Thursday, 25 January 2018

Make 2018 The Year You Become Fiscally

Picture Source

Money is something that gives each of us a headache at some point in our lives. No matter how much or how little you earn, it’s very easy to make bad decisions with your finances that can ultimately back you into a tricky corner. However, minimum wage or not, being sensible with your earnings is all it takes to have a comfortable financial situation. You just need to learn how to manage your money effectively and secure a better future for yourself. Make 2018 the year you become fiscally responsible. Here are a couple of tips.

Manage your expenditures.
Obviously, you can’t foresee every expense that’s going to come your way in life. Unexpected accidents can lead to costly medical bills, and legal situations can lead to hefty court fees. However, in many aspects of life, we can control our spending. It’s up to you how you spend your money. Still, there are some unavoidable necessities that we need in life, such as food, electricity, rent money, and gas for the car. That’s why you need to make a budget so as to ensure you know how much disposable income you have after you’ve paid for those necessities out of your earnings. If you’re struggling to afford the essentials because of a temporary problem with your finances then you might want to look into
online personal loans as a solution to get you by until you’re back on your feet. Obviously, this is a solution for those who will be able to afford to pay back the loan afterward.

Of course, cutting down on luxuries is one thing, but you can also do a lot to free up your available income by reducing the cost of necessary expenditures too. This doesn’t mean that you need to compromise by giving up the food, utilities, or other essentials you need. It simply means that you need to be smarter about the way in which you pay for such things. For example, you could save money when it comes to your car by learning to
maintain and repair it by yourself. You could save money on groceries by growing vegetables in your own back garden. You could save money on utility bills by insulating your house so as to better conserve the energy you’re using. There are so many ways to save money that you might be missing.

Picture Source

Start saving money regularly.
Of course, the best way to be fiscally responsible is to avoid the urge to spend all of your disposable earnings. Instead, you should
set aside a small chunk of your income on a regular basis. In fact, every time you get your paycheck, you should instantly put some of it aside into your savings account. You could set up a standing order to automatically transfer a certain percentage of your monthly or weekly earnings straight to your savings account. That way, you’re never tempted to spend the money that you should really be saving. Ensure a better future by giving yourself a financial safety

Rustic Rooms: One Addition To Achieve The Look

The “rustic” look is a popular interior design theme, and one that never shows signs of going out of style. There is something that cannot be denied about the quaint, homely charms of rustic living-- it’s a style that transports you back to a simpler time, and helps you feel connected with nature even when you’re just sitting indoors and avoiding the rain.

Achieving the full rustic look, however, can be expensive, time-consuming, and… a little too much. If you go too far with this design idea, the interior of your home can begin to resemble a log cabin, and your usual tech and accessories will begin to look rather out of place. For example…

Rustic gone rogue.

Rustic is a look that is best applied gently, with small touches rather than an overwhelming theme that dominates the entire space.

If you want to capture the rustic look, then here are a few ideas for one addition you can make to each room. These single additions allow you to capture the spirit of the rustic look, without crossing the line from “quaint” into “overwhelming”.

THE BEDROOM: Wood furniture choice

The trend for modern bedroom furniture leans towards plain colours; white, black, grey-- and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. However, by choosing the rustic look you’re already sidestepping what’s “on trend” and going for a look that is timeless and classic, so you can afford to opt for furniture with a bit more to it.

If you’re aiming for rustic, then there’s one wood that rises above them all: pine. Pine is the quintessential rustic wood, and by choosing to use it for your bedroom furniture, you’ll have captured the country-cottage aesthetic in one fell swoop.

LIVING ROOM: Fireplace or wood-burning stove

There’s simply no other choice for the living room; if you want to achieve a rustic look in this area, then you’re going to want to create an old-fashioned hearth. The best way of achieving this is with a fireplace, which you can accessorise with a basket full of homegrown
British firewood, a poker set, and even a mirror to help reflect the light the fire produces.

If a full-blown real fire isn’t an option, consider a wood-burning stove. Wood-burning stoves don’t require a huge, built-in chimney breast, so they’re a great choice if you don’t want to make radical adaptations to your property.

KITCHEN: Copper pans from the ceiling

The kitchen is the heart of the rustic home, and one that popularised the look in the first place. While there’s no doubt that large unpainted wood tables and huge Aga ranges are attractive, there’s also no doubt that few people have the
kitchen space to accommodate such large additions.

Instead, choose to hang
copper pans from the ceiling to achieve a rustic feel without going full-on mountain cottage. Not only do these pans look good, but this is also useful, as it frees space in your cupboards. There’s a great guide to installing a pan rack in this video, so if you like the idea, you might want to give it a try:

Have fun turning your home into a rustic wonderland!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Throwing A Surprise Party For A Friend – 5 Tips To Make It A Hit

When your friend’s birthday is fast approaching, there’s a huge desire to find the perfect present for them. In truth, though, most people consider spending time with their nearest and dearest to be the greatest gift of all. Throwing a surprise party is undoubtedly one of the best ways to achieve that goal.

If you’re going to make those efforts, it’s vital that you do it in the right manner. Here’s how.


Plan early
The most important ingredient in the recipe for a perfect party is the guests. As long as all the right people are there, the recipient is sure to have the time of their life. People lead busy lives, though, so make sure you’ve set a date in stone long before the event.
Use social media to keep people updated. Even if it means finding a venue at a later date, knowing that the birthday boy or girl will be surrounded by love is the most crucial element of all.

Appreciate the timing
Many factors can influence your party planning decisions, and the time of year is certainly near the top of that list. Even if you’re planning to host the event at your home, a
winter party carries different requirements to a summer one. On a similar note, the rental prices of some venues may fluctuate greatly between peak and off-peak seasons. Take those influences on budgets and possibilities into account, and you won’t go far wrong.

Embrace tech
Technology can be used to brighten up any party. For starters, creating a Spotify playlist of their favourite songs will make a big impact whether you’re at home or in a hall. Meanwhile, capturing the moment with photographs will be an important part of the celebrations. Take things to the next level by
creating a Snapchat filter, and it’ll be sure to a party that nobody ever forgets. Frankly, that’s all anyone throwing a bash could ever hope to achieve.


Make it uniquely fun
A party without fun is one that has failed to unlock its potential. The simple gestures often make the biggest impact, and sharing great food is an essential feature.
Popcorn machines and other devices can take the enjoyment to a whole new level. The birthday party is the ideal time to forget about diets and responsibilities. On a similar note, fun games like giant Jenga and sporting activities can inject fresh energy to house parties.

Throw off the scent
Finally, when throwing a surprise party, you need to ensure that it remains a surprise. One option is to host the event a few days before their birthday. Pretend that you are doing something else like going to
the cinema or a restaurant so that they get dressed up. Then ensure that everyone is either at your home or the venue ready to put a shock smile on the recipient’s face. That emotional reaction of knowing everyone has come together to celebrate their birthday is the greatest gift of all.

See, arranging their birthday party isn’t so scary after all. Get those plans started ASAP, and you’ll have no problems creating a magical and memorable experience.

Crafting an Ideal Space for the Perfect Dining Experience

Image Source

Sure, dining out is a great novelty, but we all love a good dinner party within our own homes too! This could perhaps explain the profound success of shows such as Come Dine with Me or Dinner Date, which see us watching other people around the country host their own dining experiences. Now, if you’ve been watching these programmes and have decided that you’d like to try out the role of the host with the most yourself, have a new recipe that you’d like to try out on a grand scale, have an occasion to celebrate, or simply fancy a catch up with your nearest and dearest, a dinner party is a brilliant way to get everyone together and connecting with one another over delicious food and drink. But before you start drafting up the guest list and begin sending out invites, you need to ensure that you have a space that can not only accommodate your guests, but that will also be functional, practical, and help to create the perfect atmosphere for your event! Here are a few ideas for you to springboard from.

The Dining Table

Increasing numbers of people are opting to eat their meals from their laps in front of the television. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s most certainly not appropriate for a dinner party. Not everyone will be comfortable with eating from their lap and it’s not conducive to conversation and interpersonal engagement. So, you need to ensure that you have a nice clear dining table with comfortable seats for people to sit at throughout the duration of the meal. This also keeps things more organised and simple, as condiments, a carafe of water, and any bottles of wine can be placed at the centre within easy reach of everyone seated. You can also invest in special tableware for the occasion. Matching dinner service sets, in particular, put across the impression that you’ve put plenty of thought and effort into how you are presenting your guest's meals to them. Also be sure that each person has a napkin of sorts, should there be any spills or dropped food to clear up.

Picture Credit


Lighting can have a profound effect on the atmosphere of any given situation. However, when it comes to dining, it can be the make or break of a comfortable environment to eat in. When people are eating, they want to be able to see what they’re doing, so if the lighting is too dim, they may be put off their food or create a mess. However, you also don’t want blaring light, as people don’t want to feel as though their every move is being watched while they eat. If you are hosting a lunch, you’re in luck. Natural daylight should suffice. However, if you’re hosting a dinner, you should ensure that there is warm ambient lighting and this can always be brightened up a touch with candles.

These two aspects of your dining space may seem relatively minor, but they will make all the difference when it comes to how your guests will receive your food and the event in general. So be sure to bear them in mind!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Understanding The Other Red Monster In Your Life

We’ve all experienced anger which seems to do away with our reasoning. Be honest ladies; it happens
to us at least once a month. But, even when mother nature isn’t behind our unholy rage, anger isn't the
straightforward emotion we expect. Sure, it’s sometimes an adequate reaction. But, if you notice
yourself snapping at everything, it might be time to take a step back. Consider whether you’re being
rational. If not, think about where your anger originates. Often our anger is more a result of what’s
going on with us than what’s happening outside. That person you shouted at may have been an idiot,
but did they really deserve that level of rage? Perhaps not. Next time you feel yourself reaching this
stage, don't let stress overwhelm you. Instead, step back and consider what’s going on. To help you
get to the bottom of it, we’re going to look at three hidden factors which could be making themselves

You aren’t sleeping enough
Lack of sleep should be an apparent cause for our anger. In fact, not sleeping enough can cause all
sorts of issues, including low mood and heightened emotions on every end of the spectrum. How many
times have you gone to bed feeling emotionally awful, and woken up good as new? Yet, few of us
consider this. So, when you feel the rage, step back and think about how you’ve been sleeping. If not
well, then why not? Is your mattress playing you up? If yes, head to sites like to
find something better. Is something else stopping you from sleeping? If yes, address that outside
issue as soon as possible. Whatever the cause, your rage is sure to subside as soon as you start
getting decent sleep again.

You’re hangry
Come on; this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to you. When we’re hungry, we get angry.
There’s a word especially for it, for goodness sake! But, this is more than just ‘one of those sayings’.
There’s actual scientific backing for the hangry argument, and you can find out about it on sites like Needless to say, when our glucose levels drop, so too does our mood. Next
time you see the red monster, consider whether there’s a grumble in your tummy. The good news is, there’s an easy fix for this. All you have to do is eat. Though, avoid quick fixes like chocolate bars,
and eat a proper meal. Otherwise, your hanger could come back in full force when your sugar rush

If you’ve eaten, slept, and still feel raging, thanger may be to blame. Okay, this isn’t so universally
known, but bear with us. Thanger is precisely what it sounds like - anger due to thirst. Much like
sleep, hydration plays a massive part in mood. Water helps keep everything balanced, and even
mild dehydration can cause cognitive decline. Grumpiness is part and parcel of all that. Next time
your rage won’t go, reach for the water.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Why Shipping Is So Expensive!

Now this is something we can all agree is incredibly annoying. You’ve filled up your cart and clicked
through to the checkout, and suddenly you’re loaded up to your eyeballs with extra dollars the seller
desperately needs to get everything out to you. Making a purchase online always comes with some
kind of risk, and there’s always options that are more or less expensive than the standard shipping
we’re used to. However, why does it cost so much in the first place? Sellers are always making their
profits back in all the things we’re buying from them, so why are they so desperate for more? Here’s
a couple of reasons why.
Packages come in their thousands, and the maintenance costs a lot of money! (Image)

People Do Like to Overcharge!
It’s a truth that’s rarely told, but because postal systems have such widely changing rates, companies
need to be sure they have enough to cover any cost of sending a parcel out to you.

Often this isn’t a malicious move, with the above point illustrating that out to us. However, there’s more
sites out there than we like to think that overcharge us on purpose just to make their money back on
any ‘money off’ deals they offer us. Take the site Wish for example, as they offer deals on a timer to all
customers, apparently tailored to each users’ taste. However, simply scrolling through all the available
options on a product immediately highlights a red flag we need to avoid: each one has a different price
if we want them!

Packing Insurance is Essential
There’s a lot of jeopardy out there these days when it comes to shipping across country and
internationally. Airplanes and boats can have a lot of issues which prevent them from reaching a
destination; yet it’s been this way since their conception!
However, there are a lot more scams and faulty shipping methods out there in the modern era, and
that’s why we need insurance on parcels in case they don’t reach us. Sometimes the insurance cost
is innate in the original price, and sometimes it needs to be added on.
Different Providers Have Different Costs
Depending on who people tend to use, the costs can vary widely between bigger and smaller
companies. International shipping is a lot more expensive than shipping nationwide, and that’s what
gets a lot of companies in a twist over their projected profit and loss.
However, because we’re living in a more digital age, there’s a lot more companies can do to make
using their website easier and cheaper, for them and us! Using a nation based service such as Shiply
is a lot better for sellers in the long run, as they can compare standard shipping rates between multiple
transport companies under their label. Making a decision is a lot easier as a result, and even when
they’re heading up a business

Shipping is expensive, but there’s a lot of promotions on offer which allow you to bypass these costs!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Pixels To Reality: The Journey Of An Online Purchase

It all seems so simple, you see, you click, you buy. Online shopping has taken the world by storm and had led to businesses around the world asking if they really do need a real-world presence. 
Well, they do, because not everyone has been taken in by the process of online shopping. This is why so many technology companies are trying to limit the number of steps an online purchase 
takes to make. We now see swipe cards and online currencies coming into play. But is it all 
necessary in the first place? What puts consumers off is the fact that they don’t really know what’s going on after the click buy and punch in their financial details. This is why real-world stores are 
still being opened because your items are right in front of you and tangible. There are a few things you can do to break the illusion and follow your purchase journey from pixels to reality.

Photo credit Max Pixel

Keep your eyes on it

Many online purchases come with their very own unique tracking order. What does this really 
mean? On the face of it, it's just a long line of numbers and letters. In fact this is your way of 
keeping eyes on the item you have purchased. Normally you need an account with the company 
you have just done business with. In your profile, you’ll see something that might say ‘your orders.’Essentially it's a list of things you have previously bought. However, you will also have a tracking 
feature for outstanding purchases. By going on this page, you’ll see what kind of state the item is 
in. It can go from, ordered, picking process, confirmation, depot, sent to local and inbound. The 
order sign is your item being reserved; the picking is it being physically taken from storage, 
confirmation is the floor manager confirming an item has left his or her stock. Then you see depot which is packaging and industrial loading. Then it's sent off to a local delivery bay near you, and 
inbound means it’s coming to you right now.

Do you have a say

Most of the time stores will actually use their own delivery companies. They both have a mutual 
benefit as each provides a service to the other. If this is so, you don’t really have an option except for time and date. On the other hand, if you make an online purchase and want to collect it in 
person, the system is halfway the same. The item will get moved to a store nearer to where you 
live. However, if you want something large moved, like a cupboard or sofa the company you 
bought the item from will charge a heavy amount. To counteract this, you have services like Shiplywho collate all the delivery services together and give you a quote. You can rely on previous 
customer reviews to help you sought the bad eggs out from the good. The businesses all competefor your business, each trying to give you the best price. This is one way to beat the overcharging many online shops try to foist on their customers.  

You can see why so many people, especially those who might be older actually don’t take to 
online shopping like a duck to water. The transformation of purchase from pixels to reality is often seen as something unreliable. However, tracking your item and understanding what is going on 
can abate these fears. Not getting price-gouged and choosing your own delivery method and 
company is also something that can be done online, alongside any shopping.

Things You Should Budget For After You've Bought A House

You’ve done it. You’re finally on the property ladder, and have a home you can call your own. It willbe one of the largest and most important investments in your life. That being said, once you finallyhave somewhere to call your own, you start to imagine all of the pictures you’ve pinned to your 
home improvements board on Pinterest and realise your dream home isn’t quite how you pictured it just yet. Not to worry, that is easily fixable. For most rooms a lick of paint and maybe a few
new bits of furniture will work wonders. On the other hand, there are a few rooms you may need tobudget for to renovate them to the standard and style you desire. Here are a few things you may 
want to include in your moving budget or start saving for now, so you aren’t waiting too long to 
carry out your craved-for home improvements.
If there is one room that many people are very particular about when it comes to design, it is the 
kitchen. It is very rare you will find a home that is perfect for you, including the kitchen of your 
dreams. If you do - it is likely you are choosing the house based solely on the design and feel of 
the kitchen. Kitchen installations can take quite some time depending on what you are having 
done, so it’s a good idea to do it sooner rather than later - if possible before you even move in
Since this is a room you will use multiple times a day, it can really hinder everyone in the family’s 
daily life when it is out of action, so pre-planning a kitchen replacement is something you’ll only 
thank yourself for when moving day comes around.

Windows and Roof
Depending on the age of the property your moving into, your surveyor will advise you on whether 
you need to look into window or conservatory roof replacement. They will also look at the overall 
structure of the property and let you know whether you need to get a professional to look at the 
roof, or damp seal etc. If your surveyor does advise any replacement or repairs, it’s wise to get 
these seen to as soon as possible - as these could lead to damage or decreased energy efficiencyof the property if left.

Depending on your specific requirements - for example, if you have a dog or cat, have young children, or a husband that continually leaves his muddy shoes on - you may need to change the 
flooring when you move into your new home. You may have a preference when it comes to a 
decision between carpet or hardwood flooring, or believe hardwood flooring will be more durable 
for your family. Whichever choice you go for - replacing flooring is rarely cheap. You may cut some of the cost if you have a family member who is skilled at installing it, but depending on the size of 
the room and the quality of the flooring or carpet you choose - you are quite possibly looking at 
spending a pretty penny (or hundreds).  Preparing for this and budgeting it into the moving 
process will not only save you a lot of time and stress in the long run but will help you to plan 
ahead. This will mean you can potentially have the flooring installed before moving your furniture 
in - making the whole process a lot smoother and easier for you and the fitters.

Moving house can be stressful and overwhelming, so planning ahead and being as organised as 
possible when it comes to moving and decorating is only going to be beneficial to you in the long 
run. Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought about what your budget should be 
expecting when it comes to key handover day.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2017 Beauty Favourites

Benefit 'They're Real' Mascara
I was late to the party with this mascara but it really does create thick, long lashes without clumping or balling. I literally keep applying it over and over and my lashes just get thicker and longer without
looking gross. It stays on for hours and hours without flaking at all. I applied this on the morning go New Year's Eve and didn't remove it until 5am that morning and there was still no flaking! This mascara ticks all the boxes for me.
Benefit 'They're Real' Mascara - available from Debenhams, £20.50.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Coverage
I have used Estee Lauder's Double Wear for years but never tried the Maximum Coverage version. It's fabulous and covers all my spots, scars and redness with ease. It stays on for hours and doesn't feel cakey. However, please note that this is an incredibly full coverage foundation so it's definitely not for those who want something light.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Coverage Camouflage Makeup - available from Debenhams £32.50.

Kat Von D 'Tattoo Liner' Liquid Eyeliner in Trooper and NYX Professional Epic Ink
Fabulous liquid eyeliner pen which lasts for hours and is incredibly black. This is my number one choice for liquid eyeliner hands down. A similar choice is NYX Professional Epic Ink Eyeliner which is also incredibly black, easy to apply and long lasting.
Kat Von D 'Tattoo Liner' Liquid Eyeliner in Trooper - available from Debenhams, £16.00.
NYX Professional Epic Ink Eyeliner - available from Debenhams, £9.00.

Lancome 'Galateis Douceur' Gentle Softening Cleanser
Amazingly beautiful cleanser to use. I have recently stopped using the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser and I just use this one now on a large cotton round. It has the most beautiful scent and my skin feels incredibly soft and clean afterwards.
Lancome 'Galateis Douceur' Gentle Softening Cleanser - available from Debenhams, £23.50.