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How to give your family and your wallet a holiday

How to save money when booking a holiday in the UK

Whether it’s the weather at the time of reading this or you just want to get away, everyone loves saving money! Some money bloggers reveal the best ways to save money for essentials or the treats!

Trees and grass

Use the Tourist Information UK website for ideas of where to go.

Booking your holiday in the UK

Emma Bradley from Mums Savvy Savings advises that as well as picking up the ‘phone to negotiate the best prices, we should book breaks away using cashback sites. For example, Topcashback* is currently giving up to 5% in cashback for Haven holidays and up to 6% for Park Holidays and up to 12% for hotel chains and booking sites. Andrew Young from Capital Matters goes further, advising that you shouldn’t just check comparison and cashback sites, but check your credit cards too. Amex, for example, offer quite generous cashback amounts on certain travel purchasing. And you can use this on top of normal comparison/cashback discounts if you just use the card and meet the requirements.

Other credit cards give cashback for any purchases too. Reward points for supermarket shopping and credit cards can be used to make huge savings on holiday flights, ferries and hotels.

Friends and Family holidays in the UK

Family Budgeting blogger Becky Goddard-Hill believes you get the best of everything if you involve your friends around the country! Visiting and reciprocating will not just give you a meal and a room for the night but you get to catch up with old pals, introduce their kids to yours and find the best top tips for fun in the local area. Jane Wallace from Skinted Minted Mum chips in that you can share the babysitting and not have to pay for the service! She adds “Relatives are good for this too. If children have friends on site it makes rainy days less boring and less expensive finding something to do.”

If you normally buy each other Christmas presents then use the visits to include meals out, tickets etc. which can be part of the holiday but can also be your Christmas present giving sorted!

Hotels/Guest houses in the UK

Michelle Bailey from Time and Pence adds “Take an electric coolbox to keep in your room. Perfect to keep snacks and drinks fresh and cool and will save you a fortune!”

If you get complimentary toiletries and don’t use them, take them, as they are provided as part of your stay! You can always donate them to a foodbank or charity.Tress small tentHow to prevent problems when booking a holiday let (plus what to do when things go wrong)

Be prepared and do your research when looking for a break in the UK

Jennifer Dixon from My Mummy Pennies suggests you “Check out the local council website for the area in which you’ll be staying. They will usually list free events and activities that you can attend with the children rather than paying out for theme parks and attractions.”

Ask around and search the Internet for forums, reviews and recommendations for lesser known and cheaper alternatives to popular destinations such as Center Parcs.

Saving money on travelling in the UK

Kaya La Roche from the artfully named Earning by the Sea lives in Margate and often takes the family on a camping holiday in Whitstable which is less than 20 miles away! “Why spend your time travelling when you can spend that time enjoying the change of scenery?”, she questions, continuing “Other people holiday in Whitstable why shouldn’t we?! We get a swimming pool, clubhouse, beautiful beaches and the full holiday experience with none of the travel costs, or long travel times in the car with kids!”

The Money Whisperer Emma Maslin loads up the car with items to save money on holidays. She has a plug-in coolbox for picnics, takes disposable BBQs and loads the bikes on the bike rack, so there are no hire costs when they get there. She takes an inflatable dinghy, boogie boards and sandcastle-making equipment (!) so she doesn’t have the children pleading to buy things at the expensive beachfront shops.

Don’t forget to fill up the car with fuel near your home because service stations on motorways or in the countryside can be hugely more expensive! You can use the site Petrol Prices to plan where to fill up on long journeys.

Guide to saving money when getting to the airport

Camping in the UK tips

Charlotte Jessop from Looking After Your Pennies and her family are big fans of camping. They choose camp sites that have access to lakes and rivers so they can swim, row and cycle with beautiful scenery. They go to sites where they are allowed to make fires, have barbecues and cook all their own food. “It all helps to keep the kids entertained AND the cost low”, she enthuses.

Hayley Muncey from Miss Many Pennies finds booking a lodge/holiday cottage/mobile home ideal. “It gives you more room for the kids to play, saves on eating out and you can also buy boxes of ice-creams to pop in the freezer. That way the kids still get the treat but for a fraction of the cost of buying individual ones!”

Your Money Sorted blogger Eileen Adamson agrees. “We have had some amazing, fun holidays staying in static caravans all over the country. Choose a gorgeous area and you have a fantastic base for exploring, and you can use as much or as little of the site’s facilities as you choose.”

House sitting/swapping in the UKHouse at top of picture, house at bottom "House sitting, swaps and other ideas for saving money on holidays

Catherine Morgan from The Money Panel got a weekend away last year in Norfolk by house swapping with another family. Catherine filled up their fridge and the house swappers filled up theirs in return.

Tim Mitchell who writes the Money Engineer, has house sat twice for his parents while they went on holiday. There were several National Trust owned places near them so they became NT members in those two years and so had lots of discounted days out.

Your rights when booking and taking holidays in the UK

Well, it wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t write something up on your rights would it?!

“You have a contract with any trader to whom you have given money. So, if you hire a caravan, book a campsite or hotel they must be as described, of satisfactory quality and where a service is provided, must be carried out with reasonable skill and care. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you this protection. If the trader is in breach you will be entitled to a full or partial refund, depending on what went wrong.”

Look out timber frame on a beach "researching, booking and complaining aabout holidays and flights. Tips, ideas and your rights"


See All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights for more posts on how to save money on holidays and your rights.



sun setting over water consumer rights, ways to shop around, discounts, alternatives, thinking beyond and searching



Travelling abroad money saving tips





Complaining in hotels covered on Rip Off Britain:

Rip Off Britain 10/05/2017 How to complain about hotels

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For information, stories, advice, consumer rights and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!




* tell a friend link. So I’ll make a few pennies if you click on that link and sign up. Then you need to get your own link and make a few pennies when people sign up using your link!



Latest News

Should Lush stick to selling soap?

Lush #spycops campaign the rights and wrongs

What do we think of the Lush campaign? Does it help to highlight an important issue? Is it putting staff in danger? Does it undermine the police? Is it ill thought out? Does it make for good PR for Lush? Perhaps it’s all of these things?

The Lush campaign

The recent Lush campaign saw store windows decorated with posters and the #spycops hashtag and fake police tape with the words “Police have crossed the line” emblazoned on it. It was due to run until 17 June but the BBC has reported (Lush drops ‘anti-spy cops’ campaign) that the campaign was ended on 8 June 2018 by Lush “for the safety of our staff”.

Lush poster as Twitter feed header "Paid to lie #spycops" picture of man

But it continued less than a week later.

13 June 2018 The Guardian reported that Cosmetics chain Lush resumes undercover police poster campaign. Lush put up new posters in their windows without pictures.

Its Twitter account was limited to the one tweet:

Others tweeted the posters:

What is all this #spycops about?

 In 2015 an Inquiry into undercover policing was established. Its purpose is

… to investigate and report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968. The Inquiry will examine the contribution undercover policing has made to tackling crime, how it was and is supervised and regulated, and its effect on individuals involved – both police officers and others who came into contact with them.”

In brief, undercover police officers infiltrated peaceful campaign organisations and became involved in the lives of members of those organisations. Activists unwittingly found themselves in relationships with undercover police officers. Some even had children as a result of those relationships.

When this was discovered, activists reacted with anger and horror. One said that it was “like being raped by the state”  Trauma of spy’s girlfriend: ‘like being raped by the state’ (Guardian)

Legal actions are ongoing from those affected by the undercover police scandal.

Lush is highlighting the issues around the Inquiry and the stories of those activists whose lives were damaged by undercover police behaviour which was approved and funded by the police and by the Home Office.

shop window paid to lie poster #spycopsWhat Lush says about its campaign

Faced with widespread criticism of branding all police officers as spies and liars, Lush released a statement. It starts “This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed.  We fully support them in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need.

This campaign is not about the real police work done by those front line officers who support the public every day – it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed.”

Those affected by the undercover police officers

The Guardian published an article with a long list of MPs, representatives from unions, justice campaigns etc.

As victims of spycops, we stand with Lush in campaign for full disclosure 74 victims of secret undercover police operations, lawyers gave a joint statement saying “The cosmetics retailer Lush has used its facilities to help us as victims press for full disclosure and reform so that this never happens again….. This is not an attack on police; it serves to help all those in the police service who wish to uphold the highest standards of policing. For this we thank Lush for its support. We condemn those who have misrepresented Lush and our campaign and especially those who have sought to intimidate Lush staff.

and it published another article on freedom of speech:

I don’t like Lush’s #spycops campaign, but shutting it down is an abuse of power

Other MPs gave their support on Twitter:

After Lush closed down it’s campaign early, The Guardian published the story of the son of one of the victims.  As the son of an undercover cop, I support what Lush did. He talks about his loss of identity and the refusal of the police to help him. It’s very moving.

Whilst this all shows support of Lush, not all victims are supportive. BBC News online reported on one of the victims who had a baby by one of the officers, headlined “Lush ‘using me to sell soap’

The piece says: “Jacqui told BBC Radio 5 live that she felt her case was being “used to sell soap” and that the firm should have “had the courtesy to warn me” about the campaign.

She said: “I’d just like an apology from them.”

Jacqui said no-one from Lush had contacted her about the campaign and that she had received a barrage of calls since it was launched.”

What the police say about the Lush campaign

The Police Federation wrote an Open letter to the Advertising Standards Authority. In it the chairs of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Scottish Police Federation and the Federation for Northern Ireland said: “We have been contacted directly by hundreds of police officers from the four countries of the United Kingdom who, like us, find the campaign distasteful, offensive and consider it deliberately provokes an anti-police sentiment.”

They requested an apology from Lush.

But on the 2nd June 2018 the BBC reported (Dorset PCC supports Lush ‘spy cops’ campaign) that the  Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill described the infiltration of animal rights activists as “disproportionate and distasteful”.

“In short, I do support Lush in exposing this issue,” he added.

What an ex undercover spycop says

What the Advertising Standards Authority says about the Lush campaign

In a statement an ASA spokesperson said “We can confirm we received over 30 complaints about the Lush police campaign. The material displayed in the Lush shop window is not within our remit as it’s not a sales promotion. The online and social media entries don’t fall within our definition of advertising as set out in the Advertising Codes that online material must be ‘directly connected’ to the sale of goods and services.  Although this material on the website and Twitter page associates the Lush brand with the campaign, the opinions expressed are not directly connected to the sale of their products.”

It’s certainly advertising because it’s using a brand (Lush) to highlight an important and controversial issue. So whose remit is it to regulate this?

Marketing lessons from the Lush campaign?

What lessons can be drawn from a marketing point of view from this debacle?

  • Be really offensive and keep your brand in the news for ages, with positive or negative consequences.
  • Don’t run a campaign which you have to explain. Lush had to explain that they weren’t talking about all police officers. Not everyone knows about the undercover police issue and the picture states “paid to lie” with no reference to the whole story.
  • Think of your staff facing the backlash of your decisions. Many Lush staff had to face members of the public who were angry at the company’s handling of the issue.

What should Lush do now?

A PR disaster like this can cause serious damage to a brand if it is not properly handled. Perhaps Lush should now apologise to both sides of the debate and avoid getting involved in complex issues. It has returned to campaigning, perhaps being slightly less controversial, perhaps trying harder to explain the issue, but still without any apology?

The poster has a picture of a police officer with the slogan “paid to lie”. Does that indicate that they are calling all police liars? Despite what Lush says this is the message that has come across to anyone not fully aware of the inquiry.

What Lush co founder has to say

20 June 2018 The Guardian, in an article How the Lush founders went from bath bombs to the spy cops row, interviewed two of the co founders, Mark and Mo Constantine. In the article they say:

““I think we put a stick in a hornets’ nest and all the hornets came out and we got stung,” says Mark Constantine, one of Lush’s seven founders. “If you’ve put the stick in the nest you can hardly complain.””

There was a feeling that Lush was criticising the police as a whole. Were there things they could have done differently? “We worked with the groups and the victims and that [campaign] is what they wanted. They chose the words, the sentiment,” says Mark. He might have modified the campaign, but he felt it wasn’t up to the company to tell the victims what they could and couldn’t say. “It was a successful campaign. If we had done something that was less striking perhaps this issue wouldn’t have been so highlighted to people.””

“I thought it was unfortunate that it looked as if we were anti-police,” says Mo, “which had never been the intention.”

Over to you

Whilst I do think we need to raise awareness of the issues of what has gone wrong with the policy on police undercover investigations, was the original  Lush campaign the best way to do it? Is it much better now?  Is Lush insinuating all police are liars? Does it matter how it was done as it has made so many more people aware of the issues? Did you change your view?