Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Organising Finances

I was following Toni over @ A Bowl Full Of Lemons with the weekly challenge of organising our finances....However, after talking it over with {TH} he said we would be best waiting to start at the beginning of the month. Our big payday is at the end of the month and thats when I normally work our budget out, so being mid month we are a little hit and miss. So I am reading all Toni's posts and making a list of things I need to do or buy, that way I am totally prepared to sort my budget at the end of the month ready for next month. I will get on top of our finances.

Monday, 14 March 2011

What I've Done or Not Done

I saw on a blog the other day (again I forget whose sorry) and I saw on Kia's blog yesterday a What I've Done Today post. When I first saw it I thought I must do one of those on my blog, then promptly forgot all about it, until I saw Kia's post last night. I then made a wee note and was adament I would add one today.........

What I've Done Today

In the Kitchen I have:
- wiped down all surafces
- cleaned the cooker top (oven is {TH}'s job!)
- wiped down all the tiles
- wiped down all door fronts
- washed the rings and thingie-me-bobs off the top of the cooker (technically the dishwasher did this part)
- washed all dished that are not dishwasher friendly
- cleaned out the inside of the microwave
- took the rubbish (trash) out
- hoovered and mopped the tiled floor
In the lounge I have:
- picked up all laundy left by the kidlets this morning
- put away all PS3 accessories left out 
-checked the snake eggs and changed the water (did I tell you my one of my other snakes, the black laid eggs on friday? we now have 16 eggs we are trying to incubate)
- dusted
- hoovered
- opened the window to get some air in, now the weather is better
In the dining room I have:
- cleared the table of junk
- wiped the table down
- picked up bits of this and that
- wiped the fire over
- swept, hoovered and mopped the floor 
 In the hallway/launchpad I have: 
- hoovered the floor
- tidied the videos and game away
- put all the shoes back in the shoe box that had escaped
- cleared my hot spot butchers block!!!
- sorted mail and tidied shelf under mirror (removing {B}'s crap she left there this morning when doing her hair!)
In the laundry room I have:
- wiped the washer over
- wiped the dryer over
- swept, hoovered and mopped

In General I have also:
- emptied and washed all ashtrays
- emptied all bins and put rubbish in outside bin
- put things back in their homes 
- done a load of washing
- folded and put away last nights load
- made a pile for each child of their stuff that needs to be put away in their rooms

What I've Not Done Today
In the kitchen I have not:
- emptied, cleaned inside and re-jigged the cupboards
- cleaned the window frames and windows
In the lounge I have not:
- striped the fire down and cleaned it out
- cleaned the window frames and windows
- cleaned the tv
- hoovered under the sofa's
In the dining room I have not:
- cleaned the window frames and windows
- cleaned the mirror
In the hallway/launchpad I have not:
- cleaned the mirror
- wiped down the front door
- cleaned the window sill or window
- tackled the stairs

In General I have not:
- done anything upstairs
- done anything in the master bedroom
- cleaned the en-suite

All in all though I think I've had quite a productive day and am pleased with myself

How Often.......

Jen over at OCD (Organized and Clean Design) has a series titled: How Often You Clean It...?

I thought I would condense these posts down to one post :)

#1 - The Toaster
I wipe my toaster down daily. I empty the crumb tray and hoover (yes I hoover my toaster) once a week. {TB} is a bugger for toast. He has toast for breakfast, if he's peckish in the day he has toast, for supper he has toast. That boy would live on toast if he could! So my toaster gets used pretty heavily and needs to cleaned out regularly. I hoover it because no matter how hard I shake it over the bin there is always crumbs left behind, so I get the hoover in there 

#2 - Behind the Washer and Dryer
I would love to say 'oh all the time' but that would be a big fat stinky lie. I do pull my dryer out once every couple of weeks and hoover/mop behind it. My washer - NEVER!. We did clean behind th epace where it lives before we put it there, but due to its position and pipes going through the wall, I am not planning in pulling it out any time soon to clean behind it. I do hoover the fluff catcher thingie in the front of the dryer at least once a fortnight

#3 - The Ceiling Fans
Never! I don't have ceiling fans hehe. There are not common in homes in the UK, I know people who have them but not like you do stateside. We have a desk fan that lives in the bedroom next to {TH}'s lappy and I hoover that once a week. In the summer (if its warm) and the fans come in out the garage I'll clean them once a week too, they get a wipe down and a hoover.

Meet Me On Monday

It's Monday again and I have to admit I feel a whole lot better today. I've come to some decisions and as soon as {TH} wakes up I will talk things through with him. Poor {TH} had a very bad night last night, he was awake till the early hours and even when he did (finally) drop off he was restless and sweaty. I went to bed early so managed to get a few hours sleep before he came in and distrubed me. I don't mind though, well I do but it's something I've come to deal with and although I'm an 8hrs a night kinda girl I can survive on very little sleep, I just have to keep myself busy through out the day and I have some things I want to get done today so I should be ok. I just hope {TH} is ok.


1.  Do you have a fireplace in your home? yes, but it's not a very pretty one lol although it's much prettier now {TH} has done some work on it. You can see some before & after pictures in this post {here}
2.  Can you drive a stick shift? no, I can't drive at all but when I do eventually learn it will be stick shift as thats the most common here in the UK
3.  How many computers are in your home? Now just 3, we recetly sold {TH}'s desktop. There's my mean machine, {TH}'s lappy and {TB}'s desktop
4.  Are your taxes done yet?  Do you do them yourself? no and no hehe being in the UK we don't have to file taxes like you do stateside unless you are self employed (I think)
5.  What is your favorite meal of the day? Can't say I have one to be honest, I like breakfast but only when it's certain cereals and I don't have to rush

Sunday, 13 March 2011


I've spent alot of today (and last night) thinking. I 'thought' I had my life on track and was going in the right direction, however now I don't think I am. Right now, I feel I've made a huge mistake and I'm not sure how to go about putting it right and getting myself back on the right track. To be honest I'm not sure what the right track is, but I do know it's not the one I am currently going down.

Sometimes, I jump in with both feet, rather than dipping my toe and this is such an occation. I jumped head first into something thinking it was 'just perfect' and now I am starting to realise it's very far from perfect and not what I want at all.

So how do I now correct this mess without people thinking I'm a failure that will never amount to anything? I know raising kids, keeping a family together and running a home is no easy task and to do that, must mean I've amounted to something, but there are always going to be 'those' people within the family who will say things that will no doubt upset me. I can't carry on with the way I am going though just to prove a point to others, can I? Thats just not the sensible option, not when I know at some point I'm going to scream and it's all going to come crashing down around me. Maybe I should just admit it now, get it over and done with....

Only time will tell if I've made the right or wrong choice (again)

My Blog Buddy

I am so proud of my blog buddy Kia, you can find her over @ A View From Here, she (like myself) is on a mission to de-clutter and organise her life, home and her hubby hehe. I've known Kia for ages, we met through an yahoo group for taggers and she is totally awesome, she has helped me out on more than occation with various things. Although we have never met (I do plan on popping down to see her some time this year) I consider her a friend and one I'm proud of. Her success in de-cluttering and organising has been awesome so far, I know she still has some way to go but she is making so much progress. She is my muse, when she tackles something I haven't managed to do I have to either do it or add it to my list hehe. She constantly finds awesome blogs that I need to follow.

So I just wanted everyone to know how proud I am of Kia (and her hubby) and how much she has put me to shame this week lol, she has romped away while I'm still stuck at the starting line lol


Just fetched {LM} home from a birthday party and now her and {S} are running round like wild animals! If that wasn't enough to give me a headache working out the finances was!

On the plus side we are not in as much debt as I thought we were, we should (fingers crossed) be debt free in a little over 12 months. It could be less, as when one thing is paid off we can put the extra onto debt no.2 and so on. However I am setting us a target to be debt free by April 2012. According to Dave Ramsey we should set up an emergancy fund first of $1000 that equals approx £622. I can't do this first, as I have a debt that I need to pay back by the end of April, but once that is paid we can sort putting some away for our emergancy fund. The most expensive thing to replace for us would probably be the tv in the lounge, so I will set aside the cost of a new tv plus a little extra, it will probably be around the £700/£750 mark.

I still need to jiggle things about and some of the statements for our bills haven't updated yet so I don't know how much is due in April, but I have made a start

Linking this back to A Bowl Full Of Lemons

Week 7 Challenge

I admit I haven't been doing very well with the weekly challenges over @ A Bowl Full Of Lemons, but this weeks challenge is one I both need and want to complete. Organising my Finances! or lack there of lol

This challenge is over 6 days and Toni has broken it down to nice easy bite size chunks:
Day 1 - Set up a budget, track all spending for entire 6 day challenge & Enter Giveaway
Day 2 - Learn about & set up an envelope system
Day 3 - Create a "Budget Box"
Day 4 - Create your debt snowball & learn about free budgeting software
Day 5 - Dave Ramsey interview questions answered
Day 6 - Giveaway Winner & debt free stories

I really need to do some research on who Dave Ramsey is and what it's all about. Being in the UK I feel a bit lost over Mr Ramsey.

{TH} and I are already on a budget and on the road to becoming debt free, although being debt free is a few years away yet. I am however always looking for new ways to budget and work our finances a little better. I sometimes get a little lost and mis-calculate so I need a system that works for us, that both {TH} and I can understand. It needs to be simple and preferably not use excel (unless someone can give me a crash course in using that damn prog!)

Maybe it's time for good old fashioned paper and pencils, I did buy those little notepads the other day that I have not given to the kidlets, therefore I could use those and those funky new mechanical pencils lol.
Whatever I go, it must be better than my current system, which involves:
Checking the bank online and scibbling on scraps of paper, that ultimately get lost. I always have a rough idea of how much we have coming in and going out, but I sometimes 'forget' to budget things in and then it messes up the week.

So this week, today is a new start and I'm determined to get a system that works and will continue to work.

First thing I need to do is write down all our bills and how much we owe, then I can break things down and work things out. For me the worst part is have 9 different paydays through the month and all our bills are paid monthly (at different times). Think today will cause me more than one headache but I know it's the first step on a long road that I desperatly want to get to the end of!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Not Making Plans Anymore

Today we have had a constant stream of visitors and it's not polite to wander off while people are here and start cleaning things. So all I've done today is make (what feels like) endless cups of tea! It seemed to be that as one visitor left another would arrive within 10 minutes. Once {TH} and I had eaten it was getting on and a bit late to be striping out cupboards. So from now on I'm just going to do things when I can rather than trying to plan in advance.

Tomorrow I have stuff planned with the kidlets so don't think it will get done then either, hopefully next week.

I also have some major decisions to make over the next 24 hours, so for today I'm going to log off and go think somewhere quiet.


A lovely relaxing Saturday, I have nothing that I need to do today (except laundry which I always have to do lol) but my brain is working over time wondering which area of the house to tackle next. I still have quite a few rooms that need a thorough clean and de-clutter, but where to start..... 

I have decided today I will tackle the kitchen and the cupboards, since {TH} did the baking cupboard yesterday it seems a shame to just have one lovely neat and tidy cupboard. So that is my challenge for today, I'm going to take it easy and if I don't get it all done, it's doesn't matter as long as I make a start. Some of the cupboards are a total mess, stuff just thrown in and stacked all over the place.

Going to go take my before pictures and then I will get myself together and get started.....back later hopefully with lots of after pictures

PoundShop Bargains

I love my local poundshops, stores full of tat hehe. We do get quite alot of stuff from there, I get most of my cleaning products from there and other odds and sods. I love to wander round and see what other junk useful items I can get. Yesterday, I got some Colgate toothpaste ({TH} got the same stuff from tesco the other day for £2.50), I also got some kiddie toothpaste as they don't like the one we're using at the min, it's a little too strong for them, some hand cream, rechargable batteries and this neat little storage drawer unit thingie-me-bob lol

Despite my best efforts recently, I have ended up with with multiple pots/jars/buckets with pens, pencils etc etc in and then a storage box under my desk with sellotape, glue, more pens and pencils in. It was getting silly, but I won't throw pens away until they don't work and I only throw pencils away when they either get to small or the kids have dropped them once too often and the lead is broken. So when I saw this little drawer thing I knew I needed it. 3 drawers and it's quite small so I hoped it would fit under my monitor shelf on the desk. Which it does *smiles* I have the top drawer filled with pens and pencils (I admit spares are still in a box under the desk). Middle drawer has felt tip pens, highlighters, glitter pens and metallic pens. Bottom drawer has my 2 spare post-it note pads, sellotape, eraser, sharpner, staples, scissors and some glue. This leaves my desk quite alot clearer and everything is contained in one area. I just need to make some labels for it, but since I don't have a label maker I will have to attempt to make them by hand. I think I will check ebay too and see if I can grab a small (& cheap) label maker. I only remember the old fashioned Dynmo (sp) ones that printed embossed text on very thin sticky strips, these new ones seem alot more high tech and funky!

I nipped into the other poundshop and got some more bargains, I picked up some 2 packs of ribbons (5x1m), a yellow DVD storage box (not for dvd's though), 3 small baskets (in a bundle) and a candle in a jar. I got them all with a purpose in mind. I also picked up some mechanical pencils, handwriting pens for {B} and some little notebooks (pack of 4). {LM} keeps asking me for a notebook (diary) so I grabbed those, which means one each for the kids and one for me hehe. I also grabbed a letter rack, we still get mail for our landlady and previous tennent, but our landlady comes round about once every 3 months and collects all the mail. It's getting less and less but still it comes to us. It was always just dumped on the window sill next to the door, but it always looked scruffy and untidy. So when I saw a letter rack for just a pound I grabbed it. It's not fantasically pretty, in fact it's plain and quite boring, but it does the job. I have put it on the shelf under the mirror, rather than on the window sill. It has 3 sections for mail, so I have organised the mail too, a section for the landlady's mail, a section for the previous tennent and the front section for us.

Onto the things I bought with other things in mine for those things.........
Ribbons - technically these are for scrapbookers/card makers (which I don't do) but I thought they would be nice to wrap wround jars to make them look pretty, plus I am going to 'attempt' to make a card for my mum for mothers day and thought these might come in handy.
DVD Storage Box - I wanted something to put my spare printer inks and photo paper in, this is the right size and nice and bright. I could probably have got a slightly smaller one, but for a pound I got this one.
3 Small Baskets - I picked these up for the kitchen cupboards. We (ok {TH}) has a few little pots and jars of baking stuff. It's always getting lost in the cupboard so I thought putting them in baskets would help and makybe save some space.
Candle In A Jar - I use alot of hair grips in both mine and the girls hair. However I hate digging round in the bottom on the bobble bucket to find them. So I thought this little candle jar would be idea (once I burn the candle away). It's got a lid so the grips will be safe and tucked away. I may grab a few more next time I got as I think they would make lovely spice jars and because they look quite pretty would look nice on a shelf and once again save us hunting through a cupboard looking for the 'right' spice

So those were my bargains yesterday. I have to nip into the main town next week, where there are 3 poundshops (one is huge) so who knows what bargains I will find next week.

On a side note, when I showed {TH} the baskets I had grabbed he went straight into the kitchen and begand re-organising his baking cupboard. He put stuff in jars and labeled them and made the shelved look all pretty. He's only used one of the baskets so far, but has stacked the baskets inside each other ready to be filled. He also did that to stop me from finding somewhere else for them to go and get filled with other stuff lol. They had the same ones in bright green and pink too, I might get another set and put one in my top drawer to keep my hair stuff in, {TB} could no doubt use one to put his pens and stuff in that clutter his desk and the other one...well you can always find a use for a basket, even if not at the time you buy it.

Some pics of bargains 
 my mini drawer unit thingie-me-bob
the bottom drawer
the middle drawer
 the top drawer
candle in a jar 
 this picture doesn't really show it but the lid is air tight due to rubber/plastic seal
 the boring letter rack and my keys lol complete with Scoobies made by myself and {B}
 filled letter rack
the basket(s)
filled with goodies
back in the cupboard
all neat and tidy - sorry no before picture as {TH} had got everything out before I had my camera ready

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is an utter disgrace! The dresser is full of crap, the bed hasn't been made, washing needs to be folded and put away, washing needs to be moved from the floor to the basket........It really is awful. In comparison the the master bedroom the rest of the house looks immaculate! Quite depressing when you have to climb over crap on the floor just to get into bed. Our bedroom is very small and we have a very large bed, it's also designed stupidily. Which is why our wardrobe lives in the laundry room hehe. The other down side is, people who visit always use the en-suite so they see the disaster area and I get embarassed by it. Anyway, I decided I would tackle the room today, at least clear the floors so I we didn't have to scramble over things.

Here are the disgusting before pictures:
A cuppa to get me started (typically British hehe)
From the door into the bedroom and my beautiful Polly
My side of the bed (the white wire on the floor is so I can plug the dryer in)
The blanket box (off my nan) burtied behind and under washing, the en-suite doorway to the side
{TH}'s side of the bed!
 The top of the dresser
{TH}'s lappy on his side on the bed
Looking up the room from the en-suite door and Polly again 
My top drawer (on my bedside unit) crammed so full my hair dryer doesn't fit in anymore

So where the hell do you start?

I picked up all the dirty washing and threw (yes threw) it into the en-suite (where the washing basket is). I then folded the clean washing and sent the kids to put it away, none of it as mine or {TH}'s. I put the clean bedding in the blanket box. It's not perfectly folded but as Kia would say 'it's better than it was'
The bedding in the blanket box
The inside of the blanket box (originally a travellers chest we think) is beautiful, here's a close up of the paper used to line it

 I then started down {TH}'s side of the bed, getting rid of rubbish and picking stuff up. I wiped all the surfaces down and hoovered.

I then moved on to the dresser, I took everything off the dresser and dumped it on the bed

This left a very dusty dresser

So I gave a wipe down and cleaned it up. It was then time to work out what needed to 'live' on the dresser, out of the pile of junk on the bed. A while ago {TH} made some bowls out of records by melting them in the oven. For some reason (unknown to both {TH} & myself) one had made it's way into the bedroom and filled itself with junk! I wanted to keep this one the dresser as {TH} made it and I knew it would be useful. I decided to put the make up I use most into the record bowl and other stuff in the bag could be stored in the bed (storage top and bottom of the bed) So I wiped the record over and all my make up and in it went. I wiped everything over and dried it before putting it back on the dresser.

I then moved over to my side and picked up the bags and clothes off the floor. Clothes went in the en-suite to be washed and my bags were put away in the wardrobe. I emptied the 3 drawers of my bedside unit. 2 drawers have the kids stuff in and the top one had my stuff crammed in. I rehomed the kids stuff, keeping the new school t-shirts in the bottom drawer. That gave me 2 drawers to put all my stuff in.
Middle drawer, has cotton wool and the girls make up that is only to be used under supervision and only for specific occations. I don't want my girls growing up too fast. Also has some bit of mine in there, there's a basket so it keeps stuff together :)

The top drawer has all my hair stuff in, GHD's, hairdryer, sprays and bobbles.

 A quick hoover and I was pretty much done. Moved a few things about and set the clock on the ipod/alarm {TH] picked up the other week and I was done!

 My side
{TH}'s side
{TH}'s side

The dresser

All in all I'm quite pleased with myself

Week 10

Don't you love hoe far behind I am with this lol.

Week 10:
Questions to ponder:
  1. What are your hot spot landing zones? the window sill next to the front door, the butchers block (my nemesis)
  2. Think about ways you can tackle these flat surface areas to manage the stuff that continues to pile there. I have bought a letter rack to assist with the mail build up on the window sill and moved it to the shelf below the mirror, don't know if it will stay there but for not it's happy. Am also thinking of adding a vase or large candle to the window sill to avoid stuff being dumped there. As for the butchers block, nope I'm at a loss with what to do with that apart from put a note on it saying put stuff on here at your peril lol
  3. What are you most proud of so far in your 52 weeks journey? Life in general, I am a happier person with each day that passes and with every bit of junk/clutter I manage to throw away. There's no one thing that I have achieved that I'm proud of, its the whole journey I am going on.
I will work on going backwards as wellas forwards and trying to complete weeks 1-9 hehe

Monday, 7 March 2011

Meet Me On Monday

oh the joys of a Monday morning! I actually managed to get most of the clothes folded and put away last night - I folded all the kids and stacked them so they can put them away when they come home from school, it was a little late by the I finished to go putting stuff away in their rooms and risk waking them. There is a load in the dryer from last night that I need to tackle today and a few bits of washing but other than that I think I am done. Hooray!!!!


1.  What is your favorite way to eat potatoes? I love mashed spuds with a dollop of Welsh butter mixed in
2.  What was the last package that was delivered to your house? The book I ordered from Amazon for my college course
3.  What is your favorite scent that you love to smell? Freshly cooked bread..don't know why but I just love the smell 
4.  Do you smoke? I do, I know it's bad for me and all that and I will give up one day
5.  Are your parents married or divorced? My biological parents are divorced but my mum and dad are still married :)