Category Archives: Collaborative Posts

Working From Home? What Nobody Tells You About Making It Work

So, you’ve decided to quit your job and work from home? Or maybe you’ve found yourself staying at home because you’re on maternity leave, or perhaps while you’re recovering from an injury? If there’s one thing that you know about working from home, even if you’ve got no experience of it, it’s that it’s never going to be like working in an office. Indeed, staying at home means that you can more easily manage a balanced work/life time. For a new mommy, for instance, this means that you get to be there for your child. For someone recovering from health issues, this means that you don’t have to face the exhaustion of commuting or the stressful office politics. But being your own boss is not all about freedom! It’s hard work too, and you need to be ready to tackle unexpected challenges to make it work.

Home Office, Office, Desk, Chair, Workspace

Passion isn’t enough

Contrary to what most office job specs say, motivation isn’t enough to make your home-based work work. When you’re your own boss, you need to think of the bigger picture and establish your business plan. Having an idea is a great start, but it’s not enough to launch a successful business – even a one-person business. You need to have a strategy to follow to target the right market and approach clients and potential investors. In other words, if you’re new to this part of the business world, you have to start with researching the market to define whether your idea is viable and whether there’s an audience for it. For instance, if you want to offer handmade wedding cards, get in touch with wedding planners and venues to discuss the requirements of their clients and find out who your competitors are.

What’s your work uniform?

Workwear might seem like the kind of things you’ve left at the office, but in reality, the clothes you wear affect your mood. It’s fair to say that if you choose to wear pyjamas all day, you might find it hard to be productive. Indeed, if you’re dressed for bed, you can’t expect your brain to assume that it needs to be focused and alert. Admittedly, it doesn’t mean that you should wear your best blazer and skirt to work from home, but you can pick active and engaging combination from Chesca Direct to put yourself in the right mood. Admittedly, what you do will impact on your choice of clothes. A creative business-owner is more likely to work in craft clothes, while a desk worker will choose the comfort of trousers and a shirt.

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Home office = work mindset

Last, but not least, your home office setting matters. You can’t work on the corner of the kitchen table. You need a space that is dedicated to your business. Find a quiet spot in your home to establish your workplace. You’ll also need to keep your documents and clutter under control, using folders, drawers, and storage facilities. A messy desk means a messy mind!

In other words, when you decide to work from home, you need to approach everything you do with a business-like mind. From the moment you launch your freelancing idea to your workplace setup, it’s only by bringing professionalism to your home-based enterprise that you can make it work!

Top Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy for Life

If you are a dog owner then you will know how great it can be to watch your dog grow and develop. You will also know how great it is to watch them get their own personality as well, and nothing can quite compare to this. The one thing that you need to do when you get a dog is you need to make sure that they are healthy and happy at all times. You also need to make sure that they are given the support they need as they age as well, and there are plenty of ways that you can do this.

Exercise

Exercise for puppies or fully-grown dogs can vary. It can range from just the basics to intense and full-on activities. You can choose to take your dog out on a daily walk or you can choose to take them to agility training classes. Dogs need exercise, but you really are in charge of how intense or fun that exercise is. Even the simplest activities can go a long way with your dog, and this is great if your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to take an hour-long walk every single day. The second thing that you need to take note of is that you need to change things up for your dog from time to time. Try and take them to a different field to play, or play fetch with them off the lead. You can also make your own obstacle course outside in the garden if you want because this can be super fun for you as well!

adorable, animal, breed

Stimulate your Dog’s Mind

Dogs really are instinctual creatures. They are also known for being interactive and very intelligent. They often look to you to provide them with a lot of opportunities to test themselves. They need new stimuli every now and again as well. For this reason, it’s super important that you try and challenge your dog’s mind. Try and practice new tricks with them or even try and introduce them to other dogs from time to time. Take them out on new walks, mix it up by buying them new treats or try and teach them to do something difficult. There are so many ideas out there to get you started and they can all make a huge difference to the quality of life that your dog has.

Routine Care

Routine care is really one of the most important things that you can do for your pet. This is especially the case since animals themselves cannot communicate directly and this is especially the case when they do not have any biological needs. It’s super important that you try and give your pet a nice and varied diet and this is so you can help them to avoid any digestive issues. If you are noticing that your dog is a bit more tired than usual or if you know that they have experienced some digestive issues recently then check out this guide from Simplewag’s solutions.

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Meeting their Nutritional Needs

Dog owners also need to make a special effort to try and understand the nutritional needs that their pets have. This can be difficult because you may be trying to find out information that isn’t always obvious. One good way for you to try and make sure that your pet is healthy is to try and introduce a supplement into their diet or even try and swap them to a better, more nutrient-filled diet. When you are able to do this, you can really help them to stay healthy and you can also ensure that they have a nice, glossy coat as well. If you are concerned about switching up your dog’s food then this is completely understandable, but one thing that you can do is to try and give them treats that are good for them such as rawhide or even try and bake them doggy treats. When you make your dog treats yourself, you can easily know what is going into their food and you can also help them to have fun when they have done something good.

So there are plenty of ways to make sure that your dog is getting the nutritional help that they need and it is very easy for you to try and keep them healthy as well. If you want to find out more then you can easily talk with your vet to find out if your pet has any specific needs that you need to meet as well.

Fun Things to Do with Your Dog

Image result for A big, friendly dog hoping to go to the #WestministerDogShow.

If you and your family own a dog, you have endless opportunities to have a good time. Dogs love to be entertained as much as they are entertaining and spending quality time with the dog will bring you all so many rewards. It’s lucky then, that there are so many fun things you can do with your four-legged friend…

Teach Them Agility

Have you ever watched dog shows? If you do you’ll no doubt have seen those perfectly trained pooches running through tunnels, jumping over fences and having a wail of a time with their owners’ as they do it. You don’t have to be a professional dog trainer or into competitions to get in on this action. You can buy many home obstacle courses, or find them in your community, where you can teach your dogs a few new agility based tricks just for fun, and it is a lot of fun!

Check Out Their DNA

If your dog is not a pure breed, you’ve probably wondered from time to time exactly which breeds they are made up of, well now you can find out and it’s surprisingly fun. As you can see from these Certapet’s DNA test recommendations, lots of dog owners are giving their pooches DNA tests to find out what they’re made up of. Many of them then post the results of social media to add to the fun. It’s like doing your family tree, but for your dog which instantly makes it so much cuter.

Volunteer with Them

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If you own a pet dog, you’ll know that they can make everything better. No matter how bad you’re day has been, when you see your dog’s happy face and you sit down to stroke his silky fur, all of your cares melt away and you feel good again, at least for a little while. So, why not bring some of that joy to others? Animal-assisted activities are popular at retirement homes, nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, in search and rescue scenarios and so many other places where people could do with a boost, and volunteering yours and your dog’s time will be so rewarding. It will teach the kids about the importance of helping others, and show them that doing so can be lots of fun, too.

Go HIking with Them

There’s nothing like getting out in nature with your faithful friend by your best side to make you feel like all is right with the world. Dogs love exercise and they love being able to explore new terrain, and all of the wonderful smells they find there, whenever possible. Their obvious lust for life and delight in the simple pleasures of nature will undoubtedly rub off on you all and ensure that you too appreciate nature as much as it should be appreciated. Just be sure to check any rules and regulations regarding dogs before you head to any given area.

Hit the Dog Park with Them

The great thing about the dog park is that not only do you get to benefit from having quality time with your own dogs, but you have the privilege of being surrounded by lots of cute critters from all around the neighborhood. You’ll have lots of simple fun watching them run around, play and do silly things and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to pet more than a few of them too. Your dog will adore it and so will you.

Do Yoga with Them

Image result for Boston Terrier Yoga flickr

Yes, dog yoga, or Doga as it is known to aficionados of the activity is a thing and you know what? It’s great. It combines the calming benefits of yoga with the soothing benefits of your animal’s presence, and it ensures that you both get a gentle workout in., What could be better than that?


Teach Them New Tricks

A lot of people look upon training their dogs as hard work rather than something that can be done for fun, but it can actually be very entertaining. Watching your dog pick up new skills and teaching them funny tricks like pretending to play dead or teaching them how to play hide and seek will give you hours of entertainment, and because your dog will become more obedient throughout your training, you’ll be able to have more fun outside the home with them too.

Teach Them Tracking

Speaking of hide and seek, teaching your dog to track other objects apart from your and the kids is surprisingly good fun, Hide a favorite toy or treat and see how long it takes them to find it. Whoever’s hiding skills prove the biggest challenge gets a prize!

As you can see, if you have a dog, you truly never need to be bored again!

Tips for Boosting Workplace Productivity

Whether you run your own business or you work for a large corporate company, productivity can make a big difference in what you achieve both financially and from a career perspective. Being productive isn’t a trait that you are either born with or you just don’t have, it is an art that can be developed through techniques and perseverance.

You probably don’t need a rundown of why productivity is so valuable; you already know that it means that you can get more work done in a shorter amount of time. But perhaps you haven’t quite mastered it yourself, or you often find your mind drifting away from the task at hand. You find social media distracting or you like to have a quick chat with your colleagues throughout the day. Whatever it is that is stopping you from being more productive, you want to get it resolved as soon as possible.

Here are some tried and tested methods of boosting productivity:

Exercise – Going to the gym before you go to work or even having a bit of a power walk on your lunch break can give you an energy boost. What happens when you exercise is that you increase the blood flow to your brain, making you more alert. Some people cannot function in the morning without a strong coffee but exercise can give you that same buzz but a natural one, so it is much better!

Timing tasks – If you are doing a particular task on a regular basis, time how long it takes you to do that task. Don’t let the quality get compromised if you need to make sure it is top quality work. Take the right amount of time but fully concentrate on the task. The next time you perform that same piece of work you should be aiming to hit that same amount of time, so time yourself doing it again. What this does is it makes you concentrate harder and push distractions aside because you have a time target.

Pomodoro Technique – A bit of a variation on the timing element but along the same lines, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that people have been using for nearly 40 years. It is based around segmenting your work into 25-minute slots, where you do the work for 25 minutes and then you get up and have a short break from your work. Only a minute or two, just enough to think about something else for a minute. Then you start on the next 25-minute slot of work and repeat.

Rewards – Reward management is an important part of engaging employees and engaged employees are proven to be more productive. If you work in HR then you will probably know a lot about this already and the proven results of providing rewards through pay modelling. You can find out more about that if you visit this website.

Pay isn’t the only way that you can use rewards to improve productivity. Many businesses have sales targets and prizes for those who perform well. Or you can have an employee recognition scheme where productivity is rewarded with a certificate or even just an email that shows recognition to the employee.

Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ is enough to show someone how much you appreciate their work and that in turn often inspires them to be even more productive afterwards. Always make sure that saying thank you is genuine and personal, i.e. you have noticed how good a job they have done and why, not just a general thanks at the same time every week/day.

Be Your Own Boss With Boost Capital

I would love to be my own boss and work the hours and days I want,  especially since having my little boy. I want to spend every day at home with him watching him grow up and not missing a moment.

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Quite a few years ago now I did start up my own small card business called Kim Cooper’s Crafts, which, you can find it here Kim Coopers Crafts . I make and design cards for all occasions. A few months ago, I branched out into wedding stationery but unfortunately it hasn’t taken off properly, as I haven’t had the time or money to put into it whilst being on maternity leave.  I would love to be able to get it up & running properly and with the help of merchant cash advance from Boost Capital I may just get the help I need.

My Top Tips

  1. Write a Business plan – A solid business plan will guide you going forward, even if your plan is to be just a solopreneur or freelancer. It’s also needed for presenting your idea to potential investors. Your business plan should include a mission statement, a company summary, an executive summary, a service or product offerings, a description of a target market, financial projections and the cost of the operation.
  2. Get clients or customers first – Don’t wait until you’ve officially started your business to line these up, because your business can’t survive without them.  Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can’t start marketing too soon.
  3. Never Give up – No matter how hard it may be, there are plenty of people and organisations out there that will be able to help you or put you in the right direction of where to go. Plus with the support from family and friends you can achieve your goals.
  4. Spread the word – Ask companies to put business cards in their shops or leaflets with discount code offers around for people to use.
  5. Establish a budget – Once you determine how much money you’ll have to work with, figure out how much it will take to develop your product or service and create a marketing plan, you don’t want to be out of pocket.

Wheels up! Here’s Your Ultimate Guide to Travelling while in a Wheelchair

When you are in a wheelchair, you’ll understand that this comes with its fair share of obstacles. You have to worry about your luggage getting lost and you may also have to worry about your health in general as well. This doesn’t mean that you can’t go out there and have fun however, and it also doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time worrying about your next trip out. It’s more than possible for you to have the travel experience of a lifetime even though you are in a wheelchair, and you can also make your next getaway much easier as well.

Bulkhead Seating

When you are booking your flight, it is a good idea for you to call the airline so that you can explain to them that you are in a wheelchair. You may also need to let them know that you may require some bulkhead seating as well. Bulkhead is actually the front row of the economy class and the seats are usually way more spacious when compared. This makes it much easier for you to move around when you are boarding. Bulkhead does come at an extra cost but your airline may be willing to sort this out for you so you don’t have to worry when you arrive. You may even want to consider Orange Badge Mobility Hire as they can provide you with all of the mobility equipment you need.

adult, book, business

Arrive Early

When you arrive, you will need to arrive an hour or two earlier than your flight. If you are a wheelchair user then you may want to arrive earlier than this time, because you don’t want to feel rushed to get to your plane. You also can’t exactly walk through security either, so a separate pat down may be required. All of this will take up way more time than you’d like, so prepare for it.

Voltages

If you are travelling internationally then it helps to check the voltage of the destination you’re going to. The main reason for this is because your powered wheelchair may need some charge from time to time and in the US most plugs are 110 volts. The problem is when you go abroad, some of the standard plugs may be 220 volts or more. If you are in a wheelchair that requires charging then it is a good idea for you to have an adapter that could help you out. You may also want to have a wheelchair battery as well so that you can change it out if you need to. If you plug your electric wheelchair into a plug with the wrong volt, this could cause you some serious and potentially embarrassing issues.

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So there are many things that you can do to prepare for your travel when you are in a wheelchair, and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for you to really make sure that your next trip is the most enjoyable one yet. After all, trips are always more fun when there’s less stress involved!

Five Water Plants You Should Have in Your Garden Pond

One of the great things about planning a new pond in your garden is deciding which plants you want to include as part of the water feature. There are many beautiful native species to choose from depending on the look you want to create.  

From flowering plants and floating plants, from tall grasses to beautiful foliage, there are many different choices when it comes to selecting the perfect aquatic plants to complement your garden pond.  

We spoke to the team at Aquacadabra who supply a huge variety of pond supplies and they helped us select five of the best aquatic plants to feature in your pond.  

  1. The Water Lily 

This is probably the most famous of garden pond plants and the one that most of us think of when planning a pond. With its large leaves and beautiful flowers it is a really exotic-looking plant for any type of pond.  

Its proper name is Nymphaea alba and with flowers from May to November, a water lily is sure to add a touch of colour to your pond. If your pond is on the small side it might not be ideal however, as this plant needs plenty of space to thrive, although you might like to try one of the dwarf varieties in that case.  

Water lilies bloom in the day and the flowers will close at night and often drop under the water until the morning time. There are many varieties available.  

  1. The Marsh Marigold 

This flowering plant is native to Britain and comes in a variety of yellow and gold shades. It comes in a number of varieties and is an attractive plant which will also help support insect life in your garden as they love its nectar and pollen.  

These beautiful flowers should be planted around the edge of the pond, and it fares well in both shady conditions and sunshine. It tends to grow in clumps but it is easy to separate if it starts to get too unwieldy and take over.  

  1. The Globe  Flower 

A beautiful native plant, this flower used to be seen in gardens across the country and was used in festivals but now it is becoming rarer because of a lack of damp meadow habitats. However, it also grows well in ponds and makes a beautiful addition to any water feature so by planting these you will be supporting our native plants to thrive.  

  1. The Water Forget-Me-Not 

A beautiful variety of the forget-me-not, the aquatic version provides sky blue flowers with bright yellow and white centres making it stand out around any pond.  

They do best in shallow ponds and provide the stunning array of colour from June through to September. The stems of Myosotis scorpioides create perfect landing places for dragon and damselflies. 

  1. The Water Mint 

Mentha aquatic is one of our few native herbs and comes with very dark green foliage, often edged with red, making it very striking to look at. It flowers from July through to October with pink flowers and is very easy to look after.  

It can grow very quickly and take over so it’s best to grow it in a basket to help keep it under control. It can be used in cooking and makes a wonderful tasting mint tea so it’s useful as well as very decorative.  

Those are the top five plants which you should have in your garden pond; however, five is not very many depending on the size of your pond so here are a few bonus plants which also look fantastic in any pond.  

Common Water Crowfoot 

This is a member of the buttercup family of plants and has white flowers and fern-like leaves. It needs a large pond ideally and its leaves live under the water while the flowers pop up on the surface in the summer. It can grow in either sunny or shady conditions.  

Rigid Hornwort 

This plant is ideal for helping to oxygenate small ponds, around a metre deep, as it is a submerged plant. Make sure it is not confused with other non-native species – you need to check the label for its scientific name which is Ceratophyllum demersum. It can survive in either shady or sunny conditions.  

When planning and creating your first pond you need to think about the type of plants which you want to include within your water feature. Try to aim for native plants wherever possible and some non-native species have now been banned from sale for causing environmental problems in natural waterways.  

Whether you opt for foliage, flowers or grass-like reeds, whether you choose a mixture of floating and underwater-based, there is a huge variety of aquatic plants to choose from so have fun making the best selection for your particular garden conditions and which match the style of pond you have chosen to create.  

How To Get The Most Out of a First Trip to Canada

No-one is doubting the beauty of North America, but it’s also true that many people have been put off from visiting the United States, due to the political climate and the person who’s in charge over there! But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid North America altogether. There’s another country well worth visiting, one that has a super cool leader: Canada! A land of natural wonders and thriving cities, few people visit the country and fail to return home in love. Below, we take a look at how to get the most of your first trip Canada.

Alberta, amazing, attraction

Pick Your Destinations

OK, the first thing to know is that Canada is absolutely massive. It’s one of the biggest countries in the world! And if you’re coming from the UK, you’ll quickly realise that you won’t be able to see everything on one single trip. As such, you’ll want to research your destinations and plan a sensible route, one that won’t have you forever hopping from one destination to the next because you only have limited time. It’s generally best to focus on the east or the west, though it is possible to see both coasts if you’re OK with flying while there.

Hit the Road

But before you book those flights, keep in mind that Canada makes a brilliant road trip. It’s huge, as we said, so it’s not feasible to do an east to west trip (unless you have several weeks to see everything), but it’s still recommended to hire a car (or perhaps a van) and make a smaller trip. The trip to Calgary out to Vancouver, for instance, is breathtaking practically every step of the way. Having a set of wheels will also allow you to experience the natural wonder of the country, too.

The Cities

Canada is home to some pretty awesome cities! There’s Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, just to name a few. If you like the traditional big city vibe, then head to Toronto – it has something of a New York look and feel to it. Vancouver is rightly regarded as one of the world’s best cities, so book your accommodations at Residence Inn Vancouver Downtown and get to exploring. It’s a multicultural, forward-thinking city, with plenty of nature surrounding it, so you could feasibly stay for a week or more and have a jam-packed adventure each day you’re there.

In Nature

You can’t visit Canada and not get into nature. Even if you’re usually more of a city person, we promise that the beauty of Canada is well-worth strapping on some hiking boots and getting into the outdoors! There’s beauty throughout the country, but the most majestic and grand is in the west. Head to Banff and Jasper National Park, and up to Whistler in BC, and you’ll return home with more beautiful photographs and memories than you know what to do with.

That’s going to be your first taste of Canada, but it won’t be your last, of that we are certain!

Thinking Ahead to Combat Disease in the Garden

No matter the size of your garden, summer heat, humid falls, and unprepared soil leads to disease. By taking a few easy precautions, you can reduce your chances for garden diseases, ruining your plants, and destroying the quality of your soil.

Disease is a sneaky predator. It can sneak up on you. Unlike an insect problem, often the plants are past the planting stage, and on their way to maturing before you see any signs of garden disease. Preventative measures are much wiser than damage control.

We must prepare the soil to be receptive to what we plant. We must shield the garden from enemies who would choke the life from our harvest, and nurture the new buds of life that come forth.

Brown Woven Hat over Brown Wooden Round Table Top

We have compiled this list of tips that are effective with any garden. From herb gardens to winter veggies, these tips will always be useful.

  • You need a garden location that has good drainage and proper sun exposure. Sunlight is critical to keep away disease. Be sure to map out your garden ahead of time and determine the hours of direct sunlight your site will receive
  • Use high-quality seeds. Your garden is only going to be as healthy as the seeds you plant.
  • Rotate your plants. Do some research on what to plant where. Planting the same types of plants year after year will strip away nutrients from the soil.
  • Do not leave remains from your previous plants. Till the soil well. Remove debris that is left behind. Once it is turned well and clean, add compost to regenerate nutrients before you plant again.
  • Make sure you follow the instructions on your seed packages. Allow your plant’s ample room to grow. This also helps you keeps weeds away which will choke your plants.
  • If possible, use drip irrigation. If that is impossible, limit overhead watering as much as possible. Be careful not to overwater the plants.
  • Do not overwater the plants and limit the overhead watering as much as possible (Drip irrigation is best.)

Veggies

Swap the locations of your flower garden with your vegetable garden. This gives the soil a break, and veggies can grow well into the colder months. There is nothing healthier than fresh veggies.

Herbs

The great thing about herb gardens is they can grow anywhere. Hang them from your fence or grow them in a raised bed or sunroom. The herbs taste great, are easy to grow, and thrive until first frost or longer if you take them inside on cold nights. Here are a few you should consider:

  • Parsley
  • Sage.
  • Rosemary.
  • Thyme.
  • Cilantro.
  • Lavender.
  • Mint.
  • Chives.

Gardening is a great way to spend your time. It is refreshing and peaceful. Watching something that you started with soil and seed grow into something that enriches your diet or makes great gifts for family and friends is a wonderful feeling. Many people find this therapeutic. The quiet of nature and watching it burst to life in front of you is magical. Get started now. Spring is just around the corner.

Same Day Loans From Zippa Loans

Struggling for cash, want a quick and easy way to get some money in your account on the SAME DAY? Look no further than Zippa Loans.

In 3 quick easy steps you can have the required amount you want to borrow into your bank account.

  1. Two Minute Application

    Choose the amount you would like to borrow and your chosen repayment period from monthly or weekly to suit your budget.

    Click apply to complete our straightforward application.

  2. Quick Decision

    The majority of our decisions are made by people and not computers so you may receive a call to request some more information as its important we take into account all the facts during the decision making process. You will receive an answer by text or e-mail on your application within 2 hours of us receiving within our office hours.

  3. Loan Issued

    Upon completion of your online loan agreement, funds will be transferred swiftly into your bank account on the same day. Of course, there are no silly fees for transferring your money.

Whether you need £100 or £500 you can borrow it from Zippa Loans today.  It’s so quick and easy to apply just tell them how much you need to borrow, how you want repay it weekly or monthly and over what length of time, anything from 12 – 32 weeks and it will be in your bank on the SAME DAY.

So how can Zippa supply the same amount of money and charge less interest than our competitors?

Below are some of the reasons and to see how we compare to our competitors click here.

  • Best Rates – We believe credit can and should be supplied at an affordable cost.
  • We are human! – Whilst we do run credit checks we also understand people’s circumstances change so we take time to look at every aspect of your application. We may phone you to chat over some points if we feel it will enable us to deliver a favourable outcome.
  • We don’t use brokers We deal directly with you.

So how does it work?

We supply loans that are repaid by continuous payment authority, which means after you have chosen the amount you would like to borrow and the repayment period your agreed payments are setup using your debit card.

Representative Example

Loan amount £200 repayable over 3 months.
Total amount repayable £280 in 3 payments of £93.33
Interest 160% p.a. fixed. Representative 677% APR

If I ever needed a loan I would be sure to use Zippa Loans.

Warning: Late repayments can cause serious money problems.
For help go to moneyadviceservices.org.uk

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