Interests and Hobbies · Life · Live, love, laugh · Holiday · Money saving tip

Guest blog : How to save money when booking your next holiday

Hey! I’m Laura and I’m thrilled to be writing for Epril and Amy today. After spending 8 months travelling in the last year, my travel and lifestyle blog is filled with adventures, stories and advice about backpacking around the world. Follow my adventures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or subscribe to my blog to keep up with the latest travel, food and lifestyle updates. Now, onto those money saving tips… 


It’s time to book a holiday! Among the excitement, picking the right one can sometimes be a minefield: we want the best deal but also convenience and hassle-free booking. While these things don’t always go hand in hand, I’m going to share with you a couple of really simple ways that you can save money on your next holiday. Whether you want a solo adventure, couples retreat or a fun family getaway, these tips should work for everyone!

Plan your dates

It’s an old favourite but if you can avoid peak travel times, you can save hundreds on your breaks. July and August is peak summer season in Europe while the price of travelling to Asia soars during the cooler months of December to February. If you need to work around the kids holidays, the best deals can often be found in October and February half terms – and the weather is still warm in parts of southern Europe. Bonus tip: if you’re unable to avoid jetting off in peak season, flying midweek is often still cheaper than weekends!

Search for added extras

Bonus freebies are my favourite thing. You know those deals where they throw in a three course meal or free upgrade? Yep, I’m all over them. From kids eat free offers to free airport transfers, it’s always worth having a look if your tour operator or hotel is offering any extras that you’re already expecting to pay for. Backpackers, even hostels are on the ball with this one! My favourite hostel extras include free breakfast, social activities and even a load of laundry – hey, it’s the little costs that add up!

Think outside the box

Often, the first thing we do when we search for accommodation is head to one of the popular booking sites or get it all wrapped up in a package deal. Now, I’m definitely not knocking the ease of these deals but with just a little extra time to look you can find awesome places to stay that could even save you a chunk! Take Airbnb: if you prefer to self cater, apartments or holiday homes to rent can often be a better, cheaper option than a hotel room. Plus, you’ll often have a host contact who can give you local tips to help you see a new side of the area.

Location, location, location

Unless you’re staying in a small town with everything in walking distance, location is crucial. It’s all a balance between the cost of your accommodation and transport. You might save £50 on that hotel outside of the city centre but if you account for the cost of transport each day, it can sometimes work out better just to pay a little extra to be right in the thick of it. This isn’t always the case but it’s definitely worth checking it out before you pick an area.

Carry snacks

This advice, I live by. Whether you’ve got a hangry other half with a seemingly bottomless stomach (I’m definitely guilty) or you’re trying to save money on pricey cafes, carrying a couple of snack bars can alleviate a surprising amount of troubles. If you’re enjoying a day out at the beach, heading to a supermarket to buy a picnic can be way cheaper – and more fun to eat! – than having to pack up and leave for a restaurant. Similarly, if you’re packing in a ton of city sights into a short time, having something in your bag means that you can eat on the go with more time for the sights!

Keep an eye on the exchange rat 

It sounds boring but a saving is a saving, right? Before you go, use a comparison site to find the best, commission free rate for more money in your pocket before you even start! While you’re away, a good rule to keep in mind is to live by the local cost of living. For example, if you visit Vietnam, paying £5 for a meal may seem cheap by UK standards but actually, you’ll end up spending way more than you should.

Busy area? Take advantage

In popular tourist hotspots, there’s often a ton of competition and this can mean that ou can bag yourself a great deal by being a little savvy. Different restaurants will have happy hour deals or special lunch offers to persuade you to eat there – scope out the best ones and enjoy! Venturing off into a quieter side street can also reveal hidden gems. You can often bargain tour prices down a little too, especially if there’s a group of you. But remember, while not being ripped off is important, be sensitive in poorer areas too. While haggling down an extra one or two pounds may not make much of a difference to you, that could be a days worth of meals in Cambodia.

How do you like to save money on your holidays? Leave your comments below, I’d love to know more!

Laura x

You can find Laura online 

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Life · Live, love, laugh

How organised you are based on your zodiac sign? | #organisedmess

 According to F@W office desk our level of tidiness depends on our zodiac sign. And I couldn’t agree more. 


Amy works in the office managing their family business and she is a Gemini. According to the zodiac sign above, Amy is unorganised since she is gemini and guess what? I totally agree…Why? Look at the state of her office below 🙂 


And look how organise she is with her filing lol 


Obviously the zodiac sign is right, don’t tell her though that I’m spilling the beans 😉 

I think that Amy’s office furniture really needs a massive overhaul. It looks messy everywhere plus those poor tired looking chair needs upgrading and everything needs sorting. Her office needs a breath of fresh air so that it will come back to life. 

Well I can’t blame her, I suppose it’s her zodiac sign gemini’s fault that she can’t keep up with it. However, her parents are considering improving their office and updating the furniture so that it will be more relaxing to work there. 

I’m helping Amy to freshen up her office by giving her ideas that will help her. On the other hand My zodiac sign is Leo and I like to have fun first which often result in a mess. But this time, I’m going to have fun helping Amy choosing some furnitures for her office. 

Value line premier

I like the look of this furniture desk, it has a filing storage underneath of the table which is perfect for Amy and will make it more accessible for her as well. It looks much more bigger and spacious and smarter than what she has at the moment. 

Value line budget

This one looks perfect as well as comes with a matching set of drawer cabinet on the side. The underneath of the table has got some filing drawers as well which is lovely. It’s just what she needs after all. 

Also, a lovely pictures on the wall would brighten her office. She needs to throw her old furnitures and change it with something new. Maybe needs redecorating as well and clearing out the mess. Most of all she needs to be more organised with her mess in order to maintain a clean, relaxing and smarter looking office. Do you agree? 

What about you? How organised are you base on your zodiac sign? And Which one do you prefer for Amy’s furniture desk? The value line premier or value line budget? What can you suggest for Amy’s office transformation? Please share your comment below as we would love to read them. 

#organisedmess

*collaborative post

Life

Bracing Yourself For A New Child In The House

Whether this is your first child or you already have others, bringing a new member into your household is a big event. You need to set aside space, create time for them in your routine, and ensure the rest of the family is ready to adjust to the big change. Whilst there’s no guide when it comes to raising a child, there are smart ways to prepare your house for a new child. If you don’t feel prepared yet then the following tips might just help you brace yourself for this wonderful new addition to your family.

Picture Source

Decide if it’s time to upgrade.

The first thing you need to think about, and you’ll probably want to do this well before the baby arrives, is how big the family is going to become. As adults, you change very little from year to year, but your children are continuously growing. They need more space, and that means there has to be room in your family home for them to “grow into”. If you don’t think the current house can handle the demands of a new baby then it may be time to upgrade to a bigger house which has enough space to handle another member of the family. Make sure you talk to your other children about this if you have any; it’s important they feel included.

Of course, moving the family to a new home is a big ordeal. It’s also an important one, so you shouldn’t make the decision of living somewhere new lightly. You need to think about making sure your family is not only happy but safe in the new property. Checking out this RICS home surveys guide might be a good idea because you might want to look into an expert to help you inspect potential properties and highlight any problems (structural or otherwise) before you part with your money on a house purchase. If there are minor issues then it can also help to know beforehand because you could knock down the asking price for a fairer deal.

Picture Source

Prepare their room.

Whether you’ve decided to move to a bigger property or stick with your current home, it’s important that you set up a room for your new child. You’ve probably already been cleaning from top to bottom, and this is the nesting instinct kicking in. You have to always think into the future. Perhaps you’ll want to keep the cot in your room, so that you or both parents, depending on your family’s situation, can keep an eye on the baby at first.

Still, your child is going to grow and they’re going to continuously need more space as they do. Think about the size of their bedroom. It might be fine whilst they’re a child, but will it be a good fit for their teenage years? If you’re prepared to make big changes to the house or move again in the future then this may not be a concern for you, but if this is going to be a permanent family home then you need to think about how everyone in the family is going to grow into it. You might also want to think about how you decorate your kid’s room because too dull a design will be unpleasant for them but too childish a design might embarrass them in later years. Bright colours are always a safe idea.

 

*collaborative post

Gift guide · Interests and Hobbies · Life · Live, love, laugh · Ocassion · Product review · Shop

Amy’s surprise Da Vinci Bouquet from prestige flowers


I wanted to surprise Amy on her birthday and I thought the best birthday surprise is to deliver her a beautiful bouquet of flowers. 


Prestige flowers sent a Da Vinci Bouquet for Amy’s birthday. It was beautiful and looks so expensive and posh. Honestly, I’ve never seen such beautiful flowers. It came in a lovely box and inside is the flowers wrapped in luxury paper. Also in the pack is the plant food and care instruction guide and there is also a card (showing the Virgin Mary Da Vinci painting) with a personalised message for the receipent. 


Included in the bouquet are superb Vanda Orchids, magnificent Memory Lane Roses, Calla Liles, Eryngium, Ruscus, Pistacia enhanced with gold wire. The use of this variety of orchid is used to represent the rocky setting highlighted in the Da Vinci painting, the callas are used to signify the unusual use of lighting and flora. The various colours and textures perfectly represent key elements of this painting, namely the angles, hazed sky with pastel shades and golden orbits to represent the finer details shown in the beautiful face of the Virgin. This masterpiece is housed at the National Gallery in London.

I thought Amy deserved to receive some luxury flowers inspired by artwork since she loves arts. And of course she loved it and was really impressed with this bouquet. She was really pleased and happy with these flowers and I think it’s well priced. It will be a special treat for any recipients. I had a good look at it as well before delivering to Amy and it has a beautiful golden leaves, I thought they were plastic but they are real. It’s really captivating. 

Amy sent me these photos below.

Disclosure : I was sent the flowers for the purpose of this blog post. However, my thoughts and opinion are my own including pictures and video unless otherwise stated. 

Health & Beauty · Make up

Summer make up, do’s and don’ts #ExpertsInBeauty

I love a bit of make up and summer is a really tough time for wearing make up; you don’t want lots on or it gets sweaty and looks awful but you still want some or you get the “are you ok? You look sick” comments lol

Here is my lowdown on summer beauty style:

Nails; I adore nail art! I have a friend who does mine but if you are brave enough to do your own then check out Ellisons for glitter, beads, crystals etc. I love a fairly neutral background colour or French manicure style tips with some fancy nail art patterns on them.

Eyes; keep it minimal, but with a splash of colour. Check out my previous post about bold coloured eyeliner and give it a try or use some brilliant coloured eyeshadow. Liquid flicking eyeliner is a no-no for the summer, it runs too easily in the heat and I always fore-go the mascara unless it’s evening.

Lips; summer is normally the time for nude neutral lip colours, a bit of gloss for example, but I love a bold red! My favourite is the younique lipstain (no I’m not a seller), you don’t have to reapply at all during the day so is really convenient, at the moment I am living in “saucy” but I also own “shy” and “sleek”.
How does your make up look change in summer compared to winter? Let’s talk make up!

*collaborative post

Life · Motherhood

Holiday packing, what if I forget something?!

I’m heading off to America (Orlando) in a few days and leaving you with my best buddy Epril, who is going to take care of you while I’m away.

I am currently packing my bags and wanted to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, so I though who better to check with then you lovely lot!

We are off to Orlando for 10 days, with no children and not planning on visiting Disney or Universal (shocking I know). The weather at the moment is hot and humid with daily thunderstorms, some very heavy downpours occasionally lasting a long time.

Clothes wise, I have packed mostly shorts and t shirts, with a couple of daytime casual dresses and a couple of smart evening dresses, 1 pair of jeggings and I will be travelling in a pair of comfy trousers (either leggings or joggers I’m not sure yet). I’ve put in a couple of cardigans and cover up shirts for hiding from the sun/keeping warm in the evening. A pocket poncho and underwear haha. There is, of course, my fabulous new bikini!

I have my waterproof camera, a couple of books/my kindle, toiletries of course (suncream included), flip flops and walking sandals, power socket adaptors, charging cables for our phones etc.

I feel like I’m missing something important! Help me out?!?

Dear Bear and Beany
Home & kitchen · Interests and Hobbies · Life

Questions You Need To Ask Yourself When Considering An Attic Conversion

Converting your lifeless attic into a living space that could be filled with joy and laughter one day, is a fantastic way to fully make use of all the space in your home. Utilizing the attic is a task unlike any other around the house because it’s essentially an integral structure that is a part of the roof, which is the most fragile part of any home. However, it gives you so much creative leeway to convert the attic into a room totally of your choosing which could not only be a great asset to your living standard but increase the price of the home. Whether you choose the new room to be an additional bathroom, living room or bedroom, the financial rewards are too great to miss. Many people convert the emptiness into a study, where you can get away from the noise of a busy household and purely focus on your paperwork. The first step is to plan sufficiently so the tricky stumbling blocks of design can be tackled with a driven purpose.

Image by – Afries52

 

The inspection 

 

Before your heart can set on any particular idea for the space, check that converting your attic is feasible. You could go the easy route and hire an inspector to come to your home and learn the history of the property, the materials used and the structural safety that the building codes the local authority or company adhered to. Although, you could also make some simple checks to see for yourself before getting a second opinion. The ceiling needs to be around 10 to 12-feet high in order for it to be deemed safe, as banging on the support beam and metal bars is bad for your and the house’s health. In that regard, the floor also must have the correct support to withstand many people walking on it at different locations in the room.

Image credit – jwco

 

Making it comfortable 

 

It’s important that your potential space has modern regulations on insulation that were used during construction. This means you should have r-30 insulation in the walls along with r-13 in the ceiling so that you’ll be protected from windchills and have an adequate room that keeps the heat in. Having the proper insulation will also save money on an energy bill. Equally important, there needs to be at least one window from which sunlight and fresh air may peer through. Following the same principle as the insulation, seek to hire a company like Buckingham Double Glazing, which specialises in proper window construction. You can then choose whether you want aluminium or wooden frames for a modern or rustic style. Pick out where you would like a window using knowledge of which way your home faces so as to get the most sunlight available. From then on, the installation will be focussed on maintaining the integrity of the surrounding structure.

 

The real price 

 

There’s a big difference between an estimate you might have gotten to the final quotation. An estimate is the contractor’s guess as to what the conversion might end up costing you. However, the quotation is the final price after every question of safety, design, materials, time and labour have been calculated. Before work can be done, you will be given a list of the overall expenditure and the items to be bought, so make sure your budget is sufficient.

 

*collaborative post