Daisy Hollands

DaisyH

Mother. Plus size model. Fat Activist. Diet Industry Dropout.

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Spruce Up Your Smile.

If, like me, you feel  like your teeth maybe aren’t as pretty as they could be, there are a multitude of ways you can make you smile sparkle again.

For me, years  of drinking tea and fizzy pop – not to mention acidic fruit juices, has left my teeth slightly less than lovely.  I’m currently looking at different ways of improving my smile – have you ever considered any of these?

 

Teeth Whitening

This is a service offered by most dentists but you can also  buy kits online that you can do yourself at home. I would always say read the instructions, make sure you understand what you’re supposed to do and don’t deviate from that. I haven’t tried any of  these kits myself, but I believe they have a cumulative effect – so you will need to repeat the procedure several times to get a good result.

 

Clip- on Veneers

I  keep seeing ads for these pop up on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. At first glance they look okay, but on closer inspection, they do look very, very fake and my goodness they are costly – especially if you splash out and get both the top and bottom set. Personally, if I was going down this route I would have to get both sets, or the sparkly shiny new ones would just make my existing uncovered row of teeth look worse!

 

Porcelain Veneers.

Porcelain veneers can help disguise all manner of dental issues, everything from crooked & discoloured teeth, to gaps and broken or chipped teeth. The veneers are handcrafted, usually wafer thin and can very quickly rectify cosmetic problems, leaving you with a smile you will want to show off. Places such as Harley Street Smile Clinic offer free consultation, so you can check out all your options before you decide.

 

 

Would nicer teeth make you smile more? I don’t know if I would smile more, but I would definitely smile bigger if I went ahead with any of these solutions.

 

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Brighter On a Budget

Now Spring is out of the way (no more Spring cleaning for another year, woo hoo!), thoughts turn to Summer and if budget dictates we are having a staycation, how we can cheer up our living environments for less. Let’s face it, if we can’t afford a fancy foreign holiday, shelling out for some designer decoration is not going to be cost effective either.

Here are some ways you can ring the changes without having to first ring your bank manager to re-mortgage.

Bathroom

A couple of matching towels in bright colours will always bring a hint of Summer – how about some sunshine yellow ones or maybe some sky blue? Or one of each. Things don’t always have to match!

Living room

Well, flamingoes and pineapples are still bang on trend and plenty of the shops have cushions with these exotic designs, so you can Summer up  your sofa for only a couple of quid.  Alternatively take a look at my recent article about murals for some really cheap  ways to change the whole aspect of a room.

Budget

Kitchen

This is really the heart of any home, isn’t it? Ours is really a hive of activity – not only do we cook and eat in there, obviously, but recently it has been the revision hub and it has also been known to be a home hair salon on more than one occasion.

There are so many ways you can spruce up your kitchen without breaking the bank. I know we would all love a newly fitted kitchen, but have you ever considered replacement kitchen doors?  A whole new look for a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen.

Ikea has a brilliant kitchen section, where  you could invest in some new cutlery or crockery or  you could splash out at Kitchen Warehouse and order yourself your dream kitchen.

Bedroom

I  am always keen to treat all the senses, so for your bedroom, I ‘m going to suggest  some candles or wax melts in suitable Summery soothing smells – think sea breeze and line dried linen.  Again,  the supermarkets are a great source for bargains of this kind – Asda has a great budget friendly range of homewares.

What are your top tips for celebrating summer while sticking to a budget? Jump in the comments and let me know!

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Wall Map Murals – Practical and Beautiful

I don’t know about you, but I love interesting and unusual art work and decoration. Murals, paintings, prints – even mixed-media art. I like my home to feel individual and unique, somewhere that really reflects mine and my family’s  personality. I like bright colours, paintings with words and if there is a practical purpose to my purchase, even better. We all love a bargain and what better than something that is useful but at the same time, really easy on the eye?

Once upon a time, I ran two online greetings card stores. As out reputation grew, we started selling overseas – mainly to the USA, but also as far afield as Australia and Japan. We really wanted to get a big world map, for our office wall, so we could track our progress and somehow mark every country we sold to.

We spent a lot of time looking. Most of the maps we found weren’t quite big enough. A lot of them weren’t quite pretty enough. Functional, but not at all attractive. Also popular are maps that record your travels, with a thin coating, similar to that on a scratch card, the idea being that every country you visit (or sell to in my case), you scratch that country off.

So there were lots of options, but none that were quite right for us. If only I had discovered Wallsauce sooner! Cast your eyes across this beautiful mural. It’s not the most detailed one available from this firm, but my gosh it’s gorgeous – a real explosion of colour.

Murals

There are so many different world map murals available, there’s bound to be one (or ten, or twenty!) to suit your style and your home. There are ancient maps, modern maps, political maps, factual ones and some beautiful stylised murals.

They’re not just pretty either, they are really practical. Got a child studying geography? There’s a mural for that. A toddler just getting to grips withe the alphabet? yep, you guessed it – there are several of those! Always dreamt of a wall of books in your home, like your own personal library? Fake it until you make it with one of these library themed murals – and there are a fair few to choose from.

Murals Murals

Even better, all of the wall murals are made-to-measure and available on several different quality wallpapers including peel and stick. That would be an aabsolute godsend for people like me who rent our homes. There are literally thousands to choose from, in loads of different categories (not all maps!) for example : animals, transport, patterns, landscapes, music, pop art, space themed, ones for children, religious murals… the list goes on! All of them stunning and as individual as you are. There are a whole host of designer options available and (this is the absolute best bit) YOU CAN UPLOAD YOUR OWN IMAGE. I mean, who DOESN’T want to be wallpaper, am I right?

I have seen so many murals that I absolutely adore and bear in mind I have only been looking online at this site for about ten minutes. I already have easily another dozen that I would like to show you, it’s much easier if you just head over there and take a look for yourself. I would arm yourself with the measurements of your wall first (instructions for that are on the site and added bonus they are really straightforward) because I am sat here really frustrated that I can’t place an order immediately!

Also, word to the wise, if you order before May 20th (hurry!) using the code SPRING20 will save you 20%. Happy shopping!

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Fredericks Foundation – Now You Can!

Founded in 2001 by Paul Barry- Walsh, Fredericks Foundation is a registered charity and a Responsible Finance Provider. Their main focus is to facilitate loans for people who have a viable business proposition, but would struggle to obtain financial support in the conventional manner from mainstream lenders.

But Fredericks, or “Freddies” as it is known to it’s loyal, tireless supporters, is about so much more than just sourcing a loan. Financial backing is wonderful and obviously needed, but this is also about support, advice and guidance. There is so much help to be accessed – advisors, specialists, mentors. Think of it as a hand up, rather than a handout.  As their mission clearly states : “Choice, not charity”.

The person behind this meaningful organisation, Paul Barry-Walsh has had personal experience of trying to start a small business, and being held back due to lack of funding. He knows first-hand of the struggle and setbacks. This left him with a desire to help others finding themsleves in a similar position and thus Fredericks Foundation was born. Their motto – NOW YOU CAN – says it all really.

Fredericks Foundation logo and motto Now You Can

Fredericks Foundation logo

 

Since 2001, Freddies has helped literally thousands of people take those first steps, get a foot on the ladder and climb out of poverty, gaining dignity and self-respect on the way. It’s a virtuous circle, creating a society based on community and support, where everyone rises by lifting others.

What Freddies has coming next is of particular interest and inspiring to me. As a single mother and a staunch believer in women supporting women, this happening in the Centenary year of women getting the vote, makes my little feminist heart very happy.

Beginning this month (May 2018), Freddies is launching a crowdfunder and it is such a simple yet innovative idea, I can’t wait to get involved – and there are many ways we can all contribute. The aim is to build a Women’s Loan Fund, which will lend small amounts of money to women. As they repay, other women are then able to receive help from the fund. Freddies believes that this is a sustainable solution to the lack of affordable  start-up finance available, specifically to women.

To me this is exciting and groundbreaking – Freddies are helping break down barriers and once they have removed what is stopping growth and innovation, they then help plant the seeds and cultivate the crops – but they aren’t doing this FOR the applicants. Freddies are working WITH the women who need the help, it’s very much a team effort rather than a charity handout.

How YOU can help.

There are a few ways you can get involved and make a real, solid difference to someone else’s life. First of all, take a look at this video (created by Big Yellow Feet, a Fredricks client) which explains the Crowdfunder.

 

 

Volunteer

There are many volunteering opportunities within Freddies. Mentors, fundraisers, panel members to help decide who can get a loan.  Do you have any transferable skills you could pass on to womeen starting out in business? I bet you do! If you would like to know more about volunteering with Freddies, please contact Peter Kelly, Volunteer Coordinator, peter@fredericksfoundation.org

Donate

It’s a well-worn cliche, but it’s true – every donation, no matter how small helps, because they all add up. We could all play a small part in something bigger – something amazing. The Crowdfunder for the Women’s Loan Fund is launching any day now, but as Freddies is already a registered charity, you don’t have to wait to donate. You could set up a regular standing order donation straight from your bank or – if you are already in business yourself and want to help others get where you are – join the 1% club, donating 1% of your company profits per year.

Lend a lump sum to Fredericks via the government CITR scheme  and earn 5% per annum tax relief. This is a five year commitment at the end of which the loan is repaid or rolled over.

This is my favourite, because it doesn’t cost you any extra at all. If you already shop online, you can do your usual shopping, but sign up for Give as You Live, which at no expense to yourself can turn every £ that you spend on line into funds for Fredericks.

Share

This is probably the most important one and again, it’s free – spread the word. Tell everyone you know. Tell your wife, mother sister, daughter, aunt! Tell your boss. The loans are designed to help women but men can also be involved, contributing, supporting, sharing.

Fredericks Foundation are laying the groundwork for a sharing, more caring society. Businesses built on support and encouragement, where you’re given a hand up and then you reach down and pull the next person up.

At a time when more people than ever are feeling disadvantaged and disenfranchised and there is next to no support from the people in power – how amazing that Freddies are  here to put the power in YOUR own hands.

 

 

Follow Freddies on Twitter and on Facebook.

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National Citizen Service – What You Need To Know

Hands up if you’re a parent with teenagers soon to be transitioning from secondary school to Sixth Form College? Keep those hands up if the holidays feel just a little bit too long. Do your kids spend their free time with little drive and next to no sense of purpose, unless it involves an Xbox or a smartphone? Pull up a chair, National Citizen Service (NCS) might be exactly the thing you and your family are looking for. (No, it’s not national service, I’m not trying to recruit your little darlings into the Armed Forces!)

I’ll bet you have questions – I know I did…

So firstly, what’s it all about?

National Citizen Service is basically a summer camp for young people aged 16-17. That is it in a nutshell and yet it is so much more than that. Participants are from across the whole of England and Northern Ireland, from a wide variety of backgrounds and social settings.

It’s a fun way to instil some community spirit in your teens, emphasising our similarities rather than our differences. A way of bringing out the best in the next generation, showing them the way to be more focused, well rounded adults.

National Citizen Service CPR Lesson

National Citizen Service CPR Lesson

How long is the programme?

It’s a two to four week event which always takes place within school holidays.

What does this event comprise?

Each event is made up of four sections – team building exercises, which are mainly based outdoors. A residential stay where our intrepid participants learn valuable life skills in an unfamiliar environment. A community based social action project – here the teens will see their efforts in action and will realise the benefits of contributing to their local community. And finally, a celebration event to mark their progress and achievements.

Sounds expensive!

Actually no, you would be surprised – I know I was! The price is £50 all in – that’s food, accommodation and travel expenses – isn’t that great value? For those of us that would struggle to find a spare £50 (and we have all been there, there’s no shame in it), bursaries are available and applications are assessed on a case by case basis. Of course if your child has additional needs, help will be available for them.

Not only is it amazing value, but pound for pound, more money goes back from National Citizen Service into society – for example – for every £1 spent, NCS’  2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society.

So your kids learn new skills, and society reaps the rewards. It’s win win!

Is this a new thing?

Relatively. It is less than ten years old but in that short space of time, almost four hundred thousand young people have taken part in the NCS experience and more than seven million hours of community action have been undertaken – so while in essence it is a fun, learning experience, it’s also incredibly worthwhile.

What’s the catch? Come on, there has to be one.

I can see why you would say that. I was a bit sceptical too, but I have really looked into it and talked to my own kids and their friends and I can’t see a down side. Everyone benefits. At a time when the world seems to be more divided than ever, something that brings us together like this can only be a good thing.

Would you let YOUR teens do this?

100% YES! I am signing my sons up just as soon as I have finished writing this piece. I think it will be good for both of them in different ways.

Kids, particularly teenagers on the brink of adulthood need to know that they can be in control of their own futures. They can BE the change they want to see. National Citizen Service will help equip them to be productive, compassionate members of society.

But don’t listen to me – have a look at what these young people are saying about National Citizen Service:

Jamie, 17 feels that NCS will be a new experience where he will learn skills for life.

Charlea, 14 thinks the NCS is a brilliant thing. ” I am hoping to join the NCS programme.  I want to go because it’s a week away with my friends and then the following 2-3 weeks to spend time with them as well. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing new things like living away from home for example. I am hoping that within the 3-4 weeks my self confidence will grow and I’ll hopefully face some fears. I can’t wait to go, it seems like so much fun and a really good opportunity to learn new skills and possibly make new friends. I think NCS will be a real eye opener for a lot of people and I’m very excited to experience it.”

Alex, 15 is keen to be involved. He says “NCS will help with team building skills and making new friends. I think it will come at a good time for me, when I have just finished school and just before I start college – like a stepping stone to a more adult routine. Bring it on!”

 

I think as many young people as possible should be given the opportunity to participate in NCS. With a little help and encouragement, we can all be the difference.  Ready to get your teens involved and help them feel unstoppable? Give them what it takes to succeed. There are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the National Citizen Service website. Go for it and watch them flourish!

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Tips For Building Up Your Credit Score

Whether you are brand new to the world of credit and borrowing, or you have made financial mistakes in the past and you’re now back on track with your budgeting, there are things you can do to repair your credit score. We’re going to look at some of the ways you can make a difference.

Getting to know the score.

First, find out where you are in terms of credit. If you have made poor financial decisions in the past, your credit score might show past defaults and even CCJs. To get any kind of credit rating, you have to have had some kind of credit – a credit card, an overdraft, a loan. How well you manage these and the disposable income you have to play with each month are some of the things taken into consideration for credit scoring.

There are several credit reference agencies which will hold information about you. For example,  Experian, Noddle, Clearscore – most offer at least a free trial. (But remember to cancel this before the free trial ends or you could end up paying a monthly fee for the service).

credit score

White desk with notepads underneath a phone screen, showing a credit score rating.

Is everything right?

It is vital that information held on you is correct as this can have a big impact on a company’s decision on whether to lend to you or not. Is your full name correct? Are you registered at your home address on the Electoral Roll? (Also relevant if you want to vote in elections!) If your record is showing any defaults or outstanding balances, are they accurate? If not, you are entitled to dispute the records and to ask for corrections to be made.

 

Building up your credit score.

There are credit cards on the market now, designed for people taking their first steps in borrowing and for those of us who have made mistakes in the past. Vanquis is one such provider. They advertise their cards as a credit builder and offer good advice about getting back on track. Most lenders nowadays offer the facility to “check your eligibility” – this in effect is a soft search, so (unlike repeated full searches) won’t harm your credit rating.

 

Know your limits.

Always stay within your credit limits. Credit card companies like to see that you are managing your money well, sticking to  the limit and making regular payments on time. The cards that are specifically designed to repair poor credit histories are reviewed more regularly. If your account is managed well, you could be offered a credit limit increase. Please note you don’t have to accept the increase. If you feel like you will be tempted to spend outside your set budget, the you are within your rights to turn down any increases.

 

Make regular payments.

Try not to miss a payment and always pay on time. If you go over, even by just a day, you could be hit with extra charges which will then throw your budget out if kilter the following month. It’s a vicious circle! Make a note of the due date in your diary, stick a post-it in  the fridge door, set a calendar alert in your phone – just give yourself a reminder of when you are supposed to pay. Again, a well maintained account will get your credit score moving in the right direction.

 

Keep in touch.

Communication is key. Stay in touch with your bank or credit card provider and let them know as soon as possible of any changes in your circumstances, particularly ones that will affect your ability to make expected payments. As a rule, financial institutions are happy to work with you to find solutions. They can only do that if you keep them up to date with what’s happening, If they don’t hear from you, they aren’t able to ascertain  the difference between “can’t pay” and “won’t pay”.

Do you have any other suggestions for improving your credit score? Pop in the comments and let us know.

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Affordable Elegant Jewellery

If you are in the market for some gorgeous new accessories, I suggest you head over to Elma Jewellery. They have rings for every finger and prices to suit every pocket.

Now that Spring is finally in the air, what better way to celebrate than to buy a new ring or two? Hopefully something shiny to pick up the sunbeams so we can sparkle all the way to Summer. There are an absolute abundance of rings to choose from. Whether you want something chunky and statement or you prefer a simpler band, there is a huge selection, for both men and women.

Obviously we are getting near wedding season and there are so many wedding and engagement rings, all beautifully made. There is a section called “unusual rings” and here you can select from Celtic and Russian rings, as well as jewellery made from more diverse materials such as carbon, ceramic and ones with wood inlay.

Different ring styles from Elma Jewellery

Different ring styles from Elma Jewellery

There are also plenty of traditional wedding bands, in a variety of precious metals. Bang on trend for 2018, you could also go for a bridal ring set, which includes a matching engagement ring and wedding band, designed to sit together perfectly. My personal favourite in this range also includes an eternity ring and I imagine the three would look absolutely incredible together.

The hot colour trend for 2018 is purple and staying with this theme, Elma Jewellry have some stunning amethyst pieces. The bracelets in particular are gorgeous – so intricate and delicate.

We all love a bargain here at She Might be – this site offers free shipping on jewellery orders over £50 and there is finance available on the pricier items. There is even a clearance corner for even bigger savings and for that last little personal touch, you can add your choice of message in a custom engraving on whatever jewellery you want – that would make for a really special gift that would be treasured forever.

Take a look – treat yourself or maybe drop some hints to your special someone – who knows? Maybe the time is right for you to pop the question?!

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Bingo! Here’s a fun way to win! – AD

Who likes a little flutter every now and then? The occasional bet on the Grand National maybe? A lottery ticket or scratchcard here and there? Everyone likes the chance to win a bit of extra cash, especially with Christmas coming up. We have already talked about lottery tickets and ways to save money. Now we have a question for you…

Have you ever played bingo? It can be a great fun night out – picture it –  all your mates with you, a few drinks, perhaps a bite to eat and the chance to win a few quid back? Sounds like fun, right? What if I told you you could get the same result staying home in your PJs with one eye on The X Factor, and not have to worry about trying to get a taxi back at 10pm in the rain?

Bingo

I know – even better! Online bingo games are the way forward. But it’s literally a maze. Daytime TV shows are often sponsored by online bingo sites, I don’tknow if you have ever noticed that, but there are loads of them. How do you now which the good ones are? Which ones have the biggest prizes? Which are best for you?

Worry not – help is at hand! You are just a few clicks away from finding out which sites have the best deals and what kind of opening offers are available for new players. Choose wisely and you could find your Christmas shopping paid for, or the funds for those new boots that you have had your eye on, while enjoying an entertaining evening in and not even caring if your eyebrows are on fleek!

There are certain things to bear in mind – not every game you play will result in a win, so never gamble more than you can afford to spend and osme sites will have a wait period before you can withdraw your winnings – so you may have to wait just a little while longer for the boots. With all that in mind, sit back, get the kettle on and let’s see if Lady Luck is smiling at us today!

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