Saving Money At Home || The Easy Way

Let’s be honest about it, running a home can be expensive. Especially, when you have a young family to think about. It’s no secret that a lot of families struggle with their finances at one time or another. From covering the cost of childcare to making sure there’s enough money left over for dance lessons, being a parent doesn’t come cheap.

One of the best ways you can ensure that you always have enough money for swimming lessons is by saving money at home on things like energy bills. It might seem impossible, but there are plenty of ways you can cut your spending. Want to know more? Then keep reading for all the best tips and tricks.

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Become a budget shopper

Did you know that one of the most expensive costs for families is food shopping? That’s right, on average families of four spend over £100 on food each week. That means most families are spending over £400 a month on food alone. That’s an insane amount of money to be spending.


The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that expensive. The truth is, you can save on your groceries by making a few small changes. These include being smart about where you shop - Aldi and Lidl are the best options if you’re on a budget, as well as by couponing when you shop. It’s also a good idea to leave the kids at home when you shop; else you’ll have them begging and clamouring for various items as you go around the store.


Find ways to use less energy


One of the most expensive bills for families tends to be energy. That’s why if you want to save money and make family life more affordable, you need to find ways to use less energy. Despite what you might have heard, reducing your energy usage doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of small, simple changes you can make to your home.


For instance, to reduce heat coming into your home, you could have your windows tinted. This would reduce how often you would need to put your air con on as the house would stay cool for longer. You can find out more about this from the SolarTex, Inc. Window Film website. Or, how about having your home re-insulated? A lot of companies offer this for free, so it’s something that’s worth finding out about. This means that your home would be more likely to stay at a perfect temperature, rather than get too hot or too cold.


Take advantage of deals and discounts


Last but not least, make sure to take advantage of all deals and discounts. Whether they’re for your food shopping or for discounted swimming lessons, take advantage of all deals and discounts. The more money you can save the better, as this means that each month, you’ll have a little more left over. This can be your buffer. This is important to have as it means if for example, your car was to break down, you’d be able to afford the cost of getting it repaired.


Hopefully, these ideas will help to make it easier for you to save money at home. Family life can be expensive and lots of families struggle, but there’s always ways to make things easier.

Life || When Life Get's Tough...

Life can be an up and down ride, don’t you agree? There can be times when everything seems to be going right. The routines of daily life just merge in sync. The washing get’s done, the house is tidy. You feel like you are winning at life. The there is the downhill struggles we can often face. Some people have more than other’s I agree. But we all face those tough times at some point in our lives. It can be anything. There might be a specific reason but for every bout of depression, anxiety or low mood there's not always one.

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It doesn’t matter how strong we think we are, every one of us can be hit with something hard to handle at some point. So I thought it would be a good idea to discuss with you what you should do if things aren’t going your way, and how you can overcome them. You are always stronger than you think.


Talk to your employer


If you head out to work each day, then your employer and colleagues are the people that see you most. We may not like them, or perhaps you get on great with them. But it's a fact you spend a good chunk of time in your office or workplace. So it would be an obvious next step to talk to your employee about what’s going on in your life. This could be affecting your work without you even realising. Or before it does it’s advisable to give them the heads up about what's going on in your life. They may be able to offer time off for appointments, or funerals. They may be able to help create a better working environment. Some employers have Health Assured's employee assistance solutions. Which could offer a range of services including counselling. You won’t know the additional support available unless you ask for help. So don’t be afraid to do that.


Consider your mindset


The way we think can be the first thing to affect us mentally. Our mindsets can have a massive effect on how we handle things. Depending on your situation, if it happens to be a particularly negative and distressing thing to go through, you are likely to feel down Even upset and emotional. All of which are very normal feelings to have. But the difference is not to let them overcome you. This is where more harm than good can be done. Look at how you are thinking and working things out in your mind. No matter how hard it may feel try and overcome them and accept the feeling for what they are. An emotional response at that moment in time.


Seek help from family and friends


Your family and friends are the constant that can keep you going. So make sure you let them help you as much as they can. They can be someone to offload to, and they will listen. They may help with childcare to give you a little breathing space. Sure they may even bring food round and offer to cook or clean in the home. Accept the help. Sometimes we just need a moment to shut off and recuperate our thoughts. Family and friends are the best people to surround yourself with during difficult times.


Take a hard look at your lifestyle


Depending on the situation you may find your lifestyle has a lot to do with it. If you health has been affected then how have you been living your life? Have you been burning the candle at both ends? Not getting enough sleep or taking care of your diet. Perhaps you have been drinking more alcohol than you should be to help you get through. Our lifestyles can have a big impact on how we live our lives. So look at what you are doing and how you are living. If things need to change, then try and implement them to feel better.


Try and develop a positive attitude


Finally, developing a positive attitude will always help you get through a difficult situation. It may seem bleak at the moment, but turning a negative thought into a positive one will help you move forward. It’s about being grateful what is good in your life, no matter how tough things get. There will always be something that you can feel pride and gratitude towards. It may be your children or your family. It might mean your partner or friends. Focus on those good things and see the difference your attitude can make.


I hope this helps you through any tough times that you may have.


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Home Design || Space-Saving Storage Tips


Whether you live by yourself or with a your growing family, over time you can accumulate a lot of things that take up valuable space. The thing is we probably only use a quarter of the items we have but can't bear to part with them. I remember when we packed up to move to our current property thinking I wouldn't even miss most of those boxes if they were to go missing from the removal truck. Once they were unpacked I remember thinking that I could never part with them *sigh* It's a no-win situation unless you take action early. If you fall into this category I recommend you visit  BBC Home for these innovative space saving tips

I've come up with some great space saving ideas that can also help to give your home a stylish makeover, so why not have a look and let me know what you think?

Dining Issues 

When you live in a small flat or house, every inch of space is precious, and contemporary designers have created some ingenious ways to save space without detracting from the beauty of your home. Fold away dining tables are a fantastic way to ensure you don't have to eat dinner on your lap each night, and also mean you don't have to allocate a huge amount of space to a specific dining area in your home. There are many different designs available for diminutive households, including wall mounted tables that can be flipped away when not in use, and extendible tables that can accommodate for larger groups when required.

Beds - Not Just For Sleeping

An Ottoman bed is a fantastic option for those with small bedrooms or those that have a lot of clothes and other items to store. This type of bed offers storage underneath the mattress area and can be easily flipped up to reveal extensive space inside. Bedding, towels and even shoes can be stored safely in these types of beds and if you don't have much money to spare, you can find an Ottoman bed here from Bedstar is sure to suit your budget.

Wall Storage 

Wall space is often a neglected area when it comes to storage, but floating shelves and cupboards are perfect for homes with limited floor-space. Floating shelves are also extremely stylish as their brackets are not exposed like ordinary shelving, but are housed inside the shelf and are hidden from view, this is fab if your looking to fill your wall space with running shelves. However if you're looking for storage with a decorative appeal then upgrading your current shelves with new brackets is an excellent way to do so on a budget - brackets are the in thing at the moment. Don't want to spend the money on new fixtures, why not upgrade them with some spray paint in metallic tones? 

Sofas Storage

When purchasing a new sofa you may not have considered it could also serve as a place to store everyday items, but there are several shops now selling couches with storage in the armrests and underneath the seats. You can say goodbye to random piles of magazines or heaps of shoes when you purchase a sofa with storage.

Coffee Tables

More than a place to place your coffee cup these days guys. A coffee table can provide the perfect storage solution for your living room. If you have a lot of magazines or coffee table books, buy a table with drawers or with hidden storage, so your items can be easily tidied away. I remember coveting this style of coffee table when my sons were babies, just so I could hide away their toys, new nappies and baby wipes. Coffee tables can be used also for seating, there are more designs now than ever before where the tops are fabric, padded or have a simply glass topping so you can in fact sit on them - this is especially great when visitors come round. 

Multi-Purpose Stairs

If you have the budget, consider turning your stairs into an amazing storage opportunity. Each stair can be made into an individual drawer and simply pushed back in when you have found what you are looking for. If this poses too much of a safety hazard for your home, perhaps consider using the space beneath the stairs to house drawers. 

Further Inspirations 

Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. Oh and Instagram. They are my bee-all-and-end-all. I no longer buy expensive magazines because I can literally find all of the inspiration on those sites. That's why I recommend them to everyone who's looking to do some DIY, change up a style or find a solution. We literally just saved a lot of money by using a Pinterest tip instead of getting a plumber in! 

This Pinterest board is a huge inspiration for useable but innovative space saving pieces: creative space-saving furniture. I can't get my head around some of these pieces and more so how the hell they're not seen commonly on the internet given the size of properties these days. 



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Grace Cole Boutique || One Year Later, How Did They Do?


One year ago I reviewed Grace Cole Boutique range. At the time I was thoroughly impressed with both products but you know and I know continual use of a product and the inception of new and more exciting ones can change how we view an older product. 

So, did Grace Cole perform any less or any better than I initially reported on? Read on to find out. 

In 2015 the brand added two new scents to their Boutique Special Edition range. This range offered larger sizes in Vanilla Blush and Peony scented products. The line's aims were to give the impression of opulence while softening and balancing the skin as equally well as any other luxury skincare brand. Both scents hit my radar and I initially purchased two products - White Nectarine & Pear Softening Hand & Nail Cream and also the Vanilla Blush & Peony Moisturising Body Lotion. There range also included: 

Hand Wash | Bath and Shower Gel | Body Butter | Relaxing Bath Soak | Hand and Nail Cream | Body Lotion

My products came in really large 500 ml sizes and only cost £6 each. Budget wise these were excellent especially given how much lotions and creams I go through in a year - at £6 I had high hopes I could swap out some of my more expensive body care creams and lotions therefore saving a ton of money. 

I also loved the pump top application. I can be lazy when it comes to certain things - lazy in the sense of having so much to do, I love when I can skip a little time on regular activities (such as exercising, lotion application, shopping and hair washing) so the top on this allowed me to quickly pump and apply. Simples! The scent was delicate - definitely suited to more of a thirty upwards age range but at the same time it wasn't so delicate that you couldn't smell it - did I wish they did a scent free range? Hells yes because I am not a huge fan of perfumed face lotions and creams. 

So did my views change over the year? 

2015:
  
'' When it comes to using the product I find it really enjoyable because it's fuss-free - just push the lid down and squeeze or push the pump. The creams absorb really well and leave me feeling comfortable and hydrated (and smelling lush) for hours without the addition of a greasy or overly balmy texture. I actually don't think I have any negatives about this - if they made an unscented version for my face then I'd snap it up straight away and if they made much smaller sizes I'd probably buy it more regularly. Oh, actually the only negative is I can't slip this in my handbag to take to work. I think I'd get a fair few looks if I did that........''

2016: 

I think my overall opinion is the same but what I came to realise is that as the seasons change, and hormones change this wasn't actually enough to hydrate me as my skin changed. In the summer months, this is perfect because it's light while still being moisturising. Every other month you may need something with more butter and substance to it. That being said it didn't cause any nasty rashes, sores or skin discomfort which many brands did later on in the year. The packaging and that tassel detail is also super cute. 

Overall I would still recommend the brand as a low-cost option for normal to combination skin types. I believe this scent range isn't available but the base recipe for their products is the same so the rest of their range should perform equally well. 

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