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5 Easy Ways To Get Freebies*

Being a single parent means we only have one income. So I am always thinking of ways to save money and budget. I have shared with you how tips on saving money on your food shop and tips on keeping cost down helpme day go day. Another way that I save money is by looking out for freebies. I mean who doesnt love a freebie? Today I'm going to share with you 5 ways how I get freebies, 




Write to companies
Companies love nothing better than hearing good feedback about their products. If you are really impressed with a product why don't you use a Head Office Finder to get their postal address and find them a letter. I have done this before and have received a thank you letter back with either a voucher for money off my next buy or a sample of one of their newer products.

Become a "Comper"
Set up a separate email account, so your personal email account is not spammed with junk mail. You can have more than one email address if you want to enter more than once. Competitions can be found on Twitter, Facebook and website such as The prize finder.

This year alone I have won a hotel stay, DVDs and gift vouchers. So it is definitely worth taking some time out of your day and entering a few competions. Around Christmas time there are a lot and I mean a lot of competitions available. So that will definitely keep you busy.

Join freebie websites
Use the same email account that you created for entering competitions and use it to register with websites that offer freebie. I've seen theatre shows for free via seefilmfirst, and moneysavingexpert.com have a forum where people list freebies that they have found online

Complain, Complain, Complain
I would never complain about anything until I lived with Debz, who is never shy to pipe up if she is not happy with a service. We always laugh about the time my Internet wasn't working on my mobile and she spent a good hour on the phone asking to speak to the manager. Which resulted in me not only getting refunded for every day I couldn't log on-line but being put on a much cheaper contract. Which just goes to show it's good to complain. But only ever complain if you are actually unhappy, not any of this "there's a fly in my soup" business!

Be a product tester
If you don't mind being a test dummy, you can test products and in return for your views you get to keep the item. Some companies will give you a product to view in return for leaving a review on amazon.

I have tested things from bath bombs and hair oils to wireless speakers and kitchen thongs. It can be very hit and miss but I only ever leave honest feedback.

So that was my 5 tips on how to get freebies, do you love a freebie?

Interior design ideas to please the whole family*

With the Autumn days and darker nights getting ready to draw in, we’ll be spending more time in the family room so shouldn’t they be as warm and welcoming as they can? 

But for who? Your idea of a perfect family room might be very different than your partners – and unless you’re an adult gamer or love cartoons – and your children.  


The layout, style and features of a family room or living room as we used to call them have to have something for everybody if they are going to enjoy spending time there.  

Here are some ideas to create something for everyone in the main living space: 

Play Room
Not everybody has space for a separate playroom for younger children, or may not want to create one but there can be one corner of the main room dedicated as a fun play are for the kids.  

Think about it – without one, the toys can quickly take over and make you feel like you are living in a giant soft play centre. By turning a specific space into a Kindergarten, they will feel valued and can be given the lifelong and important responsibility of keeping it tidy.   

It can be done tastefully with splashes of colour and subtle but important storage spaces dedicated to toys, gadgets, arts and crafts materials and more.  As the children grow these storage spaces remain and can be used to house gadgets and whatever else is going to be in five years from now.  

Image-ination
Nothing can reinforce the idea and membership of a family than pictures of the members in the room. Any bare section of wall, shelf space or cupboard is a great spot and if the frames are kept identical in colour and their sizes, it will re inform the group dynamic.   

Choosing one or two of your favourite family pictures from holidays or great days out and converting them to large prints will create warm centrepieces that everyone will remember. 

Tech Talk 
Modern technology and gadgets are ubiquitous but the newer designs for flat screen 4K TV’s and colour coded wifi speakers and routers mean that it can be incorporated into any living room style perfectly.  

Floating shelves can be incorporated to elevate any screens and speakers you wish and modern assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo can be hidden behind plants or ornaments. They are voice controlled so as long as they can hear you, you don’t have to see them! 

The family that games together stays together so make the space compatible for a family viewing and gaming experience. A couple of colour coordinated beanbags cost less and take up far less space than chairs and can keep the space informal and comfortable – even if you are entertaining big kids for a movie or a match. 

Family Friendly Flooring
The modern flavour of wooden floor is here to stay but it can be brightened up with a large or several smaller rugs.  Keeping the room tidy and free of clutter is also imperative but different colours and materials will offer an interesting aspect.   

Having a thicker or woolly rug will also be great for kids’ feet and to sit on when their friends are around. Even more so if they match the beanbags.  

Open Spaces
A modern design idea that will function all year round is increasing the light in a room. But what if you could also open up the wall to let nothing but light in and take advantage of great weather days? 

Installing some powder coated, colour-coordinated aluminium bifold doors is an elegant solution and provides a variety of fourth wall options to rethink any family room arrangement.   

With increased light and ventilation coming into the room, it will feel like there is more space available for everyone – and it’s a quick and easy way to get the kids more active in the outdoor spaces and you will be able to see them easily from the sofa! 


5 Reasons Why A Driving Experience Will Make The Perfect Gift For The Woman In Your Life*


I don't know about you, but sometimes I struggle with buying gifts for people. I am not a fan of buying something just for the sake of it, preferring to put thought and effort into buying something I know they'll love. Over recent years I have really enjoyed the idea of giving presents that create memories - anyone can buy someone a new dress or a DVD, but when you buy experiences you create memories that last forever. This can be done by sending them out for dinner, or something unique like experience days.

I love the idea of an experience day as it is something a little different.

She Won't Be Expecting It

I think buying something that someone isn't expecting is amazing. Not only will they get to enjoy the experience you send them on, but the thrill of opening your unexpected present and the anticipation of the big day is priceless. I can honestly say that none of the women in my life will be expecting something like this, so it would make the perfect present for many of them.

You Can Enjoy It Together

When I give a present, I don't do it because I want thanks - but that said, creating memories together is something really special. One of these driving day experience is easily something you can make into a whole day - go for dinner afterwards or even treat yourselves to a stay in a swanky hotel!

It's Unique

Honestly speaking, these days are unique so who wouldn't love it? You can pick from different cars, so whatever the female in your life likes, there will be something to suit!

It's Affordable

I can't always afford to treat my friends and family as much as I would like, so any ideas for affordable gifts is good by me. I love this type of present because it is all about the experience not how much you have spent. It's a present that they're going to know you have given thought to, and that is what makes it so special.

Convenience

Lots of my friends (like yours I am sure) fun family homes, work busy jobs and have vibrant social lives so getting together can be tough. When I looked into these driving experience days I loved the flexibility of times and locations, so I can be pretty sure that we'll be able to find something that suits all of us!

What unique gift ideas would you like to share?

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Credit Score*

There are many reasons why it is imporrtant to have a good credit rating, from buying a new car on credit, getting credit cards or loan with a low APR or if you are saving up for a mortgage.

If you are in need of a loan and have been rejected due to having a poor credit rating, then a instant loans might be best for you. Remember though, loans are great if they work for you - however sometimes it's important to make sure that you only borrow for what you need and can afford to pay back!. 



You can check your credit score using one of the four main credit scoring agencies in the UK: Equifax, Experian, Callcredit and Noddle. You can ask a full report of your credit report for free. Your credit report will include; all loans,credit card accounts which are open, current overdraft, previous credit applications, any missed payments and the number of times it has happened and any history of debt, CCJs etc. This will also identify people who are connected to you including partners, other people who have lived at the same addres as you etc


Today I am sharing with you 5 ways you can improve your credit score;

Pay bills on time
Credit history is built up slowly over time as you increase the number of on-time payments you make. Missed and late payments can stay on your credit file for up to six years. Paying your bills on time is a great way to prove to lenders that you’re capable of managing finances effectively.

Register to vote 
If your name is not registered on the electoral roll, you will find it harder to get credit. You can register with your local council to vote on-line or by post.

Pay off your debts
Paying more than your minimum payment can be seen as you managing your debts responsibly. Which means that prospective lenders would more than likely want to give you credit.

Stay within the agreed credit limit
Try and avoid getting into your overdraft, regularly being in your overdraft means you are not in control of your spending, and a credit company will be less inclined to loan you money, as there is a risk that you will not be able to pay back the money borrowed.

Avoid opening many new accounts
Credit reference agencies don't get told if you are rejected for credit, but a note is made every time a credit search is made by a lender. The more credit searches carried out in a short space of time, the less likely you are to be accepted for credit by most lenders.

If you need some more advice about improving your credit rating Step Change are a debt charity who give free debt advice & debt management. Step Change are fantastic, they are happy to give you advice when you need it.


Have you recently improved your credit rating? I would love to hear how you did it.

How To Save For A Mortgage*

Getting on the property ladder can be hard, especially like me where you are spending hundreds a month on rent. We currently live in a flat and a dream of house with space that we can grow into and a garden where Darcy can play. I know it is not impossible but it will be hard work. I've been working out how I can make my dream a reality and have come up with some ways to save up for a deposit. Which I am going to share with you today;


Location
You really need to take a moment and think about the place which you want to live in. Can you really afford it? Would it be more financially sensible to downsize, move to an up and coming area or even move out of the city? If you are currently renting moving to a different area with lower rent costs means more money in the saving kitty. But do not forget to weigh in factors such as travel costs.

Get a Side Hustle
There are lots of way you can make money from side hustling.From being a reseller on eBay, to taking a few minutes out of your day to complete on line surveys. I use Prolific which I find really easy to use and they pay out via Paypal. Or if you are brave enough there is Matched betting, which is something that I am looking into. If you have the time extra rime find yourself a part time job, this could be in the evenings or even at the weekends.

Do you have a hobby which you can turn into a business? Making crafts has been a popular way of making money for a while now. With a lot of people opening Etsy stores or selling via Facebook groups or on Instagram.


Parents
I'm super proud of my Mum, she got herself a mortgage as not only a single parent, but also a full-time student with not one but two part time jobs! And this year she will finally paid up her mortgage and the house will be officially hers. She's a great role model and we have spoken in depth about her helping me get a mortgage and the importance of owning a property. We sat down and used this tool from SunLife to see how much her house has made her and it just proves how being a home owning is a great investment.


Move in with Parents or Friends
If your parents are not the in positon to help you with a deposit for a mortgage. You could always see if you are able to move in with them to help save the pennies. It might be hard at the beginning but there are so many benefits to moving in apart from saving money.

Shared Ownership
If you cannot afford a 100% mortgage, shared ownership might be for you. Shared ownership gives you the chance to buy a share of your home, from 25- 75% and pay rent on the remainder share. When you are in a better financial place you can buy a bigger share of your home.

Have you saved up for a deposit? what tips could you share to get people on the right path? I would love to hear them?

Tips for finding your personal style when redecorating *

Sometimes, it can feel tricky to decide how you would like to revamp your home visually. You might recoil at the sight of the home into which you have recently moved, but as you pore over various decorating styles on Pinterest and in magazines, you could still struggle to settle on just one style. 

Perhaps your tastes are simply too electric or obscure to fall into many narrow, previously-defined categories. Here are some ways of pushing yourself closer to deciding where exactly your heart lies. 


Consider your long-term passions 
Many of us have hobbies and interests in which we have been regularly engaged even as far back as childhood. For example, friends and family might have known of your strong fondness for red as a kid - and, if you still like that colour, you could incorporate it into a new redecorating scheme. 
Still, there remains nothing wrong with subtly updating such elements to reflect how you have changed since childhood. For example, pairing red with black could create a darker, more adult look. 

What would you choose if your budget had no bounds? 
While you might lack a bottomless pit of money, you could still list every single decor item for which you would love to shell out if you didn't have to fret about your money becoming fully depleted.  
Through mentally throwing off the fetters in this way, you could open your mind to less orthodox ideas to which you might have previously put little serious thought. Don't worry if you don't proceed to buy any of these items, as you would still develop a clearer perception of your genuine passions. 


Have a look around your garden  
You might already habitually do this if you are an avid gardener - but, whether or not you indeed are, you could also take in the sight of neighbours' outdoor spaces and more public settings. 
Follow HuffPost's advice to ask yourself why you love these spaces. You could also determine which aspects of them repel you. Incidentally, in gazing around your own outdoor space, you might see a damaged roof blighting the backdrop, leading you to Google "roofing repair companies near me". 

Make a dream destination come true  
For plenty of us, there are particular places in which spending time can feel utterly blissful. Where do you most yearn to visit, whether for the first time or repeatedly?  
If you would love to sit back in an elegant Parisian hotel, you could add touches of romantic glamour to your home. On the other hand, if your idea of fun is more feeling the gentle breeze on your skin just outside a beach house, tropical motifs could make more fitting additions to your home interiors. 

Don't be afraid to mix and match multiple styles 
Many of us have a broad spectrum of preferences when it comes to interior design. If you are among these people, take heart from Freshome's insistence that "it's not only acceptable to embrace these different tastes and styles, but it is encouraged!"

Where Can You Find Ideas for Home Decorating?*

A stylish and on-trend home is possible but finding the latest ideas can be problematic, especially when some sites say one trend in hot and another says not to do it. Take a look at the best places to find the best ideas for home decorating. 
 

Know your interior designers 
Just like fashion, if you are serious about home décor and style, you need to know your designers. If nothing else, you can develop your appreciation of trends that could be coming your way and how to apply them to your home and space. 
This is a worthwhile move even if your budget doesn’t stretch to the designer price tag. 
Knowing you’re a-list of interior designers means you can see their trademark notes and ideas.  

For example, Kelly Wearstler is known for her global luxurious style whereas, for the modernistas amongst us, Peter Dunham is a favoured name. 

Interior design magazines 
The next place to look is to see what interior design magazines, in print and online, are making of the latest collection from established and new designers. 
As you would expect, there are a whole host of interior design magazines. Look for articles that pull together the latest trends using colour, or ‘trends for the year’ kind of articles. 
They look to designers for inspiration and will often translate how we can use their ideas in the busy family home, a skill that many of us aren’t quite able to translate. 
They will also show you various ways of decorating your home, as well providing a list of high street and online retailers where you can buy the must-have items. 
Check out the top 10 interior design magazines, online and in print for more inspiration. 

High street stores 
Buying from the high street is the place most of us search for the ideal chair, sofa or dining table, preferring to see and touch the furniture before we buy. 
It makes sense too because the colour reproduction of photos online may not be true to shade or finish of the wallpaper or furniture item that gets delivered. 

High street stores will often replicate designer items but by doing so, place them within your price range. And with your chance to take a closer look, you can get a feel for whether the item is right for your home or not. 

How to’ guides 
How to guides are great for helping you understand the principles behind decorating and styling a room. 

Colour is usually the most difficult choice for many of us. Just how do you choose the right shade, mix and match colours an
d then there is the whole question of how to successfully mix different styles of pattern. 
The web is a vast place and full of ideas, as well as well-written how-to guides. For example, how to choose a colour and shade for a room is guided by many principles, other than your own personal preference. This is covered in this how to choose a colour for a room, a great start if you really have no idea. 

Interior design bloggers 
Another great source of inspiration which has mushroomed in recent years is taking a look at the personal blogs of other amateur interior designers and home decorators. 
Home interior bloggers are a fantastic source of information and ideas, as well as giving out handy tips on what to do and what not to do. 

And don’t restrict your search to British bloggers either, although they do have some amazing ideas. There is an infinite number of interior design bloggers across the globe, many of which have some great ideas to try. 
Why not take a closer look at the interior design blogs that a top interior design magazine recommends? 

Social media sites 
Both Pinterest and Instagram could be sites that also show you how to make the right home decorating choices; 
  • Pinterest is an online scrapbooking site which is perfect if you like a certain colour, style or item that another user has posted to their board. You can see where they have acquired certain items, ideal if you want to find it. 
  • Instagram is perfect as a source of inspiration, a chance to see and share what others are doing in terms of home décor from across the world. 
Online retailers 
And finally, check out what online retailers are offering not just in terms of products for sale but their blogs too. 
Online retailers are often specialists in their field, such as Sloane and Sons’ tub chairs and wingback armchairs are commonly featured in articles and blogs across the web. These online retailers will give you great ideas on how to incorporate certain items, colours or styles too. 
Where do you get your inspiration? 


Sloane & Sons work with their customers to produce the results and style in their home and workplace that they want – and within budget too!