Meetchu Dating App: Review

Oooh, I have something a little different to write about today – and I admit to being quite excited about this! Whilst I am not interested in dating (or available!) personally, I have single friends who use dating apps, and quite frankly I have sometimes felt like I am somehow missing out on the fun of these! I have always been quite intrigued to know what they are really like. I guess not least of all because I hate feeling like I am ‘out of touch’ with anything – that is so not me – I like to know everything! So when I was given the opportunity to review Meetchu – a cool new dating app with a twist – I found myself saying yes

Meetchu Dating App: Review. Couple holding hands walking down the street. Into the sunset.

About Meetchu

So as I mentioned above, meetchu has a twist – prospective love interests can actually ‘meet’ each other before they meet up, via video or voice calling directly through the app. This means that you can get to know someone abit better before deciding whether to meet in real life, and you never have to give out your phone number to anyone.

Meetchu app icon

Setting Up

Meetchu verifies who you are by connecting to Facebook. This provides an extra layer of security to avoid getting catfished, which is good. It is also really handy as you can then access your facebook photos to upload to your profile, which makes setting up quick and easy.

Meetchu dating app home screen

You can include photos and short 10 second videos on your profile, as well as some details about yourself and what you are looking for. There are various options to choose from under settings, which helps to narrow down your search so you are more likely to find your true match! For example, you can specify gender and age range. In the premium version you can also specify distance too.

Edit profile screenshot

Using Meetchu

The app is very easy to use; simply heart or swipe right if you’re interested, of click the x or swipe left if not. Matches are then found at the bottom section of the screen. Aside from their photos/ video clips, it also tells you age and distance. I would possibly like a little further info before chatting ideally, but on the otherhand it does help to keep too many personal details away from strangers, which helps me feel more secure.

If you are a match (i.e. you both swipe right or heart) then you can video chat or call each other through the app. I really like this because it means you definitely know who are meeting – no catfishing! It makes the idea of online dating somewhat safer. (Although you still need to take sensible precautions when meeting someone for the first time, of course!)

Another security feature that I really like is that you can delete your messages from the other person’s phone at any time. I think this is a really good idea!

Meetchu app in use. Swipe left or right.

Overall

I love the attention to security and ‘meet before you meet’ concept. Who knows if you might find your true love on this app; either way, you’ll have fun trying!

Join for free!

Download the app using my code to receive a one month’s free premium membership!

This gives you unlimited voice and video calling, as well as unlocking all the emojis. Premium membership also allows users to refine search location. Last but not least, it means you can jump the queue and be seen first in match searches! Premium membership costs from £4.99 per month.

Happy couple

Have you ever tried Meetchu? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: I was given free download for the purpose of this review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Trint Transcription Software: Review

Trint is a clever piece of software that transcribes any video and audio files into text. It was founded by Jeff Kofman, a former war correspondent for CNN. Jeff had to manually transcribe thousands of interviews throughout his career, so he decided to develop Trint, to save people the hours of time and effort it takes to transcribe manually.

Trint is useful for a range of purposes, such as journalists and broadcasters, podcasters and content creators, or for students transcribing lectures. It’s also helpful for those who cannot write or type often, which makes it an excellent tool for those with SEND or accessibility needs.

How it works

Here is a short video explaining how Trint works…

Prices

Trint has various pricing options. You can pay as you go at £13.20 per hour. Or you can subscribe to either the basic package for 3 hours per month at £36 or the supercharged package at £100 for 100 hours. For both subscriptions, unused minutes can be carried over for up to 60 days. You can cancel anytime.

Trint’s video to text transcription software is also available via Adobe Premiere Pro, thanks to the newly added plug-in.

A review of trint subscription software text. Background image in grey of laptop, notebook and pen.

My Review

I tried Trint on my android, but the website is so easy to navigate anyway that it probably wouldn’t make difference what device you use, which is useful. As I mentioned above, it can also be used directly on Adobe too. I didn’t test this out personally but I imagine it is very useful!

The software couldn’t be simpler to use; you literally just select the video clip or audio you want to transcribe and click the button. You can also create folders for the files so everything is nice and organised.

Screenshot on my Trint folders.

Trint takes roughly the same length of time as the video clip itself. That is speedy transcribing! It did seem to glitch slightly when I tried to select multiple videos, and a couple of times it got stuck when I was trying to open the transcribed files. However, admittedly I tend to multi-task so that was likely more a reflection on my phone’s capabilities, and my impatience, than this software! Aside from that, the process of transcribing it was incredibly easy.

Trint screenshot of the actual transcription.

In terms of accuracy, overall it did very well in the right situations. It clearly struggled with Squiggle’s voice generally, although it fared somewhat better with her in a Q&A style video with myself. It does suggest that ideally the speaker should be close to the camera and to speak in a clear voice without background noise, so that might also have improved the outcomes.

Of course, the vast majority of users would be adults anyway though, so let’s find out how well it did with me…

As you can see it is very accurate with only a couple of minor errors. Andy also tested it on a longer video presentation he did and it was almost perfect, aside from some missed punctuation, which would have just been down to his presentation style. So he was very impressed!

Overall, Trint is very useful if used in the right contexts (i.e. in situations where the speaker on the recording is very loud and clear, with an adult pitch voice, without too much background intereference). It could certainly save time, effort and money in transcriptions – it is much easier than doing it yourself manually, and far cheaper than hiring someone else to do it!

Find out more about Trint on their website: trint.com

*Disclosure: I was given free minutes for the purpose of review and compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Most In-Demand Teaching Subjects

Are you thinking of a career change to move into teaching? Or already qualified and wondering which subjects are most in demand? A lot of newspaper columns have been dedicated to the ‘teacher crisis’ but what exactly is the biggest problem? Is it from the National Curriculum changes or are teachers in key subjects leaving the profession?

Most In-Demand Teaching Subjects

According to The Guardian, schools filled about half of vacant posts in 2015-2016 with qualified teachers who had the experience and expertise required. So the government will be striving to improve the education system by attracting and training new teachers and retaining existing ones in the near future.

If you are contemplating whether it is worthwhile looking at Teacher Training Cambridgeshire or doing a PGCE course, it will help to know which subjects are currently the most in demand:

• Biology
• Maths
• Physics
• RE
• Geography
• Music
• Computer Science

It is also anticipated that the foreign languages will be impacted by tougher immigration rules in the UK. So increasing numbers of vacancies, coupled with the increases in pupils (baby boom) will mean that there will be considerable vacancies for most of these subjects in the next few years, providing the budget allows for it.

When you reflect on the areas where there are problems in recruiting people with the right skills, IT is a growing issue. The topmost in-demand jobs in the UK are dominated by IT-related jobs and given the huge advances in technology we are seeing, it is a pattern that will only continue if changes are not made. So computer science will have a much bigger focus in coming years and teachers with skills and experience in this area will be in high demand. The curriculum has already been adapted to introduce coding and other important IT skills but we can expect even more changes in the near future to take into account the skills gaps in the current recruitment market.

Like with most professions, there are plenty of pros and cons in the teaching profession. A lot of former teachers attribute increased workload as to the reason for their decision to leave, as well as the greater scrutiny and pressure of Ofsted inspections and other observations/ expectations.

A teacher with a group of students around a table

However, there are also many great benefits such as the long holidays – which averages around 13 weeks per year. (Although most teachers do work for at least part of these holidays!) When you compare this to other industries, where 4 weeks is common and 6 weeks is good, it is much better. The school day is much shorter than a 9-5 job and although teachers have planning, marking, assessments, meetings and tonnes of other work to do outside of these hours, having the option to sometimes leave at 3/ 3.30pm is a big bonus and can be useful for childcare arrangements. Similarly, the summer holidays are a great benefit when you consider you would otherwise be making childcare arrangements.

Whilst the salary starts relatively low, it soon increases, so if you are happy to wait a few years you will soon have a better salary. The pension package for teachers is ranked in the top 10 jobs, despite changes being made that make them less favourable than they used to be.

A teacher pointing to a world map

Then, of course, there is also the fulfilment you can get from helping pupils to develop skills and build a promising future. The sense of impact you feel when working with disadvantaged children, the joy of seeing the exam results that get them into a good college and set them up for a successful career. If you love working with children then there is no better job to do than teaching.

* Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

The Hidden Costs Of Moving You Should Keep In Mind

Moving homes can be an extremely exciting time in your life. It signifies that the next chapter is on its way, and often this might mean an upgrade in your living situation. If not an upgrade in the physical size of your home or the quality of the area you live in, it might be upgrading your social situation, such as living with your beloved while about to start a family. Moving is an extremely wonderful time for most people, but it does require that we keep aware of all factors we must pay attention to.

Of course, one of the first considerations people think of when moving are the costs involved. This is not surprising; moving home can be very expensive. However, so can the hidden costs, or rather, the costs that seem to spring up the moment you decide to buy. These amounts can build up quickly, so it’s critical to plan for them in advance. Here some of the costs you need to keep in mind when moving home…

The Hidden Costs Of Moving You Should Keep In Mind title house image

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is not particularly a hidden cost, but it can be one that you might not keep in mind. If your home is worth a certain value, the mere act of moving paperwork and taking care of the application process will warrant its own tax. This means you need to calculate this in advance, and you can do so online. This will likely need to be accommodated for, and can obviously be added onto the final house valuation as one of those pre-emptive costs you understand and accept before making an offer. Good property agents will help you make this decision, but so will your own careful calculation. If you plan in advance, there’s no reason why this should limit the kind of property you can afford and search for from the beginning.

Moving Insurance

Moving your belongings from one area to another can be fraught with dangers to your property. Of course, for the most part removal companies are careful and willing to accommodate any and all requests that mean something to you. However, it’s also important to understand that you might need to pay a decent amount ensuring your goods are insured for the entire trip. For short distances, this might not be that much to consider. If moving long distance or even internationally, the cost of transmitting your goods will be much higher, and your insurance might even run into the thousands. It’s important to also factor this into the price of your home, as it’s likely when buying you’ll need to move by a certain date. Contacting your local removals company with the capacity to go long distance is important, because they can likely quote you an amount you can refer to in the future when it comes to budgeting your move.

Notary Public Services

If you are moving internationally, you might well need Notary Public Services to help with authorising legal documents or opening a new bank account, such as the services offered by Prosperity Law. This is another cost to be factored in, but one that could be essential to ensure a smooth move – either as a non UK citizen entering the country, or as a UK citizen opening a bank account abroad, for example.

Damage Collateral

This might not seem like a consideration, but often transporting goods ourselves, especially long distance, can lead to us damaging our own goods. When we damage our own goods we are responsible for them, and mostly no amount of insurance will help us with that. The removals company might mvoe your goods in pristine condition, but t’s always best to consider your own failings in this regard. This is because moving is quite a complex process. You need to not only manuevre your belongings but pack them, transport them and unpack them. It’s not uncommon for a person to drop, damage or incorrectly store items and thus lose out on their value. For example, storing a box in a garage susceptible to moisture might run your sofa cushion covers that you had paid a premium for.

This is not something that is guaranteed or that can even be assigned a set value from the outset, but it can be important to keep in mind. At the very least, having a working extra budget assigned for personal damages can help soften the blow if these things do occur.

Energy Tariff Costs

Of course, setting up your energy tariffs for your home will likely incur a set up charge, particularly if you’re hoping to switch providers. This can potentially take a few days to be provided in the first place also, so it’s important to keep in mind any extra considerations you might have in the first few days of moving. For example, it might be that no gas requires you to focus on takeout food or eating at restaurants – a fine and indulgent method of cheering yourself into your new home.

Some energy tariffs require payment in advance, while others might simply require a call out charge and a setup potential. This can be essentially important to consider when moving in, because you cannot evade this cost by any means at all.

Additional Setup Costs

There are many other costs that might come in apart from your usual energy tariffs. These might be your internet installations, your cable television provisions, and maybe even a payment to your local housing authority for a service rendered. For example, if living in a gated community you might be expected to contribute to the servicing of the front security station keeping your home safe. It could even be that your home has hidden damage in need of repair, such as a broken window or a damaged garage door. Again, allowing your working budget to work with you rather than against you in these circumstances can help you to no end.

In Summary

Before long you will find yourself set up and comfortable in your own home, but that might require some extra financial investment that you might not be realizing when excited to move in. Be sure to keep a large working budget to help you skirt around any issues, and to identify and calculate the costs that might be the most important for you to resolve.

With theses simple tips, you are sure to move into your new place without hassle or worry.

Do you have any moving cost tips to help plan finances and manage money? Tell me in comments!

* This is a collaborative post.

How Psychic Are You?

Have you ever wondered ‘am I psychic?’ Complete this PsychicFuture.com quiz to find out how psychic you really are!

Are you psychic? Did you know that it is estimated that just over half of us (53%) actually are? I am of a spiritual nature and believe that human brains are capable of far more than they actually get used for in many cases; I have no doubt that there is alot of (often) untapped potential.

Third eye, minds eye

However, I am not at all surprised to read that 40% of psychic people felt afraid of this ability to begin with. People often fear what they don’t properly understand. Expert psychics at Psychic Future – which is the number one psychic reading service in the UK – therefore suggest that it is beneficial to seek support from a more experienced mentor. They also advise budding psychics to follow their instincts and embrace these skills.

If you have ever wondered whether you might be psychic, why not take this quiz by PsychicFuture.com to find out…

A detailed infographic about psychic abilities

If you would like to, do feel free to tell me in comments what you scored! And remember to share this post with your friends to see how they get on too!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

18 Goals for 2018 – Why This Post Never Happened

Back at the start of January this year, I was tagged in a lovely motivational post by Mandi over at Big Family, Organised Chaos about setting 18 goals for 2018. I loved this idea and was keen to take part; after all, setting goals helps us to achieve what we want and setting them down on the blog would help me to remember them, and hold myself accountable… except it didn’t happen!

Because even the best laid plans... white text blue background

See, the thing is, sometimes things don’t go to plan. I had ideas, I had my goals in mind, the post was forming in my head… but it stopped there. Because actual real life got in the way. Big time. And sometimes even the best laid plans have to get pushed aside. Even the most inspiring, most important actions still have to get dropped. Because sometimes life throws the unexpected at you. Things that you didn’t – that you couldn’t – predict. And that ‘stuff’ cannot wait. So priorities shift. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, ride the wave.

It is a good reminder that we can set goals and it is great to be focused on achieving them, but we also need to be flexible and adapt. And to be able to rethink our priorities when it is required. Sometimes we therefore have to let some things go. And that’s ok. Life is one big juggling act, after all!

Did you set goals for 2018? How are you getting on with them?

My Biggest Accomplishment

I guess like many people, some days I feel like I am absolutely nailing life, whilst others I feel like I have accomplished pretty much nothing. (Although I know that is never true in reality).

But what do we even mean by accomplishments? It is so subjective, isn’t it? What one person considers an accomplishment, someone else might take for granted completely. For some people, sometimes, just managing to get out of bed and take a shower is an accomplishment. And I think we should acknowledge that; every success should be recognised, even if it looks very different to our own idea of what it means!

I believe it is important to celebrate, or at least acknowledge, all our achievements, both big and small – not just the huge stuff. It is good for our wellbeing to focus on our daily accomplishments as part of having a positive outlook.

Living life our way, about me, accomplishments, teacher, parent, SEND, achievements
Graduation Day

In terms of bigger accomplishments, I am proud that I achieved a first degree BEd at university. But then again, I am equally proud of myself for going against the grain by leaving the system, adapting my lifestyle and choosing to home educate in order to meet my daughter’s individual needs. I wonder if I would have made the same decision if I had not been a teacher though? Funny how life works out!

What is your biggest accomplishment, big or small? Tell me in comments, I would love to celebrate your successes with you!

Self- Employment: Self-Assessment Tax Returns

I am so proud of myself right now; I have just been super organised and filed my 2017/18 tax returns online already! The deadline isn’t until the end of the year, but I couldn’t blog anyway because my site was being transferred to a new host, so I figured I might as well use that time effectively and submit mega early to get it out of the way! Especially after having a massive last second faff last year and finding myself needing to send a paper version in the end, only for Royal Mail to return it to me a week later as the envelope got damaged in transit! So I was then panicking about deadlines and potential late fees; it is a massive relief to know there will be none of that stress this time!

Are you self-employed? If so, you will need to keep records and fill out a tax return form each year too. In many cases that is obvious; people are generally aware that if you run a business and get a regular income from it, you must be self- employed and need to declare your income. However, some people don’t realise that even if you just earn a small irregular income, for example if you mainly blog as a hobby but occasionally get paid work, or if you sell things from home, or receive any other ad hoc income, that you still need to register as self- employed and complete an annual tax return. If that is the case, here’s what you need to do…

Self- Employment: Self-Assessment Tax Returns

Register as Self- Employed

Firstly, you need to register as self- employed. The easiest way to do this is by completing the form online. You must register by 5 October in your business’s second tax year at the latest, although personally I would recommend doing it asap.You will then be sent your Unique Taxpayers Code.

Register for Online Self- Assessment

Assuming you intend to file your tax returns online, you then need to register for this service on the government website. Technically you can use either the government gateway system or Gov.UK Verify to register and submit your returns, but this is the part where it got complicated for me the first time around.

Government Gateway

I tried to use the gateway system, whereby you complete a form online then they send you an activation code in the post. However, this did not work for me and I was told to use Verify to confirm my ID instead. The gateway system is gradually being phased out and will be replaced completely by March 2019, but I am not sure whether this issue had anything to do with it or not.

Verify Gov.UK

So I tried to use the Verify system. And this is where it got really frustrating! For the vast majority of people this would probably be a really quick and easy task. For me, however, not so straightforward; quite the opposite infact!

You see, my passport – which was in my maiden name anyway – had just expired and I don’t have a valid UK driving license either. On top of that my back account is with Nationwide. This combination apparently means you can not possibly verify your identity online with any of the seven different approved companies who offer this service on behalf of the government. Hmm. I wasted so many hours trying to sort it out, it was absolutely ridiculous.

Long story short: eventually I had to renew my passport and open a new bank account with a different bank – just so I could use the government’s online services! Needless to say I was less than impressed.

Tax written on a notebook. Hand holding pencil.

Submitting Your Tax Returns

That said, once you are verified online, it is really easy to submit your tax returns online. If you have all the information you need in front of you, it isn’t too much of an onerous task; actually, it didn’t take me very long whatsoever. If you are submitting online, the deadline is 31st January. For paper versions, it is 31st October.

Record Keeping

Obviously make sure your books are accurate and kept up-to-date, so you have the correct figures to submit. Also keep evidence; receipts, invoices, account records etc… incase you should ever need them. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet to record my monthly income and expenses. I operate on a cash-in, cash-out system, as I find that easiest personally. You will need to check if your situation allows this.

Remember to include all your allowable expenses. For example, if you work from home you can include a percentage of your utility bills. To make this easier, you can use simplified expenses. This is a flat rate, depending on how many hours you work from home per month. Note this does not include phone and internet so they can be listed separately. Once you have got to grips with your record keeping you shouldn’t find it too difficult, especially if you have a straightforward business. However, some people do like to hire a book-keeper to be sure it is all correct.

Calculator, pen, graphs, paperclip

It can be daunting having to complete your tax returns for the first time, but try not to worry! I hope this information is helpful. Let me know in comments if you found it useful!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Bumper Birthday Gift Guide: Present Ideas For Adults

This bumper birthday gift guide for adults features present ideas for men and women from brands such as CanvasChamp, Adagio Teas, GiftsOnline4U, Latest Deals, Hunkemoller and more…

Do you get stuck on what to buy for birthdays? Whether it is your partner, a relative, friend or even a colleague, my bumper gift guide will inspire you to find the perfect gift…

Bumper Birthday Gift Guide: Present Ideas For Adults

Engraved Watch – GiftsOnline4U

Any watch makes a lovely gift, but a personalised watch is even better! GiftsOnline4U have an excellent selection of engraved watches to choose from to design a unique gift for someone. I was gifted this gorgeous ladies watch to review from them…

Giftsonline4u engraved ladies watch flatlay image.

The website itself is easy to navigate, with clear instructions at checkout. Personalising the watch was also very straightforward. You can enter up to 72 characters over 4 lines for the message, which is plenty of space. You can then preview the engraved before ordering. Gift bags and greetings cards can also be selected.

I had my watch engraved with an Albert Einstein quote “Time is just an illusion.” Just a note, the back of the watch is actually silver, it is just the reflection of the camera making it look black. It isn’t the easiest thing to photograph (or I need to improve my photography skills… take your pick!) but in real life the engraving is clear and beautifully written.

Delivery was efficient and there are various delivery options available. Standard delivery is free, charges apply to speedier services. The watch arrived nicely presented in a gift box.

This contemporary style watch is plated alloy with a leather strap and retails at £39.99. GiftsOnline4U also do a range of other personalised Birthday gifts on their website too.

Ladies watch from GiftsOnline4U in box

Canvas Print – CanvasChamp

A canvas print can brighten up any wall and makes a wonderful gift! It is a very thoughtful present, especially if you choose a meaningful photo with the recipient firmly in mind; such as a photo of their loved ones, their favourite place or a picture that captures a happy memory of theirs. If you are familiar with their home, try to consider their colour schemes too, to really make sure you pick out the perfect photo to use.

Canvas on wall. Matches colour scheme. A well coordinated cat is sat on the sofa too, also matching the canvas art!

CanvasChamp specialises in canvas wall pictures and other types of print. Prices start very low (from £3.89) and they offer a wide range of sizes. There are also different options for finishes, and various styles too. For example, you can select from a variety of choices of wrap and border, so you can customise it exactly how you like. I uploaded a photo straight from my instagram and the quality was fine for a fairly small canvas, but if you are going to opt for a larger size then I would recommend using a higher resolution image.

Canvas hanging on wall. Wrap sides

For something even more unique, CanvasChamp offers split picture prints (i.e. the picture goes across two or more canvas), collages, mosaics and wall display sets. As you can see from my photos, the single 12 x 8 canvas looks abit ‘lost’ on such a large bare wall space at the moment, but it will look brilliant as part of a larger wall display!

As an alternative to canvas, you could also opt for acrylic or metal prints. So plenty of ideas to choose from!

Delivery takes up to 8 – 10 business days according to the website, although mine arrived much quicker than this. Shipping is free on orders over £40 and costs £4.99 for orders under that value.

(I was sent a 12 x 8 canvas for review).

CanvasChamp canvas wall hanging art. Picture of Southend beach, Essex. Photography of sea by Living Life Our Way.

Adagio Teas

For tea lovers, Adagio Teas might be just what you are looking for! They have an excellent selection of tasty teas that make a cool gift for any avid tea drinker in your life. There is a wide range of loose tea flavours, as well as tea bags and iced teas too. They also stock high quality accessories and some funky gift sets too. For something even more quirky, check out their awesome signature blends.

A photo of Adagio Teas and accessories

We were kindly sent a variety of teas to try from Adagio; in fact they were incredibly generous and sent us a massive box filled with goodies! If I waited until we had sampled them all before writing this post, it probably wouldn’t be published until 2020! However, what I will tell you is that the selection looks amazing and I literally cannot wait to try them all out.

Bundle of Adagio loose teas, tea bags, ice teas and accessories inc ingenuitea, glass mug and infuser, tea filters

Some of the loose leaf teas we have been sent to try out include calypso green, citrus mint green and raspberry green from their green tea range, spiced apple chai tea, earl grey moonlight black tea, peach oolong, green rooibos bonita, pu-erh hazelberry, hibiscus, coconut, passionfruit and mango flavoured teas, plus berry blues and samurai mate from the herbal tea range. This is just some of the many choices they have available. I am so excited about the pina colada! I am also particularly looking forward to the fruit medley herbal tea and intrigued by the chocolate chip flavour too.

The website has lots of useful information about tea preparations, pairings and health benefits. You can also learn more about the origins of the different types of tea; it is really quite educational!

A selection of Adagio Teas and accessories

I was also sent some very cool accessories too, which are very cleverly designed to make life much easier when preparing loose teas. The ingenuitea teapot has a special valve in the bottom that releases the tea directly into the cup, leaving the tea leaves in the mesh filter. The teapot is easy to clean; just rinse it out with water or pop it into the dishwasher. This retails at £18.

They also sent some paper filters, which are made of taste- neutral wood and hemp fibres, so are fully biodegradeable. You just fold them over the edge of your teapot or mug, then throw them away. So simple! And very good value at £4 for 100 filters.

Then there is the glass mug and infuser, which is handy for use anywhere. RRP £18. As the website explains:

“An ideal ‘have tea anywhere’ set that combines a glass tea mug with a removable stainless steel infuser. In addition to being convenient, it is also loads of fun: watch the leaves dance as they infuse a perfect cup of tea. When done, remove the infuser (the cover doubles as a coaster) and have a perfect cup of tea wherever, and whenever, the mood strikes. Perfect for home or office use.”

Brummie Gal in Cardiff has some useful video clips and tutorials of these fab accessories in action.

Adagio Teas Prize - ingenuitea, glass mug and infuser, tea samplea

I have also teamed up with Adagio to offer a lucky reader a chance to win a bundle of Adagio teas and accessories. The fabulous prize includes an IngenuiTEA teapot, glass mug and infuser, plus 15 sample pouches (which makes up to roughly 150 cups of tea!) To be in with a chance of winning, enter via rafflecopter below.

Competition ends on 10th June 2018. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Underwear – Hunkemoller

This one is just for the ladies! Whilst some people may feel uncomfortable gifting underwear, as a female I think a bra or matching set makes a lovely gift to either give or receive from a close friend or partner. (As long as they know your size!) Hunkemoller have a beautiful selection of pretty designs that come in a good range of sizes, including for fuller figures. Prices start from £12, with free shipping on orders over £20.

I really love the non- padded underwired full cup black bra I was sent to review. It is very comfortable and it looks so pretty on that I almost shared a photo of me actually wearing it. (I said almost…) It is gorgeous and makes an ideal gift. The box is lovely too! (And it is recycled!)

Hunkemoller underwired non padded black bra flatlay. Pretty box next to it says life is about pretty moments, enjoy this one. Love, hunkemoller

Find Inspiration… Plus Save Money Too!

Searching for gift sets on Latest Deals is a fantastic way of saving money, but also a great place to get inspiration too. As I browsed through the current offers listed, I spotted some really awesome ideas that I might not have thought of otherwise, such as a ‘grow your own superfoods kit’ for example. You might also come across lovely new brands that you haven’t heard of before too. The perfect site to find some fresh new gift ideas and get yourself a good deal in the process!

Screenshot of grow your own superfoods gift idea from Latest Deals website

Subscription Boxes – Various

Organising a subscription box as a present is almost like a gift that keeps on giving! Whether you go for 3, 6 or 12 months, the recepient will enjoy getting their monthly box of goodies. Many offer one- off boxes too if that is kinder on your budget. There are plenty of topics on offer to choose from; such as mindfulness, eco friendly, art, healthy snacks, yummy treats or gardening activities, just to name a few, so easy to pick out one you know they will love.

Experience Days/ Event Tickets

Not every gift has to be tangible. Days out, experiences or event tickets make an amazing present too. Whether it is a relaxing spa day, the chance to zoom around a race track, or a fun night out seeing their fave band, tickets/ vouchers to go somewhere or do something is a brilliant birthday surprise!

Other Gift Ideas

For more ideas, you can also check out some of my previous gift guides full of wonderful gifts:

Mothers Day Gifts

Men’s Gifts Under £20

Eco- Friendly Gifts

Gifts for Health and Wellbeing

Unique Personalised Gifts

*Disclosure: I was gifted items for the purpose of review and also compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are of course my own.

Self-Employment Issues: How To Deal With Variable Monthly Income

If you are self- employed you may well find your monthly income is variable. It might depend on how promptly invoices are paid, some of your work might be seasonal or you might simply have an unpredictable flow of work each month. This can make it difficult to manage finances and create unexpected shortfalls. Here are some practical tips to dealing with a variable monthly income…

Self-Employment Issues: How To Deal With Variable Monthly Income title. Image of desk with keyboard, wallet, plant and pencil

Plan Ahead

If you know your work is seasonal, or you happen to have a particularly good month, then you need to make sure you budget the extra income carefully so that you will be prepared for the slower months when they come around. It might be tempting to spend it while you have it, but don’t!

Once your business is established enough, take an average of your monthly earnings then use that to base your budget on. Ideally, budget for slightly under your average figure to be on the safe side. You can also try to forecast your predicted future earnings and use this information too, but don’t rely too heavily on it – at best it is most likely still just an educated guess! (Unless your business is fairly predictable in nature of course).

Tax Returns

When you calculate your budget, make sure you remember taxes; you don’t want to find yourself with a tax bill that you hadn’t accounted for! Work out roughly how much your tax is each month and set that aside. That way, when you complete your tax return at the end of the financial year, the lump sum will be there ready and waiting to pay the outstanding amount immediately.

Stack of coins and pens on finance sheet

Late Invoices

If you are self- employed it is essential to make sure you invoice corrently, and you must record income and expenditure accurately. So keep a careful track of all of your invoices and note when they have been paid. Chase up late payments after 30 days past the due date and have a clear policy for any late fees. If absolutely necessary, seek legal action to recoup the money. Late invoices sadly are a fairly common occurance and can really mess up your finances so it is important to have a clear process for dealing with this, as well as a financial back up plan.

Income Shortfalls

In reference to the previous point, what happens when an unpaid invoice, or an unexpected fluctuation in income, creates a shortfall? This can be one of the hazards of self- employment unfortunately. Ideally you will have budgeted for this and have some money saved aside. But we all know that of course sometimes this isn’t the case.

As already suggested, the first step is to chase any outstanding overdue invoices, which hopefully might prompt them to pay. There is also plenty of advice on how to make some extra pennies when needed.

However, if this isn’t enough to balance the shortfall, you could consider taking out a loan as a last resort. If you need cash fast you could research quick loans. Alternatively, if you are on Universal Credit, you could also enquire about a budgeting advance from them. Borrowing from family or friends maybe another option. Just remember, you will need to pay it back as soon as possible and you may need to modify your budget to enable you to pay off the interest, and to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Are you self- employed? Do you have a variable income? I would love to hear your tips for managing this. Leave me a comment!

*This is a collaborative post.