Friday, 29 July 2016

Learning To Drive, The Provisional Story.

With Spud starting secondary school next year, and the school I want him to attend being miles away, I've finally plucked up the courage and ordered myself a provisional driving license! Although we have a secondary school located just across the road from us - a two minute walk from our home, I would never send Spud there, and if he doesn't get the school we both want him to attend, then he will be home educated - pure and simple!

Either with him going to the school in question, or being home educated, I need to learn how to drive. I've wanted to drive for as long as I can remember, but two things have always stopped me, one being the funds to finance driving, lessons aren't cheap, nor are the test you have to do, and two being my anxiety about driving. I think until I get in a car for the first time, I won't know how I'm going to be, so there's no point in beating myself up and worrying about nothing!

So a little over a week ago, I went onto the DVLA website and purchased myself one of those green cards us Brits call the provisional driving licence. I just need to get my photo signed and then I can send off for my card! I'm planning on taking my theory test first, so I can concentrate on one part at a time, the first part being the theory, and then the second part being the practical side of driving!

As far as cars come, I don't want anything too juicy with it being my first car, I don't need a massive engine, nor do I want one with the price of petrol! I just want something that's safely going to get me from A to B! With it being my first car, I'm looking at buying a second hand car, and I want to buy it before I pass my test so I can get an experienced driver to help me practise more beyond my lessons.

My little brother Jamie recently passed his test and in April got himself a little runaround car, a three door Corsa to be precise and it suits him perfectly. At the moment, I would prefer a five door car, but if a three door makes the insurance cheaper, it's something I'd consider changing my mind about as I know first time drivers insurance can be rather expensive! I've been getting a few quotes and to say I was shocked was an understatement to say the least!

When searching around for second hand cars, I came across the infographic below from Trust Two, and wasn't surprised that 75% of families prefer Ford cars, I spend a lot of time with my sister and her two children, and she's had a few Ford models that have lasted her well, if I had to choose my first car right now, it would be a Ford Focus!

It's also interesting to see the difference in favourited brands across the UK, England's top car brand is Ford, whilst it differs across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland! Now I can imagine myself visiting these countries whilst looking for the majority in car brands aha!

Jada x

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Bringing Unique Home Comforts Into Your Home With DIY.

I've lost count of the amount of blankets and throws I've purchased for my bedroom since I moved in here 18 months ago, I've got at least eight stored in my wardrobe, purchased for the intention of being used on my bed, but none of them suited when they was opened up. It means I've lost a fair bit of money - over £100 at least, because as soon as you take the tags off, or open the packaging, the items can't be returned, so they've just sat in my wardrobe, collecting dust I can say.

I've also lost count of the amount of times I've been blanket/throw shopping, spending hours looking for a product that would be perfect for my bed, wasted hours I now can't get back. I've spent countless hours doing searches on the internet for what I think of being my dream blanket/throw, searched website after website, put so many products in my basket, to not go through with the purchase.

Just when I thought about re-decorating my bedroom, just so I can have my dream look, but unfortunately in a different colour, the lovely Emily over at Twin Mummy and Daddy blog gave me the inspiration I needed! I'm a keen reader of Emily's blog, she writes about literally everything parent related, but she also mixes it up with lots of DIY/Arts and Crafts style post, and recently she's been making lots of items from dolls, elves and even a blanket!

Emily made these elves from scratch! How talented is she!? You can read her post here.
Now, whilst Emily is amazing at what she does, I've not picked up a needle for a few years! The last time I picked up a needle was to try and save a hole in one of my favourite tops, my aim was to sew it together to stop it getting any bigger, but I somehow managed to ruin the top even more, so I vowed never to attempt my own sewing repair again!

However, thanks to my nan teaching me the basics of how to knit when I was younger, I'm not that bad at knitting believe it or not. I used to watch my nan with fascination, working the knitting needle over and over again to make beautiful patterns and designs. I soon had my very own little starter set, with my nan giving me unused wool and buying me my very own needles, I was most probably the only 11 year old of my era who had such an interest!

My nan carried on with her knitting and still does to this day, but as I got older, I soon started to move onto different hobbies and interest (one of them being computers and writing!), but I would still take note in the way my nan knitted, watching in amazement at how fast and perfect she made her creations. I also had to listen to my nan moan about the price of wool on the highstreet, and how it was working out cheaper to buy products themselves instead of making them.

With the motivation I needed from Emily, last week I decided I would try and make my own blanket throw, using a pattern, and with the trusted help of my nan after a phonecall to her. I started looking around the very few fabric shops we have left in Reading, and soon recalled the conversation my nan and I had about the prices of materials. Whilst I want a blanket throw that suits my desire, I don't want to spend a fortune on having to make it.

Coming home feeling defeated yet again, I decided to look around online, first checking out online selling market places, until I got a bit more specific with my search which led me to Deramores, the 2015 winner of the Best Online Knitting Store and after making my purchase last night, with a basket full of items, I can now see why they won such!

I've decided to go with the pattern above, although it's not something I imagined, when I see it I instantly fell in love with it and pictured it in my room! Now I've just got to wait for my order to arrive and I can crack on, my lovely nan has said she will help me too, so there's no chance of me messing this one up!

Hopefully this post will help people who like me haven't been able to find their perfect buy, sometimes we need a little bit of DIY in our lives to create the perfect look we want!

Until next time,
Jada x

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Habito - Finding A Mortgage With Innovation!

When I was younger, I dreamed of owning a big house, a house with a swimming pool, a cinema room, a very large kitchen and at least one big garden. Naturally, when you become older, you take note of your surroundings and current financial position which gives you the reality that those dreams may just be that. However, being the owner of a property doesn't have to be a dream, and with so many ways to get a mortgage these days, as long as you have a steady working income, the part of your dream of becoming a homeowner can be reality.

Moving in seemed like the longest process of my life!
Having lived in this house for 18 months, I've recently been thinking about making it our very own home. At the moment, I rent the property from the council, which is great, but I know it's not mine. Of course I can decorate the walls however I want, and do limited moderations, but if the house was my own I could do a lot more. With the government's right to buy scheme, I must wait at least 18 more months to be considered, but there's no time like the present to get the ball rolling, after all getting a mortgage isn't as easy as buying a newspaper!

With the modern world advancing around us at an increasing pace, many of us are aware of online mortgage sites. One such site which launched in April this year is Habito, “using unique proprietary technology, Habito analyses every mortgage on the market across 100 lenders in seconds. It identifies the very best mortgage for each applicant, based on their individual circumstances, and enables them to complete their application online, from a phone or tablet, within around 30 minutes.”

Backed by some of the most successful fintech entrepreneurs in Europe - including Transferwise CEO Taavet Hinrikus and Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai - is the world’s only digital mortgage broker. Directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, Habito is completely impartial and free. With 7.6 million active mortgages in Britain, 69% of which are completed with the support of a mortgage broker, the market potential for the company is huge. Because the process is fully automated, the company is built on strong foundations to achieve significant scale quickly.

I decided to test out Habito myself, on the homepage as first impressions really do count, I was greeted by a clean cut design, with an easy to navigate system, a number of five star customer reviews greeted me at the bottom of the homepage, and being an established blogger, reviews are something I not only take seriously but look for first when it comes to buying or using a product/service. The bottom of the site also shows that Habito, has been featured on a number of valuable sources, including The Daily Telegraph, Sky News, TechCrunch and more.

I want our house to be ours, where my boys can make memories!
Being a first time mortgage looker (I say this because I'm not sure if I'm entitled to buy my home), having something easy to understand is a must. I don't know the ins and outs of mortgages, nor do I know even the basics, so having a handy help and FAQs page was welcoming. My concern was how a service which on first and final thoughts, could simply provide their custom free of charge, thanks to the help and FAQs page, my mind was quickly put to ease.

Two members of my family have lost their homes due to failed mortgages which came after job losses, so going down the mortgage route is something rather daunting as well as being exciting. I'm self employed, and after being a stupid young adult, I found myself slowly getting into debt, so I worry about these things affecting my potential mortgage, however Habito again put my mind to rest by ensuring that things work differently with them and their lenders.

You may possibly be reading this article whilst thinking what's different from visiting a high street broker? Well first things first, with Habito, you don't need to leave your own home, that's always a bonus isn't it? No appointments, no scheduled times, no smart dress up, and pages and pages of paperwork at the very least. I comfortably laid on my sofa, with my laptop and completed a very quick search whilst wearing my pyjamas with 10 hour old make up on my face - I'm winning!

I can hear you saying but I like leaving my home, getting dressed up and having scheduled meetings with lots of paperwork to fill out, and that's fine, but can your broker check out over 100 lenders within 30 minutes? If they're a robot then yes, if not, then no! The average broker will look at 11-12 lenders and process an application in 2-3 weeks, but it’s impossible for one person to look at every mortgage in the market! This often leaves people with the wrong mortgage, and with 1 in 2 people in Britain suffering from ‘mortgage mismatch’ meaning they could be on a better deal, saving on average £4,000 per year that's something I'm not prepared

Habito are using technology to revolutionise the market and do for mortgages what Uber has done for taxis, eBay has done for auctioning and AirBnB has done for accommodation and for that, as a first time potential homebuyer, I thank and salute them!

Jada x

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Top Garden Furnitures You Must Have to Enjoy Hot Summers!

With the rising temperatures we have been witnessing yearly since the past decade as a result of climate change and the Greenhouse Effect, the heat of summer months is becoming more and more intolerable for a vast majority of people around the planet. This condition has furthermore been worsened by the recent economic crisis, and subsequently many families who choose not to go on holiday abroad have opted for a more relaxing and budget friendly holiday, transforming their home garden into a perfect summer retreat where they can bask in the sun and take advantage of the many accessories and furniture essentials to make their garden into an enviable summer holiday experience and at the same time combat the heat.

Cheap furniture is available for under £50 at many outlets, and this includes essentials like a wooden drink trolley to help cool off the whole family while avoiding tiring trips back and forth between the kitchen and the garden. A BBQ grill is indispensable for outdoor fun with friends and neighbours, so keep a lookout on the special deals for large or moderate­ size BBQ set­ups depending on your needs. To ward off the excessive heat, parasols and garden sails of various sizes complemented with lounge chairs help make your summer garden experience more comfortable. Stand­alone parasols with solid base can be easily installed or placed to provide shade in any area of the garden, It is recommended to use high quality furnitures with resistant materials. A lot of brands provide similar products offering a large choice of luxury items like hexagonal and triangular garden sails that will help capture and deliver some of the fresh wind breeze.

Naturally, no summer holiday can be complete without a swimming pool. For the occasion, consider an inflatable swimming pool that can accommodate the whole family and your friends. With several inflatable models like a 10 ft across easily installable pool connected to the garden hose, this eliminates the hassle of built­in large swimming pools requiring constant cleaning and maintenance. Best of all, they can be packed and removed quickly and easily. The kids will also love a swing set­up where they can spend hours of enjoyment and which can be easily placed in any area of the garden.

For delightful evenings when the temperature cools and the fresh summer breeze blows, portable natural heaters like fire bowls and steel chimeneas will complement the party mood of your garden summer and keep you warm. Steel chimeneas are a good choice because they have a rain lid and are child­proof. And do not forget to liven up your summer evenings with outdoor stake lights powered by solar energy, easily popped in the ground during the day and when fully charged capable of delivering up to eight hours of light.

Jada x