Wednesday, 27 January 2016

No-spend February

Last summer, Hubs and I met with a mortgage advisor who went through our monthly expenses in order to determine the size of mortgage we could have to buy our new home. We got the mortgage we wanted and needed, but the meeting left us reeling because we'd realised we couldn't account for almost a third of our income each month!

That's £800! 

So, in December, after everything had settled from the move, I decided to take a closer look at our finances and realised if we were good and didn't indulge on the 'extras', we could save £600 in one month! Obviously this was pretty impossible to do in the festive month of December, nor would we make it through January - we have three birthdays that month, one of which is Hubs - so we agreed we'd give it a go in February.

And 'No-spend February' was born!

So, what does a no spend month involve? Well, it isn't actually no spending because that'd be pretty impossible - we have a mortgage and bills to pay! So, we're cutting out all the extras, all the little spends that add up, in our case to almost £300 a month, which is equal to what we save each month. Who wouldn't want to double their savings just like that, so for the 29 days that make up February 2016 (damn Leap Year), we're cutting out takeaways, bought lunches, magazines, my 'must-have' home buys (which are rarely truly must-have) and anything else we do not need.

And that's the key word, need.

We're allowing ourselves to buy food, petrol (in order to get to work to earn the money we're gonna save) and gifts for the two birthdays we have this month. We're also going to pay the bills - gas, electric, TV, water, alarm and council tax, as well as our mobile phone contracts and our car and home insurance. But that's it!

If we stick to it, we should save close to £600 this month alone. Now I know this isn't a sustainable, long-term savings plan, but if we can do this once every three months, we could save over £2,000 this year!

I'm not quite sure how, but I've managed to convince my blogging bestie, Kelly, to give it a go too, so head over to her blog and she what she's planning to give up to save towards her fabulous September wedding!

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

happy birthday

This gorgeous man turns 34 today...
We've had our ups and downs over the years but there really is no other person I want to navigate the journey of life with.  
Happy Birthday, baby; I hope you have a great day xx

(Feel free to send Hubby some birthday love via Twitter)

Monday, 25 January 2016

weekend #4

Weekends really are my favourite time of the week...
I love spending time at home and other than getting out for a walk on Sunday, my entire weekend, all 48 glorious hours of it, were spent at home, doing things I love with the people I love.

Our Virgin Media has now been reconnected, so I spent an hour on Saturday morning catching up with the only soap I watch (while Hubs watched some footie on the TV, hence the headphones).

Saturday is a great day for me for getting chores done. I'm not that productive during the week, but I love getting a big clean, and loads of washing done on a Saturday...

While Hubby nipped out to the tip and to do the food shop (he's much better at sticking to a list than I am) I wrapped up his birthday presents (don't panic, he knows he's got trainers from me so this pic won't spoil anything), and once he was back he helped me stick up these chalkboard wall decals from Wall Pops - I love them, and they'll certainly do the job until Hubs can make us a real chalkboard...

Our evening consisted of pizzas, lazing on the sofa and retiring to bed at 10:30pm #rocknroll

It was our turn this weekend to have my parents over for Sunday dinner, so we cooked a pork roast with homemade yorkie puds, which were much more successful than Christmas Day.

After dinner and a delicious chocolate pudding with ice cream, mum, Hubs and I headed out for a walk across the fields...

Later in the evening, Hubby's mum, step-dad, sister and nephew called round for a spot of tea and a slice of early birthday cake :)

I hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Friday, 22 January 2016

high five for Friday

Happy Friday, peeps.
It's been an odd one this week.

On Tuesday, I got the news that my beloved nana had passed away. It wasn't sudden and had been expected but it still threw me for a loop. I really do feel honoured to have known and been so inextricably shaped by this strong, funny and loving woman, who touched the lives of every one she met. I will miss her beyond words but take comfort in the knowledge that she is no longer scared, confused or suffering and is instead reunited with my pop-pops and her mam and dad. I am in awe of my mum, her sisters, and my cousins who are braver than they realise and stronger than I could ever be. 

In the spirit of counting my blessings no matter the situation, I would still like to take part in High Five this week, to focus on the good in life and remain positive...

1 | The snow last weekend was beautiful.
I'm grateful the weather has now warmed up, but it was beautiful to be transported to a magical winter wonderland, if only for one day.

2 | Our Wi-Fi, TV and phone is working again after being out for almost three weeks due to the builders accidentally cutting through the cables. It's such a 21st Century problem to be without Wi-Fi and to only have a handful of TV channels to watch but it was starting to get frustrating; I'm thrilled it's all working again.

3 | Supernatural & Arrow returned to screens this week :)

4 | I finally found, and ordered, a yellow throw blanket big enough for our bed; it should arrive in the next two weeks :)

5 | I'm looking forward to a productive and rejuvenating weekend, spent with those I love most.

Have a great one, whatever you do!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Weekend #3

Winter finally arrived this weekend... and it was glorious.
There's something about a really decent snowfall that transports me back to being a child. I love waking up to a fresh, almost magical new world that's clean and white. Kinda makes it feel like anything is possible...

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself, because the snow arrived Sunday morning...

Saturday was spent doing chores, picking bits and bobs up in town, and Hubs watching the football on his phone using his mum's Wi-Fi because the builders have cut through our Virgin Media cables and they can't be re-laid until later this week. 

I love my new house; I love how light it is. I know I said this last week, but I really do love how light and bright this house is compared to my last house. And because I love it so much, it rarely feels like an actual chore to clean it. It's a pleasure to wipe away the week and start the weekend afresh, which is why a lot of the cleaning was done on Friday afternoon (might as well make the most of my early finish from work - I have the dentist this Friday though). Saturday ended with pizzas and crappy TV...
 
Sunday breakfast was eaten whilst admiring the snow.

The morning was spent pottering about and getting ready to face the day, so around midday we headed over to my parents house, where we enjoyed a roast dinner and chocolate fudge cake with ice cream for pudding.

We then wrapped up warm and donned our wellies for a walk with Izzy in the snow, across the fields and into new housing estates...

After a visit to Hub's mum's, we collapsed on the sofa for an hour or so to watch a few episode of The Big Bang Theory (do you like our aerial set up? Hopefully Virgin Media will be fixed this week and the bloody thing can go in the loft where it belongs!), before retiring to bed.

Here's to a great week!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Friday favourites

Happy Friday, world. 
I wanna try something a little different today; I want to take this Friday to share with you a few of the things I've been loving this week, because there has been too much bad stuff happening and I want to cheer you all up...


What Charlie Carver wrote about being the kind of role model he need as he was growing up; I wish more people thought like him.

Lean in 15 and Joe Wicks on Instagram.

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Thompson's tributes to Alan Rickman.

This book; what a fantastic way to introduce acceptance, tolerance and love to children.

These wall decals (which I have ordered for my kitchen).

The fact that there is a Supernatural adult colouring book in the works! I've always loved to colour and until recently only had children's colouring books or those doodle pads full of intricate shapes. However, just after Christmas I got the Harry Potter colouring book and I love it, so I can't wait to combine two loves with this Supernatural colouring book, and I can even get it for my birthday, seeing as that's a month after release :)

And just so this post contains a photo, here's one of the snow outside my house this morning :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

2016

Despite a number of great things happening last year, I found myself feeling increasingly down and generally negative about things. I would only see the bad in a situation, would compare myself to others and only see what they had that I didn't, all of which left me feeling slightly bitter and, more often than not, sad.

That's not who I want to be. 

After mulling it over for a couple of weeks and seeing if it 'fit', I've decided to adopt 'positive' as my word of 2016. For 2015, my word was 'focus' and I feel like, for the majority of the year, I achieved what I wanted by staying focused. I'm hoping I can be successful with positive for 2016.

I want to count my blessing daily, because I am hugely blessed - I plan to write my daily blessings in a notebook at the end of each day. 

I want to find the positives in any and every situation - like last night when we had a flat tyre; I didn't focus on the fact one was flat, I focused on the fact that three weren't, that we had a spare tyre, and that we can afford to replace said flat tyre, which Hubs sorted this morning.

I want to generally feel like a happier, more positive person - at the end of 2014, I took part in the 100 Happy Days challenge and by Day 100, I did feel happier about life. Focusing on the positive things, the things that make me smile and laugh, as well as the things that make me happy that I usually take for granted on a daily basis, did make me feel happier, but I seem to have lost the ability to find the pleasure in the small, daily occurrences.

So, for 2016, I'm putting the past behind me and focusing on being positive and a 'glass half full' kinda gal!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Weekend #2

Happy Monday, bloggers.
I hope you had a great weekend; I did, mainly because it was so productive and was spent with my favourite people...

Saturday started dull but dry, so after breakfast we jumped at the chance to nip into town and pick up a few bits, as well as nip into the local doctors to pick up some registration forms...

Although we've been in our new house for over three months now, there's still so much to do, especially as I'm adopting the mantra 'a place for everything, everything in its place', so this weekend we decided to tackle the spare bedroom and find places for a few more things that have spent the last 14 weeks in boxes. 
Spare bedroom on Saturday at 9am
Same bedroom at 5pm, almost ready for its first guests at the end of the month :)

Although the third bedroom is now more jam-packed with stuff than ever before, I know things have to get worse before they get better - the last three months has taught me that - so I'm hopefully for getting more stuff sorted and allocated a home next weekend.

We did manage to get our new bookcase put in its place this weekend, after I gave it a coat of wax on Friday afternoon.
I'll do a dedicated post about this soon :)

Amidst the chaos of unpacking boxes, Hubs had to investigate the loft to find the aerial box/cable so we can actually enjoy some TV. Turns out, when our Virgin Media went down last week, it was because the builders cut through the cables and it looks like it won't be fixed until around 20th January. And, as new houses don't come with aerials as standard, we needed to locate exactly where we could install an aerial.
He located said point, but is leaving the installation until next weekend when we have more time, so we currently have this fashionable set-up in the lounge...
Damn builders!

After all that work, it was time for some dinner...

 After dinner, we headed to bed, armed with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Sunday was bright and not too crisp; the sun was a welcome sight after all the rain of the previous night (and weeks). 

The morning sun shining into our bedroom and en-suite was beautiful...
The difference between this house and our previous one isn't even anywhere close; in our old home, the rooms we spent the majority of our time in (the living room and the bedroom) were both north-facing rooms, meaning the actually got very little light; well it's the total opposite in this house and it's amazing. It really makes my heart happy to live somewhere that is filled with light.

After a roast dinner and a slice of banoffee cheesecake at my parents' house (neither of which I photographed!), Hubs, mum and I headed out to walk Izzy in the afternoon sunshine...

After a cuppa tea and some chocolate biscuits (#byebyehealthyeating), we left my parents and headed to visit Hubs' mum; we stayed for an hour or so but were knackered so headed home... to bed!

Only five more days and we get to do it all over again; I love weekends!