How To Go Out But Stay In

Lock Down has cancelled a lot of our plans for 2020 but does that mean we still can’t do them? Well, sure you can’t go on your all inclusive holiday to Lanzarote but don’t let Lock Down tie you to your sofa!

I have thought of 4 ways you can go out without actually going out!

1. Coffee With Friends

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I love nothing more than catching up with friends over a coffee. It instantly lifts my spirits and sets my mood for the day. Before Lock Down, I would meet with one of my mummy friends every week for a walk and a coffee and have a good ol’ chit chat. We had organised a girl’s night out for a huge group of us but that got cancelled (thanks Corona) so we, instead, had a zoom chat. It was like meeting up in a cafe with the girls. We all sat at our laptops with cups of tea and coffee and giggled together. It made me so thankful for modern technology allowing us to actually see each other and talk in a big group. I left that zoom chat feeling my usual uplifted and refreshed self after seeing the girls.

2. Date Night

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I don’t know about other Mums, but I love having a date night every now and again. A little break from the little one, a chance to reconnect with my partner and, more importantly, eat something I didn’t have to cook or worry about the washing up! Well, that’s just another thing Corona has mucked up for me! So, instead, we put the baby to bed early and tried to have a date night at home!


We ordered a take away (so that took care of the cooking problem) but I didn’t want it to feel like another night on the sofa. So, we got dressed up like we would on a normal date night. I put make up on and Steven even put on after shave! I lit candles, switched on the fairy lights, laid out a blanket on the floor and dished out the take away into fancy dishes (like we were in a real restaurant) to set the scene. I even put the wine on a fancy tray. Simple, yet effective. We then sat down, watched TV and had our fancy Chinese take away picnic!

3. Boozey Lunch

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If Lock Down isn’t an excuse to day drink, then I don’t know what is! Steve and I love going to the pub at lunch time when the weather is gorgeous. Sitting outside in the sun with a cold beer and nibbles, bliss. So, when Olivia was down for her nap, I laid out some nibbles (all fancy like, so it felt like we weren’t at home) and opened up a couple of cold ones. We turned on some music and sat under our pear tree and I swear, it felt like we were on holiday!

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Even Cody wanted to join us.
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4. Trip To The Cinema


Wanted to go to the cinema with the kids? Now you’re stuck at home and the weather is horrible? 3 words: At, home, cinema. And, no I don’t mean stick a film on and sit on your sofa. What do kids love to do? Build a sofa fort! Grab bed sheets, sofa cushions, chairs, anything you can find and make a fort with your kids. Add blankets, pillows, fairy lights and snacks! Movie snacks are essential. Turn off the lights, turn on the fairy lights, sit on the floor in the fort and watch a movie with your kids. Doesn’t sound like much but you’ll be surprised how much they love it. My little girl is only 18 months and she absolutely loved it!

You could go a step further and set up a projector (you can even buy projectors for your phone). This would be so fun to do outside, too. Like a sundown cinema experience!


So, what have you done to make this Lock Down experience more bearable? Share your experiences in the comments below!

 

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#MakingOverMotherhood

Next week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week. Bit of a mouthful but nevertheless very important!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t know anything about mental health issues after birth. I just thought, you have the baby and that’s it! You just have to cope. Anyway, how could you ever feel sad, down, depressed, angry, lost or just nothing while looking after your gorgeous baby? Oh, how I laugh now. I definitely had my fair share of all the above every now and again (and Lord knows sleep deprivation can do scary things to you) but I was lucky to not feel like this all of the time.

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So, when I saw that it is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week next week, I wanted to do something. A quick Google and I stumbled upon #MakingOverMotherhood. A social media challenge to raise awareness of Maternal Mental Health disorders and struggles. Everyday, for 5 days, post something that shows what motherhood is really like. The good, the bad and the ugly. It can be something light-hearted that might make someone chuckle or something serious and revealing. It’s up to you. The idea is to end the stigma of mental health issues for mothers.

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As Mothers, it’s very easy to feel like EVERYONE relies on you and therefore you don’t have time for yourself. You don’t have time to be weak because you’re so busy being strong for everyone else. You can’t be seen to be struggling because you might be seen as a bad Mum, a Mum who can’t cope, a lazy Mum, an incompetent Mum. You might not even notice you’re struggling because you don’t have time to take a step back and see that you are. Well, take that step. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do. And if you notice you are, reach out. There is no shame. I truly believe that everybody struggles with something and I guarantee, you won’t be alone and you won’t be the only Mum who thinks the way you do.

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It’s so vital to get help when you need it because (as the old saying goes) you can’t pour from an empty cup. Basically, you can’t take care of others, without taking care of yourself too. Now, I don’t mean going to get your nails done every week or making sure your hair is perfect (unless that helps you feel better). I’m saying practise self care on the regular, be selfish when you need to be, reach out for help even if you think you aren’t desperate for it. Don’t feel guilty (and trust me, I am no stranger to Mum guilt) because fundamentally, you’re doing it for your kids.  You’re taking care of you so they can have the best Mother possible. A happy Mum, a calm Mum (most of the time, I mean, whistles, right?), a Mum who isn’t constantly emotionally and physically exhausted, a Mum they deserve.

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Now, I’m not saying every time you have an outburst and scream at your child about playing the baby shark song for 1098th time that day that you need to call the doctor. There are many ways you can reach out for help.
Obviously, during these times, it’s a little different. I can’t reach out to my Mum to watch Olivia for a few hours while I get some work done or just lay down in a dark room for a while. However:

  • Talk to your partner (if you have one). I cannot imagine how I would do this whole motherhood thing, without Steven by my side. I’m so lucky because he is such a good Dad and so supportive. So I know, if I ever need to, I can talk to him about my stress and if he’s home to help, I can ask him to give me a couple of hours. He will happily take Olivia and Cody (because sometimes, he causes me more stress than my human child) out for an hour long walk and give me the house to myself. I cannot tell you how blissful that is. Even if I just need to rant or cry or a cuddle or time he will give it to me. THAT is invaluable!
  • Reach out to family. I know not everyone is on par with their family but maybe you can meet some mummy friends and they can be your family. I am fortunate that my Mum absolutely adores my little girl and would do anything for her (or me). I honestly love having her one town away and I know that if I needed her, she would be here at the drop of a hat (she has done many times before). In the early days of my new adventure into motherhood, she took a week off work to come over everyday and help me with Olivia. Nothing major. She would watch Olivia while I had a shower (absolute heaven), bring me lunch everyday (I love her) and sit with me while we watched TV and chatted (priceless). She didn’t know it but all of these things meant the world to me. Especially when she made me cups of coffee, I could have cried!
  • Mummy friends. I couldn’t cope without my mummy friend, Lisa. It is so worthwhile to have that someone who gets it. Before lock down, we would grab a take away coffee and go for a walk with the babies every week and just talk. Talk about our struggles, our stresses and what crazy stuff the babies have got up to that week and it was so therapeutic. We would then laugh together at how messy our lives have become but how beautiful it all is too. I would come home and feel refreshed (not to mention caffeinated, which always helps) and like maybe I am a good Mum because I’m not alone in this, because someone else is thinking the exact same things as me!
  • Reach out to professionals. Reach out to your GP, midwife or Health Visitor. That’s what they’re there for! They are the superheroes equipped with all the resources and connections to get you the help you need!
  • Baby Buddy App is an NHS accredited app which offers evidence-based information and self-care tools to help parents during pregnancy and early stages of parenting. Best bit is it is absolutely FREE! Download in the app store or click here for more information.
  • If you are in need of immediate help or support call 999, go to A&E or call Samaritans 116 123 (free to call and it doesn’t show up on your phone bill)

Whatever you think you’re going through, whatever you think you’re struggling with, I can guarantee there’s a Mum out there going through the exact same thing. So do the right thing, reach out and talk. If not for you, for your kids.

For a pick-me-up read my Mum-tivation post!

Lock Down Help!
Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Best Bedside Books
My Netflix List
Movies Made For Comfort

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Instagram: @charlotterose293


 

Life of a Beagle Bum Mum

It was brought to my attention recently that this April is National Pet Month. I couldn’t let this pass by without introducing you to my pet, or what I sometimes like to call him, my other toddler in a fur suit, Cody!

Cody is a Beagle. Now, anyone who has ever owned a Beagle is now laughing at me and/or thinking “you poor sod”. You’d think I’d know better, growing up with two Beagles from a young age, but no. I thought, the first dog I owned should be a breed I’m familiar with and, I mean, how much harm could this little ball of fur really do?

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Turns out, the answer to that is, a fair amount! I’d forgotten about my childhood dogs destroying felt tips (resulting in multi-coloured poos) or one particular Beagle eating batteries, chainsaw oil, a whole Christmas loaf (tin foil included) and a whole hedgehog of cheese and pineapple (yes, with the cocktail sticks). Not to mention that same beagle getting hit by a bus and electrocuted AND SURVIVED! He had issues. One scenario after another, vet visit after vet visit, he was still healthy. He passed away at the age of 12, which is pretty good going! His sister, who was sensible and, well, normal, passed away less than a year later. I think that’s what made me forget all the drama we went through. Now they’re just funny stories and happy memories.

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I knew I wanted that again. Sorry? When was the first time I regretted that? Um, probably, yep, 2 weeks after we got him. I came home from work and from about 5 weeks old, Cody had been crate trained (he was about 14 weeks old at this point). So we attached a run to his crate for when we were out so that he still had somewhere to play and do number 1s and 2s. Well, didn’t he take advantage of that? He had pushed the side of the run towards the curtains, pulled the curtains down into his run, gathered all of his toys and bedding on top and did a massive shit over the lot. So I came home to my darling puppy covered in his own shit, my curtains covered in shit, all of his toys and bedding covered in shit and my carpet ruined.
Despite this, he was still so happy to see me as I came through the door. He had an air of “Look at me Mum. Look what I achieved today!” as he wagged his tail vigorously. That, ladies and gentleman, was the first time my Beagle had me speechless and having to sit down for a little weep. First time of many.

That was just the beginning of our journey. Since then he has: destroyed books, ran after Muntjac deer, gotten beaten up by a cat and slurped up a whole packet of bacon like it was spaghetti. However, we have also spent many an evening on the sofa snuggling under a blanket together, he’s cuddled my pregnant belly, he’s been so calm and patient with Olivia and now (secretly) loves her, he dances in the kitchen with me, he’s my drive thru food buddy, he’s my hot water dog when I’m sick and he even helped us announce our pregnancy to the world! Now he’ll be Olivia’s memories of trouble and laughter and comfort.

That’s the funny things about pets though. No matter how much they put you through, how much they push your buttons, how many times they strike panic in your heart, they’re worth it. They bring back memories that you can laugh at or memories like when you were sick and they slept with you on the sofa and it instantly warms your heart. I look back at my childhood dogs and think “Life wouldn’t have been half as colourful as it was without them.” and I hope I can create that for Olivia, too.

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At the end of the day, from the moment we saw him (and couldn’t sign the forms quick enough) to now (which is him snoozing on the sofa) he has been one of the best adventures in our lives and there’s still so much more trouble for him to do!IMG_7591

Please share your stories of your beloved pets in the comments below. I really do love reading them! Oh, and Happy National Pet Month!

After reading this post, the lovely people at Marcy Dog would like to offer you a discount code on their beautiful dog (and human) products!

Head to https://www.macrydog.com/ and use the discount code: MACRY20 for 20% off your purchase!


Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

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2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

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3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

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4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

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5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

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6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

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7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

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8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

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9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

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So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.

 

 

Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers

Here in the UK, we have been told that, as of this week, we are on lock down. This means we are to stay in our homes as much as possible and only leave for essential reasons. The introvert in me wants to celebrate but the mother in me dreads this time. How do people cope with their kids at home all day, every day. I can’t be the only one that is filled with the anxiety of the thought. Maybe this is the time we’ll be sympathetic to people who commit family massacres. Well, have no fear! I’m here too share our daily routine to make things a little more bearable during these hard times.

I always find routines (especially with children) make the day go faster, more fun and far more peaceful. Children thrive in a routine as they know what to expect to happen when (and let’s be honest, we could all use that in the uncertainty that we’re all living in now). It also ensure you can fit everything you want to into the day and be productive. I always find that being productive really helps my anxiety as my mind is distracted and it’s something small I can control during a situation that is totally out of my control.

So, here is our daily routine. My daughter is nearly 18 months old (just for reference). I hope this is helpful to you mummas right now, feel free to tweak the schedule any which way you like.

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If you don’t have a dog, you can use this time for a walk around your neighbourhood or outside play in your garden. Either way, I think it’s really important our little ones get some fresh air.

Also, you may think that is a lot of time for ‘Free Play’ but we break up this time with: singing songs, reading stories, imaginative play and I let my daughter do her own thing while I watch her and drink my morning coffee.

I hope this was helpful to you! For ideas for “Planned Activity” you can read my blog post At Home Activities For Toddlers. You could also check out Easy Easter Brownies as something else to do with your slightly older children.

Stay safe and watch this space for more content during this tough time. Stay strong mummas, click this link if you need some Mum-tivation!

Thank you for reading!


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Twitter: @Cook293

At Home Activities For Toddlers

With all the chaos of the Corona Virus, a lot of people are isolated at home with little ones. While this seems stressful, this is the perfect opportunity to have some fun! I thought I would create a post with some ideas of what to do with your little ones during this time.

Also, sorry for the silence recently! I spent the weekend in Wales for my best friend’s wedding and had an absolutely amazing time!

The following activities are really simple and you probably have everything you need to do all of these. No need to venture out. While all of these activities are simple, children should be supervised at all times.

1. Paper Chutes

These are super easy to make. You could even use the toilet paper tubes that you’ve bulk bought in panic. I used craft card because I didn’t.
All you need to do is tape the paper tubes to a free wall (I used the back of a door) and show your little one how to drop balls into them. If you have any ball-pit balls, these would be perfect. We don’t, so we used play fruit! Get creative! You could use balled up socks, tennis balls or even pompoms!

For older children, you could colour code the tubes and get them to sort different coloured pompoms into them to help them learn their colours.

2. Indoor Croquet

For this you will need: craft card, tape and scissors.
Cut strips of card long enough so small balls can pass through them when you bend them. Fold the ends over and tape to the floor. Little ones can have fun pushing the balls through the arches and older children can play a game with points or use things to hit the balls through.

3. Feet Painting

This is my personal favourite (although probably the messiest). We have a huge roll of paper bought from IKEA but you can use craft paper taped together or old wrapping paper. Dip your little ones’ feet in paint and let them walk across the paper. Older kids could try and spell their name with their feet or make pictures! Fair warning, you’ll have a lot of cleaning up to do!

4. Kitchen Messy Play

My little girl is still too small to help me in the kitchen or do baking together but we love to do kitchen messy play to introduce her to it. Olivia has a play kitchen so we gathered some of the play pots and pans, some rice, pasta and flour, measuring spoons and small toys to use.

I keep this big Tupperware  box of messy play in the cupboard so we can get it out to use any time. We scoop flour into different pots using spoons and mix dry pasta and rice in bowls.

5. Water Play

This is an obvious one but this is my daughter’s favourite! Water play can be messy but you can use this to your advantage! Sometimes, I like to make a washing up bowl of warm soapy water and get Olivia to help me clean her plastic toys. She thinks it is a lot of fun and it gets them clean! Otherwise, the usual things are fun in water: her plastic tea set, measuring spoons, play pots and pans, etc.

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Make it extra soapy and play with the bubbles!

6. Other Ideas

Just because you’re in isolation, doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house. Play in the garden and get muddy, plant flowers, go to the park, have a picnic lunch in your garden or paint the fences with water (you’ll be amazed how entertained kids are by this). Remember to pull together in these times. Help a neighbour, look out for those who can’t get out, text that Mother that is home alone with all the kids. Show some support.

Top tip! Everyday, put on some music and dance with your kids. It’ll cure boredom, lift spirits and give a little laughter which is something that is priceless in times like this.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Make the best of the rain for the storm will pass.


Thanks for reading!
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I am the creator and owner of all above content.

Save Time and Money

Hello Readers,

I don’t know about you but I found this last winter very taxing on the bank account. Especially being a Mum, we are scrimping and making savings wherever we can. One huge saving we have made is on our energy bills. Saving even just a bit of money on gas and electric has made such a difference to our bank accounts and I don’t have to tell you how much that means when you have kids!

I had a very exciting email sent to me this week from the people at Look After My Bills, asking if I would like to join their Affiliate Programme. This name may ring a bell to you. You may have seen them on Dragon’s Den (BBC) in 2018 where they won over all 5 Dragons with their collective energy switching service website that they set up in University together. Since then, they have fully immersed themselves into helping people save money on their energy bills.

How? A really simple and easy website. Unlike other price comparison websites, Look After My Bills do all the tedious work for you. Instead of having to use the site regularly every year to look for a better deal, Look After My Bills do it for you and automatically sign you up to the energy deal that will save you the most money based on your circumstances.LAMB

Too good to be true? Not at all. Using the link below, you can get this service for free. No joke. All you need to do is fill out some information about your energy, what you use, what kind of tariff you’re currently on, etc. It takes about 2 minutes (the only form you’ll ever have to fill in) and they will help to find you a different energy deal that will save you money on your gas and electricity bills.

After you have completed your 2 minute sign up, LAMB (Look After My Bills) do all the work to find you the best deals. They will then let you know when they have found you a deal and will switch you over to the new supplier. You don’t have to do anything! And once that deal is up? They’ll switch you again to make sure you always get the best price. You don’t even need to contact your old supplier to switch payments. They do it all for you. You will be contacted when they are looking for a new deal for you and when they have found that deal for you (with all the details). Don’t worry, you can always cancel the Look After My Bills service whenever you want! If you don’t like the supplier they switch you to, then you will have a 14 day cooling off period with them to cancel the switch. You’re always in control!

Click here for this free service guaranteed to save you at least £50!


Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate links.