Family of three sold their house and all their furniture to go travel around Europe!
Meg and Josh sold all of their possession to buy a van and travel around Europe with their four-year-old daughter, Marlowe.
It was just months ago when she and her partner Josh sold their house and furniture. We are essentially living in a bathroom” says Meg Ward.
They packed up ‘13 years of family life’ into storage and headed off to tick off a bucket list dream.
Attracted to the sense of freedom that van life provides – Meg says it was also an opportunity to give daughter Marlowe new experiences.
“It’s quite daunting, selling all your things. But it’s exhilarating, the sense of freedom you get from it, it’s brilliant.”
Already huge in the USA and Australia, the trend has become increasingly popular in the UK, the pandemic possibly provided a boost!
According to Auto Trader the demand for commercial vehicles is up 57% year on year. In its recent survey, the advertising website found more than half of new van buyers said they wanted a van for personal use such as hobbies, traveling and converting.
The hashtag #vanlife on Instagram brings up more than 8 million posts, showcasing some of the trendiest, luxurious converted vans parked up in some breath-taking locations.
“There are two main customer bases,” says Emily Cotgrove, who runs Vanlife Conversions in Essex with her partner Oli, an Army veteran.
Present the couple with a commercial van and they will convert it for you for upwards of £28,000.
“One [market] is like the 25 to 35s, maybe they work remotely and want to travel while they work. They might see they can now work from anywhere. And the other target market are the older generation who
would have looked at motorhomes in the past.”
Emily believes that coronavirus has had a huge impact on the demand for recent van conversions as staycations and remote working boom. She says “Before Covid we had a 6-8 month waiting list, now we are fully booked up for 18 months.”
For many people paying for a conversion is simply unaffordable. Loads of people are choosing taking up the project themselves and convert them on a low budget.
As the UK prepares to face a winter of being cooped up indoors amid lockdown restrictions, the thought of spending any time in a even smaller space might not sound too attractive.
But on the flip side, perhaps van life chimes well with that shift to simpler living that many saw during the national lockdown? “It’s a nice exercise to live in a van and live with less,” says Meg. “I would definitely recommend it.”
Snow ‘likely’ to hit the North West as ’11-day flurry of snowfall’ forecast in UK from Thursday
Winter is well and truly here.
Temperatures are expected to continue to drop across the UK with freezing fog, gales of up to 50mph and some snow.
Although the Scottish Highlands are expected to see the worst of the predicted 11-day flurry of snowfall from Thursday, there is a possibility snow could fall ‘almost anywhere’ on the weekend, according to the Met Office.
From Thursday, BBC meteorologist Chris Fawkes, explains there will be murky weather over much of Britain. He said: “We start off with murky weather in the week ahead, but then outbreaks of rain will develop – winds strengthen as the week goes by, it will then turn colder, significantly, through Thursday and Friday.”
A Met Office spokesperson added: “We could see some snow falling in showers almost anywhere across the UK on Friday and next weekend.”
The Met Office forecast for the North West from this Friday, December 4th, until Sunday December 13th predicts ‘unsettled weather’, adding that ‘snow is likely’.
According to them: “The period will start unsettled across all parts of the UK, with areas of heavy rain and showers, locally of soft hail, sleet and snow likely, and possibly more widespread snow over some hills and mountains.
“Often windy, especially around coasts, but in quieter interludes overnight there will remain the potential for some patchy frost, and isolated mist and freezing fog.”
Heavy rain is set to hit the North West this lunchtime before the weather front moves in a southernly direction.
And be prepared to be de-icing your car again this week as the weather is set to get colder, potentially dropping to zero.
Northern England and Scotland are due 18 to 24 days of snow or ice this winter. Chills are more likely than past winters, according to the Met Office, who also predict snow flurries.
Leading bookmaker, Coral, said this could be the coldest December in the UK.
Toy store The Entertainer is closing for three days over Christmas to give staff a much-needed break
Popular toy chain The Entertainer is set to give its staff a three-day break over the festive period.
This year, the retailer will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and December 27th.
There are 171 The Entertainer shops across the UK and you will still be able to get last-minute prezzies on Christmas Eve between 8am and 5pm.
The toy store said it wants to give staff the time off to allow for quality time with families.
With Christmas Eve falling on Thursday this year, it means The Entertainer stores will not reopen again until December 28th, the following Monday.
The three day weekend will give staff ‘quality time’ with their families, and they will also be getting the additional day off as paid leave.
The Entertainer founder and executive chairman Gary Grant said: “Restrictions placed upon people over the last nine months have been incredibly testing.
“With the easing of restrictions for Christmas, we want to give our staff more opportunity to rest together with their families and loved ones for some quality time.”
The Entertainer joins Wickes, Home Bargains, Aldi, M&S and Pets at Home, who have all already confirmed they will remain shut on Boxing Day.
Andy Burnham calls on Greater Manchester MPs to unite and demand more support for businesses in the region
Mayor Andy Burnham has written an open letter to Greater Manchester’s MPs, urging them to demand a fair financial support package for business effected by the strictest tier system.
The letter, dated November 28th, begins with Burnham explaining he is seeking help in ‘raising issues of concern to us in next week’s debate’ in the House of Commons.
He goes on to explain that Greater Manchester being put into the strictest tier in the newly revised tier system – therefore putting Greater Manchester into its fourth month of continuous restrictions – was ‘disappointing, but it was perhaps not surprising’.
The infection rate in Greater Manchester remains above the average in England, putting significant pressure on hospitals across the region. However, it is falling at a rate faster than anywhere else in the UK, dropping by more than 45% over the last two weeks, compared to 39% across the North West and 13% across the rest of England.
Burnham goes on to explain that rates for over 65s are continuing to fall which points towards Tier 2 for all of Greater Manchester.
Given this, he calls for three critical issues to be raised that will benefit residents and businesses.
Firstly, a challenge on the December review. Given the figures, there’s a strong chance Greater Manchester will be in a similar position to those areas in Tier 2. However, the government has indicated major changes at the first review in a fortnight will not take place.
Secondly, he calls for a more balanced approach to the structure of Tier 3. Currently, Burnham explains the system disproportionately hits the hospitality sector, the industry that has spent ‘vast amounts of money’ putting Covid-secure measures in place. He is calling for the government to allow for a more ‘nuanced and flexible strategy’ to allow parts of the economy to reopen.
And finally, he is calling for financial support. He explains that in practice, those areas going into tier 3 will receive no more funding than those in tier 1 or 2.
To finish, Burnham said: “I hope very much that we will able to form a united, cross-party front on these three important issues for Greater Manchester.
“If you would like to discuss this matter with me – or need any further information on these matters – please do not hesitate to contact me.
“Thank you for all you have been doing to help Greater Manchester through these difficult times and in advance for any help you are able to provide in next week’s crucial debate.”
You can read the letter in full here.