How to deal with first time buyers anxiety


Buying a house is a life-changing decision and although for the most part, it is exciting, it can also be very overwhelming and incredibly daunting. However prepared you are, there's always going to be moments where you doubt yourself and when you're buying a house, you're constantly leaping from one obstacle to another until the final documents are signed. From saving the deposit to weighing up fees, it can be a lot of pressure and it takes a lot of true 'adulting' to get through it.

After twelve months of saving like crazy and being total recluses, my husband and I have finally reached the point where we are ready to buy a house. We have been to the bank and got 'our mortgage in principle' and the wheels are now in motion with the house we are looking to buy.  It has been a few months of leaps and hurdles with worrying about saving enough cash to wondering whether everything will fall through at last minute, we really have been through the motions of 'first-time buyers' anxiety and we're only inches into the process.

Anxiety is nothing to be afraid of speaking about and when you're dealing with such a big decision and parting with a lot of money, it is completely normal. However, it is not spoken about as much as it should be. Today I thought I would share with you the emotions that I have been feeling during the preliminary stages of buying a house and a few tips on how to make things easier. 

Talk to other people around you

If you're feeling concerned or worried, talk to those around you who have recently bought a house or own their home. My friends and family have been incredibly supportive and given me so much advice from their experiences that I wouldn't have been able to find out via Google. 

Believe in yourself

It's easier said than done, but try to believe in yourself and tell yourself you can do this. If someone said to me that I would be able to go from having zero savings to a house deposit in a year, I would have laughed at them, but we did it.

Stay organised

Whether it is saving the deposit or trying to organise bank appointments, try to keep on top of your workload by writing to do to lists and checking each one off at a time. Always make sure you have printouts of where you are financially and keep a check on your records.

Focus on what is important

Everyone has different circumstances when it comes to buying a house and different things they are looking for when buying their dream home. Always focus on what is important to you and follow your gut feeling.

Don't let the fear jeopardise your excitement

A few weeks ago I said to a friend that I was anxious about starting the buying process and she turned around and said 'it should be one of the most exciting times of your life' and she was right.  Buying a house will always be stressful, but you should always focus on the excitement too - after all you're buying your dream home and starting a new future for yourself.

What are your tips for nervous first-time buyers?










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Four ways to give your home a luxury hotel vibe


When I walk into a hotel room, the first thing that often pops into my head is 'I wish I had a room like this at home." Hotel rooms are designed with comfort and luxury in mind to allow the visitor to escape from their troubles and have a nice and relaxing stay at their new home from home. Luxury boutique hotels focus heavily simple, yet unique interior design pieces so you will look back on your visit and remember the hotel fondly.  

Although luxury hotels may have a hefty price tag, you don't need to spend that much money to recreate the look at home. Incorporating a few new accessories into your interior design will help you get that 'boutique hotel vibe' on a budget.

Add Pillows and throws

To give your home a luxury hotel vibe, accessorise with pillows and throws to add texture and create a cosy, comfortable feel. You can experiment by adding pillows with different prints on them to give each room character.

Give your room a detox

When you're at home it is very easy to for rooms to get cluttered and for us to throw things in different corners and hoard items we no longer need. Give your room a detox and get rid of the items you no longer use so that you're able to create sleek, minimalist surroundings.


Freshen the room with candles

Hotel rooms are cleaned on a daily basis, therefore they always smell and feel fresh. To give your room that 'just cleaned' feeling, opt for candles or room diffusers that will fill the room with fragrance. Voluspa candles are used in hotel rooms worldwide and are known for their powerful scents. This Amarantha and Jasmine candle from Amara smells floral fresh and exotic and would be the perfect addition to any home.

Look for statement pieces

To add character to each of your rooms, look for statement pieces to brighten up corners of the room that look overly spacious or empty shelves that could do with a bit of attention. You can do this by looking for antiques, recycling old furniture to give them a new lease of life, adding different ornaments or by adding flowers. One of my favourite new household items is this Cote Noire faux flower ornament, again from Amara. This particular ornament has a really luxurious look with gold detailing on the front and glossy black vase. Not only does it look good, but it also smells fantastic too as it comes with two little bottles of perfume to freshen up the flowers.


What would you do to recreate your favourite hotel room?

*contains pr samples






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A Vegan Christmas Gift Guide


Buying Christmas presents can be challenging on the best of days, nevermind if someone has a specific dietary requirement or request. Veganism is growing in popularity amongst the UK, but there's still quite a lot of people who don't quite understand what it is, therefore buying a vegan gift can be difficult. There are lots to consider when buying a vegan present from whether it has any animal products in it to whether it is ethical or cruelty-free. It can also be quite daunting for vegans telling their non-vegan family members what to buy them as we don't want to come across as unappreciative, but we also don't want people buying us items that we wouldn't use. 

In this post, I've put together a few gift suggestions for vegans based on my favourite all time products, as well recommendations from a few vegan brands. 


Chocolate
When buying chocolate for someone who is vegan it is always important to check the ingredients to make sure that the chocolate does not have milk, lactose or honey in it. There are quite a few dark chocolates on the high street such as Green and Blacks that are vegan but always look at the packaging to make sure. My favourite budget-friendly chocolate at the moment is the online confectionary brand, Goupie*. The brand has 13 out of 17 flavours on their website that are vegan, including two Christmas flavours and prices start at £4.00. The chocolates are incredibly chewy with a lovely crunchy centre and they are perfect for those who are not overly keen on dark chocolate as they are not as rich as other chocolates on the market.


If you're looking for a luxury chocolate brand, these Paxton Chocolate* 'Deliciously Dark Thins' would be the perfect treat. These chocolates are vegan and gluten-free and include a selection of thin chocolates coated with apple and ginger, mango and paprika, raspberry and mint and strawberry and black pepper. Prices start from £7.50 for a small box and go to up £25 for a large box.


Vegan hampers

Hampers are always a great present choice and you can make your own hampers from scratch incorporating a few of your friends or loved ones favourite items or buy them pre-made.  Traditional pre-made hampers won't be vegan as they usually include milk chocolate and honey, however, there's a lot of brands online that are now doing vegan specific hampers. If the person you are buying for loves cooking and Italian food, the five-minute meal kit from Vorrei* would be the perfect present to put under their tree. The hamper costs £55 and includes authentic Italian pasta, risottos and sauces. The kit is quite extensive with three different types of pasta, two risottos, dried vegetables, basil pesto, pasta sauces, chilli oil, truffles and it comes in a presentation box topped with a green ribbon so that you don't need to do any wrapping. This kit is perfect for those who love cooking but don't have enough time spare to do it.


Vegan slogan t-shirts

Some vegans are really passionate about their diet and animals, therefore a t-shirt with a slogan on it could make the perfect Christmas presents. Slogan t-shirts allow the wearer to showcase their personality and shows that the gift-buyer has put a lot of thought into what they have bought you. I picked up this one recently at a vegan fair and it really sums me up in those few sentences. This particular t-shirt has been made from organic, fair trade cotton and cost me £25.


Vegan cookbooks

Whether the person that you're buying a present for has just turned vegan or they have been vegan for several months or years, everyone still needs recipe inspiration from time to time. My all-time favourite cookbooks are by Masterchef finalist Jackie Kearney. These recipes are packed full of flavour with dishes she has put together from her travels around the world. I use these cookbooks at least once a week and wouldn't be without them. The books cost £16.99 each and they are full of meals that your friend or loved one will never get bored of. These books are my best purchases in a long time.


Alcohol

Not all alcohol is vegan and in fact, not all alcohol is vegetarian either. A lot of booze is filtered using fish bladders, but legally they don't have to declare this. If you're looking for a boozy vegan gift this Christmas, check out Barnivore where you can check out which alcohol is vegan and which isn't. As a general rule, most Gins are vegan and therefore I decided to add this little Sipsmith Gin kit to the Christmas list. There are three types of Gin in a beautiful gift set and this is only £10.



Experiences

Experiences are a great gift to give someone as it allows them to do something that they may not have the money or chance to do and the memories from that gift will last a lot longer than a box of chocolate. These days there are lots of different experiences you can buy from spa days to skydiving, afternoon tea to weekend breaks, available from websites such as Prezzybox*. If you're buying an experience day for a vegan friend or family, just remember to check to see if they have vegan alternatives if it is to do with food or that the activity is cruelty-free.


Are you buying any vegan gifts this year?



*This post contains some PR samples





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How to cope with motion sickness


Many of us will have suffered from motion sickness at some point during our childhood, but for a minority of people it extends past their childhood and plays havoc in their daily lives. It can be very hard to pinpoint what exactly causes motion sickness and it can vary from person to person and on different modes of transport. I know several people who get sick on planes and boats, but are fine in cars, whereas I tend to feel queasy in cars and feel fine on boats and planes. I remember being plagued with motion sickness as a child and there was one particular road in North Wales that spiralled up the side of a mountain and halfway up we always had to stop for me to get fresh air or occasionally be sick. I spent most of my weekends in Wales as a child so this was a regular occurrence.

Drawing upon my own motion sickness experience,  I've put together a few tips on how I've been able to combat motion sickness in the past.

Calm yourself down

If you know that you are prone to travel sickness, you can often get yourself quite apprehensive about your journey and anxiety can aggravate your symptoms. Before you leave home, give yourself a pep talk and make sure you're in the best mindset you can be. Prepare any items you may need for the journey ahead and reassure yourself that you are ready.

Allow time for stops

When you are planning out your journey, where possible, allow time for stops so that you are able to get some fresh air or have a bathroom break if you're beginning to feel queasy. This may extend the length of your journey, but it will enable you to set your mind at rest and feel comfortable for the duration of your travels.

Pinpoint your triggers

Everyone has different triggers when it comes to motion sickness, whether it is a particular type of transport or an activity you are doing whilst travelling such as reading, try to pinpoint these so you can potentially take a different route or minimise the amount of time doing the activity that makes you feel sick.

Dose up on ginger

Ginger is known for its natural ability to reduce nausea, so stock up on your favourite type of ginger food whether it is ginger tea, sweets, beer or ginger biscuits. If you don't like the taste of ginger,  you can always opt for ginger capsules that have no aftertaste.

Get acquainted with your pressure points

Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique that is known for its healing powers. The technique involves applying pressure to different trigger points along the body to promote blood circulation. To help ease the symptoms of motion sickness, you can purchase pressure bands that sit on the wrist or apply the wrist area yourself.

If everything fails, medicate

If everything fails, don't be ashamed to seek help as there's lots of treatment available over the counter or from your doctor like this travel sickness medication from Chemist 4 U.

Do you suffer from motion sickness?



*Collaborative post
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How an off road driving session can boost your driving confidence


Despite driving quite frequently across the country, I have always been an anxious driver. I cannot pinpoint the exact reason why I get anxious as I know that I can drive, but sometimes I get behind the wheel and begin to feel all jittery and my stomach goes into knots.  Over the last four years of driving, I have since been able to control my emotions and this rarely happens any more unless I'm going somewhere brand new and quite far away, but during my first year of driving I had several panic attacks behind the wheel when I got myself into a difficult situation and it was a really daunting experience - knowing that the car is your responsibility and you're the only one who can get yourself out of that problem.


A few weeks ago I was invited to have a go on the Coniston Hotel off-roading track on the outskirts of Skipton. The session was just under an hour and had me driving through rivers, up very steep stairs and balancing a very large Mitsubishi 4x4 on three wheels.  When I arrived at the hotel, I was taken to the briefing area where I was shaking in anticipation, but my instructor had a great sense of humour and within ten minutes he had already calmed my nerves.


After our safety session, I was then taken on to the track where I was shown how to manoeuvre the vehicle and then given a chance to try it for myself. The car was so much bigger than the little Fiat 500 I'm used to driving, but it was a really comfortable smooth drive and after a few minutes, I felt well acquainted with the car and ready for the challenge. Before we tackled each off-roading challenge, we stopped the car and talked through everything that I needed to do. Once I had got over the first big ramp, I realised how much control I had over the car and I realised I had nothing to fear.

Within 20 minutes of driving through the track, my confidence had increased so much that I could have happily driven around all day and balancing the car on three wheels didn't even daunt me anymore. On the last bit of the track, I was doing so well that the instructor decided to take me to a harder level that they don't usually go on during the taster sessions. I was asked to drive up a set of very steep stairs, which at first looked relatively easy, but on my first attempt, I got the car stuck and had to reverse back down. On the second attempt, I put my foot down hard on the gas pedal and flew straight up, I felt that I had not only conquered driving up steep stairs but for the first time in my life, I had conquered a few of my driving nerves.

During the off-roading session, I learnt a lot about myself and my driving ability. My first observation was that I doubt myself way too much and that when I put my mind to something, I can actually do it. Secondly, the off-roading track taught me that you do have a lot more control over a car than you originally think you may have and as long as you take the time to think about your next steps and drive slowly, you will be okay. Finally, cars are a lot more capable than you may think - of course, it helps if you are driving in a state of the art 4x4, but most cars have gone through rigorous testing to ensure that they are safe for you to drive in any situation you may encounter.

A 4x4 beginner session costs £109 for 60 minutes of driving and can take up to three passengers, all of which can have a go if they have a driving license. I would not hesitate to book another session, it is a fun, thrilling experience and great for those looking to test their driving skills. I'm already looking to go back next year.

Have you been off roading before?

*This experience was complimentary, but views are my own
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