Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Win £30.00 to spend at Yorkshire Linen

I personally think that a persons bedroom should be their own little hideaway.

A space that they can truly relax and feel peaceful in.

When I moved into this house over a year ago, I knew that I wanted my bedroom to be all white.

I first discovered the serenity of all-white rooms a couple of years ago when I visited a hypnotherapist...the session took place in her home and her living room was decorated completely in white.

White sofa, white cushions, white walls, white rug....the room immediately gave a sense of peace and calm, and I just fell in love with it.

Of course, having small children at home, white it not a practical colour for a living room....but your bedroom is the ideal place to try it out, and this is surely where you need to feel your most peaceful in order to sleep well at night.

If you're reluctant to go all white, perhaps try a combination of with another lighter colour such as grey or silver.

This look is so easy to create, and it doesn't need to cost the earth.

Just a simple white bedding set can really set the tone for the bedroom, this Baltic Grey and White set from Yorkshire Linen is ideal:

There are also many smaller touches you can add to a bedroom without breaking the bank, the following from Yorkshire Linen are ideal: 

Boston Voile Panel - from £9.99

If you'd like a helping hand in making over your bedroom, take a look at this fab competition in collaboration with Yorkshire Linen.


Yorkshire Linen are offering one lucky Sparkles & Stretchmarks reader the chance to win £30.00 credit for their website!

All you need to do is complete the Rafflecopter form below.

Competition is open to UK entrants only and ends on 30th September...Good Luck!

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Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/%C2%A330-voucher-yorkshire-linen#sthash.uvb71IpA.dpuf

My Dream Bathroom

One of the problems with living in a rented home is not having the freedom to freely redecorate as you wish.

The room that I most unhappy with in our home is, by far, the bathroom.

We had some bad leaks during the spring which have left the ceiling cracked and the paint work patchy, the bathtub is much smaller and narrower than I would like (I dream of a bathtub I can lay fully submerged in instead of with my feet hanging out!), the shower is far too high...I can only assume the previous tenants were giants because at 5'9 I can't reach to turn it on without going on tiptoes!, the colours are dreary, and there is no ventilation meaning it gets mouldy and gross often!

So when I recently saw that Virtual Bathrooms are holding a competition to design your dream bathroom online, I spent an hour or so in Daydream Heaven putting together how my bathroom would look if I could do what I wanted to with it!

I loved designing it....the design tool reminded me of playing on The Sims, it was so much fun and there was every kind of bathroom addition there you could wish for!

Here is my finished bathroom,....its very simple but clean, with a deep tub, a heated towel rail, a "floating" toilet, marble floors and neutral touches such as bathmats and towels.

You can have a go at designing your own bathroom and enter the competition too....there are some great prizes up for grabs including a Intuous Pro and £100 of Apple Vouchers! 

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Saving The Smart Way

Saving is something that becomes a part of life once you leave home, and I doubt that it's something you ever stop needing to do.

There always seems to be something to save for....deposits for houses, cars, holidays, saving for childrens futures....it seems pretty never ending.

A couple of years ago, I started a rainy day savings account to use for family holidays....I wanted us to always be able to afford holidays with Tyne, and with now being pregnant there will of course be baby things that need to be purchased.

I find it so helpful to have a savings account completely separate to my current account where I can transfer money whenever I have some spare, and where I can see it building up....being able to see the money building really encourages me and spurs me on to add more and more to it wherever possible.

I recommend using a protected account to ensure your savings are safe, such as with FSCS 

I allocate my money each month to cover rent, bills and money for days out and any treats we might want to indulge in such as meals out and then whatever money is left over, whether its £100 or £10, I transfer it to my savings account....every little helps and its amazing how quickly the small amounts can add up.

I also try to do what I can to raise funds specifically for the savings account....every month or two I have a sort out of clothes and bits & bobs from around the house that have been sitting around collecting dust, I go and do a car boot sale (which I really enjoy!) and I put any money raised into the savings account - I usually come away with at least £60 each time so over the course of a year that's an extra £720! Enough to cover a nice little holiday!

How do you approach saving money?

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

The dangers of borrowing cash

We are now considered a society living on borrowed money. 
Non-standard lending is becoming a more common issue, as people try to get hold of cash quickly for one off items that they need, such as the holiday of a lifetime, a house extension or a new car.

However, a report by market research agency YouGov has discovered that one in three users of non-standard loans needed the money just to make ends meet, and that this is an issue many of us are struggling with everyday. 

We suggest that before you are tempted to borrow money that you seek advice from an official expert online and moneyadviceservice.org.uk is a good place to start.

We all know that there are a multitude of dangers that come hand in hand with borrowing cash, but sometimes it can feel like there is no other option when times are tight and the money is needed urgently. It might be needed to pay day-to-day bills, to buy something expensive but necessary such as a car or a new washing machine or to start up a new business venture.

Whatever the reason, it is important that you take everything into consideration before you sign the contract and always do your research beforehand. The main issue to consider is once you take that loan out can you afford to pay it back in time, before you begin accruing a mind blowing amount of interest?

If an individual is unable to pay a loan back in time and has used a non-standard lender, they may need to borrow money again just to cover themselves. This then creates a terrifying circle of debt, which can be hard to escape from. Your credit can also be affected if you struggle to make repayments, which can greatly affect your ability to rent a house and take out any future loans or mortgages, finance on a car and even mobile phone or internet package deals.

The amount of money borrowed is another important factor to consider, loan companies can tempt you with amazing offers on amounts of money, that are much higher than what you actually need. Only take out the exact amount you require, you can easily find yourself in hot water if you take out more than you can pay back.

You might consider borrowing money from a friend or family member to skip any legal implications and interest, however this can put a strain on your relationship with the person you are borrowing money from, so be sure that the lender understands you might take a little longer to pay them back and that they themselves won’t need the money in the near future.

The issue of money and people finding themselves burdened with crippling debt is now such an issue that schools are teaching pupils the dangers of loan sharks and borrowing money, as a recent BBC News business report found.

 The fact that we now have to teach children the dangers from such a young age says a lot, but if they are aware of the dangers they should be able to avoid making the same mistakes.

Research and common sense are the driving forces required when you consider borrowing money. 

If you know what legal implications and interest your loan entails, as well as how quickly you need to find the money to pay it back, then you can easily avoid falling into the danger zone.

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Cbeebies Dreams With Squidge review & giveaway

It may only be mid-September but Christmas is fast approaching and with that in mind, today we want to talk about a new toy that Tyne has been testing out.

CBeebies Dreams With Squidge is a plush cuddle toy version of the Cbeebies mascot, Squidge.

This lullaby/night time toy is incredibly cute complete with bedtime hat and all.

Press the star and Squidge sings the adorable Cbeebies goodnight song, and also lights up....the toy is very cute and certainly makes a lovely cot companion for night time snuggles.

The recommended age is 10 months +, and at 17 months Tyne is a big fan.

Available for £19.99 HERE


We have THREE Dreams With Squidge toys to give away! To be in with a chance of winning one, just complete the Rafflecopter form below.

*Open to UK Entrants only

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