Booking a holiday

This year I will be going on an overseas holiday and I have decided to handle all the bookings myself in a bid to cut out any involvement from a travel agent.

I am going on a summer holiday!

Therefore I will have to book all flights, accommodation and rental cars and obviously online is the easiest way to go about this.  I think I should be able to research and book all of those in one day!

Yesterday I bought myself a nice picnic rug online.  It forms part of today’s plan where I am currently sitting under an old oak tree at my local park, on my new picnic rug, with a nice little lunch for later but for now I am ready to research and book my holiday.


So, where am I going to go?  Well I have always wanted to go to Cape Town in South Africa.  I have a couple of friends who have gone there and they loved every single minute of their visit.

I am planning on going for two weeks, with one week in Cape Town itself and one week travelling up the Garden Route, which is from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay.  I have done a little research about this section of South Africa and it has some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country including, so of course I will be packing my camera and taking many pictures.

I want the best deals possible, so I will be checking out a few options online.

Tickets booked

I found a very good price with South African Airways, but before jumping in I just need to double check a few things to ensure that I am on their official site.

I always check the following before putting in any credit card details:

  • There must be a secure “lock” symbol on the web page… check!
  • The web address must start with https:// not http://…check!
  • The website should contain a verification badge from either Verisign or Thwaite… check! The SAA website uses Thwaite.

A few clicks, entering of credit card details… as easy as that, I have flight tickets to South Africa.


The next thing I need to book is a rental car as I plan to drive myself around, especially up the Garden Route.  There are a number of car hire websites that I have been advised to use and I have chose the one my friends used while they were in South Africa.   They offer excellent rates, much cheaper than if I had used a travel agent.  Again, I am making sure that all of the security checks are in place exactly in the same way as I did when I booked my flight tickets…rental car booked!

Lastly, I need to book accommodation.  For my stay in Cape Town, I am staying in the city centre at the Cape Sun hotel.  I have popped off an email to them asking about rates and if they have a room available on the dates I am in Cape Town.

For my trip up the Garden Route I will be booking into guesthouses, backpackers and bed and breakfast establishments.  I am not too concerned about organising all of that now as I can do it in the week I am in Cape Town.


Just received an email back from the Cape Sun, they have a room for me on the dates I requested.  Again I will pay online, using all the security checks as for the flight tickets and car rental.  Accommodation in Cape Town is now booked!

Well, that was not too bad!  It was easier than I expected but still took a good few hours!  I suppose reporting it real time on my blog slowed me down a little.

Just one last purchase left.  I am buying a travel wallet.  They are so convenient and perfect for me to keep all my important trip documents, tickets, my passport and money.

Now let me just find the perfect online store to buy it…

Wall Clock Shopping: A Safe Bet

Having a clock in your room, whether living room or bedroom, has a very strong impact on the way you manage you r affairs. Clocks are good companions in managing time. When you know your time well you’re able to plan and handle your tasks well too. The world we live in has become very competitive. For you to fit into this fast competitive world you must be able to manage your time well. This is why that clock in either your living room or bedroom, is vital. There’re even people who feel a home is incomplete until it has a clock. But clocks go more than just managing time; clocks also enhance the personality of your room.  Today clocks come in different shapes, designs and colors that can match any space and theme. So apart from time management clocks are also pieces for décor.

Choosing the Clock

buying clocks onlineInternet has revolutionized shopping. Online shopping has steadily grown with more online stores coming up as people get cozy with shopping through internet. Online shopping is attracting many enthusiasts because it’s exciting, hustle free and can be done at the comfort of your house using just a smart phone. But there are also several things that you a buyer online must bear in mind lest you do not get what you desire. If you’re not keen on these details you could purchase a clock of less value, one which doesn’t fir your surroundings, or worse, lose your money.

Some things you need to consider:

  • Decide on where your clock shall hung. If it’s in the bedroom then you’ll need to know if the clock you intend to buy ticks. If it does this may not be suitable for the bedroom because the ticking noise could interfere with the calmness that you need to sleep peacefully.
  • The size of numerals is also important. For instance are you able to easily read your clock at any position from where it hangs? If the size of the numerals makes it difficult to read you may need to consider a clock with bigger numerals.
  • You should never buy a wall clock without considering the color theme on your wall. It’s important to make sure that the color of the clock you’re buying matches the color theme on your wall and that the lighting in your room will illuminate you clock enough to be read at night time.
  • It’s also important that you buy a clock with a brand that is proven for its quality and durability. It’ll be frustrating to buy a clock and in less than one month it gets spoilt.

Before settling down to buying your clock get more information regarding the type of clock you will be purchasing. You want to get as much information as possible about the item so look for a website that has a lot of product information. An online store such as Purely Wall Clocks has extensive product descriptions for each of the wall clocks listed so you can be sure you know exactly what you are getting.

Deciding on the right place to buy from

Choosing a safe site

There some important factors to consider when picking the right place to buy your clock.

  • Find out what their return and exchange policy is. This safeguards you in case you purchase only to find that it doesn’t suit your needs. You should therefore go for those online stores whose purchase conditions allow for return and/or exchange of the item.
  • The safety of the site is also of crucial. You need to find out if it dhas an SSL certificate. You can know this by checking it out at their checkout page. Sites with SSL certificates have an “https” instead of http on their checkout page. You can see an example of this at Simply Cushions
  • You will also need know what would happen if your clock breaks on the way before reaching the buyer.
  • Also make sure that the place you purchase your clock from has a good reputation for selling quality clocks.
  • For a comprehensive list for shopping online, read this article.

safe shopping



Top tips for shopping online safely

safe online shoppingOnline shopping is one of the most preferred modes of shopping in this new and busy world. Most people have adopted it as a way to avoid the large crowds at shopping malls. However, online shopping offers a great deal of challenges as you want your money to stay safe. Nobody wants to be a victim of unauthentic sites with false claims. Online shopping can turn be an enjoyable experience if you know how to shop online and, most importantly, where to shop from.

Tips for shopping online safely

  1. First and foremost, trust your instincts! Only shop at online stores that you feel comfortable with. If something feels fishy, it probably is so steer clear.
  2. Use familiar websites – you can be safe in the knowledge that sites like Amazon or Target will be using best practises and treating your information safely;
  3. Buy from shops that have an SSL certificate. The easiest way to check this is to see if a site has https on its checkout page. This will also be accompanied by an icon with a locked padlock. You can be sure than these sites have encryption safely
  4. Use secure payment methods like PayPal, BPay or your credit card. Avoid any site asking you to make a direct debit or money transfer as their is no recourse to refund your money if something goes wrong;
  5. Don’t give too much away – if a site is asking for too much detail about you, this is a sign that something is wrong. If information like your birthdate or social security number provided with your credit card details then your identity could actually be stolen.
  6. Check the refund, return and exchanges policy and only shop at stores which allow you to change your mind if you don’t like the item. Shopping online means you don’t physically get to see the item until it arrives at your house so you want the opportunity to exchange or refund if it’s not quite right.
  7. If you order from a computer that is available for others to use (ie library or work etc) then make sure you clear the cache and browsing history before you log off.
  8. Check the seller has a physical address. If it is a purely online business with no listed address then a red flag should fly high and you should avoid this retailer.
  9. Check the privacy policy – sounds boring but it’s worth it. You want to know if the retailer might on-sell your private details to a third party.

How to set up a home bar – tips for buying products online

My husband had a brilliant idea to set up a bar at our home few days back. We love to socialise and often have friends around. Often we use the usual spots, our living room and our outside area but we have become a little bored with these options. When he first told me about his idea, I panicked a lot. He has lots of ideas like this and they don’t always turn out well. So I decided this time to get involve and offer my support. This way I might be able to avoid a repeat of his backyard pizza oven disaster. That’s a story for another time.

So after doing some quick research online, I started to gather various ideas for our new bar. There were two items in particular that I found shopping online for to be a great experience. For us, our bar had to have great bar stools and it definitely needed a record player.  I thought I’d my experience in shopping for these items here. If anyone else finds themselves in this situation they might find some useful ideas below.

Different types, designs and styles of bar stools

I decided to buy bar stools first! Bar stools are available in a variety of shapes and sizes but I soon discovered that your choice of these is important (bar stools are very different to counter stools – don’t make that mistake!).  With so much choice, I’ve put together a few tips below that will help others in this search:

buying bar stools online

  • Bar stool seats have an average height of about 30 inches.Whereas a counter stool has an average seat height of 26 inches.
  • Spacing is also another important factor when choosing the right bar stools. There should be enough space to facilitate easy movement so don’t buy too many and overcrowd your bar. The standard is about 26-30 inches between each stool.
  • Wooden and leather bar stools are well suited with darker wooden décor whereas a lighter wood is ideal for sunny outdoor settings. Don’t forget to purchase comfortable cushions if you are going for non padded wooden furniture.
  • While choosing bar stools, also look for their design and colour to match with your existing colour platte.

Vinyl record player – the perfect sound system for a cool bar

We love vinyl records so having an amazing sound system was really important for our new bar. I  was assigned the job of  researching and buying a vinyl record player. This was perhaps the best part of the whole process. I spent ages trawling through websites trying to find the perfect one to surprise my husband with. He has an old collection of records that he hasn’t played in years so he was extremely excited to get them out and play them on his new record player.

When shopping for a record player online, make sure you know what speed your collection of records play at before you start browsing. Most will be either 33, 45 or 78 and the vast majority of record players will be able to play at all three speeds but make sure you check! Another important thing to check is whether or not it has preamp. If your a newbie at this then you will want to make sure the one you buy has a preamp so you don’t have to buy one separately.

Setting up a bar at home for sure is a daunting task but with effective research and planning you can make it quite easy. Make sure you adhere to all my tips on shopping online safely and you will be fine!

Hunting for huge Homewares-How to shop for large items online

Hunting for huge home wares: How to shop for large items online

Who wants to spend a weekend trolling through furniture shops? The world is rapidly changing; more people are finding the traditional shopping method inconveniencing, time consuming, expensive and sometimes end getting you items that don’t match your needs. The growth in online shopping appears unstoppable and the advantage it offers makes it more and more popular.

Online stores have also grown tremendously making it easier now to get an item you want right in the comfort of your living room. Many people still think it’s not possible to shop for large items, such as furniture, online but they couldn’t be more wrong. There are stores that specialise in every single item under the sun and they are completely online. Take things like coffee tables or bedside tables for example, traditionally you would have traipsed into a shopping centre or large complex along with every man and his son to view a small selection at one store. If you weren’t happy you would have to continue this soul sucking process until you found one you liked. Now, however, the internet allows us to search for almost anything and anything with just the click of a button. Take these two examples above, you can find a speciality store that only sells coffee tables or a store that specialises in bedside tables. These shops will have a huge range and are sure to know what they are talking about.


Advantages of Shopping Online

Online shopping has never been more popular. But it’s also important that you know your online way round to be able to get the best of your shopping.

There are several advantages that are endearing shoppers to shopping online. Buying large items by the traditional shopping method sometimes is challenging because it is difficult to easily balance the factors such as colour, space, etc with the item you’re buying. In this case sometimes you end up with an item whose colour does not blend nicely with the colour of the room you intend to put it in. For example, we recently had to buy some bar stools and it was so much easier shopping from within the room they were intended for so we could easily colour match.

This is where online shopping is more attractive. It is much easier to shop for your homewares while sitting in the room it’s intended for. This is because:

safe buying online

  • Colours: You can easily see the colour palette of the room, balance and match it with that of the item you intend to purchase before ordering for the item.
  • Space: When you’re buying online you have the opportunity of taking measurements of the space the item is intended for before ordering. In this case you are able to match the size of the item to the space you have available for it.
  • Convenience: You have the convenience of shopping at a time that suits you and not when you are able to fit in a visit to the shop or during hours that that particular shop operates.

Important Things to Remember When Shopping for Large Items Online

Like any shopping, shopping online also calls for care and vigilance. You should make sure that you remember the following things when shopping for large items online:

  • Shipping Policy: You must check on the online shopping store’s shipping policy. What are the conditions that govern, for instance the condition of the item at delivery, the timing and costs of shipping, etc.
  • SSL Certificate: Make sure that the online store you buy from has a SSL Certificate. This is important because the information you’ll be sending to the online store; such as your credit card number, passwords, etc could be at a risk and land in wrong hands if the store does not have an SSL to safeguard such information.
  • Returns Policy: Knowing the return policy of the store you’re buying from is crucial just in case you have to return the purchased item. Check out what is required from you in order to return the item; receipt, email confirmations, conditions of packaging, your identification, etc. Check out also what the exchange policy of the store is. Once you have returned the item what is needed for that item to be exchanged.

If you’re well armed with information you need to shop online, you’re able to enjoy the experience of getting your items right at the comfort of your living room.

Tips for buying lighting online

Buying lighting online can be a tricky business but it’s actually no tricker than buying an a physical store. I think the actual act of buying lighting is the tricky bit! There are so many different variables when it comes to lighting – the size, shape, colour, fixtures, wattage… the list goes on! But… lighting can have a dramatic effect on your home and so the best way to approach this task is to do your research and find out exactly what you need before you start shopping.

pendantsDifferent types of lighting
Lighting can be categorised by its uses; general lighting refers to overhead lighting that lights up an entire room, accent lighting draws attention to a certain area such as a lovely painting, many people use pendant lights such as these for this purpose and task lighting lights up a workspace so a specific task can be performed, floor lamps such as these make a great choice for task lighting.

So, first figure out what type of lighting you are going to be buying. This will narrow down your field and you can actually find stores that only sell that particular style of lighting.

Measure up

floorMeasuring your space is the single most important thing you can do before you start shopping online for your lighting. You need to get out the tape measure and write down exactly what size range your lighting needs to be in. If you are buying pendant lighting then you need to determine how low they will hang before you start shopping. You don;t want o buy some that are so low they wi;; hit your husband in the head every time he walks by!


When deciding on the style of lighting to get you need to think about the existing style in the room and ensure that it is in line with this. That’s one of the reasons online shopping is such a good idea, you can sit in the room your lighting is intended for while you a browsing online. So, if you have a traditional styled room and you want to stick with this style and go for something that compliments it. An example of this can be taken from floor lamps. The modern styled arc lamps will not work with traditional styling, they are better suited to a minimalist style. Instead, a floor lamps with an actual lampshade is a much better choice and will really enhance the look and feel of the room.

If you have a modern or contemporary style room you want to stick with simple and streamlined designs. The aforementioned arc lamp is a wonderful example but you could also explore contemporary pendant lighting. Industrial pendant lighting with streamlined light fixtures will work excellently in a minimalist styled room.

lighting online

The store

Lastly, make sure you do your research on the store you will be buying from. It’s important that you only buy from a trusted retailer and there are a few things you can check to make sure you know your purchase will be safe. For more advice on this, check out this post.


Our brand new website is coming soon!

Welcome to the early beginnings of the Safe Network, the essential guide to helping you make the best choices when shopping for your home and garden. We intend to bring you all the information you need to be a wise consumer in the 21st century.

The way we shop and make purchases has changed significantly over the past few decades, and consumers need to be armed with an array of knowledge to keep themselves both protected and capable of choosing wisely.

I can’t wait to share all of may valuable information with you, but in the meantime, please check out this amazingly helpful video. It’s a taste of what’s to come!