The Real Relationship Milestones


Your first date, moving in together, THE PROPOSAL. All big milestones in any relationship. But I think it’s the smaller things that often have more meaning and give you that exciting fizzy feeling in your stomach. Things like…

Your first joint selfie - the first of eleventy billion…

Your first joint hangover – there’s something so bonding about cooking a fry up, drinking Diet Coke and watching box sets on the sofa as you recover from a big night out.

Meeting his best friends. What if they hate you? WHAT IF YOU HATE THEM?

The first time he looks after you when you’re ill. Blanket? Check. Endless cups of tea? Check. Brownie points? Check.

Leaving your toothbrush at his place. This means ‘I’m sticking around’ – if you get past this with neither of you freaking out, you’re onto a winner.

The first time he brings your breakfast in bed. Who cares if it’s just tea and toast? You didn’t have to leave your cosy bed to make it……

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Facebook Tootsa MacGinty Terms and Conditions

1) To enter you must be A UK resident, and 16 years old or over at the time of entry.

2) Participants are required to like the relevant Facebook post and leave a comment on the relevant Facebook post, answering the question set.

3) The giveaway starts at 9.30pm on 14th April 2015 and finishes at 9.30pm BST on 21st April 2015.

4) The prize is a Tootsa MacGinty Sunrise Rainbow Jacket in the size of your choice. There will be one winner, and no cash or alternative prizes will be given. If the size is not available, a suitable alternative will be offered.

5) One winner will be picked chosen at random from all eligible entries received before the closing time.

6) The winner will be contacted via Facebook and will be required to email their postal address to to claim their prize.

7) If the winner does not claim the prize within 28 days, another winner will be chosen.

8) Promoters: Tootsa MacGinty, Spaces Business Centre, Ingate Place,
London, SW8 3NS.

What Couldn’t You Live Without?

It’s a hard question to answer.

Obviously, friends and family are the first thing you think of, but if we’re talking about things, not people, your mind starts racing between all of the things you use, and rely on, on a daily basis. British Gas asked me to think about this, as part of their #NotWithout5Things campaign and it was TRICKY!

1. My iPhone - I know, what a surprise! But when I think about it, I can do so much with this little thing. I can take and store photos (and memories), I can work, I can blog, I can catch up with friends on social media, send text messages to family members, oh yeah and I can make phone calls too.


2. Tea - I love a good cuppa. It’s a very British thing to say, but a good cup of tea really does make most things feel a bit better. And that first cup of tea in the morning? Bliss. I’ll have mine strong, with milk and two sugars please. None of that green stuff, thank you very much….

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The hidden costs of buying a house



We all know that securing your first home or moving to a new one is a costly task. With so many fees, taxes and ‘administration costs’ you might need to put aside a lot more money than expected. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the hidden costs of buying a house:



Okay, this isn’t technically a hidden cost but did you know you could actually save yourself money by signing up for a Government scheme? Help to Buy, Right to Buy and Shared Ownership are most commonly made use of but you can find out more information here about the schemes available. It can literally pay to be aware of these options.



When it comes to buying your house expect to have lots of hidden fees and charges added on as you go along. Stamp Duty is the first fee to consider if the home you are buying is worth more than £125,001.


Stamp Duty was discussed regularly in the media and because of this the Government amended legislation to make the system fairer last year. Before, a property priced at £125,001 would have accumulated £1,250 in Stamp Duty, but now under the new legislation this cost is just £0.02. Use a Stamp Duty calculator to work out what you will owe if your house is worth more than £125,000.


Valuation fees are another hidden expense many people don’t realise exist until they are charged up to £1,500. The mortgage provider will value your property to ensure it’s worth the amount you wish to borrow. Some lenders will waive this fee but others won’t and as questionable as this charge seems to be – and let’s face it, it’s quick and simple to establish a property’s value – it’s another cost to bear in mind.


An electronic transfer fee is another hidden charge to look forward to and can cost between £40-£50, to cover the transfer of money from your mortgage lender to your solicitor. Solicitor fees are something else to plan for and can amount to £250-£300 for local searches, plus £500-£1,000 legal fees, to pay for the management of all paper and legal work.

Wait, there’s more.

Surveyors’ fees must be paid to cover a check over of the house, to ensure there is no subsidence or rising damp for example. The costs could amount to £1,000 for a full structural survey, but still may not discover everything potentially wrong with the property.


Then you’ve just got your moving fees to pay, which should cover the cost of packaging and the rental van. You can easily do this for a small price (by bribing friends and family with alcohol and food to help), unless you need the moving service to come in and pack up everything you own as well.


So, yes, there are lots of costs to consider before you can move home and many people are not even aware they exist, but now you know. Plan accordingly and just keep thinking about your lovely new home at the end of it all as you hand over your bank details to cover each cost.


• This post was provided by the Money Advice Service. For details on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page. Photo: DTTSP.



10 excellent ways to get your health on track this year



When it comes to health, there should be no compromises and no short cuts. You owe it to yourself, your family, and friends to look after your mind and body – which means confronting any issues straight away and regularly keeping medical appointments. If you’ve made a vow to prioritise your health throughout 2015 here are ten ways to keep on track.


Check blood pressure

Don’t estimate the risks involved with high blood pressure – as the British Heart Foundation states, if you have it – and as many as seven million people in the UK are living with it, undiagnosed – you’re more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a stroke. Get yours checked regularly, and keep it monitored.


Modify your diet
It’s easy to fall into poor eating habits: second helpings at meals, over-sized portions, too much fatty, salty or sugary food. A balanced diet means a variety of different foods from the main food groups: fruit and veg; starchy, carb-based foods such as bread and pasta; meat, fish and eggs; milk and dairy.


Stay hydrated

It’s vital to keep hydrated through the day – by drinking plenty of water. If you have a tendency to guzzle too much coffee or carbonated fizzy drinks, make a concerted effort to cut back and replace with water.


Get your hearing tested

Don’t neglect the health of your hearing, which often deteriorates with age. There really is no excuse to avoid regular tests – companies like Hidden Hearing offer these for free and modern hearing aids are so small, and fitted discretely, that they can seamlessly adapt to your lifestyle.



There should always be time in your life’s schedule for exercise; if you currently do nothing, get involved at some level. The guidelines for adults up to 64 years of age includes combinations of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (cycling, fast walking), vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (running, swimming fast) and muscle strengthening activity (lifting weights, gardening).


Quit smoking

This should possibly be at the very top of the list, if it were presented in order of priority. Quitting smoking is a total no-brainer – the negative impact on health is substantial. The squeeze is constantly being applied to smokers – Public Health England has just launched a campaign to highlight the hidden dangers that second-hand smoke in homes and cars can cause to children. May as well knock it on the head now.


Sleep well
Sleep is so underrated as a health benefit. You should be aiming for at least seven hours of good quality sleep a night. Get to bed at a regular time – particularly during the working week. If you find sleeping an issue, here are some tips and tricks.


Beat stress

Certain types and amounts of stress are unavoidable, but managing stress is crucial to our well being. Beating it enables us to lead happier and healthier lives. Stress relief advice can be found here.


Have an annual check up

Cars have a yearly MOT, and people should too. Book yourself in for an annual check up with your GP, just to make sure there are no hidden problems. Apart from anything else, it’s good practice to talk over any issues with your doctor – physical or mental.


Look after your eyes

Did you know that 84% of adults value their sight more than any other sense? Just as you need to get your hearing regularly tested, so too your eyes. If you’re 40 or over you should have your eyes tested every two years at least; if you’re experiencing frequent headaches, tired eyes or blurry vision, book an appointment soon.

• This post was provided by Hidden Hearing. For details on how I work with brands, please see my Work With Me page. Photo: DTTSP