Tips On Saving Money For Christmas *

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

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-This post is in collaboration with Morses Club, all opinions are my own-
I think it's safe to say that most of us get stressy around this time of the year when you all of a sudden realise we're super close to Christmas and there's still loads of things to plan and buy in time for the big day. In this post I've teamed up with Morses Club who have created an interesting infographic (see below) all about how people save and spend their money at Christmas. I'm also going to be sharing a few of my own tips that I've picked up along the way over the past couple of years.

Make Lists 
I love making lists in general but one thing that really excites me around this time of the year is making lists for Christmas! These lists includes food and drink to buy, people to buy for and also rough ideas on what to get them.  

Save Up and Start Early! 
I'm one of those people who starts buying Christmas presents pretty early. I think this year I bought my first Christmas gift in August because it was something that was on offer so I was like "Okay... it's happening". Obviously this means you might need to start saving up months before depending on the amount of people you need to buy for and the amount of food and drink you buy. However I do find that it tends to be less stressful and easier on my bank balance if I start around 3-4 months early because I can easily take off an amount of money from my monthly earnings without really noticing instead of rushing around at the beginning of December worrying if I have enough money and if everything I need to buy buy gift-wise is still available.

Take Out a Morses Club Loan (Representative 466.37% APR)
I also know people who have taken out Christmas loans to pay for the festive season. Obviously only do this if you know you have enough money to pay back the loan in the amount of time the company offers to pay it back in. But I do think loans are a good way to take the pressure off a little and give you a bit more time to get the money together, especially if you're one of those people who are running around like a headless chicken a few weeks before Christmas! Morses Club offer "doorstep cash loans" which you can apply for online.

Stick To Your Budget
I always give myself a budget at Christmas and make sure I stick to it. I usually give myself X amount of budget and then I stick another £50 on top just as back up money and then if I stick to my budget (which I always do) it kind of feels like I've got an extra £50 for nothing which I usually put towards any money I've saved for the sales. It's almost like a "well done you for sticking to the budget" gift to myself haha.

DIY Gifts and Decorations
Lastly is something I've been doing for around two years now which is making DIY gifts and decorations. I enjoy making decorations more than gifts personally but I do find it's quite fun to do in the run up to Christmas and it really puts me in a festive mood. I tend to just stick on a christmas film and crack on with it. I get my ideas from Pinterest and Youtube and my favourite youtuber for Christmas DIY ideas is Hermione Chantal.
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A Beauty Gift Guide

-This post contains PR/Gifted items, no paid content. All opinions are my own-
I'm back again with a gift guide and this one is all about beauty! I do love doing beauty gift guides because I love receiving beauty gifts for Christmas (as well as fluffy socks and cosy jumpers or cardigans obvs) I've chosen an array of products that I think would be perfect for any beauty lover in your life which I've personally tried and tested myself either over the past year or recently for this gift guide.

If you're looking for some decent, affordable hair straighteners for someone in your life then I can't recommend the Lily England Hair Straighteners RRP £31.99 from Amazon enough. My old hair straighteners literally went bang one day so I quickly went online and picked up some more and guess what? The Lily England ones work just as well as my old ones, if not better! AND they were a heck of a lot cheaper than my old ones. I also think they look really nice with the white and rose gold and I'm a fan of the digital, easy-to-use display too.

Another gift idea which I personally love receiving myself at Christmas is perfume which I know I've already mentioned in my previous gift guide but I just think you can't really go wrong with perfume if you know what kind of scents the person you're buying for likes or what their all time fave perfume is. I'm currently really enjoying the Calvin Klein Women (50ml)* priced at £38.99 on Fragrance Direct. Another little tip if you're buying perfume/aftershave is to look on Fragrance Direct because you can usually get them at a discounted price on their website.

I think The Body Shop Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Face Mask RRP £17 would be a fab gift because it's suitable for all skin types and it's a nice in-the-middle kind of price for a face mask. It feels luxurious on the skin as it warms up slightly and just makes your skin look more alive right after using it. I love using it in the morning if I've had a rubbish night's sleep and I feel like I need waking up a bit. It also helps to reduce the signs of fatigue and helps to clear up any impurities too.

For a body care gift set I've chosen to feature the Lavera Sweet Moments Gift Set RRP £15.95* which is a limited edition set which includes a gentle body wash and body lotion which are both scented with organic plum and vanilla - which I think is a great comforting, winter scent! It's also made with 100% natural ingredients, suitable for vegans and cruelty-free too. 

For the skincare lover in your life I've got to mention the PMD Clean Pro RQ RRP £165* because using a silicone cleansing brush has honestly been such a game changer this year. I've found that it's helped with oil control, makes me feel confident that my skin is properly cleansed and I really like the warming Rose Quartz aspect on the flip side as because it's great to use with serums to help get maximum results as well as a relaxation technique before going to bed. You can read my full review here.

Another beauty tool I've been loving over the past month or so is the Magnitone London Fuzz Off 3-in-1 Rechargeable Precision Hair Trimmer RRP £30*. The reason why I love it is because it's so easy to use and it can be used on multiple different areas as well. You can use it on your brows, lip and chin hair, stray underarm hair and even your bikini line. It comes with different attachments for each area too. It's rechargeable via USB and 1 charge = 90 minutes of use. It spins at 300 times per second so that it removes all of the fine hairs and leaves the skin soft and smooth and it's also suitable for sensitive skin types. Highly recommend!

If you're like me and trying to get people in your life to start thinking more about the planet and reducing their plastic waste then the EcoPanda Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads RRP £20.90* which are available from Amazon might be a great gift idea! The set comes with 18 bamboo pads (8cm each), a bamboo storage jar to store your clean makeup remover pads and a cute little eco-friendly laundry bag. The pads are made from high quality bamboo, hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types. They are sustainable because bamboo is not only biodegradable but it also grows up to a meter each day which makes it a great eco material. I have a review with more info available here.

The Tropic Skincare Skincare Discovery Kit RRP £28* is a great way to introduce someone to Tropic Skincare who are definitely one of my favourite brands right now. The kit contains some of their best selling skincare products in a travel-friendly size which all come in a magnetic canvas cosmetics bag. So what's in the kit? You get their Smoothing Cleanser (50ml) which can be used to melt away and remove makeup or as a standard cleanser, a Bamboo Face Cloth, Vitamin Toner (30ml) which aims to soothe your skin and refine your pores, Skin Feast Nourishing Concentrate Cream (20ml) which contains 20 plant oils and extracts to leave you with a healthy glow and their recently released Rainforest Dew (5ml) which is a super hydrating serum. 

Lastly is the lovely Burt's Bees Naturally Beautiful Gift Set RRP £17.99* which contains their Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E and Peppermint, one of their Lip Crayons in the shade Sedona Sands (which happens to be one of my fave lip products right now!), a Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus and their Lavender and Honey Hand Cream and they all come in a sturdy red cosmetics bag. I feel like you can't really go wrong with Burt's Bees because everyone uses lip balms and hand creams, right? So I think this set is a perfect gift for someone you're unsure what to buy for. 

You could also check out Leah's Christmas Gift Guide for Her post for some more gifting inspiration!

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7 Ways To Improve Accessibility in Your Home *

Monday, 2 December 2019

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-This post is in collaboration with Axess2-
If you or someone you know suffers with mobility problems then making sure your home or their home is a safe and accessible place is a must. In this post I'm talking about some of the ways in which could help to improve accessibility and make life a little easier.

1) You could put hand rails in key areas such areas where there are stairs and also by any toilet in the household. This can help the person in need who needs the extra help to lower themselves onto the toilet and also to help push themselves back up again. You can also add a raised toilet seat which can make it easier to sit down and stand up as it reduces the distance the person has to go before they reach the seat. 

2) It's also handy to have something to hold on to whilst in the shower if you/they feel a little unstable. Adding to that you could add a hand rail on the wall by the shower or a grab rail on the side of the bath if you/they struggle to get in and out of the bath or shower.

3) Something else which I personally find really helpful when my chronic pain is flaring is having a proper shower stool in the bath as it provides a safe and sturdy place to sit when I'm showering and reduces the chance of causing any more strain and discomfort if my pain is already flaring up. It also has a handy push-button height adjustment system so you can choose how high or low you want the seat.

4) You could consider installing a lift in your home if you have limited mobility or if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. There are many different Types of Platform Lifts you can choose from and these lifts in particular are designed to help wheelchair/mobility scooter users to access other levels of a building at ease. 

5) Something else which I think is a must if you or someone you know struggles with their mobility is a grabber tool or what I like to call a "Grabby" which is basically what you may know as a "litter picker" too. Although it doesn't really fall into the "accessibility" category, I just thought I'd mention it because it's so helpful when my pain is bad and also if I'm home alone and I'm struggling to reach something or if I've dropped something I need on the floor etc.

6) Buying a firmer mattress or a memory foam mattress depending on your preference might be something to look into. Also adjustable beds and chairs are a great idea for many people who are stuck either in bed or have to be sitting down for most of the day due to their mobility/disability. This could also make it easier if the person lives alone or is on their own a lot of the time as it makes it easier to sit up/get up without the need of any assistance. 

7) And lastly is to declutter routes where you walk/use a wheelchair or mobility scooter for obvious reasons and make sure the routes stay clutter free. You should get rid of any furniture that's not needed and is in the way and rearrange the most needed and used areas to make it more accessible.

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A Baylis & Harding Christmas Gift Guide

Sunday, 1 December 2019

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-If a product is marked with an * then it's a PR/Gifted item. This post contains no paid content-
 When it comes to Christmas, I think Baylis & Harding are just a great go-to brand you really need to check them out if you haven't already. I always buy a couple of gift sets from B&H at Christmas just because they're so affordable and easy to pick up and they always go down well with whoever I give them too. There's something for everyone too! They have their Fuzzy Duck range, their Beauticology range and their stand alone scent ranges. They don't just do beauty either, because they also sell diffusers and candles too.

Baylis & Harding kindly sent over a selection of their gifts for this year and in this post I'm going to be talking about what they sent over, what's included in the gift sets as well as their price and where to buy them from. 

For one of your boozy friends or family members you could pick them up the Fuzzy Duck Whiskey Bath Bubbles RRP £8* from Sainsbury's and Asda which is Ginger and Lime scented. I'm not going to lie, I'd trick them and put it in a bottle gift bag just to throw them off a little haha. 

Another fab gift idea from their Fuzzy Duck range is the Sloe Gin Cocktail Candle RRP £15* from Next and Amazon. It smells amazing! I also think it looks more expensive than it really is... right? I love the add touch with the cute "fuzzy" duck on the candle lid too.

The Beauticology Rudolph Festive Treats for Feet Set RRP £8* from Amazon contains some super cosy fluffy socks along with a tube of Vanilla Icing scented Foot Lotion which contains vitamins A, B and C. A perfect self-care kind of gift! I can confirm that both the socks and foot lotion are top notch.

The Beauticology Unicorn Rainbow Fizzers RRP £15* from Asda and Morrisons is definitely one of my fave sets out of the box of goodies Baylis & Harding sent over. It's just so cute! The Unicorn Candy scent is one of my favourite scents from B&H anyway, I currently have the hand wash in my bathroom. It smells super sweet, it's one of those gift sets that you can smell before you actually see it or open it as a gift. I can definitely see it going down well at Christmas for any unicorn lover or sweet-a-holic person in your life.

I think the Fuzzy Duck Cotswold Collection Luxury Wrapped Soap Set RRP £6* from Debenhams looks a lot more expensive than it really is. All three soap bars are wrapped up in different patterns which really sets of the look of the gift set and I think it would make a great stocking filler, secret santa or just something to add to a Christmas hamper. Two of the soaps are Wild Flower Meadow scented and the other is Woodland Bluebell scented. I think it's a bargain set for £6!

The Fuzzy Duck Men's Pink Pepper & Oud Wash Bag RRP £21.24* available from Amazon contains 4 products which are Body Wash (100ml), Shampoo (100ml), Shower Gel (50ml) and an Aftershave Balm (50ml). They all come in a big wash bag which can obviously be reused time and time again. I do think it is quite pricey with it only contains 4 travel products but the Pink Pepper & Oud scent is nice so that kind of makes up for it a little. 

Next up is the adorable Fuzzy Duck Winter Wonderland Festive Bath Bubbles Bauble RRP £6* from Boots which I literally can't wait to use but I'm trying to wait until December before I start using everything Christmas scented. The bath bubbles are Mulberry & Mistletoe scented and although I'm holding back on the Christmas scents, I have had a smell of the bubble bath and it does smell really nice. I think it would make a great stocking filler!

Lastly is the Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Luxury Home Gift Set RRP £15* from Debenhams which comes with a hand wash and a candle which both come in the Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit scent. I would say the scent is more of an uplifting, clean, citrusy scent as opposed to a Christmassy scent if that makes sense. But I do think it's a nice gift set and I'm sure it'll get put to use straightaway by whoever you gift it to.

I think this gift guide pretty much covers everyone but if you're still stuck for ideas for any little ones in your life then you could check out Nicola's gift guide!
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How To Save Money On Your Heating Bill This Winter *

Thursday, 28 November 2019

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-This post is in collaboration with Woolfoot Heating-
Winter is definitely in full swing now and when winter comes around it usually means it's that time of the year we start to see our heating bill shoot up in price. In this post, I'm talking about some things you can do to help save on your heating bill this Winter.

If you live in an older building make sure you try and block out any draughts such as around your doors and windows. You can buy draught excluders and brush strips for your doors and you can buy weatherstripping tape which can help to make windows and doors less draughty too. Also, make sure that any hinges and latches on the doors around your home are properly secure and not loose as this can let draughts through aswell. 

If you have an older boiler then it might be time to start looking into getting an upgrade. Boilers that are 10+ years old waste a lot of valuable energy and they're just not as efficient as newer models. You can get a Boiler Installation in Leeds by Woolfoot Heating who can remove your old boiler and replace it with a newer model. They also come with a 12-year guarantee to keep your mind at ease. Also if you have a newer boiler, it usually means that your house insurance tends to be lower too. 

Another way in which you could save yourself money is by turning off radiators in rooms you don't use or use much. This will make your boiler work more efficiently and it also means the rooms you want to heat will heat up quicker too.

You should also try and keep your immediate area around you feeling super warm and cosy. You can do this by pulling the sofa(s) in your living room out away from the radiators so then the warmth from the radiators can get around the room more freely. Also, make sure you tuck any curtains above a radiator in your home behind the radiator, so then the warmth is getting in the room and not just heating up your windows. Adding to that,  don't forget to pull out any chunky knit cardigans or jumpers you've had knocking around in the back of your wardrobe during the summer. You could also make use of some of your fave summer clothes and you could team your favourite summer dress with a jumper, tights and some boots or a wear roll neck top underneath your fave pinafore styled dress just to switch it up a little.

Another must-have during the Winter is a hot water bottle so make sure you've got at least one hot water bottle in your home (I literally can't live without mine lol). You can buy a basic hot water bottle and you can also buy super long hot water bottles now that you can wrap around you too. Something else you could buy is an electric blanket for your bed to keep you extra warm and cosy at night and an electric throw blanket for your living room. I've literally just bought an electric throw blanket a few weeks ago and it's honestly a game-changer! They tend to be super cheap to run too, I'm talking literally pennies for hours worth of use.

Do you have any tips or tricks on saving money during the Winter?

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