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How To Save Money On Your Christmas Shopping

There’s no doubt that Christmas is an expensive time of year, but there are plenty of ways you can save money on your shopping this year. From saving a few pounds to making substantial savings, everything counts.

Make a list

Before you consider spending, make a paper or mental list of what you need to buy. This will prevent panic buying from kicking in and ensure you only spend what you really need to. It’s also great for researching prices online or in stores. Once you have your list together, it’s time to start shopping.

Search money saving websites

Deal websites like HDUK show you offers that are on both in-store or online. A lot of these might be offers you might miss otherwise or glitches. You can search the hottest deals and the newest deals on the site as well as voucher codes. I normally use the search tool if I’m looking for something specific.

Also look on voucher sites for discount codes or printable coupons you can use in-store. Here are a few of my favourites;

Voucher codes – on here, you’ll find codes for stores and restaurants. For eating out, just download the code to your phone/email address and show it to your waiter/waitress when you pay for your food.

Paypal shopping – If you’re paying by PayPal, check out the offers on this official website as you’ll find money saving offers for several stores.

Latest free stuff – You’ll find lots of freebies on here as well as discount coupons.

Coupon Mama – You’ll also find lots of coupons on here to spend in-store.

Cashback sites

I always use a cashback site when I’m shopping online and I’ve made over £500 back in cashback so far.

Cashback sites work by tracking your purchase at the time of your spend. You may get a percentage of your spend back or a specific amount. For example, you can currently receive 7.35% cashback when you make an online purchase at Boots via Topcashback.

You can get cashback at a wide range of store via Topcashback and you’ll find exclusive discount codes.

Current stores include Feel Unique, Groupon, Debenhams, Fragrance Direct, Matalan, The Body Shop, Cult Beauty, and more.

It normally takes a few weeks to months to receive your cashback into your account but its well worth signing upto as you can potentially save so much money on your shopping, phone suppliers and insurance.

Amazon

Amazon have many deals and offers throughout the year, however, I find the site is best for specific products, such as books, DVD’s and beauty. A few current offers include;

Real Techniques Core Collection – £11.79

Vera Wang Princess 100ml – £23

GHD Styler – £89

Face by Pixiwoo – £9.99

Little Women (Rifle Paper Co Version) – £7.49

Ebay

Many brands have outlet stores on eBay offering good discounts. Here are a few stores to check out;

Boohoo outlet – up to 50% and free delivery on many items.

Ann Summers – Half price items.

Joules – 50% off.

Littlewoods – Savings on products you’ll find at both Littlewoods and Very.

Office Shoes – Auctions starting at 99p.

Tesco – Savings on homewares to fragrance.

Discount stores

If you’re braving the shops, consider looking in discount stores for bargains. B&M, Home Bargains, TK Maxx, HomeSense, as well as outlet stores are all good places to look to save money on a range of Christmas gifts.

 

7 of The Best WordPress Templates for Bloggers

the-best-wordpress-templates-for-bloggers

Design elements can help to make or break a blog. We all want our blogs to look good, but not everyone has the budget to hire a designer. I’m a big fan of premade templates – I’ve used several over the years from talented designers, saving me both the time and hassle of attempting to try and create something half as good.

Earlier this year, I moved over to WordPress – I find the platform easier and more convenient to use than Blogger or Squarespace. However, using a custom design can cost thousands which is simply out of my budget right now. Luckily, I found several gorgeous WordPress templates on Etsy and I’m super happy with how my blog has transformed.

If you want to give your blog a refresh, take a look at the beautiful WordPress templates I’ve found below.

P.s. If you want to start a WordPress blog, check out my tutorial – 5 proactive ways to start a WordPress blog.

Linda

Linda-wordpress-theme

Linda is a responsive WordPress theme with a magazine style design and easy customisation. This template is perfect for all kinds of blogs or for creative entrepreneurs. You’re able to switch between a full width page or blog and sidebar, change colours and there are two optional sliders to feature your posts. All in all a great option for beginners or those who’ve been blogging for a while.

Freyja

Freyja=-wordpress-template

Freyja is a stunning template that I’ve had my eye on for a while. It gives you the option for 5 differing blog layouts so you can choose the one that best meets your needs. It’s also compatible with Woocommerce, so its perfect if you have an online store. However, if you just want to blog, its ideal for that too.

Evangeline

evangeline-wordpress-template

Evangeline is a pretty WordPress template for feminine blogs. As well as the template, you also receive the Genesis framework that the theme requires to work on. With 6 different page layouts, a featured slider and 4 colour schemes, this template is for those who are searching for something a little different than your standard monochrome theme.

Anissa

Anissa-wordpress-template

Anissa  is a WordPress theme for blogs and e-commerce – ideal if you’re planning on opening an online shop. This feminine style has a custom image header, about me widget and featured post slider.

Meraki

Meraki-Wordpress-Template

Meraki  is a beautiful minimal template. If you like simple but classic designs, you’ll love this theme. With this template, you have the choice of using a landing page, photoshop template for header and sidebar image, 15 social media icons and installation guide.

Willow

Willow-Wordpress-Template

Willow is a responsive WordPress theme with the choice of 6 layout options, including full width pages and 1 or 2 sidebars. There’s also a fixed menu bar, custom widgets and 10 social icons. You receive both the theme and Genesis framework when you purchase this template.

Charlotte

charlotte-wordpress-template

Charlotte  is a theme that both bloggers and creatives will enjoy. This responsive template has four layout options, optional slideshow and newsletter areas, changing colours, custom logo and is SEO optimised.

 

My Daily Routine as a Freelance Writer

freelance-writer

My day job as a freelance writer means I have the luxury of working from home, which is something I’m extremely grateful for. Now I should mention that when I say freelance writer, I don’t mean full-time blogger. I currently write web copy for businesses and articles or blogs for online magazines.

Side note – if you want to know more about getting into freelance writing, have a look at my other blog Diary of a Freelancer. I have a free email course over there on transitioning from blogger to paid writer and if you’re considering this career, it has some really actionable and helpful tips for you to implement,

When people discover that I work from home, a lot want to know about my daily routine and how I get shit done, so today I thought I’d share what really goes on when you’re a freelancer.

Morning

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a lie-in. I’m not a morning person and I’m much more creative in the evening so I generally wont wake up too early, unless I have a short deadline or my schedule is pretty full.

Its easy to assume that if you work at home, you can just sit in your PJ’s all day, but for me, I like to have a little routine so I always get dressed and put on my makeup as if I’m going out to work. I’ll have breakfast once I’m downstairs and then I get straight to work by checking my emails.

To organise my workload, I always have notebook with a list of my current projects and I prioritise them so I know what exactly needs to be done and when.

I love to use asana and google docs for organising/storing my workload online but I like to keep ‘manual’ records for tax return purposes as well as writing down notes when I’m on the go.

Lunchtime

Despite liking routine, I never have a set schedule for lunch or whatever. I’ve tried it and it totally didn’t work for me. Every day is different in terms of what I need to get done so I’ll take a lunch break whenever I feel hungry. Most of the time, I have a working lunch so I can take a break in the afternoon.

Afternoon

I love to take a walk in the afternoon/early evening to get some fresh air. I’m currently searching for a nice coffee shop to work from (if you know any in the Manchester area, lemme know!) as I’m feeling a bit disconnected with the world at the moment and could do with a change of scenery.

If I have any errands, I normally do them in the afternoon or I’ll have a catch up with my sister to see my niece and nephew. As I usually work in the evening, its nice to have a break to feel refreshed.

Evening

I currently work in the evenings as I normally have 4-5 projects on the go at one time. But, as I’m starting to focus on my blogs again, I also spend time planning posts and prepping. I’m currently planning a makeover for Diary of a Freelancer as well as planning articles and free resources.

In January, I start my masters degree which means lie-ins will be a thing of the past and I’ll be slotting in my degree work during the evening.

This is my general day-to-day routine but I’m presently having driving lessons, trying to furnish/style a flat and plan a side hustle (more on this soon) – I am basically Beyonce!

Would you like to read more posts on freelance writing?

Where To Buy Lustworthy Stationery

pretty-stationery

Ever since school, I’ve loved buying new stationery. I find opening the first page of a blank notebook hugely satisfying and I’m sure I’m not alone in my adoration for pretty writing tools and notepads. For those who find tracking down pretty stationery buys a mission, here are some of my favourite brands and stores to check out.

John Lewis

While John Lewis might be more known for all things beauty and homeware, they also stock a small selection of stationery from Ban.Do to Kate Spade and Ted Baker. A few of my current favourite items include the Ban.Do I Am Very Busy Planner and Kate Spade Agenda.

 

Rifle Paper Co

Rifle Paper Co sell beautiful stationery. I have several of their notebooks and I’d highly recommend them to any stationery lover. Thier prints and journals are also exceptionally pretty.

ASOS

ASOS might be known for their clothing but they also have a small selection of stationery. Paperchase, Ooh Deer and Ban.Do are just some of the brands they stock. There’s free delivery over £20.

25 of the Best Places to Find Free Pretty Stock Photos

where-to-find-free-pretty-stock-photos

Stock photos have come a long way since the days of bland and uninspiring images. I love pretty images, especially when they’re free to use, and they’re super handy to have for round-up posts, tips and tricks or if you’re struggling with photography.

You’re probably aware that you cant go using any image off the internet due to copyright laws, not unless you’ve purchased the image or contacted the photographer to ask for permission to use it.

Taking your own high quality images can be time-consuming, especially in winter when there’s little natural light. So, with that in mind, I’m sharing my favourite sites for free stock photos. These sites offer images that are free for you to use on your blog or website.

How to use stock photos 

You can simply insert an image on your site, but chances are, many others will be using the same free image so I really recommend using an editing program, such as Photoshop or a free platform like Canva to add text, your logo and URL to personalise an image and help boost your blogs individuality.

Free stock photos are normally licensed under creative commons meaning you can alter the image and copy it without permission, however, you are not allowed to sell them.

Free sites