Top 5 extraordinary gifts

So you have that someone special you really need to wow with a gift? Well here are a few suggestions of gifts and experiences that will really sweep them off their feet. Or is it may be that you want to treat yourself? You got the promotion you have worked hard for and you feel like you deserve a treat. It may even be the birth of a friend’s child and you want your gift to stand out against the rest of the presents. But where to start looking for that extra special gift? How do you get it without it costing huge amounts? Here are a few ideas that will get the ball rolling.

The Best 5 Gifts Around

air ballooning

Take them on a new experience by purchasing once in a lifetime trips. What about air ballooning to dizzying heights over a beautiful city for the adventure hungry? What about having a day at a racetrack to test the latest sports car at their fastest for the speed-freak? Or you can take your relationship to extremes with a sky diving course and jump out of a plane! You will have to have a lot of faith with the person jumping with you!

jewelry gift

Give them the gift of jewelry that will last forever and make the prefect impression. Just think about something you have always wanted to say to them and have it inscribed onto a piece of jewelry to make it truly unique and special.

spa weekend

Take them on a spa weekend – Treat that someone special to a wonderful weekend away! It may be the right moment you have been waiting for it pop the question. And you can also save money by using vouchers.

Buy them that pet they have always wanted, it could bring the family closer together with a puppy or start a relationship with a cute kitten to play with.

Or do something truly special and adopt an animal in another country! See way you don’t have the hassle or the cost of looking after the animal but you get updates of how the animal is doing just imagine telling your friends you have a pet Panda!

Arts and Crafts in the United Kingdom

I knew very little about the world of arts and crafts before I married my husband who is a basket maker. It was like entering a whole new world for me, having worked in banking and business world for many years.

We moved to West Kilbride, Scotland’s Craft Town, where I met many other manufacturers, musicians and artists trying to make a life of their own profession. I came to appreciate their work more, and realize how important it is for us to support the creators and artists and ensure their craft are not lost.

As a nation we have become so accustomed to being able to buy goods manufactured in the Far East or Eastern Europe where wages are considerably lower and therefore the prices are very low compared to our level of income. The problem is that when one sees the labor cost something in the UK, we’re totally shocked how expensive it is, and dismiss it as too costly.

I noticed that there are some quality items made by hand here in the United Kingdom. To stay in the area of goods manufactured by hand these days in the UK, you must be really passionate about what you do, because there is little money if the items they produce are really made with love. They are not exploited and are generally concerned about the materials they use. All these things manifest in their work – they can be subtle – but it makes a difference to the “feel” of the issue. It gives the element of attraction that goods manufactured mainly from the desire to make money do not.

We are in danger of losing many of our artists and craftspeople, because the money we have more than the aesthetic value than us. I have a theory that many disaffected young people of today could well be budding craftsmen and women, they simply do not know. The school is academically biased and if a teenager is not academic mind, then the school can fail them. They can go well if they come from an art craft-oriented family and enter that way, but there are few apprenticeships in craft industries these days, and many children are taken out after their artistic dreams – “because there is no money in it” or you need to “find a suitable job. And if we do not show them that we hand-value products UK, buying, they will never feel there is no value in it.

A handmade product, produced by a British producer, brings so much to your home than fill his target. Try it and see what I mean.

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Are Outlets Really a Bargain?

Did you know that the sales figures for outlet malls are 90% higher today (per square foot) than the traditional mall? In hope to find their brand name items for bargain prices, many shoppers are flocking to outlet malls these days.

Outlet malls were originally a place for retailers to sell excess or damaged goods. As time went on however, desire for brand name apparel at outlet prices soon began to outstrip supply. The advent of the internet has made it easier for folks to keep up with the latest trends in all areas of the country and made demand even higher for high-quality, designer goods. With all this increasing demand, especially in our current economy, stores began manufacturing a separate brand for their outlet stores. Most goods sold at outlet stores today are new products that were never on the floor of a major brand store.

Outlet malls

While discounts can still be had for these outlet manufactured goods, the name tag does not necessarily equate quality any longer. Coach, a major player in the separately-manufactured items for the outlet mall, is a brand that with a simple Google search yields plenty complaints on the inferior quality of their outlet goods. I can speak from my own experience about clothing I purchased at the Banana Republic Factory Store—a super cute dress I fell in love with was fraying with one wear.

Why if the quality can be sub-par, do people still shop in droves at outlet malls? A lot of their customers don’t know the difference. Store outlets depend on their customer’s inability to be able to discern a difference between the Gap shirt at a store and the Gap Outlet shirt. If you try to return an outlet item to a traditional store, only then do you realize that your clothing item isn’t exactly the same as most traditional stores do not accept outlet returns. Banana Republic and the Gap, for instance, have three squares/diamonds on their clothing tags to differentiate it from their regular stores.

What further increases sales at outlet malls is their big discounts (50% Off Entire Store!) with high MSRPs convincing customers they’re getting steals. When you’re saving money according to a tag, you’re doing well! Plus, the far-out location only makes a person want to spend even more. Why pay a toll to cross the Lincoln Tunnel and drive an hour to the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlet in Central Valley, NY if you’re going to leave empty handed?

Fear not shopper, if you’re a fan of the outlet malls. This article isn’t here to speak of their evils, but to shed light on their less-than-honest practices. If you’re aware of the differences in outlet products and are buying the clothing based on your budget and not the supposed quality, shop away. Outlet malls will continue to be places to find clothing at affordable prices, especially if you catch store sales on already clearance items. Outlet malls can ensure you can buy gifts for all those on your holiday list without breaking the budget.

Readers: Are you a fan of the outlet mall? How often do you you go and what do you generally buy? Have you been disappointed or pleasantly surprised by your outlet finds?