Thursday, 27 January 2011

Day 215:

Well the week has been a task - electrics on and off and cooker kind of working, kind of not. Last night I resorted to buying a supply of microwave meals and we're just about through to Friday now... then I think we should see a kitchen being built which will be exciting. To add to the slight inconvenience of it all I also broke the toaster this week - which was one thing we had which warmed food up. Ooops and thats another thing to add into the budget!
Tonight though I had to leave work early to collect the kids so was in a bit of a rush to get everything done there, then had to get up to school, down to dancing, over for some petrol and back to collect from dancing and driving home at 5pm with 2 hungry, tired, cold children wondering how they were going to take to having to eat a microwave meal (they have never had one of those!). I pulled up on the drive to find a hot potato bake sausage and kidney bean meal still hot and wrapped in foil and a big cake on the doorstep! How very cool is that! Instant surprise dinner! One of the most wonderful people in the whole world goes to our church and she just happened to pick the perfect time!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The bad news, the good news and the target.

Well I've been excited about today for a long time. I was supposed to be enjoying a half done kitchen this evening - but while I was out this morning Joel called to tell me his mate, who was coming over to look at the electrics had found the whole kitchen circuit needed re doing and that the oven for the whole time we have lived here has been running off a really dangerous circuit. How annoying... but mainly because it means he needs to do that this week and so the kitchen fitters have had to go home and wait for another week before they start again. We have no sink and a dangerously wired oven. We're moving into my mum and dads for a week then!
Tonight though we've sorted the budgets. I've got my £40 left over spending money for the rest of January as cash in my purse and I'm excited that I've managed to save something for more than 1 day! Better still 3 credit cards have been condensed down to 1. We paid off one and combined the other two and this year we will be working hard to pay off £9321.72 D - Oh my...thats a lot of money!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Day 213: Out with the old, in with the new

To reach the plug socket yesterday I had to climb on the edge of the sofa, lean onto a bag of tupperwear and over a big box, while carefully not disturbing the big pile of boxes stacked to one side of me. Our new kitchen has arrived! It lives inside these boxes in these mountains of boxes. Our old kitchen is still here and stacked in piles of differently sized brown shapes and the contents of our kitchen are in other sorts of boxes wherever they will go. Yesterday I needed to wrap a present... "Joel do you know where the sellotape is? Yes, its in the basket in the bag of water jugs on the lounge table. Thanks. Do you know where there are any scissors? Yes. In the cardboard box next to the sofa which has the box inside which used to be in the second drawer down." It's a bit interesting here this week! Plus we also just disconnected the gas hob - how do you make tea with no hob? I had my first taxing tea time trying to think through what you can make with out the aid of the hob and I ended up with baked potatoes, fish fingers and salad. Tonight we can have roast vegetable and cream cheese strudel - then I'm all out of ideas :S
But...'out with the old' wise... our old kitchen will be collected this week and hurray for selling it on ebay for £350! Plus we already sold the fridge on there for £90. Better than hiring a van to take it to the dump once its sledgehammered to pieces!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Day 212: Rubbish and my branston pickle jar that is not rubbish at all


I saw a link to this post all about a family who supposedly live without clutter or rubbish and I did go to read it expecting it to make me feel terrible. Today the bins go out and I knew we'd had to do that thing where you find space in the neighbours bin once they've out theirs out as you've just too much rubbish and you know there'll be too much next week to wait. But actually, as I read on I decided we're not so bad after all. This family have basically thrown out all their junk, and stuff and try to live with as little else as they can. I keep all my junk and stuff and try to buy as little new as I can. And actually, though it feels like a big self indulgent time of chucking out to make space for our new favourite things we're actually not throwing much away at all. About 7 bags have gone to charity - toys and games and crockery all to St Lukes, 4 bags came through the door for clothing and bedding colections and we managed to fill at least half of all 4 of them. Lots of hardly worn stuff on ebay - which I actually like doing because I like the thought of someone choosing something one of my children used to wear like a bit of treasure for their children to wear. I love those things I've found for 99p that my children love to bits! Plus of course, money for the credit card jar :) And apart from the tiles making the actual black wheelie bin - all the rest of the kitchen is being sold on ebay! I don't care how much we get really - how can I when the alternative is that we have to drive it over to a dump and just chuck it. If someone is willing to pay to drive over and collect it from our lounge where it is mainly all stacked up there...then I feel like I should be paying them...but good to know that someone else can make use of something we don't want.
So the credit card jar is filling up and now I have spending money. Yes, I get an allowance just as I did when I was 13. Joel has an allowance too. £50 a month! Yes... and thats a whole increase of £20 from what I got when I was 13- and to cover all the same things! Anything I want to do, entertainment, clothes, coffees, entry fees, grabbing lunch while I'm out, parking etc all has to come out of my spending money. It has made me ignore the lovely All Saints dress I've been watching on ebay for £30 buy it now - thats over half my money in one go. As much as I would so much rather it was a lot more than that I do think its a great idea. Joel and I have never had a spending budget and share a bank account - so if we run out of money its too easy for him to blame me for buying clothes and me to blame him for going out too much. This way neither of us needs to get stressed about what the other one buys. If he wants to go out for lunch rather than take a pack up then that's fine as its not coming out of the grocery budget then that I have to make cut backs in.
Woop for the credit card fund branston jar as a tax refund for our old car came through for £100 - taking the jar total to £480.39. Thats a happy recycled jar for you!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Day 211 My new TTD list


Hurray for my new Things To Do List. Many more creative hours with this to come :D (and of course my beautiful new fridge until it moves to its real place next week)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Day 210: And more...


Sorry... there is nothing more to say today than this. Its all a mess. Its ridiculous in fact but I'm quite ok with that so far. So today was all about tiles off the wall, wood off the walls, 1 tub of smooth over onto the walls, gloss onto the radiator and the doors. All boring jobs of course but all make for a far more enjoyable painting day when we get back from Church tomrorrow! It MIGHT be the day of the blackboard paint tomorrow even. I quite need it to write my lists in BIG!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Day 209: Welcome to my world...


So this is my kitchen. Actually this is no longer what it looks like as now there are 2 less cupboards and there is twice as much mess. Still - there is Joel managing to serve up some spaghetti with the handy tub of bolognaise I cooked last week and stored in the freezer even despite there being no room for actual food at the moment! I have spent enough time looking for range cookers on ebay these past 2 weeks that I have made myself dizzy - so when the one I was convinced I would get (and that I'd found in the wrong category and I was sure no one would see it) jumped from £200 to £390 in the last minute- when it it is a model that is around £600 brand new (and had no cooker hood so I would have had to find and collect one of those) I was finally fed up enough to go back to the currys website and order us a new one. No risky issues of it not working, no cleaning muck before you've used it, no petrol down to London or wherever it is and a nice warranty to give you a bit of peace of mind. All of that and a cooker hood too for just over £600 and delivered on Monday... So budgeting is almost at a stage we know it can be done, the whole house is an obstacle of bags to step over, at least the next week and a half will be chaos...but its all good :)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

And by the way...

...I love trying not to go to the shops inbetween my planned days... no bread for lunch cos I forgot to put the breadmaker on... could just nip out and spend £1 something on bread...but instead I'm using 1 cup self raising flour, 1 cup milk and 1 egg... american style pancakes from our kitchen stock :) yummmmm!
Also - debt plan coming soon... while we're juggling land payments and kitchen appliances etc we're not sure where we're up to until that's all gone through so we can't tell...but once the next step is out of the way we'll have a new figure to tackle and I'm excited!

Day 208: My wall...

I have always wanted to have a chalkboard wall. In our last house we had a limited budget for decorating and were renting so I had to choose between magnetic paint and blackboard paint and I was just too intrigued to try magnetic paint as that just seemed so clever. I painted over the tiles on one wall in the kitchen and it was very cool but not everso strong. I've not bothered to try to do anything exciting with our kitchen yet - well once I painted it bright blue when Joel was out at a meeting - he came home to a surprise... I like to keep things interesting! I've added various wall art - such as a big MDF deer covered in blue flocked art paper. We borrowed a projecor from work, googled images of bambi, projected and traced round the outline onto some spare MDF and jigsawed it - can't remember why now. But essentially our kitchen has been so full of the previous owners personality that it doesn't seem to agree with mine. Hurray for a new kitchen!
So later today I'm going to buy some blackboard paint! I dont normally like to publicly document things in process just in case they go very wrong - in which case I need not mention that anything ever happened - so I am being quite brave because I am a little nervous about the idea. Im not worried about the black. Joel did question why we were going to such lengths in getting a whole new kitchen to be much lighter than the last one if I was going to paint an entire wall black. He could be right - but its all about shape and space and using colour to create a feeling - so if the kitchen plan is good and works then the colour wont be a problem...and I am a fan of black wallpaper. I have clack wallpaper in the lounge, charcoal and silver in the hallway - which most people say they love and hallways are normally supposed to be plain magnolia as standard, black and silver wallpaper in the study and I picked out a gorgous black wallpaper for our bedroom when we moved in which mum and Joel persuaded me to take back as mum said it would look like a brothel... I took it back and 3 weeks later saw my wallpaper done in exactly the way I'd planned with the exact shade of paint I'd chosen to go with it on a design programme. So maybe there are enough black walls in my life... but lets do it anyway!
So my worry is this - in googling blackboard walls I've not been as inspired as I am in my imagination. They seem to fall into one of 2 categories... Old skool school style or Cafe menu board... and there are loads of examples of people creating this look in their homes...not what I'm after :S Here are some of the ones I think I like...



Day 207: This years birthday card?

Well little could follow the success of the lollipop card of last year... If anything they were a little tricky to fit into an envelope so often got tucked underneath the ribbon to decorate a parcel, which for one thing makes them an easy gift tag - child sees lolly + child sees my child's face smiling at them 'holding' that lolly = they know who that present is from, and the other thing is that I've seen the success among the excited faces when Holly arrives at a party and the girls check to see if they are going to get one and tell each other VERY enthusiastically how they got one of those on their present. They LOVE them and thankfully they have managed to fall into 'cult status symbol' category rather than 'overdone'! So the boys ones still have mileage while Elijah has started in reception and this is the year of the class parties but I needed a new idea for boys who've had one of these already. Where do you go from a lolly card? Well I'm not going to try to top it yet - maybe next year we'll do some personalised marshmallow craft or something - or learn to make rock with their names in... but lets keep it simple for a busy year... I always struggle with boy and mens cards... they're always a bit silly. I hate buying cards for men because generally they are rubbish but I also hate making them because I have only really seen rubbish ones... so it is my challenge to make a good one by the end of this year which doesnt follow the line of design process that goes...'errrr...you are a man... maybe you like errrr...boats? So, I know...here is a boat...so...Happy Birthday...!' Boys are less difficult but now I've done googly eye animals, I've done bears, I've done clowns, safari boys and pirates and am having to think slightly more growing up ish... so this is this years very simple effort... The 'age out of objects' theme!


How extremely simple and easy is that... !?? In fact I did this a while back... and just thought of it while tidying up after a play party or something... so cars on the toybox -photo and boom that's your photo to print onto a nice plain square card! (mini ones are lovely and as little as 5p each from craft creations) Whole thing including printing ink and envelope will still make them less than 10p per card - which is a HUGE saving if you're otherwise getting through 40+ cards per child per year at standard greeting card costs...and I had fun theraputically lining up cars and sweets to make shapes... some of us are just sad like that!





Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Day 206: The homemade homemaking kit


One of the kids favorite Christmas presents this year was one of the things they got from their Aunty Emily (shes brand new and has only been officially an aunty since October when my brother married her) and Uncle Andrew (or Clandrew, as he is better known). This was a genious little idea and the kids were so excited... a gingerbread making set! So on Christmas day they were presented with a gift bag with a big glass jar of all the ingredients, tied with ribbon holding the instructions and the cutters (mrs gingerbread lady and mr gingerbread man) and packed in were the rasins for the eyes and smarties for the buttons and some tubes of colourful writing icing. Not only did it look gorgeous but they've been so excited about making them. Today was the first nice day back after school when none of the three of us needed to go anywhere. There were no play dates or early tea and homework done and a chance to choose something to all do together. The gingerbread kit won hands down for their activity of choice and because it was their gift I tried my best to let them get totally stuck in, make a bit of a mess and roller a bit wonky...I let them make it their own. We had a brilliant family tea time where we each decorated 2 for our pudding... though Joel maybe took his a bit more seriously than a 31 year old man should do. We love homemade :)




Monday, 10 January 2011

Day 205: Prize Tub


While the whole of my house is split into different piles of recycling I also had to deal, yesterday, with the stuff that gets put on top of the kitchen cupboards. This really needs a good sort out - mainly because in dismantling our kitchen we wont have any kitchen cupboards to stuff things onto for a while - eeeeek! So this has been the home of the wine glass boxes, the baking tins, the face paints, the birthday decoration boxes, the tealights, the medicine, the daddy box of batteries, and odd things that I don't understand, and the children's work that has come off the display of the fridge but we can't bin it. But One of the big boxes has made me happy... my prize tub!
Of all the recycling that is going on in different sized mountains around me the prize tub is recycling brilliance. All the party bag toys all the lollies your child doesn't need the 5th one of on their way home from a party already fulled with enough sugar, all the odd bits an pieces from your own party toys and sweets - like when you needed to buy another set of 8 pirate bubbles but only needed 5 of them, a few odd balloons and anything that needs using up but there aren't enough to use or they don't go with the the party theme etc... they all go in a big tub to make the prize tub. Then every party game you do the winners get to dig around and choose something from there - saves on buying another big bag of sweets, means kids can choose between sweets and toys - so the ones that actually don't want more sugar don't have to have it and kids just love it!! (and lets hope they don't recognise that the monster bouncy ball actually came from their party last weekend! So while so many things are getting sorted and cleared out this month - I might just revamp and make more space for a bigger party prize tub!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Day 204.


The meal plan is going good. In fact I'm very glad I blogged it as I somehow tore out the actual list of foods from my 'meal plan' notebook and got stuck just now trying to work out from my shopping list (which I do still have) what meals I might have thought of... so remembering I'd blogged it has saved me that task! We are 1 week in and I think its going well. Technically I should be able to last a whole week more without going to the supermarket and so far I have done just 1 trip for 8 pints of milk (and 2 half price green triangles that I bought for me and Joel for a movie night in - which I only just remembered I'd forgotten and are still in my bag :S)

One slight glitch in the meal plan so far happened today when I ended up with the hungriest little boy needing a proper good meal when I'd planned not to feed him as he was going to a party. I'm not a big fan of play centre parties at the best of times. I know they're great for the kids to run around and wear themselves out while you just hope they don't get lost down some big tube because you have no idea where they are... but today... the children were all given neon shoelaces in their party bags. Shoelaces that are suitable length for the size of a pair of doc martens. Weird. More weird was the food. The party was 11-1. By 12.30 the children were hungry - some were practically crying because they were so hungry. At 12.40 they were taken into the party room and sat at the table... and served with quavers and custard creams. That was it. Actually true - no sandwiches, no salad, not even alternative crisps or biscuits - just quavers and custard creams. Then each of them were given a bun for pudding. My poor boy complained of being sick all the way home. He's never sick and he looked terrible. We fed him a homemade banana and mango milkshake while I made him a bowl of soup and we got the colour back in his face strait away. That was just weird.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Day 203: Hand me downs


Hand me downs can be great - they have got us through so many years and its great when you have nothing to be able to accept free stuff so that you can gradually get what you need. When Joel and I got the keys to our first flat just before we got married we had no furniture whatsoever - we went out with the £20 we had spare and chose to buy a wooden towel box. For a good few weeks that was all that was in there and I slept on the floor! Our bed was a wedding gift and we made a home out of hand me downs from people at church, old church chairs out of the basement there that we were told to help ourselves to and stuff that we found a bit broken in the ikea bargain basement... oh and things people had put out in skips. Hollys first wardrobe was a storage unit out of a skip, our towel box is now stained and is the treasure box of dressing up that the kids use and, falling apart as they are, all the chairs in our house are still those old church chairs that I love.
But what about hand me downs that cost you? What about when they're kind of good and a bit what you need but not ideal and might need investing into?
My mum and dad have been quite determined that we strongly consider taking their sofa bed... these are the factors in no particular order...
1. They probably feel guilty about throwing it out - it was really expensive
2. We could really do with a guest bed
3. The colour is pinkish and really clashes with the dark pinkish wall in the lounge
4. we already have 2 sofas and dont really need another
5. I wouldn't want to get rid of one of the ones we already have - we chose them to last us
6. the sofa bed will ONLY fit in the lounge and there is no space and it is too heavy for upstairs
7. Its a really comfy sofa bed to sleep on.
8. mum prices up reupholstering at nearly £600.
9. oooh now the Christmas tree is gone there IS a big space just right for a sofa!

So instead of turning it down OR paying a fortune to invest into it OR living with an ugly clashing sofa in my nice lounge I've invested just a little...and decided we WILL make it work!
1. Throw (that I've wanted from ikea for ages)... navy and knitted (£25)
2. 2 cusions from pound stretcher and committment to finish off some knitted patchwork ones I once started. (3.99 x2 and free left over wool cushions)
3. Potentially a new can of paint if these tricks don't disguise the clash (£10.99)

So voila... new sofa bed all comfy for guests all for the grand price of 43.97. BOOM.

Day 202: Not shopping

There is nothing like your house being a complete mess to secure a good shopping trip with no purchases. Today Joel and I had a rare Saturday afternoon without the children. They were off on a theatre trip Christmas treat from my mum and dad and so we decided we'd go to town. Joel had a waterstones voucher and actually spent the entire time looking at every book to decide what he would spend it on and so even though I started off interested..then got to the stage of pretending to still be interested...and then was quite done in the book shop...I ended up wandering over to TK Max to look at what amazing bargains they might have that I always hear about. Well I didn't even get close to buying...even things that were really cheap and really useful/pretty/just what we need didn't tempt me as I rembered how much I am desperately trying to sort out and get rid of or make better use of. I just don't need more stuff right now! Poor Joel finally decided what he wanted after an hour...went to the till to read a little handwritten sign telling him that due to a technical fault they were unable to take cards or gift cards today :( Awwww.
Shopping trip today - no spends :)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Day 201: The hidden costs


Now the other episode which is going on in my life atm is the home makeover. I'm excited to announce that for the first time in my life I am one of those people who is 'getting a new kitchen'! I never though this day would come but it actually have - and yes - though the debt is not cleared there is a budget for that and a plan for that and a different budget for a kitchen. We started with an image in my head... I know what I like and pretty much knew the kitchen we need. We have a dark room, small and cluttered. Our life is cluttered and full of photos and bits of feathers, glitter and paint stuck to bits of paper to display all over the kitchen - so there is no room for spindly handles and textured looking duck egg blue worktops. We need a plain kitchen, bright and light catching and neutral enough to be a blank canvas for the childrens hard work at school and my random painting and accessorising urges. So basically white or cream... and simple... and my added big want... a real oak worktop. Homebase offered us a nice kitchen - they pointed us towards their new Portland one, which is 'extremely popular and a really low price' and we booked in for the planning and designing meeting. This kitchen was advertised at £740 for the basic 8 unit package. Funnily enough..at the end of our 2 and a half hour meeting where we planned out our 9 unit kitchen (no appliances) we were quoted over £6000 for the £740 Portland kitchen... now that quite a leap in price is it not?! No thanks Homebase. So on the way home I made some calls and we had Wren kitchens recommended and later on the same day (New Years day as well) - actually within 3 hours they planned us out a much better kitchen, gave us some really good advice, seemed to really know what they were talking about and within 24 hours had also been out to the house to measure to check and amend the plans... and a much nicer kitchen is going to come in at £1800... including my beautiful oak worktop! And not that I want to create a war between them but its also worth mentioning our kids sat in Homebase with us for 2.5 hours colouring print outs saying GIRL POWER that the Homebase team had made in Word art... and then got to go to Nanny and Pappy's house instead of another kitchen shop...and missed out on Wrens choice of playstation room or CBeebies room with mega beanbags for children... :( gutted we got that the wrong way round!

What surprised us though were the things that we later found hiding in our Homebase quote - a couple of hundred quid for them to move our washer while they fit it and plug it back in... £400 for a 'magic corner' so that you can get stuff out of your cupboard without having to stretch! We realised we would never sit and discuss spending £400 on a contraption for a cupboard - not an option! Its amazing what things go hidden when surrounded by what appear to be big necessary costs...while at the same time I'm wondering and debating for hours on end whether to add another £20 onto what I'm willing to bid for a Smeg fridge on ebay! I couldn't care less about a magic corner if I can get a better fridge or a whole oven for that money really could I!

But I did win my Smeg fridge! Joel collected it today and its very beautiful and I'm also feeling satisfied we paid a good price to a lovely family who have looked after it really well and we have a great fridge that aesthetically pleases me and has already been planned into our lovely kitchen design. The only issue is that Joel is cross I want to put magnets and pictures on it to add to its charm and he thinks it should be 'left pure'. Decisions decisions.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Day 200: The food plan

Im really scared of doing cardless spending. I like the idea of going for a coffee and deciding what you have, or even whether you go for one at all, based on the amount that is in your purse that you know you also need for other things - but what I dont like is the idea of having to pay for the big supermarket shop in cash. I generally have no idea whether my shop will cost me £30 or £200- I'm rarely shocked so long as its somewhere within this amount. So I don't really like the thought of having to stand rummaging in my purse to count up to £200 in fivers or to have to give the cashier back £170 worth of food if I've only actually come with £30 that day. However... I'm going to start by having a food plan...which in turn will mean my shopping list is slightly more predictable.
My food planning is made considerably easier by the fact that I hate cooking, I can only make about 10 meals anyway and to save money I normally cook enough when I make a meal so that we eat the leftovers the next night. This also helps when I'm working late or busy some nights. So I've actually just chosen (with the kids) 7 meals and if each of them last 2 night each then I've actually planned for 2 weeks at a time - fab!
So here it is...
2x Macaroni cheese with brocoli and cauliflower in (and bacon on a rich week) with some veg
2x Pasta and tomato sauce (with bacon when using up bacon on a rich week)
2x Spagetti Bolognaise
2x Chilli Con Carne and rice
2x Red pepper and cream cheese pastry thing with salad and potato wedges or jackets
2x Cottage Pie and veg
2x Chicken Pie with any combo of veg that needs using up (normally leek and mushroom)

So there we have it! Actually I havent even included lasagne, or any kind of stirfry or standard roast dinner - so they can be my standby interchangable options for days when we are SO BORED of eating the same thing!

So tonight... I made the red pepper thing and when it was ready cut it in half strait away to make sure there was just as much for tomorrow nights tea :) and even got uber organised and used up the excess pepper in my huge cook off...
I normally make up a big pan of pasta sauce - a basic and tasty tomato sauce that can be used for loads of meals inc. pasta based, pizza sauce for the kids lunches etc and a big tub sits in the fridge all week till its used up or we notice its gone moldy. So instead tonight I made it and portioned it out for freezer meals. This makes me happy cos I know there are now 6 nights where I can get tea out of the freezer and still feel content in being a homecooked mum - as I'll be serving up good healthy food I have put effort into - and not smiley faces and chicken nuggets! So using 2 onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 large organic passata, 4 tins of organic plum tomatoes, a bit of sugar and olive oil, bits of pepper and fresh tomato, bit of boulion, pepper, spicy herb and chilli mix, and 3 bay leaves (all comes to £3- when you stock up on tinned tomatoes when the good ones are half price) I made up a load of sauce... portioned enough for 2 meals into 2 tupperwears, labelled them for the freezer... then cooked some beef mince, added some mushrooms and half a yellow pepper that needed eating and then portioned out 2 tupperwears of bolognaise... added a bit more spice and a tin of kidney beans and the rest is enough for 2 chilli con carne teas. £6.50 for 6 family meals (without the rice, penne and spaghetti of course - which I always buy in jumbo catering size bags anyway!) Ahhhhh... pleased with myself.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Day 199: Resolutions

Well 2011 is here and what better way for me to start the year than with a list as long as my road is of resolutions. I love them...!
I spent new year in for the first time I can ever remember, other than when hosting parties. My parents and their friends have always had, and still have big parties and take it in turns to host so I've always been at parties for new year. This year ended up being stuck for ideas and the kids were desperate to stay up - so we stayed in. New Years Eve 2010-2011 Joel and the kids washed the car, I wallpapered and the n when the kids went to bed we did a spot of budget planning and kitchen design. Then approaching midnight I cleared out my wardrobe and started reorganising it. At 11.50 we called a halt to the procedings and picked the kids out of their beds and carried them downstairs to bring in the new year with hot chocolate with marshmallows and a cookie while we watched the fireworks on BBC1. Then all back upstairs where they went back off to sleep and I got back to the big wardrobe sort out. Extremely boring but something about it felt really good - it was like the beginning of how things hopefully will go on.
So...not wanting to be too ambitious or anything...these are my main New Years Resolutions 2011
1. Send all birthday cards and presents on time. (I just sent one to Charlie who's birthday is in february as late as December... and the majority of the year it has sat ready to post)
2. Keep my wardrobe tidy (every year I have this one)
3. Get out of debt.
4. Make and stick to a meal plan
5. Budget and change to card free spending.
6. Go to bed at a reasonable time (mainly 2am all year with 7am starts = tired days I've found)
7. Remember the food at the bottom of the fridge as well as the food at the top in eye sight... too many wasted carrots this year :(
8. Read at least 8 books I haven't read before.
9. Use the Wii fit at least once a week
10. By the end of the year I will have cleared out the 'stuff for Ebay cupboard...and hopefully sold it!

10 seems like a good place to stop! So tonight... at 10.54 I reckon I can wrap a birthday present, look at the budget so far, maybe start book No 1 (after I've folded my clothes and put them away tidy of course) and also stick to no 6 if I'm quick :)