Life

It’s Not Too Late For 2017 Resolutions

We blinked, and now we are in the early months of 2017 is upon us. If you’re like most people, you’ve set some standard resolutions in the past, such as the ever so popular weight losing and money gaining goals, and unfortunately if you’re like 92% of them, you quit. Not you, not this year! It turns out that small, fun, resolutions are the cure to a life-changing and successful new year. Below are the top Four suggestions.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/scrabble-resolutions-3297/ – free stock image 🙂

1.) Affirmations

Many of us fail to realize we are constantly having conversations with ourselves. One major reason for quitting, is that we have the horrible ability to talk ourselves out of goals by saying “I can’t”. Replace your mental dialogue with a few affirmations to say as many times as possible throughout your day, there is truly no excuse to give up on this one, it costs nothing and can give so much. A few examples:

– “I can achieve my dreams.”- “I am a happy and confident person.”- “2017 is my year to transform.”

2.) Extreme Makeover

Have you ever heard the phrase “Dress for Success”? This isn’t something that one does simply for fun, in the privacy of their own home. A wardrobe makeover can transform the way you feel from the outside in. A few style tips:

-Ask yourself what you want to be, for example, if you would like to be a high-powered executive in a successful company, a dress suit is a must.

-Play with your look, many clothing retail stores offers a variety of styles for men, women, and kids, there’s even an “inspire me” section on their site, so you can explore fresh looks. Don’t rule out a certain style, it may be just what you need in 2017.

-Save on Style- Many people have a goal of building their savings account, revamping your wardrobe should never cut deep into your pockets. Most online retailers such as House of Fraser have voucher codes and promo codes, in addition to huge promotional savings on their sites. If you don’t see a discount, do a quick google search before buying, there are often codes for free shipping and seasonal discounts.

3.) Drop the Digital and add to your time

This day in age, cell phones have become such a huge time trap in our lives, we often don’t even notice it. The average person spends anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hours on their cell phone per day. Think of what could be accomplished by dropping the phone and incorporating something more enriching into your life. A few suggestions to get the most out of this disconnect:

-Put your phone out of sight, not just in your pocket, cell phones are highly addictive, as is social media.

-Begin a routine with your new-found time, walk the dog, organize one area of the house, read a chapter of a book, workout, take a long bath.

4.) Meal Preparation

Instead of focusing on eating healthier every single day, choose one day out of the week to “meal prep”, this can be simplified: 

-Make enough food on Sunday to divide into lunches and dinners for Monday through Wednesday. Repeat the preparation on Wednesday for the remainder of the week. This takes the guesswork and excuses out of healthier choices.

The truth is, if anyone has ever made positive changes in their life, then you can too. You are capable and determined (otherwise, you wouldn’t have read this far) to succeed. A new year is a new start, and can bring with it a brand-new story. Cheers to the positive momentum you are bringing to your life.

Life

Car Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Car Maintenance You Can Do YourselfAnyone who knows me knows that I’m quite headstrong, which means that I don’t like deferring to other people if there’s something I can do myself. Sure, I ask for help with the bigger things which are beyond my skill-set but there’s plenty of things I do by myself, including certain areas of car maintenance. Youtube is a great source for videos on how to do things yourself and I thought I’d give you an insight into things I do myself, especially before an MOT!

Keeping Tyres Properly Inflated

If your tyres are under-inflated it can have various knock-on effects and can even have an effect on the fuel consumption of your car. Making sure they’re fully pumped up is something that can be done at home and it’s wise to get an air compressor bundle to make the whole process easier.

Changing Your Wiper Blades

Ensuring that your wiper blades fully clear your windscreen is really important from a safety point of view and is something they’re hot on during an MOT. Changing them yourself is surprisingly easy and most models of car have blades with just clip off and on. It’s very simple to do and will save you a labour cost if you take them to a garage.

Changing Bulbs

Bulbs are another area where you can possibly fail an MOT so checking them before you take your car in can save you money. Buying from a local autoparts store, bulbs will set you back under a couple of quid each but more unscrupulous garages will charge four or fives times what they pay for them wholesale.

Topping Up Fluids

Checking your oil is something that most people remember to do, but it’s important to keep your radiator, screen wash, brake fluid and power steering fluid topped up too. They’re all available to buy quite cheaply and checking a diagram of what’s going on under your bonnet will show you where each of them is supposed to go – just don’t get them mixed up!

Valeting

Believe me, as a mum to two messy kids who spends a lot of time in the car, I know how messy things can get and it’s always tempting to drop it off at a valeting centre and take yourself off for a cup of coffee, but doing it yourself can save you a bunch of money. Get the kids involved with washing and hoovering the interior and they might think twice before messing it all up again!

Do you do your own car maintenance or is this something that you’ll happily pay a little extra for someone else to do? Leave me a comment below!

Family · Life

The Day I Ran Over a Cyclist

Last Sunday started off a day like any other. Burrito Baby had been poorly for a couple of days, showing what we thought were the initial signs of chicken pox, which threatened to get our holidays off to a really rubbish start. However, after a very long sleep she woke up seeming much better and the sun was shining so I hatched a plan to take the girls out and surprise them by taking them for breakfast and buying them a paddling pool for the garden. We got dressed, covered in sun cream and left the house.

Living where we do means that we get a LOT of walkers and cyclists using the roads, especially on sunny days, so I’m always careful when taking the winding single lane road which leads away from home, and this day was no exception. I made it up to the junction which takes us out onto the National Speed limit lane at the end of our road and stopped to let a car and a cyclist go past. It’s a poorly-sighted road so I always give an extra couple of looks to make sure the road is clear.

Just as I pulled away, a cyclist came around the corner and into the path of my car. I swerved one way to avoid him, he swerved another way to avoid me, but we hit. He, and his bike, rolled over my bonnet and onto the concrete as I brought the car to a halt. I think I shouted a few expletives as I jumped out of the car and, stupidly, asked “shall I call an ambulance?”. Of course he needed a fucking ambulance; he’d just been hit by a car.

As I was calling for an ambulance, a few other people from the larger part of our village stopped their cars and came over to see what was going on, an older couple who went into help-mode and started propping umbrellas over the injured cyclist (who by this point, although conscious, was bleeding from his mouth and his knee and seemed pretty badly in shock), and a woman of about my age but heavily pregnant who asked if she could check on my girls in the back of the car.

The call to 999 was, frankly, excruciating. Our road doesn’t have a name and aside from a farm or two has no major landmarks, so trying to direct them to where to go was virtually impossible. In the end, I gave them my own address and told them to just aim for there because they couldn’t miss us. In fact, the police turned up after just ten minutes while the ambulance took a full 45 minutes to arrive. The people who stopped joked about how they suddenly understood why there was a defibrillator at both ends of our village. The injured man had been cycling with a friend who had made it to their destination, realised his friend wasn’t showing up and cycled back to find him.

I won’t lie; I was shitting myself. Until the police arrived, I was convinced that I was going to be clapped in irons and thrown in a cell. Although I was sure that I hadn’t driven recklessly nor made any careless mistakes, I’ve never been involved in this sort of thing and had NO idea how I would be dealt with. The first response car had two male officers on board, one of whom took me into the back of his car to ask me a whole bunch of questions and take my details, warning that I may be questioned under caution and breathalysed when the traffic unit arrived.

Low and behold, when the Traffic guys turned up, I was questioned again (the “anything you do say may be given in evidence”, etc, was casually dropped into the conversation but felt hugely surreal nonetheless) and given a Breathalyzer. I hadn’t had an alcoholic drink for about a week before the accident, but I was still relieved when the display read ZERO. The officer took photos of the car, questioned me and the cyclist and did a load of other bits before telling me that he was convinced that it was “just one of those things”, an accident which was unavoidable and which wasn’t due to anyone being at fault.

He said that the speedo on the man’s bicycle showed that he’d been doing 23mph around the corner as we collided and that it was a sharp bend, meaning it could have happened to anyone. His injuries (a broken tooth and a badly scuffed knee) were largely superficial because I was only going slowly as I pulled away. At the most, I may have to attend a course to prove my hazard perceptions skills but I wouldn’t be in trouble or even get any points on my licence.

Obviously I was relieved that the blame wasn’t being laid on me but I was also gutted that I had contributed to someone getting hurt, so I asked the man’s friend to apologise to him for me. As the ambulance pulled away, the officer who’d taken the cyclists statement came to me and said “He asked me to tell you to try not to feel guilty, he knows you weren’t at fault”, which made me feel mildly better.

Skip forward to 5 days later; I haven’t heard anything else about the man, so I assume he is on the mend. Despite the full force of a human man and a bike hitting my car, there’s a dent on the bonnet about the size of a fifty pence piece, so Volvo FTW. Sausage seems pretty unfazed by it all and BB has only mentioned it once – they were both in the back, Sausage looking down at Pokemon Go, so I don’t think they really saw much.

As for me…well, I don’t really know. I’ve had nightmares a couple of nights since it happened and I keep seeing the guy’s face as he rolled off of my bonnet onto the tarmac, the image popping into my head at random. I got straight back into the car and drove again because me being able to drive is basically essential to us living in our dream house here in the country, but I won’t lie; I feel sick every time I see a cyclist on the road and I have visions of them swerving in front of me as I overtake. The whole thing could have been a whole lot worse, but I still feel awful about it all.

Why am I writing this, you may ask? Well, I don’t know…catharsis, maybe? A warning to be extra, EXTRA vigilant for cyclists on the road? Maybe just to get it all off of my chest in the hope it stops swirling around in my brain at any opportunity. Who knows?

Maybe as an opportunity to thank a few people – My fellow villagers for reminding me exactly why we wanted to live in a small, friendly community. The Cuthberts for making me strong tea, showing me their garden and their kindness and introducing us to their chickens – all of which calmed me down massively. My in-laws for, as ever, being on my team and making me feel less like a bad person. My kids for being resilient little buggers. Mostly Husband for hugging me, telling me that it wasn’t my fault and giving my hand a little squeeze whenever we have to drive past a cyclist. And the Police for realising that I wasn’t a hapless criminal, just a very shocked Mum of two on a Sunday morning drive.

I doubt the cyclist will ever read this but I hope he’s okay and that he’ll be back on his bike as soon as he’s able. I’d hate to think that his love of cycling was tarnished by this. Most of all I just hope that he and I are both able to get back behind the wheel and never have anything like this happen to either of us again.

get well soon

Family · Life

Things You Should Do Online

It’s a modern world we live in and it now seems that there’s barely anything that you can’t do online. Sometimes, it might seem like dragging out to the high street to run errands is the only option but there are actually a lot of online services which could make your life a whole lot easier. Here’s just a few:

Online Key Cutters

I have to say that it has never occurred to me that you could order keys from an online key cutters, but apparently that’s a thing! Every time I go to my local key cutters, I seem to either stand in a queue for ages or get sent away because the person who does it isn’t there, so this seems WAY more convenient.

Birthday Cards

Okay, so most of us know that you can order birthday cards online but many of the services actually offer a reminder service too. Add all of your important birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions to the calendar on your account and they’ll actually prompt you to send a card in time for the big day!

Write a Will

It used to be that you needed to deal with someone face-to-face in order to make a will, but these days there are loads of online services which allow you to write a will. Some of them will even print the documents and send them to you, OR keep them safe in a Cloud-based service.

Book a Doctors Appointment

You might not have realised but most doctors surgeries now offer a lot of online services, such as appointment booking, test results and even repeat prescription requests. It’s great that they seem to be moving towards the 21st century a little quicker as so many of these services have been the sort of thing that you used to only be able to do in person, which can be a real inconvenience.

 

Life · Lifestyle

Retirement: Everything You Need To Know And Consider For The Future

Being a parent, it’s difficult to see beyond the here and now. We focus so much on the daily routine. The school runs. The fact whether our kids are eating. The chores, our work life perhaps. Not feeling like we have the right balance, but yet hoping to have as much quality family time as possible, sound familiar? This is the norm for most parents of today. There is so much focus on what you should be doing right now, and less about the future. It was a different story for our parents and grandparents. They tended to make provisions for the future.

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It’s not that modern parents don’t think about it, I think it may be more to do with the issue of it seeming like a big task. Future finances, our retirement plans. They seem like such big decisions to make for our lives that seems so far away. But as we all know, time moves exceptionally quick. Before we know it, that will be us. So I thought I would take some time to break down exactly what you should think about for the future. It’s not as difficult as perhaps you believe.

Your finances

Finances are possibly one of the biggest things you need to tackle for your retirement and future. Not everyone is lucky enough to be Elon Musk and have SpaceX Aktien kaufen! Once you or your partner leave employment, that is it for income. Of course, you can draw your state pension. The one everyone gets. But that may not leave you accustomed to the life you have gotten used to. Don’t threat. There’s plenty of things you may have already put the wheels in motion for, and certainly, things you can start doing right now.

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Equity Release

Have you bought a property that you own? Whether you live in it or rent it out for income, that’s one big step for securing your financial future. If you haven’t bought a property yet now’s the time to start saving to do it. It’s a great investment and one that can secure you in the future. Equity release is one of the things you can consider. This is where you draw down some of the equity in your property, it can be done in a lump sum and then used to live off or pay for things like holidays. Some people love this kind of option whereas others see it as using up funds that could be passed down to children or grandchildren when you pass away. If you’d like to see how much you could get, using an equity release calculator can give you a good idea of what will be available to you. The choice is yours to make, but it is an option.

Pensions

You may have one you pay into already, which is perfect. However, many employers now offer the workplace pension scheme, and it is one you should consider. The money is taken directly from your wages each month so you don’t need to think about it. Your employer also pays a set amount, which means you get more investment. It’s a great scheme that many of you can take advantage of. If you want to consider a personal pension, then there are many advisors who will be happy to advise on some of the best packages available.

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Savings and investments

Finally, when it comes to your finances, you could always look into your savings and investment options. This is where you could tie in your money to a high interest savings account for a set period. Or consider investing in the stocks and shares market, although that can be quite risky if you are inexperienced.

What you might do with your time

On a positive note, now is a great time to consider what you will do with the time you have. Retirement is a new chapter in your life and one that should be embraced wholeheartedly. You should make the most of the time. If you are unsure, here are a few suggestions.

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Make a bucket list

Start now and sit down and make a bucket list. This could include all the places you want to see and experience. It’s a great idea to get some perspective on where you want to go in life. Retirement is the perfect time to take advantage of seeing these pleases, but don’t let that stop you if you have the chance to begin exploring now.

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Travel

Now that you have some time, and no doubt have saved for retirement, you could consider travelling. There are many options like taking extended cruises, seeing different countries or travelling to the other side of the world.

Take up a new hobby

Whether it was something you stopped years ago or something you have always wanted to try. Retirement offers you the chance to start a new hobby, and invest yourself into it. It could be anything you like. If you are stuck for ideas, there are plenty of websites to provide some inspiration. Taking part in a hobby or pastime allows you to get involved in your community and could ensure you make some firm friends in the process.

The future beyond

The one thing we cannot predict is our health. It’s one of those things that would love to prepare for in advance, but sadly that isn’t the case. While you may take care of yourself with a balanced diet and regular exercise, you never know what the future holds. This is why it is worth having a plan in place, just incase.

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Would you consider a care home?

Many people are put off by the idea of heading into a care home when they are older but these days these places are state of the art and luxurious. A care home could provide you with everything you need around the clock, and provide you living that is more comfortable and rewarding. Care homes can cost, so this is why it is something to consider for the future, it’s worth knowing whether this is what you would want. If you want some more information, you can find it from HC-Care-Homes.co.uk.

 

It may also be necessary to enlist the help of a care home like Mount Battenhall Retirement Village if you experience unexpected health issues as you grow older. Even if you are not planning on living in a care home, you should incorporate the cost of one into your financial plans and search out the best options. Most likely, if you do end up needing one, it will be unexpected and already having a plan and a place will greatly reduce your stress and anxiety during an already stressful time.

 

Family carers

Alternatively, you could consider staying at home and having a relative or family member care for you. There are many benefits to this including being able to stay in your home. You could consider having it adapted to help with mobility. There are many options, depending on what you need. Carers get allowances to help cover the financials. If you wnat to look into this further, then check out https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/overview.

Have you made out a will?

Making out a will is often something we can forget to do. But it’s our opportunity to make a note of how we want things to proceed when we pass away. While it is never a pleasant subject to think about, what is nice is that you can ensure your family’s future. You may want to make sure that your children get the house, or that your grand daughter gets your wedding ring. It might even be to make a note f how you want things to happen when it comes to a funeral. It is your time to have your say, so don’t miss out on it.

We highly recommend that you use a company such as Casey & Associates to complete your will so that you can be sure it is done properly. You don’t want there to be any way for someone to contest the will and go against your last wishes.

Using a professional company such as this will ensure that your last wishes are honored, exactly the way that you intended them to be. Speak to a member of the team, and see what you think about the service that is being offered before you sign with them though, because you never know what is going to crop up if you keep doing your research.

Funeral plans

So as we mentioned this isn’t exactly a nice subject to think about, but you may have strong beliefs that you want taking into account when the time comes. Perhaps you don’t want a fuss at all, or want people to wear bright colours instead of black. Perhaps you want someone in particular to say a few words, or you prefer to be cremated instead of buried. These are all things that you have every right to request and note down. This is your last song. This is where you still get the chance to be in control when you have no control whatsoever. It’s one moment in your life that you have to think about it, and then it’s done, and noted for when it is needed.

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Dividing of assets

Again, perhaps not the nicest thing to think about it, but you have worked hard for your money and assets. The last thing you will want is someone else taking control of matters. In you will you need to make a note of who you want things to go to. Mostly people keep things simple and state that their estate is divided between their children, or to their partner. Many couples agree to have their assets transferred to one another in the event of someone passing before the other. Then it would be divided after that. It’s up to you. You can go into as much detail or keep it as simple as you want. Again once it’s done, it’s done. The only thing to bear in mind is that assets change over time, you may purchase more property or get a bigger house. Try and remember to keep your will up to date.

I hope this has opened your eyes a little about the future and made you realise it’s not as difficult to plan ahead as you once thought. It’s just about taking a few moments to consider some things, and then carry on living your life.