Thursday, 31 May 2018

Giving Up Smoking - One Year Later

Giving Up Smoking - Man masked by a cloud of smokeThere follows a guest post update on my husband's new smoke-free life, after successfully giving up a year ago. Due, in no small part, to the amazing book Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking, it took an enormous amount of determination and self-belief to give up completely and the effect on the family has been quite profound. Not especially dramatic, but lots of little improvements in every aspect of our lives. I no longer sit alone in restaurants, I don't have to avoid hanging the washing near where he smokes, we are better off financially and our son doesn't have a feeling of dread every time those awful anti-smoking ads come on the TV, to name a few. That's enough from me, though, this is his story, in his own words. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

5 Quick Ways to Cut Your Monthly Costs

A flowery piggy bank with a hand dropping in a coin. Sometimes, the key to reaching your financial goals is taking a lot of little steps. Most of us can't afford to pay for big things straight away, like a new car or a family holiday. However, when you commit yourself to saving a little bit out of each wage slip, you can reach your goals faster than you might think. This is particularly true when you know how to cut down your outgoing expenses too. While cutting your monthly costs will mean making some compromises, it's important to remember why you're budgeting in the first place. Whether you're hoping that you'll soon be able to afford that next big purchase, or you simply want to stop living from pay-check to pay-check, these tips might help.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Encouraging Children to be Tidier

Encouraging Tidiness in Children, toys scattered on a table top.
Over the years, I have developed a few ideas for encouraging children to be tidier, I have also learned what doesn't work. In this post I will endeavour to impart this knowledge, so that you can learn from my successes and failures and hopefully have a tidier home and an easier parenting life. I make no guarantees, however, as all children are as individual as all adults, so you may have your work cut out, since I know quite a few adults who find being tidy a challenge. Perhaps, though, starting young might be the answer and you could maybe break the cycle of untidy child to untidy adult. Future housemates will thank you.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

A Nutritious Protein Shake Recipe with Indigo Herbs

Protein Shake and Protein Powder on garden table
Everyone has heard the assertion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but, if you are short of time, or money, or both, it can be really tricky to consistently find morning meals that are inspiring and appetising when you first wake up. I've recently started experimenting with protein shake recipes and have found simple ways to make them quickly and cheaply. When Indigo Herbs sent us some of their nutrient-packed protein powder free to try, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share one of my favourite recipes with you, along with some money-saving tips!

The Psychology Behind Product Placement

We all know that advertising is designed and made to encourage us to buy things and spend money. However, what we may not realise is just how often we are influenced and the different approaches that product advertising can take. One of the most subliminal ways that companies try to advertise and then sell their products is with product placement. This is when products are placed within a film, music video or TV programme, offering a promotion to the product to anyone who watches it. But does this actually work when it comes to influencing our purchasing decisions? The product is seen in a natural environment or in use.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Spectacular Miss Saigon: A Bristol Hippodrome Review

Miss Saigon Review Bristol Hippodrome
I love going to the theatre, which might be apparent to anyone not new to the blog. This is the main reason why I get so excited when we get invited to review performances at the Bristol Hippodrome, and Miss Saigon was no exception. What might be a bit more surprising is that, despite its 29 year history, I've never seen it before. It has an impressive reputation and is considered one of the greats, alongside Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and other stage masterpieces, and I've always wanted to see it. So the big question is, did it live up to its hype? Could a show almost in its 30th year still wow an audience? Damn right, it could. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Benefits of Pocket Money - Little Minds, Tough Decisions

The Benefits of Pocket Money for Children
There is a lot of debate about whether or not pocket money is appropriate for children and from what age. Another question raised is how much to give. I did a little Googling, in the way of research, and found that in 2016 Netmums set the figure at £6.55, The Sun suggested £5 was average in 2017 and earlier this year HuffPost produced an article which quoted a figure of £11.20 for 2018. This would suggest children's annual pay increases are far more impressive than their parents, but do they really need pocket money, or is it just another expense for parents? After handing out fivers for quite a few years, this is my experience of the benefits of pocket money. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ruka: The Best Lapland Resort for Children

Boy in Tyre Ride with Title OverlaidIn March we were lucky enough to stay in Ruka Ski Resort, which is in Kuusamo, Finnish Lapland. It is a truly remarkable place and I strongly recommend that if you can, go. What this custom-made Lapland resort offers, in terms of magic and wonder, for little (and bigger) ones cannot be beaten. It has a depth and realism to it, with no plastic or gimmicks, that appeals to children of all ages. It is also really educational, you absorb so much about the culture and landscape just from being there. We found so many aspects about Ruka that made it family friendly, that we have written this guide on all the best bits for children.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

3 Tips to Help a Student Manage Their Finances

A window sill with books standing up, with a pair of glasses and desk accessories beside them. It's not easy for students starting out at university to stay in credit and spend wisely, when they are suddenly responsible for rent and bills and getting your money in big chunks every few months requires a lot of forward planning. It would be so easy to become overwhelmed with suddenly having a lot of money in the bank and unlimited access to shops and bars! It's most likely the first time they will have been given a lot of money and it's good for them to have some preparation for how to handle it. So, I've invited Braant Accounting to provide some tips on how to help your child when they head off to pastures new. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

20 Natural Remedies for Common Illnesses and Ailments

Aloe Vera Plant SketchNo one wants to get sick. It's depressing, often painful and, honestly, who has the time? As soon as most of us come down with something horrible, t's perfectly natural to want to get better as soon as possible. Whether it's a short term virus, or a long term problem that won't give in, this often means heading to the chemist, or even the doctor, for something scientific-sounding and probably expensive. For common conditions, though, it's often surprising how well natural remedies can work and this is a list of my personal favourites. They might not work for everyone, but are cheap and easy and definitely worth a try. 
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