I’m Impressed by Transport for London (TfL)

Written by Karen Bryan

I recently spent a week on London. I was so impressed by Transport for London (TfL). I chose accommodation located in a central location to facilitate getting around.

My studio was in North Gower Street, close to Euston railway station. I was also close to three Tube stations; Euston, Euston Square and Warren Street . Plus, there were lots of bus stops within a five minute walk.

I travelled outside the central Zone on three days 1 e.g., to Eltham Palace in south east London and to Willesden in north west London. I used the Tube, buses, Overground and National Rail. I never waited for more than five minutes, even on a Sunday.

For six days of travel in London, I paid £42, which was such good value for money. I travelled during both peak and off-peak times of day.

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Mistakes to Avoid As a New Investor

Written by Karen Bryan

Investing is something that many people partake in at some point, usually with the aim of increasing their capital, but sometimes as a new hobby. Starting out as an amateur investor is exciting, but it certainly does not come without its risks, which means every newbie should assess their current financial situation, create an investment plan and carry out lots of research beforehand.

Here, we discuss the common mistakes that many new investors make and how you can avoid them.

Investing before the time is right

This is perhaps the most common mistake that beginner investors make and almost always lands people in hot water. Investing before you are in a good financial position to do so is extremely risky and could mean you lose far more than you can afford to.

As such, sensible would-be investors will first assess their finances, including a full financial audit that outlines all ingoing and outgoing expenses. This will help them decide if there are any places where they can cut costs or make savings. Before investing, all major debts should be paid off, or at least be at a manageable level.

Carrying out such an audit allows us to decide whether now is the right time to invest, or if waiting is the more sensible option. If there is a significant amount of outstanding debt to pay off, then our financial obligations will simply outweigh any expected gains from our investments.

No risk tolerance is established

Investing is, of course, risky by nature, which is why everybody who is entering the sphere should be prepared to lose money. Risk will vary depending on the investment in question, with some carrying a high level of risk, and others being quite low-risk. This is where risk tolerance comes into play.

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Buying Separate Home Contents Insurance

Written by Karen Bryan

As we live in a flat, there is a common buildings insurance policy, which is arranged by the factor (property manager), we have to buy separate home insurance cover.

The premium that we pay for the buildings insurance for a top floor three bedroom flat is already higher than the joint buildings and contents insurance that we paid for our previous three bedroom detached house. This is partly due to the factor earning a commission on the block buildings insurance policy. Plus, the construction of the flat is non standard, as it has a rubber roof.

The block building insurance for our flat doesn’t even offer as good a level of cover as the joint buildings and insurance cover which I arranged for our previous home. The excess on the block policy is higher and the number of days during which the property can be left unoccupied is fewer.

Overall, I believe it is a good thing to common buildings insurance cover administered by the factor. when living a flat. One of my friends lived in a flat in Stirling where everyone in the block arranged their own insurance. She also lived in a top floor flat. When there was a leak in the roof and she had to organise an emergency repair, here insurance company would only pay for one sixth of the cost. Three of the neighbours never paid, leaving her seriously out of pocket.

The rubber roof in our current flat also means that I was only able to get three quotes for separate home contents insurance. Again, the price for home contents insurance is higher than the price of combined buildings and contents cover in the our previous home.

There also the complication of having to deal with two different insurance companies if we had a major incident at the flat which involved damage to the structure and the contents.

It seems crazy to be paying more than the twice the price for inferior cover to insure a flat than we paid to insure a detached house.

Boiler Insurance: What You Should Know

Written by Karen Bryan

After buying your new boiler, the next step is to purchase a suitable boiler cover plan. This means in the event of a boiler breakdown; the service provider will have an engineer diagnose the problem and fix it.

In addition, if your plan includes a servicing contract, then an engineer will service the boiler on annual basis to make sure it works well.

However, boiler covers come with different terms and conditions. Therefore, it’s important to carefully analyze all available options before settling on a final cover provider. This includes searching for the best value for money and speedy response in case of a breakdown.

Take a look at what you should look for in a boiler cover provider.

1. Choosing a Suitable Policy

By choosing a suitable policy, you’ll avoid spending too much money. First off, you must understand that the boiler cover you intend on purchasing will depend on your type of boiler.

Furthermore, your circumstances will also influence the type of policy you’ll choose. For example, does your boiler heat your house and your water? Is this is the case, you may want to add central heating in your cover to protect your radiators.

Nevertheless, be sure to look out for other extras included in the policy. For instance, other items which your home insurance covers such as drainage, pipes and electrical faults. Overlapping covers may cost you more.

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Tips for Buying a Cheap Second Hand Car

Written by Karen Bryan

The newest cars on the market are often unattainable for most, making second-hand cars the preferred choice for many people wanting to get behind the wheel. Buying a new set of wheels can prove somewhat daunting, though, with a large number of us not having a clue what to look for.

Whether purchasing a second-hand car through a dealership or a private seller, there are several key points to take into consideration before parting with your hard earned cash.

1. Consider all the costs

When buying a car, many people fail to consider all the initial and ongoing costs necessary to maintain the vehicle. Being a motorist certainly does not come cheap, and beyond the initial payment, which can be made outright or through one of the many UK car finance brokers, there are a plethora of other continuing costs involved. Fuel, insurance, tax, MOT, parking permits and vehicle maintenance all must be taken into consideration when budgeting for a car.

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Review of Acer CB515-1HT 15 Inch Chromebook

Written by Karen Bryan

In October 2017, started thinking about replacing my then six year old Samsung R519 laptop. However, I never got around to doing it. Partly because I was unsure of what I should buy as a replacement and partly because the Samsung could do everything required.

But recently the Samsung laptop had become so slow, that I needed a replacement.

It was the same old confusion as in October 2017 in trying to decide on a replacement device.

I’ve had an Acer Asprie CB5-311 chromebook with a 13 inch screen as my back up and travel laptop for three and a half years. As I’ve been very happy with it, I was tempted to buy a chromebook with a larger screen as my main laptop. While a 13 inch screen is a good compromise for travel in that it’s fairly portable and compact, I like to have a 15 inch screen on my main machine.

Chromebook do have limitations, but as I mainly use browser based applications, they haven’t affected me much. The main issue has not being able to print from my Chromebook, as my WiFi printer is not Google Could Print ready. But I can print from my mobile phone using the Printer 2 Go app.

I decided to take the plunge and purchase an Acer CB515-1HT-P099, which has a full HD 15.6 inch touchscreen. It cost £399 from John Lewis, who included a two year guarantee as standard on electrical and electronic goods.

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5 Reasons to Find A Good Bank Before Traveling

Written by Karen Bryan

It’s no secret that I love to travel. With the world being such a big place, I can’t wait to get out there and explore everything that mother nature and the world has to offer. I like to be the type of “get up and go” type of person. That means that basically, I like to wake up, get up and hit the road to whatever destination I want.

What that also means is that I need to have everything secured and in place when it comes to my finances way ahead of time. I can’t take the chance of being somewhere when traveling and being stranded with access to my money. It just wouldn’t work, at all.

If you’ve been bitten by the traveling bug and are looking for adventure, make certain that you have your money with a good bank! Here are 5 reasons to find a good bank before traveling.

5 Reasons to Find A Good Bank Before Traveling

1.You may not have access to a bank where you are going

Depending on where you want to travel, you may not be able to walk into the lobby of a bank when you need or want money. You need to plan ahead! Connecting with LetMeBank before you start your travels is a great way to ensure that you can find a bank or credit union that you trust.

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How Can Landlords Increase Tenancy Rates with the Help of an Online E-Commerce Portal?

Written by Karen Bryan

Many individuals have been concerned with the state of the UK housing market. With cities such a London feeling a growing amount of economic pressure and due to the fact the Brexit is associated with its own share of unknown variables, many landlords are looking to attract as many possible tenants as possible in order to supersede any volatility that might be looming just over the horizon. This is also why a growing number of professional letting agencies are taking to the online community so that they can leverage the power of exposure. What steps might landlords be able to take with the help of e-commerce platforms and why might such methods prove to represent invaluable assets during 2019? Let us first begin by looking at the basic principles behind a free web store before moving on to examine some of the best e-commerce solutions at the moment.

 

More Than Retail Sales Alone

Most individuals will immediately attribute online retail portals with product sales and marketing campaigns. While this is indeed true, what exactly defines a “product” in this day and age? We need to consider the concept of a product with a much broader terminology. In this sense, it signifies any tangible good or service that is offered by one individual to another for a specific price. The real estate is certainly no different. As opposed to selling a physical retail item, we are instead referring to the ability to post letting opportunities to the general public.
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Review of TVPlayer.com

Written by Karen Bryan

I decided that I’d like to watch the Australian Open tennis tournament this year. I knew that I’d have to spend some money in order to see this grand slam.

Initially, Eurosport Player looked like the best option. However, after some research, I discovered that I wouldn’t be able to watch Eurosport on my Chromebook, as you need to download the app to watch online. I downloaded the Eurosport Player app to my mobile phone, But the screen is too small for watching tennis. There wasn’t a Eurosport Player app downloaded to our TV. As I knew I would be out of the office and spending a couple of nights away from home, I needed to be able to watch the Australian Open on my Chromebook.

Next, I looked at TV Player, which included both Eurosport channels in its premium subscription, costing £7 a month. This appeared to be a better option. The TV Player app was already installed on our TV. Plus. As it’s browser based when watching online, I would be able to watch on the Chromebook.

I signed up to TV Player for a month. Of course, one of the issues with watching the Australian Open in the UK, is the time difference. Many of the matches are played during the night. I thought that I could partly get around that by using the 10 hour online recording available with the premium subscription. If you wanted to upgrade to %o hours recording space, you had to pay an additional £3 per month. I don’t think that 10 hours is a high enough allowance.

However, that wasn’t the main problem. The majority of my scheduled recordings failed, I have no idea why.

In the end, the one month TV Player subscription was a mixed bag. I did see some matches on on a mix of TV, laptop and phone, either live in the morning, or replays on later that day, which I enjoyed. But it was very frustrating not being able to record matcha played during the night. I didn’t find a way to select which match I wanted to watch, which I think is possible on Eurosport Player.

Putting it into perspective, at £7 (the price of a cheap lunch), the one month TV Player subscription was good value for money.

Cheap Fine Dining at Your Local College

Written by Karen Bryan

I’d been intending to try out the Gallery Restaurant at the Stirling Campus of Forth Valley College. The purpose of the college restaurant is to provide real life training for hospitality students.

You need to book a table at the Gallery Restaurant, either by phone or by completing an online booking request. During term time the restaurant serves lunch Mondays to Fridays from 12.00 to 13.30 and dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 17.00 to 18.30. Lunch costs £7.50 for two courses, £10 for three courses. Dinner costs £10 for two courses, £12.50 for three courses. I booked a table for lunch.

The restaurant has lovely views over the River Forth towards the Ochil Hills and the Wallace Monument.

My Cheese Souffle starter was delicious..

My main course was Pork Lion, served with Mashed Potato and Veg. The meat was tender and lean.

I had the Banana Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert, which was served with Ice Cream. It was quite nice and light compared to some bread and butter puddings.

I will be returning to the Gallery Restaurant at the Forth Valley College Stirling Campus. The food was really tasty and great value for money.

Why don’t you check out if your local college has a restaurant offering fine dining at low prices?