Last days of summer: how to get the most from your weekends

The sun certainly had its hat on for us this summer, but now the kids are settled back into school, you’re back at work, and normality has been restored.
But summer doesn’t have to be over just yet! With rumours of a ‘BBQ Autumn’ and the Met Office reporting we’re eight times more likely to have temperatures well-above average than well-below, here are some ideas on what you could get up to...
Did someone say ‘beach’?!

Summer is synonymous with lazy beach days, so why not fit in one more before the colder temperatures kick in? Load up the car the night before so you can set off early, pack a simple picnic for lunch, then a portable BBQ for a seafront grill as the sun sets. It might end up being a late one, but with all that sea air you can guarantee the kids will doze off in the car! Here are some items for your packing list:
Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal BBQ (£79.99) to cook your sausages and burgers in next to no time. ●Pop-up beach tent (£21.99) to shelter you whatever the weather – sun, …

GP’s top 7 European city breaks

We all love a long, relaxing holiday by the beach, but having a city break in our diaries guarantees us a couple of jam-packed days of excitement, culture and great food. City escapes always feel longer than they actually are, you can travel with just your hand luggage (check out our top packing tips here), and at worst, you only need to take one or two days’ annual leave!
We’re really lucky to be just a short flight away from some stunning European cities. The key question is: where to go? Prepare to be inspired…
1. Venice, Italy

Venice is beautiful and beguiling in equal measures. Whether you’re cruising the canals by gondola, admiring the intricacies of the Basilica di San Marco, or clinking glasses whilst gazing out to the glistening Adriatic Sea, you’ll feel as if you’ve been swept back in time. The absence of cars within the Floating City means you can travel around by foot, exploring winding streets, secret passageways and quaint footbridges.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands  

Uncover a b…

Go green in the office: GP’s top tips

You’ve recently made some tweaks to your lifestyle to help protect the planet, but do these changes extend into your work environment? Seeing as we spend so much time there, we all need to make a conscious effort to ensure our working practices are sustainable and have as little impact on the environment as possible.
So, whether you’re a business owner, manager or employee keen to go green, heed these top tips put together by the GP team:
Hitch a ride

Car pollution is a major cause of global warming, but for many of us, driving is the most practical way to get to work. If your colleagues also travel by car, why not ask them if they’d like to buddy up? As well as the environmental benefits, car sharing for two days a week could slash £500 off your annual fuel bill. Plus, you’ll have some company for the commute!
For those of you lucky enough to live closer to the office, why not ditch the car for two wheels? Check out Bike2Work – the UK’s leading independent provider of the Government Cy…

8 ways to burglar-proof your home this summer

According to a recent study cited by the Mirror, 816,00 Brits will have their homes broken into while abroad this summer, so it’s really important to take the necessary steps to secure your humble abode. Team GP have put together eight simple tips that we hope will help burglar-proof your home...
1. Hide it

Piles of post, loaded bins not put out for collection and dead flowers are ready signs that your home is unoccupied. So, hide all evidence – chuck out the flowers before you go, ask a trusted neighbour to put your bins out, and give them a spare key so they can collect your post and store it out of sight (remember, a burglar might peer through your letterbox to gauge whether you’re in or not).
2. Hold it

If you’re jetting off for over a week and don’t want to bother your neighbours, sign up to Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, which will hold all of your mail for 10 days for £14, or 17 days for £17. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to give them five working days’ notice.
3. Say it wit…

Top 10 UK summer picnic spots – as voted for by YOU!

We know we’re not the only ones who love a good ol’ picnic. There’s something hugely humbling about unravelling a tartan rug in the great outdoors, and sharing food and laughter with our friends and family.
In fact, we know we’re not the only ones who enjoy picnicking as a popular pastime, because we asked you to share your favourite summer UK picnic spots with us – and almost 800 of you replied on our Facebook page alone! Thank you!
As much as we’d love to, we can’t share all of your suggestions, but you can browse the list for yourself and see what takes your fancy. Here are 10 of the best summertime picnic spots that caught our attention – wicker hampers at the ready…
1. Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway is an iconic, UNESCO World Heritage Site – and according to you guys, it’s also a great place to enjoy lunch! On a still day, picnickers can tuck into a sarnie perched on one of the 40,000 basalt columns , but if it’s gusty, you might…