Friday, 14 September 2018

Saving Money Tips for Autumn


When I first started this blog, many years ago, I was very interested in finding out ways we could save money. It always seemed that we didn't have a lot to show for our joint income, and I wanted to be proactive about changing that. As time progressed, partly due to this blog, we found ourselves in a much better financial position, and although we are not by any means rich, we are certainly a lot more comfortably off than 5 or so years ago. I must admit I'm not quite so hot on money saving these days, since it does take a bit of research and time, but with a recent trip to Florida and some house renovations, it definitely wouldn't hurt to be a little more careful in the run up to Christmas. Here are my top tips - this is more for myself! 

1) Take advantage of 'hot deals' websites  - these are a great place to find discount codes and various other offers, I never buy anything without a code!
2) Look at your direct debits - is there anything going out you don't make use of, or need anymore? For example Amazon Prime or your Sky/Cable subscription? These can easily creep up if you don't keep an eye on them.
3) Sell anything you don't need! I always declutter in the run up to Christmas to make room for more plastic tat, I mean lovely presents, so why not make a few pounds in the process?
4) Shop around. I personally support local business where I can, even if it means paying a bit more. But if that's not possible, then definitely do a bit of research before purchasing - it definitely pays off.
5) If you need to make a bigger purchase, look for 0% payment deals (unless you are about to take out a new mortgage or something in which case you probably wouldn't want to take on extra credit!).
6) Certain things I always buy second hand - football boots and wellies are prime examples. They get trashed pretty much instantly anyway, so where's the harm?
7) Look at things like energy providers -  use compare websites to see if you can get cheaper deals.
8) Investigate current accounts that have cash back and/or other benefits - they can make a big difference.

What are your top saving money tips? 

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Fashionable Hi-Vis Workwear

Fashionable Hi-Vis Workwear
Hi-vis workwear is essential to many industries and occupations from the police to cleaner's and people from all walks of life might need to don some hi-vis workwear as part of their job. Hi-vis workwear is celebrated for many reasons, after all, it does a very important job, however, while that might be the case it can't really be denied that hi-vis workwear is not overly fashionable. In fact, some people could argue that fashion goes against what hi-vis workwear is even trying to achieve. It's meant to ensure you are easily visible after all, which is why you will often see hi-vis clothing in very bright and garish colours. But can you get hi-vis workwear that is also fashionable? Well yes you can, although it can't be denied it is a little harder to find in some cases. So let's look beyond the traditional pieces like the thick yellow jackets and hi-vis vests for something a bit more fashionable when it comes to hi vis workwear shall we?
Hi-Vis Polo Shirts If you're looking for something a little more professional and fashionable than a hi-vis jacket or vest but still need that all-important visibility for work then a hi-vis polo shirt is just what you need. The classic polo shirt design and shape has been recaptured and remade with high-quality hi-vis materials. Numerous different brands and manufacturers offer hi-vis polo shirts and they are available in a variety of colours including the classic hi-vis yellow and orange. They are also available in darker colours like blue that still have that all-important extra visibility needed from hi-vis clothing but without being so outlandish. A darker coloured hi-vis polo shirt would make a very smart piece of workwear and would also look very fashionable. Best of all, men and women can both make use of a hi-vis polo in their workplace wardrobes and they are available in both long and short sleeve designs. So, if you're looking for more fashionable hi-vis workwear I strongly recommend checking out the selection of hi-vis polo shirts available.
Two Tone Shirts The hi-vis fashion doesn't just stop with smart polo shirts another great way to make your hi-vis workwear more fashionable is to mix and match with two-tone shirts. Two-tone shirts come in a variety of styles including basic T-shirts and polos but offer a more unusual and eye-catching array of colours. Two-tone shirts have one colour on the lower half of the shirt and another at the top, it's a simple design and pattern but one that works very well. You see it used often enough in more casual clothes and it works brilliantly with hi-vis clothing as well. Mixing dark and bright colours like the classic hi-vis orange or yellow with darker blues might not sound fashionable but it creates a very stylish contrast that actually works very well. And that's just one example of the two-tone colour designs available. So, if you want something a little more unusual and unorthodox from your hi-vis workwear I suggest checking out some hi-vis two-tone shirts.
Hi-Vis Hats Another great suggestion for anyone looking to make their hi-vis work wardrobe a little more fashionable is to try hi-vis hats. A smart cap or beanie can create a more fashionable work look while also increasing your visibility even more! Since many people who wear hi-vis clothing as part of their work will be outdoors, a hat also gives you more protection for the cold and rain. Hi-vis hats come in many colours including the classic yellow and orange but also darker shades as well. The great things about hats are they lend themselves to hi-vis materials very well so to many people they will look just like normal, fashionable casual caps and hats. Hi-vis hats are another great unisex item both men and women can wear as well.
Other Ideas To Try When it comes to fashionable hi-vis workplace attire your options are a little limited although as you've already seen there are some pretty fashionable options available. So, you can wear hi-vis and still look fashionable and professional in the workplace. Some other great ideas to try are hi-vis jewellery, this isn't wildly available in shops but online shops like Etsy are great places to try. A smart hi-vis pendent or brooch can make great additions to workplace outfits. Going for darker colours like blues and blacks is also recommended because it offers something different from the more traditionally seen bright hi-vis colours. And if you know your way around a sewing machine you could also try customising some of your hi-vis outfits to make them a bit more fashionable! This is a featured post.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

What's Your Side Gig?

I'll be honest, one of the reasons I started blogging, aside from the fact that I love writing and wanted to document my family's life by oversharing, is because I wanted to earn some extra money on the "side". A few years into blogging, it lead to job opportunities and friendships that wouldn't have previously been possible. I have now had a total change of career, away from teaching, and specialise in marketing to the education technology sector. How things change eh (sort of)?

Anyway, what this blog post is about, is to give you ideas for ways that you too can earn money on the "side", call it your "side gig" if you will. And hopefully gain new skills, learn new things etc too!

- Think about what you're good, what your passions are - if it's something you really love you are more likely to stick at it.
- What can you make? Are you a budding crafter? Can you make hair clips, or broaches, or door signs for new babies? Anything you can make you can sell at local craft markets for a profit!
- Start a blog! If you get enough traffic you can earn money from google adverts, I don't bother as I simply don't get enough traffic and it's an extra hassle I can do without, but if you're savvy, there are definitely ways to make this happen.
- Tutoring, either online or in person is a good bet if you've a background in teaching, and can definitely only be done in the evening after work. Rates start from £20 an hour.
- Can you design, if you can then learn how to use photoshop, hone your skills and start designing! People always need logos, website headers, facebook cover photos and the like. And it's fun too!
- Freelance! Do what you do in your day job but on the side in the evening and weekends - be open with your employer about it of course, the last thing you want to do is get in trouble at work and ruin any potential opportunities there.
- Manage social media accounts - this isn't actually as easy as it seems, but there are ways to learn, and offering to do it for a friend's business for free is a great way to learn. There are lots of websites and blogs that can help you along the way, as long as friendly and helpful facebook groups.
- Or how about earning money with internet betting? Obviously set your limits and be careful.

Some ideas for you! What's your side gig and did it work out for you?

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Fashion Fun with Fashion World

I've had a bit of a personal makeover in the past five months and have shed a stone in weight - mostly done in an effort to clean my act up and just feel better generally. The old issue of heartburn has gradually been creeping up on me and it's always due to the same factors - bad diet and stress. Stress is something I am naturally at pains to avoid, so I've joined a local boot camp that I go to fanatically twice a week, as well as following Slimming World diet plans. I am naturally too tight to actually join Slimming World and pay. Also the fact that I am already a size 10 with a healthy BMI - seems a bit of an insult. But anyway, the diet and exercise are making me feel much better, and I've lost a bit of chunk in the process so all good! Anyway, where I'm getting to, is that with this weight loss I have naturally had to invest in some new clothes in my new size - and I jumped at the chance of reviewing some clothes kindly gifted to me by Fashion World - most of their clothes are for plus sizes, but I was able to find a good choice in a size 10, and I was very pleased with the result!

I chose this lovely Soft Tencel Dress (£35) and (forgive the little stain?!) it's just perfect for summer! Nice and loose in case you want a large BBQ, but can be belted in too for "skinny" days. Perfecto.

Soft Tencel Dress from Fashion World £35
Forgive my large and very hideous feet in the shot. It was difficult to get one without my tired face in it.

I was also gifted a swimming costume from Fashion World's swimwear collection which is just PERFECT for mums with a tum. I've been foolish enough recently to opt for swim wear one size too big so it doesn't "cut" into the skin. What I didn't consider is that swimwear needs to be tight for a reason...otherwise it can slip off... I won't include an image of me wearing the swimsuit as it may scare people. But suffice to say I love it.

Fashion World Tummy Tuck Swimsuit £32

I was also gifted a Crinkle Bardot Playsuit. I'm still a bit undecided about playsuits as they can be a pain to get off in public toilets when you've a toddler rolling round the floor in other people's discarded toilet roll. But I think this one will be perfect for beachwear and holidays.

Crinkle Bardot Playsuit £29

Now my shoulders are a bit more sinewy and less round and cuddly I am very much looking forward to baring them when and if the weather ever picks up. Or I could wear this over a polo neck with some tights - what do you think?

All in all I was over the moon with my gifts and intend to wear them during my upcoming holiday.

These items were gifted to me to enable me to complete this review, but all thoughts are my own.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Affordable Decorating Ideas


When you are working with a limited budget, keeping your home looking nice can be challenging. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to redecorate without having to spend a fortune. Here are some of my favorite low-cost home d├ęcor ideas.

Canvas Prints

Firms like hellocanvas.co.uk make it easy to turn your photos into unique works of art to hang on your walls. There is a range of style options, so it is really easy to create the perfect picture for your living room without having to spend a fortune.

Save your spare paint

When you repaint a room, keep any paint that you have leftover. There are lots of ways you can use it up. 

To start with, it is handy for touching up knocks, dings and painting out scuff marks. Sometimes it can be used so that you can put off re-decorating for a few more months. Or, you can use it to create an interesting mural in another room. You do not necessarily have to be very artistic to be able to do this. Stenciling is an approach that works well even for people who cannot draw or paint free-hand. You can download some great free ones here, all you need to do is to print them out and follow the instructions.
Join a local recycling co-operative
If the paint you have leftover is white, you can easily use a specialist dye to turn it the color you want. In some areas, recycling centers collect leftover paint and give it away for free. 

These re-cycling co-operatives can be an excellent source of all kinds of free decorating materials. Many have wood, tiles, grout, cement and other items available. All of which you can potentially put to use. Often, they have carpet cut-offs that can be used as flooring for a small space like a hallway. It is even possible to pick up leftover rolls of wallpaper. You are unlikely to pick up enough to redecorate a whole room, but you can often find enough to decorate a single wall to add a little more interest to a room.

Use second-hand furniture

Second-hand furniture is really easy to find. With a bit of time and care, it is surprisingly easy to give them a makeover and turn them into something that looks fresh and modern. It is not hard to change the look of all kinds of items simply by removing or adding trim. You can easily recover items like dining chairs and rub them down, so they can be re-stained or re-painted.

Use your craft skills

If you enjoy making things learning a few crafts is an excellent idea. It is fun to do and once you get good you can easily make decorative items for your home and those of your friends. Potentially, you can make wall-hangings, ornaments, and soft-furnishing items.

Buy second hand equipment

When you need a tool or piece of equipment to carry out a decorating task see if you can borrow it or buy something second-hand. You will save a surprising amount of money by doing this. 


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Boden Bargains and Happy with Hush!

I have discovered something about Boden recently which I am ashamed to say I didn't already know. If you look in their girls range, and select ages 15/16 you can get clothes that are approximately a size 10! Alright some of their clothing is blatantly aimed at children even though it comes in age 16 (which is weird) but I ventured a look in the shoe/boots category today in the sale, and was pretty happy to see a pair of leather brown chelsea boots for £18 in my mammoth size!

They've sold out now, but I did spot this cute pair of leather boots for £28 which I thought was a good buy, especially as they are leather.

Fun Leather Boots
They had quite a few other nice bits as well definitely worth a look in the girls shoes clearance category.

I've been after some comfortable yet semi stylish jeans for ages - but alas everything smart looking is skinny, and everything boyfriend cut has holes in it. So I happened upon these girlfriend jeans at Boden for £26 and really like the look of them. The reviews are mixed, but I have high hopes.

Cavendish Girlfriend Jeans

Onto Hush! I'm fairly new to this brand, but ever since the opening of a John Lewis in Leeds I've been able to see Hush clothes in the flesh so to speak, and I love the feel of their high quality jersey. I've been wearing their Harem trousers for ages, and I must say they are starting to bobble slightly, but then they do get washed rather a lot.  Anyway I was in Leeds the other day and saw the Ivy dress on the sale rack, they only had the medium in stock which looked huge, but I loved the feel of the dress and again it gets good reviews on the website. I've been looking for something nice to wear over some pleather leggings from Mint Velvet and I think this fits the bill perfectly! I'm not a huge fan of the green colour but the burgundy colour is much nicer - on me anyway. They don't have any smalls left at Hush but they do on the John Lewis website, definitely worth a look.

Image result for hush ivy dress

Onto the subject of pleather, these are my current fav, and at £9 a bit of a bargain too from Mint Velvet.



And finally, not so much a bargain as a WANT, but not sure I can justify the price just yet. I already have these Kurt Geiger boots in the tan and I just LIVE in them. They have become a little worn of late, probably because I need to look after them better, and I noticed there was also a black pair available. In truth I still think the tan pair are nicer but black is good right? Reduced from £169 to £129.

Image result for kurt geiger slow boots

Image result for kurt geiger slow boots



Anyway, that's all for now. What have you bought recently?


Monday, 15 January 2018

Changes and New Fashions!

Hello readers, I'm back!

I must admit posting has been rather sporadic of late, and I've had some pretty major changes in my life in the past few months that will hopefully give me more blogging time - here's hoping! After 9 years of being a working mum, my husband and I decided it was time to focus on the here and now a bit more, at least for the short term, so I'm taking a "sabbatical" from working to concentrate on family life a bit more and gain some head space. I actually have a lot more respect for stay at home mums now - it certainly isn't the easy option. But it does remove the stresses of deadlines, line managers and having to be in a certain place at a certain time, and all the childcare implications that goes along with that.  I was actually talking to a mum at school the other day about my decision and she said, "you know, I'm relieved. I've just done the same thing and I felt so guilty about it, and embarrassed. But you're a proper professional and if you've done it, it gives me the green light to feel ok about it too." This made me sort of sad, that as women and mothers we have to explain and justify our decisions to others. There's a great saying I saw on the internet recently, that we work hard to buy stuff we don't need, to impress people we don't like. In my mind, any true friend of mine would not judge me for deciding to spend more time with my children over making money - though in the past this was due to necessity rather than choice - and my heart goes out to those families who would love to have one parent "stay at home" but can't afford to go down that road. Equally I respect those who choose to work because it's their passion, or staying at home just isn't for them. Horses for courses!

Anyway! Enough about that, and onto fashion!

One of the downsides of course about no longer having a paying job, is that there is less money coming in, yet I seem to spend more! Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to David Nieper, who have some lovely pieces - albeit possibly aimed at the older age group. The David Nieper Tunics have particularly caught my eye - here's my top picks!

4650 - Stretch Jersey Tunic

This stretch jersey tunic is smart and perfect for office or home - dressed up or down. I'm a huge fan of jersey in general as it wears and washes well, and is so comfortable whilst being super smart.



I saw this and immediately thought - teacher top! Smart, eye catching and easy to move around in. I also love the bluey green colouring - lovely!



I love this as a top to wear with black smart trousers and nice accessories - I see this as more of a going out top but perfectly acceptable for work too.

David Nieper also have some very cosy cashmere and lambswool knits which look excellent quality. And I love their loungewear too - perfect for new mums!

Another location for great fashion goods is Top Tier Style!

New post coming soon!

This is a featured post.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Milestones in Teething Relief: Baltic Amber


We love the joy of seeing our children grow through milestone after milestone. Finding their own fingers. Smiling. Giggling. Rolling over. Crawling. Every one of them takes hard work to achieve, but none is more difficult on both parent and child than cutting new teeth through tender gums. Knowing that the pain in their little mouth is simply part of this important developmental step doesn’t diminish our desire to soothe it. 

Most of us were probably handed teething rings and frozen washcloths when we were going through the trauma of cutting teeth. Possibly our parents gave us drops of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to calm the pain and inflammation.  Like every generation of new parents, ours were making the best use of the best tools available to them to provide the best experiences they could for their children.

Time, however, has revealed some down-sides to things we once believed to be best practices. Teething toys may cause small cuts in the gums, creating an infection risk. Frozen items are too cold to be safe for the tender skin around the mouth. Medicines, while effective in providing pain relief, may have side-effects on other body systems.

Today’s parents have the benefit of building on the knowledge of generations past, keeping what is good, discarding what is not, and finding solutions that work best with the understanding we have gained. Rather than offering frozen washcloths, pediatricians now recommend soft washcloths, wetted with water, and simply chilled in the refrigerator as an alternative, safe teething chew-toy. It is cool enough to offer relief, but not so cold that it will cause skin damage. The soft material also poses no risk of cutting the gums.

But what about a better alternative to pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications? These were the only tools that provide long-term relief from teething symptoms, allowing parents to take relatively happy children about their daily routine without carrying about dripping cloths in ice-packed coolers.

Baltic Amber is quickly stepping up to fill this role of portable, long-term relief. In studying safe, natural means of reducing pain and inflammation, Baltic amber quickly rose to the forefront as a time-tested option. Used for centuries – from Old World Europe in hot baths to ease arthritis pain to modern day medical preparations to treat muscle spasms – this fossilized tree resin has proven to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In all of those years of usage, Baltic amber has also proven to be free of systemic side-effects.

As Baltic amber is warmed (by being worn against the teething baby’s skin as a necklace), it releases succinic acid. This acid is absorbed through the skin and delivered to painful, inflamed gums through the bloodstream, where it gives lasting relief. Parents who use these teething necklaces report less crying, less chewing for pain relief, less drooling, less gum inflammation, and better sleep patterns. All of this is achieved by simply wearing a properly-fitted necklace of natural tree resin underneath baby’s clothing! You can find a genuine Baltic amber necklace at http://BalticWonder.com/.


Teething may be one of the most difficult milestones in a child’s development, but it doesn’t have to be utterly miserable. This generation of parents has the benefit of better knowledge and products made with greater understanding. It’s a great time to be a teething toddler! 



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