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?

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.

How To Grow Your Hair

Many mums find that they suffer from hair loss when they are pregnant, or shortly after giving birth, or sometimes both! It can be daunting finding clumps of hair in the shower after a hair wash, but rest assured it is normal. (Although if you are concerned, or are also experiencing other symptoms, do speak to a healthcare provider about it of course!)

I was lucky in that I didn’t actually have any noticeable hair loss during pregnancy or postpartum. However, I then randomly and unexpectedly began to notice quite significant amounts falling out last year. I am not really sure what caused it to be honest, and there weren’t any obvious patches at first. But after a few months, I did start to notice visible thinning in places.

Obviously this can be abit upsetting, although I tried not to worry about it too much personally. (Apart from anything else, I am sure stress wouldn’t help!) But it is comforting to know there are things that can be done to help. So here are some tips for encouraging hair growth…

How to grow your hair title with faded background image of a woman with long healthy hair

Don’t use too much heat and avoid too many styling products

Try to avoid using too much heat, or doing too much styling, because this dries out hair and damages it. Styling products often also contain chemicals that are harsh on your hair. You need to keep your hair healthy to allow it to grow, so go for the natural look as often as possible

A lady drying her hair

Healthy diet, healthy hair!

If you eat healthily, ensuring you get plenty of nutrition, this will also help your hair to grow. Take supplements if needed to give your body, and hair, that extra boost. This BBC article has some excellent suggestions on what to eat for healthy hair.

Condition your hair thoroughly

Remember to condition your hair everytime it gets wet and make sure you use plenty of conditioner. Natural oils, such as coconut oil, and other natural hair treatments, will help to replenish your hair and encourage growth.

Coconut oil in glass jar with wooden scoop

Choose the right brush

Help your hair to produce its own natural oils by brushing regularly. However, the wrong brush can damage hair, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve of course – so make sure you choose the right type of hair brush! Any knots should be teased out carefully, starting from the bottom, not get pulled out mercilessly by the brush.

Get regular trims

Regular trimming to avoid split ends helps to keep hair healthy. Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to cut the hair that you are trying to grow, I promise you – it really isn’t!

Be patient!

It isn’t going to magically grow an inch overnight! You need to be realistic with your expectations. Keep trying the tips above and you will hopefully start to see results.

If all else fails…

Research hair transplant cost if the issue is severe and home methods have not helped, especially if it is having a major impact on your self- esteem and confidence. This may seem drastic but if nothing else has worked and it is affecting your overall wellbeing, it might be worth looking into. It is often helpful to consider all options; if nothing else, it can feel somewhat empowering to know that you do have choices, and that there are ways to regain some control over it, if need be.

What are your top tips for growing your hair? I would love to read them in comments!

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Harley Street Hair Clinic.

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers

Everyone says that they like music, but then there are people who LOVE music. For those people, music is life; their existence would be a little emptier without it. But music doesn’t just have to be something that you listen to and from work; you can make it part of your travels! From the history of music to today’s biggest players, there are destinations across the world that have music running through their veins. We take a look at some of these destinations below, which might just inspire your next trip…

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers title record image above

The Home of The Beatles

Where would music be with The Beatles? It’s not worth thinking about. The Fab Four from Liverpool changed the course of music forever. Listen to their records today, and you can still hear their influence in modern culture. To see where it all began, take a trip to Liverpool. There, you’ll be able to see the homes where they were raised, the areas that influenced some of their most popular tracks (specifically, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields), explore the Beatles Museum, and visit the famous Cavern Club, which is where they perfected their sound.

Modern Music Makers

People have the idea that music was better in the past, but is this true? It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Today, you can hear music from any and all backgrounds; music hasn’t gotten worse, there’s just more of it, and it’s more diverse. To hear the latest and best sounds, take a trip to the cities where all the best new music is developed. In places like London, New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin, you’ll be able to see the artists paving the future of music. And trust us, it sounds pretty good.

Through History

If you love music, then you’ll be aware of all the big movers and shakers throughout history. Virtually every big player has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and did you know that there’s a museum dedicated entirely to these musicians in Ohio? Book yourself into the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites Akron Stow, and pay a visit. There, you’ll find a grand museum divided into seven sections outlining various aspects of music, from one-hit wonders, songs that shaped rock and roll, and special exhibitions devoted to inductees, among others. For music lovers, this museum will function as something of a pilgrimage.

Other Languages

We tend to focus on music that’s in the English language, but if there’s one thing that music has taught us, it’s that music is global. For your next trip, why not think about visiting a place with a rich musical heritage, even if it’s in a different language? Cuba’s music scene is a knock-out, as is the Spanish cities where the Spanish guitar still reigns. Desert Sahara bands and artists, such as Tinariwen, have also been increasingly popular with western audiences in recent years, too. Travel the whole world, and dig deep to hear the sounds they’ve been creating – it’s sure to be good.

Do you have a favourite place to go for the musical connections? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

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.

How To Make Your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

When we spend time in the bathroom, we often tend to be using energy. Therefore, when you are designing your bathroom, it is important to think about the energy that you are going to be using every day, week and year. This is something that a lot of people tend to overlook. We tend to focus on the functions of the bathroom first, and then perhaps luxury and relaxation after this. But we should be thinking about how to make our bathrooms energy efficient. With that in mind, no matter whether you are moving into a new property or you are looking to make improvements to your current bathroom, read on to discover lots of different ways that you can start to save energy in your bathroom…

How To Make Your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

Switch Your Bath For A Shower

There are some homeowners that have bathrooms that contain a bath and not a shower. While you may prefer taking baths, they use up a lot of water and therefore are much less energy efficient. This is why it is a good idea to replace your bath with a shower or indeed have a showerhead installed over the top of the bath. Nevertheless, there are plenty of walk in shower options that look amazing and would completely transform your bathroom, giving it a luxurious and spacious feel. If you already have both a shower and bath in your bathroom, make sure you start taking showers more regularly and start saving baths for rare occasions in order to save more energy and consequently more money in the process.

More Bathroom Water Saving Tips

Taking showers more regularly than baths is not the only way that you can save water in the bathroom. Aside from this, it is important to look out for dripping taps. Dripping taps are a common problem in any home and they cause water to be wasted. You may assume that not a lot of water is wasted via this issue. However, more than 5000 litres of water per annum can be wasted through a dripping hot water tap. Just think of all of the money you are spending on a water and gas metre. Therefore, you can save a considerable amount of water and energy usage by simply getting your tap tightened.

Other ways to save water in the bathroom include thinking about how often you flush your toilet. You should also think about installing a dual flush insert device. This is a device that is designed to reduce the quantity of water used in every flush by around 50%. You can usually get these devices free of charge from your local water company so it is worth checking with your provider.

Check Your Extractor Fan

When it comes to the bathroom and wear and tear, condensation is one of the biggest culprits. The moisture in the air, which lingers from the shower, taps and bath, can climb to the walls. As time passes, this moisture will start to eat away at your fixtures and walls, which can cause issues with both damp and mould. In the end, condensation will mean that you need to remodel or replace your bathroom, which has a significant impact on the environment and will cost you a lot of money too. An extractor fan will work by getting rid of some of the moisture in the air. Therefore, it helps to lower the issues that have just been discussed.

To add some extra energy savings to your bathroom, you need to purchase an extractor fan with care. Look for one that has capabilities in terms of recovering heat. These fans will pull some of the warmth from the air, and they will use it to heat up a bathroom that may be cold. This provides you with further energy savings because not only are you dealing with the condensation issue that has been mentioned above but you will not need to turn your bathroom radiator on frequently and so you will save more money too.

Clean bright minimilistic bathroom with plants on windowsill

Big Changes That Can Make A Difference

As you can see, there are a lot of little changes you can make to the bathroom that will make a big difference in terms of energy efficiency. However, of course, there are a number of big changes you should consider if you are in the process of planning or remodelling your bathroom. This represents the perfect time to make some significant energy efficiency improvements. There are a number of different ways that you can do this, including choosing a condensing combi boiler to replace your old boiler, cylinder and water tank, as well as installing low flow bathroom taps to both your bath and basin, replacing single glazed windows with double glazed windows, choosing a reduced capacity bath, or better still shower cabins, and installing a low flush toilet.

Choose Energy Efficient Lighting

Of course, this is an energy efficient tip that you can implement all around the home, not just in the bathroom. Nevertheless, it represents an excellent way to make some further bathroom savings. Simply replacing your incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs or compact fluorescent lighting will make a massive difference. Yes, you will have to spend a little bit of money in order to purchase these types of light bulbs. Nevertheless, they cost much less to use and they last a lot longer, which means that you will save much more money in the long run by switching to this type of lighting.

Bathroom Insulation

Another way to make energy savings in your bathroom is with insulation. Next time you are thinking about getting new bathroom fixtures or tiles, you should insulate the walls in your bathroom. If you are currently living in a property that does not have cavity wall insulation, you will have no doubt noticed that your bathroom is not as warm as the rest of the house. If you add insulation it will make the bathroom as well as the rest of the house a lot warmer and more comfortable to live in. This means that you will need to spend less money to keep your house warm during the winter months.

Insulation is not only something that can be beneficial in terms of your walls. You can save money by insulating your hot water pipes as well. Plus, it does not end there, you can also use a jacket, so long as it is at least 75mm thick, in order to insulate your hot water tank. This is extremely beneficial because it will reduce your loss of heat by a massive 75%, which will save you a considerable batch of money every year. Not only this, but it means that your water will be kept hotter for longer and this means that you will use less energy overall and again save even more money.

High-efficiency Faucets and Shower Heads

Last but not least, you can also save a lot of money by investing in a high-efficiency showerhead. The vast majority of showerheads have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. You can reduce this amount by half or more by investing in a high-efficiency showerhead. High-efficiency faucets also provide you with a great way to reduce the flow of water that comes through your taps and again save energy.

As you can see, there are many different ways that you can make your bathroom more energy efficient. Some of the suggestions that have been provided require little effort on your behalf and, therefore, can be implemented today. However, there are some ideas that do require substantial expense and time, and so you may want to reserve them for when you are planning to remodel your existing bathroom. Either way, if you embrace a number of ideas that have been presented to you in this blog post, you will be able to save a considerable amount of energy in your bathroom. Not only is this a great way to help the planet, but it also means that you will reduce your utility bills by a considerable amount in the process.

*This is a collaborative post.

Budget Décor Ideas That Can Change A Room

Sick of your tired, outdated décor, but don’t have enough spare cash for a renovation? The good news is that with a little bit of DIY, it’s possible to transform just about any home in your property – without breaking the bank. A new lick of paint, some fresh throw pillows, and a touch of personality can be all it takes to give your home a new lease on life. So if you’ve been dithering over your decoration options for some time now, and you’re not sure how to get started, the following budget décor ideas could give you the inspiration you need…

Budget décor ideas that can change a room

Start With a Splash of Colour

Let’s face it, few things have a bigger impact on the way your rooms look, than the colour of the walls. A quick lick of paint can be an inexpensive and easy way to give your property a much-needed lift. Whether you’re adding a statement wall to your living room or sprucing up your bedroom with some relaxing neutral colours, you’re guaranteed to get a great outcome with just a small investment.
Just be careful not to go too over the top with your colours. Dark shades can be hard to fix if you decide you’re not as fond of them as you thought you were.

Dark blue painted wall. Picture hanging on wall. Home decor. Interior design

Rethink and Rearrange

It doesn’t cost a thing to look at the furnishings you already have and move them into different places around your room. Switching the location of your bed, or moving your sofa to another corner of the room can be a great way to change the way the space looks. Plus, while you’re moving things around, you’ll have a great opportunity to get rid of any clutter that you don’t use anymore. Put your unwanted items on eBay, and you could make a bit of extra cash for the summer.

Choose Lighting With Care

The right lighting can transform the atmosphere of any room. A dimmer switch in your bedroom can give you a fantastic romantic effect, while a fresh shade for a lamp in your living room can brighten up the space. Try replacing mismatched lamps with stylish matching ones or replace your old bulbs with some bright LED ones. Remember, your lighting doesn’t have to just be about fixtures either. You can always consider using fairy lights to add a touch of sparkle to a room, or turn to candles for a romantic vibe.

Transform Your Windows

Speaking of lighting, don’t overlook the power of natural light. You can create an excellent focal point in your room and bring more light back into your property with the right window furnishings. A set of cheap shutters is all it takes to give your home a warm and rustic look or to add personality to your kitchen. There are plenty of colours to choose from, and you can always add a potted plant to your windowsill to complete the look.

Update Your Soft Furnishings

If you can’t afford a new bed or sofa for your home, but you think your soft furnishings look a little lacklustre, try adding a new throw or set of pillows to the mix instead. There are plenty of beautiful and affordable cushions out there that will help to add glamour to your space almost instantly. If you’re not certain which colours you should go for, you can take inspiration from your wall and floor palettes.

A sofa with colourful cushions. Soft furnishings, home decor. Interior design.

Embrace Artwork

Finally, artwork is a great way to show your own unique style in any room. Often, it’s best to stick with pieces that have been pre-framed if you want to get a professional look. However, you can always look for custom frames for your own pictures if you prefer. Additionally, it’s worth looking at large pieces of artwork that add scale and volume to the way that your property looks. If you’ve got little ones, and you really want to make your home your own, you can always consider asking them to help you make artwork for certain rooms that you can frame in unique ways to bring a touch of vibrancy to any space.

Transforming Your Home On A Budget

At first, transforming your home on a budget can seem an impossible task. However, with the right decorations, a fresh lick of paint, and a few simple changes, you can quickly create the home of your dreams – no matter what your tastes might be.

Home cushion on sofa, with other cushions.

*This is a collaborative post.

Gadgets Every Bathroom Needs

The bathroom is the ultimate place in your home where you can escape from the rest of the world and exist in your own peaceful bubble for a while. It is the place where we relax after a stressful week, sing karaoke with the shower head and make life’s biggest decisions. The bathroom is a hugely important part of our home, and there are loads of technologies to add to the space to make it perfect…

Gadgets Every Bathroom Needs with faded image of bathroom as background

Waterproof TV

Having a TV in the bathroom is the ultimate way to relax on your spa evening. Just imagine how amazing it would be to lie in the bath, a glass of wine in hand, while watching your favourite movie…sounds good, doesn’t it? A waterproof TV is no new gadget, but it is certainly one you will want to invest your money in this year. To make sure you don’t lose too much space in your bathroom you can have the TV fitted to your wall.

Whirlpools

The whirlpool bath is the ultimate way to treat yourself after a stressful day and is super relaxing to lie in. You can buy a whirlpool bath from many different places online, but the best ones also include mood lighting. Imagine dimming the lights, getting into the bath and simply enjoying the silence as coloured light fills the room… it can be a great addition to your bathroom and will be something the kids love too!

Bidet

This is a gadget which has been around in countries like Japan for a long time, but we haven’t really started using them much in this part of the world. The easiest type to install into an existing bathroom and use are the ones that fit onto your toilet as an add-on device. It can be a brilliant system for those with disabilities or limited mobility, such as the elderly.

A TV Mirror

If you only have a small bathroom to work with, sometimes it is better for you to get two items in one neat package. For example, if you only have the room to hang a mirror in your bathroom, you can get one which doubles as a TV. It means that you can enjoy your favourite TV or news in the morning as you brush your teeth and when you switch it off, you are faced with a regular mirror!

Double sink in bathroom. Large mirrors. Bathroom accessories. Large vase of flowers in centre

Shaving Socket

One of the most irritating things that can happen in the morning is losing your shaving adapter when you need a trim. To avoid this problem in the future you can have a shaving socket fitted into the bathroom which means you can plug straight into the wall and groom without the stress! It is a much more convenient way to shave and it saves you having to buy an adapter!

De-misting Pads

You may have never heard of this item before, but it will soon become your best friend in the bathroom. How annoying is it when you have had a shower or a bath and can’t see yourself in the mirror? Well, demisting pads are here to take away that steam without leaving smudges or fabric on the mirror. It will make the world of difference to you when you are in a rush to get ready and they don’t cost much at all.

Smart Taps

A tap isn’t just a tap these days, there are many different types of tap to fit everyone’s needs in the home. There are taps with LED lights, boiling taps available at www.tapwarehouse.com and even smart taps which do many different things. A smart tap can use facial recognition, motion, and touchscreen to help make your bathroom experience the best it can possibly be. For example, you might prefer a certain temperature when you have a bath, and with facial recognition, the taps will set the water to that temperature just for you. It is a gadget which can be incredibly fun and will impress all of your guests too.

Shower Head Speaker

One of the greatest joys of the bathroom is singing in the shower, and with this shower head speaker, you can do just that. It will play the radio or a playlist if your choice and you can sing to your heart’s content every time you take a scrub! You can also buy shower heads which have LED lights on them for a fun, disco experience!

Programmable Shower

While we are talking about fun technology for the bathroom, we can’t skip by the fun you can have with a programmable shower. If you fancy a more personal experience when you go for a wash, you can buy a programmable shower which will let you change the temperature, lighting, pressure and volume for music all in one place. You can even create your own preset for every time you visit the shower, and this will make things unique to you and what you enjoy every day.

In Summary…

There are many different gadgets you can bring into the bathroom, and you can make the setup as simple or as savvy as you want. Have fun with things, make it unique to you and don’t be afraid to go crazy with a few gadgets – if you know you will use them! After all, it’s your personal space. Make the most of it!

What is your favourite bathroom gadget? I would love to know! Tell me in comments.

*This is a collaborative post.

Could You Conserve More Water At Home?

There are lots of regions around the world that constantly suffer from droughts and a severe lack of water. Even though most of this is all because of the hot climates in which these regions are, some water shortage is still down to bad management and use of the world’s resources. In fact, even we can help these struggling areas by trying to limit the amount of water use in our own homes. Not only will it help those who are a lot less fortunate than us, but conserving water also gives you a chance to cut down your monthly water bill, which can save you money off your utilities.

So, ready to try and save a bit more water? Here are some things that you can try…

Could You Conserve More Water At Home? Background image of flowing water from pipe

Fix All Your Leaks

If you have some leaks in your pipes, you should get these checked out by a plumber. Whether you need to get your toilet pipes looked at, or you need to call someone to take care of some drain repair outside, getting all of these pesky leaks looked at will help you conserve more water. It makes sense if you think about it – you won’t be losing quite as much of the blue stuff once the plumbing is taken care of and it all stays in your pipes rather than dripping out of them!

Take Shorter Showers & Get A Bucket

Showers conserve a lot more water than taking a bath, so it’s always a better idea to jump in the shower rather than taking a soak. But that doesn’t mean that water is safe in the shower! Try to cut down your shower time to under 5 minutes.

Also, most of us run the shower for a while, while we wait for the water to heat up to the right temperature. Sound familiar? Well, that will be wasting a lot of water – as it heats up, it will just be going straight down the drain. To put a stop to this, you need to collect all of this wasted water in a bucket. Then, once the shower is hot enough, you can move the full bucket to one side. All of this collected water can be used out on the garden, or even to flush your toilet!

Don’t Leave Taps Running So Much

Something else that I’m sure we are all guilty of is leaving the tap running too much. For instance, do you leave the tap on while you are brushing your teeth? If so, that’s not good for the environment as it is wasting quite a lot of water. Instead, turn it off while you brush. You can then turn it on again when you need to rinse your toothbrush.

Use Your Washing Machine Wisely

Clothes do not need to be washed as often as people think they do! Don’t throw every item of your clothes into the washing machine after every use; underwear yes, those outer layers no! Try to make sure you actually have a full load of necessary washing to do before you switch the machine on. And use the eco cycle if you have one!

What are your top tips for saving energy at home? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Getting More Bang For Your Buck

Often, the amount of purchases people make where it is just wasting money is incredible. There are so many ways that we can get more bang for our buck that we just seem to be ignoring. Why this is, I guess we’ll never know! It is, of course, more helpful to make the most of the money you have. You most probably will have realised that life isn’t always easy, and money seems to come out of the bank quicker than it goes in. It’s a problem most of us are plagued with, certainly at some time or another anyway, but one that can be avoided by a large amount if we just try and get more bang for our buck. Here’s a few ways that you can do just that…

Getting More Bang For Your Buck title with image of 20 pound notes

Resellers

Resellers are the ones you need to be looking at. You can get something nearly brand new, for next to nothing compared to what you would pay if you went into the store and bought it. Resellers offer pretty much anything, and you can find them almost anywhere. For example, you’ve got resellers of clothes. You don’t even have to pick up your laptop to sort this one, a lot of resellers of clothes have apps that you can use. The clothes you’ll buy might have been worn once or twice, but it’ll be some excellent designer things with the price slashed completely. There’s also resellers of items that aren’t second hand, such as food. You’ll probably need to go online for something like this, or look out for stores such as Costco. You will be absolutely amazed at how much money you can spend here, and how much you’ll be able to get for it.

More In The Long Run

To get more in the long run, you need to be looking at the long term bargains. Let’s talk about cars for example. People usually take out finance to get a brand new car, meaning you’re tied in for years, or buy it outright. So, consider leasing instead. It allows you to switch from car to car every two years, and that way you always have a brand new car! Check out All Car Leasing for more information. If you know you’re a lover of cars, and the newest ones at that, this is going to work out really well for you. So many people go for financing, when that is often actually the more expensive option. At least this way you know you’re going to get a new treat every so often. And that will likely save on maintence costs too, which tend to increase as the car ages.

Cheaper Essentials

Cheaper essentials is something we should all be looking out for. We’re talking about the things you’ll buy on a daily basis, that you probably usually spend hundreds a year on. Again, you’re going to need to go bargain hunting. There are discount stores that will sell essentials such as shampoo and conditioner for next to nothing, whereas mainstream supermarkets will make you pay through the nose in comparison. You can also try your hand at couponing to see how much money you would be able to save!

A pile of £20 notes

What are your top tips for saving money? Tell me in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.