Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Day 120: The limit


I really reached my limit today... The downside to working madly over the past month to make creative presents to stimulate my children's development is that now I have the constant 'can we make this?' 'can we do baking?' 'can we sew this?' 'can we make stickers?' and all I seem to say is 'come and put this away before you start something new...' However this morning was the aftermath from a trip to Ikea... one nights neglected dishes, undone ironing pile, and the usual non bin collection build up- overflowing wrapping paper heaps and I couldn't get anything done... The hallway was blocked with rubbish from the bottom of the stairs to the front door and the kitchen was upsetting... I tried to remain calm but resorted to throwing the dishes in the sink...kind of hoping that if they all broke I wouldn't have to wash them all up again. The hunt for the dishwasher has gone to a new level... freecycle is proving impossible... ebay its going to have to be!
Having had a rough start to the day Joel made all the upsetting rubbish disappear in the car and I managed to sort the craft cupboard out to make room for new things and make it all lovely, made nice 'tacky hama bead' decorations with both children... Elijah's now able to do constructive activity AS WELL as ripping things up and destroying!, baked a pie with them both using 1. Elijah's new baking set, 2. Elijah's new baking book, 3. Our homemade jam - Feel good factor 3 on the scale!, also sorted their dressing up...which them amused them for 2 hours, had a knitting time with Holly and then they helped me make tea... home all day... no TV :) ahhhhhh good day!
Tesco photo online tonight... ordering prints for some new photo frames we got with our debenhams voucher from last Christmas. I've used the machines in Tesco before a few times but do find it a bit stressful... especially when you're trying to sort through the folders on your memory card while someones stood waiting behind you... much easier to do it from your sofa... and you can then collect them from the store - so you don't have to go down, ask for an hour processing, hover around the aisles for an hour or do a slow shop, go back, they've forgotton to out them in, go home, come back another day... which has happened twice before. PLUS when you register online you get 40 free 6 by 4 prints.. so if you just want a few they're just free. Cool.


Monday, 28 December 2009

Day 119: The Aftermath

... Christmas kind of over... heeeeeee that was expensive! All the extra we got in last month has totally disappeared and a well meaning trip to ikea today also ended with all our Christmas money from my mum and dad gone... eeeeeeek. However its been a BRILLIANT few days... we've had so much fun with the children and they've got enough craft to keep them going for a year and a half. We've still got some family to catch up with but have had some good times with mine. Elijah now has an amazing new room thanks to our ikea trip today and a big shelving solution which means his toys and clothes finally have somewhere to go other than the floor! So money spent and well worth it. Vouchers also got us a new kettle and we have some left promised for a new breadmaker... some dishwasher bartering going on on ebay as we speak and then we're back to the full squad! Debt?.... :S Good thing is that new year is a good kick up the bum... its a good time to set good clear goals again and get on track... and I haven't lost any motivation... I've just not been able to hide from Christmas!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day 118: feeling felt


So the downside to homemade Christmas is the Joel is happily ignoring everything and sat watching a movie while I've been making playdough and now am sewing samples to go inside the craft kit boxes... I've got backache and am tired but can't stop till Christmas time... when I'll no doubt have to start again as the kids want help to make their new things... I am excited though... the children have one of those stacks of ikea round boxes - 3 different sizes- each filled with a different activity - Elijah homemade playdough and cutters (which include old baby milk scoops, baby spoons and junk I found in the draw), A sew a tiger kit and a kits of different coloured felts, googly eyes and pipe cleaners. Holly has a knitting and french knitting kit, A hearts decoation kit full of heart shapes and ribbons in different felts and fabrics and a kit full of bits and pieces for when she makes things out of her usborne 'make and do' books. Mulled wine and quality streets are keeping me going... got a tonne of food prep tomorrow and we're totally snowed in so if we dont have all we need then AAAAGH!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Day 117: Santa Stickers

There should either be a ban on Santa's promising ANYTHING or at least labels saying STINGY PARENT that you can wear when you go in to visit so at least they are cautious with their words. I wasn't planning to buy Elijah a CD player for Christmas... it only came up that he wanted one yesterday...and yes its made the list and I will consider it as we did buy him one last year but somehow it ended up in Holly's room when hers broke... so to some extent fair's fair.
Today we went to a lovely nativity... in Totley Hall farm... live animals so the kids dressed up and were part of the nativity story, then they were allowed to hold the little bleating baby lamb (awww) and ride the donkey. Then they had the biscuits and juice while we got hot mulled wine and hot mince pies... of course mulled wine is hot anyway... but when you're stood in a cold barn in a farm on the 22nd Dec the 'hot' bit is what really matters right then... it was lovely. We then got to visit Father Christmas' room... which was a long wait but because this Father Christmas actually spends about 20 minutes chatting to each child...which is really nice... but his error in my opinion was when he asked Elijah if he wanted his CD player leaving under the tree or in his stocking...hmmmm... another trip to the shops for me then!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Day 116: A few days of panic

Sorry- I've totally got out of the habit of using my computer after my 2 week break from it - which is nice in a way but I keep forgetting to blog. Its quite a scary money time too - I've finally got a cheque to cover some work expenses which have depressingly had to go back onto my cleared overdraft :( but tomorrow hopefully that cheque will clear and I can wipe that strait off my clean achievement! So the preparation for the craft- non commercial Christmas is quite exciting... though I still have LOADS to do and I'm feeling a slight stress - which is unlike me at Christmas time. The only stress I normally feel is the worry that I'm missing something when everyone seems to say 'are you ready?' in a nervous way... I don't get it... why wouldn't you be ready? Is there something I'm missing that I should have done?
But what I'm looking forward to... after enjoying being a bit Christmas focused, slightly generous and spendy... (tonight we had someone round and had one of those BIG quality street tins in the cupboard that we bought ourselves for having people over... we've never done that before! ) is that after the next couple of weeks I can really start working at the cards again. Its going to be brutal!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Day 115: Its back!


Hurray! The laptop is back... having said that its not a long post, I'm on the dodgy home PC as the laptop is already packed up for work tommorrow and its a late one. Its midnight and I'm getting a million baggs ready for tommorrow... 3 class teachers presents, book bag child 1, book bag child 2, pack lunch, ballet bag, car seat to give to Cara who takes her to dancing, and the latest thing... which I have just been out buying at 10pm... trainers... Holly (in her princess dress as it was Christmas party dress up today) told me at tea time that she goes to ball skills on a friday lunch time... but has been told she cant go again till she has some trainers... poor thing hasn't told me anything about it till now... and I'm quite surprised that she goes... none of her friends do, she hates anything boyish and isnt very sporty at all... but off she's been going on a Friday lunch time to ball skills! She now is the proud owner of a shiny new pair of trainers (Clarks sale is on now - get in before the last day of school holiday nightmare!)
I shall put them by her bed so she gets a nice surprise in the morning - funny little girl!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Day 114: Smashing into Christmas


... we're heading towards Christmas fast and just about still holding on... I'm hoping some work expenses will be with me soon which will help out tonnes and praise God for the child benefit ariving today to get us out of an over the overdraft problem! Still little things are helping... I need to get creative with the kids presents as I have loads of ideas - none fo which have materialised as yet and not much time... I'm in the sort of predicament whereby I am likely to get scared, flip and spend a fortune just so they have something to open. However everything else is sorted... not the food budget but homemade teacher pressies on their way in this week and mostly I've bought for everyone else!
Thanks Charlie for the code for littlewoods website... ZG011 gets you £15 of your order at the till and free deliery on everything too... thats great... family board game - my main indulgence in terms of cost this year has been sorted by that!
I was proud of my gorgeous boy today as a Shepherd in his nursery nativity... and I found a quid on the floor today too :) good times!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Day 113: Old Coats

Grabbing an opportunity to write this while Joel puts the kids to bed... I'm STILL witing to hear about the laptop and am losing my vision of how glossy and magical apple is. I DID expect one of the floaty apple angels with chip and pin necklace accessory would have simply zapped it and mended it in an instant - so 7-10 working days is a bit boring an ordinary and its quite frustrating now.
So in the mean time I can't especially check balances... so the up side of my 100 day stretching out for my clear the debt target is that I have a little longer as I'm counting the days that I actually blog... however the down side of that is that I'm also giving myself longer of my buying clothes ban!
However... 2 good things to report... yesterday I put on an old coat... getting old cosy warm things out of the cupboard... while a quick Christmas shop in town yesterday I was looking for a tissue for my snotty coldy nose and I found a tenner in my pocket! Always a treat!
Also yesterday I started thinking of what it means to be elongating my clothes ban... and decided I would be able to last a few more days without being able to get some silver earrings. On realising that they were all I was really feeling desperate for I thought 2 things... 1. Its not so bad if thats all I'm feeling in lack of 2. I should really write a list of what I really feel I'll need when the time is up - which will save any impulse buying... BUT today I pulled out another old coat... hand in pocket...SILVER EARRINGS! YAY!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Day 112: Waiting waiting waiting

and I am still waiting. Apple still have my laptop and can't tell me anything about it yet. I tried and did my best to persuade them to find out for me as I'm a bit stuck with both work and 50% of my life without it - but quite enjoying life with no computer to some extent. I managed to spend the day in the office today with just about enough to do to up until the girls course.
Money wise the realisation has hit me this week that it's Christmas, and though fighting commercialism is still on the agenda - (no HSM or Hannah Montana under the tree this year!) I have come to the realisation that I don't want to be stingy. This Christmas may be full of homemade craft kits which I am really excited by... but when we stood in church struggling to decide if we could afford to fill a hamper for a struggling family, and when mum and dad are faced with needing to cook a Christmas dinner 2 days in a row... I don't want to be the sort of person who tries to wriggle out of those things to save money... basically if I don't spend it - someone else has to and I still believe in sharing... so we're filling a hamper - as generously as we can, have done shoe boxes and TEAM TOOMBS are cooking the Christmas dinner...!
So I was happy to submit my wages today... for a fairly decent amount - well enough to cover the Christmas dinner, a few pressies and a bit for the credit card... which is good :)
If I can get onto it we'll have an update later... no idea where we're up to!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Day 111: Christmas Tree Day!


So a few days missed - I'm borrowing a computer again today but I still have none. Mine is in apple world and I'm waiting to see if its fixable :S
So its been a bit fustrating.. I've not been able to write and I've not been really able to check money and balances so I feel a bit stuck...
However... I've had a good and busy few days with work... which I'll talk about more in the GoldDigger blog when I get another 5 mins on a computer... and today has been Chistmas Tree Day in our house... the dishwasher has gone to live in the dump, all the neighbour have been watching Joel as he climbed up the tree with lights to do our bit and Christmasify our house.. now our house is one of 4 with lights looking pretty in the whole of our area...
Anyway...while we're both in I'm hoping we've got £200 to shift onto Mummy Card... will update if can!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Day 110: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH

So I'm frustrated... mildly as I'm aware I should be so fed up but am not allowing it to properly get to me - but today I have a broken/breaking/ oddly behaving macbook. The power lead has gone but more worryingly (and probably more expensivly) when you press the keys some ink looking stuff splurts out of the keys and goes everywhere... Joel could smell burning at one stage and Jez - a computer job person heard what was up with it and suspects something is melting somewhere inside - all of which are terrible things to happen! So Joel's offered to take it all in to the floaty magical apple shop and I'm using his now. What scares me is that its a work one... and I know GoldDigger don't have the money to replace it- yes its a priority and I need one to do my work - but that doesn't mean it can be replaced as the money simply isnt there and there are so many things we don't have that are a priority. So HOPEFULLY it will be mendable - if not I'm going to need to add that onto my saving up list but that is a depressing - REALLY depressing thought - hopefully it wont come to that. I just don't get it though... in the last month we've had a broken washing machine (managed to fix it for now) a broken kettle, broken dishwasher, broken breadmaker, 2 broken power cables and now the mac book. In previous times we would have just opted to stick things we need on the credit card but it just seems somehow significant - and significantly rubbish that we're not opting for that - we're getting by, borrowing or doing without. But the horrid thing is that we know we've cut back so much that there's no room for anymore to give... there's actually nothing we're paying for monthly that we can do without and there's no more we could cut out from our spending. I know it shoudn't get to me, and I'm not getting angry about it but I know I feel defeated as I just keep thinking...'right, whats the next thing thats going to go on us...?' I know I'm expecting it now... which is a totally pessamistic and defeated thing to think and its rubbish :(
So... lets end on a positive... the washer IS mended, the kettle still makes a cup of tea - it just blows occasional fuses and doesn't turn off and we have borowed one on standby, the state of the washing up is dreadful and we just don't have time to keep on top of it...but we're keeping on at freecycle, breadmaker we've asked mum and dad to contribute towards for Christmas and macbook MIGHT come back ok from the floaty apple shop... and Holly is Mary in the infant nativity, Elijah is a Shepherd for his nursery nativity and its Christmas tree weekend in a few days ... so there is still some good news in the world :)

Day 109: Being disorganised has paid off today


...on opening my diary... which seems like it had been for the first time this year! (by diary I mean my official filofax - life has translated into a huge big fat paperchase daily journal which has a whole page for planning, sribbling whats going on and Things to do lists for each and everyday just to keep me on top of life...) so on opening my dairy saw - from last Christmas a lovely shiny Debenhams £50 gift card!... I assumed I'd probably spend it already but phoned the number to check the balance and there's still £50 - Wicked! Now torn between kettle, some towards a breadmaker, elc stuff for the kids... coco chanel for me... not likely to win but I can always dream!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Day 108: Ooooops


I'm proud of my mum... she has recently learned knitting! She's never been able to do it before and when I wanted to learn I had to learn from Joel's mum when she's in the UK rather than Africa... so whenever I've had a problem I've had to wait for her annual trip over here...
So having decided we're not having any Christmas presents I was happy see mum knitting me a nice hat and scarf set for a present for me... until that is I asked how she was making the scarf and she said I could have a go on it as it was only half done. I then did a few rows, made it look terrible, messed up the stitches and it looked all wonky... so its now back to life as a ball of wool :( might have just done myself out of a present after all.
On money news I'm fairly excited that this week we should clear some debt... pay day tomorrow maybe and time to eradicate the baby credit card!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Day 107: Weird new shoes...?


So after planning on the A6 last night that I was going to get home, eat a meal and then sleep for a long time..I then found a text from Joel when I got in my front door saying I could sleep in if I wanted and he'd got free Woolworths 'movies for juniors' tickets for Monsters vs Aliens at 10 in the morning... well - when I've not seen my kids since 8 that morning when they trundled off to school and nursery how could I miss out on that treat with them... so off we went via Tesco for a cheeky 'sneak in your own' pic and mix... Eclairs (joels fave) and Jelly Babies (kids faves) were both half price - everyone's happy! Slightly scary film, stuffed with sweets, car games and home to make dens out of blankets downstairs.
So on arriving home I found something odd in my post... 2 sets of vouchers for a clothes shop... like a duplicate mail out type thing - and definately from the store - not like a gift voucher from someone else and I have no idea why and its for quite a bit of money... like it must be a mistake???? I'm really quite confused but its not like there's any way of querying it... they just arrived through my door!
So being on my clothes fast it would be a little weird to go out and buy loads of new clothes just cos they're free - somehow that would just be cheating what I need to learn from what I'm doing but it does come at quite a timely ...um...time. Beth and I have just been given a small percentage of what we need for stagewear.. which has been great and allows us to get one of two things for gig clothes... but not enough for all we'd need. For example I need a really good sturdy pair of heels for stage - something I can dance and jump around in without doing that uncomfortable wobbly heels thing and feel like I'm constantly going to fall over... I found some amazing ones that looked great and were really stable and comfy... but when I looked at the price label ...£70... just couldn't do it - even dividing out cost per wear brought it down a lot and I would rather spend that on shoes that I would be able to wear loads than on a few pairs that are all £20 but aren't comfy enough and get stuffed to the back of the wardrobe... but spending the outlay of £70 is just un-justifyable as an option with my own money and even with our clothing budget it would practically wipe that out - so I've done without. BUT if they're kind of free! That's both AMAZING and BRILLIANT!
It feels a little too good to be true and I keep reading all the small print looking for the part that says 'these vouchers are just a joke - unlucky!' but so far they might be real!

PS. the shoe picture is more in keeping with the theme of weird shoes and not the stable ones I talk of... I would be a disaster in those and they look a bit like an Egyptain headdress... which wouldn't really go with much else I own.

Day 106: a late one...

... no real post for yesterday as I seem to have spent the entire day in the car... drove over to Liverpool for a gig and had a good time and drove back again... no food between a last minute decision to make macaroni cheese for me and Beth to eat before we left at 2 and next eat... left over macaroni at 2am. Its great trying to make meals stretch further... i can look forward to 2 meals of macaroni today too it seems!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Day 105: Thank you...

... yes thank you for all the encouragement. Its great to hear that people think we can do it... and it makes me feel more excited about doing it too when I hear that... thanks for the link to the Christmas present article...It was good to read that coming from someone else... I think I'd already thought some of that before but thought I was stingy for thinking it so having a link and knowing someone else agrees helps me feel less scroogy... I totally love buying for people when I know they'd love it or that I'd be getting them something they really need... but hate that token gift buying of stuff for the sake of it... I've already made a few bits and pieces in my preperation for Christmas and will incorporate more into that.
On the clothing issue I realise I haven't updated news on that for ages but 1. in terms of wearing something different everyday till I run out... I've run out... a couple of weeks ago... whenever I last updated it... so no scope for anything different for many many days... but I'm doing ok and am still enjoying the joy of window shopping!
2. In terms of gig clothes... I'm going to need to raid the wardrobe for something different for the Liverpool gig tomorrow night as I've worn the same for too many gigs in a row now! But great news is that today part of a clothing budget has been agreed as part of tour expenses so I get somethings bought for me! Hurrah - that's just brilliant! I've been enjoying scouring the internet for crazy cool stagy dresses!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Day 104: Envisioning night

(my little baby girl 2 Christmas' ago... this year I need to make her a Mary costume for her school nativity... well done my girlie for being chosen!!)
Had to call in an envisioning night to get a meeting in with Joel... he has spared me 10 mins before kick off of the Man U v Turkey game... he's getting there slowly...
So we had paper and pens to brainstorm strategy ideas for each of the monsters... Good news is that we reckon baby monster will be eliminated in about 2 days time when pay day arrives.
Mummy monster is going to take all our strength... for that one we have 1 cheque from Joel's parents, my estimated earnings next month, Joel's pay from an article thats due, ALL our child tax credit for the next 3 months and my earnings from the GoldDigger tour between Jan and March... IF its totally booked up! (which also takes us over the 100 days) so we need lots of back up strategy too... Ebay is a good one too... so I'm optimistic about getting Mummy Monster... but then Christmas is also coming up... we've decided not to do presents... I'm feeling ok about that... but I am really worried that I'll feel really sad about that on Christmas day... and because we're not getting much for the kids either I don't want to ruin Christmas! The kids are not going deprived... they'll get a few things but they also were told in the summer that their playhouse was for Christmas as well... and to be good parents we kind of have a responsibility to stick to that... all Holly's friends are getting DS's... she'd like one but she's 5 and I'm not ready to lose her to a little pink hand held box - she should play with real things instead! So its crafts and games for those 2 this year... Christmas wouldn't be right without a family board game!
So the rest of the Christmas budget I'm slightly worried about but then I can thank myself for being uber-prepared - I bought new lights and decorations last year, a wreath for the door in the January sales and all my wrapping paper and cards last year... I haven't even lost it all - its all labelled, boxed and ready to come out of the loft on Tue ready! Normally I buy it all in the January sales, box it and lose it up there - if we ever sort the loft out I could probably open one of those seasonal Christmas shops! But I've also started my shopping ages ago and haven't got much more to do... I did want some GHD's... but having said no presents Joel had the idea that we might be able still to fix my old ones... its a loose connection and would need welding well... but even if we paid an old man in a hardware shop a tenner that'd be great... and he can wrap them up for me and I'll be happy!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Day 103: Day 4.16

Yes - today is day 4.16 as in £4.16 C woooooooooo hoooooooooo! Its £4.16 all ready for when the interest gets taken out on the 8th of Dec... and the letter can go off to close that old 'friend'. I've DONE IT!! Man.... 10 years of putting that off... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh and relax.... and onto the others!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Day 102: Balancing 7 balances

Yes... it is 7 balances we've needed to look at to work out where we're up to... off I go today to clear one of those completely and ask for it to be shut down and then we tackle the rest!
So good news is Joel's in! He just doesn't seem as gung-ho as I'd like him to be at this stage... like I don't really need a team mate who says on day 1 'I don't think we'll do it you know'... but he just needs a bit of training thats all ... anyway he's gone off to London today to see his parents again before they fly back off to Africa and to collect their car as out of all the Toombs children they decided we needed it most - which is good - we've spent more on petrol by far having to share 1 car and its a legistical nightmare... since the insurance is all paid for its a massive help and not much cost to us. While Joel sits on megabus with his £5 ticket to London he's cracking on with his book and then spending some of today at the history museum... so I've helpfully given him the motivational speech as I waved him off that if he finishes off and we can get it on the shelves of WHSmiths within the next 100 days then that will contribute to the project.
So the bad news which accompanies that good news is that its not just one monster we face but a nice little family of three. Daddy monster weighs in at £5547.83 D, Mummy is a slighter £1,955.22 D and baby monster a tiny £96.74 D. Baby monster we reckon we can have in one sweep... but nevertheless the total we're dealing with is £7,599.79 D eeeeeeeeeeeek! Which actually takes us to 5 times what I have just paid off :[ STILL... no point backing down now... may as well aim high!... and off we go!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Room 101

So even though I actually haven't banked the cheque my heads already leaping over that and onto the next stage... THE BIG MONSTER
Ok so I'm about to introduce you to the monster...his name is MR TESCO CARD and he's made up of about 50% petrol and 50% work expenses that are bought by him-we claim back from work - but need the money to get through the month - so never transfer them over and MR TESCO CARD just grows and grows until he's as big and strong as he is today! I don't even know how much is on this card but last time it was around 6,000 and I'm pretty sure its grown since :S
Well... here are some more facts
1. I have spent on this card no more than 3 times
2. Yes I have used the petrol it has paid for
3. Joel has used it every other time
4. Joel thinks that me and him don't have enough shared interests any more... that our work time has become really separate recently and we don't have much time together just cos of pressures of working and family life.
5. Joel very much appreciates my attitude in committing to pay off my overdraft and thinks its great but has been heard to say 'that's cos you're only interested in paying off your overdraft' and things like that in the same tone as he would use if I bought a new dress... meaning he thinks I'm obsessed with the novelty of something... which is totally true... I've paid off my overdraft because it has been fun to do so! An interest shall we say?
So I propose to Mr Toombs that he shares an interest with me in embarking on putting MR TESCO CARD Monster in Room 101, project embarking on day 101 of my blog...
You in?
Here are the sums...
Mandy + a few bits of wages, some cut backs and a lot of motivation = 1,500 in 100 days
Therefore... it should take 400 days for me to get through 6,000... TOO LONG! Thats more than a year :(
But...
(Mandy - gym membership now)+ (Joel - needing a bacon sandwich from the cafe every time he goes to B&Q) = TEAM TOOMBS - THE INDESTRUCTABLE POWER MONSTER DEFEATER
Thats GOT to be 4 times the power of a normal human (even though we're pooling from the same pot of money so technically won't have any more to draw on) Lets go for ... 100 days?
6,0000 in 100 days YAAAAAAAR thats loads and totally unachievable surely but it seems boring to aim for any less...

Woops ...I'm late for lunch at mum and dads...

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Day 100: oh well

I didn't make it to the bank... I've had a mad busy day and am sat in Bradford now ... about to get ready for a gig which beautifully is preceded by a 3 course meal... good one! So bit of an 100 day let down... :( but still I KNOW I HAVE IT!!!!!!!!! I also earn some more tonight so double yay... aiming for some GHDs for my Christmas present... nearly thought I should get a sat nav but Dad gave us his old one as it was broken... you may notice a theme to our family belongings - so it got us to Bradford today even though I did have to turn it on 2 hours before I needed it just so it could find the GPS... must go get ready and make my self look presentable.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Day 98 and 99... whoops

Ok so shame no 1 is that yes- I missed a post yesterday... my excuse is that I was watching an infuriatingly slow and rubbish film Joel got out from the library whilst trying to type the GoldDigger blog... so ended up taking so long to do that I didn't even try to do another.
Shame no 2 is that in this picture I have just rubbed my eye makeup all over my face and look like a zombie... (I bought one of those maybeline pink and green mascaras cos I remembered that it is really good... and seemed to think it didn't matter that last time I think I was allergic to it... so have had enough of uncomfortable eyes...and so smudged it allover making a matching uncomfortable face)
However... my smugness today and my ability to post this picture anyway ... is because I'm holding something quite exciting in my hands...! (EEEEEEK) My rule is that I don't update my total until its banked and official but I got an exciting and earlier than usual... and day 100 might not be a red number but it just might be a special trip to the bank!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Day 97: Not another one...


... yes apparently another appliance has given up on us... our trusty breadmaker made us a lump of solid flour today which is a bit annoying when you've got a packed lunch to be ready in 5 mins before the school run and there's nothing else in the house... pasta and 'a bit late' to the rescue!
So on one level I'm not so surprised that it's had it. 6 years ago my mum bought a new breadmaker as hers was broken... as collectors of items out of skips and all things broken that our friends were throwing out we asked could we please have the old broken one then?... it needed to be weighed down with a soup bowl containing a cooked tin of condensed milk for half of the cycle and then removed in time for the bread to rise without it having a bowl shaped indent in it. That was everytime we made bread for 2 years and then just seemed to fix itself... so thats 5 years of use for our main source of all bread out of an old 'broken' breadmaker... On the other hand thats saved us loads of money and made us loads of healthy bread with real ingredients and no rubbish in... :( Ugh AGAIN!
On the plus side ... hairdressers today... on birthday vouchers... good haircut, GHD's - which are always a treat since mine broke and a nice afternoon even with Elijah with me after a trip to Fancies for cupcakes... happy times :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Day 96: Taking on another challenge...

...as if I haven't taken on enough already! Well now I have taken on writing the GoldDigger supporters blog... something that Rach was doing but since she's left :( it goes to me :S so there's where I'll be writing for supporters and well wishers and intersteders of the work GoldDigger are doing ... and how all the 'behind the scenes' things are going. I'm hoping to write really regularly on that though I'm not sure I like having the responsibility to write 2 blogs a day... will see how it goes!
Freed up our child benefit money again today though... which takes me to a wonderful £112.21 D - woooo hooooo! Good news... though I did have a random though one night this week that I should make day 100 a notable post... 4 days to go... would I be able to make that?? the FINAL payoff? um... not sure about that :S

oooh the supporters page link is HERERERERERRE

Monday, 16 November 2009

Day 95: Can he fix it? Yes he can!

Well done Joel... washer fixed...hurray and then I realise I have to get on with the washing if that's the case!
Tonight I'm not writing much... getting on with some homemade Christmas presents... busy busy busy...
Ridiculous spend of the day... couldn't resist letting Elijah choose a Christmas decoration for both him and Holly today when me and him went to town... he's 3 and I think this will be the most exciting Christmas time for him... how could I say no?!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Day 94: May have lost the battle...

Team Toombs are certainly fighting wounded. We've lost a kettle sensor but have kettle reinforcements sent in, have lost the dishwasher but today the biggest blow came in the death of the washing machine. There are team members we can cover for but not the washing machine... that just sucks :(
But we're not giving up - the overdraft target remains the same. I gained victory over the gym membership and sadly gave in my termination letter today...sad that I'll miss it but frees up me and Holly's fee every month... and I can always rejoin when I'm rich.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Day 93: Not really missing it yet

... shopping that is. Joel accused me of torturing myself when he saw me looking at Top Shop.com earlier today... truth is I love looking at clothes... truth also is that I enjoy that and don't actually buy much... so - so far I've not found my shopping fast too difficult. I even spent the day in town... on my own... perfect opportunity to be tempted by lovely things. I took Holly in for the penultimate show this afternoon and stayed in town to collect her, whizz her back for a quick tea and back again for the last show tonight. (I left my camera with them all tonight and have some great shots of them all... here's Holly pretending to beg for food in the dressing room) I did some shoe box shopping and got a few things for the children who have both recently decided to grow... but though I do sometimes see things I would like... so far all I've needed to do is remember that I can't have them, which then makes me realise I probably don't need them as my head seems to want to argue with the situation... but it doesn't have a good case so it just gives up. That can't be a bad thing. This week I'm hoping to sort out some expenses due in and get up to date with the budget... I'm going to say my target for this time next week is to be down to £100 D... not sure how but I may as well try... hang on if I may as well try I'll go for £50 D... here we go!!!

Day 92: Day off

I gave myself a break from this blog yesterday as I'd spent more than a day on the internet and didn't think I needed anymore. Yesterday was the day we launched the new phase of GoldDigger... Rachel has left and Beth and I from hereon in are 'duetting it.' We're quite excited by the things that are going on and think that while a while ago it would have been quite daunting to have one of us leave...we'd have felt that we'd have to find someone else to come in but now in the current pop climate of duos we can slot right in with the likes of The Veronicas, Mini Viva and Jedward!! So new website, new facebook stuff, new videos and a new start... :)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Day 91: Getting ready


This week is just written off as busy and mad. Tomorrow we launch the 'new phase' of GoldDigger so its a busy busy day and of course our home life feels all over the place as we're sleeping in shifts - or at least trying to have the kids sleep in shifts so that Holly can cope with the late nights... 4 performances down 3 to go!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Day 90: Such a proud mum!

I've seen her - twice! So proud... last night I had the amazingly stressful job of chaperoning the 10 children chosen to be in a Christmas Carol - but included in the 10 hours of thinking of games for bored children, finding and organising their 5 layers of costumes and splodging them in muddy facepaints, I had the amazing privilidge of watching their scenes from the wings of the stage at the Lyceum. I had a moment as they skipped on in the first scene where it struck me that wardrobe had been that afternoon to assign costumes but since the children had come back after they had gone home after the technical rehearsal and come back after their tea the job of costumes and remuddifying the girls was left entirely to me... if someone had still got their socks on, or their hair too tidy, or their dress on wrong - it would have been my fault and no one checked my preparation! However, I looked after them well and it was amazing to see them all. Tonight I watched from a seat in the stalls and having spent all yesterday with them all I'd unfortunately not just got one to be proud of anymore and ended up crying and emotional whenever any of them did anything! It was an amazing production... sorry to the lady sat next to me who got an earful of 'thats my daughter, that one, there she is, the 3rd one from the end, the littlest one, there on the step now, oh no she's crying, she's only 5 you know, she's the youngest one' all night.
The expensive side of todays experience is that now I am determined to let Elijah go to ballet too!
Here... we sneaked an illegal picture! She's the little one at the bottom of the steps on the left - near the lady with the blue coat!! No, you can't see her ever-so well but we are still very proud!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Day 89: YEAAAAH

Feels quite momentous ... not only have I managed a big shop and managed to save it to the 10th of the month...hopefully meaning we don't have to run out of food by the end of the month... (as we've already done that last week :S) but today I've hit a new number in my overdraft which is quite exciting! Check this... £169.09 D ... did you see??? Thats a 1 at the start and its not a 4 figure starting 1 either! 1 is the littlest actual number you can get... so I'm at the smallest hundred possible!

DAY 88: Sending the children out to the colemine

The legistics are complicated but the essential aim of tomorrow is 1. Get Joel to take Elijah to nursery so that me and Holly can sleep in a bit 2. Keep Elijah, therefore, from running shouting into Holly's room at 6am 3. Think of some things children of 'different' but unknown ages might like to do 4. Prepare many snacks 5. Get to town and stay there for a long time 12.30 till 10pm and here starts the week of madness but where Holly takes part in A Christmas Carol by the Northern Ballet. But to offset the amount I've already spent on tickets and colouring books we're pleased Holly will be earning some keep this week in the grand total of £35!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Day 87: The good thing...

... about being so busy is that I've had no time to spend any money... other than tonnes on petrol. I just worked out a timesheet for my GoldDigger work this week and it's 47.5 hours... of which I'm actually paid for 10 of those hours and thats an AMAZINGLY well paid week for us! Normally we get paid for 2!... or none :( But have managed to get to the 8th of the month without doing a food shop...we're draining the cupboards and I will have to go this week.
I had a moment today- after getting an email from accessorize - with a link to some special sale items. I saw a gorgeous brown bag and quite wanted it. My £6 primark bag has been my 'everyday' bag for nearly 2 years now and I really have used it every day. Its always full of many wonders and has seen me though the times when I needed a constant supply of wipes, raisins, nappies and changes of clothes for my babies as well as heavy folders, sometimes an odd paint roller, toy car and pretend microphones... it has worked hard and done me proud... and now has some sorry rips. Some people now tell me that its broken and that I need a new one... I just think since it still is the shape of a bag and it carries things well enough still... I can't yet justify binning it. The thought slightly crossed my mind today when I saw one that looked like a suitable replacement - a bit smaller bit then I do need a few less nappies, paint rollers and toys to hand these days... but then I remembered my clothing fast and I must say it felt a bit liberating. I can't replace my bag as I can't buy a new one - and that ok - It will have to wait till next year. And that doesn't seem a long wait and I'm not bothered... and I have reason to keep my holey, breaky bag! :)

Day 86: A long way

Today consisted of going to Essex, being in Essex and coming back from Essex. I didn't spend any money - apart from I owe Beth for a Lucozade. Was treated to chips by the sea by Rachel's dad who was our chauffer today! and had a great time being at and performing at Radiate which is a youth event down there.
It was Rachel's actual last gig with GoldDigger... which was a weird thought throughout the day... very surreal - especially being in an environment where that didn't really mean anything to anyone else as we were new to them. She has already flown off back over to Teneriffe where she's spending some time over in The Living Room and the stuff she's been doing sounds amazing... my only criticism is that she should blog more about it! A strange and emotional day.

Day 85: Backdating...

... after a couple of long days its now sunday so I'm backdating a little here... however by doing that I have more insight into what I got out of those days!
Friday we had a gig at the Lantern Theatre... supposedly I'll get some sort of payment for that but the trouble with going for a quirky and very cool little venue is that not enough people can fit it to make you any money back for it... but is still quite a lot of fun and the dressing rooms there are like an adventure all of their own... you never know what treasures you might find in there!
We'd spend the day practicing for the gig that night after this one... which feels a bit confusing... so it was nice to get down there and just think about that night. It was our last acoustic gig with Rachel and really nice that Claire - who used to be in GoldDigger came to watch it - for the first time since she'd left actually so it was a really lovely send of for Rach and nice that her family could be there too.
So I managed- thanks to Rob and Anna to come by a free kettle! so the cups of tea are covered... washing up is still a problem but I noticed when I looked on facebook I also seem to have come across a free, unbeknown to me, bath in fakebake or something...

What exactly has happened to my face??? Not that I'm saying I've not been prone to a little fake tan from time to time... but looking like that would have been a bad 'better stay in today then and hide' day and I haven't been anywhere near any! Why, when I logged into facebook this morning was there a message from Beth kindly informing me I was Katie Price orange? Check this one...

Free tango apparently!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Day 84: :(

The dishwasher IS broken... there's none free on freecycle at the moment.. they have all cycled away... AND the kettle is broken. Not the best of things to happen in one week. Still... great girls course today where we played dressing up and talked all about fashion and what our clothes say about us. Tomorrow is a new day... and a long one. We're doing our last gig with Rachel in Sheffield tomorrow - then down to Essex on Saturday for her actual last gig... so it feels like an important weekend... and being out of the house for some VERY long days at work earning aprox £40 for the whole thing or something silly like that at least means I escape the washing up at home :S

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Day 83: Every little helps

£3.93 sitting doing nothing in one of my accounts... over it goes and voila... £218.16 D... just like that! Every little helps!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Day 82: Dishwasher

Lets just all pray for my dishwasher... it has decided to thrown the dishwasher tablet into a heap at the bottom of the washer and not clean the pots. It doesn't seem to want a new one... its just having a strop... its currently flashing its little angry light and is reminding me of the day I've spent with a similar tempered 3 year old... Crisps won't help this machine though... not interested :(
Our dishwasher came free with the house and it was one of the best moments ever moving in to somewhere with such an amazing service... I've never taken it for granted and can often be heard saying how much I appreciate it... I can't go back now to life without it... BUT I'M SO CLOSE TO THE END OF THIS OVERDRAFT AND A NEW ONE WOULD DESTROY ALL THAT HARD WORK... please God... don't let it be over

Monday, 2 November 2009

Day 81: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Hurray for Ebay... Today £101.01 for our double buggy... £100 strait in the bank and bought Elijah and Holly a snowman lolly each with the rest... jobs a goodn.
Balance £222.09 D already! and tonight I might try to make a pumpkin pie... with fridge leftovers as well :) BBC - Food- what would I do without google and this?Its great... pick a random object from the fridge that you don't know what to do with and this will tell you everything.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/pumpkinpie_70659.shtml ... will post up the verdict too :)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Day 80: 80 days

Somehow 80 days seems significant - is that cos of '80 days around the world'? Maybe ... but today I'm feeling quite positive. Its Sunday, which means the bank balance has been non-moving over the weekend which is always both disconcerting and a bit dull for blogging purposes. But this month should be a good one... I'm due to do a few things I get paid for this month, finally am allowed to quit the gym (so will be making my last payment to that), am a fair way into my Christmas shopping already and have finally sold our double buggy - which means I have made a small dent into the mountain of stuff to sort in the lounge. All this means I SHOULD be able to make some nice payments into the overdraft and I'm not totally off being able to make the overdaft pay off by the new year... will I/ won't I? No idea... but I'll really try!
Balance ... still 322.09 D ... where am I going to find £322.09 as well as Christmas money in the next 2 months!!? Time to get creative!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Day 79: Ethically...

...ethically... is it ok to break the rules of the system in order to support and advance a good cause? I used to think not... but in the last few days I have felt ok about that fact that sometimes we can be a bit sneaky. Was Robin Hood wrong and should he have remained faithful to law and policy... or was he a bit revolutionary? (I have reason for my questioning but I'm being careful not to get myself in any trouble!)

PS I haven't robbed any rich people though.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Day 78: EEEEEEEEEK


Very long day... financially speaking ...eeek down to £9 and PHEW ...payday!
Clothingly speaking - today I wear a holey item... I suspect our washer has a problem as it keeps attacking our clothes... thankfully this victim is a primark item that I don't love so much but still :(

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Day 77: Ikea possibilities

Aaaaah, a well deserved cup of tea at 8.45 and finally back from Ikea - car full of really heavy boxes I may not be able to get out ever again. Today Beth and I have bought office stuff!- having fought against all odds to find anything we could use as table legs for our new desks - since apparently the 'students have just gone mad for them in the last few weeks and they come from China' we managed to find an 'A' frame and have remembered some we can borrow from another table so that we can sit at our new desks! So I've realised it IS possible to go to Ikea and spend under £50. Though we spent more than that of our grant money... my personal spend was 89p x 2 for glass jars. Now I'm home I realise I have no need for them... good value as they were... but I was strong against the purple plant pot , the swirly picture frame, the novelty biscuit cutters and the cake stand. I did pretty well. Point proven.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Day 76: must must must keep on

Tonight I am extremely too busy to write... I'm exited about something I'm really excited about and I must must keep on keeping on... my picture is a secret clue :D

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Day 75: Living within what it means

Thank you to Charlie for the encouraging comment on my day 72 comment - Maybe you come up as info - as google deems you to be just that - a bit like The Oracle in the Matrix ;) You're right - we're struggling so much at the moment because I'm trying to pay as much as I can onto the overdraft. We're also struggling so much because I'm ... for the first time... actually AWARE when we're running out of cash AND we're not borrowing from every possible source to do all the things we expect to be able to do. It makes me realise just how much I had my head in the sand before I started this. If we 'needed' something we would get it - we'd go overdrawn and be charged up to £75 extra because of that, but we'd also have 3 credit cards and an overdraft to balance and borrow between. That's why they've all grown out of control as its been a few years of spending way more than we make - I'm not only feeling the restriction of cutting back - I'm also feeling the restriction of NOT calling on those extra lenders to get us through a tight spot.
Tight as it is though... we SHOULD be able to manage - there are people who manage on less income - and yes - if we weren't paying so much onto debt we'd manage a bit easier too. This month we've failed once - our Alliance and Leicester account has been overdrawn (as in OVER the overdraft) once for a day - it hasn't happened in this shiny clean account and I was GUTTED - but when I got the notification through its only costing us £5. (Much better than HSBC may I say!) But 3 days to go to the end of the month and we might just manage. Yesterday we walked everywhere and ate weirdly as we were down to £17 and didn't dare move from that... today we've got a child tax credit payment and expecting an expenses cheque to clear... giving us £80 to spend on petrol and food for Joel's parents visiting - which strikes me as comfortably manageable - especially as I already spent money on cheesecake ingredients to try that feature piece again - that could keep us all going for a week on its own I should think!
Still ... struggle as I may - its all fun and an exciting challenge - treating is as a game makes the whole thing more interesting! But today Joel is home, he's teaching Holly to make a cup of coffee downstairs while I just opened the curtains to a happy light coming into my bedroom and I can sit in my cosy bed and write... the children have been gorgeously well behaved all week and make me laugh so much and today we're making a family day out of visiting the garage, the supermarket and the recycling banks - the simple, free things can make a happy life. :)
Ooooh and tonight I'm driving down to Stoke to be on radio - Cross Rhythms radio www.crossrhythms.co.uk are interviewing GoldDigger tonight at 7ish and playing some of our stuff so that should be fun... I'm slightly worried - not about the radio bit ... but about driving there without getting lost... more money? I'd like a chauffeur please :)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Day 74: The clothes fast

So many people know I'm doing this clothing fast. It was obviously a facebook status that people noticed and now everywhere I go people are asking me how its going. No one I know other than Charlie believes its possible or that they'd be able to do it and its proved to be quite a talking point! However it IS going fine and being quite a way in I feel I should reflect to see how I'm doing and what I'm learning from it. To set the record strait - as I always struggle a bit when people ask me how long I've been doing it for and when it ends as its a bit confusing... To be fair to myself I am going to backdate my fast to the last time I actually bought something... rather than having ages of trying to save and not buying anything added onto the beginning... so since the dress I confessed to on day 48 actually genuinely falls under the 'gig clothes clause' I'm not counting that and going back to day 15 when I bought 2 dresses... which I already had actually by day 15 so I probably bought ...ah! - I bought them in my 2 week lapse in writing between day 4 and day 5! (I know that's true cos I didn't really want to write and admit that I'd been shopping) Which pretty much lines me up to finish if I carry on this 365 to 370 days instead - fair? deal? ...only 296 days left to go then, yeah?
What am I learning then? The picture above is NOT my wardrobe but that's what I'm aiming for in life. I do think I'm learning to organise my stuff better, take more care of it to make it last and try to enjoy it more. The other day I put a big silver hairclip in my hair and thought..oooh this needs silver earrings... went for my silver hoops and realised they didn't go as well as I'd thought as they were actually orange with that nasty jewellry muck. Not sure if silver cleaner works on tin or whatever these cheapy things are made from but normally I would opt for going out to buy another cheapy pair and chucking these but I CAN'T! So somehow I will have to clean them, or tile paint them or something silver... in the meantime I went for clashing my silver and dull copper and hoped no one would notice that faux pas.
I'm also trying to wear something different everyday in a bid to make sure I do make use of everything I have bought and to teach myself how much I actually do have. This has been tough - I have been a bit scared by the fact that having an ill week has meant I have used up nearly all my hoody and jeans combos already and its only autumn. But... looking at what is left...there's nothing I won't wear or that I dislike, or that doesn't fit so though I may have to layer a few summer dresses in the mid-winter I think I'm not far off having worn everything already. So it's actually taught me that my impulse buying is not so bad - I may buy things I see within seconds but thats because I generally know what I like and have fairly consistent taste.
Another thing is that I still REALLY love looking in shops and internet shopping... like I learned with my red duffel coat and amazing Peter Jensen boot - just a picture of these things can make me happy - yes I am very sad but its basically true! I think that so far - its not feeling too different - financially we're no better off and have really really struggled this month... so much so that we've run out of food and petrol and Joel has an expenses cheque come through that he needs to try to bank while he is away just so we can buy some food for when his parents arrive TOMORROW! aaagh! so there would have been no nice clothes for me anyway so far. :( The one thing that I think will be the hardest thing actually - as everyone keeps saying 'bet you go mad shopping when you've finished this year!' -is that I really don't think I'll be able to! Unless I do get paid this year - Please please God - then I'll get to the end of the year and it might just be no different - I'll not even be able to buy a celebratory item and :( - that will be a bit depressing! please please God - please please can I have a wage?! (does God read blogs?)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Day 73: Christmas time!!

So Christmas prep has started. 2 months to go - and actually I've been legitimately Christmas shopping for ages in an attempt to spread the cost and now...this evening...I've even been wrapping! Again... my premature Christmas time is legitimate, and not JUST excitement, because I have to get things over to Africa and normally they arrive by March as I'm normally late and the post is so slow. We're having Joel's parents over this week on their month back from Africa where they live so I'm attempting to double their luggage and send it all back with them! Those things all form one bag of the 48 or so bags that now hang from every peg, doorhandle, coathook or just sit by the door blocking the entrance. The 'project' has progressed and this evening we have been busy! We had to have breakfast in bed today simply cos you can't get to the kitchen table. We also had tea in the lounge for the same reason and it is still covered in carefully placed piles of categorised stuff that I'm just not sure where it should go off to. Parts of the house are now really tidy. The top of the microwave is clear and for the first time since we moved in the big kitchen cupboard is clear... well the shelves not so much - but you can see all of the floor! It was piled waist high with plastic bags... and under all those plastic bags were all the things we're always looking for and can never find. I feel satisfied and excited but then I remember that having a clear top of a microwave is all very well and looks great ...but the four of us can't sit round and eat our dinner off it so I can't really congratulate myself till I've sorted the table maybe. However, amongst our mess we've taken a crate to the bottle bank and had a good look at all the different things we can take to the supermarket recycling so we're on the case with lots of other things... blocking my door is a crate of plastics and a crate of paper and card as the paper bin is full :s, bags of shoes as well as 2 charity bags for Tuesday collection... one of which said bric-a-brac on the list that it DOES want - hurray! I've been through the emotional trauma of throwing out some old teddy bears :( - its horrible - I just have to pic one up and they make me feel terrible for bagging them up. Makes me really think twice about buying anymore! I've also noticed I seem to have an addiction to shop bags. Why do I keep bags from every item of clothing I buy? Why? I obviously won't be getting any more this year but I have - across the house - probably 15 bags that each contain about 30 bags folded inside. I know my brain process says 'keep it - it might be useful'. Some of my bags are 6 years old and I still have the same brain process -ok, right there- I have a weird OCD.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Day 72: The project

Today became project day. It is essentially a positive twist on 'lets tidy up this dump' but instead of resorting to getting annoyed I got Holly on board with a recyling project and she wrote a list of all the things we can do this week to recycle and sort things out. The great money saving thing about this is that it enables me to have a good clear out and realise that there's so many things I'd forgotten we have, meaning less is needed all round. Today the kids have started 'treasure boxes' of pictures they've done that they want to keep - I'm the worst at that as they draw such cute pictures and I love their artwork so much I really struggle to throw anything away and we have tonnes and tonnes of pictures! So we've filled the paper bin, had a clear out of felt tips and pens to get rid of the ones that have run out, got all the bottles ready for a bottle bank trip and started filling a few charity bags. The house is a tip but we had to leave it and go out to the shops and then my brothers engagement party... the project can take all of half term perhaps!
Going to the shops was fairly sucessful. I did manage to buy some Christmas cards on impulse - but ... well I'm not making any excuses... they were cute and I didn't (note I'm not saying 'couldn't') resist. But I did go in Accessorize - which is my second favorite shop and I saw loads of things I wanted and didn't get. I almost bought a little birdcage keyring which was really cute but then wondered if it counted as an accessory so I put it down again and said goodbye :( This year's going to be tough but I'm pretty sure I CAN do it.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Day 71: Back to square 1

Well I'm not really back to square 1 ... I'm on a different game board now since last time Joel went away and I had creative thinking to do... its half term - I'm still at work for some of this week but at the moment Joel is away and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my gorgeous children. I'd love to take them out and do some crazy fun things without watching the budget but I think we'll plan a few nice things for Christmas time and I'm happy to settle for being grateful that they are such content little beans without needing lots spent on them. The thing they most want to do this holiday is go to Cocoa together. So thats a civilised thing for a 3 and 5 year old to choose ... which happens to be the place I chose to go for my 30th! Cocoa is a gorgeous little chocolate shop...the prettiest shop you can imagine full of sweets and gorgeous boxes and posh chocolates, ribbons and loads of vintage things to make your house smile. The back room is a quaint little tea room with a billion things to look at so its hard to ever leave cos you feel you might miss something and upstairs is their butterfly room where the room is covered in butterflies and full of cushions and the hot chocolate is amazing....just like a cup of chocolate that is hot!... Joel isn't so excited by it all but I am and Holly and Elijah love it and love making friends with everyone who's gone in there for a quiet chat and they also love the vintage fisher price tea pot they can play with. I also love it there as I totally don't think they charge enough - all of the things the sell that I've seen somewhere else are cheaper in Cocoa and that makes me want to buy it all from them. Back in July when Holly broke up from being in reception I was daunted that I needed to buy 5 presents for class teachers - in the good old days we had 1, right? So I sacked off trying to find boxes of roses in the supermarket on offer and headed down to cocoa. In there I was able to openly be as tight as possible and they helped me to work out my options! I ended up with 5 sets of non 'commercial' and really pretty and exciting chocolates each inside a blue vintage gift box which they tied with their real ribbon each inside their own gift bag -ALL 5 for £13. To my calculations that was a £7 saving on the roses option and aprox 127 times nicer. Since this has become an endorse cocoa post I'll put a nice link.... here!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Day 70: money money mnoey moeny meoony

Well I feel ridiculously monied out today - I have no idea of my own balance or financial situation - other than I think we have a bit and I spent £9 on tuck for work today... but I've been stock taking, cashing merch money, costing and pricing for a funding grant, cashing tuck money and trying to understand how so few teenage girls can eat quite so much haribo in such a short space of time and then followed a trustees meeting of budget balancing... and that was my 12 hour day at work today! I feel totally overwhelmed at how to make earning a living happen but overwhelming challenges seem to be the ones that are more exciting so I'm interested to see how we manage to increase our salaries column by about 6 times! It seems impossible that small charities can ever grow...How is it that some charities run based on so much personal support, business backing and have such a good profile that they just seem capable of generating income - I just can't believe how hard it all is... however today I know I saw a y9 girl change when we talked about the way she felt about herself and the things she worried about and I was able to point out to her how she was beautiful and no matter who she was jealous of she'd always have things about her that no one else would ever have. Whether I am never salaried or not, or even out of debt or not I just wouldn't trade the opportunity of being able to be a voice of encouragement to girls like the sort we were with today who might not hear much positive stuff from anywhere else in their lives. Yes I'm tired and emotional and I love my job and its totally all worth it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Day 69: phew

Hurray for Child benefit and tax credit... I've been able to transfer some to use and some to my overdraft. We've been balancing very precariously on £24 for a few days now and thats not such a nice place to be - 1 bill or forgotten cheque is all it takes! So again being a bit inventive with our meals I've managed to put enough out in the kitchen tonight for us to make bangers and mash, 'orkstra' puddings (Elijah's word) and peas. A fairly normal meal - unlike Joel's attempt on Saturday with that well known 'potato bolognese' :S New balance news...£322.09 D !!!
Other news (Rach you'll be pleased to hear this) having not heard anything official yet about the grant for office furniture for GoldDigger I emailed them to ask as politely as I could when we might hear - in a 'we're not desperate or in any rush at all' sort of manner. The lady replied to say the cheque and letter would be sent out in the next couple of days and we'd been awarded MORE than we asked for!!! How does that work! Thats kind of unusual and unheard of but BRILL!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Day 68: busy bee

I can't actually believe how busy life is at the moment - particularly work... I've got a billion deadlines and things to sort and I'm just waiting for a day that isn't totally jam packed with things in it. However at 8pm this evening I prioritised a bit of ebay time and I've finally started on the lounge collection. That took a long time to get round too and I've only posted 1 thing :S
So tomorrow we've got a merch stall at a fundraiser - so in the morning in my office time I've got to finish getting all that ready, respond to a lot of emails, order some fliers, plan 4 set lists, fit in a rehearsal (we're doing some songs live on radio next week www.crossrhythms.co.uk) and sort out the girls course session, come home, somehow print all the girls course files, play with my children, including a school run, get to Makro, get back from Makro, get Holly some passport photos and apply for a licence for her to be in A Christmas Carol, have some tea and be ready for whatever we're doing in the evening to go and set up and hopefully sell things. I think I'm going to add times to my Things To Do tomorrow. Ugh

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Day 67: :(

I don't want to write anything today... There are just some days when everything gets to you and its all crap... waking up ill to a 3 year old telling you he'd got poo all over his bed and having to clear up diarrhoea and shower said 3 year old pre 7am was perhaps the highlight of my day... Money wise I'm feeling the pressure. I just don't understand how we've run out of money when we've been given £100 this month that we don't normally have and we've not bought anything. Some days it all just sucks :(

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Day 66:

Scarily running out of money to live this month so may need to take some of this back but for now ... £379.98 D. I'm fairly excited by that when I remember how excited I was to see the 3 figure when I hit £1300 D just a couple of months ago!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Day 65: aaaaaaah squash

The title of today is appreciation of high juice. I'm normally a tea, coffee, water drinker... but for those 'need a drink and energy' moments high juice is a good alternative to the lucozade I could have done with tonight. Although I've been rushing around for 12 hours solid today at work its been a good day and I'm glad its a day off tomorrow! I'm just in from a gig so my photo is gig clothes but today I wore my checky brown shirt which I actually put on yesterday ... but when Beth arrived in practically the same thing I got changed before our girls course rather than turning up to meet the new girls dressed identically... doesnt really work when your session is individuality! So yesterday I wore my green going out dress ... and was ready already for going out for mums birthday.
Not having a second car has been a nightmare today. Joel needed the car to go out tonight as he was going quite far away but that left Beth and I with no car to get to a gig. Yesterday we'd worked out how we'd get the schools packs and some of the merchandise there on the bus but then when we realised we also were going to have to carry a minidisk player too. The idea of getting a tram and a bus home from town on a friday night carrying a bag of merchandise and a minidisk player didn't really appeal but we were a bit stuck for solutions. Thankfully one of our lovely trustees stepped in today and came out with his lovely wife to come and collect us. We had a great night, performed one of our brand new songs 'really live' for the very first time and it seemed to go down well I think!
I'm so glad its Saturday tomorrow, I want to spend the day with my kiddies and stay in my pjyamas as long as I possibly can ... maybe till Sunday in fact.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Day 64:

Phewf - what a day... worked all day, started a new girls course that was great. Strait to mums birthday meal...and home to tones of emails which have all been put onto my TTD list for tomorrow... plus the lovely surprise of a cheque from some very very lovely people! So tired zzzzzzz

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Day 63: Earnings

So tomorrow I do something I get paid for! Yay. We start a new girls course tomorrow and then have another paid thing on Friday... I estimate I'll have worked a 40 hour week by Friday... since Monday that is... and I'll bring in a grand total of £40 for that! You have to laugh... ?! What does make me laugh is when we advertise that some of our merchandise is fairly traded. It doesn't have the label but in designing the GoldDigger T shirts I made sure we sourced ethical garments for printing and environmentally friendlier processes... Actually I am where the process lets us down- its me that doesn't get paid fairly :(
Today I'm wearing something borrowed and something blue, old and definately not new... This is the jumper Joel was wearing when I first fancied him... its a cosy blue hoody and since both children have been off school today a bit ill it seemed like a cosy hoody sort of a day... and it makes me feel nostalgic.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Day 62: Update

Well.. the bank have removed their chosen £15.01 to punish me for borrowing off them... but hurray that its less than last month. My balance is.... £419.98 D
Today has been busy. This is Beth and me in our office. OOOH - apparently ... so I have heard unofficially but not properly yet... we were awarded the grant we put in for office things. We're sat in there at a borrowed table and there were 3 nice office chairs in there already. (They're the cool big comfy swirly whirly ones) but we've nothing else. When one of us needs to print something we have to write it down and I have to take it home at the end of the day and print it ready for the next day... with this grant we can have a printer that stays there and shelves and a table and some desks! That's what an office is! I feel a road trip to Ikea coming on... which is dangerous territory for anyone - let alone a spendaholic banned from clothes.

Monday, 12 October 2009

62: :(

Note to self - if I'm taking pictures to document what I'm wearing - I should really take them when I'm not this tired! Today is a hard stage. Realistically that is ridiculous as I've only got to not buy things - which I don't normally do on your average Monday but I did go to the shops today and enjoyed looking at lots of shiny things but felt a bit sad... but that's cos I'm feeling the deprivation... I just need to not think about it and keep focused on the overdraft. Realistically though I'm not earning much at all - if anything -this month - next month is better but I have to wait a while for that to come through... so its all a bit slow. Joel says there'll be lots of times like this ... which makes me feel slightly worse.
Zara quality is rubbish. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Everything I buy from Zara has holes in and falls to pieces - there is just no excuse for that. Today I wear 2 layered tops from Zara and they are both holey. I will NOT buy anything from Zara again. On a positive I've had a nice evening of tea, homemade cookies and big chat with Louise tonight ... I'm so pleased she's moved back to Sheffield - everyone should do that! And I made some nice new friends this weekend... who ate the cheesecake and have not died and had seconds!... and this week at work is somehow the busiest busiest week. We've got an exciting day tomorrow where we're making some big decisions which I can't talk about yet ... but I'm always excited by big choices , strategy and new direction ideas, we're getting our new tracks back to us and need to pull our performance together for Friday night and we seem to have billions of things to do as well as starting a new Girls Course this Thursday. I'm really looking forward to getting all set up ready to meet a brand new group of girls who'll be total strangers but yet we know that we'll know them really well by the end of the session! Thursday we also get to meet an MP who I think is coming there to see what we're up to - another act like a grown up situation I feel - I need to not be so intimidated by people with posh titles! Might do a bit of googling her before she arrives!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Day 61: Yay for £50!

Having left my power cable at the office for the weekend I have very time left to write my post before this dies. Great meal at a friends house - those Sunday afternoons are great when you spend time being looked after, chatting for hours and put the Church to rights -until poor Joel realises its got to 5 already and being all chilled and relaxed he has to head off to work again! I arrived home to find these 2 envelopes through the door - for Beth and me. The note inside them tell us its a personal gift for us and not to use for GoldDigger and £50 each! I know Beth's is the same cos I told her on skype and she wanted me to open hers too - £50 is a HUGELY amazing help to both of us at the moment and it was anonymous so we can't say thank you ...but are so grateful! Joel says - gutted that you can't buy clothes! Its ok - the overdraft novelty is still big so I'm still truly excited to pay it all into that!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Thank you!!

Thank you!! Someone out there 'somewhere beneath the moonlit sky' must be responsible for a Pixie Lott CD delivery from Singapore that has just been put through my door! YAY!

Day 60: A proud moment


Off the point but had to share my proud moment. Haven't yet tried it but I made a cheesecake! I had to do a waterbath in the oven and everything with a tin I knew was leaky and there was great potential to go wrong... I kept reading things about not letting the cheese split so when I got up this morning to assess what I had left in the fridge overnight I wondered what a cheese splitted cheesecake would look like - so I googled it and it turns out - from articles and articles of troubleshooting with a cheesecake - mine actually looks like a good one!

Deciding what to wear today was a bit stressful. The realisation has hit me that I've got the rest of a year with what is left and anything I choose to wear today means I may not be able to wear it again. I'm mentally trying to find days where I can get away with staying in all day so that I can wear my ropier things! I'll be fine when I'm about half way in but thinking an outfit only has one chance is a tough thought 3 days in! Today I've got a school fair, a class party, housework and meeting new people tonight as Joel's bringing some friends of his who have been speaking at the South Yorkshire Youthwork conference back for tea (who hopefully like cheesecake) so I could almost get away with a fancy dress option other than the meeting new people part!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Day 59: The Rules

Oh what a weird day! Its amazing just how much stress you can put a family through to get a last minute free babysitter, share the 1 car between 2 ends of the city with no time to get ready and moments to spare, to try to communicate with Beth, who's currently in a schools meeting and then needs to get 2 buses home to get changed all for the opportunity to earn £50 BETWEEN us in a last minute stand in of a gig. In the end it never happened but its funny how much we'll put ourselves through when we're desperate for a few quid! Otherwise works been good today - I'm in my smart clothes today as I've had to go and do a schools meeting - which I normally don't have to do but there were 2 booked in for this afternoon so I had to get over my fear of smart clothes, and institutions where you are expected to behave like a grown up and off I went. We've managed to get a schools day booked out of that for next term and a possible girls course which is great.
So clothes fast wise... (as in clothes buying fast that is actually - not wearing any clothes for a year is not going to be something I'll get dared into) I feel I've had a bit of a false start as yesterday was supposed to be my big launch. So to lay it out on the line... I am not going to buy any clothes (other than my gig clothes clause) for ...I think I'm doing it for a year... but maybe for as long as I do my 365... I'm including accessories to my fast - because I'm hardcore and if I'm going to do something I'll do it properly. I'm happy to accept gifts of clothes I think, but I'm not allowed to hound Joel for more Christmas presents than I've ever had before... it will be a learning exercise about clothes but its mainly a financial journey I'm on so free things are great!
I'm adding a twist to my challenge... I am going to try to wear a different outfit everyday. I can mix things with other things and wear them again but I will see how long I can go before I need to repeat an outfit. Not that I'm snobby about wearing the same thing lots but because its another experiment...I'm excited about this bit... I think I'll learn 1. How much I really have got and 2. How to shop better in the future as I imagine I'll be forced to wear things I am not sure I really want to, I'm not sure why I bought them and yet have invested my money into.
Now for another totally different personal challenge - tonight I'm going to conquer a cheesecake (making one that is - tomorrow it will be eating one)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Day 58: Anti-climax

I was so exited about todays post - I have just embarked on another massive challenge to add to the massive challenge that I am already on and have loads to say as well as a nice picture I took in the office today of what I have decided to wear today..as part of the challenge to to see how long my clothes last if I wear something different every day. However I left my laptop in the office with my picture and this brrowed one is about to turn off :(
Most people so far think I am crazy and don't think I'll do it or don't think I should do it.
I'm looking forward to tomorrows post and I'm excited about what I'm doing!
Also I've suceeded in not buying any clothes today!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Day 57: Well I MIGHT...

Well thank you Charlie for the initial challenge, and Jenny for the link to a very inspiring post link. This article is a lady who has committed to buying no new clothes for a year... not only that but I foolishly linked on to read what had inspired her to make this pledge which was a project where one woman decided to make a brown dress and wear that for a whole year - EVERY DAY. Though I do find that a captivating idea and I am very inspired - I think I'd find it easier and less mundane to eat value mash for 3 meals a day for a year and nothing else (though I may suffer malnutrition ...so that's out as the alternative). However I am also really inspired by another blog to the opposite extreme. One guy dedicated a blog to his girlfriend, Katie. 'What Katie Wore' He thought she had great style and he was challenged to do something romantic. Everyday he would photograph her and post the photo... HER challenge was to wear something different every day for a year. A more expensive and opposite in outcome to the other ones!
A few weeks ago I was embarrassed as I nearly had to sync my calendar with Beth and Rachel's - we need to know each others diary... sure... but mine was full of a couple of weeks worth of what I was going to wear everyday!... Sad as it may be I love the idea of doing this- all the time. If I think of the times I rush to get ready in the morning ... getting the school run done on time being the target so just ending up wearing exactly what I last took off which is inevitably just whatever is on the top of the pile next to my bed. Well I'd felt challenged that I used to be far more imaginative with clothes than I am these days and decided to plan out a different outfit for every day. I did this a few years ago and loved it. - Everything I owned appeared somewhere on a monthly plan - meaning I got wear out of everything and didn't resort to same old thing all the time. Its always great to challenge yourself to wear something you've forgotten about and I must say THAT does appeal in the challenge to not buy anything new. I've become lazy about that again - the heating in our new office is governed by a man, who is also a dad. Need I say more. It wont be allowed on until at least the February snow so I've been piling on the hoodies over the past couple of weeks! I'm wondering if I would have enough to combine the 'no buying' with the 'something different everyday' would I have enough to do that? I reckon with mixing and matching allowed I might just!! PLUS it would give me a proactive challenge which I'm better at than just crying over what I can't have.
So... though I seem to have been better at posting a 365 on why I SHOULDN'T have to do a clothes fast ... Joel did remind me that the bottom line is basically - I don't have the choice if I remember its not my money. And yes - the reality is I've paid off £1000 of an overdraft. I feel proud of myself BUT our current account is also in its overdraft - with no interest - but still an overdraft, I have a credit card to start on after this which is 6 times what I've paid off and 2 more that I've not even looked at.
I would HAVE to put a clause in about gig clothes. There are things I can wear for work that can be tatty and worn but not in schools and not at gigs. Though officially we should have all of that paid for - it doesnt work like that yet - we're finally getting charity funding for lots of costs now rather than everything being covered by our time and money but I've not read of any grant making trusts that fund sequined dresses as yet. As I have our gig wardrobe in my dept of work I know I have something of a big say...but if either of the others said they wanted to wear only old stuff on stage for the rest of the year which they were also wearing in everyday wear I would say a big NO WAY to that. So the way I'll work that is that anything I have to buy for stage is ONLY for stage - no sneaking it out to a party and its all planned out through work.
So I do want to do it... I might fail if I do - I can't underestimate how I'll cope if I see something I love - its not the pressure to be 'in season' for me but a genuine love for a pretty shape or fabric. I'm also not sure when to start... I am going to Clothes Show Live in December... I might be able to manage it without buying anything... but I really might not!