Sunday, 27 February 2011

Day 224: Its sunday

Its the last day of my holidays too... and its a bit of a tip in the house today. The budget is all spent for the month so I'm glad there's only a couple of days left of February to go... and I think I can make an adequate meal out of pastry, cream cheese and red peppers...which is basically whats left in the fridge today! Things to do today... finish the tiles, tidy the house, find Joel a job!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Day 223: Party Planning

Yes we're getting on with it a little early. But I never managed to blog my way through kids party spending last year as I was just too busy at the time doing it all a bit madly. Anyway - both children decided on their party ideas on boxing day this year so 6/7 months planning time is probably plenty! Holly would like a Garden Party and Elijah a Spaceman party.
Garden Party ideas... go!... ok we'll have lots of bunting... I will have to use material I have for occasions from the 'needing some spare material' box and I shall make some, picnic rugs and cushions outside, den made out of Hollys old bed, games, bead making, we'll make hanging lanterns out of old jam jars (need to save them) tea lights (I have hundreds) and some wire? will need some glass paints (google) and maybe how about some candle making - that'd be fun....oooh maybe with some dried leaves and flowers in to make them extra gardeny - sure I can hire something from the council... games... will think of some later... giant cup cake for the birthday cake and that can be enough ideas for right now! Ok so budget - I have no idea. Lets aim for £100 in total - food, party bags, prizes, decorations - everything...but must be in keeping with my normal party standards.

Just got back from filming... managed to dig out some v. cheap tesco straightners out of the loft and they had to do. Filming was good but it was SOOOO hot - bad idea to plan to wear a jacket in one of the songs!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Day 222: Ergh

Just had a weird couple of hours... I'm filming for some TV tomorrow - I need 2 outfits for performances and I had no clue on one of them and had one of those evenings where you try on everything you own and none of it is right. Had a dress that I got for Christmas that the material was right on but the shape all wrong. It had a fairly high neckline and big puffy but short sleeves - the kind of thing that looks amazing on Fearne Cotton but no one else in the world can quite pull it off. Ive worn it - but with a jacket over - which means deep inside that I don't really like the way it looks so I've hidden it a bit - but I had a brave moment with a pair of scissors this evening and decided to see what it might look like if I took the sleeves off... Not very good was the answer but thankfully I found that out by taking just one sleeve off and then managed to get a bit of vision and worked out that I could make it into a one shoulder dress very easily and that would make the neckline more flattering as well as keeping at least one quirky sleeve. Just need to sew it up at 1.30 am ready for tomorrow!
Worse than that my GHDs actually just exploded. Actually this is more like what happened. 1. I just washed my hair - its a sensitive shade of blonde right now. If I style it right and get my make up right I love it - but when I've just washed it its frizzy and that makes it seem a horrid colour. So anyway... my power cable for my laptop has been a bit dodgy recently. It keeps sparking, which is a bit worrying. I plugged it in and there was a big BANG noise- and half the house went quiet. I had been getting my straighteners ready to use - so had to unplug them and waited for Joel to make the electricity work again and plugged them in and started straightening my hair. Then after about 2 minutes they did this big sparky fire thing right in my hand and BANG and thats them dead too. So I'm quite understandably a little scared of touching anything electric right now... especially as I came back upstairs and needed to plug Joels lamp in - mine is still on the fused plug that doesn't want to work. I picked up what I assumed was the plug to his lamp and as I connected it there was the loudest most scary noise I have ever heard and made my cry and think my life was actually over. It was actually just the radio at full volume that I happened to plug in - not the best thing to happen in my uber jumpy state.
So aside from having to sew up my dress I also have bright yellow frizzy hair that I can do nothing about and off I go to be on TV tomorrow!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Day 221: GHDS

Its time to do something serious about my GHDs now. The cable is broken again and they work until I pick them up to use them and then they go off. They also are quite scratchy on my hair... yes they cost £90 but I need to confront my stinginess about any item that costs more than £45. I did buy them 10 years ago!
My original plan was to put aside £10 of my spending money every month... but even a simple bit of maths tells me thats a ridiculously long time to have frizzy hair for... I need a plan.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Day 220: The kitchen

Aside from having an uber annoying day of having to work when I wanted to be on holiday and spending time with my family we have managed to have a day of being home and letting the kids go mad with playdough (homemade and recipe amended to include cream of tartar - NOT tartar sauce as I got very wrong last time) and Joel has been cracking on with the kitchen tiles. Its all fun... I've been enjoying a bit of plastering and painting and he's been doing some sawing and drilling and stuff and today the tiling is started! I wanted to blog about Wren kitchens just because I know I blogged about them when we ordered the kitchen and I've not said much since then. Then, the other morning I woke up in a horrible stressed state as I had dreamed that Wren had completely ripped us off - not delivered a kitchen at all, taken a load of money off us and were continuing to do so because they had our bank details. In fact they ended up being a totally fake company and it was all horrible. Then I realised I felt that way as I'd been so annoyed at Virgin Media the day before and felt that I should blog to actually say that Wren were really good. They are real and they sold us a good kitchen at a good price, they measured it all themselves and delivered it exactly when they said they would and the cupboards already assembled which saved us loads on the fitting. Like Wren. Loathe Virgin Media. Our kitchen is starting to feel really homely now and is great for making our home really feel like its ours. Wren were really good at working with us on our budget and because they helped us to cut back on the things we were not so precious about it has meant we've been able to afford to spend on the tiles we did really want, and not to compromise the stone we wanted for a cheaper fake stone and has meant we've been able to get real oak worktops instead of a laminate. We like them :) and they gave us a really good deal on our worktops too :)
Today the solicitor letter came about the land. That's the last phase of spending and what we got the extra mortgage for... time to buy some land and make it into a usable space with the money we have left and before the kids birthday parties! Go!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Day 219: Legoland

Today, being the first proper day of half term, was the first of the planned outings. We've been bracing ourselves that half term may be quite expensive and we have £30 cash for 'family treats' left for the month. Good job then that Tesco points exist and we had some Legoland Discovery vouchers that expire at the end of the week - that was todays entertainment sorted. Good flippin job they were 'free' though! The downside of using Tesco vouchers to get in there is that you cant pre book. The downside of Legoland was that even the people who had prebooked were left waiting about 40 mins after their booked in time. We had to queue for over an hour. Then when we got in finally after queuing amongst about 100 really angry complaining people (which doesn't make the queuing experience any more enjoyable) we finally got inside to have to queue for another 15 mins for the ride. It would have been an 'ok' place to go had it not been half term - (but when else can you take school age children somewhere for children?) - but for the fellow queuers who did not have Tesco points it was £14.50 to get in ?!? EACH!!?! There were a few nice models, a lot of trays of bricks for kids to build their own 'towers' ... and a big tub of bricks to sit in. Playgroup was better equipped and that cost 50p entry per child and I used to get a cup of filter coffee and a biscuit for that too! So... at least we've been and we don't have to go again. Still...aside from petrol to get over to Manchester... we spent £3 on sticker books - needed to pass the time in the queue, we packed a monster picnic and when I was tempted to go buy a cup of tea to drink while the kids were sitting in lego the queue was so long I decided to go thirsty and save money too - and then on the way back to the car I found a really good boys winter coat for Elijah for next year (had been looking online for one as well just last night) in John Lewis for just £16. Highlight of the day :) So...£3 out of the family treats budget and £16 out of the kids needs budget... thats quite a good half term day! Totally overplayed alphabet names, alphabet foods and alphabet 'things' though... long times in queues and cars have meant by resolve to not give my children DS's or DVD players for the car, or MP3 players has been a little challenged!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Day 218:

Not sure why I do this to myself every so often...and then promise myself I will NEVER put myself through it again - home hair dye.
I've decided to go back to being blonde. I like my hair dark but 2 years has been a long sint of dark hair for me and now I'm craving the change. I went to my hairdressers a couple of weeks ago and we did the first phase of highlights. Some of it went blonde, some went orangy and some stayed dark - it looked ok but I dont like the medium stage and I was going to have to go back soon to have the next phase done and then keep going back to get the roots done. I worked out this was going to be expensive. Anyway a packet of dye from boots is £5 and I can pay for that with my boots advantage points so its basically free - so I did that and the blonde lady on the front has been beckoning me to become like her and dye it. Starting a 45 minute dye at 12.30 was a bit silly as I've got to be up at 8am... but thats what I did. So, now, I sit with a towel on my head at 1.39am and I'm pretty sure my hair is a yukky shade of orange. :) all fun and games.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Day 217: Budgeting

I've discovered that budgeting might just work best when I go back to my school mentality and actually keep a ringbinder and use paper and pen. So far I am enjoying it. It is a list of categories, a list of how much the spending target is for each category and then lots of boxes to fill in when we spend anything and a total column at the end. If the spending total is less than the target then YAYYYYYYAAAAYYY... and if its the same then GOOOOOD and if its more then :(
The one exclusive column that is allowed to be more is the one at the end that says Barclaycard.
I really like my budget folder :)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Day 216:

Ahhhhh.... there is almost a kitchen, there is almost space in the lounge again to sit in there and the bunk beds arrived for the children so there is space on their floor for them to play... a bit of normality has entered the building... but still a long way off actually being tidy and organised as I'd like it!
I spent a bit of my pocket money yesterday. I managed to find a pretty jumper I like and a dress both in a sale... dress reduced from £75 to £20 and the jumper £45 reduced to £20 - (which of COURSE also means I have saved £80) so I paid for those with cash from my purse from my January pocket money and I still have Februarys all left (yes it is only actually the 3rd...but this is me) It as the first time in... perhaps forever...that I have been able to own up to my shopping bags with Joel without having to feel guilty.
Ive also just had a couple of cheques in... aim is so see if they can be allowed to go onto the credit card... but my 'realistic aim of the month' is to get it down to below 9,000 - If the figure starts with an 8 before the end of February then I will be worthy of the title 'The Biggest Loser' too.