NAV

23 September 2016

Saving For a Mortgage Deposit? My Tips and Advice


While it’s expensive, there’s no doubt that renting has its advantages. You get to live in a home that you could probably never afford to buy outright; you can move fairly easily if an issue arises and when something major breaks down in the house- it’s not your responsibility to pay for. I’ve been renting homes since I was nineteen, with no major problems at all. Me and my boyfriend moved into our current home in March this year, and as incredible as it is (and I don’t plan on moving again for a long time!) we don’t want to be renting forever. Despite the benefits, each month we’re still paying for a home without anything to show for it in the future. So have recently made the decision to start a mortgage fund to start saving towards a home of our own. While this is going to take a long time (I’m talking years) I’m glad to have something to plan and save towards. It’s definitely making me be a little more careful with my money too. If like me you want to own a house in the future, here are some of the ways you can add to your mortgage fund and increase it as much as possible.

Set a Goal
From looking at average house prices, and the prices of homes in estate agents windows near me I’ve worked out roughly what I’ll need to save. I’m sure this will change over the next few years, but it helps to have a goal in mind. To put down a deposit for a house, you need at least 5% of the mortgage cost. So check out some figures, and work out a number that’s reasonable for you.

Save What You Can
The nature of life means that some months are easier than others. For example, we recently had car issues that set us back over £500, so it’s safe to say that no savings went in that month. (If you’re wondering- the clutch, brakes and back tyre all decided to pack in at around the same time. Bummer). But if you save what you have whenever you can, it soon mounts up. The same applies to things like loose change. My boyfriend is an absolute nightmare for this and is constantly swimming in coins. Just saving up the shrapnel from his pockets has already come to a significant amount, without it even being missed. Whether it’s a little or a lot, put it in the savings pot and it will all accumulate.

Choose The Right Savings Account
A savings account with a high-interest rate is your best bet when you’re saving for anything. Some savings accounts might have limits on the number of withdrawals you can make in a year. While this seems like a bad thing, it can actually prevent you from dipping back into it so for me it’s a positive! Speak to your bank, or use a comparison site to find the best savings account for you.

20 September 2016

Michael Buble 'By Invitation' New Fragrance: Review

£39.00 for 50ml* (Eau de Parfum) available from www.michaelbubleperfume.com

Top Notes: red fruits, bergamot
Middle Notes: lily of the valley, rose, jasmine and peony
Base Notes: sandalwood, musk, vanilla praline

If you've walked past any perfume shop recently, chances are you'll have spotted this new fragrance advertised. If not, it's 'By Invitation' created by legendary singer and hopeless romantic Michael Buble, whose idea was to create 'a special invitation to fans into his new world of fragrance'. As a lover of perfume (which you'll know if you've read any of my past posts!) I was all up for giving this a try. 

My expectations were that By Invitation would be a generic celebrity perfume. Not necessarily a bad thing, celeb scents in general do tend to be nice even if they are a little on the safe side. However this really did come as a surprise, it's absolutely gorgeous! It's so much more than a standard celebrity perfume, you can really tell that effort and expertise have gone into creating this. It's sweet yet warm and complex, and is certainly no run of the mill 'catered for the masses' type of scent. Starting with a sweet, fruity-floral and drying down to a gorgeous musky vanilla, it's fair to say that this ticks all of the boxes for me. It's classed as a floral oriental, and in my opinion, perfumes from the oriental fragrance family always tend to smell the most high end. I hate referring to perfumes as smelling 'grown up' because that implies grannyish and old fashioned which this isn't at all. Instead it's the kind of grown up, sophisticated scent that most women would be happy to wear. One other massive bonuses of this perfume is how long lasting it is, and this is definitely something worth pointing out about this scent. It quite literally lasts all day, I can spray this in the morning and still smell right into the evening. By the end of the day it's transformed into a soft, vanilla scent. 

Finally, the simple yet elegant packaging finishes everything off perfectly. If you're not a fan of celebrity fragrances or usually go for more luxurious perfumes, you'd never be embarrassed to have this beauty on your dressing table. The gold and glass looks stunning, and I love the detail on the lid too. This pulls off to reveal a regular perfume spray underneath, but I love how it's like a modern nod to traditional atomiser perfume bottles. While I do like Michael Buble I wouldn't class myself as a hardcore fan, but this is the type of perfume that you don't have to love the celebrity to appreciate. It's truly stunning all by itself and is definitely one to test out even if you don't usually go for this kind of thing. I highly recommend this one, know for a fact that I'll be rocking this cosy warm scent all throughout the autumn and winter.

What's your favourite perfume at the moment?

19 September 2016

Want To Improve Your Homes Kerb Appeal? Here's How

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Whether you're planning to sell your property or you just want to keep up with neighbours, it's important to keep the front of your home well maintained. How your home looks on the outside is the first thing people see when they visit your home, and so you want it to look just as tidy and well kept as the inside. Here are some of the areas to address when you're looking to improve your home's kerb appeal.

Front Door
Your front door can be a real focal point of your home, so if it is starting to look a little tired or out of date then it can let down the whole exterior. If it's a wooden door that's still in good condition and just needs some cosmetic work doing, you could repaint it a new colour. If it's worse for wear or you want to improve you home security then you could consider replacing it entirely. One of the most popular front door colors is blue, but go with something you like and that reflects you. You may also want to consider fitting a canopy, these give you shelter from the rain so you're not getting soaked while you're looking for your keys! Canopies made from toughened glass give a modern edge to the front of a home, so they look good as well as being practical.

Driveway
Your driveway is one of the areas that will show wear and tear quickly. Oil spills, litter that has been blown onto it and fallen leaves can make a driveway look untidy and unkempt. Make a habit of regularly clearing it, and address things like cracked slabs which can spoil the overall finish. Blast any stubborn dirt away with a pressure washer which will have it looking clean and tidy. During the warmer months you'll probably find you get weeds growing up through the cracks. This was a huge problem for us when we moved into our current home. The way I got rid of them was by spraying them with weed killer until they were completely dead. And then pulling up the dead weeds by hand.

Windows
It’s all well and good tidying the outside, but if the windows look dirty and dusty then your home won't look it's best. You won’t believe the difference sparkling windows can make. Either grab a ladder and a bucket of soapy water, and tackle all of your exterior windows and doors one weekend. Alternatively hire a window cleaner to do it, ask them to clean the windowsills and the doors too. 

Paintwork
Over time, paintwork can crack and peel away or look dirty- a coat of paint can do absolute wonders. Again this is something we did when we moved into this house, the exterior was painted white but it clearly hadn't been done in a while. A coat of paint and everything looked so clean and fresh- it looks like a different house now! If this is the sort of job you've been putting off I highly recommend just going for it, it will make your home look so much better. 

Front Garden
Finally, the last thing you can do is take pride in your front garden. Mowing your lawn and planting some colourful flowers. They can brighten up the exterior of your property, if you choose well your garden will bloom every year with very little effort on your part. Even planting a few pots and placing them in front of your home can make a lovely addition to the front of your property. Your neighbours are bound to appreciate the effort you make, and you may find you encourage others to follow suit!



14 September 2016

Get A Champagne Living Room On A Lemonade Budget

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Are you tired of your dull interior and looking for an interior refresh? Take a peek at any celebrity or designer-led homes and you’ll see luxe living, vibrant colour, chic furnishings and fresh style. It's possible to emulate this luxe style on a more affordable pay cheque. You just need a bit of careful planning, design inspiration and a hero piece of furniture. Let's take a look at how you can create a champagne living room on a lemonade budget.

Beautiful Cushions 
Adding colour to your home shows you are design led, creative and have an eye for detail. Use a colour wheel to work out what hues complement or contrast with the colour scheme you already have in place. A contrast colour will add depth and dimension and generate a super luxe finish to your living room. So using the colour wheel you can see if you have a pink based living room a contrasting green will work well for cushions and make your room pop. And similarly, if you have a yellow/magnolia walls, a vibrant purple or soft lilac will add a dramatic look to your room. Or opt for chic monochrome a la Chanel. When choosing cushions think about texture and fabric. Go for linens, silk or taffeta. And go oversized. Opt for cashmere throws and add a reindeer or faux fur skin if you can. 

Create Show Stopping Artwork
Celebrities love their art, and to create a designer inspire living room you should aim to have a least three striking piece of artwork to your walls. Rather than buying a signed piece, of artwork you can search for prints you love in your local art stores. You can then use plush looking but cheap picture frames to mount your chosen artwork. Search for prints that are eclectic or statement making. And go big for impact.

Fresh Flowers And Candles
A designer home should always have beautiful fresh cut flowers and oversized candles for a stylish ambience. Flowers should be in a colour theme of pink, blue or white or an exotic mix of the wild. Vases should be clear glass and a mixture of both tall and small. Place on dining, coffee and console tables and the television cabinet. Long tall candles should have elegant candelabras. And oversized candles should be placed in plush lanterns stacked in threes. Also, include some smaller scented candles to create a beautiful fragrance throughout your living room.

A Hero Piece Of Furniture
Add one amazing piece to your living room and accessorise the rest with cute more affordable pieces. If you can’t deck out your whole living room in designer furniture, choose just one piece of hero furniture to make a stylish impact. Companies such as Made.com and LaRedoute create beautiful pieces that are designer inspired and affordable. Choose a statement light or a dramatic armchair. This could be an Ero marble light or a translucent Kartell Ghost chair. Or perhaps a marble dining table or a showstopping coffee table. The idea is to lead the eye to your hero piece of furniture and create a stunning living room around that piece.

13 September 2016

Statement Necklace Haul


Eeee look at them, aren't they pretty? I've got a serious addiction to necklaces, they're just the perfect way to perk up an outfit or update it for the season. Seeing as I prefer plainer clothing items (plain skater dresses are my weakness!) I like to bring in a bit of interest with accessories and a bag, and it's handy being able to dress an outfit up or down depending on what you're doing. This selection of gorgeous statement necklaces are from an online prom/ occasion dress website called Yoyo Melody and I thought they were such great finds. The designs are all so pretty and they're really well made too- plus they have good length adjustable chains so they sit at a nice comfortable and flattering place on your chest. I sometimes find statement necklaces can be too bulky and short (and can have a tendency to make you look like you have no neck!) but that's not the case with these at all. Here are the five designs I went for.

This is probably the plainest design of the five, but for that reason it's also my favourite (and is the one I've definitely worn the most so far). I think it's really cute and is so easy to wear, because it's quite simple it looks nice with just about any outfit. It's listed on the site as 'beige', although it's much more of a nude pink/peach colour.

Gemstone and Petal Bohemia Chain Necklace: Blue and Red
I liked this necklace so much I got it in two different colours, the 'blue' (which is actually more of a mint green colour) and 'red' which is more of a vibrant coral. Both gorgeous spring/summery colours, and I love the detail of the metal leaves with the pearls and the diamantes. These are a bit daintier than I thought, which I prefer as there's quite a lot going on with them. It might have looked a bit much on a huge piece, but they're perfect like this.

Gemstone Gold Chain Necklace: Pink
This is the most sparkly and elaborate of the five, I think it will be a perfect to wear with a plain dress on a night out. I like having necklaces like this where you know that it can make any simple outfit look dressy and put together. I'm obsessed with the design of this one, pink sparkly diamantes are always something that will catch my eye!

Gemstone Floral Necklace: Light Blue
This is a bit bigger and bolder than what I'd usually go for, but there was something about it I really liked and decided to take a chance. I'm glad I did as I love it, the adjustable length means it's not too short on me and I'm really looking forward to wearing it. I love the chunky gold chain (I wish some of the other necklaces had this too) and the pastel blue is again a great choice for over the summer.

What's your favourite place to buy statement jewellery?

07 September 2016

Getting Ready For Autumn: Tips For Making Your Bedroom More Cosy

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This summer has absolutely flown by for me, I can't believe that we're now well into September! I'm so not done with the long evenings and warm days, but with autumn right round the corner it's time to start preparing for the season ahead. Time to switch out our wardrobes and beauty products, as well as make a few updates around the home too. It's nice to get everywhere as cosy as possible when it's cold outside, and the bedroom is a good place to start. Here are a few changes you can make to get it as cosy as possible!

Light Scented Candles
As a bit of a candle obsessive I usually light them throughout most of the year, but it's especially nice in the autumn when the weather starts getting chillier. There are plenty of gorgeous autumnal scents to choose from, spiced apple and cinnamon are two of my favourites. And who doesn't love soft candlelight when it's raining and cold outside- perfect! A easy way to instantly make your room feel more cosy. Using soft glow bulbs in your lamps is also a nice way to create a cosy ambiance.

Spruce Up Your Bed
You should replace your mattress every seven years, after then it won't give you the same level of support. If yours is past it's best then it could be worth replacing. You could head down to your local bed shop and test out some different models. Autumn is the perfect time to update your bed so that you're extra comfy when the cold weather hits. The only problem will be dragging yourself out of it in the morning! Updating your duvet to one with a higher tog rating is useful at this time of year, and some nice new bedding and pillows will make everything extra snuggly.

Pile On The Soft Furnishings
Load up your bed with pillows, cushions and cosy throws for the ultimate in comfort! The way I make my bed extra comfortable in the autumn and winter, is to put a duvet on top of the mattress (with a fitted sheet over the top to secure it in place) and then a duvet on top of me too. Give it a try, it's the best thing ever! Cushions and throws are a good way to bring in some colour and texture to the room too. If like me you're neutrals obsessed it's useful for bringing in some warmth and added interest. Materials like cable knit and fleece are particularly nice for the colder seasons. Adding a rug to the floor is another way to bring in a cosy feel, especially if you have wooden floors although I use them over carpets too. Stepping out of bed onto a nice fluffy rug is always nice. 

Have you started preparing for autumn yet? Are you excited to go into a new season?



05 September 2016

Say Goodbye To Stubble Once And For All: The Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

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After a long summer of wearing dresses, skirts and shorts- you'll no doubt be fed up of the constant hair removal by now! Because when you've got your legs out they have to be smooth... it's just one of those things. But it doesn't have to be as difficult or time consuming as you'd think, and if you use your head now you can save yourself a whole load of bother next year. No more painful waxing, annoying shaving or hair removal cream that quite frankly burns hotter than hell. The answer is of course laser hair removal. When you opt for a long term method there's no messing around. No getting caught short with stubbly legs in the summer when you're prancing around in your pretty summer clothes. Being able to stay smooth while cutting out hair removal from your routine is most women's dream, but so few take advantage the longer term hair removal methods out there. Here are some of the benefits of laser hair removal!

It's Long Lasting
One of the most obvious reasons for choosing laser hair removal is that it's long lasting. Shaving will give you smooth legs for two days at best, and waxing will give you maybe a few weeks until you have to go again. It's just a whole lot of messing around. But if you start laser treatments over the autumn and winter, you'll be smooth in plenty of time for the spring next year. Think about the kind of time that could cut off your getting ready routine?! If you're generally about keeping things hassle free then this is your perfect choice. I know for me personally I already spend too much time faffing around with my skincare, hair and makeup in the morning. And so anything that can cut time off my routine somewhere else is always going to be a good thing.

It's Affordable
If you've been put off laser hair removal because you think it's expensive, it's worth taking a look again. Pulse Light Clinic for example offer laser hair removal from just £32 a treatment, and discounts on treatment packages too. So if you're looking for laser hair removal in London then these are a fantastic choice. Plus since they use the latest technology in lasers, their treatments are suitable for all skin types. Not every type of laser can treat darker skin tones, and so it's essential to choose a good clinic. If you price up the cost of waxing, pound for pound it actually works out about the same. So why choose something that's going to last for six weeks compared with something that will last much, much longer? Even if you go on to have further treatments, it still works out cheaper (and is kinder on the skin) than other methods of hair removal. Even shaving can add up, how many times do you replace your razor head a year? Because let's face it, those things aren't cheap! 

It Prevents Ingrown Hairs
Since laser hair removal targets and destroys the hair follicle/ root, it means that ingrown hairs are a thing of the past. If this painful condition is something that's an issue for you when it comes to removing hair, then laser hair removal is exactly what you need. This can also be an effective solution for men who need to be clean shaven for their job but suffer with ingrown hairs. A large proportion of people who go in for laser hair removal are men, and it of course has the same great effects on them as it does on women.




Have you ever had laser hair removal, and if not- would you consider it?