Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

13 November 2018

How To Cut Down On Your Car Budget

Whether it is needed your daily commute, ferrying the children around to various schools and activities or just for day to day life, a car has become a necessity to 21st century living.  

It does not matter if you live in the suburbs or in the city, a car is a convenience that wins over public transport every time in terms of convenience and speed to destination.  My journey to work for example takes 10 minutes by car, 30 by bus.

I am currently getting back into the car market after a long spell of public transport and I cannot wait to get behind the wheel again.  That said, I am conscious of the costs that come with buying, maintaining and fueling a car so I have been looking around for some tips to help bring down the costs.

Buy Used

If you are looking to be economical and don't want a car that costs the earth, the best thing to do is buy a used car.  I am in the process of looking at second hand cars in Brighton to find a car at an affordable price.

With buying second car, your choices also open up much more and you are more likely to be able to afford a model that you could not afford new, but a version just a few years older that you will love just as much.

Find a Reliable Garage

Whilst in the process of looking for a car, I am also getting advice and tips from friends and family in my locality for a great and reliable garage.  Maintaining your car, making sure that it is serviced regularly and properly (without it having to cost the earth) is one way to keep costs down.

You want to find somewhere that has been recommended by at least three other regular users and look out for comments on pricing etc.

Save on Fuel

Aside from insurance and maintenance, one regular expense for your vehicle is petrol.  There are many ways that you can save money in this area just by following a few of the below tips:

  • Slow down - did you know that accordingly to AA research, dropping just 10 miles an hour on speed on the motorway can save you up to 25% in the cost of your fuel?
  • Reduce the weight - do you need all the stuff in the boot of your car?  Do actually use that luggage rack on top?  If the answer is no, get rid of it.
  • Be economical with the air conditioning.
  • Keep an eye on your tyre pressure.
  • Drive a manual car - automatic vehicles reportedly use 10 - 15% more fuel than a manual car.

Cut Down on Unnecessary Trips

How many times have you nipped to the shops, the supermarket or local town to buy something, only to return home and remember something that you forgot to buy?  I do it all the time.

To save making unnecessary journeys, pin a simple shopping list on your fridge and keep adding to it.  When you have 5-10 items on the list, go shopping and TAKE THE LIST WITH YOU!

How do you save money on your car budget?

*Collaborative piece

31 October 2018

Tips For Preparing Your Garden For Winter

Whether you have a large garden or a small one, there are still things that you need to do to prepare for when winter is on its way.

You do not have to be an expert gardener to make your garden ready for the cold and make sure that it is in the best condition possible for the spring the following year.  But it isn't just about your garden, you need to take care of your equipment too.

Do a Pre Spring Clean

After months of mowing your lawn with grass getting clogged up every time, don't just store your lawn mower in the corner of the garage for months on end.  Give it a good clean, clean out the grass and soil and if you have an older mower, maybe get a service done so that it is in perfect working order when you come to use it again.

Clean up your shears, forks and spades.  Make sure that everything is dried properly and oil the metals parts so that you are not greeted with rust in spring.

Use the Leafs Pro Actively

Where we live we are surrounded by trees, not only close around the property but also with large trees across the road when seem to shed their leaves and deposit them all over our garden, paths and patio.

Cleaning them up is such a chore (especially when they aren't even your trees!!) and then there is the question of where to put them.  Your gardening bin can be filled within a couple of days.  But there is an answer.

After doing some reading last year, I found out that leaf mould is a great way to give structure and organic matter to your soil which will in turn help your plants to grow again in the spring.  All you need to do is find a corner and create an open bin using mesh and a few wood posts.  Shred down the leaves a little, put in your bin, pour water over them and then use leave them.

Once the leaves get mulchy (technical term!) and crumbly, you can then cover your soil and borders.  This is a long time process that can take a couple of years to complete but it gives you somewhere to put your leaves and will benefit your garden in the long run.

Cold Protection

Protecting the plants outside that are in pots is easy.  Simply wrap the pots in sacking and tie up the leaves.

Check out the wooden elements of your garden such as gates, fence posts etc and see if anything needs repair or replacing before the snow, ice and gales hit.  Wooden can degrade quickly if not properly protected and you don't want to have to start fixing things like garden gates and doors in the depths of winter.

Cut back any trees with overhanging branches to enable them to properly grow again in the warmer months and whatever you do, stay off your lawn once the weather turns wet and icy.  The footprints and mess that you mess will still be there in spring and will a mess.  Trust me.

Hire a Gardener

If you are not green fingered or are not sure how to properly protect your garden in winter, hire a gardener  They will be able to tell you what plants you can use during the cold, what plants to put away, what plants to leave and also give your garden a good clean up and tidy so that you are in a great place when the lovely days of spring arrive.

We pay someone to come for 2-3 hours just when autumn arrives so that we are in the best time for making any changes and doing what needs to be done.  

If in doubt, hire an expert!!

29 August 2018

Top Tips For What To Wear To A Wedding

I have been invited to a wedding in October and I have already started looking at outfits and shoes, trying to decide what to wear.

For this wedding I have been invited to both the ceremony and subsequent wedding breakfast, going straight through to the evening celebration at another location.  Which poses a problem.  What do you wear that is going to work for both parts of the wedding, at different times of day?

Here are some tips that I think will get you through a wedding with style and without offending the bride!

1.  Stay Classy

If you have been invited to a wedding, chances are that it is going to be a formal event (unless it is on a beach, then you might get a little leeway!).  So this is not a time to bring out your jeans.  Have a really good shop around for something formal, but also ideally something that you can wear again or style up to give you different looks.  No white please!

For the summer months, why not go with a mid length fishtail dress in a bright colour?  This one from SimplyBe is an absolute steal at £25.00.

As the wedding that I am going to is in October so I am looking for something a little more covered, but still stylish.  I love the River Island dresses that are around at the moment and am in love with this one which is very reasonable £65.00 and could be worn to a variety of events, not just a wedding.

2.  Think With Your Feet

Chances are, if you have been invited to both the day and evening events of a wedding, you are going to be on your feet, a lot.  There are a few different things to think about here.  

  • You need a pair that are going to work for both day and evening wear.  Glitzy glitter covered heels look fab underneath a disco ball but not so much in a pew at a church.
  • You want a heel height that still looks elegant and stylish, whilst also not being too high.  They have to be comfortable enough to wear the shoes for hours on end without killing your feet and of course, you have to be able to dance in them (after you have negotiated uneven flooring outside churches, cobbled streets etc).
  • Try to go for neutral tones or black.  Matching that perfect colour of jade green from your dress may seem like a fab idea at the time, but you want to wear a shoe that you can wear again with other outfits (thereby justifying paying slightly more than usual for a gorgeous pair!).

I am loving these shoes at these black diamante shoes from River Island at the moment which have just a touch of sparkle and have a manageable, block heel which shouldn't prove hard to walk in.


3.  Remember, it is someone's wedding day

When you are going to day and night event, probably surrounded by many people that you do not know; the urge to have a few more drinks than usual to "ease you up a bit" is an easy one to succumb to.  I know only five people at the wedding I am going to in October and that includes my plus one!

Everyone has a few too many drinks at weddings but make sure that you eat something at the wedding breakfast, have a nibble at the buffet later in the evening.   Tripping the light fantastic on the dance floor is one thing at a wedding, but there is always one that gets too inebriated and can potentially spoil a couple's wedding day.  Don't let that be you!

26 April 2018

Tips For Blogging On The Go

Fitting in time to blog can be a hard thing.  A full time job, dates, commitments with friends and having time to actually relax and sit down to write can sometimes be challenging.

So many times I have found myself under deadline, or with an opinion piece that I really want to write and end up writing at 11pm.  Not ideal.  But writing still brings me so much joy, so how do you do it?

The challenge is to fit my blogging around my life and still being able to be creative with it and keep the joy and excitement in there, without it being a chore.

For me, that means creating a virtual office that I can take with me everywhere, whilst maintaining a home base where I collate my ideas.  Here is how I do it:

Buy a Notice Board

I have recently purchased a notice board for my room where I can pin my notes for my latest blogging ideas and projects. I use colourful post it notes along with pages from my notebook in order to create a visual aide that I can look at for reminders of what is in my to do list along with inspirations for future pieces.  For me, this works much better than a calendar or diary.

Utilize Your Travel Time

I worked out the other day that I spend 45 minutes on the bus every day.  Perfect time for a little blogging inspiration!  I have a cheap notebook that I don't mind tearing pages from where I jot down ideas and piece together blog posts using bullet points that can be typed and added to later.

If you travel to work by bus or by train, your commute is the perfect time to get started on pieces and get the inspiration flowing.

Write on the Go

A few months ago I purchased a small lightweight tablet with a removable keyboard which has proved a lifesaver.  Whilst you cannot get a tablet out on the bus (although would be great on the train), I find it perfect for transforming my notes into a few paragraphs in my lunch or when in the summer, sitting in a park and getting a little work done whilst getting some sunshine.

Maintaining Your Down Time

Remember, writing is supposed to be fun.  It is what you enjoy so don't make it a chore.  Remember to enjoy yourself, take a break, take a step back and relax.  If you schedule your time there is no reason why you should be writing late at night or getting up early to finish a piece.

26 February 2018

10 Things You Should Always Keep In Your Car In Winter

Sponsored Post

When I was in my late teens, I had a job that involved a daily commute of a two hour round trip.

I remember that my mum used to hate that I was driving so much during peak hours of travel and would worry about me getting to work everyday, especially when it was winter and the nights were dark.

There are of the basic things to keep on top of when you have a daily commute, like making sure that you have a spare tyre, jump leads and more than enough fuel for each journey as well as ensuring that your vehicle is regularly appraised by a mechanic for safety checks. See Cars.Com for more tips and details with regard to this.

As a woman travelling a distance alone, I was also conscious that I needed to not only make sure that my car was safe to drive, but also to make sure that I felt safe.  If your car breaks down on a dark road (which happens to me on a few occasions), you want to be able to feel as safe and secure as you can.

The first time that I broke down in my car and I was alone, I remember being unprepared, freezing and more than a little scared.  It was winter, 6.30pm at night and other than my mobile phone, I had nothing useful in my car at all.

After a two hour wait for roadside assistance in sub zero temperatures, I swore never again.  I created a kit of things that I would need if my car broke down to assist me.
  • A spare charger for my phone which could be plugged into my car for charging en route
  • A flashlight.
  • De-icer and an ice scraper
  • A warm jumper or coat, thick socks and a spare pair of boots.
  • Road map.
  • Loose change for payphone in case your phone does not work.
  • A couple of snack/nutrition bars.
  • The details of your insurance company details and a reliable garage on a piece of paper (don't rely solely on your mobile).
  • First aid kit.
  • An umbrella.
I used to keep a box of these things tucked away in the boot of my car, with the essentials kept in the glove box.

What do you keep in your car?

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.

3 October 2017

5 Tips to Improve Your Reproductive Health

Whether you have an interest in conceiving with your partner or you want to live a healthier lifestyle, it is important to take care of all aspects of your health. Often times people think about weight loss, becoming fit, or eating healthier but there are many other aspects to one’s overall wellness that can positively or negatively impact one’s quality of life. This article will focus on how you can take care of your reproductive health so that when you are ready to bear a child, your body will be able to do so.

  1. STD Testing. Regardless of your relationship status, if you are sexually active, you should get tested for STD’s at least once a year. If you are a woman, getting tested can be as easy as asking your doctor to do an extra swab during your annual obgyn appointment. If you do not have annual check-ups, you can still get an STD test from your doctor or even online. Checking for diseases can alert you to potential problems that you may have while trying to conceive. Some diseases do not have symptoms so they can be around for a long period of time without you knowing. Clearing up any potential diseases can help you conceive quicker.

  1. Track your cycle. Knowing your cycle can help you feel connected to your body and will allow you to be in tune with yourself in a way that is empowering. Knowing your cycle will help you pinpoint certain parts of the month where you may feel tired, crave chocolate, or experience an acne breakout and help you prepare for these times in your cycle. Not to mention, when these things happen you can practice self-compassion instead of passing judgement on to yourself as to why your body is acting the way that it is.

  1. Choose a birth control method that works well for you. At your annual appointment with your doctor, be sure to discuss your birth control method and how it working for you. If you take an oral contraceptive, be sure to ask about the latest prescriptions and share any side effects you have experienced from the one you currently take. Perhaps there is a new release that could be a better option for you. By talking to your doctor, you can learn about new birth control options so that you can always make the best decision for today and your future.

  1. Drink water. Hydrating your body is imperative to living a healthy lifestyle. Believe it or not, drinking enough water can also help you stay lubricated during sexual activity and will help with conceiving if that is your goal.

  1. Take care of yourself. Yes, it is important to visit your doctor annually and participate in STD screenings from time to time, but it is also important to practice self-care and have high standards of hygiene. Keeping yourself clean and fresh is important to staying healthy and free of illness.

26 September 2017

Space-Saving Tips For The Home

There are lots of ways in which anyone can save space inside their homes and make the property seem larger than it is in reality. Indeed, there are even some tricks of the light people can use to achieve that goal, and there are some excellent tips listed on this page. Anyone who lives in a small flat or apartment will benefit from putting some of these ideas into action. When all’s said and done, most people like the minimalist theme these days, but that’s almost impossible to achieve in a small space when there is lots of furniture. Well, it was virtually impossible, until now…

Invest in a retractable table

Most people like the idea of eating their meals at a dining table. Of course, the issue in small homes is that there isn’t always enough room. Thankfully, there are many extending dining table sets available on the market today that will retract when they’re not in use. It’s sensible for everyone in a small property to use products of that nature to ensure they don’t waste lots of space. Also, it’s wise to shop around because some retailers offer better prices than others, and sometimes it’s possible to get some fantastic deals using online auction websites like eBay.

Look for furniture that contains hidden storage

There are lots of furniture items available that include hidden storage space at the moment. It’s also possible to use the DIY method to build something of that nature. That is fantastic for people who reside in houses smaller than most because the products allow them to ensure the place always looks tidy. Some of the most attractive furniture that contains hidden storage includes:

  • Beds
  • Sofas
  • Coffee tables

So, ladies just need to search online and visit their local home stores to assess the market and work out which items will provide the most benefits to them.

Hang mirrors in strategic positions

While this idea doesn’t technically save space, hanging mirrors around the home will create that optical illusion. The process should also ensure the property makes the best use of natural light possible. So, that could mean readers don’t have to turn their electric lights on until much later in the day than they otherwise would have done. Just place on mirror opposite a window at a slight angle. That should be enough to ensure the light reflects and shines towards a different area of the room. Then, hang another mirror in that area and repeat the process.

With a bit of luck, people who manage to implement the tips from this article will save a lot of space at home and ensure the house appears as tidy and well-kept as possible. Those who choose to use the last suggestion will also make their property appear larger to guests, and that’s always a bonus. Anyone who wants to learn more and discover different ideas just needs to continue their research online. However, to be fair, this post covers all the techniques that tend to work well across the board. So, now all readers have to do is create a plan and put it into action as soon as possible.

3 August 2017

5 Tips For Dining Alone #TrulyScrumptious

As I have been talking about a lot on my blog lately, I am on a quest to be more adventurous in my single life.  You don't need to be part of a couple to have fun after all!.  I want to be able to go away on my own, be it a week's holiday or a weekend away.

A city break is something that I am comfortable doing alone and next year I am looking towards trying out a new city for some culture, shopping and new food experiences.  Liverpool!

Whilst I have my plans for the culture element of my trip; as ever, the thing that I am worried about is eating alone.  Having done my research, for the shopping and eating portion of my weekend, Liverpool One has everything that I need.  With over 130 places to eat, I am really looking forward to trying out places I have never been before.  I may be the one person in the UK that has never had a Nandos!

Having tried out eating on my own several times now when I have been out or away alone, here are some tips on how to dine out in style and still feel confident when you are out of your comfort zone. 

Don't Start Out With Dinner

The first time I dined out alone was for breakfast.  I had been on a business night away and was dying for some breakfast.  But alone?  In truth, breakfast on your own is easy and a great place to start.  The only thing people are concerned about at that time in the morning is getting their coffee and something to eat.  No one cares if someone is eating alone.  Their prime thought process is "Give me coffee!!!!!!!!!!!"

Lunch is the next step.  For that, take a little help.

Take Things to Distract You

When you are convinced that people are looking at you eating alone (even though they are more than likely not), you need something to distract you while eating your meal that is going to restore your confidence and reduce your stress levels.

Your phone is the number one aid that is going to help you but I always take a book with me or, if I have some work to do, a little netbook that I can work on while still having a bite to eat and maybe a glass of wine.

Wear Something You Feel Confident In

When we feel good about ourselves, we are more confident.  You don't have to go out wearing a ball gown, the outfit can be as casual as a pair of jeans flip flops.  Just make sure that you feel good wearing it.

Bring Along Some Affirmations

When you are shy, socially awkward and convinced that people are looking at you (even when they aren't) like me, sometimes you need a reminder that you really are OK.  Put a slip of paper in your purse saying "You are doing fine".  Put a reminder on your phone to come up mid way through your meal saying "Enjoy yourself, you are doing this".

The Big One

For me, the hardest and most challenging meal to eat on your own is dinner.  Friends groups, families and couples around you, it is a daunting process.  But try to look at it another way.  One of my friends and I's favourite pastimes is people watching.  You have a whole restaurant to watch!  Is she breaking up with him?  I wonder what those girls are celebrating? How on earth is that family managing to eat with all those children running around?

Use it as entertainment.  Looking down at your food and avoiding eye contact is what will actually make you noticed.

 You can apply these tips to any solo situation when you are out in public.  Make it so that at times when you are alone, you are not alone at all.  You have yourself.  There is nothing wrong with loving some time to yourself.  As those famous boys from Liverpool said:

Love is all you need.

*In collaboration with Liverpool One

28 April 2017

Score With Your Credit

Saving is something that we all strive to do.  Whether you are saving for someone's birthday treat, a holiday or in my case, saving for my future move; we all have times in our life when we try to actively save.

When you are living from payday to payday, trying to save and conserve your money can be challenging, but there are a few tips that I have picked up over the years that can really help, while still letting you enjoy a few things that you enjoy.

You Don't Need To Cut Out That Treat Coffee

Coffee is life.  For me anyway.  The idea of the cheap ground coffee that we have in the office makes me shudder.  I NEED real coffee.  But can I justify the daily trip to Starbucks?  No.  The £3-4 pounds a day I would, and have, spent in the past would be better placed in my savings than wasted on a temporary coffee hit.

One way to work around this is to buy your own fresh coffee and a one cup cafetiere and take them to work with you.  Get to work ten minutes earlier and you can make your coffee without the boss complaining of the extra time involved and you can start your day with a delicious coffee hit.

Cashback on your Purchases

We all love shopping and sometimes, even when you limiting your clothing and shopping budget, you may need to replace your favourite makeup product or buy a necessary kitchen appliance.

I have signed up to a site called TopCashBack which gives you cashback on online purchases.  Yesterday I wrote about the makeup products I use and one of them is Benefit Dandelion Powder , which is currently on sale in LookFantastic.  You can get up to 10% cashback on that site and the cash can surprisingly really build up.

Use a Piggybank

I have a long pink boot shaped piggy bank that I throw my spare change in.  The thing about piggy banks is that they are very tempting at the end of the month to break into when you are short on cash.  
The way that I combat that is to only save certain denominations of coins so that you would need a lot to make a difference.  I only save copper and 5, 10 and 20 pence pieces so that it does not tempt me to dip me.  

Having a larger piggy bank means that you can save for longer and get a nice surprise when you take it to be changed.

Keep An Eye On Your Credit Score

If you have a poor credit rating like me (damn carefree shopping years), it is important to keep an eye on your credit score and work hard to improve it.  You can check for free these days and it can really help in improving score.

Things to work on are not necessarily the bigger balances that you need to pay off.  I always used to focus on paying off the bigger balances and paying a minimal amount on the smaller ones.  But paying off those smaller ones can help to improve your score so bear that in mind.

Hope the tips help, happy saving!

5 April 2017

The Real Fountain of Youth

Continuing on with my current quest to find body and beauty tips to turn back time and stop me looking old, I have some new tips that I have come across within my research which I thought that I would share with you today.

While the fountain of youth may not be real, there are plenty of things that we can do and activities that we can incorporate into our lives to keep us looking young and healthy.

Fatty Foods Are Good For You?

Yes, it’s true but before you get carried away and head off to find the largest tub of ice cream, wait. It does depend on what type of fats you eat. Anything that is found in junk food, unfortunately, won’t help at all. Instead, you need to think about eating fats from sources like yoghurt or oils. Do this, and you’ll be giving your body the natural resource it needs to reduce inflammation and avoid some of the worse signs of aging. Specifically, like fish and nuts. Not being much of a meat eater, I have really been getting into fish lately, who can resist a lovely scallop?

A Little Yoga A Day Keeps The Ogre At Bay

Are you, like me, not a morning person? The kind who people stay away from until at least your third cup of coffee? Well, you might want to try an hour of Yoga each day. Yoga is brilliant because it’s a way to reinvigorate the body and the mind. Yoga is all about relieving tension and stress. Stress can have various negative consequences for the body from causing your hair to fall out to your body to bloat. With yoga, you can keep your mind clean and clear and your body healthy and young.

Anti Aging Creams Work!

You might scoff at the idea of using cream to stop aging before you even see the signs. Laugh if you must my friends, but they can be effective. It’s the equivalent of putting a screen protector on your phone before you smash it. You’re taking a preemptive strike against aging. The best part is that most of these creams use natural ingredients rather than chemicals. That means that these cream are good for you and you can see that by reading the amazing testimonials they have. I have been using an anti aging cream at night for a few years now and I think that it definately does help.

Wine? Now We’re Talking! Hurrah!

Yes, it’s true, according to research, the natural supplements found in red wine have beneficial anti-aging effects. Although, to get that effect you’d apparently have to drink about 180 bottles a day. On the plus side, you can get some benefits by drinking a small portion of red wine each day. Drink three ounces of red wine a day reduces the chance of heart disease and other health problems. It can even ensure the color stays in your skin for longer and we’re not talking about rosy red cheeks.

What do you think? Are you ready to try some of these clever ways to stay looking young?

* A Collaborative Piece

17 March 2017

5 Tips for a Blog & Work Life Balance

I love to blog,  It is a way of putting a small piece of yourself out into the world.  Whether it be your thoughts on a subject, your personal style aesthetic or just a window to crawl out of your daily life; blogging is wonderful way for those who love to write to put their words out to a wider audience.

The trouble with blogging, is finding the time to do it.  Whether you are a full time worker, trying to fit in your writing with a 9-5 job and your after work life or a full time mum, running after children and organising a household; trying to add hours into your weeks to encompass blogging can be a challenge. 

You know those memes that go around the internet?  What my friends think I do, what my parents think I do, what society thinks I do?  The idea of blogging to many looks a lot like this.  

Calm, organised, scheduled.  The reality is more than often more like this.

The reality is jotting notes down on the bus to work, writing bits and pieces in your lunch hour; formulating a blog post on your journey home; writing it at 11pm when the house is finally quiet enough to write (it is 10.45pm when I am writing this).

But when it comes down to it, we love to blog.  So here are some tips for working a blog into your life.

Data on the Go
The majority of people have broadband in their homes.   Working from home is the ideal, but when you need to blog, jot down ideas and research issues on the hop, you are going to need a good and reliable internet connection that is not going to run out.  

My phone package include mobile broadband with a portable MiFi device so that I can easily get onto the internet anywhere I am, on my tablet or laptop, without having to worry about the security of public WiFi.  This is particularly useful in the summer months when you can go and sit in the sunshine while you blog!

Using an SEO expert can also really assist you in how to maximise your blog publicity and ensures that it reaches the right audiences.

Making Time for Yourself
Whether you are a full time worker or a full time mum, finding time for yourself is not easy at the best of times.  Add blogging into the mix and that time is cut down even further.  But it is important to set some time aside for yourself, even if it is just half an hour soaking the bath or a walk in the park.  If you burn yourself out, both you and your blog will suffer as a result.

My go to is a Lush bath bomb, a couple of candles and a glass of wine at the end of a busy day.  45 minutes later and I am refreshed and relaxed.

Blog Ideas
I often have several blog posts in draft.  When I get an idea for a post, I write down the bare bones in a notepad or my tablet, in time moving those ideas into a draft post; ready for writing properly when I have time.

When you have notes written down for a post and some key words and paragraphs ready for you, it is much easier to write and formulate your blog post when you have some time.  Having several in draft form at the same time gives you options of what to write when the mood springs and time allows.  I often find my opinion pieces decide to come out of me late at night so it helps to have a basic starter to work from.

Because I write most of my blog posts later at night when I have a little time, by the time I am finished I am often too tired to think about sharing on social networks and promoting the piece as I wish.  This is where scheduling comes into play.

The last thing I do when I finish a piece is schedule it to be published just when I am getting onto the bus for work in the morning.  Then during my journey I use the Buffer app to schedule publication on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day, as well as sharing on Linkedin and Google+.


Don't be Afraid To Write What You Want & Be Visible
Ever had an idea come into your head that you wanted to write about but didn't, because you thought you shouldn't?  If you have as many opinions as me, the answer to that question is probably yes.  It might be an opinion piece on a hot topic (I write a piece about the Grand National every year which always gets flack).

Perhaps you have a political leaning or a social justice cause that you want to share.  Goodness knows there is enough to talk about on that front at the moment!  I have written about everything from prisoners on death row, to feminism and police violence against black people.

The point is, if you do not write what you want for fear of others opinions, your passion for writing is not going to be there.  In the end, you are writing for yourself and sharing a piece of yourself with the world.

So put yourself out into the world.  Find your blog name, decide what you want to write, create a logo for your brand, be loud and be vocal.  If people want to read your blog, they want to read who you are, so share it with them.

20 December 2016

Tips for Saving in 2017

We all have many New Year's resolutions that we hope will lead to a better life, but so often those goals fall to the wayside only to pop back up for another failed attempt again and again. 

Things like "Dry January" is the obvious one but let's face it: savingmore money has to be a close second. If you have health and wealth you're in pretty great shape, but the problem is that often too many people try to make huge, sudden, and massive changes and it proves to be just too much. 

So what types of small, easy, and basic tips can help to make sure you actually make your financial goals in 2017 instead of having to make the same resolutions for 2018?

#1: Plan Your Savings Goal

Without a plan, you have no chance. If you don't know how much you want to save in a year, you're not going to make that number. If that's the only number you have, you can't break down what you need as monthly and weekly goals. Choose a reasonable goal, give yourself a little bit of leeway (but not too much - like planning out 48 or 50 weeks instead of the full 52), and set up a spending and savings plan that can help you reach that.

Self discipline is much easier when you have a clear path and plan to follow.

#2: Get Rid Of Temptation

You can't be tempted if the temptation isn't there. One of the best ways to save is to have part of your check sent to an account in another bank, one which you cut up the debit card for or don't set up online banking - meaning it would take a lot of extra effort to go and raid your savings. The harder it is to do, the less likely you are to do it.

#3: Track Expenses For One Month

Two months is a little better, but one month is generally enough. This is tracking, not budgeting (though that is also a good idea). You want to see where every single penny of the money you're spending is going so you can make a realistic accounting of what your actual expenses are.

Use this to trim the fat and make small changes for big savings.  I tried this earlier this year and found to my shock just how much I was spending on my morning coffee.

#4: Set Up A Budget

This is generally best done after tracking expenses for a bit so you're not underestimating expenses or overestimating your resolve. There are plenty of resources for creating and sticking to a budget so take advantage of them!

#5: Take Advantage Of Small Adjustments

Using coupons for the first time, buying stuff during sales, or even making small adjustments like "the cheapest soda" versus "brand X at full price" are all little changes that can make life altering differences when all the savings are added up over the long term.

#6: Use Technology To Your Advantage

This could mean finding great deals online that are better than what you can get in person. This could also mean activating rewards programs for a credit card (although not using one at all is better if you can manage that) or there are even high quality saving apps that can be set up to make saving money relatively painless and much easier than using good old fashioned resolve, there are also a lot of money saving apps, aswell as finding freebie and free sample sites.

#7: Reward Your Momentum

You know what makes willpower much easier? The occasional reward. If you track your momentum so you can actually see yourself gaining on your goals then you are going to be encouraged and keep going with that. Don't completely starve yourself of fun. There's no reason for it, and that is often counter productive. Check on your progress every so often, make corrections or increases as you see fit and give yourself some small little celebration for making a goal.

Whether that is an ice cream during summer, one meal at your favourite bar, or something else entirely, you have plenty of options.

Follow these 7 tips and you will be far more likely to reach your savings goals!

*Collaboration Post