We all know that being a millennial in the current economic climate is tough. It’s all over the news, anyone in their late teens, twenties or thirties now will not have it like our parents had it. We spend all our income on rent, everything costs more, the salaries haven’t caught up and the chances of us actually being able to do something ‘adult-like’, buy a house for instance, are basically zero. If, like me, you live in London, you can times all these issues by a thousand and you’ve got an idea of where your salary disappears to 10 days after pay day.

But, here’s the thing. I like spending money.  I’m all about experiences and I like to live life to the full, packing my evenings and weekends with going out any doing stuff. It’s important to me. I’m sure I’m not alone here. I can’t stand it when my money just seems to disappear and I’ve got no idea of what I spent it on!  So, with that in mind I’ve come up with a few ways to save pennies on the ‘boring stuff’, which adds up to saving a wholeeee lot of money in the long run. Money to spend on having fun – yay!

So, for those likeminded people who find themselves straight up broke but still don’t want to sacrifice having a life then give these ideas a go and save the money for a rainy day.

Coffee.

I agree, there is nothing quite like the smell of a barista style coffee shop when you’re on the way to work at some ungodly hour. HOWEVER, did you know that if you buy one medium latte a day you are probably spending in excess of £50 per month on coffee? No, I didn’t either. Buying a flask and taking coffee from home will save a small fortune.

Greetings Cards.

Sorry mum, but I’m just not okay with spending £100+ a year on cards alone which are only heading to the recycling bin eventually. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Valentine’s day cards – we have gone for a total, blanket ban. This will not only save us money but also it’s our way of doing our bit for the environment too. If you feel super bad for not sending cards try these Lost Ocean postcards which you can colour in beautifully yourself and send for a fraction of the cost.

Couponing.

It may sound lame, but who doesn’t get a kick out of using money off vouchers?! It’s free money! I used to chuck the vouchers they give you in Sainsbury’s, Boots and so on but actually if you get organised, keep them and use them you can save money on your day-to-day shopping.

Points cards.

Remembering to take your points/membership cards to the relevant shops can pay off big time further done the line! We do all our food shopping at Sainsbury’s so our Nectar points add up fast. I’ve also been really impressed with the new Co Op membership card which is free to join and not only gives you 5% back on all your purchases in store but also 1% of what you buy goes to worthwhile causes in your local community! I love that.

Don’t pay over the odds.

A prime example of this is going to the cinema, a regular pastime of ours. Aside from the extortionate ticket prices, a couple can easily blow £10-£15 on drinks, sweets and treats. We have recently started buying a bag of popcorn and bottles of cola on the way there from Co Op (whilst using our membership card to collect points boom) and I’m not exaggerating, we have saved a small fortune. This is the same for gigs, theatre shows, football matches, the lot. Be prepared!

Food prep.

I’m guilty of forgetting this one because it takes a fair bit of forward planning and organisation on my part but when I am on it with the food prep I have notice a huge difference in my weekly bank balance! We try to cook up a batch of meals on Sunday night to take to work for the rest of the week. With the average meal deal costing £3 that is £60 per month on lunches alone which is just too much in my opinion. When you add it up it’s easy to see where that pay check is escaping to each month! Being organised can save you a great deal.

I know how tricky it can be to budget, believe me, so I don’t do it. But by following these few easy tricks I have found my money seems to be going a little bit further, without really sacrificing too much! I hope that you might find these helpful.

What are your fail-safe ways to save cash? Are you a budgeter?

I don’t know about you but I find Instagram THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING when using it as a tool for blogging. The follow/ unfollow culture is ridiculous and I’ve been finding it super hard to build my followers. Now, I’m by no means perfect and there is a lot more I could do to improve my Instagram feed, but there are a few simple things I have done recently to up my game, which seem to have worked as my growth and engagement is improving.

I put work into my photographs

The first thing I did was wave goodbye to the blurry shots from Saturday night and made sure that only the best quality photos make it to my Insta page. I’ve put a lot more thought into how photographs are framed and how I present things. I’ve been working on flat-lays and using props for my blog photography too and I’ve come out with some really professional looking images! There are tons of blog posts and tips on Pinterest about how to improve photography and even pointers on how to get that perfect selfie!

I upped my editing

.. and didn’t invest in expensive editing programmes! I use VSCO to edit my photos and I find it’s perfect for getting the look I want.  I make sure that I put the time in to edit each photo individually before uploading and make sure that they all fit my colour theme. And speaking of theme..

I got myself a theme

This was a difficult one. Because my blog is a lifestyle blog it is about me and my life so I wanted to make sure my Instagram reflects me as well. I know many people believe the key to Insta success and retaining those followers is to follow a strict ‘theme’ with your photos e.g. only upload photographs relating to beauty or fashion. However, for me, this wouldn’t work. I blog about anything and everything – therefore my photography ranges from fashion to fitness, London architecture to food, holiday snaps to wedding photos.  Saying all this, I do see the value in having a feed which flows and seems to follow some sort of colour scheme. Therefore, lately I have been focusing on keeping all my photos edited in a similar way and making sure they are nice a bright with a nude/pastel colour palette. This has prove easier than I thought – as most things in my life seem to follow this sort of colour scheme!

I post regularly

So, I definitely used to be a post-all-my-new-pics-in-one-day kinda girl, and when you’ve got a load of pretty new blogging photos then sometimes it’s hard not to! But having a schedule and posting once or twice every day has seemed to help me retain my new followers much better. If I take a series of photos I tend to save them so I always have something to post. I know it sounds boring but it is quite sensible really!

Before

My pictures were darker, mismatched and generally not atheistically pleasing

After

My photographs have much more of a theme and sense of continuity – it’s still me, just a more polished version!

I hope you will find this helpful, particularly if you find the world of Instagramming successfully as confusing as I do! These are by no means gospel ways to gain thousands of followers (I’m pretty sure the secret to that is serious consistency, hard work and time!), but they are easy tips which have helped me see an improvement in my Instagram engagement.

On that note, if you would like to follow me on Instagram – please click here!

What about you guys? Do you find Instagram helpful or a hindrance as a tool for growing your blog/ online presence?

Everyone knows that being a teacher requires you to be super organised, and I would argue that being a student teacher requires this even more! Not only have you got to stay on top of the planning, marking and assessment for your class but you’ve also got regular university assignments, exams, tests and essays to contend with! It’s a pretty intense year.

As I’m now a term into my teacher training year I thought I would share a few of my top stationary picks to help keep organised and on top of that huge pile of work that you’ve got to do (sorry!!).

Teacher planner – Amazon £8.95

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This planner is fantastic because it doubles up as a weekly lesson planner and an academic diary. I fill mine with literally everything; from my in-school lesson plans, reflections and evaluations, essay deadline, lecture and seminar rooms, mentor meetings and everything else in between! It’s great to have all your ‘teaching stuff’ in one place and be able to plan your lessons within that same place too. You may think the black design is a little boring, but I like to keep it professional! There are many other colours and more jazzy designs available.

Fine-lined coloured pens – WH Smiths £7.99

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Anyone who is as obsessed with colour coding their revision notes as me then you will most likely already have a set of these babies! If not – you need them in your life! Completing a teacher training year is A LOT of paperwork, much of which refers to other paperwork which links to other documents which is connected back to yet more (you guessed it) paperwork. Using these to write plans and notes in different colours to code and sort them will be a game changer for you. And at the end of a stressful day they are also really good for those stress-busting ‘adult colouring books’! My favourite are the Stabilo brand as I find they last a long time and the colours are bright and vivid.

Rollbound ring-binders & lever-arch files – WH Smiths

(ring-binders £2.99/ lever -arch files £3.99)

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You will 100% need ring-binders and lever -arch files while completing your course. I’m only one term in and I’ve completely filled two already!  The ‘rollbound’ spine of these folders is something I have come across fairly recently and have found to be brilliant. The spines are basically rounded rather than straight, giving the folder much more flexibility and making it less vulnerable to breakage when it gets a little full! These are a fantastic price in WH Smiths and they do them in a range of brightly coloured prints and designs so stock up now! You’ll need them.

Highlighter pen wheel – Paperchase £8

Clearly, there will be lots that will need to be highlighted when you are a teacher! I like having a range of colours on one ‘wheel’ as a space saver and to have lots of colours at my fingertips rather than having to scrabble around and locate them all in my drawer (which is not organised by the way!) I love this ’emoji’ highlighter wheel from Paperchase, and the children will love it too! Instant cool points.

‘To do today’ list notepad – Etsy £3.25

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As well as having a diary I also think it’s helpful to have a separate To-Do list to write on a daily/weekly basis. I always find it a really productive exercise to physically write down everything I’ve got to do that day in order of priority and then leave it somewhere where I will keep seeing it! I really like this cute list from SiouxAlice on Etsy.

Sturdy backpack – Paperchase £32

Once you’ve got all your fancy new stationary then you need a vessel to carry it all in! I can’t lug everything around on my shoulder – it gives me a neck ache, so I always find a backpack to be more comfortable and practical. I really like this one from the ‘Get Organised’ range from Paperchase.


It’s no secret that the universal take over of online shopping has completely revolutionised the high street retailer game. Most brands now have websites, user friendly apps, exclusive online deals and easy delivery options to make ordering their clothing as simple as humanly possible for their customers. And with our busy lives this is what we like! I’m not denying that the ease of buying new items within a few clicks is super convieneient (if a bit dangerous for my bank balance!).

But have you ever thought how handy it would be to be able to browse and compare brands, styles and prices in one place?  Enter Shopcinity, a new app for high street brands which is going to change your online shopping experience.

When I was asked to review this app, I’ll admit, I was sceptical about what yet another fashion app could bring to the table. Hasn’t everything been done already?? It hasn’t. Shopcinity has got features that I’ve never come across before anywhere else. Features I now realise are seriously needed! It’s like the brains behind the app literally got inside the head of an online shopaholic and invented everything they need without them realising that they need it!

I’d like to take you through the basic features of the app and some of my favourite things about it.

The BROWSE function does exactly what it says on the tin. You can select women’s or men’s, clothing or whatever accessories you are looking for and then narrow it down by more categories of item. This was you can see, for example, all the women’s jeans they have from all the brands which are featured on the app. You can easily scroll through the prices and pictures and either purchase then and then or add to your ‘watch list’ – more on that later.

Similar to browse, STORES let’s you look at everything they have got – by store! If you are interested in browsing what a particular brand has to offer this is a good place to do it. At the moment there are not a huge amount of brands on the app but I’m sure there will be more introduced as the app is launched to the public and becomes popular.  Also one of their main retailers seems to be House of Fraser which is great because they sell everything from a range of brands. All bases are covered even at this early stage.

Now, this is where it gets awesome. If you find something you like whilst browsing you can add it to your watch list in just one click. This is then saved for you kind of like the ‘basket’ on other apps. However, and now for the clever part, if you leave it there for a bit you will get notifications from Shopcinity about your item. For example:

I placed these two items on my watch list and within a day I had notifications saying that they had found similar products at a cheaper price elsewhere. And they were genuinely similar as well. Also you get notifications when your watched items are reduced in price or go into the sale! Amazing! Your own personal bargain hunter! It really is very clever.

But the TAG ME function is the cleverest of all! I wasn’t sure if it would be accurate but it really is! The idea: you’re out shopping and see something you like on a manaquin. You snap a picture of it using tag me and Shopcinity will give you a list of similar garments from different retailers! It also works if you see something you like online – just enter the URL.  I tried this out with one of my dresses to see if it worked and here is the proof that this app is a total fashionista!

All I put in was a picture of the dress, no description or information is needed, and the app recognised the colour, length and style to offer me very similar examples of other dresses. I really think this function is so handy. Imagine you saw a stunning dress in the window of a designer store which was way out of your price range: simply snap a pic, tag it and Shopcinity will come up with high street alternatives for you! 

Overall, I rate this app very highly. I think it is very easy friendly, a nice design and works quickly and doesn’t over complicate things. Most importantly it is something which is genuinely useful that (to my knowledge) you can’t get anywhere else! To get a great online shopping experience all in one place – I think it’s brilliant.

Shopcinity is launching in the coming days! Follow this link http://bit.ly/2eiz62s – sign up for free for your chance to win some amazing launch prizes.



I like to think of myself as a bit of a holiday booking expert. I’ve been ‘in charge’ of bookings for several years because I organised my whole gap year myself (as I travelled alone) and since Paul and I have been together I seem to have taken the lead on the organising front! I love booking trips myself; I’m not really a fan of using travel agents or holiday companies. For me, there is a real thrill in searching, researching and planning elements of a trip. Whether it be a simple flight and apartment holiday or a multi-destination trip like our honeymoon to Thailand (coming soon!) I find it’s more satisfying to self-organise and you are more likely to find hidden, off the beaten track gems that way.

Plus, booking an entire trip yourself now is so easy. Truly. I now do most of it from my phone! There are some amazing apps on the market which you can use to help you book the best holiday ever. Here are six of my must-haves for making the process stress free and fun- and they’re all free!

LONELY PLANET GUIDES

I love the lonely planet guide books and still have a few of the paper versions at home, but who needs a guide book when you can have the same information at your fingertips! No, I agree, there is still magic in thumbing through a guidebook when your exploring, but to get quick access to advice and must-sees, as well as the off-the-tourist-trail recommendations and ‘Top 10’s’ that Lonely Planet are so famous for, the this app is really helpful.

HOMEAWAY

The ultimate villa booking app and my new favourite.. They only deal in villas and apartments so if you are looking for an all inclusive then this isn’t for you. I, however, love having the ‘whole place’ for my holidays and staying in a villa with no one else about is dreamy.  The app is user friendly and easy to book and converse with villa owners. They have literally every type of villa rental you can imagine ranging from budget, studio beach huts to luxury cribs in Ibiza. Even if your not planning a holiday, its fun to look up what you might rent one day when that lottery win comes in…

TRIP ADVISER

The old favourite. But you can’t beat it! I am an avid reviewer and I’m always amazed by how many people read them (I wish my blog got that many hits!).  Written by travellers for other travellers based on first hand experience. I love the idea that customers took things into their own hands and want to give their genuine honest opinion in order to help and advise others. Take it with  pinch of salt, one mans trash is another’s treasure, but I always use Trip Adviser to check hotels and trips before booking.

BOOKING.COM

BOOKING.YEAH. I literally can’t help it. I love this app! It’s so easy, virtually every hotel, motel, hostel and apartment complex in the world is on here. They have budget, luxury, boutique, half board, self catering, all inclusive, adults only, child friendly, sporty, relaxing literally EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine. And the best thing is you can filter all the results by any of these parameters and more or any combination to find exactly what you want. Also, quite often you don’t have to pay until you arrive just putting card details as a deposit which is awesome if you are waiting for payday. Which I am most of the time.

 

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CHEAPFLIGHTS/EASYJET/AIRLINE APP

I’ve bunched these because I prefer the overall comparison apps like cheap flights, to view all the different airlines on offer for your dates, but having the apps for the specific airlines is helpful too , particularly if you know which ones you use. I personally usually fly with easyjet and their app is great because you can view your upcoming flights, check in and even get your boarding pass on your phone. I know ryan air and other airlines have the same.

AIR BNB

I don’t have loads of experience with Air BnB and have never used it abroad but I have friends who totally love it so I plan to use it for my next trip. It basically involves renting someones home for a few nights, whenever they are out of town and therefore it’s available. There are various security, deposit and checks in place to protect both parties and I know lots of people who have used it successfully. Very successfully in fact, several of them have ended up paying very reasonable prices for gorgeous apartments in the middle of cities or in fantastic locations. if you know what you’re looking for and you fancy something a bit different, this is the one for you.

For posts about my previous trips and adventures you can click here.

xox