Mama got her sass back – Style Birmingham event

“All things beauty”

Anyone who is into fashion and beauty will be well acquainted with Harvey Nichols, the luxurious British department store which is literally like playground for make up gurus across the country. Add Style Birmingham to the mix and you have ingredients for the perfect beauty fest. And by oh boy did they deliver.. in style! 

How to tutorials, Harvey Nichols prosecco, freebies, beauty, music  – Erm yes please! I didn’t think it was possible for make up to take all your stresses away. I was wrong, I left Harvey Nichols feeling like a million dollars. 

If you read my blog post “More Than Just A Mummy” you’ll know that I went through a phase of losing my identity after having my now 7 month old. I’m a girl who loves to look glam, slip on some sexy heels and grab the world by the whats it’s. So I want to thank Style Birmingham for helping me to get my mojo back. A night of being pampered and spoilt with goodies was exactly what the doctor ordered. 

Style Birmingham

For those of you who don’t know Style Birmingham is “an editorially-led lifestyle brand for everything stylish in Birmingham”. There site is jam packed with fashion, beauty, food and things to do. I was lucky enough to meet the managing director, Andrew, who was extremely hospitable and most definitely fits the bill for the director of Style Birmingham.

Style Birmingham

photography by Art Of Illusion

What did I get up to?

So, on arrival I was greeted by a complimentary glass of bubbly. So straight away style Birmingham won me over.

Style Birmingham

Style Birmingham

photography by Art Of Illusion

I just want to add that not only was it a beauty event but a perfect opportunity to network with like minded people. I attended by myself and I felt so comfortable from start to finish (in fact I think I was the ‘last man standing” haha). I quickly started talking to customers about their experiences with Style Birmingham events and every single customer stated that the “hospitality and customer service was spot on”, “My consultation was really helpful and gave me clarity on my skin type”.  I whole heartedly agree that the service provided was 5*. 

Marc Jacobs masterclass 

Marc Jacobs pride themselves on customers using their own creativity to adapt make up to suit their own individual style. Right up my street.

“I see beauty in many things and I am attracted to all sorts of imperfection, to style, to confidence or experimentation. It’s unexpected and surprises you.” (Marc Jacob)

The super cute set up was complimented with glossy Marc Jacobs make up brochures on each seat. I was blown away by the Marc Jacobs Workshop. I must admit I’ve never used their range. However their variety of colours and versatility for differing skin tones is amazing! I’m no make up expert so this was the perfect opportunity to ask all the questions regarding my own skin. 

 

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Saving for a house In Your 20’s – A Millennial Guide

Saving For A House In Your 20’s

Fancy seeing you here.. So you’ve either clicked on this link because you’re a 20-something millennial thinking of venturing onto the property ladder or some one looking for general advice on taking the plunge. Either way you’re more than welcome.. Saving for a house in your 20’s – Explained

Get your cup ready lovelies because I’m going to give you the tea on getting a mortgage earlier on in life. The good, the bad and the ugly. 

“Blood, sweat, tears and starvation”. Ok well not quite starvation but on the verge. 

One thing I love about the millennial generation is that we have the goal getter mentality. We are passionate and know what we want! With that being said what I’ve noticed in the last 5 years since buying my first property that the prospect of buying is slowly dwindling away.. Why? Because house prices are like 100 times our annual salary (slight exaggeration) but you get the gist. Job salary is not increasing and the inflation costs coupled with the cost of living and the ability to live a comfortable life just aren’t adding up.

Anyway, I’m here to tell you that IT IS POSSIBLE! I’m your normal average girl, not born into wealth, grew up in a inner city area. If I can do it YOU CAN . And I’m here to share with you how! Let’s make some money moves!!

Buying a house in your 20’s

Disclaimer: All information below is based on my personal experiences. It may differ from person to person. 

Little back story

I brought my first home with my partner at 22. After saving for around 3 years we were able to buy. It’s funny because 1 month after we purchased I found out I was pregnant with our first child. You know that saying “New house, new baby” well…. it was exactly that! Honestly the stress of renovating a house, being pregnant and constantly having to switch from bathroom towels to nappies was enough to make me lose my shit. I honestly think I broke up with my other half about ten times during the process. Mood swings galore! Anyway..

Let’s get to to it! 

Adapt your mindset to a goal getter mentally 

You have to be self motivated and you have to WANT IT. Because there will be days when you just want to throw in the towel. I’ve been there! I sacrificed a lot to save, and while a lot of my friends were holidaying and shopping I was saving. Be prepared that your peers may not share your vision in your twenties but that’s fine. Just remember why you’re doing it. Create a vision board if you have to of how your perfect home would look. I used the app Houzz which gave me daily motivation. And I honestly used to envision being in my home with cute cushions, some mirrored consoles and a chandelier light. Honestly it helps.

Perfect your credit score

This is so ridiculously important, your credit score is like the milk to your Cheerios, you NEED it, isn’t it ironic that they don’t teach us in school how important it is. So first things first check your score. I used Experian and it’s free, forever. You can check your score as many times as you like. There are five indicators ranging from red to green, red being poor and green being excellent. Once you enter your details it gives you a score out of 999. However if you would like to see exactly what Is causing your credit score to be low, I would advise paying for the upgrade which gives you unlimited information. This will give you a better insight into improving your prospect of getting on the property ladder. Noddle and Equifax also allow you to check this information. 

My credit is bad what can I do?

  • Get on the electoral roll- The reason the electoral register may help improve your score is because it allows lenders to verify your identity, which makes you a less risky borrower. Little hint: Make sure your details you provide to the electoral roll are accurate to the ones on Experian/equifax/Noddle. 
  • Get a credit card- if you’ve never had credit before or have bad credit. I’d recommend investing in a credit card. Its an easy way to prove to lenders that you’re reliable and manage your own credit. I used to put my petrol on the credit card then pay it back consistently at the end of the month. 
  • Don’t make too many ‘hard search’ applications for credit at once – what I mean by this is applying for too much credit in a short period of time (loans, mortgage, credit cards, car finance). Hard searchs leave a foot print on your credit. So when lending always investigate whether a soft search can be completed to give you an idea of whether you’ll be accepted for credit 
  • Make all your payments on time- I know it sounds like common sense but consistency is key!

Remember: To get a better insight into your credit remember to use one of the checkers I mentioned earlier.

Mortgage in principle 

So a mortgage in principle is also known as a (DIP) decision in principle. This a certificate from a lender, (in my case it was the bank) stating how much they may lend you based on the information YOU provide. You will have to have one of these before you put an offer out in for a property. This is handy when saving because it gives you an idea of what you can borrow which will assist you when setting a goal for saving a deposit. A few of the questions they will often ask you to determine how much can borrow, is outgoings, annual salary, and any other credit agreements. I need to add that this is also a ‘soft search’ so this won’t affect your credit. 

Live like you’re poor? Nah! 

Here’s the thing, you still need to have a quality of life otherwise you’ll be miserable. That’s not the aim. However you do really need to cut down on the luxuries. No popping into Top shop, Zara or Gucci on your lunch break. No last minute trip to Dubai with the girls. As long as you’re setting some savings aside each month, there’s no need to feel bad you can treat yourself but let’s limit it to once a month if we can. 

When your saving, have in mind that with buying a home you need to save a deposit and fees for services including solicitors fees, valuation fees, surveys and potential stamp duty. I remember this costing me in the region of £2000 (extortion I know).

Ideally you will want to save 5% to 20% of the cost of the house you’d like to buy, which is why having a mortgage in principle will be handy to see how much you’re eligible for. Little example: for a home costing £150k you’d need a £7.5k deposit (5%).

Set a direct debt into your savings each month (make sure it’s not easily accessible) 

Set yourself saving milestones. And once you get into the swing of things you’ll actually enjoy it. Seeing your savings increase is so rewarding even if it’s only a tiny bit a month. It’s a step closer. Set up a standing order so each month when you get paid you don’t see it, it goes straight into a savings account. Set yourself realistic goals so you’re not dipping into it every month. I’d advise starting with small amounts and increasing gradually.

Get on eBay babe

eBay and depop were literally my saviour when saving for a house. I had a huge clear out and just listed everything. I used to get a buzz when I heard the alert that an item had sold. I would then transfer it straight into my savings account. It may be rubbish to you, but some one will buy it! I made hundreds. 

Get a side hustle

When I was saving for a house I did temping through an agency. It was a way of gaining extra money with a “no strings attached” type agreement. I did retail, waitressing and I worked in a children’s ball park which I absolutely loved. It offered me a lot of freedom and flexibility and the money I earned went straight to my savings. 

Move back home 

This option is unrealistic for some I know. Specifically if you have kids. I stayed at home which allowed me to save loads in a short period of time. It wasn’t ideal but it was the best decision I made. So if this Is an option for you.. Please use it. It’s a no brainer. And me and my mum didn’t end up strangling each other which is always a bonus.

Help to buy ISA/government schemes 

“So the help to buy ISA is available for those who are saving for their first home”. If you open up a Help To Buy ISA (available at many banks) and save money into it, the government will boost your savings by 25% of upto £3,000. You can pay upto £200 a month into the ISA. If you’re buying with a partner, they can also activate an ISA. You cannot claim Help To Buy on funds you withdraw. 

I did not use this scheme as it wasn’t available when I purchased, however I have done research which states that the 25% is not added until point of completion (basically when the mortgage has gone through and you get your keys). Do make sure you check this with your banks before opening. 

Use university bursary

So I know there’s this stereotype that everyone who goes to university, is broke, starving and eating pot noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner *rolls eyes*. However when I was at university I received a bursary each term. So each time I received it, I would put some aside and save it. This was a great boost towards my final figure. So if you’re in a position to do so, I’d highly recommend it. 

Look after yourself

Just remember getting a mortgage isn’t for everyone. Just because society tells us that we should go to uni, graduate, get married, buy a house and have kids. That DOES MEAN it’s the right way to do thngs. So don’t pressure yourself and make sure you have long think about if this is even for YOU. Your own happiess is paramount.

And that concludes my post lovelies. I know I’ve covered quite abit and your head is probably spinning a little (I’m sorry) but I hope this gives you an insight into starting your journey. If you have ANY questions at all please comment below or send me a message. I would love to hear from you. 

 

 

 

Saving for a house in your 20’s

It’s OK not to be OK

Hey Beautifuls,

I wasn’t scheduled for a blog post today however with it being World Mental Health Day I couldn’t let the day pass without contributing to this touching movement.

If you’ve read my Invisible Face Of Mental Health you will know that I’m very familiar with the impact of mental health. Sadly in 2010 I lost some one very close to me as a result of suicide. This will always leave an absent space in my heart, all the unanswered questions, all the things I could have said or done to prevent it. As a “survivor”. I want you to know that #It’sOkNotToBeOk.

Dear You,

The woman who is suffering with post natal depression.

The woman struggling to wake up for work due to work related anxiety.

The woman who finds comfort in self harming.

The woman with an anxiety disorder which makes it difficult to leave home.

The bulimic woman who has to leave her desk to be sick.

The woman who had post traumatic stress as a result of a sexual assault or sudden death of a loved one.

The woman who is suffering with suicidal thoughts.

The woman suffering with body dismorphia, who believes she isn’t good enough.

The woman who has psychosis whose view of the world is often different to others, which makes it hard to communicate.

The woman I may not have mentioned, who is going through her own battle.

It’s ok not to be ok

It’s Ok Not To Be Ok

Yes you are strong, yes you are resilient and you’re so capable of overcoming anything which life throws at you. But you’re also human. It’s ok to say, I’m not ok! It’s ok to scream “I need help”. I have suffered with anxiety, I battled with depression! I’m living proof that you can overcome it! There are days when getting out of bed is a struggle.. communicating your feelings seems pointless. There are days when putting a brave face on for the world becomes to draining.

You have tried tirelessly to keep it to yourself because the stigma attached to mental health is both ignorant and so far from the truth. Enough is enough, it’s time for us to support each other through these chapters of our lives, it’s time to talk. #WomenSupportingWomen.

Not only have I battled my own demons I have been on the receiving end of some one close taking their own life because they couldn’t see the way out of the storm. This woman will NOT be you! We are here for you, we care about and we LOVE you. Ladies please check on your close ones. Because the truth is, everyone is going through something. To The Women Of The World

 

UK Mental health helplines

Mind

Papyrus

Rethink

Samaritans

SANE

 

Thank you to the women who contributed to this post.

 

 

It’s ok not to be ok

11 signs the honey moon period is over

Ahh!!

The honey moon period.. What a wonderful world of flowers, chocolates, cute dinner dates, ironically you agree on everything (number of kids you want, your fave holiday location). You look glowing and happy, your best perfume makes an appearance, Victoria secrets staff members know your name, the world around you disappears.

I thought I’d delve into the world of relationships as you guys probably think I have an imaginary boyfriend, so I thought I’d better incorporate him at some point 😂

The world of the honeymoon periods is a thing of the past for me, 10 years in the past to be precise. But if I’m being honest my honey moon period lasted for the best part of 5 years.. No arguments or disagreements (could partly be do with the fact that we were long distance for 3 of the 10 years 😂). You can read more about our journey in “A no flaws relationship”  

People say they don’t want the infamous “honey period” to end as the cute gestures stop but If I’m honest I was pretty glad when they fizzled out. I didn’t have to pretend to be perfect anymore, i didn’t have to wake up before him to brush my hair and teeth. 

With that being said there’s pros and cons to both and most definitely CLEAR signs the honey moon period is over.. You may be able to relate. 

11 signs the honey moon period is never to return

The lack of toilet etiquette 

He thinks it’s ok to burst into the bathroom while I’m having a pamper session, candles lit, lavender in the bath. He decides it’s the perfect opportunity to sit on the toilet and talk to me about the meaning of life? 

Why don’t you…. anymore 

Now I start my sentences why “babe why don’t you do …… anymore”. It’s normally me asking why he doesn’t buy me flowers anymore? Him: “Because on your birthday in 2010 they died because you didn’t look after them, I’m not buying you anymore” this is true but like i said I’m a new woman now. I have children, I know how to look after things. 

We have our own lives 

We can’t wait to have a break from each other, we have a break from each other and miss each other, we reunite and piss each other off again. Him: “oh so you’re still annoying” 😂😂 Me: “Yupp” 

Holding the door open.. yeh right

Suddenly the doors being opened for you stops and Instead end up merely missing your face (ok this could just apply to my relationship😂). Suddenly he stops pulling the chair out for me at dinner. Me: “It’s ok I’ll get this”. You wait on your side of the car to have the door opened for you like old times but you realise he’s already in the house LMAO. 

I mean I tell him that he deserves and Oscar for his awarding winning performance during the honey moon period, and that it was false advertisement that won him two kids and a fiancée lmao. We laugh and he says “it’s too late now, all signed up”

You become telepathic

Suddenly he knows exactly what I’m thinking without me even saying it. Particularly when I’m pissed off. It normally goes something like this “%@##@#£&£*”

You know how to push each others buttons

This normally consists of him leaving the toilet seat up or putting his dirty socks next to the laundry basket not in. He knows that one really sends me psycho. 

Despite all this I want to address the sweet side chapter after the honey period because this honestly is my favourite. 

You grow in sync 

You become so ridiculously in sync. I know it may sound so cliché but once you overcome the honey moon period, the feeling of being in sync is magical. There’s no room for awkward conversations because you just ”get each other”. So many times me and my partner have called each other at the same time to ask the exact same question. Too many times we have come home with the identical trainers for our little boys. We can finish each others sentences. We do amazing Impressions of each other. 

He knows how you feel by Just one look

He knows the inner layers of me. He senses the emotion in my eyes. And he reacts accordingly. Isn’t it crazy that no matter how hard you try to conceal your emotion your partner just knows when somethings up. 

You accept each other in your most vulnerable form

My partner has seen me stripped of all my layers, he’s seen my ugly cry (and it’s not very nice 😂). A side of me that no-one has ever seen or will ever see. 

When we see social media we see the beauty of relationships, the love. We see the fun, we see the presents with the huge bows. But vulnerability is what makes a  relationship beautiful and unique. Many times I’ve had a difficult day of motherhood or I’ve had a hard day at work and held back the tears. Waited till I’ve got home to my other half and just poured my heart out. 

Silence is golden 

When you’re comfortable being in each others surroundings without a word spoken. There are no awkward silences, no desire to exchange words. And no verbal affirmations are required. 

The look

The look you give each other in a room full of people but only you two notice. There’s nothing that makes me feel more attractive than noticing him stare over at me and admire from a distance. And that’s after 10 years. 

I would love to know how long you’ve been with your partner and what makes your bond special?

Honey moon period

Childhood Fantasy VS Adulthood Reality

Disclaimer: * I apologise in advance. My posts do not normally contain swear words however this particular topic I’m very passionate about! Adulthood is damn hard!

Like many little girls, when I was younger I had big dreams for my future. Even at such a tender age perfection was imbedded into my existence. I had practically written my autobiography. You know the usual stuff, two kids (boy and girl) a husband (tall, dark and handsome, like Ken from barbie and ken). And a huge detached house with a water feature in the front garden.

As I grew up… Shit got real

However!! What no one warned me, was that “Shit Gets Real”. The heartache, the frog kissing, the fuck boys, AND the mobile phone contract bills I should have paid to ensure I had a good credit rating. Basically I got fucked over 😂 .

Why is it that on all the films I watched as a little girl it was so easy to be a princess with a Prince Charming who would open doors for you and pull your chair out. Why in 2018 are Instagram and Facebook forums to declare our love and seek validation. The truth is modern day dating is just one big fuck up! People want and expect the commitment of relationship but with a no strings agreement! (Welcome to new age dating).

The truth about relationships 

Now I’m lucky enough to have met my soul mate from quite young age. However, with that being said what a shit show it was to get to this point. No-one told me that I would have a crazy ex girlfriend, who stalked me on Instagram from a hair weave account. No-one told me that she would want to kill me over her relationship that ended 5 years ago. AND no one told me that I would end up in a different city with her, at the same university on the same course as the DAMN ex. Only me. Click here for the full story.

Not only that, isn’t it crazy that as a little girl/teenager we perceived marriage and having a family as the end goal? When in actual fact it’s just the beginning, where your journey starts. I honestly thought it would be a walk in the park. But in reality it’s not till that point that I actually began to unravel the layers and depth of myself. While having to do the same with my children and partner. It most definitely comes with its own reward and challenges.

Where were the single parent families?

Something I noticed was that there no coverage of single parents when I was a child. From around the age of 4, I was part of a single parent family, so I’m well aware that relationships don’t always work and separation can be inevitable. However, society tells us that the norm is to have a family, yet no one warns us that “shit happens” and often family’s separate. For that reason I feel there’s so much stigma attached to single parent households and it actually makes me want to puke in my mouth.

DISCLAIMER: *A complete family doesn’t always equate to happiness and a separated family doesn’t always signify dysfunction*

Why didn’t they tell us?

  • Why didn’t they tell us that going to university doesn’t always equal success.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that getting married and having kids doesn’t always equate to happiness.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that budgeting, saving and that having a good credit rate can determine our future.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that getting a credit card in university is a no no.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that growing up was a trap. We have to pay bills, cook dinner and actually be organised.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that in this life nothing Is free (In the UK we even have to pay 5p for plastic bags. “Do you want a bag”. “No thanks I’ll just carry my full trolley of shopping in my hand”.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that as you grow older no-one gives you money for your birthday ( I need it more than ever now).
  • Why didn’t they tell us that by the age of 30 we will only have around 2-3 friends.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that love hurts.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that we should live with our parents till We hit 40.

What did I even learn at school.

Why is it that at school I didn’t have a single lesson on money management, promoting good mental health, and healthy relationships. We merely had a sex education lesson which helped us put a condom on a banana. Great we can protect ourselves from pregnancy and STD’s but not from Barry over there who is a narcissist with 7 girlfriends (2 of them pregnant). I’m so sorry, I digress!

 

The childhood bubble 

The point I’m trying to make is that growing up I was in a bubble of childhood fantasy and I wanted so much to grow up! I was that little girl who tried on my mums bras and heels! However, I was neither mentally or emotionally prepared for the storm “adulting” had waiting for me! Honestly most days of adulthood is like a car crash waiting to happen, it’s like a baby calf learning to walk, it’s like a newborn with colic, it’s like when you go to make cereal and realise there’s no milk, it’s like that heart broken feeling you get when you find out your guy cheated. Adulthood presents a whirlwind of emotions.

Now I’m a parent myself with two children, I realised that my mother was trying to protect me from this ugly world and preserve my innocence. However, money management, confidence & self esteem are imbedded into my engagement with my son, even at the tender age of 3 years old!

I may not be talking to him about spotting the signs of Barry the narcissist.. But I will be talking to him about “Cindy”. Cindy has her shit together, she is ambitious, caring and selfless, that’s the kind of woman you need but not only that.. You will contribute equal amounts to the table, you’re a man of your word, you can provide for yourself, you know what it means to have a family and how to empower and support both them and yourself.

To my younger self

To the little girl growing up, to the teenage girl going through puberty. To my 10 year old self preparing to start high school. Self-love may not mean much to you right now but this is what’s going to carry you through life baby-girl. Because you see social media, if you’re not self assured and confident in your skin, it has a way of making you feel inferior, it has a way of making you desire the lives of others. Little girl what glistens isn’t always gold! What you see isn’t always reality. You must first learn the art of loving yourself before you seek to love another.

You will make mistakes, you will cry tears, life will throw you curveballs. But this will be the making of you. Ride the storm and stand strong. Society tells us that by 30 we should be married with kids. I’m here to tell you it’s not that simple! The most important attribute you can carry through your life is happiness. And it’s down to you to define what that picture will look like.