seems to be as natural as buying a pint of milk. His wife is a trainee doctor… this is probably the reason why this young couple has been able to move forward after renting and sharing various accommodations.

The mortgage will be in the long term cheaper than the monthly rent. The most important is to be able to put the hefty deposit on the table and the rest is history!

Are we going to see more people buying a roof over their heads in 2016 or will it be a slow walk to the top of the mountain – as it has been for the past years?

your money in 2016

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Culture

Never too late for Christmas shopping

Each year it is the same rush, race, organized chaos for Christmas shoppers and sales assistants/shop owners.

For Londoners, the choice is vast.

Christmas shopping London

Christmas shopping London

There is also the alternative: the mighty internet… However, this is not the same experience.

There is a certain beauty to go out and to enter a carefully decorated store – whatever the size – to feel that unique atmosphere of Christmas.

For some reasons, people want to buy expensive and big presents. Sometimes it is a real headache for sellers and buyers. It is about guiding, giving support and directing customers towards the right gift. In other words, there is no room for error! No one wants to have their Christmas ruined.

Have people lost the actual sense of Christmas?

It can be worrying/surprising to see decorations for 25th December in some shops from late August.

Technology is taking over nearly everything. From toys for toddlers to gadgets for adults. There must be WiFi, USB and other mandatory connections. Some are after the latest tablet or perhaps the newcomer that are wearables!

So, now time is running out. Just a few days to go and some are literally running after work to some shops looking for THE present(s). Late night opening and Sunday extra hours seem not enough to reach the “golden ticket” which will make that December day special.

Stepping back from the mayhem, all can look slightly over the top. We do have 11 months to plan that day. But… the last minute thing is currently part of our “busy” lifestyle. How can we be so busy? Technology is supposed to help us to have a better and easier life?!

We certainly are spending too much time on social media sharing this and that with other followers, friends and contacts.

Let’s scrap this for a short time and concentrate on the most urgent task to complete then eventually “instagram” the moment. There is always a solution to purchase something for someone. What is important to remember: it is all about the thoughts and not the price tag or the size of the Christmas gift. Everyone is after a little something! It can be a book instead of a Kindle, a voucher instead of a garment.

In the recent years some people have decided to orientate their choices towards hotel stays or fishing holidays in order to give something different and usable whenever it is convenient for the recipients. Tastes are changing and receiving a pass for a holiday or leisure park is certain to please everyone and there is no worries to have about sizes, colours…etc

What does this mean?

No need to stress, rush and panic as in most cases the simpliest things will please everyone. A Christmas present is not just for Christmas… but for the entire year.

Keep Calm Christmas Poster

Keep Calm Christmas Poster

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Design

Royal cake: difficult to qualify this effort

Earlier this month (November 2015), a baker made a life size cake of Prince George.

The effort – according to the photographs – is immense.

Lara Mason (amateur baker) was more than happy to win a gold award for her royal patisserie.

The creation was 91 cm tall. Rather a big and challenging project, which has to be perfect when entering such competition.

It is obvious that making such baking effort must require full concentration and winning would be…the cherry on the cake.

What do you think of the result?

Prince George - Full Size Cake - Lara Mason

Prince George Full Size Cake by Lara Mason

 

Prince George and lookalike cake

Prince George and lookalike cake

What is intriguing is to see what is actually under the finished product.

Prince George cake - stages

Prince George cake – stages

This really shows the “artisan” work and certainly a few hours spent making the sponge sculpture.

To see more visit BBC News website HERE.

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