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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Food & Drink

The perfect tipple for a summers day

June 6 2017

With notes of rosehip and hibiscus, and top-notes of fresh citrus orange, lemon and bergamot peel, Lidl’s brand new Hortus Summer Gin, £15.99, turns your everyday G&T into an ultra-refreshing summery gin drink! Perfect to have on-hand during balmy summer evenings, the fruity spirit is a fitting accompaniment for barbecue dishes such as grilled prawns, chicken skewers or sorbets. This limited summer edition will join Lidl’s popular own-brand artisan gin range including the classic Hortus Gin, and the seasonal Hortus Oriental Spiced Gin and Hortus Sloe Gin. The latest, fruity edition of the gin is as delicious served up in a long cocktail glass as it is in a G&T. Lidl spirits expert Tristan Stephenson – author of ‘The Curious Bartender’ series of drinks books – has served up a refreshing recipe for you to try this summer! Commenting on the new gin, Tristan said: “With warmer weather just around the corner, and the UK’s love for gin showing no signs of slowing down, Lidl's new Hortus Summer Gin is just in time for much needed British refreshment." Tristan Stephenson’s Hortus Summer Gin recipe Ingredients: 40ml Hortus Summer Gin 20ml Cranberry juice 10ml fresh lemon juice Half an egg white A glug of olive oil 10ml sugar syrup (gently heat 2 parts of sugar to 1 part of water in a pan) Method: Shake all the ingredients together with ice, strain into a tall glass filled with ice, top up with soda water and garnish with a slice of lemon Lidl’s Hortus Summer gin is now available at Lidl stores across the country, priced at £15.99 www.lidl.co.uk

Business news

Price pressure mounts as big four supermarkets struggle to promote growth

May 8 2014

Growing pressure on prices among Britain’s big four supermarkets has led to the lowest growth in the sector for 11 years, new figures have shown. The big four Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons continue to be squeezed to varying degrees between discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl and upmarket rivals such as Waitrose, according to the latest till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel. The survey said 45% of products on sale by the big four were on promotion. Overall, the grocery market grew by 1.9%. Tesco saw its market share fall to 28.7% in the 12 weeks to April 27 from 30% a year earlier. Morrisons slipped from a share of 11.6% 12 months ago to 11% over the period. In response to price pressure, Morrisons last week began reductions averaging 17% on 1,200 products. Sainsbury’s annual results (see below) showed last year’s like-for-like sales growth at its lowest for nine years. Asda maintained its share of the market at 17.3%, after a 2% improvement in sales compared with a year ago. Kantar director Edward Garner said: “There are clear signs that the major supermarkets are reviewing their strategies in the face of increasing competition. “We’re now seeing the big four moving away from ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ promotions and toward everyday low prices, with Tesco, Morrisons and Asda all announcing price cuts this month.” Rivals at the upper and discount ends of the sector grabbed record market shares. Waitrose’s 5.1%, Aldi’s 4.7% and Lidl’s 3.5% were each all-time market share highs for these grocers. Kantar also pointed out that Aldi’s year-on-year growth rate of 36.1% was another record, while Lidl’s 20.9% annual growth was its highest since 2004.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Fife

New Lidl store part of Kirkcaldy expansion plan

May 18 2016

German supermarket giant Lidl has announced a £5 million project to relocate its Kirkcaldy store. The new supermarket would create up to 15 jobs and include a bakery and 130 parking spaces. Lidl plans to build a larger store on the former bus depot site across the road from Morrisons at the Esplanade. Members of the public will be able to find out more about the proposal at a consultation event being held in Philp Hall, Links Street, from 2pm to 7pm on Tuesday, May 24. Staff from Lidl’s property team will be on hand to answer any questions from the local community. Lidl said replacing the existing store on the Esplanade was part of the group’s expansion plans. It already has 630 stores in the UK but would like to nearly double this to 1,200. Gordon Rafferty, Lidl UK’s head of property for Scotland, said: “We are extremely excited about the prospect of relocating our store in Kirkcaldy and serving our fresh, quality and incredibly good value produce which shoppers across the country have come to love. “We look forward to welcoming anyone along to the public consultation day and showcasing our plans whilst answering any questions.” In 2010, Fife Council drew up a regeneration framework for the Invertiel and Linktown area, with the aim of creating a gateway to central Kirkcaldy.

Angus & The Mearns

Carnoustie couple have Lidl intention of paying ‘shocking’ supermarket parking fine

July 9 2013

An Angus couple are more than a “Lidl” annoyed after being hit with a £90 parking charge at a Dundee supermarket. Sheona Naismith from Carnoustie, a regular shopper at Lidl’s South Ward Road store, spent a little more than 20 minutes in the shop on June 27 after parking outside. A week later she and her husband Don were shocked to receive a letter from Athena ANPR with a CCTV screenshot of the family car entering and leaving the car park and a penalty notice saying the allotted time for parking was just 10 minutes. Mr Naismith said: “Are we refusing to pay it? You’d better believe it. I don’t think they’re even legal in Scotland. “If you have any quibble with them you have to do it in writing they won’t speak to you on the phone. “I think it’s shocking. If it had been an hour and she had gone over the time that would have been one thing but 10 minutes? You can stand in the checkout queue for 10 minutes.” Mr Naismith added that no one at the till asked his wife for her licence plate number to register her as a legitimate customer using the car park. A spokeswomam for Lidl said: “We apologise if Mrs Naismith was not asked for her car registration upon arriving at the checkout and would ask that she contacts the appropriate car park management company as stipulated on the parking charge notification (PCN). “The car park management company will require proof of purchase to cancel the charge and will be able to advise on what is considered an acceptable proof of purchase. “A number of Lidl UK car parks have parking restrictions in place to ensure that spaces are available for Lidl customers to use. The Lidl Dundee store’s parking restrictions allow non-customers to park for a maximum of 10 minutes, whereas Lidl customers are able to park for up to one hour. “When paying for their shopping, customers are asked for their car registration, which is then inputted into the system to ensure they do not receive a PCN.”

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Dundee

Firm asked for bank statement after customer was given parking penalty notice at city supermarket

November 19 2014

A Dundee man was shocked when he was asked to provide a bank statement to a parking company. David Band, 72, had parked and shopped in Lidl’s South Ward Road store on November 5 and was surprised to receive a parking penalty notice in the post. When he contested it with third-party collection company Athena, he was asked to provide proof he had shopped at the store, and was asked to provide a bank statement. He said: “I almost fell out of my seat I couldn’t believe it. Who would provide a bank statement to a person they didn’t trust?” Mr Band then contacted Lidl hoping they could prove he was within his rights to park at the city centre store, and they also asked him to provide a bank statement to prove he spent money in the store. Experian list a bank statement at number one in their list of the “10 most wanted items on an ID fraudster’s wishlist”. It advises: “A bank statement provides vital information that a criminal can use to pose as you and commit identity fraud by borrowing money and running up debts in your name.” Mr Band also called for change at the branch of Lidl. He said: “Neither Lidl nor Athena would do anything other than demand money. It seemed up to the customer to prove their innocence, rather than up to the company to prove their guilt. “It doesn’t work, especially with this cowboy third-party outfit taking photographs.” West End councillor Richard McCready said: “This is absolutely unacceptable. “There is a real need for regulation of these private parking charges. They have little or no legal basis in Scotland. “I’m not advocating for parking anywhere, or parking on private land, but there is a need for regulation. “It’s obviously silly that there isn’t a way of organising these things that doesn’t look like a form of extortion. “I will be writing to the Scottish Government to take action.” Lidl and the collection company Athena were contacted to provide comment, but did not respond.

Dundee

Lidl to review ‘disgusted’ shopper’s £90 parking fine

October 17 2013

Lidl has promised to review the case of the latest customer served with a £90 parking fine after shopping at their Dundee city centre store. Sarah Thornton blamed a flustered shop assistant for the episode, but said the company should have checked CCTV pictures that proved she was a customer before issuing the fine. The supermarket group are coming down harder on motorists who take advantage of the convenience of their South Ward Road store’s car park when visiting the city centre. Drivers who aren’t customers can have only 10 minutes free parking, while those shopping at Lidl can park free for up to an hour. They have to prove they have been customers by giving their car registration numbers at the check-outs. Non-customers or those who don’t give their registration numbers are sent parking penalty charge notifications (PCN). This fate befell a Carnoustie couple earlier this year when they were sent a £90 penalty notice along with screenshots of their car entering and leaving the car park after their 20-minute visit. They were not asked for their registration number at the check-outs but could prove thay had been customers. Lidl withdrew the penalty after reviewing the circumstances. Ms Thornton has just received a PCN with pictures of her visit, and has complained to the company. She wrote to them saying: “You will find upon review of your CCTV evidence that I did in fact make a purchase from Lidl on October 12. Given the level of detail in your image, I would not be surprised if you could identify the Lidl shopping bag within my vehicle upon my exit from the car park.” She continued: “I am disgusted Lidl feels it is appropriate to treat their customers in this way. My brief trip to Lidl included a long wait at the check-out while a customer was refunded for her boxes of wine. “The check-out operator saw fit to refund this woman before dealing with the rest of the queue. Perhaps it was due to the anxiety this caused her that she did not ask any of the customers within that queue for their number plate.” Ms Thornton said she would complain to the British Parking Association. A spokeswoman for the company said: “There are a total of 13 signs installed in the car park of the Lidl Dundee store to ensure customers are aware of the parking restrictions. “We apologise if Ms Thornton was not asked for her car registration upon arriving at the check-out, and we will be speaking with the Dundee store to ensure that all staff are reminded of this requirement. “As Ms Thornton has contacted the car park management company to appeal the PCN, they will now be able to review this, as is standard practice, on an individual basis. “The car park management company will require proof of purchase to cancel the charge and will be able to advise on what is considered an acceptable proof of purchase.”

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