Ask Away Blog: September 2018

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Top Tips For Finding Your Blogging Niche And Making Money

Image licensed via Creative Commons.



In the modern digital age, the key to success seems to lie firmly with one quality: authenticity. Audiences are increasingly seeking out voices whose values and integrity align with their own, and bloggers are uniquely positioned to benefit from this. As most start out as hobbyists with a motivating passion for their subject matter, there is automatically an advantage there. Because the key to making money from blogging is to find a niche and a unique voice in order to effectively monetize. Above all, you must be specific in your chosen field - anything too broad and you are unlikely to stand out and be able to compete for domain authority, links and keywords. But go too specific and you risk not finding an audience at all. Instead, aim to find a unique angle on a topic of broader interest - like fashion but from the perspective of someone with a disability or relationships viewed through the lens of a particular faith, like Muslim Marriage. It is in these combinations that the right balance of uniqueness and general interest can be found.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Chewy 30 Day Challenge | Only Natural Pet | Progress & Changes

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.




A couple weeks back I shared with you my first thoughts about Only Natural Pet Food from Chewy. With all natural ingredients and nothing that would irritate and make my dogs sensitive I've been super excited to see how they do.  Pixie and Rocky were my main testers for this challenge.  So what changes have I noticed with their progress on this new diet? Well...

Supplementing Your Blogging Income



If you are a keen and professional blogger, you will hopefully be making some kind of money with it. Of course, it might not be that much, at least not to begin with, and it could be that you are keen to try and improve the way in which you make money by also supplementing this income in other ways as well. This is something that most bloggers have to do when they are starting out, and there is no shame in it, so that is the first thing to bear in mind. But if you do want to supplement your blogging income, you will want to think carefully about how you are going to do so. There are so many ways that you need to make sure you are focusing on one or two in particular. Let’s try and do that now.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

8 Blogging Blunders To Avoid






Are you making these common blogging mistakes? Here are just a few blunders that every blogger should aim to stamp out if they want to protect and build their readership.

Not knowing your target reader

A lot of blogs don’t have a clear target reader in mind. This can result in a blog feeling unfocused and messy. By having a clear target reader, you’re more likely to grow loyal fanbase of readers. It’s okay to cover a few categories – just make sure that you’ve got some kind of theme going and that you’re not simply posting whatever is on your mind.

How I Found My Animal

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.




You know how it is.... you come home from a horrendous day at work where you feel like you've been holding the tears back all day.  You just want to collapse, and when you do, your best furry friend is there to greet you.  Magically, you feel all better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

How To Get Out of Debt (From Someone Who Has Done It)

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.




How to get out of debt from someone who has done it




 
Wouldn't it be amazing if you could go through your day to day life without the nagging feeling that you are in some obnoxious debt and always living paycheck to paycheck? Well...you can.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

You Don’t Have To Spend Money To Be Charitable



Charity doesn’t have to involve spending your money. If you don’t have money to give, there are other things that you can give that can have just as much of an impact. Here are just a few ways to get involved with charity without spending money.

6 Fall Fashion Staples



Fall is my favorite time of year not just because of the weather but because the fashion is so fun!! As you prepare your wardrobe for Fall make sure you have these 6 Fall fashion staples in your closet!

The Ultimate Guide To Family Road Trips


If you are currently wondering what kind of holiday you should plan for your family next year, I think I have the perfect suggestion for you - a road trip! Some parents might shudder at the thought of taking their kids on a holiday that involves a lot of driving but, in actual fact, road trips can be super fun for all the family. Quite a few parents think that their children will really suffer with the boredom and will end up getting frustrated, but that is rarely the case if you plan properly for the whole trip.

As long as you have plenty planned up your sleeve, then your children shouldn’t get too bored. After all, you will have plenty of games and activities that you can suggest they fill their time with. Being organized well in advance also gives you the chance to plan where you will stop. If you have quite a few stops planned en route, then there will always be something for the young ones to look forward to.

So, if you are clever with your planning, a family road trip can actually end up being a really enjoyable trip for you and your family. Here are some pointers to remember that can help you with all the planning.


Plan Your Route In Advance

First of all, you need to spend enough time planning your route out. In some cases, it’s perfectly fine to keep things quite spontaneous and to simply decide where you are going to stop on the way. That won’t always be convenient when you are traveling long distances with kids, though, as you might need to stop more often for breaks and you might also need to plan a few child-friendly attractions and sights to head to. So, when the road trip involves a family, it’s always best to plan as much as you can in advance. Try to be too spontaneous, and you might end up with some very angry and annoyed kids in the back seats!


Pack Plenty Of Individually Wrapped Snacks

Your children will no doubt complain about being hungry numerous times in the trip. So, you will need to make sure to pack plenty of snacks for the whole trip. It’s also a good idea to pack a few bottles of water so that no one gets dehydrated. One handy tip for packing snacks is to buy some that are individually wrapped. That way, you don’t have to worry about a sharing-size packet of chips going stale if you need to open it to give something to one child. Instead, go for individual-size packets and cereal bars or single pieces of fruit. That way, you can feed a child and not worry about making a mess with any leftovers.




Play Some Games That Don’t Require Props

One way in which parents try to stop the boredom from hitting their kids is to give them games to play in the back. Unfortunately, if you give them a couple of board games, things could get very messy a bit too quickly. That’s because most board games feature a lot of small pieces and die, and the kids could easily lose these, especially in a moving car. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of games that you can play without any props and that won’t make any mess in the back of your car. One great example of a great non-prop game is Count the Cows. It’s a great game if you are driving through a rural area and can see farm animals in the fields - everyone has to simply count the cows in the fields and see how many they can spot. I Spy is another brilliant game that you can play anywhere without any props too.


Plan For Plenty Of Stops

If there were just you and your partner out on the road, you could probably drive quite far until you stopped for the night or to check out a cool attraction. Unfortunately, though, that isn’t going to be possible when you have kids on board. Children have very short attention spans, and it’s often best to plan for plenty of stops so that they don’t get too bored or frustrated in the back. Plus, making plenty of stops gives you all a chance to have a quick snack, go to the toilet, and stretch your legs. It’s always best to try and stop where there are toilets, as your kids will surely need to go - they won’t be able to hold it in for as long as you and your partner can!


Be Ready For The Unexpected

One of the best things about going on a road trip is the great unknown. You never know what is just around the corner, and you might stumble across some great attractions and sights while you are traveling. Most of the time, the unexpected can be fun and exhilarating, but sometimes it can be anything but. For instance,one child might unexpectedly fall car sick. So, it’s always best to try and plan for every eventuality so that you have everything you might need to react accordingly. For instance, if a child is sick in the car, you are going to need a lot of wet wipes and towels!



Set Some Nap Times For The Kids

Even though the kids won’t be exerting themselves too much, they might still be tired out from all the traveling. There’s something about long journeys in the car that always seems to wipe children out! So, it’s worth planning a few nap times for the kids. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pull over and stop your journey if you don’t want to. You just need to plan for some downtime in the car. Make sure you take all their books, toys, and games from them so that they can start to relax and will find it a lot easier to drop off without being distracted. This gives them time to catch up on some much-needed sleep, and gives you and your partner the chance to enjoy the journey in peace and quiet for a bit!



Have Plenty Of Safety Numbers With You

One of the main things to remember when you are out on the road is that safety should always be your number-one priority. So, it’s a good idea to have a few different phone numbers with you so that you know exactly who to call in the event of the worst-case scenario ever happening. For example, you might want the number of a car accident attorney so that you can get the ball rolling on multiple injury car accident lawsuits in the event of a crash. It’s also necessary to keep your car insurance provider’s number with you at all times when out on the road as well. Once you have planned your journey, you might also want to consider researching the nearest car mechanics that you will pass en route. You might want to take a note of their phone number so that you have someone to call who can pick you and your vehicle up in the event of a breakdown.

Do Some Driving During The Night

If you aren’t looking forward to the distractions that could come from your kids while you are behind the wheel, you might want to think about driving at night. The kids will be asleep, and you will find that you get a lot further as they won’t be expecting to stop so often. Not only that, though, but the roads will also be a lot quieter, so you should find that you don’t get held up in too many traffic jams.




Put An Adult In The Back

You and your partner might take it in turns to drive, with the one who isn’t driving in the passenger seat next to the driver. But you might find it more beneficial to have an adult in the back seat with the kids, if there is room. This gives the children some company, and they won’t feel so alone in the back. Not only that, though, but it also puts someone in easy reach of them if they ever need to be quietened down or told to behave.

Don’t Forget The First-Aid Kit

Something else that you shouldn’t forget when you head out on a family road trip is a first-aid kit. Even though the kids won’t be running around or playing outside, there is still the chance of them suffering from very small accidents and injuries. So, make sure you have a first-aid kit that is full of band aids, antiseptic creams, and burns creams just in case.

Always Put The Driver First

Don’t forget that the driver should always be put first. After all, they need to be in top form in order to drive safely and responsibly. So, if the driver ever feels tired, it’s important that you swap over or take a break so that they can have a nap.


Enjoy your family road trip!









Monday, September 24, 2018

Books I Recommend You Read [September]

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.
The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Emily is going to marry Adam but his mother keeps getting in the way. She blatantly goes out of her way to drive the two apart and at the end the reason why comes out. Such a good read! 




The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
This book was great! It's about a woman that inserts herself into the life of a woman and her marriage and attempts to steal the husband away. Meanwhile, the woman is going through hell of her own and is more than happy to get out of her marriage.  And between the 3 of them there is A LOT of deception. This was a real juicy drama!



Indecent by Corinne Sullivan 
Imogene is a teacher at an all boys school and she has struggled with feeling loved and wanted all her life. So when she gets the attention of a student she goes with it. She becomes way more invested then she should be and things take a horrific turn. I love scandalous books like this.





Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
This was an amazing read about quite literally, getting ghosted. Sarah meets Eddie one afternoon and they spend an amazing week together head over heels in love.  She has to go away and he has to go away for a bit, but right after they part and she reaches out, she gets no responses.  He's ghosted her.   The story follows Sarah as she endures the pain and as it unfolds we begin to see Eddie's side. The reason for the ghosting is because of a big secret on both of their parts.  This book had me emotionally up and down until the end !


Girls Night Out by Liz Fenton
3 girls try to rekindle a friendship by going on a tropical vacay and then one ends up missing. No one can remember anything but as the memories come back the truth is revealed and it goes way beyond what happened to the one who is missing.



Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
A couple goes on their honeymoon and finds a suitcase full of cash and diamonds.  As they struggle to figure out what to do despite their consciences, it seems there's something shady going on between the two of them. Both of them have secrets and I did not expect the crazy ending!




The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland
This is a book about a couple (the story is told back and forth from each point of view) that is in a marriage lull and takes a temporary separation from each other.  One starts out happy about it while the other is sad.  Roles begin to reverse as things move along and it leaves you  wondering if they'll ever fix their relationship and get back together.  Loved this book!


What have you guys read lately?








Wonderful Winter Warming for Your Home



Now that summer has well and truly waved goodbye to, there are a few things you want to tick off your to-do list at home. Instead of opening up your windows and allowing the fresh air to breeze through the house, you will be looking to insulate your home more and find more efficient ways to heat your home. Your end of summer home checklist has well and truly begun and it is getting longer by the minute. You will need to spend a little bit of time focusing on the smaller details in your home. If you usually get caught out during the winter months, then now is the time to get prepared ahead of the game. These ideas are bound to make your home more cost effective in the winter months, so that you and your family can keep warm when the temperature drops. If you have small children it can be very stressful trying to keep your home warm all winter seasons, so these warming techniques will put your mind at ease and give you a comforting, cosy home as soon as Jack Frost strikes.

Windows and Doors

When winter approaches it is often essential to upgrade your windows or doors in order to conserve energy and reduce unwanted draughts or breezes. Replacement Windows with durable seals against water, air and noise reduction will help your home to feel warmer and cosier throughout the colder months. Choose a brand new style to inject new life into your home and enhance the winter vibes; you will quickly be able to notice the difference once you have reduced the airflow into your home.



Innovative Insulation

Insulating your home will help you to save on energy bills and will act as a barrier to heat loss. Newly fitted windows and doors will help with this, but there are also many other tweaks you can make to your home. Consider adding wall insulation, as this will help you save up to an extra twenty perfect of energy overall. Your flooring can also contribute to a tonne of heat loss during the winter, so consider thick carpets and rugs to help seal in the energy. You might want to consult the fitting company, who can recommend the best option for your personal circumstances.

Roof Repair

Cracks and gaps in your roof or ceiling will be the biggest cause of wasted energy in your home, so this is the most important aspect to fix before the cold weather hits. If you have a glass roof in a conservatory this will also be very important to insulate, because the energy lost in there will have a knock on effect when it comes to the rest of the temperature in your house.

Savvy Soft Furnishings

Making your furniture feel more comfy and cosy during the winter is one of the easiest changes you can make throughout your home. Instead of uninviting, bare leather sofas, invest in a warm fluffy throw and cushions to create a more wintery atmosphere. You should also consider changing up your duvet to a thicker model; this will help you stay warm during the cooler months. Change up your duvet and pillow covers to richer and warmer shades to add to the overall effect too.

Calm and Comforting Food

When winter starts to knock on the door, you often need to change up your eating habits whilst at home. You and your family crave more warm and comforting meals instead of sandwiches and salads in the summer. Treat yourself to a new and exciting cookbook and try out a different delicious recipe every evening. You will soon find a family favourite that you can keep reverting back to during the winter, whether it’s a nutritious soup or a hearty pasta dish.



Happy Heating

Now that the temperatures outside have dropped you don’t want to be battling with the thermostat every morning as your icy cold fingers and toes try to climb out of bed in the early hours. Tailor your heating timer to suit your daily routine; most households find it useful to have the heating on in the early hours for a couple of hours, and then it clicks back into action during the early afternoon. Every household will be completely different, so make sure you take your own personal needs into consideration


Accessories and Additions
There are many ways to accessorise for the winter, but candles and open wood fires are some of the most beautiful and warming additions to any household. Be careful when lighting any open flames and make sure you fully extinguish the candle or fire before heading to bed for the evening. There are a whole range of scented candles to choose from, whether it’s fresh pine or gingerbread, you’re bound to get that wintery feel.

wine glass filled with wine beside bottle on table


You should never feel worried about winter approaching; it’s an exciting time of year that brings families and friends together. If you can take some time out to get your home prepared now before the cold snap strikes you will be able to enjoy every element the winter weather brings. There is nothing more comforting than turning on your fire, sipping on a hot chocolate and snuggling underneath a blanket. The weather might not be super cold right now, but it can quickly creep up on us so make sure you don’t delay your mini home renovations for any longer. Whether you finally need to invest in new windows, improve your winter recipes or find innovative ways to insulate your home, you are bound to find the answer here. In an ideal world it would be just as inexpensive to maintain your home in the winter as it is during the summer months, but the cost of living is increasing dramatically. If you are worried about paying for your winter heating bills, then these insulation techniques will help you to reduce your costs for the upcoming season. You and your family deserve to have a peaceful, warm and happy winter, so prepare your home now and will have fewer worries in the near future.










 photo ScreenShot2014-06-25at102225PM_zps4fdda517.png







Get 20% Off My Book - FIXING YOUR FINANCES! and join my Finance Facebook Group












Happy Monday!! I have a surprise for you! Get 20% off my book here


That's right! 20% off!!  Get it while it's hot folks!



Also - did you know I have a Facebook group now based off of my book? It's all things finance! Make sure you join ASAP because a fun weekly challenge starts October 1st! 

 photo ScreenShot2014-06-25at102225PM_zps4fdda517.png 








Friday, September 21, 2018

How Your Kids Should Perceive The Family Pet



The family pet is an ideal that many parents aim for. They want a little furry friend to be running around the home, with bounds of energy and lots of enthusiasm to enjoy life. It's also great for the children as they can be a companion for them at home. The concept of the family pet is something that we hold near and dear because we want an animal in our lives that shares the same experiences we do. Not only are the good to cuddle with, but they’re also fun to play with. Although they are not of the same species, dogs are often seen as man’s best friend. Dogs have so much love and loyalty to give, that’s why children should be introduced to them when they’re young so they can learn how to care for something that gives in return. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why dogs are favored above cats for young kids, because they’re more likely to help and befriend you.







Not always a plaything

Dogs are great creatures but they require a lot of care and attention. They do shed a lot of fur all year round, which makes grooming them a priority for the owners. They are also prone to doing some odd and sometimes, bad things as they don’t know any better. Children should be taught
how to care for them while they’re young so they can see how much hard work it is, to take care of another living being. They’ll also get a perspective on what it's like to maintain and care for dogs, as they can help to bathe them. Dogs aren’t always a play thing, kids can be taught the meaning of responsibility by helping to take care of the family pet.





Playing safely

Children can get frustrated sometimes when parents tell them they can’t do something. They’re not used to the word no, and hence like to push the boundaries a little bit. However, when they are tasked with caring for the dog, they can realize what you’re trying to get at. Dogs will unwittingly run out into traffic or across the street while a vehicle is coming, and perhaps even run around carelessly and fall into a body of water. But with a
best underground dog fence, the kids can play with the dog safely and not be at danger of going too far away from the home or running carelessly underneath a moving vehicle. The collar put around the dog is wirelessly connected to the in-ground system. When the dog runs over the wire buried in the ground, the dog will get a little annoying buzz that stops them from going any further. This is great for when their ball is thrown too far and perhaps into the street.


Children should know that taking care of a somebody else is hard work and is a lot of responsibility. Maybe they will take this more seriously when they are caring and maintaining the health of the family dog. Playing is fun but without safety in mind, it can go south really quickly. Kids will learn to play responsibly and not put themselves or the dog in harm’s way for a game.

More Adventures with Stella the Therapy Dog!

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.


 Stella has been a therapy dog for a couple months now and she's doing really well with it.  I'm convinced that she has the most ideal laid back personality for it too.  She just sits there.  She's like a little stuffed animal that you can snuggle without her getting fidgety.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Take The Stress Out Of Building A House




None of us have just one dream. We all have a smorgasbord of things we would love to do while here on earth (#liveyourbestlife) and one of those things is building your own home. It’s getting stuck into a project where the final product gives you somewhere to live; somewhere you have designed on your wants and needs; somewhere you have built with your own two hands (through proxy) to make you the happiest person on planet earth. That’s the dream right there,




Unfortunately, though, the reality of actually building a house is pretty darn tough. In fact, people find the whole house-building thing more stressful than a) getting divorced, b) having a baby, and c) starting a new job in a new city. There’s just so much that can go wrong, and most of those things are outside of your control. But just because you need to prepare for some big old migraines to pop up doesn’t mean you can’t make the whole building a house thing a lot less stressful.

So, without further ado, here are some top tips for keeping your sanity during a self-build project:

1. Make Sure There Are No Nasty Surprises

Okay, so this is almost impossible because part of building your own sanctuary is being walloped by the unexpected at almost every turn. But that doesn’t mean you should just roll over. No way. Instead, get clued up. Speak to friends who have done what you are trying to do, use someone like
Cochran to perform a land survey early on, ask your architect to help with planning permission, get a contractor through a referral from someone you trust and have a contingency budget of 15% - minimum. The more you plan for nasty surprises, the easier they are to manage.

2. Be Realistic With Your Must-Haves

We all have a dream in mind when we picture our dream house and that’s no bad thing. But you need to be realistic about it. Be realistic about how many bedrooms do you want, how big it will be, having your garden landscaped - all of that. Anyway, once you have a clear list of what you want, go through it with your building team and see if it is possible on your budget and, if you do have to make a few compromises along the way, decide where. When it comes to a self-build, everyone (except Petra Ecclestone probably) has to make compromises, which is why it's worth knowing what your priorities are.

3. Have Your Money Stacked Up

The biggest headache you can possibly suffer from is the money-migraine. To avoid this as best you can, it’s a pretty good idea to know exactly how much you have to spend, how much you can borrow, where to go for the best mortgage deals, how much contingency budget is wise and how much you think you’ll spend on
home decor. It’s also a pretty great idea to have all the paperwork sorted out and ready to access so that you can keep going back to it and not be mistaken about what you can afford. Oh, and don't forget to take any other costs into account, such as legal fees and all that hoopla.










Five Ways Defensive Driving Courses Pay Off

We all need to have a car to take the kids to school, do our shopping, or get to work on time. However, some people call vehicles killing machines, which they are. Once you pass your driving test, you will try to make the most out of your skills and improve them every day, but still accidents happen. Even if you are not at fault, you will find that a collision can knock back your confidence. Below you will find five reasons why you should consider taking on a defensive driving course.




1. Makes You More Aware

Once you go on a defensive driving course, you will know how to identify the risks on the road better. You will adopt new methods of dealing with distraction and improve your focus, so you can plan better and do your proper checks before maneuvers. You will be shown scenarios of accidents and understand human behavior behind the wheel better. You can also find out how to avoid needing accident care and treatment by avoiding dangerous driving situations.

2. Better Planning

Advanced driving courses will also allow you to think about your route and the traffic before you get in the car. Planning has a lot to do with saving fuel and hassle. The longer you are stuck in the traffic jam the more frustrated and tired you will get. If you plan your route to include easier turns and fewer traffic jams, you can enjoy your commute much more in the future.

3. Identifying Poor Drivers
Image via Pixabay



Of course, no matter how well you drive, there will always be annoying drivers out there. Once you learn to spot them on the road, you can anticipate their moves and react in a timely manner. If you learn some important defensive driving skills, you are more likely to have a chance to avoid collisions and be prepared to stop if you think that the driver in front is hesitant.

4. Better Insurance Deals

There are also financial rewards associated with better driving. You can get a discount on your insurance, as well as your breakdown cover. If you show the companies that you went the extra mile to improve your driving, you might even be in a position to negotiate past speeding tickets or penalties. Young drivers with a not-so-clean driving record can also benefit from discounts.

5. Improved Job Prospects

In case you are looking to apply for a job that involves driving, you will have an advantage over other applicants. Employers are more likely to take on people who can drive safely and have less chance of causing damage to the public and other people’s property. No matter if you want to be an ambulance driver or a policeman, the skills will help you secure your job.


If you feel like there’s room for improvement when it comes to your driving skills, you will certainly benefit from taking a defensive driving course. Get a better job or insurance deal, and learn how to spot bad driving well ahead.









Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Decorating Your Home for Fall





In celebration of my favorite season I wanted to put together some tips to help everyone else decorate their home for Fall. I love this time of year. The air is crisp and cool while the sun is still warming you up.  The colors are beautiful and there are less bugs.  And it's super easy to decorate for Fall so without further ado - enjoy!




Don't Neglect the Front Door
No matter where you live, and what the size of your house is, you can ALWAYS decorate the front for Fall, especially since that's what everybody sees first.  A few potted mums in different colors and some pumpkins and a garden flag will do the trick.






Put Items in Bowls and Buckets
You can buy a bunch of real of faux mini pumpkins and pile them into a bowl, bucket, or vase for a nice fall centerpiece or shelf décor. I  have also seen people collect leaves in different colors to display in a vase with pinecones or in a bowl.
Use Natural Items or Faux Natural Items
So I could have made a gorgeous wreath out of dead leaves but I don't have the time, talent, or patience so I purchased one at the store with faux leaves.  If you're crafty then look no further than your own yard. You can easily glue sticks, pinecones, and leaves onto a foam wreath.




Pumpkins EVERYWHERE!
I have tons of faux pumpkins that I use inside and outside my house.  The faux ones are great because I can reuse them every year and they don't rot away.


Stack Hay Bales
You can get mini hay bales at the crafty store and stack them to give your decorations outside (and inside) different height and depth.  Plus it's super fun to look at it!


So how are you going to decorate your home for Fall this year?





 photo ScreenShot2014-06-25at102225PM_zps4fdda517.png









Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...