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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