Thursday, 5 March 2020

To rent or to buy a property?




To rent or to buy a property?

Property prices are constantly on the rise, and it's very difficult for young people to get their foot on the property ladder. My daughter recently graduated and secured a really good job. However, the drawback was that that the job was in another city and it would be impossible for her to commute from home. This meant that she would have to move to the new city.

We had to think about all the options and weigh up the pros and cons of buying a property or renting. If we choose to buy, we will have to help her out as parents for the deposit. Properties in the North of England are a lot cheaper than London and if you can put a deposit together it would make sense to buy but this is a long-term investment and needed some serious thought. However, it's her first job and to dive in and buy a place in an unknown place was something we were concerned about and decided to start off by opting for the renting option. Not having done this before it was difficulty to know where to start. Our journey for securing a rental property began, there were many things that we needed to research.

Checking out the location.

We went to the location where her job is and checked out the area. Some of the things to look for are the prices of the rental properties in the surrounding area. Other things we had to consider were the availability of the local transport and the safety of the area.

Booking the viewings and securing the flat.

The next task was to register with local estate agents and booking some appointments for rental property viewings. We tried to fit in several appointments throughout the day. To keep costs to a minimum, our first choice was to go for a one bedroom unfurnished flat. After several viewing we finally decided on a flat within 20 minutes commute to her work and with fairly easy access to the city too. The property was unfurnished; however, it did come with a fitted kitchen with a washing machine and dryer. The property was fully carpeted and had window blinds. We negotiated with the estate agent a rental and also checked the property has CIA landlord insurance or equivalent so that any damage to the property is covered by the landlord. This is important as you don't want to be faced with a big repair bill if something happens to the property whilst you are renting from no fault of your own.


Checks to do before signing the contracts.

It is highly recommended that you check out the inventory, list any faults and damage and take photographs for reference. Once all the checks were complete and we were happy that the property was right, we made sure we read all the small print in the contract before signing it.  We also made an agreement with the estate agent that the landlord they will put everything right and the property will be in good order before the moving in date. A months deposit was required, so we made sure that we had adequate funds organised.

Basic essentials to buy for the move.

Once we had signed the contract, we made a list of basic essentials that were needed like a bed, desk, small table and chairs and some sort of storage for clothes. Charity shops and gum tree are a great place to source cheap furniture. We opted for Ikea that do an inexpensive basic range. We kept things to a minimum to start off with as you can make the place your own once you settle in.

Before the move we also searched and sorted out house hold and contents insurance, registered for amenities, council tax and TV licence. Once all the main and important things were sorted, the next task was to shop for bedding, kitchen essentials and sort out the WIFI.  We did not need to book removals, but you can get a man with a van and many removal companies offer small moves. You can see my post about packing and moving and basic kitchen essentials  for the kitchen and flat to see how we organised our move.

It's a mammoth task relocating but if you do things in a methodical way it should not be too hard. We can't say that the move was easy, but it did go smoothly as we had planned as we were well prepared for the move. Have you relocated and are there any tips you can suggest? Please share them in the comments below.




** Post in collaboration with CIA Landlord Insurance

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

10 Things to do to De-stress Yourself.


Image courtesy of Pixabay

Life these days has become a daily grind; there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Research shows that an average working day for most people which includes a commute is 10-12 hours. This is in addition to having to do housework, childcare, shopping and cooking the evening meal, leaving very little time for self-care and relaxation after a hard day at work.

So what can we do to ease our workload and de-stress?

1. If your job permits working from home, talk to your employer if you can do this at least once or twice a day a week, this will cut out the commute time so that you can use that time for self care.



2. Meal plan and batch cook at weekends so you are spending less time cooking the evening meal, share the task with family members and take turns to cook.



3. Eat healthy balanced meals and top up with multivitamins to replenish your body’s needs, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated



Image courtesy of Pixaby 

4. Get up half an hour early and spend the time to mediate, do yoga and calm your body and mind before you start the day.

5. Before bedtime take a warm bath, dim the lights, read or listen to soft music, meditate before bed. Avoid caffeine after dinner and stick to water or a milky drink.


Image courtesy of Pixaby 

6. Put your gadgets, phones, laptops away in another room after 10 pm. If you need to have your phone close by put it away from reach in the same room to avoid temptation to look at it, don’t keep it by the bedside table. Remember the phone is only there in case of emergency. You should start to unwind before bed. If you need to work late keep it to minimum, 1-2 nights a week only.

7. Go for a walk in the fresh air, even if it is for 30 mins. It’s good for the mind and body.



8. Join the gym, get some exercise or go for a swim or bike ride. All these things are great for the heart, body and mind.

9. Keep weekends free to relax, chill and recharge your body. Often a stay-cation break, a day trip is all you need to to break the work routine.

10. Take up a hobby; it’s good to have other interests to help you take a break from daily routine.

Remember having a good work, life balance will ensure your body and mind are relaxed and able to cope with the daily life stress, and work demands.
How do you cope with your daily stress , do you have any de-stress tips ? Please share them in the comments below.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Choosing and buying Antique Jewellery.

















This year I have lots of milestone events in my family, such as my niece's wedding, my best friend’s "big" birthday and me being a great aunt to my nephew’s new baby boy. All these moments are so special and I always want to remember them well. I also want to make the events memorable for the family member involved and what better way than to gift them a special gift that can commemorate the occasion and become a keepsake that they will love and cherish. This can be a piece of furniture, an ornament or even a piece of jewellery. It all depends on the person’s personality which they would prefer.

Thinking about various gift ideas, I prefer to gift an item that the person can wear and it has value. The gift that can be  a keepsake and in the future it can be passed from generation to generation. I have many such antique pieces that have been passed down to me that I cherish and I will do the same, when the time comes to pass them down to my daughters.

I started my search for the perfect gift, my favourite is always jewellery. My search led me to Carus Jewellery, they have Jewellery to suit every price range with items from various periods such as the Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian and Art Deco. 

You can find many unique and beautiful pieces ranging from brooches, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, bangles, and charms. For the gentleman you can find some unusual tiepins, cuff links, and rings too.

What is the advantage of buying antique jewellery?

The Jewellery is usually made from a high standard with good quality materials. The designs you will find are unique and you will be able to find a design that is original and not mass-produced. The classic design of fine jewellery makes it highly sustainable. It saves the buyer paying again for labour costs and manufacture which is better for the environment. The jewellery can be polished, cleaned and regenerated but at the same time keeping the authenticity and value intact. Passing the jewellery down from generation to generation is a very sentimental thing and something that I value tremendously.

How expensive is it?

When people think about antique jewellery they think it will be all expensive and will break the bank. This is not true, you can find pieces to suit all budgets starting from as little fifty pounds to thousands. My favourite pieces are these beautiful pearl earrings and this beautiful charm bracelet and this gorgeous diamond ring.




What to look out for when buying antique jewellery?

  • The first and foremost thing is to choose a reputable site like Carus Jewellery. They ensure each handcrafted piece has been authenticated to an exacting standard, certifying its quality and guaranteeing you its source. 
  • Check for any additional extras like charges for resizing etc.
  • Make sure your piece comes with a guarantee certificate and you have a receipt of the value for insurance purposes.
  • Check if there is any returns policy in case you need to return or exchange for any unforeseen reason.
  • Finally, once you have purchased your chosen piece I would highly recommend that you insure it. 

Do tell me what is your favourite piece of jewellery in the comments below.

#AD -In collaboration with Carus Jewellery

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

10 top packing tips for your move.



Moving house can be a good or a traumatic experience but with correct planning and the help of a good removal company, it can be made stress free and simple. Did you know those removal companies can make your move hassle-free? They can take care of all your packing; provide all the necessary packing equipment, mattress covers, stair protection, blankets needed. Also, they can disassemble and pack all your furniture if you are not able to.
Did you know regardless of whether you are moving from a large house, a small apartment or student accommodation 2removals can provide affordable removal service to suit all your needs?



If you prefer to plan and pack on your own than you can follow my top 10 packing tips below to make life easier.

10 top packing tips:
  1. Order Cardboard boxes, brown tape, strong string, labels, bubble wrap, brown paper, dust sheets, tissue paper, large heavy-duty bin liners with drawstring. Do check with your local supermarket that may be able to give you free boxes.
  2. Before you even consider any packing the first and foremost task is to declutter, this is the most difficult task but it is important to be ruthless so that you are not taking to the new home things you will never make use of. Clear out stuff and sort into things to give away to charity shops, sell on eBay and donate to playgroups. Don't forget to sort through old electronics, computers, tv's, dvd players, phones and recycle old iPads, you no longer use before you begin packing.
  3. Plan your packing and start to pack room by room, pack things you will not need or use daily first like extra bedding, quilts, towels, etc. Pack the necessary items last. Pack the quilts, blankets, towels, and pillows in large drawstring bin liners.
  4. Number each box and room it’s going in and add to a list. Note the box number and its contents on the list.
  5. Pack all the clothes in suitcases and label the suitcase with a number. Note the number and its contents on the list.
  6. Wrap all crockery in bubble wrap and pack into boxes with plenty of tissue paper. You can even use your tea towels to secure spaces to protect delicate china. Note the box number and its contents on the list.
  7. Pack all groceries in the box and label box kitchen, it’s important to give each box a room destination so that when you arrive at your new home you can place the boxes into the appropriate rooms.
  8. Dismantle furniture that you can. Wrap in bubble wrap, brown paper and tie with string. Make sure you keep any nuts and bolts in a ziplock bag and add a label to which piece of furniture they belong to. Next stick them with tape to the furniture it belongs to so you can find it easily.
  9. Make sure any fragile items are bubble wrapped marked fragile accordingly.
  10. On the day of the removal make sure you have dust sheets and large plastic sheeting handy if it’s raining. Be prepared for all weather conditions.





Once you are 90% packed you will have a clear indication of the number of boxes you have, so you may need to inform the removal company if you have more packages than initially agreed. This will allow them to accommodate the size of the transport needed. Last but not the least; make sure that the removal company and you have the appropriate insurance cover should any of your items get damaged during the move.



**Post in collaboration with 2removals

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Keen Cook but Small Kitchen? Don’t Despair!



pic is courtesy of  clker.com


I have been cooking from a very young age, as both my parents were total foodies and I grew up around a variety of foods and dishes that they enjoyed. My passion for cooking is totally inspired by them both. I have also taken great steps to pass this food passion to my daughters. Fortunately both my daughters  really enjoy cooking, but sadly they have restrictions as the shared kitchens in rented accommodation has limited space and they have many restrictions when it comes to storage.
I always say to them, no matter how small your kitchen is, there’s room enough to cook and get creative with recipes and ingredients. Small kitchens might present more of a challenge because you can’t spread out but, with the right approach, there’s always a way.


The Right Storage

Having loads of storage in the kitchen is a must. But what if you just haven’t got the floor or wall space for rows of cabinets and nice long work tops?

Could you work with any of these small kitchen ideas?
  • Fix hooks in the ceiling where you can hang pots and pans by their handles.
  • Put a narrow shelf on the end of a run of cabinets where you can store spices or cook books. Failing a shelf, add a simple towel rail for somewhere to hang tea towels or oven gloves so they’re to hand.


  • Use stacking racks in cabinets to maximise the space and make stuff easier to find.
  • Hang hooks under wall cabinets for mugs, small jugs or measuring cups.
  • Use all the wall space for shelving, right up to the ceiling and including the spaces around and over doors. High up, put things you don’t use often, leaving the lower shelves clear for items you reach for all the time.




  • Put dividers into drawers so you can organise items rather than having them in a jumble. You could use a cutlery divider, but if you want to separate larger items, try crafting your own with card cut from empty cereal boxes.




  • Use the space under the cabinets, on the floor. Take off the kickboards and replace them with hinged or sliding doors. As long as the space is clean and sealed, you can hide all manner of stuff down there, including equipment like the necessary mops and brushes to keep the kitchen hygienically clean. Basically, anything that isn’t too tall.




Organising Equipment

You know what you love to cook most, so don’t fill up your kitchen with equipment you’ll barely ever use. For instance, suppose your speciality is baked desserts, but you don’t do much veg prep. A food processor would probably end up as an expensive dust collector, whereas a stand mixer would be working on most days. Determine to only give kitchen space to the equipment you need.


On the other hand, you might find you do need a large selection of items and machines, but not all the time. If your cooking passions run in cycles, put items you’re not currently using into self storage until the next time your inspiration calls for them.

Other culinary or dining passions are also difficult to indulge in with a small kitchen. Wine lovers need plenty of space to store cases or vintage collections, but finding the right conditions can be a challenge. Specialist wine storage units in some self-storage facilities are the answer to keeping fine wines in an optimal environment.

Similarly, if you love entertaining but find storage of additional dining sets difficult in a small kitchen, your local self-storage place will let you keep your best bits pristine in between dinner parties.

Don’t let a small kitchen put you off cooking. It’s a bit of a challenge sometimes, but there are always ways to work around or through any inconvenience so your space works the way you need it to.

When you have a passion for something as great as we have, there is no room for obstacles in the way. We always enjoy cooking, eating, dining and entertaining in the smallest of spaces.

**Post in collaboration with Big Yellow