You may remember that a week or so ago I had a play with the Aviva Shape my Future tool to get a prediction of my income on retirement, given my current situation and pension contributions. Have a look now if you don’t remember. (Or if you enjoyed it so much you want to read it again.)

The conclusion was pretty straightforward – save more now, or spend less as a pensioner. Not exactly a win win situation is it? In a bid to encourage me that the first of the two options would probably be the most sensible, Aviva challenged me to live for seven days on my predicted pension of £318 a week. Easy peasy you might think, that’s not a bad income really. Consider though the fact that I don’t actually own my own house, and you can see that it is going to disappear very quickly indeed.

Have a quick go now on the Shape my Future tool to work out what your predicted pension is and let me know whether or not you think you could live on it!

yep-just-did-some-financial-planning-i-can-retire-at-65-and-live-comfortably-for-around-nine-days View Post

unicorn poo cupcakesAs you may have picked up in the seven or so years that I’ve been blogging, I don’t have what you’d call a passion for housework. My ideal way of spending less time ironing is simply to not do it, and instead to wear stretchy clothes where the creases get sort of pulled flat.

Or, to get out of ironing other people’s clothes, you could try the method I accidentally employed on an ex-boyfriend. I was trying to be helpful and was ironing a few shirts. I was doing his favourite white shirt when Bee showed me a picture of a baby doing something cute. I can’t remember what exactly – it was dressed up as a lobster or something like that I think.

I laughed and dropped the iron on the floor. 

Whoops.

I figured that if I just picked it up really quickly and carried on, that no one would notice. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the large amount of carpet that had melted onto the iron and which I then proceeded to iron onto the back of the shirt.

I wasn’t hugely popular when the boyfriend got home to find a patch of carpet missing. Even less popular when he discovered the missing patch had found a new home on his shirt.

Double whoops.

I do appreciate though that neither of these approaches are an effective long term strategy, and that ironing is one of those things that you just have to do, both for everyday things and more special occasions. Like last week when I bought new curtains for the two windows in our bedroom. Seriously, it felt like I was ironing those curtains for about two days. View Post

If you’ve not discovered Sainsbury’s yet for clothes and homeware then WAKE UP!! Where have you been?? Living under a rock?!

It’s a well established fact that pretty much half my wardrobe comes from Sainsbury’s, but the rest of the house has been following suit recently as I’m be taking a look at some of the autumnal goodies in the Sainsbury’s homeware range.

Autumn has to be pretty much my favourite season. I’m tempted to say winter, because it just about contains Christmas, but it’s actually the build up to Christmas that I love most, rather than the day itself. By the 25th I’m pretty much done. I like the evenings getting darker, and the smell of mulled wine and mince pies. I like snuggling under cosy blankets, lighting candles, and watching Christmas films made for TV.

*happy sigh*

I’ve got a bit of a mustard theme going on in my living room already, so the Harvest Collection from Sainsbury’s fits perfectly. They do items for every room in the house, but I chose to focus on the living room – think cosy cushions, snuggly blankets and subtle autumn colours.

Now, if you’ve been to my house recently, you might be slightly suspicious about my need for any more cushions and blankets but I say ‘can you ever have too many?’

No is my answer. You can never go into autumn with too many blankets.

Have a look at the range online, but have a rummage in your local store too, as they’ll often have pieces in store that aren’t online. Here are some of my favourite pieces. View Post

This is just a little post to help you get excited about Christmas!

Yay!!

Only about nine or so weeks to go now, and the underneath of our bed is already looking like a veritable grotto. I make no excuse at all for my love of Christmas. If you’re not a fan of anyone daring to so much as look at a mince pie before December 24th then you might want to look away from my blog for, ooh, a couple of months?

On my way home from work the other day I popped in the Taunton Visitor Centre, which is hosting the a Cards for Good Causes pop up Christmas shop. They’re selling masses of charity Christmas cards, and other bits and pieces like wrapping paper and other festive goodies.

Cards for Good Causes is the UK’s largest multi-charity Christmas card organisation, selling cards on behalf of over 250 charities, yet a lot of people have never even heard of it. Pop up shops open in libraries, churches, Tourist Information Centres, banks, and this year for the first time, even a ladies clothes shop in Bury St Edmunds. Fancy.

You can buy online too if you’re not near a pop up shop, so have a look at the Cards for Good Causes website here to find out more.

Anyway, to get to the point, I bought a load of cards, and now my card box at home has turned into more of a ‘card pile in the corner of the lounge’.

Here are my five favourites. Happy Christmas!

(The last one was the favourite of the woman in Specsavers, where I stopped afterwards to order new glasses.) View Post

If you’re looking for a new approach to online storage, read on to find out more about 123Friday, and how to sign up with my special access code.

A little while ago Belle and I were on our final outing of the summer holidays, doing a spot of archery. (As you do.) Belle was poised, bow in hand, and I reached for my phone to take a picture.

‘Sorry,’ said my phone, (not out loud), ‘but you don’t have enough storage for that.’

Damn it.

And then of course you can’t just delete one photo to make room for another one. Oh no, that would be way to easy. Apparently to make room for just one photo, I have to delete 49 existing photos, and two apps. Grrr. Doesn’t my phone know who I am? I do interesting things phone, I need to be able to capture exciting shots at a moment’s notice. 

When you’re in Paris and it’s 38 degrees for example, your ice cream just isn’t going to wait. 

123Friday code View Post

Lately I’ve been getting a bit carried away with cushions. It’s not my fault, honestly. I just can’t seem to help myself. It’s because I’m a Taurus, so I love home comforts. You see? I’m helpless. 

The trouble is though that I’m running out of sofas to put them on, and the sofas that we do have are becoming more like cushion storage areas than actual places where we can sit down. Thank goodness there are only three of us living at home because, honestly, if there were any more of us I’d have to use the cushions to build them a shelter in the garden.

There may only be three of us in our house, but what exactly do you do if your family is growing, and you need more space in your home, or even your car? And what about holidays?? (This is exactly why I won’t be having any more children.)

Here are a few things you might need to consider as your family gets bigger.

 

Storage space

I’ve lived in houses of all shapes and sizes over the years, and I’ve become a bit of a whizz at maximising storage space. The trouble is that I’ve never actually owned a house, so I’ve not been able to do any of the really funky storage things I’d ideally like to do, like build in bookcases to fill whole walls, or to fit between steps on the staircase.

When you look hard, there are normally loads of quirky little spaces like this in a home that can be turned into handy storage.

interiors modern fireplace with bookshelves, family gets bigger View Post

You know sometimes you have one of those days, or an outing of some kind, and at the end you sort of sigh to yourself, and think ‘well that was lovely’?

Nothing hugely adventurous happened, you didn’t spend loads of money, but you did something that was just nice, that left you feeling all warm and content with life.

That happened to us a few weeks ago.

Belle and I went to Stourhead, a National Trust place about an hour away from us, and met up with a friend and her nine month old twin girls. (#Rinstwins if you want to check them out on Instagram – how awesome to be called Rin and have twins?! They are made for social media.)

The sky was a bright blue, the forecast promised sunshine all day long, and we had nothing to do and nowhere to be. (Apart from sat down at regular intervals for the twins to snack, which suited me just fine.) We hadn’t got quite as far as packing a picnic, because I love the treat of eating out in a cafe, but I had packed us a little rucksack of essentials – water bottles, mini-cheddars, suntan lotion, and Kleenex pocket packs. It’s weird, but although I was always the parent who forgot wipes, I’ve turned into the woman who always has tissues. There is something very comforting and satisfying about carrying tissues, and that feeling of needing one, and then actually having one – it’s ace.

autumn picnic Stourhead View Post