What's New in October

1 October 2018

It's been a really crazy month work wise, lots of travelling and covering in different areas and also sorting Gee's home schooling projects out.  I am worn out and longing for our holiday at the beginning of October.  A whole week of sun, sea, sand and relaxation and of course the odd alcoholic beverage.  This last month we have tried a few new things that we love and I just like to share them with my readers.

For Blondes
Myself and my daughter love the Fudge Professional range of products. The Clean Blonde shampoo and conditioner not only smells great, it has neutralising violet pigments which instantly remove any brassy tones from your hair and it works amazing.  Fudge do not test their products on animals which is really important when we are buying products.  You can buy their products at Feelunique.

As a Sweet Treat
Haribo have a launched some new flavours to tantalise your tastebuds,  Starmix Fruit Punch - combines an exciting blend of fruit flavours including cherry and lime, apple and elderflower and strawberry and rhubarb with the iconic and much-loved pieces,  whilst Tangfastics Fruit Spritzers feature a sparkling mix of fruit flavours including blueberry and lemon, raspberry and pineapple and apple and pomegranate .  Available nationwide.

A Savoury Snack
Nairn have released a couple of new products that are so good.  Gluten Free Cheese Oatcakes as seen above are high in fibre, contain gluten free wholegrain oats and no added sugar so perfect for that lunchtime nibble or snack.   Also gluten free are their original flatbreads, high in fibre and also containing gluten free wholegrain oats.  Nairn’s Chunky Biscuit Breaks have 40% less sugar than the average sweet biscuit currently on the market and so you can eat them and be healthier.  Available at stores nationwide.

To Refresh
Robinsons have launched a new flavour of Refresh'd, Orange and Passionfruit and it is only 55 calories a bottle.  It tastes good and is made with spring water and real fruit, no added sugar.  Available in stores now.

A Warming Breakfast
One of our favourite tries this month just as to be from the Great British Porridge Company.  The Blueberry and Banana 100% Natural Instant Porridge is to die for.  It is vegan, gluten free, contains no added sugar, is high in fibre and contains 11% protein.  Not only is it good for you, it is delicious.  We just can't wait to try some of the other flavours, Strawberry and Peanut Butter sounds amazing.  You can buy it online at the Great British Porridge Company priced £4.99.

An Alcoholic Treat
Kopparberg have introduced a brand new flavour for fruit cider lovers like me this month, with the launch of Kopparberg Rhubarb. It is perfect served chilled over a mountain of ice and tastes even better than the one I usually drink. Perfect for the Autumn months sat by the fire.  It will be available from Sainsburys from the 10th October, just in time for Halloween parties.

Well that is my round up of tasty treats this month.  Have you tried anything you would like to share?  I would love you to link up with my linkie if you have.  I love to find things new to try.

What's New

Easy Ways to Save Money

24 September 2018

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It is so important to save money each month, after all you never know when you might need an extra helping hand. Unexpected expenses can be a nightmare, from car emergencies to home improvements that do not go quite as planned, or if you have pets then you better be prepared for a never ending cash flow.  My dog hurt his front leg recently and if he hadn't been insured, it would have cost nearly £1000 and that is so far, then there is his weekly hydrotherapy and physio to consider.

There are so many ways to save a little extra each month that could be useful, if you look after the pennies the pounds look after themselves.

Switch Providers
Car insurance, house insurance and energy providers are a great way of cutting your monthly outgoings once a year.  I always compare prices online to my renewal prices and the majority of time they are considerably cheaper.  I saved £60 per month by doing this in August.

Another easy way is to use a meal plan each week and write a shopping list, you will not buy anything unnecessarily.  Half of the time we go shopping we put items in the trolley we don't really need. Try switching to the supermarket brands instead of big name products this can also save you quite a bit each week.  Cooking you own meals is more economical than buying ready meals. Any extra you save on shopping put it in your emergency fund.

Work Lunches
Prepare your own lunches in advance and save the money you would spend, another little extra for the emergency fund.  Not only do home made lunches taste better, they are a lot healthier.

If you can afford an holiday than by all means take one, we work hard so we deserve some relaxation. You can still save money on holidays and flights by shopping around, flights are a lot cheaper when they first come out, approximately 9-12 months before.  Package holidays are simple but it often works out cheaper to pay for your flight, hotel and transfers separately.

Clothes Shopping
Drop the designer labels and you can save a fortune. Luckily my daughter isn't really in to labels at the minute and will quite happily shop in high street stores where £25 can buy her a bag full of clothes, yes they probably won't last long but none of her clothes do.

Loose Change
Put all your loose change in a pot, it is surprising how this adds up. My daughter uses our pot for her holiday spending money.  Each year there is usually around £75 in it.

If you need money in an emergency and you have no other way of raising cash instantly, then pay day loans are an option but remember if you do not meet your payment dates you can end up with serious money problems.  You can check out the Consumer credit index to find out how many people use high cost short term loans, from the data supplied it appears lots of people do. Always read the small print and consider the impact it will have before you make any financial commitments.

This is a collaborative post.

4 Easy Home Made Hair Masks

23 September 2018

The sun, wind and swimming take a huge toll on my hair throughout the summer and going through the menopause also affect my once crowning glory. Gone are the days when I use to wake up to shiny bouncy hair. I seem to lose handfuls of hair on a daily basis and combined with the dryness and frizziness, I find I need to make that extra effort to keep it looking good.

There are lots of everyday store cupboard staples that can help to overcome dryness and restore your hair to a better condition.  Below are just a few that I use on a regular basis and they cost a lot less than shop bought brands.

One of the easiest masks you can make is by using just whisking up an egg yolk and applying it all over the hair and scalp.  You can leave it on for up to half an hour before washing your hair as normal.

Coconut Oil
I think everybody now has this in their cupboard, it is such a versatile product.  Just by adding a little Oat/Coconut or Almond Milk to a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil and mixing together, cover the hair and leave for as long as you like before washing off.  Your hair will definitely feel the benefit, look shiny and it also smells divine.

Another fabulous item to use is honey, it can be mixed with banana, avocado or almond oil to provide a nourishing treat which is perfect for dry hair and can help if it is a little on the brittle side.  Especially useful if you bleach your hair a lot.

Natural yoghurt can also benefit your hair but you have to wash off well afterwards.  It is best combined with a couple of teaspoons of honey.

Women can suffer from hair loss just as much as men especially when they reach the menopause and whilst it might be acceptable for men to cope with degrees of baldness, for women it can feel like a loss of their femininity. I know for a fact that I would have to do something about it and have been looking at Hair transplant cost online.  Would you consider hair transplants if you were to start losing your hair?  It could make a huge difference to your self esteem if the need arose.

This is a collaborative post.

Handy Bookkeeping Tips for Bloggers

23 September 2018

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

When your blog is a hobby, a personal diary, a way to save your photos or remember your holidays, you probably don’t see it as a business. However, once you gain some momentum and gather a readership, maybe start making affiliate sales, accepting sponsorship deals or advertising, it has a life of its own and is, indeed, a business.

As a freelancer, you need to register with HMRC, and this means you’ll be responsible for a tax return each year whether you make a profit or not.

Bookkeeping is a legal necessity in order to build the necessary records of your financial dealings. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a complicated chore. With a simple system you can set up in minutes, updating will be quick and easy.

Choose a System and Stick with it 

Whether you go for a spreadsheet, an old-school handwritten ledger or an online accounting service, find a system you like and stay with it. 

You can add processes or categories of income or expense when you want to dig deeper or streamline things, but switching to a completely different method of bookkeeping wastes time and puts you on a new learning curve. Unless you really need to start afresh, stay with the tried and trusted.

What a Simple System Looks Like

The most basic bookkeeping systems are nothing more than a way to track income and expense, and compare the two.

Although you’ll have two main columns on a page (either in software or a written notebook) for income and expense amounts, it’s best to include extra columns so you can also record the date, methods of payment, and where the money came from or went.

Update your income and expenses columns every day (or at least every week if you don’t have loads of transactions), and carry running totals over to a new page for each month to start that month’s columns.

When Blogging Becomes Profitable

As your blog gains momentum and you find it’s busier on the financial side, you’ll probably want to keep track of more than just income and expense.

You will, for instance, want to know who owes you money, if their payments are overdue, and when to send out reminders. Your bookkeeping system can include references to invoice numbers and transactions that appear on your bank statement.

When you find you want to delve deeper into bookkeeping or accounting, don’t be scared to find an accountant. You don’t have to be a multi-million pound corporation before engaging some professional help. A bookkeeper or accountant can help make sure you’re tracking all your finances properly and keeping the records you need by law. 

Other benefits include freeing you of the daily bookkeeping task if you really dread it, and putting together a tax return that ensures you’re claiming all the allowances you’re entitled to.

Other General Bookkeeping Tips
  • Have a business bank account. Mixing personal and business spending quickly confuses matters, plus you’d be showing professionals your personal affairs if you use your own bank account. 
  • Keep your receipts. Hang onto all of them, even the very tiny amounts. Keep them in monthly folders or envelopes, with a simple number system cross-referenced to your written accounts. 
  • If you choose to keep digital copies of receipts rather than paper originals, devise a folder system on the computer you can understand, remember, and be consistent with. Keep backups of your files in a separate storage system such as an external hard drive, as well as maybe in cloud storage. 
Sometimes the very words ‘bookkeeping’ or ‘accounting’ are enough to send shivers down your spine. If it’s something you normally shy away from because it sounds complex, break it down into its simplest form of income and expense, and make a start. You’ll be glad you did when you find you’re the owner of a successful blog.

This is a collaborative post
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