Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Little Details That Will Help Make Your Wedding A Dream

As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. That’s true when you’re planning a wedding. It’s amazing the difference the changes that the tiniest details can make. We can look at jewellery as an example here. Picking the right jewelry as a bride can really alter your wedding. Just think about how the light often captures the right diamond or tiara. It can be the difference between looking like you and looking as stunning as a princess. Of course, it helps if you spend just a little more money and we’ll get to that further down. For now, let’s look at some of the smallest details that could dramatically change your wedding.

Song Choice

You might not think of song choice at your wedding as an important decision. But look at it this way. What makes a DJ great? It’s almost certainly the play list that they choose. A great playlist from a DJ can make a party a night you’ll never forget. You can separate your wedding into two events. The ceremony and the wedding reception. The reception essentially is just one massive and extravagant party. Therefore it makes sense that music choice is going to be a big part of making it a hit. Despite seeming like a small decision at first. But it’s not just the music at the reception that you need to think about. You should consider the tune that you walk down the aisle with too. After all, that’s going to shape the whole tone of your wedding. It doesn’t have to be the traditional wedding march either. It can be anything that you think could fit your wedding.

Jewellery And Rings

We told you we’d come back to that jewellery and of course the rings. It should come as no surprise that details here play a huge part in shaping your wedding. After all, your wedding does start with one getting down on one knee with a ring in their hand. That ring they’re holding, it’s got to shine and be perfect. It has to be the ring that makes them want to say yes. So, obviously, you should spend some time thinking about the engagement ring. But people often forget that the wedding bands are important too. You should spend a while looking for the right his and hers wedding bands. If all goes well, you’ll both be wearing one for the rest of your lives, after all.

The Vows

Finally, it’s possible that you’re writing your own vows for the wedding. That’s great and quite a romantic idea. But you do need to make sure that they are perfect. Spend a few months before the wedding writing them. Take a trip down memory lane to reach the heart of why you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Make sure that you don’t just end up with something that could have come out of a cracker. There is nothing worse than sitting at a wedding and seeing vows exchanged with no emotion.

Friday, 27 May 2016

5 Items You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen


Items come and go in our kitchens. We might try something on special offer from our local supermarket, and not like it. Our kitchens will probably never see these things again! We might have things that we have occasionally. This might be at a certain time of year, or as a special treat. We also have our staples. These are the things that we always should have in stock and close at hand. They improve our food and drinks in numerous ways, and for that, we are truly grateful! Wondering what these items are? Read on to find out five items that you should always have in your kitchen...

  1. Spice rack
Spices are responsible for making some of the tasting dishes in the world. Whether you add them to a sauce or marinate meat in them, their flavors are wonderful. They’re even more wonderful when mixed with other spices! Keep a spice rack in your kitchen so they’re always close at hand. Be sure to keep an eye on how much you have of each. You don’t want to be half way through a curry and then realise you’re out of Chilli!

  1. Miracle fruit tablets
What is miracle fruit, you ask? Well, it’s the most expensive fruit in the world. It’s also one of the tastiest. It also has the ability to turn any sour or nasty tastes into sweet and nice ones. You can get miracle fruit in the form of tablets. Pop one and chew on it after bad tastes to counteract them.

  1. Fresh Lemon
Lemon is one of the most versatile fruits in the world. It goes fantastically with all sorts of different dishes and meals. Making a tuna salad? Squeeze some fresh lemon over the top for a zesty zing! It also goes great with chicken, and prawns. You can make Chinese-inspired battered lemon chicken with it, or lemony prawns with angel hair spaghetti. We’ve not even mentioned desserts. There are so many incredible lemon-based desserts you can make if you always have some fresh lemons to hand!

  1. Honey
Just like lemon, honey is incredibly versatile. It adds a sweetness to a number of dishes and desserts. But the other reason you should always keep honey in your kitchen is in case a cold or flu symptoms strike. It has antibacterial properties and is fantastic at soothing sore throats. Honey combined with lemon and hot water also makes for a fantastic morning alternative to caffeine based drinks like tea and coffee. Many also say it can help cure hangovers; nice

  1. Olives
It’s a great idea to always keep some olives in your kitchen. They work in meals, like paella, and in salads. There also a very tasty snack to have if you’re feeling peckish. 100 calories gets you around 20 olives, which certainly isn’t bad! They’re also great to have to hand for dinner parties, or if friends or family come around unexpectedly. Pro tip- keep some mini skewers in your cutlery drawer to serve them with. 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Advice For The Perfect Dinner Party Atmosphere

When you’re hosting a dinner party, it can quickly turn from a nice idea to a daunting, stressful panic! While this is a sign that you’re concerned about being a good host, there’s really no need for it! While I could write forever about cooking for people, the atmosphere you create is an important part of the dinner party experience. Here are some tips for the perfect dinner party setting.
First of all, turn down the lights. I’m no psychiatrist, but I know that something about dimmed lighting creates a welcoming air of class. Dim lighting makes a room feel homely, like a classical painting. Garish, unshaded light on the other hand flattens everything out, and makes me think of a colder, professional setting. Instead of turning on your regular lighting, keep the place nice and dim with a few scattered lamps. You want to get the room just light enough to see your food and guests, and not much more.

If you don’t have enough smaller lamps to create moody lighting, then the next best thing is candles. I know you might feel like you need to impress your entire party, but there’s really no need to splash out. You can find some cheap, decent candles at most supermarkets, and some lovely holders in charity shops. For a really economical option, just get a few tea lights and put them in a large jar. This is a cheap way of creating a chic, vintage look to the whole party. While you’re shopping, just remember how small the flame of a candle is. If you’re going to use them for the lighting, just make sure you get enough!
Next, the napkins and tablecloth. Your choices here really depend on your personal tastes. However, if you’re going for a luxurious atmosphere, then nothing really beats linen tablecloths. Fabric napkins may also be a good idea. For starters, these are greener and more economical than using paper napkins and throwing them away. Furthermore, they give off a more sophisticated air, and don’t stand out too much against a fabric tablecloth. Just like the candles, you don’t have to spend a fortune getting these. After, all they’re only for wiping your mouth on!

Finally, turn up the music. Picking a nice dining soundtrack is going to be the most enjoyable part of this whole process. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with playing things that reflect your individuality. However, keeping it as vanilla as possible is the safest option, so leave the Slipknot out this time around! Folk, jazz and Americana are all sure-fire winners. Some Miles Davis, Neil Diamond and Alice Coltrane turned down low are sure to create a warm, relaxing atmosphere. At the very least, the relaxing piano will help to fill any awkward silences you might run into!
Go through this list, and you’ll have the perfect atmosphere for a great dinner party. Whether you’re using it to accent the food or cover it up, paying attention to the dinner party setting will go a long way.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Getting Summer Ready: The Things A Woman Needs To Think About

Summer isn’t too far away now. We are promised warmer days and sunshine. Although in the UK we shouldn’t hold our breath, just in case. However, as we approach the warmer months, women start to think about the same things. It’s not just about dieting for a bikini body or things like that. We should be happy with how we look. But it’s more the little things. So I thought I’d share with you some of the things women need to think about, maybe you already have?


Shaving your legs

For some of us our legs don’t get much attention during winter. This might be down to the fact they are covered up every day. But as Summer approaches and the promise of weather getting better it’s natural for us to want to wear some summery clothes. These tend to be shorts or dresses don’t they? Which means we need to consider removing the hair from our legs. This might be down to shaving. Which is the quickest way of doing it. Or you may want to consider waxing or laser hair removal. However you do it, I do think it’s something we all think about.

Personal hygiene

Warmer weather means feeling hotter, which means we are bound to get sweaty and feel a little awful at times. So we need to think about our personal hygiene and perhaps upping our game a little. There are stronger deodorants you can buy at supermarkets. There are other things to consider like products from Aquarius Hygiene or just keeping ourselves cooler. No one needs to tell anyone to shower more; I think that goes without saying. But it’s just worth remembering to take extra care of ourselves in the Summer.

Sun cream

Over the next few weeks, we enter official sun cream season. Being in the UK, we tend to not apply sun cream as much as we should. It’s as if we think that because we are here, we won’t burn or cause damage to our skin from being in the sun. But we can still be subject to harmful UV rays. A great idea is to apply sun cream in a morning instead of a body moisturiser, that way you are good to go. Then you just need to keep it topped up throughout the day, but at least the initial protection is there.

Wearable Makeup

We may not want to apply a full face of makeup in the Summer, but we may want to still have something on. So it’s advisable to consider some wearable makeup. A good BB cream is a great place to start as a base. Then just apply a bronzer to add some definition to your cheeks. It may also be recommended to use a waterproof mascara.

Breathable clothes

Finally, it will be worth investing in some breathable clothes for Summer. Linen is a great material to use, and you can pick up some great trousers and tops. These will keep you cool and still have you looking fashionable.

I hope this has prompted you to think about getting yourself prepared for Summer. 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Everything To Consider When Choosing A Personal Bank Account

When you’re running a household and juggling family life, it gets hard to be able to manage your money. It becomes even harder to try and save money, which is why doing both things at once is ideal.

Source // Flickr

But how do you go about this? By choosing the correct bank account, that’s how. The amount of times I’ve been stuck with a provider with poor customer service and a dire interest rate is shocking. The higher your interest rate, the more money you’ll accrue over the year, so don’t neglect it.

If you’ve been stuck with one provider for years, it’s about time you considered switching. Long-standing customers typically don’t receive any sort of special treatment. It’s the introductory offers that hold the big rewards. So when you’re shopping for a new home for your cash, consider these essential areas first.

What’s the interest rate like?

And more importantly, does it fluctuate? A few years back, I opened a savings account with Halifax with an interest rate of 1.2%. Not too bad to start off with, but sadly, this dropped to 0.60% after my first year. This means that it’s best for you to take a new bank account for a year, then switch when that year’s up. This way, you can keep interest rates as high as possible.

What’s the customer support like?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been trawling through Google, attempting to find the right phone number. More often than not, my searches yielded poor results. Some banks have better customer support than others, so take a look around.

For example, the RBS contact number is readily available and easy to find. Other banks like Santander have much more complicated customer service programs in place, which makes it hard to get help. Check if the bank is on social media - and active - as this is a quick way to reach them.

Are there any introductory offers?

Halifax recently offered £125 for any person who switched a current account to them, which was great. Other banks will have similar introductory offers, too. In my student days, opening a Santander student account came with a free 16-25 railcard. Take a look at what that account can offer you in the short-term. There may be a 6-month interest bonus, free cash, or even free insurance.

Are there any monthly rewards?

Some accounts don’t provide interest altogether. Instead, they pay you a small amount each month if you meet certain criteria, like staying in credit. There are other monthly rewards too, like cash back on mortgages and utility bills. In some cases, you will have to pay a monthly fee for these, but it can all add up. These rewards fluctuate from provider to provider and are subject to change, so if you see a good one move fast!

So, that just about does it! Hopefully, this post helped you out somewhat. Juggling family life and finances isn’t easy, but it’s possible to improve things drastically.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Everything You Must Know About Planning Your Family Car Journey

Driving long distances with your whole family in the car can be a pretty challenging task. You just want to get to where you’re going and keep everyone happy in the meantime. When you have kids to think about, that’s not always as easy as it sounds though. So, to make it a bit easier, here’s everything you need to know about planning your family car trip.

Prepare the Car in Advance

You really don’t want your car to break down when you are taking a long journey, so it’s vital to prepare it in advance. Inspect your car and check for any faults that cause you problems on the journey. If you notice that the tread on your tyres is thin, you could invest in Hankook tyres. New tyres will help you stay gripped to the road. If the car has any minor problems that you’ve been ignoring, it’s probably best to get them dealt with too before you start your journey.


Plan the Route and Stops

There are few things worse than getting lost when you are taking a long car journey. As soon as you realise that you’re going the wrong way, everyone gets frustrated. And it can be pretty hard to get back on the right track. So, you need to have your entire route planned out in advance. If you have a GPS app on your phone, use it to tell you directions as you drive. That way, you won’t make any of the mistakes that could throw your journey completely off course. You should also plan out the breaks and stops that will allow everyone to stretch their legs.


If You Have Kids, Set Off at the Right Time

Choosing the time when you start your journey is something that should be done strategically. It’s up to you to choose when you start your journey, but some times are better than others. For example, it can be a really good idea to start the journey at night if you want your children to sleep through it. This will mean that the journey will skip by for them, and you won’t have to worry about keeping them busy for the duration of it. If you do this, you will have to make sure that the driver is well rested enough to handle the journey though. Driving when tired is never a good idea.

Think About Entertainment

Entertainment is a big deal when you have kids to think about. If they get bored, then they won’t hesitate in letting you know about it. And no parents enjoys having to deal with bored children when you’re all stuck in a car together. So, it’s very important to have this planned out as far in advance as possible. There are many different ways you can keep them entertained. You might want to invest in some screens that can be fixed to the back of the headrests. They can then watch something for the duration of the journey, and hopefully keeping them quiet.


How To Stop Smoking!

Quitting smoking can be one of the hardest things you can do. Whether it’s for health reasons or you just want to quit the habit, it can take a lot of determination to be able to do it. Before going cold turkey, you should go to the doctor and talk about the different options you can try to make it easier for you. Here are some ways how you can stop smoking.


Try Nicotine patches

If you want to stop smoking, it might be wise to start by using nicotine patches so that it is a slower withdrawal process. These patches work by still giving you nicotine but not using tobacco. A lot of people do this so that it’s easier than going cold turkey. To get nicotine packages, you should see your doctor who can advise you if they are right for you. You can also get nicotine chewing gum which will still mean you will get the taste you are craving without having to smoke.


A lot of people smoke because they are trying to keep calm. Instead of picking up a cigarette, why not do a form of exercise instead. It’s a great way to beat off any stress you are feeling without having to smoke. Try yoga or pilates as it can be an ideal way to relax as well as strengthen your body. As we have talked about previously, you could even try meditating to keep calm. Just 10 minutes a day can mean you will feel less stressed as you can clear your mind.

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Try e-cigarettes instead

A new popular way on how to stop smoking is to try e-cigarettes instead. It is where you inhale e-liquid through a vaper which is tobacco free. It’s a great way to ease yourself off cigarettes, as you will not miss the process of holding a cigarette and smoking it. You can get a variety of liquids from the e liquid store to make the process more fun. There is still research being taken place on whether there is any damage done to the body by having these.

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Change your routine

The best way to stop smoking is to change your routine. You might have got into a routine where you have one first thing in the morning or last thing at night. As it says here, think of other stuff you can do instead. Why not read for a while instead in bed or you could have a drink. At work, get a hot drink rather than heading for a smoking drink. Skipping your regular routine can be a huge help.

Young woman relaxing at home and reading a book
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Support group

Quitting smoking is not easy, and sometimes you need some support to help you through it. You can look into attending a support group where you can talk to others who are also trying to stop smoking. They may be able to help you figure out the reason you was smoking in the first place, and how you can cope without your fix. Talk to your doctor who can advise you of local support groups you could go to.

Remember, it can be a long process so try and choose the best way you can get through it, and don’t worry if you slip up; you will get there in the end!

Beach Breaks Aren’t The Only Option: Family Holidays With A Difference

Beach breaks are an easy option for family holidays because they’re fun, affordable and have something for everyone. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking when it comes to travelling with kids, that beach breaks are your only option. The truth is they’re not, in fact, far from it. There are plenty of fantastic family vacations that don’t include sun, sand and sea.
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Travel is meant to be about seeing and exploring new places. But if you always head for the same type of beach locations, you’re not giving your family a chance to explore. Travelling with kids can be daunting, but that doesn’t mean you should always play it safe with a beach break. There are so many fantastic types of family holidays to choose from, this year take the leap and try something new. You won’t regret it, I promise!
Visit the big city
City breaks aren’t just for adults; kids can have an amazing time as well. The great thing about planning a city break is that often, during the school holidays they’re more affordable than beach breaks. Yes, cities get hot in the summer but as long as you book a hotel with a pool, there’s no need to stress about the heat. If the idea of a city break appeals to you but you also want a little beach time, a trip to Barcelona in Spain or Nice in France could be ideal. These vibrant cities have plenty of sights and attractions, with the bonus of also having a beach for your kids to build sand castles on.
Go camping (wild or on a campsite)
The main appeal of camping for many families is the cost - it’s an incredibly cheap type of break. Plus, it’s also a lot of fun, and will give you and your family lots of quality time together. Kids love adventure, which is what makes camping such an exciting holiday for them. You can, of course, opt to camp in the UK, or you can camp abroad - it’s up to you. The best places to camp are France and Spain, especially the south of these countries, as they’re nice and warm. You can opt to wild camp or you can book a pitch on a campsite. Don't forget that camping doesn't necessarily have to be on a grass site, it can be anywhere! Even up a mountain. Just remember that each type of camping will need different equipment. For example, If you go camping out in the wilderness and you decide to set up a hammock, you will need a hammock caribiner, if you go camping in the mountains, you will need a thermal tent. It all depends on your destination.
Plan an activity holiday
If you’re a family that likes trying out new things, an activity holiday could be perfect for you. You could opt to go on a cycling break in France, a climbing trip in Wales or how about skiing in the French Alps? Or, if you want a break that includes a range of activities, such as sledding, skiing, and meeting Santa, what about a trip to Finnish Lapland? You could go white water rafting in Spain, sea kayaking in Greece or mountaineering in Scotland. There are plenty of options, so take your time choosing the perfect one for you and your family.
Road trip in an RV
Instead of spending time in just one location, why not hire an RV and go on a road trip? If you want your kids to see lots of different places but want to travel in comfort and style, an RV is the perfect option. You’ll have everything that you need on board, from bedrooms to a bathroom. Plus, you won’t need to stress about your kids being too loud for the people in the hotel room next door to yours. You can sit back, relax, and not stress, and all while seeing lots of exciting sights and attractions.
These are just a few ideas that will help to make your next family break that little bit more exciting.