How Shiply can help you this December

Shiply can help with a range of challenges you might face over the Christmas period, from the all-important build up, right through to the new year. With savings of up to 75%, Shiply can help save you money during what is typically an expensive time of year, for a range of different services like moving home, helping with those bulky furniture arrangements and getting those all-important presents to your loved ones.

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Coming home from uni?

If you have to leave your halls of residence at the end of every term, you might need some help getting everything home. It’s easy to find a removal service on Shiply, and if you need help packing and unpacking, our transport providers can quote for these services, too. Perfect for if you’ve asked enough favours this year from your parents or friends or if your uni is particularly far from home.

Christmas presents

You’ve found the perfect gift for Mr or Ms Impossible-to-buy-for, BUT you’ve discovered that the item is collection only and is to be collected from the other side of the country…or somewhere just too difficult to get to. Many of Shiply’s customers find it super-easy to find a courier to get you that perfect gift, whether it’s coming from the next village or the next country. Shiply is also an eBay-compatible application so you don’t need to put in ebay item details manually – just put the eBay URL into our form and the fields will populate automatically with item information and photos to save you time.

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Moving home?

Have you recently bought a new home that you’re going to be moving into in time for the arrival of Father Christmas? The combination of the pressure of Christmas festivities alongside what is notoriously one of the most stressful things you can do could easily be calmed by hiring a helping hand, be it just a man with a van to get your things from A to B with a bit of heavy lifting or whether you’d like someone to take care of the whole process while you’re at work, including packing, unpacking, assembling and disassembling furniture and appliances. We can even help with pets!

Preparing your home for Christmas

Preparing your home for Christmas day can involve a lot of organisation and hard work. Maybe your Christmas tree is too heavy to carry yourself or you could do with some help having your decorations delivered as well as installing them at home. Just list your requirements on Shiply if you think it’ll be difficult to do alone this year.
Not enough chairs for everyone to sit round the table? A man and van service can help you gather up those spare chairs from loved ones’ homes so you can all be comfortable on Christmas day.

Tesla reveals electric ‘Tesla Semi’ to rival diesel trucks

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Tesla has revealed their new electric articulated lorry, the Tesla Semi, which they hope will be a replacement to the diesel-guzzling trucks currently in use by 3.5 million truck drivers in the US. It is the first electric truck to be revealed amongst several companies making similar electric vehicles including Daimler AG, Volkswagen, Cummins and Nikola.

CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, revealed that the Tesla Semi can also reach an impressive speed; an empty trailer can go from 0 to 60mph in just 5 seconds! The truck will have a central driving position (not on one side like we currently drive) with touch screens on either side of the driving seat. The truck will also have cameras instead of wing mirrors.

Safety is a big concern for Tesla. The truck will come with an enhanced version of Tesla’s current semi-autonomous driving system called AutoPilot which is installed in all Tesla vehicles – this gives them self-driving capability which is safer than human driving. The new truck is also said to have lane-keeping technology and be impossible to jackknife.

For truck drivers, the range the truck can travel on one charge is an important factor. The Tesla semi will be able to travel 500 miles on one charge whilst full and at highway speeds. Despite this impressive range for such a large vehicle, this is still significantly less than the range of current diesel trucks on a tank of diesel, with refilling much faster than recharging a truck’s battery.

No price has yet been revealed, but Tesla says that the vehicle will work out cheaper per mile (about 20%) than a diesel equivalent once all costs are accounted for including fuel and maintenance.

Do you think the Tesla Semi is enough to convert diesel truck drivers?

Road Safety Week 2017

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The last week in November this year (20-26) marks Road Safety Week 2017, an annual event arranged by the charity Brake, to raise awareness of the dangers of the road and to spread life-saving information about how to be safer in and around road traffic.

‘Speed Down Save Lives’

The theme for this year’s Road Safety Week is ‘Speed Down Save Lives’, a campaign encouraging drivers to think about their driving speed and it’s effect on stopping distances. Modern cars can get up to high speeds in very short amounts of time, and this year’s campaign is committed to raising awareness amongst drivers that it’s their responsibility to know how fast they’re going and how long their vehicle will take to stop if they see a hazard in the road ahead.

How can I get involved?

If you want to join in the campaign for safer roads this year, you can apply for a free action pack either as an individual campaigner or as an organisation like a school or community.

If you’d like to raise a road safety complaint in your community, Road Safety Week is a perfect time to do this – take a look at the Brake charity website to find out how to organise petitions, hold a demonstration or how to go about getting speed limits queried in your area.

If you’d like to contribute to this fantastic cause you can do so in a variety of ways, whether it’s a bake sale, run a race for Brake or just give a donation. Brake will be collecting money throughout the week across the country: London 20th Nov, Birmingham 21st Nov, Huddersfield 22-23 Nov and Leeds 24th Nov.

What will you be doing for Road Safety Week?

Have a Green Halloween

Halloween is a time for fun, but the costumes, pumpkins and sweet wrappers can make it a breeding ground for waste. If you’re worried about contributing to the amount of plastic filling our bins this halloween, there are a few things you can implement to keep waste (and cost!) down without affecting the fun.

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Walk, don’t drive

When you’re trick or treating, stay close to home and avoid getting in the car. Take a walk in your area instead – try and organise trick-or-treating in a group so you feel safe and can have fun chatting on the way round the houses.

Make or borrow your costume

If you’ve got some time, why not try making costumes from materials you have in the home? This obviously takes some time, but don’t be afraid to keep it simple and work with what you have. If you’ve not got time to make a costume, try visiting eBay for second hand costumer or visit a local charity shop. As well as reusing a costume, it’ll probably save you money, too!

Use up the pumpkin

Many of us buy a pumpkin to carve for a window display and typically throw most of it away. Next time you’re digging out a pumpkin’s insides, have a think about how you can prevent throwing it away and putting it to good use. You can make soup, or use the pumpkin in the same way you would use butternut squash in recipes, and you can of course roast and flavour the seeds how you’d like for a healthy snack!

Make treats

If you’re going to a halloween party, consider baking something to take with you rather than purchasing cakes. By doing this you can cut down on sugar and cater to dietary requirements, and you’ll have fun getting creative in the kitchen. An added bonus is that you’ll know exactly what ingredients you’ve used so you know there won’t be too many nasties in there!

Avoid plastic bags

When you’re trick-or-treating, consider taking a reusable bag for collecting your treats rather than purchasing a plastic halloween-themed vessel, only to be thrown away days later once the sweets have gone. You can decorate your bags to make them fit the theme (hint: an orange Sainsbury’s bag is a very convenient colour for halloween!)

Happy Halloween!

Tips for drivers as the colder weather approaches

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Consider getting your vehicle serviced

If there’s something wrong with your vehicle already, the cold weather may exacerbate an existing problem. If your MOT is due soon, take a close look at the advisories and think about what effect that colder weather could have on them if left unfixed.

Keep warm clothes in your boot

If you’ll be driving a lot of long-distance journeys in the next few months, you might want to keep a bag in your vehicle with a change of clothes, or an extra jumper or blanket. This will keep you warm if you were to break down as you wait for a recovery vehicle to reach you. This is particularly important if you’ll be driving through rural areas or on days where there may be limited recovery available (eg. Christmas Day).

Consider getting a dash cam

Even if you know you’re a careful driver, there could be a time where you are involved in an accident and there are no witnesses, and it’s your word against theirs. Having recorded footage on a dash cam could help to allocate accountability with confidence. This is something to consider using all year round, but icy or slippery conditions can make accidents more likely and dash cams more likely to be needed.

Check your tyres regularly

Tyres should always be checked regularly, so make sure you keep this up. Tyres without sufficient tread depth will be especially unhelpful in snowy or icy conditions and it’s good tyres that prevent slipping and sliding.

Stay safe this winter!

Watch out for the T-Charge!

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On 23 October, the T- Charge (Toxicity Charge) will be introduced in London for certain vehicles. Any vehicle that doesn’t meet the minimum euro emission standards will need to pay an extra fee of £10 when entering the congestion charge zone in Central London (unless you are a resident, where a discount is available).
The T-charge comes as another way to tackle air pollution in central London, by discouraging those with older and more polluting vehicles adding to the poor air quality that current exists in the capital. The pollution level is currently much higher than it should be, and considered to be a ‘health crisis’ by London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, with forty thousand deaths in London per year linked to emissions from traffic and factories.

The T-charge kicks off the move towards London becoming an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which, when has been implemented, will mean the end of the T-Charge.

How can I avoid the charge?
Check your vehicle’s V5C to find out your Euro emission standard and once you know, take a look at the table on the TfL website to see if you’ll be affected. If you’re going into the T-charge/congestion charge zone regularly for work, you may want to consider changing your vehicle (if possible), which may work out cheaper in the long run, or you may want to consider taking a different route that avoids the central area.

If you’re driving into the T-charge zone for leisure, public transport is a much better option (if you can). It’ll work out much cheaper, will lower your emissions and you’re likely to get to your destination(s) much faster.
The T-charge will be in operation on weekdays 7am – 6pm.

Will you be affected by the T-Charge? What changes will you be making to avoid the charge?

World Car Free Day 2017

This Friday (22 September) is World Car Free Day, a day where many cities across the world encourage people to not use the cars for a full day, swapping them for greener alternatives like walking or cycling.

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Last year (September 2016) Paris joined the list of cities involved in World Car Free Day, alongside Jakarta, Brussels, Kuala Lumpar, Copenhagen and Bogota, who totally ban cars from certain roads in their city centres. This allows them to see what their cities could be like without cars, and with significantly less pollution.

Following the recent announcement of banning the manufacture of petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK from 2040, perhaps days like World Car Free Day will be introduced to London, something that was hinted at by Mayor Sadiq Khan according to an article in the Guardian a year ago.

A poll by YouGov in 2016 showed that 63% of Londoners were supportive of motor vehicles being banned from the central third of the city, and 58% were supportive of having a ban every month! Sadly, London has yet to get involved, but smaller areas across the UK are having their own World Car Free Day, including Shoreditch, London and Cardiff, Wales.

Is your local area taking part in World Car Free Day? How will you be getting around?

Easy ways to cut the cost of your transport

Drive more efficiently

Next time you get in the car, think about the way you drive. Do you accelerate hard after stopping, or do you gradually increase your speed? Do you brake late when approaching congestion and red traffic lights, even though you’ve seen it coming from far away? Do you check your tyre pressure regularly or only inflate when they’re noticeably low? Do you have your car regularly serviced or do you just do the bare minimum legal requirement?
Driving efficiently could save you money. If your car has the functionality, change the settings so you can monitor your miles per gallon (mpg) so you can get an idea of how efficient your driving is.
The MPG of a car varies depending on several factors, but you can increase the MPG by driving more smoothly (slowing down by allowing the car to come to a stop rather than braking – if safe to do so), accelerating slowly, and regularly servicing your car so that it’s always running in good condition.
For cheaper fuel, use websites like so you know which is the cheapest garage in a certain area, and remember that motorway service stations tend to charge more than local ones. Filling up in the town near you might be significantly cheaper than pulling into a services (if you can wait!)

Split Ticketing

Use split ticketing apps for your train journeys to find the cheapest way to get to your destination. Split ticketing works on the concept that many journeys are actually cheaper by buying separate tickets for parts of the same journey, rather than buying one ticket for the whole journey. For example, sometimes it may be cheaper to buy a single from London Euston to Milton Keynes and a single from Milton Keynes to Birmingham rather than a ticket from London Euston to Birmingham. There are a few apps and websites like Ticket Clever and Train Pro that can automatically work out the cheapest ticket combinations without affecting your journey. Give it a go next time and see how much you can save.

Use cashback/reward sites

If you do end up paying more money than you’d like for your transport, you might as well be rewarded for it somehow. There are several credit cards that reward spending, like the British Airways AMEX card or the Virgin Atlantic White card. There are also cashback websites that give cashback when booking through companies including National Express and Virgin Trains like TopCashBack and QuidCo to make your purchases work harder.
Supermarket loyalty schemes Nectar and Clubcard also allow you to swap your points for non-supermarket related benefits, like giving you money off train or coach tickets.

Good luck and happy travelling!

Food and plastic don’t have to go together

Plastic is a hot topic at the moment. One of the ways to cut down on plastic use is by minimising how much plastic you use when it comes to food. Do you order a lot of takeaways/deliveries with lots of plastic tubs? Do you take restaurant leftovers home in plastic? There are some simple ways to keep enjoying your food without increasing the amount of plastic that’s contributing to the mountain of tupperware and ‘bag for life’s stacked up in your kitchen.

Eco your containers

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There are companies popping up everywhere now that are focussed on cutting down our use of plastic. Elephant Box is a company that makes metal lunchboxes and related products, so you can take your lunch to work without using plastic in a container that’ll last longer and is easy to clean and chuck into a bag. Putting your sandwich in there means you won’t need to keep replacing your less durable, plastic lunchboxes.
Plastic water bottles are a menace to the ocean, and are also said to be a bacteria-fest if reused too many times, too! To avoid getting in situations where we’re thirsty when we’re out and about and have no choice but to buy one, it’s worth carrying around a metal or glass water bottle that you can take with you everywhere and can be used safely time and time again.

Take a leftovers box with you

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If you often end up unable to eat your entire meal in a restaurant, consider taking your own container in case you need to take some leftovers home. Otherwise you might end up with yet another plastic container to add to your already large stash. If you’ve got a few to spare, take one with you and ask the serving staff to put it in your own container. A bonus is that you’ve already got your lunch packed for the next day!

The UK Government’s 2040 Ban

The Government announced last week that no petrol or diesel cars will be made from the year 2040, as part of the £3bn clean air strategy. This is part of a longer term goal for almost every car on the road will be zero emission by 2050.

At the moment, many cities in the UK are constantly breaching the legal limit of nitrogen dioxide levels (which is 40 micrograms per cubic metre), with air pollution believed to be the cause of premature deaths totalling around 40,000 every year.

Unfortunately there are no plans to introduce scrappage schemes to eliminate current diesel cars on the road at this stage, which has come as a bit of a blow to diesel drivers.

Hopefully in the near future electric cars will be more affordable than they are now, and that there will be more of a suitable infrastructure in place to allow drivers to charge up during long distance journeys. There have already been significant upgrades to the possible distances that current electric cars can travel (The Tesla Model X can reach up to 295 miles on one charge!*). Although, even the most enthusiastic about electric vehicles may struggle to afford the high price tags of the vehicles currently on offer.


What do you think of the 2040 cut off point?