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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Holiday Jobs

There are so many things I want to and need to do it's hard to know where to start.  As I've said before I am a great procrastinator or as my mum called me a "gonna" gonna do this and gonna do that but actually end up not doing anything.  As a child my school reports use to say I'm easily distracted, even the nurses in hospital when I was born told my mum that if they were feeding me and someone came in the room I moved my head round to see what was going on. (I was ill when I was born and my parents had to leave me in hospital and visit me daily but the nurses obviously fed me when my mum wasn't there).

I have all next week off work and hope that I can achieve some of the things I need to. We have a few maintenance issues with our home that need sorting and I want to give the place a good clean and sort out.  I hope to make a start on our spare room as it needs new floor boards.  It has been used as a dumping ground and I want to be able to use it more as an office/snug.  I want to decorate it with an Indian theme in mind with orange and purple walls but my husband isn't so keen so we shall see... ;)

When we bought our house the furniture was given to us to go with the few bits we had as we couldn't afford new or even second hand.  Now we have been able to put some money aside to replace items of furniture, some of which are well past it and as we haven't had to think of what we would like in terms of style we are struggling, there is so much choice out there.  We are starting with upstairs first, hence doing the spare room.  Our room has blue walls which we are sticking with just going to re-decorate to brighten it up and are going to buy white wardrobes.  We have ordered a new bed as after 20 plus years the old one has finally given up and so has our backs!


 

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

Barcelona

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

Keys....

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.