Tips For Keeping Costs Down *

Sometimes we think with our hearts and not with our heads. I am not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions as they can sometimes be disastrous, with 80% of people failing by February and regretting it instantly. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to cut down on spending, and although this sounds achievable, if you don’t have a fully pledged strategy in place, the likeliness of failure spirals out of control. However I am proof that it can be done, it may have taken me a while to get comfortable with the idea of cutting my spending but my bank account is thanking me.

I can totally understand that people can be victim to an unexpected expense — whether this is a home appliance breaking or making that third trip on a bus with only a return ticket. It all adds up. For that reason, I’ve made some assessments on how those extra savings can come in handy if something like that was to occur.


Start off with something small, but something that will make huge changes when it comes to your bank account. Using a megarider ticket, you will be able to travel as much as you want and can tailor your own needs to the ticket type. Whether you’re in need of a weekly bus pass for your travels, or a monthly one — you will find yourself making a huge saving in comparison to buying a ticket every day.

Cut down on taking taxis, I know it’s quicker and more comfortable to order a Uber, however the costs will mount up in now time.

If you’re a driver, did you know that the average motorist in the UK will spend an astonishing £168,880 over their lifetime? With efficiency growing in public transport, there is no reason for you not to consider making the bold move that could help you fulfil your resolution this year and save you a fortune.

When it comes to payments across the year, petrol costs a driver £1,052.04. Servicing a vehicle costs can add up to £441 over a twelve-month period — which can change depending on the individual’s situation. MOTs can cost up to £168.46 annually. Cost of parking is on the rise, and with more vehicles on the roads, there seems to be a higher demand. Over the year, a motorist can find themselves paying £145.80 on parking. When it comes to insurance, this can sway dramatically as younger drivers will find themselves paying a higher cost to be on the road — on average, insurance costs an experience driver £436 every year. Tax can equate to £116.35 on a yearly basis. Car supplies can cost a driver £29.61 and if you were to go abroad and wished to drive, holiday rental cars can leave you £180 out of pocket. Speeding tickets equal £25.12 for the average driver here in the UK. This would cost a driver £2,594.38 in total where commuters find themselves paying considerably less for a significant service — imagine the saving you would make with a megarider ticket!

According to research carried out by MyVoucherCode, people in the UK visit coffee shops at least three times per week — although it has recently become unavoidable, as currently there are over 21,000 outlets around the country! This means that Brits visit coffee shops around 156 times a year with an average spend of £8.52 — with travel expenses, this could go up to £13.85. This creates an annual average spending of £2,600, a majority of which could be saved if you were to opt for taking your own coffee to work. After you start taking in your coffee for a while, it will be a shock to the system when you treat yourself to that almond milk caramel latte which costs £4!!

Branded coffee company, Douwe Egberts, has said that a 250g pack of ground coffee can make up to 30 cups. When looking to see how much a 1kg pack would cost, Amazon has priced the coffee at around £15, meaning that each cup of coffee would cost close to 13p. Try taking a flask to work and even purchasing an on-the-go coffee cup that will see you through your day.

If the rise in prices for cigarettes hasn’t already put you off, knowing that you could save a whopping £3,796 (if you smoke 20 a day) should be the driving mechanism for you to quit. MoneySupermarket.com has stated that non-smokers pay around £6,309 less for life insurance, which could be something worth investing in for the new year.

An alternative that many smokers are trying to save money is vaping. 10ml bottles of liquid cost around £5 on average — saving those who turn to vaping around £1,900.

Many of us find it easier to just buy lunch on the way to work — or popping out on our lunch breaks. But what if we told you that, on average, forking out for lunch every day could cost you £1,288 according to research carried out by VoucherCloud. Evidently, you could make a huge saving by preparing your lunch at home — whether this is making a quick sandwich or taking in a tin of microwavable soup to heat up. When we looked at the total working days in 2017, there was 252 — if we went by Poundland’s price of tomato soup, which is 50p, you would find yourself paying £126! A massive saving for anyone looking to cut down on costs.

Unexpected expenses

We’ve all been victim to an unexpected expense, with 54% of 2,000 people asked saying that they suffered from an unexpected expense within the household. On average, these costs totalled £248.70 — showing that any saving is beneficial for occurrences like these. 47% of these issues happened in the kitchen, a room which is essential to the day-to-day running of any home, and if you don’t have the money to pull out instantly, it could cause an everyday stress. Using the savings you would have made by taking your own lunch and coffee to work, quitting smoking, and travelling smarter — you will be able to make life easier. It was also found that 35% of people had to use a credit card to cover the costs of unexpected expenses. With 18% of them not being able to pay more than £100 on their own, 17% had to borrow from friends and family!

Thinking smarter for 2018 is a must, how will you be changing your ways to save money?


5 Ways To Get Your Feet Summer Ready*

Summer is just around the corner woop woop! When I think of summer I think of longer days, picnics, jugs of Pimms and wearing sandals and flip-flops. Oh yes sandals, after neglecting your feet over the winter period you don't want to really be having your feet out just yet. 
Today I am sharing with you some of my favourite hacks to get my feet ready for the Summer season.

Cut your Toenails, this may sound obvious but it does make such a difference to the look of your feet. Make sure you cut your nails straight to prevent ingrowing nails and infections.

Pick a bright colour nail polish, they will make your nails pop. Go for pinks, corals, blues and neon colours. These vibrant colours will definitely make your feet look cute when you are wearing all those open toes sandals during the summer.

Wear flats, wearing heels in the summer can be painful. So give your feet a break and switch to flats for a while. Trust me your feet will thank you for it.

Treat yourself to a foot mask, Lush volcano foot mask is one of my favourite. It's perfect after being on your feet all day. Not only does it cool your feet, the pumice in it acts as a foot scrub as well.

Invest in a pair of slippers, walking around the home barefoot can actually cause your feet to get dry and cracked. A good pair of slippers will keep your feet nice and comfy.

Now that your feet are now Summer ready, it's time to treat yourself to some new footwear. As you should know by now I love a bargain so I was pleased to see there are loads of new discounts available on Groupon too

I have spoken so many times about my love of on line shopping so being able to use a discount code and save a few pennies while I am at it is even better! I am actually a massive fan of Groupon deals. I've used Groupon for lots of things from spa days, to discounts on glasses and meals out. They have discounts for just about everything!!

Your Ideal Home Changes With You*

If you have a very clear idea of what your perfect home decor should look like, you might want to delay your home improvement works. Indeed, most homeowners don’t get to create their dream decor until they have old children. What is it that many of you wait so long before they can finally express their inner self in their interior style? There is, undeniably a financial reason, at first. It’s fair to say that for many new households getting the perfect furniture that matches their personality can be an expensive hole in the budget. Besides, what you need in your home when you first move in may not be the same than when you are a busy parent with your own family. So, it’s easy to understand that it takes time and effort to create a home that understands and fulfills your needs. As your life changes, your home imperceptibly adjusts and adapts. The teenager bedroom you found so cosy growing up has now become a nightmarish vision of what your interior should never look like, for instance. But, as each home grows, the question remains: What does your ideal home look like at different stages of your adult life?

First home - IKEA and recycled style
For students and young adults, the best interior style is inexpensive and practical. In fact, a lot of first-time tenants rely heavily on borrowing unwanted furniture from their relatives. It doesn’t quite matter if nothing goes together at that point. As long as you’ve got a bed, a table, and a chair, you’re content with your life! There are too many challenges that come with your new independence for you to worry about interior homogeneity. As you start working, your interior becomes a veneer paradise. The favourite furniture brand for Millennials is IKEA, and it would be foolish to ignore the advantages of some of the most iconic items from the Scandinavian giant. Billy, the book shelving unit, for the very first item of flat-pack furniture and it’s been popular since its creation in 1979. The lack table is another trend, especially for students, that comes in a variation of colours.

Awaiting a baby = a new and soft decor
Your need for decor shifts when you expect a baby. For many families, having a child gives them the perfect opportunity to create a homogenous decor that brings their home together. At the heart of the interior, the nursery room is furnished with quality items from shops such as www.for-your-little-one.co.uk. Gradually, the soft sense of togetherness that appears in the baby’s bedroom spreads throughout the house. That’s when most couples decide to upgrade their decor the baby will grow up in a safe interior.

Family home = finally your style
Finally, it’s only when your child is old enough to wander safely inside without risking accidents bumps and injuries against sharp corners, that you can finally embrace your true decor dream, such as Bump and Beyond Blog. From stylish shelves to luxury lounging chair, there is a lot you can do to create a unique decor when you don’t need to baby proof the home anymore.

From a student’s home to a family home, your interior style evolves with you. If you’re dreaming of a sophisticated decor, beware: you may have to wait until your kids are old enough!

Mind Blowing Psychology Facts*

It is no secret that psychology is fascinating. Of course, it could appear to be more fascinating to some of us than others.  However, the idea that our brains have so much of an impact on our lives as a whole. Well, that is something that is tricky to get our heads around.  
There is so much to learn about psychology that it would be hard to summarise it up in just a few paragraphs, however, what we can do is to give you a variety of mind blowing psychology facts, all of which help you to understand more about it and how it could be more important to your mood, your career, your family and your social interactions then you may realise.  

The placebo effect is real 
Have you ever heard of the placebo effect? Usually, it relates to those who take a “sugar pill” for some variety of illness, before feeling better? The idea behind this is that our mind is powerful enough to cure some issues and if it thinks that it is taking something that will cure a headache or perhaps make our muscles feel less tense, then it is going to act on this.  

Everyone experiences déjà vu at some point 
That feeling that you have been somewhere before, or that you have had a conversation before, that is déjà vu. We don’t know why these overwhelming feelings appear, but we do know that our brain has something to do with it. It could be down to a dream, or perhaps a similar experience that we have had in the past but perhaps forgotten about. Whatever it is, there is a reason why people feel it from time to time.  

The biochemical make-up of love is not far from that of OCD 
When you love someone, it can feel at times as if you are completely obsessed and besotted with them. This is because our brains react to being in love in a similar way to how they would react if we had an obsessive compulsive disorder. Chemically speaking. Of course, as time goes on these chemicals will balance out, which is why we start to calm down on our inherent nature to want to spend all our time together, before developing a deeper love for that person.  

You can trick your brain 
This is particularly true when it comes to a bad night’s sleep. Of course, long term low quality sleep is something you need to resolve, however, if you have just had one bad night then you can often tell yourself that you are not tired and that all is well, which will make you feel more alert and ready to face the day.  

Happy people bring happiness 
Do you find that you feel at your best when surrounded by those people who are smiling and love life? Chances are that you do. It is a well known fact that positive, happy people are going to have a positive, happy influence on how you feel. We mimic those around us, so, it makes sense that by surrounding ourselves with happiness, we are going to feel great too!  

We love music because we have an emotional attachment to it 
There is a reason why people may decide that a song is their favourite. Rather than simply enjoying listening to it, there is often an emotional attachment to it. Usually due to a particular person or event. Each and every time we hear the song we will remember that time and we are going to feel pretty amazing. Hence, meaning that we want to listen to it more and more.  

Your brain treats rejection just like it would an injury or physical pain 
Have you ever been rejected? Perhaps you have been turned down for a dream job or you have broken up with someone that you love? When this happens our brains react to the reaction as if it was something physical. Bringing you not only sadness, but in some cases, actual physical pain too.  

If this has ignited a passion in you to learn more about psychology, then why not check out NCC’s online psychology courses? These are designed to not only help you to uncover more about this fascinating subject, but do so whilst you still manage your own life. Whether that is helping to raise a family or focusing on your career. With online learning, you have the freedom to learn at your own pace and in your own time. 

5 posh sides to brighten any midweek meal*

As summer draws ever closer, those BBQs and other chances to host friends and family are popping up thick and fast. You often want to make it count when entertaining guests by adding some wow factor with fancy side dishes. 

Or you might just be looking for a bit more variety in your side dishes altogether – it feels good making an effort for your nearest and dearest any night of the week. To give you a grasp on easy side dishes that also look the part, here are my ideas for sides that are a little more posh than the usual suspects. 

Tapas and pinxtos
Tapas has become a bit of a buzzword in the foodie scene, but nobody can deny their appeal. They’re simple enough to make at home, and for the ultimate high-class, low effort option, go for pinxtos. Those are made with olives, Spanish hams and cheeses cut into slices on a platter, served with thick crusty bread. Kids love grabbing a toothpick and sticking it into each of the different things they want to try. 

Classy salad
A decent salad goes a long way, and always looks the part. But a truly fancy salad adds a touch of exotic flair to the whole thing. There are lots of recipes to try for this one, although my personal favourite is the potato, pea and coconut salad. It uses coconut instead of mayonnaise to add a crisp twist to the usual potato salad. Of course, the right spices go a long way to helping your salad stand apart too. 


Posh fries
Believe it or not, even the humble chip can be turned into a fancy side. With the likes of loaded fries in vogue these days, chips are no longer just cheap and cheerful. Triple cooked chips are what to go for if you’re after a rich flavour with a crisp outside and a fluffy middle. Big names like McCain Gastro Chips are making these posh potatoes easier to get hold of than ever. 

Spicy rice
Big in Mexico and Portugal and a favourite side dish for visitors of a certain chicken establishment, spicy rice recipes have become very popular lately. Have some fun with this one, because the secret is in the spices. Chilli powder, turmeric, garlic and paprika can all be experimented with to make spicy rice of varying intensities. 

Glazed sweet potatoes
Chunks of sweet potato can be glazed with all kinds of goodness to bring out their distinctive flavour. A good recipe mixes in maple glaze and bits of bacon for a rich side that’s sure to put some smiles on faces, although I’d be just as inclined to add some cajun spices or even some yakisoba sauce. 

Side dishes of all shapes and sizes can be as classy as you need them to be. Luckily, taking things upmarket doesn’t need to mean spending more or working hard either. 

Do you have a go-to side dish that you’d recommend?