Monthly Archives: April 2016

Planning a Wedding? Then You Need to Read This

If you know me well, you will know that I am engaged to my partner of seven years. If you don’t know me, well, now you know that I am engaged! It is a fun but also a daunting task to think about planning a wedding. There is a lot to take into account and decide on. Weddings need to be pretty perfect so it can take a lot of planning.

One thing that I thought might be fun to talk about is the different roles that people have at a wedding. They are the people that help to make it perfect for the happy couple. It will be so nice to be able to sit back and relax as other people take charge. Well, as much as you can relax on your wedding day!

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The Bridesmaids

I am not sure yet how many bridesmaids I will have yet. What I do know is that I want a few. On the wedding day, they are pretty much there to help the bride with everything. If the dress needs help to be carried around, then they can help with that. Assisting the bride with makeup and if hair is out of place. Before the wedding, the bridesmaids, or maid of honour will be in charge of planning a hen weekend or hen party. It has to happen, right? They can help with pre-wedding prep like wedding invitations, wedding dress shopping and anything else that you need a hand with.

The Best Man

The best man plays a massive role in the day. You will want the best man to be a close friend, but also someone that is up to the task. They will play a role in organising groups for photographs. So it is a good idea to give them a list of the photos that are a must for you to have on the day. If you want photos with certain family members, make sure you have the best man know about it. Your head will be filled with all sorts on the day, and little things like that will be the last thing on your mind. The best man gives a speech of course, as well as acting as a bit of an MC at the reception.

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The Mother of the Bride

The mother of the bride takes a big role in the wedding, but a lot of it is behind the scenes. It will be pretty much all in the planning of the wedding where she has a role. She will assist with ordering the wedding cake, table settings, and seating plan. She will help with organising the flowers and helping the couple book the church or venues. This is all the traditional things of course and can vary, depending on family situations and what the couple wants.

The Father of the Bride

He will have quite a chilled role until his moment comes to walk his daughter down the aisle. Then it will be his turn to give a speech at the wedding. It can be quite an emotional time for the bride’s father.

How To Ease Your Boredom On The Long Commute

Most of us have to commute quite some distance to get into the office. Gone are the days of working somewhere local. Now we live outside the city to be able to afford to work in the city. But it takes time to get there and back each day. The average UK commute is now 54 minutes each way. That’s a lot of time to be sat doing nothing. So how can you ease your boredom on such a long journey each day?

If you drive to work, chances are you get stuck in traffic at some point. It’s these moments that we’re most likely to lose concentration and get distracted. As we’re looking around the car for something to do while we wait, it can be all too easy to take a sneaky peak at the phone. Instead of risking a fine or crash, why not enjoy an audio book to keep you inspired on your long commute?

On a train, you can sometimes have the space to get your laptop out and get on with some work. Perhaps you’re writing a book on there or blogging? Maybe you’re planning an early retirement! If you don’t have the space in your handbag for that, you can buy a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard. And with Bluetooth headphones, you could even watch a movie while you’re passing the time. Download it for offline viewing, and you could get all the way to the end in time for your destination stop.

Britons claim that long bus journeys are the worst way to commute. As most bus routes are quite local at fewer than seven miles, you may find that cycling gets you there quicker. It’s cheaper, and healthier too. And you won’t be bored if you’re physically working your way to work. Take a fitness tracker watch with you and you can keep check of the calories you’ve burned and miles you’ve covered.

If you’re lucky enough to live within two miles of your office, chances are you can walk. Why not take up jogging so you can get home that little bit quicker in the evenings? While you’re walking, you can enjoy listening to streaming radio stations or your own private playlist tracks. Or you could even gain an education by listening to seminars, and course notes as you walk.

Driving can be one of the most unpleasant ways to commute if you’re regularly in traffic. It’s important to keep your car well maintained if you are in traffic a lot. Make sure your levels are topped up and your tyres are in good condition. If they’re wearing a bit now, order some cheap tyres to get you through the next season. A blowout in rush hour traffic could be a nightmare to deal with.

If you’re using public transport, there are apps to help you keep track of delays and cancellations. Sometimes being forewarned can leave you a little less frustrated and more prepared for a late start in the office. And if you’re cycling, be sure to keep a puncture repair kit in your bag. You should also check the brakes each day and oil the chain. Have a great day, however you get there.

Need Ways to Fund Your Retirement? Here Are the Answers

Person, Man, Face, Head, Despair, Old, Age, Senior

Retirement is seen by many to be a perfect, idyllic state. After all those decades of hard work, possibly in a job that you weren’t all that in love with anyway, you’re finally being given leave to just sit at home. No more job. No more stress. Just the freedom to sit at home and finally read all those books that you never found the time to read. Or maybe travel the world, visit all those places you’ve seen on postcards but had never been to yourself. The sweet life has finally arrived! Right?

You’ve probably guessed by now that retirement isn’t quite so idyllic for everyone. In fact, retirement can become a time of increased stress and financial worry when it finally comes. The leading reason for this is that the retiree doesn’t feel that they are prepared enough to stop working. This usually boils down to financial matters – the worry that you simply don’t have as much retirement money as you thought you did.

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Here are some ways you can help raise some more funds for your retirement.

Additional State Pension

This one will only apply to people who are already in retirement. If you reached retirement age before the 6 April 2016, then you could be eligible for an increased state pension income from the government. For men, you also have to have been born on or after 6 April 1951. For women, it’s the same date, but from 1953.

The Additional State Pension should be paid automatically along with the regular State Pension. But if you’re worried that you’re not seeing enough as you feel you should be, then you should chase this issue up. Try contacting the government Pension Service directly.

Equity release

Releasing equity is fast becoming a very popular way for people to fund their retirement. What equity release does is get you cash from your most valuable asset – your home. It can be frustrating knowing that you own something that can get you money, but also knowing that in order to get that money you’d have to sell and move out. Or, at least, that’s what you may think.

Family Home, Residence, Contemporary, Property, Modern

But if you’re in the age range of 55-60 or over, then you could be eligible for equity release. A company will give you a lump sum, or regular smaller sums, from a loan taken out on your home value. There’s a bit more to it than that, and there are interest rates to pay, but it could be the solution for you!

Investing

Investing has always been a famed way of earning cash. That is, of course, if you can find the right return on investment. This requires a bit of market know-how, but it could pay off in pretty big ways if you play your cards right. Investing before retirement is the best way to go about it. This is so you can get used to the world of investing, as well as build up a portfolio and possibly some profit for when the time comes. But if you’re already retired, is it too to start investing? Not at all. The world of investing can seem pretty daunting, but you just need to be smart about it.

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So what will you invest in? Most will simply go with stocks. But you may want to diversify your portfolio with other investments. There’s wine to consider. Even art could be a smart choice. Gold is another popular one, though many will warn against it. Whatever you choose, make sure to begin small. Only use money you can consider superfluous. And make sure you read up investing techniques as much as you can!

Downsizing

This is less a way to get cash and more a way to save cash. Still, many would call that the same thing! The fact is that that you could be sitting on several things costing you more money than you need to be spending. Make a thorough list of the things you own, starting, of course, with your house. Find out how much you’re paying every month and to what institutions.

Once you have all this information, start making decisions. Could you do with a smaller property? If you don’t need all that space, then you could save a bunch of money by moving into a smaller place. And if you find that you need all that space to hold your belongings, then ask yourself how many of those belongings you really need. It’s all a case of being honest with yourself about what can be considered a luxury. You could surprise yourself with how much money comes from selling things you don’t need!

Top Tips To Choose The Perfect Wedding Venue

If you’ve recently got engaged, you’re probably thinking about wedding venues. With so much choice out there, it can be tough to decide on a perfect location. Here are some top tips to help you choose an idyllic spot for your special day.

A wedding ceremony at Tantallon Castle

Do some research

You may have lived in the same county all your life, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be familiar with every wedding venue in the local area. If you search online, you may be shocked to find a host of potential options you’ve never heard of before.

When you’re researching, try not to dismiss anywhere based on the website. Often, places look very different in real life. It’s also a good idea to be open-minded. You may think that you know exactly what you want, but you may change your mind if you consider other options.

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/2980905038

Decide what kind of wedding you want

I the UK, the weather can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an outdoor wedding if you want to. Rolling meadows are perfect for festival style gatherings. Castle gardens are an excellent choice for traditional weddings. The rugged beaches are ideal for romantic laidback affairs.

If you see a location that would be a perfect fit for your wedding, but you’re worried about the weather, it may be worth considering marquee hire. With a marquee you can enjoy the best of both worlds. You can embrace the outdoors, as well as hosting an elegant event. Your guests will also have somewhere to shelter if there is a sudden downpour.

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Venue viewings

When you have a list of possibilities, call up and arrange some viewings. If you have a specific date, and there is no flexibility, ask about availability as a priority. There’s no point in falling in love with a location that isn’t free on your wedding day. Take a list of questions with you and make the most of the time you have at each venue. Go with your gut, but take practicalities into consideration. Is the venue large enough to cater for your guestlist? Will you have the flexibility to put your own stamp on the day? Ask as many questions as you want, and arrange to go back to any that take your fancy.

Once you have a shortlist, weigh up the pros and cons. Compare prices, and think about what each venue offers you. If you’ve been left with two similar locations, go with the one that gives you butterflies.

Choosing a venue can be stressful, but it should also be one of the most enjoyable elements of wedding planning. Be open-minded and don’t dismiss options because you think you’re sure you already know what you want. Arrange some viewings and consider a range of options. If you love a venue, but you’re worried about practicalities, work out if there is a way around them. If your venue doesn’t have a licence, for example, you could get married at a registry office. You can then move onto your reception venue afterwards. If you’re worried about the weather spoiling an outdoor extravaganza, it may be worth hiring a marquee. You can host a formal dinner, and provide a chic space for dancing and drinking once the sun sets.

Where’s the groom, Bear Grylls and Bridesmaids #LittleLoves

This week as been a tiring week but a short week in the office as have been in London 2 days and worked from home mid week due to a hospital appointment.

Read

“Where’s the Groom” by Sophie Meyer.  I downloaded this as a freebie on my kindle as the blurb looked good and it is good, i’m hooked can’t put it down.

Watched

The Island by Bear Grylls. This is about a group of women and men that were put on a Island and had to fend for themselves find food etc and surviving for as long as they can.  It is exciting but nervous at the same time, with plenty of swearing, arguing and craziness.

Wore

I haven’t worn them yet but I have brought some new Tops from Primark and New look.  Now just need an occasion to wear them lol.

Made

I don’t know if it gets classed as made yet…but I am turning my understairs cupboard into a pantry, so my dad bless him has been cutting and making us some shelves and painting them.  My dad and nephew lipping the shelves ready to paint.  Will post pictures when its completed.

Heard

More sad new about even more famous people passing away.  This year really has started off rubbish for loosing so many people.  RIP all.

And Finally…

I GOT ASKED TO BE BRIDESMAID!! Yes my cousins asked me to be her bridesmaid, I am so excited, I have never been a bridesmaid before, so will give me plenty of practice before my big day!!

Hope you have all had a great week!!

Foodies Festival – Cannon Hill Park Birmingham

Every year Cannon Hill Park hold a massive show known as the Foodie Festival, Last year my sister in Law went with her boyfriend and kids and had a great time.  Cannon Hill Park is a beautiful place to visit as well.

The festival will take place at the park from 3rd June to 5th June 2016

There will be lots of different companies there on the day, plenty to eat and drink and be happy.  I hope the sun is shining to top the day off.

You can read about my sister in Laws visit last year and what she thought about it Here

There will be entertainment stall with live bands and people playing music throughout the day aswell.  The fesitval happens at different places all over the UK at different times, check out the website for locations and to book your tickets.

Official blog review to come after my visit.

So how would you like to now win a pair of tickets to the festival? I am now offering my readers the chance of winning two pairs of tickets for this event plus a 2 for 1 offer on tickets when you order via the site and quote “FOODIES”.  To purchase Tickets visit Here

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**Please leave the ‘URL’ box BLANK when writing a comment unless you are a blogger or a website owner – failure to do this will lead to disqualification from the giveaway**

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*We were given complimentary tickets for the purpose of a review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

How To Make Your Garden More Child-Friendly In 5 Easy Steps

If you have children or nephews and nieces, it’s nice to be able to let them enjoy the garden without worrying what they’re up to every second. If your garden is harbouring hidden hazards, or you’d like to make it more appealing and enjoyable for kids, follow these simple steps.

  1. Carry out a risk assessment

Before you start making any wholesale changes to your garden, have a quick walk around and note down any problems or dangers. Write yourself a list of jobs and items to buy to make your garden safer for children. You may need to sand down rough edges, or buy some extra fence panels to section off part of the garden, for example. Once you know what you’ve got to do, you can get cracking.

  1. Think about boundaries

Do you have a broken fence? Do you share a garden path with next door? Have you got a field at the back? If you have young children, they can get around rapidly, and before you know it, they may have left the safety of your back garden. Try and create clear boundaries and secure your garden by repairing existing fences, or adding more barriers. If you have dogs, make sure the area they use to go to the toilet is not accessible to children.

  1. Think about planting and weeding

If you have nettles or inedible fruit in your garden, remove them and sow child-friendly seeds in their place. Make sure anything with thorny branches, such as rose bushes, is located in raised beds. Spray weed killer when your children and pets are safely inside.

You can get kids involved in gardening by helping them to grow vegetables, and enabling them to water the plants with you. Buy a children’s gardening set and encourage them to learn about the plants they are growing. Keep an eye on your produce, and let the kids help out with making dinner when they’re ready to harvest. Strawberries, tomatoes and courgettes are relatively easy to grow.

  1. Protect your property

If you have expensive rattan furniture or brand new floor cushions, the last thing you want is little fingers making marks. Use garden furniture covers to keep chairs and tables in tiptop condition. Always remember to take blankets, throws and bean bags inside, as the weather can be unpredictable. Keep your barbecue, toys and outdoor furniture in a shed or garage.

  1. Inject some fun

You can transform the most boring garden into an outdoor wonderland with a little imagination. Create a wobbly bridge, or a water play area. Put down some bark chippings and stepping stones. Make a cosy corner with coloured fencing, bean bags, and bunting. Lay down an outdoor track for push-along cars and bikes. Put some goals out, or turn an old shed into an ice cream parlour or a beach hut. Let your kids get involved and encourage them to share their ideas. You can also look online for inspiration.


The garden should be a place to relax, enjoy quality time together and have fun. Take these simple tips on board, and you can look forward to a summer to remember.

The Secret To A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is something we can’t live without. We need sleep to rest and recharge, but many of us don’t get enough of it. If you can’t sleep, and this is an ongoing problem, these handy tips may help.

Relax

Before you go to bed, it’s essential to take time to relax and unwind. If you’ve had a busy day at work, or you’ve been tearing around after children all day, enjoy some quiet time. Watch television, call a friend for a catch-up, or run a hot bath. Do something that doesn’t require concentration and makes you feel calm. Avoid doing anything stressful late at night. If you go to bed with your mind racing, or you feel tense or panicked, you’ll probably struggle to sleep.

In the evening, it’s best to avoid exercising or drinking anything that contains a lot of sugar or caffeine. Although regular exercise is excellent for improving sleep patterns, working out late at night is likely to give you an energy boost. This will make it tough to get to sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant and drinking coffee or tea can increase the risk of insomnia. If you do enjoy a hot drink before bed, make sure you choose a decaffeinated version. Try to avoid eating late at night. You may feel uncomfortable, especially if you’ve had a heavy meal. If you get in late, try to go for something light.

Establish a routine

Your sleep patterns are heavily influenced by your body clock, so it’s beneficial to get into a routine. You don’t need to get to bed at exactly the same time every night, but heading up at a similar time will help you to sleep better. Your body will get used to its new timetable, and you’ll enjoy restful nights. Many of us have experienced the feeling of being incredibly tired when watching TV and then struggling to nod off when we get into bed. With a routine in place, you should be able to get some proper shut-eye as soon as you climb into bed.

If you’ve got deadlines approaching at work, or you have an important meeting or an interview, it can be difficult to switch off. Try to leave work at the office and separate your work and social lives.

Avoid distractions

How many times have you been woken up at night by beeping phones, or lights outside? Do you get disturbed by children, pets or neighbours? It’s normal to have nights when you can’t sleep from time to time. But if you can’t go a night without waking up, you may want to rethink your sleeping environment. Try to create a tranquil spot where you feel completely relaxed; block out light and noise and leave phones and tablets downstairs. Use neutral colours and soft furnishings to make a cosy, calming space. When you get into bed, avoid checking your emails or texts. Pull the covers over you, get comfortable and drift off

 

 

 

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Get your mattress right

If you can’t get comfy at night, your mattress may be the culprit. Investing in a good quality mattress will help you to sleep, and ensure you maintain correct posture during the night. Visit some showrooms and try some beds out. Read reviews to find out more about different types of mattress. Check out features online such as Igel mattresses explained, and compare prices. It’s also a good idea to replace pillows on a regular basis. Try to make sure that your neck is supported.

Exercise

Exercising has multiple benefits for your health and wellbeing. Working out tires your body out, but it also helps to clear your mind and reduce anxiety and stress. If you lie awake at night worrying about work deadlines, finances or relationships, exercise can really help. Try to ensure you work out in the morning or early afternoon. Exercise releases endorphins, which lifts your mood and increases energy levels. If you don’t have a gym membership, don’t worry. There are all kinds of activities you can try to get your heart pumping and your muscles working. Visit the climbing wall or join a dance class. Cycle to work, or go for a jog in the park.

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Sleep is essential and if you’re struggling to get to sleep on a regular basis, it’s worth having a think about what you could do differently. Sleep deprivation will make you feel tired and lethargic the next day, but it also contributes to an elevated risk of illness. You may also find that you feel irritable and restless, which affects your relationships with others. Take these tips on board and hopefully, sleepless nights will be a thing of the past.

Saving Money On Your Wedding Tips Your Married Friends Will Wish They’d Known!

More and more money saving method ideas are springing up yearly. Whether they’re innovative or simply logical, your already married friends are sure to wish they’d know about them. Put them to play for your wedding to save huge amounts. We’re not talking just hundreds; you could save thousands.

Get married during the week

It can cost thousands of pounds more to get married at the weekend. First of all, venues often charge higher prices for a weekend wedding. They are able too, as they are so popular. There will always be someone willing to pay those prices. Save a lot of money by marrying during the week instead. It’s not just the venue where you’ll save. Suppliers often charge lower rates during the week. This goes for suppliers like caterers, photographers, videographers and prop providers. If you are having a civil ceremony, it is even cheaper in this scenario to hire someone to conduct your wedding Monday to Thursday.

Find a wedding dress outlet

Here is the thing. Wedding dresses in shops are so expensive because they are in-season. If being in-season is something that is very important to you, be prepared to shell out. However, if you are happy with a dress from a few seasons previous, find a local wedding outlet. This is where last season’s dresses go! There is nothing wrong with them, and they are still beautiful and flawless. However, they will be drastically lower in price. Anywhere up to 70% off, in fact.

Make your own sweet, popcorn and candyfloss stands

Sure, prop company hire these out for weddings. But why not make your own? Whether you’re having a sweetie display, or popcorn or candy floss stand, get crafty yourself. If you have a family member who is great with their hands, ask them to make the frame. Then, decorate it yourself.

Send your invites via 2nd class post

You might choose order personalised wedding invites from Paper Themes or elsewhere, or make your own. Whatever your decision for where you get your invites from, save pounds with delivery. Send them 2nd class, rather than 1st. Hand them out in person wherever possible. And watch the weight. If they’re too heavy, you’ll have to pay extra.

Stay at one venue all day

Staying at one venue all day has multiple benefits. Firstly, you may be able to cut a deal for doing both your ceremony and reception there. Secondly, you won’t need to spend money on transporting guests from one venue to another.

Ditch the 3-course meal

Unless 3-course meals are your favourite thing in the world, ditch them in favour of something less fancy. They’re costly, and you also have to think about multiple pieces of crockery and cutlery. Think outside the box for some unique ways to save money on your wedding food. For a relaxed event, why not get a big pizza delivery in the evenings?

Marry last minute!

Some might think marrying last minute will cost lots of money. But it could be that it actually saves! Instead of getting carried away over the course of several months (or years), you’ll be forced to streamline your spending. You might also be able to pick up some amazing deals on last-minute wedding packages.

Hire a Photography Student

Hiring a top quality photographer can take up quite a chunk of your budget. A reputable one can charge upwards of £1,000 for the day’s work. They may then charge you extra for the prints too. If you have a local college or University, see if they have a photography course. If so, get in touch with the course director and let him or know you’re hiring. Tell them the basic details and fee you’re offering, and give a contact number for any interested students to get in touch on. They will accept a lower fee as they will want to work for their portfolio. Their education and dedication to photography will mean they’re of an excellent standard. Just be sure to meet in advance to check that you click.

Hire a house for your guests, not a hotel

When it comes to choosing accommodation for your guests, it can be tempting to book hotels. However, this is often far more costly than hiring a big house. A house also comes with parking spaces, so you don’t have to pay for these. Plus, the kitchen allows them to cook for themselves, rather than making it so they have to eat out. Finally, a house gives them more privacy and some real opportunity for bonding.

 

A Crafty Wedding:Using Craft Skills On Your Own Big Day

Weddings are a funny thing. They are one of the most universal things in the world, yet also one of the most personal. Most people have been to at least a few weddings in their lifetime and it’s likely that they all had some element of tradition. But often, the larger aspects are not what people remember. The wedding gown, venue, and ceremony may all have been beautiful. But what sticks in the mind over time is usually the details. Subtle differences that made each event stand out from the others. Weddings, at least in the UK, tend to follow a pretty standard formula. Classical tradition can be a beautiful thing, but it can also be difficult to allow your personality to shine. If you’re fortunate enough to have skill with crafts or at least the desire to learn, your wedding day is a great opportunity to shine. Craft work can not only help keep the cost down, but it can also add a high level of detail and personalisation that many weddings lack. If you want to get crafty on your wedding day, read on for inspiration!

flowers, bouquet, holding

Place Setting and Catering

Weddings can be all day long and into the night, so catering for your guests is an important consideration. If you’re looking for a way to add detail to the decor, the catering provides a great chance to do so. You can fashion your own place keepers for the guests with cards, cloth, or even photographs. You can design and decorate your own menu. If you’re into fonts or calligraphy, why not write the name of each dish and a short description to help guests select from a buffet, for example? If you’re known for your craft skills, this can be one way to really make your wedding day your own.

Signs

In a new venue or when your guests have had to travel, signs and directions can be very helpful. They can be included along with the invitation or even dotted along the road leading to the venue. A chalkboard with beautiful writing and a helpful directional arrow can be an eye-catching way to welcome your guests. It will also make a wonderful keepsake or photograph to remember the day.

art, pens, colorful

The Invitations

Your invitations are a wonderful opportunity to use your craft skills and make the day your own. If you have a large guest list, it can be practical to select professional wedding invitations. But you can still add extra detail or craftwork, even to the envelopes. Stamping or sealing in a creative way such as with wax is a very underused art. It can add an air of mystery and glamour to the invitation and makes receiving one a genuine pleasure.

The Photo Album

Once the wedding day itself is over, you can still continue crafting! Receiving photographs from the day can be an amazingly exciting and rewarding aspect. Many couples report that it’s almost as if having the day all over again. Don’t hesitate to find an album you love and decorate it with details from the day. It can be overheard words or pieces of advice written in beautiful fonts. It can be some confetti from the day or an old invitation. Craft flowers, fabrics, and other details can add layers and dimension to the album. It can be an ongoing project and one you’ll treasure forever.