Bidvine | Getting What You Need Done Stress free*

Recently the guys over at Bidvine, contacted me to see if I would like to review their website which helps you to find quotes for various services in your local area. Think Tinder, but for local services.

I opted to search for a photographer in my local area. I have been meaning to get some professional family photos for a while now. But I've been put off with how time consuming it would be to find someone respectable and reputable. However, Bidvine made it easy and stress free.

So how does Bidvine work?  

You type in the service you require, your location and where and when you want the work to be done. it is as simple as that. You are asked to create a account using either your email address or by your Facebook or Google account which is much quicker.

After a few days you will receive an email with upto 5 quotes from professionals, which includes estimates, reviews and contact details.. I was presently surprised with the responses I got, not only were they very informative. I love how a few of the photographers gave me suggestions on what type of theme the pictures should be. It shows they have pride in their work and want the best results.

I am rather impressed with BidVine, I have already requested some other services. I would definitely recommend this website.

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6 Tips For Keeping Safe On The Roads This Winter *

When I think of Christmas I think of two things. Spending time visiting friends and family and icy cold weather. I don't know about you but I dreed travelling in a car in winter, especially when it snows. We hardly ever grit the roads in London until the last minute, which means the worst travel conditions ever.

Today I thought I would share some tips on keeping safe on the roads this winter;

1. Before you hit the road plan your route carefully, if possible stay on major roads as these will most likely be gritted. Also, check the weather report, so you can avoid making your journey if weather conditions are extreme.

2. Make sure your tyres are in tip top condition, the legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm. You should also check that your tyres are not over or under inflated as this cause issues with your steering which could lead to a collision.

3. If you have a child seat make sure it meets safety guidelines. Did you know from December 2016 it will be illegal to use a backless booster seat with a child under 12 years of age. Backless booster seats will only be permitted for children over the age of 12, taller than 125cm and heavier than 22kg.

4. Carry a winter breakdown kit, if case your car breakdowns it is ideal to have a kit with you to make your wait more stress free. Things you should include are; a blanket, torch, deicer, scraper, some snacks, activity books for younger passengers and a mobile phone charger.

5. Passing the MOT test helps you to enjoy a safe and smooth drive on the roads. MOT test is one of the most essential aspects for the car owners who want to enjoy a safe drive. If you are not sure when you are next due a MOT. Use a online MOT checker, there are simple to use and only take minutes to complete. Always get quotes from different service providers before you choose any MOT garage. Compare the quotes to choose the best deal.

6. Most importantly make sure you are insured as it is against the law to drive without it! Spend some time looking for a good price for you and your circumstances. Chill- ie offers some of the cheapest car insurance, so it is definitely worth doing your homework before you journey off.

Hope youfound this helpful?, what things to you keep in the car for breakdowns? 

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Essential Winter Coats with JD Williams*

I'm not even going to lie to you, it is getting cold out there! I was in desperate need of some winter outerwear, so when the lovely people at JD Williams got in contact with me to review some items from their womens winter coats ,I jumped at the chance.

The first coat I chose was this camouflage cotton parka. The coat is not my usual style. Especially as it is camo print, which is everywhere this season. However, I was instantly drawn to it whilst browsing the site.

As you can see from my photo, it has a beautiful rich dark blue faux fur trim hood. It is soo soft, not itchy or rough at all, I feel so cosy when I put it up. If the fur trim is not your thing, it is easily detachable. One coat – two looks!

The parka has generously sized pockets, I can fit my Samsung Galaxy note, purse, keys, a few of Darcy's bit and bobs and still have room. It also has waist tighteners, so you can tighten or loosen it depending on how many layers you are wearing.

The only negative thing I can say is the sleeves are a little short. But I am 5'9 and a half, so it's a common thing for me. If you are tall I would suggest sizing up, so that extra sleeve length.

Excuse my resting bitch face. I need to learn to smile more in my pictures!!
So far this winter has been crazy. One minute it's freezing the next it's far too warm to wear a thick coat. Thankfully the next item I chose was this black fit and flaer mac.

Double breasted, with a detechable waist tie and two side pockets. I sometmes find macs to be a little shapeless on me, with me being apple shape. However It wasn't the case with this coat. I do recommend sizing up as this mac does come up a bit small.

I know when you think of a mac you think of that classic light colour. But I can't work with light colour coats as I always seem to get them dirty.

The mac is light enough to wear during the warmer crisp winter days and layer up when it gets colder. Not only is the shape timeless, they always make you look effortless chic. I've worn it dressed up with a little black dress and dressed down with jeans and trainers.

Both coats are available in sizes 10 to 32, JD Williams also offer 20% off your first order to new customers. Happy Shopping!!


5 Things You Need To Know Before You Rent*

Renting for the first time can be very daunting, but very exciting. I was lucky enough to live with Debz for two years which we named "The Fat Flat". I hold lots of fun memories from my first time renting. Today I thought I would share with you some things you need to know before you rent a home.

1. Before you sign your contract, make sure your Landlord is part of the Tenants Deposit Scheme. All Landlords have a legally obliged to protect their tenants deposits. They must tell tenants of which scheme they’re using within 14 days or else they will face a fine.

2. Bills sucks, one thing I found hard when I moved out for the first time was sorting out bills. Gas / ElectricIty, TV licence, Broadband, Water, Council tax  etc. There are so many bills to pay out check with your Landlord as sometimes these are sometimes included in the rent.

3. You'll need Contents insurance. If you get broken in to and your stuff stolen, your Landlord is only responsible for insuring the building. The Contents Insurance is down to you! I know looking into insurance can be rather stressful with alot of jargon and need to know the value of your possessions. Luckily there are companies around like HomeLet who specialist in insurance for tenants and landlords.

HomeLet have put together a handy infographic with some great advice for both Tenants and Landlords.

4. You should definitely get an Inventory done. If your Landlord does not offer this, make one on the day you move in. Make note of everything and take pictures of any damage, this way you will not have to fork out for anything at the end of your tenancy.

5. Talking of end of tenancy, when you think it is time to move on. You should definitely do an end of Tenancy Clean. End of tenancy cleaning is important for receiving your full deposit, landlords can ask the same level of cleansliness on vacating the tenancy as it was documented in the inventory report. You can do this yourself, however personally I would get it done professional. Not only will this free up time for you to get other things done, you will also have written proof that a clean has taken place.

i hope that you find my tips helpful, what tips would you share with your friends and family?

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Wish List Wednesday | Jacamo*

Winter is most definitely coming, I don't know if it's because I am getting older. But I really feel the coldness nowadays. And if I am feeling that means my granddad will be. As I know he's not the biggest shopper in the world, I normally buy him bits and bobs during the year and always at Christmas he is greeted with a few clothing items.

I know, I know I am always going on about my love for online shopping. But I can't help it.
Jacamo is an online shop for everything the man in your life will need. As my time is seriously limited at the moment I can buy him some bits and get it delivered to him fuss free. 

wish list wednesday | Jacamo

Jacamo have lots of menswear to pick from and I was spoilt for choice. What I love about their clothing is that it is ageless and anyone man can wear them. 

They also have a fab men's gift finder Christmas Shop, if you're stuck on what to buy this year.

Have you heard of Jacamo before?

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Darcy's Christmas Book Advent

Darcy is such a bookworm and I want that to continue as she grows up. I thought I would make advent book calendar for her and it would make a lovely Christmas tradition.

Making a book advent calendar is such a cute way to countdown to Christmas. What you do is:
  • Collect 24 Christmas/winter themed books
  • Wrap and place them together in a box or under the Christmas tree
  • Starting on the 1st of December the kids get to pick one of the books to unwrap each night
  • Read that book together!
Last year, I only managed to get a few books together as I left it very last minute, but this year I made an effort to be organised and i’m all set for 1st December.

Three of Darcy’s favourites from last year which I am including again are a Penwizard personalised Ben & Holly Darcy’s Christmas at the North Pole, which I reviewed here. Duggee’s Christmas and Santa’s sleigh is on its way to Enfield, which she will open on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas book advent does not have to be expensive. I got a lot of our books from The Works, who have 10 books for £10, Home Bargains and Poundland. Books do not have to be new, you can get them from charity shops or loan some from your local library.

Wrapping paper was bought from the pound shop, the excess I will use on other Christmas presents. I got my numbered labels from The Sticker Site my ones are no longer in stock as I got them last year. If you don't want to pay, there are lots of free printables on Pinterest.

What I love about this Christmas tradition is that it will grow with Darcy. Lots of the books can be kept for oncoming years. Anything that is not age appropriate we will give to friends/family or donate to charity

I’d love to hear what your favourite Christmas traditions are

Santa Claus Is Coming To ... Brent Cross!!

 A couple days ago Darcy and I headed off to Brent Cross for a spot of shopping, a bite to eat and to watch the lights be switched on. It was a great event, the children from the local school sang Christmas songs, and there were lots of free arts and crafts and face painting for the children.

Whilst we were there I couldn't help but take Darcy to see Santa in his grotto.However,  it is not just any grotto. It is a 360 degree projection igloo. 

Once you walk in you are greeted by the greatest man alive, Santa Claus behind a digital background, and who wouldn't want to meet Santa.

Once seated, you are taken on a magical journey across the world finished off in Lapland to visit Santa’s workshop. It is very interactive and you cannot help but feel the Christmas spirit.

I was a bit nervous, as last year I took Darcy to see three different Santa's, and she cried each time. But as you can see from the picture, Darcy was very happy to meet Santa. 

If you download the Brent Cross Plus app, you can get £2 off photo merchandise. Santa's Grotto is opened from Thursday 10th November 2016 until Christmas Eve. Entry is £5 and every child will receive a free gift, Which I think is more than worth it.

I'm always on the hunt for a good Christmas grotto, so let me know where you go.

Tips on how to find the very best designer wedding dresses *

So, the bride has named the big day and is focused on organising the perfect wedding which means looking at designer wedding dresses to ensure she looks fantastic. 

With so much work to do, many brides will place the selecting of their wedding dress at the top of their to do list because it will, undoubtedly, be the centre of attention and will need to make the bride look and feel fantastic. 

It's also, and there's no getting away from this, necessary to look right because it will feature in the bride's wedding album which will be seen by many people over the years to come.
So, these are a few tips for the bride looking at designer wedding dresses and the first is to appreciate that bridal gowns come in a variety of sizes and shapes. 

The bride will also need to understand that wedding dresses will reflect seasonal trends and there's been a large growth in bridal wear design in recent years. 

The first step is to appreciate what's on offer in the bridal market and then look more closely at several wedding dress designers to understand their offerings and why the special dress is worth the money for a special day. 

Some research will be key beforehand which means checking out websites and magazines and then arranging to visit bridal boutiques and take on board expert advice from the owner and the experienced boutique assistants. 

The bride will also need to appreciate which silhouette will best suit their body shape so that they get to flatter their figure though any will find they will look great in ballgowns, unless they are very petite, and most body shapes will suit A-line gowns. 

The secret when looking for wedding dresses is that the bride needs to feel comfortable and not self-conscious while wearing the dress and they need to appreciate they will be wearing it for several hours. 

Indeed, the bride should not be misled by friends or family about buying a dress they do not like. 

Another overlooked issue when the search for wedding dresses begins is to set a budget not just for the dress but also for the entire outfit; the bride will need to buy a bouquet, shoes, jewellery as well as a veil. These could add substantially to the wedding dress cost. 

For this reason, brides need to be realistic with their budget and look for cheaper designer wedding dresses so they can afford the stylish accessories that need to go with it. There's no point in spending more money on an expensive wedding dress and then having to cut back on the extras. 

Finally, the search for designer wedding dresses is about delivering the bride’s dream dress so while they need to listen to the opinions of those they go to the boutique with, it's important that their own opinion is the loudest one heard so they fall in love with a dress that makes them happy and comfortable. 

*Written by Steve Lumley

Santas Surprise Giveaway!!

I don't know about you, but I am super excited for Christmas. This year i'm being proactive and organised, so I don't find myself stressing nearer the time. I know that Christmas can be a rather expensive time. So I have joined forces with a group of bloggers to giveaway some Amazon vouchers to two lucky people.

However before I tell you more about the prize, lets meet the bloggers:

Adventures of a Yorkshire Mum | Keep Up With The Jones Family | Sparkles at Midnight | Mother Distracted | Missing Sleep | Hubby Helps | Mums Wine HQ | Chilling With Lucas | Purely Amy | The Mighty Duxburys | Petit Moi Big World | Sally Akins | The Adventures of a Silver Surfer | My Life As A Mummy | EmmaDrew.info

A Testing Time | Melanie's Fab Finds | Spanish Mummy | Precious Little Worlds | Life As Mum | We Made This Life | Nine to Three Thirty | Hex Mum Plus 1 | Big Family Little Adventures | The Diary of a Jewellery Lover | Kumbear XO | Cosmic Kick | Becster.com | Accidental Hipster Mum | Mummy Vs Work | Life at 139a

Charli B | Renovation Bay-Bee | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels | Tanned Beauty Addict | Life in a Break Down | UK Bloggers

What can you win?
Well one grand prize winner will be walking away with £200 of Amazon vouchers, while a runner up will get £50.
So how do you enter?
To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is let us know:
What would you spend the vouchers on, should you be the lucky winner?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

The prize draw opens on 1st November at 11:00 GMT and closes at 23:59 GMT on the 30th November, the competition is open worldwide, with winners outside of the UK receiving their prize via paypal funds. For full T&C please see the rafflecopter application.