Internet

Could We Live Without the Internet? #BroadbandandMe

I’m going to answer the above question here and now:

NO. I could not live without the internet!

I mean, obviously, my heart wouldn’t stop and I’d carry on breathing, but my life would be next to impossible without the internet. I work online through my blog and other remote writing jobs that I do. I do all of my banking online. I pay bills online. I shop online. I even pay for Sausage’s school meals online! We’ve had patchy connections a couple of times since living out in the countryside and it always makes life so much more difficult. LMS Group advises on updating your broadband provider regularly to ensure you’re getting the best deal available

Aside from all of the practical stuff we do online, most of our entertainment revolves around having an internet connection, too; the girls use their tablets online, we watch Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, we use it for catch-up TV and online gaming. We would be SO BORED without an internet connection! I also spend a lot of time researching recipes on the internet, now that we eat a ketogenic diet – our meals would be incredibly limited if I wasn’t able to use the internet for inspiration and recipes.

TalkTalk Business have asked me to talk about #BroadbandandMe, which is why I’m sharing all of this with you. Husband and I have toyed with the idea of getting a business line for our broadband on many an occasion because we both work from home and it would mean that repairs would be guaranteed to be dealt with in a much shorter time frame if anything ever went wrong with our connection. There has been a couple of occasions where I’ve needed to email a client and let them know that I may not meet a deadline because of patchy internet and it never gives a very professional impression to people I rely on for work.

When you’re a freelancer, there’s always the worry that someone else is going to come along with a smaller fee or a shorter turnaround period and steal work away from you, so having a reliable internet connection is imperative in that situation. Being freelance can feel a bit scary and irregular at times, so knowing you have a good internet connection backing you up goes a long way to making you feel a little bit more secure in your job.

What does your family use the internet for? Is it something you think you could live without? Have you ever done one of those crazy internet detoxes where you ban all internet devices for a period of time? Do leave me a comment below and let me know how you and your family feel about all of this! Thanks for reading.

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living for Any Weather

Here in the UK, we all seem to love the idea of spending more time outdoors, but the reality is that our unpredictable weather doesn’t always allow it. Wanting to get outdoors and being able to (without the use of dry bags!) are two very different things when there’s a threat of rain or it’s just too chilly, but there are things that you can buy from Cox and Cox which mean that your gardens don’t go unused all year round. Here are some of our favourites:

Outdoor Large Brazier

Sitting around with your friends, sharing a bottle of wine and putting the world to rights is a simple pleasure and this brazier will not only keep you warm while you do so, it’ll help to keep away unwanted bugs AND give you somewhere to toast marshmallows if that takes your fancy.

LED Jar Lantern

Sitting outside is all well and good but when it gets dark, you need to be able to see! These LED jar lanterns are battery powered and ca be placed anywhere that you need light, or even strung up in a group to give you all the light you need to continue enjoying your evening’s festivities, even after the night has drawn in.

Porto Lounge Set

No-one wants ti sit outside if your patio furniture is hard and uncomfortable, which is why this lounge set would be an excellent investment. The padded seats are warm and comfortable, allowing you to take a little bit of indoor luxury outside with you, giving your guests somewhere to sit for as long as they want.

Soft Wool Throw

One simple way to keep your gusts more comfortable if you’re spending an evening outside is to keep a stash of hardy blankets which they can use to keep themselves warm! These beautiful soft wool throws will feel great wrapped around your shoulders to keep out the cool evening breeze and will allow you to carry on your alfresco socialising well into the night.

What would you chose from the range to keep you warm and happy for outdoor gatherings? Take a look at the site and leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Uncategorized

Eleventh Anniversary Gifts from F Hinds

This year, Husband and I will be celebrating our eleventh anniversary. We got married back in 2006, which seems like only yesterday but also a lifetime ago, all at the same time. We were engaged within six weeks of meeting and married within six months and had a LOT of doubters, expecting us not to last, so to be eleven years on and going strong I feel well within my rights to stick a big two-fingers up at the people who said we’d never last! We’re not perfect – no-one is – but he’s still my best friend, the person I turn to for advice and support and the person on the planet who can make me laugh harder than anyone else!

The traditional gift for 11 years is steel, which may sound like the least romantic thing ever, but F Hinds actually has a lot of things made from steel which would make a great anniversary gift – here are five of my faves for both men and women:

Husband is a huge fan of watches and loves both new ones and vintage, restored watches alike. This steel divers watch from Seiko is powered by kinetic energy and will never need a battery replacement, and can be adjusted in store for free to make it the perfect fit.

I really love the modern, contemporary design of this bangle, as well as the fact that there’s something a bit like the ‘eternity’ symbol about it, which makes it perfect for a romantic anniversary gift. I’m not a huge jewellery wearer, apart from my wedding ring and some earrings but I’d definitely wear this as it’s sleek, simple and unfussy.

Necklaces always make a beautiful anniversary gift and this statement piece from Fossil definitely fits the bill. It’s eye-catching and classic and also had a pair of coordinating earrings on the F Hinds site if you really wanted to treat your loved-one.

These days, many men wear bracelets and other forms of jewellery which may have previously only been worn by women and there are plenty of masculine styles on the market to choose from. This chain-link inspired bracelet would be perfect for the man in your life and has a heavy-duty clasp to ensure that even those with a more physical job or lifestyle won’t lose it.

Cufflinks are a great gift for any occasion and obviously, you’ll need to have a Husband with seriously good taste to appreciate these Liverpool FC ones 😉 (other teams are available if you’re unlucky enough to be married to someone with terrible taste in football teams…) You’ll be able to combine two of their loves at once with a reminder of their favourite team and a reminder of you!

Business

How to Make a Success of Your Online Business

Having an online business, be it for selling something or some other service, can give you the flexibility of working from home, dictating your own hours, reducing the need for childcare and saving you money on commuting or additional premises. However, while is may sound like jacking your job in and going it alone is the solution to a perfect life, there are a LOT of things which can go wrong with a new business, not least of all being the lack of security.

We’ve got five tips for you which anyone thinking of starting a new business should think about before taking a leap of faith.

Know Your Niche

Knowing your niche is hugely important, especially if it’s a market which is already flooded. If you plan to start a business which is just like another, already established one, what is going to make people shop with you rather than going to the on they already know? It’s a fact that most new businesses fail within the first year, so planning ahead and making sure you really know your market is hugely important.

Build Your Audience

Online shops are NOTHING without customers. You can have the best products advertised on the sleekest website but if no-one is buying your stuff, it’s all pointless. Social media is one of the best allies that a new business can have because it allows you to build your audience and give your business a personal touch. Remain professional but personable and engaging when you speak to people and your shop will be memorable to them.

Proper marketing

As with the point about social media above, people will only shop with you if they know about your shop! Using some of your start-up budget on proper marketing from a service like Innovation Company will ensure that you spread your message as optimally as possible for your budget, with professionals who really know marketing on your side.

Good Customer Service

Anyone who does a customer facing job knows that “the customer is always right”, and although we all know that sometimes the customer is ACTUALLY a frustrating ass, dealing with people in the right way will really win you support from people. Obviously we aren’t suggesting that you allow yourself to be fleeced by chancers who are trying to get something for free, but being accomodating with your customers will go a LONG way towards making them loyal to you.

Cheapest Isn’t Always Best

When you first start a business, there’s a massive instinct that you need to undercut the competition in order to win customers, which isn’t always the case. Many people are still suspicious of the cheapest shops because they feel that they must be ‘too good to be true’ and will opt for something slightly more expensive for a sense of reassurance. Also, pricing yourself so low that your business cannot afford to continue won’t help anyone!

Do you have any tips of how to make the bets of a new business? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Money

Shoring-Up Personal Financial Accountability

In addition to daily spending obligations, household budgets also accommodate “big picture” goals, such as home ownership and retirement.  And while it may be relatively easy to track day to day outlays, plotting and planning for long-term financial success calls for another layer of management.

Financial accountability within your personal budget ensures long-range goals are recognized, without leaving you vulnerable in the short term. And though each person faces unique financial conditions, some of the same strategies prove beneficial, under wide-ranging circumstances.  If you are experiencing financial inconsistencies or just want greater accountability administering household cash flow, use the following practices to bolster your personal finances.

Maintain Discipline and Spending Resolve

Although it sometimes seems like a mystery (where does the money go?), personal finance is not terribly complicated.  In the end, success managing money relies on consistently balancing income and expenditures.  And since income is relatively static in many households, adjusting spending is the fastest way to correct imbalance.  If you face recurring cash flow shortfalls or other financial irregularities, it may be time to double-down on spending discipline.

Financial concerns cover broad commitments, ranging from customary living expenses to major purchases.  When your approach to finance calls for greater accountability, use the following methods to keep spending in check and reinforce budget discipline at home:

  • Limit credit card use
  • Weigh the pros and cons of each purchase – before committing
  • Make it harder to access discretionary income
  • Learn from buying mistakes
  • If you need to take credit, use a reputable lender

Reduce Oppressive Debt

If you are like many consumers, your debt load is more substantial than you’d like it to be.  Reducing the burden not only frees resources for more important spending obligations, but it gives you more control over your balance sheet.  Too often, oppressive debt quickly gobbles-up income, preventing household money managers from steering their own financial destiny.  With a manageable burden, on the other hand, it is possible to plan and allocate resources as you wish.

The first essential step toward debt reduction is to stop building balances.  As you pay-down outstanding obligations, without adding more charges to your accounts; your budget will begin to feel relief.  With each billing cycle, the weight of debt lifts, taking you one step closer to your financial goals.  For faster results, even with a so-so credit history, it may be possible to borrow money at a more favorable rate, to eliminate balances.  A consolidation or guarantor loan, for example, captures multiple obligations under a single repayment umbrella, refinancing the debt at a lower interest rate – or with better repayment terms.

Expand Financial Understanding

With so many demands pulling at family finances, money managers commonly make mistakes, due to misunderstandings. If you feel uninformed, or uncomfortable with certain aspects of household finance, it is up to you to increase your knowledge base.  Whether it means taking a formal course about finance or studying on your own, clearing-up you financial perception helps create greater accountability at home.  Some of the key concepts at the heart of individual financial success include:

  • Budgeting
  • Using a personal balance sheet
  • Finding favorable financing
  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Preparing for major purchases
  • Retirement planning

A firm grasp of these important concepts gives you the tools needed to establish long-range goals and stay focused, realizing your financial ambitions.  In addition to formal instruction, various online channels furnish references and resources for boosting financial insight.  Each lesson builds on itself, until your financial understanding fills-in, growing into an asset, rather than a liability.

Financial discipline and accountability are vital aspects of successful financial management.  By reducing debt and fortifying financial knowledge, it is possible to reinforce your financial health, setting the stage for long-term security.