27 February 2015

Counting the Pennies

When you are on a tight budget, it is important not to just look for places where you can cut costs, but also to learn to spend intelligently.

During the Winter months all of our household bills go up. The lights go on more, the heating goes on, endless cups of tea and coffee; it all adds up. Your next energy bill arrives and the price has suddenly gone through the roof.

When appliances break down or need changing, be it a faulty kettle or that washing machine you have had for ten years now; choosing their replacement should be a decision made with not just your current cashflow in mind, but also your future bills.

These days there are so many products on the market that are energy efficient which are both good for the environment, and your pocket.

For example, the Energy Saving Trust tells us that in the UK we waste 68 million a year by overfilling our kettles. Every time you boil a full kettle, that costs you 2.5p. Applying that to a standard family household, boiling a full kettle 10 times a day, that is 22.5p. That is ₤80.00 per year, just boiling your kettle.

Whilst buying a cheap ₤10.00 kettle might look good for your purse now, if you spent ₤40.00 on an an energy efficient kettle which lets you choose exactly how much water to boil, even when it is full to brim; in the long run, that more expensive kettle is going to save you money.

This principle can be applied all around your home. Energy saving lightbulbs, draught excluders to hold heat in and save energy. Appliances like the Panasonic Washing Machines which you can find here can detect the load amount and adjust the amount of water and power needed accordingly which again saves you money.

Put all of those ideas into play and you can really start to make a saving on your energy bills, which frees up money for the more important things in life. A day out with your family, a catch up night out with a friend. In the end, it is as your grandma used to tell you:

*Published in conjunction with Panasonic

23 February 2015

My Inspirational Mum

Mothers Day is just around the corner.  With this in mind, Great Rail Journeys are currently running a competition to win a trip to Bruges for yourself and your mum.  

To enter, you need to:
  • Write a blog post about why you're thankful for your mum and saying why she deserves to win this Mothers' Day trip.
  • Tweet the blog post to @greatrail including the #GRJMothersDay to confirm your entry.
This is my competition entry.

My mum is the quintessential bubbly blonde.  At 74 years of age, she looks 15 years younger, with a fashion sense to match.  Unlike many of her peers, there are no grey haired perms and twin sets for her; my mum has always looked glamorous and always will.

My mum and I are quite similar characters in that we are both daft as a brush and we giggle at the drop of a hat.  We both enjoy good food, good times and a drop of something to put a sparkle in your eye. 

They say that you really see the mettle of someone in times of adversity and hardship.  That is certainly the case with my mum.

When my step dad fractured his spine nearly 6 months ago, we never dreamed that he would still be in hospital now.  Unable to drive, my mum has had to rely on lifts from family and getting the bus, visiting him nearly every day for the first few months, at a hospital some 30 miles away from home.  Even now, nearly 6 months on and finally at a hospital closer to home, she still visits 3-4 times a week.

My step dad's journey has been fraught with complications and through it all; my mum has been a tower of strength.  A long stay in hospital is hard but my mum has tried everything to make that stay a little easier.  Pouring hundreds of pounds into the hospital television, taking in home cooked meals, sourcing all his favourite films on DVD and finding the cowboy Western books he loves so much for him to read.

While my mum may still look like a spring chicken, life without her partner at her side has been hard.  Losing that day-to-day companionship and having her world turned upside has not been easy but she still has not lost that sparkle in her eye. 

I am thankful for my mum because she inspires me in so many different ways and I can only hope when I reach her age that I look as good as she does, with as much energy for life as she continues to have.

20 February 2015

Popping Out In Poppies

Hello all!

It has been an age of man since I last did my last outfit of the day, or at least that is what it feels like.   Today however I have an actual dress to show you!  This is the poppy print tea dress from +Simply Be   

The poppy print dress is available in both standard and tall lengths and as I prefer dresses to finish just below my knee, I went with the longer version.  The standard length is 39 inches and the dress that I am wearing is 41 inches.

There is also an attached belt in matching fabric which is generally tied at the back to bring in the waist.  Personally, I prefer wearing these kind of dresses with the belt tied at the front as I think that it looks better on my shape.

The dress is ultra comfortable and is true to size.  I have worn it so far as styled today but also with black tights and boots.  In the Summer it will also go perfectly with sandals.

I now have so many different prints in my wardrobe that my eyes are partially blinded when I open the door.  I would not have it any other way though!

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19 February 2015

The Big Smoke

Two and a half years ago I quit smoking.  It was one of the hardest but best things I have ever done.  Sadly, due a multitude of stressful events, six months ago I started again.  I am not proud of it but smoking defnately became my little crutch to get my through the rough patches.

I was recently contacted by Intellicig and was offered an electric e-cigarette starter kit to use to see how I got on.

At the moment, I am intermingling the e-cig with real cigarettes, using the e-cig in the day and real at night.  This isn’t ideal obviously and the fact that I was able to quit a 20 a day habit before purely on cold turkey and cannot now is severely irritating me.

The e-cig is definately helping me during the day and so from Monday next week, I have made the command decision that the real cigarettes will officially be knocked on the head.   
I can feel that determined streak kicking back in, finally, so hopefully it won’t be long before the only taste I crave in my mouth is a cocktail, not a cigarette!

You can buy the Intellicig Starter Kit for £18.99 and for this you receive:

1 x Starter Battery
1 x Starter Vapour Device
1 x Starter Battery Charger
5 x ECOpure Refill Capsules (Regular 10mg)

In addition, you can also receive 10 free refill capsules of your choice which you merely need to add to your basket when buying the starter kit.

I will let you know my progress!

Vicky x

* Gifted item