Looking for a mortgage?

It can be so exciting when you are looking to purchase your first home, especially if you were previously renting or living in your family home and wanting to venture out into the big wide world on your own or with a partner or friend and own your own place.

Before you start looking at houses or flats it’s so important you sit down and work out how much you have as a deposit and what you can afford. It can be difficult to know what you can afford in terms of a mortgage. There are lots of great online tools that can help you work out how much you can realistically borrow for a mortgage.

Image credit: pixabay

The government also have some great advice which can help, especially for first time buyers as they have a really good help to buy scheme. It’s important you spend time looking online at all of the different advice available, especially if you are struggling with guidance when looking to apply for your very first mortgage.

It’s important to take age into consideration when applying for a mortgage as you need to calculate how many years of work you think you will have to then work out what term is best for a mortgage, typically mortgages are 25-35 years long but they all depend on the amount borrowed and your age.

Mortgage calculator

I wish I had known about this when we applied for our first mortgage as we had no idea what we were going and had to have so many appointments with the estate agents and the bank trying to sort things out and they wanted so much information from us and working out what you can borrow can be tough if you also have a job that earns commission as they wonky want to take into consideration your basic wage as that’s guaranteed money. They also look into all your spending as it’s important to work out that you get a mortgage you can afford. This online tool is so easy to use and also comes in really handing when wanting to remortgage.

You may be looking to remortgage if your finances change or if you want to borrow more money for an extension or work on your property or even if you wanted to move. It can be so hard to know where to turn to or who to go to for advise so using an online calculator to work out what you can afford if you remortgage is really helpful.

Sarah x

3 Benefits of Choosing a Local Window Installer

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Home improvement projects are always exciting for most homeowners. However, there are so many factors that can decide whether the projects will be successful and the results are ideal.

In addition to the comprehensive planning steps like obtaining building permits and figuring out the budget, people always need to find reliable contractors to help them put the fancy ideas into reality. No matter if you need to work with a professional landscaping Toronto company, a dumpster bin rental service provider or an appliance repair company, you should consider local ones. So does the window installer. For people who want to build a brand new house, they can not only work with local window installers, but also consider a custom home builder to get a consistent house.

Whether you want to install triple pane windows or get a window replacement done, you’ve got a decision to make. Should you go with a big company or seek out the services of a local window installer? While many simply go with the big company, you are doing yourself a disservice not to consider a local installer and we’ll tell you why.

Here are 3 strong benefits to going with a local window installer that you might not have considered.

Recommendations that you can rely on

A local window installer doesn’t have a huge database of customers. They do business locally and as such, word of mouth can really make or break their business. When you read an online review for a larger company, you never really know if those testimonials were paid for.

With a local window installer, all the reviews are likely from your neighborhood or close.

You can go and see examples of their work before you commit

Maybe you are considering having some vinyl windows put in or want to otherwise enhance your home windows and doors. With a larger company, you can’t really go and see examples of their work very easily.

With a local window installer, you can ask about work they’ve done and likely with a little drive you can see their actual work. You might even decide that you have some new ideas for your own window replacement based on the work you’ve just seen!

Personalized service means something – especially these days

Finally, with a big business there is a bit of an imbalance. You are seeking them out for their name, but to them you are often just a number. With a local window installer, you get personalized business that you can put a face and name to.

These people rely on your good word and on your satisfaction, so they are going to treat you much better than a big business somewhere that handles nothing but bulk business as fast as possible. With a local installer, you get custom care and if you have concerns about the work, you can bet that they will be addressed!

Nowadays, you can make lots of custom changes to a nice window or door. For example, you can choose the material and color for the windows; also you can customize the entry door with smart lock installation. There are tons of details you can discuss with a resourceful local window installer.

In closing

Going with a local window installer for your window and door needs is really the best choice if you want service that is personalized, quality, and that stands by their reputation. You can get recommendations from people in your area, you can see examples of their work, and you are definitely not just a number to them – you are a valued customer.

So, do yourself a favor and give it some consideration. A local window installer really is the best fit!

Sarah x

Improve energy efficiency with the right windows

Energy efficiency is extremely important in any home. In the winter, heat can easily escape through old windows and doors, for example. You will end up paying that much more each month and the same goes for your air conditioner in summer.

So, to ensure that you don’t spend too much on your energy bills, you should look into installing the right windows and doors to ensure maximum insulation. It is true that you need to take into account many factors when choosing the new products, but you can save much time if you work with your local window installers. They should have the right knowledge and experience to help you find energy efficient and affordable products. 

Low-E coatings

Low-E coatings are also known as Low Emissivity coatings. They help limit the amount of energy lost through your windows. They are very thin layers that you can hardly even see. They help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter so they are an excellent investment. 

You can also consider triple pane windows, which have the best performance in conserving energy. They are quite popular in cold places like Canada. 

Insulating your windows

There are many different ways of adding insulation around your windows. These include rubber sealing, magnetic inserts, caulking and draft snakes. Different methods will suit different budgets and each method has its own pros and cons. Make sure that you choose the right option to suit your needs and budget. 

Styles

The windows you install will define the theme and design scheme of your property. They can set your property apart from all the rest. Old or worn windows are a security risk, they are unattractive and they will also allow for air (and possibly water) infiltration, leading to energy loss. 


Speaking of window styles, remember that they don’t just allow air into your home. If you install bay or bow windows, you can actually make your home more spacious and bright! It’s not an optical illusion either. You can use the space created for extra seating, a reading nook or even a place to set your beautiful piano. There are many ways of putting this space to great use while achieving energy efficiency.

Patio Doors

These doors can make or break the room leading to your patio. You can take your pick from sliding or regular patio doors. If you opt for doors with hinges, make sure that you have enough space for them to open completely. If not, sliding patio doors are your best bet. The right energy efficient doors can really open up your living space and create the impression of a bigger room. 

Different frame materials

The materials from which your window frames are made are also important. Each type of material conducts heat and cold temperatures differently. For instance, metal frames will transfer heat and cold very easily. Vinyl frames do not offer much conductivity which means that they offer better insulation. Not to mention the fact that they have chambers in between which helps slow the temperature transfer process. If you are considering installing new entry doors, you should think about fiberglass doors, which is a great energy efficient option for homeowners. 

Installation process

Windows should always be installed by a professional in order to ensure that they work properly. Incorrectly installed windows will allow air and water infiltration which can even result in damage to the surrounding walls. 

Add Curtains

In addition to choosing the right windows for your home, you can take it a step further by installing curtains. They will help block out the sun in summer and act as an additional barrier against the cold in the winter. A beautiful custom drape can also elevate your home style.

Improved home value

Once you have installed new windows in your home, you can be bold enough to up the asking price. You should consider the financial investment that you have made and figure this into your final asking amount. Of course there will be many other additions you can think of. For example, you can install new epoxy garage floors or repair kitchen appliances to elevate your home.

You need to invest in quality rather than simply choosing the cheapest option available. Your new windows should be covered by a warranty and the vendor should provide you with all the product details you need to make an informed decision. The quality product and reliable installation services are a must for providing the lasting protection and comfort for your home in the future years.

Sarah x

A Melt In Time – Wax Melts

Post contains gifted products:

Wax melts seem to be taking over, before this year I hadn’t even heard of them and I was just using regular scented candles but now I’m hooked on melts. There are so many great companies out there making them and I have been trying out some new scents from A Melt In Time.

I find wax melts hold the scent a lot better and it also smells stronger. With a lot of candles they lose the scent by the time you get half way down but with wax melts they smell good the whole time they are melting and can be reheated to melt again and still have a good scent.

The scents I have been trying out are:

Madam Coco – This is inspired by a perfume and it smells very fruity but also floral at the same time. It’s the kind of scent that reminds me of a posh hotel and it makes your room smell amazing. It would be great to melt if you were having guests over and wanted to impress them!

Bedtime Baby Bath – This has a really calming scent. A mixture of lavender and other floral notes it really is nice to melt before bed to help you relax and calm down after a stressful day and also set you up for a good nights sleep. I love scents like this in the bedroom to really make bedtime as relaxing as possible.

Spring Awakening – Inspired by that fresh washing smell this is a must have for anyone that loves that clean house smell. Perfect to melt once you have cleaned the house to make it feel extra fresh or just to have to freshen up and make it smell like you have just cleaned and hung a load of washing out! This would be a mother great one to use if having visitors.

They have so many other great scents and a lot are inspired by popular perfumes and familiar scents. I think they are really reasonably priced too at £3.99 a pack

They only use 100% natural wax, meaning every melt is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. All of their wax melts contain 6 Square Blocks, which will offer between 30 – 40 hours burning time.

Sarah x

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2021

This post contains gifted products:

If you have been a reader for a while you will know that I love putting together gift guides.

With Father’s Day approaching, it can be difficult to decide what to buy, especially if you have multiple people to buy for. For me, I usually have to decide on presents for my dad, my step dad, my father in law and my grandad. It can get difficult trying to pick what to buy everyone.

I know shopping is difficult at the moment with Covid restrictions in the UK but all of the ideas I have mentioned can be purchased online and if you don’t live with the recipient you can simply get it sent direct to their house.

Accessories

Personalised Wallet

£24.95

This black leather personalised card holder from Visconti, is embossed by Engravers Guild of London with either gold foil, silver foil or blind.

This card holder offers six credit card pockets and a central slip compartment for daily essentials such as notes or coins. It is designed to offer a more discrete line when carried in a pocket.

It has been hand crafted from vegetable tan leather and finished with a luxurious lining.

The black leather card holder measures 8cm by 10cm and is delivered in a signature Visconti presentation box.

Trendhim – Lannie Black Foldable Bum Bag

£39

This black bum bag is crafted from lightweight fabric and fitted with 4 zipped pockets that’ll hold your phone, keys and wallet – all of your daily must-haves. It is made out of durable material and is water resistant.

The adjustable, buckled strap is great for when you want to go hands-free and can be worn across the body or around your waist. When travelling or not using the bag you can fold it inside the inner zipped pocket.

Skincare

SB Lux Whipped Shea Nourishing Butter

£16

This cruelty free, vegan and sulphate free butter is rich in Vitamins A, E & F, as well as fatty acids, as well as being infused with Lavender, Rose Geranium and Honey fragrances, giving it a fresh delicate aroma. 

Shea Butter is highly nutritious for the skin & is very moisturising and works wonderfully in conditioning and toning the skin. It melts deep into the epidermis without clogging pores, allowing the skin to breathe freely.

SB Lux Black Clay & Liquorice Illuminating Face Mask

£17

This delicious smelling Face Mask contains dead sea mud, kaolin clay, activated charcoal and liquorice root extract. Infused with Blackberry and Ylang Ylang Essential Oil blend, these ingredients work together to produce a spa at home feel. 

The activated charcoal mask helps draw out bacteria as well as dirt and impurities from the surface of the skin. The liquorice root acts as an anti-inflammatory soothing agent, whilst the black clay and kaolin clay provide a deep cleanse and radiant skin. It leaves your face feeling so clean and smooth.

Beeutifal Man – Black Pepper & Sandalwood Facial Balm

£22.50

Beeutiful’s blend of beeswax & jojoba oil are teamed with masculine black pepper & sandalwood in this light but hydrating facial balm. With anti-inflammatory, astringent & soothing properties skin is instantly hydrated whilst also protected from the elements & all without clogging pores. It smells really good and with zero water content a balm goes a long way & you’ll need less than you do a cream. Less is more with a balm so start with a pea sized amount & add more if necessary.

Jim’s Bricks – Shower

£3.75

Jim’s shower bricks are made with coconut oil, olive oil, water and castor oil. The scented bricks also have essential oils added. They come in a great range of scents and are so easy to use. You can use the shower bricks for both body and hair.

Jim’s Bricks – Shampoo

£3.95 each

Jim’s shampoo bricks are very similar to the shower bricks but they have an added conditioning ingredient (cocoa butter) for your hair. They come in the same great scents as the shower bricks so you can mix them up or use the same scents at once.

Jim’s Bricks – Brick Tray

£5

The best way to store your brick is out of the shower on a holder that lets the water drain off and allows your brick to dry and be ready for your next use.

Their wooden brick tray is perfect for this job.They are made locally to them, these beautifully crafted trays are made from FSC Beech wood. They are grooved on both sides for maximum drainage and use, these wooden holders are the perfect tray for your bricks.

Gruum- Ultimate Beard Kit

£50

The ultimate beard kit contains:

1 x Washbag

1 x Beard oil

1 x Beard wax

1 x Beard comb

1 x Exfoliating face wash

1 x Gentle moisturiser

1 x Rejuvenating facial tonic

Built with practicality in mind this kit has everything you need without taking up too much space in your bathroom. It is designed to look after your skin beneath, as well as your facial fuzz itself.

This set contains the kóri Exfoliating Face Wash to brighten complexion, pür Gentle Moisturiser to rehydrate the skin and the gösta Rejuvenating Facial Tonic to refresh. The bård Beard Shampoo, leif Beard Oil, tor Beard Wax and limited edition comb keep your fuzz looking fresh, with natural beeswax and Argan and Jojoba Oil working together to nourish and shape the hair.

Rubis Sweezers

£14.50

These Rubis sweezers are precise and reliable. The angled precision tip reliably holds even the smallest hairs across the entire tip. Eyebrows can be easily plucked and shaped into a perfect shape.

They are Hand-made in perfection. Each individual tweezers are made in Switzerland, checked by hand, sanded and precisely matched to each other.

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Fluide

£28

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Fluide is a velvety smooth lotion that replenishes the moisture your skin needs, leaving it soft and supple. You can apply it to your entire body after a bath or shower to seal in moisture. It is a lighter version of the famous Lait-Crème Concentré that contains the same natural, nourishing and hydrating active ingredients. It is quickly absorbed, it leaves skin smooth, soft and supple.

Food & Drink

Two Brooks Hard Seltzers

Available in 3 flavours

12 cans for £23.99

These gluten free and vegan drinks from Two Brooks are all about the natural and the simple, the coming together of fruit spirit on the one hand, perfectly balanced with sparkling water on the other. It is a light and refreshing mixed drink gently infused with natural fruit flavours – nothing more, nothing less.

They come in three flavours: Mango, Lime & Mint and Passion Fruit.

Il Gusto – Elysee Bottle of H Gin

£26.50

The Elysee bottle filled with Il gusto gin is the perfect personalised gift for every occasion.

All the IL Gusto Gins are Handcrafted and they work with French gin producers to source gins of exceptional quality in exclusivity for the UK.

You can choose from 13 gin flavours and they also have different bottle options and other liquors or even a good selection of oils and vinegars for those that don’t drink alcohol. You can also have the bottle personalised.

The Chuckling Cheese Company – You’re Not Old, You’re Vintage

£25

This vintage box contains:

• Vintage Cheddar – a 3 and a half year old Cheddar with a bite!

• Charcoal Cheddar –  a popular cheddar infused with edible charcoal.

• Strongest Cheddar –  a 2 and half year old cheddar with an intense tangy flavour.

• Batemans Vintage Ale special limited-edition beer based on a 40-year-old barley wine. 

• A pack of pork scratchings, perfect size bag of pork scratchings that are ideal for snacking.

• A pack of interesting flavoured Pipers crisps.

• A bottle of comedy age related beer.

It is a great selection of food and drink that would make a really great gift. They have so many other boxes to pick from too.

Haribo Starmix Gift Box

Haribo Football Mix Share Size

Both can be bought from Heron Foods, B&M, Sainsbury’s, Spar and Co-op – Prices vary.

If you want a gift that is as sweet as Starmix, the cute Haribo starmix giftbox packed with the iconic Egg, Ring, Bear, Cola Bottle and Heart shaped pieces is a real treat. It is a family favourite for over 25 years, and will certainly deliver a moment of childlike happiness for Dad.

Let’s not forget about their Football Mix. With its football shaped, fruity pieces you’ll be sure to score with this pocket money gesture for all those footy fans out there!

Honeybuns Gift Box

Pricing depends on cake options selected. I picked out a tin of 8 x chocolatey cake slices including : brownies/blondies/choc caramel shortbread & more. All gluten free plus vegan options.

Honeybuns have a great range of cakes and you can make up your own tin with whatever cakes you want. They are all individually wrapped for freshness.

Find Me A Gift – Personalised Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar

£12.99

You can choose from 360g or 850g of delicious Dairy Milk chocolate, depending on just how much they adore Cadbury Dairy Milk – and how much their stomach can take of it, too.

With a heart motif on each bar sleeve, they will know just how much you care, because everyone needs reminding that they’re loved every once in a while.

You can personalise the chocolate bar with a name of up to twelve characters, so everyone knows exactly who it belongs to!

Find Me A Gift – Personalised Old Fashioned Sweet Shop

£20.99

Designed to look like a traditional, old fashioned sweet shop, with a candy striped roof and a window full of goodies, as well as being finished with a personalised gift card with a name and message of your choice, this beautiful gift box is bursting with nostalgic magic!

It includes Flying Saucers, Love Hearts, Cola Bottles, Lovely Lollies, Parma Violets, and so much more. Perfect for someone who has a serious sweet tooth!

Find me a gift have such a great range of Father’s day gifts to pick from.

Traeger Grills BBQ Rubs

Pricing depends on stockist

Whether you’re cooking meat, fish or vegetables the range includes something for all tastebuds. From jerky, coffee and veggie rubs to a signature Traeger rub or the irresistible Apricot BBQ sauce, this tasty collection is sure to deliver BBQ perfection every time.

Traeger’s range of accessories, rubs, sauces and wood pellets are available from Dobbies, Hillier’s and The Orchard (Ireland) and leading independent garden centres all over the UK.

They are so easy to use and create some really great flavours!

Prezzybox – Personalised Football Cadbury Favorites Box

£24.99

Score some extra points on Father’s day with this sweet Personalised Football Favorites Box.

A brilliant gift for someone who loves a bit of footy, this box of goodness is packed full with 20 45g Cadbury Dairy Milk bars – that they can enjoy while watching their fave team play.

The bespoke outer sleeve can be personalised with their team, name and a sweet message.

ChocFACE Edible chocolate box

£14.95

ChocFACE can turn your treasured photo memories into delicious Belgian chocolates, presented in a gift box that fits through the letter box. It’s the ideal gift for Fathers day.

Each square of chocolate is printed with edible inks and they are so easy to design. You simply upload your snaps online and create a box of chocolate photos entirely personal to you and the recipient.

ChocFACE uses edible colour printed onto a top layer of white chocolate to create remarkable image resolution. This in turn sits on a Belgian milk chocolate base to create a deliciously tasty treat. Each box contains one large, printed chocolate slab and five smaller ones.

Homeware

Sussex Wax Melt Co – Perfume Trio – Him

£5

Sussex wax melt co produce beautifully smelling wax melts and this trio is a great try me pack.

Sauvage has top notes of Bergamot and features Ambroxan which creates a luxurious woody scent.

One Million features top notes of grapefruit, blood orange and rose, spiced with cinnamon and mint. Mingling with the soft white woods are patchouli, amber and leather.

Bleu is a dark sophisticated fragrance with herbaceous top notes of lavender, basil, cypress and chamomile freshened with grapefruit, lemon and bergamot resting on an intense woody accord of patchouli, vetiver, sandal, musk, amber and cedarwood.

Pack contains 2 of each scent (6 in total)

Six Yards Out – Arsenal 1991-93 Away Shirt Retro Football Mug

£9.99

This retro Arsenal football Shirt has been brought back to life with a retro football mug. This Arsenal mug is from the 1991, 1992 & 1993 seasons. 

Their retro football mugs are designed to be as close to the shirt as possible and you can also request a shirt of your choice to be made into a mug. They are dishwasher proof and microwave safe.

Asda Photo – Premium Canvas 16×24″ (40x60cm)

£39

Price depends on type of canvas and size

Canvas prints are a great way to brighten up any plain wall. You can choose from a range of single, large or multiple canvases to create the perfect unique gift for him.

The canvas prints from asda are always such great quality and you can stretch them further if required. They are easy to hang up and always look really good.

Find Me A Gift – G Clamp Bottle Opener

£11.99

This G Clamp Bottle Opener is quick and easy to use. Simply clamp it temporarily to a table, bench, counter or shelf (basically the closest thing with a jut to them) and open bottle after bottle with ease, making that drink so much more tasteful and enjoyable. 

This is a great gift if he is into DIY or has an at home bar.

Prezzybox – Sound Asleep iMusic Pillow

£14.99

This soft pillow is not only a place to put your sleepy head but it has speakers built inside so you can relax with no headphones and listen to your music in your pillow.

The speakers are inside of the pillow and make it a lot easier and more comfortable to listen to your music as you nod off. You can slowly drift off listening to your favourite music every night.

All you need to do is connect your pillow to something to play your music from, it’s all connected through the headphone jack!

I really hope I have inspired you and given you some good ideas!

Sarah x

How To Make Your Home Feel Bigger (Without Making An Extension)

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Image Source – Pixabay

Wish you had a bigger home? You are not alone.

Sadly, most people must learn to live with a slightly smaller property than they’d like due to high property prices. However, you can still build a winning relationship with the home. One of the most important factors is to remember that your surroundings reflect you as a person. With a conscious effort to transform the space, you can also enhance your life.

When looking at ways to make the home feel bigger, extensions are the most obvious solution. However, you don’t have to take such drastic action. Here are some alternatives.

Revamp Unused Spaces

It’s hard to complain about a lack of space when you fail to utilise the existing living areas. The harsh reality is that a lot of homeowners fail to unlock the full potential of their properties. In many cases, the chief reason is that they make decisions based on expectations rather than what is best for the home.

Leaving the guest room as an unused bedroom is a massive waste. Likewise, garages and conservatories are regularly underutilised. Now is the time to put things right. Whether turning those spaces into offices, gyms, or playrooms is up to you. Either way, they will serve a better purpose and function to your family.

Aside from the direct benefits gained by giving the room an extra purpose, it reduces the pressure on other parts of the property.

Find Extra Storage

The modern family holds more possessions than any previous generation. If your property was built many years ago, it’s quite likely that the storage facilities aren’t quite suited to the modern era. Therefore, it’s imperative that you take advantage of any available spaces while also creating new ones.

Simple ideas can claw back valuable space. For example, the addition of beautiful decorative wall hooks will provide extra storage space. In hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Meanwhile, internal organisation can transform cabinets, cupboards, and drawers for the better.

Embracing modern tech by adopting paperless billing is another highly popular method. It can free up valuable space around the home.

Avoid Clutter

Living spaces should be living. Sadly, it is very difficult to do this when your home feels cluttered and claustrophobic. First and foremost, you should want to remove unwanted goods. Whether you trash them or sell them, the additional space that’s created will have a huge influence on your future.

However, removing junk isn’t the only key step to success. You must also try to save valuable floor space wherever possible. Mounting the television to the wall is a good example of how to do this. Likewise, display cabinets can be traded for wall-mounted shelves. It creates a modern and practical vibe.

On a side note, it will be easier to clean the home when it is in a positive status.

Use Light And Colour

Even when the physical dimensions can’t be changed, there are many ways to trick the eyes. When done well, you will perceive rooms to be bigger, brighter, and better. Clever lighting and colour scheme choices are your greatest assets. Better still, they can be used in pretty much every room of the home.

Lighting can be improved by adding bigger windows, skylights, and sliding doors. Likewise, dressing them in a more appropriate fashion to encourage increased brightness can serve you well. When coupled with versatile electrical lighting and fireplace the potential to build a happier home is even greater. And it becomes homely too.

Lighter colour schemes will also promote an increased perception of space. Cream or magnolia walls coupled with a feature wall to add personality is just one great example.

Do More With The Garden

Finally, if your home is blessed with a garden space, you must learn to embrace it. It can add a whole new dimension to your family life, but only if you allow it to. Again, the first step en route to success is to declutter the space and remove any garden waste. If nothing else, it will highlight the amount of space you have to work with.

Once this step has been completed, the next phase is to complete a transformation tailored to your needs. Popular additions include artificial lawns, swimming pools, patios, BBQ areas, and summerhouses. In truth, there is no right or wrong answer except for the ideas that work for your family.

Ultimately, though, the goal is to create an outside area that you want to spend more time in. Get this right, and your home will feel bigger and better than ever.

Sarah x