Blackberry Frozen Yoghurt recipe

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Last Autumn I made loads of and loads of blackberry jam from frozen blackberries I picked at the end of the summer.

I still had a random amount of leftover blackberries that I've been steadily using up in pies and crumbles throughout the winter. Now that it's getting warmer though I don't really fancy heavy, stodgy puddings and want something lighter and fresher. 

So I've been trying to think of something to make that would use up the rest of the frozen blackberries and clear some much needed space in my freezer. 

Blackberry frozen yoghurt seemed like the perfect solution. Not too much making involved and relatively kind on the waistline. 

I've never made something like this before and all the recipes seemed to need an ice cream maker (which I don't have).

I eventually found this recipe but I didn't like the idea of whole pieces of fruit and lots of seeds in the mixture. So I've adapted it to suit myself and what I happened to have to hand.I think the result turned out brilliantly!


350g blackberries (can be fresh or frozen)
100g caster sugar
300g full fat greek yoghurt
100ml semi skimmed milk 
50g runny honey


1. If you are using frozen blackberries remove them from the freezer to defrost for an hour or two.

2. Once defrosted mix with the caster sugar and leave for about 20-30 min to macerate. 

3. When the fruit has begun to break down mash up with a fork to release the juices.

4. Combine the milk, honey and yoghurt and mix gently with a whisk to remove any lumps.

5. Pour the sugar and berry mixture into a sieve suspended over the yoghurt mixture. Use the back of a spoon to press as much juice as you can from the fruit. 

6. Combine the fruit juice and the yoghurt mixture using the whisk and discard the blackberry pulp.Taste the mixture and add a little more honey if it is too tart for you.

7. Pour into a freezable container and place in the freezer.

8. After two hours remove from the freezer and stir. Return to the freezer and leave overnight. 

9. Remove from the freezer ten minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly. 

10. Serve in waffle ice cream cones with a little extra drizzle of honey. 

This is honestly one of the easiest things I've ever made and it tastes amazingly fresh and light. 

How to stay motivated when you're saving for a house deposit

Sunday, 29 April 2018

There is no getting around the fact that buying a house and saving the money you need for a deposit is hard work. It can take a long time and requires a lot of discipline. So here are my tips to help keep you motivated during the long hard slog of money saving.

1. Make yourself a progress chart. You know like the ones people make when they’re raising money for charity. Each month when you get paid and you’ve transferred money to your savings, colour in another square. It can really help to actually watch yourself get closer and closer to your target. Make it pretty, make it colourful and it keep it somewhere obvious so that you can use it to motivate yourself. I’m an extremely visual person and I needed constant reminding that my hard work was paying off. When it’s just numbers in a savings account it can hard to realise that you’re steadily making any progress at all when actually each month you chip away at your total a bit more.

2. Reward yourself every time you hit a milestone. Reached 20% of your target? Go to the cinema! Reached 25%? Time for a nice dinner to celebrate! Being strict with yourself when you’re saving is really hard and requires a lot of self control. It’s far easier to stop yourself splurging if you reward your hard work with a treat. In the mean time you can plan and look forward to your next treat ready for when you hit your next goal. The one thing I found really hard to cut back on was going out for dinner so by using this to reward myself it meant I always had something fun coming up.

3. It always helps to keep the end goal in mind. Fancy a cheeky ASOS order? Work out how much it will set you back in your savings goal and then decide if it’s worth it. By actually doing the maths and factoring in how your impulse splurges will affect your overall goal it becomes easier to remind yourself it's just a top that you don't really need. Keep in mind that fashion comes and goes but you will be glad everyday when you come home to your house that you put in the hard work instead of buying an outfit you wore three times.
4. When we were in the last final struggle of buying our house my Nan went and bought us lots of little useful things ready for when we got the keys. I remember holding the rolling pin she bought me and having a really strong image of myself stood at the kitchen counter, in a house that was now mine, rolling out pastry. There was a huge amount of pride and contentment wrapped up in the little flash of the future I had dreamt up. It represented us triumphing and finally getting what we had worked so hard for and a glimpse of what it would be like to be living our own grown up life together. The emotion that it conjured up was so strong I felt like crying every time I thought about it for weeks after. I know it sounds silly but I focused on that strength of feeling when it seemed like it would all fall through and I just wanted to give up. Psychologists call this visualisation and it can really help with working towards your goals. Picture yourself being handed the keys to your own house that you bought with your own hard work.

5. It can always help if you can talk to other people going through the same thing. It can be harder to stay disciplined when you’re watching all of your friends blow their money on exciting nights out and holidays and you’re sat at home being boring. Not only can you feel cut off and isolated but you’re friends will probably find it hard to understand why it’s so important to you to save for your deposit. Reach out to other people going through the same thing (either in real life or online) so that you can chat to people who are struggling with the same things you are. When I was saving to buy a house a lot of my friends were either still in education, unemployed or were of the opinion that it was impossible for anyone our age to buy their own house. I desperately wanted to find my own tribe of people who wanted to try and do it by themselves and sadly I couldn't find any so I just got through it on my own. Since buying our house I have discovered lots of other people online who are also buying their own house who I wish I had found months ago, so reach out!

6. Spend more time with close friends and family who can offer support and help to boost your morale. There will be times when you are feeling low about saving so much money and it can feel like an impossible task. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and can lift your spirits.

7. Try to build in regular fun things on the cheap and plan your budget accordingly. It’s important to strike the balance between planning ahead for the future while also living for the here and now. Fun things don’t always have to mean expensive and saving for a deposit does not mean you have to live in purgatory. In fact dreaming up ways of enjoying yourself on a budget can be a fun task in itself and by being more creative it can help you discover new and exciting things.

8. It can take a long time to save for a deposit and I felt impossibly restless during the time. I was aware of months passing me by and I felt no closer to achieving my dream (despite inching a little closer each month but it’s hard to have that level of perspective when you’re living through it). In order to try and use the time productively I researched every aspect of buying a house I could think of. I learnt a huge amount about the legal processes because I decided knowledge was power.  I wanted to know and understand what the professionals were telling me rather than just blindly trusting their opinion because not everyone is great at their job! It also felt like something useful to do in the meantime while we were saving and it certainly came in useful when we actually came to buy our house. The fact I was prepared to call people out when they were wrong was one of the reasons that we ultimately ended up successfully buying our house. Turned out to have been time well spent in the end.So if you're feeling like you're not getting anywhere use the time to become an expert in house buying, it will definitely be time well spent. 

First time buyer blog post series

1. We bought our first house
2. Our house buying story
3. The guide to saving for a house deposit

My top picks from Clinique

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Like many people, Clinique was my first foray into 'higher end' make up and skincare. It all started when I was in Boots just wandering around aimlessly and I was approached by one of the women who worked on their counter, asking if I would like a makeover.

Normally I just politely said no when asked, but I had nothing better to do and I had always been curious about the counters of expensive things. So off I went and had my skincare and make up done. I left with some trial size products and a new interest in make up and skincare.

Over the years I've tried a lot of the products in their range. Some I didn't get on with, some have ingredients that I never use on my skin (SLS and mineral oil) but others have remained firm favourites.

Clinique have always been a brand that is better known for their skincare than their make up and I personally think while there are hits and misses in both, there are definitely some stand out products.

1. Take the day off balm - £24.00

The one you now hear every beauty blogger talk about. I have been using this for years and I have only just finished my first tub. I don't use it exclusively and switch it up with other products but I know I can rely on this to remove the most hardcore of waterproof make up.

It's extremely gentle on the eyes and leaves skin beautifully soft without stripping it. A little goes a long way, so it lasts a long time.

Basically if you can only buy one thing from Clinique, make it this. You need this in your life!

Another staple and I have gone through multiple pots of this. I've never met anyone who doesn't get on with this product.

The reason I love it is it's an oil free gel type mosituriser which is suitable for all skin types. Gel type formulas are my favourite for my combination skin as they keep it hydrated without making it greasy.

3. Lip pop lipsticks - £17.00

These got loads of hype when they first came out and I think they're still some of my favoutite lipsticks of all time. I have 7 of these but my most worn colours are Cherry Pop, Plum Pop and Sugar Pop.

You only need one application for maximum pigmentation and they stay put for a surprisingly long time, with minimal touch ups needed.

There's a huge range of colours so there's something for everyone.At £17 they're not exactly cheap but I think these compare to far more expensive lipsticks (Chanel, NARS, Charlotte Tilbury etc).

4. Colour pop blush - £17.00

These have to be some of the prettiest blushes available. Who doesn't love their adorable little flower design? But more importantly they're actually really good.

These apply really smoothly and give a soft, natural glow. I have the shade Heather Pop and it's a really pretty pink that blends beautifully.

5. Chubby sticks intense - £18.50

I like the original chubby sticks, but personally find them a little underwhelming and overpriced for essentially a tinted lip balm.

The intense versions though are far more unique. These are lipsticks in a twist up crayon and the pigmentation and staying power is remarkable. These are so perfect for popping in your handbag as they can be applied in an instant.

Curviest Caramel is easily my most worn lip product ever but the whole range of colours is lovely and there is definitely a colour in the range that you would like.

6. Fresh bloom blush - £26.00

One of my very fist Clinique purchases that I never once seen anyone else talk about.

The peony pattern on this blush is stunning. Can there be anything more classically beauty blogger than pretty make up combined with peonies?

More importantly this blush is actually really good. It does have a slight shimmer and very subtle shimmer which personally I like. But it blends nicely and is easy to apply. 

Do you have any favourites from Clinique? Let me know as I'm always looking for new things to try. 

Snow day

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Today the Beast from the East returns! Jared has been telling me all week that it was going to snow this weekend. I was listening but I was just like 'yeah that's nice, it's not really going to snow again'. 

Even when it started snowing yesterday and we had a small dusting I didn't think we were going to get anymore than that. So when I woke up this morning to a good couple of inches of snow I was pretty surprised!

When it snowed a few weeks ago, it was so cold and the wind so strong that it was a battle just to walk up to my parents house (through waist high drifts), look after the horses and wade back through the drifts home again. I didn't have the energy for enjoying the snow other than a brief snowball fight. 

So today we have actually had fun with it. I've been up to my parents house and we have done something we haven't done since we were kids. We went what we like to call Bonneting. Sounds mad? That's cos it is. 

We have the bonnet off of one of our old cars that we hitch up with a long piece of rope to whatever vehicle we have capable of towing it, take it out into the field and it makes an excellent sled. 

Then you basically go donuting in the 4x4 and swing the bonnet at high speed. It sounds crazy but its incredibly fun. The more you do it, the more you flatten the snow like an ice rink and the faster you go. 

So that's what we like to do when it snows, regular sledding is too dull. Gotta make the most of that farm life ;)

When we finally came back inside to warm up my sister made us hot chocolate (have I mentioned her hot chocolate is the stuff of legend?) and cookies to warm up with. Mmmmmnnn.

Now I plan to spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing while I get over the illness that has bugged me for the past few days ready to start the rest of the week. 

Hope you're also enjoying the snow! 

Thanks to my Mum and Tiggy for the pictures :)

Preparing for your Independent Mapping Project

Sunday, 4 March 2018

If you're an undergrad Geology student, chances are you've been hearing people banging on about your Independent Mapping Project from the moment you downloaded the course prospectus.

Now that you're in the last semester of your second year and you're finally staring it in the face, it's time to start preparing for what will undoubtedly be one of the toughest challenges you've ever faced.

Don't listen to students in the year above you who tell you how awesome it was and all of their clutch-your-sides-from-laughing stories. They're lying to you. The same way women who've had children tell first time mums that you forget all the pain once you hold your baby for the first time. That's a tactful way of saying that labour and birth really does hurt like a motherfucker, it's just worth it in the end.

Same with mapping. It is HARD (although probably not quite as hard as childbirth but you get my point). But you too will survive it and become one of those asshole third years who regale innocent second years with hilarious stories and conveniently miss out how the daily grind can wear you down.

So here are my tips to make sure you're well prepared!

1. Start your prep early

By that I mean do not leave it until you only have a few weeks to go to start making arrangements. Ideally you need to start 6 months before you leave.

Probably one of the few days where it wasn't raining :D

2. Consider your choice of mapping partner carefully

In my opinion this can be the most critical decision you make. You will spend eight hours a day with them for 6 weeks. Just the two of you alone. Chances are you will probably be living with them too and you are quite likely to be sharing a room together too. My mapping partner and I even had to share a double bed for 6 weeks. Plus we had four fabulous days cooped up in a car together traveling to Scotland and back. Luckily we managed it all without a cross word.

How did we do this? We mapped together before and we were good friends. We approached our mapping as a partnership and we were a team. The project itself might be 'independent' but you and your mapping partner MUST be on board. You have to make lots of little decisions together daily.

Where are we going today? Whats our plan? What are we trying to achieve? Try and pick someone with a similar level of physical ability to yourself. My mapping partner was fitter than I was and I had to push myself to keep up with her pace but overall we were reasonably equally matched. Especially by the end of the trip. If you have different attitudes about wanting to scramble up vertical cliff faces to reach an interesting outcrop or climb an actual mountain daily then you might be in for a conflict filled 6 weeks.

Plus you will need to take days off. Nobody can map for 30 days straight without going insane. So you need to be able to have a laugh together when you're not working.

My top tips? Pick someone who is a good friend, understands you, has a similar work ethic and fitness level and try to map together beforehand as a practice run.

Better to find out halfway through a week long field trip they're driving you nuts than when you're on day 10 in the pissing rain and you're contemplating pushing them in a river.

Our holiday cottage that we rented, complete with hot tub ;)

3. Book your accommodation asap

As soon as you know where you are going and how many of you are going, book your accommodation STRAIGHT AWAY. Chances are you will be mapping during the summer holidays, which is peak tourist season for just about everywhere you could possibly go.

As a result, accommodation gets booked up fast. Especially when you want to book it out for 6 weeks at a time.

Try and negotiate a lower price as you will be staying for a lengthy period as high summer tends to command peak prices. If you are mapping somewhere popular like I did (the Isle of Skye has been the training ground for generations of geologists), then you may find that lots of cottage owners are very used to geology students.

The owners of the cottage we stayed in rent to geologists for the majority of the summer. As soon as one group leaves, the next one arrives. One of the best places for a recommendation is to ask the students who went the year before you and see if they can put you in touch with someone.

You will be stuck behind a campervan 98% of the time

4. Make your travel arrangements

Think seriously about how you are going to get to your mapping area. And I don't just mean from where you go to uni to whatever far flung location the uni have chosen for you to map in, but also how you will get from your accommodation to your mapping area.  

For some groups from my uni this was simple as everything was walking distance. Not so for us. My mapping partner and I had a 45 min commute each way along terrifying single track, sheep filled highland roads. A car was 100% essential for us in Skye. Taking a car can have it's pros and cons. It cost us an absolute fortune in fuel, but it became our safe haven. Sitting in it shivering with the heating on full blast and watching the rain lash down is one of my fondest memories of Skye.

So think about your travel arrangements and get planning them as soon as you know where you are staying.

5. Create and print your field slips well in advance

If your uni wants you to do this yourself then do it well ahead of time. Do not leave it to two days before departure like I did. It took me a whole day to make them and it was incredibly stressful.

Get ahead of the game and do this when you have lots of time to tackle it calmly. The finished result will be better too.

6. Make copies

Print off at least one spare copy of your field slips and leave them at your accommodation. If a gust of wind happens to catch your field slip and send it off somewhere irretrievable you will be incredibly grateful you had the foresight to make a spare.

Everyone's boots drying by the fire. My Brashers on the right stuffed with newspaper and away from the heat because I was stupid enough to put my foot in a bog that day

7. Seriously consider some new walking boots

My lecturer said she would recommend we all bought a pair of full grain leather boots to take to Skye with us and to avoid anything with Goretex as they don't keep your feet dry for long.

I listened to her and splashed out on a new pair of Brasher full leather walking boots as my current pair at the time were a pair of Regatta ones I fished out of a bargain bin at an outdoor discount store and paid £5.99 for. They had lasted me well but were starting to fall apart and they were made of goretex.

This was the best piece of advice I ever listened to. Unless I actually submerged my foot in a bog (which I did do several times) my feet were dry throughout the trip. I still have the boots and they're still fantastic. Everyone else on the trip had very good quality boots but they weren't full leather and they all had wet feet at the end of each day. Quite a few peoples boots were ruined by the end of it and they ended up replacing them anyway.  

If you are going mapping anywhere in the UK I suggest you do the same. You will be forever grateful. The few days I did have wet feet were utterly miserable and this is avoidable (as long as you watch where you are putting your feet). Make sure they are thoroughly worn in before you go.

Although Brasher don't seem to still sell the pair I have these ones looks quite similar. 

People aren't exaggerating when they say the midges can be really bad in Skye

8.  Purchase any additional kit you need

What you need exactly will be specific to where you are going but if you are mapping in Skye get yourself a decent midge hat, midge repellent, good quality waterproof trousers and a proper coat. A weather writer is an absolute must if you don't already have one.

If you are going somewhere hot you will obviously need different kit. Chat to your lecturer who is running the trip and the students who went the year before. They will tell you what will be helpful.

9. Check your existing kit

Check you have it all, it still works and replace anything if needed. Make sure you have enough notebooks.

If you are mapping in the UK you must be prepared for all weathers. We had a three day heatwave (that lasted three weeks back home) and we both got completely sun burnt as we were caught off guard. 

Pack sun cream, even if you're going to the Hebrides. You just don't know what the weather will do!

10. Check if there is a BGS map available

Or the local equivalent if you are off abroad. The BGS maps aren't done in the same scale but they are a valuable resource that can be used.

Bear in mind that they are also just someone's interpretation and may not be completely accurate...

11. Photo copy and laminate useful reference material

If there is some useful info you think might help you in the field (log keys, relevant section of the BGS map, rock descriptions etc) then photocopy them and laminate them. Keep them in the back of your weather writer.

They can be extremely useful in the field when you just want to check something for reference as chances are you won't have any phone reception.

12. Order any prescriptions you need well in advance

It's no good running out while you're out there. You could be mapping somewhere extremely rural or even in a different country, which could make getting your medication extremely difficult. Try to make sure you have enough to last you.

Ladies, if you are taking a contraceptive pill I would recommend taking it back to back while you map to avoid the hassle and aggravation of being on your period. Chances are there is nowhere to even have a wee in comfort let alone change a tampon. It is completely fine to take more than one strip back to back too. Ask your doctor if you're not sure.

13. Try to do some reading around the subject

Find some books and reference material to read before you go. If you find anything useful print it off and take it with you. 

14. Chat to the students in the year above

They will be your greatest resource for help. This is particularly true once you get back and you're struggling to interpret your results.

They've been there and done it before so don't be afraid to ask them for advice. Just take all anecdotes with a pinch of salt, as 30 days of staring at rocks is enough to make anyone a little bit loopy.

The guide to saving for a house deposit

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Housing is currently the hot topic on everyone lips. The Autumn Budget 2017 was pretty focused on it and you only have to step onto twitter to see young people talk about it quite a lot.

Mostly they’re tweeting sarcastic remarks about how they can’t afford a house because apparently they spend too much on avocado on toast, rather than because house prices are out of proportion with wages.

The problems facing our housing market our numerous and complex and this post isn’t really the place to get into it. But I do think there is more to the avocado on toast argument than many young people may think.

Sadly it isn’t as simple as just give up avocado on toast for the rest of your life and you’ll magically have enough money for a house (perhaps you don't even like avocado). To take that from the article is a gross oversimplification.

It’s more about giving up the avocado on toast lifestyle.

Plenty of people will now immediately close my blog and shake their head about ‘baby boomers who don’t understand anything’. Except I’m no boomer, I’m a fellow millennial. But crucially I’m a home owning millennial without the bank of Mum and Dad.  

There is no magical secret to how I managed it. The harsh truth is that if you want to save enough money for a house in this current day and age you have to give up the ‘have it all lifestyle’. 

You know the one I mean. 

The brunch at a fancy cafĂ© on a Sunday, cocktails on a Thursday night, jetting off on holiday to exotic places, drinking Starbucks on the regular and the constant ‘treat yo’self’ mentality.

We just love to make other people think we spend all of our days casually brunching with friends, buying designer items and always going off on our newest long haul adventure. 

In reality most of us are working the day job and living this life in our spare time and by the time pay day rolls round we’ve convinced ourselves that we deserve a treat just for getting through the week.

If we’re honest a lot of the time, we live this life to look cool for the ‘gram and the rest of the time I think we do it because we think that’s what we *should* be spending our money on.

I recently saw a tweet where someone was saying how happy they were to have reached their saving goal to buy a MacBook Air in three months. I couldn’t believe how many replies the tweet had. Barely a single tweet was congratulating them on their achievement, but instead demanding to know just how did they do it?

If we take it right back to basics there are pretty much four ways to get more money:
  • Steal it
  • Earn it
  • Invest it
  • Get given it
Stealing it is hardly an option, if you were able to ask someone to give it to you then you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post, you probably aren't working with a timescale long enough to think about investing it and like most young people you’re probably struggling to earn more money than you already get.

So if the above is true then we all know the answer is simple really. 

In order to save more money you have to spend less than you earn.

This was exactly the answer the person gave to everyone demanding to know where she magically got the money for a new MacBook Air from. It didn’t just appear in her bank account, she spent less than she earned and saved the rest.

But we don’t like to hear that you have to spend less than you earn. 

Why? Because it’s hard. 

Instead, we like to convince ourselves that there is some magical formula or skill that you have to have in order to save money and for a lot of people it seems to become their excuse as to why they don’t save any money. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware of the issues surrounding stagnant wages and the increasing cost of living. It definitely effects me too. For a lot of us most of our salary just goes on keeping a roof over our head and the bills paid. But I don't think that means you should give up if you really want to own your own home because it can be done if you make it your single minded goal.

In many ways, saving money is rather like losing weight. In order to shed some pounds you have to burn off more calories than you eat. There is no magical diet or exercise regime that can work around this irrefutable fact of physics. 

But that doesn’t stop a multi billion pound industry trying to convince you otherwise. Or thousands of people with endless excuses about their metabolism or being built that way. Aside from rare cases of actual medical conditions, for the vast majority of people, if you eat less food than you burn in a day, over time you will lose weight. 

But just like saving money, people want a cheat method to get to the end goal. Sadly one doesn’t yet exist for either example.

This might not be the truth you want to hear but if you really want to own your own house, you have to close your ears to all the noise. 

You have to stop listening to people who complain to you about how easy it was for your Grandparents to buy a house and how things aren’t fair because none of that will help you.

The world doesn’t function on fair, and if you wait for it to be fair you could be waiting forever until you own your own home. Whether we like it or not buying a house is harder than it used to be so you have to learn to save as effectively as you can in the meantime. 

That means making sacrifices. Depending on how you like to spend your money those sacrifices may have to include avocado on toast. 

1. Know how much you need to borrow

This might sound counter productive, but in order to know how much you need to save for a deposit you first need to know how much money you can borrow for a mortgage. A good place to start is by using an online mortgage calculator which will calculate how much you can borrow. 

Or you can call a mortgage broker and ask them to talk you through what you can afford. 

I used London & Country and found them to be exceptionally helpful. The best part is they don’t charge a fee.

By knowing how much you can borrow you can get a better idea of what your overall house buying budget is. It’s no good thinking you can buy a £400,000 house when the most a mortgage lender will let you borrow is £200,000.

     2. Work out how much you need for a deposit

Now you know how much you can borrow, you can work out what you’ll need for a deposit. So for example, if you know you can borrow £180,000 and you want to buy a £200,000 house you’ll need to save the remainder of £20,000.

This is enough for a 10% deposit. The larger the deposit in relation to the amount you want to borrow (called the Loan to Value Ratio or LVR) the better the mortgage deal you can get. So it pays to save as big a deposit as you can.

There are mortgages available for those with a 5% deposit but these will charge more interest than those available for a 10% deposit. 

3. Add in the extras to get to your overall savings goal

When saving to buy a house, it isn’t just about the deposit. There are other additional costs to think about such as solicitors fees, mortgage fees, surveys, removal costs, stamp duty etc.

Thanks to recent changes in stamp duty you probably won't have to pay this now, but it’s worth checking if you need to budget for it, particularly if you live somewhere pricey like London. There are lots of good online calculators.

Do your research on other home moving costs, but to give you a rough idea we paid £1,300 in solicitors fees, £550 for a HomeBuyers report and £350 in mortgage fees.

Add this amount to your deposit money and that should give you your total savings goal.

     4. Work out what you’re prepared to sacrifice

This is where we come back to avocado on toast. What are you prepared to give up in order to save for a house? As we've already established that money needs to come from somewhere. 

You probably wouldn't be reading this if you had lots of disposable income so some aspects of your lifestyle will need to be reduced.

The easy ones are things like the gym membership you never use but what about the things you rightly reckon that you deserve because you work hard?

Can you give up holidays? Nights out? Quit smoking? Takeaways? Eating out? Shopping?

Do you want your own house more than you want the extras in life? Only you know the answer to that. But if you’re serious about buying your first house in the not too distant future then virtually all unnecessary spending has to stop or it will take you a VERY long time to save up.

If we’re being honest we know we waste chunks of our money on the little things. Magazines, picking up a chocolate bar when we pay for our fuel, buying sandwiches because we’re too lazy to make them.

This article has got lots of excellent advice about the small things we pretty much throw money away on and how giving it up can actually help you buy a house. 

Those little things like buying sandwiches at work can work out at thousands of pounds a year, so you may be able to claw back a fair chunk of money without too much sacrifice in some areas.

     5. Cut your living costs if you possibly can

Everyone’s situation is different so it’s almost impossible to write something that will cover everyone. But for most people their living costs take up a large proportion of their income so any saving you can make here means more money to stash away.

The most painless way to do this is to make sure you’re paying as little as possible for all utilities.

But if you can make savings on keeping a roof over your head you’re likely to make more of a difference. Ideas to consider are:

-Moving in with friends or family who are kind enough to let you pay a reduced rate.
-Sharing a flat or house if you currently live alone.
-Depending on your circumstances taking in a lodger.
-Moving in with your partner.
-Relocating to a cheaper area.

I moved back in with my parents and while I still paid them rent, it gave me the extra cash to save each month.

Obviously not everyone has these options open to them but it is worth taking a think about how you could cut back on what is probably your biggest monthly expenditure. 

     6. Look for extra ways to boost your income

The small extras you can make on the side can really add up over time.

Could you work an extra job in your spare time or do some overtime? Perhaps do some odd jobs for friends and family for a little bit of extra cash? Using cashback sites can also help to boost your income.

Selling some of your old stuff on eBay, Facebook, Gumtree or a good old fashioned car boot sale is worth trying too.

None of these are likely to make you rich. But they might give you enough for a few nice things to help keep you going while you save. 

7. Make your savings plan and stick to it

Once you have trimmed all the unnecessary spending and cut as many costs as you can you will be able to work out how much you can afford to save per month.

Whatever that figure is, you must start to see that savings goal as being non negotiable. You wouldn't accidentally spend your rent money on non essentials and your savings need to become just another outgoing in your mind.

Set up a standing order to transfer the money as soon as you get paid. This is absolutely essential. It's no use trying to be good all month and then saving whatever is left. You will just spend it (trust me, I've tried, it doesn't work).

It is also a good idea to transfer the money to an account that you can't see every time you do your regular banking. Obviously the money needs to be accessible but having it out of sight, out of mind can really help the urge to spend it all on a two week trip to Barbados. 

You can use an online calculator to help you work out how much you either how long it will take you to save the required amount or how much you need to save per month to hit a certain target date.

Use this info to make yourself a progress chart like the ones people use for raising money for charity and tick it off each month when you add more money to your savings. Doing this might sound silly, but it can really help with motivation. When you feel low, take a look at how far you've come.   

      8. The importance of staying disciplined

I recently saw another person tweeting about buying the new Naked Heat palette on the sly, because if their mum found out they would lecture them about how they’re supposed to be saving for a deposit. This person was claiming that one make up palette isn’t going to make any different to the thousands of pounds they need to buy a house.

They’re correct in some ways. £38 probably won’t make much difference providing this splurge is a one off. But if you justify this kind of purchase with this excuse a lot then you will have lots of clothes and make up, but no house to put it in.

It took Jared and I a year to save for our deposit. During that time I bought one new dress (yes that’s right, just ONE) and no new make up. We didn’t go on trips, we didn’t go out, we didn’t go on dates, we didn’t go to the cinema. We stopped all of it and only did them on very special occasions in order to keep us motivated. 

I'm not saying this to make you feel bad for treating yourself, just to remind you that you can do without things and that you always have to ask yourself, do I want this more than I want a house?

If you can afford a treat without compromising your savings plan then by all means go ahead. But ask yourself, if you can regularly afford to treat yourself to expensive things then would that money be better used if it was helping you reach your goal quicker?

Bear in mind that £100 of treating yourself a month adds up to £1,200 a year. Although not a life changing amount of money it would probably make a reasonable difference to your house deposit. 

The more disciplined you are in the short term, the quicker you will reach your goal. 

9. Staying motivated

This may sound like I'm contradicting myself from my previous point but it is important to build in rewards to keep yourself motivated. 

Otherwise it just becomes an endless monotony of working and saving.

I found the best way to do this was to plan fun things for when you reach certain saving targets. This way you encourage yourself to keep going and you look forward to hitting your next goal.

It can also help to set yourself a dedicated part of your budget for 'fun spending' even if the amount is small. We all enjoy the little things and denying yourself everything makes life no fun at all. 

Chances are you will be saving for some time so try to keep a good balance is important. 

There is a world of difference between frittering your money away on consuming things you don't really need (while complaining that you don't have enough to buy a house) and deciding how much is reasonable to spend on fun things without compromising your savings plan. 

10. Get as much help as you can

While it might seem small there is help out there for first time buyers. It won't give you enough to have a deposit overnight but you should take ALL the help you can get. 

There are two main ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) for first time buyers. 

The first is the Help to Buy ISA and the second is the newer Lifetime ISA. 

The government will give you extra money on top of your savings (up to £1,000 a year for the Lifetime ISA at the time of writing) so it is well worth doing.

This is particularly true if you are saving as part of a couple as ISAs are individual products (the clue is in the name) so you can both have one if you are both first time buyers. This means a potential £2,000 a year between you from the government is available. 

There are pros and cons to each different ISA and you should look into which one is right for you. This guide might help you. 

In conclusion, it is 100% possible to buy a house as a young person in the UK in 2018. More and more of my friends are managing this feat (without help from family) so it can be done. It takes time and effort to save but it is worth it in the end when you get the keys to your first house. 

First Time Buyer blog post series

1.  We bought our first house
2. Our house buying story
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