Planning a Budget: Important Things to Consider

Hey Cats,
Budgeting is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to making sure that you have the security and stability you need in your day-to-day life. When you budget, you can save up for the things you need faster, and maintain a solid idea of where your daily cash is going.
Provided you stick solidly to your plan, a budget can help you to keep on top of your spending habits, and ensure you don't waste more than you earn. The key is making sure that you know how to set an effective budget from day one. Here are some of the things you should consider before you get started.
  1. Know Whether You Need a Budget or a Loan

Sometimes, a budget can be a great way to save up for long-term things, like a vacation, or paying off your mortgage. However, it's not always the right solution - particularly in emergency circumstances when you need help as quickly as possible. For instance, if your boiler breaks, and you need a replacement, the chances are you can't simply afford to wait for a few months, or even years, until you have enough cash for a new machine. Instead, you might need to consider borrowing money, which you can pay back at a time and pace that suits you.
Make sure you know why you're thinking of developing a budget before you get started. It will help you to figure out whether you can realistically save and meet your goals, or whether you might need an alternative course of action.

  1. Have Specific Goals in Mind

If you've analyzed your situation and determined that you do need to budget, then there's a good chance that you already have an idea of what you want to achieve in mind. For some people, the end goal is freedom for debt, whereas, for others, it might be saving for a house or a career change. Whatever you want to accomplish, having your goals in mind is a great way to ensure that you make your ambitions a reality.
Remember, budgeting will often involve making some difficult choices. You'll likely have to cut down on some of your favorite things and being able to envision your goal could help to make these sacrifices more palatable.
  1. Know Exactly How Much You Spend

When you begin to plan your budget, you'll find that you'll get the best results if you plan according to real numbers. In other words, you'll need to pull out all your receipts and bills over the last month or two and figure out what you've been spending. Before you can determine exactly how much money you can cut out of your monthly bills, you need to know what you've been spending on average.
Remember, keep your irregular bills and expenses in mind too, such as auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, property taxes, and so on. These bills shouldn't just bee unexpected surprises, but something that you plan for throughout the year.

  1. Be Realistic

Budgeting is often a difficult, and complex thing. You're pushing yourself to do something that you'd rather not do - like give up on your Netflix subscription, or reduce the amount of coffees you buy each week. That means that you're not going to get results if you try to cut down on too much at once. Instead, you simply increase your chances that you'll fall off the wagon. Smaller steps are more likely to bring in big results.
Don't promise to stop your spending by about 80% each month - as this isn't going to work for the long haul. Instead, just plan to cap out about 10% below your monthly average. After a bit of time, you can trim a little more, until you get down to your ideal figure.
  1. Track Your Spending, and Adjust When Necessary

Finally, once you've finished drawing up your budget, it's important to watch yourself and figure out how well you're sticking to the rules you've put in place for yourself. If new expenses emerge, or you face problems that might stop you from following your budget as stringently as you should, then you might need to make some adjustments.
Generally, you should be revisiting your budget on a monthly basis. This will mean that if you find that you're constantly overspending, you'll notice the problem and you'll be able to adjust and align yourself faster before you have too much of a negative impact on your finances.

Looking After Relationships When Your Super Busy And In Love

Hey Cats,

Relationships can become super complicated when life happens but only if you let them! The most important thing about any relationship is making sure that the other person feels loved and appreciated. I can hear you screaming but I am super busy, we have kids or I am working long shifts and I am guilty of those things myself and relationships can be difficult but are really important to keep on track.

The biggest key factor in any relationship is communication, without it under busy schedules your relationship will wither. In this day and age of Facebook, snapchat, instagram, texting and whatsapp no matter how far you may be away from your love you can be in contact with them on the go. Even if you just met someone on a Cambridge dating site after a first date make sure you text them to let them know you had a lovely time.

The longer you go into a relationship the urge to go all day without speaking about fun things and not just picking up milk on the way home can really slip in. I make sure I message my fiance every day to let him know that I am thinking of him or one of the reasons I love him.

If you have been reading any of my dating series you may have caught me talking about the best date nights around the UK that you can go to. I love finding fun days or nights out and am a huge believer in date nights being a big deal for any relationship. Taking that time out together just the two of you to have fun and create new memories keeps things fresh.

It doesn't have to be every week because lets be realistic if your schedule is hectic you will end up letting each other down and that will only cause heartache and resentment. So once a month is doable and fair and gives you an excuse to get dressed up or even just stay in and have a movie fest as long as it is just the two of you or if you feel like getting away try a bit of Merseyside dating and have a night out.

Small acts of love really go the distance and it doesn't have to be buying flowers or expensive gifts the little things build into big beautiful reasons to why you love each other. We have always loved sending songs to each other being huge fans of music it can express our love for us and leaving little notes in lunchboxes every now and again can really perk up a boring day and remind them you love them even when you can't be there.

If you met somewhere specific like a Fife dating agency or a bookshop maybe get them something little and leave it in their pocket so they find it when they least expect it. Finding a little memory in your pocket when you are hunting for lunch money or your bus pass can make your heart burst with love. I once left a mini Elvis in my other half pocket as a little token to remind him we are soon to be married not only did it make him laugh but it reminded him I am always thinking of him and he still has the little guy to this day.

Always respect the one you love I know this one seems like it goes without saying but showing you appreciate and love them for everything they do for the both of you is really important. It may seem like it doesn't need to be said but everyone needs to be reminded that you really love when they make that apple crumble or took the time to spend time with your mates when they could have been at a gig they wanted to go to. When you let someone know you appreciate and love the things they do it will make them feel loved. Sharing how you feel is just as important 30 years down the line as it was when you first met on Belfast dating  all those years ago and especially when you get busy.

Most of all you have to have trust the biggest thing in any relationship is to trust the one you love and really listen when they say they love you. Just because they are busy and you're busy and you met on Cumbria dating all that time ago doesn't mean that they will jump back onto the dating scene when you have to pick up an extra shift but do remember that every once and a while saying no to overtime can be just as important because no matter how much we want to get ahead with our careers or that extra bit of money in the account love is priceless and that is the real prize coming home to someone you love and they love you. Take the time and look after those relationships!

Don't forget to check out We Love dates if you're still looking for love!

Do you have any tips for busy relationships?


5 Reasons To Visit Thailand

Hey Cats,

If you are like me and have the travel bug you are constantly dreaming about your next trip and where to head off to next! I have so many places I want to go and one of them is definitely Thailand. A beautiful country that welcomes 1000s of visitors every day if you haven't been then you will want to go I will give you 5 reasons why you should pack that bag and book the flight today. Just take me with you please.

The Food

You may be thinking oh now come on I can try Thai food at a restaurant down the road but believe me when I say it is nowhere near the same. A lot of Thai restaurants that open in western countries tame the foods for the western pallet. When eating in Thailand you can experience true Thai food and taste the freshest ingredients grown right there in the beautiful country. There are so many beautiful flavours to try and you can get street food for super cheap and dine in beautiful restaurants by the sea or in the countryside with breathtaking views which can make any dining experience something to remember. From spicy shrimp soup to coconut chicken you can take your taste buds on an adventure make sure you try som tam!

The culture and People

Culture is extremely important in Thailand and there are many beautiful places to go where you can see culture expressed and represented in many ways. You can visit peaceful temples, local markets and visit beautiful sculptures. The best people to learn about the culture and traditions of Thailand are the people themselves. Thailand hosts a nation of welcoming and warm, friendly people who you can talk to. Part of travelling is getting to know people, go and shop locally and talk to people who offer guided tours be friendly, polite and respectful and you will get the same in return. Remember even if some of the traditions and beliefs you do not agree with always to be respectful of others cultures.

Luxury On A Budget

There are lots of stunning spa resorts in Thailand so if you want a break from a stressful life back home then Phuket Holidays can help you find luxury at a low cost. Really relax at a spa hotel where you can get massages, take some time out in the sea view pool or even go scuba diving. If you like your own space you can find some stunning villas to book for as little or as many people as you need to have travel with you with some amazing facilities that you can relax and enjoy after a long busy day. Holidays are about relaxing so take advantage of the rest time and you may be surprised at how cheap it can be to have a luxury break on a budget.

Breathtaking Scenery

The scenery you can see in Thailand is just breath taking before my friend went out to live there I thought Thailand was all beaches but it is also full of beautiful green countryside with stunning flowers and windmills. Just think how stunning your Instagram feed will look when you go on a trek in the country or even more exciting in the jungle.  

The Beaches

Lets face it when  you go on holiday you can trek up mountains and eat until you are fit to burst but sometimes the thing you want to do most is sit and contemplate on the beach watching the sea and really taking in the world. Thailand has so many beautiful beaches you can explore and with beautiful blue sea you won't be able to resist going in for a paddle. I love writing on the beach as it really helps me creatively flow and you can always build a sandcastle. 

Have you been to Thailand?


Dating events to find love!

Hey Cats,

A great way to start dating is by attending events and there are lots of different things you can jump into. I know the thought of a dating event may sound cringe but if you have a few single friends you can make a real night of it and if you don't meet a perfect match you will at least meet lots of people and then hopefully have the confidence to try another. Plus you can pick up tips and find out about other events from other people plus just the knowledge that everyone in the room is single is a big plus because there is nothing worse with hitting on someones eases partner.

If the words speed dating send a shiver down your spine have a think why? Dating is about meeting people and what better way than to meet lots of people at once especially if you get to sit next to your friend it will all be over in around an hour and you will have a ton of laughs and stories to tell and lets face it if anyone is a nightmare you only have to talk to them for a short time instead of all night which could be a saviour.

 I think speed dating is a fantastic way to meet people you may not have chatted to at first but might spark with instantly and it is great practise for dates. There are lots of speed dating events around now as they have grown more popular you can check out some here at speed dating in Lothian, speed dating in Nottinghamshire, speed dating in county down, speed dating in Gwent, or speed dating in Grampian. For events local to you look online and you will find lots or even set up one yourself and then you get first pick.

If clubbing is your scene then there are lots of singles only club nights these vary from rock nights to dance clubs. The only difference to a normal night out clubbing is that everyone in the room is single which puts you off to a better start and avoids any awkward misunderstandings. You get to dance the night away with fellow singles and if you're a music nut like me find people into the same music as you plus you know more what they are like before you go on your first date and more importantly if they can dance. So grab your friends and dance the night away if nothing else it is a fun night of dancing.

If you are more adventurous and maybe the only single one of your friends then singles holidays could be the best for you! Adventure awaits as singles holidays range from relaxing sunny beaches, luxury cruises or adventure holidays. A group from small to larger gets together and goes exploring/ Even if you don't feel this will find you a date it can be a good way to venture out on holiday without having to travel alone and means you have a group to discover new things with. Walking holidays and sports holidays are particularly popular for singles to band together on and then instead of getting lost in the wilderness you can get lost in someone else! How romantic to meet on holiday and a fine excuse to holiday for all those future anniversaries.

What kind of events do you go to find that perfect date?


The Ultimate Self Care Pamper Evening

Hey Cats,

We are all so guilty of getting lost in either looking after others or working hard and forgetting to show ourselves some love, that is where we need to stop and take a breather. What better way to do that than have a self indulgent, relaxing pamper evening! Simply Be kindly sent me a package full of goodies to kick back and beautify. I want to share that me time with you in the hopes it will inspire you to take some time out for yourself to.

When it comes to a pamper session I love to start with a bath where you can just soak all those worries away. Bomb cosmetics make amazing bath bombs, fizzers, melts and bubble baths for all your bathing needs. Simply Be has lots of different sets from bomb cosmetics I chose the ice cream themed one because what is a self love night without ice cream of some sort. Relaxing is made so easy with bath bombs the essential oils nourish your skin making it baby soft after the harsh drying weather. The ice cream bath blaster not only looks beautiful but is packed with  sandalwood and bergamot essential oils.

I love bath bombs but for me a bath isn’t anything without lots of bubbles so this gift set is perfect as you get a vanilla sky bubble bath so combining the two and using the extra sweet castaway soap will leave you smelling and feeling delicious.

I love a good mask so went a bit crazy for a deep conditioning hair mask and a foot peeler from ok. Lovely Korean beauty inspired products to get you looking glam in no time. Hair masks always make me feel like my hair is getting a new feel, I try and do them monthly or even every two weeks hair masks aren’t just great for your hair but also for your scalp too. If I haven’t been wearing a hat in this blistering cold my sensitive scalp gets really dry and using a deep conditioner can be really soothing. I also try and use scalp masks or massage a good oil into my scalp and then wash out later. Coconut oil is perfect for this kind of thing but I found that the hair mask was easier to use and left my hair silky soft.

Peeling foot masks aren’t as instantly gratifying as they are a longer term thing after giving your feet a real treat and moisturise within a few days your feet will peel and hard skin will disappear. I will keep you posted!

Everyone knows the most comfortable of clothes id pyjamas and although we all look in horror when we see someone out and about in them I think secretly we wish we could all live in them. So comfy home clothes were super important because beauty sessions don't always have to be uncomfortable. Simply be lounge wear has so many cute pjs to choose from but I just had to have unicorns! A pair of night clothes that combines unicorns and rainbows is any grrrls best friend. I got these in a 20-22 but they go from 12/14 up to a 32/34 and for only£10 are a complete steal.

I picked up some L'Oreal dual cream which I put on straight from the bath to sooth my dry skin even though I have another treat in store for it. I have used this before and loved how great and awake it made my skin look which sounds crazy but the older I get the more concealer i find myself going through!

I also picked up an Sleep Mask from ohk! I had always been curious about sleep masks and what better time to try one out than in the winter when we get ill and the cold really gives our face a run for it's money. I get really red blotches from dry patches so have to crank up the moisturiser so this sounded perfect put on and night and let it do it's thing. I will let you know how soft my skin is after.

Lately finding time to do my nails is a real luxury and so I need to use quality products with a longer lasting polish. Rose gold is my favourite right now and Ciate has some beautiful products which you can grab from simply be. Even though this one was advertised as a beach look I think it is perfect for the upcoming party season with beautiful rose gold nails and a flash of glitter I just couldn't resist having a practice ready for the upcoming Christmas party. I love that this set has a coconut top coat to help protect our nails and keep them looking amazing for longer. I feel massively spoilt and relaxed thanks to Simply be and was really impressed with the range of items they had in their beauty section as I must admit I never seemed to check it out before but I will now.  Even better there is a black Friday special sale coming up so who needs more of an excuse to spoil themselves?

What would you have for your pamper night? Have you tried simply be's beauty section yet?

*Products gifted for review but opinions my own

5 Tips for getting on the dating scene over 40

Hey Cats,

Dating is a scary scene for some but people make the mistake of thinking that the older you get the harder dating gets and personally I think that is not true, in fact I think it becomes easier. When you're really young and dating it is hard to know what you really want as most people at that age have no idea who they are yet or what life holds for them. As you get older you know more and more what you enjoy and you have your own stability in yourself and life in general. Maybe you have got out of a long relationship and are jumping on the dating scene for the first time in forever and things seem daunting or maybe you have been focused on your career life and now are ready and open to love. Whatever the reason dating can be a lot of fun if you let it.

1-Don't just settle!

Too many people get insecure meet a person that is free, single, has a job and think great they will do! Always play the field a bit first go on a few dates with different people until you get that spark. Sure you may get lucky and find someone straight away who makes you feel like a giddy teenager and then of course jump on that or them even. Just make sure you are aware of your own wroth and how deserving and special you are and you deserve to find someone who will love you and everything that comes with you!

2- Be Open and Honest

If you are a long time reader of my dating posts you know I harp on about being open and honest but it really is the key to any dating. As life moves on and we get to our 40s chances are you life comes with more than just do. Don't be misled into believing that your past relationships, children or family are 'baggage' of any form. Anyone who may think that about something so precious in your life is not worth knowing and equally be accepting that your future love may come with children and maybe even complications of their own. Combining adult lives at any age becomes complex but is always so worth it. Be proud to say yes you're a parent or no you have never been in a serious relationship because to the right person it won't matter it will be part of you.

3-Don't let the past control the future

The past is just that and nobody is telling you to completely forget your life before meeting new people because it isn't always that easy. Maybe your marriage just fell apart naturally or you could have lost some suddenly and unexpected in which case you should always remember them but let yourself move on. Equally if you have had a string of bad relationships don't bring those insecurities into your next relationships take the time to heal first and know that just because in the past your relationships haven't been successful doesn't mean this next one won't be your forever love but you have to give them that chance to be there.

4-Try Online Dating

Over 40 our lives our super busy there are friends to see, work to go to, kids to attend to and so much more life can be pretty hectic. How on earth can you get the time to meet someone if you have all this on your plate. Dating on the go is the future you can jump on dating sites on your phone or computer and get to know people at your fingertips and there are even specialised dating sites now that help you narrow down your potential dates. You may think dating sites are not for your age group but there are plenty of local and over 40s sites that you can visit some great sites include senior dating, Hampshire dating, Glasgow dating, Yorkshire dating agency, and Jersey dating agency. There are now so many places to choose from to find love!

5-Take your time 

Most of all take your time! Don't feel like you have to rush things which is one of the great things about online dating you can really take the time to get to know someone before you have even gone on a date. Go on as many dates as you can before you commit make sure they well and truly woo and appreciate you for the awesome person you are.

What are your tips?


A- Z of inspirational women R is for...

Hey Cats,

It's that time again to loom at inspirational women of the past and present and all the amazing things they do to inspire every day. It feels like only yesterday we started this series but if you're new be sure to go check out all the others so far and let us know who you would have put forward.

Lets start with a woman who represents the many who so many have depicted again and again and look to as a symbol of strength. Rosie the Riveter has become a bit of an icon adorning posters and t-shirts and still recognised to this day. The poster of Rosie the Riveter was used during World War II as a representation of all the women that had to step out of the feminine shackles and into a new world of working and being recognised as an equal. Women were the backbone of the UK during the war farming the lands, working the factories and keeping the country running. So Rosie is in fact not one person but represents any woman who needs the strength to carry on!

Rebel Wilson is out in the media loud, fat and proud she may be playing the fat friend in a lot of her roles but she does it with serious sass and style so much so you just want to be the one hanging out with her laughing your heads off and dancing the night away. She may have faced some very recent controversy from the plus size world in that she has been seen to be 'trimming down' but what is wrong with a woman being healthy and still very plus size health at every size is important.  I just hope that is Rebels motivation and not that the Hollywood world has finally got to her. With an arsenal of films and a clothing line under her belt this savvy business woman is a force to look up to.

Rachel Wiley is a strong, beautiful and talented woman. I have always been moved by poetry but hers just brings me to tears she can take you to places you didn't think anyone else understood. She is outspoken on issues of race, fat positivity, love and politics. A gift with moving words and a legend on the spoken word scene. If you have time to check out some of Wiley's work I urge you to just spend half an hour listening to some of her powerful worlds and try and tell me that you're not inspired because you will come away feeling rushed with inspiration.

Who did I miss that is inspiring to you?