Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Travel | A weekend in Amsterdam | Top Tips

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to be whisked away on a weekend city break to the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Going just before Christmas made it even more magical and festive as the whole city was twinkling with lights and there were wreaths on every door. It was a short but sweet visit but we squeezed plenty and there sure is lots to see in Amsterdam.
It is the perfect European city for a short break and if you are planning on going why not read on for a little travelling inspiration and ideas for places to visit, eat and see.

Here's my mini guide to what to do in Amsterdam...


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Top 5 Healthy Alternatives to Christmas pudding

Raisins aren't for me, there's something about the texture that make me cringe, so you can imagine that a Christmas pudding full of raisins and sultanas is my idea of hell. 

I do have a serious sweet tooth however and I didn't want to miss out on pudding this festive season, so challenged myself to make a tasty healthy alternative to a Christmas pudding. I wanted to find the perfect pudding that is chocolate, gluten and sugar free but this proved difficult, but I have found some recipes that cover a few of these.  

If like me you aren't keen on the traditional pudding here are my top favourite ideas for recipes to make this Christmas time...

Cranberry Muffins by Madeleine Shaw 
Recipe here...


Thursday, 10 December 2015

DIY | How to upcycle and reupholster a chair

I have recently moved into my first home, and there has been a lot of work to be done to the house. Apart from painting and decorating every room we needed all new furniture including dining room chairs, but instead of just buying some I thought I would try something new and attempt to up-cycle and reupholster my own. 

 I had never done it before so made a few mistakes along the way but feel they turned out really well. 
If you fancy giving it a go too, here's how I did it...


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Lifestyle | Thrifty Guide to Christmas

Although we love it, the festive season can be a bit of a strain on the old purse stings, as they like to say. 

There's nothing better than seeing the look on my friends or families faces when opening presents they weren't expecting but I often find myself overspending at Christmas time. This year I am trying to be organised and plan ahead, giving myself a budget and sticking to it. 

If like me you find Christmas a little spendy, here are some easy tips for how to save money this Christmas without skimping on presents.
Set a Budget
Setting budgets goes a long way especially when out shopping, it's easy to get sucked into the propaganda of Christmas and buy things that you don't need. I am going online this year for a lot of my gifts, that way I can focus and search for exactly what I need without getting distracted, because lets face it who needs that extra pair of fluffy bed socks perfectly placed by the till...

Handmade Goodies
We all love receiving a hand knitted wool jumper at Christmas... ok maybe we would prefer the latest Topshop number but a small homemade DIY project can make the perfect present to give at Christmas especially when your watching the pennies. Start off small and easy, like a set of crocheted coasters or bobble hat?! If baking is more your thing try handmade gingerbread gifts or a 'bake your own' gift, by filling a jar of ingredients and handmade written recipe? 
Etsy is my favourite place to find handmade gifts if you don't fancy making your own. I love supporting small businesses and you can find some amazing quirky gifts that are a little different from the usual DVD or pair of boxers.
Another idea I love is giving your friends a bit of 'time' instead of presents, write a voucher for an afternoon or evening doing something you both love, for example invite them over for afternoon tea and a catch up. Inexpensive and thoughtful
Check out my pinterest board for plenty more ideas and inspirations. 

Secret Santa?
 If you have a large group of friends or work colleagues, why not suggest a group Secret Santa to save money buying for each one. That way you will all receive a present but only have to buy one yourself. I love organising a get together where all my friends can swap presents and it is really fun trying to guess who has bought for you. Set a limit on price, that way you can't over spend and give yourself a little challenge to find the prefect gift for that price.

Wrap It Up
  Save on expensive wrapping paper by buying cheap brown paper and string then jazzing up your parcel with some left over coloured yarn or a pine cone from the garden. Super cheap yet really stylish and effective. After all its what's inside that counts, right?  
This year I am crocheting small trees to add a little personal touch to my wrapping instead of gift tags, aren't they cute!?

Tree Time?
   Although they look good, real Christmas trees can be expensive, save money by getting an artificial tree that will last a few years, spreading the cost over that time. Decorate with handmade garlands such as my pompom one (tutorial here) or a cute snowflake (like this one). P.s the star in the above photo was only £1 from B&Q.

 I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and have got some great ideas to save money and get thrifty this Christmas! There's so many ways to save, you really don't need to over do it every year. 

This post was inspired by Personal Capital who have an excellent financial tool that can help you manage your money this festive season. See if the wealth management tool can help you here...

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas... Too early?!? 


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