1935 posts Posts by Jayne

Managing Chronic Illnesses: 7 Tools To Make Your Life Easier

Life with a chronic illness can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Not only is your physical health suffering, but your mental and emotional health may take a hit as well. This is why it is so vital that you take as many steps as possible to mitigate the impact your chronic illness has on your life.

This may seem easier said than done, and to a certain extent, it is. Fortunately, there are many simple changes that you can make that could have a big impact on your quality of life. This article will explore some of the key ways to make your life easier while living with a chronic illness.  

Get Support From Friends And Family

The importance of support from those around you cannot be understated. After receiving your diagnosis, consider contacting some trusted loved ones and letting them know what’s going on. If you have to make any dietary or lifestyle changes, consider asking your household if they would be willing to join you. This can make changes easier to stick to and give you moral support when you need it.  

Seek Out Mental Health Support

One to one mental health support can be invaluable. There are a lot of stressors that come from managing a chronic illness and a lot of negative emotions. It is important that you work through your feelings with a qualified professional who can offer insight and equip you with healthy coping mechanisms.  

Find A Support Group

Talking to others in your position can be a great way to come to terms with your illness and get help and advice from people with first-hand experience. Ask your doctor or do some research to find a local support group for chronic illness sufferers. Try not to be discouraged if the first group doesn’t work out; it can often take several attempts before finding the right fit.  

Use Reputable Online Pharmacies

Ordering your prescriptions online rather than having to visit a pharmacy in person can be a lifesaver if your illness limits your mobility some or all of the time. It is crucial to find a reputable online pharmacy such as Chemist Click, who stock the full range of medications you need. Take a look at Chemist Click for an idea of the quality, cost and responsiveness you should be looking for.  

Adapt Your Home

It is a good idea to find ways to adapt your home to any change in mobility. For instance, consider putting in a downstairs bathroom, ramps or grab rails to help you around the house.  

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration will aggravate the symptoms of most illnesses. There are many ways you can up your daily intake of water. You could consider having a glass with each meal, setting a reminder alarm or getting a water bottle that denotes how much you should drink throughout the day.  

Eat Well

It is a good idea to find foods that may help alleviate the symptoms of your condition. For instance, ginger helps calm an upset stomach. Always talk to your doctor before adding anything new to your diet. You should also ensure you get a balanced diet with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed.

Five Reasons to Tour the UK by Train

Five Reasons to Tour the UK by TrainPhoto by Denis Chick on Unsplash

With restrictions on international travel still in place for many countries, there’s never been a better time to spend some time travelling around dear old Blighty! There are lots of places in the UK which rival the rest of the world in terms of beauty and many people never bother to tour our shores, choosing instead to travel abroad for their holidays. With that in mind, we thought we’d look at some of the reasons that travelling the UK by train is a great idea:

Better for the Environment

We all know that visiting new places is exciting, but have you ever thought about your carbon footprint while travelling? Rail transport is actually the most environment-friendly way to travel. The greenhouse effect of gas emissions per kilometer on railway transport is 80% less than cars. In some countries, less than 3% of all transport gas emissions come from trains.

Look at the Views

It’s great being a passenger in a car as you can look out of the window at all of the wonderful views on your journey. However, being a driver means that your view is a lot more limited for reasons of safety, so drivers rarely get to enjoy the scenery. If you travel by train, you can spend the whole journey taking in the view, and you’ll often get to see things that you wouldn’t be able to from a motorway.

No Limit on Luggage

While we aren’t suggesting that you should pack everything including the kitchen sink when travelling by train, you’re not limited by a baggage weight limit. This means that you can pack more if you travel by train than you can if you travel by plane, which saves a lot of worrying and weighing suitcases before you leave!

Efficient Routes

When you travel by road, you’re at the mercy of roads, traffic and all sorts of other things that make your journey long and potentially stressful. With trains, you generally go in a pretty straight line from A to B and you don’t have to worry about traffic or other road users. It’s also usually much quicker because of this. Many people who travel by train find it the most relaxing way to travel.

Stay Connected

Charge your phone or camera batteries, watch a movie or get some work done… it’s all possible on board the train. And what’s even better: more and more train companies are installing Wi-Fi so you can even post live updates as you journey by train. Knowing that you won’t affect your car battery by charging your devices is a bonus and taking advantage of free wi-fi also means that you won’t have to be concerned by huge data charges.

Gift Guide for New Parents

Once you get to my age, with two kids of your own, you’re pretty well versed in what is and isn’t useful to give to new parents as a gift. I’ve been through various things like nappy bins (I never really got the hang of our one, to be honest) and wipe warmers to know what I would never buy again, and also remember what was an absolute godsend when my two were little. With that in mind, here are a few suggetions that will definitely be a hit with new parents:

Vests and Sleepsuits

It doesn’t matter how many new vests and sleepsuits new parents buy ahead of their baby being born, once they arrive it will never seem enough. I don’t think there are many parents in the world who have bathed and changed their baby into clean clothes, only for a poo-nami or vomit volcano to erupt! Cute baby sleepsuits are always a winner and the range of neutrals for parets who don’t know the gender of their baby is MUCH greater nowadays.

Takeaway Voucher

In the past, lots of people would turn up with a freshly baked casserole or a stash of frozen meals to make new parents life easier. The modern version of this is buying them a gift card! Either find out their favourite takeaway or go for a delivery service like Just Eat or Deliveroo and have a voucher for a meal delivered. They’ll thank you for making their lives easier AND for making sure they’re getting a decent meal between feeds and nappy changes.

Muslins

As with the baby grows and vests, another thing which new parents can never have enough of is muslins. They’re a fab multi-purpose item which can be used for wiping up spit-up, using as a shoulder guard when you’re burping baby, draping over you if you’re breastfeeding and want some privacy – there are even huge muslins which are made for swaddling baby.

Thermometer

When Sausage was a tiny baby, my Mum and Dad gave us a Braun in-ear thermometer, and we still use it to this day. It’s been an absolute godsend for over a decade and while some people may feel uncomfortable giving a gift which relates to potential illness, it’s genuinely one of the most useful, practical gifts we were given. A few years ago, we were gifted a newer, no-touch model which was fairly new tech at the time and after using it a few times, we actually gave it away and went back to our trusty in-ear model!

A V-Pillow

Although I didn’t breastfeed my two, having a large, v-shaped pillow was a huge help when it came to bottle feeding. I’d sit in an armchair and place the pillow on my lap with baby snuggled safely on top. It meant that my hands were both free for bottle holding and interacting, and we were both comfortable. It’s something that would be one of the first things I’d recommend to new parents, I think.

Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Property

If you’re selling your house, you’re going to want to make sure that you get the very best price for it to maximise the return on your investment. House prices are currently having a bit of an upswing, so you’ll be starting from a good position, but are there other, non-expensive, ways to add even more value to your property? The simple answer is yes – here are five of them:

Garden Sheds and Storage

Believe it or not, a simple garden shed can be a real value-add to your property. Storage is often a key factor for buyers when they’re on a viewing. So, the sight of a shed in the rear garden is usually seen as a big positive, as sheds are great places to store items like mowers and other garden equipment, but also other additional belongings. Greenview Sheds and Fences offer a variety of outdoor buildings, all of which would appeal greatly to a potential buyer.

Maintain Period Features

Buyers will often pay more for a home with period features, so if you have them, do not rip them out. Bring out whatever character your property already has. If you live in a Victorian home, for example, try to make sure that skirting boards, architraves and doors fit in with the era. If you have an Edwardian house, ensure its wooden porch is freshly painted. Consider restoring or installing coving, picture rails or period fireplaces – it won’t cost thousands if you shop around and visit salvage yards, but it may well impress potential buyers.

Adding Built-In Storage Space

Excess space within any home is a premium. But even if you don’t have oodles of space, making the most of the space you do have, particularly unused spaces, is a great way to add value. Having built-in storage means you don’t need to buy any additional bulky furniture and it can generally just make better use of certain areas within the home. Alcoves are a great example of this; they don’t really provide any additional floor or living space, so they’re perfect for turning into cupboards and wardrobes. Even in the smallest of properties, thinking outside the box can unfold a whole bunch of clever ways to add storage solutions within the home.

Groom your Garden

It’s a well known fact that potential buyers hate overgrown gardens! Get yours under control by mowing the lawn, weeding flower beds and trimming hedges and bushes. Add interest with coordinating planters, which are relatively cheap and can be taken with you when you move. Not green-fingered? Let someone else do the hard work and shop for pre-planted pots.

De-Clutter

This one will not only have added benefits of making your rooms look bigger and more liveable to potential buyers, you could also make yourself a few quid in the process! Getting rid of things that you don’t want/need/use anymore will give your home a much needed freshen up and if there’s anything valuable, sticking it on eBay or Facebook Marketplace could be a double win in the long run.

Five Ways to Help You to Sell Your House

Five Way to Help You to Sell Your HousePhoto by Matt Jones on Unsplash

Despite the UK being in a bit of flux, financially speaking, due to the coronavirus pandemic, house prices are currently at an all time high, making it a sellers market right now. However, that doesn’t mean that your property will immediately fly off of the shelf, and leaving a property sitting on the market for too long can be costly in the long run. With this in mind, today we’re looking at five things that you can do which will increase your chances of selling your property quickly:

Deep Cleaning

When you live in a house, it’s really easy to become a bit blind to some of the every day bits of grubbiness, like dirty skirting boards or door handles. Hiring a professional cleaning company, such as Clean 360, means that you’ll get a team of professionals tackling a deep clean and they’ll be better placed to spot those tricky areas that you miss when it’s your own home. You may also find that when the house os properly spotless, there are areas which don’t need as much maintenance or redecoration as you’d once thought.

Declutter

If you walk into a house which is up to the shoulders in clutter, not only will it be harder to see the true size of the rooms, it also makes it harder to envisage your own stuff inside the house as well. If you’re trying to sell your house, make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them but don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do

Think About Kerb Appeal

First impressions really do count and buyers are judging your home well before they step over the threshold. Your house may be stunning inside, but if the outside doesn’t look great you jeopardise your sale. Look at your property from the road? How does it compare to other houses in your street? As you walk from the pavement to your front door, does every element of your property look cared for and well maintained? If not, taking care of those things will make a huge difference.

Use Your Nose!

There are lots of people who advocate baking or brewing coffee before showing potential buyers around your home to make it smell more homely when you sell your house, and I’m sure Mrs. Hinch and her army of followers would have a few tricks using pints of Zoflora, too. Obviously, you want the place to smell good, BUT…not TOO good! If you use strong air fresheners or smells in every single area of your home, people may wonder if you’re masking something, like the smell of damp.

Check Out the Competition

There’s basically zero chance that yours is the only property that potential buyers will be viewing, and it’s good to know what you’re up against. While going on viewings of every similar property in your area would be time consuming, it’s well worth doing some browsing on the usual property websites to see what else is out there at a similar price point to yours. This will  allow you to see if there’s anything else you could add to your home to make it a more competitve option.

Five Original Features You Should Definitely Hang On To

Original features - tiling
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While there’s something appealing about the thought of moving into a new or relatively new house where everything is clean and well-maintained, there’s a lot to be said for older houses with renovation potential. As well as maximising your investment by adding value to an older property, there are a few “original features” which, should you be lucky enough to have them, you should definitely consider keeping. Here’s a few of them:

Radiators

While you may want to get your plumbing looked at by a professional or even totally updated, traditional cast iron radiators  are definitely an example of an original feature that you should keep and restore, rather than removing and updating. Aside from looking fantastic, they’re actually a really valuable asset and can add value to a period property if they’re properly taken care of.

Fireplace

It may seem like having a fireplace is a lot of work (yearly sweeps, maintaining liners, etc) but having an original fireplace in your property can not only add value, it can help you to save money in the long run. Using a fireplace for heat is cheaper than gas or electric heating and it’s also a more carbon-friendly method of heating a property if you burn wood, rather than coal.

Doors

Many newer houses come with cheap, hollowfibre doors with flimsy modern handles, wheras older properties usually have hardwood doors with brass doorknobs. The beauty of original doors is that you can sand them down, refinish them to your liking and even add new door furniture. It might be a little bit more work than hanging new doors, but the results speak for themselves.

Windows

Houses that were built before World War II didn’t have windows with plastic UPVC frames. Instead, most got built with sash windows – the ones with wooden frames that slid up and down to open. In England, the oldest surviving sash windows date back to the late 17th century! Although sash windows might not have the benefits of modern uPVC, the look of original features are far more suited to a modern property and secondary glazing can be added to help with insulation for heat and sound.

Tiling

In many period properties, lifting carpet and other flooring treatments will very often reveal ornate tiling, especially around fireplaces or in hallways and bathrooms. It’s often possible to restore tiling to it’s full glory with a bit of polishing or re-grouting, and it’s even possible to find reproduction copies of your tile pattern if you want to replace broken ones.

4 Qualities to Look for In a Moving Company


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you are moving into a new house, you wouldn’t be able to move all your stuff without hiring a moving company. Movers exist so that you can transfer all your belongings from your old place to the new one safely and without any inconvenience. A good moving company wouldn’t let your stress about anything and will take over the moving process so that you can sit back and focus on more important things. However, when it comes to hiring a moving company, the process is a bit tricky. There are plenty of movers out there, and choosing the one that is best suitable for the job can be complicated. That is why it is highly recommended that you do plenty of research before hiring a property clearance expert:

Excellent Reviews

The first thing you should look for in a moving company is good reviews. If the company is rated well by its customers and people have shared their good experiences openly, then you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Luckily, we live in a modern world where you can access reviews for any business online. To read the reviews about companies you have shortlisted, you can simply go to their website or check their social media pages. Also, you must not just check the overall rating; you should also read the detailed reviews to get an idea of the kinds of services they provide. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then you can move on to the next step.

Experience

This is something most people don’t even pay attention to when they are hiring a mover, but that is not how it should be. A good moving company also has plenty of experience in the field and are experts at what they do. A mover that has been active for several years would have definitely learned a lot from their mistakes and would have improved their services over time. They know what things to avoid and how to handle tricky situations when they are faced with one. Your belongings are always safer with an experienced mover compared to a moving company that is just getting started.

Licensed and Insured

Another important thing you must keep in mind before hiring a moving company is whether they are licensed or not. A company that is not licensed is not legally allowed to move your possessions from one place to another. They might be cheaper than the other moving companies, but all they will do is cause trouble for you. Make sure that the company you are hiring is licensed but the relevant authorities and has a trained team of staff working for them. Apart from that, a good mover also has excellent insurance coverage, which can pay for the damages in case of an accident. You must never go for a company that doesn’t have insurance coverage because if anything gets damaged during the process, you won’t get any compensation.

No Hidden Rates

Another quality of a great moving company is that they have no hidden rates and will tell you upfront how much they charge. There are plenty of movers out there who only tell you about the hourly rate they charge, and when it comes to billing, they will add all sorts of extra charges in the receipt. So, it is highly recommended that you go for a company who are upfront about their extra charges and are not fooling you in any way.

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

With the pandemic still having an effect on people’s incomes it’s no surprise to learn that many small businesses have popped up in the last couple of years. In fact having a side hustle is now pretty commonplace even for those who are working full time. From baking cakes to doing hair to nail art and much more besides women are starting small businesses in their droves and the results are looking fantastic. But what can you do to increase the likelihood that your small business will flourish?

Improve Your Sales Skills

Even if you are the absolute best at your craft or the services you offer that doesn’t necessarily mean they automatically know how to sell yourself signing up to a short course with Smart Sales Training Consultants can give you the skills that you need to not only create the services or product for your business but to help you to sell them more effectively.

Get Some Marketing Help

just like with sales marketing is an always second nature to every person who runs their own small business. Especially now that social media is such a huge aspect of marketing, it takes some serious expertise to keep costs down while getting your returns to a maximum. Many local small marketing businesses will offer consultations to teach you how to maximise your marketing and you may also find that their services are affordable enough that you can outsource it to an expert altogether.

Set Some Goals

With so many small businesses being born from a small idea of creative spark it’s easy to just go with the flow and see how things turn out. However once your business is established setting yourself some goals can help you to take your small business to the next level. The goals don’t have to be lofty, we’re not talking about £1 million worth of sales, but setting yourself some milestones such as 100 sales in a month or a level of turnover which means you’re making a decent enough profit that you can give up your day job can really help you to focus your efforts to where they will be more profitable.

Team Up With Other Business Owners

Take a look at the niche in which your business falls. If it’s the type of business whereThere are lots of other complimentary businesses within the same name it may be worth reaching out to some of your fellow business owners (as long as they’re not competitors) to see if there is a way that you can team up or collaborate. The advantage here is that you will get access to the other businesses existing customer base as they will with yours and a collaboration could lead to some very profitable business for you both.

Create A Loyalty Program

According to surveys it costs three times more to get a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Investing a small amount in a loyalty program can help you to retain existing customers and make them feel more valued in the long run which means they’ll keep coming back to you rather than turning to your competitors.

My Bucket List (The Lottery Win Edition)

My Bucket List (The Lottery Win Edition)
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Unless you’re already completely loaded, you’re probably like me and spend a fair amout of time thinking about what you’d do if you won the lottery. Aside from the obvious ones of buying a house and going on holiday, there are a few things that I’d love to do and so I thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you today:

A New Motorhome

Husband and I absolutely LOVE the idea of buying a new motorhome and spending time travelling around, seeing the UK and Europe. We’ve spent many an hour online looking at everything from top of the line Winnebagos to old converted school buses that people have made into the most incredible mobile homes and it’s something that would be really high on our list, should we win the lottery.

A Greener Car

I wrote a blog post a few years back about how “saving the world” seems to be reserved for the middle and upper classes, as they’re the ones who can afford to buy greener cars, install solar arrays etc. and I still feel that this is relevant now. We’re currently using my Dad’s car while we’re saving to buy our own, but it’s unlikely to be an eco-friendly electric model, so if we won some money I’d definitely be investing in an electric car.

A Treehouse

This one might sound absolutely bonkers, but I’ve always had a thing about houses in trees! I don’t know if I’d want to live in one full-time, but if we had a big house with a decent bit of land and some big trees, I’d definitely get someone to come in and build us a super treehouse for fun camp outs and even to have family over to stay in!

My Own Book

Bear with me here, again, I know this sounds strange! I’ve been in the process of writing a children’s book for a couple of years now and once I finish, I’m hoping to get it in front of the right people to get it published. However, if I had the money, I think I’d skip this step altogether and just self-publish and distribute it without a third party. It would be a lot easier and I wouldn’t have to deal with the inevitable rejections from editors!

An Education

I started my OU degree back when Sausage was a toddler but between life getting busier and tuition fees TRIPLING since I started, it’s been well and truly shoved onto the back burner. If I have the money, I’d start some sort of course just for the fun of learning. We all focus on education being a gateway to a career, but wouldn’t it be nice to just pick something you’re interested in and learn all about it?

What would you buy if money was no object after a lottery win? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your ideas.

5 Inevitable Costs You Must Be Prepared For

Keeping your finances on the right track is always going to be a matter of making sure that you are preparing for the worst even when you are hoping for the best. Here are some inevitable costs that you probably won’t be able to escape in your life. 

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A Funeral

Though it might seem peculiar, we can start with the very last cost that you will need to think about that is completely unavoidable. What makes this cost special is that you won’t be paying the price. Instead, this will fall to your dependents. That’s why, believe it or not, a lot of people once they reach a certain age, will set up a funeral fund. This is designed to pay for all the costs of a funeral including the casket, tombstone, funeral photography and even plots of land. It might sound morbid, but it’s something that you might eventually want to think about. 

Children’s Education

You could also think about the cost of your child’s education. Now, it’s worth noting that you are under no obligation to pay for the costs of your child’s higher education. However, this is something that many parents will aim for to help their child avoid unnecessary levels of debt later in life. If you are worried about the cost, then it’s recommended that you do think about looking at the average cost that you will need to pay for your child’s college tuition. This will help ensure that you can set a saving goal. You should also look at savings accounts and investment opportunities that will ensure you can quickly grow these funds. 

Home Renovation

It’s also worth thinking about the cost of a home renovation. You might think that you can avoid this cost, but don’t be so sure. If you buy a home, then at some point, you will need to complete renovation work. Renovating your home will mean that you can deal with issues related to wear and tear that will limit the value of the property overtime. 

It can also ensure that your home continues to be a safe and comfortable place to live for you and your family. This means that you might also be able to avoid selling your house to move to another property. Instead, with the right renovations, your house could become a forever home. It might also be worth thinking about emergency renovations that you might need to complete. There are lots of examples including flooding damage that will need to be corrected without any delays. 

Retirement

Next, you should think about your retirement. It’s never too early to start thinking about saving for your retirement. In fact, experts agree that you should be putting money away for your retirement as early as your twenties. In doing so, you can guarantee that your retirement does not catch you by surprise. Don’t forget, once you retire, you won’t have a fixed income to fall  back on. As such, you will need to make sure to save enough money overtime to afford everything that you want during your retirement. This could include a trip around the world or something more practical such as care facilities when you begin to lose your independence. A financial planner will explain exactly how much you need to save for your retirement plan. 

Transport

Finally, if you have a family, then you likely will need to consider the cost of transport. Most people will want to buy a car at some point that is large enough for everyone in the household. This can be quite an expensive purchase and, similar to a home, a choice like this probably won’t fit squarely into your budget. Instead, you need to make sure that you look at other options. You can save up the money to buy a vehicle. Or, you can think about purchasing a vehicle on finance. If you purchase a vehicle on finance, then you can make it easier to afford over an extended period. If you live in a city you might want to skip the car purchase and instead rely on public transport. It’s a great way to keep things cost friendly. 

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You can also think about purchasing a car second-hand rather than brand new. This is another way to save and spend less overall. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the key costs that you do need to be prepared for in the future. By recognizing that these costs are somewhat inevitable, you will be able to make sure that they don’t catch you off guard.