Thursday

A Mortgage Calculator, A Move and A New Adventure!

­čĆíToday's post is sponsored by Mortage Calculator UK

It's been a very busy few months for me. Actually, that's an understatement! It's been quite adventurous, to say the least!

Over the Summer I listed my home in Ontario for sale and in less than two months had moved across the country to PEI. The move was both exciting and scary as there were so many variables to consider and prepare for. 

As this was not my first time buying or selling, I did have some tools in my repertoire that helped to make the process smooth. Aside from pairing yourself with a great Realtor, a mortgage calculator is incredibly important to utilize.
Mortgage Calculator UK

Mortgage calculators like Mortage Calculator UK will help you figure out how to make your budget work when house hunting. Do you have to use one to purchase a home? No, but without one, you could be lacking a proper understanding of your financial capabilities and that could very well be a downfall.

So what is a mortgage calculator exactly?

A mortgage calculator helps estimate your monthly payment due along with other financial costs associated with home ownership. There are options to include overpayments (to pay off your debt quicker) as well as learn about amortization and a remortgage calculator. 

This particular calculator is mainly intended for use by UK residents. Take a look at the payment calculator. This handy tool helps calculate what you can afford based on your income, with both high and low-end options.

Over the last few years, the needs of home buyers have really changed. I noticed this myself while on the hunt for a new home. I had to consider the needs of myself, my husband, and our son - three very different personalities with some very specific wants in a new home. Those wants and needs for us included a home office, game room, and a large open-concept kitchen.

I needed to find a home that we could afford but one that also suited our individual tastes and needs. This is where a mortgage calculator is so helpful! Using one allowed us to pinpoint a max home price we could make work all the while setting the right plan in place to pay off our debt sooner than later.

I'm a big planner and seeing the monthly payments BEFORE purchasing a home really put my mind at ease. It also allowed me to make room in the budget for things you need when traveling by car for a move across the country - like hotel stays in multiple Provinces, gas, and new furniture.

Have YOU used a mortgage calculator when buying a home? 
Let me know in the comments.

Sunday

Gaming To Escape

Like a lot of people, I have found myself playing online games more and more over the last few years. I find gaming to be a wonderful escape from the stress that sometimes comes with needing to live life gluten-free. It's also a great way to take a break from social media and just have some unapologetic fun. While I don't consider myself a superstar gamer by any means, I love to pass the time with a good online game.

If you like casual games that are free to play and don't require pestering friends to water your crops or send you gifts to level up, well I have a site for you! The website is Solitaire.org and it's full of a variety of games...not just Solitaire!


One of my go-to games to play is Battleships Armada. I've loved the game Battleship since I was a kid. In this version, you can choose between three levels and even adjust the sound. I really like it because it's not a long drawn-out version of the game. It's simple, to the point, and fun to play.



Another game I have a blast playing is Tetra Blocks, which also takes me back to my childhood. Am I dating myself yet? There's something about this game that just ropes me in - I could play it forever and I would not be bored. Like Battleship Armada, Tetra Blocks is very easy to play (depending on the level chosen of course) and a lot of fun.



I've been really into hidden object games as of late and the below game is just an example of the variety of this game type available on the site. Garden Secrets Hidden Objects is pretty fun. Especially if you enjoy being a sleuth and are patient. To be honest the hidden object games are right up my alley - I love searching for them and let me tell you it's not always as easy as it looks! It feels pretty rewarding to find all of the objects before the time runs out. There's even the option to click for clues if you're struggling. I try not to utilize that option though and I feel pretty darn proud of myself when I'm successful all on my own!
 



Aside from the fantastic variety of games (seriously, there's so much!) on Solitaire.org the music which plays along with the games is incredibly calm and relaxing. This is a big deal to me because let's be honest, if you're looking to wind down after a busy day or stressful situation buzzy carnival sounding music is not going to be helpful. The music on Solitair.org games is almost Zen-like and a love it!

 The website gets bonus points for not having those annoying pop-up ads all over the place AND for not having in-game ads that no doubt would take away from the chill experience.

Do YOU like to game? What are your favorites?

The Foodie Bag Review


I was gifted The Foodie Bag in exchange for an honest review. 


If you're a foodie who enjoys taking photos of food - whether it be creations of your own or something on the go then this is the kit for you! The Foodie Bag has everything you need to elevate your photo-taking game to the next level. Learn more about the brand behind the bag - the Paper Bag Company here.

So what's The Foodie Bag all about?

It's a big, lightweight, and limited edition,12oz cotton zip-up bag that has an internal zip pocket and mesh divider. The bag comes with a 5 in 1 pop-up reflector, an 8 postcard set with handy tips, and 4 photographic backgrounds.


The Foodie Bag

The four backgrounds are the perfect size to flat lay dishes and props while adding a burst of life to the background. As my photos depict, The Foodie Bag is not just for food photography - the creative possibilities are endless!

This was my first time using any kind of photographic reflector or diffuser, so I've got some learning to do on my end, but I'd say it was a great first attempt! I'm excited to continue using The Foodie Bag and learn more from the tips on the included postcards.

The photos I've taken are from my phone, but you could use a professional camera if you have access as well.

I love how convenient The Foodie Bag is for pictures on the go and for easy cleanup and storage at home.

Pros & Cons of The Foodie Bag

I really appreciate how big and roomy the bag is. It's able to easily hold everything the kit comes with and more! I was able to fit my Canon Camera, and mini tripod in the bag comfortably. The straps on the bag are made well and sit nicely on your shoulder.

The backgrounds are made of durable paper, which can be wiped clean with ease. I would caution against anything that could leave a residue or ring mark though. The backgrounds do need to be rolled up and stored in the provided tube, which is a pro or con depending on your personal needs and point of view. I found this to be a non-issue since I wasn't taking photos away from home. However, it could be a frustration for on-the-go photo taking. Perhaps this is a challenge to tackle for a future The Foodie Bag.



The pop-up reflector is pretty handy and though I'm still learning how to utilize it properly, I love its portability! It twists and folds down super easily and fits like a charm into the supplied pouch, thus taking up very little room in The Foodie Bag itself. 

An added bonus is the included photo cards with photography tips on framing, lighting, and editing on the reverse side. These tips are courtesy of renowned phone photographer Matt Innwood. I plan on spending some time reading these cards thoroughly and implementing the advice with future photos.


Would I Recommend The Foodie Bag?

I would - It's a fantastic tool for anyone who loves taking flat lay style photos! You can purchase one for yourself (or as a gift for the photo-taking foodie in your life) over at The Paper Bag Company

Green Teapot

#TheFoodieBag sells for £39.95 and is capable of being shipped overseas - Contact The Paper Bag Company for more information here


Give the Paper Bag Company a follow on Instagram



Disclosure

This policy is valid from 23 February 2013

This is a personal blog written and edited by me. All opinions are that of my own. I am not a healthcare professional or an expert. All information presented in this blog is purely that of my own experience and or opinion. Please consult a medical professional before making any changes to your diet.

I write this blog as a hobby that I am passionate about. From time to time, I may receive monetary compensation for a sponsored post. I only work with brands that I trust and would use in my own home.

This blog accepts complimentary products for review. The opinions I have of a product will never be swayed by a company sending me an item(s) for free. I take into consideration the opinion of family members who are gluten-free due to Celiac Disease and I also value the opinions of non-gluten free family members. Taste is a matter of personal opinion so please use your own discretion and don't take my opinion as a gold standard.

Any ingredient or gluten-free claims should be verified with the restaurant/manufacturer as things can and do change.

For questions about this blog, please contact: sandra@glutenfreedoll.com

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