Three Ways To Reduce Stress When Selling Your House

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Whatever the reason for selling your home, there is no denying that it will be a stressful. Whether it’s troubles finding somewhere new, disputes over building control or sorting through your life contents – there will be lots of challenges to overcome! Although there’s no avoiding some stress, these three tips will help you avoid simple mistakes and make selling your property a little less tense.

Clean Thoroughly

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People like to think they have limitless imagination, yet when it comes to buying property we are all guilty of being a tad small minded. When a potential buyer walks into a home that is cluttered or worse dirty, they will be distracted from the permanent features that form the actual property. Your house should resemble a five-star hotel in cleanliness and neatness. Where necessary; bleach grout, change and make beds, clear away personal items and replace worn towels. An uncluttered house which looks and smells clean and fresh, will sell for more than the exact same house with less care.

Stage Beautifully

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As with cleaning, when it comes to furnishings relying on the ability of potential buyers to see past what is directly before them and visualise the possibilities, is a dangerous trap to fall into. Furniture that has seen better days or bare rooms with little to attract the eye cannot compare to a house that has been specifically dressed to sell. Using a home staging company, who can work with you to create a beautiful interior design package and then rent you the furniture, will do wonders when selling your home. It will be the difference between someone walking into the property and thinking maybe they could live there, to them feeling at instantly at home and longing to return.

Photograph Clearly

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In the age of the internet, selling a house just like any other product hinges greatly on beautiful imagery. The first impression most buyers are going to have of your property, is the images on your estate agent’s website.  If there are only thumbnail pictures with bad lighting, you will lose potential interest before anyone has even stepped through the door, no matter how beautiful your home. Instead, once your house is clean and staged, take steps to create high quality photography that showcases its best aspects. If you can afford a home photographer, they are certainly worth the investment. Otherwise follow this step-by-step guide to achieve near professional quality photos yourself.

Although selling a home will never be completely stress free, taking the time to photograph your house and make it beautiful and clean will allow visitors to envisage themselves living there. This imaginative jump is what will help potential buyers decide that your property is the one for them. What could reduce anxiety more when selling than a ton of offers and a quick sale?!

Five Emotions That Are Totally Normal When Moving

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I remember when we exchanged on what was soon going to be our new home, we were so excited! The house was (and still is) perfect with the right amount of space for the two of us. We could not wait to get into it! As the time came closer to moving in however, it started to feel like I was on a roller coaster. An emotional one. I experiencing so many different feelings – both good and bad. Mum did reassure me that it is natural to feel this way when jumping into the unknown, after all moving to a new house is a major event.

Excitement

Although, towards the end I was sad to be leaving – I was also excited that I was going to be taking on new adventures. I had new neighbours to get to know and new spaces to play with! My other half was definitely not impressed with my constant rambling about how I was going to design each room. It is like a fresh slate or a clean canvas – one you can decorate with whatever you want! Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration on storage solutions and DIY ideas! You will have ample opportunity to rip kitchens out and paint the walls to your heart’s desire.

Sadness

I remember handing our keys over to the Estate agents and being surprised by a wave of sadness that our old home officially no longer belonged to us anymore. Over time, it is a given that you will gain some sort of attachment, whether it be to the house, neighbours and even the smaller things like your garden! I know that we have some many great memories, from furniture shopping to our first dinner in our own space! Try not to think of the experience as moving on, think of it as moving forward to better things.

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Regret

Did we make the right decision? Have we moved to a better place? We did tons of research on our new local area, however I did keep questioning if this was the right thing to do. Moving is a lot of money and there are so many formalities to go through, you have to be completely sure when making a decision. Me and my other half fell in love straight away with our new home, the neighbourhood was lovely and it wasn’t all that far from central Brighton. We knew at the time it was right for us, and we still do! There will be strange feelings, but they will make you appreciate the experience more. All that you need to do is remember, you are going from somewhere you are comfortable to somewhere you don’t know anything about – it is normal to feel a little unsettled!

Stress

Like I said before, you are jumping into the unknown! It is natural to feel a little anxious. Not only that, with conveyancing solicitors, estate agents and banks to deal with there will undoubtedly be tension. Not to mention when the removal guys don’t turn up on time (I speak from experience), this can contribute to feelings of agitation. From speaking to lots of different people, it is evident that moving is stressful, no matter how many precautions you take! Saying that, try and reduce your cortisol levels by just taking a moment to breath and realise the bigger picture – which is that you will soon have a new place to make your very own!

If you are moving and feeling this whirlwind of  emotions – be reassured that this is normal! I was once in the exact same place but as soon as I stepped inside our new house, I was once again, absolutely in love!

Essential Questions Before Booking Your Honeymoon

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So, you have planned the wedding of all weddings and the only thing left to do is organise the perfect escape to a romantic destination. The world is your oyster, so where will you be venturing to? Below are a few questions to ask yourself before booking your dream holiday – I know I did! Arranging a wedding can not only be expensive, but they can take precedence over everything – including the all-important honeymoon. Your special holiday can sometimes end up on the back burner, so getting this done first will help lower your stress levels and ensure an amazing trip. Ask yourself the questions below to start planning the ultimate honeymoon!

  1. What do you both like?

Are you both self-confessed adrenalin junkies or do you both prefer a more relaxing setting? It is important that you both are excited and have input. There are ways that you can come to a final decision, you could each write down a list and see if you have any common denominators or simply discuss your ideal getaway – you may be pleasantly surprised with ideas from your fiancé!

  1. What is your budget?

Yes, let’s talk money.  With the world at your feet, it’s time to get down to the logistics and start budgeting. What is realistic that also fits you and your fiancés honeymoon needs? If you have travelled to lots of places already, you may have built up some airmiles. If not, simply shopping around can help you find the best going rate for your holiday. If you decide where you want to go well in advance, booking it as soon as possible means that you could enjoy some super cheap deals.

  1. Is it a good time of year to go?

Many places during the Summer become super busy and if you are looking for a relaxing quiet holiday – you may be in for a shock.  Check out when your ideal destinations have their busiest times of the year, not just for tourists but students alike. Check popular teaching academies areas that are teaching TEFL courses or other educational courses as it could be hotels and tourists can be really packed at these times!

  1. Have you checked the reviews of your accommodation?

The last thing you want is to turn up to your accommodation, and it is not what it looked like in the pictures! This is where review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor come in handy. You can see other people’s experiences to help you decide if this place if for you or if you need to be looking elsewhere. Review sites are not just for checking out what the place is really like, some reviews are handy in finding not so obvious but good places for you to explore!

  1. Have you planned your itinerary?

Are there any attractions or key places you want to visit? Are you wanting to go it alone or is the thought of hiring a tour guide more for you? Check out tourist sites for your destinations, as they will have information of places you can’t miss and ideas for accommodation. Travel blogs are also a great place to find out what you can do, for example, simply search ‘5 top things to do in Bali’ for some ideas!

Are you excited? Good! From my experience, nothing beats a relaxing break in a beautiful location after planning a wedding. Spending that all important time with your new husband or wife, is a great way to kick-start a marriage! And the last thing you want is any nasty surprises, so make sure you are happy honeymooners by getting everything planned and sorted in advance.

Is HR a Women’s Only Club? (Men in HR)

One of my oldest and dearest friend was recently let go from his job.  While it was an extremely stressful and frightening time for himself and his partner, it was also a blessing in disguise as he had wanted to try something new for a while.

What Next?

After spending a few weeks secretly enjoying his unemployment and carefree days, he began to explore the possibility of taking up teaching. A rewarding career with some awesome holidays….hello sun!  He even went as far as doing a short, part-time stint as a teaching assistant.  But maybe the less said about that experience the better.

The other avenue that he explored and has ultimately taken is human resource (HR), a career that I did not fully understand until we began to discuss it further. It has always seemed to be a sector dominated by women and I was curious as to why?

(Stereo)typical Men!

The perception that HR is a girls only club appears to be based on the stereotypes of the role and genders in general. Many people would be hard pressed to tell you what HR professionals do. When we think of HR, the conventional view is that of administration, recruitment and someone handing out tissues to upset employees.

While the role is by its very nature about managing people, requiring many soft skills such as communication, what I have learned is that HR professionals require real knowledge of business practice and policy. This allows them to understand their business objectives better and in turn to identify and nurture existing employees in their roles.

It was interesting to hear that when my friend did his CIPD level 3 to better his skills in HR, that there were several ex-armed forces on the course with him. Which makes sense when you consider that they probably have a great idea about how to build a team or two!

All Talk

You may be thinking, but women are better at soft skills, they listen better, they can read between the lines, they are more caring.  Or maybe men wouldn’t believe they possess nor would they necessarily want to develop these skills.

Really? As if a man could not do the same?  This perception has allowed the industry to be dominated by women over the last couple of decades, while it appears men have focused their attention on other industries.

This the 21st century and we are constantly annoyed by the notion that women are not as good as our male counterparts in many other industries.  Men are more than capable of possessing or developing these skills in HR and the sooner more do, the better.

Does It Matter?

I personally think that businesses should worry less about which gender an employee is and start employing people based on their personality and life experience.  After all, as my friend will show, this is all that really matters.

Five Perfect Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals

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Sticking to goals can be incredibly troublesome, especially when there are constant distractions in the form of food, friends and alcohol. However, deciding on goals can really help us understand what it is we want to achieve. After a couple of weeks of glorious indulgence, you may find you hit your limit and feel ready to make those vital changes to help reach your goals. There’s no better time than when you get that feeling of change to get stuck into hitting your targets. Here are my tips on how to set manageable goals so you can hit the ground running and be a success!

  1. Do It Early

A lot of people only set their goals at that start of the year and see the new year as a perfect excuse, I know from experience that attempting your resolutions on New Year’s Day is a non-starter. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be tired and/or hungover. In this state, you can only think as far ahead as bacon, so reaching important goals will feel impossible.

Know that it’s okay to not feel ready until the spring months, I personally start to feel the need for change as the weather starts to turn and Spring begins to spring. This leaves ample time to mull over what’s important to you and what you can do without, if you’re giving something up.

  1. Do the Things You Love

Achieving goals is much easier if you enjoy the activity that gets you there. For example, if you want to get fit and you love dancing, then Zumba may be worth trying. The same goes for any task; if you want to be more crafty but don’t like knitting, try your hand at collaging or marbling. Equally, if you do attempt something and aren’t keen on it, stop and find something you do like. It may mean a bit of trial-and-error but you can achieve miracles when you find your happy place.

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If you can find someone to commit to a goal with you, you are significantly more likely to achieve it. At the beginning of last year my husband and I invested in carbon fibre road bikes. We made a pact that if we got them we would cycle at least once a week, whatever the weather. I’ve always loved cycling but my husband is a little more resistant. Despite this, we managed to keep to our promise (except for holidays), and I believe this is because we were both dedicated.

  1. Set a few Achievable Goals

It doesn’t matter how early you plan, how much you love the process, or who’s in it with you, because if you set a goal that’s too time-consuming, you’re more unlikely to accomplish it. Instead of attempting to gain a six-pack by May, try setting a goal of simply feeling more body confident. I read a fascinating study which showed that people felt better after just 20 minutes of exercise. So that’s all it takes! On a similar note, setting too many goals can be just as daunting as having a mammoth one.

  1. Write Them All Down

Once you’ve come up with your manageable and realistic goals, write them down and pin them somewhere you will see daily. This now gives you time to think of fun ways to realise your goals and find someone to do them with.

So, if you’re having an off day and all you want to do is eat a bacon sandwich and drink lots of delicious soft drinks, you can do so, safe in the knowledge that you have a plan and partner to start achieving your goals when you are ready and in your own precious time.

Interior Design For Children’s Bedrooms

My sister and I both love interior design, but when it came to decorating my niece and nephew’s room this week, we were just going to take the generic route. As we were planning, we got to thinking; kids spend so much time in their rooms, shouldn’t their spaces get the same consideration as the rest of the house? Feeling a little sheepish we decided to approach their rooms like we would our own and focused on the following aspects:

Collecting meaningful pieces

It can be tempting to fully furnish a kid’s room all in one go, just to get it finished. We resisted this urge and started out sparse rather than cramming it full with complete sets of furniture. As with any other space, it’s worth waiting and buying high quality and beautiful pieces. These will be more meaningful and add character to a child’s environment. Although it will take a little more time, you will end up with a collection of items that will stand the test of time, as well as looking fabulous.

Maximise storage

There is a physical law that wherever children live, clutter will build up like there’s no tomorrow. The irresistible joy on their faces when they receive birthday and Christmas presents will mean an ever-growing toy collection. Not to mention them growing out of clothes and interests within months! When planning our scheme, we made sure to include lots and lots of storage solutions. Consider the following for inspiration:

  • Keep under-bed storage organised with pull-out drawers or boxes
  • Create a play-table from an old coffee table and add drawers for small toys
  • Attach crates to the walls for storage and keep them cute by wallpapering or painting the back ground
  • Make reading books a feature by placing them in open-front shelves and colour coordinating
  • Finally, Bunk beds for kids are a great way of saving space

Go neutral

If you imagine a generic child’s room it will most probably be bright with shades of pink, blue or yellow. The problem with these colour schemes, is that they are outgrown incredibly quickly. Additionally, lots of colours and patterns make a room feel smaller and more cluttered – not very relaxing. Choosing a neutral pallet will create a calm environment that feels spacious. We decided on mixing a colour palette of earthy greys teamed beautifully with and mood boosting warm yellow.

Children spend so much time playing, relaxing and sleeping in their rooms that it is so worth taking the time to plan their décor. Choosing meaningful pieces, picking a neutral palette and maximising storage will give your little one a relaxing and spacious environment with character for them to relax and be themselves in.

Do you have any tips about interior design for kids? If so, please leave a comment I’d love to hear them!

 

Go the Distance – Making Birthdays Special When You’re Apart

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Friends are so important, both old and new. They celebrate with us when we’re happy and comfort us when we’re down. As we get older, some of them inevitably move away, sometimes to the other side of the planet! But just because they’re not around, it doesn’t mean that we forget about them or their birthdays. In fact, it may be when they’re furthest from home that they most need a reminder that you’re still there.

Schedule a Skype call

When a friend moves abroad, we promise to stay in touch and Skype once a week (at least darling). It seems like it will be the easiest thing in the world to keep up-to-date with their lives, after all it only takes a few seconds to send a text, right? When they’ve actually left though, it can suddenly feel a lot more difficult. Firstly, there’s the time difference to contend with. They’ll be free in the evenings when you’re just getting back from work and desperately in need of food and a shower. Or you’ll be up and fresh and they’ll be busy getting ready for a big night out (we’re not jealous at all).

This is normal, it happens to the best of us. But when it comes to your friend’s birthday, this is the time to make an effort! If they’re far from home, they may not be with their family and could still be making new friends. So, this is when they will need to see a familiar face most. Make sure you book in time in advance if you can. Or at least figure out the time difference and make your best effort (even if means waking up early or delaying bedtime) to have a quick catch-up and let them know you care.

Send them a cute gift

Get your friend’s address as soon as they get to their destination, or even before they leave if you can. This means when it comes to their birthday, you will have it to hand. It may be a little tricky to figure out postal time and cost but I have found a way around this – Etsy! Not only do they have super   but you can also filter through the origin country of the suppliers (eBay and other sites also have country specific sites too). So, if your friend is living in Australia, you can find the perfect gift for them from an outlet that’s already over there. It’s also good because they usually give an estimated delivery date so you can plan your purchase. I did this to surprise a friend and she was over the moon with the thoughtful gift.

Write a card

This is another great way to make a friend feel special on their birthday. It’s an opportunity to tell them how important they are to you and also any life updates you haven’t been able to share with them recently. Hand-written cards are the best as they’re more personal, so make the time to pick one out and pen your message. There are some lovely services for sending handwritten birthday cards online which are perfect if you’re running short on time.

It’s a little more difficult when you’re in different places to show your friends that you care about them. That’s why birthdays are an important time to remind them that even though you haven’t seen each other in a while, you’re still there and always will be.

Wedding Trends To Watch in 2017

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One of the things I love about the holiday season is that it’s so popular for engagements. In amongst the festivities, happy announcements pop up here and there, especially on New Year’s Eve! It’s so romantic and gives everyone something to look forward to after the decorations come down. As the New Year begins, sneak peeks to this year’s wedding trends are already coming out and here are some of my favourites.

Industrial chic

I’ve always been a huge fan of shabby-chic style weddings and I absolutely adore this new twist. Industrial chic takes the unfinished yet luxurious style of its predecessor and adds a sultry edge. Think moody low-lit warehouses made magnificent with over-the-top candelabras, oodles of flowers and lots of metallic (metallics are very ‘in’ this year too).

All in one

There has been a recent trend towards hosting a wedding and after party in the same venue. I love this idea because everyone is so happy at weddings and the general mood is buzzing. By moving to another venue for the after party you risk losing some of this excitement. Keeping everything in one place maintains the wedding atmosphere, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the drinks and dancing. There is also the bonus of extra time to party and less stress getting everyone to the new location.

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Engaging activities

I find the new trend for interactive food stations really appealing. They provide the opportunity for the happy couple to mingle and meanwhile their guests have a fun talking point and lots of yummy snacks to keep them entertained. The best part is that most luxury wedding caterers will be able to tailor these to suit any wedding style. Going all out? Try a mini oyster bar with ceviche and champagne. Feeling a French theme? How about a Marie Antoinette spread with mini sandwiches and lots of cake!

Detachable skirts

Bridal dresses with removable skirts took the wedding market by storm last year and look set to be a hit in 2017 as well. I was so excited to see this new style because it is a way for brides to have their dream princess dress for the ceremony complete with a gorgeous train. Later, when there’s dancing to be done they can simply remove the skirt and still enjoy their special dress a little longer!

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This is only the start of the year and there are plenty more trends out there to come. I hope you enjoyed these and have a fabulous time planning your wedding.

Let me know if any other great 2017 wedding trends have caught your eye and if you need any other help check out the wedding planning section of my blog or leave me a comment!

How To Match Your Wardrobe With Your Beauty Regime

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In all the excitement in the run up to Christmas, I almost forgot about the winter solstice. I like to pay attention to this day every year as that means that from now on the days are (finally) getting longer!  And as much as I love the festive season, sometimes I feel like the sun has barely risen before we are plunged back in to darkness at 4.30pm in the winter. So in the winter months, I like to do whatever I can to reinvigorate to my beauty regime and wardrobe to keep away those winter blues!

The Natural Look

I like to keep my day to day look reasonably natural. Who doesn’t want a fresh, flawless finish? To perfect the natural feel, it all begins at the exfoliating and cleansing stage. The cold weather can be particularly harsh on your skin, so bringing it back to life takes a little TLC. There is an abundance of naturally sourced and produced gentle exfoliators perfect for all skin types; it’s simply a case of finding one that works and suits you best. The same goes for moisturiser – it’s important to think about your skin type and find a product that suits you, and then moisturise regularly. Nowadays everyone is clued up about the damage that sun can do to your skin, but it’s worth using a moisturiser with SPF protection all year round as UV rays can still damage our skin in winter. If using a tinted moisturiser, you may wish to finish off with a little powder, and providing you conceal any blemishes this combination is sure to leave your skin glowing. The real attention should be focused on your eyes and lips with defined lashes which are essential for this look. You can forfeit eye shadow and eyeliner but never the mascara. Blondes should try using a brown mascara, whereas darker hair should stick to black. Finally, to add a pop of colour pick a lipstick that almost matches your natural lip tone. This will naturally enhance what you already have whilst still creating a rejuvenated feel. Apply with your finger for a less concentrated final look.

What to wear?

Our calendars are often filled with Christmas drinks and parties over the festive season, which for me means coming up with different ways to wear my favourite black dress. But if you’re going for a natural beauty look then your clothes should be both comfortable and stylish.  A personal favourite of mine is a stylish polo neck with plain black jeans and a pair of sophisticated black boots. It’s a look that is both understated and chic, and can be easily adapted if you’re going straight from the office to Christmas drinks with friends.

Glamourous

Whether glamour is your everyday look or you simply want to feel that extra bit special, the glammed up look requires more shimmer and shine. In the winter it feels like it has been so long since we saw the sun, so we do whatever we can to bring a little sunshine back in to our beauty regimes. However this means that there are a lot of disastrous fake tan attempts: you can have the best fake tan and still manage to get it wrong. To pull off the glamourous look from head to toe, you really need to master the art of applying foundation, and bronzer as well as fake tan. You can spend hours watching video tutorials on how to contour or achieve the perfect smoky eye, but fail to get the fake tan bit right and you have an issue on your hands, literally. Always exfoliate beforehand to remove all dead skin, and follow with a good moisturiser. Make sure you don’t forget the elbows and ankles. Beginning at the arms and shoulders, gradually make your way down using circular motions. For best results apply fake tan at night leaving plenty of time for it to develop. Showering should be avoided until the tan has had time to fully develop.

What to wear?

From my experience black works best as well as olive tones. Of course it’s important you show off your new and improved looking skin. Off the shoulder ruffled tops are fast appearing in all major high street shops; the shoulders offer a subtle hint of sexiness without going full out. Paid one of these with a stylish pashmina scarf and a long trench coat to complete your glamourous look. The important thing here is to remember that you want to show off a little skin to embrace your new-found summer glow, but you also need to dress appropriately for the weather outside.