Is It Better to Buy or to Rent?

When you begin to look into property for you to live in, you will often find that you have two options open to you – you can buy somewhere, or you can find a place to rent. AMS Housing Group offers great advice with their guaranteed rent scheme. These are options open to many, but you need to make sure that you pick the right one for you. Here are some of the things to consider when you are searching for a place to live, but can’t decide between buying and renting.

Your Financial Situation
The first thing you need to consider is your own financial situation. How much do you have saved up, and what are the costs of property like in your local area? Even if you live in a busy city, you can usually quickly find out some information about how much buying an apartment could cost you. For instance, taking a look at the best home loan rates Singapore has to offer means that you will have a clearer idea of what you can realistically afford in this area. Many times, it actually works out as being cheaper to buy and pay a mortgage than it can be to pay for rent each month. However, within that, you need to make sure that you can afford some of the many fees that come with buying a property.

If you are able to afford the initial high costs that can come with buying a property, you should definitely think about buying one. It gets you firmly on the property ladder, and gives you freedom unlike anything you can find with renting. Though it can be difficult to get the money for a deposit together, doing so means that you could afford mortgage repayments way below your current rent, giving you a more comfortable lifestyle overall.

Your Long-Terms Plans
It is vital that you consider your long-term plans when trying to decide whether you should buy or rent a property. If you are one for travelling a lot, it might not be worth putting roots down in any place. Though you might have fallen in love with a city like Singapore, you are not going to be there for more than a few months at a time. Why should you buy a place then?

If you want to keep moving then just renting places as and when you need them might be the better option. The lifestyle of the digital nomad is appealing to many, and there are so many places that you could decide to travel to.

However, if you want to have a base that you can return to time and time again, buying an apartment can be a great move. You can always rent it out to other travellers, or even on a more long-term basis if you want to make some money in the meantime. This could be just one of the many forms of passive income you set up to fund your wider travels and give you something that you can use once you have had your fill of travelling.

Your Interior Design
How much of an interior designer are you? If you want to stay somewhere with just the basics, then you might decide that you want to rent a furnished flat and make do. There won’t be much you can do in terms of customisation, but it gives you the perfect place to call your first home. For those who do not have much money, or do not want to burden themselves with possessions like furniture, this can be the perfect solution.

If you do want to put your own stamp upon the place, you are probably going to need to buy your own home. There are very few landlords who would be happy with a tenant making major changes to their property unless they were going to be there for several years. Though there are solutions like command hooks that can help you personalise your place, those with a true passion for interior design need to consider waiting until they have their own property to splurge.

Remember that you need to think about the types of furniture that you buy for your place. If there is just a small elevator to take you up to your property, how are you going to get furniture like a sofa up there? These are all careful things to think about when decorating your home. No one wants to buy a beautiful piece of furniture only to discover that it is too big to get to their home.

So, is it better to rent or buy? This will always come down to your individual needs. While buying can be a great move for many to make, it might not be feasible in your current situation, so renting might be for you!

Nairn's Gluten Free Pop Oats - Review & Giveaway

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

I like trying new snacks, especially if they are a healthier alternative and suitable for my children too. Nairn's Pop Oats are just that and we recently received a box full of them to sample and review. I was interested to try them and to see if Noah and Ava liked them too.

Nairn's Pop Oats are light, crispy and delicious - great for a snack, in a lunchbox and for on the go. They are baked and not fried which gives you the taste and texture of regular crisps, but produced in a healthier way and featuring the nutritional benefits of whole grain oats. Available in three varieties; BBQ, Salt & Vinegar and Sour Cream & Chive - there's a flavour for everyone and it's worth   noting that the BBQ and Salt & Vinegar packs are suitable for vegans.

I find them so moreish and at 60% less fat per 20g serving than the average packet of crisps and at just 83 calories per pack they are a truly guilt-free treat. They also contain no hydrogenated fat, no GM ingredients, no artificial colours or preservatives. I've tried all three flavours and have to say that the Sour Cream & Chive are my favourite, though they are all super tasty.

Ingredients include: Gluten-Free Wholegrain Oats (41%), Tapioca Starch, White Rice Flour, Sunflower Oil, Sugar, Rice Flour, Salt, Onions, Skimmed MILK Powder, Sugar, Acids (Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid), Whole MILK Powder, Natural Flavouring (Milk), Garlic, Yeast Extract, Herbs (Parsley, Chive), Sour Cream Powder (Milk). Allergens are noted on each pack in bold.

Anyway, less of what I think. Did the kids like them? They sure did! It didn't take Noah long to spot the Nairn's Pop Oats packets on the side in our kitchen and he asked to try them right away. Just like me, he opted to try the Sour Cream & Chive first and didn't take long to devour the entire bag. He must have enjoyed them because he was asking to try the other flavours before he'd even come to the end of the pack! Ava enjoyed them too and seemed to prefer the BBQ flavour.

Nairn's Pop Oats are perfect for school lunch boxes as they meet the Governments guidelines on fat, salt, and sugar - the nutritional criteria for the NHS “Healthy Living Award." They are a great source of fiber and quite filling too which is just what we parents want to hear. Nairn's Gluten Free Pop Oats are available now at Morrisons, Waitrose, and Asda and cost just 80p per bag.

Would your children enjoy Nairn's Pop Oats? How would you like to win a box of Nairn's Pop Oats? To enter simply use the Gleam form below and don't forget to check out my other competitions.

A box of Nairn's Pop Oats Snacks

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 31/10/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only

My Sunday Photo - 39/52

Organix Cocoa & Vanilla Gruffalo Biscuits - Review & Giveaway

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We've been buying Organix products for years, ever since Noah was a toddler and had started his weaning journey. Over the years, I've continued to buy them, for both Noah and Ava. We adore the brand and like how they keep their range fresh and exciting by releasing new products, their newest being the Organix Gruffalo Cocoa & Vanilla biscuits.

The new Organix Gruffalo Biscuits contain only organic ingredients, no added salt, artificial colours or flavours - the Organix No Junk Promise that parents know and love. Each individual bag contains less than 100kcal and adheres to the  Public Health England guidelines on sugar for little ones.

The biscuits are bound to be popular with little ones as they are shaped just like the Gruffalo and the mouse in the story and are very tasty with their cocoa and vanilla flavour. They are a great size and amount for a healthier snack to nibble on between meals and the individual bags make them ideal for inside lunchboxes, for trips to the shops, for picnics and for taking out on adventures too. I think they'd be perfect for taking to the various Gruffalo trails across the UK.

Ava, like most children, adores the Gruffalo and was delighted to spot her favourite characters on her biscuits. Seeing them on the biscuits adds a little extra fun and wonder to snack-time and has made us revisit the books all over again. In fact, she likes me to read the book, whilst she eats her biscuits - feeding her imagination and belly, both at the same time. She seems to really enjoy the taste and I can see us buying more in the future.

Organix Gruffalo Cocoa & Vanilla Biscuits are suitable for children from 12 months, are available in a box of 5 individual 20g bags. They cost £2.49 per box and are available to buy at Ocado and in Sainsbury's.
How would you like to win two boxes of Organix Gruffalo Cocoa & Vanilla biscuits? Simply use the Gleam form below to enter and keep a lookout on my social media channels for more chances to win.

2 boxes of Organix Gruffalo Cocoa & Vanilla Biscuits

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who win the prize mentioned above.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 27/10/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only

Foodie Roos Mini Plush Collectibles - Review

AD - We were sent these products for the purpose of this review.

My kids adore collectible and surprise toys, so much so that I've lost count of how many different collections we have on the go. They love spotting new collectibles in the shops, and are so excited when they get to review them. Once they've arrived Noah usually declares that he's seen them on YouTube. How is my 5-year-old more in the know than I am?

Foodie Roos are a new collectible toy on the market, brought to you by John Adams. They are cute mini plush collectible characters that have a fun little story behind them. One day in their hometown of Yummyville, they were all enjoying their favourite foods and ate a little too much. As if by magic, they then turned into what they were eating and became a Foodie Roo! They now look, feel and smell just like their favourite food.

We were sent six Foodie Roos to review, presented nicely in what I presume to be a shop display. They looked so inviting and the kids insisted on opening them right away. Each Foodie Roo is presented in a brightly colored, plastic container (kind of like an ice cream tub!) There's food type on the front and the peek-a-boo window give you a little clue to which character you will find inside.

There are currently 20 different Foodie Roo's to collect and each Foodie Roo container contains 1 of 2 different characters. Children can choose from popcorn, gummies, chips, cookies, fruit cup, soda, pretzels, juice, cereal, and rare treats! We received a good variety and the first we discovered were Choco Pup and Bouncy Bear.

It didn't take us long to open them all and we were delighted at all the adorable characters we discovered. They are a great size for children and all the sensory elements are a fantastic idea. Ava likes to sniff, squeeze, stroke and shake them and didn't take long to stash them all between her legs. Her favourite is Citrus Stripes (found in Soda Pop) because when you shake it you can feel water sloshing about inside. Noah, on the other hand, seems to like Choco Pup.

Foodie Roos look and smell wonderful, just like their favourite foods. Each one feels completely different too. Inside some there are beans, in others, there are large beads, in others, there is liquid. They are fantastic for sensory play.

At first glance, I worried that they were another toy which came with too much, throwaway, single-use plastic, thankfully, I was wrong. The plastic containers convert into a little home for the Foodie Roo, which you can decorate with the stickers provided. They also double up for storing them and are fantastic for role play too. Noah uses the containers for playing shops, storing other collectibles and they are currently proudly on display in his bedroom, alongside his favourite Foodie Roos.

We all adore Foodie Roos and I've added a couple to the the kids Christmas lists. They are so cute that we are going to have to collect them all. Suitable for children from 3 years old, they retail at £7.99 each and are available to buy now, online at Amazon.

Calmness, Composure, and Crying: Staying Relaxed With a Newborn

It may seem like a contradiction in terms. If you need to find ways to relax when you have a newborn you may ask “where is the time to relax?!” But when we are in that bubble of being a new parent, and everything is new, exciting, and scary at the same time, relaxing may be the furthest thing from our minds. But we need to remember that, for all of the anxieties and stresses associated with being a new parent, taking the opportunities to relax where you can gives you a fighting chance of recuperating, while also keeping stress at bay. With this in mind, how can we relax, especially when we are exhausted and infuriated, all at the same time? 

Carve a Little Bit of Time for You (No Matter How Small It Is)

Perhaps you feel that it's just you and the baby and your partner has to go back to work or it all just seems a bit too much. But one of the reasons we begin to feel so helpless is that we have lost any sense of connection with the person we were. And while motherly duties take priority and we do this instinctually, we still need to remember that when we have no time to look after ourselves, this is what can perpetuate the problem. No matter how little time it may be, having an opportunity to look after yourself by doing something that is for you and you alone can help you recapture some sense of self. Think about the things that you liked to do before the baby came along. Reading is something that may seem like an impossible task but if it is a connection to your old self, this is something you can have a little bit of control over. You can go here to get some new reading glasses and think about creating a little nest for yourself so you can read, even if it's for 10 minutes. It's better than nothing. That little bit of time is the perfect opportunity for you to become reacquainted with the old version of yourself.

Sharing the Load

They say that one of the biggest problems during the first year of a baby's life is communication. The parents may feel that they are operating in different time zones if they are taking it in turns to get up with the baby or complete certain duties. But this is where you need to share the load in other ways. Are there other people that can help if you are both feeling lost in a sea of sleepiness? Moral support is crucial at this juncture. When you feel like you are sharing the load or that other people are going through the same thing, it demystifies the experience. We can all feel that we are losing our minds because we've only had a couple of hours’ sleep over the last few days. And this is one of the worst aspects of being a parent. But if you need that opportunity to relax, having the courage to say you need help should be effortless. But so many people feel they don't need help or they shouldn't have help because it makes them feel like they are weak. This is a very unique situation because you've never experienced it before. So don't be afraid to ask for help.

Eating Well

When we feel so exhausted and needs extra stimulation we naturally turn to the simulants. While coffee is a lifesaver it's important to know your limits. If you are sensitive to caffeine there is a point where it just gives you the jitters and will make you even more anxious. Using ways to give you energy is essential, but you've got to do it right. You may also feel the temptation to have a takeaway. Look at takeaways as a treat, especially if you've had a bad week. But it's important to remember the importance of a diet that can calm you down. This means cutting back on the sugar and going for complex carbohydrates and good fats. Omega-3, which is commonly found in fish, can help you manage your stress hormones. If you feel you need to get a chocolate bar, make a swap for, at the very least, a nut bar. Omega-3s are in abundance in seeds and nuts, and with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, it could keep you going for a good few hours.

Treat Yourself

It seems that this baby is draining every aspect of your energy. And you feel that you give until you have nothing left. This is why it's so important to treat yourself to those things that feel like proper rewards. You may decide to pamper yourself with a home spa kit or buying something you've been eyeing up for a while online. These little treats are rewards for sticking out the long nights. And when you buy something you have been lusting after for a long time, whether it's a book or a games console, you will find the time to make the most of it. If it's a book you are engrossed in, you will want to make time for it. Babies have to sleep at some point and you need to make the most of this time because this is when, believe it or not, they won't be demanding every moment of your time (in fact, this is when they become a toddler!) Right now, a baby just needs to sleep, feed, and eat. So if this means they sleep on you while you play on your Nintendo Switch, so be it! Don't feel guilty.

Learning How to Destress Properly

Many people believe they are just wired for stress, but the most important thing we can do is to practice being calm. It doesn't achieve the results you need overnight, but when you start to find the right practices that calm you down and are quick to do, this can help you in so many different areas of your life. Getting the diet dialled in can help you feel more relaxed, especially if you discover that you have a low lying intolerance to something. But when you feel the symptoms of stress, learning how to calm down through mindfulness or deep breathing exercises can dampen down that fight or flight sensation. It's important to remember that when we feel stressed or anxious that we learn the right tactics to control the symptoms. Yes, it is easier said than done at 3 in the morning, but learning some form of control over your anxieties will help you to gain some perspective. Some people take to being a parent like a duck to water, but others don't. If you are firmly in the latter camp, certain meditative practices or calming activities will give you the boost you need. And the more we practice it, the better we become at it.

A newborn is the biggest test and the biggest shock to the system that most of us have. And we can either learn to roll with the punches or we can run away from the situation (emotionally speaking). We are all prone to ups and downs with a newborn, but if we can get through this part, we will overcome the most physically draining aspect of parenthood. And learning how to relax now will give you a fantastic foundation for the rest of your life. It's not easy, but if you can accomplish this, you will do just fine for the rest of your child's life.

MadeGood Granola Bars - Review & Giveaway

AD - This is a PR collaboration.

Let's face it, eating is one thing that most children are good at, snacking in particular! My kids are constantly grazing on something so it's important for me to offer snacks that are both filling and healthy for them.

New to the market, MadeGood granola bars are just that, both healthy and filling and available in three delicious flavours; mixed berry, chocolate and banana, and chocolate chip. Suitable for all the family, they are loaded with all-natural, organic, ingredients such as dried fruit and whole grains, with pure sunflower oil to keep the bars low in saturated fat. They contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals and suitable for vegans too. As if that wasn't enough, there are six different sources of vegetables in each bar too.

MadeGood is the first-ever totally allergen-free snack bar. They are free from; gluten, milk, peanuts, nuts, soy, eggs, and sesame making them safe for schools, ideal for in your child's lunchbox, nursery, the park, soft play, anywhere where kids will be. My children don't have any food allergies that I'm aware of, but, I do know many children who do and how serious allergens can be. It's fantastic to finally have a granola type bar that is safe to take into schools.

I've popped one in Noah's lunchbox for the past week and his favourites are definitely the ones which have chocolate in them. Go figure. He says that he enjoys the taste, the chewiness, and the crunch. Ava, on the other hand, likes them all and tends to have one for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Between the four of us, we've almost gone through the lot! They are very tasty and knowing they are jam-packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals make me, as a parent, love them even more.

MadeGood granola bars are available now in ASDA stores across the UK, each box contains 6 x 24g bars, costing £2.79. They are a real winner in our house and I recommend trying them out for yourself. How would you like to win three boxes? Head over to my Instagram page to enter and don't forget to check out my other competitions.

Keep up to date with MadeGood by following their Facebook and Instagram channels.

(AD - giveaway) I don’t know about your children but mine are always eating! πŸ™ˆ I try to keep their diet as balanced as I can so it’s a helping hand when products like the NEW MadeGood granola bars hit the market! πŸ™ŒπŸ» . MadeGood granola bars are available in three different flavours; mixed berry, chocolate chip and banana chocolate. Suitable for all the family they are loaded with natural, organic ingredients such as grains and dried fruit, and are a great source of fibre and vitamins. They are also the first-ever totally allergen-free snack bar. They are free from; gluten, milk, peanuts, nuts, soy, eggs and semame - making them ideal for in school lunchboxes, or anywhere where there’s children πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘¦πŸΌπŸ‘§πŸ½ . We’ve sampled them ourselves and they have gone down very well, particularly for Ava! πŸ’• Visit the blog to read our full review, but in the meantime, how would you like to #win three boxes to try for yourself? πŸ˜‹ To enter simply; 1. Follow @jennakatekelly & πŸ“² 2. Heart this photo ❤️ 3. Tag a friend or two! Every tag is a new entry (max 10 per person) 4. Leave a heart on previous photos for extra entries πŸ₯° . t&c: There will be one winner UK entries only Competition ends 25/09
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Top 3 Tips For Travelling Abroad With Children

AD - This is a collaborative post.

As a family, we travel as often as we can - it's one of our favourite things to do together. Every year we take a family holiday abroad, usually to the Balearic Islands, sometimes to mainland Spain, and we like to travel around the UK too. Most of my childhood memories are centered around holidays with my family so I know how important they are and we are fortunate enough to be able to provide them for our children. That said, the thought of travelling with children can sometimes sound daunting, especially to new parents but that doesn't have to be the case. Preparation is key and here are my top 3 tips for travelling abroad with children.

1. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance should be a priority whether you are travelling in this country, abroad, whether you have children or not. You should never travel without it, it's your safety net if you are to find yourself in a tricky situation with cancelled flights, lost baggage, stolen property, illness or injury. I'd recommend buying in separately, rather than in a package deal because you can often find it cheaper that way.

2. Medications and first aid kits
My first point leads me nicely onto my second. I tend to fret about my children becoming ill or hurting themselves while we are on holiday so I make sure to pack plenty of things that I'd need for them under those circumstances. I have a travel first aid kit which is filled with plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes, nail scissors, Calpol sachets, and more. My children aren't on any regular medication, though I'm aware many are and are accustomed to travelling with Oxygen and daily meds. It's important to check with your flight operator before you go.

3. Activities and snacks
My last, but certainly not least essential has got to be activities and snacks. I wouldn't travel without them. Keeping your children entertained and fed is the key to stress-free travelling. Whenever we go anywhere I make sure to pack my children a travel bag each, filled to the brim with colouring books, sticker books, play-doh, books, surprise toys, biscuits, crisps, fruit. They really love knowing they have goodies waiting for them and like the responsibility of looking after their own bag too.

Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Decorating Our Home With Desenio

AD - I was given a voucher to purchase these prints.

After undergoing a home renovation spanning the good part of five years, we are now able to dress our home in the way that we want to. We live in an old terrace house, with very high ceilings so it tends to be a task to find artwork which is big and bold enough. A few weeks ago Desineo got in touch, offering me a voucher to spend on their website in exchange for a review, and I made quick work of taking them up on the offer.

Desenio offers a countless amount of posters and prints, suitable for every room in any home. Their prints are on-trend, inspiring, and many are unique. Most styles are Scandinavian; straight to the point, simple, yet chic and tasteful. I was blown away by the different styles, colours, themes, and took hours to make my final decision. I'm quite an indecisive person so the gallery wall section on the website was a big help to me. It's worth taking a look as it's great for a little inspiration too.

Before purchasing, I knew which rooms I wanted to buy prints for and the gallery wall section on the website helped me tremendously. It gave inspiration when it came to choosing prints and gave me an idea of which prints looked good together.

For my hallway, I chose the Forest Circle, Climb Mountains and Like The Ocean posters and ordered them all with black frames. I chose the 30x40cm prints which cost £11.95 each, plus £12.95 for each frame. They look incredible on the wall, even better than I envisioned. I've already lost count of the number of times someone has noticed them, or ask where I got them. They really make an impact and in hindsight, I wish I'd ordered the bigger size.

Our bedroom was the other room I wanted to decorate with Desenio artwork and I had various shelves and wall space ready and waiting for them. Taking yet more inspiration from the gallery wall selection I chose the Ocean, It's Not What We Have, Reaching Hands, Breathe and Hummingbird prints. They look like they were designed just for our room, they are stunning, they all complement one another and add a touch of serenity and calmness to our room.

Would I order from Desenio again? Yes. Would I recommend to a friend? Yes! I was blown away with the endless amount of prints, posters, and artwork available and the sheer quality of the prints when they arrived. I cannot stop staring at them - they are all so beautiful.

Which do you like best? Would you order from Desenio?