Planning The Perfect Wedding Party*

*This is a collaborative post*

Planning the perfect wedding can seem like a huge challenge. And something that is going to zap your bank account repeatedly until the day arrives. In fact, weddings come up as one of the most stressful things next to moving home, having babies, and moving careers. But of course, when you are searching for everything from rental tuxedos to live music wedding entertainment ideas, it can feel like there is simply too much to do.

However, you probably have plenty of time to plan, and you just need to choose what works for you. Often we place what other people want ahead of our own wishes - which is where some of the stress comes from.

Once you have arranged all of the legalities, then you can get down to planning the fun stuff. The wedding party and meals! This is the bit where you can relax, sip some wine, and head out on the dance floor.

Just always remember that this day is about you and your partner, it is a celebration of your love for each other.

Set A Realistic Budget

People start looking at castles, huge country manors, and often the budget doesn’t stretch that far unless you are giving yourself a few years worth of saving and payment plans. Which can be really horrible if something goes wrong. Try and be realistic about what you can comfortably afford. If you are considering things like an open bar, try to imagine how much people can consume when it’s ‘free.’ Be smart.


If you know what you want - from Willy Wonka to Disney Princess, then pick it and stick to it. They can be a lot of fun and something different. You aren’t beholden to any traditions that you don’t want to include, and you can really personalize what you want by doing this. You are free to do something unique and break the mold.


Pick a team of people who are going to call you out when you start to be silly with your budget and will support you when things go a little wrong. You need to pick people that have your best interests at heart, no matter what that looks like. They won’t let you get carried away and will help you fill all of the favors at 3am when you just can’t get it all done by yourself.


There should be a list of things that you simply cannot be without. It might be a giant chocolate cake, or maybe it is a cheese fountain. Whatever it is, be sure of them and write them down. This is where the most significant chunk of your budgets are going to be going towards. Talk this through with your partner - and you might find you are holding the same things on your list. Other things like a pumpkin carriage or getting married on a football field might need some discussions though.

Your wedding is about you, so work towards what you want. 

*Contributed by Sam Jones. Header image source.

September Chills: Getting Ready For Student Life*

*This is a collaborative post*

It is hard to comprehend that we are already well on our way into the summer which means that for many people out there, the month of September is getting closer than ever. While you may not realise the significance of it, and it is to you, just another month. For some people, September is a life-changing time of year for them. That is because students start their academic years. Whether it is your first for college or university, second or third, it can always be an apprehensive time. So here are some of the suggestions and tips to help you to start preparing for student life ahead of schedule.

Think about your accommodation

One of the first things that you may need to think about doing is sorting out your accommodation. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to find something close to college or university. Start looking now. Check out student lets, private rentals, and see what is out there? Also consider sharing with friends if you are starting at the same place. It might even be an option to stay at home, which can keep your outgoings to a minimum.

Storage and keep things tidy

The next thing you may want to think about is storage and keeping things tidy in your new place, but also for the future. It might be that you have more things now, but they just won’t fit in your new place. This is when student self storage can come in handy. If anything, even if there isn’t much in it when you move in September, it is the ideal place to keep things for when it is holidays or when the academic year finishes, while you consider your next move. 

Commute to school

Figuring out where to live and what your options are may be essential, but within that decision you also need to commute. You don't want to live far out because it's cheaper, only to realise that the cost to get you to college or university increases because of the added travel time. Accomodation near great transport links should be a priority for you.

Discounts and saving money

Students get some great savings and options, so it is definitely worthwhile to consider what it is you can do to make the savings. There will be dedicated student websites where you can see exactly what discounts, vouchers, and savings you are entitled to. This helps to keep your outgoings low.

Getting all the equipment you need

Finally, don’t wait till the last minute before getting all the equipment you need for school, it is probably in your best interest to be prepared and make some purchases now. Write a list of what it is you think you need, and check out online blogs to ensure that you are not missing anything. Then slowly make purchases now so that you are ready instead of it feeling like a mad rush and a lot of stress to prepare.

Let’s hope these tips and suggestions have you ready for September and your next academic year.

*Contributed by Sam Jones. Image source

Choosing The Right Phone For You*

*This is a collaborative post*

There Is So Much Choice!!

It has come to that time again where I am considering whether or not to renew my mobile phone contract with my current service provider. If like me you have some problems when it comes to knowing your iphones, from your Androids, and all the infinite details in between, then you should have a look at a comparison site which does the hard work for you. Being able to compare phone specs side by side makes it so much easier to choose which is the right phone for you. It also pays to check out mobile phone contract comparison sites such as this one. One of the major factors for many people when considering a new phone is cost and OneCompare allows you to browse and filter phones according to the monthly and upfront cost. You can also filter your search by data, network and contract length.

I have never been one of those people who has to have the latest phone, and I am not really bothered about it having a thousand functions, most of which I will never use. That being said, and being somewhat of a technophobe, my last three phones have all been Samsungs. I could not tell you the intricacies of what an android platform versus an iphone are, but one thing which has impressed me about the Samsung is the quality of the camera.

Being that I am an amateur photographer enthusiast, (it's a wild claim but I have always been fascinated by photography) being able to get clear snapshots of good times is very important to me. People often ask I why take so many photographs? In all honesty, I've lost count of the amount of times whereby a memory I have previously forgotten, is suddenly brought back to me in vivid colour thanks to the simple trigger of looking at a photograph.

So far I've had a Samsung S2, Samsung S4 Mini and now I have the Samsung S7, to be honest I think the best camera was actually in the S2, the 8 megapixels and internal setting enabled the user to snap away and take crystal clear shots. I find that with the S7, when taking photographs, in order to ensure a crisp and clearly focussed shot, you really need to use the flash. Trouble is the flash is so bright that when taking images of people it often results in people blinking. Fortunately the 'burst' shot function allows the user to take two (or even more) consecutive shots thereafter which is handy.

Image source Pixabay

I am tempted to next go for the Samsung S10, it apparently has one of the best cameras of any phone currently on the market. However, I find it difficult accessing some of the icons which appear in the top left corner of the screen rendering single (right) handed operation quite troublesome at times. This was a widespread enough issue for Samsung to offer up the S4 Mini, which enabled much easier single handed use. Unfortunately my current S7 is the same size as the S2 and so that problem persists. It is a relatively minor issue I personally have but it is not enough to outweigh the positives for me.

My brother and partner have Huawei phones, and from what I can tell the camera on them is great and it has some great functions, the portrait setting enables you to blur the background and increase focus to a really high level, enabling anyone to take some really incredible professional looking shots; and from what I can tell they are fairly decent all round phones. Although they have been in the press for all the wrong reasons of late, maybe do a bit of research before opting for one of these. 

After doing some research and looking at what everyone seems to be saying about the upgrade in it's camera software, I'm likely to get the Samsung S10 next. 

What phone do you currently use? Have you ever used a mobile phone comparison site?

*Header image source Pixabay

Spice Up Your Life With The Spice Girls And Walkers*

*This is a collaborative post*

As many of my long term readers will know, I am a huge Spice Girls fan so when I was asked to write this post I literally leapt at the chance! From the first day that I heard Wannabe back in 1996 - where has the time gone? - I was hooked. I wanted to be a Spice Girl, Baby Spice in particular. and I had to have every little bit of Spice Girls memorabilia that existed from stationery and magazines to the limited edition Spice Girls Impulse. Who remembers that?? 

Their posters adorned my walls, their music played out of my old Alba personal cassette player and my sisters had to endure me as I made them learn all the dance routines just so we could put on shows for mum and dad! Obsessed may have been a better word really but there was something about the Spice Girls that was just very, very special. They made me feel like anything was possible, that I had girl power too, that I was a part of something much bigger than just me and that I could achieve all my dreams. And at a time when I was still at high school and being picked on, the Spice Girls and what they stood for really got me through tough times. Even to this day, when a Spice Girls song comes on the radio I am filled with a feeling of excited nostalgia. Indeed when I need a pick me up or to feel inspired, Spice or Spiceworld are still my go to albums. 

Spice which was their debut album, sold millions of copies worldwide and it became the best selling album of all time by a female group. Since then the girls have gone on to sell more than 85 million records and have won a host of awards including a well deserved BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. It really was truly a special era, not only did they make history but they empowered individuals all across the globe with their message of girl power and positivity. 

They also appeared on many a TV advert and lent their faces to several brands. In fact back in 1997 when everything 'Spice Girls' was taking the world by storm, Walkers - the UK's favourite crisp brand, teamed up with both the girls and Gary Lineker for a fun and girl power filled TV advert! Now more than twenty years on and as they tour the UK and Ireland, the girls have once again teamed up with Walkers for a brand new TV advert which you can watch below.

Walkers reunites with the Spice Girls for the 'Walkers Spice Girls Best Ever Fan' campaign!

'This competition is now closed'

The advert which searches for the 'Best Ever Fan,' is Walkers at its classic best showing the lengths some people will go to avoid sharing their Walkers crisps. To be in with a chance of winning VIP tickets to a Spice Girls concert along with a meet and greet, five star accommodation and travel, fans were asked to post a Spice Girls related snapshot on social media along with the hashtag #BestEverFan and @Walkers_Crisps. Images could be from yesteryear or fans could instead create something new and this week on the 5th June, one of the thousands of submissions that were entered will take the title of 'Best Ever Fan' for real. What a prize! I'd have loved to have got tickets for this Spice Girls tour but unfortunately as the dates clashed with my baby's due date it was a tad impractical! Here's hoping that they do another tour and I can get tickets, fingers crossed hey?! In the meantime I'll instead crank up my Spice Girls tunes and live vicariously through fellow fans as they upload photos and updates to social media!

*Photo source/credit: 'Walkers 2019 Spice Girls Ad'

4 Signs Alcohol is Becoming a Problem For You*

Image Source Pixabay

*This is a collaborative post*

Alcohol is a big part of life for many of us, especially here in the UK. We have, for a long time, perpetuate a culture of binge drinking for its own sake. As a nation we don’t drink with the same restraint and savouring that we see from our continental cousins. We don’t drink to elevate the taste of our food or to appreciate the subtle nuances of flavour. We drink as if we’re locked in an ancient rite of competition. Sometimes we can find ourselves drinking as though we are carrying out some sort of national duty to get as inebriated as possible as quickly as possible. While few of us think of ourselves as binge drinkers, our culture has normalised alcohol consumption to such an extent that we can forget that whatever else alcohol may be, it’s also a drug.

As such, if we’re to take our general health seriously, we should always be somewhat self aware when it comes to our alcohol consumption. You might not need to check into an alcohol rehab centre, but it’s always important to check for signs that your relationship with alcohol has become problematic. Signs like...

Almost all of your social plans involve drinking

An active and varied social life is a hugely important part of maintaining peak mental health. While solitude can be important for all of us, most of our best memories are made when we’re surrounded by the people closest to us. However, if all of your social plans involve drinking this may not be healthy. Make sure you mix it up and incorporate lots of teetotal activities, too!

You’re not seeing the results you expect from your workouts

Alcohol can really throw a spanner in the works when it comes to pursuing the perfect summer body. Not only are most alcoholic drinks filled with empty calories, alcohol dehydrates your body and slows your metabolism. This can be an unholy trinity when it comes to shifting stubborn belly fat or putting on lean muscle mass.

Your friends comment on how well you can “handle” your drink

This may seem like a compliment, but it should actually give you pause. If friends frequently comment on your ability to handle your drink it could be that you’re building up a tolerance to alcohol. And this by itself is a compelling sign that you may be drinking too much.

You find yourself thinking “I need a drink” way more often than you’re comfortable with

Finally, alcohol can become a crutch that guides us through troublesome times. In times of stress we can find ourselves needing a drink. In times of sadness we can find ourselves needing a drink. In times of anxiety we can find ourselves needing a drink. Suddenly alcohol can seem like the solutions to all of our problems, yet it can create far more problems than it solves.

Find healthier and more productive ways to relieve stress like yoga, punching the heck out of a bag or heading upstairs for an “early night” with your significant other.

*Contributed by Sam Jones*

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