Post archive

It's Sunday

Now what are you doing with your day today?

Nothing More To Say!

DofE Diamond Challenge

This morning the post arrived and with it my much awaited Certificate for taking part in the DofE Diamond Challenge. This was a challenge I undertook to raise money to support young DofE stars most in need.

My challenge which I gave myself was to write a book and have this on Amazon in sixty days! A challenge which luckily I met!

The fundraising efforts raised over £1.5 million which was amazing and shows how generous people are and this will help more disadvantaged and vulnerable young people to be inspired and empowered through their DofE journey.

I am so pleased I was able to participate and do my bit my raising money towards this worthwhile cause and pushed myself too! Well worth the effort.

Don't Tell Facebook!

Going on holiday? don't tell the world on your Facebook or Twitter account, avoid telling all your friends and family on social media sites, an article in The Sunday Times confirmed a staggering 78% of burglars use it to find empty homes. A colleague of mine did just this a couple of years ago and came home to find her shed had been broken into and all their bikes had been stolen.

The Million Dollar Blog

I, probably like a lot of people, struggle sometimes to come up with new information and content to keep my blog interesting and one that everyone will want to come back to. A friend recently gave me a book "The Million Dollar Blog" by Natasha Courtenay-Smith.  

As soon as I started I was hooked and it has given me the encouragement and advice which I much needed to continue, so a big thank you to Natasha for a great book and I now have a greater understanding of how blogs can work and be fun and informative to do!

Almost Finished........

Swallows And Amazons was on my bucket list to read again and over the last couple of days I have managed to finish it. An excellent read, which book is on your bucket list?

Your Front Door Really Does Matter!

Your front door is the first impression that most people will have of your home. Make it look welcoming in the best way you can. A fresh lick of paint will work wonders. Some plants in containers, and for those of you who are not green fingered you can easily purchase readymade containers from your local garden centre.

More tips in my new book to be launched on the 1st July 'How To Present Your Home For Sale' and available through Amazon

Everyone Needs A Day Off! - Including Me

Everyone needs a day off from time to time, you know one of those days when you just do exactly what you want. For me today I thought my treat would be to read a book and one I have not ready for some considerable time is Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

It is in reality a Children's book but one which countless adults, me included like to read again 'A Master Storyteller' says The Sunday Times and how correct they are.

'One Of The Very Best' a class by itself say Manchester Guardian and oh, how I agree
meanwhile back to my book.

Happy Reading Everyone

When Purchasing Your First Home

When purchasing your first home it is a very exciting time but can also be daunting too. Make a friend of a local estate agent and they will give you lots of advice and guidance. Also consider purchasing my book which is for sale on Amazon entitled " How To Purchase A Property". This book will take you through all you need to know. For any questions just e mail me from my website.

Be Secure - Some Advice That May Help

By taking some basic precautions you can protect yourself in your home. Of course, if someone is determined to break in the they will try really hard, but let's make it as difficult as possible for them.

Doors should ideally be fitted with a five lever mortice deadlock. A single rim lock is usually inadequate. If you are thinking of changing the door, police give approval for doors that have reinforced frames and come with a five point locking system.

Having a flimsy front door makes for an easy target. he police advice you to ensure that the timber frames are sound and securely bolted or screwed to the walls every 60cm around the whole frame. Glazed panels may look  pretty but are not as safe as solid doors, if you have these the replace with toughened glass.

You should consider fitting an intercom system, therefore not having to open the door to someone you don't know. These can be easily fitted and there is a response wireless telephoone and door intercom system.

When yiou are at home get into the habit of ensuing both your front and back doors are locked, partiocularly if you intend to be inthe garden and away from the house for a time. If you don't have a spy hole in your door, this could be a good investment to have one fitted and a door chain too. Remember if you want to open the door to a complete stranger then keep the chain on!

Keep your possessions yours - for further advice visit

Hopefully you will find this advice useful not only when leaving home for the first time but also to raise security awareness at any time - keep safe!

New Publications For 2016!

Sorry I have not been blogging for quite a while, but I have been extremely busy creating some new publications which will be able from January 2016.

At the moment on Amazon you can purchase the following ebooks:-

Leaving Home For The First Time

How To Purchase A Property

How To Sell A Property

What To Look Out For When Renting and Buying A Property

Four great books with some solid advice and guidance taking you through stage by stage you need it most.
Whilst these ebooks are available on Amazon please contact me directly if you would like to purchase a hard copy of these editions. Just e mail me at

Landlords Urged To Find The Right Tenant

Tenant eviction and rent recovery service Landlord Assist is encouraging landlords to prioritise their efforts in 2014 on finding good, reliable tenants rather than go searching for high rents despite the unusual prospect of a buoyant sales and rental market taking place at the same time. 

Over the past few years landlords have enjoyed attractive yields and have been able to set their monthly rent prices at record levels as demand for rented accommodation has outstripped supply.

But Landlord Assist believes that with many tenants now looking to make the move to home ownership, and Government initiatives making it easier to meet lending criteria, this could trigger the creation of an unusual scenario whereby both the sales and rental market are set to perform strongly and experience exceptional demand.

According to the company’s managing director Graham Kinnear landlords, when faced with these unique market conditions landlords should focus their efforts on finding the right tenants rather than risk void periods and the possibility of arrears by pricing themselves out of the reach of new tenants.

According to Kinnear, setting the price at the right level brings distinct benefits to landlords, most notably the reduced likelihood of arrears and secondly the possibility of longer tenancy agreements.

He says: “At the minute it is difficult to accurately predict what will happen in the rental market over the coming year because the property sector is faced with a real and unique prospect of both a buoyant sales and rental market taking place at the same time.

“We fully expect a growing number of tenants and first-time buyers to try and make the step on to the housing ladder. This could lead to a greater choice of properties to rent in parts of the country, and more competition between landlords for the best tenants.

“At the same time we still believe that there will be a great pool of tenants looking for quality rent accommodation who may be priced out of buying by hikes in house prices which are expected to rise by as much as 6 per cent.

“With the prospect of a buoyant sales and rental market taking place together this will create a lot of movement across the sector as a whole. Faced with this situation it is tempting for landlords to set their rent levels high but instead it’s better for landlords to focus their efforts on attracting the right type of tenant for their property at the right price as it is unclear how long both sectors can sustain these conditions.”

Stephen Parry commercial director at Landlord Assist:

“Normally when the sales market picks up it has an impact on the rental market, however this year we don’t expect that to happen. This situation, although rare, goes some way to highlighting the severe lack of quality and affordable housing stock across the UK. If house prices continue to increase and rents remain at high levels but wages remain stagnant we could reach a point where an increasing number of people are simply unable to afford their mortgage payments or rent.

“It is critical that new housing stock becomes available in the rental market and that landlords are incentivised to increase their portfolios.”

Source Alex Bell

Help to Buy - Home Ownership Schemes


Help to Buy equity loans

Help to Buy equity loans are open to both first-time buyers and home movers on new-build homes worth up to £600,000.

You won’t be able to sub-let your home if you use this scheme.

How it works

With a Help to Buy equity loan:

  • you’ll need to contribute at least 5% of the property price as a deposit
  • the government will give you a loan for up to 20% of the price
  • you’ll need a mortgage of up to 75% to cover the rest


For a property worth £200,000



Cash deposit



Equity loan



Your mortgage



If the home in the table above sold for £210,000, you’d get £168,000 (80%, from your mortgage and the cash deposit) and pay back £42,000 on the loan (20%). You’d need to pay off your mortgage with your share of the money.

Equity loan fees

You won’t be charged loan fees for the first 5 years of owning your home.

In the 6th year, you’ll be charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. After this, the fee will increase every year. The increase is worked out by using the Retail Prices Index plus 1%.

Your Help to Buy agent will contact you before the fees start, to set up monthly payments with your bank. You’ll also be sent a statement about your loan each year.

Fees don’t count towards paying back the equity loan.

Applying for an equity loan

Contact the Help to Buy agent in the area you want to live if you’d like to buy a home with an equity loan.

You must buy your home from a registered Help to Buy builder. Your Help to Buy agent should have a list of registered builders for you to choose from.

Selling your home and paying back the loan

The home will be in your name, which means you can sell it at any time. You’ll have to pay back the equity loan when you sell your home or at the end of your mortgage period - whichever comes first.

You can also pay back some of your equity loan without selling your home. You can pay back either 10% or 20% or the total amount, so long as the loan is worth at least 10% of the value of your home.

Talk to your lender and Help to Buy agent if you want to pay the loan back in full.

Final Exam Taken - And Passed - ARLA Qualification

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for me as I have been studying for my last exam to complete the already three taken, in achieving the NFOPP Technical Award in Residential Letting and Property Management and thankfully have now passed all four!

This will now give me far more time which I intend to use wisely and finish my recipe book for students and indeed anyone leaving home for the first time. It is my intention for it not to be a large complicated cookery book, more like a good friend to have by your side with some great basic recipes and a few more besides, simply to get you started.

If you would like to be notified when the book is ready then please either put your name on my mailing list page on this website or email me at:

Planning Meals

Planning healthy meals cheaply

Cooking from ingredients rather than buying ready-made items, it’s possible to keep the food bill down without sacrificing quality.

My favourite tool for this is the NHS’ Change 4 Life meal planner. If you need some inspiration for cheap, tasty recipes, this is incredibly useful.

It’s full of recipes that cost around £5 to make but feed four adults, and you can plan a week’s worth of meals in one go.

Once you’ve chosen your meals for the week, it will even email you a shopping list, so you don’t buy more than you need!

In my book 'leaving home for the first time' I also have lots of tips on what to keep in your kitchen cupboard and also some great recipes. Take a look!

Style on a Student Budget

Style on a Student Budget


How would you describe yourself? Do you think others would agree? Do you think others perceive you as you really are?

Our clothes and accessories are powerful tools we can use to aid the perception we want others to have of us while still remaining true to ourselves.

Whether we like it or not people do make decisions about us based on our appearance and getting it right will give you the best chance to make the most of all the opportunities that come your way.

When you see someone looking amazing, it’s because they know they look great and so are feeling comfortable, relaxed and confident.

Going through college and then off to University is a big step,  especially moving away from home into a tiny room in University halls with an even smaller wardrobe!!  By putting together a capsule wardrobe in a palette of colours to suit your skin tone and shapes to flatter your body shape and personality, you can have the right clothes for every occasion.


Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.    Be yourself – use your body shape and your personality to reflect who you are through your clothes. Not all trends suit everyone so don’t follow the crowd.

2.   Good grooming is key – if you place a value on yourself others will too. Did you know in recent research women were rated higher in attractiveness, likeability, competence and trustworthiness when they wore make-up.  However the amount of make-up worn was a key point in the ratings; under done or over done both had a less than optimum rating.  

3.    Add impact by using accessories. That might be statement pieces or pretty details whatever is right for your personality.

4.    Add some colour and make yourself memorable! Remember colour hits the brain fastest so use your best colours to add impact.

5.   Have fun with your wardrobe, you are only young once so experiment  - just don’t get carried away with styles that are never going to suit you!

If you want  to find out more about what colours and style flatter you and reflect your personality, please give me a call on 07970 293341 or email

Jane Brook         

Colour & Personal Style Consultant

The Sun Is Out At Last!

At last, some sunshine for us all! Thought I would just take a quick photo of these lovely begonias and share with you all. They brought a smile to my face and hope they do to you too!

Now let's all get outside and enjoy it!

Keep Calm

1950's Let's Take A Look How It Was!

The Queen in 1952

Sixty years ago, when the Queen came to the throne, Britain was a very different place. Our lives today are a world away from those we would have led back then. Transport yourself back

1950s music

As a chart and pop fan, you could well have followed the likes of Nat King Cole...

The NME's first UK hit parade in 1952 was dominated by easy listening styles, such as that of Nat King Cole. But traditional jazz was also popular. The classic Dixieland and New Orleans "hot" style was revived in Britain and US bebop records were influencing British artists, such as Johnny Dankworth and his Melody Maker All Stars as well as Ronnie Scott.

Classical and opera were listened to by many, but mainly the upper and aspiring classes, while British folk, representing the ordinary man, was mainly club based.

However, rock'n'roll was around the corner. In the US, Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats recorded Rocket 88 in 1951 - regarded by many as the first rock'n'roll record. Popular music the world over was about to be changed forever.

Fashion: Tailored suit with a pencil skirt and fitted jacket
Music: The new Hit Parade, such as Nat King Cole
Food: Small portion of meat with plenty of vegetables
Work: Teaching, nursing or secretarial work

Diamond Jubilee - What An Occasion For Us All To Celebrate

Holiday Thoughts!

Whilst away on holiday this week, I had time to consider something I have been thinking about for some time! and that is to become a Trustee for a Charity. I feel now that I have finished three books and almost finished my cookery book too that I will have sufficient time on my hands to do something extra and worthwhile. So the search is on....................if you are reading this and know of a charity that may require a Trustee then please 

e mail me at and I certainly will reply.

Now back to my holiday as I glance up I can see the ferry just arriving in the harbour from Falmouth back to St. Mawes sadly in the rain!


A Busy Week!

This week has been particularly busy for me as usual but with a slight difference! Wednesday I was asked to be live on BBC Hereford and Worcester morning show for a discussion on my book. I was naturally a little nervous but this was soon forgotten when I was introduced to Tony Fisher who is the presenter on the show. Tony made me feel at ease instantly and within a few minutes of meeting him I was on the air live!

We had a good discussion on my book "leaving home for the first time" and how to ease some of the modern day pressures and problems both for when leaving home and also for parents alike! Also how social media plays a part these days not only facebook of course but Twitter as well providing Mum and Dad are allowed to join as well!

When I left the radio station after the program I felt very special and quite pleased with myself, but largely thanks to Tony for making me feel relaxed!

Thinking of Decorating This Easter?

Thinking of decorating this easter? A fresh coat of paint and some new finishing touches, which need not be expensive, can transform your home and make you feel great too, particularly going into Spring and Summer. A study by Santander this week says " as many as one in six Britons will be undertaking some home improvements this weekend, and most will be doing it without any expert help".

If you are planning to stay where you are for a little while you could try out completely new colour schemes and be brave and have colours that you have never used before, but if you are planning to sell or move out of a rented place soon then it is probably better to stick to more neutral tones.

Whatever you decide have fun.........................................

Olympic Torch Route!

London 2012 revealed! the complete route which will be taken by the Olympic torch before the Games begin in July.

The official Games website has an interactive street-by-street map, complete with estimated times for where the torch will be at any given moment during the 8,000-mile, 70-day relay.

The vast majority of the population will be within easy access of seeing the flame on its way past - click here to access the Olympic torch relay map and find out when it will be up your way.

Only the final routes for the last couple of days before the torch is used to light the Olympic flame in the stadium are being kept under wraps for now, though full details will be released before the relay begins in Land's End on May 19.

Land's End isn't the only high-profile landmark on the route: many sporting venues, art galleries and racecourses are passed, including Dublin's Croke Park during the only leg of the relay to take place away from UK soil.

"The flame symbolises the Olympic spirit and its journey around the UK will bring the excitement of the Games to our streets,"

Twitter Me!

I have entered into the twitter world! and I have to say that I have been able to communicate with some great people who have given me some excellent advice over the last few weeks. It really draws people together to interact whether it be for fun or for business - the choice is yours. Take a look wwwleavinghome and tweet away with me and whoever else you wish.

Practise Makes Perfect!

Well not quite yet in my case! But I have realised this week that unless something comes very naturally to you, you certainly have to work at it! For relaxation I decided a few months ago to learn the clarinet, well actually I first started with the flute and my tutor moved me quickly to clarinet! After a lesson once a fortnight I am set some "homework" to practise until the next lesson. Whilst it of course, depends on the amount of time I have available in that two weeks, I often leave my homework and practise until a few days before my tutor is due to arrive! Not the best formula and especially after the ticking off I received the last time for evidently not "moving forward" as he put it.

Therefore despite a really hectic two weeks with other exams thrown in plus work for good measure I decided to push myself and got up thirty minutes earlier again, as I had done when writing my books, but this time used my thirty minutes a day for practising. What a difference that has made, today my lesson was good, he was pleased and  so was I, my hard work and been rewarded. Thank goodness, unlike last time when he left early this time he left late! He pushes me forward significantly each lesson.

This got me thinking I wonder how hard anyone else has pushed forward this week or been pushed and if  so, were you rewarded?


Now we all like shopping.............don't we girls?

I am trying out some research, when purchasing household items do you head for Mark's and Spencers? or to John Lewis? I personally head for John Lewis as they seem to have such a great selection of household items and I find their customer service absolutely brilliant! In fact they have certainly taught me a little in this respect on how to have great customer relations.

Take a look, they have some great offers on at the moment ideal for starting your collection when leaving home for the first time, or even as an additional item for your kitchen!


John Lewis Partnership PLC

Stamp Duty - First Time Buyers!

Stamp Duty

The countdown is on for the end of the stamp duty exemption for first time buyers. This will end on March 24th following which, first time buyers can then expect to pay 1% on property between £125,000 and £250,000.

If you are in the process of purchasing a home then make sure everyone is aware of these deadlines and act accordingly! If you miss this deadline then the extra monies will have to be found!

New Cookery Book!

Cookery Book

I am working flat out at the moment to finish my new cookery book, it will have lots of useful recipes and "how to" sections! All written in mind for the first time cook and just to be there to give you some help when you need it. If you have a favourite recipe that you would think would be great to put it, then please e mail me at

Welcome To Your New Home!


Leaving home for the first time whether it be as a student or moving away and starting a new job can be very exciting but also a little daunting too! Leaving home requires usually lots or organisation and planning, especially for the first time. My new book will guide you through some of the pitfalls and make that first move be a smooth one!
Inside the book there are templates and planning guides from budgeting to what to look out for when you are looking at renting or purchasing your new home. Also lots of really useful questions to ask that will save you from stress later on - you will have enough to think about with your studies/work.
The chapters have lots of really useful information and cover issues such as safety both in the home and outside and also guidance on how to eat healthy - I have included some recipes too, although a new recipe book is due to be published very soon.

Kitchen Equipment - Setting Up Home For The First Time

Kitchen EquipmentEquipping your kitchen for the first time is very exciting both for those who are interested in cooking, or even for those who are not!

 In my new book I have included a fairly comprehensive list of items that will start you off and also a list of items, that I have entitled 'would be nice to have' !

You will need to think about your style of cooking too, do you intend to cook every day and do you intend to use a microwave or a conventional cooker? or a mixture of both.

You can
purchase my book here or indeed go to my online shop page.

Is This A First Time For You?

Is This A First Time For You?

'The Artist' which is a first silent film to win major awards for over 90 years! is causing quite a stir? Have you seen it yet?

Cheapest Places To Visit Now!


Hands up who needs a break after all that exhausting Christmas and New Year stuff? Now, keep your hands up if you're totally broke.

Yup. Us too. However, never fear, we have done our homework and tracked down a handful of ultra-cheap destinations where you can enjoy a long weekend away at a bargain price. Each of them are oh, so cheap, and pretty darn cheerful too.


Lisbon, Portugal
Any country that greets you, in the baggage area of the airport, with a coffee cart serving some of the best coffee we've ever had, for just 1€, is alright with us. Welcome to Lisbon. It's baffling that Lisbon is rarely in those 'Great European City' destination lists; it's a gorgeous city by the sea, lovely to look at - especially all the beautiful tile work on almost every building - with fabulous food; from zingingly fresh seafood to endless yummy eggy cakes and puddings. There are interesting markets and museums (free entry on weekend mornings) and, most importantly, it's all super-cheap. Your Euro goes a great deal further in Portugal, thanks to their economic problems, and you're helping their economy by visiting, so it's a win/win.

A year on from the Jasmine revolution, Tunisia is definitely on our must-visit list for 2012. It's just a three hour flight away from the UK, with pleasantly warm just-below 20ºC temperatures in January, so it looks like a winner for a cheap break too. There's a great exchange rate of around 2.3 Dinars to a Pound, so you can splash out without burning a hole in your pocket. Tunis has its souks, museums and some great thalassotherapy spa centres. The blue-and-white-painted town of Sidi Bou Said, just a 20 KM away from Tunis, will wear out your camera memory card, it's so cute, or you can get seriously historical at Carthage and visit the roman ruins at the UNESCO World Heritage site.


One important thing to bear in mind for bargain air flights are the new Airline Passenger Duty fare increases. Band A flights (2,000 miles and under) have just £13 tax, which includes the Canary Islands at 1,787 miles away. Egypt at 2,193 goes into band B at £65, which adds up if you're booking flights for the whole family. Look out for deals on Fuerteventura in January; it's a popular winter sun destination, offering sandy beaches, and, thanks to the wind, the north and west coast are great for surfing, wind surfing and other fun watersports. While you're there, make sure you try some of the 'Queso Majorero' a goat's milk cheese that is absolutely delicious. The one with the pimento-rubbed crust is our favourite.

Nothing feels sweeter than getting more bang for your buck, and nowhere seems to be offering that more than Budapest, who run a great Winter promotion, offering free nights at hotels from November through till March. Over 70 city hotels are running a three nights for two, or four nights for three deal, along with free entry into one of the city's famous thermal spas (perfect for keeping warm on those frosty nights). You also get a discounted 'Budapest card' which gives free transport, guided tours and all kinds of other discounts. Budapest has dazzling architecture from the Buda-side with its UNESCO-listed castle district, and the Pest-side has its wonderful Art Nouveau buildings. The club and bar scene is buzzing, the restaurants are cool and best of all, it's a Euro-free country, offering around 360 Forints to the Pound.


Ski Bulgaria
Ski breaks can be alarmingly expensive, but TripAdvisor’s newly-launched TripIndex Ski, gives a good guide as to where you'll get the best deal in Europe. They've compared prices of a night's hotel accommodation, one day ski pass, ski hire, a meal and a beer, to find the cheapest - and most expensive - places to ski this winter. Step forward relative newbie to the ski scene, Bansko in Bulgaria, who topped the affordable list with a total of £108, compared to the most expensive - exclusive St Moritz with a cost of £405. To get there, fly to Sofia, then coach over to Bansko to check out their 65Km of ski runs. It's probably not for true powder hounds, but beginners and intermediate skiers will love it. As will your wallet.

Culture vulture on a budget? Try a trip to Serbia's capital, Belgrade. Anther gloriously Euro-free European country, your Pound buys you around 120 Serbian Dinars, which in turn, go amazingly far. A recent trip scored opera tickets for just £7 and tickets to the talented Belgrade Philharmonic for £3! Clubs are free and drinks pretty cheap as well. Explore the Skadarlija district, a cobble-stoned quarter that's been compared to Paris's Montmartre district, for its cafes and artists. Belgrade boasts palaces, museums covering everything from African art to Jewish history, all at the point where East Europe meets West on the banks of the Danube and Sava rivers. Oh - and while you’re there, do have a pljeskavica, a gut-buster of a burger, around the size of a plate and usually as cheap as chips.

Source from Nikky Bayley Yahoo

Equipping A Kitchen For The First Time


Equipping your kitchen for the first time is very exciting particularly for those who are interested in cooking, but even for those who are not it is a necessity when you leave home and therefore in my book, Leaving Home For The First Time, soon to be published is a great guide to start you off, with items that firstly you will require and then those which although not essential are 'nice to have'!

From pots and pans to those items you may not have thought about....................all will give you a great start in your own kitchen. You will be able to get that apron on and impress your family and friends with your kitchen and your culinary skills from some great recipes I have put together too!

If You Are Thinking About Renting For The First Time

Most letting agents ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''place high priority on tenants wellbeing''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

If you are about to leave home and embark on renting for the first time do remember that all letting agents are legally required to use a tenancy deposit protection scheme to ensure money is kept safe.



Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Just a simple message with a big meaning!

I wish everyone a wonderful new year and hope it brings for you all that you aim for.

Have you set your goals and ambitions for 2012 and remember if you are are planning on leaving home soon then purchase my book while it is still at the introductory price. It won't be for much longer!

Also the first part of the new year will see three new publications:-

Cooking For The First Time
An Extra Thirty Minutes A Day!
and a Quotation's Booklet

2012 - Looks to be an exciting New Year! Hope yours is too.

Happy Christmas To Everyone

Happy Christmas









I wish everyone a very happy Christmas, have a great time and let's all look forward then to a great 2012!

Who Will Be Coming Through Your Front Door For Christmas Day?

The run up to christmas is such a busy time for most people with the usual day to day living/work, presents to plan for, purchase and wrap. Decorations to put up and food for that christmas meal and usually for the next day too!

However organised I try to be I inevitably, probably like most people almost seem to run out of time with all that I want to prepare to make it a special time for my family and friends. Whilst writing my food list it made me remember, how a few years ago I had invited my parents for christmas day for the first time and this was also the first time that I was to prepare and cook our christmas meal.

How I remember checking and double checking the weight of the turkey and the cooking times! wanting this to be absolutely perfect................and I seem to remember it was!

What's Your Thoughts On The New Government Plans?

The Government are planning to assist first time buyers who are struggling to purchase their first home because of the size of deposit required. The Government will guarantee the loans of those with small deposits. The scheme which   will be   backed by taxpayers money to assist first time buyers to purchase but also giving encouragement to property developers to build more affordable housing.  

By encouraging the banks to lend more without taking on undue risk, the borrower will get a 95pc mortgage with the bank taking on the risks of an 86pc mortgage, as the Government and the property developer will contribute to an insurance fund which can be called upon if needed.

The scheme is not just aimed for the first time purchaser but also for those wanting to move up to a larger new build home, say perhaps from an appartment and should also qualify. With the scheme costing the Government £400 million it is hoping that the money will be well spent and putting the housing market on a more stable footing.

We shall see..........................................what's you thoughts?

e mail me at mail@leavinghomeforthefirsttime or comment on here

A Wet and Windy Day!

A wet and windy day in Cornwall but a great way to start the day with a lovely walk battling the elements of nature!


Time Management - If you had an extra thirty minutes a day!

What would you do with an extra thirty minutes each day. I wrote earlier in one my previous blogs about how I had got up earlier each day to write my book. This has got me thinking about how I should continue to do this and what I would do with this extra time. Should it be time for another book, work, housework or just for me time!


Your Extra Thirty Minutes a Day!

Well I have decided to learn how to play another musical instrument................... the clarinet. I have found the most amazing tutor and over the last four weeks we have, or rather I have! progressed to a stage where I can play a few tunes but the most important thing is that I am really enjoying myself and I have to concentrate on something completely different so therefore I have made a decision on how to best use my thirty extra minutes a day. We all need our own special time to reconnect ourselves as we all lead such busy lives and have to juggle between work and life balance.

So go on get up thirty minutes every day for a week and somewhere in that day use that time for something YOU want to do. See the difference and then make your own decision if you want to continue or not. I'm glad I have.

Christmas Shopping - Just An Idea


Chritsmas Ideas

Have you started your christmas shopping yet? are you half way through? or have you even finished with all wrapped and ready? Most of us will have started and perhaps have some ideas but are frantically trying to think of suitable gifts for our family and friends.

Of course, if you know of someone who is leaving home in 2012 perhaps to go to University or College or even moving out of the family home to rent or purchase a property for the first time then my book entitled " leaving home for the first time" would make an ideal extra present or stocking filler! At just £12.99 (introductory price) the cost of three magazines! this book is full with information and guidance for those leaving home for the very first time.

Walking Home In The Dark Evenings

Safety First Alone At Night





Walking home in the winter evenings can bring a few risks and here are a few tips to reduce these risks when you are out and about, particularly on your own.

  • Plan ahead before you go out, think about how you are going to get home. What time does the last bus train leave? Could you plan to travel home with a friend?
  • Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks. If the street is deserted walk down the middle of tghe pavement.
  • Think about what you would do if you felt threatened. Consider heading for a public place such as a shop, garage or a public house.
  • If you are worried then try and stay near a group of people.
  • Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
  • Try to use well lit, busy streets using routes that you know best.
  • Try to keep both hands free and do not walk with your hands in your pockets.
  • Whenever possible, walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers.


  • If you are travelling on public transport
  • Know your exact route and check departure times, especially those of the last buses or trains.
  • Try and have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so your purse or wallet is out of site.
  • Try and arrange for someone to meet you at the bus stop or train station. Or walk near people you trust and walk purposely to your destination.
  • Always carry a little extra money in case you get stranded and need to take another bus, train or cab.
  • On trains try and avoid empy compartments, if you feel uneasy move to another seat or carriage.

Carry with you at all times

  • A torch - and check it is still working on a regular basis
  • A mobile phone with a number stored for emergency and preferably one that you know will be answered!


Think safety at all times







Are You Planning A Firework Party This Weekend?



A fireworks party can be great fun for everyone but please, please take care and read the instructions on the firework's box and don't take any chances you may regret later.  We all know the dangers that can potentially happen if we do not!

That Extra Hour!

The Clocks Ticking!


What did you do with that extra hour last weekend? Probably most of us just caught up with some sleep and relaxed, but it made me think of how when I needed to put in extra hours to type and complete my book I decided to get up an hour earlier each day and to work for this amount of time. Seven whole hours extra to me over a week, that was a lot of time and played a significant part in me achieving the book being able to be printed pretty well much on schedule.

I have to say I have since slipped back a little, especially now in the winter months, but it has got me if I set my alarm clock again just an hour earlier each day what could I accomplish? How about you, has that made you think?


A Great Harvest

Every year there are harvest festival's held at schools and churches, the reason being is that this is the time of the year when all the crops have been harvested. Harvest festival is a celebration of the food grown on the land.
Thanksgiving ceremonies and celebrations are held across the world. Britain has seen thanks given for successful harvests since pagan times. Hymns are sung, prayers are said and churches are decorated with food and fruit usually during the month of September. I just love the above photograph with its array of bright winter vegetables and thought I would share my easy vegetable soup with you:-


1 large onion
2 leeks
2 sweet potatoes - cubed
1 small butternut squash
2 parsnips - chopped
2 carrots - chopped
2 pints of vegetable/chicken stock
1 clove garlic
chopped parsley


Soften the leeks and onions in butter. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 mins. Add all of the vegetables and then pour the stock over to cover. Place the lid on and simmer for 40-50 mins until the vegetables are soft. Use hand held blender or food processor to blitz until preferred texture reached, add more water if needed. Stir in the chopped parsley and enjoy on a winter's evening! Will make enough for four people and also freezes well.

Empty Nest!!

Alone Now Everyone Has Left Home?

If you have recently taken your son or daughter to University for the first time you may have come back home feeling a little lonely, and this, of course is quite natural. But try to take the opportunity to do all those things you promised you would. Your child will be embarking on a new lifestyle and an exciting adventure and who says that you cannot too! Don't dwell on time passing and indeed the past but look to the future with excitement of all it can bring both for yourself and your family.

Get back in touch with your friends both new and old ones who you may not have spoken to for some time, make those dates in the diary to get together. Join some clubs/societies of interest to you whether they be sport, other leisure or cultural and drag along a friend or be brave and go on your own, it won't be long before you make some new friends (just like your child will be).

Keep those calls, e mails and texts going on a regular basis with your child, that way you will be able to keep up with what's going on and give each other security whilst you are adjusting to the new changes.

Remember those holidays will soon come around and so will all that dirty washing! So go on, enjoy this time and make it special for yourself and your family and remember that others may be feeling just like you so make sure you talk and confide in each other about how your are feeling.

A Cricket Match!

It''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s Cricket Time

I recently went to a cricket match, the first I had been to for a long time   which was held between two local teams who play against each other once a year! The two teams arrived and the players met each other for the first time, hands were shaken, pats on back and general jovial laughter in anticipation of the game ahead. Afternoon tea being prepared with an abundance of cakes too! Throughout the game although taken serious, everyone was clearly having a great time finally encouraging two youngsters of a very early age to also join in at the end.

After the match of course, tea and drinking took place! and lots of commiserations for the losing team. This afternoon highlighted to me how people, who have not known each other before can come together in such a friendly manner and share a common love of a sport with families also being included. A wonderful english afternoon.

This highlighted to me the total friendliness between a group of people and mostly meeting for the first time, I hope that all the students leaving for university for the first time in the next few weeks will find the same attitude and friendliness and potentially life long friendships.


Tenants in London

For Rent

Sources inform us that the average rent in Greater London is £1,162.00 per month compared with the UK average  of £675.000. Tenants in London are therefore parting with more than half of their take home pay on rent!

Tenants paying a student loan could find their cash flow being a serious problem. For someone on the average salary in London of £37,000 repaying a student loan  would cost another £162.44 per month. Many of these tenants will just simply not be able to save to eventually purchase their own home.

20% of prospective tenants in Central London are failing to get through references with bonuses not being taken into account and many on short term contracts.

A serious struggle for many...............

Summer Holidays - Exciting Times! - Everyone Loves A Picnic!



Holiday Time or Just Relaxing?

I remember as a child having lots of picnics which I simply adored and still do! These often took the form of a full preparation of food and drink and travelling into Wales where a suitable position by a stream in a field would be found. Mother would lay out a blanket (usually the car rug) and lovely food would be spread out for everyone to enjoy! After plenty of running around playing games we would all collapse in a heap on the blanket to enjoy the prepared food.  Simply idyllic.

Often I would with a friend pack some bread, cheese, tomatoes and crisps! And go off with friends on our bikes to our local playing fields where again after plenty of fun we would enjoy our food parcels.

Simple pleasure and inexpensive, if you wish!

When was the last time you went out and simply had a fantastic picnic at a place you enjoy? Go on it’s summer...........................make the most of   it!

Government Announce New Affordable Homes


Housing Minister Grant Shapps this week announced Government plans to build thousands of new affordable homes over the next four years following bids under the new Affordable Rent scheme.

Ministers revealed that after assessing the bids their original aspiration to deliver 150,000 new homes by 2015 will be exceeded. Appetite for the Affordable Homes Programme has surpassed expectations, with 146 providers sharing almost £1.8 billion to build 80,000 homes under the programme - putting the Government on track to deliver up to 170,000 new homes by 2015, and safeguarding some 80,000 jobs in construction and related trades.

The programme allows social housing providers to charge a rent of up to 80% of the local market level, and use the additional income to support delivery of more affordable homes. Providers may also offer flexible tenancies to new tenants.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that funding for the scheme, which is part of a £4.5 billion Government investment in affordable housing over the current Spending Review period, would provide a major boost to people on housing waiting lists, and give a shot in the arm to the construction industry.

The Affordable Rent scheme is one of a number of efforts being made to move away from a “one size fits all” system of social housing to one where a range of options are available to meet local housing needs.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps: "The Affordable Homes Programme has received a ringing endorsement from the sector and confounded the critics who said the programme would not deliver in the current climate. So I'm pleased to announce that 146 providers are in line to share almost £1.8 billion cash to develop 80,000 new homes, many of which will be larger homes for families.

"There were some who predicted doom and said very few would want to be involved in this radical new approach. Others said it would work in the south east but nowhere else. But we now have a wealth of strong proposals, putting us on track to deliver up to 170,000 new affordable homes across the country over the next four years."

Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, which is delivering the Affordable Homes Programme, added: "The extremely strong response to the new Affordable Homes Programme shows the appetite among the agency's partners to deliver. Through our bidding process our local teams have worked with partners to achieve value for money and the best outcome for communities, the result being that we are now on course to deliver around 80,000 new homes far exceeding expectations."

The flexible tenancies under the Affordable Homes Programme will be for new tenants only - the lifetime tenancies and succession rights of existing council and housing association tenants will not be affected.

Source NAEA

Student Tenants


 Landlords have been reminded of the need to make special arrangements when renting property to student tenants.

Specific measures should be implemented to appeal to and accommodate students, due to the fact that they generally do not have an income.

This may mean offering them a lower weekly rent price and ensuring that they have a guarantor, such as the tenant's parents, in case anything goes wrong unexpectedly.

A growing number of councils are beginning to classify student accommodation as multiple occupations, which means landlords will need to take care to ensure they are complying with legislation.

Doing your homework and exercising due diligence is important from a landlord's perspective.

Student accommodation market is currently strong, provided that the quality of properties is up to scratch.

Which Area Do You Live in - Or Want To Move To? Take a look .......

Estate agency boards firm says that both house sales and new For Sale listings took a backward step, each making double digit falls.

The number of houses where For Sale boards converted to Sold June fell by 13.7% compared to May.

However, it is not unusual for house sales to fall in June as this has happened in five out of the last six years.

It was a far from uniform pattern across the UK: four regions had an uplift in monthly sales in June while others experienced significant falls.

The North-West had a really good month with a 26.3% increase in monthly house sales, as did Scotland, where the number of houses ‘Sold’ rose by 17.7%.

House sales in Wales were up 8.6% and in the West Midlands 2.8%. In the East Midlands, sales remained at May’s levels.

The heaviest falls in house sales in June were in the South-East (-18.8%), Greater London (-15.9%), Yorkshire (-14.9%) and the South-West (-14.8%).

Leicester was the city with the greatest increase in monthly house sales in June with a massive rise of 55%. Three other cities experienced an increase – York (20.4%), Newcastle (14.9%) and Milton Keynes (8.5%).

Across the UK, the number of houses that were put up ‘For Sale’ in June went down by 10.2% compared to May.

Again there were significant regional differences over the number of new ‘For Sale’ listings. Greater London was up 3.4%. However, the North-East saw a dramatic fall of -24.4% and Yorkshire saw a fall of -19.2% fall. In the South-West there was a drop of -16.5% and the East Midlands was down -15.1%.

Make interesting reading........................

Travelling Abroad Soon?

A World In Your Hands

Find out as much as you can about the country or countries that you are visiting
Research cultural, religious and political beliefs to avoid misunderstandings
Find out and practice a few phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting

Ask Questions and Look For Information

  • Talk to people that have been there
  • Check web forums and review sites
  • Pick up travel brochures or guides 
  • Check the internet 


  • Passports should be valid for at least 6 months after you plan to return from your travels
  • If your passport picture no longer looks like you, consider updating it
  • Check your passport isn’t too battered or damaged, this could cause problems at customs


Find out if you need visas for the country or countries you intend to visit


  • Ensure that you have travel insurance for your trip
  • Ensure that you read the small print on your travel insurance policy and that you are covered for all of the activities (e.g. working? extreme sports?) that you will be undertaking
  • Be aware that most insurance companies will refuse to pay if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when an incident occurs.


Purchase a return ticket if possible, you can always change the date on it if necessary (remember to check if there are charges for this though)


  • Find out if you need any vaccinations to travel to your chosen destination
  • If you take medication, ensure you have enough for while you’re travelling
  • If you are travelling within the EU, remember that you need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles you to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.


  • Ensure that you have enough money and some in reserve just in case
  • Think carefully about how you will carry your money – currency? Traveller’s cheques? Bank card?
  • While traveling, ensure that you keep your money secure – use a money belt and/or a reliable safe


Planning Ahead

  • Make photocopies of your passport, your travel tickets and all other important documents. Leave one set with someone you trust and take one set with you, preferably in a waterproof plastic envelope
  • You could scan these documents into your computer and keep them on file or even e-mail them to yourself
  • Make a note of emergency telephone numbers including:
  • Phone number and address of the British Consulate or Embassy in the country or countries you are visiting
  • The phone numbers to call if your credit card or traveller's cheque's get stolen and your insurance emergency number
  • Leave a copy of these numbers with someone at home in case you lose them
  • Make a note of the codes and telephone numbers of the friends and family in the UK. You may think that you know them off by heart but in a difficult situation or emergency your mind might well go blank.
  • Plan in advance how you are going to stay in touch with people at home
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with loved ones and keep them up to date with any changes in your plans
  • You could set up a blog to keep people at home informed of your travels

Remember that planning and preparation does not stop when your plane takes off. Keep thinking ahead all the time you are travelling. Talk to travellers you meet out there and see what advice or recommendations they have to offer. Talk to local people too, they are usually far better informed than even the best guidebook especially when it comes to where is safe and where is not in their area. Try and get into the habit of thinking “What if…” and you should be ready for most things.

Is Being Close To Work A Priority For You?


British homebuyers have cited close proximity to work as their main consideration when searching for a property.

According to new research carried out one-quarter of Brits - which equates to 12.6 million residents - looking to buy a new place would pay an average of £5,354 more in order to live near to the office.

Other popular choices among would-be buyers include additional space, with 29 per cent highlighting this is a priority, while decent public transport links was noted by 21 per cent of those questioned.

Buying Cheaper Than Renting In Some Towns


Renting a home in Britain is currently 9.7% more expensive than owning, on average.

It is cheaper to buy instead of rent in four out of five of the 50 largest towns and cities across the country.

New research from Zoopla looks at the current asking prices and rents of two-bedroom flats around the country and assumes interest-only mortgage payments of 5% pa to provide a comparison with the cost of renting.

The range of results by location provides an insight into where it is best to rent instead of buy, and vice-versa.

Milton Keynes tops the list of places where renting is the far less attractive option, with average rents exceeding the cost of servicing a mortgage by 43%, leaving renters there on average £2,964 per year worse off compared to owners.

At the other end of the scale, it is currently much more cost-effective to rent in Poole than buy, with renting 27% cheaper and the average tenant better off by £3,240 per year by renting instead of buying.

Even in London, which has by far the highest property prices in the country and where the average two-bedroom flat costs £431,366, buying is still 16% more cost-effective than renting.

With average rents at £2,137 per month in the capital versus an average cost of a 5% interest-only mortgage at £1,797 per month, renters pay an extra £4,080 annually compared with owners.

“The relative cost of renting as opposed to buying has increased over the past 12 months as rents have risen and house prices and interest rates have remained flat.

“Almost 750,000 would-be first-time buyers have reluctantly ended up as renters over the past three years as a result of being unable to get a mortgage. With current house prices and interest rates where they are and with rents on the rise, for those who can get a mortgage, there may never have been a better time to buy.”

A New Job For You? Get Your CV Ready!


The Companies Who Are Recruiting - Take a look.............................

Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide is a leading global hospitality company, with over 3,000 hotels totaling over 500,000 hotel rooms in 80 countries and territories. The company already has over 100,000 team members worldwide who have access to a wide range of benefits, training and development support.
Hilton has a variety of opportunities whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out in this industry, e.g. in the areas of catering, hospitality, senior management or customer service.

Caffé Nero
Caffè Nero has over 400 stores, nearly 3,000 employees, and has become one of the best recognised and most admired food and beverage brands in all of Britain. The company is currently opening new stores every year, providing career opportunities for new and existing team members. 
Caffè Nero currently has openings in various UK locations, mostly for Managers in Training and Assistant Managers.

Formed in 2002, Tragus is one of the UK's largest independently owned restaurant operators with over 285 sites across the country serving over 21 million meals a year. The portfolio of leading brands are operated as four divisions -- Café Rouge, Strada, Bella Italia, and the Brasseries -- with offerings ranging from pizza and pasta to French classics.
Tragus is hiring Head Chefs, Sous Chefs, Assistant Managers and Managers for their four divisions across the UK.

Hertz is the world's largest vehicle renting organisation and operates from approximately 8100 locations in 147 countries worldwide. Today, Hertz's Worldwide Reservations Centers handle approximately 40 million phone calls and deliver approximately 30 million reservations annually.
Hertz offers exciting career opportunities for starters, but also for experienced managers. Hertz is recruiting Customer Service Representatives all throughout Europe.

UPS, or United Parcel Service Inc., is the largest express carrier and package delivery company in the world. Every day UPS manages the flow of goods, funds and information in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
UPS is hiring Multi Drop Drivers and in addition has openings Marketing, HR and Sales.

Anchor Trust
Anchor Trust offers a range of services to maintain people's independence which include care homes, sheltered housing, care in your home and home improvements. They manage estates for older people as well as run their own vibrant retirement village.
Anchor is looking for care workers in residential homes and in the community as well as nursing, domestic, catering and housekeeping staff, care specialists, managers and those in technical trades, such as plumbers, electricians and drivers.

Anglian Home Improvements
Anglian was established in 1966 and is renowned in the UK as the number one supplier of high quality home improvements. Over the years Anglian has expanded and opened many new factories. Their renowned uPVC windows have been installed in thousands of homes the length and breadth of the country.
Anglian Home Improvements has opportunities nationwide for self employed commission based sales roles.

Nigel Frank International
As one of the leading advertisers of Microsft Dynamics and Sage positions in Europe Nigel Frank International have establised themselves as the supplier of choice to hundreds of different companies in the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France.
Nigel Frank International presents Microsoft Dynamics professionals with the largest choice of Dynamics AX jobs by advertising more AX jobs than any other recruitment agency. Demand for Axapta Consultants, Axapta Developers and Axapta Support staff is booming and as such it is the perfect time to be looking for Microsoft Dynamics AX jobs / Axapta jobs.

Good luck and remember never get a second chance to make a first impression!




Be just a little mindful before you post details of your holidays!

This is extremely sound advice for every reason bar one. The entire point of sites like Facebook, Twitter and the like is to share what's going on in your life with your friends and family. And even if you scrupulously avoid uploading holiday snaps and details of what's going on while away from home, your friends could well comment on your wall/mention that you are on holiday in a tweet.

Before you go on holiday

Make sure your privacy settings are right. Most social networks allow you to clamp down on who can see what's on your page and who can't.

Are You An Early Bird?

Early Bird


Whilst writing my latest book 'Leaving Home For The First Time' I found the easiest time to write was early in the morning! and when I say early I often was at the computer (with a mug of tea) at 5.30am. This time of the morning, if you can do it! is very special as it's so quiet, with just the birds for company, but with the excitement of another day and all it brings.

When the sun was starting to peep through it made it even more special. Are you an early bird? Do you plan for the future or even what just lies ahead the next few months? If you, or someone you know is planning to leave home soon whether it be for univeristy, to rent or purchase a home then this book is for you. Will you be an early bird and get your copy soon the price will not be £12.99 for much longer! Take advantage now.

Purchasing a Property?


It's called the asking price for a reason: Sellers are always hopeful that someone will fall in love with the property and pay the top end price. This was certainly true during the boom years at the start of the millennium but the economic turmoil of recent years has swung the power in favour of buyers.

Many househunters offer around 10% less than the asking price to start negotiations although it depends how quickly the seller is looking to move, how much interest there has been in the property and how long it has been on the market.

The latest figures from Hometrack show that buyers stumped up 92.6% of the asking price in April. Meanwhile, developers are also keen to woo reluctant buyers with a variety of packages through from paying stamp duty and solicitors fees to money towards mortgage repayments and free fixtures and fittings.

Let's Talk!


When you are thinking about purchasing your next mobile phone - be careful before you sign up!

Customers can be left feeling short-changed by 'Unlimited Usage' promises which fail to live up to their name. Most companies operate a Fair Usage Policy which places very definite limits on a caller's usage. These restrictions are often poorly advertised, mentioned only in the smallest of small print.

The Advertising Standards Authority has decided that the word 'unlimited' can still be used, provided the same advertisement clearly states that it is subject to a Fair Usage Policy. Lots of companies are still being less than transparent about the existence of Fair Usage, so check your contract carefully.

If you intend to use your phone abroad, extra charges are inevitable. Calls can cost up to £2 a minute and mobile internet charges can be extortionate. Be aware of these points when purchasing a phone:

  • Pay-as-you-go mobiles are more expensive to use abroad than contract mobiles
  • Texts cost up to four times more overseas
  • You pay to both make and receive calls when abroad (receipt of texts is free within the EU)
  • Internet surfing is considerably more pricey abroad. Under new EU roaming rules, if you are travelling within the EU your provider has to offer you a cut-off limit facility to warn you when you reach a certain limit (currently the cut off point is 50 Euros).
  • Mobile roaming calls, texts and internet use are almost never included in any 'free' minutes usually included in your tariff.

The most severe form of mis-selling is referred to as 'slamming'. This is when your service is transferred to a new telephone company without your knowledge or consent. This is a serious and punishable offence in the telecoms industry, and can be truly sneaky.

Sales people may claim to represent a different company, or you might be told you are signing up 'for information only' when you are actually entering into a new contract. There are even reports that customer signatures have been forged on paperwork.

The good news is that Ofcom, the telecommunications watchdog, has introduced tough rules that mean that if a provider engages in dishonest, misleading or deceptive conduct they can be fined up to 10% of their turnover.

People on the wrong tariff might be under-using their allowance, and may have been sold substantially more 'free' call minutes or texts than they need. Others might be regularly exceeding their monthly limit and finding that they have to pay extra for additional texts and phone calls. Some are paying for benefits such as increased text and data allowance which they are not using.

You may also be pressurised into signing a lengthy contract, and promises of free handsets see people locking themselves into 24 month contracts.

Research actually shows that it is more cost-effective to go for the longer contract terms, but there are negatives: it will be two years before you qualify for an upgrade or can switch provider. A recent EU ruling states that mobile operators must now offer a 12 month contract, a rule that is being enforced by Ofcom.

As mobile phones become smarter and handsets become more expensive, sales people may lure you into unnecessary insurance deals. Unless you have a handset that would be expensive to replace, consider whether you need insurance at all. With the amount of excess you might have to pay, it may not be worth it.

Consider including your phone on your home contents insurance. Just be aware of what the policy covers and how much it will add to your premium. It may also be a slow process to get a replacement phone if something goes wrong.

Also if you are only intending to use a mobile phone and not have a landline be sure that you will have sufficient signal power to take and make calls. Be careful, particularly if you live alone and may need to make an urgent call it may be wise to still have a landline too!

Use Your Local Farmer's Market!



Farmers' Market - Try Your Local One!

Location: There's something wonderful about a farmers' market that's just down the street or around the corner. The closer the market, the more you feel as if you're investing in your local economy.

Variety: A well-rounded farmers' market will have produce, meat and even dairy products. The most popular ones also feature street performers and tasty food booths which can be great fun.

Atmosphere: Farmers' markets should feel organic and earthy, not corporate or clustered. The organization and layout of the market should make it easy for visitors to find vendors and products, so that regulars feel valued and newcomers are welcomed.

Consistency: In order to build and maintain a following, the best farmers' markets happen at the same time on the same day every week. It's frustrating to find upon arrival that a farmers' market you visited on a recent Wednesday has been shifted to Tuesday---or is no longer held at all.

Compare the price for fruit and vegetables with your local supermarket! you may have a surprise.

When you have left home for the first time visiting your local market will also help you build up contacts and friendship in the local area and  don't be afraid to ask for advice on local services and recommendations. After all, these seller's will have probably lived in or near the community for a while.

Also help ensure you get your five a day!


Nearly Finished!


It has been a very exciting and often exhausting few months! But finally my book is nearly finished............I am on the finishing touches and the launch date will be the 19th April and will (fingers crossed with technology) be available to be purchased and downloaded onto your computers that day.

If anyone has any last suggestions or indeed any subject they particularly want answers to be included in the book then please e mail me at hopefully they will have already been included. Once my e book is up and ready then I will be having dvd discs prepared and hard copies of the book too.

A special thanks to everyone who has helped me.

Keep Safe!


Safety First


"OVEN chips caused a kitchen fire at a flat at local University. Two fire engines attended the flat after receiving an alert at about 7.20pm on Sunday.




Firefighters made sure that a fire that had broken out in an unattended stove in the ground-floor communal kitchen was fully extinguished before they used positive pressure ventilation to help clear smoke from the flat and the one above it. "


The above article was from a local paper and highlights the possible dangers when leaving hot fat unattended with serious consequences! Make sure you read and take preventative advisory measures from my book on how to avoid such accidents and, if, sadly they happen what action you will need to take.



 We all know we should exercise and on a regular basis too! I know that I don't exercise enough, I sit for far too long in front of my computer and whilst I was typing an article for the new book on exercise it really got me thinking about how little I do and how I really need to change this and fast.


Too Much Salt?

We all need salt in our diet. But having too much is linked to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Do you know how much is good for you? In my previous blog we looked at the importance of understanding food labels and in particular the sugar and salt content in our food.

Food Labels - Can Be A Big Surprise!

Food Label Adcvice

Food labels can reveal quite a surprise!

By reading your food labels you will be able to choose the types of foods that are the lowest in salt, fat and sugar. Therefore helping you to rapidly cut down on salt, sugar and saturated fats.

Food labels contain so much information, it’s often difficult to know what you should be looking for and what it all means. If you want to improve your diet and make healthy choices it is important to check the labels of the food you eat.

Most products have nutritional information on the label. Some products also have traffic lights on the front of the product, these help you to make an informed and healthier decision of the foods you want to eat. The healthy foods to opt for are those that are low in total fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar.

To help you to choose the right foods, many foods now have red, amber and green ‘traffic lights’ on the front of their packaging. This is part of the Food Standards Agency ‘traffic lights’ system that lets you see at a glance whether a food is low, medium or high in fat, saturated fat, salt and added sugars.

By choosing foods that have as many green or amber lights as possible, you will be making sure that you eat foods that only have low or medium levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar.


For Second and Third Year Students

Students returning for their second or third year at university this autumn are being advised to submit their applications for student loans now to avoid headaches later in the year.

The Student Loan Company has launched a new system to handle repeat applications, but with more than 100,000 returning students in the West Midlands area, delays still remain a risk.

Non-means tested students simply need to sign and return the form they receive from the SLC.

For students who wish their family situation to be taken into account, the quickest way to apply is by going online at The best way for students to ensure they are financially stable for their next year of studying is to apply for their finance now.

The system still needs returning students to apply correctly in order to receive their money in time.

Up Up And Away!

I love this photograph! A plane heading high into the sky and an air balloon also reaching upwards.It made me think how exciting it is when you leave home for the first time going upwards, slightly into the unknown.

It also made me think that not only are people leaving home to live in the United Kingdom but that there   are many that are moving away to abroad to work or to live permanently. Something that I had not considered particularly.

Therefore whilst my new book is packed with information in the uk lot and lots of advice would also be applicable to those moving abroad! Which is great news, so if that is you or a relative or friend then make sure you have a copy inside your case!.

YOU never know when you might need some of the advice and quality information inside.

Up and away

I Guarantee!

Some Old Books!


I guarantee my book will not be left unused on a bookshelf collecting dust! You will want to use it time and time again. A reference for this and a reference for that!. This book is aimed at every person who is leaving home for the first time, or perhaps someone who has recently left home.

Giving you practical and straightforward guidance from initial planning, your budget,where to live and cooking healthy food too!

Don't leave home without YOUR copy



Which Path To Take!


Leaving home for the very first time is very exciting but can naturally give you, and your parents! some concerns. By planning carefully before you leave can make the transition much easier  and less stressful for you.

This photo highlighted to me how many youngsters when leaving home may not know which path to take and where it will lead them. My new and straightforward guide will be launched on the 9th April initially in eBook format, then hardcopy and cd format. It will guide you and be by your side with some great advice when needed.

Don't leave home without it

Which Path To Take

Click here for RSS feed