It’s about eight months already since I bought my first house and moved in.

Can you EVEN BELIEVE IT??

No, me neither.

(What do you mean you don’t really care? Rude.)

I’ve worked (a bit) hard to get things how I like them and I’m especially happy with my bedroom. After getting the wardrobe of dreams, it meant I basically didn’t have to have any other furniture, so I have a very uncluttered, relaxed vibe going on. I wrote a whole post about it here a while back, so go and have a nose at that if you’re interested. (It includes some VERY cute pictures of Camille when she was a small kitten and had tiny, short legs.)

One thing I’ve always found slightly weird about my bedroom though is the ceiling light. You know how in most rooms the ceiling light is positioned in the centre of the room? Well, my bedroom light is most definitely not. It’s central to the WIDTH of the room, but it’s way over on one side, right next to the window. Very odd.

I was also not a fan of the shade, which I bought when I first moved in on a bit of a whim.

When Urban Cottage Industries offered me one of their Rosa Cage Pendant Lights to review then… WELL. It was like it was MADE for me, for two reasons.

Firstly, this is the shade. Or the cage as I should probably call it.

Rosa Cage Pendant Light

I know right? Pretty damn cool. Like me, obvs.) View Post

Post in association with Switchcraft

Today I’m going to talk about Switchcraft, a clever new energy switching company.

Every time I think about Switchcraft I imagine Frank Sinatra. He is singing, obviously, and does a little dance move which involves him swishing an electricity bill about with a flourish and pointing at a gas meter with a cane.

Are you picturing it?

It’s basically this, but with more utilities based dance moves:

Anyway.

Frank Sinatra has literally nothing to do with Switchcraft the energy switching company, I just wanted to get you in a relaxed frame of mind.

Because that’s basically what Switchcraft do – they take all of the hassle out of switching energy suppliers, on an ongoing basis, so that you can just sit back, stick the gramophone on, and never think about your gas bill again.

So what makes Switchcraft different?

An excellent question, I’m glad you asked.

The great thing about Switchcraft is that you just sign up, ONCE, and that’s literally it. Job done. There are plenty of companies out there who will help you compare one off prices, but that involves sitting down regularly and going through tariffs and options. It’s always in the back of your mind, whether or not you should be checking prices again, and quite frankly it’s BORING.

With Switchcraft there’s none of that. No more worrying every year about doing a comparison and organising a switch, no more making excuses to those people in the street who ask you if you want to save money on your energy bills, no more huddling together for warmth in your weird jumper made for two. Everything is taken care of.

compare energy suppliers

Once you’ve signed up, Switchcraft keep track of all the deals on your behalf. If a better deal comes along, they switch you automatically without you having to do anything at all. They let you know beforehand of course, and you can opt out of any switch, but it means that all of the hard work is going on behind the scenes without you ever having to worry about whether or not you could be saving money.

In case you’re wondering that this means you’ll be switching every week or something, it doesn’t. Switchcraft reckon that they’ll switch you roughly once a year, so exit fees aren’t an issue. Average savings so far are £313, year after year, and half of all users sign up on their phones in less than five minutes. It really is that easy.

So what’s the catch?

There isn’t one.

Switchcraft is totally free to use and you can opt out of a switch any time you want to. Switchcraft make their money by earning commission from the energy providers, but their recommendations are unbiased and all based on the best options for you.

Switchcraft energy switching

We have so many aspects of our lives automated, why on earth would you not do the same with your utilities? Think about it – we have direct debits, online supermarket shopping lists, hundreds of monthly subscription services and apps galore doing things like sending birthday cards on our behalf – why not automate switching your energy suppliers too?

Find out more about Switchcraft now, and save money on your energy bills, year on year, with absolutely no faff.

Photo by Anne-Marie Pronk on Unsplash

I’ve been on quite a few first dates over the last few months. I’m not desperate for a relationship or anything, (although I’d happily have one), but I like meeting new people and I love an outing, so a first date is just a fun excuse for cocktails really.

I find first dates a rather strange thing generally though.

It’s because of THE SPARK.

Ah yes, THE SPARK. That elusive something that is apparently meant to reveal clearly within minutes of meeting a total stranger whether or not they have the potential to be the love of your life. When you put it like that it seems a bit ridiculous doesn’t it?

That’s because it IS a bit ridiculous.

I mean sure, you might go for lunch with someone and be pretty sure at the end that you DON’T want to see them again, but unless they really are so tedious or insensitive or gruesome like this one I went on, that you can say NO with 100% certainty, then how exactly are you meant to know? How many couples have you heard joking about how they met – ‘Oh yeah, I couldn’t stand him when I first met him! I thought he was awful!’ – and then there they are, ten years later, happily married.

I love watching First Dates, and yet sometimes I can’t help but feel frustrated.

‘She was a really lovely woman’, a guy might say at the end. ‘She’s gorgeous, and we got on really well and shared a sense of humour, but I just wasn’t sure I felt THAT SPARK.’

God.

THE SPARK.

When should you feel the spark on a first date? View Post

Post sponsored by Pfizer

Growing up, my mum worried a fair bit about our health. It was hard to do anything vaguely physical without hearing a sharp intake of breath and my Mum muttering ‘you could break your neck!’

Conversations would often go something like this:

Me: ‘I’ve got a bit of a headache, so I might go to bed early.’

Mum: ‘Do you have a stiff neck? Do you have a rash??’

Me: ‘No, I don’t have meningitis. Hush.’

I think it probably got to the point where even if I HAD had a stiff neck I wouldn’t have said anything, just to avoid the fuss.

While no teenager particularly wants their parents fretting around them all the time, my Mum was right to take meningitis seriously – it’s a serious disease, and something that we should be educated about.

To help hammer the message home, here are five things you should definitely know about meningitis. Please share them with other people, especially young people, and please do share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments.

The more we talk about meningitis, hopefully the fewer people will have to experience it. Find out more about how to protect yourself here.

meningitis vaccine View Post

We put a lot of emphasis on relationships with that ‘special someone’, while friendships can often get neglected. We take them more for granted perhaps, or we gather some good friends when we are young and then we stick with them, knowing we don’t have to make too much effort.

A friendship is just like a romantic relationship though, especially as you get older. In school it’s easy – you just HAVE to hang out with people every day – and if you work somewhere with lots of people you like then that’s great, but if you work for yourself and don’t have any babies to take to groups any more, then making new friends can be hard. It takes some work, some investment.

Fortunately I have no shame, so the initial stages are not too tricky for me. I went to a party before Christmas for instance and got chatting to a woman at the bar and really liked her, so I invited her for brunch and now we go out every month. BOOM.

It was similar with my friend Rin.

Rin and I met in an online forum for journalists and decided, as we lived only about an hour from each other, that we’d have brunch. (Brunch is the key to most of my friendships.) Within about half an hour of meeting in person we realised that we both liked Nancy Drew mysteries and that was that. We even ended up running a business together for while, mainly I think as an excuse to hang out with each other for a day a week.

There is a step though in a friendship, just like in a relationship, that feels like taking something to the next level.

The MINI BREAK.

Rin has two year old twins now, (#RinsTwins – couldn’t have planned that better if you’d tried), and so when The Olde House in North Cornwall asked if I fancied coming to stay for a lambing weekend, how could I not think of Rin? I did try to get Belle excited about it, but it’s pretty hard to get her exciting about ANYTHING right now, especially farmyard animals. I knew though that Summer and Harmony (how cute?) would be well up for it. I packed some wine and hot cross buns, Rin packed some pretzels and two enthusiastic toddlers and we were set. All the mini break bases covered.

The Olde House is a development of holiday cottages set on a 550 acre working farm in North Cornwall. If the phrase ‘working farm’ makes you nervous and you feel like that sounds a bit ‘rural’ for your tastes then don’t worry, it really isn’t. The cottages are proper big houses – the one we stayed in was bigger than my actual house – and they have everything you need for a proper home away from home. There are over 30 cottages on the farm, ranging in size to suit families of all sizes.

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I had a cracking start to the year reading wise, but February was a little bit slower. I wasn’t well, and then I had that brief obsession with making my own Jaffa cakes and Jammie Dodgers. You know how these things conspire against you.

Still, I managed five books, which is not bad at all, all things considered, even if two of them were basically the same.

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

My February reading started with me having a mooch in my local Oxfam bookshop and coming across a big stack of the dark green Penguin Crime Classics. I love a bit of vintage crime fiction, but for some reason I’ve never come across Margery Allingham.

The Crime At Black Dudley

There were about 15 of her books in Oxfam and I should just have bought them all as they were only £2 each, but for some reason I was feeling sensible so I only bought the first three in the series. The Crime At Black Dudley is the first one.

That night though I dreamt about them. I dreamt that I went back into the shop and none of them were left and I was sad. The next time I was in town then I went back in, but most of them HAD been sold and I WAS sad, so proof that dreams CAN come true. View Post