Making Your Savings Go Further

Saving should be part of every financial strategy. You can’t plan budget management without making sure you can put money aside. Indeed, your savings could keep your budget afloat in case of an emergency, whether it’s an unexpected bill or prolonged unemployment. There’s a reason it’s called savings. It’s because your savings can save you. 

The typical 50/30/20 rule suggests that the household should spend 50% of the net income on essentials, 30% on non-essential purchases, and put the remaining 20% into the savings pot. Ideally, to make the 50/30/20 rule work, you need to monitor cash flow closely. Indeed, the best way to turn 20% of your income into savings is to reduce your essential and non-essential costs. Could you cut down your electricity bills by switching providers, for instance? How much can you save through meal preps that prevent food waste and takeaway expenses? The bottom line, if you’re going to make your savings work harder, you need to make saving money possible in the first place. Unfortunately, successfully grown savings come at a cost. You could pay taxes on your savings. Here are some ways to make savings more affordable. 

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Look out for options to cut unforeseen taxes

Less than 5% of tax-payers in the UK pay tax on their savings interest. The personal savings allowance (PSA) lets you earn up to £1,000 in interest without worrying about taxes. However, your income tax rate will determine the PSA. High-earners may not benefit from any allowance, which means that savings do cost money. Yet, there are still strategies that can cut down tax expenses. Retirement savings, for instance, as highlighted in a post on Mega Backdoor Roths can be subjected to financial strategies that maximise savings for high-earners. ISAs are also left tax-free for as long as you don’t take money from those accounts. 

Invest it in a small business

Sometimes, your savings are going to work better for you if you keep investing them further. Investing in a small business, for instance, can cut down your tax expenses, and ensure that your savings can carry on working for you. When you join a small business as an investor, you ultimately build an investment path for your savings. While there is no guarantee that you’ll receive a return for every pound you invest, the idea is to select companies that are more likely to become successful. 

Alternatively, you can consider investing in your own venture. This could be the opportunity to launch your side hustle and grow it. 

Reach out to a financial advisor to create a portfolio

An investment portfolio is designed to bring your savings and finances to the next level. Unfortunately, unless you know what you are doing, it can be tricky to create the right portfolio for your budget. Financial advisors tend to recommend low to medium risk investments with the highest returns to their clients who are unfamiliar with risk management strategies. Typically, this would include a combination of safe bonds, real-estate crowdfunding, dividend-paying stocks, annuities, and even peer-to-peer lending. 

Savings, and especially savings for high-earners, tend to come with a tax expense. This can make it tricky for individuals to build up an effective savings strategy. However, there are different tips to avoid the tax hassle while making your savings work harder for you. An investment portfolio, for instance, can make sense of your income, dividing it into actively invested savings, and savings kept into designated accounts.

Steps To Take When Your Relationship Is In Danger

From time to time, relationships fail, and when they do it is always hard to know what to do. But if you are at that point where you don’t yet know whether or not your relationship will fail or not, then you might want to think about what you can do to keep things going. In fact, there are numerous steps that are worth taking whenever you feel that your relationship is in danger, and in this post we are going to take a look at just a few of the most important. As long as you follow these steps, you should find the whole situation a lot easier to manage and deal with.

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Find The Signs

There are a lot of clear signs that your relationship might be in trouble, and when they appear it is important not to ignore them. You should really be on the lookout for them as best as you can be, as that is going to be one of the most important things you can do in all of this. That way, nothing is going to take you by surprise, and you will actually feel empowered by having this kind of awareness going on. So make sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Talk

Of course, communication remains important at all times. As long as you are talking with each other, you will find that you are both more likely to get a lot out of the relationship’s tricky waters, and also much more likely to deal with it better if the relationship has just come to a natural end. In either case, the ability to openly communicate is going to prove very useful indeed, so it’s something that you should make sure you are thinking about from the start. If you do that, everything is a lot easier overall.

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Plan

If you know that things are falling apart, and you are both aware that there is nothing else to do about it, there are many things you might want to plan together. This might not be a time when you are really keen to plan together, of course, but just putting some effort in here can really make all the difference in the world. If you are getting divorced, you will need to think and talk about a whole host of things, such as divorce assets split and the children if you have any, so it’s vital that you are able to do this wisely and compassionately.

Ending A Toxic Relationship

If the relationship is toxic in some way, then things are somewhat different. In the worst cases, where you actually find yourself in some kind of abusive situation, the only important thing is staying safe and getting to a safe place where you can find help. If you can do this, that is all you should be trying to think about right now, but it is not easy. Get the help you need as you need it, and things should hopefully be a little easier.

Cost-Effective and Sustainable Tips for Your Home

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With the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s prudent for you to cut down costs on important things such as your home by reducing expenses. This helps you to save some money and reduce the strain on your finances. As a plus, you can consider going sustainable, which also allows you to contribute to the environment’s good. Are you wondering how to get started? Here are some cost-effective and eco-friendly tips for your home. 

  1. Lower your thermostat

One way to save money while keeping your house sustainable is to reduce your thermostat, especially when you clock in for the night or are away. According to calculations by the UK Department of Energy and Climate, reducing your thermostat from 19° to 18°C might bring down your overall dwelling temperature from 17° to 16°C. This helps to reduce your heating requirements from 2490-2250 degree days, giving you a 10% reduction. Although this sounds very technical, it’s quite easy to implement to achieve the optimum temperature for your home. To make it easier for you, incorporate a programmable brand to adjust the heating/air conditioning according to a planned schedule.

During the winter, you can decide to set your thermostat to 20°C when you’re up and about and reduce it when you are not at home. In summer, you should keep your house warmer when you’re not around and set it to 26°C when you want to cool it down. Another trick you should apply is to make your indoor and outdoor temperature similar, as this will reduce your overall cooling or heating bill. It’ll also be best to avoid setting your thermostat at a colder temperature when your air conditioner is on, as it can bring on avoidable bill increment. 

  1. Embrace solar power

Electricity is vital to running your home smoothly, as it’s needed for daily activities such as cooking, laundry, ironing, entertainment, etc. What better way to get electricity than going solar? Solar power helps you save more by significantly cutting down your monthly electric bill, allowing you to take care of other expenses. What’s more, it helps you to reduce greenhouse gases, toxic waste and water pollution that cause significant distress to the environment. It’s also a reliable energy source that doesn’t require cumbersome maintenance procedures. 

You can switch to solar power by going for Photovoltaics or PV, the common solar technology for home use. Remember to ensure that your house is suitable for its installation. Despite the initial high costs of installation, it’s worth it for your home and your pocket in the long run. However, if you’re not financially ready, you can opt for community solar, which involves a group of people sharing electricity generated by harvesting solar energy. You can visit www.choosesolar.com to learn more about how this solar option works. 

  1. Use fluorescent light bulbs

One way to save energy and cut down costs in your home is to replace your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat instead of producing more light, resulting in higher bills. They provide just 15 lumens per watt of input power, while fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, produce about 50 to 100 lumens per watt of input power. 

Fluorescent light bulbs produce less heat which makes them more efficient than incandescent bulbs. For instance, a 20-watt fluorescent light bulb is equivalent to 100-watt incandescent light bulb, making it more cost-effective for every area of your home that needs light. They’re also available in various colours and designs that add a touch of beauty and elegance to your home. 

  1. Regulate the use of water

Regulating the amount of water you use in your home helps reduce your expenses and wastage. This also goes a long way to protect the environment in the long run, as it conserves water bodies. Managing your water usage in the home is essential in cutting down water bills by reducing the cost and energy used to treat water and wastewater. You can limit water wastage by replacing old toilets with modern ones that use less water. Additionally, you should look out for water leakages in your home and fix them immediately. It’ll also help if you use low flow showerheads, as they help restrict the flow of water you use when taking a bath. 

It’s possible to adopt eco-friendly practices in your home while saving up extra money. By trying out these tips, you’ll be on your way to living a sustainable and budget-friendly lifestyle.

The Best of Dublin in a Weekend

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Traveling is one of life’s joys. From the mini-vacay to a trip of a lifetime, every adventure to a new destination is special and worth remembering.

If you only have two days to enjoy Dublin, for example, you will want to plan your itinerary carefully. There is so much to do and see that it is impossible to experience it all in two months, let alone two days! So, make the most of it.

If you get in on Friday night, check into your hotel and grab some dinner before heading out to the neighboring pub or bar for a Guinness. But leave your souvenir shopping with a Dublin luggage storage place so you don’t have to watch them.

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Saturday

  • Dublin Castle

Visiting Dublin Castle is like visiting over a dozen places at once. You can start at the Viking Excavation below the castle. It is where the Vikings defended the castle many years ago. Visit the Chapel Royal with its beautiful stained-glass windows and velvet floors, where it has been since 1242. 

The State Apartments come next where you can see the Grand Staircase, Apollo Room, Throne Room, Portrait Gallery, and more. Do not miss the neoclassical architecture in the State Corridor that was designed in 1758. The Wedgwood Room is also a must-see spot, with its colors of Wedgwood pottery and neoclassical style from 1777.

Before heading to the Dubh Linn Garden, stop at the Medieval Tower, which is the oldest structure in Dublin. It has been there since before 1204 and has been converted many times. The gardens are just to the south of the Chapel Royal where you can see four small gardens around the main one.

  • The Garda Museum

The Garda Museum is a fascinating place full of artifacts from the Republic of Ireland’s national police. The museum is hosted by a civilian employee and one Sergeant who can guide you to whatever you want to see. See photos dating back to 1812 to uniforms from the early 20th century, as well as items seized in their investigations like fake currency and an ATM skimming device. 

  • The Terrace Café

Stop in for lunch at the Terrace Café on the ground floor of the State Apartments. You can see a beautiful view of the gardens while you enjoy some delicious Irish cuisine. Some of the dishes you can choose from include seared salmon, roasted sirloin, mushroom ragout, lemon chicken, and roasted hake. Desserts include apple crumble, berries mascarpone, and lemon curd. 

  • The Revenue Museum

After lunch, head to the Revenue Museum just outside. It is located in the crypt of the Chapel Royal. Learn about the history of the currency of Ireland from old to new. See artifacts such as coins and paper money, audio-visual displays, and video games. Some of the popular exhibits include measuring instruments, counterfeit goods, and an illegal liquor still. 

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  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is next because it is right next door. You have plenty of time to explore the building that dates back to 1220. Anything that old deserves a closer look and maybe some selfies. You can explore on your own or take a group tour. Enjoy a trip up the staircase to the Cathedral organ, see 200-year old statues from clergies to sailors, and learn how to “Chance Your Arm.”

In 1492, there was a fight between the Fitzgeralds of Kildare and the Butlers of Ormonde. The Butlers were losing so they hid in the Chapter House at the Cathedral. The Fitzgeralds asked them to come out and make peace. The Butlers did not trust them, so the leader of the Fitzgeralds cut a hole in the door and stuck his arm through to shake hands. Peace was made after this. They call this door the Door of Reconciliation. 

  • Dinner at Spitalfields

It should be close to dinnertime by now so stop at Spitalfields, which is just a stone’s throw away on the Coombe. Have a Caesar salad, ember roasted beets, grilled sourdough with caviar, or tartare of Irish veal for a starter. Your main meal selections are mouthwatering as well.

You can have smoked pork chops with hazelnuts and currants, salmon with Hasselback potatoes and caviar, roasted cauliflower with cheese and truffles, or pork schnitzel with peas and smoked eel. Dessert choices include chocolate custard, orange super split, lemon & strawberry ice, or coconut & lime sorbet. 

  • Dublinia

Before heading back to the hotel for the night, visit Dublinia. This medieval experience is part of the Christ Church Cathedral on R108. See a historical reenactment of the Vikings and Medieval Dubliners, travel back in time to the Viking times, and see what it was like on the Viking warships. They even have a cool gift shop where you can get some unique souvenirs. 

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Sunday

  • National Leprechaun Museum

After breakfast at the hotel, head off to see some history. You can start off with the National Leprechaun Museum. This museum is sheerly entertaining and full of folklore. The tour guides will teach you the mythology of the place as well as the history of the leprechaun. They have a “giant” room where you can feel like you are a tiny leprechaun among huge furniture. 

  • National Museum of Ireland Archaeology

Over on Kildare, learn all about the beginning of Ireland at the archaeology branch of this museum. See the treasury with stunning gems and jewels or the Clontarf 1014, which has a plethora of artifacts from the ship. They also have a huge selection of gold from 2200 BC to 500 BC. 

  • National Museum of Ireland Natural History

On Merrion Street across the way, the history building has the flora and fauna of Ireland, and this museum is the place to go. See a monstrous hippo baring its giant teeth and an adorable family of badgers from 1911. The giant deer from the ice age, wooly mammoths, and spotted hyenas are also found here. 

  • The Little Museum of Dublin

It may be little, but it has a huge number of cool things to see. In fact, they have over 5,000 items! The guided tour was named the best museum tour in Ireland. See the first edition of Ulysses, a whole floor dedicated to U2, and James Joyce’s death mask. 

  • St. Stephen’s Green

Opened in 1880, this 22-acre park has a Victorian layout of lush greenery and vibrant flowers. Go for a boat ride in the lake, enjoy a walk, or learn more about the amazing sculptures all around the park. Don’t miss the waterfall. Grab some lunch nearby if you have time before you have to head to the airport. 

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Whether you are a newbie to Dublin or have visited many times, there is always something interesting to see and do in this capital city. The museums, parks, and castles are fun, but you may need to come back to visit the beaches like Dublin Bay, Sandymount, or Poolbeg Beach. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Sources

How To Spend a Weekend in Dublin

12 essential activities for a weekend in Dublin

The Ultimate 2 Days In Dublin Itinerary

https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2-day-dublin-itinerary/

A Weekend in Dublin – My Guide to 48 Hours in Dublin

https://independenttravelcats.com/3-days-in-dublin-ireland-dublin-itinerary/

Is Your Business Doing Enough To Make A Splash Online?

Online shopping was growing in popularity long before the pandemic hit, but lockdowns have triggered a surge in online sales and a shift towards ordering via websites and apps. If your business is struggling to attract attention, or sales have stalled during the Covid-19 crisis, here are some effective ploys you can utilise to make a splash online

Social media

Social media was once just a platform for keeping in touch with friends and relatives, but it has developed and evolved into a powerful marketing tool for businesses across many sectors. Social media apps not only enable companies and brands to promote and sell products and services, but they also provide incredible opportunities to connect with followers, to build a client base and to benefit from customer engagement and feedback. If you’re not already using social media, conduct research to establish how your target customer spends their time online and choose channels that are popular among relevant demographics. Create profiles, start building your following and use the content you share to forge relationships, to get to know your customers better and to tell them more about your brand. You can use photos, blogs, video clips, live stories and customer reviews to showcase your products, get your followers involved and enhance your brand image. It’s also a great idea to use social posts to spread the word about new products or promotions. Posts can go viral in an instant and users like to get involved in competitions and giveaways. 

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Search engine optimisation

Search engines are increasingly popular, with Google alone now processing more than 3 million searches per minute. As a business owner, you can capitalise on the power of search engines by optimising content to improve your search ranking. Over 75% of people won’t move past page 1 when they use a search engine, and this is why it’s so important to try and elevate your links to the top. You want your content to be visible if a web user types phrases or keywords that are linked to the products or services you offer. SEO is complex and if you don’t have expertise or experience in digital marketing, it’s beneficial to enlist professional help. Link building services are designed to enhance content and improve search ranking, driving traffic to your website. It’s also essential to understand the impact of using different types of content, for example, infographics, images and video clips, and to prioritise quality and originality. Content should be useful, informative and engaging. By outsourcing digital marketing or hiring agencies that have specific areas of expertise, you can improve results and create more high-quality leads.

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Reviews

Did you know that over 90% of web users read reviews before buying products? Reviews have never carried more weight, and this is why it’s critical for businesses to go all-out to impress customers and attract rave reviews. If your score is lower than you’d like, or you don’t currently have many reviews, there are ways to improve ratings. Encourage customers to leave feedback online after ordering, share reviews you have received via social media or your website and make it easy for previous clients to give you a rating. As well as offering incentives, for example, 10% off your next order or the chance to enter a competition if you leave a review, you could also provide links in delivery confirmation emails or send personalised emails after a customer has received the product. 

One of the most beneficial steps business owners can take to enhance their online presence and generate more sales is to utilise feedback. If you’re asking people to leave reviews or write comments, take the time to read and digest them and respond to followers and customers. Feedback can be incredibly useful, even if it’s negative. You can use comments to identify potential weaknesses and make changes that could prevent negative feedback in the future and increase your score. You might find that people are complaining about delivery charges, for example, or saying that they would like more information or images on product description pages. Consumers often add ideas and suggestions to their reviews, which can be helpful for business owners hoping to provide a better customer experience. You might consider adding a live chat feature, an FAQ section or an annual delivery pass for a set fee after reading comments, for example. 

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There has never been a better time for businesses to be proactive in attracting attention online. Screen time is increasing, people are more inclined to look for services and products and shop online and social media provides amazing opportunities to build connections and relationships. Take these tips on board to drive traffic, create and convert more leads and showcase your brand.

How to Make Some Extra Cash Without Leaving the House

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With Christmas a not-so-distant memory and most of us still feeling the ache in our wallets after spending an absolute fortune, many of us are starting to think about ways that we can make a bit of extra cash for the year ahead. If you’ve already got a full-time job, finding the time to earn extra money can be tricky, but there are lots of things that you can do which can give you a cash injection without you needing to spend hours and hours every day working on them. Here are five ways for you to make some extra cash in the months ahead, without having to leave the house.

Betting

If you’re looking for ways to have fun AND possibly make some money, bingo is now at Lottoland! It’s a great way to feel like you’re having a night out with your friends without having to leave the house and the possibility that you’ll make some cash makes it even more appealing. Grab a glass of something and some snacks and have a lot of fun in your own living room!

Selling Things

The beginning of Spring is a really common time for people to have a declutter, usually because of the influx of stuff from Christmas. While you’re decluttering, put to one side all of the things that you think would be sellable and list them on Facebook, eBay, Gumtree and other selling sites. A lot of these things, once they are listed, just simmer in the background, coming up with a sale every now and again, and it takes only the amount of effort to take a few pictures and post them online.

Check your Bills

Take a look at all of your outgoings on a monthly basis – things like mobile phone contracts, TV bills, and other services that you might subscribe to, and really think about whether or not you use them. If your Sky or Virgin Media contract is up, you may be able to call them to negotiate a better deal, same with your mobile phone contract. There are probably better off options out there which could be saving you a packet every month.

Quit the Gym

Just recently I realised that I haven’t been to the gym a single time in the last 12-months, what with everything being closed during lockdowns. My gym membership is only £9.99 a month, so it doesn’t exactly break the bank, but when you consider the fact that I’ve paid £120 for absolutely nothing, it can start to seem a little bit too much. Consider whether you’re actually getting your money’s worth out of your gym membership or if all of the things that you do once you get there could be done from home and you might end up saving yourself a small fortune by quitting the gym.

Meal Planning

One of the things that we absolutely terrible for in our house is buying food and leaving it to go out of date, before throwing it away. This year, I have decided that meal planning is going to be something which features a lot more heavily in our lives. I’ll be choosing meals for the whole family and buying only the ingredients that we need to make them. If somebody doesn’t want to eat what we’re having on that day, unfortunately that will be their tough luck because that’s what we’ll be having and that’s what I’ll be putting on a plate in front of them! I reckon this will probably save us a small fortune in wasted food not to mention will go towards stopping us being so wasteful.

Lockdown Stress and Ways to Deal With It

For many of us, life has gone back to normal in many ways. The kids have gone back to school, places are slowly starting to reopen and there’s a sense that things are getting better. People are learning how to stop worrying about the future. However, when I say “many of us”, I don’t actually mean me! Both kids are still home from school; in fact neither has been since 12th March 2020 and we’re homeschooling Sausage permanently from now on. Lockdown stress is still looming large!

We still don’t leave the house for anything other than shopping and medical appointments, we still wash all groceries and parcels that come into the house, still wear masks, distance ourselves from other people. We’re missing family like mad, but we just don’t feel like it’s worth letting our guards down just yet. Imagine isolating ALL THIS TIME and then catching COVID at the eleventh hour? I doesn’t bear thinking about.

Being indoors all this time means we’ve all needed to find our own ways to entertain ourselves and cope with the situation so that the lockdown stress doesn’t completely engulf us. For Sausage, it’s been all about anime, reading fan fiction, drawing and chatting to her friends. Burrito Baby has found happiness in reading Harry Potter and creating some epic worlds in Minecraft. Husband plays Call of Duty online and I’ve been listening to audiobooks, cross-stitching and baking to keep my mind off of everything.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share some tips for you to follow if you need help with avoiding stress, decompressing when you feel overwhelmed or just generally helping to pass the time if you’re still isolating at home:

Try a New Hobby

If you’re anything like me, there’s a list of things as long as your arm that you’ve said you’d like to try, but always punctuate it with “…but I never have the time!”. Well, I’ve never had MORE time than in the last 12 months and it shows – as well as the cross stitch and baking I mentioned above, I’ve done quilling, card making, sewing and a few other things besides. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to get into, there’s no time like the present!

Audiobooks

As well as taking full advantage of my free trial of Audible (which I promptly cancelled when my trial ran out!), my good friend Jeni recommended an app to me called BorrowBox. It’s available to anyone with a library card and allows you to borrow e-books and audiobooks, just like you would from your library, except it’s all digital. The app is absolutely free and there are no in-app purchases. The range of books can sometimes be limited, but I’ve managed HOURS of free audiobook listening with this app and I do love the escapism from lockdown stress that a good book can provide.

Declutter Your Life

Something I find INCREDIBLY cathartic and stress-relieving is decluttering, and this is one of those things that you can apply to various parts of your life. Whether it’s clearing out your kitchen drawers, tidying those cupboards that are just used for storing stuff you no longer use, organising the shed or garage or even going through your inbox and unsubscribing from all the newsletters and emails you never read. Clearing physical space is a really good way to help clear headspace and the knock-on effect of a declutter is huge for me.

Have you found something in the last year that has helped you through the isolation of lockdown? Are you like us and still doing your best to distance yourself from the world? Have you decided to permanently homeschool your kids once this is all over?

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Is Your Office Car Park Causing Problems In Your Business?

Most business owners don’t put that much thought into their employee car park. After all, they’ve got more important things to worry about and they don’t want to add the car park to their long list of stuff they need to juggle. But if you run your own business, it might be worth putting more thought into your car park. 

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Anybody that has worked somewhere with a poorly designed car park already knows that it can be quite a contentious issue among employees. People get frustrated when they can’t find a spot and it can lead to strained relationships in the office, which is the last thing you want.

There are safety issues to consider as well because a poorly designed car park can lead to an increased risk of accidents. If employees are injured on the property because you didn’t put the right safety measures in place, you could find yourself in serious trouble. So, if you think that the employee car park doesn’t really matter, think again. Here’s how you can make yours safer and more efficient. 

Add Plenty Of Lighting 

Lighting is so important in your employee car park because in the winter when it’s dark and you have a lot of employees leaving the office at the same time, things can quickly get dangerous. Low visibility is a common cause of accidents, so you need to make sure that you get plenty of lighting out there. One reason that businesses don’t have adequate lighting in their car park is that they worry about the cost. You can get around that if you use these solar LED street light fixtures instead of traditional street lights. They work off solar power, so they won’t cost you a penny and you still have the lighting you need to keep people safe.

Reconsider The Layout

Business owners spend a lot of time thinking about how their office layout could be more efficient, but have you ever thought the same about your car park? If your car park is laid out in the wrong way, you will get a lot of congestion, which is frustrating for you and your employees. If the layout means that people have to keep crossing in front of traffic, you also increase the risk of an accident. If possible, a one-way system can help to improve congestion and you should create separate pedestrian areas so people don’t need to walk directly across the car park. 

Stop Unauthorized Use

This is something that people don’t consider, but it’s important. If your business is in a good location, people from outside the company might try to use the car park. This causes a lot of issues because your employees arrive and find that there are not enough spaces left for them. The best way to prevent this is to install CCTV cameras around your office. This helps you improve security and you can see whether anybody is using your car park without permission. If you put up some signs making it clear that only employees can use the car park and there is CCTV in place, you should deter anybody from doing it in the first place. 

Making these changes to your car park will improve safety and help to avoid any arguments about parking.

Loving Liverpool After Lockdown

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll probably know that as a family, we’re big fans of Liverpool. Obviously, the main love is Liverpool FC, but we’re also in love with the actual city of Liverpool and the people who live there. Husband and I often joke that we’d feel way more at home in Liverpool because of the politics and attitudes of the people up there and we’ve even sat and trawled through Rightmove, fantasising about a move to the North West where housing costs are so much more affordable.

Travelling right now is out of the question (we’ve barely left the house since this time last year!) and we certainly won’t be going anywhere until it’s totally safe. We can’t wait for lockdown to end so that we can visit our spiritual home again, and this in mind, I thought I’d put together a little list of some of the places that we’re planning to go:

Anfield

Anfield Stadium, Home of Liverpool FCI mean, come on, this one was a no-brainer, right?! Husband has been to Anfield to watch Liverpool play many times but I’ve only been once and I was pregnant with BB at the time, so I’d love for us to go back as a foursome and watch a match. There is NOTHING in the world like the sound of The Kop singing You’ll Never Walk Alone to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

World Museum Liverpool

World Museum Liverpool

The World Museum Liverpool is the oldest of all of the museums and galleries in Liverpool and is famous for its great collections, its history of innovation and the family-friendly experience that it offers. From science demonstrations to a packed aquarium, this is something that all four of us would absolutely love.

Mersey Ferries

Mersey Ferries LiverpoolHave you even been to Liverpool if you haven’t taken a ferry ‘cross the Mersey?! Aside from the fact that the boast themselves look like something that Paul McCartney saw in an LSD-fuelled dream, the Mersey Ferries have been an iconic way to see the shores of Liverpool for decades. Plus, with an adult return fare costing less than £4, it’s a cheap and cheerful way to kill a couple of hours in the City.

Knowsley Safari

Knowsley Safari LiverpoolI’ve gotta admit, as a family we’re suckers for a zoo or safari park and being in lockdown has made us really miss visiting this sort of attraction. As well as the car safari, which has wolves, tigers, giraffes and more, there’s a foot safari section of the park which is more like walking around a zoo, so you get the best of both worlds. I know for a fact that we could lose a whole day wandering around somewhere like this!

That’s the list so far! Have you been to Liverpool? What was your favourite thing to do there? Do leave me a comment with any recommedations below, I’d love to hear from you. In collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

LoveLox Personalised Locket Review

Beautifully presented personalised lockets. Here in the Mum’s the Word house, we’re huge fans of  personalised gifts. In the past, we’ve made mugs, photo books, canvas prints and even chocolates with special messages on them! That’s why, when LoveLox Lockets got in touch and asked if I’d like to review a personalised locket, I knew I couldn’t refuse.

LoveLox is a London-based company with one goal – providing beautiful bespoke jewellery which is unique to everyone who buys one. There’s a huge range of options to choose from in terms of your finish and engraving, and each locket is engraved, assembled and packaged here in the UK.

The beauty of the personalised locket is that, unlike old fashioned lockets where you have to try to find a TINY photo and cut it out to put it in the locket yourself, LoveLox use a lab quality printer and professional grade glossy paper to place the image directly into each locket before they send it to you. Aside from making the whole process about a million times easier than doing it yourself, it looks about a million times better, too!

personalised lockets on the LoveLox creator

The actual process of creating your locket online couldn’t be easier. Simply choose the images you want to use and upload them to the website. You can move the photos around and crop them as you need to, to make sure they’re displayed perfectly. This is where you can add your engraving, with choices of fonts and letter sizing allowing you to get it just right. There’s also the option to choose a 16-18 inch necklace or a slightly longer one which is 20-24 inches – I went for the latter because I’ve got a fat neck and standard necklaces end to look like chokers on me!

Once the order was placed, delivery took less than a week, and there’s even an option for two-day delivery for just a few quid extra, making this ideal for even the scattiest of brains if you need a gift for a special occasion! The lockets are beautifully packaged, too, so you could happily send one directly to the recipient, safe in the knowledge that it will turn up looking perfectly gift-worthy and gorgeous.

My personalised locketI’m absolutely delighted with the quality of my personalised locket – the images may be small but they’re lovely and clear and the engraving looks top-notch. I wear it constantly, even when I’m just at home, as I love the feeling of having it close to me. As you can see from the images above, I’ve got one picture of Husband with Chuck and one image of Husband with Maureen and the engraving says “Goodest Ones” (absolute pigeon, I’m aware, but we used to tell Chuck that he wasn’t just a good boy, he was the “goodest boy” and it’s something that just stuck).

If you’re looking for a last minute Mother’s Day gift, birthday pressie or just something to show someone how much they mean to you, I highly recommend LoveLox. I couldn’t be happier with my beautiful locket and it’s something that I know will last a long time. The personalisation makes it so special and I can’t imagine anyone receiving one as a gift not loving it.

Head over to the LoveLox lockets page to see all of the different options available.

(I was gifted a locket for the purposes of my review but all opinions are genuine)