Friday, 20 October 2017

CITY BREAKS AND RELAXATION WITH JET2HOLIDAYS


I am a firm believer in taking time out and giving yourself some TLC and the lovely folk over at Jet2Holidays do too.

With work seemingly creeping more into your personal time with the arrival of smartphones, laptops and generally working more hours, it's very important to set aside some time to chill out and avoid burnout. I thought I'd tell you all about my tips for de-stressing and making time for yourself!

Diarise your Me-Time

You manage your diary time at work, but do you block out any time for yourself? If you don't then do! I find that I tend to stick to my plans more when they are in my diary. This doesn't just have to be chill out time, it could be time to go to the gym, go for a walk or even blocking out an hour to read a book.

Colouring for Adults

Much like the above 'Cities in Colour' book from Jet2 I have to be honest, I was so sceptical about colouring in being relaxing but it really is! If my mind is properly over capacity from a meeting or information packed day at work, one of my favourite things to do is put on something a bit brainless, Real Housewives of Cheshire does the trick for me (insert sarky emoji) or some music and I colour in. It's like a stop gap to calm your brain down as it is still occupied but doesn't race away with all the work bits and bobs!

Pampering

This is quite a personal one as some people just don't like to pamper too much and be fussed over whereas I am more along the lines of PAMPER ME ALL THE TIME 😍

I love to pop on a face mask, use essential oils and try and unwind, I think it is so important for your general productivity and mental health.

Sleep Wonderful Sleep

Something I feel I never get enough of, sleep is one of the most amazing ways to ensure overall good health and wellbeing. I also find I sleep SO much when on Holiday, must be the comfortable bed in the hotel and the change in air and scenery!

I Be Drinkin'

An obvious one but keep hydrated! I am now in the habit of drinking so much water and when I don't I really notice the difference - particularly in my skin but also on how I feel in myself. If I reach the heachache stage of de-hydration then it's game over *sad face*

Much as I love coffee I do try and reserve coffee drinking to the morning as I feel like having caffeine too late affects my sleep!

A Change of Scenery

Like I said, a change of scenery is great to give you something to look forward to, a bit of fresh air in the lungs and breaks up the daily grind. I try and incorporate a few holidays every couple of months just so that I get the necessary rest that I need. I am currently eyeing up City Breaks with Jet2Holidays so stay tuned if I end up booking something!
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Saturday, 14 October 2017

HOW TO: YOUR FIRST PROPERTY PURCHASE

Now. I consider myself an intelligent woman, I've done well for myself career wise and live an independent #girlboss lifestyle. However, I don't think I ever *quite* anticipated just how confusing buying your own property is. I am writing this blog post in the absence of good impartial advice, forgive me if I just didn't stumble across your blog post on the topic, the only things that came up on my google search gave me broad detail but with some form of sales pitch attached! There are no such sales pitches here, I just want to share my findings in the hope that it helps and you don't find yourself googling 'an idiot's guide to buying a house' desperately searching for information.

I also have to say that I couldn't have done this without the generosity of my parents helping me with my deposit. As a single person trying to get on the property ladder, it is difficult!

I will split this post into different sections so you can skip over if anything is obvious!

Getting Your Finances in Order

I knew I needed to do this and yet I think there was definitely way more I could have done. One of the best tips I could give you is to explore your credit rating as this is ultimately what will determine how attractive you will be as a potential customer to a lender. The main credit agencies are Experian and Equifax. There are options to really drill down into what is making up your score and I would urge you to look into these if you number is in the average or below territory.

One thing I will say though is do not worry if you don't have the best credit rating, there are lenders out there who will still consider you but it will be a more indepth process.

Make sure you are paying your bills on time, ensure that the agencies have an accurate picture of you so check you are on the electoral roll at your current address and that they have as much information as possible. You also have the opportunity to correct certain information too.

Also bear in mind that your mortgage provider may need to go over 3 months worth of bank statements so perhaps think about keeping the ASOS orders and just-eat deliveries to a minimum...

Once you are in a position to start thinking about buying a property and have an idea of how much deposit you have at your disposal, it is sometimes worth getting an agreement in principle with your bank or engaging the services of an Independent Mortgage Consultant who will be able to find the best deal for you. This means that you don't inadvertently go and view the house of your dreams to have the dream crushed as actually you wouldn't be able to afford it.

The Mortgage

This is where I felt the most clueless in the process. How on earth do they work, what do the options actually mean and what is the best option for me? I used a Mortgage Consultant to help me with all of these questions and he was an absolute god-send. I didn't have particularly good credit as I don't have alot of it so my options were slightly more restricted. This is where my Consultant was worth his weight in gold as he made me feel much less worried about everything and assured me that I would still be able to find a mortgage but that I might need to provide a little more information.

The interest rate was slightly higher than what I would have got from the high street lenders but we have fixed the cost for 2 years and will re-mortgage after that so that I can reduce costs. My mortgage payment is less than what I was paying in rent.

I was very fortunate that my parents helped with my deposit but bear in mind that this in itself can be a cost depending on how long you have the money before you buy as solicitor's will charge you to verify that the money has come from a legitimate source.

The Legal Side of Things

I'll be honest, I don't feel like I got the same level of service from my Legal Adviser as I did from my Mortgage Consultant. I was expecting alot more of an education throughout the process and explanation of what things meant rather than documents just being sent and a signature requested.

I was able to ask questions of my parents and other friends but I would urge you to ask that things are explained and set that expectation up front so that you are fully informed. It can be quite overwhelming when a big pile of documents arrive on your doorstep! Also, try not to exchange or complete on a Friday as you can be caught out by people leaving the office earlier than usual which can have a negative effect on your plans!

There are also alot of other costs that can be added on so be sure to fully understand what charges might apply to you so that your budget can absorb these costs.

The Step by Step Process

  1. Have an idea of budget for your property purchase and try and get a mortgage agreement in principle. This is not mandatory but can help when dealing with estate agents as they know you are serious and ready to go!
  2. Do your research, if you love a property and want to make an offer then know what the last purchase price was and what the market is like in the area.
  3. If the property is the ONE then go ahead and make an offer! This is made via the estate agent and when accepted they will give you a memorandum of sale. Note that the purchase is not legally binding at this stage and there are a fair few hoops to jump through after this point.
  4. Get your mortgage offer - this will be dependent on the mortgage company conducting their own valuation. This is so they can verify that should you fall into arrears and fail to pay that they could make their money back.
  5. Arrange a survey. If you are buying a house then you will need a full one, if you are buying a flat then you can generally get away with a basic one. Make sure you read through everything as it isn't always obvious where there are concerns. My survey didn't show that there was a problem on one aspect of the property, this came through much later on and was almost a deal breaker!
  6. Once you have signed away all the documents, have the mortgage offer and an acceptable survey then it's time to decide on when to exchange contracts and it is at this point (when the contracts have been exchanged) that the sale becomes legally binding. You will need to arrange for the release of your deposit at this stage.
  7. At completion, your mortgage provider will release the funds and you will get the call to come and collect the keys! Be aware that sometimes the current owners take longer than anticipated to vacate the property. I'd just ensure that everything is in writing and you make it crystal clear of what your intended movements are on completion date.

Other Things to Bear in Mind 

The fixtures and fittings inventory is something you must look at - if I hadn't have had my parents on my back saying 'what are they leaving' then I wouldn't have chased this as my Legal Adviser didn't catch on that I hadn't received it! The seller could say they are taking anything so it's just so you know exactly what is being left.

Fees mount up and I think this is where I was slightly unprepared! I knew I would have alot to cover before I even got into my property but you will need separate budget for this.

The first mortgage payment will be higher than what your normal monthly amount is. It's something to do with the interest but mine was approx £300 more than what my monthly amount will be and it's rubbish as that first month is probably the worst time it can be so be warned!!!

Don't be scared to negotiate - if something comes up then ask for money off. You need to prepare yourself for real highs and lows during the buying process but it's all so worth it once you get those keys!

HAPPY HOUSEHUNTING!!
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

POSITIVITY IS THE NEW TREND


The latest fashion look, or eyebrow technique is great to know about - but if you didn’t already know, the new best thing is positivity. Not only can you wear it, but you can also speak it, act it, and spread it.
Here's how you can get some.


Use positive words to describe your life.

The words that we use in our daily lives has a huge impact on how we see the world, and ourselves. If you are always one to say that your life is boring and dull - of course it will be, you're making it that way every time you confirm it. Instead, when you wake up and have a conversation with yourself in the shower (like all of us do!) say that today is going to be a good day. Even if the sky is dark and grey - the birds are still singing, the grass is green, you're breathing, and you're having a wonderfully hot shower that, of course, makes everything so much better. Your mind listens to the words, so choose them more wisely.


Keep your body moving.

Exercise isn't just to keep you in shape and allow you to wear that gorgeous blue dress for your birthday. It's also a way of keeping your mind healthy and fit too. Look at Zumba fitness dance in the gym for example; it's a group of like-minded people that join as one and have a boogie to some funky music while laughing away any troubles. This is also due to a little chemical called endorphins that are released and make you feel happy. So call up your girlfriends and make it a date. You won't be let down.


Just. Breathe.

The act of breathing is so underrated. We just do it because that's how our bodies work. But breathing is completely connected to our emotions. For example when we're angry or distraught, or breathing speeds up and our heart races - that's the way our body reacts to different emotions. So the next time you feel this way - breathe. Breathe through it all. You tend not to think about it when you're trapped in a moment, but by focusing your mind and taking deep breaths in and out, you will be able to take full control, and you will soon see how that affects the way you’re feeling. So fill your lungs with clean, crisp, positive air. You will feel so much better. And it will get better…

Replace the word have with get.


Think about it, when you formulate sentences, what do you say? I have to see my parents. I have to go to work. I have to pick up my children from school. I have to go to sleep. - Now change the word have, to get. I get to see my parents. I get to go to work. I get to pick up my children from school. I get to go to sleep. How are lucky are you? Do you see how just one measly word can change so much and put things into perspective? ... Nothing more needs to be said.

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

A BREAKFAST DATE WITH CARVEN AND SELFRIDGES


A couple of weeks ago I was treated to a lovely breakfast date with Selfridges and Carven Parfums.

Introducing the new collection of 7 fragrances, we were transported around the world to learn about the inspiration that lead to their creation plus a little history on Carven as a brand.

Madam Carven was really very forward thinking and some of the tales we heard were so interesting! Carven was one of the first designers to be asked to design air hostess uniforms and also one of the first to provide perfume samples, even dropping them out of a plane over Paris with little parachutes!

There are 7 fragrances which were influenced by places Carven visited as inspiration for her collections and fabric patterns, from Florence to Sao Paulo, Seville to Bangalore and beyond, each fragrance is also decked out in the corresponding vintage fabric.

Selfridges kindly gifted us our fragrance of choice and I went for Bangalore which is the most beautiful mix of vanilla, sandalwood and amber. They are not cheap at £140 a bottle but it is eau de parfum which is much more concentrated and lasts so much longer on the skin. I have genuinely never had so many compliments or questions on what I am wearing either!

The fragrances are exclusive to Selfridges and I would urge you to go and smell them. There wasn't one that I didn't like and I am usually very fussy when it comes to perfumes.

Thank you once again to Selfridges and Carven for the most lovely breakfast date and for the generous gift. It is my new fragrance fave!!!
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