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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Seaside Walks


Portsoy, Aberdeenshire

North Aberdeenshire Coast
Gardenstown Harbour, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

My friend has recently bought a house on the north coast of Aberdeenshire.  It is a very old fishermans cottage that looks absolutely picture perfect.
Crovie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
It needs quite a bit of work but she is willing, able and very ready to make this beautiful building her home.  It has a little courtyard with an overgrown garden-however this gives her the chance to pick out all of the best flowers and shrubs, and get rid of the rest.
The windows look out onto the sea and you can open the windows wide to feel the sea air flowing through the house.
Pennan, Aberdeenshire
The coast of Aberdeenshire is gorgeous and I've already had quite a few trips up north to visit her and see all of the work she has already done.  Some of the things are getting done by builders or the kitchen is getting put in by a very skilled group of people, but quite a lot is being done little and often by friends and family and helpers who pop in to visit.
I love the scent of the sea and she is so very close to it.
We walk past the harbour and out to see the fishing boats, and take drives to other villages.  We walk along beaches and the dogs run until they decide they will come to us to get water.
This is how we spend our weekends, i wonder what it will be like next year?
Crovie Aberdeenshire Scotland #scotland

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Time to Hibernate!

I am beyond excited that we are now into proper Autumn viewing and all for the lovely adverts for all of the best shows are starting again.
I know the Bake Off can put me in a great mood!  It is most certainly time to start moving back indoors and getting cosy as it gets darker earlier each evening. 

A Girls Night Out

Last night my friend Holly and I went to the show...oh my gosh it was so funny, it made me want to get up and dance!!  Now it did mean i had to stay out late on a school night, but once in a while wont hut, will it?
It was so sweet and really great that we ended up listening to disco all the way home in the car, then Holly came in for a coffee to try and wake up a wee bit before she had to drive for another 15 minutes home.  I ended up getting to bed at 3.15 in the morning...this just does not happen to me anymore.
I think i will be having early nights for the rest of the week to catch up on myself.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

How we're Saving

I haven’t done a post about how the saving is going for quite a while so I thought I would do an update. The original plan was to fill all of the ISA’s we could between us which would take us to early Summer and we would hopefully be able to go to the bank and talk reasonably about getting a mortgage. This would give us a 10% deposit for a small cottage on the out-skirts of Aberdeen which we would pay off as quickly as possible. Because we have been saving up my salary as well as paying off rent we were hoping that this plan would be very achievable should nothing go awry.

Now that there is a plan to move abroad we aren’t saving to get our own house next year as we aren’t able to own property in the UK while living in a government house abroad. However we are still living with ‘Thrift’ as our watchword. There are great things happening because of this move – mainly that we are getting rid of all of our excess ‘stuff’ and car boot sales as well as selling things on eBay are really helping us top up the ISA’s.

I really enjoy being ‘in charge’ of the money and give The Husband an allowance every month which he can spend on whatever he likes. Out of housekeeping he still gets all work clothes and packed lunches if he wants them as well as his own phone contract paid, so that’s quite a large sum for just frittering away. The housekeeping gets spent on all of those bills that are set in stone and never change and then the bills and things that need to be paid that we can change by either getting rid of the services or cutting back. I take my allowance and then the rest gets saved. Below is a list of the things we spend money on with a percentage sign to show how much each month gets put on it.

Things we can’t change:

1. Rent (17.25%)
2. Council Tax (5.6%)
3. TV licence (0.51%)
4. Subscriptions (0.34%)
5. Contents and Car Insurance (1% each)
6. TH’s Phone Contract (0.69%)

Things we can change:

1. Sky TV (0.75%)
2. Petrol (5.52%)
3. Groceries (6.9%)
4. Gas (3.45%)
5. Electric (3.45%)
6. Allowances (5.17%)
7. Phone and Broadband (1.03%)

I had been saving my allowance for the Girls Trip I had been planning for Edinburgh, but seeing as that has had to be cancelled I am just putting more into savings until I see something I would like. We aren’t saving any money for the gas tank right now as we probably won’t use a full one before we go so we’ve decided we can get by using the wood burner until then. Also because of this great weather and late sunsets no lights have been going on for ages and ages.

Menu planning and shopping around has saved us quite a bit of money and we should be able to save a bit more as we have started to run down the pantry and freezers. I have better lunches that are cheaper than I ever bought in shops as I eat quite a lot of leftovers now. This doesn’t mean we eat fatty or cardboard-like food. It’s a bit easier now that it’s getting colder as we had make more stews, casseroles, or things like toad in the hole. More mince and tatties or Sunday dinners served with a plethora of veg, dumplings or pastry.

We find and cut all of our own wood and only bought a chainsaw when we saved enough PayPal money from selling things online-making it ‘spend neutral’ in my mind. This meant we could cut larger logs in a shorter amount of time so we have been stock piling for autumn for a while now. We cuddle into a soft hot water bottle to keep cosy, just like we did when we were little. Water cleans most tables and worktops and cheap homemade solutions clean most of the rest.

We don’t have a pot for emergencies, although when we do have a mortgage we’ll have to keep one. When we had to get the brakes on the car fixed last month we just had to not save as much that month, but because our money is hardly locked up in stocks and shares we can get to it if there was a big problem. Also, although we rent which can seem like dead money, we also know that if something breaks we can get it sorted without us parting with any money.

When you see it written out like that I think you’d be forgiven for imagining we could have always saved money, however it really was only recently we thought about it. I feel so ashamed. When I think of money that was just ‘blown’ it makes me crazy! Oh well, onwards and upwards! I just have to keep acting like those of my grandmothers generation and save every penny I can.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Swallows in the Garden

Way back in Spring we found some swallow nests being built on the side of the house.  We left them to it and they left us to it also so there was no need to go out and stare too much.  We soon heard the noise of little swallows and were thankful that the weather was warm-not thinking too much of it.
Then one morning we came out of the house to find that the nest had fallen.  We could only find two birds, both of which were alive, but they were quite little.  There still seemed to be lots of adult birds flying around overhead, but the little ones were firmly planted on the ground.  So we were very worried for them.
I phoned the SSPCA who told us to put them in a box and take them inside as they couldn't fly and feed.  We were told to put a little bit of water in with them and we made the box comfortable.  A man from the SSPCA came out quickly and took the birds away and told us that there were many little birds that had fallen during the hot weather. 
He told us that our little ones had a good chance of surviving as they were so very close to flying away themselves.  The other day he looked in whilst we were at home and said that all of the little birds he had collected that day survived.  TH is now planning a fishing trip with him and the rest as they say is history!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Another Swap

I have recently been over to Blueberry Hearts fantastic blog where she has been planning another swap!  I've copied out what you can see below from the blog post about the swap so get your thinking caps on people!  I have put my name down for the Hocus Pocus one so can't wait!

Hocus Pocus Hallowe'en - a Hallowe'en themed parcel to thoroughly immerse yourself in the wonderful black and orangeness of the occasion. Some ideas for this are bat shaped bunting, Hallowe'en themed cushion or sweets for trick or treating. So many options with this one I think...

Autumn Glow - an autumn themed parcel which could include anything autumn themed that you like. For example an autumn themed wreath, some cosy hot chocolate or even a handmade scarf or hat. Possibilities are endless!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Awesome Autumn Plans

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how much things will change when we move to a new country. One of these things is ridiculously simple and so impudent that I am even thinking about it. We are being shipped off to an amazing place on the other side of the world and my little worry…oh it was just about how I love autumn and winter. My worry was that I would be sad missing golden crispy leaves falling to the ground. My sadness was that I would be missing snow covered branches and twinkly lights I associate with my journey home in Advent.

I felt that if things weren’t the way they always were then they would automatically be bad, or I would perhaps become sad. Fear of feeling sad in the future is something that I’ve only just learns terrifies me. I have had some really tough times in the past and I guess I am subconsciously very worried about being like that again.

To overcome this (or at least in part) and hopefully move forward I am planning an Autumn Adventure with The Husband. I would like us to have a slow and leisurely drive down to Dundee taking in two lovely shops I always HAVE TO stop at. We will then set up camp there for the night and then travel on to St Andrews to walk around the prettiness there. They have so many cute little independent shops and I always feel so at home in University towns as I think they are some of the most inviting and welcoming places.

So there we go, that’s my plan. I will have a last hurrah to autumn and then I will attempt to move forward and embrace and love the new.

Whatever happened, happened well

the Bhagavad Gita

“Whatever happened, happened well. Whatever is happening, is happening well. Whatever will happen, will also happen well. For what are you crying? What did you bring with you, for you to lose? What did you create, for it to be wasted or destroyed? Whatever you took, it was taken from here. Whatever you gave, it was given from here. Whatever is yours today, will belong to someone else tomorrow. On another day, it will belong to yet another”.