Monday, 29 February 2016

Three Amazing Dessert Recipes

These are my three favourite desserts all are great to make for the family or when entertaining - Mary Berry's marbled chocolate cheesecake, a classic Bakewell tart, and chocolate and Caramac roulade.

Mary Berry's Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake

A very delicious cheesecake based on a recipe by Mary Berry. The contrast between the chocolate and the vanilla filling is gorgeous.


Serves 10

Ingredients

- 150g plain chocolate digestive biscuits, crushed
- 75g butter, melted
- 150g plain chocolate
- 700g full fat soft cheese
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 medium eggs, beaten

Method


Preheat the oven to 160 degree C.
Grease a loose bottom or an 8 inch spring form cake tin lightly.
Mix together the melted butter and the crushed chocolate digestives and press into the bottom of the cake tin.
Beat the soft cheese in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is smooth.
Add caster sugar and vanilla essence and beat until nice and glossy.
Slowly add beaten egg until it is all incorporated.
Melt the chocolate in another bowl and cool slightly. You can do  this in a bowl over a pan of hot water or in the microwave for a minute or two.
Put half of the cheesecake mixture in a bowl and add the chocolate slowly. Stir until combined.
Then spoon the vanilla cheesecake mixture onto of the biscuit base, making sure you separate the spoonfuls.
Spoon the chocolate cheesecake mixture into the gaps.
Swirl the top to give a marbled effect.
Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat but let it cool in the oven.
Once cooled put in the fridge overnight.
Eat and enjoy with berries, whipped double cream or vanilla ice cream.


Bakewell Tart

The light crisp pastry has a warm almond sponge filling and a raspberry jam surprise. This is a proper grown up pudding.

Serves 8


Ingredients

- 1 Jus Roll shortcrust pastry sheet 
- 100gm butter
- 100gm caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 150gm ground almonds
- few drops of almond essence
- 3 tbsp raspberry jam
- 25gm flaked almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 190degrees C, gas mark 5
Line the pastry case with the pastry and trim as required, crimping edges.
Place in fridge for pastry to rest.
Cream butter and sugar together until soft.
Add egg a little at a time.
If mixture curdles add a table of flour and continue to beat until mixture comes together.
Stir in ground almonds and almond essence.
Remove pastry case from fridge.
Spread jam on base of the pastry.
Spoon the sponge mixture on top of the pastry.
Top with flaked almonds.
Bake for 30 minutes or until sponge is set and springy to touch.
Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

Chocolate and Caramac Roulade

This alternative to a chocolate log uses Caramac which is a caramel flavoured chocolate bar. If you kind find this use dark, milk,  or while chocolate instead.


Serves 8/10

Ingredients

Roulade
- 4 eggs
- 6oz caster sugar
- 2 oz cocoa sieved 

Filling
- 4 30g bars of Caramac or dark, milk or white chocolate
- 10 fl oz of whipping cream or alternative - I used Elmlea double light

Topping
- Grated Caramac

Method

Set oven to 190C, Gas 5.
Grease and line a 8 by 12inch swiss roll tin. 
Separate the egg yolks and whites.
Whisk egg yolks with castor sugar until thick and mousse like. 
Fold in the sieved cocoa.
Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff then fold into the other mixture.
Spoon into the swiss roll tin, level out and bake for 20-25minutes on a middle shelf until well risen and spongy to touch.
Get a damp tea towel and turn out the roulade onto this. 
Cover with another damp tea towel and cool.
Whip the cream in a bowl until stiff.
Break up the Caramac into a bowl, and melt over a pan of hot water or in the microwave for between 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in whipped cream.
Cool slightly then spread over half the cream mixture over the roulade
Roll up.
Cover with the remaining cream mixture.
Grate some Caramac over the top and then sieve some icing sugar over the roulade to look like snow.

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Friday, 26 February 2016

Meet The Bloggers - Kacie Morgan - The Rare Welshbit

Meet The Bloggers is a new series where I get to interview some of my favourite bloggers and get to highlight new bloggers too. If you would like to be included please give me a shout on social media.


Kacie Morgan From The Rare Welsh Bit


Please can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your blog?

Hello! My name is Kacie Morgan. Based in Cardiff, I write the food and travel blog, The Rare Welsh BitSet up around five years ago, The Rare Welsh Bit features restaurant, product and travel reviews, recipes, giveaways and more. 

The majority of restaurants that I review are based in South Wales but I have also covered a few in North, West and mid-Wales, London and even Jamaica.

What inspired you to start blogging?

I began blogging in November 2010, shortly after I graduated from Cardiff University with a BA degree in Journalism, Film and Media.

I attended an employability course run by the university and one of the tutors suggested that I start a blog in order to have a platform upon which to showcase my writing. I was quite passionate about good food and I had no desire to move to London (where most journalism jobs tend to be located), so I set up a Welsh food blog.

As time went on, I developed a passion for travel and so I decided to start writing about this on my blog as well. 

What are your three favourite restaurants?

Laguna Kitchen And Bar, Cardiff

  • Moksh – Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay 
  • Yaks n’ Yetis – Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
  • Laguna Kitchen and Bar – Park Plaza, Cardiff
What is your favourite dish to cook?

There’s nothing I love to cook more than a roast dinner. I like to cook a variety of fresh veg and I usually cook chicken or lamb. Regardless of what I meat I have, I always serve it with a mound of stuffing, homemade Yorkshire pudding and lots of mint sauce. It makes me hungry just thinking about it! As I don’t live with my family, I don’t often bother to cook a roast dinner, but that just makes it all the more special when I get round to doing one!

Tell me about your proudest blogging achievement.

My proudest blogging achievement is getting shortlisted for Best in Food in Cosmopolitan’s 2015 Blog Awards. It was such an honour to attend the awards ceremony at One Marylebone in London; I had such a fantastic evening and I enjoyed meeting the other shortlisted bloggers.

Although I didn’t win, 64,000 bloggers entered the nominations and only 100 of us were shortlisted, so I was very proud simply to have reached this stage.

What is your favourite blog post of 2015 and why?

My favourite blog post is from Thou Shalt Not Covet and it features a survey of bloggers, the results of which offer real insight into how much bloggers actually get paid for different kinds of services. This post has helped me a lot in helping to decide upon my rates and it really stands out in my mind when I look back over the blog posts I read throughout last year. Here is the link: How much do bloggers really earn?

Of all the blog posts I wrote last year, my favourite one was my recipe for Ferrero Rocher cheesecake. This was sinfully scrumptious. I dread to think how many calories were in it, but it tasted so good that it was worth every single one!

Do you have any specific goals for 2016?

Blog-related goals:
  • Get into the habit of writing blog posts on weekends and scheduling them to be published throughout the week (when I am in work, and don’t have time to write posts)
  • Continue scheduling Facebook and Twitter posts in advance
  • Plan blog posts in advance (eg. Around events like Valentines Day, St David’s Day, Christmas, national awareness days, etc)
  • Fix broken links (something I have NEVER done!)
  • Increase DA (hopefully fixing the links will help somewhat with this!)
  • Publish more travel content 
  • Grow social media followers (especially Bloglovin’ and Pinterest)
  • Attend my first blogging conference, Traverse, in Cardiff in April
  • Post every three days, consistently (ideally it would be more than this, but it’s difficult to fit it in around work, so I’d rather be consistent every three days!)
  • Find a better template
Other goals:
  • Lose weight 
  • Be wiser with money (eg. Investing in a travel mug and decent coffee to avoid having to go to Starbucks every morning!) 
  • Improve my freelance writing website, www.kaciemorgan.co.uk.
  • Travel more
  • Spend more time with friends and family 
Tell me have you read Kacie's blog? 
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Monday, 22 February 2016

Bluestone Wales Thermal Spa Break

Bluestone Wales is a luxury holiday park set in the beautiful West Wales countryside. Recently I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit on a thermal spa break recently.

Awarded with a five star rating from Visit Wales, a stay at Bluestone can be as energetic, relaxing or as fun as you make it. With a variety of family friendly activities, you know the kids will love this place and with the gorgeous countryside on your doorstep, Bluestone appeals to both families and couples alike that love the outdoor life.


Accommodation


We stayed in a Ramsey lodge, which had two bedrooms downstairs, and ensuite bathrooms to both rooms. Upstairs is the lounge/dining room with an open plan kitchen. The lodge is deliberately set out for 'upside down living', so you get views over the beautiful valley.



As you can see from the photos everything was of a high standard and the lodge was very well equipped. The kitchen includes a fridge, full cooker, dishwasher, and microwave. It is easy to cook for yourself and your family if you need to with the fully equipped kitchen. I cooked a meal one night and had everything i needed. The lounge has large leather sofas, a table and tv with Freeview and a dvd player. 

The dining area has a spacious wooden table and chairs - big enough for 4 people.



Insider Tip: You only get very basic washing up items, so if you are planning to cook bring washing up liquid, as well as extra toilet rolls (you get one per bathroom). You can buy provisions in the small Newton grocery shop but prices vary a lot.

The countryside in which Bluestone is set, is really gorgeous. The lake is in the centre of the resort and many lodges over look this area. There are walking trails around the lake and you are encouraged to watch and study the wildlife, we saw a bug lodge on our walk.



Activities

There are a huge amount of activities on offer at Bluestone and when you check in you are given an itinerary for the week. Some are free and some you have to pay for. The Blue Lagoon, the large all weather water park is free to all guests and has a large flume ride, indoor wave machine and much more for all the family and little ones too. There is a large indoor play area for children as well as an outdoor play area too in 'The Village'. 


'The Village' is where all the shops and restaurants are based and also the booking centre where you can book paid for activities. There are lots of activities for children and paid for activities for adults and teenagers include archery, rock climbing, laser clay shooting, cross bow, kayaking in the summer month and for the very adventurous (and those not scared of heights!) the high wire experience. You can also hire bikes and golf carts to get around the resort - but be sure to bring your driving licence for the latter. 

Bluestone Wales is very hilly and if you have little ones or you have difficultly with mobility then a golf cart is recommended.

Insider Tip - As soon as you have your booking reference you can book and pay for activities in advance online. Especially useful to do this for peak season. you can also order groceries in advance to be delivered to your lodge.


Our focus this time was on an adult relaxing thermal spa break break so we had admission to the
Well Spa for a thermal spa experience included. 

The 2 hour thermal spa experience allows you access to the 6 pod rooms including an Ice room and Salt Room, herbal steam room and marine steam room, two saunas and the small heated outdoor hydrotherapy pool. The pool especially was very relaxing as it was warm and had a variety of jets and whirl pools. Sitting in the warm water, being massaged by the jets with the rain coming down gently, was a lovely experience.


We stopped for food in Y Mor cafe, in the spa and I had a lovely chicken, bacon and tomato sandwich. Then it was time for my pedicure.

The young therapist Caryn was very chatty and personable and after a consultation gave me a pedicure and painted my nails. She is an asset to the resort and I would give the treatment 9 out of 10, more attention to the rough skin on my feet would have made it a 10.


Spa packages are available for an indulgent treat or you can book treatments separately. Access to the spa is available from £35 for a 2 hour session. My pedicure was £70 but that included admission to and use of facilities at the spa.

Restaurants

There are a variety of places to eat at Bluestone. The Oak Tree restaurant uses local Welsh produce with an Italian slant and is the 'posh' restaurant. We ate there one night and enjoyed the food. I had Italian meatballs in a ricotta sauce. The meatballs were well seasoned and the dish was tasty. My husband had a pizza and it wasn't quite as nice, the base was thick and we felt it should be thin and not doughy.




There is a pub called the Knight's Tavern and a Farmhouse Grill restaurant as well as a number of cafes.  Camp Smokey looked great for the Summer months, an outdoor barbecue area. Millers Bakery is the perfect spot for a coffee and muffin and I was pleased that they serve soya milk too. We ate at the Knight's Tavern one night and the food was ok, nothing special, my chicken was tough and overcooked although my husband's meal was better - good chips!

Insider Tip - Talking about chips, The Chippy is a a takeaway cart where you can get a quick meal such as fish, sausage, pie and chips to take back to your lodge. Every Thursday there is a quiz in the Knight's Tavern where you can win prizes.

Conclusion

This is the third time we have visited Bluestone National Park. There are a few small points that could be improved - the wi-fi is very spotty but you can upgrade at a price, and the food can be a little expensive both in the shop and the restaurants. The meals we had in the restaurant and the pub weren't consistent although some were very good. It's a little bit of a shame that there are no other restaurants outside of the park within walking distance.  

All the staff we came across were helpful and trained well and the beauty therapist, was lovely. The lodges are very comfortable and well equipped, the activities available are many and varied and the country setting is beautiful. If you want a relaxing break with the countryside on your doorstep, Bluestone is definitely a place to visit. With lots of children's activities, you may think that it's just for families with children, but this is not the case. On this occasion we visited without my son and we had a lovely time. We will be back to Bluestone one day, I hope it's sooner rather than later.

* I was given a complimentary stay in exchange for an honest review
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Friday, 19 February 2016

Win A Burts Bees Gift Set Ends 11/03

I'm a firm believer in ethical companies, companies that do their utmost to help others and give something back to people and the environment, and thus make a better future. Have you heard of the company  Send A Cow



Send A Cow is a UK charity that help thousands of families in Africa sell their produce, grow enough food to eat and develop small businesses. They also help families make the most of the land and resources they already have. By giving to Send A Cow you are showing you want to lift families out of poverty for good. Your contribution will help build and support permanent change in their communities - from livestock, farming and equipment to supporting education. Yes you can send a cow to a family but also you can donate just £15 and provide 10 families with vegetable seeds and make a real difference to their future. 

You can even donate a beehive

Another company that has great credentials is Bath and Unwind. This online beauty website sell products by natural and ethical brands. With well known beauty brands such Cowshed, Crabtree and Evelyn and Korres, the website is well worth a look, all you beauty lovers out there. As a beehive had been donated in my name to a family in Africa for this post through Send A Cow, a Burt's Bees gift set has been donated for one of my readers to win.

Enter this competition through the Rafflecopter application below. All terms and condition are on the app. If you like entering competitions check out my current competition to win beauty products and a travel guide with my new blog Fly Drive Explore. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Competition ends 9pm 11/03, all Terms and Conditions are on Rafflecopter

More competitions at ThePrizeFinder 
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Bluestone Wales In Photographs





















Recently I was lucky to stay at Bluestone Wales. Here are some of my photographs, watch out for my review to follow soon.
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Win A Travel Prize With Fly Drive Explore - Ends 18/03

I have something exciting to share with my readers, I have a new blog that I launched with my husband last month. 




Fly Drive Explore will be about our travels around the world, and offers travel information and advice as well as trip reports, with a sense of humour. We will be writing about luxury travel as well as cost effective stays, and I firmly believe you can stay in an upmarket or boutique hotel and still get value for your money or as they say in the USA, a 'bang for your buck'.


Sorry we are a bit shiny, we were in Miami in the heat and humidity!

I hope I don't murder him in this process!

We are offering the prizes below, a selection of travel sized beauty goodies, perfect for your next holiday and also a travel guide of your choice from the DK Eyewitness top ten travel guides

The travel beauty products are from Clinique, Benefit and La Roche Posay. Which guide would you choose I wonder? Would it be New York or Paris, Amsterdam or Barcelona, it's up to you from the wide selection they offer.






 The guides are brilliant to give you essential advice and are especially great for a short break.



To enter follow the steps below. You can enter daily by tweeting if you really love the prize so why don't you bookmark the page? I run regular competitions so be sure to check out my competition page here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

You must be 18 + to enter 
Open to entrants in Europe only 
One entry per household 
Winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending 
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw 

More competitions at ThePrizeFinder 
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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

My Spring 2016 Swimsuit Wishlist

Very soon I will be jetting off on a trip to the United States to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. I've been working hard in the gym since November and have managed to tone up and lose some weight too, so I am in the market for a new swimming costume, in a smaller size. 

Cutting back on wine and cake has been hard, I love my food, but with the exercise I have managed to lose the weight without really dieting too much. 

So here are some of the swimsuits that have caught my eye this season from House Of Fraser - now which to choose?


Dickens and Jones Boat Print Swimsuit £18 (was £45)

This boat print pattern is nautical and very cute. The halter neck is great for ladies with a big bust, lifting everything up and the mid leg cut means you don't have to worry about showing too much. A super price in the sale too.




Seafolly Goddess Boyleg Swimsuit £90

This retro looking halterneck swimsuit by Seafolly is in classic black with a sweetheart neckline. A flattering fit, with full coverage on the bottom and the halter neck means your bust is lifted up. Great for those that like to do some serious swimming but still look great.

Michael Kors gold embellished swimsuit £99 (was £199)

I love this swimsuit with a bandeau neckline, by Michael Kors, perfect for getting those sun rays on your shoulders.  A very glamorous design I can imagine wearing this lying on the beach sitting sipping cocktails in Miami.

Speedo Sculpture Crystalshine Swimsuit £28 (was £56)

This Speedo swimsuit has a simple black band accentuating your waist for a flattering. I like the gathering at the bust and the straps look secure to stay in place when swimming. A stylish high performance swimsuit. 

Dickins & Jones Floral Halter Cup Sized Swimsuit £16 (was £50)


This full cup swimsuit has ruching on the waist and is in an all over pretty blue floral print. Feminine, yet bold, the design makes the most of an hour glass figure. The use of under wiring supports and makes the most of your bust too.

So this is my list of swimsuits from House Of Fraser this Spring. Which design is your favourite?

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Monday, 15 February 2016

Three Most Common Living Room Design Mistakes

Whether you’re lounging on the sofa after a long day at work or you’re entertaining your family and friends, it’s likely your living room is one of the most well-used rooms in your home. With that in mind, this space needs to be comfy and cosy with an inviting atmosphere. However, it can be easy to get this wrong, leaving your living area feeling and looking uninspiring. To get the decor spot on, here are three design mistakes you’ll want to avoid.



living room


1. Poor Lighting

The lighting in your living room is crucial. In fact, poor lighting can make any room appear drab and uninviting. So that your living space is perfectly illuminated, you should give some careful thought to the type of lighting fixtures you have in this room. For example, instead of solely relying on overhead fixings, you could go for some wall lights or a free-standing floor lamp. Having light sources at different levels can help to create a warm glow throughout the room. If you’re looking for indoor lighting ideas, you could browse your local home furnishings store or visit an online retailer for inspiration.

2. Mismatching Styles

When it comes to your lounge area, it’s important to make sure your decor is just right. Mismatching styles in this room could be construed as a design faux pas, so to avoid making this mistake, you might want to stick to just one theme. For example, if your coffee table is a modern-looking, glass-topped work of art, it’s unlikely that it will look good next to a wooden TV unit with a distressed finish. Instead, decide which is more your taste and go with it. From modern and contemporary to vintage and traditional, whatever your preference is, you should ensure it runs throughout the whole room. Of course if you have a sense of eclectic design, throw caution to the wind, be bold and mix up everything!

3. Too Much Furniture

Filling your living room with too much furniture can make it feel cluttered and uncomfortable. To get the balance just right, you should aim to only include pieces that you definitely need. Keep in mind that less is more, so try to minimise the amount of furniture to the bare essentials, including a sofa or two, a coffee table and TV unit. If you have the space, you could include some extra seating, such as a statement armchair. Simplicity is key is you want to keep your living room looking fresh and stylish.

Taking these three tips into consideration could help you create the perfect living space without being an interior design expert.

*PR collaboration
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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Best Dresses At The BAFTAs 2016

Here are some of the best dresses at the BAFTAs 2016 worn by some of our most talented actresses.

red carpet dress BAFTA 2016

Copyright - Fred Duval Getty Images

Kate Winslet always looks effortlessly glamorous and this classic black dress with cut away shoulder suits her style. Kate you are a real lady with curves - I salute you!

red carpet dress

Copyright Ian Gavan Getty Images

Cate Blanchett's slim figure suits this dress with intricate detailed bodice and feather skirt. Always one to stand out from a crowd, Cate does this supremely in this dress.


red carpet dress
Copyright Dave J Hogan Getty Images

Dakota Johnson wears this unstructured red dress with little spaghetti straps and frill detail. Her simple styled hair and red lip is perfect for this dress.

red carpet dress

Copyright Fred Duval Getty Images

Angela Basset's killer curves and gorgeous skin tone suites the bold bright colour and soft fluid material of this dress.

red carpet dress

Copyright Daniel J Hogan Getty Images


Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko looks stunningly beautiful in this detailed white lace dress. 



Tell me which of these stars do you think is the best dressed?
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Friday, 12 February 2016

5 Apps To Help You Save Money

Hi, I’m Emma and I blog over at From Aldi To Harrods. I am passionate about saving money - after all, the more money I save then the more holidays we can go on! Today I am going to be sharing five smart phone apps that can help you save money. 



Copyright: GaudiLab Shutterstock

CheckoutSmart


CheckoutSmart is a great app that gives you cashback on your usual grocery spending, as well as a few freebies along the way. To get your cashback all you have to do is check out the app to see which freebies are available, visit your grocery store and purchase them. Then once you have the receipt simply take a photograph of it and claim your cashback. The cashback is paid out once you’ve reached £5, although you will incur a small surcharge when you withdraw anything under £20, so it is worth saving it up before requesting your cashout.

ClickSnap

ClickSnap has been created by Quidco, and it offers cashback on purchases in the same way that CheckoutSmart does. To get your cashback, check the offers in the app, make your purchases and snap a photo of your receipt. The minimum payout is £1 and it gets added to your Quidco cashback account.

Spendee

If you want to manage your money better then the Spendee app can help. Within the app you can create various wallets to help you to track your money and set budgets. Every time you make a purchase simply deduct the amount from your wallet and you will have an accurate account of how much money you have towards a particular thing. For example, if you set yourself a monthly grocery budget, but it comes out of your bank account along with other transactions, Spendee will help you to see how much money you have leftover in your grocery budget.

If you find Spendee useful then you can upgrade to Spendee Pro for around £2 per month.

WeQ4U

Are you fed up with having to ring 0845 (or similar) numbers from your mobile phone, leading to high charges on your phone bill? What about the amount of time that you are left in a queue waiting for someone to answer your call? WeQ4U helps you out with both of these problems. Simply open the app, put in the number you wish to dial and dial it through the app. Then if you get held in a queue you can decide to stay connected or get WeQ4U to wait in the queue for you. The app calls a number that is included in your standard minutes, meaning you aren’t charged extra. You can also use it to call 0800 numbers if they aren’t included in your minutes.

Tengi

Tengi is a great app that works similar to WhatsApp and iMessage, allowing you to send messages, video, photos and audio to your friends. The great thing about Tengi is that it has a weekly prize draw, with prizes between £5 - £1,000. You can choose to have your prize paid in cash, Amazon gift cards or even donate to charity. The best thing is that the app is completely free to use, so you have nothing to lose!

I hope you enjoy these smart phone apps to help you save money. If you have any to recommend then please leave a comment telling me about the apps that you love.
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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Saving Money On Travel With Expedia

I'm always on the look out for the best value for money when I book a holiday, and one site that I have used on numerous occasions is Expedia. Expedia is a well known online travel website, where you can book flights, package holidays, hotels, cars, and more. In fact you can search for over a million different combinations.

I used Expedia when I booked our California and Vegas road trip last year and was especially pleased with the price I got at The Marriott Courtyard in San Diego. Hand on heart, they had the cheapest price that I could find for the hotel online and with the extra benefit that I paid the bill to the hotel direct when we checked out.





San Diego



Expedia can bring, you the consumer, great prices due to their buying power and there are many ways in which you can save money through using Expedia.

My Scratchpad

One of the stand out features of Expedia is 'My Scratchpad'. This tool tracks and saves your travel searches. This can be a very useful tool to monitor prices as you can see when prices increase and when they drop over long periods. It's easy to re-check prices, and by monitoring prices in advance you can pounce when the prices decrease. Obviously prices can go up as well as down but if you are planning well in advance this is an extremely useful tool.

Searching 

Below I have searched for a package deal - flight and hotel leaving from Gatwick on the 1st of August 2016 to Orlando, with economy flights. 




By booking your flight and hotel together you can save up to 15%. As you can see bottom right you can also collect Nectar points on your booking too - useful to know!



You can sort your searches via Package Discount, Most Popular, Price, Guest Rating and Star Rating. The first hotel above is a sponsored link but the rest of the hotels are organised via price.  You can also filter your results with Area, Star Rating and Hotel Preferences.

These prices are per person for flights, going indirect, and hotel accommodation for 14 nights from the 1st of August 2016. This is the school summer holidays in the UK, and a time which is on of the most expensive to go to Orlando. As you can see above there are some good deals here, and the cheapest I could find was £851 per person for The M @ 6603 International Drive. You can also add on attraction tickets in the process, if you wish, before you finalise your flights.

Smart Deals

By booking a flight and hotel together the very best deals are highlighted with the Smart Deal combination. This is because Expedia has negotiated great deals with hotels and airlines alike.




No Cancellation Fee

What I particularly like is that, if your plans change, in the majority of cases, there is no Expedia cancellation fee.  This is great if you have to cancel or amend a hotel, in fact (shhh don't tell anyone), I did actually cancel one hotel on my road trip. I was pleased that it was straightforward to do so, I just logged into my account online and cancelled it by clicking on a link. 

Obviously,  you need to check the booking conditions with which you booked the hotel, however I have found in my experience, that many hotels can be cancelled up to 24 hours before A flight or package holiday may have different conditions.

Best Price Guarantee

If you book a hotel room on Expedia, and later find a lower price any time up to 48 hours prior to check in, they will match the price. Something that I think is really impressive.

If you book and pay for a  flight and hotel, at the same time on Expedia and within 48 hours find a cheaper price they will refund the difference.

All the terms and conditions for their Best Price Guarantee are on their website and it must be like for like - but if it is, you have nothing to lose!

Cashback Sites

Now here is a top tip ...Expedia can be found on the top two cashback sites in the UK, Quidco and Topcashback. * contains my referral links.

To use cashback sites you have to register with them, then, rather than going direct, you click on the company's link on the cashback site. This will take you to the company - in this case Expedia, and the cashback site should register your visit. If you buy something, an amount is put into your cashback site account once the transaction is processed. You can then withdraw this amount once it arrives in your account, which can take from a few weeks to a few months, and that's it. Free money!

I have used both Quidco and Topcashback for a long time now and although it is important to point out that cashback amounts are never guaranteed, in the majority of cases you do get the cashback. As Expedia is showing up to 12% cashback with both Quidco and Topcashback at the moment, it is certainly worth using these sites to save more money.

So there you are, a guide to saving money with Expedia when booking your holiday. With 24 hour customer service at the end of the phone, a useful Expedia app and also being ATOL bonded, Expedia is one site that is constantly price smart and one which I will continue to use to book my hotels and package holidays.

Tell me have you ever used Expedia? What do you think of their prices?

* A collaborative post
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