Friday, 15 May 2020

Managing your Finances during Lockdown



Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We are now into 6 weeks of lock down and most people are seriously thinking about their finances. Whether you have a business or a job or are self employed, money is tight and our incomes have reduced so what can we do about it?

  1. Make a spread sheet logging all incoming money and another one for expenditure such as bills, mortgage, food, bills, car, insurance,medical fees, phone contracts and home maintenance.
  2. Look at ways you can reduce some of these costs, like looking for better deals for car/ home insurance, phone contracts and internet and energy providers.
  3. Make meal plans and shop only for necessary items.
  4. Talk to your bank for interest free loans, and over draft facilities.
  5. If you are renting see if your landlord will give you a planned holiday or let you pay in smaller installments.
  6. Check your mortgage and speak to your bank if you can change it or move it to a different type. There may be a few different options that you can opt for such as a reverse mortgage.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Everyone dreams about a comfortable life especially in retirement, but if financial problems are a more immediate reality, where do you turn? A reverse home loan is a viable solution for those who are 62 of age or above, and in need of a financial boost. 

How does a reverse mortgage work?


One of Two Ways
A reverse mortgage provided via a government program is called a home equity conversion mortgage, but if it is supplied by a private lender, it is known as a reverse mortgage. Both are subject to certain government regulations, which your lender will assist you with.

Reverse or straightforward home loans?
The main consideration is the loan term. A regular mortgage requires you to pay back the loan monthly for a predetermined period. This regular commitment can be stressful to honor, especially if funding becomes a problem.

A reverse mortgage, on the other hand, allows you to borrow without having to start the repayment process straight away. It removes the need for regular monthly payments, and you will not be bound to any loan period. You will not need to repay anything until you ever decide to move out of the home the loan is linked to, in which case the loan balance will become payable.

What Are The Qualification Criteria For A Reverse Mortgage?
The steps are simple, but the conditions are strict. Other than being 62 years of age or older, the conditions stipulate that you need to own and permanently reside in the house against which you take out the loan. The lending institution where you apply is liable for working out your capability for taking out the loan. This means that they will do a background and credit check, to see if you can afford regular maintenance costs and property taxes, insurance coverage, and other running costs pertaining to home ownership.

There are also conditions linked to the actual house. It has to be a main and permanent residence, and the person applying for the reverse loan has to be the owner. If it is a multiple-residence property, at least one of the homes or apartments must be the permanent residence of the person applying for the loan. Finally, the value of the house must be high enough to be able to cover the full repayment value of the loan upon sale of the property. Remember that the outstanding balance on an existing home loan will have to be settled with funds from the reverse home loan, before funds from the reverse loan become available for use.

Life With A Reverse Mortgage
Your lender can make the money in your loan available to you in monthly payments, which are useful for covering ongoing bills during retirement. If you qualify, you can get your reverse mortgage money any way you want. The other option is to make it available as a lump sum, to help you cover costs in the case of a major expense, such hospitalization, or you could organize a line of credit, to access it as you need.


 **collaborative post.

The Perfect Help To Move Online



Making an Impact on Your Business via a Professional Developer

During this unprecedented and challenging time, the internet is rapidly becoming the prime generator for business and adapting to the current climate. 

Not every company finds time to learn the ins and outs of setting up a powerful presence online and chooses to outsource the time and effort to external development professionals.

With the option to build your own online taking considerable time out of your business, let’s take a look at the positives of paying out for a professional web developer for your online presence.

The Right Look

Using online web building facilities to build your own may save money, but you are left with simple template designs that may not give your company a professional look.

With a professional web development firm handling your website, you get the look you envision and in some instances a much better look and feel than you envisaged.

Developers utilise in house programmers and graphic designers to strengthen the look and flow of your website ensuring that when people visit your page they are not experiencing glitches or spelling mistakes that can easily be overlooked by a business owner wanting to quickly throw a web presence out there.


Success Tools

With a professional service you are also provided with professional assurance from tools provided by them to make your website a success.

Eternal web developers provide a web hosting service as well as a guarantee of top security, speed and response for your website. This saves you time in researching the many options available as a professional developer will have access to the best for your business.

Also, with any downtime your website may encounter you can rest assured that the developer you are paying to maintain and run your website will fix the problems straight away and you will not be lost trying to call a helpline that may leave you on hold for a long amount of time and cost you business.

Consultation Services

With the landscape changing constantly, you will have no need to keep up with the changes and updates required as your web developer can keep on top of them for you and even advise you on any changes that could be made to strengthen your online presence.

If you are looking to change how you trade on the internet, a professional web developer can best guide you through what options are suitable for your budget. Remember, it’s their job to know everything in that sector of industry so who better to advise you on it?

The Developer is there to display the various options you have with your website and offer up solutions and alternatives to problematic areas that may occur. For a set up fee and a monthly price, your web developer is a safety precaution against your website suffering from slow response time, glitches and hacking that could occur that you are not prepared or qualified to tackle yourself.

Search Rankings

A professional website development firm comes equipped with many areas designed to boost your business.

A popular and utilised extra they provide would be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is a service to boost your online presence through search engines like Google, meaning your company will be among the first businesses advertised on a Google search for your industry.

SEO gives you an incredible boost as statistics show that most internet searches on Google end after the second page of results, meaning some other companies benefit from the service you provide if you don’t have it.

 Stockport website design companies have been among the most professional and long standing digital agencies for the 2000's and have not only advanced in responsive webdesign, but also are at the forefront of Search Engine Optimization.

Weighing up the time and money you spend on a professional website developer against the time and money you lose on building one yourself showcases why successful business owners rely on an outsourced identity to work with for their online presence.

Weighing up the time and money you spend on a professional website developer against the time and money you lose on building one yourself showcases why successful business owners rely on an outsourced identity to work with for their online presence.

**collaborative post

Thursday, 7 May 2020

My Top 10 Food Shopping Tips During Lock down

As we continue to be in lock down we are all spending more and more time in our homes and kitchen. We have all taken to shopping on line to get our food shop, treats, presents, basic essentials and indulgences.
The biggest shop that we all do is food. We are all eating at least three meals a day not forgetting the endless cups of tea and coffee and snacks throughout the day.

My top 10 tips for food shopping are:


1. Do a stock take of your pantry, fridge and freezer, making a list of all the items you have.


2. Plan your meals and make a meal plan and see if you have the required ingredients. Make a list of ingredients you do not have and what you will need to replenish. This way you are not buying random unnecessary groceries.


3. If you not in the vulnerable category and are able to go to the shops ensure you take with you plastic gloves, mask and wipes/sanitiser. I always wipe the trolley handle with my antibacterial wipes even if I am wearing gloves as I do not want to touch my purse etc with contaminated gloves. Have a shopping list ready so that you know exactly what you need to buy so to avoid impulse buys and limiting your time spent in the shop to a minimum. Ensure you take care of social distancing to stay safe.


4. If you self isolating due to health reasons, book an online slot for the groceries, check out local farm shops, bakers and fruit and vegetable vendors who offer delivery options. This also helps to support independent traders during the crisis.

5. Try and cook with fresh ingredients, making soups and pasta sauces from fresh produce is actually a lot easier and cheaper than you think. You can make these in bulk and freeze them too. Home cooked is so much healthier than tinned soups and pasta sauces. For inspiration check out this brocolli and sweet potato soup and baked pasta recipes.


6. If money is tight, which I think is for most of us have you considered going vegetarian or vegan? There are so many nutritious vegetarian and vegan recipes that are a lot cheaper to put together than having recipes with meat. If you are contemplating making the change, maybe start off as being vegetarian before totally changing to a vegan diet. If you do change to a vegan diet, or already are a vegan, I suggest you get a nutritional test done to see if  you are getting all the necessary nutrients from the vegan diet. If you are missing out on essential nutrients  you can start  to eat specific foods that will help to boost  the intake. There is a special 15% off  discount code available if you wish to take the test for yourself.

7. When shopping for ingredients, buy pulses, beans, grains such as couscous and quinoa. These can help to bulk up a stew or soup making it hearty and delicious at a low cost.

8. Sometimes larger packs of fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than buying  a small pack. Buy these you can always prepare them and freeze them for later use. Its handy to do this with carrots, peppers, swede, squash as all of these freeze well.


9. Tinned items and things like pasta and rice have long shelf life and are cheaper bought in quantity. Try to purchase the larger multi pack and split with your neighbour. Of course keep that social distance and leave it on their door step. You could also take it in turns to shop so you are limiting going out to the shops to a minimum.

10. Buy fruits in bulk and make your own juices and smoothies, they are much healthier and you can limit the amount of sugars in them. You can check out my ideas for smoothie packs for  the freezer.


How are you managing with your shopping, meal preps and cooking during this lock down? Do share your ideas and tips in the comments below.

**collaborative post

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

10 Fun Things You Can Still Do From Home during Lock Down

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


Are you tired of being stuck at home? Do you want to find a way to pass the time? Then, this post is just for you as it looks at the top 10 things you can still do from home during lock down. These things will help the time pass and you will have a ton of fun in the process. Read on to find which things you can do to kill time.

1. Buy the Lotto online

If you have always wanted to win the lottery, then, this might be the perfect time to give it a try. There is no better way to let the time pass than with the thought that you could win a great deal of money be it for that dream holiday, or new business set up or a new car or home. Make sure you buy the lotto online rather than going to the newsagents since we at in a lock down, stay home and stay safe.

Image by Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash


2.  Binge watch the latest Netflix series

With Netflix dropping the hottest series, there are plenty of Netflix series that you can watch to pass the time. From Money Heist to Elite Season 3, the options are endless. Browse through the latest series and choose one that suits you best. There is no better way to spend the time than by binge watching the latest Netflix series with a bowl of popcorn and bar of chocolate.

3. Take a virtual trip to your favorite holiday destination

Being stuck at home does not mean that you cannot see the world. It is about time that you used technology to your advantage and took a virtual trip to discover the world.


4. Read a good book

One of the best things that you can do at home is read a good book. If you have not read a good book for some time now, it might be just what you need. Head over to Amazon to shop for the hottest e-books or order a hard cover if you feel like it. Alternatively there are lots of options on kindle too.


5. Learn to cook new dishes

There is no denying that Indian food amongst other cuisines is delicious and its most peoples first takeaway choice on a Saturday night. Since we are unable to go out to dinner or get our favorite takeaway, why not try your hand at cooking the dishes at home. There are plenty of YouTube channels and free online classes and cook books you could refer to, that will help you cook up a delicious meal. It is just what you need to do to cheer yourself up in these dull times.

6. Catch a movie

There are many movies that you can watch since you are home. Watch the latest Hollywood film or a foreign movie. Besides, it will help you learn a foreign language.

7. Listen to music

Entertain yourself to some music. Many artists are even creating music dedicated to the situation. Hence, it might be a good idea to listen to some new music.


8. Play a video game
When was the last time you played a video game? Being stuck at home gives you the perfect excuse to take out your play station controller and to play some Grand Theft Auto. My personal favorite is Spyro the dragon.

9. Study online
With so many online platforms offering free courses or courses that cost a small fee, it is time that you learned something new.

10. Indulge in some spa time
Treat yourself to some spa time by giving yourself a manicure and pedicure. It will help you relax.
Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

Are there any tips that you have that you can suggest whilst we are in lock down? Do share your ideas in the comments below, I would love to hear them.

**collaborative post

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Are you a working mum or a stay at home mum?

Photo by Djurdjica Boskovic on Unsplash

Are you a working mum or a stay at home mum?

In 2020 research has showed a vast increase in working mums compared to previous years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data revealing that the number of mothers in the labour market has grown substantially over the last 20 years, with 66.2% of mothers in employment in 2000. However by 2020, that figure rose to 75.1%.

The reasons for this increase is due to many factors such as:

  • More flexible hours are available
  • More work from home options are available
  • More shared care of kids with both parents
  • Increased availability of after school childcare available  

To make life easier and more manageable,there are also more facilities, apps, support programmes, tutorials and gadgets available to assist with the work. With the advance technology, it is easier to connect from home for hosting meetings and consultations too.


Five apps that will help you organise your life.

There is a reason why working mums are sometimes referred to as superheroes (mums generally). It is because a working mum's most essential skill is multitasking. If you are a working mum you already know what it's like to achieve a work-life balance. It is not easy to take care of the kids, do house chores and still go to work to conquer the day's tasks.

However, working mums do not need to be overwhelmed by the weight of the tasks that are lined up at home and work, and this is where apps come in. Here are the main apps that can make your life as a working mum a lot easier by simply helping you organise your activities and make you more efficient.

Voice Over Self Direction

This is an important app for mums who are voice-over artists. This app can be considered a personal voice-over or voice acting coach which can be taken with you to the recording booth. The app is great for mums who are just starting a voice acting or voice over career. The downside of the app is that it can take some time getting used to. Voquent.com is a website that lets you connect with advertising agencies and clients in need of voice over services.


Cozi Family Organizer

This is the ultimate mum app. Cozi is an organiser created for the family. This app will help you coordinate your grocery lists, schedules, to-do lists, activities, and provides a platform for family communication. It is a fantastic calendar app.

Rescue Time

This is a great app that monitors how much time you are spending on the internet and mobile apps. Even though you are a busy mum with a lot of things to do and work, you may find yourself stuck on videos of cute dogs or cats doing crazy things on Instagram. Sometimes you may have planned to check something out on Amazon and end up spending more time than you have planned to check other products. An app like Rescue Time is a great way to help you manage your time better by setting goals for your app and internet use.

YouTube

Every busy mum needs quick fixes and solutions for every task. This is where YouTube comes in. YouTube is the ideal entertainment app for busy mums - here you can watch your favourite music videos, makeup tutorials, DIY ideas, and keep your little ones busy with cartoons while you do something important.

Easy Voice Recorder

There are many things that you can do with a voice recorder from taking voice notes during meetings at the office to making voiceover demos if you are a voiceover artist. Easy Voice Recorder app has a simple user interface making it user-friendly. You can use the app in the background while doing other things on your mobile phone.


Are you a stay at home mum or are you a working mum? Do share in the comments below how to manage to get a happy home and work life balance.


**collaborative post

Monday, 6 April 2020

2020 Graduation Plans

Image by Vasily Kolada on Unsplash

Going to university or college is a big step for both parents and their child. It is a big transition as often the child has to move away from home, fend for themselves, manage finances and become independent. As much as it is exciting, it can be daunting too. However all this is definitely worth it when your child completes their education and it's time to graduate.

Seeing your child graduate is probably one of the proudest moments any parent will experience in their life and it is the perfect occasion to go to town and celebrate this achievement.

With the current lock down it seems strange that I am sharing this post but whilst we are all at home social distancing its good to have a positive attitude and use the time at home to plan things for the future and make a bucket list of all the things that you would like to do and achieve. It gives us all a hope for better things to come.


 Photos by Freestock on Unsplash

Some of the things you can do to commemorate the occasion are:
  • Buy a special gift as a keepsake memento 
  • Get professional photos taken
  • Host a party
Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

For the special memento a bracelet or a locket or a nice watch with the date engraved is a lovely gift together with a photo book with all the photos of the journey. Most universities offer professional photographs and DVDs of the ceremony. These are good to purchase so that you are free to enjoy the day without having to act as the photographer or risk blurred photos of the special occasion.



Usually guests are limited to parents /immediate family at the ceremony but to mark the occasion why not have a graduation party with all your family and friends. If arranging a graduation party this year, some of the things to consider are 2020 graduation announcements, graduation party invitations and graduation thankyou cards.



The stationery can be designed and created very easily using the Basic Invite website. They have a easy to use graduation party invite template and the graduation thank you card template. There are styles to suit all tastes and there is a  choice of colour combinations with the ability to customise each and every element of the invites and cards so that it's unique to your taste and style.

Immediately after the cards are created you can see the preview before you finalise the design. Furthermore, Basic Invite also have the facility where you can get a sample invite printed and sent out to you to ensure you are totally happy with the design, colour and paper quality before placing the final order.


Matching envelopes are also available in a selection of colours to make the invitations stand out.
With the invitation created, Basic Invite offers a free address collection service. You can use the free address collection service to request your addresses with using just three simple steps. You can share a link via social media or email, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing too.
Finally with the invitation sorted, it's time to create matching Thank you cards using the same on line designing service to send to your guests after the party.

Other things to arrange for the party are:

  • Venue with ample parking
  • Finger food and appetisers
  • Drinks
  • DJ/Music/Band
  • Photographer/ Videographer

With everything organised, invites sent, it's time to have a wonderful day making amazing memories of the special occasion. Do share in the comments below how you are planning on celebrating your special day and what things you are adding to your post Covid bucket list.

**Collaborative Post

Saturday, 4 April 2020

7 Super Tips for Making Travel Less Stressful


7 Super Tips for Making Travel Less Stressful

We've all experienced a trip where you've failed to prepare properly or where loads of little tings have gone wrong.It's frustrating! And the stress that comes with these scenarios can taint your entire holiday.With that in mind, here are seven super tips for making travel less stressful.

Use Packing Cubes




If you're travelling with a suitcase, packing cubes are a great idea. They help you to maximize your luggage space, so you can fit all of your essential items into your case and some luxury bits too. Also, they allow you to pack neatly by grouping similar items together, so you can quickly find them when needed.

Book a Lounge



From the crowds to the security checks to finding your gate, getting through the airport is arguably one the most stressful parts of travel. However, you can escape the madness by booking into a lounge and enjoying some rest and complimentary perks. To gain access to luxury lounges across the globe use LoungeBuddy - it has great deals.

Research your Destination




Whether you're someone who thrives on throwing yourself into the unknown or you prefer to plan meticulously, it's worth doing some research on your destination beforehand. Things worth looking into include, public transport, car renting options,  neighbourhood safety and culture and customs. In doing so, you'll settle in more quickly and enjoy more fun and less fluster during your trip.

Meditate



Meditation exercises teach you to focus your mind in order to make sense of your thoughts and feelings. So consider installing a meditation app such as Calm for your travels - it has a wide library of exercises that last for as little as three minutes, so you'll have no trouble fitting regular meditation into your itinerary.

Use Offline Maps

When you're in an unfamiliar place, working out how to get from A to B can be a major hassle, especially if you're low on mobile data. To get around this, you can use a navigation app such as Google Maps to download the maps for the places you'll be visiting in advance, so you can access them offline at any time.

Drive to the Airport



If you want to avoid hedging your bets on unreliable public transport, driving to the airport is a great idea. In your own ride with full control over your route, you'll feel way more relaxed. And for added peace of mind, you can check Looking4.com for airport parking deals for hubs from Miami to Manchester.

Plan Your Route From The Airport

When you land in your destination, you'll either be tired and eager to get to your accommodation or excited and ready to explore. By planning your route from the airport in advance, you'll be able to quickly reach your lodgings and dump your stuff, rather than faffing about trying to figure out directions and public transport networks.

Follow these seven super tips and your future travels will be stress-free and fun-filled from start to finish.

What are your tips for making travel less stressful? Share them in the comments section.

**Collaborative Post

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. Making a decision of where to move is a difficult one and you have to weigh up many factors,

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. Why not start to destress at the weekends so that you can kick start your Monday morning feeling rejuvenated. 
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