Smart Tips To Save Energy At Home

We’ve all heard the common ways that you can save energy at home; making sure your devices are switched off rather than on standby and investing in energy efficient appliances. However, there are some energy-saving tips that you might not have considered. Northern Powergrid, who can help with any electric connection around your home, have assembled this list of smart tips for saving energy that may surprise you…

Keep your fridge/ freezer well stocked

To ensure that your fridge and freezer aren’t using too much energy, it’s recommended that you keep them as full as possible, this means that they won’t be overworked. Additionally, if you have any empty shelves, it may be wise to downsize. If you decide to switch models, try to make sure that you choose an A++ model – these have been shown to save around £190 in total energy bills throughout their product lifetime.

Whether you decide to stick with your current model or invest in a new one, make sure that you defrost on a regular basis as this prevents ice buildup – causing increased energy expenditure. You should also clean any dust from around the condenser coils at the back of your fridge, as the dust buildup can lead to using yet more energy.

Be a smart cook

Cooking can use up a lot of energy and you could be using more than you need. When cooking vegetables or rice, remember to only use enough water to keep them covered on the hob and make sure that you use the correct size of pan– cooking a small meal in a large pan wastes energy as you have to wait longer to heat up the contents.

When baking in the oven, you can save on time by baking more than one meal at a time. Each shelf in your oven will be being heated, so you should make the most of the free space and save some meals for later to heat up in the microwave.

It’s sometimes even a good idea to swap your oven for a pressure cooker instead. Cooking chicken using a pressure cooker actually takes about half the time as it would to make the same meal in the oven.

Get smart when showering

You can save energy in the bathroom too, especially if you have a shower. You could start by investing in a more water-efficient shower head if your shower uses hot water from a tank or boiler, as opposed to it being electric. Doing this will mean that you can still enjoy a powerful shower but will reduce the amount of hot water that you are using. It has been calculated that you can shave up to £75 a year off your bill by using this handy tip!

No matter what type of shower you own, it is also recommended that you get a shower timer fitted. By reducing the time that you spend in the shower by just one minute per day, you could see a saving of £7 a year per person in your household.

Use your phone more efficiently at home

Did you know that you can buy plug sockets for around £20 which have been designed so that they can be switched on and off via your mobile?

These will definitely be handy if you suddenly remember you forgot to switch off your TV at the wall and have already left the house. By turning your gadgets and devices off at the plug instead of leaving them on standby, you can save an average of £30 a year for your household!

Get a smart thermostat

You could save up to £80 a year on energy bills simply by turning the heating down by one degree. Investing in a smart thermostat takes a lot of the hassle out of monitoring your household devices. Although these can sometimes come with a large price tag (with some devices costing a few hundred pounds), they could take up to a third off your heating bills long-term. This is because the devices learn how much time it takes to heat up your home and adjust your heating so that it comes on at the exact right time to heat up your home to your required temperature.

Smart thermostats are also designed so that you can control them via your mobile phone even when you aren’t at home – so you needn’t worry about coming in to a cold house.

Use a lower temperature when doing the washing

Your washing machine can also help you save energy. Around 90 percent of your washing machines energy use comes down to heating up the water, so you can help by washing your clothes at a lower temperature. Turning the temperature down from 30 ºC to 40 ºC can save you a third of the cost of running the cycle. Just remember to use a hot wash every now and again to keep your washing machine clean.

Reducing the amount of times you use your washing machine by just one cycle per week can save you £5 a year on your energy bills – which is something to think about the next time you fill up your washing machine to just half way!

You should also try not to try your clothes and garments on the radiator, as doing so means that your boiler will have to work harder than necessary.


Getting Our Garden Ready For Summer

Getting Our Garden Ready For Summer

If you saw my back garden right now, you’d be horrified. It needs some care and attention so bad but the problem is it keeps raining – the odd time we have had enough sunshine to do anything, Steve has been working (he’s currently helping my brother out at his work). It is on the to do list for this weekend if our gardener friend doesn’t come round however we do have a slight problem in that we don’t really have the necessary tools. We have a cheap lawnmower and a very temperamental strimmer which decides to just not work half the time. These were provided by the people we rent from but they’re useless and we don’t currently have the money to buy new tools when the ones supplied should really work.

However if you saw my front garden, you’d be impressed. Steve got really motivated (and a little frustrated) with our front garden this past weekend and decided it needed to finally properly be ready for summer. He used the cheap tools to mow down the grass and get rid of the stinging nettles. We’ve already said that when we eventually move out, we’ll be picking up some good quality but affordable tools from SGS, things we know will do the job properly.

 Annie Spratt

He’s also cut down the bush outside our front door – it grows wildly out of control so quickly, it’s so hard to keep on top of and is a haven for insects, especially ants. Its not nice for us to walk past let alone post workers, parcel delivery workers or anyone else who needs to walk up our path to have to walk past it so down it came. Now I can actually get some sunshine into my living room when I am sitting, working on the sofa like I am now.

Now that our front garden is ready for the summer, its time to get the back garden sorted. I’ll battle through the stinging nettles to get the temperamental strimmer out of the shed and get them cut down and gone. Whilst our back garden certainly isn’t perfect for kids (it goes down in a slope style fashion), it would still be nice for them to have somewhere they can go out and have a kickabout with a football or just somewhere I am happy to hang out washing without wishing I was somewhere else!

Hopefully my garden will soon be ready for summer but I do wish I had some better tools to do the job – I don’t think many people would be happy with strimmers and lawnmowers that decide to give up the ghost halfway through, would they? Is your garden ready for summer yet?


A Photoshoot In Bluebell Woods

A Photoshoot In Bluebell Woods

Photos by Emily Herbert | Captured Moments By Emah

We are very lucky to live in an absolutely beautiful village. Not only do we have a beautiful village green and so many other beautiful green spaces, we also have a wide variety of little bits of nature that are simply lovely to live near to and go and visit.

When one of my best friends Em talked about the beautiful bluebells and asked if she could take some photos of Olivia in the bluebell wood, how could I say no? We’ve been up there twice now (hence the different outfits in the pictures) and I think you’ll agree that Em is super talented. If you live in Hertfordshire, please do consider booking her in for a shoot, you won’t regret it!

Olivia is fairly good at taking direction but also easily distracted, haha! However she loves her Em and was a little sad the first day we took photos that we had to finish – so imagine how happy she was to do some more a few days later!

Now I know I am biased regarding the model but how gorgeous are these images? I adore them and really think that local people should be hitting Em up for her shoots – she has such affordable prices! Get in touch with her on her Facebook page for more information!


LOL Surprise Pearl Surprise | Review

LOL Surprise Pearl Surprise | Review

Item sent for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

We’ve reviewed LOL Surprise dolls over on the blog before so when Jack was offered the chance to review the brand new LOL Surprise Pearl Surprise, I knew he’d love it. Available here on Amazon {affiliate link}, this LOL Surprise Pearl Surprise Ball is limited edition and comes in two styles.

Coming in a glitter purse carrying case, it comes with six small accessories. Drop the giant rainbow fizz shell into water to reveal a special edition Tot and Lil Sister inside the seashell display! The case includes the carrying case, 6 accessories, 1 seashell rainbow fizz, 1 seashell display for the dolls, 1 exclusive Tot and 1 exclusive Lil Sister. The instructions do say the fizz is not for bathtub use in case of staining, however I will mention we used our sink and there was no staining for us.

Once you opened the ball you came to six special surprises which Jack took some time in opening to reveal different clothes and accessories. Then you just lift off the tray to reveal the seventh surprise – a seashell rainbow fizz!

Jack waited patiently for the fizz to dissolve which takes a couple of minutes before it revealed the final surprise – now what were those items of clothing and accessories for?

That’s right, the Tot and Lil Sister! The fizz dissolved to reveal a seashell display case with three bags to open, featuring the two dolls and a bottle for the Lil Sister!

You may think that is all the surprises but you’d be wrong. If you actually submerge your doll in cold water, there’s another surprise waiting for you. These surprises vary from doll to doll – we’ve had colour changing ones in the past, crying ones and spitting ones but I’ll leave it a surprise with our doll today!

Whilst the Pearl Surprise is a little more in price than the normal LOL Surprise dolls, this is completely understandable in my opinion – not only is there a lot more to open but the experience you have with this is unique and second to none – Jack loved dissolving the shell to find out what he received! Both Jack and Olivia were kept entertained from opening the original carry case to finally opening the seashell and dressing the dolls and this is such a fab experience for them.

Looking for a great Christmas or birthday present for a child in your life? Consider one of these whilst they’re still available – they provide a fun experience and are affordable too. What’s not to love?

Ten Things You Need In Your Flight Bag

Ten Things You Need In Your Flight Bag

My name is Vicky and I blog at, I have been blogging for 5 years and it really is all part of my everyday life now. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This weekend I have been packing my flight bag for a trip to Turkey. I know that I always over pack it and it is heavy to carry but I like to have everything ‘just in case’. I have experienced a plane company losing my luggage before, so we are over cautious when it comes to hand luggage. So this is what’s in my hand luggage for my flight this week.

Swimming costume, always have this handy in your hand luggage because you can get straight in the pool at your destination. Also its good to have in your hand luggage, in case your suitcase goes missing on the flight.

Spare clothes, for exactly the same reason as the previous suggestion. If your suitcase is forgotten to be put on the plane, at least you have some clothes to wear until your luggage turns up. Also if you spill anything or you get travel sick, you have some spare clothes in your bag.

Sweets, I don’t know about you, but my ears pop on the plane. I always carry boiled sweets for the plane to suck on as we take off and land. They are also handy for bribing kids on the flight.

A carrier bag, this one is in case my daughter throws up. She loves to travel but does get travel sick. Have you ever tried to get a child to be sick in a small paper bag, that they give you on the plane.

Hand wipes/baby wipes, I prefer baby wipes as hand wipes often have a smell to them and it can be over powering in a small place. These are fab for cleaning grubby kids up and also for wiping down and freshening up.

Hand Gel, I have no idea why I take this too. But I feel its better as a disinfectant on your hands if you cant work the water after you have been to the loo.

Portable phone charger, although you can’t use your phone on most flights, it is good to give your phone or device to your child to play with on the plane. So you can recharge your phone as you travel. Its also good to have a working phone so you can let everyone know you have landed.

Different currencies, keep currency from your own country as well as currency to where you are going. Then you have the right currency for buying stuff on the plane, or boat. If we travel to France on a ferry, we pay in Euros but get change in pounds. This confuses me! Its also good to have some coins for when you land at your destination, then you can grab a drink from the drinks machine or use a luggage trolley.

Drinks and snacks, I always take my own snacks on the plane because it saves money – in fact however we travel, I take my own snacks. This saves loads of money, for drinks I buy them in the airport because they are expensive, but still cheaper than buying them on the plane. Some airports will fill your water bottle up for free.

A Blanket, I always take one of these because it can get quite chilly when the air con is on. Its also good as a comfort thing if you’re going to sleep on the plane. I don’t know about anyone else but I sleep so much better if I have a blanket over me.

What do you carry in your travel bag?