First Time Buyer Homeware Essentials

~ Posted on Friday, August 2, 2013 at 4:40 PM ~

Buying your first home is an amazing, challenging, exciting and often-exhausting experience. Sometimes the mountain of paperwork and endless phone calls to solicitors can make it tricky to remember that at the end of it all you will be in possession of your very first home and there are many preparations to make before you move in. If you are moving in directly from your parents home, then you'll be surprised at how many of their home comforts you take for granted. If you are moving from a shared or rented accommodation then the chances are you'll have more of an idea what you're likely to need.
 
When you are a child you sit down to a cooked meal at the family table, enjoy a delicious range of tasty food and have a fairly endless supply of snacks. But someone is working hard behind the scenes to make sure you have all of this, as you'll discover when you buy your own property.
 
Kitchen essentials
Ask anyone what the most important thing is in their kitchen and kitchen kettle is most likely to be the top answer. You will also need saucepans, cooking implements, crockery, glasses, cutlery, a toaster and a microwave. Don't forget the extras like a tin opener, vegetable peeler, corkscrew, oven gloves, measuring jug and chopping boards. Depending on the size of your kitchen you will also need to think about furniture such as chairs and a table.
 
Living room must-haves
The most obvious thing in your living room is some comfortable furniture. You'll probably want a few bookshelves too and maybe a coffee table and some soft-lighting lamps. Most people keep their television and DVD player in their living room, so you'll need a TV stand. Don't forget the finishing touches, such as curtains, cushions, pictures, plants and candles.
 
Bedroom basics
Yes it goes without saying you need a bed. But you'll also need bedding, pillows, a wardrobe and chest of drawers, a bedside table and lamp and a dressing table. A full-length mirror is also great in your bedroom to check your outfit before you leave the house!
 
Bathroom bits and bobs
Some fittings might already be there, but you'll need a towel rack, toilet roll holder, toilet brush, bathroom mat and a shower curtain if you have a shower.
 
White goods
Again, some houses are sold with white goods, others are completely bare. You will need to think about a washing machine, fridge freezer and maybe a dishwasher and tumble dryer.
 
Anything else?
It's always a good idea to have a tool set, a first aid kit, a set of stepladders and plenty of cleaning products and equipment. If you have a garden, you'll need a lawnmower, rake, trowel and spade. Don't forget the ironing – get yourself an iron and ironing board, too.
 
Sounds like a lot of stuff, but setting up home is a big deal and it's worth getting it right. You don't need to spend too much, but make sure you have these essentials to get you started.

Finding a Maternity Swimwear

~ Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 12:05 AM ~

Sigh, ever since we found out we are expecting our third child in October this year, we have cut down a lot of family trips to our current health club. We used to go there few times a month, to swim with our kiddos and just let them enjoy the children pool and let our kiddos float and practise their swimming in the adult pool with hubby guiding them. Me? Mostly I just stepped into the pool to enjoy the cool water as I do not know how to swim, but that does not stop me at all from entering the water despite my fear and not knowing how to swim.

But I can't squeeze into my swimwear anymore. So the few times that we do go to a swimming pool, I ended up sitting, resting with a book or my iPad mini and look after our belongings at the table and just let my hubby enjoy with our kiddos in the pool. But there are times I wished I could join my family in the swimming pool. Enjoy the cool water and just float around.

I have been searching for a comfortable and flexible swimwear that caters for maternity purposes but not able to find the right ones. Most of the retail shops here sell normal swimwear which caters for non-pregnant woman. Sigh, sigh, sigh... I wished the retail shops here could stock up more choices of maternity swimwear! Something that looks like this:

Maternity Swimwear
** Image credit: Google search

I am pretty conservative hence bikinis are a no-no for me at this pregnant stage, so a swimsuit with design like the above suits me well! I like the V-neck design as that allows me to still comfort nurse our 22 months old girl (yes, I am pregnant and yes, I still breastfeed our child). I like the ruched sides pattern on this swimwear as well and it also grows as your belly grows! Love this design!

What about you? What do you look for in a maternity swimwear?

** Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts, opinions and words are 100 % my own.

What to Know When Shopping in Charity Shops

~ Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 11:23 PM ~

The recent economic crisis has meant we’ve all had to tighten our purse strings. Shopping in charity shops is a brilliant solution to saving pennies when you need to update your wardrobe. The work of second-hand shops raises millions of pounds for good causes each year not only providing much needed funds for not-for-profits but also playing a major role in recycling of second-hand goods.

Today almost anything can be bought in charity shops, from clothes to old computers, DVDs to home furnishings. Donating old belongings to these shops is a really simple way to get rid of unwanted clutter that may be of use to others, helping them make cash for clothing and other goods and continue their charitable work.

Unlike purchasing from a high street store, charity shop prices vary from day-to-day, garment-to-garment. The pricing is based on many things. Firstly the location of the charity shop will play an important part. A pair of branded jeans for sale in Oxfam in London will be more expensive than a pair of jeans in an Oxfam in a small Northern town. The condition is the next important factor, along with the price of the item when it was sold new. You can expect to find bargains in charity shops, but volunteers are well aware of the value of designer and top-quality brand goods, so you will still have to pay a good price to get your hands on these items.

The internet has made it easier for charity shop volunteers to get prices more accurate too, as a quick web search will bring up new prices or the typical bids for similar second-hand items on auction sites. You used to be able to hunt down extremely cheap but valuable antiques in charity shops, however charity shop workers are now able to find out exactly how much an old vase or teapot be worth to a collector.

When you buy second-hand items from a charity shop, you have certain different rights to when you buy new. Goods are usually sold ‘as seen’ so you have a responsibility to check products carefully for any damage or imperfections that you are not happy with. You may not be able to return goods, but if you do you are likely to be given a credit note from the shop rather a cash refund. Always keep the receipt and return the items as soon as possible.

If you do buy brand new goods from a charity-shop, then you have the same rights as if you were to buy new from another shop which is run for profit. If the item is faulty or damaged you are entitled to a cash refund.

When you wish to donate your own second-hand items, each shop will have its own donation process. Many will accept boxes and bags of goods at the counter, or enable you to leave goods outside the premises overnight, and some may also provide free collection of large, heavy items of furniture like sofas or appliances such as fridges.