Monday, 27 June 2016

READ: Books I've Read So far This Year #2

So we're now half way through the year! Craycray times! I'm behind on what would be my second 52 books in 52 weeks, but I'm still pleased at the amount I have read. The majority have been completely new to me and I've enjoyed taking people up on recommendations and starting a little book club at work to bring me opportunities to read books I probably wouldn't have found to read otherwise.

So here we go, the next installment...

Sunday, 26 June 2016

WATCH: How to sell a house #1

It's been a bit quiet over here this past week.

That's because I've been doing some major adulting. I've tried to summarise everything we've been involved in via video. It's my first attempt. Please be kind.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

HOW TO: What to Look for in Potential Properties

I think on average people spend about 15 minutes in total looking around a house before buying it. Considering that for most it means a financial burden being placed over them for the next twenty five years or so, those fifteen minutes are crucial. 

It's not only what you can afford, but what suits you and what you want from a house.

Monday, 13 June 2016

REVIEW: L'Oreal True Match La Touche Concealer

The L'Oreal True Match range is something I've never really dabbled with before. But, with L'Oreal bringing out so many new items at the moment, I picked this up alongside a few other bits to try out.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

HOW TO: Choose the Right Estate Agent for You

This week we chose the estate agent that we want to market our house through. 

Now, some facts about Estate Agents:

  • Most charge 1% or 1.25%, though some will barter down and others will remain extremely high.
  • Online Estate Agents are, undoubtedly the cheapest, but require you to do most of the work.
  • Try to hire an Agent that will advertise on Zoopla AND Rightmove, not just one or the other.
  • VAT is a killer.
The key to choosing is to really think about what you want this person to do.

Friday, 10 June 2016

WEAR: Denim Dress

I think I found my summer staple.

This dress is my favourite thing in my wardrobe right now. I think that New Look have sold out now, though I found this one that's very similar. It's so easy to throw on with some white trainers, a tote and some sunglasses on a sunny day.

And it has pockets.

What more can a girl want?

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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

THREE THINGS: Other People

1. Other people have secrets and sometime those secrets are best kept hidden away.
2. Other people react to thing differently to you, sometimes more extremely than you ever thought they would.
3. Other people just want to be happy. In the end everyone just wants to be happy.

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Monday, 6 June 2016

REVIEW: L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation

I kept seeing this popping up everywhere and I held out, I really did, for all of about a week and then I gave in and bought it.

There's two parts to this item: firstly the applicator which is a take on the powder puffs of old. It's circular, soft and has a ribbon on the back that you slide your fingers under to help hold it while applying product. The second part is the actual foundation. It's held in a sponge so when you press the applicator into it the product transfers across very evenly. Or, I'm guessing that's what they hoped anyway.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

HOW TO: Five things to do before buying a house

The Lad and I have decided to move this year (hopefully). 

Now, we've moved as tenants before, but never as potential buyers so this whole process is completely new to us. And to be honest scary. 

We're currently talking to a lot of professionals about our money and spending habits which is pretty invasive for a socia-phobe like me. But, it's got to be done.

We started our house buying journey a year ago and we're only just on the cusp of going out to buy our dream house; a guide or some tips that could have helped us out in the beginning would have cut out our heartbreak and disappointment.

So here they are, my five tips to preparing to buy a property:

1. Save way more than you think you'll ever need.
I've spoken before about my anal obsession with saving, but it really counts. I started saving four years ago by putting a £750 tax rebate straight into a savings account. I figured that if I'd done without that extra cash in my paychecks each month up until that point, the government had done me a favour by saving it up for me and starting me on my way.

Start by seeing what you have left at the end of the month. Scrimp and bargain and you might be surprised when you end up with £50 left. Then maybe you push it to £100. Then circumstances might change and you can save more and more.

It helps to keep savings separate and treat them as another bill. Another outgoing that you can't touch once it's gone.

Obviously life events are going to happen. Car tax, insurance, Christmas, birthdays. But when people know that you're not splurging on yourself either, they will accept just a card this year. And the year after that. And the next. But they probably will want to be invited to your house warming. And as for insurance and car tax/travel costs, they're inevitable. The way I try to compete against these are by saving as usual, but scrimping even more for a couple of months before. Sometimes I'm not a socia-phobe by choice. I just can't afford to go out.

A 20% deposit is still the minimum you should be aiming for. I know there are companies that will lend with a 5% deposit, but even then, you'll be paying enormous amounts back each month and the length of your mortgage will probably be something cray like 55 years. Do you seriously want to be eighty and still paying through the nose for you home? Didn't think so.

2. Go see a broker.
The greatest thing we ever did was see an independent mortgage broker. We saw two others - at the bank and at an estate agents - and both sold us a dream rather than a reality. A broker is still working for commission, but they're more likely to not be endorsed or affiliated by any particular lenders.

You would think that the bank would be a reliable source of advice, but we found them more interested in stretching what we could afford to our extreme limits. Our balls would have been in a vice if we'd have taken their offer back then. The broker we saw was very honest and very direct - two things you definately need when you're talking about hench amounts of money.

What you're after here is for the broker to say you're affordability is awesome and your deposit takes their breath away. With those two things you can get your hands on a Mortgage in Principle - essentially a lender saying okay, we'll lend you X amount, now go find a house to buy.

3. Notify local estate agents you're in the game.
You might think that trawling Zoopla and Rightmove every evening means you're in the loop for every property you might ever fancy purchasing, but despite all the marketing and sales techniques Estate Agents employ, they're rigged. If you can prove to an Agent that you have a Mortgage in Principle secured behind you and know what type of property you're after - they will notify you of a potential property before it's put on the market and therefore give you a little bit of time to decide whether the property is for you or not.

4. Sort your shit out
I mean this in an all encompassing way. You really need to have your finances in order (see tip 1), but before you move you need to sort all your belongings out as well.  The wardrobe tips and cleaning tips I've shared before with you guys are what I'm talking about here. Really sort through your things; do I really need this? Do I use this? Would the money I'd get from selling it on eBay be more handy after the move than carting it along with me? It's a double whammy because not only do you end up with less things to move on the day, but you have extra cash to buy new things suited to your new environment.

5. Ask all the questions
Don't be afraid to ask a potentially stupid question. The estate agent/broker might raise an eyebrow, but when you've never been in this situation before I'm certain that no question is a stupid question for you to ask. If you don't know the answer and think that they might, ask them! The more knowledge you can accumulate over the course of this experience the better. It means you'll be able to make a more informed decision about the kind of situation you'll be in a year down the line.

If you can, I'd make a list of things you'd like to ask. Write them down so you don't forget. Add to that list as the process goes on and make sure you find answers for every single query you have.

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016


Ah, June.

As I write this, it's pouring with rain, but I'm hoping you might provide us with a little more of that glorious sunshine May so kindly shared. May seemed to have lasted forever! I hope June does too.

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