5 July 2013

Celebrating favourite places: Sat nav app M8 UK launches summer photo contest

Sharing photos is a ubiquitous part of sharing experiences and here at M8 HQ, we’re dying to hear about your favourite places in the world...and see the photos!  Send them to us and you could be in with a chance of winning some pretty cool prizes!

Due to the fact that we like to have a project to keep us occupied over the summer - in between planning road trips, weekends away, holidays, festivals and of course...chasing the sun - we thought there is no better way to pass the time AND get to know our M8 community a bit more, than hosting a photo contest with you all!

We want you to send us photos of your favourite places, that’s it! Everyone has that special somewhere that we hold close to our hearts. Whether it’s a place that sparks a specific happy memory, an area that we associate with travel, holidays and fun times, or even a location at which we feel at home, there are places and spaces that mean a lot to each of us and we want you to send us photos of that favourite place.

And it wouldn’t be a contest without prizes now would it?! Never fear, we’re offering you guys the chance to win prizes that include a Samsung Galaxy S4, an amazing digital camera and a cool video camera - everything you need to stay connected, capture memories and share experiences!

Hosted on our M8 UK’s Facebook page, all you need to do is ‘like’ the special tab, and enter! All photos entered into the contest will be opened up for voting by fellow Facebook fans. The twenty most popular photos - those with the most votes - will then be sent through to the next round during which a panel of highly esteemed judges  - aka the M8 UK team, their mums and nans - will select the winners of the impressive prize packages.

Whether capturing a specific place, or celebrating the culture of a particular area, we are looking for creative images that showcase your most cherished place in the world. What’s even more brilliant, is that the rest of the M8 teams are getting involved so we’ll get to share photos of some amazing places in Spain, France, Germany and South Africa in addition to your UK hotspots! Let’s see if we can come up with the best photos though, eh? We don’t want them to poke fun of us on our next ‘ M8 team away day.’

The competition will run until July 31, 2013, and we will be judging the 20 most popular photos after that to decide on the winning entries.

We know you’re a creative bunch so we’re really excited about the photo contest to see if we can uncover some undiscovered talent too.  

We’ll be following the contest, and chatting about our favourite places on Twitter @localm8, and of course on our Facebook page. Remember to include #M8faveplace so we don’t miss your mention!

Good luck folks, and get snapping!


1 July 2013

Wallace & Gromit come on board to sort out M8 users' summer road trips with sat nav app promo

Who loves Wallace & Gromit? We do - and that’s why we’re so excited to launch this summer promo in partnership with the guys at Aardman Studios.

Our national heroes Wallace & Gromit have selected M8 as chief sat-nav partners, and teamed up with us to offer you gorgeous people of the M8 community a unique mobile app experience that will definitely make navigating around the UK much, much more fun.

Having recently launched the Wallace & Gromit sat nav voice available as a one-time in-app purchase, M8 is chucking in Wallace & Gromit’s awesome-looking Anti Pesto van navigation icon to iPhone and Android users for free during the summer with every purchase!

M8 users are in for a real treat. Just imagine the possibilities....Planning a road trip around the nation’s best cheesemongers? Keen to take in the finest examples of Great British inventions? Or simply need to get from A to B....M8 UK is offering a unique Wallace & Gromit experience. It’s one thing being given turn by turn directions by the famous pair, quite another to be able to navigate your way around the UK in the trusty van made famous in the fabulous The Curse of the Were-Rabbit film!!

M8 users will be able to fire up our sat nav app, plan the route and set off in the van, putting Wallace in charge of the map. Along the way you can apply the brakes of the Anti-Pesto to take in some UK landmarks (as shown in M8 in all their lovely 3D glory), a spot of lunch (taking inspiration from Trip Advisor or the Good Pub Guide), a bit of shopping (bag an offer from MyVoucherCodes.co.uk) or even a theme park (as shown in the M8 search feature) - A perfect way to spend the day, weekend, week...heck the whole of the summer holidays, exploring what the UK has to offer with your good pals, Wallace & Gromit!

OK, so let’s get down to the details....

First of all, M8 users need to make sure that they have the latest version of M8 UK available on Google Play or the Apple App Store. A quick check and you’ll be updated and ready to go! Once that’s out of the way, simply purchase the Wallace & Gromit sat nav voice - available to buy from within the app for £2.99 - and receive the iconic Anti-Pesto van for free.
Having trouble changing from the snazzy red race car or vintage convertible normally used to navigate the roads? Simply tap the vehicle icon and hold, then scroll through to select Wallace & Gromit’s van. You might have to flick through a few, but trust us - it’s there!

What’s more, once the offer ends the Wallace & Gromit navigation experience doesn’t have to, the van icon is yours forever, it’s for keeps! Not bad, eh?

That’s it, easy peasy M8 sat nav with a Wallace & Gromit makeover.
To download the latest version of the app, please visit iTunes or Google Play.

So pop over to Twitter @localm8 or Facebook, and make us jealous with tales of your road trips this summer, tell us about your favourite Wallace & Gromit film, or even just say ‘hello’!

Check out Wallace & Gromit, and the Anti-Pesto van in action:


28 June 2013

Mobile app M8 on the UK festival season: Plan for wet weather & pack extra wet wipes!

Image courtesy of festivalawards.com
So, lots of you have made the pilgrimage to Glastonbury and are already enjoying the fun, you lucky things! This year’s is set to be spectacular, and it’ll have to be to follow Beyonce’s epic performance - check out Single Ladies - in 2011!

Summer and festivals go hand in hand in the UK. A season of fun in the sun (well...fun anyway), every year hundreds of thousands of us pack up our cars, set the sat nav, and flock to festivals to listen to great music, enjoy amazing food and spend time with the people we love to have a laugh with.

We’ve had a look and rounded up our other favourites for this summer, there’s something for everyone so book your tickets, fire up handy sat nav app M8, and head off for some fun!

Deer Shed
What to do: This festival is a family friendly affair, but certainly not . Spend a lovely weekend camping and enjoying art and science exhibitions, workshops and music that the whole family will love. This year's theme is machines: robots, rockets and anything you can think of! Lots to capture the imagination of kids of all ages. Cardboard city and 8 tonnes of play sand adds to the fun - imagine the dens and sand castles you could build with that?! Sounds awesome!
Who: Edwyn Collins, Gaz Coombes, House of Love, Darwin Deez
When: 19-21 July
Where: Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorks

Secret Garden Party
What to do: A favourite for those looking for a magical experience. Superstitions are celebrated this year so grab your black cat, a couple of horseshoes and plenty of clover and head to the countryside with friends and family. This festival is held in a beautiful enchanted garden with everything you need for comfortable family camping. Watch theatre performances, learn about spellmaking, pamper your body & soul or try a casual pizza baking. Something a little bit different, a great experience!
Who: Regina Spektor, 2MANYDJS, Django Django among many other acts
When: 25-28 July    
Where:   Abbots Ripton near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

Goodwood Festival of Speed
What to do: A highlight in any petrolhead’s calendar, Goodwood Festival of speed celebrates the world of cars, motorsports and most of all, speed. This year celebrates its 20th Anniversary and organisers have revved up the star studded lineup and visitor fun to mark the occasion! Want to meet Formula 1 legends? Witness the very best in petrol powered action? Drool over gorgeous vintage racers? This place has it all, and more.
Who: Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton,  Nico Rosberg to name a few   
When: 11-14 July
Where:   Goodwood Estate, Chichester, West Sussex

Camp Bestival
What to do: Pack up the car and bring your kids to one of the most beautiful places in UK. An amazing theme park, stunning castle grounds and the wild Jurassic coastline are sure to make for some fabulous photos of happy, smiley faces. Take a morning bicycle ride, catch the Horrible Histories crew live, try a touch of afternoon medieval jousting, enjoy an evening of songs around the campfire, and laugh your socks off at the children’s comedy club. This festival is chock-a-block with family friendly fun and of course, lots of dancing.
Who: Ash, Richard Hawley, Labrinth, plus many more
When: 1-4 August
Where:  Lulworth Castle, Dorset
Official Website: http://www.campbestival.net/

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
What to do: Experience the marvellous city Edinburgh in all its splendour as it celebrates the finest in Scottish performance among breathtaking surroundings. Dedicating the events to the Year of Natural Scotland, this festival is set to capture the spirit of Scotland through traditional costumes and energetic dance, inspiring music and heart pounding-ly strong percussion. Perhaps the most memorable however, is the haunting lament of the Lone Piper, playing from one of the World’s most beautiful, iconic castles.
Who: A sparkling event of Massed Pipes and Drums, Massed Military Bands and spectacular dancers and of course, the Lone Piper
When: 2-24 August     
Where:   Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Official Website: http://www.edintattoo.co.uk/

Dunsfold Wings and Wheels
What to do: What’s not to love about this?! Set to be an exceptional family day out in Yorkshire featuring a 5 hour airshow with heart stopping aerial aerobics from some of the world’s most highly skilled pilots; a 2 hour motoring show, and impressive military vehicle parade at the Dunsfold Aerodrome - home of TV show Top Gear. Participate in master classes and try motoring stimulators, watch daredevil stunts, pick up a little memorabilia and help raise money for charities. Fantastic!
Who: Royal Air Force, The British Army, The Royal Navy
When: 24-25 August     
Where:   Dunsfold Park, Surrey

With so much going on this summer, we’re spoilt for choice! These are just a few of the festivals and family events that have caught our eye, but please let us know if you have plans to head to any others - we’re open to suggestions!
With most of these festivals requiring a bit of travelling to get to each of the various locations, M8 UK is the perfect mobile app companion to help you get there with minimal stress. Using your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry mobile devices, you can plan your route with the integrated sat nav, calculate your ETA and keep an eye on the traffic with real time traffic news while watching out for those speed cameras that are certain to catch a few people out!
Travelling with children is always going to test the stress levels so make sure you bring lots of games - or make them up as you go along(!) - and use M8 UK to plan toilet stops by locating the nearest service stations, pubs and restaurants. You might even be able to bag yourselves a family deal at one of the many roadside restaurants if you browse nearby MyVoucherCodes offers - now that will certainly get you in the festival spirit!

Our top tips for successful festival-ing? Whatever you do, plan for wet weather, always bring extra tissues or baby wipes, and never, ever skrimp on snacks for a road trip.

Happy UK festival season, folks!

27 June 2013

Mobile app M8 UK's tips for a top Wimbledon!

Image courtesy of Guardian.co.uk

What an amazing few days! M8 HQ ia a-buzz with all things Wimbledon this week as we see the The 127th annual Tennis major championship once again take over the South West of the capital over the next two weeks. Already we've seen favourites Nadal, Sharapova and Federer crash out and 7 players retire through injury, so the stage is set for a truly unpredictable Championships!

Final preparations were rounded up at the All England Club last week, and now our Wimbledon days are packed with star players, the spectators, the games, copious amounts of Pimm’s and of course, juicy strawberries and fresh cream!

Every year thousands descend upon what is - at all other times of the year - a leafy village that seems a world away from the hustle bustle of central London. SW19 is transformed during the Championships that brings a fantastic buzz to the shops, cafes and restaurants catering for the influx of tourists and locals looking to celebrate what is one of the UK’s most important events of the year.

If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Wimbledon this year, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you keep the stress levels to a minimum.

Get there early
Wimbledon remains one of the very few major UK sporting events where you can still buy premium tickets on the day of play. If you plan to get in line for the hottest tickets in London, we recommend you get the first tube of the day to make sure you’re in prime position. The walk from Southfields tube takes around 15-20 minutes so factor that in too.

Plan your journey
You can get to Wimbledon Championships by London Tube, by car, by bus, bike or walk if you’re lucky enough to be staying nearby. With such a small area welcoming hundreds of thousands of spectators, players and staff, please make sure you plan your route, allow yourself enough time and consider using a handy sat nav to map the best route, try to locate that golden parking spot, and plan your post-match socialising....Oh funny we should mention that, but mobile app M8 UK is perfect for that! Download it for free to your iOS, Android and BlackBerry Touch mobiles and start organising!

Prepare for the weather
Just like any British summer day, the weather during Wimbledon can offer everything from scorching sunshine to downpours and hailstones so be prepared by wearing layers and making sure you have a waterproof, some suncream, sunglasses and a hat with you just in case. Better safe than sorry, as they say!

Strawberries and Pimm’s Cups
Not much to say, but we know that both of these Wimbledon traditions - when consumed in moderation - will undoubtedly minimise stress levels and put a smile on your face! 

The official strawberry variety of the Championships is Elsanta (Team M8 won’t eat any other type, naturally), and 112,000 punnets of strawberries are eaten over the fortnight. Freshly picked and delivered to Wimbledon at around 5:30 A.M. for inspection and hulling, these delightful berries - consumed alongside fruit filled Pimm’s Cups - provide much needed sustenance, antioxidants, vitamins and refreshment to the hordes of spectators. The organisers really do take our health seriously, don’t they?!

We received this great tip a few years ago and it really has enhanced our Wimbledon experience. We recommend you bring a set of headphones if you are very keen on following the matches point by point rather than simply soaking up the atmosphere. You’ll get all of the benefits of live commentary while being able to partake in the carnival atmosphere!

Look out for Rufus the hawk
A familiar sight during the Wimbledon Championships, a raptor is flown each morning and evening of, pre- and post-play to scare off any pigeons that might interrupt matches. Introduced in 1999 as an environmentally friendly scare factor, hawks and falcons patrol the skies above the courts all year around. Causing outrage and much media attention last year  Rufus - a Harris’ hawk and the club’s most famous protector - was stolen from the club but thankfully was later found unharmed. It was a very tense few days for everyone as the whole of the UK held their breath, apart from the pigeons who looked decidedly smug.

So there you have it, a few little tips from Team M8 to help you make the most of the Wimbledon Championships. We can’t do anything about Andy Murray’s performance, but we can make sure that you organise your days without a hiccup and don’t get lost along the way.

We’ll be following the matches over the coming weeks, routing for Andy Murray and hanging out in Wimbledon - either watching from Murray Mound, or firing up M8 to get the local info - from Trip Advisor or the Good Pub Guide features - on where's best to go to enjoy watching all the action on a huge screen from the comfort of pub barstool or sofa, favourite tipple in hand.

Fingers crossed for sunshine, folks, and come on Murray!


Team M8

24 June 2013

Check it out: London Tube map access for M8 users!

Image courtesy of Gigaom.com

The warmer weather is intermittently showing itself and here at M8 HQ we’re feeling pretty excited about the summer in the UK. So much so that we’ve been planning for months to enhance and update the services we offer you just in time for any summer staycations, road trips or even just to help you guys make the most of the longer days and balmy (we wish) evenings.

Now, we know that all you Londoners - native, temporary or alien - make great use of the public transport offered in the capital and one of the most iconic transport networks is undoubtedly the great London Underground. This year marked 150 years of the London tube transporting people around the city, so it really could be considered, a lifeblood of the city. Day after day people merrily make their way to tube stations across London to embark on glorious journeys in a comfortable, pleasant atmosphere filled with engaging chatter among passengers, and the gentle rustling of newspapers.*

For those living in the city, the Tube is an essential part of their lives - it’s their connection to friends, family, jobs and new opportunities. For tourists, the London Underground is the gateway to both hidden and infamous treasures of the city, a cheap way to mingle with locals and get around a huge city.As such, we wanted to make sure that everyone in our M8 community has all of the information they need to be able to navigate the capital, stress free so we’ve integrated the London Underground tube map into our own maps. Fantastic news, isn’t it?

So when you’re in London, fire up M8 and you will be able to plan your day/ evening / weekend / heck, your life to great detail making use of all of our features designed to help you navigate, save you money, find friends - to an extent guys, we can only do so much in that department ;) -  get the inside track on bars and restaurants, book hotels and locate all of the essentials - cash machine, petrol stations, hospitals.... you get the idea.

About London has a great article providing all of the sensible tips you need for travelling by Tube. Read it here.

In terms of etiquette - and here at M8 we love the uniqueness of British etiquette - we also love Debretts tips on negotiating the London Underground like a local:

And if you’re a competitive sort, why not try the Tube Challenge and attempt a Guinness World Record? Try to clock the fastest time for travelling to all 270 stations on the London Underground - go on, the record is set at 16h: 29mins: 57s so it’s yours to lose!

Ok so we know this is a bit of a London centric post but bookmark it for your next trip to the capital, and let us know if you want us to cover Glasgow’s Clockwork Orange, the Pembrokeshire Coastal paths, Manchester Metro...wherever really, just post a comment below, tweet us @localm8, or leave us a message on our Facebook page!

Cheers, your local M8

*Disclaimer: We know, we know, it’s for the tourists  / newbies so just run with it please, Londoners

17 May 2013

M8 is getting tastier with restaurant booking service Bookatable!

Summer 2013 is shaping up to quite a season for UK foodies. With the launch of this year’s Foodies Festival in Brighton at the beginning of the month, not to mention the wealth of county shows and fairs that will showcase some of the UK’s best home grown and organic produce, the foodies among us are in for an absolute treat!

Whether its fine dining restaurants, gastro pubs, farm shops, cafes or tea rooms, we’re passionate about the gorgeous food available in the UK, and we’re constantly doing our best to offer the M8 community a tastier experience, and fly the flag for the best places to eat throughout the UK. With such incredible produce on offer, no one who’s looking for something to eat - whether on a business trip, on a road trip, or just exploring their area - should EVER have to endure a bad meal or snack!

We’re delighted to announce the addition of leading online restaurant review and booking service Bookatable to the range of features freely available to M8 users. Giving users the opportunity to explore the vibrant UK restaurant and cafe scene, the Bookatable feature functions as a restaurant directory,  booking system and review service rolled into one.

From within the M8 app, users are able to search for restaurants according to categories including popularity among diners, price point, type of cuisine, name of restaurant or by location using Bookatable’s extensive database integrated with the M8’s navigation and GPS technologies.

The process is incredibly simple, with users able to gain access to special offers and discounts currently available at their location or nearby area. Equipped with the functionality to browse, check availability, make bookings, receive confirmation, contact and navigate to venues direct from within the app, the Bookatable and M8 partnership provides a seamless journey from browsing possible restaurants, right through to sitting at a table with the menu!

Earlier this year we made both the Good Pub Guide and the Michelin Guide 2013 available to the M8 community as an in-app purchase, giving everyone using their iOS, Android or BlackBerry Touch devices the opportunity to explore all that the UK pub and restaurant scenes have to offer, direct from within M8 app. And boy did these features go down well! Enjoying the reviews and making full use of the information and contact details, M8 users who took the plunge and purchased the special features have been treated to a rich and seamless experience, especially when used in conjunction with the sat nav, traffic and location based features - let’s not forget the fabulously useful Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor UK and Yelp in app information...and the brand spanking new Bookatable feature!

Our dedicated UK foodies  - those who love the social aspect of sharing food with friends and family - want to be able to seek out the best places to eat in the UK, without any fuss, and we believe that Bookatable adds another very special dimension to M8 UK.

Have you found out any amazing places to eat while out and about? We’re always on the look out AND we love talking about all things food, so drop by and chat to us on Twitter @localm8, or on our M8 Facebook page!

Enjoy, folks!