Friday 29 October 2021

Monthly Faves | October 2021


The month is slowly coming to a close, which to me, means the end of spooky season, and the start of Christmas panic and fun! If you read my wishlist post from a few days ago, then you'll know I'm pretty much ready for Christmas to be here now, and not in another month an a bit. However, as the month is now drawing to an end, I wanted to share my faves from October with you all!

Film

I've only watched a few films this month. As Halloween was coming up, we all sat down to watch Hocus Pocus together one night. Tash and Mosh had never seen it, so Dad and I were excited to show it to them. I still laugh my head off when the witches come out the burn chamber and Winnie is talking in French about the book. It kills me every time. 

TV

I have absolutely LOVED the new (and currently airing) season of 9-1-1 on Fox so far. We maybe only a few episodes in, but we've had a city ransom attack, a kidnapping, a zoo break, and a whole host of other things. Plus the Maddie and Chimney storyline has been so beautifully done. I won't delve into details as I don't want to spoil anything - but it's been a great season thus far.  

Song

This was tricky as I've listened to a lot this month - and some Christmas ones too... But, the one I have listened to the most is probably Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas. I've had a lot of 5am starts, and 9pm finishes at work in the last few weeks, and I can say that this song on super loud WILL KEEP ME AWAKE. It's great to dance along to on the way home from a 9 hour shift, or at 4:30am just to wake me up a bit more before I start my shift!



Product
 
I fell down The Home Edit rabbit hole at the end of September, and it fully took over this month. I have bought MANY containers from different places. The edit stage was my favourite as I purged so much from my room and the kitchen. I felt great afterwards. I found these drawer storage containers on amazon a few weeks ago, and I've used all of them except one of the tiny square ones, as I'm not sure what to use it for just yet!


What have you loved this month, and would would be your choice for each above category? Let me know! Hope you have a great day and keep safe :)

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Wednesday 27 October 2021

Let's Get Organised!*




Unless you've been living under a rock recently, you might have heard about company called The Home Edit. Maybe this is via their Netflix series, or me mentioning it a dozen times a week on Instagram and my YouTube channel - or you too are hooked on them! They are organising gurus, and make homes look perfect with their organisational tips. Because of this I have become somewhat obsessed with organising my own home to try and make it look something like their work. This has meant I have been buying a LOT of storage and decorative items lately to try and achieve this. I found some really nice bits on aoin.com that could be perfect for me, or maybe even yourselves! There are lots of options to choose from that can suit just about anyone.


The section I first took a look at was the home living area of the website. Here you can find storage and decorative items that you might want. A few items I have fallen for are the velvet jewellery tray, which would be perfect for the copious amounts of jewellery I own! They also have a lovely glass pen pot, that you could use for multiple things. Obviously pens, but also makeup brushes, paint brushes, and more. 


The other section which narrows down the options a bit better, is the home decorations section. Here, you can find the mini hanging planter that you can have either indoors or outdoors to store some of you succulents in - so they can get off any any prime real estate surfaces! This would look really nice in the corner of a room at any time of year.


Basically, anything that gives the impression that I have my life together! Another thing that I love for indoor storage is this black metal wall mounted storage unit. This unit is absolutely perfect, and due to it's colour it can fit into almost any room. It would probably be best in a bathroom so the water could drain out of it, and would only require you to fix it to the wall to utilise it perfectly. It would also look really good in my kitchen as a spare rack for home good such a kitchen rolls and maybe even cleaning items - anything to make a quick grab easier!


Have you caught the Home Edit organising bug yet? If you have, or you just love to be organised anyway, what sort of things do you use to keep your home in some sort of order? And any organising tips are always welcome, so please let me know with a comment below! Hope you have a great day and keep safe :)

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Budgeting Tips!


There are many ways to save yourself money. Some are easier than others, and can be done easily and somewhat quickly, and others take a bit more preparing and can take longer. You can get savings accounts to help manage your goals, use piggy banks to save spare pennies, and even save up points on loyalty cards for later use.

I am in no way shape or form a budget guru, or a money expert. I've just tweaked a few things in regards to my money in the past two years that have helped me out. Granted, I'm still not 100% on not taking money out of my savings here and there, BUT I have taken out a lot less since January 2020 due to budgeting.

Here's just some ways I save myself money, and budget my month to try and keep my spending under control.

Cash Envelopes

My favourite by far is the cash envelopes system. You can get fancy envelopes off Amazon like mine, or just use plain mailing envelopes. Assign a category for each envelope and then put your designated amount in each one. That is there your budget for that category each month. Some categories that I have are:
  • Food shopping
  • Fuel
  • Toiletries
  • Dinner out
Take your pay, set aside any savings, rent and bills, and then whatever is left, assign to each category. Sometimes you won't need that category that month, so you may not need to put your money towards it. Others you know you will use weekly, such as food shopping. I get paid monthly, so I need to make sure that whatever is in mine can last me four weeks.

Sinking Funds

Similar to cash envelopes, sinking funds are alike but are for set dates and targets. You know when Christmas is each year, so if you want to save £500 by December and it's currently January, you would divide the £500 by how many paydays you get between then and whatever date you want it ready for in December. I get paid monthly, so I know I get 12 paydays between January and December, so I would want to put £42 aside monthly to achieve this goal. Some category ideas are:
  • Car maintenance
  • Medical
  • Christmas
  • Holiday
  • Disney+ annual
Again, you can tweak this. You might have an extra £20 spare one month and want to put it towards one sinking fund in particular, or maybe you're short one month and can't do that £42. Just adjust where you can, and if a category isn't working for you - stop it and distribute that money to the other categories!



Savings Jars

I have a couple of different coin jars for loose change that I bag up at the end of the year and deposit into my bank account. I save all my 1p and 2p coins in one, and will bag these up through the year and save aside until I need to put them in the bank, as this one fills up the quickest. I also have one for £2 coins. This is a rare coin to come across often, so the jar I have for this will only be emptied every couple of years, just so I can save a better amount! The last one is a 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p jar. All the silver! I don't always fill this one as sometimes I know I'll need change for something, but I will add in now and then. Anytime I have more than about 3 or 4 of each denomination, then that goes in the jar regardless.

£5 Note Challenge

Similar the the savings jar, this is one I came across online back in late 2019 and I thought it was great. Granted, back then I was using cash a lot more than current times, so this was easier, but I've still tried it this year. Every time you come across a £5, it goes straight into a spare envelope and I'll set that aside for the year. Now and again, I will take one out for a charity donation, but otherwise I tend to leave it alone. This year I've managed £80, and only £10 of that has come back out. Not bad, considering I've mainly done card transactions all year!


Track EVERY Transaction

Possibly annoying and time consuming for some, but I find this extremely helpful and motivating. You really get a good idea (and sometimes a scary shock!) when you see all of your purchases laid out before you. Something as small as a 99p game for you phone, to a £200 gadget needs to be logged. At the end of each month, go back and highlight any transaction that you really didn't need, or was an impulse buy that you now regret. Try and keep an eye on the highlighted ones, and try not to buy those things again, or at least frequently. 

Have Different Savings Accounts

I have a savings account for my general savings, emergency fund, and retirement. My general is a slow builder, but is there if I accidentally go over in a cash envelope category, or maybe I finally decide to get a new laptop after all and didn't want to save slowly for it. I do try and leave this alone where I can, but I do dip into it now and then.
An emergency fund is usually around £1000 for most people - and it's the same for me. This amount cannot be touched, for anything other than an emergency. Maybe my car completely breaks down and I need a replacement to last me until I can save for a better one. Or my phone falls into water and I need a new one ASAP for work, then that is a reason to break into the emergency fund. It's also really good to have this for peace of mind! Retirement is something I only recently added as a category for my savings. This, again, cannot be touched until I retire in another 40+ years time!
Having these savings in separate accounts means you can see the totals a lot better and keep an eye on the amount rising!


I hope some of this was helpful to you, and if you have any questions about anything, please do ask! What budgeting tips would you give to people looking for help? Let me know! Hope you have a great day and keep safe :)

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Monday 25 October 2021

October Wishlist


I can safely say I am geared up for Christmas. Most of my presents are wrapped, bar the last few that are en route in the post as we speak! My cards are done. 

I am probably the most prepared for Christmas than ever this year. Last year we didn't know if we would be allowed a usual Christmas or not (hello tier 4!) and I put off all my Christmas jobs until the 20th. Big mistake.

Huge.

But, this year I am ahead of the game, so I can actually relax a little as the people who are only just starting their shopping can get flustered. 

In other news, I still have my eye on a few things I'm after. Whether that is for me to buy for myself as a treat or a Christmas present OR maybe I want someone to get it for me, I thought I'd share a wishlist of the latest things I would like! Friends, family, feel no pressure from me - I just like to share this with the world!



What have you got your eye on at the moment? Let me know! Hope you have a great day and keep safe :)

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Sunday 24 October 2021

Life Catch Up | October 2021


Hello everyone!

Oh where on Earth to begin?

I haven't done a life catch up for you all since June, and though not a lot has gone on, a lot has happened. As usual, I won't list it all in order of events, just bullet point them in whatever order I remember things! 

  • Our old manager left work, we got a new one and he left after about 9 shifts... So now we have a new interim manager who may become our permanent manager. So much is happening at work! We also finally got a few new staff members, so we are currently training them. We've not had newbies since July 2020!
  • Dad collapsed at work, was told he had high blood pressure. He was given tablets that had an adverse effect and ended up having to get an ambulance out for him. Thankfully it wasn't a heart attack as suspected, but he's still not well. He is on new medication now as the last ones were possibly the reason for the A&E visit! He's still not 100% better and has been signed off work for over a month now, and it doesn't look like he will be going back any time soon.
  • I ended up with a flu / chest infection! I've been off work for over a week at the time of writing this, and I have a few more days left before I'm back. I'm still not feeling good, and walking anywhere or standing for longer than about 10 minutes totally winds me. I sound like I've smoked a pack of 500 cigarettes in one hit! 
  • We booked the villa for our Florida holiday next summer!! This has been a long time coming, and I'm so glad we finally booked it. We're also looking at the possibility of a Disney Cruise while we're stateside, so watch this space!
  • I have wrapped all my Christmas presents already!
  • I did a thorough clean of my room and kitchen. We purged a lot of things from these two rooms, and it's feeling lighter again. I don't mind some clutter, but it was getting too much.
  • Got to see our friend Lauren's new home a few months ago and it is so lovely! It's also been really nice to see more of her this year, as last year I think we only saw each other twice!
  • I've done some blog posts! Can you believe it? I can't promise this will keep up for long, but just wanted to do some while inspiration hit me.
  • I'm now on season 17 of Law & Order: SVU - meaning I've done another 12 seasons since I told you about this in June!

That is honestly everything that I can remember, and I've spent two days trying to remember what I've done since June! A bit dramatic the past few weeks with my Dad's health and then my own in the past two weeks, so I'm hoping I'll be better asap, and can get back to normal! What have you all been up to recently? Let me know! Hope you have a great day and keep safe :) 

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Saturday 23 October 2021

October Playlist


Hello everyone!

I have slacked tremendously with my posts this year, and lets be honest, this year has been just as bad as 2020. HOWEVER, I thought I had better post something to my blog before I forget, so thought I'd type this one up while I was here! Another month, means another playlist! So here are some songs I've been enjoying recently!



Have you heard of any of these song, and if yes, which ones? Let me know! Hope you have a great day and keep safe :) 

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Friday 22 October 2021

The Best Ways To Protect Your Business Finances*


Every business needs to take certain measures to protect its finances. Without protection, you could make some massive financial errors and end up in debt or severely out of pocket. If you want some help protecting your finances, here are the best tips.


Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 


Get insurance

To be safe and sensible as a business, you will want to get insurance. Without insurance, you won’t be protected in case of theft, fire, or more. 


For instance, if you are a van courier and your van gets broken into, then you won’t be able to get help or compensation without insurance. Using this website you can find the best insurance to cover you and your van business. Attaining insurance will ensure that you can avoid debt and protect your finances as a business.


Enhance data security

Alongside protecting your physical assets through insurance, you will want to think about protecting your digital assets. Your digital assets are one of the most important things for your business to protect to maintain the security of your finances. Should your data be compromised, your business is in a lot of financial trouble. 


To enhance your businesses data security, follow these steps:


  • Use two-factor authentication. Creating two doors to get through to access your accounts will make it difficult for hackers to intrude into your digital data. Two-factor authentication will mean that you use two devices to unlock your accounts. For instance, you will require your laptop as well as your phone for a code. 

  • Use the cloud. Using cloud services will help you safely store your data. On your cloud accounts, make sure to use two-factor authentication. On the cloud, you can store your data for your business team to access and nobody else. It will ensure that all data can be stored safely in one place. 

  • Protect your WiFi. Hackers can interfere with your business’s data through WiFi. Therefore, ensure that there is a barrier to protecting your data. A WiFi password is essential so that only people with the code can use it. 


Have great relationships with suppliers

A great relationship with suppliers will not benefit your benefit transactions, but ensure that you can maintain the cost of your expenses. 


Having a great relationship with suppliers will likely result in attaining discounts, which will maximize your finances. Maintaining these relationships will ensure that you maintain the cost of your expenses, which will maximize your profits.


Store your cash reserve away safely

When you break even and find it easy to save money as a business, you will want to protect that extra cash wisely. If you hinder its safety, then you might be in trouble should you need it. 


Storing your cash reserve away from your day-to-day finances will ensure that you have something to fall back on, should something happen to your business and its finances. Having a reserve will ensure that you can get back on your feet if you incur issues with your business, need to spend money unexpectedly, or need to cover yourself due to an insurance claim. 



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Friday 15 October 2021

Tips For Achieving Your Dream Hair*


Achieving your dream hair is easier than you might think. If you lack good care for your hair, then you will quickly notice that your hair deteriorates. However, the right care will see your hair grow longer, quicker, and healthier. Here is everything you need to know for achieving your dream hair. 


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 


Use extensions

If your dream hair goal is to have long hair but your hair doesn’t seem to grow, then the best solution is to use extensions. Although these won’t offer a permanent answer, it means you can wear your hair long or natural whenever you feel like it. 


Using tape hair extensions, you can easily achieve your desired look in minutes. You can have long hair in no time and use these as a way to be patient with your hair growth.


Take more time styling it

Being lazy with your hair will likely lead to you not being totally happy with your hair. Whether you want to wear your hair wavy or have straight hair, it will help if you take your time to style it.


Taking your time with your hair will help you get the right style and ensure that you take good care of it. Using your time using tools or brushing will help you achieve your desired look. 


Patience is key and in time the more practice you have with styling your hair, the happier you will be with the results. 


Get regular trims

Although it might seem like you are doing the wrong thing, trimming your hair is actually doing the right thing when it comes to achieving your dream hair. Without regular trims, your hair will likely become dry and brittle. 


Regular trims wil freshen up your hair and make it feel nice and lightweight again. It will also be much easier to style and feel confident in too.


Have a good hair care routine

Being lazy with your hair care will leave you with hair that isn’t your dream hair. With the right products, you can bring your hair back to life and start to love your hair again. Plus, the right products will maintain its health and help it grow. 


In your routine, you should always shampoo. Shampooing twice can leave you with that salon feel. Then, use conditioner every other wash to add moisture and shine. 


Then, once a week, use a mask to give your hair a surge of moisture and hydration. This will help to nourish the roots and help them achieve optimal health.


Avoid too much heat

Although you might enjoy styling your hair, using too much heat can damage it in the long term. If you can, avoid using too much heat. Using it once a week or twice once you have washed your hair is enough and if you take your time to style it, hopefully, the results will last. 


When you do use heat, ensure to use a heat protection spray to prevent it from becoming too damaged.



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Wednesday 6 October 2021

Gamification And Why Your Business Should Be Using It*


Gamification is a trendy topic within the business world and an effective way to increase productivity and morale. Businesses of all kinds can benefit from implementing a successful gamification strategy. This is a guide to understanding what gamification is and why your business should be using it in some form.

Image Credit

So, what is gamification? 

To put it simply, it's the application of game elements to an activity that isn't traditionally a game. For example, giving points for completing tasks or setting up quests earns you items or other benefits within the app when completing them. These rewards don't necessarily need to be digital - they can take any material form that makes sense for your business goals.

What are some of the benefits?

  • The first significant benefit is that it makes work more fun. Even people who say they wouldn't enjoy games think that gamified work sounds good because it breaks up the monotony of doing things over and over again, day after day. It also helps reduce workplace boredom by allowing employees to show off their skills in a competitive way. All these elements make employees feel like they have a bit more control over their job, even if it's only the illusion of control.

  • Another significant side effect of gamifying a workplace is increased engagement. If people are having fun while working, chances are they'll be happier and more motivated to keep doing whatever it is they're doing. This increased engagement also comes with an increase in creativity and, thus, productivity. Employees feel like their ideas are valued because they know others are likely to adopt them if implemented.

  • There's no arguing that gamification makes work fun by allowing employees to show off their skills in a competitive way. It also boosts morale through rewards that can be given out for milestones or when an employee does something exceptional. The element of surprise goes a long way in keeping things exciting - you don't want people getting used to seeing the same old reward every time they do something good.

  • Another great thing about gamified workplaces is improvements in communication and teamwork. From friendly competition between teams to quests where people work together to complete them, there are plenty of opportunities for employees in different areas of your organization to come together. This teamwork makes the workplace more collaborative, helping staff work together in a way that benefits everyone.

  • Last but not least is how well gamification works with other HR tools and techniques. You can also use other methods such as employee surveys and performance reviews wherever you're using gamified elements. These tools will help get at what you want to know: How happy are your employees? What could be changed or improved? Where do they see room for advancement within the company? Where do they see room for improvement?

It's obvious why businesses should try using gamification. The benefits it offers are invaluable and easily implemented throughout your organization. And the best part is that you don't need to invest big money into an expensive system because there are plenty of great apps for mobile devices available at no cost and at reasonable prices.

What should I do next?

The next step is to decide what kind of game elements would work best for your business. Maybe points or levels will be enough, but if you want to take advantage of quests, teams, or other game-like features, then look into the appropriate app first. Most gamified apps offer a free trial before requiring you to commit to buying their product, so this research phase should be pretty risk-free. Just pick something that works well with your type of business and follow the steps to implement it.

What are some examples of companies using gamification?

There are many companies out there who have adopted this strategy with great success. Newest casinos survey confirms this. A few others that come to mind are Starbucks, BetterWorks, Epson America Inc., and Gatorade's G Works program.

A common theme behind all these examples is improved engagement levels through its employees or customers. 

Let's take a look at how Starbucks does it:

The app, My Starbucks Barista, is an excellent example of this. The coffee shop giant has successfully increased engagement among its employees and customers through gamification. When their app was introduced in 2015, it had around 500,000 downloads within the first six months. On top of that, over one million people have been registered as beta testers for future updates.

Betterworks is another example:

This HR software company has around 400,000 active users daily. They have over 1,100 companies using their system to track employees' progress, including Target and Adobe.

Epson America Inc. is another excellent example:

They have used gamification to increase engagement and performance among their large workforce. This printer company has over 20,000 employees across the globe that utilize gamified features such as badges for completing tasks, levels of user power-ups, etc.

A more recent example is Gatorade's new game G Works: 

IBM created it in partnership with Tennis Canada and Fast Company. According to the makers of this gamification logic, it is a way for people to "play through some real-world challenges found on the tennis court while earning points towards exclusive prizes".

The benefits associated with applying gamification are immense for businesses of all sizes.

The growing trend of gamification can be summarized with three points:

Engagement: Companies like Starbucks and Betterworks show how effective it is at engaging and motivating its users, employees or customers. And if you think about it, why would an organization want their employees/customers to use an app that doesn't engage them?

Differentiation: When an organization can use relevant and up-to-date strategies other organizations will be unable to, it sets itself apart from its competitors.

Productivity: Focusing on employees or customers in a whole new way can add more productive workforces/customers.

By implementing these strategies within their companies' operations, many organizations have noticed an improvement in employee and customer satisfaction. 

Press Start

There's no question that gamification is here to stay, and we should expect more companies to adopt these practices to remain successful. As powerful as this strategy is, it isn't helpful for every type of business and industry. It also doesn't just happen overnight; an implementation may take many months or years, depending on the size and nature of your workforce/target market. But once you get there - reward yourself! You deserve it; just don't play a game of Solitaire on your computer now that you're done reading this.

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