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Benefits of a Smart Home with Certas Energy*

This post was written in collaboration with Certas Energy.

It’s hard to look after a home. Whether it’s one you own yourself, one you share with friends or family, or one you rent. It’s always hard. I’ve rented my fair share of old homes and had to learn how to take care of these as quick as possible.
Working with Certas Energy, I’m here to share how I’ve worked on some issues in my home, as well as share some tips from Certas Energy and an infographic about smart devices that could change the way you #FixYourOwnHome
CERTAS ENERGY Content: Smart homes are on the rise with talks of making homes more efficient, this means saving time and energy around the house. Have you got any smart appliances around your home or would you be planning on installing any smart devices soon? What were your reasons for doing so and have you seen all the smart devices as listed on the infographic? Ideally we would like you to mention that the infographic was created by Certas Energy.
I’ve lived in cold homes, old homes, new homes, warm homes. And everything between. Mould is something that I, sadly, have so much experience with. I lived in a very old, very cheap, houseshare when i first moved to London. My bedroom was coated in mould. I had to invest in every dehumidifying thing possible, not ideal, but it worked. Oh, and I had to consistently scrub the wall above my bed to ensure the mould never came back. Awful, but easy, cheap ways to remove it.
Some smart heating devices would have helped me out a great deal! In terms of heating, in this same home, our boiler and its pipes were old as all hell. It barely worked. We had to tactically shower in tandem to utilise it being able to heat water. We could have used smart boilers, smart thermostats, everything. We needed an upgrade, but instead what we did was consistently bleed every radiator we could, and invest in tiny little heaters to keep us going whilst we sorted the larger problem. Though, we lived in a bizarre house, all but one wall of my room were outside walls, making it a hard one to heat! My parents have a nice smart heater, controlled by a little remote and I believe your phone too, making me very jealous.
I’m a little safety conscious, and really want a smart lock and smart doorbell to give me full control over what’s going on outside of my home! Plus you can get those great notifications when cats turn up at your door, that’s my dream.
Check out the graphic above to learn a lot of energy-saving tips, as well as unexpected ways you can utilise smart devices to ensure you save money. Sure, these things can be a bit of an investment to begin with, but you can’t put a price on energy efficiency! Well, you actually can, but helping the planet out is pretty damn important too.
Thank you Certas Energy for collaborating on this post, and for educating so many on the benefits of smart devices in our homes.
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How well do rail lines conduct themselves?*

This post was written in collaboration with CALLCARE.
CALLCARE recognise that there can be nothing worse than bad communication and poor products, when it comes to customer service. We’ve all had issues with contacting a company’s customer service and it seeming like an impossible task. Like a phone line that is only open during the hours you work, or such a long response period that your issue becomes nullified in the end.
When it comes to train and tram travel, delays and faults are unavoidable.We all get on with this, and sometimes companies can be able to help out customers affected. Looking at the EU for the legislation getting me a damn lot of compensation when I was stuck in Vilnius Airport for a stupid amount of time a few years ago. When it comes to travel upsets, we all need a speedy response from customer services. There’s a lot on the line, whether you miss your train or make it, whether you end up stuck in a station for hours but are on the bounce.
CALLCARE wanted to find out how long it took customer service accounts in the UK for train and tram companies to respond to tweets from customers.  By looking at their Twitter feeds, they found an average of how long each company took to respond. There were definitely some surprising stats due to the fast paced nature of the industry. Check out the full #RailResponse research here and check the infographic below.
I get the train everyday for work in Liverpool, and I’m reliant on TFL a lot when I’m in London so I have a boatload of customer service stories.
When it comes to London Northwestern, who aren’t listed due to not having an active Twitter account, my woes are going unheard about trains going from being on time in the morning to suddenly being 25 minutes late.
Virgin Trains are always super responsive, whether I’m living up North or in London, they’re one I’ve had to rely on. That changes soon, as they’re losing the line for their lack of a decent pension plan for their staff. However, their customer service response rates are high, with a 4 minute average response time, and quick assistance to me in the times I’ve had my seat double booked, needed tickets changing last minute, or had issues like my ticket being locked on a different phone sat in a drawer 200 miles away. That was a bad one. However, their lack of respect to their own staff has caused them to lose some of the most profitable train lines in the UK and may cause their collapse.
Merseyrail, one local to Liverpool, respond in a nice 7.2 minutes, way ahead of the average at 15 mins. I’ve never had a real issue with Merseyrail, I used to rely on it everyday when I volunteered in the arse end of the city as a student. However, I did get shouted at for having my feet on the seats once. My fault, I guess.
TFL and London Overground are backing up the pack, with pretty slow response times. Though, these people are dealing with likely a larger amount of tweets than anyone else due to how many people use the Underground and Overground, as well as a lack of station staff available due to budget cuts. However, every interaction I’ve had with TFL staff, as well as DLR staff, as this was my local line, has been amazing and something I can’t really fault!
What experiences with train and tram lines have you had?
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How much are men willing to spend on clothes?*

This article was created in collaboration in collaboration with Chums.
How much do you spend on clothes? How much are clothes worth to you?
Recently, Chums ran a survey across 10 major UK cities to find out who would spend the most on clothes, as well as how much each city was willing to spend on each item of clothing. You can check out the full research here, and an infographic below.
In collaboration with Chums, I’m going to be walking through my spending habits.
I’m Liverpool born and raised (discounting living in London for a bit and spending a lot of time there), so we’re gonna focus on the spending habits there.
Turns out, us in Liverpool are likely to spend a massive £40 less in total on a selection of items () than the first place city, Birmingham.
T-Shirt – £19
In Liverpool, we’re willing to spend £19 on a T-shirt. Judging off the last T-shirt I bought, which was a Uniqlo plain green tee at £9.99, it looks like my spending habits are lower! Although, I always end up paying more for terrible quality band T-shirts, and spending less on higher-quality shirts that don’t have some indie band slapped on. Not sure how good I feel about that. Though that’s more of an issue with venues taking huge chunks from a band’s merch sales at a gig, rather than an issue with the bands themselves. The music industry is vicious and has driven the prices of merch way high for us consumers, and the margin the artists see is minimal.
Jumper – £19
The most I’ve spent on a sweatshirt was £30 and I *still* feel some type of way about that (it was band merch lol). I’d say in general, I spend about £20 on a jumper. I can tell I’m getting older and a bit more aware about spending ethically, as I’ve become more eager to spend a little bit more on a longer-lasting, better quality jumper than a £6 Primark one that will fall apart in two washes.
Jeans – £39
This is almost bang on for me. I spend most of my life in black skinny jeans, so I have been through the market looking for the best affordable pair. I *think* River Island sells the best ones, for about £33. The pairs I’ve had have lasted through many, many wears, especially since they’re essentially my chosen uniform for work, so I can’t recommend them enough.
Trainers – £59
For me, this varies massively. I love a good pair of Vans or Converse, coming in about £50 a pair. Though the last shoes I bought were from Pull & Bear for a cool £6, so who knows what my real spending limit is. The most I can recall having spent on trainers was £60 on a pair of Nike Cortez’s a few years back that are still going strong, despite being a little bit battered. I’ve seen people in Liverpool drop way more than £59 on trainers, so I’m gonna assume this is an average as I have an inkling this city loves trainers that cost a *tad* more.
Occasion Shoes – £39
I hate shoes that aren’t trainers. If they aren’t comfy, I don’t want them. I’ll spend about £35 on these, as I need a pair that look good and feel damn good too.
Work Shoes – £39
Work shoes for me are trainers, a dream come true tbh, so I’m gonna class my spending habits as £28, a nice in between of £6 and £50.
Underwear – £19
If this is £19 a pair, I need to get my life together. I love a multipack and a deal, I am in no way spending £19 a pair, though I was gifted an amazing pair of BN3TH boxers a while back, they’re incredible and retail about £15, so I’ll go off that. That’s my aspiration.
Bag – £49
I treated myself for the last bag I bought, £45 on a Herschel bag from TK Maxx. I get an awful lot of buyer’s remorse and I’m a bit stingy on accessories and things, but dropping £45 on a high-quality backpack has been a gamechanger for me. I’m obsessed with it and would 100% drop that cash all over again.
Jewellery – £19
All I wear is a watch, and that watch is a standard Casio that cost me the grand total of £12. Love it. Not the most fancy, but it does the job.
My total comes to £226 as opposed to £301, the average for Liverpool. I’m putting this down to the fact my money tends to go elsewhere, I love to travel and put all of my cash into that. And as much as I love trainers, I save them to wishlist instead of buying them, one day eh?
Thanks to Chums for working with me on this post, and for getting me to review my buying habits. See how your’s stack up too!
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Cusco and Ollantaytambo- Pre-Trek Cities of Peru

Depending on how you choose to travel around Peru, you may find yourself at cities all over the country, ones you never expected to visit. You have Cusco and Lima, often staples of all Peru trips (although, Lima isn’t necessary in my opinion), but you also have Aguas Caliente, where many begin treks from, Arequipa, one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and Chivay, nestled away deep in the Andes.

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The World’s Deepest Canyon- Colca is a Must Visit

Welcome to the Colca Valley! Located deep in the Andes, 100 miles northwest of Arequipa is Peru’s third biggest tourist attraction and the biggest canyon in the world. Many choose to head to Colca for a 3-day long hike, others, such as myself, visit the canyon for just a day. And it’s a must see. Colca is for sure one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Colca Plains

Chances are, no matter the tour you’re on, you’ll be visiting the plains between Arequipa and Colca prior to getting to the Canyon itself. And they’re bloody lush. Take your time to stop at designated viewpoints and enjoy the sight of the pre-Incan stepped terraces (andenes) cared for by the Collagua and Cabana culture.

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