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Review Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope

When I uploaded the competition for the Cosatto Hootle Car Seat about two weeks ago, I promised you all to follow up with a review of the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope, the car seat that Amy was kindly sent by the lovely Cosatto team, and here we go.

cosatto scootle spectroscope review group 123

The Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope is suitable for Group 1,2 and 3, which means that you can use the seat from around 9 months up to the age of 12 years or in terms of weight from 9 to 36kg, which I think is pretty impressive for a car seat that retails at £180. The price might seem a little steep at first, but if you break it down over 12 years, you only pay £15 per year or £ 0.04 per day. That’s pretty great value for money, if you ask me.

I also like that the design of the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope is really timeless, although some might call it retro. It’s bold and colourful and no one will ever get bored of it, no matter if they’re 1 year or 12 years old. Amy for one is absolutely in love with it and so are her little friends and cousins, whose mummies have all commented that it’s the prettiest car seat they’ve ever seen. Amy completely agrees: She proudly calls the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope her rainbow car seat and loves sitting in it.

Amy in her Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope

Although the car seat we used before, from a different manufacturer, should have seen her through to at least next year, we really struggled to get Amy to sit in it. She didn’t enjoy it very much anymore and I think her legs were just too long for it and she ended up being uncomfortable. There are no problems like that whatsoever with her beloved Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope.

It’s spacious, padded in all the right places and most importantly adjustable according to your child’s needs. When catering for an great age range as big as the the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope, it’s important that the car seat grows with the child that uses it and when I say grows, I don’t mean get bigger or wider. No, there are small touches that make all the difference, such as an adjustable headrest or the side wing,  and the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope comes with both of them, which ensures that your child will stay comfortable on all their journeys.

The car seat is also incredibly easy to fit and suitable for all cars with standard 3 point vehicle seat belts. Explaining the fitting process would make this post even longer than it already is, but if you are interested in that side of things, have a look at the video below. It shows you exactly how to fit the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope in just a few steps:

We’ve used the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope for a few months now and couldn’t be more pleased with it. It’s lightweight to carry, easy to fit and very beautiful to look at. Most importantly though, it keeps Amy safe and comfortable on long journeys or short trips to the park or supermarket. Cosatto’s 4 year guarantee gives you extra piece of mind, but when handling the car seat it felt really sturdy and well made, so I’d be surprised, if I had to make use of the warranty within the next 4 years. Parents will also be pleased to know that you can remove all seat covers and machine wash them at 30 degrees. Very handy, if your kids are allowed to eat and drink in the car and have the habit of leaving a trail of destruction behind.

All in all, the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope is a fabulous car seat that does not only offer protection from 9 months to 12 years, but also a car seat that let’s your little and not so little ones travel in comfort and style. What’s not to like? We are seriously impressed!

Which features at do you look for when buying a new car seat?

Disclosure: We received the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope free of charge for the purpose of this review.

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Party ideas outside the box

party ideas

A promotion, your partner’s 40th birthday, an engagement—these are just some of the reasons why we celebrate. If you will be hosting a party but can’t seem to come up with party ideas that aren’t too cliché, I have just the list for you. Check out these unique party ideas that are creative, quirky, and most of all, fun!

  • Play slots online. If casinos are not your thing but would like to let your guests try their luck at some good, old-fashioned casino fun, set up a computer, download a slot machine game, and play away! You can check out OnlineCasinoBluebook UK’s list of the best casino sites to get you started.

  • Dress up! If you are celebrating someone’s birthday, have your guests come to the party in costume, wearing the fashion of the year or decade the birthday celebrant was born in. To celebrate a promotion or a graduation, have a toga party! Prepare several bolts of plain white fabric and have your guests drape themselves with these in the style of ancient Greece.

  • Hippie or Hipster? Who says family reunions are boring? Mix up the generations and have the millennials peace out with flower headbands while parents put on their best trendy geek looks.

  • Sing for points. Before the party, download some karaoke tracks. Or rent a karaoke machine. Aside from popular songs, get or list down some songs you’ve never heard of. Set these up to be played at random. When game time comes, split the group into two teams and sing in turns. Assign people to judge the performances and set your own criteria.

  • Dance it out. If singing’s not your thing, then the next best thing is dancing. Set up a Wii console and pop in Just Dance 4, and you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can also have a party fight game with games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which each character has his/her/its own special moves.

  • Engage! An engagement party is a great way to introduce our friends to our partner’s friends. If your friends are all fun-loving and are game for anything, then it’s a good idea to have a mixer. When it’s time to eat, give the girls spoons only, while the guys only get forks. Give the guys a bowl of soup each, while the girls get pasta or some other dish that absolutely needs a fork in order to be eaten. Encourage your friends to make friends with one another and share some bites in the process.

  • Tattooed grandma. Or grandpa—if you’re planning a birthday party or wedding anniversary party for your old folks, let them have a bit of fun. Prepare some temporary tattoos for your grandma and grandpa and their friends, and let them show off their tattoos complete with tough guy-tough gal poses!

  • Personalise it. Have something special made in honour of the celebrant, or couple. You may ask a local home brewer to craft a special ale, or perhaps you’d like to create a special scent for your mother’s 50th birthday. These can be placed in small bottles and given to guests to commemorate the event.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to unique party ideas. As long as everyone enjoys the party, it’s already a success!

What’s your favourite party motto? Have you got any creative party ideas for the upcoming party season? Let me know in the comments below.

This is a promotional post with an image from Andrea Graulund

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Win a BMW Junior Bike Tricycle

It’s less than 90 days until Christmas and today I’ve got a prize for you that will make every little boy’s heart beat faster when they see it under the Christmas tree. I’m fairly sure daddies up and down the country would be pretty impressed too, but let me tell you a bit more about this week’s prize:

The winner of this week’s giveaway will receive a BMW Junior Bike Tricycle worth £75. Yes, a genuine BMW Junior Bike Tricycle like the one below:

BMW junior bike tricycle

The red and black bike is suitable for children between 3 and 5 years and was inspired by the full-size BMW R 1100 GS, making it much cooler than your average tricycle. Plus, you won’t have to pop to your local trader for your annual BMW servicing. If that’s not blessing, I don’t know what is.

The BMW Junior Bike Tricycle has big and smooth-turning wheels which make it the ideal first tricycle for little ones. It’s very easy for them to handle and makes their first cycling experience something they’ll thoroughly enjoy and remember.

Parents will appreciate that the BMW Junior Bike Tricycle can be assembled and dismantled in only a couple of steps. I don’t know about you, but to me there’s nothing more annoying than kids toys that require a degree in engineering and take ages to put together. When children receive a toy as a gift all they want to do is get up and go. They have little understanding for assembly. Luckily, they won’t need to with this ride and even luckier are you my lovely readers, because you can now win one BMW Junior Bike Tricycle – as a surprise treat for your little ones, a birthday present or maybe even a Christmas present that you can put away for December. Either way, your recipient will be absolutely thrilled with this amazing prize.

If you would like to win an original BMW Junior Bike Tricycle, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below following the instructions given in the form below. Please don’t cheat as all entries will be validated and incorrect entries will be deleted. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Top tips for helping your child prepare for their exams

Important exams can be nerve wrecking for children and parents alike and if your family is gearing up for a GCSE year, you’ll no doubt want to do your bit to help your youngster achieve success. Here are some top tips to bear in mind.

Create the perfect study area

study area to prepare for examsPerhaps the most important thing you can do to help youngsters prepare for exams is to provide them with an effective area in which to study. It’s virtually impossible for teenagers to concentrate on their work and to absorb information if they try to do this in noisy or uncomfortable environments.

If possible, you should create a workspace away from the hubbub of your main living area where your child will be to get on with their studies in peace. You’ll also need to make sure that the area is filled with suitable furniture. For example, a comfy seat is a must and a good sized desk or table is crucial too.

Storage is another issue to consider. It’s amazing how much paperwork students can bring home with in the run-up to exams and they’ll need somewhere to keep it all, along with any extra notes they make and books they use. If they don’t have access to drawers or shelves, they can quickly find that important documents and other items get lost, putting them at a real disadvantage.

Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to buy desks, tables, drawers, shelving and other products from firms such as Calibre. When you purchase these items, bear in mind that they will come in handy for any future study too, so they can represent a great investment.

Establish a timetable

study timetable for examsTeenagers generally like to feel in control of their own study schedules, but given the number of subjects they are taking, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed. You may want to offer your services to help them create a study timetable. This can help to keep youngsters on track throughout the year.

Meanwhile, when the tests are looming large on the horizon, you can draw up a list of the exam dates for each subject and help your child work out exactly what needs to be completed and when it needs to be done by.

Don’t be tempted to distract

As a parent, the chances are you’ll want to go on plenty of trips and spend lots of quality time with your child, but during GCSE years, it’s important to resist the temptation to distract them from their work. Of course, they’ll need breaks from time to time, but you should leave your youngster plenty of time to get on with work. This is especially crucial in the immediate lead up to tests. You might also benefit from limiting the amount of time that the TV’s on in your household.

Provide reassurance

One of your most significant jobs as a parent is to provide reassurance if your child gets anxious about upcoming exams. Some level of worry is fine. In fact, it helps teenagers to focus and channel their efforts. However, too much stress is bad, both in terms of concentration and for youngsters’ general health and well-being.

Try to make sure your child doesn’t lose perspective when preparing for tests and, if he or she isn’t sleeping, you may need to seek medical advice.

Buy in some brain food

brainfood to eat during exam preparationTo help boost your child’s brainpower, it’s a good idea to buy in plenty of healthy foods. Products that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish, wheat germ and flax seeds, are known to enhance memory and focus.

Also, try to make sure your youngster is eating a balanced diet containing enough carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. This can help them to concentrate throughout the day.

What are your tips for exam preparation? Do your kids have a learning routine?

This is a promotional post with images by PB Teen as well Reach Out via Pinterest and Katy Hogben via Pinterest.

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The most irritating habits your desk neighbour can have

guy at the desk opposite meYou might spend more waking hours with your colleagues than you do with your family, so it’s no surprise that the odd co-worker habit may get on your nerves. One thing’s for sure, you’re not alone in getting fed up with your colleagues.

Here are some of the most common gripes people have concerning the habits of their desk neighbours.

Noisy eating

We all have to eat, and lots of us now do this at our desks to save time or so we can browse the web while we munch. However, if you’ve ever had to endure the constant rustling, crunching and slurping of a co-worker, you’ll know exactly how annoying this can be.

Hoarding rubbish

Your colleagues’ cleaning habits at home are their concern, but if you’re unlucky enough to work next to someone who sees fit to turn their desk area into an impromptu rubbish dump, you’ll understand what this is one of the most unpopular office habits.

Sitting next to an ever-expanding pile of wrappers, cans and food detritus is distracting, and after a while these untidy areas can even start to smell, particularly when temperatures rise in summer.

Loud music

the hoarder at the desk next to youLots of workers now listen to music through headphones when they’re getting on with their tasks, and this can block out noise and help them to concentrate. The trouble is, it may have precisely the opposite effect on neighbouring staff members.

Hearing tinny versions of someone else’s favourite sounds, whether they’re the latest chart tunes, ‘80s classics, Bach’s symphonies or anything else, can really put workers off their stride.

Booming voices

We all remember Dom Jolly with his big phone on Trigger Happy TV. Well, it seems some people liked this character so much that they decided to keep him alive by imitating him on a daily basis. It’s amazing how successfully some individuals can project their voices, whether they’re making or answering calls or simply chatting to someone else in the office.Sitting next to someone like this can make concentrating virtually impossible.

Coming to work when sick

On the one hand, arriving in work while sick is stoical. On the other hand, we wish people wouldn’t do it. There are few things worse than being sat next to a colleague who spends the whole day coughing, spluttering, sneezing or wheezing.

This is made even more irritating if, a few days later, you wake up with that telltale tickle in your throat.

Repetitive noises

Repetitive noises are a common source of annoyance too. When people chew gum, breathe loudly, hum, tap or do anything else over and over, they run the risk of driving their colleagues mad. In many cases, individuals aren’t even aware of what they’re doing.

Asking unnecessary questions

noisy-colleague-at-desk-oppositeAnother source of irritation concerns desk neighbours who are all too willing to lean over and ask questions that they could easily get the information themselves by checking on the web. When these queries are met with the response “let me Google that for you”, they have almost certainly caused annoyance.

If you have to put up with a colleague who’s forever interrupting your train of thought to ask unnecessary questions, you’ll see why this is such a common source of complaint.

The right office setup can help

Luckily, there are ways to reduce possible sources of workplace irritation. For example, strategically placed office screens can help to block out excessive noise and boost concentration. Also, by thinking carefully about how to arrange desks within working areas, bosses can ensure that workers have enough personal space.

Firms such as Furniture At Work™ offer an array of office screens, desks and other products.

Which habit do you find most annoying in your colleagues?

This is a promotional post with images from Chris, Stavos and Legozilla via Flickr. 

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7 health benefits of whirlpool baths

health benefits of whirlpool bathsI don’t have to tell you that it’s incredibly hard to find time to relax and unwind when you are a mum, you all know that, but for your own emotional well=being it is important to, every now and again, make time for yourself and relax and just be yourself.

We all relax in different ways: My friend Jenny for instance finds nothing more relaxing than going for a run, no matter how miserable the weather and what time of the day it is. She just throws on her running gear, pops some headphones on and off she goes. To me that sounds like hell, I don’t even run for the bus, but she really manages to switch off and recharge her batteries whenever she runs.

I’m more of a have a long soak in the bath type of girl. Lying in a sea of beautifully scented bubbles with a good book is the most relaxing thing in the world for me. The only thing that would beat it is having a whirlpool bath that massages your whole body. Oh how fantastic would that be?

Whirlpool baths aren’t only super relaxing, they also have a number of health benefits that are worth considering when you are thinking of buying a new bathtub. Admittedly, an ordinary bathtub is on the cheaper side, but why not treat yourself to a bath that will look after your health?

If you still need convincing, here are 7 health benefits of whirlpool baths:

1. Relieves stress and fatigue

2. Improves circulation by stimulating and massaging veins and arteries

3. Relieves period pains as well as pains caused by injuries, arthritis and more

4. Helps to ease insomnia

5. Helps your body to produce collagen and elastin that cause healthy, younger looking skin

6. Reduces acne and frequent outbreaks

7. Increases strength and mobility in people suffering from Osteoporosis

What do you think? Have you ever had a bath in a whirlpool bath? Was it different from an ordinary bath and would you buy one for your own home? I know I would!

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Smiggle opens in Bristol Cabot Circus

It’s no secret that I’m a massive stationery addict, so when Australian stationery brand Smiggle invited me to the opening of their first store in Bristol, there was no chance I’d turn their invitation down. I had come across the brand on a couple of blogs before, but I had never been in one of their stores, and believe me the thought of being able to snoop around a shop entirely dedicated to cute stationery products in all colours of the rainbow had me excited in seconds.

Smiggle store opens in bristol cabot circus

On Sunday, Amy and I made our way to Cabot Circus and it’s safe to say that you really can’t miss the new store. Smiggle’s shop is located on the ground floor of Cabot Circus under the big glass dome and opposite of the escalators, so in prime position for Bristol’s shoppers.

The Smiggle team had rolled out a red carpet for their new customers and the shop windows drew you in with displays of the colourful range and stickers immediately. We arrived at 11am and were greeted by the lovely team of Bristol’s new Smiggle store. The ladies, who were clearly passionate about the brand and excited about welcoming the first visitors to their shop, showed us around, told us a little more about the brand and then we started to most fun part of the day: the shopping.

Smiggle stationery Bristol Cabot Circus

stationery at Smiggle Bristol Cabot Circus

Smiggle back to school range Bristol Cabot Circus

We were kindly given a £20 gift card and here’s a picture of what we’ve picked up: macaron rubbers (how cute are they, please), some pocket colouring pencils (super handy for traveling or the handbag), a snake puzzle which Amy is absolutely obsessed with, some super cute hair clips, a multi-coloured pen because it saves you from dragging 10 different pens around with you, some adorable lollipop rubbers, two-sided mini-highlighters, a notebook, a horse rubber and a sharpener that allows you to sharpen mini pencils, normal-sized pencils and jumbo pencils. How handy is that?

Australian Stationery shop smiggle opens in Bristol Cabot Circus

We also purchased a couple of things with out own money and received a goody bag as part of an introductory offer for customers on the opening day. Will we go again? Oh yes!

We had a fantastic day: Smiggle’s range of stationery products is unique, fun and incredibly colourful. It’s different from any stationery brand I’ve come across before and I loved that children were made to feel so welcome in the store.

Amy squiggling at Smiggle in Bristol Cabot Circus

Amy had great fun trying out all the different pens from the Smiggle range in the drawing area laid out at the back of the store while I picked up some bits and bobs here and there. It was a fun and stressfree shopping experience and Amy was not impressed with me when I told her it was time to go. She doesn’t have to worry though, because we’ll be back – very soon!

Disclosure: Thanks to Smiggle for inviting us to the opening and providing us with a gift card to celebrate their first store in Bristol/Cabot Circus.

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Winners of Betta Living’s Cupcake competition

I don’t know, if you’ve heard about it, but last week (15-21 September 2014) was National Cupcake Week and Betta Living, your one stop shop for home improvements, hosted a fabulous competition looking for the most creative cupcake recipe out there. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enter anymore as the winners have been drawn, but I thought I’d show you just how many bloggers have a hidden passion for cupcakes. There are some really fantastic bakers out there and I really wish I had entered now. With the first place taking home £750 and the second place winning £250 in vouchers, it was really worth entering, don’t you think?

You can read all about the competition on the Betta Living blog, but if you want a quick catch-up, here are the winners and some of my very personal favourites:

first place betta living cupcake competition - tropica cupcakes with finger cream cheese frosting

The first place went to Chi Chi from Cakes by Chi Chi who made a tropical cupcake with a ginger and cream cheese frosting. Moist, full of flavour and perfect for autumn, this cupcake combines crushed pineapple, shredded carrots, coconut and spices to create a real winner.

second place betta living cupcake competition

The second place went to Hannah from Hannah’s Helping Hand who created a very seasonal pumpkin cupcake that doesn’t only look like a pumpkin, but also has pumpkin meat and spice as ingredients. I love that the recipe uses pumpkin, because it is quite unusual here in the UK and the cute design makes it look even more

The next three pictures will show my personal favourites. I’m obviously not a cupcake expert (I guess eating them is just not qualification enough to get that job), but I’ve picked three recipes that immediately appealed to me because of the flavours used, the creativity shown and the skills involved.

rainbow pinata cupcakes

My first favourite is my friend Jenny’s Rainbox Pinata Cupcake recipe. I just love everything about them. They’re beautiful to look at and everyone will be excited about the hidden secret in the middle of the cupcake no matter how old they are. There’s so much effort gone into making these a really specially treat, that they just deserve a special mention.

kinder bueno cupcakes

My second favourite are Caroline’s Kinder Bueno Cupcakes. Kinder Bueno is one of my favourite chocolate bars and I just love the idea of incorporating it into a cupcake recipe. I certainly wouldn’t say “No”, if offered one of these beauties and with a nice cup of coffee, these would be a beautiful afternoon treat, don’t you think?

RedVelvet Cupcake_01

And to round of this post nicely, here my third and last (but not least!) favourite: a Red Velvet Heart Cupcake lovingly baked by Lou from Crumbs and Corkscrews. I adore the love for details that’s gone into these cupcakes. Just look at the dainty little vanilla sponge heart in the middle of the red velvet sponge. Genius and so so cute!

Well, now that I’ve shared these little gems with you, I’m really in the mood for some baking. What’s your favourite cupcake recipe? Let me know in the comments below.

This is a collaborative post.

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Back to school with JD Sports

By now all school kids will have well and truly settled back into school, but as back to school offers aren’t only for kids who are already at school, we wanted to show you two items from JD Sport’s back to school range that Amy and I have been sent a couple of weeks ago.

The first item we picked was for Amy and it was a lovely pair of Adidas hi-tops from the Back to School range. They are the Adidas Original Nizza mid hi-tops in navy and I love the pink and white highlights on them as they make them a really fun and stylish shoe without it looking too colourful. Amy absolutely adores her new pair of shoes and believe me, she would wear them all day, if I let her. They are comfortable, well made and I like that the hi-top gives her ankles support when she’s jumping, running and exploring. At £30, they’re great value for money and I can see them lasting her well through the autumn and winter.

Amy wearing Adidas Original Nizza Hi Tops from JD Sport's back to school range

For me, I picked the Adidas Originals Classic Adi Airliner from the school bag range. Obviously, I don’t go to school anymore, but it’s a great messenger style bag that’s perfect for every day use, if, like me, you are a wearing quite casual clothes such as jeans and sneakers on a day to day basis. The bag is made of faux leather and has metal details on the zips and the adjustable shoulder strap. It also has two compartments, a smaller one at the front and the main compartment which gives you enough spaces for books, notebooks as well as an iPad or a laptop.

I used the bag on a day out and managed to store my big camera and lens in it, a book and teddy for Amy as well as my purse, a notebook and some snacks for the park. At £35 it’s not too expensive for an every day bag and I think, if you pick this bag up for your kids, they’d be rather happy with it. The coral/pink tone is really on trend and the design is really timeless, which means that you don’t have to worry about the bag going out of fashion after half term. All in all, I am really happy with my new bag. It’s sturdy, I love the coral colour as it’s a little bit different and it’s very comfortable to carry even if you are dragging half your household around with you.

adidas-messenger-bag-from-jd-sports-back-to-school-range

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Your finances – do you know everything there is to know?

do you keep an eye on your financesLooking after Amy is a full time job and I’m not the only mother who knows how hard it is to get a bit of alone time. Being a new single mum makes it even trickier, but luckily I still don’t have miss out on my beloved shopping trips because Amy loves them just as much as I do. I’ve trained her well, haven’t I? Whether it’s for clothes, food or just to occasionally splash out, I think it’s great to share these girly days with Amy. They’re always so much fun.

Sometimes however, it’s hard to switch off and not think about your financial situation. Being solely responsible for Amy is tough and although I know how important it is to have fun days out, I often find myself worrying that I’ve spent a little more than I should have, but I do like spoiling Amy a little. She really deserves it and she’s a great partner in crime. She’ll tell you straight, if something is “so pretty mummy” or “uhh ugly” and with her, I really don’t have to worry about buying 10 notebooks a month. She won’t judge me!

Ben however got the odd white lie from me when I’ve spent more than I probably should have. I’ve seen this video recently, and it’s a source that quite literally describes the tactics that I’ve used with Ben! A new pair of shoes or a pair of jeans that make me remember the days before baby sick stains have crept on to my bank statement once or twice, but I’ve always thought it was okay to keep some of your spending from your partner.

It’s not really though, is it? I would have been devastated, had I found out that Ben had been lying to me and maybe hidden a bad credit score or secret credit card. The video really made me think about honesty in a relationship and why it’s important to be transparent with each other about money and spending. Ben and I might not be together anymore, but it’s something to remember for future relationships and life in general. Secrets are hardly ever a good thing and I wouldn’t want a sneakily bought pair of shoes to jeopardise my relationship and future.

A great way to look into your credit history and making sure that you are both able to get credit in the future is regularly checking your credit score with an accurate and reliable source like http://www.creditexpert.co.uk/credit-score.aspx. The website is not only easy to use, it also offers great advice for those who need to improve their credit rating, as well as finance deals that best match your credit score. I wonder, if there’s one for handbags! I know, I know – a girl can dream, right?

In all seriousness though, I do think it’s okay to indulgence and treat yourself or loved ones once in a while, but it is important to keep a close eye on your finances, so you can made sure that you take no unnecessary risks for your financial future.

Do you keep an eye on your finances and have you ever checked your credit score? Did it surprise you or was it as you had expected?