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

16 February 2015

I Feel Good

You know sometimes when you spend ages getting ready for a night out, an event or even just a blog post, and the reflection in mirror isn't what you hoped? This challenge is for those times when you look in the mirror, no pre planning involved, and think "I look good today". 

We all have our good days and our bad, but this challenge is to record those good days and to remember that confidence, at any size, is beautiful.

A day late, yet again, things will improve, I promise!

I really do feel good today.  My blog was on TV last night (sorry for spamming everywhere with the video but I was so excited!

I have just taken some blog photographs with a new dress (coming soon) and afterwards I was messing around with my camera.  I took this selfie of myself and liked it so here it is for you today.  I love red lipstick :)

I am actually fully dressed in this picture, the girls decided to come out and play is all

Skimlinks Test

12 February 2015

Lola Jewellery Collection

When it comes to wardrobe staples, there are a few things that you can find in nearly every woman's wardrobe.  That dress that makes you feel a million dollars, the jeans that fit you just right, that "Friday night after work drinks" top.

When it comes to jewellery, it is much the same.  The statement necklace to show off a black dress, some earrings with a little sparkle to brighten up an outfit and the perfect silver necklace that goes with everything.

I always think that a piece of silver jewellery is perfect to finish off any outfit and also add a little glamour and style.

Gemporia have just created a new silver jewellery range called Lola, which is a small but perfectly formed collection which caters to every need in necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  

I particularly love the signature bracelet and these Cascade earrings.  They are great examples of pieces that could mix into many outfits to add a touch of glamour.

At 8.00pm GMT on Saturday 14th February 2015, award winning Gemporia will be holding a special auction on Gems TV where you can bid to purchase the pieces in this beautiful collection,  You can also check out their auction page online.

Gem TV hold what are known as reverse auctions.  The more people that bid, the lower the price drops!  So check out the fabulous Lola Collection on Gem TV on Saturday and pick yourself up a bargain at the fraction of the cost!

Gem TV can be found at: 

SKY 655

*In collaboration with Gemporia

4 February 2015

Your Spending Habits

Money may not make the world go round (that would be love), but it sure does help with the journey.

There is a question that many of us face each month when it comes to money. Despite our best efforts and forward planning, a week before pay day (or even sooner if you are me) the question shouted out across the country is "Where did my money go?"

The intentions always start so well.  You write down each of your bills, when they are due, figure out how much you can spend each week and yet somehow,  it disappears.

I blame the bank account fairy.

For me it has to be make up and beauty products. You know how it goes. You wander into +Superdrug looking to buy a £1 MUA blusher because you are oh so thrifty. Somehow, you walk out £30.00 lighter with make up and products that seem absolutely essential, right up until the point when you get home and wonder what the hell you have bought.

Legal & General recently created a handy little tool, a habit cost calculator to see just how much you really do spend on those items that you forget about.   Your weekly lottery, a coffee; half of the products in Superdrug, it all adds up.

I would say that I spend approximately £50.00 a month on makeup and beauty products. Let's see what that adds up to.

So, for the price I spend each month on makeup and beauty, I could buy a new laptop, go on holiday; put money towards a festival.  An extra £600.00 pound to play with at the end of the year sounds like a great idea, although maybe lets look at something smaller to cut out.

£2.00 a week on the lottery and £3.00 for your Monday morning coffee does not sound like a lot at all when you spend it.

Even the total cost of around £260.00 a year still doesn't seem so much when you weigh it all up.

When you look at the bigger picture however, cutting out these tiny luxuries starts to make more sense.

If I cut out my Monday morning coffee and stopped buying a lottery ticket, instead putting that money away, look at what you could buy.  Over the course of 15 years that money would send you on 9 holidays or get you a car deposit.  Hell, it could even buy you a car.

How is that morning coffee looking like now?

* In collaboration with Joes Bloggers

2 February 2015

February WishList

Been a while since I did a wishlist post. Here are some of my current favourites.

February WishList