The best day out ever – start planning your trip

There are some sporting events that are so quintessentially part of British culture that you just have to go once to be able to say: “I was there”. An FA Cup final, Royal Ascot, a Rugby League Challenge Cup final, the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, Wimbledon, test cricket at Lord’s and many other sports events could be on this list.   8626731119_3d0dcc93b8_z Chief among them all for me, though, is the Grand National, the world’s most famous horse race.

This is a day out like none other. It brings together 75,000 people from all parts of the UK, along with quite a few overseas guests – and people from all strata of society. This is a true festival of racing and of British culture – at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool. It’s also great as it’s usually held on the first or second Saturday of April and it’s often the first real hint of sunshine and warmth of the year.

But to get here – you need to start planning early. The 2015 Grand National will be held on Saturday April 11th so book your tickets well in advance as they go like hot cakes nearer the time.

Try to get your bets on early too. If you can find a runner that will definitely be going for the big race barring injury and you like the look of it – take a chance and back ante-post at long odds as they tend to come right in on the day.

If you look at the horse racing statistics down the years, you’ll see that the winner is likely to be a sound jumper, be aged 8-11, and carrying 10-11 stones. It will also like the ground and be quite highly rated. If your horse matches these criteria and the trainer says in an interview leading up to the National that the horse is being lined up for a crack at the big race – then take the odds early. It’s very likely that you’ll be able to lay it back for much shorter odds should you wish to.

Otherwise, let it ride and have fun. And big fun you will most certainly have here – whether or not you have the winner.

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Women’s World Cup fever hits Canada

Excitement has stepped up ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada after tickets officially went on sale, allowing fans to snap up their tickets for what is sure to be an intriguing tournament. Held across six host cities throughout Canada, the Women’s World Cup will see the greatest players in the game compete for the sport’s biggest prize. Coming four years after a sensational 2011 World Cup in Germany, the pressure is on Canada to host another fantastic event.

With women’s football at an all-time high in terms of popularity, the World Cup is a chance for the sport to showcase their talents to an audience that wouldn’t have previously seen it. The 2011 World Cup was a real standout tournament for the women’s game, with Japan winning their first title following a thrilling penalty shootout victory over the USA in the final, and the reigning champions will again be right up there in the football betting odds next year.

The success of Germany four years ago has certainly helped play a part in the excitement ahead of next year’s event, and tickets will be very popular with Canadians and fans planning on travelling to North America next year to support their team ahead of the June 6 kick-off.

 

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“The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the pinnacle of international football, featuring the best of the best in a 24-nation, 52-match final competition,” said Victor Montagliani, Chair of the National Organising Committee for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“This is your opportunity to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience with final matches to be played in our six Canadian host cities: Vancouver, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Ottawa, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; and Moncton, New Brunswick.”

So, if you’re planning a trip to Canada next summer, why not book your ticket to the tournament and watch some of the best players in the women’s game.

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How to Find Great Home Furniture on a Budget

There are many reasons why you may be searching for furniture on a budget. Perhaps you’re moving to a new home or apartment and you’ve already spent a lot of money and need to conserve when it comes to furnishing your new home. Or perhaps a natural disaster struck that damaged your existing furniture. Or maybe you simply want to upgrade your current design but don’t want to spend too much money in the process.

No matter what your reason is, it can be difficult to find great looking, durable furniture on a budget, but the tips below will help guide you in the right direction.
Search Through Online Classifieds

You may be surprised by all of the people who are selling furniture online. As long as the pieces are still in good condition and are clean, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t jump at the opportunity to save a lot of cash and purchase a second-hand piece of furniture that has been taken care of and isn’t that old. To find the best deals, search through reputable online classifieds.

Shop Clearance Sales

Look for last season’s styles that are currently on clearance to save a lot of money while still getting furniture that is stylish and brand new. Sets containing matching furniture that is all on clearance can offer you even deeper discounts than purchasing the pieces separately.
Browse Stores and Then Find Deals Online
A lot of the furniture that you can find in stores is also available from various online retailers large and small. You might want to consider searching for furniture at local brick and mortar furniture stores, just to get an idea of what the products look and feel like in person. Jot down the brand and item names or numbers and then search for the pieces online. You may be able to snag these items at lower rates this way. You can also search exclusively online, such as on sites like unicheinteriorfurnishings.co.uk, for items that aren’t found in stores.

 

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Buy Multipurpose Furniture

Yet another great way to save money–and save space if you don’t have a lot of room to work with– is to purchase multipurpose furniture. A large cushioned stool can serve as an end table, coffee table, footstool, and seat. And if it comes with built-in storage, it’s a bonus. Daybeds and sofa beds are other examples of furniture that can be transformed to suit your needs at a moment’s notice.

Take a DIY Approach

If you have an old piece of furniture, or if you purchase used furniture or plain furniture, consider taking a DIY approach to sprucing it up and making it look better to match your décor. For example, you can choose to reupholster a sofa or chair or repaint a piece of wooden furniture.

With so many ways to acquire new furniture, you can purchase stylish pieces no matter what your budget is. Shop online, consider purchasing second-hand furniture that’s in good condition, and opt for multipurpose pieces to find great deals and save money.

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Why Ascot is just as much for the ladies, as it is the men!

When it comes to the pinnacle of horse racing, there really is nowhere else to look aside from The Royal Ascot. With its prestige, glamour and excitement, it is truly a royal occasion that simply cannot be missed. It is however, as much a trip for the ladies as it is the men, despite the thinking of many that horse racing is simply for the male punters out there.

In fact, The Royal Ascot even has its very own day for women who enjoy the sport of horse racing, which is conveniently, and just as simply, branded as ‘Ladies Day’. This doesn’t stop the ladies flocking in for the other days of the race meeting however, with the warm weather paired with the opportunity to get the best dresses and headgear out, proving all too tempting. If you have a week away from work, or even just a day, a day at the races offers ample opportunity for fun and enthrallment.   medium_16750308   With just five races on the card, The Great War (5/4 with Betfair) could be the perfect horse to get you off to the perfect start when betting on ‘Ladies Day’ at Ascot, which is on Thursday. The horse, which runs in the first race of the day, at 2:30pm, has won two races thus far in its brief career, the latest a resounding success at the Curragh under jockey Aidan O’Brien, who is on board once more tomorrow. Another horse that could break the mould on Thursday is Abbey Village (SP), who will be looking to win the 5:00pm race, which is the second to last of the day.

Alternatively, you could opt to go on the weekend day of the meeting, with many race-goers opting to consider that as a ‘Family Day’, with children also attending the event. This could prove to be the perfect day out in the warm weather as a family, all the while staking your bets in the hope of making a bit of extra money whilst having fun.

If, however, you are not able to attend, then you can always place your bets online, with some sites such as Betfair allowing you to stream the races, in order to experience the action from wherever you are. At betfair.com you can place all your bets with the advantage of seeing better odds than on other betting sites, due to the fact it is an exchange market. This means you can not only stake against other people, but also oppose a fellow player’s selection, which is what is known as ‘laying’ a selection.

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Get your child involved with the World Cup

The World Cup is the largest sporting competition in the world, as well as the most watched. This time about, the action takes place in Brazil, which is four hours behind the UK, but that doesn’t mean that you and your children will not be able to catch the action.

With the football matches kicking-off at 5pm, 9pm and 11pm, your child can definitely watch the early kick-off whilst at the weekend you could take a gamble and allow them to watch the 9pm game as well, especially if England are playing.

So why is it important that you involve your child with the World Cup?

One of the main reasons for getting your child to watch the World Cup is to help them develop a sporting interest. If they watch a few football games, which at the World Cup are completely enthralling, your child should develop an affinity towards the sport. The natural knock-on effect of this would be them wanting to join their local football team, which is good for two reasons. One, engaging in sport has numerous health benefits, and two, joining a team helps your child develop their social skills. For many who have been involved in a football side from an earlier age, the people they meet there usually become friends for life.

 

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The World Cup also serves an educational purpose. With 32 countries taking part it is the ultimate geography lesson. By the end of the tournament your child will probably be able to tell which flag belongs to each country and which country belongs to each continent. By having a vested interest in the teams competing, your child’s inquisitive nature will run wild. For example, they may research England’s Group D opposition Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. When before would you have envisaged your child researching Costa Rica on a whim? This in turn will also see an improvement in literacy skills as your child is actively, not forcibly, engaging in reading.

Sticker books are a fundamental part of the World Cup, even nowadays grown men need to have an album every tournament. The benefits of buying your child a sticker album are pretty surprising. Firstly, because it is theirs they have a sense of ownership and responsibility, which is an important characteristic to instil in your child from an early age. But what’s more is the sense of commerce and entrepreneurship your child can get from the humble sticker book. Anyone who has had a book in the past will know that you have to participate in trade if you are to have any chance of completing your book, your child will be no different. So through the World Cup sticker book your child can learn some primitive business ideas. Every swap they make will involve them doing their own sort of cost-benefit-analysis, which for an eight-year-old kid, is a pretty nifty trait to have.

So come June 12 make sure you and your children are enjoying the World Cup.

 

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