Sunday, 15 May 2016

My Birthday

It was my birthday at the end of February and I was very spoilt.  Flowers and quality time with my husband.

I went out for lunch with a friend who gave me my favourite chocolates.

Had sushi with another friend.

It's my best friends birthday a few days before mine and there has been a restuarnt we have both wanted to try so treated ourselves and we not disappointed. The whole experience was great, from the moment we walked in to the end.  The staff friendly and professional and the owner took time out to talk to us about cooking the perfect Scotch egg, even checking with the chef the correct temperature.

Roses on the table for our arrival
Melt in your mouth steak

The meat platter
Runny Scotch egg
Refreshers instead of mints

Then a light supper at my friends.

Plus a little gift from another friend...


Friday, 13 May 2016


I have wanted to go to Barcelona for a few years now and we haven't been able to justify the cost until this year we got the best deal we have found.

Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce
The city lived up to my expectations in all but one area - the food.

One of the entrances to Sagrada Familia
I loved the buildings which was my main reason for wanting to visit.  The mind of Antoni Gaudi who designed a lot of buildings there amazes me. We pre-booked online to avoid the queues to go to the Sagrada Familia, a large cathedral still in the process of being built. I wouldn't class myself as religious but as soon as I walked in I felt emotional for some reason. I thought it was such a beautiful building and reading about his reasoning behind the design, taking inspiration from nature and transferring his ideas into bricks and mortar was incredible. The story of Jesus's birth is told at once of the entrances with the three wise men and King Herod. It made me realise I had taken more in at primary school than I thought about the story of Christ as I was able to explain it to my husband.

View of the city from Sagrada Familia

We walked round the city on a evening and enjoyed seeing families out having food and drinks without the need to get completely plastered something that in the city were we live happens every weekend.

On our last day we were fortunate with the weather so walked down the main street and explored the little streets and shops off it, ending up at the harbour and sat to soak up some sun.

The Harbour
We used the metro and got a pass for 10 euros.  It cost 1 euro a journey and you can both use the same ticket. It is also transferrable to the buses so we found it cheap and easy to get around.

Our hotel was good too. The room was clean and comfortable and the breakfast very good plus the staff friendly and helpful.

With regards to the food I think we were just in the wrong areas (very touristy) to find the types of restaurant I had visualised eating in. My Spanish friend was horrified when I said the best meal I had there was pizza.  I will defiantly research the food side of things more. I also think my taste and standards have changed as I've been cooking a lot more and hope I have improved as a cook.

We are hoping to go back as it is one of our favourite cities we have visited, the overall vibe of the place was great, very chilled back and relaxed. Ideal for a short break.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy

It's been ages since I've blogged. I really admire and appreciate bloggers who manage it every day.

Things have been busy with the new house, work and a few days away.  Also my mother in law who has a stroke just before Christmas has been diagnosed with cancer and we have been caring for her.

Things that are in the pipe line are more work on the new house (it needs more specialist work than expected), a self reliant weekend away and training for to do the Race for Life.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016


We have the keys

Now the work begins..

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Managing Finances

As part of getting the buy to let mortgage we had to show our expenses to the mortgage broker.  Even though I have said in a previous post we budget since our holiday in October we've taken our eye off the ball a bit.  Not that we have gone overdrawn but just not been as careful as usual.  We had a form to complete with all our monthly outgoings and it has just made us re-focus. I have started using our credit card for shopping and fuel as we get points which we can convert into vouchers for different things. I pay the balance off each month.

I have dug out a spreadsheet that I used years ago when we were first starting to save and will start to complete that again. It shows how much we spend on what, things like food, toiletries etc.  It also shows our balances which when you see it go up makes everything worthwhile.

Each Monday I am going to check our balances just to keep an eye on them.  I still menu plan and at the moment have a fully stocked freezer with a meat delivery I got just before Christmas.

I use more fuel than before as I work a lot further from home but am going to make a real effort to do errands while I am out. For example I drive past the gym on my way to and from work so rather than coming home then go back out take my gym clothes with me and call in on the way home.

We have opened a separate account for the new house so we can clearly the expenses and profit for it.

I think that for now all this will keep us on track.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Feeling Out of Sorts and a Bit of a Catch Up

I've been ill for a while, coughing, aching and no energy. I actually had to take a day off work which isn't like me to try and recover.  When I do get a cough it does linger and can go on for months, its just something I am prone too. Hopefully I am over the worse. Also I had an injection more or less 12 months ago for carpel tunnel syndrome and have been lucky it has lasted all this time however the pain as come back so I have started wearing the splint the hospital gave me and hope that will put off another injection. I don't mind them but know I can only have another two before they will have to operate so am trying to drag is out as long as possible.

Unfortunately things have slowed down with the buy to let house. We are all good to go but the mortgage company are being awkward and keep asking for more info which is frustrating as I wish they had asked for everything to start with not keep coming back say "can we just have this or this".

Other than that I have a few plans for February. My hubby is taking his mum away for a week and hopefully in that time I can get the floor replaced in our spare room. We had a leak from the bathroom and it had rotted the floor so it all needs taking up and redoing. It will then need decorating and I have plans for an Indian/Moroccan themed room. The plans for the rest of the home is for a more neutral look. Money for this has already been saved up, if our figures are correct!

Using the credit card for shopping has worked well and is something I am going to keep up.  We don't seem to have spent much in January which I am pleased of, hopefully this will keep going during the rest of the year.  I had to buy some new jeans for work (a size smaller!) which was an expense I hadn't planned for but due to the nature of my work I have to wash my clothes more regularly than I normally would which I think makes them wear quicker than usual. This month I need a pair of trainers again for work mainly but that is the only non food spend.

So onwards and upwards into February.  Fingers crossed we get the set of keys for the new house!