Featured Slider

Managing A New Let The Easy Way

If you are a homeowner who has decided to take on tenants, either just a room or a whole house you will have thought about it thoroughly first. But it can take a lot of work to get to the point of handing over the keys. There are, however, some steps to follow to make this change as quickly and painlessly as possible. You may have already spoken to friends and relatives who happen to let out property, but it's never too late to make changes or new plans for the task ahead. So here are a few pointers that will ease you into the process. 

Check Everything

If you have been living in your property beforehand, it might seem like everything is fine since you were managing to stay comfortable and happy there, but being complacent can cause you problems. First of all, you will need to keep a close eye on the utilities and ensure you have an Electrical Safety Certificate; Electrical Safety Certificates are there to not only protect you as the landlord but also keeps the tenants safe.

Safety checks and certification can help you save money as well since you know that you will begin with everything in order. Having a professional watching out for the minor problems helps avoid the larger issues.



Once you know that the property is fit for tenants and you've found someone keen to move in, you should ensure you gain positive references. If you go through an agency, you will find that references are part and parcel of a standard agreement, and they are always a good idea. Many landlords have come unstuck from avoiding this process before now.

These references give you peace of mind that your property is likely to be taken care of carefully. References don't always take the risk away completely, but significantly reduces the chances of disputes further down the line.


Having a team of repair companies and builders that you can call upon when problems arise means that you are much less likely to need to worry about tenants waiting around for repairs. Having this team of people means you are able to rely on the work carried out to be of a high standard and avoid further issues. Sometimes a letting agent will have their own team for you to call upon as well, so it's worth checking.

Usually, these contractors will be checked and recommended by other people, which can save you the trouble. Deciding on whether you use a letting agent and their contractors or using your preferred contacts is your call, but either way making sure you have the best contractors you can find will pay off for you in the long run. Time is money, and the time it takes chasing low contractors can be expensive.

Letting out your property is a daunting task, but if you take some steps to make it easier for yourself, you will find there is a lot less worry and hassle than you imagined. This scenario can be lucrative and straightforward if managed correctly.

*Collaborative post

Joe Browns Fashion Tunic And Dress Review

A new year and hopefully a fresh start for many. I think I speak for lots of people when I say 2020 has been a pretty awful year all round due to the global pandemic.  So look to the future we must to keep our hopes alive. One thing that has kept me going is my daily walks. 

I am lucky that I live by the sea in a small Welsh seaside town. At the end of my street is the sea. It makes for a great backdrop for any blog reviews I do and the walks in the fresh air keep me sane. Today I am reviewing two items that have been gifted to me from the fashion company Joe Browns with the beautiful backdrop of Porthcawl in the background. Let's have a look at what they are.

Joe Browns is a brand I have been a fan of for the last 10 years or so. They are known for their fun-loving prints and easy-going fashion, designs that transcend generations. In fact, both my mum and I are big fans. Founded in 1998 they have grown through their high street stores and now offer a catalogue as well as an online store as well. 

The items I chose to review both have autumnal colour palettes. The Autumnal jersey tunic priced at £35, above, is an easy to wear tunic, with a brown floral print and two slits in the side. What I liked about the tunic was that it was stretchy and easy to throw on over a pair of leggings to wear in the house or with thick super soft tights and boots for a day out. The sleeves were nice and long. I don't know about you but I find many tunics these days have three-quarter length sleeves which can be really annoying. Almost as if the company are scrimping on the material. Not with this tunic.

Now I have been trying to lose weight so I don't know if it was that but the tunic was actually big on me and I ordered my normal size. However, with a belt and a longline cardigan, I think it looks great.

Personally, I think, it could have a little more structure about the waist, so it nips in a little, as it's much looser when you try it on than in the photos but it's still a great tunic. 

photo in dress by sea

The other item I was sent was the stylish September dress, priced at £29 (was £45). This stretchy dress in an all-over leaf print is in shades of browns and yellows. 

The jersey material is flattering, the V neck isn't too low and the gather under the bust and the tie at the back gives a little structure. I have another dress in a very similar design from Joe Browns and really love the way the dress is designed. I also love the autumn design print and rich russet colours.  The outfit was slightly too big. I think I'm in between sizes at the moment and should have ordered a size smaller to be totally honest. Still, the dress is lovely on. 

harbour photo

The dress is fairly long on me, being mid-calf, but then I'm only 5 foot 2 inches. All in all, it's an easy to wear dress is a loose flattering fit.

At the moment the September dress above is in the sale too so it's a great time to buy. 

Joe Browns is a company that never ceases to amaze me with their fun fashion prints. It's a company I wholeheartedly recommend and one that I have personally bought from many times in the past. They have branched out into homeware as well as fashion recently and I now have some of their stylish bed linen on my wishlist.

Let me know, have you heard of the Joe Browns brand? Do you like the items I have chosen? 

*AD Gifted

2021 Home Decor Trends For Kids' Bedrooms

It's always fun to plan a kids room remodel. You can work with your little one to include his or her own style and interests while combining the necessary practicality. This could be your child's room for years to come, so it's worth investing the money, time and effort to create an inviting space.  This is an advertorial.

Be sure to take your child's ideas and opinions into account. Go shopping together or look online for ideas; there are seemingly endless options of designs and furniture styles from which to choose. With a little thought and creativity, you can definitely make your child's bedroom a relaxing, fun and functional space.


A teepee can be a versatile, cosy little spot if there's enough room for one. Teepees can be purchased ready-made, or they can be a relatively simple DIY project for a more custom look. What's more, you can easily match it to the room's theme or colour scheme. It can be used for toy storage (just scoop all the stuffed animals off the floor and into the tent), a play area, or a cosy space for reading. The teepee can be especially fun at night when you include fairy lights, cuddly toys and comfy cushions. This can create the perfect ambience for winding down with a bedtime story each night.


Adding a mural to a child's bedroom is a great way to add a burst of character with a whimsical design. You can purchase a mural made to be applied to the wall similar to wallpaper (some are even removable) or paint your own. A mural can be very versatile, working well with bright or neutral bedroom paint colors. It can be simpler and more cost-effective to have a mural on one wall with the other walls painted in more neutral colours. This design will allow the room to grow with your child.

Treehouse Bed

Every kid loves a treehouse, but most yards aren't adequately equipped for one. It is possible to incorporate a fun treehouse effect in a kid's bedroom, though. All you need is a raised bed, some woodlands- or jungle-themed decorations (e.g., live plants) and some creativity. Your little one will love this hideout during play and bedtime.


Clutter can be a big problem when you have kids, so sufficient types and amounts of storage are necessary. Numerous storage options allow you to maximize space in the tiniest of bedrooms. Choosing a raised bed or loft is like adding space to a room. You can use the area under the bed for storage, furniture (even another bed), a workspace or a combination. By raising the bed, you're using often unused vertical space. It's easy to find an ideal type of furniture, shelf or container to meet your every need, from clothing to toys to school supplies.

If you're enthusiastic to begin creating your kid's perfect bedroom, search online for a reputable interior designer near me. In the meantime, sit your little one down for some fun time researching different styles of kids' bedrooms.


Studying STEM subjects in the UK

When it comes to university majors and careers, STEM subjects have become a buzzword in the last 20 years. STEM forms many essential aspects of modern societies and economies. They cover a vast range of qualifications and facilitate various career disciplines from civil engineering, neuroscience to artificial intelligence. This is an ad.

Studying STEM at university is not only intellectually stimulating but also enables graduates to develop highly rewarding careers. Due to their extensive coverage, there is undoubtedly confusion among young people and parents when it comes to choosing which STEM subjects to study, what preparation you need to excel at them. I have collaborated with Ashbourne College, one of London's best sixth form colleges, to put together a comprehensive guide on this topic. 

What is STEM? 

The term STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In recent years, university teaching has developed a more skill-based and industry-focused curriculum across these disciplines. For instance, an Engineering undergraduate will also acquire knowledge from other disciplines during the course of his study. 

There continues to be a high demand for graduates with STEM skills in numerous sectors and the number of graduates is falling short. According to the UK study "Jobs of the Future", STEM jobs will grow at almost double the rate of other occupations. It is expected to create 142,000 extra jobs in the UK only between now and 2023. 

Why are STEM skills so in demand? 


The exponential development of technology has been the main driver for this. A report from Engineering UK highlighted that the country would need 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025. Jobs in technology requires technical expertise and highly specialised skills, which makes them unsuitable for graduates from a non-STEM major. Meanwhile, many STEM graduates can secure employment in other industries thanks to their transferable skillset. 


STEM studies and careers put graduates at the forefront of innovation with exposure to cutting-edge research projects. These projects aim to solve pressing problems in various industries and foster our technological developments. 

Transferable skills 

Teamwork and problem-solving skills are at the centre of any STEM degree. STEM curriculum emphasises practical learning and application of theories in solving real-life problems. For instance, a Biomedicine graduate will practise laboratory testing and medical diagnostics as part of his study. 

What STEM degrees can you study at university? 

There is a wide range of subjects that can match young people' interests, skills and career aspirations. 

Science-related degrees 
● Biochemistry 
● Biomedical Science 
● Ecology 
● Neuroscience 
● Genetics. 

Technology-related degrees 
● Computing 
● Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence 
● Computing for Digital Media 
● Games and Multimedia Environments. 

Engineering-related degrees 
● Civil engineering 
● Electronics 
● Electrical engineering 
● Mechanical engineering 
● Robotics. 

Maths-related degrees 
● Accounting and Finance 
● Economics and Finance 
● Mathematics 
● Mathematics with Economics 
● Mathematics with Finance. 

What do I need to study STEM at university? 

Below are the most common subjects to study in A levels to progress to a STEM-related degree at university: 

● A-level Biology 8.9% go on to study Biology at degree level 
● A-level Chemistry 8.1% go on to study Chemistry at degree level 
● A-level Physics 10.9% go on to study Mechanical Engineering at degree level 
● A-level Design & Technology 23.5% go on to study Design Studies at degree level ● A-level Maths 9.5% go on to study Mathematics at degree level 
● A-level Information Technology (IT) 14.8% go on to study Computer Science at degree level 
● A-level Computing 46.3% go on to study Computer Science at degree level 
● A-level Economics 25.5% go on to study Economics at degree level 
● A-level Geography 9.9% go on to study Physical Geographical Sciences at degree level 

* Data from Pathways for entry into HE 2016/17 

The skills that are most commonly used in STEM studies are: 
● Analytical and problem-solving skills 
● Some technical/mathematical/scientific understanding (depending on the degree) ● The ability to breakdown and understand complex ideas. 
● Accuracy and attention to detail. 

Most UK universities require A-level/ IB grades and usually at least one of those in a STEM-related subject such as Mathematics or Sciences. BTEC qualifications, various Baccalaureates or equivalent international qualifications are also accepted by some universities. 

Like with other subjects, the UK university application (UCAS) requires a personal statement that demonstrates the applicant's interest in the subject and their potential to pursue the degree. Therefore, A-level students are encouraged to expand their reading beyond the syllabuses, take on related work experience and volunteering. This not only helps them decide on which STEM discipline or degree they want to study at university but also enriches their application. 

It is important that students must spend time researching on university websites, study blogs, reaching out to alumni and making the most out of the university application support at their current college to make an informed decision.


Five Ways to Celebrate Family Landmark Events in 2021

Out with the old, in with the new. That has always been the motto for the beginning of a new year. This New Year, however, is a little bit different. The old has stuck with us, following us into the New Year. We are, of course, talking about the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic that has forced us to put social restrictions in place, preventing us from physically being with our family and friends for most of last year and during the holidays.  This is an ad.

But if there is anything this past year has taught us, it is that there are still plenty of other ways to have fun, to create happy memories and to celebrate the events in our lives while still practising social distancing. Embracing these ways has become our only hope for surviving the pandemic, even now as we usher in the New Year.

For young parents with toddlers, embracing these new ways is an even bigger task. Apart from protecting their children against the harsh Coronavirus pandemic, they also have to create a loving environment for them and strive to connect and celebrate with them all the important events of 2021.

Here are five practical ways in which parents can celebrate the landmark events of 2021 with their children and wider family /friends:

Virtual Birthday Parties

birthday Zoom

Just because we cannot physically get together for a party does not mean that you have to cancel the party. You can still organize an online birthday party for your big or little kids and let them enjoy their birthday the “new” way.

And, because technology is on our side, there are numerous apps that you can use to organize the party. From Zoom to Skype and even Google Meet, you can schedule the party with family and friends, put up decorations, buy presents and a cake and make the most out of the day. You can also include online games and birthday dances to the mix to add more fun!

Sending Online Gifts to Celebrate Milestones

family with baby on laptop

There is nothing as thrilling as when your baby achieves a milestone. Whether it is saying those first precious words, taking those first steps, or learning the Alphabet, you should celebrate every milestone. If you are not physically present to celebrate it with them due to the pandemic, do not worry. You can always send gifts via online means and then schedule a Skype meeting to see their expressions as they unwrap the gifts.

If your baby is one year old and you do not know what to get them as either their first birthday gifts or a gift for achieving a milestone, we have a solution for you. Buying gifts for one year olds is easy. The only thing they know to do at that age is pulling, pushing, moving things around, putting things together and learning to speak.

Gift them books that can teach them words, toys that they can take apart and put together again like blocks and toys that they can push around or play with like trucks or cute stuffed animals.

Send Online Cards To Lift Their Spirits

kids on laptop

Just like adults, children are experiencing a change with the Pandemic. As much as you try to hide it from them, they can sense that something is different. Either dad is not coming home as often, they are not getting as many toys as before, or their friends are not coming over to play.

It is important to talk to your kids about the Pandemic and explain to them how it is affecting your lives. Once you talk to them, assure them that all will be well, and occasionally send them a cute online card that will uplift their spirits. You can also send cards that remind them of how much you love them and how proud of them you are.

Try To Continue With The Holiday Traditions

family on laptop Christmas

Traditions are traditions for a reason. They give us a sense of belonging and assure us that even if all goes wrong, we still have one thing that will stay the same. During this time, it is vital to maintain the holiday traditions and any other traditions you have in the family. It will not only calm the kids, but it will also make them enjoy their holidays and important events as normally as possible.

Skype With Them Regularly

kid and mum

If your schedule means that you’re having to be more of a remote parent, then being away from the family during this time can be particularly hard for both you and the kids. To keep up with their growth and daily activities, skype or call your kids regularly. Do not wait until there is an important event or when they achieve something to call them.

Although, during landmark events, you can spice up the call by sending them gifts in advance or by reading them a bedtime story. 

So here are 5 ways to celebrate family landmark events in 2021. Do you have any ideas?

* AD

7 Ways To Cut Costs When Buying A Home

2020 has been a really hard year and with job insecurity and redundancy many people have had a drop in income. So if you are looking to remortgage, buying a house to downsize or moving to save money you are likely to be looking at the best most cost-effective way of doing this. 


So let's have a look at how to do this by looking at how to cut costs when buying a house.

Make a simple spreadsheet of your incomings and outgoings

Before you buy a home you need to know the state of your finances. Examine your bank balance and if you need to save money consider cancelling any direct debits and standing orders you don't really need. Look at transport costs and ways to save money here, for example, can you car share, can you go on the bus instead of the train, can you cycle to work? Look at your household bills and consider comparing utilities. Can you save money on food, eating fewer takeaways for example, and downshifting on branded items to supermarket out? Check out my 100 ways to save money in 2021 for more inspiration.

Get together the largest deposit you can

If you get together a large deposit you can drive down the cost of the mortgage. The bigger your deposit the cheaper the payment on your mortgage loan will be. However, make sure you have enough money left for any essential work to the house as well as furnishings.

Work out actual costs when comparing loans

There are a few sweeteners with certain mortgages. Some will have a low deposit, and some will have low fees, and whilst both of these are great if you don't have a lot of money for upfront fees, its the cost of the long term loan you really need to look at. So balance this up. Using a UK mortgage repayment calculator can really help you compare costs.

Compare survey fees and look to renegotiate

A house survey s an expert inspection of a property's condition and identifies any problems to a prospective buyer. It's important that you have a home survey especially if you are taking out a mortgage. It can also be a negotiating tool. If there are problems with the survey and it will take money to put these issues right you can negotiate on the price of the home and thus save you money.

Check legal fees carefully

Conveyancers and solicitors can have a list of legal fees. Solicitors are usually more expensive than conveyancers and are qualified lawyers, so they can offer a full range of legal services. Conveyancers are usually cheaper than solicitors but are perfectly capable to deal with a straight forward purchase. Check through the paperwork carefully before you sign on the dotted line, as there may be hidden fees when you complete. You could even choose a fixed fee conveyancer so you know there are no hidden costs.

Cash buyers can save money

If you have enough cash to buy a home outright, maybe you've been left an inheritance for example. this can save you money when buying a home. You won't need a mortgage and you can save with associated fees as well as be in a strong negotiation position when buying the home.

Think about buying at auction

For some really big savings consider buying at auction. There are regulations in the UK to make it a transparent process but you definitely need to do your homework first. Make sure you view the property beforehand and take someone knowledgable with you if possible, such as a builder. 

So here are 7 ways to cut costs when buying a home. Do you have any tips you can recommend?

*Collaborative post