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Ideas For Late Summer Days Out

It’s just a couple of weeks now until school starts up again and by now you might be fast running out of ideas on how to keep the family entertained. After all, fun activities cost money, and now it’s been a few weeks you might be feeling the pinch! In that spirit, we’ve come up with a few fun ideas for later summer days out to keep the whole family happy. We’ve focused on things to do that won’t cost the earth but will hopefully help you to create great memories together and have so much fun that your kids will be telling all their friends about when they see them again! Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, so read on and let us take on a bit of the leg work for you for once! You deserve it!

Picnic In The Park

While the weather has been up and down so far this summer, we have been blessed with some absolutely stunning, scorching days, so while the weather holds out, a picnic in the park is a great way to make the most of the sunshine, give the kids a chance to get some all important exercise and it’s cheap and cheerful. By making a hamper up at home with sandwiches, drinks and snacks you can keep the costs down, but also most supermarkets now offer a wide range of affordable, ready to eat finger food that you can grab and go enjoy. Take some balls or sports equipment to use the space to its fullest extent. Hopefully by the end of a full day enjoying the park the kids will be so knackered they’ll be straight to bed, which would be a result for all!

Try Out A Museum

Most museums are either free to enter or very low cost, so consider taking the family along for a low cost day out. With school just around the corner, it presents the perfect opportunity to get the kids into the spirit of learning again. Make it fun by showing how excited you are about all of the exhibits yourself. They’re sure to get wrapped up in it and love running around looking at all of the interesting artefacts behind glass and learning things they’ve never heard about before. With such a wide variety of museums around the UK, you’re sure to be able to find one local to you that is focused around a topic you or your family would love to find out more about. And think, if everyone gets the museum bug, there’d be many more great trips out to look forward to!

Head To The Cinema

It wasn’t too long ago that a cinema trip for a family of four could have cost upwards of £50. Whether it was due to falling attendance or just coming to their senses, many cinemas have slashed their prices down to much more palatable levels, with some offering deals on certain days of the week that are nigh on unbelievable. With tickets as little as £1.50 each, it’s a great opportunity to go and see the latest new release at a fraction of what it would have cost you a few years ago. Great for colder, rainy days that otherwise would have been spent lounging around the house dealing with a very bored, restless family!

Creative Crafts

Doing an activity where you can take home a souvenir always feels like an extra special treat. In recent years there has been an explosion in so called ‘craft cafes’ where you can go and enjoy a nice hot beverage while taking part in some kind of creative activity. From pottery to painting, you can create to your heart’s extent then take home your work to admire for a long time to come. If there’s nothing like this near you, you can always try it at home. No, not strictly a day out, but taking a quick trip to a local hobby store you can find an enormous range of things to try, such as mosaics, stained glass, ceramic painting, you name it, you can try it! 

We hope you find one of the tips above helpful. A great thing to remember towards the end of the summer is the more you can get the whole family excited about learning, the easier the transition into the new school year will be. Our next blog will be focused on fun ideas to get the kids ready for the new school year, so stay tuned for that coming soon!

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Wedding Day Survival Guide

Wedding season is well and truly in full swing, and for some people the endless weekly parade of white dresses, hymns, alcohol, dancing and hangovers is taking its toll. Whether it’s your wedding or you’re an honoured guest, it can’t be ignored that a wedding day is a marathon. Often starting in the late morning and continuing into the wee hours of the next day, keeping yourself going and your energy levels up can be a very difficult task! So if you’re looking at your upcoming social schedule and feeling a creeping sense of dread, you don’t need to worry. We’ve compiled our essential wedding day survival guide so that you’ll be able to see the entire day through with a smile on your face able to make memories you’ll cherish forever. As the old adage says, prior preparation prevents poor performance!

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Weddings are always a great party, so try to get a good night’s sleep the night before. While it is tempting to go wild when the weekend hits, you’ll enjoy a Saturday wedding much more if your Friday night was a peaceful one rather than ending with your head down a toilet! If you struggle to get an early night, a great way to aid a peaceful sleep is to drink some chamomile tea, as well as avoiding screens for a couple of hours before you intend to turn in. Getting a solid 7-9 hours will give you the best start possible for the next day!

Have A Hearty Breakfast

Wedding ceremonies can be long, without taking into account the journey times between the venues. You might have been out for hours before you get to sit down to eat, so make sure you get a good breakfast in you before you leave. If you’re the bride or groom, you might be extremely nervous or feel like you have too much to do to fit it in, but it’s so important to ensure you enjoy your day, so take time for it, and maybe even make it more special with a small glass of bubbly!

Pack A Snack Sack

Especially important if you have young children, take a small bag of healthy snacks along to keep the energy levels up throughout the day. Things like yoghurt or granola bars and fruit are perfect energy boosters as well as being light and healthy. You don’t want to fill up on junk food as it will give a short term energy boost that will be followed by a lull that could leave you or your kids feeling lethargic and potentially irritable. 

Plan Your Journey

If you’re in the wedding party, it makes sense to assign someone the responsibility of checking the route to the venue before you leave. There are a number of online tools available to check for traffic jams, accidents or any other issue that could make you late, and if you have a long drive, it’s especially important to double check so that you don’t keep anyone waiting. Of course, it’s tradition for the bride to be a little late, but getting stuck in a gridlock due to a major accident for hours is not the ideal start to marriage!

Check The Weather Forecast

Sadly we can’t rely on the great British summertime to deliver us consistently beautiful weather every year. If only we could! If you’re headed to an al fresco wedding, it’s always a good shout to check the weather forecast before you go and plan accordingly. If rain is forecast it might be worth taking a coat, an umbrella and a change of shoes along just in case. And if it’s your wedding and dark clouds look like they’re going to be looming on your big day, it might be worth speaking to some local businesses to see if you can secure some weatherproofing last minute. A large marquee could make all the difference if the heavens open!

Wearing heels? Take some flip flops!

This one’s pretty obvious, but for all the brave heel wearing heroes out there, as badass as you are to consider wearing them for an entire day and night, you’ll definitely thank your past self for packing those comfy flats when the aching and blisters start to set in. To enjoy your day to its fullest you don’t want to be in pain, afterall who is going to tear up the dance floor if it’s not you?

And that’s it, our top tips for wedding day survival! If you’re getting married this summer, congratulations! We hope you have the most wonderful day! And remember, if you need help getting to or from a wedding this summer, contact ABC to book your taxi today!

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Taxi Rides

Whether you need a ride home from the shops with your heavy shopping, headed to the airport on holiday or returning home after a big night out, a taxi is a great option for when driving isn’t convenient. Whether you’re a taxi regular or a total novice, it goes without saying that you want to have a pleasant journey every time, so to aid you in that we’ve compiled a quick and easy do’s and don’ts list to cover any eventuality that might occur next time you find yourself in need of a ride!

Chatting To The Driver

DO – feel free to speak as little or as much as you want to. Taxi drivers love having a chat with their passengers, it’s a great way to pass the journey and makes a long day behind the wheel much more pleasant. With all the different types of people that take a taxi, it’s a great opportunity to learn about other people’s lives which is endlessly interesting!

DON’T – deliberately distract the driver. While a conversation is great, being extremely loud or trying to get the driver to take their eyes off the road is extremely dangerous. At all times the driver’s priority is getting you to your destination safely, so chat away, but if the driver needs to take a moment to focus on the road, ensure that you allow them to do their job in the safest way they can!

Having A Drink

DO – enjoy a drink before taking your taxi. We’re all human, and it’s only natural that if you’re on your way out, or on your way home, you’d want to indulge yourself a little and have as much fun as possible. Taxi drivers love the fact that they can be a small part in your great night out!

DON’T – get too drunk. We’ve all been there, your mate’s a little too far gone and vomits all over the taxi, incurring a pretty hefty fine. It’s a horrible situation for everyone – the driver can’t earn while their car is dirty, and you’ll have to find an alternative route home. If you feel like you’ve had a little bit too much, drink some water and try to sit outside to sober up before setting foot in your cab!

Giving Directions

DO – let the driver know if you have a preferred route at the beginning of the journey. We want to get you from A to B as quickly as possible, so if you know a great route, please let the driver know! After all, if you know the area, you’ll likely be able to help them out! Whatever we can do to accommodate you and make your journey more pleasant, we will gladly oblige!

DON’T – shout directions at the driver while they are driving. It seems obvious, but while the driver is in motion, it’s extremely important not to distract him. It’s understandable that if heavy traffic is encountered and you know a great alternative you’ll want to let the driver know, so if this is the case ask them to pull over so you can advise them in order to allow the driver to maintain 100% focus while driving.

Late Taxi

DO – call the office for an update. They will know exactly where your cab is and be able to indicate an accurate ETA. If traffic is heavy or there is an accident sometimes lateness can be unavoidable, but the office should have an idea as to why any delays have taken place so they are the best place to start.

DON’T – be aggressive towards or call the driver. If you have the driver’s number do not call them to ask them where they are as they are more likely than not driving and will not be able to respond. Do not behave negatively towards the driver if they are late as when driving there are a number of factors outside the driver’s control and it is more than likely this was the cause of their lateness.

Big Parties

DO – call the office and request a larger cab in advance of your journey. Most cab companies will be able to accommodate larger parties, however due to the generally lower availability of these vehicles, advanced booking is essential.

DON’T – assume you can cram more people in the taxi. It is illegal for taxi drivers to carry more passengers than their car can officially accommodate, so do not ask if one of your friends can sit in your lap or go in the boot. While it may seem amusing, doing so would risk the taxi driver facing prosecution, so it’s best not to go there!

If you need to get somewhere but driving isn’t an option, contact ABC via phone, our app or our website to book a great value taxi quickly and easily.

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How To Properly Prepare For A Job Interview

For many, job interviews can be uncomfortable, nerve-wracking or even frightening experiences. Sitting in an unfamiliar room with new people being asked complicated questions that ask you to recall tiny, minute details about previous jobs that you may have left years and years ago… Even the coolest of cucumbers is likely to get a little rattled! But is there any way to avoid it? While you may not be able to completely eradicate all your pre-interview jitters, getting as organised as possible beforehand is sure to help waylay your anxiety, even if it’s just a little. As the old adage states – prior preparation prevents poor performance! So what steps can you take to help make sure you’re walking into that interview as confident as you can possibly be?

Plan your outfit, and dress to impress!

Sometimes an interview can catch you off guard and you’ll only have a day or so to prepare. A lot of the time, however, you will have a week or so before you’re asked to come in, so take advantage of that by taking the time to plan your outfit. Don’t just assume you have something to wear and realise at the last minute that it’s got a huge stain down it or shrunk in the wash! This will also enable you to shop around if you do need to buy something new, which avoids the pinch of potentially spending more than you wanted because you don’t have time to find anything else. Taking the time to put an outfit together that suits the job, suits your budget (if you need to get anything new) and makes you feel good will make the world of difference in how you feel about yourself when you go into that interview, which is key to presenting yourself positively and confidently. 

Do your research and learn some key facts by heart

It might be your worst nightmare, but the reality is a lot of interviewers will open by asking you what you know about the company, and if you’re not prepared it will no doubt get your interview off to a bad start. It can be overwhelming when trying to research a company from scratch, and with so much to take in, prioritising what to remember and then successfully recalling it in a stressful situation is no easy feat. To narrow things down, try to find out some information that pertains to your prospective role or department within the company. It’s also a good idea to try and remember when the company was formed and what its values or company ethos are. The important thing to remember is that interviews are not a memory test. Generally, if you spend enough time reading up about the company you will naturally take in information that you might recall without even realising within the interview. It will be clear that you have put in the effort to know your stuff, which is the most important thing.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and start a conversation

What many people find most uncomfortable about interviews is the basic question and answer format they tend to follow. Remember – an interview is the company’s chance to get to know you, so if you’re curious about something and want to know more – ask! This will also go a long way to starting a conversation, which is a more natural way of communicating, which should help calm your nerves and put you at ease. During your company research, if you want to know more about something, write it down and ask it at the end of the interview. Showing genuine passion and interest will set you above other candidates who have potentially been more reserved or not done enough research. It’s inevitable during more consultative based interviews that the question and answer format will form part of the overall interview process, but being more at ease and relaxed will enable you to more confidently answer these more difficult kinds of questions.

Plan your journey in advance

There’s nothing worse than doing everything you can to smash an interview, but being let down by a late bus or a lift that was promised but not delivered. No matter what mode of transport you take – PLAN! Check the bus times and take an earlier bus, you might have to hang around a little, but you’ll be on time! If you’re taking a taxi, book it the day before and ensure you’ve researched how long the drive could take and allowed enough time. This is the same if you’re going to drive yourself in. The bottom line is there is no exuse for any lateness if you get organised, except maybe an act of God, but the company will likely forgive you if you get struck by lightning on your way to the interview.

The point here is simple – don’t wing it, plan and prepare and that interview is your oyster! Good luck job hunters!

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Student Budgeting Tips For Summer

Summer 2019 is here and when the sun is out the fun is out! In our previous blog, we discussed a few top tips for enterprising students on how best to make money during the summer as a student. Now, this is all well and good, but if the stories are to be believed, students aren’t generally the best at budgeting, and what’s the point in earning all that cash if you’re going to have nothing to show for it come September? So whether you’re a keen summer earner who wants to have a blast but also keep an eye on the pennies, or if you’re determined that your summer will be dedicated to chilling and chilling ONLY so that loan has got to last, you’ll be wanting to find out some top tips on how to effectively budget, right? Never fear, we’ve compiled a few deceptively simple tricks that will stop any unnecessary spending and might actually help you long term to keep a firm hand on your finances. You can thank us later!

Pay your bills in advance

Unless you’re living in halls, it’s highly likely that you’ll have bills to pay over the summer. Sadly, gas, electric and broadband bills will not wait for you to get back in September, so to avoid sheepishly having to ask your parents to cover your share of the internet bill when you’ve run out of money in August, a great tip is to pre-pay your bills for the time you will be away before you go. While it may be painful at the time shelling out that much money in one go when you realise that the majority of the money you have left is yours and yours alone to go wild with, you’ll thank your past self for being so organised. 

Draw out cash weekly 

Most people will have an idea of the amount of money they need on a weekly basis outside of bills. We all know roughly how much a pub trip will cost, how much we spent on food etc. so setting a spending limit and drawing that amount of money out in cash at the beginning of the week can be a really effective tool to prevent overspending. You’ll probably want to remove any mobile payment apps from your phone and leave the debit and credit cards at home if you need that little bit of extra self-control. It seems so simple and easy, but by literally limiting your access to money as much as possible outside of what you have set aside for the week you will be shocked at the amount you save on purchases you don’t even notice making normally!

Switch to a budget supermarket

If you’re lucky enough to have your parents foot the food bill over the summer, this one might be a bit irrelevant for you. But, then again, if your parents complain about the huge hike in costs when you’re home, then this tip might be one to share with the whole family. Budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl frequently advertise how much lower in cost they are compared to the market leaders and they’re not wrong! Whereas these stores used to have a bit of a negative reputation, their solid product offerings, big name brand dupes and insanely low prices have won many a naysayer over. So if you, or your parents, are wondering how on earth you’re going to keep yourself fed this summer we strongly advise checking out a budget supermarket, even if you’re sceptical! 

Learn to cook

With a whole summer ahead of you, it’s the perfect time to try new things and learn new skills. During term time it could possibly be asserted that a lot of students spend a lot of their time utilising many of the student discounts and offers thrown at them by fast food and takeaway joints. So much so perhaps that the grand summation of cooking that happens in most uni flats is beans on toast! With so many tutorials and videos online on how to cook just about anything, and given the absolutely enormous amount of money you’d save making your favourite takeaway as opposed to buying it, there is no excuse not to use summer 2019 as a chance to flex those culinary muscles and learn a really useful skill for life. Dominos will charge you £18.99 for a large pizza – you could make a bigger one from scratch for about a fiver. If that doesn’t convince you, we’re not sure what will!

Always ask for a student discount

Even if the shop you are in doesn’t advertise one, always ask for a student discount! It’s one of the best things about being a student, and they tend to be advertised less throughout the summer as school and university have broken up. Even smaller local stores may offer a cheeky little discount when asked to. Although saving 10% here and there might seem like nothing, it adds up over the year, so if you see a brand offering a discount and it’s something you definitely NEED then snap it up! One thing to be aware of though – offers are designed to try and get people to buy things! Don’t fall into the trap of seeing the discount and the discount alone – if you don’t need something, don’t buy it!

So there you have it! Four top money saving tips to keep you going throughout the summer. Combine this with our money making tips from the last blog and you’ll be on your way to being a summer student mogul, making it rain over all your mates when you make your triumphant return to uni in September! If you’ve got any more top tips, let us know on social media!

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Student Money Making Tips For Summer

With exam season coming to an end for most students, summer is calling, tempting and beckoning you to let off all the steam you’ve built up during the academic year. Long, warm evenings call for parties under the stars, and the promise of no more 8 am lectures make every late night invitation all the more irresistible. But, the harsh reality is, unless you’ve got some way of funding all of your adventures, it’s likely the majority of your summer will be spent lounging on your mum’s sofa in your pyjamas lamenting the loss of Jeremy Kyle from our daytime TV screens. Don’t worry, you don’t need to sell an organ or take part in any questionable medical testing to avoid this sour summer sentence. By employing some simple summer money making tips, you can make sure you have a blast without breaking the bank or, let’s be real here, your overdraft. While April’s loan may seem like a distant memory and September’s too far away to even think about, we’ve compiled a number of ways for cash strapped students to make a few quid on the side, without breaking the law or disappointing your parents. Read on to make sure summer 2019 is one to remember!

Find a summer job

Ok, it looks like we’re teaching to suck eggs here, however, given the small amount of time most students are at home for the summer, it’s unsurprising that many will write off the idea of finding a summer job for fear of the fact that nobody will want to hire someone who is going to disappear after 10 weeks. Students who hail from smaller towns might feel like they have an even harder job with employment opportunities limited as it is. But where there is a will there is a way, and you might be surprised at how many options there are once you start looking. Call centres and charity fundraising companies are nearly always looking for temporary or casual staff, as well as cleaning companies, factories and offices. A job doesn’t need to be advertised as a summer job for you to be considered! If you reach out to a local temping company with your availability, it’s likely they will be able to put you forward for short term positions. They often pay weekly, too, a bonus when you have a limited amount of free time to enjoy! For those who are lucky enough to call seasonal tourist hot spots home, due to the enormous influx of business these towns experience in high season, finding yourself a job for the summer should be no bother! There are options available for everyone, even if you live slap bang in the middle of nowhere. Read on to find out more!

Freelancing

When you come from a really small village that most people have never heard of, you can often feel overlooked. You might live in a place where the total summation of civilisation is a corner shop and a post office. We hear you, we see you, we have options! University students have and are in the process of, by virtue of their studies, developing key skills that are valued by employers. But, in the meantime, they can also make you money! Over the past few years, there has been a huge increase in websites that connect freelancers with clients, facilitating a speedy process for a client who needs a job doing and a freelancer who wants to get paid. You name it, there will be people online who need it: copywriting, graphic design, web development, scientific research, legal paper writing, editing, proofreading, the list goes on! Websites such as Upwork, SolidGigs, FlexJobs and Fiverr allow you to search for jobs that match your skillset, bid for them and then you get paid upon delivery, as long as the client is happy. Not only is this a fantastic opportunity to build your CV or portfolio, it can also keep the cash flowing throughout the summer holidays. Competition for jobs can be high, so don’t rely on this as your sole income, however, the more jobs you do well the more you will get, so get working!

Tutoring

You might think it’s odd to think of tutoring as a good money making activity for the summer. As much as you’re loving life having finished all of your exams, the majority of school kids are too, right? While that is true, there are always going to be overzealous parents out there who are keen to give their kids the upper hand at school when September rolls around again. And why not? With an influx of university students returning home with empty wallets and heads filled with knowledge, employing university students to tutor kids can be a win-win. Given that it’s outside of school time, it’s less pressure on the student as it’s likely you’ll just be helping maintain a level of academic engagement throughout the summer so the return to school isn’t such a shock for the kid. And for you? Cash! You can make upwards of £10 an hour tutoring, not bad considering you’d earn a lot less in McDonald’s. It’s another fantastic CV builder as well, and if you can gain some good testimonials from clients, you could end up with enough clients to fund your whole summer, year after year! Happy teaching!  

If you’ve read and digested all of the above and are thinking that this working malarkey isn’t for you, and your summer of fun is more important, we hear you and you will not be forgotten! If you’re determined to stretch that loan out as far as you possibly can, like Jesus feeding the 5000, but it’s you and the remaining 12 weeks of summer, then you’re in luck – our next blog will be focused on student budgeting tips and will include all the best ways for you to scrimp, save an economise your way to your next loan. And if you’ve got a genius summer student money making tip that we haven’t included above, let us know on social media!

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How To Stay Safe On A Norwich Night Out

For a lot of people, there’s nothing like a night out at the weekend. A chance to let go of all the stresses of the week and have a drink, have a giggle and a boogie and get the weekend off to a great start, before the hangover kicks in! It cannot be ignored, however, that when copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, it can be easier to fall into trouble than if you’d been enjoying a sober afternoon tea on a sunday afternoon! Whether it’s losing your mates, losing your belongings or something more sinister, keeping safety as a priority is important! Luckily, Norwich is one of the safest cities in the UK, with statistics site Numbeo rating the level of crime low and safety walking home at night as high. But despite this, it’s still key to know how to keep yourself safe on a night out in Norwich. We’ve compiled a few top tips to keep in mind next time you’re planning a massive night on the town to ensure you have the best night ever!

Drink Water

We know that everyone has different tolerances to alcohol, and everyone differs in the amount they like to consume on a night out. You do you! But one thing that a number of people forget to do is to keep drinking water throughout the night. Whether they forget or they’re scared of denting their buzz, many people suffer needlessly with hangovers that feel like they’ll never go away due to being so dehydrated from their night out. Not only that, sipping on water throughout the night may help you to keep a clearer head and avoid that tired, groggy end of night drunkenness that can make even the simplest of tasks (like ordering cheesy chips) difficult for your brain to handle. Yes, this might be less of a safety tip and more of a hangover avoidance one, but you’ll thank us later!

Know Where To Go For Help

Prince of Wales Road is a favourite spot in Norwich for most clubbers, and it can get pretty hectic on busy weekend nights! It’s loud, bright, there are a lot of people around and for some it can get pretty overwhelming. If you’re not used to big nights out, or if you’re someone who suffers from anxiety, you’ll need somewhere to go if it all gets a bit much and you need somewhere quiet. Safe Haven City Response sits at the top of Prince of Wales Road by the ITV Studios, and they offer ‘assistance to anyone in need in the Norwich Nightime economy on Friday and Saturday nights.’ Staffed by volunteers, they can help anyone who is having a difficult time, from organising medical help or alerting the police to an issue, to simply providing a quiet space to sit, this is the place to go if you find yourself in need of immediate assistance on a Norwich night out.

Organise Transport Home In Advance

We’ve all been there. You planned to stay out until 1am, then decided to stay out a little longer, you got your kebab and now you want to go home, but it’s 4am and the wait for a taxi is 45 minutes. Rookie error! It’s understandable that on some occasions you’ll be having such a good time that nothing could drag you away from that club, but it won’t be all the time, and to ensure your night out ends in a warm, comfortable car ride rather than 45 minutes shivering on a kerb, try to set a go home time and stick to it. Book your taxi BEFORE you leave to go out so that you know it’s all sorted and your inebriated mind will just have to navigate to where you asked to be picked up. Easy as pie! On another note, this also avoids accepting offers of lifts from strangers, which can be much easier to accept when you’re not as sharp as you usually are. Norwich may be super safe, but it’s also important to remember that someone you’ve just met may not be as trustworthy as they seem when offering you a ride home.

Charge Your Phone And Stick Together

Probably the easiest way to keep yourself safe and ensure you have a banger of a night out is to charge your phone fully before leaving and STICK TOGETHER! While most friendship groups will always have that one who likes to wander off and make new friends, try to make a commitment as a group to check in with each other if you do move away from the main group, just so nobody gets left behind or lost. It can be quite scary to lose your group when you’re out on the town, especially if you’re younger and it’s one of your first big nights out with your friends! If the worst comes to the worst, though, and you find yourself with a dead phone and having lost your friends, ask a bouncer or a police officer to point you in the direction of one of the Safe Haven centres who will be able to help you out in no time!

Now that summer is in full swing we hope you’re having an absolute blast! Remember, if you’re keen to get things sorted in advance, book an ABC taxi to take to you and from your next big night out and take the worry out of your journey home!

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