How you can save money by making small changes

Today I’m going to show you how you can save money by making small changes, and without even feeling like you’re missing out on anything. If you can make these small changes, you will notice a difference in your bank balance which will help you save even more money for a rainy day. We all love a good bargain or being able to save a bit of money here and there, but let’s face it we probably all indulge way more than we should. Well I definitely do.

Set small savings up.

Let’s start with going through the traditional way to save money by literally putting some money aside. You could choose to do this each day or at the beginning of every week, obviously it all depends on when you get paid.

For example:

If you put £5 away a week, (which let’s be fair won’t get you very far in this day and age) by the end of the year you will have a whopping £260! As we all know the end of the year means Christmas and having that tucked away would certainly help, especially with the cost of Christmas rising as the years go on.

Another way of saving that I personally love, is whenever I buy something from the shops, I put the change away in a jar. So if I spent £9.63 I’d put the 37p into a jar. You’d be surprised on how quickly things like that mount up.

Also if you’re with Lloyds Bank (I’m not sure if other banks offer this service) you can set up a change saver account, which literally does the same thing. On many occasions I’ve logged into my internet banking and £40 has appeared in my change saver. This includes when you have direct debits going out, if it’s not at the exact pound Lloyds will pop the rest into you change saver account. They even send you a cashpoint card for it so that it’s easy to withdraw. A brilliant way to save money without even knowing about it!

save money, saving money, money saving

Changes you can make to your shopping to save money.

We all work hard so I’m not going to bang on about how you should stop buying treats or not get that bottle of vodka, but what you could do instead is buy the cheaper brand. So for example instead of buying a family packet of Doritos, go for the shop’s own. I promise you they taste just as good, and they’ll taste even better knowing that you’ve saved a quid or two.

Collect coupons. I used to shrug them off as I felt a bit insulted by the idea of them, but seriously they are one of the greatest things ever. You can find coupons in magazines, newspapers, online and often in leaflets that are posted through your door.

One other thing that you could do is sign up to your regular supermarket’s scheme. Most places offer some sort of “card” that you can save points on. For years I’ve shopped at Morrisons and always denied getting one of their cards because I didn’t feel like I went there enough to earn anything of value. Then I started using my parents card and I saw all of the coupons and discounts they get given and quickly signed up for one.

What you could do at home to save money.

Lights

Do you really need that hallway light on? Some people do it so that their children can see if they need the toilet or any other of the thousands of things children demand in the night. Instead why not invest in a battery powered lamp that could light the hallway up just enough for the kids to see. Or switch to energy saving bulbs, not just in the hallway but everywhere in the house. You may not feel like there’s a difference but there will be.

Same goes for all electrical appliances, try and make sure you turn them off when you’re not using them. I’m awful for leaving the cooker main switch on and also the showers switch too. Not only will you be able to save money, but you will be environmentally friendly too!

Water

You can also save money on your water bill by taking a shower for only as long as you need to and sacrificing your singing time(!).

Another thing you could do is keep the tap water off whilst brushing your teeth.

You could put the washing machine on a cycle that uses less energy and water. Most modern machines have some sort of energy mode on them, take a look at yours! Also, setting your washing machine up to do a cycle through the night will cost less, as the rates go down through the night.

Heating

Depending on how your home is heated you could save a small fortune by switching to halogen heaters. They are small free standing heaters that you can buy from pretty much any hardware shop for around £10. There are bigger options available but for my flat (which has super high ceilings) all I need is two of these and the place is nice and toasty. They run on pence an hour and plug straight into your mains. They also have a great little feature where if they are knocked over or taken off the base whilst they’re on, they will automatically shut off. So you’ll be fine leaving it on if you’re nipping for a quick wee between your TV shows.

Is there anything else I could be doing?

Of course, here’s a list of ideas you could take on to save money

  1. Don’t bin ripped clothes, use them! This could be as cloths for cleaning or upcycling them into cushion covers, get creative!
  2. Keep all of your machines in and out of the house maintained (Yes I’m on about the car)
  3. Make gifts and cards at home. These are often more sentimental anyway!
  4. Cancel any unused subscriptions you pay for like the gym
  5. Plan your meals for the week and stick to it when you go shopping
  6. Don’t make a large purchase without first really taking time to think about it
  7. Sell your unused belongings, there are so many easy ways of doing it now!
  8. Aim for something that you would really like to buy, it will give you more motivation!
  9. Bargain with your TV and internet providers for a better deal.
  10. Walk to school/work instead of driving or taking the bus wherever possible.
  11. Invite people over rather than going out
  12. Buy from charity shops
  13. Take a packed lunch to work, and do it for the kids too
  14. Quit smoking – great for your health and your purse
  15. Cut the kids hair instead of going to a salon
  16. Cancel magazine subscriptions – do you really look at them anyway?
  17. If possible, take on more hours at work
  18. Enter competitions to win things that will save you money, this could be meals or days out, clothing vouchers, discounts on utility bills. The list goes on.
  19. If you hear of any cash-in-hand work going that you can do, go for it!

There are literally hundreds of ways to make money and save money – so treat your purses to a rest and begin saving!

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The Benefits of being a Blogger

Today I took full advantage of being a blogger and able to work wherever I want and spent the day with my friend so that we could catch up. (In between her doing housework and getting her youngest from nursery I was able to work from the comfort of her sofa!).

We decided to fill her paddling pool up for the kids to go in after school and cool off, and to treat them all to a takeaway pizza and chips.

I’ve not felt so relaxed in ages, I really enjoyed watching Dinky play with her children. His confidence has come on so much. When my friend and I first met he would be too anxious to join in with their games and would nervously be tugging on me to either go home or for me to have to be by his side.

But today, he proved how much he has come along by happily joining in with their play and literally only coming to me for food and drinks. As you can see, they had a great time!


Nothing makes me happier than seeing a Dinky enjoying himself. For years we really struggled with his interaction and now he seems to have conquered that. I’m one happy Mumma indeed.

So, to sum up my day, I managed to:
1. Catch up with a great friend of mine.

2. Enjoy watching Dinky play and interact with other children.

3. Work from where and when I felt like it.

I’m totally getting used to this whole being your own boss thing!

How can you become a full-time blogger?

If you want to know how you can be your own boss, check out my post here on How to become a full-time blogger. I’ve also got a great giveaway ending 30/06 there too, so head over and enter!

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Are you one of the FEW? Female Entrepreneur Week

I am super proud to be taking part in this year’s Female Entrepreneur Week (FEW).

I’m going to tell you a little bit about what FEW is, and how you can get involved!

My Story

Not so long ago I was working 34 hours in a Doctors surgery as a medical administrator. The money was fabulous, my colleagues were lovely but I had a problem. Childcare was really hard to find when it came to half-term and summer holidays. I asked my bosses if I could reduce my hours and unfortunately they couldn’t offer me that position. So I had a decision to make. Do I find another job that can work around the school terms, or do I make the leap and become self-employed?

I’ve been blogging now for around three years, and most recently I’ve been enjoying it more and more, building up my network, writing my posts and actually beginning to earn money from blogging. I thought long and hard about the decision I needed to make. Would I want to be stuck in another job that ultimately could get me into the same position that I was already in? Absolutely not.

Do I want a job where I can choose my own hours, write about what I love and still manage to be at home for Dinky? Of course!

There was my answer right there. I handed in my months notice and that month flew by. The 5th of June arrived and I was now self-employed. It was a scary thought but I got right to it by applying to tons of writing work, some being freelance writing through Upwork, and some were writing for my blog.

So what have I achieved so far?

What an absolutely fabulous surprise I’ve had! In just over a week I’ve managed to land myself a column on Soapbox, I’m now writing regularly for two clients on Upwork, and I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to spread the word for Female Entrepreneur Week!

Of course, I would love to take on more work, and I’m still applying every day, but I think in one week, to have made this much progress isn’t bad at all!

If you’re interested in starting your own blog, check out my post – How you can give up your 9-5 and become and full-time blogger – I also have a fabulous giveaway for bloggers there too!

A few special shout outs

I wouldn’t have been able to make this leap if a few people hadn’t either pushed me to do it or given me tons of inspiration on the way.

Zara from Mojo Blogs – this woman has been my absolute rock through all of this. We’ve been friends for almost 6 years (!) now, we’ve met up a few times and had a brilliant day every time. She has been dealing with my crazy panicked texts, giving me advice, tips on how to improve certain aspects of my blog and in general just being an absolutely fabulous friend. Love love xx

Rachel from Coffee, Cake, Kids – I was lucky enough to meet this lovely lady at Blog Camp 2015 and since then she’s helped me build my blog by passing on my name to potential clients, reading my blog and giving me support. Thank you xx

Katie from The Perfect Juggler – I’ve only recently met Katie, but we’re at the same level with our blogs. Her blog is lovely and she’s given me support since starting this journey. We seem to have tons in common and I wish her all of the best with everything, and hopefully, you can make this jump soon! xx

Aby from You Baby Me Mummy – I have this lady to thank for all of my knowledge when it comes to sharing my blog and driving traffic. Although I still have a long way to go, I know by following her tips I will get there! Her blog is fabulous, and to be fair, so is she. Thanks Aby xx

What is Female Entrepreneur Week?

Female Entrepreneur Week (FEW) is an online festival, celebrating female entrepreneurs everywhere. Not many women have the courage to take the leap and start their own business. FEW is giving us the opportunity to take part in some absolutely fabulous workshops to help us build our businesses, our brands, and our skills. This all begins on the 21st of June, so get yourself over there and sign up!

How can I sign up?

Easy peasy! Head over to Female Entrepreneur Week‘s website here to get yourself access to all of the free training and resources. It’s really that simple!

If you’ve got a business and you’re unsure how you can take it further, or you write a blog as a hobby and would like to turn it into a business then this is the place for you.

See you there?

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How to make your morning routine a doddle.

We all hate mornings, especially Monday mornings. It’s the first day after that very much needed two-day rest and many of us don’t just have ourselves to get ready, we have our little ones too. I have never been very good at getting out of bed in the morning, even since I’ve had Dinky, I have to have about 50 alarms just to make sure I wake up and get myself moving. If you’re like me, you’ll want to read this guide on how to make your Monday mornings and the rest of the week go that little bit smoother.

I’ve created a checklist that you can perform every night so that when the morning comes, you can get up and do as little as possible.

Pack lunchboxes the night before.

This is something my Mum taught me to do, she was always so worried about not getting up in time that our lunchboxes wouldn’t be ready. Depending on how many you have to make, it could save you up to 20 minutes in the morning to get that all important first cup of coffee into the system.

Lay out clothing ready.

Getting your clothing ready will not only save you fumbling around half asleep for a matching pair of socks, but it means that you can ask your children (if they’re old enough of course) to help you by getting themselves dressed. I know in the real world children aren’t that obedient all of the time but maybe you could use some bribery like I do. A promise of a small chocolate bar after breakfast always gets Dinky dressing himself. I’m a good mother, I swear.

Ultimately the aim in doing this is to save you even more time to get that coffee down!

Set the table ready for breakfast .

This may seem like something that wouldn’t take that long, but in reality setting the table may be a harder job with little ones running around, unable to find their shoes or fussing over what they would like to eat. Instead get the bowls and plates ready, and the cereals out so that all you’d have to do is supply the milk or pop the bread in the toaster.

Yep, you guessed it, making more time for coffee.

Shower the night before.

That goes for all of you that need to be up for that manic rush in the mornings. I’ve always bathed Dinky at night but often I’ll shrug it off for me and promise myself that I’ll shower the next morning.

That never happens.

Showering the night before means not only will you avoid missing out on yet another shower because little one got up too early, but it means that you will probably have a better night sleep, you’ll wake up feeling less groggy and you don’t have to fight against time to get your hair dry in time for the school run. I’ve done way too many school runs with wet or half dry hair and ended up looking like a right state for the rest of the day.

Trust me, shower at night. All of this time I’m saving you, you may even be able to drag a bit of lipstick over your lips and have that coffee.

Clean up once the kids are in bed.

Again a fairly simple thing that we should all ideally be doing. I definitely don’t. I’m normally that glad to not have to watch another Paw Patrol episode that I faint with excitement and never end up doing any tidying.

I’m sure you will agree that when you get up to a tidier home, you have a better start to the day. So force yourself to just clear those toys away and wash the plates up. If you do this daily, it shouldn’t take you long.

You could even make a little routine for the kids to join in with before they go to bed. Give them a 10 minute warning that it’s nearly time to go to bed and then ask them to put the toys away themselves. Then that’s even less for you to do!

Maybe you could have a coffee whilst they’re doing that?

Create a weekday schedule.

Going on from my last point a little, I think that creating a weekday schedule that the whole family can try to stick by will take a lot of work off of your back. With Dinky’s autism, I find his behaviour is much easier when he is on a schedule and he knows what to expect. Every morning he gets up, has breakfast, gets dressed, brushes teeth and then gets a treat before we set off for school. I find that he reacts well to not just a schedule in the morning but througout the day. I’ve created a daily schedule chart that I use to write the tasks for the day on, and then 7 spaces to pop a sticker in when he has done his task. I’ll include a template of this chart at the end of this post!

 

As you can tell, I basically function on coffee alone, and very much value my coffee in the morning.

Hopefully this post may have given you some ideas on how to make your morning routine that little bit less stressful for you. If you’re interested in getting your hands on my totally free schedule that you can use with the kids, enter your email in the form below and I’ll email it to you!

Does anyone else have anything that helps make mornings easier? I’d love to have more tips because as I’ve already said. I hate mornings!

Much love xx

 




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10 Things That Make Me Happy

Thank you to Rachel over at Coffee, Cake, Kids for tagging me in this post thread to take part!

As we have all seen on the news lately there’s been awful terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and I think that we all need to appreciate how lucky we are to have been safe from these terrible events. My heart goes out to all of the families and friends of the victims of these attacks.

This is why when Rachel tagged me in this, I thought it was a great time to reflect on 10 things that make me happy. Even when life seems a bit shitty, and it feels like the whole world is on your shoulders, I think we should all take the time to think about things that we are grateful for. So here is my 10 things that make me happy!

1. Blogging

This one may seem incredibly obvious but over the last few months, blogging has become a big part of my life again. I have met some of the loveliest people through blogging and had so many great opportunities too. I’ve had the chance to review items that I would never even have thought about trying and some that I’ve loved for many years too. I’ve also managed to start monetizing my blog, and I am now writing full time. That’s something I didn’t think I’d be able to do for years.

2. Dinky’s Smile

As you may already know, Dinky has autism. Since about the age of two, we have noticed and have been trying to get an official diagnosis so that we can get him the best help possible to help him thrive in life. I know for a fact he finds every single day a struggle, he knows that he isn’t like some of the other children at his school. Every morning we really find it hard to get him to school happily, it’s very rare that he goes in without any sort of panic attack. So those times where I do get to see my boy’s amazing smile, I absolutely love it. It melts my heart to know that at that moment he’s not worrying about anything and that I made that smile happen.

3. Mr. Pie

This is going to be corny as hell but I honestly don’t know where I’d be without him. He has supported me through the worst anxiety of my life, through stresses of home and work and also he is still supporting me as I’m taking the leap and becoming a full-time writer. He makes me smile daily, he’s my best friend and my soul mate. He is an incredible step-father to Dinky and they both adore each other (even though I know they wind each other up sometimes too). I doubt Mr. Pie will read this but I love you!

4. Vodka

Come on, you had to know this one was coming? It’s not an essential part of my life, but when I’ve had a rough day there’s nothing I love more than kicking back with a nice cold vodka and lemonade (or two) (okay three).

5. Gaming

GEEK ALERT!! I have loved gaming pretty much my entire life, but for around 8 years (oh my, that’s a bit bad!) I have loved World of Warcraft. I have also met some of the best people I know on the game, including my best blogging buddy Zara from Mojo Blogs who was pregnant at the same time that I was, and they were born literally days apart! I’ve gone back and forth with the game, playing whenever I can. I’ll never be as into it as I used to be before I had Dinky, but I still enjoy logging on and letting it take me away for a few hours.

6. Movies

Mr. Pie is a massive film fanatic, and since we have been together he has shown me literally hundreds of films and still manages to name and describe films I’ve never even heard of. I love it when we watch a movie together, it’s our time to chill out together, get cozy and watch a good film. Plus, there’s nothing better than lying there with your loved one after a long day!

7. The plan that myself and Mr. Pie have for life

We’ve been together for almost four years now and we’re constantly getting comments about marriage and more children. As much as we’d love to jump straight in and have all of these, we’re trying to do things the right way for us. We want to buy ourselves a nice home, build up some money and then go ahead and get married and have children. I just love the fact that we can both shrug off the comments because we know what our aim is and we will get there.

8. Cooking

I’ll admit, some days I really can’t be bothered to make much of an effort in our meal plans, but I do actually really enjoy cooking. Whenever I see one of those recipe videos floating around Facebook I can’t help but watch it, and then modify it in my head. When it actually comes to cooking, I love being creative and even changing the recipes up as I go along, and one thing I love even more is seeing Mr. Pie’s face when he tries my food. Any compliment from him is a big one in my eyes considering he is a chef.

9. Our car

We haven’t had much luck with cars over the last three years, but I have loved each and every one of them. At the moment we have my Dad’s old Freelander and I absolutely adore it. It looks beefy, it drives incredibly and it’s also something that makes Dinky smile. Even though the car isn’t an absolute necessity for us, I certainly do miss having one when we don’t. Having that freedom there to just jump in the car and go somewhere is amazing, and of course, it makes life 10x easier with shopping and school runs!

10. My life

It took me ages to think about this final one because I wanted to make it a good one. I was sat there thinking about what I appreciate and I realized that I hadn’t even listed the most important one, the whole reason I started writing this post, I’m grateful and happy with my life. I may have 3458345 things to groan about certain things that are going on in my life, but in general, I have a great life, an amazing partner, an incredibly loving, intelligent and funny son, supportive family, food on the table and a roof over my head.

I nominate Katie Shacklock over at The Perfect Juggler to give us her top 10 things that make her happy!

 

 

 

 




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5 blog post ideas that will guarantee to drive traffic to your blog.

Sometimes coming up with the ‘perfect’ post can be hard, especially if you have no idea what to write about. I have often spent hours sat in front of my laptop really wanting to write some engaging content, but I’ve been lost for topics to write about.

I’ve compiled a list of the top blog post ideas that are guaranteed to drive traffic to your blog. The key is to add variety to your blog posts. Why? This will keep your readers coming back, and new readers wanting to see your content. It will also allow you to be more creative with your writing, allowing you to help your readers/customers to find what they came to your site for.

How To Posts.

How to posts are an incredible way to drive traffic to your blog. People often go to the web to search for how to do something.

Think about how people find out how to do most things nowadays.

People often go to the web to search for how to do something. Writing a post that will tell people exactly how to do something, will gain you those views. Also, making these posts show your readers that you have credibility and are trustworthy, making them even more likely to return to your blog.

Another fabulous idea with how to posts is to add a little freebie at the end of the post too. For example, if you have posted your workout schedule, create a template that people can have if they choose. You can also gain many subscribers this way by getting readers to get that template emailed to them by you. You can set this up using plugins and applications, like MailChimp.

 

Cheatsheets.

One thing that people absolutely love are easy ways around something, so when I say cheatsheets, I also mean to-do lists and checklists, anything to make their lives easier.

For example, someone may search for “what I need for my first trip out with my baby”. Giving them that information that they want will again show that you’re trustworthy and also make you look super organized.

This is a lot like a how to post, but instead, it helps readers make sure that nothing is forgotten about when they’re packing for that all important first trip out with the baby. With this, you can also create a template that people can download and receive as part of signing up to your email list.

Reviews

Everybody loves reviews. What’s the first thing you do if you’re thinking about buying something that you can’t really shrug off money wise if it turns out to be no good? You turn to the wonderful internet to find someone else that has spent that money, or taken the plunge and dyed their hair a wacky colour, to see if it’s worth your time, money and effort.

Also, don’t we all secretly love the fail reviews that are posted?

Back on topic. Reviews are literally what can make or break a business and people love finding out which is the best company to purchase their desired product from. Even if it means reviewing a new product you’re trying for your hair to eliminate dry scalp, or giving an opinion on how good those headphones from Lidl actually are, people will want to read it.

A great way to display a review is in vlog form too, this can also help expand your blog to not only writing but videos too!

Another good idea is to email some companies and offer them a free review of one of their products in return for you keeping the item. Many brands are more than willing to do that for the free advertising, although if payment of any form is involved, it is then considered a sponsored post and you should let your readers know this in a disclaimer. Let’s face it, you’re more likely to give a good review on a product that was sent to you for free, and a product that will possibly bring exposure from that company promoting the post too, right?

Giveaways/Competitions

I always love seeing the traffic roll in from hosting a giveaway. My first ever giveaway I made quite a few mistakes and I’m going to tell you so that you don’t make those mistakes too.

1. I had a very short giveaway of just a week. You ideally need it to be around a month, depending on the value of the prize otherwise the word may not get around enough and you may not reap any benefits from hosting it like I did.

2. Submit your giveaway to competition websites like Loquax and Bloggers Required to help your reach go even further. I didn’t do this with my first giveaway and I wouldn’t have had a clue if a bloggy friend hadn’t have told me.

3. Create a call to action to enter your giveaway. I always use Rafflecopter for my giveaways, but there are many other sites that you can use to host. I didn’t really ask for my readers to do much on my first giveaway, which meant I didn’t really see much return from it. By this I mean ask them to share the post and follow you on your social accounts in return for their entry to the giveaway.

4. Create your giveaway in the form of a post, write a little something about why you’re doing the giveaway or even link the giveaway to a relevant post.

So yeah, basically if you host a giveaway and stick to those three points, you’re going to have a great time seeing your traffic come in! Plus, everyone loves a giveaway right?!

I’m totally going to self-promote here, but if you’re interested to see what a giveaway looks like or how to go about it, you can check my latest one out here – How you can give up your 9-5 and become a full-time blogger and bloggers bundle giveaway!

 

List posts

Have you ever been so bored and googled what to do with your day? People often search for ideas on many different subjects and this is where list posts come in. You can do so many things with list posts like specify it to a particular area, or you can generalize it so that everyone will be able to take something away from your post.

Another way to use lists is to list a top ten. For example; top ten ways to lose belly fat. Not only are you giving you readers a solution to their “belly fat”, but you’re giving them 10 different ways to achieve this!

 

Of course, there are many other topics and ideas you could use, like interviews, controversial/debating posts, personal stories and much more!

So if you’re ever sat there stuck on what to write about, or you’d like to see an increase in your traffic, come back to this list and enjoy seeing your traffic boom, your subscribers grow and your blog thrive.

Are there any other blog post ideas that you find drive a lot of traffic? I’d love to know!

Much love xx

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Little Steps Towards Making the World a Better Place

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It’s easy to think that the world is all doom and gloom. When we wake up, we turn on the television or radio and open up the morning’s papers, only to be greeted by story after story of all of the terrible things going on in the world. War, attacks, robberies, natural disasters. The list goes on. But just because what we read, hear and see from the news is mainly negative doesn’t mean that the world is an awful place. When it comes down to it, shock and horror sell. That’s why it’s plastered across headlines and front pages. But for every bad thing happening in the world, there are plenty more undocumented good things happening. It’s time for you to contribute to these positive occurrences. Here are a few ways you can go about making the world a better place.

 

Give to Charity

This is one of the easiest ways to start helping those less fortunate than yourself. Giving to charity takes little to no time and makes all of the difference to the recipient of your donation. You can choose to donate regularly, signing up to a direct debit donation. Alternatively, you can just put your spare change in the charity buckets left out on store till desks or shook by volunteers in the streets. If you have a little more time on your hands, you might want to engage in a fundraising activity. Take No birds bash as inspiration: these two men are traveling to the most remote and rural parts of Australia to raise money for Variety children’s charity. While bonding and seeing places that they’ve never seen before, they’re helping out disadvantaged kids. If you have the time and energy, you could engage with similar events. Alternatively, if you find you have no spare time around work, you can donate to others’ charity ventures. A final option to bear in mind is leaving a charity donation in your will. This is a little morbid to think about, but how positive is it that you can continue to help others even once you have passed?

 

Small Acts of Kindness

 

Engage in small acts of kindness every day. Even if you just make one person smile and feel good about themselves, you’ve made the world a brighter place. These small gestures won’t cost you much or take up much of your time, but they make all the difference to the person on the receiving end of things. If you see a homeless individual rooting through a bin for food, offer to buy them lunch or a drink. Give your small change to a busker. Help someone in the train station up the stairs with their suitcase. Offer a helping hand to someone trying to get their pram onto a bus and offer your seat to the pregnant, elderly and disabled. Even something as simple as smiling at strangers in the street when you pass them could make all the difference to someone having a tough time.

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Consume Ethically

 

The products that we buy are so disconnected from their sources that it’s easy to ignore or forget where they come from. When possible, try to consume ethically. Whether you’re buying food, clothes or beauty products. Consider the process that has resulted in them getting from their roots to your basket. Food wise, try out a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. This is great for you, animals and the environment. If you don’t think you’re ready to commit to meat or dairy free living, any little will help. Whether that’s trying out a pescatarian diet, engaging with meat-free Mondays or even just opting for a vegetarian option over a meat-based option when dining out in a restaurant. Buy free range where possible and opt for organic, fair trade coffees and chocolates to ensure fair living conditions for the people who have grown and produced your food. When it comes to clothing, question whether the price on the label matches your perceived worth of the goods. Low price products are often imported from countries where workers aren’t paid a living wage, may be exploited and might have low standard working conditions. Try to invest in clothing that has a fair trade source, free of human exploitation for a clear conscience. When it comes to beauty products, think of the environment. Choose brands which don’t engage with animal testing and avoid non-organic products. These often contain chemicals which are harsh on your skin and pollute waters after use.

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Acids & Alkalis: Your Body Chemistry 101

Okay, so the title here sounds a little bit like a school biology lesson – and goodness knows they were rough enough the first time. But honestly: there’s a point here, something that can make a real difference to how you understand your body. Importantly, it can also make a difference to your health and even give your beauty regime a boost.

 

Far from just being the reserve of science experiments, acids and alkalis have practical, everyday uses. By understanding what they can do for you, you can harness them to improve your life in a variety of ways. If you’re intrigued, then read on; there’s a lot to learn but it’s all worth it…

 

Alkalis: Purple Perfection

 

You may have heard some of the talk of the benefits of the alkaline diet in recent years. It’s become something of a fad, which many people have gone to great lengths to dismiss. However, taken on a simple basis, there’s a lot to be said eating foods in an effort to maintain your body’s pH – which is naturally slightly alkaline. Doing so, it is claimed, can increase energy, aid recovery, and with the likes of HCG diet drops and similar innovations, even assist in weight loss.

 

Is it to be dismissed as another one of those fad diets that can be ignored? Probably not.

 

Take a look at the foods that this kind of eating plan encourages you to consume:

 

  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables

 

And some of the foods it’s advised that you avoid:

 

  • Processed food
  • Dairy products
  • Refined grains

 

Just a quick glimpse at these suggests that this is not the kind of diet that is problematic. The ‘good’ foods are legitimately good; the ‘bad foods’ are legitimately bad. Whether or not you think the alkaline hypothesis works, there’s no doubt that following such an eating plan will have huge benefits to your overall health.

 

Acid: Love Your Skin

 

If you have been battling trying to keep your facial skin in good condition, then exploring what acids can do for you might make all the difference. There are plenty to try, depending on what you are looking to achieve.

Azelaic Acid: For Redness, Rosacea & Skintone Concerns

 

Azelaic acid is often found in prescription treatments for rosacea, but it’s now possible to buy it and try for yourself. Look for formulations between 5-10% and apply in the evening as a serum. You should begin to see any redness (whatever its cause) fade away, and may even see healing for broken capillaries.

 

Hyaluronic Acid: For Skin Softness and Plumpness

 

Who doesn’t want to firm and tighten their skin a little? If you’re looking for this kind of fix, then hyaluronic acid is by far the best solution to do it with. Look for it as an ingredient in a night cream, or apply the solution by itself – companies like The Ordinary offer individual solutions that allow you to mix and match.

 

One note: if you use any of the above acidic solutions, it’s vital to always ensure you are wearing an SPF every day – even if it’s cloudy out. These solutions will do wonders for your skin but may make you more susceptible to burning, so be careful!

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Who Knew Sweating Could Feel So Good

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If you’re ready to take life into your own hands, then the best way to start is by getting active. Now that doesn’t include pigging out on the sofa to your favorite tv show; it means getting up, breaking out of your usual routine, and making a new one that will benefit your life in a positive way.

Here are the top forms of exercise that will work up a sweat, and work out your body.

 

Swimming

Swimming is a great form of exercise, especially if you suffer from any aches and pains, or even if you’re just on the larger side of the scale, because water takes all the pressure off your body and lets you focus on moving around freely. This is why a lot of physiotherapists tell you to swim. Not only that but it also uses every muscle in your body, so you don’t just burn calories, you also tone up too.
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Cycling

Cycling is popular go-to workout because you don’t necessarily have to go outside to do it. As long as you have an exercise bike, you can get fit in front of the tv if you wish to. Riding even as little as 30 minutes a day can make a huge improvement in your physical strength and stamina, and the more you sweat, the more fat you’re essentially melting away.

 

Circuit Training

Circuit Training or High Intensity Interval Training is the best cardio workout if you like to push yourself to limit. With high intensity workouts with very little rest time, make it a very a challenging session, but so rewarding once completed. It’s very fast paced, so you need to make sure you’re hydrated and have eaten something otherwise you just won’t have the energy you need to do this. So you will want to keep a bottle of water within reaching distance for when you have a short rest interval. -You will understand why.
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Boxing

Boxing is amazing is you want to focus on your core muscles while giving your whole body a good workout. It also improves your balance, mobility and even coordination, while engaging your core muscles the whole time, and these are all things that can be used in your day to day life.

If you’ve never boxed before, it’s a good idea to get someone to work with you, like a trainer or a friend that knows that they’re doing. That way you know that you’re doing everything as they should be done, ensuring you don’t cause an injury to yourself.

 

Whatever you decide on doing, give it a fair chance before you make up your mind whether you love it or not. Having said that, not everybody is the same, so just because your peers claim that running is the best thing for them, that doesn’t mean that it’ll be like that for you. So this is where trial and error become relevant. If you don’t enjoy one thing, don’t give up – just keep going until you find something that you really love.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and get nice and sweaty! -That’s the best part!

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Why I am giving up Coca Cola and why I think you should too!

Anyone that has met me for more than ten minutes will know that I absolutely adore coke. For about 5 years I’ve had a 1-litre bottle a day at least and it’s never really affected my health. Or so I thought.

Recently I’ve got into the mindset that I need to sort my health out, and not with fad diets or magic pills that will make me lose 10 dress sizes in a week. We all know they’re bullshit. I’ve been looking into food that will benefit me and any ailments I do suffer with so that I can improve my health over time and actually stand a chance of sticking with it.

For two weeks I documented everything I consumed, including drinks and I was mortified when I looked back on it to see how much coca cola I actually consume. Below is a table from Coca Cola‘s website with the “nutrition” information for a 1-litre bottle of normal Coca Cola. So with me consuming at least 1-litre a day, that would mean I am consuming at 420 calories just from Coke alone! For me to lose weight at a healthy rate I’m recommended to consume between 1500 and 2000 calories per day – nearly a quarter of that is was coke! To check the calories you should be consuming to either lose, gain or maintain weight, you can check your BMI and get the best information here.

Nutrition Facts
Not a significant source of calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Serving Size: 12 fl oz (360 mL)
Servings Per Container about 3
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 45mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 39g 13%
Sugars 39g
Protein 0g

After I got over the shock of how many calories I was consuming from Coke alone I decided to look into how else it was affecting my health. As we all know, Coke is an acidic drink, so not only does it raise the acidity in our stomachs but it raises the acidity in our whole bodies. In turn, this is one of the reasons we have breakouts or our already sore and dry skin doesn’t seem to go away. There’s another reason for me to quit right there. I’m constantly moaning and trying to look for the “cure” for my psoriasis when in fact, it’s what I do and don’t put into my body that makes it worse/better.

My teeth friggin hurt. This year I’ve had more trips to the dentist than I think I took in the whole of my childhood. I’ve never really noticed any problems with my teeth until now, but in the last year or so I’ve had a tooth removed, one tooth has broken and will need to be removed and also increased tooth sensitivity. I did some research on this and read that every time you take a sip, the effects of the sugar last for 20 minutes, so if you’re drinking it all day your teeth will be under constant attack. Admittedly this information was reflecting on all types of fizzy drinks, but the results are still awful. Here’s the full article here.

My weight has suffered a lot over the last 5 years. Now I’m not saying I eat perfectly because I’m far from that, but for example, if I was eating the recommended amount of calories for my weight, then I’d be consuming an extra 400 calories a day! I dread to think how much Coke has contributed to my weight gain over the years.

Another thing I worked out was how much money I have spent on Coke over the last 5 years. I would go for the 2 bottles for £3 deal, so 1-litre bottle a night would mean I’d have 7 bottles a week which would work out at £12. Times that by 52 would mean I’d spend £624 a year and times that by 5 would mean over the last 5 years I’ve spent at least a whopping £3120 on coke, and that’s not including drinks I’ve bought out. There’s me wondering why I can’t afford much. No, it’s not much per week if you really think about it but I could have done so much more with that money over time.

So to sum it up, coke is bad for your skin, your weight, your teeth and your bank balance. I’ve already forgotten what I liked about it!

 

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