How to monetise using social media

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Back when I was growing up in the 90's, adverts were found on TV, radio and in newspapers. Today you can find them everywhere! For example bus stations and public transport have a lot of posters now, but the biggest change by far has been social media. Unheard of when most of us were growing up, today almost everyone uses one platform or another.

Famed for being a cheaper and faster way to interact with your target audience, it's fair to say done the correct way, monetising social media can greatly improve your business.

Before you decide to start ploughing money into adverts, I have noted some points you may like to consider.

Use the right platform for your audience

For example, if the majority of your engagement and traffic come from Twitter and Facebook, a big campaign on Instagram is probably not the best way to go. It may be worth seeking professional advice here to ensure all of your hard work from this point on won't be wasted.

Engage engage engage!

Unlike printed or televised adverts, Social media promotion allows you to directly interact with your customers and prospective customers. The people behind these accounts are usually the first your Customers come into contact with - first impressions matter! Interact with your followers, take the time to respond and chat. While you will have to deal with some less positive comments along with the good, this can actually be beneficial. I have personally used more than one company or service after seeing their helpful attitude on social media. Where possible try to avoid copy and paste responses - people will remember you for all the right reasons if they feel like they matter.

Track all of your campaigns

Simply because if they are not attracting the attention you would like them to - change them!Sometimes it may be beneficial to look at another platform or check your budget is being used efficiently. If you have tried these and are still struggling it is definitely time to call on for some professional advice.

Whichever platform you choose, I wish you well!

Do you have any tips or advice to add? I would love to hear from you if you do.

Becoming Landlords, it's a possibility!

Way back in 2005, my then Boyfriend and I started discussing living together. He already had a council flat but we quickly decided that we wanted to get on the property ladder and buy our own house. By 2006 we had a mortgage on our first terraced home and after a proposal on our first Christmas Eve, a wedding to start planning. Exciting!

Copyright LifewithLiv

We have now lived in our little terraced street in the small village we both grew up in for almost 12 years - where does time go? While most of the properties in the street are lived in by their owners, we also have a few private rental properties all of which are owned by the same Landlord.

Luckily he is very approachable and helpful when we have had any questions or issues about our neighbours - for example when we first moved in we discovered next door liked to party all night, every night! Thankfully he quickly let us know that due to this and many other issues, they were already in the process of removing them from the property. That is the only issue we have ever had and thought he must have changed his outlook on tenants after having to evict those ones.

Recently he popped round to let us know that he is in fact retiring and selling one of his properties in the street - next door - for way below market price as it needs a lot of work  doing. Suddenly we started discussing the possibility of taking it on to let out ourselves eeek!

We have been for a viewing and noted that a lot of the work required is cosmetic like modernising the dated kitchen and taking out the avocado green bathroom suite. While not a small job, it doesn't require any building work so costs can be kept down by doing the work ourselves and roping in family members in the trade. Once that work had been completed we would need to decorate and decide how furnished we would like the property to be depending on demand, decisions decisions!

One thing we do not need to discuss is using HomeLet. They provide referencing including a credit check, speaking to employers (to verify income), and contact the prospective tenants previous landlord for a reference, giving peace of mind that our property would be safe.

HomeLet also offer rent guarantee and buildings Insurance which automatically covers you for up to £500,000. Peace of mind indeed

We would also need to set up a deposit scheme to protect both us and the tenant, all things that need looking into before a final decision is made but it is definitely something we would like to do.

Do you have any experience as a Landlord? Any tips or pointers would be gratefully received!



Great Tips for Booking a Trip for Yourself or an Opera Loving Friend

Friday, 29 June 2018

If you’re a fan of opera, or you know someone who is, you may want to consider booking an opera inspired getaway. What better way to enjoy your annual holiday, than by catching an opera show in a beautiful, foreign country?

Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know to book a trip for yourself or an opera loving friend. 

Book through a specialist agency

Although it’s totally possible to book an opera getaway yourself, it is much easier to turn to the help of a specialist agency. Companies such as Opera Tours Italy, have been organising opera inspired breaks for many years. They have relationships with opera houses, can book the best possible tickets and they arrange absolutely everything for you.

Just like using a standard travel agency, it’s much less stressful to book through a specialist opera break agency. 

Research the best opera getaways

You’ll be surprised by how many opera inspired breaks there are available to book. Therefore, it’s a great idea to research the best opera getaways onlineIt’s worth noting that what’s considered best right now, will likely change next year. So, you’ll need to make sure you’re looking into opera breaks that are available around the time you plan on going.

Don’t forget to check out online reviews too. It’s always a good idea to see what other travellers have to say about the opera breaks out there. Were they worth visiting? What was their experience? This will give you a good idea of what to expect and also ensure that you don’t waste your money.

Make sure you get good seats!

The last thing you want is to arrive at the opera house, only to discover you can’t see anything! So, it’s essential you make sure you’re booking good seats. If you do book through an agency, they’ll typically have access to some of the best seats in the house. However, if you’re booking the break yourself, you’re going to need to pay attention to the seats before you book.

These are just some of the things to consider when booking an opera inspired break away. There’s some truly beautiful opera holidays out there that you can experience. 

Whether you choose to head to Venice, Verona, Brussels or Milan – you’re sure to have an amazing and memorable experience.

SEO Tips for Bloggers

Thursday, 28 June 2018

For most bloggers, growing your blog by increasing traffic and reader engagement is the ultimate goal. Of course, many of us blog simply because we enjoy doing so, but if nobody is reading your content, it can be incredibly disheartening. 

Blogging is most fun when people are reading your content and engaging with you, whether it is by commenting on your blog or sharing your posts. Of course, blogger communities are a great way to boost engagement and chat with fellow like-minded bloggers within your niche, but the reality is that if people aren’t visiting your blog, you are much more likely to lose interest in blogging.

Luckily, there are a number of ways in which you can work to boost your blog’s traffic and engagement. The digital environment is constantly adapting and evolving, and along with the regular updates to Google’s algorithms, it is important to keep up to date with the latest online trends. 

One of the most enduringly popular methods of improving traffic is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which is the process of organically growing your blog’s rankings in Google search results for specific keywords and phrases. 

Although this tactic is usually employed by businesses looking to increase traffic, sales and conversions, it is still applicable for bloggers looking to grow their own readership.

For those new to the world of SEO and digital marketing, the whole concept can understandably seem a little overwhelming. However, for bloggers looking for continued success, it is important to stay ahead of the game. 

If you are interested in learning more about what SEO can do for you and your blog, keep reading for some top SEO tips for bloggers!

Pick the Right Keywords

First things first – you have to pick the right keywords and phrases to targetThere are multiple ways that you can find keywords, but the best rule of thumb is to try and pick ones with decent search volume, low competition and, of course, ones that are relevant to your blog. Similarly, it’s important to get the right keyword density and variation in your content when optimising for SEO. Try to include your chosen keyword approximately 2-3 times per 500-word blog post andinclude a mixture of long-tail variations as well as the exact match keyword. A word of warning – avoid keyword stuffing!

Put Your Keywords in the Right Place

Of course, it’s important to have the right keyword, but if it is not in the right place on your blog, you won’t reap the benefits. As well as being in your posts, your keyword should be in the title ideally, or a header within the article if not. In addition, your keyword should also be in the page’s title tag,meta description and post URL where possible. Some blogging platforms like WordPress have additional SEO packages that you can add to your blog, which will enable you to easily take care of the SEO side of things.

Utilise Your Meta Description

Once you start to optimise your blog for SEO purposes, it won’t be long before you come across the meta description. This is the short snippet describing your post that is displayed in Google search results and is an integral part of marketing your blog. When writing a meta description, you should always keep in mind that potential readers will be deciding whether or not to visit your blog based on your meta description, so it is important to make it as engaging and appealing as possible. Don’t forget to include your keyword!

Optimise Your Images

No matter how good your content is, every blog needs good images to accompany the text. 

Go for images that are relevant to the topic of the post, well-lit and in focus. Although this isn’t strictly SEO related, your images should always be your own, where possible, or if not, fully credited to the rightfulowner of the image.

On the SEO side of things, you should always make sure to optimise the alt text of each image you upload to your blog. Not only are these employed by screen readers for people with poor eyesight, but search engines read alt text to understand the content of the image, making it the perfect opportunity to boost your rankings and add in a few targeted keywords.

Although the benefits are clear to see, it is worth mentioning that SEO is not a quick-fix solution. Effective SEO strategies can take months, possibly even years to perfect, especially for bloggers in competitive niches. However, this isn’t to say that it can’t prove beneficial to your blog. 

With dedication, commitment and perseverance, your blog’s traffic should begin to grow and hopefully, it won’t be long before you’re well on your way to meeting your blogging goals!

Finishing touches with Posterlounge - review

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Often when you are decorating, things don't look complete until the finishing touches are applied don't you agree?

When Posterlounge asked if I would like the chance to place an order with them to try out their services and products, it's safe to say I jumped at the chance!

The first thing I noticed was the quality of their website. It is bright and very easy to navigate, with lots of sections to search and a search bar which allows you to simply type "Unicorns" for example. Once you find an image you like you simply click on it and look through the options available for that design. All options are laid out in a straightforward manner enabling you to chose your final size and materials easily.

The first selction I made was for Livs room. As anyone with a young Daughter will know, Unicorns are the big thing right now so when I saw the Rainbow Unicorn Pegasus I knew she would absolutely love it so we ordered the 30 x 40 canvas priced £26.95 

It has beautiful pastel colours which mach perfectly with her baby pink and mint bedroom. It adds a touch of magic and she absolutely loves it! The canvas itself is very strong with the image on lovely thick canvas. The canvas also came fitted with teeth on the back ready for hanging, this gives far more grip that placing the frame on a picture hook. 

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Next we fell in love with this image of a Mule Deer in winter, we selected it on a 60 x 40 canvas priced at £33.95.

Again the canvas is excellent quality, very sturdy and printed on lovely thick canvas. The colours are crisp and vibrant and the image itself is absolutely beautiful, making it look an awful lot more expensive than it actually was.

I think it would be a brilliant festive addition to the house at Christmas but the Husband wants it up permanently, what do you think?

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Lastly we decided on getting something for our kitchen which we are planning to decorate in a few weeks. We chose this Red hot smoking chilli still life, size 30 x 30 cm and priced at £22.95.

It compliments our black and red gloss tiles really well and I absolutely love the finish! Our kitchen is quite small and gets hot quite quickly, we have had canvasses in the past but they end up damaged by the moisture, so we looked into the Alu Dibond option and thought it would be a better fit for our needs.

It also comes with the fixings required to attach it to the wall and will give a floating appearance when it is mounted.

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Our parcel arrived promptly 2 days after ordering, safely packaged with minimal packaging used to ensure safe receivership (unlike some companies that use several feet of bubble wrap and inflated plastic cushions for the smallest items)

With over 300,000 happy customers, free delivery from DHL GoGreen in 2/3 days and peace of mind with a 30 day returns policy, you really have nothing to lose!

I would definitely recommend Posterlounge to Family and Friends and will be back to make more purchases!

*Disclaimer* I was sent the above products in return for a review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Apparently, although I'm not quite sure how, we have been married 10 years in September and together for 14 years! Back in 2004 when I was just 19 years old, I would never have imagined I had just met the Man I was going to buy a house with, marry and have Children with.

We decided last year that we would like to make a celebration out of this anniversary, silly I know but it feels like quite a milestone in a way!

After deciding that a vow renewal, while lovely, just isn't our style, we decided to go for a nice Family holiday instead.

The wedding in 2008!

I have been looking for a while now with lots of ooh's and ahh's from the Mr but nothing really stood out. That was until I came across Alta Vista Property and found the stunning Santa Maria Village in Marbella - pictures below!

Copyright Alta Vista Property

Copyright Alta Vista Property

Copyright Alta Vista Property

We have both absolutely fallen in love with the look of the apartments and the amenities. We are hoping to get everything booked next month. How exciting! I still can't quite believe we have been married 10 years, how time flies.

Our top 3 things to do in Marbella:

1) Vineyard tour and wine tasting at Vina & Bodega Remsamen. We did something similar on our honeymoon so are very much looking forward to this!

2) Art Museum - Museo Ralli. A small local Museum, we are hoping to visit one afternoon and spend a few hours soaking in some culture.

3) One for the kids (and the big kids) - Pirates Park! Ideal for Children up to 9/10, Liv is very excited to spend the day enjoying the rides and shows.

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Two top tips when travelling abroad.

1) Always make sure your whole party are fully covered with medical travel insuranceAny kind of illness abroad can prove to be very costly, even a simple ear infection - as we discovered a few years ago in the Dominican Republic.

2) Another must is full vehicle insurance for rental cars, again something we have unfortunately experienced! I shared our story of fearing a huge bill after a minor bump back in Florida 2013, you can read it here.

Do you have any tips to add or recommendations of places to visit in Marbella? If so I would love to hear them!

5 Cleaning Hacks for the Busy Family Home

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Keeping a family home clean is no easy feat. In fact, it’s pretty darn difficult. 

Whether you’ve got young children or a house full of teens, your home is bound to get untidy. Keeping on top of the mess is half of the battle; but there are ways to minimise the struggle. Use these cleaning hacks to make your life a little easier next time it’s time for a clean.

Use duct tape on pet hair

As you may know, pet hairs get everywhere. There’s no escaping them sometimes, and they can be a nightmare to clean up. Even with the strongest vacuum cleaners, pet hair can appear to be unfazed. 

To pick up pet hairs with ease, all you need is a roll of duct tape and a paint roller. Wrap the duct tape around the roller, with the sticky side facing outwards.

All you have to do then is roll it over the pet hair and you’ll see it being picked up with no issues at all! This works perfectly on couches and car seats. 

Bake using foil

This is more of a preventative measure, but once you try it you might never go back! 

Cleaning food residue from baking trays is one of the worst parts of cooking. By covering trays in tin foil, you can simply dispose of the foil once the food is cooked. 

Whilst you might find yourself going through more rolls of foil, the time you’ll save can be significant enough to make it worthwhile. 

Use lemon to clean your chopping board

The importance of keeping you chopping board clean and bacteria-free cannot be understated; especially if yours is wooden. 

By using generic cleaning products, you can be accidentally leaving chemical traces all over your food preparation area. 

For a more organic solution, cover your chopping board in kosher salt and then chop a lemon in half. Rub the inside of the lemon over the chopping board, which will disinfect the surface and leave it perfectly clean for the next time it’s used.

Organic microwave cleaning

A well-used microwave can soon see a build-up of dirt and spills. For an effective cleaner, fill a jug hallway with boiling water and add a slice of lemon. 

Put the jug in the microwave and set it going for 30 seconds. This will let the steam cover the inside of the microwave, which you can then wipe away to reveal a good-as-new looking microwave!

Ditch the carpets

Carpets can easily become the biggest headache in your home. Not only do they collect dust and dirt, but they’re also incredibly susceptible to staining. You could spend hundreds on new carpets, only for them to be ruined with one clumsy spillage. 

Getting rid of your carpets will also prevent allergies from flaring up; especially as we move into summer. Replacing your carpets with wood or laminate flooring makes maintenance much easier, and small spillages wipe straight off. 

What other home cleaning hacks have you got?

Family time, holidays and weddings!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Sicily is one of the great holiday destinations for families.

It offers some of the best sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, magnificent coves and bays, breathtaking coral reefs, a diversity of flora and fauna, and some of the worlds best landscapes. Thus, it is not surprising that it was called “Jewel of the Mediterranean” by the ancients.

That is why some Friends of ours have decided to get married there this Summer. With a "Garden party" theme I have been searching for an outfit for Liv to wear and have found the sweetest designer dress from OD's Designer Clothing! 

How adorable is that? 

We are so excited to experience the wonderful places that the Sicilian coast has to offers.

We have been advised that counter clockwise from Palermo, we will find Mondello’s sandy beach which has always been a favourite destination of people from the capital. It can be a bit crowded in peak season, so it is best to visit between September and June. Moving west, you can also find the sandy beach of Castellammare del Golfo which begins from Scopello and LoZingaro Nature Reserve offering scenic views, beautiful coastal walks, clear waters, and a series of pebbly coves - sounds idyllic!

Traveling further west we are hoping to visis the long sandy beach of SanVito Lo Capo, arguably the best in Sicily which is popular to both tourists and locals of Trapani.

Further down the coast to the south-eastern most tip of Sicily is an endless spread of more sandy beaches from Scoglitti to Marina di Modica. Then the southern-most point of Sicily is the Isola delle Corenti that offers a very African vibe. 

You can even watch migrating flamingos and nesting turtles by heading further just around the point at the Vendicari Nature Reserve.

Have you ever been? Any more tips would be most welcome!

Will I always regret refusing braces as a Teen?

Way back when I was 14 it was recommended I have a brace fitted on my top teeth to bring down my left canine. As you can see it is quite obviously higher than all of my other teeth because it grew through while my baby tooth was still firmly in place.

I steadfastly refused as I didn't want to wear a bulky brace and be made fun of, all for one tooth! I can live with that I told myself!

However the older I've got the more it bothers me, I'm quite conscious of it when I smile and subconsciously find my head slightly turned to the left in most pictures.

Needless to say I wish I had agreed to have them back then and got it out of the way when I was younger easy to say now I'm not a a Teenager in secondary school!

As we are thinking of heading to London for my Birthday later in the year, I thought I would do some research on alternatives.

While I am still not keen on the idea of a brace, I am open to other cosmetic dentistry options. I have been more and more conscious of it lately so while browsing what is available I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Harley Street Smile Clinic.

It was only then that I realized options like gum sculpting and porcelain veneers could both work better than braces. I am particularly keen to find out more about porcelain veneers because it is described as a quick dental procedure to help you get straight teeth (without having to wear braces) I would also be interested to hear about gum sculpting as I have a particularly gummy smile too!

With you only having to attend what is described as two pain free approximately 90 minute long appointments, I am hoping to finally have a dazzling smile to be proud of!

After all what better gift could I have than a bit more confidence and a nice straight smile!?

Making the Most of the Family Budget: How to Save for a Holiday

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Dreaming of a week on the beach with the kids, or even a long weekend exploring some distance land in the sun?


Holidays can be a wonderful way to bond with your loved ones and create memories that last for a lifetime. Of course, they're not always the easiest thing to afford. When you're struggling to stretch the family budget far enough as it is, it can feel as though you'll never have enough cash for a holiday. 

The good news is that you don't necessarily have to give up on a family holiday if you're trying to cut back on your spending this year. Instead, all you need to do is think about how you can adjust your budgeting techniques to make your adventure more affordable. Here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

1. Consider Getting Some Extra Help

One of the biggest problems that families have when it comes to booking a holiday, is that we only have certain times in the year when everyone is available to travel together. Whether you're just taking a trip with your immediate family, and you need both parents to be off work, and the kids to be away from school, or you're traveling as a group, it's hard to make the schedules match up. 

Then, when you do find a time that seems to work for everyone, you may find that it doesn't give you enough space to save up your income for long enough to afford the trip. If that's the case for you, a little help could be the best way to go. A personal loan means you can enjoy your vacation worry-free, and then finish paying it off at a time that suits you. 

2. Look for Ways to Make Extra Cash 

If you're worried about having enough money for your family holiday, or you simply want to make sure that you have enough left over to splurge on souvenirs, then you might want to consider finding additional ways to make extra cash. For instance, there are plenty of websites online these days where you can go to offer up your skills as a freelancer. 

On the other hand, you could always consider a more traditional side-gig, like taking on a part-time job or becoming a dog walker for the people in your neighbourhood

3. Save Wherever You Can

Before you even start saving for your family holiday, it's worth sitting down as a group and going through your budget. Look at how much cash you have coming in and going out each month and ask yourself where you might be able to cut back. For instance, would you be willing to sacrifice your Netflix subscription if it meant a dream holiday? 

Sometimes, you may not even have to sacrifice anything. Making simple changes like consolidating your debts or switching to a different energy supplier can save you a lot of money every month. The key is to find as many ways to save as possible, then focus on funnelling all of your left-over cash into your "holiday fund".

4. Choose a Budget-Friendly Trip

Your decision of where to travel is sure to have an impact on how much you spend on your family holiday. For instance, it's probably not a surprise that a budget trip to Spain is less expensive than an all-inclusive adventure around Disney land. Choosing a place that's both appealing and affordable will make your holiday goals more accessible. Additionally, it helps if you can be flexible when it comes to dates and airfare. 

For instance, if you can pick a day for your flight that isn't a peak time, you can save a serious amount of money on your plane tickets. Even driving a little further so that you take off from a different airport can help to make your journey cheaper. 

5. Travel with a Group 

Another great way to save money on your booking? Travel as a group. You can save a serious amount of money just by telling your travel agent that there are 10 or more people going with you. Additionally, if you get everyone together for a trip at once, you reduce your risk of spending extra money on entertainment for the kids when you're at your destination. More people means more opportunities to have fun, bond, and avoid the boredom. 

Just make sure that you choose a group you feel comfortable spending time with for a week or two.