Saturday, 27 July 2013


Where does the time go? Its always Friday. Well not this minute obviously, as it is Saturday but you know what I mean. I go into work bright, bouncy and ready for the week ahead and booof, its Friday again in no time. I am going to say that this indicates a happy life but it may just be my age.

My friend, Eve, and I have discovered that fun was in both of our New Years resolutions list but that we haven't really been trying hard enough. In fact we have just let time whoosh by (see above) as usual without any changes. I am happy. It is my default setting, but sometimes fun would be good too. Eve only lives 26 miles away according to The AA routefinder. However it is an expensive two hour journey of cars, boats and busses in each direction, so we don't meet up as often as we should. But since she joined facebook we are using chat to fill in the gaps. Not perfect but not so bad.

We are starting a project list. I love lists. I need them to focus. Slows down the passing of time and allows me to do things.

We are making soap and other stuff, all natural ingredients. We want to be better than Lush (got to aim high)
Also maybe selling it somewhere. Don't fancy that. Very outside of the comfort zone so definitely the thing to do.
Run some old fashioned tea parties, with homemade cake of course, at old folks homes locally.
Or convert a van and have travelling tea parties (this may be in the longer run - after retirement) - sort of like this but not exactly like this.
And a whole bunch of other stuff which I hope I have written down before I forgot it.

Its all fun. Which was, afterall, the aim.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Secret Salad Society

Moyra is at it again. This time a spontaneous experiment in fun and sharing and community. If you are Facebook friends with Moyra you will know it was a great success and there are loads of yummy salad photos to prove it. And it sounds like just the beginning..

Amazing stuff, doing something you are inspired to do but that is a little mad and outside of your comfort zone.

I am seriously thinking of taking one of those courses that encourage you to think big, which Moyra recommends. Pretty sure they do work!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Finance Rules for kids (and adults)

A couple of days ago I wrote about our emergency fund (lack off) and actually put it all down on paper made me far more settled about it. It is more logical to pack all money into pension or reducing mortgage honest it is, for overall financial return. But I might just, to avoid being victemised by the black fairies, aim to get a little stash put away but on the whole I am happy with our way.

And this is our way

I get paid on the 24th of each month & Fahed gets paid on the 28th. Mine is fixed but his is very variable (I budget cautiously and update when it is good news).
I can claim my mileage and expenses fortnightly but often leave them for longer if we have a fairly padded budget because then they are used as quick savings.

I have a spreadsheet with a column for each Month (from 24th of one month to 23rd of the next) & sections for each type of payment such as household, financing, shopping, savings (yes, it is a bill).

Income goes in as well and then each section is subtotaled. At the bottom I show balance after all fixed costs and then balance after all costs. I used to carry a figure forward each month but don't do this anymore as my method is more about ensuring income exceeds expenditure than an actual cash flow model.

Really very simple and you can see problems that might be on the horizon and plan for them

When i remember what I was like pre budget (back in my twenties) and how much money I wasted in bank charges, when I could really have done with the money, it makes me want to kick myself. Now I check my online banking each morning. I actually have it as a diary item so that I cant be surprised

I am a fairly unconventional mum in some ways but I think I have taught my children well in this area.

Rules are:
No credit unless you are buying a house (or another appreciation asset).
Don't waste big money on assets which depreciate.(overpriced car on tick which takes mostly the entire wages of a twenty year old anyone?)
Have a budget set up with your outgoings/savings plans so you never get to car tax time and find its a surprise to you.
And my particular favourite - doing stuff is way more fun than owning stuff - dont buy a load of pointless junk.

The finance world according to mummy!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday night summing up

Food waste - I was going to do a Friday Food Waste post but last week and this week we didn't have any (unless someone snuck stuff out to the bin when I wasn't looking). I think it is more to do with what we are eating, everything is perfect for leftovers (endless salads, grilled meats or fish, dips) so its more like the fridge is acting like a mezzeh table and we graze over the days. Keeping in with the salad theme I am treating myself to a Pimms tongiht :

My honey bunny (yep,feeling softee) is back from his family visit and loving to be home. Tomorrow he is working in the morning but afterwards we are off to Dorset for more grilled meat and salads, barbecue time at my sisters caravan.

Sunday we stay home, maybe do some gardening if its not too hot and perhaps barbecued chicken and salad for lunch. Definitely a theme emerging here.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Emergency funds

I haven't got one. I used to have one but since the recession it got eroded away and although it is on my list, it isn't right at the top. I have been feeling a little guilt until i read this very sensible post from Plunged into Debt

So this is my acceptance that i do need an emergency fund but maybe not just yet:

British - Free, at point of service, health care. And I have no complants. There NHs may be a top heavy dinosaur but I love it even with it's failings.

I have a job which I love and pretty sure they like me too. Plus I have been there so long now that my redundancy payment would be largely un-affordable unless they really seriously wanted to see the back of me. However if we merged with another organisation I might put in for voluntary redundancy and half my mortgage overnight with my redundancy pay.

In four year time I could take my final salary defined benefits pension. Obviously greatly reduced because of early retirement but still do-able.

I have another house which I could live in and rent out our house to cover mortgage payments. Might not be what I want to do but Zoopla tells me it is possible.

My husband loves his job (teaching kids & adults to swim) and seems to be a popular teacher, so he does get a lot of work.

One of my kids has got a sponsored position as a merchant navy cadet,, to do his degreee, starting in September. He will grt pocket money, free accommodation and food and have his studies paid for (result! thats my boy).

My eldest son is going to be a rock star and keep me in a style to which I wish to be accustomed (okay,, might have to wait a bit for that).

So for me it makes more sense to put my money into :
extra mortgage repayments
work on the old Greek house (possible rental property)
finishing new Greek House
Employer pension scheme - where the contribution is pre tax and matched funded by the company.

I might be proved wrong but so far so good

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Normal Service MUST be resumed

The old fella has been away for 2.5 weeks & I just noticed I have been uncommonly 'spendy' in that time.

I bought him some welcome home presents, a blue pumpkin jar which matches others we have, a little brown ceramic hedgehog moneybox for his £2 coins, a kung fu panda (looks like him) just to make him laugh.

Jamal & I had a few (ton of ) books each, mostly from ebay and they were a deal but, you know, I am not supposed to be actively cluttering. Ahdel got a new game (for passing his swimming exam) and I paid for some of his music stuff.

Oh and then I accidently bought a second hand kindle yesterday (for travel purposes, obviously).

So I haven't actually spent much money as I am quite a canny purchaser but the rot must stop now. Right this second.

Oh, and just remembered there were craft things too. Some bun feet for a cupboard I am working on, some adhesive spray for a quilt I am working on, and some purple cotton (Gutermann cotton - not cheap) for a dress I am working on. Some many UFO's.

Stop, stop, stop, stop , stop it right now.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Action Stations

It has been a quiet old week The old fella is away visiting his sister, mum & dad have gone to Penzance for a few days, sister and brother in law go to the seaside on Thursday and come back on Monday morning (they are in retirement mode fomr their self employment) Jamal went visiting various mates on Thursday and isn't back until tomorrow. So its just me, the birds and my eldest son. However eldest goes to work just before I get home and later (on Fridays) has band practice. I feel a little more starved of company than usual. Bless him though, he did make me stay up until after band practice last night so that we could have a couple of glasses of red wine. Then the poor love came home with awful tooth ache, so we called it a day by midnight. So to cut a long story short (too late) I am likely to really ramble today as haven't had anyone non work to talk to since Tuesday night, for more than a few minutes.. Ramble, ramble.........

We will be going to the airport to pick Fahed up on Tuesday night. So I have four days left to do all of the things I like to do whilst he is away. Whilst that might sound like I had wild and exciting things in mind I actually mean painting and varnishing the landing area (smell makes him sick - and grumpy) and changing his sofa (change == eek!)plus a bit of a super clean. I need huge amounts of energy and quite a bit of inclination to get through this weekends to do list.  Plus I mustn't forget to pick up my parents from the station this afternoon, meet another mate for an eBay photo session. And am now apparently invited to a monopoly party at my own house (assuming we can find the Star Wars monopoly).

Maybe I will go mad this weekend and not make a list, just play it by ear. I can do it

Nothing to do with anything but is this not lovely???

Friday, 5 July 2013

Workday walks

It was way hotter than it looks but so so nice. 

Still trying to be more active, my work mate and I are walking at lunchtimes when we can. Look where yesterday's took us. Amazing!
 Makes me feel my place in history

Monday, 1 July 2013

Shakespear and ice cream

Today was one of those that I am determined to have more often.

My lovely dad gave me a lift to the Isle of Wight ferry. By mid morning I was on the high (ish) seas. In my little back bag was the obligatory bottle of water (refilled), two ice packs, a lunch box full of slices of roast beef (reduced in asda and roasted by my own fair hands last night), a lunch box full of home made baby potato salad.

My friend picked me up form the boat and we shared a lovely lunch (more home made goodies, this time by her) on her back patio in the sunshine. The rhubarb crumble and custard nearly did for me, but somehow I stayed awake.

We packed a coffee flash and fruit scones (which some ended up being called Javascript and the I-scone 5's) and set off to see Stephen Fry in 12th Night at the local cinema. A few cinemas are showing this recording of a stage performance from The Globe in London.. We booked ahead and got a 10% discount.

I was blinking brilliant.. Three hours passed in a flash. I just wish it had been a live performance but nonetheless it was great (really, really must go to live performances more often). It was also pretty funny when Eve kicked over the metal flask and it disappeared down the auditorium under all of the seats. Bang,, crash, rattle. We had to wait until the end before we could climb down and get it. We get older but we don't get smarter!

Afterwards we stopped at the beach at Gurnard for a lovely ice cream. A super day and it didn't break the bank too much.  Eve even bought my boat tickets island side and mailed them to me so that we could take advantage of slightly lower prices.

Until next time!

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