Sunday, 16 December 2018

How to get your teeth whitened professionally

We're coming up to the end of the year which means it's time to reflect on resolutions and goals, I made New Years resolutions but I also made a 101 in 1001 list this year and I've made great progress on both (I'll be writing a full round up post towards the end of the year) but I thought I'd take a look at some of my 101 goals I'm yet to complete and how feasible they are next year. One I've been really looking into is getting my teeth whitened professionally

Now I've been really lucky in that I've never had to have anything done to my teeth at all, no braces, no fillings and they've generally been in quite good condition. However I don't think they're quite as white as they could be (now I'm not planning a Ross from Friends moment but still). I've been looking into cosmetic dentistry* because I want it to be professional and I've tried those at home kits before, I want something that will really last

It's quite confusing at first to figure out what you want within cosmetic dentistry and all depends on what your issue is from straightening teeth, closing gaps or fixing discolouration. While whitening teeth is a definite solution I think I'm leaning more towards Porcelain Veneers* to give me that star smile.

I also think by getting Veneers it will fix my colour issues but also my slightly wonky teeth will look a lot better giving me the confidence to actually smile with my teeth - which I rarely do unless I'm caught by surprise. It's also quite a quick process with only 2 appointments of roughly 90 minutes, without too much recovery time

I've done lot's of research and I think 2019 is the year I'll finally take the plunge, what I'd say is if you're thinking of getting your teeth whitened or any cosmetic dentistry do your research! Cheapest isn't always best and it's better to make sure you go to professionals with expert reviews who can really understand your needs

Have you ever had your teeth whitened?

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Top 5 - Mens Christmas Gifts

Week 6 and it's so close to Christmas now it's almost scary!
If you're anything like me you've left the men in your life till last because lets face it they're SO awkward to buy for, like seriously how do we spend our lives with these people and every year be completely puzzled over what to buy? 
I've been working with Jacamo* to solve our male related Christmas problems and here's my top 5:

Mens Christmas Gifts

Every man wears watches, and this is such a beautiful one, with a black leather strap and silver face, large roman numerals he'll never be late to see you again - hopefully!

Does your man have a favourite pair of briefs? You know the ones, more holes than boxers and hanging on by a thread. Apparently it's a thing and they get new ones for Christmas to start the whole yearly cycle again, these firetrap ones are really cool and trendy and so affordable for 3 pairs

I love this idea for a gift! It's 100 of the best films ever made, and you scratch them off as you watch them, which is a lovely idea for the movie buff in your life, but also a really cute movie night idea as a couple as you scratch them off together over the year

Does the Pyjama Fairy visit anyone else? It's a tradition in my family that on Christmas Eve we all get new Pyjamas, this is a tradition I've told my boyfriend, it's his first year and he's definitely looking forward to new Christmas pyjamas - and who doesn't love the Grinch?

Male grooming has definitely become a staple for gift giving, my other half definitely still loves stealing some of my posh creams and toiletries so getting him some lovely smellies for himself will definitely put me in the good books. This kit covers everything too from shower, shaving, moisturising to smelling nice

What have you got the man in your life?

Monday, 10 December 2018

Top 5 - Food and Drink Christmas Gifts

Week 5 and we're well on our way to Christmas now, my tree's up and I'm already drooling at the thought of Christmas dinner and all the treats to devour (coming soon in January - Alice's regret at devouring all the Christmas treats!) So this seems the perfect time to focus in on some Christmas Food and Drink gifts

Food and Drink Gifts
What's better than sweets really? Personalised ones. A whole 1kg of Jelly Beans in all the delicious flavours you've grown up with and love it's a really cute retro gift that anyone would adore. Apparently there's more than one a day for a year so it's really a gift that will keep on giving, personalise it and make it a really cute present

How pink and cute is this hamper? Filled with award winning foodie gifts such as Fentimans Gin and Rose Lemonade and Melting Pot Fudge plus Chocs and Popcorn all presented in a beautiful hand woven basket this is a really thoughtful special gift

Ok hands up who loves popcorn? I adore it, but definitely don't have it often enough away from a cinema environment. This Popcorn Shed Pack would make the perfect gift for the movie lover in your life. The popcorn is super premium in a range of flavours from Say Cheese to Pecan Pie and Salted Caramel there's a flavour for everyone or if you're crazy like me put a few of each in a bowl and really mix it up

Chocolates. Inspired by cocktails - yes really! How delicious do these chocolates look? 25 gorgeously decadent chocolates inspired by cocktails from around the world, chocolatey and boozy all in one these look and taste delicious

This is the perfect gift for those hard to buy men in your life, with a huge selection of different alcohols available I settled on a personalised retro Guinness bottle for my other half as he's part irish and loves the stuff. It's highly personalisable with a name and message and looks really professional I would definitely buy more, it even comes in a gift bag - sorted!

What's your favourite food and drink gift to receive?


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

After Eight Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Tis the season to make lots of Christmassy treats, now this recipe is one I made way back in the summer but the minty taste just reminded me of peppermint candy canes and Christmas so I thought it would be perfect to share now

After eight chocolate cupcake recipe

You will need:

  • 170ml brewed coffee
  • 125g cocoa
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 90g butter
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 130g granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 170g butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • After eight chocolates 
  • 1/2 tbsp hot water
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Whisk together brewed coffee and cocoa until dissolved
  3. In a seperate bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt)
  4. In a 3rd bowl combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract
  5. Add the dry mixture and the coffee mixture to your butter mixture, alternating between the bowls adding a little bit at a time
  6. Mix until just incorporated 
  7. Divide the batter into cupcake liners in a muffin tin, filling half way
  8. Bake for 20 minutes
  9. Let cool entirely 
  10. While the cupcakes are cooling mix butter and powdered sugar together a little bit at a time until all combined and nice and creamy
  11. Add the hot water and mint extract and mix for a further 10 minutes until light and fluffy
  12. Place into icing bag and pipe whatever design you'd like on the cupcake
  13. Finish by placing an after eight chocolate into the frosting and slightly in the cupcake

What's your favourite Christmas recipe?


Sunday, 2 December 2018

Top 5 - Entertainment Christmas Gifts

Week 4! You can check out the past three gift guides of Experience gifts, Secret Santa gifts and homeware gifts but this week we're onto the entertainment gifts, to me this means TV/Film/Music memorabilia or character inspired items. Knowing someone's favourite movies and TV shows can lead to so many present ideas (For example if you know me well you'll know that anything Harry Potter and you're on to a winner) so here's my 5 top entertainment gifts

Entertainment Gifts

Friends Trivial Pursuit - £10 - Ryman*
I love friends. Could I BE any more excited about this present? I pride myself on my friends knowledge and it is consistently on my netflix continue watching list because there's always time for more friends episodes in my life. I'm going to absolutely smash this on Christmas day all my knowledge will finally come in handy 

Dumbo Ceramic Money Box - £16.99 - Argos
How cute is this money box? This made make the perfect gift for any new additions to the family but to be honest I'd be over the moon with it myself, the detailing is beautiful

The Nightmare Before Christmas Storybook - £24.99 - In The Book*
This book is absolutely beautiful, it comes presented in a timeless Disney box and personalised with a name of your choice. The classic Nightmare before Christmas story is re-imagined and presented with beautiful illustrations telling the story of Jack and his stumbling into Christmas Town. This is a perfect stocking filler and a timeless present that can come out every year

Snow White Bath and Body Pamper Tin - £15 - Superdrug
Who can so no to Disney? I love this Snow white bath pamper tin and I think it's adorable that it comes in an 'apple'. Perfect for any aspiring princess

Star Wars Classic Stormtrooper Towel - £34.99 - The Personalised Gift Shop*
So I have a huge star wars geek in the form of my other half, so something star wars related is always on the cards at every occasion. I love this Star Wars towel and it's a functional gift that can be used all year round. Personalisation is available and the towel comes with an edge to edge full colour stormtrooper print

What's your favourite memorobilia?

Sunday, 25 November 2018

What to wear this winter

Have you guys been outside?
It's cold. And I mean absolutely freezing, I came back from an Orlando holiday and a drastic change from 25° degrees to -1° degrees has meant that while shivering away Black Friday was a great time for me to stock up on some winter attire and give my wardrobe a refresh

What to wear this winter

Now I love Fashion World* because it means I can split my purchases and pay monthly which was perfect because my winter wardrobe attire was looking seriously bad so here's my favourites winter outfit

Winter Clothing Ideas
So first up, my outfit choices have a very distinct dark theme. I love wearing blacks and greys and have so many monochrome pieces, I know I need to start venturing out into more colours but we'll leave that till next year (I can feel a resolution I'll never stick to coming on!)
Anyway the first thing that struck me was this gorgeous Joe Browns Herringbone Coat, I normally have big fluffy parka style coats so I love how tailored this one looks, I'd team that up with this tunic jumper which has a lovely velvet tie back detail which I think really gives it character and of course a pair of knee highs because lets face it anything that keeps my legs warm is good with me, these quilted boots come in an extra curvy calf for those with bigger legs like me, or those who want to wear snuggly socks underneath (also me)

Winter Accessories
Woooo some colour! I actually found something colourful I like this Accesorize fluffy scarf is super cute and I'd wear it always. While thinking about knee highs and fluffy socks I thought why not go the whole hog and wear woolly tights? With fluffy socks because yano - It's freezing

After checking the weather report (rain, always and forever for the foreseeable future *sob*) I thought an umbrella would be a perfect addition to every outfit, and while the outfit is quite chic and adult, I couldn't possible resist the colour changing Harry Potter umbrella - because I will forever be a child at heart

What are you wearing this winter?

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Top 5 - Experience Christmas Gifts

Week 3! And you're all starting to get right into this Christmas spirit aren't you?
This weeks gift guide focuses on those 'wow' presents that are experiences. It's a weird one, because experience gifts are usually a nice envelope and don't look much, but they contain the most amazing gifts that allow you to make wonderful memories and do experiences you would have never thought of

Experience Christmas Gifts

I've never been to a west end show and this sounds absolutely amazing, it gives a choice of show and also a delicious 3 course meal at Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse for 2 people - just under £50 each that's absolutely fantastic value

Did you know that national trust membership gives you access to over 500 national trust sites across the UK. It's such a wonderful present as it gives the gift of nature and exploration and really encourages you to get outside and explore our wonderful country

This is the perfect gift for anyone wanting to explore London, it incorporates 3 really big attractions from Sea Life to Madame Tussauds and lots of other choices in between it's excellent value for money for making lots of memories in the big smoke 

This is really a once in a lifetime gift that gives a couple a magical experience, drifting peacefully over our gorgeous country reaching 2000ft in the air all enjoyed with a chilled glass of Champagne. This is a gift I've always dreamt of, and would definitely adore for Christmas. There are lots of other gifts for couples available and I think giving that gift of memories is definitely the way to go

If you can't quite decide what kind of experience you'd like to give don't let you stop you, the activity superstore gives the choice of over 70 experiences which is perfect for the undecided 

What's the best experience gift you've ever received?


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Top 5 - Secret Santa Christmas Gifts

Week 2 of my 'it's never too early to Christmas' Christmas gift guides, because lets face it, the more you buy in November the more alcohol you can afford in December at the Christmas parties!

This weeks focus is on those cumbersome secret Santa gifts for Sandra in accounts who you've only said hello to twice (Seriously? Who's idea is it to do company wide secret Santas). 

Secret Santa Christmas Gifts

I'm in a very lovely situation of a small team where I could probably buy for anyone and be confident  they'd like it but I know that company wide secret Santas are becoming the norm and finding a really nice present for under £10 can be tricky so here's my top 5 picks

I love this cute little water bottle! It's super small and has an adorable knitted cover and is perfect for that colleague who's always cold, you know the one they have their hand permanently on the radiators and jumpers in the summer. This will give them a little heat all year long

Every office has the 'beer o clock' people and this is the perfect gift for them! It's funny but functional and means they'll never be caught short without a bottle opener again

For the joker in the team, who doesn't love a little friendly competition? Added bonus that you get to look like a fabulous unicorn. This is one of those novelty gifts that actually should have lasting power 

For the baby of the group, every office has one and it doesn't always relate to age. Think the person who would ask how to make scrambled eggs or who just needs a little help escaping the student life and embracing their adulthood

Beer and Popcorn. Together - do I need to say anything else? This is a great gift for the movie buff or the foodie who likes something a little different

What's the best Secret Santa Gift you've received?


Saturday, 3 November 2018

Top 5 - Homeware Christmas Gifts

Ok so I'm early but go scrooge yourself Halloween is over and I'm all about the Christmas cheer now I'm in full on holiday mode as I plan everyone's presents so I thought I'd start a weekly series on present ideas for your loved ones starting with Homeware

Not everyone will want homeware presents, definitely check the Mrs wants an iron before buying one as a present but I LOVE anything to do with making my home amazing, I recently bought a house so I'm at the very early stage of making my house a home so my Christmas wishlist is full of homeware goodies this year, here are my top 5:

Copper Pans - £19.99 - £29.99 - JML*
Ultra non stick meaning you use much less oil and fats, built to last with a scratch resistant coating they look really professional and stylish and you can be a masterchef in no time

Cranberry Gin Candle - £10.95 - Valley Mill
It's Winter and that means I've been burning candles to make my house smell delicious and create a cosy atmosphere. Plus cranberry scents just scream Christmas and I love the gin undertones of this one - perfect for all the gin lovers out there

Phoenix Gold FreeFlight Iron - £49.99 - JML
So I know what I wrote above about checking if your Mrs wants an iron but I would be over the moon with this as a present. Cordless and ceramic coated it will really make a rubbish chore much easier and quicker and I'm all about that life 

Big Cat Duvet - £30 - Urban Outfitters
Does this even need an explanation? It's big cats on a duvet and it's beautiful. It's cute while still looking very chic with its monochrome effect. Anything with cats is always going to be a winner with me

Kenwood Hand Mixer - £29.99 - Lakeland
I love baking, like completely adore it and since I got a mixer I've enjoyed it even more because it makes it just so much easier. This mixer is really good value for money as it has 5 speeds, a pulse setting and comes with both beaters and dough hooks

What Homeware items do you want this Christmas?

Sunday, 28 October 2018

How to stay energised all day long

My favourite thing to do is sleep, absolute fact.
I can nap at any point, anywhere. I can sleep for 12 hours and then nap some more and there's nothing I love more than a lazy weekend where I can have a duvet day and relax. 

But some days that's not possible, some days I need to be more productive and keep my energy up all day long (which for the laziest girl ever is quite a feat.)

First things first is getting the basics right, you should be sleeping between 6-8 hours a night, dependant on what your body needs. I use my fitbit to monitor my quality of sleep and help me determine the best sleep goals and what I need. You can't expect to stay energized and productive all day long if you're running on empty so a good sleep routine will work wonders

Once you've got a settled routine it's time to get a good morning routine together, confession time - I hate mornings and always will. I've tried so hard to be a morning person and it just doesn't work, but when I have the time I've found exercise really sets me up for the day. Pick your exercise well so that it's something fun. Personally I've started to do yoga at home* I find it really great for both my energy levels and having relaxing me time where I can be mindful and reflect on my day ahead
Yoga Mat
 I've been using the Willow tree yoga mat above and I'm really impressed with the quality, it's got a gorgeous picture printed on the mat which is made of closed-cell PVC vinyl it's really durable, comfortable and easy to clean. On days when I'm feeling like doing a more active form of fitness I've been using a 3 wheel ab roller to really kick my home work outs up a gear 

Once you've got a good sleep pattern, morning routine and exercise sorted you should have a look at your food and drink and whether that's affecting your energy. Heavy carbs make you tired you want slower releasing carbs. And if possible try to avoid caffeine and sugar in high quantities too as this gives you a hit of energy followed by a slump 

Flyte energy drink

I've been trying Flyte*, a brand new energy drink that uses all natural ingredients to give an energy boost without having a negative impact such as a sugar crash. Clean energy at only 40 calories I've found this sparkling energy drink a really great alternative to my usual energy boosters

It comes in 2 different flavours Red Berries and Green Mango and is packed full of fruit juice, natural vitamins and fortified with Vitamins B & C, at £2.50 a bottle it's cheaper than your usual coffee from any chain and will keep you energised much longer

If you can feel an energy slump coming then get up and get outside for 20 minutes! Fresh air and a brisk walk will perk you right up, team it with a high power and energy playlist and you'll come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever task you need to complete

Apart from all of the above I've found little hacks to improve my energy by simply not having to complete things as often. Planning ahead for as many aspects of your life as possible means much less time and energy consumed. I try and plan meals for the week, clothes I'll be wearing, cleaning tasks that need completing and a blogging schedule so that I'm never faced with a huge to-do list that overwhelms me. I reward myself when tasks are complete with me-time and it makes me feel super energised ticking off tasks

How do you keep going all day long?


Sunday, 21 October 2018

10 Spooky Sweet Halloween Treats

It's Halloween season! 
Which means turning regular food into the spookiest version of itself possible, overloading on sugar and scaring yourself senseless with all the cliche horror films.
10 spooky sweet Halloween treats

I've decided to put together 5 of the spookiest creative sweet treats for you to make, but if like me you suck at making pretty recipes (I could write a book on pinterest fails) I've also picked 5 spooky treats you can go and buy and take all the credit for - winning!

Mummy Brownie Bark

Halloween Bundt Cake

Halloween Cake Pops

Halloween Marshmallow Ghost Cupcakes

Bloody White Chocolate Apples

And if you're strapped for time and want something quick but still really yummy here's 5 ready made spooky treats

bakerdays* letterbox cake
- I can personally say that this is delicious! The letterbox cake is amazing because you don't even need to be home for it delivered. I picked a yummy chocolate cake with an iced emoji top. The cakes can be for any occasion and personalised with photos and messages so a perfect surprise for someone special

What's your favourite Halloween treat?


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Finding the perfect dress: How to match your shape and skin tone

We come in different shapes, sizes and complexions and when it comes to fashion, we all have our own personal preferences. Me personally? I have a body like a watermelon and a skin tone of casper the friendly ghost! But even I can match up my shape (round is a shape guys it totally is) and skin tone to find the perfect dress

If you’re looking for the perfect dress for that special occasion in your calendar, it can be tough to figure out which style will flatter you best – especially when there’s so much choice out there. That’s why we’ve teamed up with River Island, experts in everything from bodycon to bardot dresses*, to help you find the perfect dress to match your shape and skin tone

Perfect Dress x1
Perfect Dress x2
Perfect Dress x3
Perfect Dress x4
Perfect Dress x5
Perfect Dress x6
Perfect Dress x7
Perfect Dress x8
Perfect Dress x9
Perfect Dress x10

Perfect Dress x11

Once you've got your glad rags on and looking super stylish with a dress perfectly matching your complexion make sure you pair it with some gorgeous heels - check out Lace and Favour for a great range of occasion shoes* and you're ready to hit the town and dance the night away

What type of dress is your favourite?

Monday, 8 October 2018

5 winter car care tips to keep you on the road

Winter is coming.
No seriously, and it will be a damn sight faster than in Game of Thrones. Today's the first day I've had the heating on which makes me think it's going to be here much sooner than we think, this is my very first winter as a driver (I only passed in February) so I've been doing quite a bit of research into how to stay roadworthy and safe during the frosty season and what checks I absolutely need to do before going anywhere so I thought I'd share my tips with you guys

Yellow car tyre stuck in snow

Tyre Checks
Check tyre pressure and tread levels regularly making sure that it's wearing evenly, if it isn't then it indicates a need for wheel alignment so finding tyre's at affordable prices from companies such as Calmac Northampton tyres* will mean that it can stay within budget before it becomes a much bigger problem. If you want to go all out for the winter then consider winter specific tyres, these deal with cold, wet, icy and snowy conditions much better than regular tyres. Iverson offers a wide variety of tyre brands in London* so check them out for a whole range of winter specific 

Fluid Checks
You should be doing this all year round but it's even more important during the winter as you don't want to get stranded without something essential such as engine oil or wiper fluid, antifreeze or coolant 

Battery Checks
Make sure your battery actually works because the increasing cold weather can really affect it, plus you're using more power than in the summer months with the extra lights, heaters etc. that you haven't had on, if you're having a few niggles it's definitely worth getting it serviced before winter

Winter Breakdown Kits
You're more likely to breakdown in Winter it's just a fact, so make sure you're completely prepared by having a breakdown kit in your boot. This should include screenwash, de-icer and a scraper. A shovel, torch and blanket. Food and drink supplies that are non perishable and snow grips for your shoes in case you have to walk to safety or wait on an embankment if on a motorway. I'd definitely make sure you're under a road recovery service like the  AA too as it really does give you peace of mind

Keep safe and plan ahead
It's a lot trickier in winter to plan trips and routes, make sure you always check traffic updates in case of emergencies, keep a fully charged phone if possible and make sure your gas is topped up, journeys can take considerably longer than you'd expect so making sure you have enough gas, charge and time to get somewhere will make your journeys much more enjoyable

What are your top tips for winter car care?

Friday, 28 September 2018

What you need to know when buying a car

Seven months ago I made a huge life step and finally passed my driving test. I genuinely can't believe it's been that long already it's completely flown by and I've managed to keep myself and the car in one piece - winning! Now back when I did pass the first thing I wanted to do was get in a car and go, but it obviously takes a little longer than that. I sent off my provisional and prayed somewhere along the way they'd find a better picture of me than the current one (I look like casper the friendly ghost but less friendly) but whilst I was waiting for it's return I did so much research on cars so that as soon as it came back through I'd be well informed on what I'd want and what would be a good choice for my first car

Red audi speeding along country roads
One of the most important decisions I had to make was what kind of a car I wanted, did I want to fork out for a brand new car or did I want to take the risks of buying a second hand car. I toyed with both for so many hours because let's face it I had absolutely zilch experience when it comes to cars, If I'm ever asked what car I have it's a 'red one' so looking at lots of models and specs just absolutely flummoxed me. 

So I decided to toss a coin - well I might as well have because when it comes down to it you can never really predict cars I think mines got a mind of her own which is why Car Insurance is your most important purchase. It doesn't matter whether new or used as with good insurance from companies such as Aviva you'll be covered whether your new car gets damaged or whether your older car needs roadside repair, so make sure that whatever route you go down your insurance is top notch

I did weigh up some of the options of new and used cars and I thought I'd share my wisdom:

New cars are pretty aren't they? They're so shiny and have that new car smell, you know it doesn't have any hidden niggles because well no-ones used it at all. You'll always know it's service history and from day one you can make it your own. Insurance is typically cheaper because newer cars are generally safer and more eco-friendly. However that does all come at a premium which can be double or even triple what you can get second hand which is why I went down the second hand route

Second hand cars, you'll hear so many horror stories! About the people who spent pennies and wondered why the car didn't work after a week, what I'd say here is always do your research. Personally because I'm not an absolute car expert I went to a reputable dealer like Car People as I felt a little more reassured that whilst the car was second hand it had been thoroughly checked and tested and was passing with flying colours. I had clear access to the service records and my little run around had only had one previous owner who like me didn't seem to use it all too much. A smaller engine and a smaller car in general meant Car Insurance prices were reasonable and the car price itself didn't break the bank

Being a brand new driver to the road (because when you pass that's when the actual learning starts believe me!) I didn't want a flash expensive car it would have stressed me out completely. I opted for a cheap little second-hand run around and made sure my Car Insurance was the best I could afford to give me peace of mind. My car was planned to last me for a few years, I think maybe once I'm more confident I might opt for a new car that will last me donkeys years but right now I definitely think I made the right decision

Is your car new or second-hand?

*In collaboration with Aviva

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

How to save money without even trying

Once upon a time (around 8 months ago to be exact) I was a carefree 20 something with a lot of disposable income and not a lot of responsibility. Life was great, I didn't budget and just went shopping when I wanted to, fast forward to now and I'm a 20 something year old with a whole heap of responsibility in the form of a house and a car. I can't remember what disposable income is and I spend my days trying desperately to scrimp and save every way I can to be able to afford the nice little things in life too

Pink piggy bank white background

I think I'm pretty money savvy, even when I was carefree I managed to save enough for a house deposit and car so I'm not exactly new to this whole frugal living but it is much harder to save now. I've put together a list of the easiest ways you can save money without even trying, these tips are so easy you won't even notice the money until you've got a nice pot for a rainy day

Where and how to save
Before we start saving well you should decide where's best, some people prefer to save money in an ISA but personally I like the freedom of being able to access it if I need it. I have 2 seperate savings accounts away from my main account, the interest rate is abysmal but I find it the best way to save as I can quite clearly see what funds are for what purpose (holidays and house things). How to save is another personal thing you'll need to work out, I found that I'm not a lump sum kinda girl I always felt like I was losing the money and noticed it a lot. What I do is round up my purchases each day so that any spare change in my accounts goes into savings. For example if I've spent £7.80, I'd put £2.20 into savings. It grows really quickly and I like the satisfaction of my main account being a round number

 Switch and Save
Because I've only just moved into a new home, and had a car since February I implemented this right from the very start but there's always something you can save on. Make sure you don't ever just automatically renew contracts, shop around and compare prices on everything from your energy to your car insurance to your mobile phone contract

I've recently been trialling an app from a start-up company called yboo* and it's genuinely revolutionary in what it does, you download it onto your phone and it monitors your phone usage from the calls you're making to the data you're using to your location. It then uses this information to give you really tailored suggestions as to the best contracts for you. This is based on everything from price of bundles based on your current usage to signal strengths in your area. The app is super simple and very user friendly and can save the average user up to £156 a year! Which is definitely better in your back pocket - check out the video below for how it all works: 

Budget and Plan Ahead
This is probably one of the most important things you need to implement if you don't already. It doesn't need to be all singing and dancing the budget planner I use is fairly basic. But you should at least have a list of all your outgoings and incoming that you know about, plan for any other events such as birthdays that month. By knowing what should be coming in and out you'll be able to work out what you should have left to spend on a daily basis. Just the process of tracking purchases and outgoings can really make you think! I never used to bat an eyelid at buying lunch every day at work, until I realised I was spending upwards of £5 a day

Meal Plan
Which leads me onto meal planning quite nicely, when you go shopping do you just madly run around the supermarket without a plan? Because I totally did for so long. Now I try and set a little time on a Sunday to make a plan of what I want to eat that week, I use Mysupermarket to see where I should shop that week and then I often do the shopping online to help me resist all the treats and things I don't really need but end up in my shopping bag anyway

Vouchers and Discounts
Now even though I meal plan it doesn't mean I don't go out, eating out can be so affordable now you just need to plan ahead, download apps such as Vouchercloud to help you save money, I recently activated my Meerkat meals which gives me 2 for 1 at a whole heap of restaurants, many that I'd already visit so now I get to eat at these places for half the price. It's ridiculously simple to use and you won't even notice the difference apart from the extra pennies in your purse. This concept works for everything! Always google for voucher codes before buying anything because why spend more when you don't have to?

What's your top tip for saving money?


Saturday, 22 September 2018

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake Recipe

Who doesn't love cake? This chocolate and vanilla marble loaf is one of my favourites and never lasts long in my house, it's super quick and simple to make but looks really effective

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

You will need:
Vanilla Cake
  • 90g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 113g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • Vanilla Essence
  • 2 eggs
Chocolate Cake
  • 68g plain flour
  • 32g dark cocoa powder
  • 88g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 113g butter
  • Vanilla Essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
Marble Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, line your loaf tin with lining paper
  2. First make your vanilla cake in a bowl by creaming together butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs one at a time and add a drop of vanilla essence.
  4. Slowly add the flour and salt to your butter mix stirring as you go, mix until just combined and leave to one side
  5. Next make your chocolate cake in a bowl by creaming together butter and sugar until fluffy
  6. Add in eggs one at a time and add a drop of vanilla essence
  7. Slowly add the flour, cocoa and salt and mix until just combined
  8. Alternating between mixtures spoon the mixtures into your loaf tin, use a knife to swirl the batters together 
  9. Bake for an hour, remove from the oven and cool completely
  10. While cooling make the frosting by melting the chocolate chips, butter and maple syrup together
  11. Pour the frosting mixture over the cakes and leave to set

Have you made this marble cake? Let me know in the comments I'd love to know how it turned out
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