19 December 2017

The Benefits Of Moving Onto Pastures New

Humans come in two separate forms. Either they are intensely territorial or somewhat nomadic. You likely already know exactly which one you fit into. We all have our preferences for living. It might be desiring to move away to a culture completely alien to us, or moving to a city hundreds of miles away from where we are raised. Conversely, some people are born, live a full life and die in the same city or town.

While this latter option is surely not a bad or incorrect way of living life, the alternative could potentially be considered preferable for some people. We’re not here to make a judgement one way or the other, but we are here to potentially explore the benefits of moving onto pastures new. As we become adults we gain our independence, and are able to move anywhere we please. If we feel like we need a change of pace, or we need to experience something new, moving away can be a hugely positive step.

This is by no means the only positive point to moving. If you’re on the dividing line between moving and not, this article might help you make this decision:

Starting Fresh

Some people are simply looking for a new pace of life. The location where you live will always have a significant effect on this, because we are intensely connected to our environment. Our environment is part of us, in that if it wasn’t there neither would we. For that reason, it behooves you to assess if your environment is helping you or harming you. If it’s the former, then you should feel comfortable in staying there. If you find that your local environment leaves something to be desired, moving somewhere new can help you immensely. Even moving a few miles out of town introduces you to completely new people, new locations of interest, and a new pace of life.

For some people, moving somewhere no one knows them is heaven. This can help you reassess how you approach the world, and the current and present relationships you form, free from the knowledge of the interpersonal past. If life could use more novelty, and you’d prefer making your own decisions with nothing but your newly formed reputation to follow you, then this can feel like a breath of fresh air.

Of course, we’d recommend that you visit areas you plan to move to before you go. One or two extended vacations to this area can give you a taste of the local populace, and how friendly or close to your personality they feel. Sometimes you just know a place is right by the general interactions you have there. If the opposite is true, then never be afraid to cast your net elsewhere. You always have freedom of choice in your living situation.


If you find that the jobs in your local environment aren’t as great as they could be, moving away to form a better career might help you. For example, if you’re positively set on a career in the performance arts, living near theatre districts, media hubs or even moving to Los Angeles to be part of Hollywood could be part of your aim. Careers will all have their ‘golden location’ depending on how localized some jobs are. Even those careers completely online can have their own blossoming hubs, such as Silicon Valley’s investor nest.

It might be that making the move from a village to a city could grow your career prospects from dull to thriving. It’s always best to do this research online. A good measure is to search online for the average income in an area, the house price average, the employability index as well as how quickly urban development is taking place. If all of these figures look good, it could be the location of your interest offers some real opportunity, especially if you’re looking to take your career to the next level.

You Define Yourself

This is more of a personal benefit. As you move to new places, you become more able to define yourself in the world. You not only become a citizen of the village you once lived in, but you become more of a national explorer. You become more independent as a result, not tied to the small cultural identity you might have been carrying. The pace of life is dramatically different in small towns compared to cities, and so experiencing the two makes you more of a complete and rounded individual.

This takes a certain form of inner strength, and willingness to experience the unknown. It might be that a city or new town takes a few months for you to fully appreciate. You might not feel settled there until two years in. But the effort of living somewhere new will give you that ability to live almost anywhere, because you’ve already conquered living somewhere you are unfamiliar with. As you learn new habits of resting in a new environment, you become better suited to travelling, exploring, growing your courage and generally becoming a better person.

You Trust Yourself

Another personal benefit, arguably even better than defining yourself - is you begin to trust yourself. As you rely on yourself to achieve everything you must do, you begin to form a sense of complete faith in yourself.

If you move away by yourself, or you move into a flat share with random strangers, you become much more able to form friendships of necessity, and trust yourself to carry out the tasks you need to survive. It’s much less tempting for you to wait for your siblings or parents to carry out your chores. Of course, the days of living at home might be long behind you, but even living near home can lead you to bring laundry around to your childhood home and eating plenty of meals there. When you completely have yourself to rely on, you become much more comfortable in your daily responsibilities.

Resting in a comfort zone is the fastest way to stagnate, yet by trusting yourself to carry out your general tasks in a new place, you become much more able to explore outside of this. As a human, nothing could be healthier for you. After all, it’s much better to be a small fish that can grow in a big pond, than a big fish stifled in a small pond.

Variance In People

When you move to new locations, you meet a wide range of people. It could be that the best friend you will ever make in life rests behind your next move. It could be the one you become happily married to forever is the first person you’ll meet. Both of these could actually be the same person. As you meet a variety of people, you start to experience cultures and worldly perceptions face to face, no through a television show or book you’ve read. This real-life experience offers so much it’s hard to put into words. You’ll know when you experience it.

You Become Better With The Next Move

If you feel you need a new change of surroundings once more, then you will be much more able to capitalize on this if you’ve already done it once. Selling the apartment or nullifying the lease and finding one many miles away will be easy this time, as will the process of moving. You might find that you’re more shrewd in your apartment choices, or are more interested in purchasing a development property this time. If so, check out resources such as Property Guru to make the best decisions. It could be that international move for your job becomes a little less scary than it might have otherwise seemed. One thing is for sure, you’ll be more relaxed and more organized during the process.

Moving to pastures new can be scary, exhilarating, truly interesting and a great adventure. If you’re heavily considering it, we hope this article has gone some way in convincing you.

18 December 2017

Getting Ready For Christmas Parties

I do confess that I am a bit of a homebody these days.  In my late teens and well into my twenties I loved to go out dancing on the town with friends well into the wee hours.  These days, the comforts of home, a nice glass of wine (or three) and a movie and I am happy and content.

My ritual of getting ready for a night out used to be a many times replayed and rehearsed routine, ensuring that I had everything ready and in order to be able to go out and party.  I had my going out products, my favourite bags that held just enough of what I needed and jewellery that went with every outfit.

So when it comes to the Christmas party season I am a little bit out of practice.  This year I decided to get my act together and put together some things that I would need in advance.  Here is what I bought.

2.  Beverley Hills Perfect White Gold Toothpaste
4.  Collectif Lulu Hun Lou Sparkle Heart Bag
5.  Taking care of your skin - http://www.dore.sg/acne-removal/
6.  Miss Daisy Evening Handbag Brush

These of some of the items that I have bought to help me out with the Christmas season.  A stylish ring with a bit of bling (sorry about the rubbish poetry there); a new evening bag; a brush to fit inside it to tame my dancing party hair.  

My face and teeth also come into play.  All those Christmas drinks (red wine especially) can stain my teeth so I usually buy a new toothpaste to bring out a bit more sparkle.  My under eyes also get really dry when the weather turns cold so I often find that I need to redo my concealer mid way through a night out.

What do you normally buy to get ready for those Christmas parties?

17 December 2017

7 Reasons The Less Glamorous Side Of Interior Design Should Be Your Top Priority

Interior design is a necessary part of owning or renting a home. You might only ever decorate it once, but it is still something that has to be done so you're at the very least, making somewhere nice to live in. Beyond that, for many people it is all about putting a personal stamp on a space, and making it the most beautiful it can be.

When you think of interior design you likely think about buying beautiful new cushions, some new artwork, repapering the feature wall, and adding beautiful accessories to a room. There is of course a lot more to it than that.

Interior design and home renovation is actually, mostly very hands on and practical. There are various practical tasks that need to be done first, so that you can then make your home beautiful with the frills like cushions, throws and accessories. Studies show that of all home renovations, redecorating adds the least amount of value onto a property. Practical adjustments really should come first if you want the most beautiful and valuable home.

Here are 7 reasons the less glamorous side of interior design should be your top priority:  

1. Safety

The safety of a home should always be the number one priority when it comes to interior design and renovation. Safety factors like: electrics, plumbing and gas should always come first. Smaller issues like damp can also be a big safety factor as mold and mildew are known to cause all kinds of health issues including asthma and other respiratory conditions.

2. Costs Later Down The Line

Leaving issues that seem small right now, in favour of more instantly satisfying interior renovations can lead to bigger costs down the line. For example: if you invest in a new sofa instead of paying somebody to deal with overgrown trees, or ivy growing over the property, those things could cause damage to your home and garden which will cost a lot more to fix than the initial problem. Small issues dealt with there and then are inexpensive to solve, and help avoid costs later down the line.

3. An Excellent Base For Decorating

If you have broken tiles, an area of damp, turned up carpets or other more practical issues in a room, painting the room and adding cushions or accessories is not going to create a beautiful overall look. The base needs to be sound before you can make it look beautiful. You may temporarily cover the issues up but they will reveal themselves again soon enough. For example: damp can easily soak wallpaper and have it peeling off in a matter of weeks. If you want something to look good, you have to give it excellent foundations first.

4. Destruction Of Your Decoration Efforts

There's nothing like a leaky roof or crumbling plaster to destroy decoration efforts. Picture this: you've spent tons of money on a beautiful new carpet and within a week the crumbling plaster from the ceiling is deeply embedded in the threads. Or: you've just had the kitchen completely painted and freshened up, and the leak from upstairs you thought could wait has dropped a hole in the ceiling, ruining all the new paintwork and decorations. The money you have spent on your decorating could be instantly wasted because a practical issue was put off.

5. A Decrease In House Value

Recent media reports show that over-improving your home can devalue it. So adding too much 'pizazz' or personalisation is a big no no if you want to sell your property for as much as possible. Instead focus on the most practical renovations so that the property is sound, sturdy and a blank canvas for new buyers.

6. An Increase In Home Value If You Pay For The Right Improvements

The most recent studies show that energy saving improvements to the home could increase the value by nearly 40%. The same studies showed that nearly 85% of buyers would pay more for eco-friendly features. So you might be better off spending money on eco-friendly home improvements like energy saving bifold doors or solar panels, rather than new wallpaper or a new bed.

7. An Increase In 'Hygge'

Hygge (pronounced hoo gah) is the latest design trend to drastically change the way people design their homes. Rather than a focus on an object or a colour scheme, Hygge is all about happy moments. Moments that can't really be described, but they are memorable and deeply satisfying. It could be a hot chocolate by the fire, reading a book by your favourite window, or sharing a cuddle on the sofa with your partner. No blanket or paint colour will achieve this design trend. Instead, the focus should be on ensuring the home is warm, secure and letting in as much light as possible. Practical definitely counts for more with Hygge.

You know your home best and how you spend your money is of course up to you. However, it is a good idea to take some time prioritising your interior renovations so you can feel secure in the knowledge your hard earned money is being spent in the best possible way.

*Collaborative post

13 December 2017

5 Bathroom Fix Ups On A Budget

Updating and remodelling your bathroom is an exciting project, but one that is often neglected in home makeovers and is usually the last room in the house to get some attention. Not only will it make going for a bath or shower a lot more pleasant, it will also potentially add value to your home and impress your guests! One thing that always proves a winner in a new bathroom is underfloor heating.
There are some jobs that you can do yourself. The size of your bathroom does not have to be a limiting factor because there are plenty of ways in which you can give the illusion of space and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great results.

Mix up cheap items with a few expensive elements
You don't always have to splash the cash on everything in order to create a high end look. Spend wisely. Shop around for tiles and flooring. If you fall in love with some expensive tiles you do not have to deny yourself. Try using cheaper tiles and then using a more expensive version for a reoccurring feature. When it comes to floor tiles, use a neutral colour than doesn't cost the earth and then invest in a quality bathroom rug.

Don't economize on paint
Paint is an area which is worth investing in a good quality product. Buying low cost paint is false economy in the long run because it gets moldy and you will have to paint all over again which costs even more money. You can cut down on condensation and mold by ensuring that the bathroom is adequately ventilated. It is better to fit a mechanical extraction van that removes moist air from the room or you can get fans with humidity sensors that atomically turn on when the humidity reaches a certain level.
Get a good plumber
Although you might think that you can save some money doing the plumbing work yourself, this is a high-risk strategy. Investing in professional plumbing services such as LV Plumbing which ensures that your safety and the structure of the house is not put at risk. Fitting showers, baths and toilets is complicated and should be carried out by someone who knows what they are doing. A plumber is a great information so pick their brains whilst they are doing the job for you! They can advise you which fittings would work best in the space that you have available.

Don’t forget the small things
Changing up some of the smaller elements in your bathroom can make a world of difference. Updating simple things like light fixtures, drawer pulls and towel racks can complete the whole look. These elements may seem minor, but add them together and you can achieve a perfect look. You also don’t have to buy these fixtures as new. Hunt around second-hand stores for period items that would fit your look.

Put up a new mirror
It is of course essential to have a mirror and where mirrors are concerned, the bigger and more stylish the better as they can become a real feature and talking point. They also can create the illusion of space, making a small bathroom look a lot bigger than it actually is.

12 December 2017

What To Buy The Boyfriend At Christmas

Men always say that buying for a woman at Christmas time is impossible, but what about what to buy for our partners?  Socks seems to be the stock answer but we want to be a bit more imaginative with our loved ones don't we?

I have put together some items that you could consider buying your boyfriend/partner/husband at Christmas with a range of idea and prices.  I have based my choices on the tastes of previous boyfriends, let me know if I have hit the mark for yours!

 While men tell us that they don't care about clothes, many of the men I have dated have had a near obsession with their footwear.  What about these skate shoes from SkateHut for £94.95?

For the guy that loves speed, you can't go wrong with a supercar experience with a professional instructor.  Priced at £79.00 

Skincare is for girls they tell us! Until you wonder why your favourite moisturiser is getting low very quickly and then spy your boyfriend using it.   How about getting his own grooming kit from Clinique for £30.00.

For more of a stocking filler but something that he will love (if he has an obsession with the Discovery Channel like my last boyfriend!); how about some Discovery Channel VR Glasses?  A bargain at £13.99.

Finally, and something to be honest that I would utterly love as well, for the Doctor Who lover, how about a Sonic Screwdriver remote control?  Priced at £54.99.

Hope these have given you some inspiration!!

How To Have A Child Friendly Road Trip

When I think about road trips, I always look back to when I was a little girl.  

My mum, my dad and I used to travel down by car every year to Argeles in France.  I think we went for around four years and there were always meticulous plans in place to ensure a smooth trip and that I didn't get too bored and say "Are we there yet?" every five minutes.  

First of all, before making the around 17+ hour trip to Argeles, my dad would take the car to www.kwik-fit.com to get a full service done.  There is nothing worse than breaking down when you are travelling a long way to a foreign country.  Especially when you have a young child on board, in this case, me!

My mum used to stock the car with snacks and games that I could play in the back seat.   The trip was always broken down into segments so that it was easier for me and there was always something to look forward to or a destination to get to instead of driving for ten hours straight with a tired and grumpy five year old.

We used to set out early in the morning, around 5am with me sleeping in the back seat for the first few hours and then we would stop for breakfast.  The trip to Dover was around 5 hours so stopping mid point at a service station for some food and a quick look at the shops worked really well and I was energised and excited after breakfast to get to the ferry.

Apart from one year my mum tells me when I fell asleep just before we got to Dover and I slept through the ferry journey, only waking an hour after we docked and asking "When we are we getting to the boat?"

For the France part of our journey the games and snacks came out.  After around five hours, my limit of tolerance apparently, we used to break our journey for the night, always stopping at the same hotel.  I remember being obsessed with the little mushrooms on the hors d'oeuvres trolley and my mum tells me while writing this that I refused to eat anything else!

The beautiful Argeles
After another early start with me once again asleep in the back seat, the 5-6 hour trip down to Argeles didn't seem so bad with the excitement of getting to our destination closer and closer.  

We used to stay in a large static caravan on a local site near to the beach.  I still remember the beautiful beach and the hot sand, running towards the sea to cool off.  I even met a French girl one year who was staying in the caravan next to us.  We became penpals and were friends for many years, even staying at their home one year for a weekend.

Road trips with a young child don't have to be a nightmare.  It is all about planning ahead as much as you possibly can, making it fun and taking advantage of early starts where some of the hours can disappear in sleep. 

I wouldn't change those memories for the world.

*Collaborative post #carsafetychecklist 

11 December 2017

Wishing On A Star

Call me sentimental, but one thing that I have always wanted to do is name a star.  It is the kind of thing that you do not generally buy for yourself but is a perfect present for a loved one.  It may be the romantic in me, but if someone I loved did this for me, like a boyfriend on Valentines Day or a gift at Christmas; I would be thrilled.

So I was delighted when Star Name Registry gave me the opportunity to name a star for myself.  I was given the Extra Bright Star package which lets you name a star (obviously!!), let you choose a constellation and provides you with an A4 Star Name Deed in a photo frame, a Sky Atlas Star Map and an explanation as to what bright stars and binary stars are.

When trying to think of a name for the star, there was one person I had in mind that I wanted to give this gift to and that was my mum.  When I was a little girl (and still when I want something haha) I always used to call her Kinsey.  So now, there is a Star of Kinsey!

I gave the Star Name Deed to her tonight and she was thrilled.  

When you receive your Deed, you are given a reference number which you can enter into the Star Register site to see what your star looks like.  Here is Kinsey!

Star Name Registry are allowing me to run a competition where you can win the opportunity to name a standard star for yourself, or a loved one.

What will you name your star?

10 December 2017

Owning Your Body Image

Body image.  The way that we see ourselves is ruled by both the distorted vision of what we think we look like in our head and also by what society has told us that we should look like.  

Ask any woman what she likes about her face or body and I guarantee that in the majority, you will be waiting longer for an answer than if you had asked what she disliked.   The thing is though; your imperfections and the differences between your face and body to the people around you are what make you special.  It just takes a long time to figure that out and some of us never do.

I have always struggled with the way I look.  I could give you a catalogue of things that I don’t like about myself: wonky eyebrows, too fat; waist too short; breasts too big etc etc.  I always presumed that because of these things that I was automatically unattractive to the opposite sex and have worked on that presumption for as long as I can remember.

Every person on the planet looks different to the rest which is a good thing and is something to be celebrated.  Each of us has our own distinctive look, just as each of us have our own personal preference for what we find attractive in others.

The underlying truth of it all is that confidence is the most attractive thing you can have.  Whether you are tall, short, fat, thin, blonde or brunette; if you have confidence, you are already there.

One thing that I have been thinking about recently though are the judgements that we place on people who have confidence, but want to change or tweak certain things. Somehow, if you say that you own the way that you look, you are beholden (by some) to maintain that and never change. But isn't that still pandering to the majority and not being true to yourself?

For example, I like my eyebrows as they are when filled in a little, but I have also been thinking about microblading. I mentioned this to someone and I received a ten minute lecture about how people who say that they are confident in themselves but then undergo a procedure are frauds. They are my eyebrows dude, chill.

Say you knew someone who had really bad acne, could you really judge them for considering laser acne scar treatments? I know someone who suffers really badly from acne scarring. She is beautiful, inside and out. She is confident and outgoing, but is also thinking of having laser treatment as she hates wearing a lot of foundation every day. She tells me it would add to her confidence. Does this change the way that I think about her? Of course not.

Confidence is an attitude. A state of mind. Something that you can work towards and choose. You are in charge of your body, your confidence and your self worth. I own the way that I look, whether I choose to tweak it, change it or stay exactly the same.

If you let others dictate when you are allowed to feel confident, you are not quite there yet. But you will be.

*Collaborative post

6 December 2017

Managing Your Finances at Christmas

One of the things that used to be an issue for me was sticking my head in the sand when it came to finances.  Particularly at Christmas.  I used to be in debt but at Christmas, at time where I love to splurge on my loved ones, that debt went to the back of my head and I spent what I wanted..

I know that this is something that many of us do, especially in the holiday season.  When January rolls round, our head comes out of the sand and we realise yet again that we have overspent and gotten further into debt.

This happened to me.  It happens to many people.  It took me seven years to sort out my finance problems and along the way I have learned many lessons, a couple of which I will share with you.

Please note that I am not a financial expert, nor am I qualified to give financial advice.  I am writing this blog today because people do not talk about being in debt.  We gloss over the subject, we hide the problems in shame.  I was that person. In debt more than I could handle, through my own fault.

The first tip.  Do not panic.

When I (finally) took my head out of the sand I had no clue what to do, and went for the first option available which is hindsight, was the wrong thing to do. I panicked and ended up paying out far more as a result.

Once you have realised the extent of your money problems, you need to look at the different options available to you in order to resolve them.  

One of the most stupid things I did over one Christmas period was to hit the payday loans.  What I didn't think about was the huge interest rates involved and how far it can escalate.  If you get into this kind of mess what you can do is look at a payday loan consolidation company.  They look at your budget, sort out with you what you can afford and deal directly with your creditors.  Sometimes, as I found, it can all be too much so someone dealing directly with your creditors can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

Another option is a debt management plan.  

My error was that I did not research debt management plan providers and just went with the first one I found.  This ended up costing me over two thousand pounds by the end in admin charges.  

What I know now is that there are free debt management plan provides which do exactly the same job.  They work out what you can afford, negotiate with your creditors and work out a plan for you to pay off your debts, often with the interest frozen.

I would suggest contacting the Citizen's Advice Bureau who have loads of advice on the subject and the link I have put in goes directly to the free providers of debt management plans. 

If you owe more than ten thousand pounds, you could go into an IVA (Individual Voluntary Agreement).  You can get free advice on this from the Money Advice Service.  This enables you to get around 70-80% of your debts written off, and the remainder is handled by an insolvency practitioner (you will pay for this service).

I hope this helps a little for anyone reading through who has only just pulled their head out of the sand and is, as I was seven years ago, in a blind panic.  Don't panic.  Research.  Make use of the free resources available.  

You will get through this.  I did and so can you.

*Collaborative Piece

5 December 2017

3 Things To Do Online To Relax

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am quite driven when online.  I like to kept abreast of the news, what is going on with social media; catching up with friends; writing blog posts; reading opinion pieces from writers I enjoy.

The thing is with all of that is that too much of it can mash up your head and fill it with too much information at once.  

It is important, especially for me, to remember that there are normal, fun things on the internet and relaxing things to do that have nothing to do with reading all the latest news bulletins and wanting to bang your head against a wall.

Here are the things I do online to have fun and relax:

YouTube Videos

I confess.  I am a bit of an addict to online makeup tutorials.  I don't put much of them into practice to be honest as I do not have the skills or all the fancy brushes and brands to recreate the looks; but I love watching the videos.

Also, funny animal videos.  You have to love them and find me one person who does not relax when watching a cute dog doing something funny in a video.

Listening to Music

While I am a complete 90s dance woman, when I want to relax, my go to music is piano based classical music; preferably from new artists that I have not heard before.  They can take my mood from stressed and overcome, to a mood of absolute calm and tranquility.

I highly recommend checking out Soundcloud for finding new artists.  For a personal recommendation, I particularly love IIya Beshevli who is a 23 year old pianist and composer from Siberia.  His piece Fairytale Castle is just magical.  


I cannot play games on my phone.  After getting to a great level on Candy Crush and subsequently going back to level one again when I changed my phone, I am done with the game.  Done.  It literally crushed me.  I also don't understand the thrill of finding mythical creatures when I walking to various destinations.  I want to reach my destination, not be surrounded by Pidgeys and Ratatas.

For me, I love retro games and low level betting on formula one races and the outcomes of various events like the US presidential election.  I enjoy sites like Boomtown for online gaming and old classic games like Crypt Raider.

It may also help that a lot of those kind of games also have cheat sites which tell you what to do if you get really stuck.  I am looking for relaxation after all!  Shush!  Don't tell anybody!

What are your online relaxation go tos?

*Collaborative piece

4 December 2017

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bill This Winter

We're approaching the end of the year at break-neck speed, and that means many different things to different people. For some, the winter months mean festive cheer and fun family celebrations with the people you love most. For others, while those happy thoughts are in the pipeline, there's a more pressing concern to worry about in the form of impending winter energy bills.

During the colder months of the year, we find ourselves consistently struggling with bigger, more worrying expenses. As the weather gets colder, thermostats are cranked all the way up, and we spend a lot more time indoors, watching television, using electricity, and avoiding the outdoors.

The good news is that if you're dreading a painful energy bill in the New Year, there are things you can do to begin cutting down costs. Here are some simple and effective ways to bring your energy expenses down to a minimum.

1.       Switch Energy Providers

Changing energy providers can seem like an unnecessary waste of time and effort. Most of us would rather avoid the complexity involved with calling up our supplier and explaining why we no longer want to use them for our electricity or gas. On top of that, you also need to spend extra time looking for an option that's cheaper and more effective.

Though switching can seem like a pain in the neck, the truth is that changing to a more effective provider for your needs could save you hundreds every year. All you need to do is get online and check out a few energy comparison websites. It's that simple.

2.      Pay Bills by Direct Debit

Rather than waiting for your energy bills to come to you in the post, and then trying to find the money to pay for them in a mad rush, you could always set up an account to pay a certain amount each month. This is often a much cheaper way of doing things. With a monthly direct debit, your supplier should be able to estimate yearly usage and spread your bill over 12 months too.

You'll probably overpay a little during the summer months when the weather's good, but this also means that you should be able to store up extra credit for the winter. Just remember to call up now and again and give your supplier an accurate meter reading.

3.      Stop Leaving Things on Standby

How often do you go out to pick up your shopping, or work at your 9-to-5 job, while leaving various electronics on standby around your home? You might leave your television playing to itself, or even a few light switches turned on around the home.

While this might not seem like much of a problem, leaving your devices on standby does drain your cash quicker than you might expect. Most households waste around £30 a year leaving their devices on standby when they're not being used. While this doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, it's enough to make you think twice about turning things off when you leave home.

4.      Turn the Heating Down

The concept of turning the thermostat down a notch or two when you can see the frost building outside might seem like madness, but the truth is that it could do wonders for your energy bills. 

Ultimately, you should never put yourself in a position where you're freezing, or risk illness, but if you can simply reduce your thermostat slightly and throw on a jumper instead, then you could save a lot of money.

Try wrapping yourself up in a nice warm blanket the next time you're feeling chilly, instead of cranking up the radiators and taking your layers off.

5.      Change to a Smarter Thermostat

Finally, if you've got a little cash for an initial investment, or you can afford to take out a personal loan, then it might be a good idea to switch to a smarter heating system in your home that allows you to place your radiators on a timer. This way, you can make sure that you're only heating your property when you're going to benefit from the extra warmth.

Timers on your thermostat can ensure that you don't need to leave your heating running all day when you're out at work just, so you can come home to a warm flat or house. Your thermostat will naturally turn itself up at a certain time each day so that your home welcomes you back with just the right amount of heat.

*Collaborative post

1 December 2017

What to do when your Christmas gifts arrive damaged

The moment you've been waiting for weeks for finally arrives; your Christmas presents are here and much to your dismay, some of them are broken!

Unfortunately, these things happen, so it’s important not to get too caught up in the disappointment. Instead, act quickly and get the problem resolved well before Christmas Day arrives.

Even Santa himself isn’t immune from damaging his precious cargo! The different weather conditions and environments can take it’s toll on his sleigh, preventing him getting from A to B with all the presents intact.

Fortunately, the protective case experts over at The Case Farm are offering their top tips to help you solve the problem of damaged goods. Read on to discover how to ensure you get your gifts refunded and replaced before Christmas!

Know your rights

As a consumer, you’re entitled to certain rights under the Sale of Goods act 1979 that protect you when purchasing goods.

The Sale of Goods act states that you have legal rights if the item you bought is either:

  • Broken or damaged in some way
  • Unusable
  • Not as advertised i.e. it isn’t as the seller described

It’s a good idea to be aware of these rights if you’ve received damaged goods, as they can help you get the compensation you deserve!

Find your proof of purchase

When buying items online or in-store, it’s crucial to keep hold of your proof of purchase just in case situations like this arise. This is usually a receipt, but it’s best to check the retailer’s returns to see what counts as ‘proof’ of purchase.

Many retailers require that you must have proof of purchase if you wish to return an item or get a refund, so it’s a good idea to keep hold of your receipts as a precaution.

Contact the retailer

If the shop or online retailer you bought your presents from have good customer service, then this process should be simple and straightforward.

The retailer may ask for purchase details or whether the goods are damaged or faulty. You will then be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement.

You can claim a full refund for a faulty product within 30 days of purchase. So if you’re tight for time, this might be the best option for you to get your money back in time for Christmas.

Get a helping hand

If the shop you bought your gifts from refuses to refund, replace or repair your damaged goods, you may need a bit of extra help to get your money back.

For big purchases such as second-hand cars, you can enlist the help of a consumer ombudsman. This is a free, independent service that helps you deal with your dispute and hopefully get it resolved!

*Collaborative post