Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Saving for the Future Made Simple with Nutmeg

I spend so much time thinking about how I can spend less and save money that I am often at a loss as to what to do with those extra pennies I have put away. I want to get the best out of them but that's not always as easy as it seems. I have recently been introduced to Nutmeg, which is a simple way to get the most out of your money online.

I've got to admit that I used to think online investments were beyond me. I didn't think I had the time, knowledge or capital needed to do any more with my money than put in a savings out to earn a few pennies in interest.

Now I know about Nutmeg I know that that is just not the case. In just ten minutes and starting with just £1000 I can be on my way to a professional portfolio where I can invest money for my children's future.

My eldest son Ben will turn 18 in ten years time. I would love to be in a position to help support financially with his choices at that point, whether he wants to go to university, travel, or put a deposit down on his first home.

Nutmeg allows me to look at an overview of potential investments, showing my target return and how increasing the risk factor can affect the returns. Using a sliding scale you can adjust the risk factor from 1 to 10. Opions include; 'Avoiding loss is a priority', 'Slow and steady is acceptable', 'I'm willing to lose some to make some', 'I'm comfortable taking a chance', 'I'll risk large losses for higher gains'.

In the image above you can see projections for an initial investment of £1000 with monthly contributions of £50 and a risk factor of 4 over ten years.

What makes Nutmeg so accessible to an investment newbie like myself  is that you only need to invest a relatively small amount, with a lump sum starting from just £1000 and monthly payments from just £50 you can still reach significant goals over time.

One thing I have learnt over the last few years is that you can't always project your future financial situation which means that it is important to be able to have access to your money and with Nutmeg you can you can withdraw whenever you like and there's no minimum investment period.

So are you thinking that you would like to invest for your children's future?

Find out more in this video:

This is a collaborative post.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Turning Grey Skies Blue...

Twelve months ago today I sat in a curled up ball of tears on the floor and wrote a post to try to explain how much I was struggling with life. It wasn't a post about saving money or having a fun day out with my children, to be honest with you it was a post that had no real place on this blog. I wrote it anyway and the reaction that followed and the support I got from friends old and new, both near and far, got me through that day, that week and quite probably the next year.

I wrote about how i'd started to struggle with the little things, how I felt like I couldn't cope. I didn't write about everything though, I didn't reveal just how low I was feeling, how I thought my husband and my children would be better off without me. I didn't share that i'd been hurting myself  or how bad things had really got.

I don't think I would have been able to type those words into the keyboard as even as I do so now the memories of how I felt are almost too hard to bare.

These last twelve months have been the most difficult of my life so far, the pain and despair, the feeling like I just had to stop breathing, cease to exist, it didn't just go away.

I has some counselling, something that I've always been very cynical about. The first few sessions I spent in tears and came out feeling worse, but as they went on I started to look forward to the small white room with the cheap beige desk, the ceiling with the cracks and imperfections I had etched in my mind from staring at it searching for answers to questions I was too afraid to ask.

Talking helped.

Realising that I couldn't always get everything right. That success didn't necessarily mean happiness and that my husband and my children would be better off with me happy.

I looked at the things that were getting on top of me and realised I needed to make changes. I reduced my hours at work, I learnt to say no to opportunities if I knew I was taking on too much and slowly some of the clouds in my head started to shift and little patches of blue sky started to shine though.

These last twelve months have been a challenge but overcoming those darkest of days also gave me the courage to overcome other fears and do some fabulous things. In May I spoke at a blogging conference, in July I took part in Race for Life, In September (as well as turning 30) I danced on stage in front of hundreds of people and cameras.

I've come to accept that there are things in life that I will always struggle with but with the support of amazing friends (who know who they are) and family I won't be struggling alone.

We have some exciting plans for the next few years and I look forward to sharing them with you as we go along...

Exactly a year after pouring my heart out on here I can confirm that my grey skies are slowly and steadily turning blue...

Friday, 20 March 2015

Frozen Elsa's Magic Snow Sleeve Review

We love Frozen in our house, we recently went to see Sing-a-long-a Frozen and are very excited about the planned sequel in a few years and of course the special short; Frozen Fever that will be in cinemas alongside the new Cinderella Film from 27th March 2015! This bite sized follow up  will see our favourite characters; Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf reunited to celebrate Anna’s birthday and it will also feature an exclusive new song that i'm sure my children will soon be singing along to!

My daughter Elizabeth loves to dress up and although she can often be seen dressed as her favourite Marvel superheros she also loves to play princesses. She has had a beautiful Anna dress for a while and you can see some lovely pictures of it in our review, so she was delighted when we were sent a stunning Elsa dress from Rubies along with Elsa’s 2 in 1 magic snow sleeve from Flair!

The Dress comes with a detachable lace cape covered in snowflakes that is really very pretty. The dress itself is great quality with lots of detail including long transparent sleeves, sequin trims and a Queen Elsa motif on the front. Elizabeth usually wears age 4 - 5 clothes and the 5 - 6  (M) fitted her really well. Although not too baggy or loose it had plenty of movement for running round and playing in!

Of course as soon as it arrived we had to have a play!We added a tiara from our dressing up box and Elizabeth insisted I plaited her her 'just like Elsa's!' I even treated her to blue glittery nails to match... (she *may* have insisted I had coordinating nails too!)

Elsa's 2 in 1 Magic Snow Sleeve is the perfect addition to an Elsa dress up outfit to make princess play even more fun! In the box you get a stunning fabric sleeve with lace trim, a can of Frozen Snow Spray (essentially white silly string), a blue plastic water bottle decorated with snowflakes and the snow snow sleeve contraption itself, which is decorated with pretty patterns and the name Elsa.

The snow sleeve has two functions; the magic snow can can be attached and squirted out to create fun messy play or alternatively the pump action water bottle an be used in it's place for water spraying fun, perfect or hot sunny days!

We started off with the snow spray. The can fitted easily onto the mount which strapped on to Elizabeth's arm without any trouble, with the combination of the plastic and the can I worried that it may be heavy or uncomfortable on her arm, but it wasn't at all.  She was soon running around the front garden singing Let It Go at the top of her voice and lifting her arm to spray snow into the air!

It was lovely to see how excited she as to 'be just like Queen Elsa', all she had to do was lift her fingers and out came snow!

When the silly string runs out or if you'd rather have some water fun, you can easily replace this with the blue bottle provided filled with water. This has a pump action release so the water squirts out in short bursts rather than the longer streams of the silly string. Elizabeth did need to use more pressure to make this work than the can but she didn't mind and had great fun soaking me! I can see some interesting battles between Queen Elsa and my son's super soaker water gun coming up this summer! 

This set is aimed at children between 5 and 8 years old and I agree with that age range. Elizabeth will be five in a few months time and I would say that children younger than her may struggle to lift the 'trigger' with the back of their figures while children older than eight may find the straps tight on their wrists. (I *may* have attempted to try it on my own wrist to find this out...)

At an RRP of £29.99 this is a toy that is definitely worth it's price in play value, it will be the ideal gift for a little Frozen fan who would love to spray snow out of her fingertips just like Elsa! One thing I would mention is that the Snow spray runs out very quickly (around five minutes of continuous play) so you may want to factor in the cost of a few more cans of Silly String.

You can see the Elsa Magic Snow Sleeve in action in this two minute video we made:


We're going on an adventure
These products were sent to us for the purpose of this review. Contains affiliate links.