Simple Ways To Slash All Your Bills

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We all have bills to pay, but few of us take measures to lower these bill payments. Here are just a few ways that we all can be paying less each month.  

Consider switching providers

Never stay loyal to one provider. Changing things up every few years can save you a lot of money. There are plenty of comparison sites out there such as http://selectra.co.uk/ which can help you to find the best deal out there on energy bills. In other instances, simply threatening to leave could get you a better deal from your current provider. This is especially the case with mobile phone contract providers and TV/internet providers that will stop at anything to claim you back as a customer.

Up your insurance deductibles/excess

Insurance can be huge cost for many of us. Whilst there are plenty of ways to lower your premiums through installing security features, one of the simplest ways is to raise one’s deductibles or excess. This is the amount of money that you’re willing to pay towards any claim. Obviously, you need to be able to make sure that you can pay this amount in the event of a claim. However, given few of us need to regularly make a claim (compulsory car insurance being the biggest culprit), it can be a great way of saving money.

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Go green

Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle can also vastly reduce the cost of your bills. For example, to stop you reaching for the gas thermostat as often, installing insulation such as double glazing and loft insulation can help to trap the heat in your home. A greywater recycling system meanwhile can recycle waste water from your shower and kitchen sink to be used for processes such as toilet flushing and gardening. Solar panels meanwhile are a way of slicing your electricity bills, allowing you to power your home using the energy of the sun. All of this costs money to install, but you’ll make you’re guaranteed to make your money back in a few years. Even if you do choose to move property, such eco-friendly features are certain to add value to your home. Besides, there are plenty of grants out there that could be applicable to you – this site http://www.ecofinancing.co.uk/new-build-grants-and-funds.html offers some information on such grants.

Check for billing errors

Utility suppliers, insurance providers and phone companies will all make billing errors on occasion. In fact, there are figures to suggest that billing errors are far more common than we realise. Reading all your bills and not simply paying them blindly can help you to spot such errors. When it comes to energy, you may even be able to measure your own rates with an energy meter. Smart meters are able to relay information directly back to your energy provider so that there’s no chance of billing mistakes being made.



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Quick Tricks For A Bigger Body


If you're the kind of man that's always on the go, but need a few tricks to maintain the body you've worked so hard for, or sculpting the one you want - here are a few of the easiest ways to get big while on the move.  

Resistance Band

Everyone should own a resistance band. Not only are they practical, but you can use them in so many different ways to increase the intensity of the exercise you are doing at the time. If you want to improve your strength in certain areas but not others, then just use this on the part you want. It can challenge any muscle in your body by creating a constant form of tension, meaning in engages and works the muscle the whole time until you finish your reps.
Another great thing about this is that you can use it wherever you like, whenever you like. Even if you're on a lunch break at work, you can pull it out of your bag and have a quick five-minute arm session before work calls again.

Pull Ups

It's very easy to focus on the arms when lifting because there are plenty of exercises and it's satisfying to watch as your muscles engage when doing your reps. But don't let this make you overlook other areas, such as your back. If you keep building up your arms but haven't got the back, you will end up looking unproportioned and odd, plus you won't have the right support as your arms get bigger. So make sure you work all the muscles that you have in your back too. Pull ups can be a great exercise for this, and there are many different varieties you can do, and it doesn't take up any room. On sites like fitnessmusthaves.com, you can find pull up bars that easily fit to your ceiling or doorway, so you easy access whenever you want to work up a sweat.

Swiss Ball

If you want to get those rockin’ hard abs, then get yourself a swiss ball. These are often associated as a woman's exercise tool, but that is not the case at all. These work wonders for doing crunches on by challenging your core muscles, all while having to balance and stay coordinated at the same time. It can be very tricky at first so requires persistence, but the results are so worth it. You can even do chest presses and pullovers once you get used to having to balance. You can find more plenty more exercises on www.mensfitness.com.
You don't need any other equipment to intensify the workout because you will already be getting everything you need. Your abs will be crying the day after, but you'll have a killer six-pack in no time at all.

So who said you need huge weights and machinery in order to get the body of your dreams? All these workouts can be done from the comfort of your own home whenever you fancy a quick session. Plus, they don't cost much either! So get your body ready to show off this summer - you have no more excuses not to!
 

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Skincare Woes | How to Beat Rosacea


I've written many times about my struggles with skin problems which for some reason worsened as I hit thirty. Not as thirty-three-year-old, my skin is starting to balance itself however, it doesn't stop me worrying that those past problems could return.

I started my menstrual cycle very young at age nine. This meant that my skin was also temperamental from a young age. While my friends were all fresh faced I was a blotchy, bumpy and bright red young lady. It was always commented on that my cheeks were red, the slightest difference in heat or coldness made my cheeks burn bright red which in turn made me embarrassed which, as you guessed it - made them even redder. 

Growing up I was very insecure about everything, the redness of my cheeks only made me quieter than my friends and even the slightest bit of attention such as the teacher calling out my name in class, or as I grew older, my work colleagues drawing attention to me for both good or bad reasons resulted in the big bright red flush that I was known for. I hated it. There seemed to be nothing I could do and the only positive that I could see from this was I never had to purchase blusher. 

As I grew in confidence and visited the doctor about my issues I was given a range of skin treatments to try out. Everything from diets to try, topical creams and gels to tablets and capsules. Some worked and some didn't. It was pretty much hit-or-miss but having spoken to others that suffered from acne and rosacea there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel as many of them were in remission from these conditions. It was simply finding what worked for me that would be the resolve to my skincare issues and let me be clear, it was tough going.

So what is rosacea? 

Rosacea is similar to adult acne but it doesn't have exactly the same symptoms. Unlike acne rosacea causes redness of the face (or the cheeks for many people) which is brought about by a flushing sensation that can at times burn. Each time it flushes the burn or intensity can vary. 

Other symptoms of rosacea can include tiny little red pimples across the central part of your face, some sufferers have mistaken this for the lupus butterfly rash. For some though they may never have pimples but may find fine red lines (telangiectasias) on the face, especially on the cheeks and around the nose. You can get these treated with laser's at beauty salons if they are causing you any upset. 

Unlike acne rosacea is incurable but, it can be controlled and managed so it goes into remission. Changes in lifestyle, diet, stress or temperatures can cause flare ups but I found that changes in hormones were what worsened mine. Of course, your lifestyle, stress, and diet can affect your hormones causing an imbalance which leads to a flare up. It's a vicious circle. 

Again when it came to treatments for me personally, it was a change in my diet (I went through allergy testing to find out my problematic foods), meditation to reduce my stress, antibiotics which helped reduce nasty bacterias and calm the immune system - more so it was erythromycin that really helped as it's a skin based antibiotic,  and treatment gels that helped me. You can check out more about these treatments such as the Mirvaso Gel online .

I would definitely advise anyone who thinks they have rosacea or who has been diagnosed with rosacea to re-assess their own lifestyle. Look at what could be causing your condition to flare by writing a diary, use apps such as Fitness Pal to log foods and drinks as well as symptoms and find a pattern. Nightshade foods can cause inflammation so take a look into those, find ways to reduce your own stress by either reducing what you do, ask for help, go to counselling if need be or find some calm in an exercise class or even yoga in your own home. 

If you're still struggling with rosacea or acne, then definitely go to see your dermatologist or skin care professional. Don't be scared to speak up about your worries with your skin as keeping it hidden will only make it worse. 

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Love To Socialise? Transform Your Garden Into The Perfect Space For Parties!

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If you love to socialise, then the chances are that in the warmer months there’s nothing that you enjoy more than hosting get togethers with all of your closest friends and family. Whether you enjoy holding full-blown parties or more casual BBQs, it doesn’t matter - either way; you need an outdoor space that’s made for socialising.
When it comes to designing a garden that’s ideal for hosting get togethers at, getting it right isn’t always easy. The fact is that like with changing up any area of your home; there’s a lot to think about what it comes to transforming your outdoor space into the perfect location for entertaining, isn't there?
Need some design inspiration? Read on for all the best tips for transforming your garden into the perfect space for parties.
Get rid of the grass
If you’re going to host parties at your home, your best bet is to say goodbye to your grass. Consider swapping it with a patio from Simply Paving or changing it up for decking, depending on what your preference is. By swapping your grass for a patio or deck, you can make your garden more of a useable space, because you won’t need to worry about furniture or shoes sinking into the ground if it's been wet. The additional benefit of choosing to swap your grass for a hard surface, or at least some of your grass, is that it will make your garden easier to maintain and will make you more likely to use it whatever the weather.
Take the indoors outside
The British weather is never guaranteed to be warm and sunny, so when it comes to making your garden a space that’s suited to socialising, what you want to do is bring the indoors outside. What this means is creating a covered area in your garden, so that it’s useable even when the weather isn’t as nice as you would like it to be. For this, how about investing in a canopy for your garden? Another, more affordable option could be to invest in a gazebo that you can put up and take down as and when you need it. (More hassle but better if you are on a budget.) As part of bringing the indoors out, what you want to do is ensure that your outdoor area has plenty of comfortable seating and is smart and stylish. Don’t forget that outdoor areas need pretty accessories as well as furniture - think outdoor cushions, pretty plant pots, throws, and cute crockery and glasses.
Build an outdoor kitchen
Plan on hosting lots of food-related parties and get togethers? Then why not build an outdoor kitchen? By having an outdoor kitchen built, ideally with a bar attached to it, you can make it easier and less stressful cooking for lots of people, as you’ve got everything that you need outside. You can even have a bar built so that people can help themselves to drinks while you focus on the food. Plus by having a kitchen outside you don’t have to worry about seeming rude and leaving your guests while you go inside and prepare the food.
Light it up
A lot of parties and BBQs go on into the night, so if you want to make the most of your garden as a space for socialising in, it makes sense to invest in outdoor lighting. From solar-powered fairy lights to spotlights, there are plenty of options to choose from. As well as lighting, don’t forget to consider investing in an outdoor heater or a fire pit, to help keep everyone nice and warm once the sun goes in.
Are you a big socialiser who loves throwing parties at home? Then take note of the tips above and transform your garden into the ideal space for entertaining.

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How to Rock Modest Fashion this Summer



Modest fashion is gaining momentum in 2017. Driven by social media and other nontraditional channels, the art of covering up is gaining tract. So what is modest fashion? Interpretations and definitions differ, but generally speaking, it refers to looking pretty stylish and on Vogue, while remaining relatively covered. For many, modest fashion is a personal choice that simply means wearing longer hemlines or higher collars, for example. These previously uncool wardrobe styles are now considered chic. What goes around, comes around after all.

In February, London hosted its first-ever Modest Fashion Week, which featured more than 40 labels showcasing styles that ranged from hijabs to maxi dresses. While modest fashion has often been associated with religion, it is gaining more attention among nonreligious consumers as well.

Summer means a whole range of events to attend, places to be and people to see, so here are our top tips for following this year’s trend.



Choose the right fabrics for the season

You will feel great if you stick to wearing breathable fabrics in the summertime. Try opting for fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Experts suggest linen, chiffon, and cotton as the fabrics that should be most worn in hot weather. Thick materials like rayon, polyester, and wool block air, causing you to sweat.

Looser clothing is cooler

Try choosing lightweight clothing. It’s amazing that apparel out there today is looser, longer, and more modest than it has been in years. Not only does this clothing allow you to breathe, they look great, feel comfortable and are quite trendy, too.

Keep your hair in check

Having long hair can also get pretty hot, especially when the temperature hits the 100’s, and keeping hair up for too long can give you a headache if it’s too tight. Invest in a pair of Goody Spin Pins, as they allow you to put your hair back and out the way of your neck, without putting any pressure on your head.

Think about skin products

A lot of the time we think about what clothes we wear when it comes to keeping ourselves cool. However, your moisturizer can affect your body temperature as well. Heavy body cream or body oil will feel as though you have added an extra, thick layer to your skin which will make you sweat and uncomfortable. Not what you need when rocking a maxi dress! Find a lightweight, breathable lotion to moisturize during the hot months.

Go easy on the layers


Go easy on the layers. If you love your scarves, jackets, and sweaters, you’re going to have to part with them during the summer months -  those hot temperatures are ruthless, so it’s time to keep it simple. Add color and texture with your shoes, jewelry and hair accessories and if you’re questioning whether to add that last piece of clothing you know will perfect your outfit, don’t. Nowadays there are so many modest shops, and summer months are a good time to invest in pieces/outfits that don’t require added clothing for modesty.

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Things To Do After Hearing The Question And Shouting "Yes!"

It’s one of the most overwhelmingly happy times any boy and girl can ever experience. He got down on one knee, shaking with nerves as he asked you - the girl of his dreams - to spend the rest of your life with him and you said, “YES!” Eeeeeek. It’s so exciting.
But before you pull out your phone and start Instagramming your ring and watching as the news spreads so fast you wake up the next morning with the world’s press treating this news like the next Kate Middleton wedding, there are some things you need to do first. Yes! The wedding planning can be put on pause for a second while you enjoy these special moments:

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Celebrate As A Couple

We know you’ll be desperate to tell your friends and family the news, but before you do take your hubby to be by the hand and run to the nearest and poshest bar, get a bottle of Champagne and celebrate as just the two of you. This will be one of the last moments you get to savor before everyone else starts becoming hysterical around you. 

Okay, Share The News

You are going to be giddy with love and intoxicated with excitement, but before you tell everyone the news with one gorgeously edited photo of you two holding hands and your matching Tacori engagement rings glistening like summer waves, phone your parents first. If you can do it in person then do, other wise get on Facetime and share your giddiness. Once you’ve done this, then tell your other family members and friends and then get straight to Instagram. Woohoo.

Party Like It’s 1999

You’re going to be eager to start wedding planning. Then is absolutely no doubt about that. But before you get completely immersed in the infinite options and endless possibilities, throw yourselves an engagement party. You’ve just got engaged, which means it’s time to start planning an engagement party. Come on, you’ve made the first move of cementing your eternal love and that deserves a go knees up where the glasses are raised in your honor. 

Get Insured

Your gorgeous man has just saved up three months salary and trawled jeweler after jeweler, antique shop after antique shop, desperately trying to find you the ring of your dreams; the least you can do is insure it. We’ve all heard stories of rings tumbling down the drain or stones needing to be replaced; that is what insurance will cover you for. Just remember, the more you can protect yourself from the better. 

What Date?

There are going to be a ton of questions flying your way as news breaks out and bursts into people’s lives, and one of the most prominent questions will be, “when is the wedding?” As such, it is a good idea for you and your fiancee to discuss when you would both like to get married. It could be an exact date you have in mind, it could be that you just know the month or season. Just so long as you have a rough idea, all will be amazing.  

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Maximise Natural Light & Improve S.A.D


Living in a dark home in the UK is a little depressing and can contribute to SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I always see images of gorgeous homes on Pinterest or Instagram and get slightly envious as I would love nothing more than a home that was bright, airy and flooded with natural light. Naturally, rooms that have lots of natural daylight do lead to happier moods and homes that lack natural light, are dark of flooded with artificial light can lead to SAD (seasonal depression).
So, what can you do to improve the light that enters your home and ultimately improve your emotional health? Here are my top three tips:

1. Make the most of the windows that you have.

It is important that you let in every bit of sunlight. Ill-fitting or poorly made curtains will not do that. They will end up blocking the sunlight during the day because you cannot open them up fully. Then, in the cold evenings, they will not help to insulate the room and will let your heating escape. Investing in curtains that are both perfect and ready made will solve this problem. You can follow the guidance on how to measure your windows so that the curtains will fit perfectly. You can also use the guidance on how to hang them correctly one they are delivered. This shows them off to maximum effect and maximises their functionality.

2. Clean windows.
Another tip is to keep the windows clean. This may seem obvious but many people forget to tackle the grime on their windows and sills. The best way to clean them quickly with a dilute solution of vinegar and water which is an old-fashioned but highly effective method.
Start by removing most of the dirt with plain hot water. Then wipe over with the vinegar solution using a soft cloth. Finally, crumple up some newspapers and wipe it over the windows to remove smears and finger marks.

3. Let the light bounce around.
Once the light has entered the room, you want it to stay there - let it bounce around! Paint the room with reflective paint in light Pantone's. Choose fabrics and furnishings also in bright and uplifting tones.
Put up as many mirrors as you can. If you place mirrors opposite each other, the light will bounce back and illuminate the whole room and arrange furniture to make the most of natural light.
Do not pace the TV in front of the window as it will just block light from reaching the rest of the room. If you like to read or write, put your reading desk or chair next to a window so that you don’t have to put the light on to work.
With just a few small changes, the light can flood into your home and you can make the most of it. Also including a SAD lamp to really increase the amount of good light you get especially, in the winter or evening is something to consider. I cannot fault my lamp and, it's an excellent bit of kit for treating SAD as well as taking photo's when its dark and dreich outside (which is more often than not here in Scotland).
What other tips do you have for tackling light issues within the home? 

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Drinks | Diet cider, is it over hyped?





Summer is just around the corner and that means one thing - Warm weather! There is nothing better than a cold drink during the warmer months, and kicking back and satisfying that thirst seems like a necessity.  I enjoy a ice cold beer as much as anyone else, but that seems a tad generic, don't you think?

My most recent drink of choice is cider, more specifically from the brand Kopparberg. Before I had tried the drinks in their range I,  rather naively, presumed cider came in one flavor: apple. Other brands I have tried are often very dry and uninspiring, so it was a nice surprise to taste the sweet, refreshing notes that makes Kopparberg so popular.

The flavours in the range and size options are: 

330ml glass bottle | Pear, Mixed fruit, Strawberry & Lime, Raspberry,
500ml glass bottle | Pear, Mixed fruit, Strawberry & Lime, Elderflower & Lime, Raspberry, Blueberry and lime, Naked Apple, Summer fruits (Light), Spiced Apple (Limited)
250ml slim can |  Summer fruits (Light), Mixed fruits, Strawberry & Lime, Raspberry (Light)
330ml can | Pear, Mixed fruit, Strawberry & Lime and Raspberry.
440ml can | Pear

Elyse enjoys all of the flavours, however I'm not that keen on the Elderflower & Lime one but the fact that the raspberry one is so good makes up for it.

For those of you who are worried about your calorie intake, then do not fret as Kopparberg have a "Light" variety of their range. I've found that a lot of Light/Reduced calorie variants of some products are generally crap, but for some reason this doesn't ring true for Kopparberg's. 

At the time of writing this I'm drinking one of their new additions; Kopparberg Raspberry Light Cider, which as described on the 250ml tin (RRP £1.60), is a "Swedish apple cider with a taste of raspberry". While it's not as good as the raspberry standard, it definitely holds its own with it's refreshing and almost juice like taste, and at 85 calories per tin (4% alcoholic volume) it is a guilt free way to enjoy the great flavours of this brand. 


I'm not really one for counting calories, so I went into this taste test with more bias towards the non-diet versions, however I really enjoyed the diet one as the only real difference between the two variants is that the diet one is less fizzy and less sweet. 

Am I going to be replacing the non-diet with the diets ones? Probably not, but I will be waiting for the weekend so that I can pick up (or attempt to) one of the recently revived 5ltr full calorie kegs that they have on offer, wish me luck! 



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