Christmas shoppingI’ve always considered the switching on of lights in London the official kick off to the festive season, and this morning it was announced on the radio that lights ceremony would be next weekend. When I arrived at the office, ready to share my new found Christmas spirit, one of my colleagues pointed out he is way ahead of me, as he has already finished his Christmas shopping. This sparked an animated conversation about the best places in the UK for Christmas shopping, here are our favourites. Let us know what you think and give us your suggestion.

Westfield shopping centre – London
This is one of my favourites; it is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe, with over 275 shops for you to choose from. No matter if you’re looking for Tiffany’s or Next it’s all there for you to choose from. Also with loads of great restaurants and the fact that it’s open until 9pm most evenings, you can make a whole day of it.

MetroCentre – Gateshead
If you are up in the Gateshead and Newcastle area then visit the MetroCentre. This is THE largest shopping centre in Europe, with over 330 stores, 50 restaurants and a cinema. There is a great mix of designer stores and ‘highstreet’ shops, so you should be able to find exactly what you are after.

Although it is not the time of year to be sitting on the beach, Brighton has some great and unique shopping areas. If you are looking for ‘highstreet’ shops then Churchill Square is the place for you, but if you are looking for an array of boutiques, unique shops and restaurants then you need to head down to The Lanes. But if you are looking for a bargain then make sure you head down to the outlet shops at Brighton Marina. This charming seaside town has something for everyone.

Bicester Village, York Outlet Village and Gunwarf Quays
Also for all you bargain hunters out there make sure you check out one of these outlet villages. Bag yourself a great bargain on designer brands and highstreet labels, but all at affordable prices. Also with places to eat or have a coffee you can spend all day shopping to your hearts content (or until you have get everything you need).

Hyde Park London – Christmas Market
If you’re in London between the 21st November to 3rd January and looking to get into the Christmas spirit then make sure you head over to the Christmas market at Hyde Park. This winter wonderland has traditional Christmas market stall, fair ground rides, great food and drinks and much more. You’ll have a great day out and be able to do some Christmas shopping at the same time.

Bath Christmas Market
As Rob mentioned last year Bath Christmas market has been highly recommended as somewhere to go to get in the mood for Christmas. So this year make sure you visit spectacular Christmas market between 26th November and 6th December. There are loads of great stalls to brows and buy unique Christmas gifts form for your family and friends.

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Avis have produced a white paper on Duty of Care to help small to medium business (SMEs) who require members of there staff to travel for work.

FACT: 200 drivers are killed or injured each week whilst travelling on company business*

That’s a chilling figure, but the law of averages says that many of these drivers will be working for SMEs simply because they employ more people than any other sector of UK corporate business.

Research has consistently shown it is the SME sector which is least aware of the responsibilities facing employers around their driver’s safety and for that reason puts them most at risk of prosecution, if an employee is involved in, or causes a major accident whilst driving on company business.

SMEs, just like large corporate companies are expected to adopt a road safety policy, even if they only have a few employees driving on company business to ensure they protect themselves against possible prosecution.

To read the full white paper click here

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I recently read Tim Flannery’s “The Weather Makers”, which assesses the impact that the burning of fossil fuels is having on climate change and the potential consequences of this. The evidence presented overwhelmingly concludes that the burning of fossils is having an impact and, depending on the level CO2 we continue to produce, the potential economic, social and health implications could be pretty dire. Now, I’m not going to claim that I know or understand all the facts, nor am I sufficiently tooled to scrutinise or verify his analysis but, given just how bad things could get, I would much rather tackle a problem that might not be there than suffer the consequences of inaction if Flannery and his peers prove to be right.

But taking action will not only reduce your CO2 output, it could save you money too. So it’s great to see the recent Act on CO2 campaign on TV to promote proactive action and their website provides plenty of practical tips on how we can all reduce our CO2 output. Being in the transport industry, this could not be more relevant for us and our customers. The car hire industry is effectively a “revolving door” of new and near-new cars, giving customers access to the latest models and therefore, through technological advancement, the most fuel efficient cars. But additionally, we can all reduce our CO2 output by adopting some simple tips on driving efficiency that will not only reduce your CO2 output, it will save you money as well. The Act on CO2 website offers six tips for better fuel efficiency. I’ve listed these below with a link to the Act on CO2 website for more information…

1. Pump up to cut down
2. Less clutter in your car means less CO2
3. Driving at an appropriate speed reduces CO2
4. Less stopping and starting means less CO2
5. Over revving accelerates emissions
6. Idling is wasting fuel

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After seeing Christmas decorations in the shops this weekend it hit me that there are only 10 weeks left until Christmas. If you need to hire a car over the Christmas period then I would highly recommend booking one as soon as possible. It is one of the busiest times of year and the cars generally sell out very quickly. Also, not only does it help make sure you get a car, but it also helps to ensure you get the best price!

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(Back l-r) Chris Keogh, Jack MacAree, Steve Libera, Luke Trueman, Jamie Gibson, Charlotte Lowry, Ali Wadsworth; (Front) Rob WhiteIt was BA’s annual charity Fun Run on Wednesday and some of the Avis team had the pleasure of taking part. The 5km run took place at the pretty nature reserve that borders BA’s Waterside corporate headquarters.

While I was happy to “pace” myself with Charlotte Lowry and Ali Wadsworth, the machine that is Chris Keogh ran the circuit in under 18 minutes. Meanwhile Jack MacAree, perhaps feeling that the course on it’s own wasn’t hard enough, decided to help a struggling child by carrying him halfway the way round the track. Jamie Gibson, Steve Liberda and Luke Trueman completed the Avis team.

Over 600 people took part in the event that was presided over by Willie Walsh himself. And it was for a great cause, raising money for Cancer Research UK. Well done all!

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