Dad’s DIY Conservatory

My dad has no formal qualifications in construction but he is naturally very DIY minded and loves a good project to get his hands on and teeth into. I remember him spending hours tinkering around with cars, doing lottle repairs and improvements around the house, or making things for the garden.

Back in the 90s, whilst growing up in our family home, he decided to embark on the rather ambitious project of building us a conservatory. That same conservatory remains standing over 20 years later and still doesn’t leak! I am so proud of him!

DIY conservatory

What is even better is that he actually made this from reclaimed materials. His place of work (a school) were knocking down an old art building as part of a huge redesign and expansion of their facilities. This led to them having surplus building materials that would have otherwise gone to waste but were perfect for what he needed to construct the conservatory he had always wanted. So he asked if he could make use of it and got underway!

It might not be the most fancy conservatory you have ever seen, and it is starting to look just a little tatty now (or so he says!) – it could probably do with a lick of paint and possibly even some replacement windows – but what an achievement to have created that with used materials and his bare hands! Well done Dad!

*This is a collaborative post.

#AD Feast on London Festival by Bookatable: Review of Bella Italia, Islington, London

London has an overwhelming number of places to eat. From hotel restaurants to quaint cafes, and 5 course sit down meals to light bites and take aways, there is literally something for everyone and every mood. To celebrate this wealth of culinary delight, I was invited to take part in Bookatable’s Feast on London festival and dine at any restaurant of my choice from the huge list involved. Lucky me!

As a vegetarian who also often chooses vegan food as my preference, I scoured the menus looking for somewhere with a good range of these choices. There were plenty to pick from, but I eventually settled for Bella Italia because they had alot of tasty sounding options to choose from and I do particularly love Italian food! I opted for the Islington branch of this popular chain, as it is conveniently located fairly close to St Pancras International station.

Feast on London / Italian Feast menu, Bella Italia

Booking with Bookatable

Booking online via Bookatable was extremely straightforward. I had booked it within seconds; it couldn’t be easier. Select date, time and number of people, then give basic details – and it’s done! I then received my reservation number and confirmation by email instantly.

However, on the day of the booking, things did not go according to plan; being a parent, especially with an SEND child, can mean that sometimes plans go awry. Unable to make it to the restaurant on time, initially we tried to amend the booking until later that same evening. They accomodated this the best they could but unfortunately, dealing with a child in full meltdown, I was still unable to get there later on. We tried to let the restaurant know direct (note: you can cancel online in advance via Bookatable in just a few clicks) but by then it was quite late and the phone just kept on ringing.

Thankfully, the next day was better. So I rebooked the restaurant and this time actually made it!

Katie - Living Life Our Way - outside Bella Italia

Location

Bella Italia, Islington is about 25 minutes walk from St Pancras International station, in a shopping centre in Islington, located upstairs (with lift, stairs and escalator access) next to a cinema. The restaurant itself also seems to have reasonably easy access for all; it has a wide entrance, and it is all on one level, no steps, including the toilets.

Outside the shopping centre. Angel sculpture. Bella Italia can be seen in the background.

Outside Bella Italia

The Restaurant

Outside there is a small seating area, which I thought was a nice touch. It is also undercover (so suitable for all weather) which is great if you decide not to sit inside for any reason.

Outdoor seating at Bella Italia, Islington

Inside, it is light and airy with stylish decor. The music was a good volume, serving as background stimulation without making conversation difficult. It is a comfortable, casual family-friendly restaurant with helpful staff and a nice atmosphere.

The only thing I would point out is that it was a quiet period when we visited. If it was busy, I wonder if the environment might be too noisy and overstimulating for some; particularly some children or autistic people for example. However, this is just a guess and not based on my own experience of eating there.

Inside Bella Italia, Islington

Bar area, Bella Italia, Islington, London

Service

We were seated promptly and after some brief confusion with the correct menu (the staff member was unsure about Feast On London and had to check with the manager what it was), we were given an adequate amount of time to make our decision, without waiting too long to order. The food and drinks were all served promptly, and the staff were friendly and attentive throughout.

Food

For mains, I had Pomodoro Pasta; a vegan dish, also available as gluten free. My friend chose Campagne Pizza, which is vegetarian and, again, a gluten free version is also available.

Pomodoro pasta

Both dishes were good portion size, and were prepared with fresh tasty ingredients. The food was well cooked, not over or under done (which is quite common with pizzas especially). We both really enjoyed our dishes.

Campagna Pizza

For dessert, we chose Sicilian Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ and Cookie Dough Al Forno. The cookie dough is vegetarian, it is freshly oven baked to order, and is served with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce.

Cookie Dough

The Sicilian Lemon ‘Cheesecake’ is a vegan dessert. (Note: it also contains alcohol). It was very tasty; the lemon gave it a heavy zing, that was ever so slightly overpowering at times, but still delicious nonetheless. Both desserts were very enjoyable.

Sicilian Lemon Cheesecake

Cost

The Bookatable Feast On London festival offer (which Bella Italia also refer to as their Italian Feast deal) is £12.99 for two courses or £15.99 for three courses from a limited menu. As mentioned above though, the selection is excellent, with vegan and vegetarian options to choose from, and plenty of gluten free choices, too. The two course meal we ate came to £35 for two people in total, including soft drinks and tip. I felt this was certainly fair value for the quality of good, service and overall experience.

Overall 

We really enjoyed our meal at Bella Italia; handy location, stimulating atmosphere, friendly staff, great service, excellent food, good value. I definitely recommend the restaurant, and also suggest you check out Bookatable too!

*This post is written in collaboration with Bookatable as part of Feast On London. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Allplants: Plant-Based Vegan Ready Meals Delivered To Your Door – Review (#Ad)

I have talked before about the difficulty with balancing the need for convenience at times with a desire to eat healthily and be environmentally-friendly. Ready meals can really ease the pressure of difficult days, but the downside is that plant-based options are sometimes limited, plus the packaging is often not very environmentally-friendly (too much plastic!)

Stack of three Allplants plant based vegan ready meals

About Allplants

However, Allplants changes all that. These ready-made vegan meals are healthy, convenient and take sustainability seriously too. They are chef made in small batches, delivered straight to the door in eco packaging and are heated from frozen to be ready in practically no time at all. Plus they are delicious!

Allplants informationDelivery and Packaging

Allplants packaging is 100% recyclable, partly compostable and mostly reusable. The meals themselves are packed in fully recyclable paper trays, which is so much more environmentally-friendly than the plastic trays that ready meals are often sold in. The cardboard sleeve and BPA-free plastic seal are also 100% recyclable. (Although not all councils recycle these in reality unfortunately).

The delivery packaging consists of a fully recyclable cardboard box, insulated using denim fibres, and kept cool using non-toxic ice packs or dry ice. The dry ice is packed in a recyclable jiffy bag, with a plastic sleeve inside. Each delivery box holds six single or six double portion meals.

To help with their mission for zero-waste they also include a free postage return label in order to easily send back the box, liner and ice packs, or dry ice packaging. This means it can reused, which of course is even better than recycling, so I think this is a great initiative!

Reusing beats recycling information

All deliveries are carbon neutral too, so there are no concerns over the environmental impact of having these meals delivered. Delivery is free on weekdays and £2.50 on Saturdays. You can have them delivered to home or work, but you don’t need to be in (or near a freezer) when it arrives, as it will stay frozen in the delivery packaging until 10pm. I arranged for mine to be left on the doorstep and this worked out perfectly.

Less Waste

There are two portion sizes; single (380g), or double (760g). I had a double meal and admit I ate far more than half by myself; that said, I was particularly hungry! The meals can also be reheated the next day if there are leftovers, which also helps to avoid food waste. After cooking, allow it to cool, then cover and keep in the fridge, then reheat within 24 hours of refrigerating.

I imagine the single portion size would be ample for one person for lunch, a smaller dinner, or with some extra vegetables. That said, I do have quite an appetite when I am hungry, so it could be enough for a regular dinner too!

Allplants meal - bhaji daal

Cost

The cost for a one off order is £46.02 for 6 single portions, and £68.04 for 6 double portions. However, you can save 12% if you subscribe. Although this does seem quite expensive – it works out at £7.67 for a single portion, or £11.34 per double portion – in my opinion I would say it is worth it. I intend to order some more myself, just because they are really tasty and are a slightly cheaper (and much healthier!) alternative to getting a take away.

Allplants vegan meals stacked up

About the meals

The meals are nutritious, a good source of protein, and contain several of your five a day. For example, the bhaji daal contains 3 of your 5 a day, has 21g of protein per serving and also has over half the recommended daily intake of iron too. For reference, it is also gluten free.

Bhaji daal - allplants - vegan plant based ready meal

Most of the meals are heated in the microwave, and take around 15 minutes, but a few require the oven so take abit longer. Super easy either way though of course.

I sampled three of their extensive selection; Lasagne Noci, Rigatoni Carbonara and Bhaji Daal. All three of these meals were absolutely delicious; rich in flavour, and really good quality. I genuinely couldn’t fault them! My personal favourite was the rigatoni carbonara, but I would highly recommend all of them!

Rigatoni carbonara - allplants - vegan ready meal

For further information, and to order these yummy vegan ready meals, check out the Allplants website. Enjoy!

*This post was written in paid partnership with Allplants, who sent the meals to review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

* All links in this post are affiliate links. 

Choosing A New Family Car: As A Parent, Which Features Should Be Most Important To Us When Looking For A New Car?

Choosing a new car for the family can be an exciting experience – it’s also a great excuse for a day out with the kids! While they get excited climbing into the front seats and pressing all the buttons, it’s easy for us to get distracted from the things that should matter the most to us. However, over the past decade, have our primary concerns changed at all?

A recent study conducted by All Car Leasing – a UK based contract hire and leasing firm suggests that safety and reliability are still the most popular necessities to have in a new car. 30% of the parents surveyed in the study said that Safety was their primary concern, which really comes as no surprise if the car is mainly going to be used to chauffer the kids around, this is even further bolstered by the fact that (according to the study) one in four parents surveyed had been involved in a road traffic accident while their child was with them in the car!

Speaking of safety, there’s now a lot more to consider than back in the day – it used to be a case of how many air bags the car could deploy or how badly the car crumpled in a serious accident, but today there’s all sorts of new safety systems such as:

Autonomous Braking, which activates if the car senses a potential collision with a person or vehicle in front)

Lane Keep Assist, which alerts you if you are drifting out of your current lane without indicating (and on some vehicles, automatically apply steering to keep you within your current lane).

Blind Spot Detection, which is a little yellow/orange light on the car’s side mirrors which lights up if there is another vehicle driving in your blind spot.

Driver Drowsiness Detection, which often uses a small camera/sensor to monitor you as you drive and make sure you haven’t fallen asleep – if the camera sees signs of this it’ll often try to make you feel more alert by turning the air conditioning on or directing you to the nearest place that sells coffee, amongst other bings and bongs which safety features are known for.

All in all though, this study is a good sign that parents attitudes towards their choice of car hasn’t changed much for the sake of vanity or status! Be sure to check out the infographic on the full study below.

Baby Driver - Parents and their driving habits

Baby Driver by All Car Leasing


*This is a collaborative post

Top Gardening Tips To Get The Most From Your Garden

Maintaining your garden to a high standard so that you can truly maximise the benefit is well worth doing! Here are my top tips for getting your garden in the best shape…

 gardening, livinglife our way, outdoors, garden, green living

Water

Your garden needs water to grow, of course. Typically in the UK, rain does a good job of taking care of this for much of the year round, except for the hotter drier months. During this time, you will need to water your garden regularly to prevent wilting. Conserve water and do your bit for sustainability by using a water butt to collect rain water for this.

Grow Your Own

Use your garden to grow some of your own food. It is satisfying to tuck into a homegrown meal, it is healthy and it is good for the environment too.

Don’t Overdo It!

When gardeing, there is no need for every spot to be perfectly presented. A wild overgrown section encourages wildlife so that they can benefit from your outdoor space too!

Garden Accessories

A garden can be enjoyed more fully if you invest in some furniture and accessories to make it a comfortable place to relax. Garden seating is certainly a good start, and you can get outdoor cushions and throws for extra comfort. Some well chosen lighting adds to the mood and allows you to stay out later into the evening. If you add some heating, and perhaps some kind of sheltered area too, the garden continues to be enjoyable for much longer.

Last but not least, consider adding a water feature. Gentle running water caresses the soul with its soothing tones as water trickles down. Or better still, build a pond and welcome a whole new wealth of wildlife into your garden.

Know Your Garden

Knowing the type of soil in your garden, and considering the position of it in relation to the sun, plus how much shade there is to, and so on, will help in deciding the best plants to grow, as well as the best spaces in your garden for these plants to flourish. Camellias, for example, prefer a north-facing wall in a court yard and an acid soil, so there is no point planting them in water-logged, alkaline soil with continuous cold draughts irritating their tender stems.

If you are unsure about the more technical side of gardening, you could hire a gardener to help you. They can also help with garden maintence and other gardening services too. Sometimes it can be useful to buy in some extra help to keep your garden in the best shape it can be.

What are your top tips for getting the most from your garden?

*This is a collaborative post.

Autism Awareness Day: What You Need To Know

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. As a parent of an autistic child, this is of course very significant to me. Squiggle actually has a subtype of autism called Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) which is something I have written about before and more information can be found on the PDA Society website. There are significant differences between PDA and other types of autism, and in many ways PDA is still very much the lesser know cousin. Far more awareness of this particular subtype is needed, so it is tempting to focus my post on that. However, I am going to share this useful one page snapshot and move on, because I have too many other thoughts for this post already!

Key points about PDA

So, my thoughts about Autism Awareness Day…

Awareness is not enough

Awareness just means knowing something. This is a start of course, but the word bothers me a little because awareness does not in itself make any any real difference to autistic people or their families. On this note, I am pleased to see the #AutismAcceptance and #ActuallyAutistic gaining more popularity across social media. Please take the time to listen to people who are autistic, and those who live with them. Trust me, I was an SEND teacher and SENCo before I became a parent, and I thought that made me abit of an expert; I look back and cringe now at what little I really knew! What is really needed goes beyond just awareness; it is the need for true understanding, acceptance and support.

Which brings me onto my next thought…

Autistic people and their families need the right kind of support

Whether it is a passerby in the street, a member of the local community, or a professional involved, autistic people and their families need the right kind of support. What is helpful to one person, might be harmful to another. Want to know the most effective way to help? Ask! And listen to the answer. (Without taking it personally, or thinking you know better!)

For example, if a child is having an autistic meltdown, it might be helpful to assist in getting them to a quieter spot. On the otherhand, the added involvement – especially from a stranger – might make things worse; giving the child and carer extra space to deal with it might be more helpful. Listening, understanding needs differ, and responding accordingly benefits everyone.

Stop speculating and assuming

Following on from this, please avoid assuming. As a parent of an autistic child, I am aware of the challenges my daughter faces and what works – and doesn’t. It might seem that parenting strategies aren’t being implimented or that the child just needs more discipline (SEND parents hear this alot!) but the reality is far more complex. Please don’t assume you know better from small glimpses you see, or limited experiences, or speculate on the reasons for behaviours you see. The only real expert is the autistic person themselves, and those who live with them.

As for speculating; I see alot of discussion surrounding the causes of autism. This is unhelpful in my opinion. What does this actually achieve? Nothing. So let’s focus on how to support autistic people instead.

Addressing stereotypes and misconceptions… and unhelpful terminology

There are still alot of stereotypes and misconceptions floating around. I am not going to go into them in this post, but I ask that people take a step back and question any generalisations. Also, some of the terminology can be unhelpful and add to this further. The terms high and low functioning, mild and severe for example. My daughter is highly verbal with good understanding. However, she also needs alot of support in everyday life and finds many simple things extremely challenging. It is far more useful to get to know individuals and just accept them as they are than to think you understand them based on someone else entirely.

Different is not less

Just because someone’s brain is wired differently, it does not make them ‘less’. Many people say autistic people lack empathy (which is not true, by the way!) yet they expect them to fit into their own neurotypical world that does not even try accomodate their needs. It would be a much nicer world if we tried harder to put ourselves in other peoples’ shoes and show a little more understanding. Let’s celebrate, and support, our differences. I loved this sign from London Underground about changing the conversation…

Girls can be autistic too!

Last but not least, girls tend to mask better (this is not a good thing! It can massively impact self esteem and mental health) and present differently to boys. This fact is only just gaining awareness in more recent years, and girls are frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because of this. It is really important to understand the differences between genders within the autistic community too.

I am going to end this (now very long) post with a YouTube video made by Carrie Grant, which is brilliant, so please watch….

Thanks for taking the time to read. And remember; sharing is caring!

Best Storage If You Have A lot Of Belongings

Keeping your place tidy is may be one of the toughest things to do especially if you have a lot of things of daily usage. This is the era of managing your house through smart choices utilising the space across the houses including your hallways. The hallways in a home are often not considered as places to have furniture, drawers, or cabinets but they can be employed extensively through smart selections, or as we call it hallway furniture. Through this furniture, you can make your life easy while making your home trendy and chic with excellent usage of walls and corners-even the tight ones. These items will not only be useful but will also give a great first impression of your place, and our products will make you and your home, fashionably-smart.

Best Storage If You Have A lot Of Belongings #homedecor #interiordesign

Following are some products, which you can use and install as hallway furniture:

Hallway Furniture Set

This Hallway Furniture Set is a modern multi-purpose article which not only looks good but also saves the space. The set consists of a cupboard, a shoe rack, cloth hanger section, mirror and a second smaller cupboard. This set-in your hallway-can hold numerous daily usage items including clothes and shoes. Installing this product in your hallway will give you a proper place to hang your coats, sweaters and scarfs right after entering your home which would be highly helpful especially in a raining season. Secondly, you can look into the mirror while going out-you know one last look to check if everything is proper. The shoe rack is may be the most critical piece of this item because a shoe rack in the hallway will definitely keep your home clean and dirt-free. We have this set in different latest designs with high-quality material and a cost which is not pocket-heavy.

Umbrella Stands

Whether it is rainy or sunny, you need an umbrella to protect you and your clothes from direct sunlight and to get wet. Installing our Umbrella stand in your hallway will allocate a proper place for the umbrellas in your home, and you will not have to search them in the time of need making it a critical time-efficient and time-saving item for your household. Further, it will give the hallway a modern and tidy look with a proper place can be used by you and your guests. The low-cost stands are available in different designs to hold more umbrellas with less space.

Where are my Keys?

This is may be the most commonly asked in a house because they seemed to be lost, especially at the time of need, i.e. going out. The issue can be resolved in a simple way-install our key boxes. They are small, fashionable and extremely useful. Install them in your hallway near the door, and voila, you will never lose your keys. The beautifully designed vital box will be a small but significant article of your house. Install it a bit higher, and your keys will also be safe from children. So, check our designs and have one of your own choices at the perfect price.

 

*This is a collaborative post.

The Importance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are a legal requirement for anyone building, selling or renting a property (with some exceptions). However, beyond simply being a necessity, they are actually very useful to help you understand how energy efficient your home is and what can be improved on. The certificates show clear action points, broken down into cost of investment. If the recommendations are followed, this in turn can help save money on energy costs and make your home more eco-friendly.

The Importance of EPCs title with EPC background image

You can look up EPCs of other properties, in order to compare energy performance with similar homes, for free on the EPC register. You will also have been supplied with an EPC for your own home prior to moving in, unless you have lived there since before they came into force.

I looked through mine, which is now due for renewal, as they expire after a decade. It is very informative. For example, my home is rated D (on a scale of A-G) which is average. It is good in some aspects, according to the certificate, but it is poor on main heating controls, for example. It then gives lower cost measures to improve my home, a list of non-cost simple actions that be done to save money and reduce environmental impact, and a higher cost recommendation to invest in a better central heating unit.

To better understand the importance of this heating unit recommendation though, bare in mind that in a typical UK household, more than half of the fuel costs are for providing heating and hot water. Therefore an efficient heating system is essential, and a key step to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as well as your energy bill.

As is the case for many homes in the UK, mine is a central heating system, with a boiler that runs on mains gas. I use a clean energy company for both my gas and electricity too, to try to be more environmentally- friendly.

As well as recommendations written on the EPC, I found some further suggestions on Energy Saving Trust and other websites for further energy-saving improvements to gas central heating systems too:

• Replace your boiler with a newer model. This is especially important if you don’t have a condensing boiler, as these are most efficient.

• Make sure the heating control unit allows you to decide specifically where and when you want heat.

• Switch to renewable technologies for generating energy to your home, or at least choose a green energy company to supply your home.

• Make sure your home is well insulated and draught-proofed.

So whilst EPCs might seem like an inconvenience and unnecessary cost, they are actually very useful. Paying attention to the information, and perhaps making some investments, can offer long term gain on both reducing your bills and impact on the environment too.

*This is a collaborative post.

Sustainable tourism: Are we doing this right? A Guest Post by Midlands Traveller

Everybody likes travelling, right? It’s a fact! The idea of discovering a new country is thrilling. Or sometimes, visit again that destination that brings back memorable memories of past holidays.

But have you stopped to think that every time we pack our stuff and go on holiday somewhere, we also take with us the responsibility of making tourism more sustainable? At least, we all should think about it.

But I have some good news for us! According to a booking.com survey released last year; the green travel trend continues to increase considerably with the majority of the global travellers (87%) saying that they would like to travel sustainably.

However, the survey also points out that nearly four in 10 (39%) people can confirm managing to do so. Is it a big figure? Probably. But we need to make it better!

The thinking globally, acting locally is a reality that can’t be ignored. Popular travel destinations such as Venice has started campaigns and actions to promote responsible tourism. The #EnjoyandrespectVenice is a campaign to bring awareness to the impact that careless tourists can cause in the environment, landscape and natural beauties of cities like Venice.

It’s a serious issue, and unless we change the behaviour now when travelling anywhere, it will be too late to save our planet and natural sources.

Here are some of the tiny and important tips to go green when travelling…

Sustainable tourism: Are we doing this right? A Guest Post by Midlands Traveller

Go further!

It seems silly, but if you’re thinking about jetting off soon, it’s always better to choose a further destination. We all know that aviation industry causes a massive impact on the environment and fewer flights taken, means less damage to the planet.

So, maybe it’s time to save for that dreamt visit to New Zealand, for example, instead of going three times a year to Benidorm, right?

Buy Local

It’s something I already do when travelling and I do recommend it. There is nothing more exciting than trying the local food, buying artisanal and experience the local culture.

Travelling is about indulging yourself in a different culture. It not only helps the local economy but also sustain people that live from this income.

Greener Accommodations

The best memories I have from the hotels and b&bs that I have stayed before are always related to how the green alternatives they offer. I have been to an apartment in London that left me organic food and natural beauty amenities. It was a game changing for me.

So, it doesn’t matter what kind of accommodation you are going for, it’s always important to research what sustainable measures these places can offer you. It can go for a simple garbage recycling collection to solar panels; even sophisticated hotels in Las Vegas are offering “eco-luxury” facilities nowadays. No excuse, huh?

If it’s packed, avoid it!

Most of the destinations we want to live in life have attractions and landscapes that will be crowded. Who doesn’t want to go up at the Eifel Tower once in life or step on one of the famous Italians historical bridges? You can still do it, but it would be better for the environment if you plan your trip carefully and visit your favourite city when it is less crowded. It’s a win-win! You can try, at least.

Walk out & about!

There is no other better way than knowing a place than walking through it. I did it in Dubrovnik, New York and lately, in Porto. Unless you have any special need and need to use transport, please walk along the streets, avenues and narrow lanes of your destination. Not to mention, it’s an excellent exercise as well.

So, think greener when travelling next time. It may be easier than you think to make a difference in the planet.

About the Author

Simone is a journalist with both Brazilian and British citizenship who has been living in Birmingham since 2011. She is vegetarian, with a passion for plant-based food. She also has a keen interest in green living. She writes at Midlands Traveller; a blog about business opportunities, the travel industry and well-being. You can find her on twitter, instagram and facebook too. 

Top Tips For A Less Stressful Move

Most people find moving stressful. It takes time, money and energy. There are often mixed emotions and always plenty of practical considerations. Whether you are single, a couple, or a family of any size, there are ways to minimise the stress involved with moving….

Top Tips For A Less Stressful Move

Consider Costs

Moving home can be very expensive, so taking into account of the costs, and budgeting accordingly from the outset will prevent financial worries further down the line. If you are buying a property, you will need to remember stamp duty, solicitors fees and surveyor costs, amongst other things. For renting, you will need a deposit and there may well be agent fees to pay too. In either scenario, you will also have actual moving day costs, possibly as well as energy supplier and other services set up costs too.

Be Organised

Try to declutter as much as you can beforehand. Moving is the perfect opportunity to get rid of your old junk so you only take what you really need. Sell unwanted items, take them to a charity, or pop them on a freecycle site, to avoid contributing to landfill if possible.

Also, try to start packing your belongings you won’t need prior to the move into boxes as soon as possible. It often feels more manageable to do it in small stages rather than have mammoth task all in one go. (Unless you decide to pay someone else to do it of course!)

On the day, make sure your solicitor is available to receive the money and release the keys as early as possible if you are purchasing a property. If you are renting, ask the landlord or agent how early you can get the key.

You will also need to notify utility companies. It is likely that you might also need to get broadband and other services booked in to be set up asap too.

Get help

My advice is to get as much help as you can. Whether it is someone to entertain the kids, having friends round for a packing party or hiring professional assistance, extra pairs of hands will make the workload lighter.

If your budget will stretch, and especially if it is a big move, you might want to take a look at removal companies. For example, GetAMover will help you to find removals London and elsewhere, and other services to assist your move. This also saves time and fuel costs, which could be significant if you have a fair distance to cover and/ or would have to make multiple trips yourself. When you factor this in, it certainly goes some way towards countering the cost of hiring removals.

Key in hand at front door

Moving is rarely an easy time, but if you plan your budget, get organised and enlist some help, it can certainly minimise the stress for everyone involved.

What are your top tips for moving home?

*This is a collaborative post.