Thursday, 17 January 2019

LIFESTYLE | HOW TO STOP HOARDING

It's just after Christmas, chances are you've accumulated a lot more 'stuff' than you had before December 25th and somehow you've got to find room for said 'stuff'. As you probably know I live in a small 2 bedroomed house so my levels of 'stuff' have to be kept under control (I'll try not to say 'stuff' too many more times during this blog post) so since moving in I've had to try and put a lid on my hoarding ways and dramatically reduce the amount of unnecessary things in my house. Now I'm not going to go all Marie Kondo on you and start talking about things that 'spark joy' but I am going to give you a few tips and tricks of how you can stop hoarding.

This was the result of a bit of a purge in my house - I decided if I did a declutter I could finally treat myself to some new storage furniture

Set aside an hour or so for a sort out and question why you have still have 'stuff' in your house
I used to [still do] keep some things 'just in case' because I'm absolutely convinced that the minute I throw it away, that's when I'll need it but let's be honest if it's cheap enough to replace and you haven't used it for over a year, chances are you're not going to need it. I do keep a lot of sentimental things such as cards, old jewellery and a few other things and they're the only things that I absolutely would never throw out because as much as they don't have any use as such, they do mean something to me and they hold lots of happy memories for me.

Have a system for getting rid of clothes you never wear
Hoarding clothes is often a problem for some people, I don't tend to have this issue because I do have regular clear outs of things that I never wear anymore. To try and encourage you to do the same what I'd suggest is that you turn all your coat hangers the wrong way round (so you have to unhook them from the back) but when you put them back you do it the right way round. After a year if there are clothes that are still on a hanger facing the wrong way then you get rid - if you've not worn them during a cycle of all 4 seasons then let's face it - you're probably not going to wear them ever again.

Obviously there's not necessarily any need to just throw these out into the bin - you could always take them to your local charity shop, refuge or homeless support organisation (I genuinely get the nicest feeling when I do this - in fact, I've got a bag upstairs ready to go!)

Is space an issue but you can't bare to part with some of your beautiful furniture?
It happens, we have unexpected arrivals or circumstances which mean that we might have to repurpose a room in our house - currently my second bedroom has a desk and some other bits and bobs in so if I were ever to need an extra bed in there (not that I'm planning on it any time soon, may I add!) I would need to find a place for my beloved Ikea Malm desk. It would pain me to get rid of it but if I had to put a bed in there I'd just not have the space so I'd definitely have a look at outside storage solutions like henfieldstorage.co.uk so I could store it safely until I eventually found a home for it in a bigger house.

See if you can make a bit of extra dosh
There might be stuff lurking in the back of your cupboard that you can either pop on eBay or sell on Facebook and I know it might seem like a big job but once you've got your photos taken and a brief description written it's just a case of waiting to see if your trash is anyones treasure. I sold some of Kev's old clothes the other month and took a tidy sum of about £70 so it's well worth having a go if you've never tried it before!

Have you got any top tips for keeping your collection of 'stuff' to a minimum?

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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

BEAUTY | HOW TO KEEP YOUR BEAUTY REGIME GERM FREE

We tend to associate a beauty regime with using the best products for our skin and we often spend months, even years on finding exactly the right combination of products to suit ourselves. But what you might not realise is that by not making sure you're using products and tools safely, you might actually be exposing yourself to all sorts of nasty germs and bacteria that can cause some pretty nasty conditions. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind, aside from the next best skincare product...


Wash Your Makeup Brushes
I know it seems blindingly obvious but when’s the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? By “brushes”, we also mean any equipment or tools that you use to apply any type of makeup - foundation brushes, beauty blenders, eyeshadow brushes… the list goes on and on. These tools should be cleaned on a regular basis in order to prevent the build up of bacteria. Using the same brush for too long can be unhygienic and you can find that your skin worsens for it. There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to clean brushes effectively. You can also pick up cleaning solution and cleaning palettes relatively easily now too! Brushes and tools used daily with heavy products such as foundation brushes and concealer brushes ideally need to be washed once a week; eye brushes should be at least once every two weeks and other brushes such as blusher brushes should be washed once a month. To keep your brushes in the best condition always make sure you use a mild soap or a special brush cleanser.
Replace Makeup and Skincare Products Believe it or not, makeup and other beauty products (such as cleansers and moisturisers)
can go out of date. All of these products have a shelf life. It can be found in the illustration of a small pot on most products. Printed on the pot will generally be a number followed by “M”. This indicates the number of months you should use the product for. I know it might pain you to do so but you need to dispose of products once this time has passed. Clean Piercings Again, seems like an obvious one but this is something that you can pay for in the long run if you don’t get it right first time round. When you have any piercing, you will generally be given care instructions by your piercer. Make sure to read these and follow them. If you haven’t been given any advice for your specific piercing automatically, you should always ask. For most piercings, the general protocol is to clean and soak the piercing with a solution of boiled water and rock salt. You can use a Q tip to do this. You may also want to dab a little tea tree oil on the area once it has dried too. If you fail to do this regularly, your piercing may become susceptible to infection. Make sure to leave your piercing in for the recommended period of time before removing it and changing the jewellery it was pierced with for other jewellery. This will help the piercing to heal. Once you can change the jewellery, and if you do choose to change it, make sure to only ever use the jewellery designed for the size hole you have. Use rook jewellery for rook piercings, tongue bars for your tongue, and belly button bars for your belly button. Also only ever use brand new and sterilised jewellery. Is there any part of your beauty product upkeep that you always neglect, or do you have any other tips and tricks for staying germ free in your beauty regime?Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube
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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

TRAVEL | HOLIDAY HOMES IN THE UK

Caravan holidays always remind me of my childhood; every year my mum and dad would take me to one of our local caravan parks for a week by the seaside. They were always such welcoming, safe and convenient for any family wanting to enjoy the UK seaside without breaking the bank. They're perfect for families who want everything in one place because there's always plenty to do on site and caravans and holiday homes are comfier than every with pretty much everything you'd expect so it's home from home.

Unlike some holiday parks, Lyons Holiday Parks are open all year round so you can enjoy their parks in North Wales and Cumbria even through the winter months. You can of course rent a caravan/holiday home for the duration of your stay but if UK holidays are your thing then it's definitely worth considering the investment in buying a holiday home. Imagine being able to just get in the car and go to your own holiday home whichever weekend you choose - it would be the ultimate chill out destination! Not only would you be able to use it at your own leisure but you could then rent it out across the rest of the year to recoup some of the running costs. Holidaying in the UK is a huge industry (and why wouldn't it be when we've got such amazing seasides and other natural beauties around the country) so it's well worth tapping into if you're looking to invest somewhere.

Lyons Holiday Parks have provided a little infographic to summarise the benefits of buying a holiday home in the UK: 


Infographic Design By Lyons Holiday Parks
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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

HOME & LIFESTYLE | FIRST TIME BUYERS DEPOSIT SAVING TIPS

It's no secret that getting onto the property ladder isn't easy; there are so many barriers and even though there are government schemes to put property within reach (Help to Buy, Shared Equity etc.) they still require you to save a substantial amount of money for a deposit. You'll be expected to cough up at least 5% of the property value and this can seem really daunting and unachievable but it doesn't have to be. There are lots of things you can do now to put yourself in a better position when it comes to buying your first house.


Have an idea of your budget - decide what is realistic for you in terms of a house price, there are plenty of mortgage calculators online which will work out how much banks are likely to agree to lending you so you'll be able to get a rough figure as to the houses that are in reach. Don't forget that Help to Buy and Shared Equity schemes are also there to help so definitely look into those as part of the process. 

Keep an eye on your credit score - ultimately your credit score will be one of the main things that banks look at when deciding whether to offer you a mortgage so this needs to be as strong as possible. Don't forget that having no credit at all can be as bad as having too much credit; banks want to know whether you're capable of managing your finances and paying back what you owe and not having any credit previously means it's very hard for them to do that. Understanding your credit score is key to improving it so if it isn't where it needs to be make sure you find out why and take steps to rectify it. 

Declutter your life - selling the stuff you don't need can be a great way of giving yourself a tidy sum of cash; I've sold all sorts on eBay and local Facebook selling sites and it's important to remember that your trash really could be someone else's treasure; the beauty of Facebook is that there's no selling fees so anything larger or potentially worth more try selling it on there before you go to sites that'll charge you a commission. Shpock, Gumtree and Depop are other sites specifically for selling second hand things so go have a look at those too and see what sells well on each.

Do some online surveys - some online survey sites can be quite stingy with 'rewards' offered and often screen you out a couple of questions in but my personal favourites are YouGov and Prolific Academic - neither of these screen you out a couple of questions in because they only allow you to complete surveys that are relevant to you/them. You can cash out at £50 with YouGov and Prolific Academic allows you to cash out at as little as £20 without paying a fee and you accumulate money pretty quickly. This money doesn't look a lot initially but it soon adds up and to be honest a lot of the surveys are quite interesting to do so I'd highly recommend them for a bit of extra cash. 

Don't forget to let HMRC know of any additional income, Emma Drew's guide on this is fab for newbies.

Save before you spend - when it comes to physically saving money obviously only save what you can afford to but make sure you save at the beginning of the month rather than at the end. In other words put an amount into your savings on payday rather than waiting to see what's left over and just saving that. That way you're guaranteed to save an amount every month. 

Clear up your spends - basically see what you can do without. When I started saving I got rid of my Spotify subscription, cancelled my gym membership (when I could... be careful of contractual agreements that you may have signed) and stopped spending money on lunches at work. It's amazing how much all this adds up to and you might be surprised how many direct debits leave your account and you have no idea why you're still letting them take money from you! 

If you're looking for more saving tips and inspiration Pinterest is the place to be, as well as Emma Drew's blog - she has some amazing tips and tricks on how to save plenty of cash to do the things you want including buying a house!

*post written in collaboration with Credit Fix. 

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