Monthly Archives: December 2014

Family and Home Resolutions for 2015

Some of these relate to family things, some to the house itself but all contribute to our overall home life!

11. Quality time

Yes, I know. It couldn’t be more of a hackneyed expression, could it?  But now I’ve got two children and one of them is at school I’ve never been more aware that quality time is something that you have to fight for. Particularly if no one is sleeping properly and you are always in firefighting mode. I have no specific goals within this reolution. It is to create awareness. Time needs to be carved out each day for a bit of fun or down time together and preferably a little bit focused on each child. Between managing the school run and nap times at home and working from home but also working from the office and doing all of the housework and cooking all of the meals and doing all of the financial stuff I seem to spend the day charging from one task to another without stopping often enough.

I am also going to start going to an extra group with baby boy. He goes to the one at the library which we love but hasn’t really been to anything playgroupish. We have a children’s centre that rund a free weekly group so there’s no excuse really. I’m going to try to make it there twice a month (while also going to the library group at least 3 times a month).

12. Being organised at home

This encompasses everything from daily routines to organising where everything goes. I figure the more organised I am at home, the more time I will have to spend with the kids and going to bed early to get more sleep!

13. Food and eating well

As our needs as a family evolve I have to keep re-asessing this. As a bare minimum though, 5 a day and I’d like us to be eating a lot more veg than in recent months (I’ve been hunting out new recipe ideas to achieve this). And we also need to stick to the monthly food budget of £220.

14. Setting a better example

This is one of the resolutions I’m making that will be hard to measure but here it is none the less. This covers a myriad of things including sitting up properly at the table (why do I even need to remind myself about this? Hunched shoulders and arms slumped over the table while eating or writing are so not a good look. Also it gives me neck problems but that’s beside the point…). Also, speaking properly (nothing like hearing some very slangy talk from your own child to realise what you need to curb), saying please and thank you (why correct a child for this constantly when most adults actually appear to be rubbish at it?) and not getting cross/grumpy so easily (getting more sleep makes a big difference plus I just need to make an effort to be more patient).

 

15. Doing Home Improvements on an almost zero budget (and fixing and maintaining things)

You’ve seen our financial plans. £500 for windows and £500 for an emergency fund, not to mention £1k ish in ISA replenishing. There’s going to be very, very little left for fripperies but we still need to do a lot to finish the house. However, there are things that are free or very cheap to do (like digging up my overgrown front garden) and I want to focus on those (when I’ve got time!) so we at least feel like we are moving forward and can see some changes making place.

Also, and this sounds weird, but we are really, really crap as keeping up with basic maintenance. Lights without working lightbulbs, dead batteries, things hanging off that need to be screwed back in. We replaced light bulbs in our bedside lamps a month or so ago. They had been dead for nearly two years! Why?! This resolution shouldn’t cost more than a few pounds each month. It is madness and it must stop.

And there you have it – my 15 resolutions for 2015. Happy New Year to everyone that stops by! xxxxx

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Financial resolutions for 2015

We’re at our most financially stretched since starting this blog back in 2009. Our income is significantly lower and yet we now have two children and much higher living expenses plus a much larger mortgage! I wouldn’t swap it though. I love our home (unfinished though it is) and I really love having my two bubs. So, like everything else, we’ve just got to get on with it and do our best.

Here are the financial goals/resolutions for 2015 (following on from the 5 personal ones yesterday):

6. Replace at least two windows.

Our bedroom window is currently being held closed with duct tape. Plus the seal on he one on the landing has gone. We’ve had a quote of £500 to replace both though I’m going to have to get other quotes to see if this is the best price we can get. Ideally, we’d also replace the one in the bathroom as well but to be honest they are all on their way out and will need to be replaced in the next 5 years. But, taking one thing at a time, we need to save £500 for the most urgent replacements.

7. Get our ISA back to £3k. 

I have one ISA left and prior to my maternity leave it had £3k in it to use if one of us lost a job. I had never dipped into this before. To me, it was like this money did not exist. But we didn’t have enough to manage on my maternity pay and then the week before Christmas the bloody washer-dryer broke. And my car, which passed its MoT in early December, has to go in to the garage tomorrow as it has started chugging like a tractor with a flashing engine light on the dashboard. Hmmm. Until I know the final amounts involved I won’t know how much needs to be replaced but my guess is it will be around £1k – a huge sum to replace on our tiny budget. This might take more than a year but I still want to make a respectable dent in this goal!

8. Set up a £500 Emergency Fund

That way when a major appliance or a car breaks we don’t have to touch the ISA. This was the plan for 2015 anyway… just didn’t realise we’d be replacing money in the ISA at the same time!

9. Stick to the budget and create more cash systems

I’ve written out a comprehensive financial plan for 2015. It accounts for just about every penny but there is also wriggle room to move things around and re-allocate funds if need be. The plan means that I can make an informed choice about where I can afford to take a bit out and where I can’t.

I’ve been using envelopes for short term cash savings with good effect for the last couple of months. Once Christmas is totally done and dusted I’ll be starting a few more so I can save in cash for things like school uniforms. More on this another day.

10. Work

I’ve put work here because, after all, it accounts for a third of our household income! Juggling half of my working hours from home along with looking after a baby is hard work (I have to try and do it when he is napping in the day or asleep at night. Or see if my Dad is free for a couple of hours!). I need to keep working on our home routines so I can keep my eye on the ball with my work. It’s going to be a challenging year work wise and I want to do well.

Last batch of resolutions on their way soon!

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15 in 2015: New Years Resolutions

Usually I hesitate to call plans at this time of year resolutions. I prefer to think of them simply as suggestions or vague guidelines but, no, this year they are most firmly resolutions! Christmas has been brilliant but I am utterly, utterly exhausted. I’ve got various health issues (mainly related to my caesarean or triggered by tiredness), I haven’t been looking after myself and it turns out that now I’m in my mid/late thirties I can’t get away with that anymore. I’ve decided to go with 15 resolutions/goals as it is 2015. Some are large, some small, some concrete, some more vague and difficult to track. I won’t post about them all in one go. Here are the goals that I am putting under the heading of ‘Personal’:

Personal resolutions

1. Health. I’ve developed a skin condition that apparently won’t go away, it will just need to be managed from now on. At the moment it looks like red marks on my face (these can easily be hidden with make up) and what looks like eczema around my eyes (painful and looks much worse/can’t really put make-up on it). Obviously I’m not particularly happy about this and am going to be hassling my doctor about this and doing whatever I can to improve it. My doctor says this was almost certainly brought on by a combination of cold weather, being run down and over tired. No surprises there then! Post caesarean, I still have to take painkillers after only a moderate amount of activity nearly a year after the event. For example, I stood for two hours helping out at a stall last month and consequently had to take painkillers to get through the next 24/36 hours. It has put me off doing any sort of exercise and I am the most unfit I have ever been in my life. I am also having far too many twinges and aches and pains etc for my age and I think I really need to be exercising again. I need to get some medical advice on how to do this. Do I avoid certain things? Do I do them anyway and just accept I ahve to take a lot of painkillers? Would some kind of physio help? I have no idea. I’m fed up of the doctors sending my home and saying it will get better eventually. Life has to go on. In short, I’d like to improve my fitness. I HAVE to get more sleep. It is so hard, picking between getting essential things done, having some down time with husband, doing something for myself or getting some sleep. But now, judging my the state of my face, sleep is going to have to win, at least the majority of  the time for the foreseeable future. We’ve been so ill this winter, mainly because girlie goes to school 5 days a week, picks up every virus going and then brings it home and then the rest of us get it too. At least 2 out of 4 of us have been ill consistently now for the last 3 months. And my two don’t sleep well when they’re ill which means even less sleep for me than usual. Sleep must win in 2015! Also I have dental work that needs doing…

2. Weight. I managed to lose all of the baby weight this year (let’s ignore what damage the festive period will have done to this. I’m not weighing myself for at least another two weeks)! It feels pretty good to have actually done it as weight loss is one of those resolutions that can go on and on and on without ever getting ‘done’. I’ve still got a stone (14 pounds) to lose to get back to my pre-first pregnancy weight but it feels good to be on the right track. And it feels great to have lost almost 4 stone!

3. Self care/grooming. So, with the skin on parts of my face going kaput i can’t really pamper myself the way I would usually if I were feeling a bit rough around the edges. However, I can still make an effort to look after the rest of my skin and I could definitely do with paying a bit more attention to my nails. I also need to get my hair cut more regularly. For the last five years I’ve averaged a trim every 6 months. I had quite a lot cut off but it needs doing again as it is less, sharp long bob and more dull shoulder length blah blah again. If the skin on my face is less than great then I need to make up for it elsewhere! Also my hairdresser only charges me £10 a trim including tip and she is brilliant. I know. I am seriously lucky.

4. Wardrobe By the end of the year I resolve to have a great, capsule (ish) wardrobe. I’m not doing much on this until I’ve lost around 7 pounds as that will put me back in my usual dress size. In 2014 I spent less than £20 on clothes. I was determined not to buy stuff that wouldn’t be hanging around long due to losing weight. I want to build my wardrobe back up gain. I’ll never go back to clothes shopping every month but I do want a lovely collection of things than I can add to from time to time and that will last me well. I know some people don’t really mind what they wear and that’s great but I’m not one of them. I’ve hated the way I’ve had to dress over the last few years due to my crazy weight gain over two pregnancies or having to spend money on other things. I’ll be shaking my budget upside down by the ankles to make this happen!

5. Personal projects and hobbies. Things like this blog and other little writing projects I used to have on the go have had to take a back seat over the last couple of years. This is one of my vaguer resolutions as mostly it will only be for when I’ve got time – I’m not putting down any concrete goals – just reminding myself of what I can do when there is a window of opportunity! And those are my personal resolutions for 2015. I’ll be back tomorrow with the next instalment!

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