26 February 2018

10 Things You Should Always Keep In Your Car In Winter

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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?

23 February 2018

How To Keep Your Costs Down

This year I am going on my first holiday abroad in eight years.  I am massively excited and have vowed to take enough money with me to be able to do everything I want without having to budget.  There is nothing worse when you are on holiday than having to turn down trips or outings because you can’t afford it.  By planning ahead and making sure I have more than enough to spend, I am hoping to have a fabulous time.

Saving for a holiday and lots of spending money takes time, effort and creativity.  I have been looking at ways that I can make extra savings in my everyday life and wanted to share what I have been doing.


I noticed one day on the bus after buying my daily return ticket that someone was using a pass.  After becoming friendly at the bus stop day by day (as you do), it turned out that she used a monthly pass, which it turns out has saved me a fortune every month!  The weekly passes also offer a great saving and I use them if I am having some time off work and would not need the full month pass.

Using a megarider ticket, you will be able to travel as much as you want and can tailor your own needs to the ticket type. Whether you’re in need of a weekly bus pass for your travels, or a monthly one — you will find yourself making a huge saving in comparison to buying a ticket every day.

In the alternative, if you’re a driver, did you know that the average motorist in the UK will spend an astonishing £168,880 over their lifetime? I made transition from car driver to bus traveller around eight years ago and I have saved so much money since that time, not to mention it being better for the environment.


According to research carried out by MyVoucherCode, people in the UK visit coffee shops at least three times per week.  I confess that I had an addition to a roasted hazelnut latte with extra espresso shot for a couple of years that was costing me £3.20 a time.  When you add that up, going usually 3 times a week for my indulgence, that is nearly £40.00 a month on just coffee!

Branded coffee company, Douwe Egberts, has said that a 250g pack of ground coffee can make up to 30 cups. When looking to see how much a 1kg pack would cost, Amazon has priced the coffee at around £15, meaning that each cup of coffee would cost close to 13p. These days I either take a flask of coffee to work or my cafetiere.

Many of us find it easier to just buy lunch on the way to work — or popping out on our lunch breaks. But what if we told you that, on average, forking out for lunch every day could cost you £1,288 according to research carried out by VoucherCloud.

You can make a huge saving by preparing your lunch at home — whether it be a simple sandwich, a prepared salad that you make in the morning or some soup to heat up.

I recently just starting making soup myself for a more healthy option.  I recently made a red pepper & celery soup which was delicious.  I managed to get 5 portions out of the soup which I worked out cost me 33 pence per portion.  Cheaper than a tin of soup and much healthier!

22 February 2018

Holiday Wrecker: 4 Things That Ruin A Perfectly Good Trip

Bags? Check. Boarding passes? Check. Passports? Check.

Everything is in order and you’re ready to jet off on a well-deserved break. Hopefully, it will be perfect and nothing will ruin the experience. Sadly, holidays don’t always go to plan as unforeseen circumstances get in the way. The term suggests they are difficult to spot ahead of time, but the truth is that most of us are the architects of our downfall. Yep, you will do the things that put your enjoyment in jeopardy.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but don’t sit around and mope. Instead, continue reading and see how you can avoid the holiday wreckers like the plague.


Planning too many activities is a weird one to get right because you don’t want to miss out. FOMO is real and it can destroy a holiday just as easily as over-planning. Still, always remember that spontaneity is one of the cornerstones of an amazing trip. With that in mind, create a loose plan but don’t stick to it religiously. Rather, rank the day’s activities from top to bottom and try to tick as many off the list as possible. As a rule, make sure you see the sights which are the most important. After that, just the let the day guide you in the right direction.

Not Researching

Attempting not to over-plan isn’t an excuse to give up on research altogether. Everyone wants to see the sights and experience the culture, and online sleuthing is essential. Otherwise, you’ll never know what is on and you won’t experience a genuine night on the town or local meal. The trick is to use the Web is to figure out what is happening and how to get involved. Simply type the dates and location into a search engine of your choice and check out the famous events and hidden gems.

Online Dating

A bit of fun in the sun never hurt anyone. That is poetry at its finest! The thing is that Tindering on holiday can escalate out of control. One minute you’re swiping because you’re curious, and the next you’re knee deep in the smoking versus vaping picture argument. There’s nothing wrong with updating your profile to maximise matches, but don’t let Tinder and Bumble get in the way of having fun. Try and use the apps when you have free time. Or, go to a coffee shop or a bar to chat with someone the old-fashioned way.

Under Budgeting

Spending too much can impact your life back home, and that is crucial to remember. Still, a holiday is the time to relax and splurge because they don’t come around very often. Regarding your budget, take another look at the numbers and see what you can swing. Firstly, decide whether the original amount per day is plenty or too little. Then, think about how much extra you can spend without slipping into the red. Use a guidebook like the Lonely Planet if you are unsure of rates and costs.

Can you think of any more holiday wreckers that have ruined a trip in the past?