huge tech giveaway

A Huge Tech Giveaway – 2 Tablets and accessories

A Huge Tech Giveaway

I love a competition and normally try to find them with great prizes a few times a week. I am currently after a holiday..a nice week somewhere warm with the family. I am focussed on it!! So far this year I have won personal training vouchers, stationery and wine, okay not quite the holiday but there is still time! Here is a chance for to win a huge tech giveaway, not one but two kindles and a bundle of accessories as well.

A whole host of amazing bloggers have teamed up to offer you the chance to win a great prize (something we couldn‘t do individually), but who are this group of amazing people; well check them out:

Mother Distracted | The Rare Welsh Bit | Renovation Bay-Bee | Pretty Big Butterflies | Probably Busy | Mums Wine HQ | Tantrums to Smiles | Cats and Contours | Hubby Helps | Really Missing Sleep | Bump and Beyond | The Reluctant Traveller | The Diary of a Jewellery Lover | Mum Dad Plus 4 | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels | Helerina Blogs

Melanie’s Fab Finds | We Made This Life | Precious Little Worlds | Sparkles at Midnight | Spanish Mummy | Our Bucket List Lives | Boxes and Swatches | Testing Time Blog | Ladies Pass It On | | Being Tilly’s Mummy | Mrs MummyPenny | Me, My Life and the Tardis | Tilly’s Travelling Telegram | Lotty Earns | Just Average Jen

Beautiful Things | Hex Mum Plus 1 | Life in a Break Down | UK Bloggers

Joining forces together has meant we can bring you the chance to win not only a Fire HD 8 Tablet (8gb) but a Fire Kids Edition Tablet (in pink or blue) alongside some accessories (think screen protector and a case for the Fire HD 8). Now that’s going to make for one lucky winner!

So how can you be in with a chance of winning? Well all you need to do is let us know:

What do you have planned for this summer? Anything exciting?

The only mandatory entry is to answer the above question, all following entries are optional. However, we would, of course, love it if you could give the bloggers behind this huge tech giveaway some support. Full terms and conditions can be found in the below link to the competition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

federation of small business

The Federation of Small Business – Benefits of joining

The Federation of Small Business – Benefits of joining

I joined the Federation of Small Business (FSB) a year ago. An accountant friend and I were chatting whilst sat in the doctor’s surgery and she recommended this as a brilliant thing to join to help with all advice and admin you must do as a small business owner. It’s a necessary evil, it must be done and you can’t afford in the early days to outsource it.

I met up with Charlie from the FSB who had me sold at free business banking (I was paying at least £6 per month with Barclays) and the free legal advice (I have needed advice on partnership agreements and documents, trademarks and employment law in the past year, all included in membership). There is plenty more included in the membership which I will list at the end of post, but I wanted to share with you an incredible event hubby and I attended a few weeks back.

Hubby is starting a new business

Setting the scene, hubby is starting up his own bathroom showroom business. It’s been dream for around 6 years!! Now he is going for it, with a bit of help from me on the accounting and marketing sides of the business, my expert areas. It has also prompted a series of small business posts on how to save money, and what you need to get set up in what order, as there is a fair bit.

We attended a local small business fair, this wasn’t small businesses like us, it was companies who can support small businesses. I didn’t know what to expect and had never been to one before so thought why not give it and try and see what it was all about.

The fair was hosted in a huge warehouse in Huntingdon, Wood Green animal shelter. We walked in and saw hundreds of stands, this looked good.

We had Jack with us as it was a non-school day, imagine his joy when he saw sweets on every table, and drinks, and toys and he could help himself to.

We wandered from stall to stall, seeing what grabbed our attention. It was perfectly aimed at people running small business. There were banks, legal, insurance, mobile phone companies, accountancy, car leasing, stationery providers, sign makers, you name it, it was there.

Legal Advice

The first stand that grabbed my attention were the ones giving away the best freebies (I never change, I love a freebie, even a pen). I stopped at a legal firm and got chatting to one the women who worked in employment law, not for me, but her colleague was a property lawyer so we had a great chat about hubby’s potential new business premises and the type of things we could negotiate in the contract. He also told us if your business premises have a rateable value of less than £15k the rates are free! This man could potentially have saved us ALOT if money. #grateful.

Car/Van Leasing

We chatted to the car leasing guys from Toyota and spoke about selling our current car for a cash flow boost and leasing a new car for the family and then a van for hubby. We are now in discussions about buying a hybrid, and Jack got a heart sponge and some stress squeeze hats (happy days).

Business Lending & Grants

I found a man who was an expert in business lending and grants and had a great chat about what funding we could both get, me 18 months in and hubby as a start-up. I also spoke to Barclays and NatWest about lending, NatWest seemed very keen for our business.

Business Insurance

We popped over to the FSB stand and met the guys in charge of the fair. Hubby will be joining the FSB for his new company. I ended up chatting to a legal expert who handily also knew about insurance. It’s a grey area subject for bloggers, should we have it or not. The conclusion was yes, I should have public liability insurance. If I am going to meetings in client’s offices I need to insure myself if I was to cause any accidents when there. Professional indemnity was probably not a requirement as what I write about is my view and my view only. Hubby also need public liability for a retail shop.

I was astounded at the amount of free advice we got at the event, as well as about 10 pens, toys, sweets and keyrings;-)

Benefits of Joining the Federation of Small Business

I highly recommend joining the FSB if you are a small business. Charlie Smith is the man who can help you to decide if its right for you. A quick highlight of some of the benefits

  • Free business banking with Co-op
  • Discounted insurance broker
  • Discounted contract hire on vehicles
  • Free legal advice and template documents
  • Free cover if you have a tax investigation
  • Free crisis PR
  • Free financial planning advice (I have used this for business planning)
  • Free health & safety advice
  • The list goes on and on.

The cost and how to join

There is an annual membership fee, which is  £172.50 for the first year and then £142.40 for year 2 onwards. Here is a link to get more information and to sign up online or feel free to call Charlie Smith on 07801 333480.

Disclosure – I will receive a small referral fee if you join up through this link.

boost your income online

7 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Income Online

7 Unusual Ways to Boost Your Income Online

We’d all love to have a little bit of extra cash spare to enjoy the little luxuries in life. Maybe you are saving for a holiday or that dream car you have always had your eye on. So when that weekly or monthly salary isnt enough hy not look into making money online? I have written abut some more usual ways of making money online like matched betting , mystery shopping or questionnaires, but here are a few more unusual ways of making extra cash online.

Writing articles Online

If you have always fancied yourself as a bit of a Hemingway, but never actually got around to putting your skills to good use, you could earn money by writing articles online. Companies like Textbroker and Greatcontent allow you to write a sample article to be rated, and then once you have this rating you can pick up articles within that rating from a list online.

Get paid for pictures

Not only can you get paid for providing text content to companies and individuals, but you can also sell pictures. Have you ever been on holiday and caught an amazing snapshot? Or what about just at home, maybe you have taken a brilliant snap shot of one of the pets? These can all help you make money online.

Websites like Fotolia help you to sell your pictures online. All you need to do is upload them, and you get a royalty fee every time it is downloaded. I have taken so many cool pictures that I could this for! Like this one



Online trading

Companies like CMC markets make online trading easy and accessible to the general public. IT used to be the case that only people with a lot of know how were able to get their head around trading online, but it is now so simple to do even Joe public can do it.

You do not need to be a technical fund analyst to dip your toes into the online trading market. A lot of companies even offer the facility to set buy and sell prices that trigger automatically, if you can’t be glued to your phone all day at work. Depositing and withdrawing funds is also an incredibly straight forward process on online trading platforms, with most accepting credit/debit cards with many options including Forex and stocks.

Rent out space

The internet has made communication so much easier, that it is no wonder that people are taking advantage of this to rent out space. You can either use a broker website like AirBnB, or go privately by putting an ad on a local news board.

If you haven’t got a spare room, fear not. You can still rent out parking spaces, or even your garden to campers. If you live near a big city, or a landmark, there could be hundreds to be made for renting out a space you wouldn’t otherwise use.

Sell your skills

Do you have a random skill? Can you draw like an artist or sing like an angel? Well, there is a website called Fiverr that let’s you sell any talent you have for £5. Skills on Fiverr range from the fairy normal to the weirdly wonderful, but if there is something you can do better than anyone else, it’s worth seeing if someone out there will pay you for it.


Review some music

Generational tastes can contrast a lot when it comes to music, so this may not be the one for you if you think all of the stuff in the charts currently is ‘just noise’. But if you do feel that you have a keen ear for a tune, Slicethepie will pay you for your thoughts on songs.

Most up and coming bands and singers rely on first impressions, so it is no wonder they are happy to pay people for their honest critique.

Refer someone/Switch bank accounts

A lot of companies, especially job websites, like to give cash bonuses to people who make referrals. Even if you are not actively using the website at the moment, most of them have free sign up, so you can sign up and refer someone. This goes the same for paid survey sites, and is usually a bigger earner than the survey’s themselves. This how many bloggers make money with referral fees for sign-ups!

You can also stand to make within the region of £100 by switching bank accounts. Gone are the days when this used to be a lengthy process, and most switches can now be taken care of online.

Do you know any other unusual ways of making money?

5 frugal things post 29

5 Frugal Things post 29 – Self care, coaching and clarity

5 Frugal Things post 29 – Self care, coaching and clarity

It’s been a real week of contrasts this week. I have been ridiculously busy to breaking point, but then I got clarity. I had a hypnotherapy coaching session where we worked on focus and balance. This helped me realise that I wasn’t looking after my body and mind through sleep, food and water. This has already taken a huge step forward. The night after my coaching I got 9 hours sleep and the day after my coaching I had the most focussed day ever. I actually did most of the things on my to do list! I have also continued with my May theme of money saving in many ways.

    • I finally called Barclays about my business bank account fees. A complaint was made and investigated in one day, I got all the fees refunded as I had been put on the wrong tariff and £50 for the inconvenience. I am going to shift my business banking over to either co-op or metro bank I think. I have heard that Metro bank are very good and co-op is free banking through my federation of small business membership.
    • I have set myself a beauty and skincare challenge. Check out this YouTube video. I have sooooo much makeup and skin care products. I’m not going to buy another product for the rest of 2017. The only problem is that I have no moisturiser, so I need to source some that is free. I am working on that one.

    • Yesterday I had a good look around Superdrug. It’s not a shop I normally go to so was pleasantly surprised by the fab offers and variety of stock. I did look at the make-up (I had to!) but didn’t buy anything. My grey hair is an issue and just 6 weeks after having my colour done my roots are showing through. I got root touch up for £7 for 2 packets. This saves me money at the hairdressers as I don’t need my hair done so often. I also got 2 dental floss packets for £1.50 when one packet was £1.48! And I also got some bootea detox tea for half price at £9.99. Instead of booking in for a colonic which costs £40. Really pleased with my purchases.

Check out the bargains I found today in Superdrug. I don’t normally shop there..but was rather pleasantly surprised by the offers. And oh my gosh the make up..but I’m not allowed make up of skincare until 2018..see my post from a couple of days ago😂😂 So I’ve heard lots about bootea teatox. So I’m giving it a try. Half price £9.99. 2 for £7 hairdye to touch up my roots. Meaning fewer trips to hairdressers sorry @stacey35xx 😚😚 Dental floss. 1 for £1.48 or 2 for £1.50 😂😂 And I got myself a health & beauty card for points. Lovely. . . . . . . . #superdrug #healthyliving #detox #moneysaving #frugal #moneysavingtips #healthandbeauty #hairdye #roottouchup #dentalfloss #bargains #offers #deals #beautydeals #teatox #cleanse #cleaneating #bootea #welwyngardencity #hertfordshire #lifestyleblogger

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  • I am in the process of opening a Santander 123 account. I can keep my First Direct account but move the direct debits over to the 123 account and get cashback. A great little way of making maybe £100 a year.
  • I have lost 3 stone in weight and my rings keep falling off, in fact my engagement ring pinged off in the park. I spent a traumatic 5 minutes with a random dad searching for the ring. He found it thankfully, #grateful. Goldsmiths were so helpful yesterday in Welwyn Garden City. My wedding and engagement rings need to go down by 2 ½ sizes. Previous quotes have been £200, but Goldsmiths will do it for £110. And I can use my Tesco clubcard vouchers to pay. Happy days.

I wrote my first debt confession update yesterday and revealed that I have paid off £550 to date. In 3 weeks that is really good! I have saved money and made money in all sorts of ways. I am feeling positive and focussed.

I am linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I have done this week linky.

debt confession update 1

My Debt confession update 1 – My Progress

My Debt confession update 1 – My Progress

I wrote about my debt confession on April 24th 2017. The reaction has been amazing. It has been read more than 1000 times on my website, a shorter version was then published on the Huffington Post. This has been one of my writing goals for the past 4 years to be published on there, it’s a genuine stamp on my writing ability and skills. Beyond happy.

Over the past nearly 3 weeks I have been working hard to re-budget, go through my finances and work on a plan to remedy this situation. Here is what I have done.

My Budget

I have a fab budget spreadsheet that includes everything we could possibly spend money on. It includes not just monthly spends but also annual/less regular events with a monthly portion. For example, weddings this year, holiday, birthday presents, other people’s birthdays, dentist, haircut. Everything has been included. This give a much more realistic amount that must be covered every month. I will repeat my offer as I always do, if you want a copy of this new and improved budget template please email me at and I will send you copy.

My budget has been checked over with a fine toothcomb by my wonderful writer and journalist friend Faith Archer who blogs at Much More With Less. She has given me lots of extra ideas to generate cash and save money.

I have had a good look at our expenses and have cut lots out. I have ended our childcare contract, a tough decision as our childminder is also one of my best friends but £100 a month for one after school childcare care for three children was too much.

Our dishwasher insurance (I had to take it out as dishwasher broke last year, engineer and new parts were free if I took out 1 year £14 per month insurance, method to my madness) finishes at end of May, £14 saved per month.

I made a complaint about my Barclays business banking excessive chargesand it turns out I was on the wrong tariff. Charges refunded plus an inconvenience amount given to me £80 refund and £12 savings per month

40th Birthday party broken zip dress returned to John Lewis, £130 refund.

The mortgage has been renegotiated and from June we move to a new lower rate, saving us £100 per month in interest part of the repayment mortgage.

In total I have already stripped out £226 from our monthly expense, £2,712 per year!! This is huge amount.

Still to consider

  • Call Sky and see what costs can be stripped out of the (arrrgggg) £75 per month we pay for broadband, TV, landline. Yes, we have sky sports and no we are not going to cancel it as hubby might divorce me.
  • Apply for a Santander Light Account to benefit from cashback on my hoursehold direct debits
  • Consider an American Express cashback credit card to use rather than my Tesco Clubcard credit card. The cashback beats the Clubcard vouchers value by far. It gets paid off in full every month and is used for regular spends, petrol, food etc.
  • We are going to sell our car, a 5-year-old Smax worth £9,000. We are going to lease a hybrid Auris (probably) to half our petrol costs and save the environment. We are currently negotiating this deal.

Make some money

  • We have decluttered under the stairs and the garage and have listed various items on Facebook Items for sale (I own the Knebworth one!) and eBay. We have around 100 items to sell.
  • I have a few specialist items, such as George Michael genuine signed picture, Christian Dior large bowling bag to be sold. I am considering the best way to sell these. I sent an email to the Posh Pawn man from TV!!
  • Mrs Mummypenny has gone boom, and the projects are campaigns are rolling in every day. The payment for these is delayed of course as I must complete the work, invoice and wait for payment but it’s all being lined up.

Repayments on what we owe

You will recall I had £15,500 that we owe. £2,500 on cards with interest being charged. £5,500 on an interest free card with 18 left on this offer and then £7,500 on another 0% card with 43 months’ interest free period (a new one).

The plan is cover the minimum repayments on all the cards of £300. Then any money I earn more than £1500 each month can be put into the cards with interest charges first.

I have already paid off £350 from the nasty interest cards. And then I have paid off another £200 from the 0% cards. £550 knocked off in month 1 is impressive!!

Timings and Goals

I am keen to pay off at least £5,000 of what we owe by the end of 2017. This includes the nasty interest charging cards first and then the £5,500 card with the 18 months remaining of 0%.

What are your thoughts? How are you doing with your repayments, what are you goals and how are you going to smash them?

money is the root of all evil

Money is the root of all evil!

Money is the root of all evil!

How many times have you heard this or even said this yourself?

It takes luck to have a lot of money! (Oh boy)

If only I could win the lottery. (Wishing upon a star, here?)

Money doesn’t grow on trees! (No s**t, Sherlock!)

Our Money Mindset is so very unhealthy. We love money, want and crave more money, and do crazy things for money. We wish upon a star, buy lottery tickets, over-spend, and hang-on too tight to our money, and we are still inside and upside down over money. And some even hate money! What is up with all of this?

Money is Just Paper

First of all let me say, money is just paper, yes paper with a lot of power. We, humans, give it so much power, a lot of negative power and a lot of positive as well. We feel money will buy us happiness, freedom and so much more, however, what about right now, in this very moment? If I gave you a million dollars, what would you do? What store can you buy happiness and freedom in? There isn’t any. Your happiness, gratitude, and freedom begins right here and now! When we are grateful for what we have NOW instead of wanting more NOW, really “carmelizing” this given moment, MORE WILL COME!  Now I understand at the end of the day we do need money to eat, pay bills and such but why do we have such an unhealthy relationship around this?

Shhh, we cannot share how much we make, shhh, do not talk about our debt, shhh, we have an image to uphold here. Get another credit card to pay off the other credit card, charge that vacation, got to have the designer handbag, shop until we drop, go out to eat until we explode (are you getting the picture here, yet?)

Our upbringing, parents, and society has played such a part how we are with money. People feel money is so evil when in fact it really isn’t. It is our mindset that is. “They are so greedy” “they are lucky that’s why they make so much money” “if only I could win the lottery my life would be great” “oh they are in it for the money” WOW! No wonder we have such debt and issues with money, lack mentality, and fear as well.

We spend to keep up with the Jones, we hang on to our money for a raining day, but we should be really enjoying right where we are at AND tithing our earnings. When we give we receive far more back. Take a look at Mother Teresa, very wealthy in so many ways, but a lot would say she was so poor!

Could you give it all up?

Could you give it all up? Could you walk away from it all? Hold on, please do not start freaking out, however, and think about this: Our money really isn’t ours. We are here to just work hard, make money, and tithe a percent of with our income. We are to thrive not survive in this life and I feel that is difficult when we are so unhealthy in other areas.

Taking our mindset, behaviors, and patterns and changing them how we look at money is a great place to begin.

  1. Wanting money isn’t greedy, it is how you go about this. If all of your decisions are based upon money, you will not last long. Money can come and go very fast, our love and passion for something can last a lifetime.
  2. Letting go of the “keeping up with the Jones” the Joneses do not run your life, you do and it is your choice how what, when and where you do things for you and your family. Living beyond your means and getting in over your head creates stress, ruins marriages, and quite frankly destroys so much. (Please note, it isn’t the money here, it is Human actions, behaviors, and mindsets-unhealthy)
  3. Living for the Lottery, you are releasing the control of your life and wishing upon a star. (Yes I said control when we need to manage it)

Cut out one thing this week that you have been spending too much money on, Starbucks, dinner, shopping for yet another handbag or pair of shoes. (Guilty!!!) Just one thing, easy peasy!

Money Awareness

Begin to work on your awareness around money: (He/She makes more than me; it takes luck and hard work to make money; He/She touches everything and it turns to Gold…) Place a jar in a common area in your home and get some marbles or dried peas and every time you think these thoughts place your marble or pea in the jar. Do this for a week, see where you are at in one week.  I bet your thoughts will begin to change very soon.

Tally up your earnings and find a non-profit to tithe your income. We are meant to give, serve and pay-it-forward for others. Ten percent is a good rule to go by, however, don’t stress if you cannot go to 10 % right away, but I bet you can find dollars that you have been spending (Starbucks) and your 10% will add up fast.

Sell those items in your closet on EBay that you are not using, designer handbags and such. Next time you have that urge to go shopping ask yourself: Do I really need this or is this just a quick fix to something else?

These are just some small suggestions to begin. I suggest if you have debt to get in touch with a money manager and put a plan of action together to pay those off along with budgeting and spending habits. Make sure someone can keep help you stay accountable.

Remember, we receive what we chase and worry about, change that to what you want, the big picture and then put the steps into place.  And please do not expect to have all of this conquered by Friday. Set some healthy timelines and boundaries. Learn to say no and you cannot go wrong here.

And remember…GRATITUDE!

“Success comes to those who dedicate everything to their passion in life. To be successful, it is also very important to be humble and never let fame or money travel to your head.”  A. R. Rahman
Kim and I have been working together on her blog, shes keen to make it a success as quickly as possible so I have been sharing my blogging and commercial knowledge with her to get things going as quickly as possible. I love our conversations and learn so much from this amazing woman.

You can follow her on Instagram (her fav channel), Facebook and Twitter. Please do check out her Instagram feed, its beautiful.

mental health awareness week

My story for Mental Health Awareness Week

My story for Mental Health Awareness Week

I have been so pleased with the press recently talking about mental health in the lead up to mental health awareness week. Good Morning Britain did a great job on Monday 8th interviewing Gazza (I was in tears, his autobiography is amazing) and Jason Donovan. I have been thinking about a post I could write, and what I decided was to share my story.

I was happy (perhaps not the right word, grateful?) to hear Prince’s Harry and William talking about the death of their mum recently. It’s a life event that is the most painful thing you can experience as a child. It rocks your world and changes you indefinitely.

Losing my Parents affected my Mental Health

I lost my mum at 16 and dad at 19, this resulted in a huge shift in what made me me. My stability and security was gone, my home, access to money was all gone. My late teens were filled with mental health issues that I can only recognise years later. I didn’t have any help or counselling after my mum died. It was 1993, these kinds of things didn’t exist, or if they did I wasn’t told about them. I was just expected to get back on with normal life. I WAS 16!!

I became angry and would self-destruct. I chose alcohol as my drug of choice and would binge drink until memory loss for most of my adult life. Eating and drinking clean in 2016 changed this pattern. I also developed a coping theory of running away. When I hit 18, I ran as far as I could from my home town of Penzance. I moved 320 miles away to university in London. I had got myself into too many horrid situations following the death of mum to stay in Penzance. I ran, never to return. Start a new life and forget the past.

Then my dad died at the end of my first year at university. Had I brought this upon myself, had I over thought about my mum dying, worrying about my dad and then he died? Much of university was self-destruct mode. I slept around, I drank too much and experimented with things that are not good for you. They were wild years where all I was trying to do was forget that my parents had died. And that I was the only person (so it felt) in the universe whom this had happened to.

At one point at university a close friend shouted at me to get a grip, ‘Lynn you are a bitch’ I remember her saying (thank you Julie). There was a point where I remember sitting on my second floor flat and thought what would happen if I jumped. I talked and cried to my personal tutor who finally recommended counselling. I spent a year talking to a university councellor about my feelings and depression about my parent’s deaths. It took 4 years and the death of two parents to get the help I needed.

My Career was impacted positively and negatively

As life progressed my mental health issues changed. My career was an interesting one. I was good academically and confident so landed a great graduate job and subsequent career. I would start a job all motivated and enthusiastic, but it would wane. I would get bored. I changed roles many times. Most companies were cool with this as when I was on form I was brilliant. I made huge changes and made all my companies lots of money! I worked for Tesco for 5 years during my 20’s, I moved roles three times in those five years. When I lost the plot at work, a caring boss took me under her wing and organised life coaching for me, all paid for by Tesco (thank you Jo).

Whenever things got tough I would run from a company. My last role at Tesco was an amazing job but I had some HR issues with a person in my team. He resigned but then tried to raise a tribunal against me for constructive dismissal. His efforts failed, but it rocked me. I couldn’t hack it at Tesco anymore so I left, on good terms, with an agreement. But I ran. Just like running from Penzance to London for university.

When I left Tesco part of my leaving package was that my private health care continued for three months and I spent time every week with a cognitive psychologist, who gave me much needed tools to help manage my seasonal affective disorder which was diagnosed.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I struggle with winter. Really struggle. I am normally fine until maybe the end of November, this is good as I am fine for all my boy’s birthdays in October and November. December is a difficult month. Everyone expects you to be happy and sociable in December, but I am not. I have missed many nights out, many Christmas parties because I am not feeling it, or I am too down to go out and talk to people.

The blues last until holiday time which is normally April/end of March. Around the time of my birthday. January and February are horrid months, but I start to come around in March as the flowers start to blossom, the sun comes out and it warms up.

I have experimenting with a few strategies to cope with my winter blues, after all, three months of depression is not good. A whole quarter of the year. I spent £100 (£100!!!!!) on a special SAD light (why do companies rip you off when you have something you want to fix), I invested in nutritional supplements like milk thistle, magnesium. I have tried hypnotherapy life coaching with my friend Heather to try to get me through it.

This year my depression (only) lasted three months, when the previous year it lasted five months so I did make an improvement! I have never taken anti-depressants. I seem to have a deep-seated view that they should be last chance saloon, something to do with my sister telling me so when I was young I think. Maybe they are the solution for those three month, or maybe we need to dash off to Spain for Christmas and New Year to the sun?

Living in the now

Right now, I am 40. I can reflect on my life, and my subsequent reactions and can see where things were bad and where things were good. I have turned to life coaches and councellors several times in my life. Friends have often acted as councellors and life coaches as well! I feel like I am coping better now I am older and wiser.

I want to say to anyone reading this post who have suffered from mental health illness, get some help. Talk to someone you trust. Do not let it fester in your head, spiralling you down and down into a deep depression. Write a journal, hey why not start a blog. Getting the thoughts and feelings out of your head via the written or spoken word is so powerful.

Here is a list of organisations that I know can help you with problems mentioned above.

Grief Encounter – a charity for child bereavement

NHS Page full of great advice on how to find counsellor’s in your area

Step Change – Debt advice

Citizens Advice Bureau – Debt and consumer Advice

Heather Hall hypnotherapy – Cognitive hypnotherapy

financial planning

Financial planning Week May 8th to 12th 2017

Financial Planning Week

I am passionate about many things, my boys and their football, make-up(!) and my business where I write about personal finance. Yes, I am passionate about personal finance and financial planning. I love simplifying complicated financial areas for everyone to understand. I love to try products out and review them for my readers. I love to find products and services that are great value and that offer convenience.

Financial planning is a subject that I will be writing more about. Over the past 6 months I have been doing lots of work with a pensions company and it has sparked a real interest in the importance of planning for the future. I have had lots of feedback from readers who are telling me that they are struggling with understanding these kind of products, they are scary, and the consequence is to ignore. This is not good.

I will be writing about all sorts of financial planning products and services in 2017 and beyond, to help you readers to get in control of your finances and the future.

Where do you start?

So where do you start? The first place I would advise is to look at your financial position today and make the necessary steps to either create more money or to repay what you owe.

Look at your mortgage, if you have one. Why not get your house valued? Your local estate agents will do this for free. Compare the value of your house to your outstanding mortgage and the difference is your equity. And at the same time make sure you are on the best mortgage rate possible! If you are on standard variable rate, then it’s time to talk to an adviser and move to a better rate.

We are really equity heavy at the moment. We have a huge chunk of money locked up in the equity of the house, but we can’t touch it as we are both self-employed without the books to apply for a new mortgage! Such is life. We could sell it to release the money, but then we would have to move to rented accomodation due to our earning and mortgage restrictions.

Look at your balances of savings and the money you owe. Firstly, the positive how much do you have in ISA’s, day to day savings, the coin jar (!), money owed as a business. Add this up and then compare it to money that you owe. This money you owe is a biggie and you need to reduce it as quickly as possible particularly if there are interest charges.

Tackling your debt

With debt firstly work out if you can move debt with interest payable to interest free cards, there might be a small transfer fee for doing so. Then work on a plan to pay it back. I recently wrote about our debt confession. Read more here. I am prioritising the cards where interest is payable, and have shifted as much as possible to an interest free card. I manged to get a card that was interest free for 42 months!

Before tackling anything involving creation of wealth you really need to tackle the debt first. And have a clear plan of how it will be paid off and over what time period. The creation of wealth is where I know I need advice. There is a school of thought that your money should be diversified between a few areas of investment. So, some in investment funds (maybe via a stocks and shares ISA), some in a pension, some in property. There are many things that can be invested in, perhaps gold, art, wine, bonds. What is important with these areas is to get advice.

I will be seeking out the best companies that offer these investment services this year. I will be targeting companies who keep it simple, charge low fees but can show a great return. I am looking forward to finding these products.

FREE financial planning sessions are available this week!

If you need advice about your current and future financial plans this week is the time to go for it. This week is financial planning week and you can sign up for FREE financial planning session right now with the not for profit financial services body CISI. The initiative takes place all this week 8-12th May 2017 is being led by CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals alongside other CISI qualified professionals. They are offering free financial planning sessions, worth up to £500, either in person, via skype or over the phone. The website for consumers to book a free financial planning session is, email or call 020 7645 0708. I know I am going to book one!

This is a collaborative post

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Are you planning a Staycation this year? We are heading to Cornwall

We are planning a Staycation this year

Regular readers of the blog will know that hubby and I have just returned from Las Vegas. This was my 40th birthday celebration and a group of us went and had the most fabulous holiday. No kids just grown-ups doing what we wanted when we wanted. It was amazing.

You will also know that after returning from the holiday it was time to assess our finances, tot up the credit cards and work out how much money we owed. I wrote about it here, and was also recently published in the Huffington Post with a shortened version of the article.

With a chunk of debt to pay back we are saving money this summer by going to Cornwall for a staycation rather than our usual two-week holiday to Spain with the boys. Cornwall is where I grew up, I lived in Penzance from birth to 18 and my sister still lives there. She has a house in a village on the outskirts of Penzance with four bedrooms and a huge garden. She has plenty of room for us to stay so we are heading there for a week at some point in August when we don’t have a wedding or a 40th birthday party to attend! It appears to be the year for birthday party and wedding invites!

A staycation can save you money

A staycation is the way forward from a money saving point of view and there are so many options for having a money saving holiday in the UK. A staycation normally involve a long drive to the coast or countryside. Our trip will be a 6-7 hours’ car journey of 300 miles. Entertainment for the car is an essential for our three boys.

staycationAldi have some great ideas to keep the children happy, from portable DVD players for £44.99, with fantastic screen quality perfect for the little ones to watch on the back seat. They also have virtual reality headsets for £14.99. Dylan got one of these for Christmas, we have downloaded apps on my phone to watch on the headset, the rollercoaster one is so real!!


They also have child boost seat, so like the Bubble bum which retails forstaycation £30ish on eBay…the booster seat is just £18.99 in Aldi. Perfect for the staycation or travelling abroad. Suitable for children aged 4 -11, 15-36kg in weight and up to 135cm in height.


Always handy in the car is a handheld vacuum cleaner. It cleans up liquid and dry spillages and it battery operated. I have been trying it out at home. It’s perfect for clearing down the crumbs on the sofa, the crumbs that seem to lie everywhere with 3 boys! All of these products are available from 11th May in store as a special buy and online. Those booster seats will sell out quickly!



One Week in Cornwall

We are going to be spending one week in Cornwall. We are ever so hopeful that the week will be sunny, then we can go to the beach every day and the boys are happy. We take a picnic and our spending money goes on an ice-cream and parking! There are so many beaches a short drive from where my sister lives. There is Porthcurnow cut into the cliffs, on the south coast. The sea has a shelf though that drops deep quickly. There is Sennon on North coast. A wide sandy beach perfect for children with shallows. The surfers are always there on the right-hand side with the waves.

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There is Long Rock and Marazion that are 5 mins drive away nestled into the bay. South side of Cornwall and are calm with sandy beaches again. Marazion is where St. Michaels mount is. Long Rock you can park for £1.50 all day.

We no doubt will do something that cost money, maybe a visit to Gweek seal sanctuary or Paradise park to give the children some variety. I will of course be searching for 2for1 vouchers, I’ll be tapping up my school friends who still live in Penzance.

I am thinking that this week in Cornwall will cost around £500 in petrol and spending money, depending on how often we eat out. We are fortunate to have family there with accommodation to stay for freeJ

Are you planning a Staycation this year? Is it going to save you money?

I received products mentioned in this post to review free of charge. 

5 frugal things post 28

5 Frugal Things post 28 – May is here!!

5 Frugal Things post 28 – May time

This week started with Bank Holiday Monday and we had nothing planned. I knew that I had a busy week ahead so I spent some time working and trying to get ahead for the week. I wrote a blog planner of posts for the next 4 weeks, which of course I have already changed this week alone! New work comes in and takes the place of previous content thoughts! However this post stays consistent every week, I am rather good at posting my 5 frugal things.

London Work days

I had 2 days in London where I managed to spend nothing each day via travel expenses being covered by the clients 5 frugal things post 28and food also paid for. The first day was Grand Designs Live with my friend and brilliant money blogger (of the year) Lotty Earns. We went to an AEG cooking event with a brilliant and innovative chef Józef Youssef. We had press passes that got us into the VIP tea room so drinks, breakfast. We enjoyed afternoon tea and champagne with our new friend Howard from Ideal world TV.

The food cooked by chef was amazing, I am now ever so keen to go his restaurant! We learnt all about the new technology of the ovens, hob, washing machines and dryers. We were most impressed by the efficiency and cost savings you can make with an AEG washing machine. We had a good explore of Grand Designs live and managed to not spend any money there either. We did good.

I was also in London on Thursday for a series of meetings and press launches. It was a day again with Lotty and Emma Drew, another great blogger friend. After the meetings, we headed for Soho for a jewellery launch party and5 frugal things post 28 found some beautiful stacking jewellery by Annie Haak. It was very reasonably priced for Pandora type jewellery. We were really impressed by it. We then went to the launch party for E.L.F. cosmetics. A US brand coming over to the UK to Superdrug exclusively. The make-up was amazing with brilliant effects check out this picture with no filter, such great value prices. We are talking sub £10 for contouring sets, eyeshadow sets. This brand warrants a whole post which I will be doing soon.

Hubby did the shopping

One of the great things about hubby having a few weeks off work before starting his new business is that he doing many of the household chores which frees up my time, hurrah. He’s keeping the house clean, he is doing his share of school runs and he did the Aldi shop. He came home raving about the cost of the products. He managed to spend just £20 on top up shop products like bread, milk, a chicken, cereal, ham, cheese, eggs. He hadn’t quite grasped what a price difference Aldi is compared to Tesco.

Coffee and Cake

I spend Friday morning at my friend’s house for a coffee and cake morning. The array of cakes there was amazing. So much to choose from so I had to try a few different ones, I had Victoria sponge, carrot cake and mini brownies. Yum. There was a raffle and I won 2 personal training sessions. What a great prize to win when I am really into my fitness and health.

Charlotte, Barb and Donna are doing the Moonwalk, 26 mile walk around London through the night. They are raising money for breast cancer, if you would like to contribute to the charity fund here is a link.

Friday night Pancake?

I was really tempted to get a takeaway on a Friday night. Dylan and Josh were out at football with hubby and Jack decided that he would like pancakes for dinner. I always use the same recipe from BBC Good Food, American style fluffy pancakes. This recipe makes around 8. They are very yummy and so simple to make with ingredients that you would already have in your cupboard. And so cheap, maybe 20p per pancakes?

I had 2 for my dinner with a fruit smoothie and camomile tea for some goodness and health. And I saved myself £25 in the process.

Law of Attraction in Action

I believe that if you surround yourself with positivity the life will be good. And if you are grateful for all the amazing things you have in life the gratitude will bounce back to you. I have been expressing gratitude for a few weeks now and I am this week getting a lot back in work, money, opportunities, kind words. I love it, it’s going around in circles and I am getting more and more love, money, positivity.

Today Josh is clearing out the cupboard under the stairs for the 2nd time (sorry Emma, I know we filmed this YouTube vlog and I promised to declutter, better late than never), he has just found £50 in gift vouchers from 11 months ago, that I ‘lost’ from a paid Aldi job!! Free shopping next week.

I am linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I have done this week linky.