Monday, 30 December 2013

Mealplan Monday 30/12/13

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was planning to do a meal plan and I have been writing my ideas on paper but this is my first blog meal plan. Its been going okay, a few times I changed the meal at the last minute because I had other things in the fridge that needed using before going off or I didn't have the ingredients I needed but I think that's good because in future I can make sure I only buy what I need!!

So for this week the plan is:

Monday- Fry up (sausage, eggs, beans etc..)
Tuesday- Salmon, baby potatoes and cabbage
Wednesday- Leg of lamb, roast potatoes, veg
Thursday- Spaghetti Bolognese
Friday- Fish, chips and homemade coleslaw
Saturday- Pasta bake
Sunday- Roast beef with all the trimmings

I'm hungry just thinking about it so better make a start on my fry up!

This week I am linking up with Mrs Ms meal plan Monday so I can share my meal plan and get some ideas from other bloggers.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

1001 movies to watch before you die

Browsing through the latest Book people catalogue I came across a book called 1001 movies you must see before you die. I was intrigued to see what would be on the list and my daughter said it would be a great challenge to watch them all! Because of course we have nothing better to do with our lives do we? So I ordered it.

At the front of the book is a checklist for you to mark off the films you have already seen and to my surprise I've only seen 72 of them, and there's me thinking I'm a bit of a film buff... yeah right!
To be fair most of the movies in the book came out before I was born and a lot of them are foreign and I've never heard of them! Still I do like a bit of a check list so I think I will get myself a collection of old films in the new year, like the Marilyn Monroe classics as I've always wanted to watch them but never had the time and have a bit of a film fest.

Oh and I bought my 11 year old a popcorn maker for Christmas so I think we will get a lot of use out of that!

Friday, 27 December 2013

December Glossybox

I know I'm a bit late with the glossybox but my daughter has been asking me for months to subscribe to it so as a surprise I ordered it for her for Christmas. I love that its a gift that just keeps giving as there will be one delivered to the door every month!

I don't normally spend much on cosmetics and as I have just finished with The Body shop I have loads of  their skincare range that I can now use for myself. But I do like the idea of having a surprise box every month (did I say I ordered it for my daughter or myself?) So this is what we got in our box this month.


The razor is amazing, I wasn't sure it actually worked as I could only feel the soap/cream part but it did!
I love the nail varnish shade but haven't had a chance to use the mascara yet as my daughter wont let me open it!
Anyway I'm looking forward to next months already, it will be like Christmas all over again!!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Shop local

A few weeks ago I had a list of items I needed to buy, some of which I had needed for a while, so as I no longer have a car I thought I'm either going to have to order online or take a trip on a bus after work to a big shopping area.

My list was:

A computer mouse
Party invitations
Cat worming treatment
A broom
Net curtain wire
2 sets of keys cutting

I don't like to order too much online as I have to pay for delivery and I never know when the items are going to arrive plus I know technology is good but I'm sure you can't order a set of your door keys online (I may be wrong) I don't live near a big shopping area but I do walk through West Norwood everyday. There are a few local supermarkets, B&Q, superdrugs and greggs. All the other shops are small independent shops and restaurants that I rarely go into.

It was approaching my sons birthday and as I'm already embarrassingly known as the mum who leaves everything until the last minute I thought I need to try all these shops to find some invitations before the day of his sleepover!

After scouring all the shops of West Norwood I reached home pleasantly surprised to have purchased everything on my list!!

Now I'm sure with Christmas approaching I will be using a lot of the big chain stores to purchase gifts and housewares but I will also bare in mind that I can buy a lot of good quality and good value items in local independent stores too!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Learning to swim

Today was the day my little man swam for the first time!

Okay I know it's not a big deal considering he's 9 years old and these days parents are putting their kids in for lessons from about 3 months of age but for him it's a great achievement.

For the whole summer I tried to get him to swim, we spent most of our holiday in the pool and although he wasn't scared of the water, the minute I tried to get his feet from the bottom of the pool he clung onto me like a little koala bear and wouldn't let go. I told him it was so easy once you had the confidence to float on the water but he insisted it was impossible and he was never going to be able to do it!

From the beginning of yr4 he has been going for lessons with school every Thursday. I take my class straight after his so as he is getting out the pool my class are just getting in and I must say I'm amazed at the progress so many of the children have made in only a few months. Considering their lessons are only 30 minutes long and some of the kids could just about walk through the water at the beginning of term I'm so pleased with how much they have learnt so far.

Swimming is such an important life skill that I think everybody should be encouraged to take up if they are not proficient enough as it could potentially save a life. Plus it is such a fun activity too!

I would love to spend more time swimming with the kids like I did when I was younger. We would go every Monday after school and on the way home we would go to the chip shop for a bag of chips, open with a little wooden fork and loads of salt and vinegar.

I think when it gets a bit warmer that's what we'll do...

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Mens under £5 gift ideas

Like many people I have just started my Christmas shopping, although I wish I was one of those that had actually bought everything already.
I mean I do enjoy browsing the shops and online stores to find the perfect gifts but I'm so worried that I'm not going to get everything I need on time or the things I want are going to be out of stock.

I have quite a few guys to buy for and I always find them the most difficult because as much as I like the smell of Linx there's only so much deodorant a man will want to unwrap on Christmas morning!

So here are a few ideas for the men in your lives

1. Tabasco chocolate tin, £4.95
2. Superhero socks, Peacocks £3.00
3. One minute challenge, Wilkinsons £3.00
4. Harmonica, Mankind £4.99
5. Bath shooting game, Matalan £3.00

Thursday, 28 November 2013

I want to read

Since I was a young girl there was nothing I liked better than to get lost in a good book. I can't actually remember a time in my life that I didn't have a book with a corner turned down, sitting on my bedside cabinet just waiting for the evening time when it would have a few more pages turned over.

As a teen I would travel quite far to school so I would often use my pocket money in WHSmith at London bridge station on the latest point horror book (they were my favourite at the time) and even though I would be falling asleep on the train I would still carry on reading.

As a young mum it didn't bother me that my friends were all out clubbing, drinking and having the time of their life because I had my babies and hated going out anywhere without them. When it was their bedtime I would happily put my feet up to watch tv, cross stitch, or read a good thriller (they were my favourite at the time)

In the past few years I've even taken to writing down every book I read so I can see how many I've got through in a year. I don't currently have a favourite and I tend not to judge a book by it's cover. I know some people that would start a book and say they can't get into it so they stop reading it but I feel like I have to finish what I've started! Even if I read 5 other books in between I always finish them all.

I don't know if it's because I've been reading lots of blogs and other stuff on the internet that's taken up my time but lately I seem to have lost my passion for books a little bit. I thought since I've downloaded the kindle app that I would read loads more and although I find so many books that I want to read I just don't seem to spend much time reading :(

I really need a few of those books that you start reading and just can't put down, maybe that will get the spark back! Recommendations on a postcard...

Here are the last books I've read

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Under £5 gift ideas

If like me you just loooove Christmas and want to buy gifts for everyone you know (I'm more of a giver than receiver) then Christmas can become a very expensive time of year!!

I have quite a big family and although I don't buy for uncles, cousins etc I do buy for all my siblings, their partners and kids, mum, nan and then there's the man's family. Plus I have a few close friends and their children I buy for, not forgetting a few colleagues and the kids teachers..... it really does add up!

I'm sure if I actually asked everyone what they wanted or if I bought the perfect gift for them, which I would love to do, I would probably end up bankrupt! And it would also mean I would have less money to spend on my own kids.

So I like to search the shops for cheap affordable gifts that are a bit different or maybe something useful that won't end up in the back of a cupboard or given to a charity shop come January.
Here are a few items for ladies that I found online

1. Cupcake set, Tesco £5.00
2. Mini bubbles, Superdrug £3.50
3. Winnie Pooh shopping list, WHSmith £4.99
4. Set of 3 heart dishes, New look £4.99
5. Butterfly paperweight, Wilkinsons £3.00

Coming soon, gifts under £5 for men and kids.....

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Meal plan plan

With my car out of use it's meant I've had to go into the smaller, more local supermarkets and pick up what I need nearly everyday and carry the heavy bags (I do miss having a pushchair to throw all my shopping on) home or struggle on and off the little, packed bus.

I've done online shopping with all the major supermarkets in the past and as I'd recently installed the Tesco app onto my tab I thought I would give it a try.

The first thing I noticed on the home page were the half price, bogof and offers link... I am such a sucker for these! So quickly filled my basket with all those goodies that are not actually good for you at all but oh they do taste good!!

Cupboard essentials, a months supply of toilet roll, cat food and packed lunch fillers soon added up and the basket totted up to over £100.

After having all my shopping delivered I thought about what I would cook for dinner, realising I didn't actually have much of a choice. I missed the whole frozen section during my shopping because I am waiting for my oven to be delivered so whatever I was cooking would have to be on the hob.

I hadn't actually planned very well and although I always have some sort of idea of what I'm going to feed the family I think the time has come to put it down on paper.

I'm thinking a meal plan will make me more organised meaning I don't have to run around after work wondering what to buy for dinner, it should be better financially because less trips to the shops means less picking up those offers on crisps and chocolate that I just have to have, and hopefully I will be trying out some new recipes that I always intend to do but never get round to.

I have seen some blogs with fab recipes so will be looking out for some good, cheap, wholesome meals I can feed the clan.

If you have any tips on meal planning they will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


You may follow me on Twitter as Tracey@bodyshop and as you can see from the page above I have been working as a body shop at home consultant but I'm sad to say I will no longer be a part of the body shop team (apart from as a customer) and I will just be known as Tracey@tantrums from now on.

I've decided that it's just not working out for me and I can't dedicate my time to make it into the business I envisioned it to be. It was great fun while it lasted but as with everything in life you get out of it what you put in and with 4 children, a full time job and lots of plans up my sleeve I just haven't been putting much into it!

The great news is I get to use all those delicious products for myself and may even have a few I can give as Christmas presents to save on the spending (obviously the unopened ones, half used body butter wouldn't make a great gift!)

It is sad when anything that takes up part of your life comes to an end, especially when you go into it with big expectations but it's all part of life's lessons and onwards and upwards I say! So the future for me will involve lots of photo taking a college course spending more time on my blog and fingers crossed I will be going to university....eeeek!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A-Z favourite Sunday afternoon movies

There's nothing I like best on a Sunday afternoon than to snuggle on the sofa with my kids and a blanket to watch a good movie, especially when it is so miserable outside!
Snacks are optional but personally I think a movie just isn't a movie without popcorn!!
So here is a list of what I could happily watch again, some of these are my all time favourites but as it's limited to 1 movie per letter I have missed some good ones out :(

A- Avengers assembled

B- Batman (all of them)

C- City of god

D- Dirty dancing

E- Edward scissorhands

F- Forrest Gump

G- Grease

H- Hairspray

I- I don't know how she does it

J- Julie and Julia

K- Knocked up

L- Love actually

M- Matilda

N- Notting hill

O- One day

P- Pretty woman

Q- Quantum of solace

R- Robin hood prince of thieves

S- Shallow Hal

T- Toy story

U- Up

V- Valentines day

W- When Harry met Sally

X- X-Men first class

Y- You've got mail

Z- Zoolander

I have realised I'm very much a superhero and Rom-com type of girl! What about you, what would you put on your list?

Mums' Days

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Living room creations

I have recently joined Polyvore (just another website to take up my time) I have seen loads of sets on Pinterest that are made up using this site, some of which I have re-pinned but I didn't realise how simple it was to put your own sets together.

My own house is not too bad but I'm sure if money were no object then I would change EVERYTHING!

I have put together this blue and cream living room as I think it looks light and relaxing and I can just imagine lazing on that sofa watching eastenders with a nice glass of wine sitting on the coffee table, although it would have to be white wine or it wouldn't match the decor!

The site is great for making rooms for the home or creating your own outfit, the only downfall is that it is American (not that I'm against Americans) It shows where you can buy all the goods in dollars and I think if it showed products from Britain in pounds it could actually be used as a kind of wishlist. It does show the website addresses so I'm sure goods could be shipped but I would prefer to buy from stores I know that I could visit.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

A rare night out

I haven't put a post up for a little while now as I just haven't done anything very exciting, so as I had a rare night out recently I thought I would share.

It was the man's birthday last week and a friend invited us out to celebrate, so we threw caution to the wind and took a trip to a restaurant... on a school night!
There were 5 of us that went and we had a table booked at the swanky OXO tower in London.

We got there early evening when it was still light out and there was a lovely view of the Southbank and the river Thames, its just a shame it was quite grey as it would have been nice to sit outside and eat.

I must say I struggled to find anything on the menu that was to my taste as when I usually go out its to the local wimpy or TGI Friday and I'm used to ordering a big fat burger with a side of fries but these were not on offer. The food was more elegant than I'm used to but its nice to go a bit up market once in a while!!
For starters I had deep fried soft shell crab. Main course was corn-fed chicken breast with mashed parsnips and a few other things... you know how they just pile things up in the middle of the plate. For dessert I had a bitter chocolate and blonde tart with a strawberry sorbet. Even though its not my usual it was all very delish and I would certainly go back for more (If I become highly successful, win the lottery or someone else is paying) I wont say what the bill came to but lets just say including all the champagne and cocktails it cost more than my beloved W reg Fiat Punto!!

I would have had loads of pictures of the culinary delights and the views to share with you if the man wasn't such a man and didn't leave the memory card for the camera at home!! Unfortunately my phone is from the stone ages and not sure if it even takes photos so the experience will have to stay in my memory and I hope it will be a lovely memory for the man of his birthday.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

What I'm looking forward to in Autumn

It seems like summer is over, we may have a few more days of sun ahead of us but to be honest I am kind of over it, I'm ready to move on to the next chapter of the year!
My favourite season is Spring but I have a bit of a wait for that so I'm going to be optimistic (I hate the cold) and find some of the things I like about this time of year...

1. Layers of clothes. 
I don't like skimpy little clothes, I'm quite self conscious of my wobbly bits and like to cover them up. I know its not very flattering on the figure and probably makes me look more frumpy but I feel so much more comfortable covered in woolly jumpers, warm coats, scarfs, gloves... the lot!

2. Hearty meals.
yeah salads are good for you but I don't find them very appealing or filling! I like good old comfort food... stews, roast dinners, pies basically anything you can smother in gravy, Yum!!

3. Nights on the sofa.
You know after work when you've cooked all the dinner, done the cleaning, shouted at the kids to do their homework and you just cant wait to sit on the sofa and relaaaax. I always find this time of year, when it is dark early and nobody wants to go out in the cold  that they have some really good programmes on TV...well they better this year! My favourites are the good old British dramas, I love a bit of drama i do!!

4. Candles.
They are just not the same in the summer, its too bright to enjoy a good candle. Like above when you're relaxing on the sofa and you want to create the right mood, I like to just put on the lamp and light a few candles and if they are of the scented kind (Vanilla is my favourite) then they make the room smell good too.

5. Routine.
Summer was great. I could get out of bed when I wanted and go back to bed when I wanted. Most of the time I didn't even know what day it was! But I did find it made me even more lazy than I usually am (which is very) So back to work and back to school means I have to get up at 6:30 and don't get to go back to bed until at least 10:00 so I end up getting quite a lot done in between.

6. Christmas.
OK Christmas is more winter but you know you have already seen all the cards, advent calenders and other Christmas associated goods in the shop!!  I actually find the run up to Christmas really exciting, I'm a bit like a kid in Hamleys and my girls get very enthusiastic by it all so we have already started playing the songs and I've been told what they want from Santa although I'm sure that list will grow immensely before December comes around.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Happy new (school) year!

It's that time of year again! Excitement, nervousness, tears and tantrums and that's just from the parents.

3 of the kids ready for school
Working in a school I could have done with another 6 weeks off... I know I'm just being greedy, I feel for you all that have to work the whole year round!! but I'm also really looking forward to the year ahead. I'm going to be working in year 4 which means I'm going to be on my poor sons back (he's in one of the other year 4 classes) no getting away with excuses about homework because I'm gonna know exactly what needs to be done!

I thought I would do a post on school uniforms as it's such a big part of 'back to school' the kids are looking so smart (that won't last) and grown up and basically it's the closest I think I'll get to doing a fashion shopping haul as buying clothes for myself just doesn't seem to happen.

So we started off in Sainsburys as they had 25% off clothing and we all love a bargain don't we? Then to the uniform shop for skirts, ties and badges and BHS for blazers and PE kits and various other shops for shoes, bags, stationary etc.

A few things I bought 

I thought I was lucky this year as one of my brood no longer has to wear uniform but it turns out that in 6th form you still have to wear smart clothes including smart shoes and a blazer but as the only smart clothes my son owns is his old school uniform it meant a whole other shopping spree for his outfits!

There were a few things that the kids had from last term that they hadn't outgrown or ruined and as I like to recycle I passed down a few things from 1 daughter to the other.

So here is a list of the uniform I had to buy:
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • 6 shirts
  • 3 polo t-shirts
  • 2 blazers
  • 4 packs of socks/tights
  • 1 tie
  • 2 badges
  • 2 jumpers
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 3 pairs of PE shorts
  • 2 PE t-shirts
  • 1 swimming shorts
  •  3 lots of stationary
  •   4 new school bags
 And I still haven't finished!! Soon i will need to get coats and winter things but hopefully not too soon.

So how has your experience of uniform shopping been? Did you manage to do it all early or rush around last minute like I normally do?

Saturday, 31 August 2013

GCSE emotions

So the results are in!!

As it wasn't that long ago that I was collecting my own GCSEs it was all too familiar feeling of worry and nervousness. In fact as a parent I think the suspense was harder to deal with, maybe because we know the importance of preparing for the future, we can look back and see how the choices we made affect where we are now and for some (myself included) if the opportunity was there we would go back and do things differently.

So as I found out my sons results;
English B
Maths B
History B
Sociology B
French C
Media studies C
Science D

There were a mixture of emotions that I felt that reflected how I felt when I opened my own envelope.

My first thought was how disappointed I was, I mean I know that sounds bad because his results are pretty good, but as I said to him his results are good for an average child and he was never ranked average at school. From a young age, even as a summer baby and being the youngest in his class he was always in the top groups for Literacy and Numeracy and he has always been praised as being 'such a bright boy' by his teachers. His main downfall is how lazy he is, the minute school is over he sees that as his free time to do what he wants (mainly play Xbox games) and so I feel partly responsible that his grades were not better (he was predicted a few As) as I didn't push him with his homework/revision as much as I should have.

At the same time as being disappointed I was also relieved, he had already got into 6th form at his school to study History, Sociology and Government and Politics A levels but if he also wanted do his English A level (which is the most important one as he wants to be a journalist) then he had to get a B or above in his English GCSE... thankfully he did!

Overall I mostly felt proud, for a start he got better grades than I did (5 Cs, 5 Ds and an E) and his dad didn't even do GCSEs as he was expelled from school! He kind of outdid the both of us so it would be irrational for us to complain.

I'm wondering if its wrong to put such high expectations on your children when it comes to exams, on the one hand it shows you believe in them and can encourage them to push themselves but at the same time does it just stress them out and set you all up for disappointment when they don't achieve what you're expecting?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Thorpe park

On our normal trips to the fair I very rarely go on the rides, I'm the one that watches the kids and carries all the bags while everyone else enjoys themselves, so when a friend asked if I wanted to join her and her daughters on a trip to Thorpe park I was quite reluctant. When I was younger I didn't mind being thrown all over the place, legs up in the air at 60mph but as I've got older I've gone off that dizzy/sick feeling and prefer to keep my feet firmly on the ground!

However my girls were quite excited about a girls day out and I didn't want to be a party pooper. It also dawned on me that with them being older I wouldn't have a pushchair to accompany me and nobody to watch on the little teacups, I would actually be free to go on all the big people rides like I was a teenager again... no excuses!

So here is a guide to a few of my favourite rides


This ride travels from 0-80mph in 2.3 seconds and it is seriously not for the faint hearted!After it shoots you from the starting block it reaches a height of 205ft and straight back down again.
The first time we queued for 45mins and the ride took a total of 15 seconds. Yes that's a 45 minute wait for a 15 second ride!! but it was worth the experience and we decided to go back on at the end of the day, luckily we only had a 5 minute wait by then.


Looking at this ride it seemed a bit boring, it went up and then came back down again! From the bottom it didn't even seem very high but the queue wasn't as long as some of the other rides so we decided to try it out. It was quite amusing seeing some of the faces of the people on the ride while we were waiting in the queue and it made you wonder what it was really like. I have to say when you are going up it is a lot higher than it seems and there is a great view of the park from up there! (as there is on a lot of the rides)
Then the countdown begins... and drop!!
It is the most strangest experience ever, you will literally lift out of your seat and it feels as if your stomach is in your mouth, I can only imagine what my face looked like, luckily there was no camera on this one for me to find out as I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight! I must say I did enjoy it but not sure I would EVER go on there again.

Tidal wave

Now you cant visit a theme park without going on a water ride and if you are going to get wet you might as well get soaking wet! You sit in a boat with 11 other people, ride up to the top and back down again, now you expect to get wet on the way down as that's the whole point but the water seems to shower over you forever and you will be soaked right down to your underwear, so much so that when you get off there is a giant drying machine that you can get into! Although this costs an additional £2 but we managed to fit 9 people in there so quite good value. I must say it doesn't dry you off completely but does warm you up a bit!

All in all we had a great day. There are loads of choices to eat but I would bring your own snacks and drinks otherwise it can get expensive.  If you are planning a trip I would get to know the map before you start off because we wasted a lot of time going round in circles looking for rides and there are not many signs to direct you around. Also its worth putting all the bags you don't need into a locker while you are on rides, you can put them to the side of each ride while you are on if you want to keep them with you but as there is so much time standing around its better to not have loads of stuff to carry.

It made a nice change for me to join the kids on the rides but as I still felt a bit sick/dizzy 2 days later I think my theme park days are over (at least until we visit Disneyland) and next time I will sit in the cafe with a coffee and watch all the crazy kids enjoy themselves.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Out of date TV licence

I got a letter through the post last month to remind me that my TV licence was about to expire and I needed to buy a new one, my first thought 'oh yet another thing I have to pay for' and then I got wondering, why do I need to pay for a TV licence? I mean I already pay extortionate prices to be able to have hundreds of channels (which I barely do watch) on my screen already, why am I paying extra just to watch a few BBC channels??

When the TV licence was first introduced there was basically 1 channel to watch - the BBC, so you were paying to watch 100% of the TV channels!
Now however there are around 200 channels and if you include all the news, international, gaming, shopping and adult channels that's probably another 200 bringing it to 400 channels. Compare this to the amount of BBC stations; there are 8 in total (not including the radio) that amounts to 2% of the channels available!!

There are thousands of people being taken to court every week for evading the £145.50 charge of an annual licence (or £49 for a black and white licence, but who really has one of those nowadays?) So I ask myself, shouldn't we really have a choice of whether we want to pay the fee? Should we opt in to subscribe to the BBC like we do to the movie channels? I mean personally the only thing I watch religiously on the BBC is Eastenders and we all know that's the most miserable thing on there and they would be doing me a favour if they took it away from me!

Or on the other hand how about they just put adverts on like they do on every other channel, it gives us that 3 minute break to run to the loo, make a cup of tea or raid the cupboards for chocolate (OK, maybe that's not a good idea) and compared to the advert breaks I had to recently endure while in Spain our ones are nothing. The programmes cut off mid sentence and '6 minutes' appears on the screen (in Spanish) to indicate that you now have to watch 6 minutes of adverts then after the programme returns for 2 minutes it pops up again saying '7 minutes' now that's probably why they have siestas in the afternoon, out of boredom from sitting through all the TV adverts!

If the choice was yours what would you choose?:
TV licence

Friday, 16 August 2013

Estepona 2013

So we made it to Spain on my kids first holiday abroad and we made it back again... in one piece!

The holiday was very relaxing and not quite as stressful as I thought it would be. We had a lovely apartment with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and balconies that seemed to be coming out of everywhere! The views were lovely and sitting out there for breakfast, lunch and dinner meant I got a lovely tan... see I am good at multi-tasking!

There were SEVEN swimming pools so you can guess where we spent most of our time, although considering when I was younger I would compete with my big bro to see who could swim the most lengths of the pool, the most I did was 62 lengths, yes you read right, that's 62 lengths! I can barely do 1 length now without panting and getting out to recover on the sun lounger.

On the negative side the resort was quite far from the town and we had to take taxis to actually get anywhere of interest and the resort itself didn't provide any entertainment for the children which meant I had to constantly keep them amused. Surprisingly there were quite a few English speaking TV channels so in between trips to the beach and the pool I managed 5 minutes of peace by sitting them in front of the Disney channel. (Just like being at home)

On one of our trips to the beach we decided to try out the fast food in Spain (you have to always compare it to home) We wanted to go to McDs but it was a mile down the road from the town centre so we went into Burger King instead. I can confirm that it was just as good, if not better than ours or maybe I was just really hungry at the time!!

Enjoying Burger king

 During the holiday I managed a few glasses of vino and to read myself through a whole Jodi Picoult novel so that was me sorted! I think next year though we will stay in miserable sunny Britain for our hols and maybe book a cottage in Cornwall.

Oh and I get to tick off another thing to do from my Bucket list which was to take my children abroad :)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Holidays are meant to be peaceful..

... well mine is just stressing me out and we haven't even left the country yet!

I'm hoping that when we leave for Spain on Wednesday that we are going to have a fab holiday, it will be the children's first trip abroad and I've been planning on taking them for years but it just hasn't happened.

I saved up because I thought these days a holiday overseas isn't much more expensive than one in this country and thought it would be worth that bit extra just for the aeroplane ride.

So first of all I booked the holiday because I thought if I didn't then I would just change my mind and we wouldn't end up going, then I got the email to say I had to book transfers because I hadn't added those on. Who would've thought it would be over £200 just to make a trip from the airport to the apartment!?!

Of course you cant travel abroad without passports and as only 3 out of 6 of us had them I had to send off for those. The man got his friend to fill out the forms and luckily we used the passport check and send service because first thing the photos, which we had taken by a photographer in the photo printing shop had been done wrong and we had to go back to have them redone, then the forms were filled out wrong... by him, not me! Then the picture was not signed properly so all in all it was 3 trips back to the post office and a long delay in getting those passports! Such a delay that we still haven't got 1 of them back and we are travelling in 5 days!!

I don't understand how my sons passport was sent back within a week of me applying for it and even though they have had my daughters for 6 weeks I've been told that if I want to get it back by Tuesday it will cost me another £78 *cross face*

As well as all these costs I have to calculate for fares to the airport, travel insurance and food while were there - why didn't I just book all inclusive?? and of course all the children need new summer clothes as they are just growing waaay too quick!

It's not just all about the money because as we know there is always those added extras that everybody has to deal with but I have been looking up about the resort we are staying at and all the most recent reviews are really bad :( First they are saying you have to drive as the beach is very close but not accessible unless you drive as its on the other side of a big motorway and the shops are 2 miles away and that's fine if you are driving but to have to walk it and carry bags back I can see its just going to be a pain. Then somebody else said their apartment was burgled while they were out and the staff didn't seem too surprised as if its a regular occurrence.

I know I shouldn't be pessimistic but when travelling with the whole family it is all really stressful and I want them to have a good time (and not starve while they're there!) So hopefully I wont regret booking our holiday and won't think about all the other things I could have spent the money on and places we could have visited and day trips we could have gone on, no I will be on the blog in a couple of weeks posting all the pictures and telling you what a great time we have had...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Park life

Summer holidays can be a very expensive time of the year and the kids are always pestering me to take them out. One of my favorite places to go is the park; its local, free and there are so many things you can do there.

I'm very lucky that my local park is Dulwich park, it never seems overly packed like other large parks can get as soon as the sun comes out, it is clean and safe and it has a great play area for all aged children.

Today we bought the scooter and badminton rackets to keep the kids occupied.

Kieron doesn't get to use his scooter very often as he is quite clumsy and after going on it down a hill and not being able to stop I've been worried about him going on the roads with it, however the park is mostly even and he was riding on the grass so there wasn't much chance of him doing any damage!

It was a pretty windy day so the game of badminton didn't go quite to plan. Kyra spent most of the time standing around bored as the shuttlecock was blowing everywhere except in her direction.

When the kids finished in the normal swings and slide park they decided to use the exercise equipment. These are very popular with the kids,I suppose they feel grown up using all the types of keep fit equipment and its good for them so I think they should put these in all parks!

We finished off our trip to the park with the old fashioned pastime of climbing trees, oh and not forgetting posing for pictures.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Busy as a bee

I set up this blog because being a mum means I'm super busy, although some people have the perception that I sit around all day eating chocolate (sometimes I do)
Being super busy means I would have loads to share, and I promise I do have loads to share it's just that I'm too busy (and exhausted) to actually sit down and put all the words together. I'm sure all you bloggers know that all the exciting things that happen in our lives is a potential blog post and I have so many ideas of things I want to put on here but then the moment passes or its not relevant anymore and so it just doesn't happen...

Well now is the summer holidays which means 7 weeks off work for me! Exciting much, but I'm sure they will pass by really quickly so I've got to make the most of them.
I will be keeping my kids busy with day trips out and a holiday to Spain and will have loads of time on my hands to take photos and post on my blog so no excuses!!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Im going to be a grandma!!

I wrote my bucketlist earlier this year and expressed that one day I would like to become a grandmother, I mean bucketlists are like a to-do list of your whole life and thinking waaaay into the future (just the term grandma makes me think of being around 70!) I thought it is actually something I'm looking forward to being.

My eldest child is 15 so I'm very pleased to announce that none of my biological children are actually expecting a baby!

When I met the man, many moons ago- 17 years to be exact, he introduced me to a very sweet little 4 year old... his daughter. Who is now Miss 21!

They were very close and she would stay with him every other weekend and when he and I moved in together she continued to stay over weekends and holidays. Being  a sweet natured and placid girl she is a lot like me so we get on very well, although as like many children with step parents we did go through the 'you're not my mum, you can't tell me what to do' stage at around the age of 7 but I think that is to be expected and not taken to heart.

Growing up we saw less and less of Miss 21, as she started secondary school and was busy with all the extra curricular activities that go along with it. Then turning into a teenager and wanting to spend all her free time with her friends. More recently starting work and I suppose just busy having a life, not sure myself what that's like as I was a mum of 3 by the age of 21!!

Everytime Miss 21 does visit us she is questioned by the man, particularly about whether or not she has a boyfriend and the answer is always 'no' I'm sure that's because he has always said since she was little that shes not allowed a boyfriend until she is 30.

So it came as quite a surprise when we get a phone call the other day to say not only is she expecting but the baby is due pretty soon :-o

I can imagine how nerve wracking it was to pick up the phone and call her dad to tell him the news but he was very reassuring that she should have called sooner and he would never be disappointed in her, although it was a slightly different story when he came off the phone and was none too pleased... probably at the thought of becoming a grandad!!

All I know is that recently I was feeling broody (maybe my instincts were telling me there was a new baby coming into the family) but now my mind is definitely made up and I do not want to be having children with the next generation. My Implanon implant has just expired and I'm going to call the doctors first thing tomorrow to get a new one put in!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wise words on a Wednesday #5

This weeks wise words were inspired by my 8 year old son, as for someone so small he is pretty sensible (when he wants to be)

This week I received a letter from school to say that all the year 3 classes, including Kierons, were going to have a swap around ready for year 4. This is because the classes are not all equally  matched in terms of ability, gender and behaviour and it would give all the children the opportunity to mix with other children in their year group as there are 3 classes.

Each child was told to write down 8 of their closest friends names and was assured that they would have at least a few of them in their new class.

When Kieron got home he told me all about the list and explained that he hadn't included his best friend on his list. I was a bit surprised and asked why he wouldn't want his best friend in his new class. Very matter of factly he told me that class time was for learning and his friend always wanted to talk to him in class when he was trying to work. He said that he would still be best friends with him and they could play together during break and lunchtime.

If only I had that same attitude to learning when I was at school, I could probably be a brain surgeon by now! 

The summer of '94 I moved from one side of London to the other and started year 10 in a completely new school, there was nothing wrong with this school, it was rather nice and had boys and everything!! However I missed all my school friends and as my brother was allowed to travel across London to school  I thought it was only fair that I could as well. So I made the decision to leave the house at 6:45 everyday, catch the bus to Norwood Junction, Train to London Bridge, bus to Shorditch and another bus to Stamford Hill for 2 whole years, all for the sake of seeing my friends!!

I'm not saying it was a bad thing to travel far to school but it did impact on my learning, I don't remember ever doing homework as I was just too tired and my exam results were pretty poor but at the time my only focus was on the social aspect of school and not what achievements I would get at the end of it.

I'm glad my kids are a bit more wise than I was but its never to late to change our present in order to have a brighter future.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

4 Kids and never been called mum!

I'm not saying my kids don't talk to me, I mean I'm not really that bad a mother...  but for some reason they find it really difficult moving on from the name Mummy.

My eldest son is nearly 16 and over 6ft tall so it would be a bit strange hearing him call me Mummy. No what he calls me is even worse... it's Mother! He's always had a bit of posh about him, considering his dad grew up in Brixton and I grew up in Hackney only God knows where he got the posh lingo from and his dad is not too pleased about being called Father!

My 14 year old actually tries her hardest not to call me Mummy but she cant help herself and it just comes out. As she's recently been taking Spanish classes the new thing she calls me is Madre, unless of course she wants something then its back to 'Muummmyyy'

At 11yrs and 8yrs the youngest two seem to still feel comfortable with the term Mummy and not sure that they're ready to move on from that just yet (although there are times when they probably think of a few other names to call me) and I'm not sure if I am ready for them to move on either, they seem to be growing too quick as it is!

What age did your children go from calling, screaming, crying, whining or whimpering "Mummy" and is there a certain age that is just too old for that, I mean I'm sure Prince Charles still calls the Queen Mummy!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Rollercoaster ride

I could start this post by telling you that yesterday was my son's last exam, he has now left school and to celebrate he's gone to Thorpe park with a group of 16 friends.

But the rollercoaster ride I'm referring to is not one that you find at a theme park but the metaphorical one we call life.

The past two weeks for me has been so full of ups and downs that I don't know if I'm coming or going.
You know when you are going through a situation and it feels like you've been punched in the stomach and then everyday you carry that feeling around with you and physically feel sick but just put on a smile and carry on life as usual. When this particular situation was dealt with and I felt slightly better something else came along and just wiped the smile off my face. Then after a couple of days I get some good news and feel all optimistic again and so it goes on, up and down!

Who would of thought as a child or young adult that life could get so confusing, complicated and such hard work. I sure wish I was back to my last day at school and enjoying myself with friends with the only thing to worry about is which rollercoaster to go on next.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wise words on a Wednesday #4

I had to write my wise words with a 'keep calm' theme today as I am fuming just a little!

If you read my previous post about a tax rebate that I've been waiting for since November then you would know that I had 2 lots of cheques sent out that I didn't receive. I had to write to the Inland Revenue to request my payment be put into my bank account which they agreed to do, but then went on to send out another cheque (which was not recorded delivery!) I didn't get this cheque either and after a month asked for it to be cancelled yet again. The guy on the phone told me to wait a while longer as I may still miraculously get it delivered which I highly doubted.

Anyway 2 weeks later, no cheque, got it cancelled, asked for it to be put into my account again and told it was a 6 week process *sigh*

Now the payment would have been due this week so I phoned just to check on the progress only to be told that somebody has in fact cashed one of my cheques and they now need to investigate the situation!

Grrrr, I really wanted to shout at the lady on the phone and ask what a shambles of a government office they are running. How in this day and age can it take 6 months to pay somebody the money you owe them but are able to take the money I earn before its even issued to me?

I'm wondering if I will in fact see my money before the year is out but getting mad is not going to change the situation so I will do what I do best and Keep Calm, oh and I need to paint my nails too as my varnish is chipping!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Half term happiness

I do love half term but then again I would - I work term time only!
For the children its a break from school and a chance to have fun and let me entertain them but for me its a week off work and I like to spend it doing absolutely nothing. This means we have to come to some sort of compromise.

This week hasn't been too strenuous, here are a few things I've been up too..

I dyed my hair, not for a fresh new look but to cover up those white streaks that seem to appear right at the front of  my head where everyone can see them! Unfortunately it didn't quite work and most of them are still there but if you just look at me from the back it doesn't seem too bad a job.

We also took a trip to the cinema, myself and the 4 children went to see Wreck it Ralph which I found to be a pretty good movie, particularly if your children are into computer games as all of mine are.

I'm not much of a baker but I do like eating freshly made goodies so I'm lucky that my girls have a keen interest in cooking. Not only did they bake these delicious cookies but they found out what ingredients they needed and went to buy them all from the shop too.

As I wanted to do a car boot sale this weekend it was a good opportunity to have a good clear out, I do like to keep a good routine in the week so thought I would wait until a school holiday came up before pulling out all the cupboards and stressing myself out. The car boot sale wasn't exactly a great success but I've passed on everything I had to my brother so I didn't need to bring any junk back with me. My brother doesn't have a particular interest in my junk but he intends to sell it on himself doing his own boot sales! 

Sadly half term is now over but I will work hard for the next 7 weeks (hopefully with a bit of sunshine) until the next holiday and instead of the 1 week break we will have 6 whole weeks of fun to enjoy!! I cant wait.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Too many toys?

In preparation for a car boot sale I'm doing at the weekend I've asked the kids to clear out their toy boxes and give me all the things they don't need/use anymore. Now considering they haven't touched these toyboxes in about a year you would think they didn't actually find any of the contents interesting, especially as I'm always telling them to go and play and they reply with 'I haven't got anything to play with!' Or 'there's nothing to do!' But no, all of a sudden everything seems to be 'awesome' and 'epic'

It's great that they now have a new love for all their old tat but in my attempt to clear things out I instead have a front room floor covered in toys and a tiny bag to take to my car boot sale.

I'm really not looking forward to tackling the wardrobes!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Wise words on a Wednesday #3

They say good things come to those who wait but I believe you need to do a bit more than waiting in order to get what you want. Im speaking in general here so it could be related to any situations, be it employment, relationships, fitness, etc

I would say im quite a pessamistic person but thats mainly to protect myself from the worst. If you think of the worst outcomes then you are prepared for them when they happen and when there is a good outcome then it makes it all the more pleasurable.

On the other hand I think if you dont believe you are able to achieve what you want in life then how do you expect it to happen? Believing that something is in your reach will give you the push to go and get it!

Superhero race

I was dressed as Mrs Incredible!
On Sunday I woke unusually early, (5:48 to be precise!) in anticipation of running a 5k charity race for which I felt completely unprepared...apart from the outfit.

I was running with a group of colleagues for the charity School-Home Support.
Their statement:
School-Home Support works with some of the most troubled families in the country, to get children back in to school and ready to learn whatever it takes. Our practitioners work to support families who are coping with complex problems such as; domestic violence, mental heath, bullying, poverty and severe housing issues.
I'm pleased to say we raised over £1000 for the charity and we all survived.
I know 5k isn't exactly a marathon but to a beginner like myself it was a challenge. As it was a fun run with children also invited to take part it meant that I didn't feel like I was cheating when I got out of breath and had to walk in between the running.
The best part of running for charity (apart from raising lots of money) is knowing that I can finally cross something off my Bucket list.
 After the run, very sweaty and red!

Friday, 17 May 2013

RIP Barbie

Before you despair the real Barbie hasn't gone anywhere, she is still in Malibu soaking up the sun with Ken and is as skinny as ever...bitch!

Our pet albino toad on the other hand...

It all started when he (or she, I cant tell the difference) was enjoying life in the fish tank, coming up for air every so often and eating all the fish's dinner of blood worms and dry flaky things, you know the kind that fish eat. Until someone spotted Barbie (don't ask why she's named that) enjoying herself a bit too much in the tank!

Here is a picture of my sweet little cat named Coco, she has been fish spotting for years, sometimes looking in from the side of the tank and sometimes having a nap on top of it.

I noticed a few weeks ago that Barbie wasn't swimming to the top of the tank when the food was put in but thought maybe she was under one of the many things around the bottom of the tank, like a log or plant.

The man of the house was looking for something the other day and asked mr15 to look in the drawer in the study. In reply he got a screeching cry for mr15 had found more than what he was looking for and there in the back of the drawer was the body of Barbie.

Barbie didn't seem depressed so I don't think she purposefully committed toad suicide and there were no witnesses as to what happened but knowing what a predator my sweet little cat is I know who my money is on!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wise words on a Wednesday #2

This week, yesterday to be exact was my birthday!
I do joke around with people, as you do, with thee old 'Im 21 again' when they ask how old you are, but actually I don't really mind anybody knowing my age.

I do think there comes a time in your life when you have to act your age, I mean nobody likes a mutton dressed as lamb dancing it up in a club with the young ones, then again if you are (not that im accusing you personally) that mutton dressed as lamb dancing it up in the club with the young ones and you're enjoying yourself and don't care what others think then does it really matter?

So yesterday, for some strange reason, I was thinking what the earth will be like in 600 years time (thats a whole other blog post) and it got me thinking how our time on earth will be nothing but history, not even distant memories because nobody will even remember that we existed!

The point is we should be grateful for each moment and make the most of them no matter what age we are!

And incase you were actually wondering, Im now 34!!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wise words on a Wednesday #1

I love weekends, I think everybody does. It's that time to relax, revitalise and get your energy back so that when Monday morning comes around you can face it head on with good intentions of all the things you're going to achieve that week, but it doesn't always go to plan and by the time you reach Wednesday you're just counting down the hours until the weekend will once again appear.

So now I've decided that each Wednesday I will post something a bit inspirational to give us (mainly me) that kick up the bum to keep us going for the next couple of days.

I saw this on one of my favourite sites (Pinterest) and thought how true is the saying 'Time stops for no man!' Its better to fill your time trying to achieve something than to waste it dreaming about what you could be doing.

This is especially true of a situation I was in.

I had given up my job in a shop as I was there for 5 years, which just seemed to fly by and didn't feel I was going anywhere with it. I looked into college courses and choose to do a couple of short courses, one of which was a counselling course. I loved the course, it gave me loads of confidence and my tutor said I should really pursue it as a career. After looking into it I realised it would take me 4 years to become fully qualified and felt that being a mum to 3 small children at that time it would be more sensible to find a job than to commit myself to 4 years of study.

However fast forward 4 years and I still seemed to be in the same predicament, I was working but didn't feel I had the career that I wanted and realised that if I had just taken that step then I could have been a qualified counsellor.

Now I have a job I enjoy but I am still working towards my dream. Instead of worrying how long it will take me to get there I'm just going to have fun along the way and hope that one day it will all fall into place.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Nice nails

Im not a morning person and having 4 children to get ready in the mornings; finding clothes, brushing hair, making packed lunches! Always meant I never had much time to do anything more than brush my teeth and apply a bit of moisturiser to my dry bits.

Now the kids are all a little more independant and can do the above things for themselves (with prompting) It means I have time to make myself presentable.
I still dont wear a lot of make up, mostly around the eyes and some lip gloss which I prefer to lipstick and I may even straighten my hair if I feel to have it out of its usual ponytail.

However one thing I have always done is paint my nails.

My nails have always grown quickly (apart from a short period at around 11yrs when I started biting them) and I have always had long nails.
I know its become a bit of the norm nowadays to go and get your nails done, for some it's a treat and for others its a part of their regular routine but I have never had a manicure in my life. Not because I dont want too, I'm sure it's quite relaxing having someone else paint your nails for you but ive just never felt the need to have mine done.

I actually like the process of choosing a colour, painting it on without going over the edge and having a sniff out the bottle. I don't do it to get high or anything... honest, I just love the smell of nail varnish!

Most of the nail varnish I buy is from Avon. I used to be an Avon rep so would always get the new colours when they came out and even though Im now a Bodyshop consultant (I dont know why they dont have a nail varnish range) I still order from Avon as I think they have some great value products and I love their range of nail varnish colours (They're not paying me to say that!)

When I want to splash out and go for something a bit more designer I wait for the latest magazine ie Marie Clair, Cosmopolitan or Glamour to give them as free gifts and I buy that! That way I also have something nice to read while I'm waiting for the nails to dry.

These are the last 2 nail varnishes I purchased which I think are really pretty spring colours. The first is called 'chilling teal' and the second is 'arctic waters' both as you can see are from Avon and I bought them as part of a half price offer for £3 each.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

My style

I'm not much of an accessories girl although I would like to be, think I should make a bit more of an effort!

I grew up in the 90s and jewellery was a big part of fashion, not costume jewellery, at least not if you were a teenager! But proper gold. Rings on nearly every finger, rope chain necklaces and personally I had my ears pierced 3 times and would layer the earrings. I like to think I made my own fashion statement by wearing different earrings in each ear... I shudder at the thought.

My style changed dramatically after becoming a parent, basically I just didn't have any! I think I had the same wardrobe for about 10yrs. It consisted of jeans and jumpers and my footwear of choice would be a pair of trainers. At least they would be Reebok or Nike, I wasn't that bad that I would wear cheap trainers!
The accessories were non existent, couldn't wear rings due to the swollen fingers of pregnancy so I just didn't bother wearing any jewellery at all.
New clothes for myself were a real treat and usually only happened on special occasions. Children, especially babies grow non-stop and so need a constant flow of new garments. Even now there is never a time when 1 of my brood doesn't need something, be it a P.E kit, new coat or new shoes, so as a mum I'm obviously bottom of the priority heap.

Over the past few years I have been a bit more generous to myself, after all I am the one that works for it so I deserve a little something once in a while, right?
I have even managed to buy myself some dresses! I don't wear them very often but with the sun threatening to show it's face I may brave it and start wearing them. I may even post a blog now and again with what I have in my wardrobe. (Watch this space)

I must admit I am more of a comfort over style girl and wouldn't be seen wasting money on designer clothes, I'm definitely more of a high street kind of girl.
Working with children all day it's a lot more convenient to wear sensible shoes and comfortable clothes so I do try to make an effort when going out. Like most girls I LOVE shoes, I think high heels look gorgeous but I am rubbish at wearing them... need more practice!
I have also collected quite a bit of new jewellery, albeit costume jewellery, over the years and I do find it better to buy the cheap stuff in primark or new look because you can match to certain outfits and change your look more often.

I think it takes a while to understand your own style and what suits your body shape and to accept what your body shape actually is! I hope I have now done that and look forward to modelling some outfits for you all :\

Has your style changed since becoming a parent or have you always had it?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cross stitching

This is my guide to cross stitching, even though I've been doing it for the past 16 years I am still a mere amateur compared to some!
When I say 'doing it for 16 years' I actually mean I started 16 years ago, but there are times when I've started a project only to put it away in a drawer and not return to it for another 2 years!

It all started as my younger cousin was given a kit and didn't know what to do with it so handed it over to me.
Being a heavily pregnant 18 year old, I had given up college to try and sort my life out, given up my part time job in McDonald's due to the constant morning sickness and I needed something to fill my time.
Most of my friends would be out enjoying themselves, clubbing, getting drunk, shopping for the latest fashions and there I was in my jogging bottoms (couldn't afford proper maternity clothes) making pictures with a needle and thread!

I didn't know how to actually cross stitch as there were no instructions so I just worked it out with common sense, it's not too much of a complex pastime and although very time consuming it's actually quite relaxing.

So my first project was a red flower. I stitched all the right squares in the right colours so didn't understand why it looked so bad.
My first mistake was that I used a full piece of thread instead of pulling it apart, 1 piece of thread can be divided into 6 strands and I should have used 2 of those strands rather than 6 meaning each cross was way too thick. The second mistake was that all the crosses were going in different directions which makes the finished outcome look very messy. If the first cross has 1 thread going bottom right to top left and the other going bottom left to top right then every cross after that has to follow that direction.

The thing I like about cross stitching is seeing the picture develop, like a painting or a puzzle only it takes a little more time.
My favourite types of cross stitch are something colourful and cute, big enough to fit in a frame but not too big as I do like to eventually finish them!

A few examples of cross stitching I have previously made.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Tax doesn't have to be taxing

But if you're waiting for a rebate it bloody well is!

I noticed a mistake on my payslip last October, it was just something small but I mentioned it to the lady in the office at work. After rectifying the problem she gave my payslip back and told me she noticed I was paying emergency tax and shouldn't be, she then advised me to call my local tax office and have it changed. She said I may even be due money back as they were taking too much!

GREAT NEWS, I was due a rebate! (I've never had 1 of those before)

So the guy on the phone tells me that I'm actually due 3 payments covering 3 tax years as the previous 2 years I didn't have a permanent job and had been left on the temporary tax code.
So the payment covering this year (which is actually now last year as we've just passed the new tax year) would be paid with my wages but the other 2 payments would be sent by cheque. I didn't really care about waiting at the time, I was grateful to be receiving an unexpected payment especially as it was due right before Christmas.

Before my wages (with the extra £700 or so) had even gone into my account I had already mentally spent most of it on all the festive goodies and kids Christmas presents. I was still expecting the 2 cheques which would total around £900 but thought it would be better for them to arrive in the new year as I would be more sensible and spend the money on bills and essentials.

New year arrives and I'm thinking it's taking a bit of time for these cheques, maybe I should give them a call and find out where the are??
Apparently they had been sent out in November and as I still hadn't received them they would have to cancel those and issue them again, a process that they inform me, takes 6 whole weeks to do!

It's mid February (6 weeks on) and still no cheques so I phone back the tax office. I'm told that they were sent out in January and I should have received them by now... same old story! So I ask the lady on the phone if it's possible to just transfer the money into my bank account?
I can, but only if I write a letter requesting them to do so with my bank account details as they are unable to take these over the phone. Why?! If I was to phone you up to pay tax I'm sure you would be happy to take my bank details then! But I don't argue with the lady because I know she's only doing her job and doesn't make up the rules.

I send the letter and wait a couple of weeks before phoning to check if they had actually received it. I'm told that they had just got the letter that day and it was being dealt with, the money would be in my account within 2 weeks.

So now it's mid march and I'm checking my account each day to see if the money has been transferred. As I know the money is due I'm now relying on it to pay certain things and so finding it quite annoying that it's not been put in the bank.
Back on the phone, explaining the situation for the umpteenth time only to be told that the payment has been sent... by cheque... again!!
I asked the guy why it had been sent by cheque again when they had already told me it was going to be put in my account. According to him they never put payments into accounts but they can send the cheque to the banks address and let them put it into your account... never heard anything like it!

Anyway now its a month on from then and guess what? Yes thats right, still no cheque!!

Im wondering how much the Inland Revenue would fine me if they sent me a tax bill and 5 months on they hadn't got their money?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Offspring of the month

I took my daughter (miss14) shopping the other day, she's been hounding me for weeks to go and buy summer clothes but as there was no sign of the sun and not a lot of money in the bank I resisted until I couldn't take the nagging anymore.

So we went to the local shopping centre. It was a miserable day but the shops were still packed with optimistic customers buying all their summer gear.

Having 4 children that never stop growing (I'm sure there's some sort of growth hormone added to food nowadays) I thought it was best to get a few bits for all of them, just incase it did suddenly get hot...unlikely!

Filling my basket with t-shirts, shorts, dresses, swimwear and sunglasses for miss10 and mr8 I was forgetting all about the child with me and she wasn't too impressed. Miss14 got a maxi skirt with a vest top and a dress but when I said it's time to go to the till and pay she started sulking. I explained that I would have to endure that embarrassing moment of telling the cashier to take some things off because I don't have enough money to pay for it, but kids don't seem to care where the money comes from when they want things!

After getting home and still with a long list of stuff she wanted, miss14 decided that her dad and I should choose an 'Offspring of the month'.
The idea is whoever does the most chores, makes hot drinks, keeps their room clean and is the best behaved should be treated to something they want, ie a shopping trip or a computer game. And with the mention of a computer game mr8 comes running in the room with an inquisitive look on his face asking who's getting a new computer game?

Now she knows being the eldest daughter of the house (as was I) that it's only inevitable that you are going to do the most in the house, it's always the way, isn't it? So this is her way of getting new clothes every month.

I personally think all my children get their fair share of things they want (they would probably disagree) and they all have to earn it in their own way, but if I were to adopt this reward system my poor sons would never get anything!
Miss14 may just have to wait a while for her next shopping spree.

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