Monthly Archives

June 2017


blogging tips

Blogging is a dream. What better way to get your voice heard and make your living? The benefits are ten-fold. You get to work from home, and you achieve a platform without having to operate through a second-party. If you have a message you want to share with the world, this could be the perfect thing for you!

But, breaking into blogging isn’t as easy as some would have you believe. Hundreds of blogs fail to get off the ground each year. While the reasons for these failures vary, most have a few different things in common. Bloggers who don’t develop their designs past standard templates may fail to attract an audience. Equally, bloggers who stick to outdated topics could fail.

What do these two failures have in common? They rely on designs made by someone else, and ideas other people have already had. So, what can we learn from them? For the most part, the clear message is that you should inject your personality to unlock the potential of your blog. And, here are a few more reasons why it might be worth getting personal.



Most people who choose to start a blog have a strong creative impulse. They’re individuals who think outside the box and have opted for a career which allows for self-expression. So, it makes no sense that you’d opt to do things in the most boring way possible. Failing to get personal on your blog could lead to dissatisfaction and boredom. You may as well be in an office, right?

But, if you get personal, your satisfaction will soar. You’ll be able to embrace your creative side in the design and the concept. You’ll even be able to get your camera out and take snaps to include in your posts. It’s a creative cacophony, ideal for anyone with artistic flair.


blogging tips



A recent update from Google means boring blogs like the ones mentioned above have fallen in listings and suffered a significant drop in traffic. Why? Because Google’s realized that personality is the most important thing, too. Instead of backing outdated, lazy blogs, they’re now championing creative, quality content. And, your injection of personality will ensure you’re one of them.


If you want further assistance to get up the listings, you could also employ the help of an SEO services company. They’ll be able to help you develop what you’re doing, and ensure you reach the level of success you’re aiming for. You may be getting personal, but there’s no reason you need to do things alone!




blogging tips


At the end of the day, readers head to blogs because they’re looking for a personal connection. If there’s no personality in your posts, they aren’t going to stick around. But, if they get a sense of your life and your style, they’re more likely to invest in what you’re doing. They’ll keep returning to your page for the next installment, and they’ll care about what you say!



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job hunting

When you’re looking for a job, you need to ensure that you are taking into consideration what they can offer to you rather than consuming yourself with the thoughts of what you can offer to them. It’s a common misconception that we have to show ourselves off in order to get the job – the company that you are applying for need to do just the same to make sure that they are getting the right candidate for the role.


Don’t be scared to explore the ethos of where you are applying to so you know that it fits in with your personal beliefs as much as it can; working for a business that totally goes against what you hold as your values will see you working yourself into the ground with little job enjoyment. So what questions do we need to be asking in our interviews?




Show Me The Report!


It is a requirement of businesses to provide gender pay gap reports to show how much their pay differs between men and women within the company. The government ask for this information to put towards their statistics to cover the whole country.


It’s reported that there is still the same pay gap in the job market as there was six years ago; this is constantly being put forward as an issue that needs changing, but there are other benefits that businesses are introducing to offset as perks against it. There are jobs where women earn more than men, but they are few and far between. The companies that are leaning more towards gender equality are most probably the ones that you need to consider applying for.


What Can You Offer Me?


Don’t just think about the perks that you can get when you first step up. A company car may seem great, as may a discount on whatever the company is offering if it is selling physical items, but you need to think past the superficial luxuries. T


here are companies out there that are dedicated to progressing you as a person, even if this means that you eventually leave them. Gaining NVQs and other qualifications isn’t unheard of whilst working, and you will be put through these tests within working hours – although it may require a bit of home studying as well just to make sure that you make the grade. An investment in your education is something that definitely needs to be taken on board if it is offered – especially if the business is funding it rather than you having to pay for it externally.


Is There Overtime?


Don’t look for a job that will just offer you the basics. There will come times in life when you need to earn just that little bit more to tide you over – Christmas and birthdays are just one example. Being able to pick up extra shifts or take home extra work is something that could really come in handy. While it’s not something that every business will offer, it’s definitely something to look out for.



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good landlord

If you fancy a change of career or want to start a new hustle on the side to make some extra cash, getting into property can be a great route to go down. Despite the housing marketing certainly not being what it was thirty years ago, buying now rather than later can certainly hold you in good stead for the future.


House prices are rising all the time, so on paper, even if you bought a house and only made some minor upgrades, it is reasonably likely that you could still sell it for profit some years down the line. But not everyone buys property with the intention of selling it.


The concept of buy-to-let properties is a popular one, particularly since many younger people, in particular, are having to rent rather than buy. Landlords can make a decent living from renting out their properties, and provided that you get on with your tenants, it can be quite rewarding too. However, there are a few things you need to know before you jump headfirst into landlord life, so you can do the very best job you can.



Secure a good standard of property

Sadly, the country is not famed for having a good selection of rental properties. The rental market has been blighted by a host of sub-par properties and rogue landlords, who prey on the desperate need for housing that so many people have. This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t buy investment properties such as older houses, or a so-called ’empty shell,’ and rent them out. But, you need to be prepared to make the home livable first. Make sure the property is cleared of any damp, that the electrical and heating systems are all in order, and that you have secured flooring and appliances. Failure to do so could mean that you are breaking the law, and you could end up garnering a bad reputation as a landlord.


Keep copies of EVERYTHING

Even if your property involvement is purely a side hustle, it’s still important that you treat it like a business. This means doing everything by the book and keeping copies of every document that relates to the house you are renting out. Gas certificates, rental agreements, deposit information and utility forms all need to be on your records in case you ever come into a dispute with your tenants. It can also be worth having physical copies AND electronic versions of everything so that you know you have the back-up if you need it.


Be available

You are the only point of contact your tenants have regarding anything to do with their house (unless you have rented your property via an estate agent). So, with that in mind, you need to be prepared to be in semi-regular contact with them and be willing to be around if an emergency occurs. Share contact details with your tenants and always try and get back to them within 24 hours if they have a query – sooner if there is something seriously wrong. Landlords do sometimes have a bad reputation, but by following some of these rules, you can have a harmonious relationship with your rental properties and your tenants.



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Food is kind of annoying, right? I mean, yes, it is enjoyable. There are few things in life better than cake, after all. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could enjoy food without actually needing it? It costs money to fulfill that need, after all; that is, unless you want to go completely off the grid and grow all of your own stuff. Which most of us don’t want to do, really. So our only option is to buy our meals and ingredients.


food budget


This may not be something you think about all that much when you’re at home. But what about when you’re on vacation? That’s when a lot of us start to pay even more attention to what we’re paying in order to feed ourselves. Because we generally don’t have ovens, microwaves, or even refrigerators to hand when we’re travelling, most of us tend to rely on restaurants. Back home, restaurants are an indulgence, and they’re an indulgence for a reason – because they’re expensive. But when we’re on vacation, we often find ourselves in restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


A lot of us don’t really calculate how much in total we spend on a given vacation. Perhaps it’s because we know the figure is going to be a little shocking. If more of us were to do this, perhaps we’d see something that we should really all be paying more attention to: eating while on vacation sees you spending hundreds per week – perhaps even in as little as a couple of days.


This should really call more attention to our need to find ways to save money on food when we’re on vacation. And this means doing more research and exploring your options.


Let’s say you’re going to stay in London for a week. Most restaurants in London are shockingly expensive. That’s why you need to do your research on the places to eat in your area. There’s a good list of budget restaurants at Instead of heading to the West End and spending ages wandering around for a place that looks cheap, find a good list beforehand. This will save you both time and money.





Even at the more expensive places, you have money-saving options. Consider looking for coupons for London restaurants at These usually work best if you’re going in a group!


Of course, even budget eats will end up costing a fair amount over the course of your vacation. This is why you might want to consider looking into renting an apartment. You can find short let apartments from This option doesn’t usually cost more than a hotel; in fact, it can be cheaper at times. But the main benefit in this context is that you’ll have access to the appliances you have at home. This means you can head out, buy your own ingredients, and cook up a batch of something to eat throughout the week – saving you tremendous amounts of money.


There are other strategies you can employ when you do want to check out a restaurant. In London, as in many places, the prices often rise quite considerably after 5pm or so. Basically, dinner is way more expensive than lunch. Consider eating a big meal at lunch and a smaller one for dinner!




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invest in yourself

Warren Buffet is one of the wealthiest people in the world, yet when he was asked what he thought the best investment was, he said:


“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”


He went on to say that he has never stopped learning and as a result has got better at was he does.  For all sorts of common sense reasons, not all of us can become one of the wealthiest people on the planet. However, we can take heed of his advice and improve through learning, free learning! The internet is awash with free resources on virtually any subject. You can type “How to…” for anything into YouTube and there will  almost certainly be a video showing you how to do it. From craft subjects to fixing cars, cooking to web design, you can just watch and learn. Try it. Go on to YouTube now and type in something you would like to learn about. I bet you’ll find something of interest!


Perhaps you prefer something a little more structured. Most people are aware of the Open University and that it provides access to graduate level qualifications in a way that a conventional university doesn’t, but are you aware that it has about 1000 courses that you can sign up to for free? Business, Education, Sport, Health, Languages, Environment and Law are just some of the subjects covered. Go to and see if there is something for you.


If you think your CV could do with a bit of a boost, take a look at the Vision2Learn website  Vision2Learn is a government funded project designed to make available  relevant online courses that will improve your chances in the workplace (or the self employed workplace!) Customer Service, IT skills, Business Administration and a lot more are covered. All are designed to end with a certificate and are delivered online with human support to guide you through the process. As well as improving your CV, employers are always impressed with anyone that has used some initiative and done some self improvement or learning.


Ever wanted to learn a language? The choice of learning languages is truly wide! As well as countless Youtube videos and many free websites such as,there are a number of apps such as DuoLingo which will do the job. All you need to do is take a little time to look at a few of them and decide which of the many methods of learning suits you best. Some of them even have you talking to native speakers in exchange for you helping them with English. As I said, the choice is huge and there will be a style of learning that is perfect for you somewhere.


Never has it been easier to find help in improving your knowledge and while a lot of this is free, it may be that some courses have to be paid for. Before jumping straight in with the debit card in these instances, do a little more digging. Some courses may have a free taster course so you can dip your toe in before you spend. Others may offer a bursary or discount depending on your personal circumstances. Always ask first, you may be entitled to something that is not well advertised. If you are thinking of a course that will help you in your job, talk to your employer, it is quite possible that your boss may be persuaded to cover all or part of the fees, especially if they can see how it will make you a better employee.



This is a guest post by George the Retired Broker.  You can visit his blog here.



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travelling on a budget

Whether you’re doing a gap year or a sabbatical, everyone wants to take every opportunity to travel. The downside is that money eventually runs out, and travelling further than your own borders can get expensive quickly.


The idea of getting stranded in a foreign country with no money and no way of getting home can put people off the whole idea, but there are ways you can fulfill your dreams and stay within your limits. Here are just a few ways you can make this possible.


travelling on a budget


Work while you travel

If money is your biggest issue, then you should make sure you still have a way to support yourself while you’re travelling. It may be the last thing you want to do when you envisioned yourself sitting on beaches all day, but the beauty of working freelance all year is that you can decide what you do and what your hours will be.


You could teach English in the evenings, sign up to work at a hostel for a few months and explore in your own time, get paid to write freelance articles online, or you could even apply for an all-inclusive internship. There are so many things ways you can make money that won’t hinder your plans.



Alternative accommodation

You might not be able to afford 5 star hotels, but you don’t have to stay in crummy hostels either. There are plenty of websites to help budget travellers find a room for the night, so your cheapest accommodation while travelling should be nice hostels, or couchsurfing.


If you’re travelling due to an internship you could check in your city for all your available options; Homestay in London puts in you touch with host families close to where you’ll be working, so you can get the full experience of living and working in London. If you’re just freelancing, or hoping to find a job once you arrive, Airbnb can offer you a place to stay for a reasonable weekly basis. These options are flexible in case you get the urge to travel further.



Cheap travel

The biggest assumption about travelling is that you have to get to all your destinations by flying. While this might be true for your first stop, travelling by car, train, or bus is something that you should consider, if only because it is so much cheaper than flying all the time. It might not be as luxurious as travelling in style, but travelling by road is a great way to see more of the country you’re visiting.


The Greyhound bus company in America stops at 3700 locations throughout the US and Canada, and you could even take an overnight bus if you don’t want to waste daylight hours on travelling. However, if you absolutely have to get somewhere by plane, try and fly off-season to save money on plane tickets. Skyscanner can help you compare flight prices across a whole month meaning you’ll be able to see the cheapest days and months to fly.



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Given the UK has been under the grip of stagnant wage increases over the past decade or so, it won’t be much of a surprise that you might feel you are languishing somewhat in the pay stakes. And no matter how hard you work or how much commitment you show your bosses, they never seem to give you the pay rise that you want – and, more importantly, need.

However, there are people out there who are getting healthy pay rises and promotions – and all of them will be doing the right things when it comes to ensuring they are getting the best-paid jobs correctly. Let’s take a look at some of your options and reveal what is needed to get a better-paid job.



Focus on the money

Ultimately, your value to the company you work for – or one that you want to work for – is based on money. It’s the money that you can make a business or that you can save for them that will make a difference – and you will get your rewards because of it. So, if you have great ideas that could make or save x amount of money for your employers, let them know, and ensure they understand your expertise and – most importantly – your value.

Train across different areas

The more adaptable you are, the better chances of getting a higher pay cheque – it’s as simple as that. Make sure that you always seek out new challenges and assignments at work, and make sure you are putting yourself forward. Get a broader view of your company to develop your insight, and take advantage of as many training schemes that are on offer. The more responsibilities you take on, the better light your employers will see you in.


Start networking

The reality is that you are only one conversation away from scoring a better-paid job than you have right now. So, it makes sense to employ a sensible, strategic networking strategy that ensures you will get face-to-face contact with the right people. Whether that is your team leaders and bosses, recruitment consultants, or attending local business networking events is down to you. But the more you put your face out there, the better chance of getting a well-paid job role.


Improve soft skills

Soft skills are an often forgotten part of earning more money than you do right now. Excellent verbal and written skills are critical, and your ability to work in teams, as well as motivation to work alone, can really make a difference. You should also be able to work well under pressure and be prepared to remain cool when the proverbial hits the fan.


Start asking the right questions

When you are in a job interview, don’t act like a candidate. Sure, you will need to impress your interviewers, and there is a delicate balance between a keen candidate and arrogant job seeker, but you need to ensure that the employer understands you are looking at them as microscopically as they are looking at you.


Hope these tips help – feel free to share any others if you have them!





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Are you getting sick and tired of working the same old boring job? Would you like to try something more enjoyable that could help you to give something back? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’m going to show you three simple steps anyone can use to change career. If you put this advice into action, you could have everything sorted in a matter of weeks. It all comes down to the type of job you’d like to find, and the availability in your local area. However, the strategy outlined below will give you the best chances of success. With that in mind, let’s get started.


change of career


Look for progression routes within your current career


Before you do anything else, it’s wise to search for chances of promotion within your current role. Perhaps you could stay with the same company and do something different? You have to play it carefully. However, you should speak to your boss and explain that you aren’t feeling happy at the moment. Let them know that you plan to leave if you can find a better role elsewhere. If you are valuable to the company, they will bend over backward to put you in a better position. Just try not to come across as arrogant. Let the boss know you’ve love to continue working for them if they have something different.


Search for recruitment agencies that deal with your chosen industry


There are lots of recruitment agencies for almost every niche. So, you just need to search for companies that deal with desirable roles. Experts from Employ Social Care say that’s the best method of finding work in the care industry these days. So, if you like the idea of giving something back, maybe that’s an idea you’d like to consider? The hours are often long, but people working in those roles tend to experience high levels of job satisfaction. Agencies are also useful for driving jobs or anything else with a high staff turnover rate.


Use the internet to check specialist online job boards


We are living in the digital world, and so it makes sense that you should use the internet to your advantage. There are many online job sites for almost every industry. So, you just need to search Google to find the best listings. Some sites like Indeed allow you to upload a CV, and that means you can make applications fast. Just apply for as many positions as possible and try to obtain some interviews. There are also lots of articles online that will give you tips and tricks about the best ways to get decent results. Keeping eye contact etc. is important. So, make sure you read as much information as possible to give yourself a fighting chance.


If you follow the three steps outlined on this page, you should find a new job in no time. Whether or not you remain in the same industry is your decision. I just wanted to show you that anyone can move into a new career with ease these days. You just have to make proper use of technology and use some common sense. Whatever happens, I wish you the best of luck this year.



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low cost meals

My children are growing up fast.  I want to help them prepare for when they are living on their own.  I have decided to teach them how to cook simple recipes on a budget.

Life skills are extremely important, especially cooking and sticking to a budget.  Giving my kids the confidence to make simple meals is also extremely important.  Below are just some the meals they have prepared.


Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are so cheap and easy.  You can have almost anything with them to make them in to a really filling meal.  They can be quick too.  If you don’t have time to pop them in the over for an hour, you can blitz in the microwave first.

Our recipe is simple, pop it in the microwave for 15 minutes, take out, spike it with a fork, drizzle with oil and salt then pop in the over for a further 20 minutes to bake and crisp the skin.  Serve with filling of your choice.  So far our boys have tried beans and tuna – separately of course!


Easy, peasy omelette

Eggs are just so versatile.   Our boys have had fun making omelettes.  It was fun at the beginning learning how to crack an egg without getting bits of shell in the mixture!

We use 3 eggs, a little butter and some salt and pepper.  Crack the eggs in a bowl mix with salt and pepper pour in to a pan with some butter.  Move the eggs around the pan a bit until they are nearly cooked.  At this stage you can then add some ham and chives or whatever other filling you like!


Irish Stew

Is stew an Irish thing?  I really don’t know but I can tell you it is so delicious and easy to make, my boys have had great fun making and eating it!

This is a one pot recipe, you brown some mince and onions, add potatoes and carrots.  At this point you add some water which is just enough to cover the potatoes.  Throw in a couple of Oxo cubes and some salt and allow to cook slowly until the potatoes and carrots are very soft.  That’s it.  Honestly there is nothing more to it that that!


These are just the ones our boys have tried.  Next on the list to learn is a simple stir fry, chilli, spaghetti bolognese.  It will then be time to move on to baking.  Nothing more delicious than making your own buns!


What recipes do you think I should consider next?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.



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Summer is nearly here, and that means that many of my readers might be in the midst of planning a beach holiday. There’s nothing like a good few days spent at the beach, enjoying the surf, the sand and the sun. But you do need to make sure you are properly prepared for this type of getaway. Luckily, I’ve got a few tips that should prove to be very helpful indeed.





Find Your Summer Style

The place to start is finding the right clothes to wear. You can find my own personal style preferences on another section of this blog but for now, let’s think about what you like. You can take some cut off denim shorts and perhaps a crop or too. You might also want to look into buying a new bikini if you’re planning on working on that tan. Or, if you are not beach body ready just yet, you can be a tad more conservative with a tankini.


Make sure you have some light, loose clothes to wear over it for when you dash into town for supplies. Or, if you just want to protect yourself from the sun’s powerful rays.


Remember, the key to great summer style is accessorising. You can start by looking for the perfect pair of shades. While there are plenty of different types to choose from, I’d opt for the vintage cat eyes. These look ultra chic and will compliment any beach outfit beautifully.


Skip The Time Of The Month

Are you planning on going swimming on your beach vacay or do you just want to avoid looking bloated? Either, way you might want to make sure you skip your time of the month. If you’re interested in this idea, you can delay your period with a prescription pill from a doctor. Highly recommended for anyone who feels like the seven gates of hell have opened whenever their period comes calling. After all, the beach is a place for relaxation and freedom, not stress and hormones.

My Life Has A Soundtrack

So should yours and it can. You can turn your beach vacation into a beach musical if you buy some waterproof speakers. Find a nice private spot on the sand, set up the speakers and let your music play. If they’re waterproof, you won’t have to worry about anyone ruining them when they are drying off after a dip.

Flip Flop

You definitely need some flip flops for those aching feet. Don’t try to look more stylish by rocking the heels or wedges. A) this is just going to hurt, B) you’re not a supermodel and C) you’ll ruin your shoes with sand and water. Flip flops are far better, and they can still be stylish and cool. You can get them in lots of cute colours that will match any outfit you’ve chosen to wear on the beach.

Wear Sun Tan Lotion

Some people think that the way to get the best tan is to burn and then let the old skin peel away revealing golden brown flesh. While this might indeed be the best way to get the nicest colour, it’s also your best shot at getting cancer. That’s why you should always make sure you’re wearing sun tan lotion when you’re at the beach. Remember, if you’re jumping in and out of the water it’s also going to wash off. As such, you want to make sure that you are reapplying regularly if you’re a keen swimmer. Wondering what lotion to use? Garnier has just received a prize from Which for the best one to buy so you should probably start there. Or you can check out some reviews online.

Forget Lipstick, You Need Lip Balm

What is the point of wearing makeup to the beach? You’d be far better off going au naturale because the sweat will make it drip anyway. Even if it doesn’t, swimming in the water certainly will, and you might come out looking like a drowned panda. You can think about opting for waterproof makeup, but even this won’t withstand a deep dive. Instead, you should just pack some lip balm. This will keep your lips look lush, free from dry skin and it’s really all the makeup you need. Don’t forget, you can get tinted balm to give your lips some extra colour.


Take my advice, and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time at the beach this summer. Better yet, you’ll look absolutely stunning and definitely catch the eye of a few onlookers. Have fun!









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