Why you should put Balaton Sound on your Festival List for 2020

Why you should put Balaton Sound on your Festival List for 2020

Words: Lori Lefterova 

Forget about the wellies and pack your swimsuits like some 172,000 music lovers did for this year’s edition of Balaton Sound Festival – Europe’s coolest waterfront music extravaganza, in Lake Balaton in western Hungary.

The five-day gathering attracted the who’s who in house and EDM, with the likes of Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Marshmello, Camelphat, Don Diablo, Nicky Romero, BRIT Award nominee Jess Glynne, Rudimental and The Chainsmokers taking place behind the decks as festival goers danced each night away under the Hungarian sky. Some of the most exciting names in urban music such as Future, Denzel Curry, G-Eazy and Desiigner, also joined the festival line-up, catering for rap and hip-hop fans alike.

With a location like Zamardi, the shore of Balaton – the largest lake in Central Europe – the event comes with endless doses of sunshine as well as picturesque views of the lake and neighbouring towns. So, when it comes to accommodation, the choice of camping, glamping on the festival grounds, renting a villa or staying in a hotel nearby is up to you, depending on how close you want to be to Mother Nature.

What to expect…

Hungary’s hot climate makes each day of Balaton Sound a 24h happening. During the day you can take it easy with a dip in the lake, get active through the numerous watersports activities or – if you can’t wait to let your hair down – sign up for one of the daily boat parties, and water-based venues with multiple small stages across the lake piers. When the sun comes down all six stages host star headliners that cater for a variety of music tastes, from EDM, house and trance, through to urban and rap. The 2019 edition of the festival also saw Elrow once again bring its world-class colourful audio-visual cinematic production and giant puppets, creating a Berlin-techno vibe, featuring Paul Kalkbrenner and the iconic figure of the Belgian underground scene, Claptone.

In addition to the beach festival experience, VIP ticket holders this year had access to four special areas, including: a Hollywood-inspired vintage circus with a platform overlooking the main stage, accompanied by a photo wall, makeup stand and a massage area; a tropical jungle with exotic interiors decorated with trees, vines, and plants; a French riviera at the lake’s shore with canopy sun beds; an area built directly over the water with a cocktail bar and beach parties every day until dawn; and a special VIP spot in the Dreher Arena offering an undisturbed view of the stage.

photo: Bodorkós Máté

Sustainability and living in harmony with the environment are clear goals for Balaton Sound. As part of the eco-conscious program, the festival started a tree-planting program and gave 10 trees to Zamárdi planted by the performing artists.

The need-to-know

Where: Zamárdi, Lake Balaton, Hungary
When: 8-12th July 2020
Website: www.balatonsound.com

The 5-Day Balaton Ticket Pass gives the full crazy beach party experience at Lake Balaton, whilst fans can opt for a 3 or 4-day ticket pass and include Budapest city break in their adventure.

This year’s Balaton Sound has barely ended, but everyone can mark their calendars for next year’s festival held between 8-12th July 2020 in Zamárdi!

The post Why you should put Balaton Sound on your Festival List for 2020 appeared first on Marie Claire.

Stop what you’re doing – a chihuahua cafe is coming to the UK

Stop what you’re doing – a chihuahua cafe is coming to the UK

chihuahua cafe
Credit: Paul Brown/Shutterstock

By now we’re clued up on every dog-related fact out there. If you’re obsessed with all things pups, you’ll know that dogs love their owners more than cats do (standard), it’s better for your health to sleep next to a dog than another human (great) and if you experience stress and/or anxiety walking your pet pooch can work wonders (science says so).

Whether you’ve got a fur baby or not, we’ve got some wonderful news – a chihuahua cafe is opening in the UK and to say we are excited is an understatement.

On Sunday 21st July, The Happenstance in St. Paul’s, London, will host the Chihuahua Café so that you can hang out with lots of the tiny cuties while enjoying a flat white. If you have a chihuahua, bring them along and if you don’t, fear not – there will be plenty to play with on the day.

The day will include cute photo ops as well as an extensive dog-themed menu – think pupcakes, dognuts, barkscotti and pawsecco. Every chihuahua that comes through the doors will get a free pupaccino, too.

You’ll get 75 minutes to enjoy the pop-up, with slots available from 10am to 4.15pm. Tickets are a very reasonable £10 if you’re bringing your pet, and £14 if you have no chihuahua of your own.

The pop-up comes from the masterminds behind Pug Cafe and and has been organised in association with grooming brand Pet Teezer, who are offering the first 200 pet owners a free Pet Teezer Small brush.

To get in on the action, make sure you book your ticket through the Pug Cafe website from 10am on Saturday 15th June 2019.

Stick the date in your diary, ASAP.

The post Stop what you’re doing – a chihuahua cafe is coming to the UK appeared first on Marie Claire.

Princess Diana’s childhood home will be open to the public next month

Princess Diana’s childhood home will be open to the public next month

althorp house princess diana
Credit: Ilpo Musto/Shutterstock

Princess Diana’s childhood home, Althorp House, will be open to the public next month as it hosts a brand new exhibition.

The estate in Northamptonshire will launch the Animals of Althorp exhibition for guests to find out more about the Spencer home and the family’s love of animals.

Among the artefacts and artwork on show will be a portrait of Diana’s cat, Marmalade, drawn by renowned Polish society artist Aniela Pawlikowska.

Visitors will also get an exclusive tour of the property, including the grounds and state rooms, which has been the Spencer family home since 1508. The grounds also boast 28 listed buildings and structures – very fancy.

A statement on the official website reads: ‘Animals are as much a part of the Spencer family’s history as the iconic house itself.

‘The Spencers arrived with their flocks of sheep in this rich grazing land in 1486, and built their home there in 1508.

‘Since then, the verdant pastures and woodlands of oak have been the backdrop to their lives and home to many animals, including the black fallow deer that have roamed the park since the fifteenth century, and which remain the Spencers’ closest neighbours to this day.’

The exhibition will be open from 1st July – 31st August 2019 and an adult ticket costs £18.50.

Guests are also welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy their sandwiches in the dedicated woodland outdoor dining area, which sounds – weather permitting – like an absolutely lovely way to spend a weekend this summer.

The post Princess Diana’s childhood home will be open to the public next month appeared first on Marie Claire.

Love a lido? We’ve found the coolest ones around the country

Love a lido? We’ve found the coolest ones around the country

Fancy cooling off this summer? We’ve rounded up the UK’s best lidos. Dive in…


Tinside Lido, Plymouth

Overlooking the sea and decked out with a cafe and spacious terrace, Tinside Lido can be found at the tip of Plymouth Hoe and is the ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing. Or, join one of their cinema evenings, or dance and music performances. Entry fee: £5

Ilkley Pool and Lido, Ilkley

Enjoy views of Ilkley Moor as you take a refreshing dip in the lido (it’s not heated), before lounging on the grass with a 99. There’s also a picnic area, putting green and tennis courts, so it’s a great spot for families and active types. Entry fee: £4.80

Thames Lido, Reading

Definitely not your standard lido, this one is set by the river Thames in King’s Meadow park and is the result of an intensive three-year restoration project (the original pool was built in 1902 with a budget just under £5,000). It includes a restaurant, tapas bar and spa – we’re talking hot-stone massages, saunas and hot tub, the lot. Entry fee: £20

Lido Ponty, Pontypridd

With three swimming areas (admittedly, one of these is a splash pool), the Lido Ponty has come a long way since it was first built in 1927. The Waterside Cafe is great to hit up for some post-swimming fuel (a freshly-brewed Americano or slice of lemon drizzle, anyone?) or even just on weekends for a full Welsh breakfast. Entry fee: £2

Gourock Pool, Gourock

A dip in this 33-metre saltwater lido comes with spectacular views of the Holy Loch. Gourock Pool, located on the banks of the River Clyde, is the oldest heated swimming pool in Scotland and includes a waterfront gym that’ll make you want to follow up your laps with a session on the treadmill (yes, really). Entry fee: £4.30

Take the plunge: Three hotels with fabulous outdoor pools

Cowley Manor, Cotswolds

Surrounded by 55 acres of manicured gardens, the outdoor pool is large enough for serious swimmers, and ideal if you fancy switching between perfecting your breaststroke and enjoying the treatments at the C-Side Spa. Rates start from £205 per room per night.

The Curtain, London

Serving a day-to-night Mediterranean menu, as well as incredible views over London, Lido at five-star hotel and members’ club The Curtain is a real rooftop oasis with an impressive retractable glass ceiling. Rates start from £235 per room per night.

Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, Devon

With a gorgeous seafront pool, this hotel is a great option if you fancy dipping your toes in the water while enjoying the beautiful red cliffs of the Jurassic Coast in East Devon. Rates start from £190 per room per night.

The post Love a lido? We’ve found the coolest ones around the country appeared first on Marie Claire.

Angela Scanlon delves into the world of Vedic astrology

Angela Scanlon delves into the world of Vedic astrology

Our columnist – a self-confessed horoscopes and astrology devotee – explores the Vedic variety

Vedic astrology

On a recent holiday to Mexico, I tricked my very sceptical husband into having a couples astrology reading – Vedic astrology, to be more specific. We’d already booked a babysitter and I didn’t want a hangover, so this seemed like a reasonable way to spend an hour. Now, when I say he’s sceptical, I mean he’s infuriatingly dismissive of anything that can’t be scientifically proven. But it was my birthday, so I forced him.

We were ushered into a beautiful room with a sea view and wicker chairs, and Stefania introduced herself. Originally from Canada, she spends half the year living in the jungle in Mexico, and the other half travelling the world doing readings for clients from Hollywood stars to Silicon Valley CEOs, and everyone in between. I figured I should ask what the hell Vedic astrology is – as a devout follower of mainstream daily astrologer Susan Miller (aka the Astrology Zone), I needed to wrap my head around the Vedic variety if I was going to ‘sleep with the enemy’.

Stefania dismissed normal astrology as inaccurate right off the bat. Rude, if she wasn’t so damn fabulous. Vedic is the ‘most advanced form of quantum physics’. It is, she says, the oldest body of knowledge on the planet that we know of. So old that it comes in Sanskrit (the oldest language – see, it’s old). ‘Jyotish’, the Sanskrit name for Vedic astrology, translates as ‘the science of light’ and is the traditional Hindu system of all astrology. It is based on astronomy and mathematics, and aims to be quite quantifiable, although I suspect most people who explore it are less interested in metrics. The belief is that information travels in light. Vedic astrology studies the impact of the planetary movements and the sunlight deflected from these planets to earth, taking into account where and when you’re born. You’ve got a stamp on you from that time, which sets out your path.

Stefania takes the times, dates and places of our births and puts them into a chart that calculates a total of points. It’s like a matrix with lots of different lines and segments representing various paths/times. So, I ask, ‘Does that mean that a baby girl born next to me on 29 December at 6.05pm in the Rotunda Hospital is on telly in some parallel universe as I am?’ Not exactly, she replies.

With a chart, a Vedic astrologer can ‘read your soul’, tell you what you’re good at, what your path is, where karma lies, where you’re blocked, what patterns you’ve been doing in past lives and what your dharmic (true life) path is. Like a well, the well of self-knowledge, you can go back a thousand times and discover something different. I learned that my husband and I are ‘twin flames’, we may even be the ‘same soul’, although I can’t quite get my head around that. And, quite frankly, it sounds a little incestuous. But, we apparently have a past-life connection and with practice may even be telepathic. Exciting and handy when we run out of loo roll and his phone is dead.

@angelascanlon #FadHabits

The post Angela Scanlon delves into the world of Vedic astrology appeared first on Marie Claire.

You can now recreate the Spice Girls’ Wannabe music video for real

You can now recreate the Spice Girls’ Wannabe music video for real


It would be the understatement of the year to suggest that a lot is happening in 2019 (and we’re not even half way through it yet), but one way of navigating your way through these confusing times is to go all nostalgic, and party like it’s 1996. Why? Because this is the year the most coveted reunion tour commences.

The Spice Girls are back.

To celebrate this epic news, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, which served as the iconic backdrop to the Wannabe music video, has created a dedicated Wannabe Suite package, including an overnight stay in one of their Chamber Grand Junior Suites, cocktails and access to *that* staircase for a private photo shoot, complete with props and your own photographer.


You’re a Spice Girl, which means you need a suitably Spice-y room for the night. Which is exactly what you’ll get. Upon entering our Chamber Grand Junior Suites, think high ceilings, massive windows and a huge bathroom (yes, the room is very much of the bigger-is-better aesthetic), we were welcomed by five eclairs, each hand decorated as the fab five (I opted for the Sporty eclair, it felt healthier).

The space (some suites offer unique station-facing views overlooking the Eurostar platforms), is essentially designed to be the ultimate slumber party, and has everything you could possibly want for an opulent night in. Flooded with natural light, it was the perfect space to get our Spice on for the night ahead.


The party never stops when you’re a Spice Girl, which is why the ‘Re-Spiced’ cocktail making masterclass element of the evening adds a certain zig-ah-zig-ahh to proceedings. Taking place on the Grand Staircase, you will learn how to make your very own dedicated Spice Girl concoction from the below…

The fiery ‘Bloody Scary’, the vodka-based ‘Posh On The Rocks’, the ‘Ginger Kick’ (featuring a union jack bow tie), the ‘Baby Colada’ and our fave, the ‘Good Sport’, with edible white chocolate ‘grass’.


The photo shoot on the staircase, obvs. We were lucky enough to be one of the first to trial the new package, and standing on the infamous staircase, which is actually bloody massive and decadently snakes right up into the heavens, we found ourselves, dressed as Ginger, Posh and Sporty, well and truly believing our own hype. Thankfully, our ever patient photographer, Michael let us live out our fantasy without judgement.

Fun fact – the original location for the video shoot was an exotic building in Barcelona, but a few days before the shoot, disaster struck and the crew were unable to get permission to film at the location, so it was moved to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London. And the rest, is history…



Wannabe Suite Info: Wannabe suite package   

Restaurant: Yes. And, as part of the package, you’ll also get access to the exclusive Chambers club where you can enjoy food and drink (including afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés) all included.

Pool: Yes

Spa: Yes

Gym: Yes

Rates: Prices for The Wannabe Suite are from £659 (sleeps up to three guests)

Travel: It’s literally at London St Pancras International. Could you get more convenient?

The post You can now recreate the Spice Girls’ Wannabe music video for real appeared first on Marie Claire.

I lived on £120 for a month – here’s how to budget like a boss

I lived on £120 for a month – here’s how to budget like a boss

Words by Maisie Bovingdon

I am the Queen of spending willy nilly; if I’m in a bad mood, or good mood, I’ll buy something, and if I’m bored… oops I’ve tapped the contactless once again.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a big spender, and my hard earned wonga isn’t going on the latest Chanel sandals (sadly) or designer bags, instead it’s being swallowed up by Tesco meal deals, Pret lunches and travel.

Over the April bank holiday I was far too frivolous with my card, and after I paid my bills and rent (not including travel), I was somehow left with £120 in my bank account until my next pay cheque came along. So, I decided to teach myself a lesson.

I am not the first person, and I won’t be the last, to have money matters on my mind. According to a study conducted by F&C Investment Trust, almost 70 per cent of people lay awake at night dwelling on their financial problems.

I spoke exclusively to money saving experts George Charles from Money Saving Heroes, Dilusha Hettiralalage from Consumer Savings Expert at Codes, as well as a spokesperson from Quidco.com, to find out the nifty tricks to make your pennies last longer, and how to make money.

Here’s how I got on…

Week one

Day 1: I have no doubt living on £120 will be pretty impossible – especially as just one Topshop purchase can cut into half of this monthly budget – but expert George has insisted it is more doable than we think.

Speaking exclusively to Marie Claire Online, George Charles said: ‘In the current economic climate, it’s hard to distinguish what the minimum liveable amount is. It will also vary from city to city, however we would estimate you could very well get by on around £200 (excluding rent and bills) a month.

‘My favourite way to budget is to ensure you keep a spreadsheet of your monthly bills and how much of your pay check this equates to. Then, give yourself a budget for groceries, socialising and other payments you may make.  Having a plan in place to stick to can make budgeting easier.

‘There are a wealth of apps that can help you budget; Monzo, Money Dashboard and Plum to name a few, which analyse the areas that are your biggest outgoings.’

Consumer savings expert, Dilusha, added: ‘At the start of the month work out what key dates you have coming up that will require a larger portion of your budget.  Only keep a small amount of these funds on you at a time – in cash – so you can physically see what you have.’

A Quidco representative added: ‘Shopping through a cashback site like Quidco will allow you to earn money while you shop online. You can also make exclusive savings on groceries through ClickSnap.

I had previously done a food shop ahead of the four-day weekend, and leftovers allowed me to meal prep for the week ahead. I got this!

Outgoings: £0.

Day 2: After making overnight oats for breakfast, as well as lunch and snacks, my bag was full and I made my way into work with a spring in my step. My Oyster card was topped up last week, which stood me in good stead for day two.  Maisie 1 – Bank balance 0.

TIP:  As part of TFL’s refund scheme they reimburse you when your tube has been delayed, while linking your railcard to your Oyster can slash a single fare from £3.95 to £1.95 on off peak journeys.

Outgoings: £0.

Day 3: Mid week is ALWAYS a hard one because it’s when all the plans start to roll in. After meal prepping the night before, I saved myself a few pounds on lunch again, which is rare for me.

Despite a calm start to the day, panic swiftly set in when I remembered I had dinner plans with friends. I love nothing more than to stuff my face, sip on a few G&Ts, and let the good times roll.  But I contemplated cancelling because I was too conscious of eating my precious pounds, which is so not me, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. When dinner came around my PR friend treated me and my other journo pal to part of the dinner, which meant we only had to put a little bit towards the bill. Yasss!

Outgoings: £16

Day 4: The first week of budgeting went better than expected. Although I meal planned so lunch was covered, guiltily I had to decline meeting a friend for drinks because I was all too conscious of the dollar.

In a bid to make up some extra cash I have turned to good ol’ eBay to work a miracle on my finances. I managed to flog a couple of clothes for £20.  Bonus. Downside – postage fees (and the extra fees eBay will whack me with later down the line).

In: £20

Outgoings: £8

Day 5: I always justify spending money on days when I have already bought something. When I started the day with an Oyster top up, I knew it was going to be one of those days.

Low and behold, I was right. Despite bringing in breakfast and lunch (leftovers from the day before) my stomach was acting like a bottomless pit and I was still hungry.  I had no choice but to splash on snacks.

No Friday night is complete without a little evening girly meet up, and that’s exactly what happened.  Although dinner and drinks plans were on the cards, they swiftly changed to just drinks (my suggestion – obvs).  After I cancelled plans earlier in the week I was adamant my finances were not going to ruin any more outings, as expert George insisted it is vital we keep our social lives going for our mental health.

George said: ‘It is easy to get accused of being stingy when in reality you are being savvy. Despite being on budget, it is still important to keep up an active social life for the sake of your mental wellbeing.’

Outgoings: £14.09

Day 6 and 7: Then came the weekend, and the inevitable, a huge dent in my account. A boozy brunch AND a birthday on the same day undid all my hard budgeting (I’ve got cold sweats just thinking about it).  Then Sunday I was eating my body weight in food, which was another financial blow.

Over the weekend I guiltily relied a lot on my credit card, because I didn’t want to be the one unable to buy a round of drinks. But we all know credit cards can be dangerous territory.

George explained: ‘Self-restraint is key. Training your brain into believing there is a limit on what you can use for each outgoing is one way of avoiding dipping into money that was put aside or using any credit cards you may have.

‘Credit cards can be dangerous, especially for those who struggle to save money. Interest rates can be crippling for many and can lead to serious money problems down the road.’

A spokesperson from Quidco added: ‘If you’re savvy then your credit card can work in your favour. Many credit cards offer points on every purchase which can then be redeemed into vouchers to spend on the high street.’

Outgoings: Too much to admit

Morale: At the start of the week 10/10, until the weekend. But memories are priceless, right?

Get 30% richer by 2014

Get 30% richer by 2014

Week two

Day 8: Monday came around far too quickly, and guiltily the week of successful meal prepping before did not last long. So, when lunch time came around I made sure my lunch was under £5, which is hard to do in the city.

A common fear when counting the pennies is we will miss out on days or nights out.  But that’s not the case. Although lunch and travel cut into my account, I still managed to enjoy an evening out without spending a penny thanks to my Cineworld Unlimited pass, which proved to be a life saver.  Free night out it was.

Outgoings: £34 for travel and lunch

Day 9: It often takes a couple of days for your bank account to sync and catch up with all your spending. So, when I reluctantly checked my account my jaw dropped.  Somehow I was left with VERY little to spend. Panic. Panic. Panic. I had no choice but to be rigorous and cut back where possible.

TIP: Tinned food is a lifesaver.  With spare three beans, tuna and sweetcorn in the cupboards, and some veg in the fridge, I rustled up a nutritious three bean salad – proof you don’t always have to live off pasta or sandwiches when on a budget.

Outgoings: £0

Day 10: With little preparation under my belt I somehow managed to pull off another zero-spend day after rustling up a very swift lunch.  I attended the new launch of the Galaxy dark chocolate, which meant dinner was covered, and (another bonus) the PR company arranged our taxis to and from the event.

Outgoings: £0

Day 11: Almost half way through and I hit a slippery slope. After a late night, a couple of beverages, I’ve not meal prepped, and I’m hungry as hell.  By the time I got to the office, my stomach was growling – just like a scene from The Little Shop of Horrors. – which meant lunch was excessive and it was snacks galore. Thankfully a night in meant no more splurges from me.

Outgoings: £8.10

Day 12: I hit a wall and fretted to the max; I hadn’t meal prepped, and with upcoming birthdays, the pennies were dwindling.

I have always been the girl who likes to buy a new outfit for a new occasion, but I had to put my foot down and prioritise my spends.

Then came the gift. Thankfully the shopping centre near the Marie Claire HQ had a sale on and saved my bacon with a corporate discount offering 20% off. I was sold, so out came the credit card.

TIP: Although discounts are a rarity do some research, and ask staff in local stores about any sales or promos. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Dilusha agreed: ‘Shopping around online, looking at the brochures that come through your door and even utilising loyalty schemes can all help to save money.’

Despite the big dent in my account, I had a little surprise eBay sale to cancel out the day’s spends.  I started to feel I could get through this.

Quidco spokesperson insisted having a clear out can make a major difference to your bank balance and mind set. They said: ‘Having a clear out isn’t just good for the mind – it’s good for your pocket, too. With sites and apps like eBay, Shpock and Depop making it easier than ever to sell unwanted items, you can make a small fortune and realign your Feng Shui at the same time.’

‘If you’ve got a driveway as you can rent out your drive for a daily/weekly fee via a number of websites.’

George added: ‘There are plenty of sites that offer cashback out there, including Topcashback. The sites allow you to gain some money back with each of your purchases which can be a godsend when finances are tight.’

Outgoings: Lunch £8.24, including cards (not too shabby), gift £40 instead of £50 (but that was on the credit card so doesn’t quite count), plus leaving drinks for a friend £9 (yes, that’s for one drink *eye roll*).

In: £40

Out: Technically £57.24

Day 12 and 13: It’s the start of the bank holiday weekend and too many temptations.  But after last month’s spending spree I was adamant I was going to stick to my guns, take off Apple Pay, and leave my card at home.

With Christening preparation on the cards I ruled out Saturday to stay in the kitchen and do some baking, which made for a money-free zone.  Sunday’s Christening followed suit with food on the table I was sorted. Although I may have made a little Topshop purchase.

Outgoings: £31

Morale: 4/10

Week three

Day 14: After a very savvy weekend I used May Bank Holiday to meal prep like a mad woman for the week ahead.  With just four working days this week I made a very rigid shopping list to help budget, although there were temptations when every aisle makes your mouth water. I ventured to Aldi after hearing rave reviews about how affordable everything was, and £10 later I had all the ingredients to make a few healthy lunches.

Dilusha insists being mindful when we shop is vital, because supermarkets and fashion retailers are very clever with their product placement to draw you in.

The expert explained: ‘Avoid the ends of aisles where deals and offers can usually be found. Look up and down the shelves; products typically at eye level are the most expensive.

‘Don’t be afraid to buy reduced products; the packaging may suggest the food item needs to be eaten that day, but that’s usually not the case, the sell-by and use-by dates are merely guidance. What’s more, you can freeze food to use at a later date.’

Outgoings: £10 on my food shop. Nailed it.

Day 15: A new working week meant the Oyster top up was looming.  After whacking my remaining £30, I felt slightly uneasy, but I had to remind myself I’ve meal prepped and pay day is just a week away – I can do this. Thankfully a savvy eBay purchase left me quids in again and took a little bit of the pressure off (especially after treating myself to an outfit on the weekend).

Admittedly I cancelled some plans this week and rescheduled for pay day. Boring – I know, but the fear got the better of me.

In: £40

Outgoings: £30

Day 16: Following on from Monday’s meal prepping I was ready for the day ahead. Although I have been tempted to leave my card at home to stop any temptations, I didn’t – just in case of an emergency (she said). A night out with a friend in the evening I kept in the planner, although The Fear hit me in the run up, just in case I did splash the cash.

Outgoings: £0

Day 17:  Admittedly meal prepping works wonders on your bank balance, but it doesn’t do any favours for satisfying your palette. After eating leftover dinner from a couple of nights ago for lunch I found myself craving all sorts of tasty treats. But Thursday treats for the office were in order.

Outgoings: £7 – small price to pay for tooth decay!

Day 18: The end is near.  As much as I wanted to treat myself to a delish Leon, I refrained.  With an early start on Saturday a night in for me with a Jo Loves candle, face mask and trashy TV was just what I needed. Overall, a week of budgeting well done.

Outgoings: £0

Day 19 and Day 21: Despite being in credit after this week of being super thrifty, a girly day of wedding dress fittings (not for me) inevitably led to brunch and a lot of food. With my sister and mum in tow, I was conscious of the burning hole in my purse as I wanted to do my fair share of treats for them too, without the embarrassment of hitting the ‘insufficient funds’ phase.

Outgoings: The remaining scraps.

Morale: 2.5/10 – who wants to go to nice events and fear they will overspend?

Top 10 Tips To Negotiate A Job Offer

Top 10 Tips To Negotiate A Job Offer

Week Four

Pay day… say no more 🙌

Moral of the story

All those #quotesoftheday saying ‘spend your money because you can’t take it with you’, or #ballingonabudget, oh and my favourite ‘champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget’, are all well and good for encouraging us to live our best lives – and proceed to checkout – but it pays the price.

Planning is key when strapped for cash; you have to consider plan meals, days/nights out, and unexpected spends. Admittedly, I didn’t factor in certain expenses, which left me feeling anxious and stressed, and made the process harder than it could have been.

While saving has been a struggle, it was a huge learning curve; not only have I found new things out about myself, but also London living. I’m an ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ kind of girl, and I don’t like to be limited financially. Though London is expensive, there are ways to cut corners.

The unnecessary corner shop runs for snacks stopped, my spontaneous online shops out of boredom were a difficult no no. I started to make a mental note of cheaper options. I also became more thoughtful about how I was spending my free time, and with who; when you don’t have much money you start to prioritise certain people ahead of others, but saying no didn’t always leave me with major FOMO.

Guiltily I dipped into my credit card as a safety net to ensure my social life didn’t take a beating. But most of those purchases could have been avoided, and living on £120 can be done, especially if I factored in travel costs at the start of the month.

Total in: £100

Total out: £61.43 after I deducted the cost of those thrifty sales.

Morale: 4/10 Budgeting is hard, and it made me an anxious wreck worrying I wouldn’t make it to pay day, but it’s doable.

The post I lived on £120 for a month – here’s how to budget like a boss appeared first on Marie Claire.

You can get paid to be a spa and hot tub tester and it’s the perfect summer job

You can get paid to be a spa and hot tub tester and it’s the perfect summer job

Words by Maisie Bovingdon

Summer is just around the corner, so when the sunshine hits everybody wants to ditch their offices and channel their inner child by going out to play outside. Fact.

So, what if we told you you could ditch your nine to five for the perfect summer job, and it may involve sitting in a hot tub in various different spas.

SpaSeekers are recruiting for an official spa and hot tub tester, and we can’t cope.

Your entire summer could involve getting pampered, practicing your lengths in infinity pools, and sitting back whiling away the hours in a jacuzzi, for £500.

The successful candidate can choose any four days between Monday and Friday across July and August to visit four different spas in the UK assigned to them by the company.

They will be given a VIP pass, one free treatment a day and unlimited use of the spa facilities at each venue, as well as two glasses of complimentary champagne.

During each visit you will be required to share images and videos, being sure to tag SpaSeekers and using the hashtag too.

But, there’s a catch.  Applicants have to be UK residents and 18 years old or over to sign up for the role, and payments will be received at the end of summer on 30th September when all the work is complete.

However, if you can’t attend a day the role will be offered to another entrant.

The terms and conditions state: ‘This is not an offer of full-time employment. You will be our summer spa tester and visit four different spas in the UK.  Entries are only open to UK residents aged 18 or over.

‘You will be paid £500 at the end of summer (30th September 2019).’

To apply for the role simply send a picture of your most-loved holiday picture with SpaSeekers on social media, whether it’s you on holiday, on a beach, or sitting in the hot tub.

Whether it is uploaded on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter remember to tag @spaseekers, alongside the hashtag #dreamsummerjob.

The application closes on May 31st, and the winner of the competition will be announced on June 3rd.

Where do we sign up?

The post You can get paid to be a spa and hot tub tester and it’s the perfect summer job appeared first on Marie Claire.

Are alcohol free zen do’s the new hen party for 2019?

Are alcohol free zen do’s the new hen party for 2019?

Male stripper at hen party L
Male stripper at hen party L

Words by Maisie Bovingdon 

Wedding season is upon us, as Jude Law, Idris Elba and Sophie Turner have all tied the knot in the space of a week, and when there are weddings there are hen dos.

New research has found almost 80 per cent of British women find traditional hen parties ‘tacky’, especially when L plates, strippers, butler’s in the buff and phallic inflatables are involved, with almost 50 per cent of people preferring a healthy alternative – a Zen Do – to a boozy long weekend.

The survey, conducted by Champyneys, has found 44 per cent of British women would prefer a yoga retreat, pamper day, spa weekend or chilled girls night to a wild three-day party, while 10 per cent of women are up for an alcohol free bash instead of a binge drinking fiasco to avoid hangovers and drunken rows.

Although hens may enjoy a little tipple, 53 per cent of females felt pressure to drink excessively while away with the girls – not cool.

A spokesperson for Champney’s spa said: ‘This research is fascinating as it shows just how much British women have moved on from the alcohol soaked hen parties of the past.’

The Champney’s representative has revealed there has been a 25 per cent surge in customers booking trips to the hotspot for a girly weekend or pre-wedding package ahead of the wedding day.

They continued: ‘These days, a relaxing and rejuvenating Zen Do is becoming much more popular, and we have seen a huge spike in bookings from women looking to celebrate their upcoming marriage with a healthier alternative. Classes such as meditative yoga and Pilates have also become much more popular with hen party bookings.’

Although there is a rise in tea-total hen dos, some women feel apprehensive about planning something alternative to the typical alcohol-fuelled celebrations in fear it would disappoint the bride and the guests.

The study has found over 30 per cent of the bridal party prefer to book a beach break, afternoon tea or healthy brunch, a massage, yoga session or fitness class, and even a theatre trip to celebrate ahead of the wedding.

Ultimately whatever the maid of honour plans for the bride, it’s bound to be unforgettable with 78 per cent of women insisting their hen do was the best experience of their life.

The post Are alcohol free zen do’s the new hen party for 2019? appeared first on Marie Claire.

At this charity car boot sale you can score vintage designer items at a discount

At this charity car boot sale you can score vintage designer items at a discount

Calling all style hunters…

car boot sale

Words by Bharti Dokal

As eco fashion and sustainability continues to shake up the industry, Women for Women International is holding its fourth #SheInspiresMe Car Boot Sale on Saturday 11th May 2019! Pencil this fashion extravaganza into your agendas as it promises to be a must-see event for bargain hunters and green fashionistas alike.

In the UK alone, 38 million items of new clothing are bought each week and 11 million go to landfill, can you believe it? But you can help combat this waste; in the best way we know how I must add. By joining VIP fashion designers and celebrities at one of the biggest events in the fashion calendar, where car boots are filled with past-season and pre-loved designer items at budget-friendly prices. Now, this is the kind of recycling we can totally get on board with.

You can lay your hands on beautiful designer samples and unique pieces from the likes of Alex Eagle, Noor Fares, Eugenie Niarchos, Maria Kastani, Charlotte Olympia, Hikari Yokoyama and Tiphaine De Lussy amongst many others.

car boot sale

As well as the clothes, accessories and shoes on offer, guests will have the opportunity to restore, personalise and upcycle pre-loved pieces. Oh, and it gets better. There will be a food and drink pop up from The Store – to rehydrate and refuel you throughout the day – and a makeup counter by (glam session included!) by Charlotte Tilbury.

All proceeds from the #SheInspiresMe car boot sale go to Women for Women International, a charity which has helped almost half a million women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

With your help, women can graduate from the Women for Women International programme with the skills, knowledge and resources to become successful entrepreneurs. They will pass on their knowledge to their neighbours and children, creating a ripple effect.

Now, in true Monica Geller fashion let’s fish for that whistle, and go go go!

The post At this charity car boot sale you can score vintage designer items at a discount appeared first on Marie Claire.