Amazon Key – a new reason you’ll never need to use any other store again

Amazon has introduced a new feature to their services that means you’ll never want to shop anywhere else again, since they’re becoming increasingly accessible for every situation. As if it wasn’t already amazingly easy to access your future purchases with Amazon’s same-day delivery, their robot-deliveries and their idea for a click and collect supermarket that removes any need for cash or aisles. And now, they’ve decided to push the boat out even further, and have decided that they want to bring their couriers into your home.

Yep, you read that right – Amazon has decided that nothing would be better for you than if a random member of their courier team would be able to be let into your home to leave your parcel inside whenever you’re not there to collect it yourself. Amazon believes that their new lock-and-camera system can make gaining access to your home while you’re out a lot more secure, so you can always receive your parcels.

Amazon Prime members can buy the Key edition of the Cloud Cam as well as a smart lock for a total of $249 – and it will all be installed for free. When you get one of the locks on your door with the indoor security camera monitoring your doorway, the in-home kit will allow any authorised people into your home.

When Amazon delivery employees arrive at your home they won’t be given a passcode to your home, they will instead have request permission to enter your home. From here, Amazon’s records will verify that their employee is at the right address at the right time, and then by using their encryption process the Cloud Cam will begin recording and your door will be unlocked so that the employee can enter.

Amazon customers will even be able to stay on top of their in-home deliveries with real-time alerts, where they can watch the video of the delivery in real time or after it has been completed.

As well as being able to let Amazon employees enter your home, you can also give your friends and family temporary, recurring or permanent access to entering your home. You’ll also be able to allow other service employees like cleaners, dog walkers and others to enter your home on specific dates and times.

This is just another way Amazon is making it easier for customers to receive their orders in a quick and secure manner. The company has also recently announced Hub, which will be a locker-like system that you can use if you’re living in an apartment complex and want to make sure that all of your parcels are delivered safely and securely.

Amazon Key will be launching on the 8th November 2017, and will initially run through 37 cities in the US, and will work with same-day, one-day, two-day and standard delivery orders.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars

As we enter the colder half of the year, we start to see the beginnings of Christmas’s emergence, and with that, we see the entrance of beauty advent calendars.

Beauty brands all over start to tease us all by making advent calendars full of tiny versions of their products so that we can fawn over the brands we love every day through December. It is a much-beloved time of the year, and honestly, makes the run-up to Christmas that much more exciting. It’s like when you were excited to eat your chocolate advent calendars as a kid, but now you get to open new products that you can put on your face and body to make you look and feel amazing.

All kinds of brands have jumped on this bandwagon, meaning that there is always a mix of luxury brands mixed in as well as the standard brands you would expect. With this in mind, we decided to compile a list of the best luxury and standard advent calendars that you can purchase this year!

Luxury (over £100)

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

John Lewis

This is John Lewis‘ first ever beauty advent calendar, and as a start-off point it looks like they’re coming out strong. With 25 items available in the calendar, ranging from brands like MAC, Benefit and even a Hermes fragrance, this calendar could definitely be worth the £149 that John Lewis are asking for. This calendar is available now, so make sure you don’t miss out!

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury’s Naughty and Nice Magic Box lets us try out her best-selling products in an adorable travel size version of themselves, meaning that we can get an idea of the products we love before we head out to buy them all in an after-Christmas splurge. This calendar includes 12 items and is available soon for £150.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

Selfridges

Selfridges are offering an amazing 24 items in their beautifully designed calendar this year, with a wide range of products from brands like Lancome, Victor & Rolf fragrances and Urban Decay as well so that you can really get a full idea of the products that they work with. Their calendar is currently available and is being sold at £120.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Jo Malone

Jo Malone’s advent calendars are always famous for smelling delicious and providing an amazing collection of her fragrances, and this year is no different! The Georgian townhouse-designed calendar will hold 24 items ranging through mini perfumes and body creams in all of our favourite scents. The calendar does come in at the hefty price of £300 and is only sold exclusively in Harrods throughout November until it is released nationwide in November.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder’s impressive calendar includes 25 items this year, with a wide range of drawers in its star-shaped design holding all the best Estee Lauder brands, like Clinique, Origins, MAC, Bobbi Brown and so on. There have only been 1,000 of these calendars created, so if you want one you’ll have to fight for it! At £125 per calendar, they’re offering a great deal as the collection of products inside are worth around £197. This calendar will be available at the end of October.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Fenwick

Fenwick’s gorgeous advent calendar, with its delicately painted doors, generously includes 25 items that are a mix of bath treats, makeup and skincare. The calendar includes popular brands like Lancome, Nars, Clinique and This Works, and is priced at £150 for sale in mid-October.

Standard (under £100)

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

The Body Shop

The Body Shop have been incredibly generous with their advent calendar this year, as they have created not just one but three calendars for us to choose from, which means you can decide just how much you feel like treating yourself this year. With the prices for the calendars starting at £45, each calendar includes skincare, bath & body products, fragrances and makeup from The Body Shop. Each version of the calendar will give you the chance to save an amazing amount on the products, with the standard calendar saving you £40, and the luxury option saving £113 from the price you would pay separately in store. The calendars are available for sale now.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

Soap & Glory

Soap & Glory’s calendar, which is available for sale in Boots stores, has 24 products for you to test in the lead up to Christmas, and provides items from their makeup and skincare ranges so that you’re looking and feeling good, as well as smelling amazing! The calendar is available now for only £40.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

Benefit

Benefit’s calendar manages to sell out every year that they offer it, as it includes all of the fan favourites that you would be looking for in the calendar. The 12 items that are offered in the calendar include the famous Hoola bronza and their ‘They’re Real’ mascara, as well as a great selection of other products. All of the products sold separately would cost around £76, yet Benefit sell their calendar for £34.50. The calendar will be available to buy on the 12th October.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

ASOS

ASOS’s calendar shows their connections to multiple brands that they sell through their online store, and provides 25 items including products from brands like Zoeva, Smashbox, Cowshed and St Tropez as well as many others. The calendar is available for £55 and can be bought now.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: Cosmopolitan

NYX

NYX is known for their incredible products at low prices, and this translates into their calendars as well. The calendar includes 24 items and has lipsticks and creams, highlighters and eyeshadows among the products it offers. You can buy the NYX advent calendar now for only £50.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Amazon Beauty

The Amazon Beauty calendar displays all of the impressive brands that Amazon are working with, and has 24 items from brands like Laura Geller, Bourjois and John Freida. As well as typical beauty products, they also have a few bath treats included, and are offering the calendar for only £50. The calendar is available to buy now.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

M&S

Marks and Spencer‘s advent calendar has 24 items from brands like Eyeko, REN and Rodial, and is designed in a beautiful Christmas display, so you know you’ll be excited for the festive season with this calendar. The calendar is available to buy now for only £35, but all customers have to first spend £35 on clothing or homeware in a Marks and Spencer store first before they can buy the calendar.

This Years Best Beauty Advent Calendars
Picture Copyright: InStyle

Feel Unique

Feel Unique’s advent calendar has 12 items from popular brands like NYX, Elizabeth Arden and Jurlique, and will make you ready to go out and shop for full versions of all of the products the minute Christmas is over. The products would cost around £90 in retail prices, but are only £30 when sold in the calendar. Feel Unique’s calendar is available from the 19th October.

 

From making this list, we’ve had so many ideas about the calendar(s) we want to buy! Let us know which calendar you’re going for, or even if you think we’ve missed a great calendar off our list!

Russia’s Burger King try to ban IT – saying he looks like Ronald McDonald

Russia's Burger King try to ban IT - saying he looks like Ronald McDonald

The newly-released revival of Stephen King’s IT has been praised through the box office for its refreshing reprisal of the inter-dimensional villain who takes the shape of a clown among other things to terrorise the people in the small town, Derry.

However, with every great thing there will always be someone who disagrees with it existing, and in this case, the Burger King operation in Russia is the culprit. Representatives from the company have complained to Russia’s FedeRussia's Burger King try to ban IT - saying he looks like Ronald McDonaldral Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS), as they state that the titular character, IT (also known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown) looks like Ronald McDonald, the avatar from their rival fast-food company.

The company have argued that Pennywise has been designed to look like Ronald McDonald, citing the colours of the clown and his use of balloons to lure children as obvious references to McDonald’s mascot and have claimed that the widespread attention from the film could be free advertisement for the fast-food chain.

Now obviously, if the terrifying clown from IT was supposed to be a form of subtle advertisement for McDonald’s, we wouldn’t be able to say that it has worked very well, as our first thoughts after watching the film weren’t an intense hankering for a Happy Meal. In fact, after watching IT we’d prefer to stay away from any clown-themed advertisement, so perhaps you could even say that it works in Burger King’s favour more than McDonald’s.

However, as ridiculous as the complaint seems, the FAS has stated that they are reviewing the complaint, although they have suggested in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that it would be hard to prove that there is any deliberate promotion of McDonald’s within the film, stating that they can’t judge the content of the film as the writer and director will have their own interpretation of the character, but they can check for any hidden product placement in IT.

Since IT’s release in September, the film has already grossed over $502 million worldwide, with $14 million of that alone contributed by viewings in Russia. The film is still available in over 100 cinemas in Russia, proving that removing its presence will be a difficult task to undertake.

The first ever McStrike is happening, and people are conflicted

The first ever McStrike is happening, and people are conflicted

Over 200 people have gathered by Parliament to support the first ever strike action in the UK against McDonald’s (which has been labelled the McStrike), including members of the Labour party like Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Emma Dent-Coad. The strike action has also produced praise from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as he posted on his Facebook his hopes that all fast food workers would organise and join trade unions to improve their working lives.

The strike action has been organised and is represented by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) after several members from London-based McDonald’s restaurants joined the union after being left unhappy with bullying and misconduct from management. The strikes have been called to tackle this mistreatment from management as well as concerns about low-paid and job insecurity with their zero-hour contracts.

A McDonald’s spokesman stated that the strike is solely related to internal grievance procedures and not over concerns surrounding pay or contracts – yet refused to go into detail on the internal grievances as they didn’t want to single out any specific cases. However, many have stated that this is untrue, as multiple workers taking strike action have singled out their need for better job security and pay that doesn’t leave them within the poverty line.

The strikers have originated from two McDonald’s restaurants within London, in Crayford and Cambridge where members of staff have frequently experienced problems with management as well as their struggles over pay and their contracts. Some staff have provided stories of sexual misconduct and bullying being breezed over by management as well as the refusal to allow staff members to call in sick – while holding the security of the few hours that they have available to them over their heads. Many others have discussed how their low pay means that some are left without a permanent roof over their heads, while others cannot afford to pay for their own meals aside from the meal that the company provides them in their shifts.

The fast-food employees within the restaurants had voted in favour of industrial action following their concerns around the zero-hour contracts that they were offered with their roles in the company, and also requested that a minimum wage of £10 an hour was applied – following Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to raise the national minimum wage to this price during his election campaign. The BFAWU also said that McDonald’s had failed at their attempts to become fairer employers, and also stated that they believed the fast-food chain had yet to introduce any working conditions that could be deemed acceptable, as well as job security or even an affordable living wage.

McDonald’s announced earlier this year that they were allowing 11,500 workers that lived in the UK the option of switching from zero-hours (or flexible) contracts onto fixed ones, as well as increasing pay three times since April 2016 which has increased the hourly rate by 15%. Yet, many within the union do not believe that these movements have been enough, or even doubt the existence of these offers in the first place.

Over the last few years, there has been a global fight back by fast-food workers to get organised and create unions so that they can demand decent living wages and their right to union recognition. And in some countries it has proved successful – workers in Denmark have managed to higher their working wage so that they earn over $20 an hour, as the company was forced to recognise their trade union. There are also fights happening with the US and New Zealand, with The Fight for $15 winning significant pay rises for over 22 million workers in the US, as workers linked with community groups to fight for their justice. In New Zealand, zero hour contracts have been abolished by the UNITE union – all of which have helped begin the strike movement seen within the UK.

And this is only the beginning of the strikes in the UK. Already workers in Scotland and other areas have seen the strike movement started within the two London restaurants and have began to speculate on their ability to fight back against the unfair treatment of fast-food workers in chain restaurants. With plenty of people being left homeless or in poverty from the existence of zero-hour contracts – a fate that is exacerbated by the existence and combination of the minimum wage – it is time to fight back against the difference in wages between the real workers in McDonald’s and those on the top. McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook took home a combined wage of £11.82m last year – while a 17-year old on minimum wage working in the blistering heat of a McDonald’s kitchen would be earning £4.75 an hour – a touch over the national minimum wage for someone of that age in the UK which stands at £4.05 for under-18’s currently.

It’s beginning to look a lot like autumn! The return of the PSL

pumpkin-spice-starbucks

For many coffee crazed fans, the release of the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks marks the beginning of Autumn and this year most definitely isn’t any different. This year the Starbucks marketing team went a bit overboard on the PSL 2017 release by hosting a 72-hour Facebook Livestream for the grand reveal of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. This Livestream consisted of a pumpkin sat in a nest in the middle of what looked like a barn and a whole other array of crazy, spooky, autumn themed activities and entertainment such as ‘did you know’ cards appearing on the screen every now and again with seasonally hilarious jokes such as ‘trained pumpkins can tell the difference between the paintings of Picasso and Warhol’ whilst a magical pair of arms painted the pumpkin and its companion the orange bouncy ball in great detail. These magical hands would also appear to play with the pumpkin by bouncing the ball to it as well as holding up signs and feeding the pumpkin. Half way through this live stream the magical hands put up a sign saying they were looking to rehome the bouncy ball and giving updates about the bouncy balls adoption including one that informed the audience of the bouncy ball being with its new family and asking for the audience to send the pumpkin extra love. Some of the other things that the people who watched this Livestream witnessed was the pumpkins ultrasound scan (a drawing of the outline of a pumpkin with a latte cup inside of it), the ‘barn’ being filled with cats and then dogs, the pumpkin listening to music on a radio/watching TV/having a live musical performance, a ghost flying around the barn, the pumpkin doing yoga and guided meditation, the pumpkin receiving fan mail drawings, poetry and pictures that were submitted by the people watching the live stream and an aeroplane flying around the barn with different things written on a flag flying on the back of it with the room filling with bubbles. Oh and a creepy old man in a window (I’m guessing he was the pumpkin farmer?). Finally, after 72 hours of non-stop pumpkin craziness, the room started to fill with a fog like smoke until it revealed the barn crowded with a party of pumpkins, a banner saying ‘ PSL is here!’ and a latte cup with the name ‘Fall’icia’ on it (chosen by the audience, of course).

The reveal Livestream started on Friday the 1st of September leaving some Starbucks fans rather confused as well as many Starbucks employees, which led to most Starbucks stores in America to start serving the iconic PSL on Friday. The official release of the PSL was Tuesday the 5th September which means you can fulfil your autumn fantasy and order your Pumpkin Spice Latte now in Starbucks stores all across the country and this year you can not only get the PSL, Starbucks has also released the new caramelised pecan latte that is made from coffee and pecan syrup being topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of burned caramel sauce. Starbucks isn’t just great at marketing they’re also the best at making coffee.

All About Alton Towers Scarefest 2017

smiler-alton-towers

On selected dates in October, the resort of Alton Towers is transformed into a Halloween horror festival that is sure to scare and surprise anyone who dares to enter. Named Scarefest, the festival is taking place this year on the 7th-8th, 14th-15th and 20th-31st October. You’ll get to enjoy all of the rides until 9 pm, plus a ton of extra entertainment. There is live entertainment for everyone, from young children to older families. Those who are feeling brave can enter the scare mazes, but beware – you might not make it out in one piece. Here’s all you need to know about this year’s Scarefest.

For Families

For families, there is no shortage of entertainment at Scarefest. At the House of Monsters (located in Cloud Cuckoo Land), you’ll join a vlogger-turned-monster-hunter as he heads to a disused house to discover if the rumours of ghouls lurking within its walls are real. Every morning during the Scarefest, the Alton Ancestors will be taking to Towers Street to perform a flash mob. Plus, there are three different shows to see throughout the day on the Trick or Treat stage – Skelvin’s Spooky Storytime, Patch’s Trick or Treat Party and Phil and Franklyn’s Ghoul School. There’s even a fancy dress competition to take part in. If the live entertainment wasn’t enough for you, you’ll be able to enjoy the rides until 9 pm – including selected rides in CBeebies Land.

For Thrill-Seekers

If you’re feeling brave, enter one of Alton Towers’ four scare mazes during Scarefest. First up, it’s the award-winning Terror of the Towers, which won Best Halloween Scare Attraction in 2011, and has had a revamp (pardon the pun) for 2017. It’s located in the Gothic surroundings of the Towers and is sure to scare all who enter. Next up, it’s Sub-Species: The End Games. This centres around a post-apocalyptic community who live in a sewer, sacrificing innocent people to a mysterious otherworldly creature in order to survive. However, the demise of the innocent people (aka you) has become the entertainment for the community, and you must escape via a series of underground tunnels. Thirdly, it’s Altonville Mine Tours:  a deep underground tour, where you’ll hear all about the legend of the Skin Snatchers, and experience their hospitality for yourself. Lastly, it’s a new maze for 2017 and billed to be the scariest yet – The Welcoming: Be Chosen. The woods surrounding Alton Towers are rumoured to be home to a group who are angered by technology and the lack of respect for natural resources. Each year, they host their own celebration of Halloween, celebrating the crossover between the living and the dead. This year, they’ve invited the ‘outsiders’ to celebrate with them – but beware of their friendliness.

Once you’ve escaped the horror of the mazes, head to the Freak Show: Scare Zone, which is the home of a travelling circus. You’ll find it near the Spinball Whizzer.

How to Get Tickets

The best (and most affordable) way to buy tickets for the Scarefest is online. If you just want to go on the rides and have access to the Freak Show, you can buy a standard online saver one-day ticket from £32. To enjoy the theme park and three of the scare mazes, it will cost you £50. For the theme park and all four mazes (the Welcoming: Be Chosen isn’t included in the 3 maze ticket), it’s £58. If you wish to simply enter the mazes, you can do this for £20, or £28 including the Welcoming: Be Chosen. If you are a Merlin Annual Pass holder, you will get a 20% discount when you book in advance online.

So, if you’re looking to be scared this Halloween, why not head to Alton Towers? You may never look at the park in the same way, but it’s a thrill to be there after dark.

 

Nike are Back at it Again With the Sweatshop Controversy

sweatshop workers

Nike has been dealing with accusations and complaints about their use, or misuse of sweatshops since the 1970’s and now almost 50 years on they are seeing a new wave of activism from students worldwide. In the 1970’s most of Nike’s factories were located in Taiwan and South Korea but about 15% of their products were made in American factories, this changed in 1984 when Nike packed up and left its American factories to move to Asia’s cheap labour.

When the economy started to grow in the countries that Nike’s sweatshops were located in (Korea and Taiwan) and workers started demanding better pay and more humane working conditions Nike once again just picked up their stuff and moved to locations that enabled them to continue operating at an extremely low cost with horrible working conditions and ridiculous pay for employees in countries that prohibited labour unions.

Now, most of Nike factories are found in China, Vietnam and Indonesia these countries have no protective labour laws over their factories allowing the factory owners to force labourers to work over 9 hours a day, in horrible working conditions for very little pay and sometimes even employ children as young as 8.

The problems started for Nike in the early 90’s when the conditions that workers in Indonesia had to deal with started to be exposed by a man called Jeff Ballinger, Nike decided to respond to this by releasing their factories code of conduct which triggered Ballinger to fully expose Nike’s factories by highlighting how workers were paid less than about 70 pence an hour which is less than the minimum wage in Indonesia as well all the abuse the workers had to endure.

The protests started outside the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and continued when CBS released interviews with some Nike factory workers in 1993 and Ballingers organisation ‘press for change’ created a surge of mainstream media attention. In 1996 Nike creates a department for improving the lives of their factory workers but their product promotions became events for public outrage and the increase in ‘Niketown’ stores seen another wave of protests and sports media started to question spokespeople such as Michael Jordan.

More and more stories emerge of the abuse workers were experiencing and in 1997 thousands of college students across America started to protest and boycott Nike. Nike finally realises it needs to make steps towards change in 1998 when they faced poor demand and were forced to lay off workers, the CEO of Nike at the time Phil Knight made a speech announces they will be raising the minimum wage of their workers.

In 1999 they begin to create the fair labour association to combine human rights representatives and companies to establish independent monitoring of factories, including a minimum age and 60-hour working week, Nike then encourages other brands to join too. In theory, this would have completely cleared Nike’s image of horrible sweatshops but in recent years hundreds of accusations have been bubbling under the surface of mainstream media.

On July 29th 2017, students in cities such as Bangalore, Washington, Boston and San Pedro in Honduras started demonstrating in a day of protest against Nike, organised by the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). Some of the allegations that caused this protest include claims of wage theft, verbal abuse, working for hours in temperatures over the legal limit of 30°C to the point that workers would collapse at their machines, Nike pulling jobs from a factory with a strong union presence and also allegedly refused the WRC entry to their factories for inspections.

One former Nike factory worker spoke out about her experiences at the factory, describing the fears employees felt as they could have faced being fired or reprimanded for sitting down, going to the toilet, drinking water or even just yawning. They are not allowed to join unions as they are threatened with wage reductions and are forced to live in tiny shared spaces and work 14 hour days, 7 days a week with a monthly salary of only £115.

Nike has denied many of the accusations and has tried to make excuses for leaving certain factories but they have not made a formal response to the new wave of protests, it will be interesting to see how they will try and cover this one up.

 

 

Call me, maybe – or never: 66% of us hang up on cold callers

Majority of us hang up on cold callers with little guilt

They never seem to call at an appropriate time, so should we really feel guilty that the majority of us hang up on cold callers – or should they just accept that it’s nothing short of annoying?

We imagine it’s a tough job calling random people to try and sell them something they didn’t want in the first place.

But cold callers are generally unwelcome, with these beleaguered souls always having to sound bright and breezy to the irate resident who answers the phone. Because there’s never a good time to talk to a cold caller, is there?

Somehow they either manage to ring halfway through EastEnders or when we’re doing something tricky like feeding a baby/doing some intricate DIY task/playing Minecraft (delete as appropriate).

But while these guys are just trying to make a living, many of us don’t see it that way and resent this telephonic intrusion of our homes. Wired and wireless telephone headset provider Headsets4Business.co.uk carried out a survey of 1,500 people, asking what really gets our goat when it comes to cold calls. But firstly, they asked if we ever just hang up on cold callers, and the results were most interesting.

The least patient people

On average, 66.5% of the UK puts the phone down on someone trying to sell them something. But the people with the least patience in the UK & Ireland are the Irish – a whopping 77% of them will immediately hang up on a conversation about double glazing or insurance.

As for England, it’s the East Midlanders who are least tolerant: almost 70% of them leave their cold callers listening to the sweet sound of the dial tone… However, happily, for them, cold callers are guaranteed the warmest reception in the South East. Over a third of South Easterners (37%) say they wouldn’t hang up on a stranger who called them out of the blue to discuss something like mobile phone tariffs (at least those who don’t slam the phone down are decent enough to give an excuse – 36.3% are just really honest, saying they’re not interested; 10.8% of us say we’re too busy, and 5% of us pretend we’re just about to sit down to a meal).

Actually, when it comes to the topic of conversation, phone deals are apparently one of the least irritating – only 7.3% of people said that was the type of call they had the least patience for. The biggest bugbear, for over a third of us (38.9%) is people trying to help you recover PPI refunds, which is surely the dullest thing in the world. Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps because it jogs people’s memory to actually do something about it, pensions are the least irritating topic, with only 1.9% of us finding them excruciating.

The most annoying cold call topics

  • PPI 38.9%
  • Accident Related 32.9%
  • Home improvements 8.1%
  • Phone deals 7.3%
  • Insurance 6.2%
  • Energy 4.7%
  • Pensions 1.9%

And while the majority of us don’t actually feel sorry for cold callers, just over a quarter of us (25.8%) do actually understand that it’s just a job, and they’re only doing what they’ve been asked to. After all, if we’re the ones irritated by an unwanted call, just imagine how the cold callers feel, facing rejection after rejection during an eight-hour shift.

It’s a tough job, being a cold caller, but someone’s got to do it,’ says David Whitehead from Headsets4Business.co.uk. ‘They’re almost like unsung heroes, really. So give these guys a break next time you get a call and you never know – you might get a really good deal on your next mobile phone tariff.

Holiday shopping costs 21% more for women due to ‘pink tax’

Holiday shopping costs 21% more for women due to ‘pink tax’

Summer holiday season is upon us, and Brits are reportedly splurging £529 million on sun tan lotions, toiletries and pharmaceuticals, as well as £1,832 million on clothing, however, new research shows there’s a big difference in the cost between men and women due to ‘pink tax’.

Research carried out by showerstoyou.co.uk has discovered the enormous disparity between the cost of a basic holiday shop for women, in comparison to men, revealing the true extent of ‘pink tax’.

What is pink tax?

The pink tax has been a prevalent issue for feminism in the 21st Century, and something that retailers use appallingly to their advantage. The pink tax sheds light on the price difference for gender specific goods; as it is known that men have a substantial advantage for several products which are gender neutral.

Showerstoyou.co.uk carried out a survey of 754 women and 623 men, determining the essential toiletries men and women would buy for a ten-day holiday to their favourite European beach destination. Following this, a comparative study of products was conducted, exposing the truth behind the partialities of retail pricing.

The graphic below, designed by showerstoyou.co.uk, highlights the discrepancy between the ‘pink tax’ and the ‘blue tax’. Basic holiday clothing items were added to the list to form the “holiday pink tax”. Findings reveal a whopping £20.50 difference for a basic holiday shop – a 21% gap.

Holiday shopping costs 21% more for women due to ‘pink tax’

It must be noted that this does not consider the number of items an individual will take regardless of the basics. According to the survey, men and women take on average 3 items of swimwear. With this considered, the sum of three pieces of swimwear would equate to a shocking difference of £38.19.

Regarding toiletries, women spend £27.40, whilst men spend £24.76. Interestingly, a previous report suggests that women are paying up to 75% more on these products due to the ‘pink tax’.

Female and male razors

Additionally, specific toiletries highlight the concerning differences between male and female hygiene expectations; female razors are often described as a luxury product. Whereas just eight female razors cost £2.69, a greater sized packet of ten razors cost £1.24 less for men a 60% difference.

Companies claim they are manufactured differently, however, this specific brand of razors was almost identical, with the size of the razor to the number of blades; the only obvious difference was marketed for women.

Stella Creasy, Labour MP, highlights that it could be perceived that this is due to a lesser demand for the need of products such as female razors: “I recognise that (men’s) razors are zero-rated, and judging by many Conservative Members the opportunity to shave every day is a human right.”

This argument also accounts for the zero-tax rate of male razors. Likewise, this explains the concerning disparity in shaving foam prices. Whilst the issue has come to light, positive changes have been made – with Tesco slashing their razor prices to be gender neutral earlier this year.

Martin Smith, the MD of showerstoyou.co.uk comments on the report: “The claim that men needing to shave as a necessity as opposed to women is ludicrous. The way products are marketed these days has got out of hand, the only difference in the two disposable razors seems to be the colour. What is more, is that there is a zero-tax rate in the UK regarding male razors, yet there is still a tampon tax. Whilst individual retailers have been decreasing the price of their products, brands hold a responsibility over how much they are supplying their products for. Not to mention, action can and should be taken by MP’s and more authoritative figures.”

How to make the Perfect Summer Pimms

How to make the perfect summer Pimms

With summer only a light breeze away, that refreshing jug of Pimms is set to be a table top essential for al fresco feasts.

The quintessentially English beverage boasts a recognisable tawny colour and a delicious blend of citrus fruits, offering a familiar taste of summer.

Bohemia’s Head Chef Steve Smith has provided a round-up of top tips to ensure you’re serving the perfect party Pimms this sunny season.

These tips will ensure you have something different to offer than your usual jug of Pimms this summer, and will definitely make your summer parties and evenings stand out that little bit more.

Don’t forget to pick up the freshest ingredients at your local supermarkets like Asda, to ensure that you have the best ingredients to hand. Don’t forget the critical bottle of Pimms too.

Fruit Fusion

Don’t overload your Pimms with fruit. Instead, pick a few strong flavours that complement each other. An unusual flavour combination that works well is Pomegranate and Basil. Alternatively, take your Pimms to super food heights with the quirky addition of trendy Acai berries.

You could even use frozen fruit in your punch jug. This will help cool the liquid without diluting it too. It’s amazing just how many different frozen fruits are on offer in supermarkets now. Plus it means you don’t have to worry about them going off.

Herbal Remedy

If you’re using herbs such as basil and mint, crush the leaves before adding them to your drink. This will maximise the aroma and leave your Pimms perfectly seasoned.

You could even grow your own too, growing simple herbs at home will ensure you have the freshest ingredients on hand, and they’re definitely the simplest thing to try to grow yourself as they require little upkeep. So they’re perfect for those who aren’t particularly green-fingered.

Cue the Cranberry

Those with a sweet tooth might like to add a splash of cranberry juice or opt for flavoured lemonade for an extra boost.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Get creative with your ice by freezing flowers into your ice cube tray. However, try to limit the ice to a few cubes to ensure the Pimms isn’t too diluted by the time it comes to drinking it!

Sugar-coat it

Sprinkle a little lemon juice and sugar over the fruit before you add them to your drink. Let the fruit pieces stand for ten minutes so they macerate and then add them to the liquid at the last minute, to save them from going soggy.