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Ways To Deal With Financial Difficulties

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  • Monday, 9 September 2019


Finances can be a difficult to navigate around and there is no "right" way to sort them out or keep on top of them. My advice would always be to pick a method that works for you. I really like to keep an eye on my money and organise it into different sections as soon as I get paid. Keep reading for further advice about ways to deal with financial difficulties…

Research Your Options

" When we’re in a financial mess, whether you have mounting debts that you are struggling to repay, bills that just keep coming, outgoings that your income doesn’t cover, or an unexpected expense that has wiped out your savings and taken away any financial security that you had not to long ago, it’s hard. It’s easy to be emotional, to get upset, to panic and flounder. Most of us feel like we’ve got no options. Like there is no one to help us. We worry that we could never get approved for a loan, we’re scared to ask to borrow money, and we can’t see how things will ever get better. 

But, most of us usually do have options. We just need to find them. Could you borrow money from a loved one? Could someone help you to secure Buddy Loans? Could a household budget help you to identify problems? Are there any contracts that you could cancel or reduce? Any luxuries that you could live without? Could you earn extra money from a side hustle, or even ask for a pay rise? Not every option will work for you, but you will have more options than you think. Write them down and work through them one by one. 

Speak to Someone

Another thing that most of us are guilty of is not wanting to talk about money. We’re ashamed to admit that we’ve made mistakes. Or embarrassed that we don’t have as much as others. We certainly don’t want to ask people for help or admit that we need it. But, not talking about your money problems can make things worse. Not only will you not get help, but your worries will start to multiply in your own head. You’ll internalise your fears, and they’ll grow until you can see no way out. 

Speak to family and friends. Even if they can’t offer cold hard cash, they might have advice that could help. You might even find that they’ve been in the same situation but never told anyone. 

If you need more formal help and advice, book an appointment with a Citizens advice financial specialist, or a free appointment with a financial advisor. 

Make Informed Decisions

It’s easy to panic when your finances are a mess. It’s easy to get upset when a large bill comes in, and you don’t know how to cover. When we’re upset and emotional, we often rush into decisions without thinking. Try not to do anything when you are feeling emotional. Calm down, step away for a while and leave important decisions until you’ve researched options and sought advice. Or at least until you’ve slept on it. 

Prioritise 

Usually, when we’re in a financial hole, it’s not just one thing. It’s normally a combination of credit cards, overdrafts, overspending, low income, and more. All coming together to create an unpleasant financial situation. It can all feel too much. So, break it down. You aren’t going to be able to pay everything off in one go without a big lotto win. So, write a list of what you owe. Put them in order of what needs paying first, and then what is costing you the most interest. Prioritise your actions, instead of trying to deal with everything. 

Take it One Step at a Time

It’s important to remember that every little helps. Earning a little extra from a side hustle won’t make you a millionaire, but it might give you a little extra to pay off debts or save for a rainy day. That little extra could be the difference between eating beans on toast all week and having a proper diet. It might mean that you can pay your electricity bill next month. Paying a little extra off a credit card won’t clear it, but little and often might. Do what you can, when you can, and don’t ever underestimate your achievements. 

Set Yourself Small Targets

If you’ve got thousands of pounds to pay off or find, it can feel overwhelming. You might find yourself giving up because you know that you can’t do it. So, break it down. Set yourself a small, weekly target that you can achieve. 
Start an Emergency Fund

People will tell you that you shouldn’t save when you’ve got debts. But this isn’t always true. Ideally, you’d use all of your spare cash to get rid of debt, and so interest. But, that means that if something comes up, your only option is to turn to debt once more. Having a small emergency fund can be wise."

Madolyn
xxx

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Quick & Easy Ways To Be Environmentally Friendly

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  • Friday, 30 August 2019


There is so much information available surrounding the topic of being environmentally responsible. I think that it is something we should all contribute towards and I feel that we should all do what we can in order to take action and help in any way possible. It can sometimes seem like an inconvenience to worry about the environment when you reach for that plastic packaged salad on a lunch time, or throw away your empty drinks can into the bin, but by making little conscious changes to your daily habits, you can actually make a huge difference. 

Reusable Cups 

This is a simple one but a biggy, especially if you love a coffee fix on the go! Practically every coffee establishment now will sell some sort of reusable cup, I even saw one in Greggs the other day! And so there really is no excuse for not bringing your own to help minimise the amount of takeaway coffee cups being added to landfill. I recently received a gorgeous flask from Kambukka* which keeps liquids hot for up to six hours and cold for up to nine. It is something extra to remember on a morning when you’re rushing out the door, but most places give a cheeky discount if you take in your own cup and so it’s worth it economically, as well as environmentally, in the long run. 

Paperless Project

My family and I love to send cards for a number of occasions, but in recent years I have tried not to do it quite so much as it often feels wasteful and often unnecessary. Recently I discovered a love for the Paperless Project*; an online company that provides beautifully designed e-cards for all occasions. They have some stunning collections, my favourite being the range designed by Rifle Paper Co, one of my favourite stationery brands. This is a great way to send a card to a friend or loved one which is still beautiful and meaningful, but without being harmful to the environment. I think that it is such a lovely alternative to paper cards and I will definitely be sending these out at birthdays from now on!

Choose Vegan

Opting for a vegan diet has a huge number of benefits, one of which being that it is better for the environment on the whole. The production of meat and dairy products is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases, as well as the amount of emissions polluting the air, not forgetting the huge amount of water wastage. Choosing to eat more of a plant based diet dramatically reduces an individual's carbon footprint both in terms of transport of the produce and the packaging it is wrapped in. 


Minimise Waste

For me, food is the main problem when it comes to waste. As I have a predominantly vegan lifestyle, I eat a lot of fresh produce but I find that it is so often wrapped in a tonne of packaging, most of which is non-recyclable. I try to shop as much as I can at local markets and take my own bags, that way I can reduce the amount of packaging I bring into my home, and subsequently throw away. It means I can also control how much I want to buy, minimising the amount of food I throw into the bin. 

Consume Less 

We can be a lot more environmentally conscious by consuming less and bringing fewer things into our homes. This notion goes hand in hand with the idea of minimising waste, because if we are more mindful of the things we buy and only purchase what we need, we can reduce the amount of waste, production and ultimately harm, which is heavily inflicted on the environment. 

Other Top Tips 

- Carry a canvas bag EVERYWHERE - save plastic and 5 pence a pop when shopping
- Keep your own cutlery in your bag - so you don’t have to use a throwaway plastic set
- Walk as much as possible - saves on emissions and is also good for both mental and physical health
- Take a packed lunch to work - saves on ‘meal-deal’ packaging and is purse friendly 
- Keep hold of your rubbish until you find a bin/recycling bin - how people still litter these days is beyond me 
- Carry a reusable bottle for water 

Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains gifted PR items 

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Ways To Achieve & Maintain Clearer Looking Skin

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  • Wednesday, 28 August 2019


Almost everybody has had a moment of pure horror when they look into their bathroom mirror and notice that a few brand new zits have popped up overnight. How exactly do you get clear skin without plastering your face in makeup - and how can you maintain it once it’s there? Here are some top tips...


Wash Your Face Regularly

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you wash your face regularly. It’s important that you do it before you go to bed at night - you may like to wash your face in the morning, but getting all the day’s grime off before you go to sleep is more important. Don’t use cleansing wipes, as they don’t fully clean your face, they leave residue behind, and they aren’t great for the environment as they aren’t recyclable. Make sure that you rinse your face and that no product is left behind.

Watch Your Hygiene

During the day, it’s important that you’re hygienic. A lot of people have the habit of touching their faces without thinking over the course of the day, so if that sounds like you, try to cut it out. Make sure that you wipe your phone with antibacterial wipes every so often - they can get extremely dirty - and wash your pillowcases at least once a week. You should also try to make sure that your hair isn’t on your forehead all the time, as that can lead to oily skin and greasy hair, leading to zits on your forehead.

Make Sure You Exfoliate

If your skin is dull and dry, make sure that you exfoliate to remove those dead skin cells - but make sure that you don’t use an exfoliator that contains microbeads, as they don’t break down and are bad for the environment. Instead, use acids like salicylic acid or glycolic acid that will make your skin look glowing and fresh.

Protect Your Skin From The Sun

The best long term way to have great skin is to make sure that you protect it from the sun. Even if you slather sunscreen on when it’s hot outside, make sure that you use that sunscreen through the winter too - sun damage can occur even on a day that looks cloudy. Make sure that you use a sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection for complete protection from the sun. If you want a tan, stay away from the sun and, even more importantly, from sunbeds. Spray tans or self-tanner has the same effect - and it doesn’t give you age spots, wrinkles and discoloration - or the risk of skin cancer.

What About Health Conditions?

A lot of the time, clearing up your skin isn’t just about drinking lots of water, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and hoping for the best. If your skin is constantly sore and broken out, go to your doctor, as they may be able to prescribe a retinol cream or acne treatment that may help. There are also skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, which can be unsightly, itchy and painful, but your doctor will be able to recommend drugs like secukinumab which may help.

Having great skin won’t happen overnight - it’s a process that you may have to work on for some time. 

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~ COLLABORATIVE POST ~ Living A Normal Life With A Health Condition

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  • Saturday, 29 June 2019



At one time or another in our lifetime, we will all get some kind of health condition. In fact, at least 1 in 3 of us will suffer from some kind of mental health condition at least once in our lives. That’s a staggering number when you think about it as mental health is not something we even think about being widespread. It's always been looked at as a minority concern. At least 1 in 2 of us will get cancer. That’s an even more frightening statistic because cancer is one of the highest killers in the world. Even with modern medicine, we still don’t have a high chance of making a full recovery. Then the lesser but albeit common conditions affect us as well. Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions around the world, and despite many different treatments there still isn’t a cure. So whether it's anxiety, diabetes or chronic joint pain, how can we all live the most normal lives possible with a health condition? There are certain things you need to do to prepare your life to go on without any hiccups.

Control your stash


If you are someone with a skin condition, you’ll know that you have to keep a steady count of how many treatments you have in stock. For example, if you have eczema or psoriasis you’ll be using your creams and ointments as well as pills, everyday. This means that you have to keep track of how much you have left and also make sure you don’t run out. A skin condition can quickly spiral out of control when you don’t use it everyday or as commonly as prescribed. This can make the condition even worse. For example, when you have eczema you cannot do normal things like take a bath with soap. Your sweat also acts like a cause of itching, making your already battered skin worse. So, you need to have a constant supply of creams and other treatments so you can live your life normally.

So it pays well to have a controlled flow of your prescriptions coming in at regular intervals. Using the Simple Online Pharmacy, you can book your prescriptions online and the service will organize everything else. They will put in a request with your local GP, they will also then arrange a time and date for when they deliver the medicines to your door. This delivery is completely free of charge as well. On average it will take up to one week to get a repeat prescription. You’ll have to either arrive at the doctor’s surgery early in the morning before the queue gets too long that waiting in it, would cause you to be late for work. Then you need to give the time to the surgery to get the doctor’s signature on your request and then finally be made ready to collect by the pharmacy. This service just saves you time and the headache of late or mixed up orders.

Avoid what you should


When you have a health condition, life is no longer the same. That is, your life is no longer the same as everyone else’s. If you have diabetes, you can’t enjoy certain occasions that you are your friends are having. For example it could be that you’re at a birthday party and the cake is very rich. You won’t be able to eat that cake because it would cause you great harm. But it can be very awkward when you’re the only one in the group who isn’t eating the cake. Everyone else around you is sharing their views on it but you’re inadvertently the odd one out. It can make you feel like you’re the ugly duckling. Alas, you have to adjust your lifestyle and avoid the things you know you should. If they are really your friends, they will understand and not make various social situations like this embarrassing for you. 

If you have some kind of chronic migraine condition that is triggered by loud noises and lasts for days, then you probably shouldn’t be going to sporting events, music concerts and other loud events. It's just how you have to live life from now on, you can’t do things other people and thus you must not put yourself in vulnerable positions that could make your condition worse. If you are suffering from social anxiety then try not to put yourself in positions whereby you know you won’t be doing well. Avoid public transport, perhaps don’t go to clubs and bars and instead enjoy the company of friends over at your house instead. There are various ways to cope with your conditions but you have to plan ahead and make those measures a part of your normal lifestyle.

The more they know


Having a visible health condition is quite annoying for many reasons. For one you might feel self-conscious about how you look. It's easy to think that people around you are judging you and become paranoid at every little thing. The other reason is that people who you don’t know and have never met, might ask you questions. Although yes it's generally considered rude for some stranger to pry into your health condition and ask you what could be deemed personal questions, most of the time they’re doing so out of curiosity. When you meet someone new for the first time, if you have a respiratory condition whereby you need an oxygen tank with you at all times, they might ask you questions about it. Maybe it's to break the ice or for some other reason.

Try to inform and educate those that are inquisitive. It can break the fourth wall and help them to understand what it is you’re going through. Sometimes even your friends and partner might want to know more about you. Although it can feel like you’re a guinea pig, the more they know about it the most they might be able to help and support you. You’re going to have to answer the same generic questions over and over but this is because most people don’t know about your condition. On the other hand you might meet someone who does. They could have a relative with the same health condition and give you advice that could be very helpful. The more they know, the more you can feel like a regular person. 

The life as you know it before you were diagnosed with your particular health condition is no more. You have to adapt and change your lifestyle to suit your needs and be as comfortable as possible. Make sure you have a continued supply of the medicines you need to not be in great discomfort, stress and pain. You can sign up to a prescription service which does everything for you when you need to restock. Always be about a month ahead of running out of what you need. Most people are just curious of abnormalities and even though they might stare, try your best to continue on and live life normally. Try not to care what other people are thinking about your visible condition. If someone does ask you about it, you can educate them and help them know more about the condition. This can make you feel more normal in fact because you cut the ice and have a down to earth conversation. Avoid certain situations where you know they could add to worsening your condition. This could be a social function or perhaps a long trip. Plan ahead and make yourself as comfortable as possible in those scenarios.


Madolyn
xxx

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AD | Spring Fashion With Femme Luxe | The Casual Edit

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  • Monday, 25 March 2019


As a bit of a homebody, I’m all for wearing comfy clothing whilst I’m pottering about around my flat…

I’ve never been one to stay in my PJs all day. I know that some people absolutely love it, but for some reason I just can’t. I have to get out of bed and get dressed, even if I know I’m spending the day chilling out on my own with no make up on and no intention of going outside. Because of this, I am always on the hunt for clothes that make me feel a little more put-together and productive, but are super comfy and not restrictive in anyway. 

I have added a couple of new pieces to my wardrobe lately that fit this aesthetic perfectly and I have been wearing them pretty much non-stop over the last few weeks.



The first combination is this basic, black and white, cropped tracksuit. I’m not usually a fan of the whole ‘two piece’ however this duo is really comfy and fits like a dream. The bottoms are a skinny fit, which is nice because they almost feel like leggings rather than jogging bottoms. What I like about them is that they are high waisted, perfect for hiding that little food baby, and I find the cut really flattering. Because they have such a basic design and slim fit, they are also perfect to wear to my yoga classes, so I can go straight from slobbing out to working out without having to get changed! It’s the small things right…?

I also really like the fit of the cropped top that is the second part of this tracksuit duo. I really like that it doesn’t have a hood, instead opting for a scooped neckline. I really don’t like that so much leisure/sportswear has hoods on their clothing. I literally never wear a hood unless it is waterproof and it’s raining outside. The fabric is really soft and the placement of the white stripe creates a really sliming and flattering finish. 



Another duo I have loved lately is this really cute, white, lace body and pair of black cotton cycling shorts. Being on the larger side of life when it comes to lady lumps, I can’t often get away without wearing a bra. Obviously when I’m in the flat on my own I don’t need to, but I still like to feel as though I have a little bit of support. This body offers just that as it keeps me slightly more put together, without the constraint and digging-in that comes with wearing a bra. I also feel like the body, although covered up with other clothing, looks really pretty and makes me feel more confident. I even wore it under a shirt on a night out recently and it felt so freeing not to have to wear a bra but still feel supported. 

The black cycling shorts, although not the most flattering of clothing items, is certainly one of the comfiest and most practical! These are perfect to potter about the flat in, and wear with little jumpers. Plus during summer I think they will be perfect to wear underneath dresses without tights – no more awkward picnic sitting - no one will be able to see my underwear! 


Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples from Femme Luxe, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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My Thoughts On Black Friday & Being More Mindful This Christmas

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  • Thursday, 6 December 2018


I love Christmas and I always find that the build up is the best bit. I love visiting the Christmas markets, drinking mulled wine, pulling out chunky knitwear and watching all of the best Christmas films.

However, one thing that I’m not too keen on during this time of year is the ever-growing expectation based around gift giving. After the wake of Black Friday and the build up to the big day, it seems as though everyone that I speak to has money, and the amount they are going to spend, on their mind. 

Black Friday to me is a bit of an odd one. It originally started in the U.S.A. as a big sale event after Thanks Giving, but over the last five years or so, it seems to have become much more of a ‘thing’ over here in the U.K. as well. It seemed as though my inbox was completely jam-packed with emails from every retailer, tempting me to buy some of their Black Friday deals, and it became a little overwhelming. 


I tried to take quite a methodical and logical approach to the Black Friday sales and only bought things that I actually wanted or needed. So rather than scroll the internet or mooch about the shops, I had a thick about some of the things I wanted to buy, and then looked to see if anywhere had a particularly good deal on.  For example, I needed a new vacuum cleaner and I quite fancied a cordless one. I had a quick look on Amazon and found that they had a third off the one that I wanted on Black Friday.

This approach to Black Friday also got me thinking about Christmas. It’s seems crazy to me to think about how much money everyone spends on gifts for people. I know that I personally don’t really need anything and so my family and I have decided that we will buy some tickets to see a comedy show together. That way we all get something we’ll enjoy, without spending a load of money on things that we don’t really need or want. 


I read a really nice quote the other week in reference to Christmas gifts…

“Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read…"

I do have a couple of gifts that I would like to buy this year, but I think that I will try to stick to this little phrase whilst I shop.  

Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples from Femme Luxe, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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