Monthly Archives: October 2017

Affordable Ways To Get On The Property Ladder

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Getting on the property ladder is harder than ever before. Young couples are delaying marriage and having kids as a way of saving up for a property. Others aren’t bothering at all, resigning to a life of paying rent. Whilst affording a down payment still requires some savings, you don’t have to be rich to afford a property. There are lots of creative ways to pay less for property. Here are a few methods that could be worth considering for any potential first-time buyers.

Consider the location

Not being fussy about location is the easiest way to nab yourself a cheap property. Rural properties can often be cheaper than urban properties. They can be good if you’re looking for a home, but not so good if you’re looking for an investment that in the future could allow you buy a bigger and better property. Buying a property in an upcoming urban area is thought to be the best method of property investment – just be aware that you may have to rough it out in undesirable area. It’s always worth looking into crime stats first. Your safety is more important than getting a good deal.

Look for foreclosures

When a property owner falls behind on their mortgage payments, it’s sometimes possible the property may be repossessed. These types of properties are known as foreclosures. Such properties are generally cheaper as they don’t have the appreciation value that are other properties come with. You can find some sites online that sell these kind of properties. Many foreclosures will be in good condition whilst others may need some work. Either way, they’re likely to worthwhile.

Consider ‘as is’ properties

‘As is’ properties may not be in good condition and may require you to pay for some extra work to be done before moving in. However, they are generally much cheaper to buy as a result. When searching these properties, it can often be worth hiring a surveyor to get an idea of the likely repair costs needed to restore the property. Even with these repair costs added on top, ‘as is’ properties can generally be a bargain – most people don’t want to take them on simply because of the extra work required on top.

Build your own home

Few people realise how cheap a self-build is. You may be able to construct the property for a quarter of its sale value in some cases (cost of labour included). You will have to buy land first, which can be the expensive part, but altogether it’s likely to still work out cheaper than buying a regular property in many cases. As with standard real estate, there are self-build mortgages so that you don’t have to pay for the entire cost upfront. Building a house can be time-consuming and it’s worth over-budgeting as extra costs are likely to crop up along the way. There may be some restrictions when it comes to the land. Make sure that before buying any land, you’ve thoroughly researched into what you can and can’t build there.

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Try alternative properties

Many people stick to standard properties built out of brick and mortar, but by considering alternative property options, you could lower the costs. An example is container homes, built out of shipping containers. This style of home may not be for everyone, but is remarkably cheaper. You can still kit these homes out with all the luxuries of a standard home (there are companies that can do this for you). As with a self-build, your biggest cost will be buying the land to put your container home on.

Another alternative option is to live in a houseboat. These can be purchased very cheaply compared to other properties. You will still have to pay mooring costs, but this is nothing compared to your average rent or monthly mortgage payments. Be wary that you may have to pay to get some houseboats transported to the appropriate location.

Shop around for mortgages

On top of shopping around for properties, you should take great care shopping around for a mortgage. There are lots of different lenders out there all charging different interest rates and asking for different minimum down payments. It’s worth using a home loan calculator online to first work out the average mortgage available to you. From there you can shop around for different rates. Use mortgage advisors and online comparison sites to do your search.

Better mortgage deals may be available to those with a better credit rating. If you have a low credit score, it could be worth taking out a credit-building loan first from your bank to help repair your score. You could also employ a mortgage broker to try and find you the best deal. Mortgage brokers have access to deals that you may not find on shopping yourself on the market, as well as being able to cater for people with low credit ratings. However you will have pay for their services.

Use help-to-buy schemes

There are several help-to-buy schemes out there that can help you to build up savings to then pay a down payment. These include savings accounts and help-to-buy loans. Many of these schemes still require some saving up, but they can ease the load. Always read the small print when taking out these loans as some savings schemes cannot be used by first-time buyers or may only be used as a contribution to a down payment.

Invest some money

There are many ways to invest your money that could similarly allow you to save up enough money for a down payment. You could find a regular savings account to put your money in that may gain enough interest to eventually afford a property. There are other more risky strategies out there that may allow you to save up more such as investing in shares or investing in another asset such as gold. You’re best always getting advice from an investment guru when it comes to these methods as you don’t want to gamble away any savings you may have.

Learn to negotiate

It’s possible to negotiate the cost of a property in many cases. Many agents may overvalue a property slightly to allow room for negotiation. Direct sellers may be harder to negotiate with but it’s likely they’ll be charging a cheaper price anyway given that agents look to make a profit for themselves. Try to negotiate down the price if you can but don’t go in too low. In some cases where there’s competition over a property, you may want to think twice before negotiating too hard.

Budget for moving extras

On top of the deposit on your property, it’s worth making sure you have enough money for moving extras such as hiring a surveyor, hiring a conveyancer and potentially a removals company to transport your possessions. In many cases, you can bring down these costs through further negotiating and shopping around for quotes. In some cases, you may not need to hire a removals company – if you’re only moving a short distance and don’t have too many possessions it could work out cheaper to hire a van for a couple days.

Me & Mine | October 2017

This month has been a crazy whirlwind one, starting off with me turning the big 30, more birthdays and our Wedding Day which we had been planning for the last 24 months.

Our special day finally arrived and what an incrediable day it was.  It was just perfect in every single way, surrounded by all our amazing family & friends.

Dressing For The Seasons With Esprit

Do you love Fashion?  Do you want affordable fashion?  Well look no furthur than Esprit.

I always shop at the same shops such as New Look, Next or online on Asos but recently haven’t found anything that I have liked, so when I was approached by Esprit I was instantly drawn into the selection of clothes and how many I loved and wanted to buy them all.   Also having just recently had a baby boy I feel I deserve some new clothes and to treat myself. Being presentable, practical, seasonal and comfortable all together is a top priority.

Here are a couple of my Top Items from Esprit to see you through the seasons.

Shirt RRP £29.00

It’s soft, perfect for lounging on the couch watching TV and around the house doing jobs, slipping over a vest top in the summer months, wearing with a fluffy cardigan or just casually.  You can roll the sleeves up too.  The variety of colours in it allow for it to match with lots of different items such as Jeans or leggings or maybe even a skirt.

Basic stretch denim jeans RRP £39.00

I love wearing jeans, they go with everything so easy and even more so since having my baby I can fit back into my old skinny jeans again.   These are great, can go from a day in the house to running your normal day-today errands round supermarket or housework.

with 5 pockets and a washed finish

Ankle boots in smooth leather, block heel RRP £75.00

I love boots but struggle to fine ones I like, but these are/would perfect for all occasions and weathers.  Perfect colour as well to go with any outfit.  Not too high but would give me enough height to feel taller than my normal 4ft state.

Ankle boots in smooth leather, block heel

  • This is a sponsored post – However all  thoughts and opinions are my own

Can more sleep make you a better person?

“Well, someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!” We’ve all had that phrase directed at us at some point in our lives. At least, if we’re human we have.

A lack of sleep can make you drowsy and…well…tired, obviously. But it can also make you grumpy, irritable and prone to mood swings. Plus it can lead to more serious physical conditions like diabetes and heart disease, or chronic mental illnesses, like anxiety or depression.

When we don’t sleep enough, everything just feels a bit worse. Because we’ve been up half the night, taking out our frustrations on that new cushion we bought or – if they’re unlucky enough to be in the line of fire – on our partner.

Come morning, we lash out at those around us and this can affect our relationships, our work lives, our family – everything.

So conversely, can more sleep actually improve your life and even perhaps make you a better person? Well yes, it seems it can. Here’s why:

1. Sleep helps us to learn

A well-rested brain is more able to process new information and to retain this information. This is because it has a higher capacity for making new neural connections, to recognize patterns, and to recall information. So not only is our pattern for learning increased – people’s names, life lessons, etc. – we’ll also remember what we’ve learned.

So having a good snooze, even if it’s just a daytime nap, can help us to discover new things, learn from mistakes and basically make us more curious, interesting people. Yay!

2. Sleep makes us more productive

It’s the run-up to Christmas, you’ve a million family functions on, things to cook, presents to buy…but you just don’t have the energy. Of course, this could be because you’ve burnt yourself out with all the running around; or it could be that you simply haven’t been sleeping well. Whether it’s the excitement or – more than likely – the festive late nights, sleep is waaay down your list of priorities right now.

And because of that, you can’t seem to get anything done.

The same goes for a day at the office after a poor night’s sleep. Why is it that some days we’re work machines, flying through emails and wowing at meetings so effortlessly? When today we can barely focus enough to recall our log-in details?!

It’s a lack of sleep, dummy! With a foggier brain, you’re likely to lose concentration, to have a poor attention span and to find motivation next to impossible. Conversely, when your mind is rested, the crew that operates your brain will be enthusiastic, eager and excited about getting those wheels turning.

3. Sleep supports self-control and decision-making

Sleep deprivation has a further impact on cognitive ability – it can lead us to making poor decisions, or unable to make decisions in the first place. Why? Well, the stress it causes to the brain drains our energy reserves. This in turn depletes our mental power to make complex decisions…and ethical decisions, too.

Yes, that’s right – a lack of sleep can lead to us making all sorts of bad choices, whether it’s the food we eat, the things we say or the organizations we support. Our self-control and our inhibitions are lowered and we’re less in control of doing what’s right. Whereas good-quality sleep enables us to assess a situation, to put more thought into our choices and to identify potential consequences. There’s a reason why people decide to ‘sleep on it’, after all; they’re not just being lazy.

So more decisive, more ethical and more thoughtful? Sounds like a better person to me!

4. Sleep makes you healthier

Good-quality sleep supports a healthy immune system, digestive system and cardiovascular system. It can improve circulation, aid with weight loss, boost your libido…really, the physical benefits are endless.

 

And although beauty is on the inside, blah blah blah, it’s comforting to know that sleep improves how you look on the outside, too! You can say bye bye to baggy under-eyes, pallid complexions and puffy cheeks – and say hello to bright eyes, clear skin and a radiant glow! They call it beauty sleep for a reason, you know.

Once you feel stronger inside and out, this can do wonders for your self-esteem. And as a more confident, healthy person, you’re less likely to suffer from the stress and anxiety that can lead to depression. Instead, you’ll be a more relaxed and happier person; the best version of ‘you’ that you can be.

So if sleep can make us better learners, more productive, ethical, thoughtful, healthier and happier, can it make us better people? Sounds like it can, yeah!

Because these new sleep-enhanced specimens are suddenly in a better mood, nurturing their relationships, motivated in their careers and contributing to the world in a better way. I think it may be time for a nap…

Tackling The Laundry With Persil Powergems | Review

I actually don’t mind washing, Is that wrong to say? Its’ the putting away and drying stage I hate the most and there never seems to be enough room in the house to get it dry.

Since becoming a first time mummy to Freddie, I thought I did alot of washing before when there was just me and my Husband but now my washing has literally exploded and more than doubled, not to mention the amount of clothes Freddie gets through in a day sometimes.  With a little help from Persil it makes the washing that little bit easier to cope.

I am not lying when I tell you I was genuinely excited to try out Persil’s all-new Powergems washing crystals.  As soon as you open the cap, you’re hit by the fresh scent of the green and white crystals. They smell so… clean and fresh.  We have never used persil before as my Hubby has sensitive skin, but will be sure to buy them again.

Persil Powergems are great and work wonders on Freddie’s and our tough to remove stains.  They leave the clothes smelling fresh with no visible stains in sight.  It also doesn’t leave any debris from the gems themselves on your clothes which I was a little worried about.

They are on the pricier side of what I would normally pay, starting at £5 for a 12-wash pack, £8 for a 19 wash pack and £11 for a 30 wash pack. We’ll be keeping an eye out to see if it’s ever on offer though.  I may only ever buy these when they are on offer.

  • I brought this product myself and loved it so much I wanted to share my experience with you.

Meal Planning Monday 23/10/2017

Last week was a different sort of week as the Fiance had booked us 4 days away in a log cabin in the heart of the Stoke country side in a place called Cheadle for my 30th so couldn’t plan meals untill we got there.

This week is going to be another very busy and it’s the week of OUR WEDDING so will have to be quick and easy meals.  Friday I will be at my mums, Saturday will be our wedding menu food and Sunday is my nephews birthday so will be party style tea.

Food, Salad, Spicy, Pan, Hot, Cooking, Meal, Pepper

This weeks meal plan consists of:

Chicken En Croute/Chicken Bake with Curly Fries

Burrito’s & Chips

Quiche, Rice, & Salad

Lasanga

Mum’s cooking

Wedding Breakfast Food

Party style Food

What is your meal plan this week?

 

 

 

 

What on your meal plan for this week?

 

What Not to Forget When Planning a Family-Friendly Wedding

There’s no way around it – planning a wedding is a lot of hard work. Plenty of time, money and effort will go into the organisation of your dream wedding, but when the big day does eventually roll around, it will all be worth it.

However, the wedding planning process can be made even more complicated when you have to take the needs of your family into account. If you are intending to invite entire families, children and babies to your wedding, you will need to ensure that the occasion is family-friendly and that their needs are catered to, as well as your own.

Of course, we all know the main points of wedding planning, from picking a date and choosing a venue to finally deciding on your dream dress, but have you spared a thought for the finer points of the day? With so much to keep in mind, it can be incredibly easy for even the most organised of couples to suddenly realise something has been overlooked. Granted, it may not be one of the most important parts of the day, but when you have been looking forward to tying the knot for weeks, months, or even years, you will understandably want everything to be perfect.

So, to help you out, here are a few things definitely not to be missed during the process of planning a family-friendly wedding.

Venue

Granted, this might seem obvious, but there is a lot more to consider than just which venue looks the best and fits within your budget. Location and capacity are essential, but you should also check that your chosen venue is suitable for children. Looking for a specific service? Some venues offer optional additional services like the assistance of a wedding planner or help with decoration or catering, so it may be worth seeing if you can get a good deal here. For more venue inspiration, visit this website.

If you do have a lot of questions to ask, it may be worth making a quick checklist that you can then run through when you are shortlisting venues. That way, you can guarantee nothing will be forgotten!

Entertainment

Depending how many children you are planning to invite and how old they are, it may be necessary to tailor certain elements to your younger guests. Older children will usually be fine at weddings, but the younger the age bracket, the more easily they tend to get bored. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can go about staving off the boredom and making sure everyone has as good a day as you! If you are really worried about the little ones, you could always hire a professional entertainer to keep them occupied during the day.

Seating Plan

Seating plans can be a massive headache, especially if you have to contend with arguments, fallings out and other family drama. If you are planning on a set seating plan, try to sit people who know each other together. This way, everyone will be able to chat to someone they already know – save the mingling for the dancefloor!

You will also need to keep certain things in mind when planning out your seating plan. Sitting bridesmaids, page boys and any other key people near the top table can be beneficial during the speeches. Similarly, if you are worried about young children getting restless or fed up, it may be sensible to sit them a little more out of the way so they can easily get down from the table and play if they become bored.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you enjoy the occasion and make the most of your wedding day. Marriage is a big commitment, but when you are prepared to spend your life with the person you love, that should be the real focus of the day. However you choose to celebrate tying the knot, as long as you are happy, your wedding day is sure to be a success.

Meal Planning Monday 9/10/2017

These weeks are flying by and it’s getting harder to try and make different things each week that we aren’t repeating from the week before. But with a little help from the wonderful world of pinterest I am managing to discover new ideas and meals that are easy to make.

Food, Salad, Spicy, Pan, Hot, Cooking, Meal, Pepper

This weeks meal plan consists of:

Chicken Pie, creamy mash with Vegetables and gravy

Chicken Tikka stir fry with rice

Lasanga and garlic bread

Steak, chips, peas, mushrooms,Tomato’s onion rings & peppercorn sauce

Chicken Tikka stir fry with rice

Tuna Pasta Bake

Sausages Casserole.

What on your meal plan for this week?

 

Naturelly Jelly Juice | Review & Giveaway

We love jelly, So when I was asked by Naturelly Jelly Juice if we would like to try their jelly juice pouches out, of course we jumped at the chance. We love trying new foods, and as these pouches are aimed at age 1+ it’s another new thing to try. Naturelly Jelly is actually supposed to be brilliant for school age children too – let’s face it any child of any age, would happily snack on jelly.

Naturelly have launched their jelly juice pouches across many Boots stores, so they’re really easy for anyone to get hold of and try.

They’re so excited about this they’re giving me 36 pouches to giveaway. What an amazing prize! So first off, enter at the bottom via rafflecopter to be in with a chance.

So, let me tell you a bit more about Naturelly.

It’s a jelly pouch that comes in 3 flavours:

Summer Fruits, Tropical Fruits and Apple & Blackcurrant

What is Jelly juice?

  1. It’s a great snack for children
  2. Made from 70% fruit juice
  3. It is free from wheat, dairy, nuts and other allergens
  4. Only has 36kcal per pouch
  5. There’s no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives & no added sugar or sweeteners
  6. Approved by the vegetarian society

It’s made from:70% fruit juice, 30% water and a natural thickener/gelling agent called Gellan Gum, which is a natural dietary fibre and thickener which is gelatine free, to give it the texture and appearance of jelly.

That’s quite a few reasons to like these pouches, isn’t it? Well to add to that, the taste test reveals they’re lovely! We also really like them fresh from the fridge. Yes, I’ve tried them too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • I was sent these products free of charge for the purpose of this review.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Injections, Doctor Foster & Hitting The Big 30 #LittleLoves

This week has just flown by in a blur, Monday I spent at my parents tying up lose ends for the wedding, Tuesday we went to Gymboree at Notcutts Garden Centre and confirmed final details for our wedding cake, Wednesday we had Freddie’s 2nd lot of Injections, Thursday was my 30th Birthday and Friday was spent getting organised for my birthday gathering on Saturday.

Read

Still nothing sadly.  I have a book one of my best friends gave me for a baby shower gift which I am still yet to open the front cover.  She has it too and said it is brilliant.

Watched

We have started watching Doctor Foster, we were both a bit unsure whether to start watching it but now we just can’t stop now.  We watch atleast one or two episodes each night.  We have almost finished the series now.

Made

Nothing but the other week I made some cakes, A Chocolate orange cake and Rolo cupcakes.  They were pretty good for a first attempt.

Wore

Starting to have to dig out my winter wardrobe clothes as the weather is on a very slow decline, with it becoming very windy and cold.  Think my Uggs are going to have to come out soon too.

Heard

The very upsetting news of yet another mass shooting in Las Vegas. My thoughts go out to all the families that may of lost a special someone in this devasting circumstances.

And Lastly

Its now 3 weeks till our BIG day and i’m getting very slightly nervous now about the whole thing but also very excited and can’t wait to become MRS COOPER!