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  • FIRST POST
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 28th Oct 16, 12:08 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    EH - Essex > Hebrides...the next step of the adventure?
    • #1
    • 28th Oct 16, 12:08 PM
    EH - Essex > Hebrides...the next step of the adventure? 28th Oct 16 at 12:08 PM
    Well well - here we are again then, new diary as threatened promised - the previous one can be found HERE - there are others too - if I can be bothered to go find them I'll add in some links, otherwise feel free to go stalking if you should wish to!

    Previous diary to the previous one mentioned above...
    ..and the previous one to that, too...

    So, I've been here a while (since 2008, in fact) and can't ever imagine quite managing to leave entirely now. I've made some seriously good friends thanks to this place (Stripes, Cheery, I'm looking at you ladies!) - and for that reason alone I'll hang about like a bad smell for as long as they'll have me. A brief summary of "me" - too short to reach anything interesting, Londoner (full of resentment due to being forced out when we wanted to buy somewhere to live - damned incomers and property prices!) currently living in Essex with MrEH. The username is Essex = for where we are currently, and Hebridean = representing the fact that the long term plan is to move to the ludicrously far-flung but ridiculously beautiful islands off the west coast of Scotland. (as and when the move happens I shall be requesting a change of name to LondonHebridean so nobody even THINK about taking that one, OK?)

    Started on here with a loan and a tenuous grasp on our money, plus a mortgage. Budgeting happened. Am emergency fund was built. We discovered we liked the challenge of teaching financial institutions a lesson. The loan was kicked into touch first off, and then we started the onslaught on the mortgage. Various adventures along the way including losing half my income practically overnight and a 6 year experiment with being self-employed, all good fun. We waved a cheerful goodbye to the mortgage on 30th September this year - paying it off over 12 years early and according to MrEH's clever spreadsheet saving ourselves around 35k in interest had we left it to run to term. Go us, eh?

    So - this is the next chapter, really. While debt free (and that seems amazing) we want to:

    a) Stay that way
    b) Build a savings pot - firstly to ensure that we can at the least put down a chunky deposit against a future "Islandy" dwelling, and secondly to assist with a lifestyle which is less work and more full when we get there.
    c) Do up our existing flat to make it into a fab place for us to live while we're still here, and a desirable rental for when we're not.
    d) Have fun. Lots of it.

    There will be food, regular lunatic visitors (that's this thread, not at home, although sometimes at home too), a reluctance to wield hairbrushes, some Little Red Jets, and hopefully some laughs along the way. Want to join me for the ride? Well I'd be delighted - grab a chair!!
    Last edited by EssexHebridean; 31-10-2016 at 8:54 PM.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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Page 21
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 15th Mar 17, 9:35 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Ah, yes, it really does

    Exactly and he his home again in a few weeks so a big catch up will be sure to be on the cards! I dated someone in the forces once, it dint work out for other reasons, the separations were awful!
    Originally posted by angelpye
    Oh urgh yes - if I was to find myself single again now someone in the Forces would definitely NOT be on my list of possibles!

    I just cashed out 12.55 with prolific academic, they are one of my favs.

    I'm going to check the mapmywalk app now, it sounds brilliant!

    Sorry you're missing your friend. It's always worse for the one left behind, I've found. I always seem to be the one left behind...
    Originally posted by MistyMountainTop
    Awww! I'm really liking MapMyWalk - although the weekly summaries it emails you get a bit addictive with trying to beat the previous week's total!


    11.00 paid across to the card this morning - SOOOOO close to the 200 level now, when the DD goes out tomorrow that'll take me well over it though so I'm going to resist the temptation to do an added top up today! Other than that, today will largely be "more of the same" with the addition of a trip down to Matalan this evening after work as I HAVE to find some more work trousers now - I'm in imminent danger of these just falling right down!

    Dinner tonight will be a "sort of salad" with the leftover lamb breast from the other week's roast - I by some miracle remembered to get it out of the freezer! - with couscous and assorted veggies and salad bits. It's a bit of a favourite way of using up ends of roasting joints for us, this one. Easy and quick for a work night where we've car shared too!

    Hoping to hear from the builder today confirming start date for the kitchen - but we're well and truly on the same page with "ASAP" being the intention by the sound of it. I'm currently freaking out more than a bit about where on earth everything is going to get stored, though - had a tidy up of the spare room last night which will take a fair bit of it but we're going to have to use that as a temporary kitchen too which might complicate things a bit!

    So tonight's job is to do a bit more space clearing - our storecupboard needs turning out and repacking as hopefully a lot of stuff will go in there - and then getting together a meal plan of easy stuff that will just go in the microwave to re-heat while the work is being done, or need no cooking at all...I'm sensing a LOT of rice and couscous ending up on that plan! Oh and jacket potatoes! I'll buy some more beef mince at the weekend so I can cook up a big pot of bolognese sauce though - that goes with all sorts of things and is a nice easy one!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 15th Mar 17, 10:07 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    I remember weeks of not having a kitchen in our last house - I used the slow cooker quite a bit but we ended up buying a halogen cooker in the end. That was years ago but it worked really well and I ended up using it even after the kitchen was done so I didn't need to heat up the oven for something small.

    Doing the washing up in the bathroom was the most frustrating thing for me, I think our kitchen sink was disconnected for 3 days.

    I hope your kitchen refit goes smoothly and with as little disruption as possible!
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 15th Mar 17, 10:38 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    I remember weeks of not having a kitchen in our last house - I used the slow cooker quite a bit but we ended up buying a halogen cooker in the end. That was years ago but it worked really well and I ended up using it even after the kitchen was done so I didn't need to heat up the oven for something small.

    Doing the washing up in the bathroom was the most frustrating thing for me, I think our kitchen sink was disconnected for 3 days.

    I hope your kitchen refit goes smoothly and with as little disruption as possible!
    Originally posted by MistyMountainTop
    Aargh yes it's the lack of a sink I'm dreading...we're covered on the cooking thing to a degree as our microwave is one of the combination/convection/grill ones - REALLY useful in the upcoming circumstance! Dave-The-Builder assures me that he'll leave at least a standpipe in place - he needs to in fairness as the kitchen is our only access to mains water. We've also negotiated for the washing machine to be left in position for as long as possible to minimise the time we're without that, although as we're keeping the machine that does need to be balanced off against the risk of damage.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 16th Mar 17, 9:19 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    Sorry if you've posted it already, but do you have an estimate as to how long the kitchen will be unusable?
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 16th Mar 17, 4:13 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    We're hoping it will be no longer than a fortnight Misty. Any more than that and I think I'll be going mad! It's a multi step process though - his first job is to rip everything out, and do the chasing into walls for the electrics. He's also got to remove a section of double-thickness wall in front of the window and refinish with insulation board etc, and relocate the door a little too. Then electrician comes in and puts all the electricals in place. Then Dave can get cracking on with things like plumbing etc - again probably all chased back into the wall to an extent. then everything needs full plastering or at least skimming - including the ceiling. Then it's floor down, units in and all systems go.

    Having written all that I'm all again!

    Trying to decide what to do tomorrow. Was originally hoping for Scampton but there's no flying apparently so a rethink needed. Might head to Hendon for the RAF Museum - they've a new photographic exhibition opening to the public tomorrow and some friends of mine will have pics in that - including the one that won the "people's Choice" award last year. From there I could head back into central London in time for the Lynx Helicopter Flypast along the Thames in the afternoon....Tempting that as long as the weather isn't REALLY grey. Would be fairly budget friendly too - pretty much just travel and some form of snack for lunch...
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    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 17th Mar 17, 2:53 PM
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    angelpye
    I was without a kitchen for 3 months - and a proper cooker for 18 due to unexpected 'developments'in house renovation. Ended up being very expensive on the food side as I just gave up and didn't really prepare for it. Was a nightmare. Sounds like you have fully planned etc though and mine was damp work (almost whole house), re doing all underfloor pipework in a concrete floor and excavating chimney breast plus all the putting back together again and all the drying times in between. Plus having to have the other main rooms done at same time to save money with plasterer etc. Still need to finish it but life took a busy turn. Took longer than should of as contractors kept pulling out, new quotes and lack of motivation on my behalf. Worst 18 months of my life. Well done for fully planning before hand - it will pay dividends in stress levels.
    Last edited by angelpye; 17-03-2017 at 2:57 PM.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: 2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF 0/4200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 21st Mar 17, 10:57 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    *gulp* well I certainly hope ours doesn't go on that long Angel!

    Batch cooked five and a half tubs of bolognese sauce over the weekend, and 2 double portions of shepherd's pie ('Spy!) mix too - the bol is now in the freezer aside from one which will be eaten tomorrow night and the 'Spy will get topped with mash tonight and then those will get frozen too - thanks to the oh-so-marvellous combi microwave both of those are nice easy ones to prep without a full kitchen. So that's a start anyway. We're already planning to just go away somewhere for the middle weekend - it may well tie in with something we already have planned anyway - and aside from that we'll probably choose to eat out somewhere cheap and cheerful for one night each week and have a takeaway for another. Hoping to keep "washing up in the bathroom" to a minimum!

    Found our new fridge freezer at the weekend we think - annoyingly we are going to have to go with a white one we think as the one we wanted wasn't available in the Stainless steel finish we ideally wanted but that can't be helped. However the advantage to that is that white is over 100 cheaper so every cloud, and all that...

    Cashed out 5.55 from Prolific Academic which arrived today so that's gone against the card. and with the DD as well that now puts me at a sub-1k balance on there so I'm extremely chuffed with that! Prolific is trotting along nicely now I've finally worked out how to use it as well - thanks to those who persuaded me it was worth persevering with!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 21st Mar 17, 11:03 AM
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    Scott_Weiland
    Hmmmmmmm going to have to try P.A. since two of my usual payers are doing my head in.
    Debts 16349.33
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 21st Mar 17, 1:16 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Hmmmmmmm going to have to try P.A. since two of my usual payers are doing my head in.
    Originally posted by Scott_Weiland
    Worth it - just make sure you do the prescreening questions otherwise you get pretty much nothing!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 22nd Mar 17, 1:12 PM
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    angelpye
    Hi EH, the food sounds well and truly in hand! Do you get notifications from PA? I don't and so it depends on me refreshing which is tedious. 15 waiting to pay out at the moment though
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: 2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF 0/4200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 23rd Mar 17, 11:46 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Hi EH, the food sounds well and truly in hand! Do you get notifications from PA? I don't and so it depends on me refreshing which is tedious. 15 waiting to pay out at the moment though
    Originally posted by angelpye
    Nope - things come and go so fast I think it is just a case of keeping on refreshing isn't it. As you say tedious but...!

    Heard from the builder this morning confirming his labour costs for the kitchen which we're happy with so it's definitely all systems go now - just need to hammer a start date out of him! I need to sit down and make a full list of all the things I'm going to need to get in hand for it as well I think - that might be a lunchtime job.

    Also need a plan for this evening I think...something along the lines of:
    - Change out of work clothes
    - Get clothes ready for tomorrow
    - Oven on
    - Prep veggies for roasting
    - Veggies in oven
    - Upper body/weights workout to routine devised by Mr EH
    - Collapse in a painful heap until veggies are roasted
    - Finish sorting hi-res helicopter photos and dropbox
    - email dropbox link to the person who needs it
    - Cook sausages, eat dinner
    - Clear memory cards
    - pack camera bag
    - sort out anything else I want for tomorrow and pop in bag by front door.
    - Put clothes into front room and makeup/hairbrush into bathroom - MrEH will NOT want disturbing at 5.30am
    - Throw a load into the washing machine to go through overnight
    - Tidy kitchen

    There's probably more stuff too - eek!

    Scampton for the day tomorrow photographing those lovely Little Red Jets - and fingers crossed for the very first time so far this winter the weather looks like it might actually be properly favourable! About time I got some blue sky I say - bring that on. There is enough diesel in the car to take me there and back easily, and spends other than that will be limited to a sandwich I suspect. All good.

    I'm nearing payout on Power Of Opinions and have to decide whether to cash out at 1,000 points - to a voucher, or wait for the extra 54 points and cash out to paypal. My original thought was vouchers but now I'm leaning more towards cold hard cash to be honest as the voucher options aren't brilliant, and I'm envisaging another 10 coming off the card balance...!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 23rd Mar 17, 7:13 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Progress:

    - Change out of work clothes
    - Get clothes ready for tomorrow
    - Oven on
    - Prep veggies for roasting
    - Veggies in oven
    - Upper body/weights workout to routine devised by Mr EH
    - Collapse in a painful heap until veggies are roasted
    - Finish sorting hi-res helicopter photos and dropbox
    - email dropbox link to the person who needs it
    - Cook sausages, eat dinner
    - Clear memory cards
    - pack camera bag
    - sort out anything else I want for tomorrow and pop in bag by front door.
    - Put clothes into front room and makeup/hairbrush into bathroom - MrEH will NOT want disturbing at 5.30am
    - Throw a load into the washing machine to go through overnight
    - Tidy kitchen

    A decent start. The veg is roasting (and starting to smell AMAZING) as I write. I'll go and check them in a minute and will do a few other odds and ends if they still need more time.

    Weather forecast is still looking fab for tomorrow - so hoping for some good pics.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 1229.00/324.14
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 23rd Mar 17, 10:04 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    More Progress:

    - Change out of work clothes
    - Get clothes ready for tomorrow
    - Oven on
    - Prep veggies for roasting
    - Veggies in oven
    - Upper body/weights workout to routine devised by Mr EH
    - Collapse in a painful heap until veggies are roasted
    - Finish sorting hi-res helicopter photos and dropbox
    - email dropbox link to the person who needs it
    - Cook sausages, eat dinner
    - Clear memory cards
    - pack camera bag
    - sort out anything else I want for tomorrow and pop in bag by front door.
    - Put clothes into front room and makeup/hairbrush into bathroom - MrEH will NOT want disturbing at 5.30am
    - Throw a load into the washing machine to go through overnight
    - Tidy kitchen

    Just those last few bits to get done and all sorted!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 27th Mar 17, 4:10 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Happy new week all!

    Finally got my fabulous blue skies on Friday and had a lovely time pointing my camera at Little Red jets all day! Bargainously cheap too - paid 57p for a bottle of water - annoyingly I had some in my car but we'd shifted into my mates car by then and left mine parked up so 57p it was.

    The rest of the weekend continued in a similarly frugal vein on a personal level - but as we went in to pay for the kitchen units I can't say the same thing on a household level! Oh well - reminding myself that it DOES need doing, and that it WILL be fabulous... GULP! All being well we should have a start on 4th April on that - fingers crossed!

    Other than that - 23.91 on weekly shop, and meal plan done to try to use up as many of the last odds and ends as possible from the cupboards.
    3 spent in the charity shop while we were out yesterday - a candle-making kit with moulds, wicks, dyes and wax beads, and a single-cup teapot in exactly the same shade of purple as our larger one - brand new and never been used!

    Lots of things making me feel lovely a bright and cheerful at the moment - 2 weeks until my friend gets back from deployment, another trip to Scampton planned for Friday so fingers crossed for weather again. My car has gone to the garage and should be having her belt and water pump replaced tomorrow - which will be pricey but is definitely needed after 125k miles.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 27th Mar 17, 4:30 PM
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    angelpye
    Sounds like a lovely day out! I need to get out and about with my camera at some point. Is this a hobby or are you a professional? Fab news on the kitchen! I can't wait to have the time to put my house plans in place
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: 2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF 0/4200
    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 28th Mar 17, 9:13 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    It is such an upheaval to have work like that done, and it seems such a PITA while you are in the middle of it. It's like childbirth - once it's over you forget about the pain and can enjoy the results of the hard work. Soon it will all be a distant memory...

    I'm glad you had some blue skies at last! Back to grey today, but spring is definitely here!
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 28th Mar 17, 3:20 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Sounds like a lovely day out! I need to get out and about with my camera at some point. Is this a hobby or are you a professional? Fab news on the kitchen! I can't wait to have the time to put my house plans in place
    Originally posted by angelpye
    Very definitely just a hobby - I have no interest in making money from it, just fun! Having said that, I've had oddments published over the years including most recently some bits I've done for the Reds - which is always nice!

    It is such an upheaval to have work like that done, and it seems such a PITA while you are in the middle of it. It's like childbirth - once it's over you forget about the pain and can enjoy the results of the hard work. Soon it will all be a distant memory...

    I'm glad you had some blue skies at last! Back to grey today, but spring is definitely here!
    Originally posted by MistyMountainTop
    I'd quite like to fast forward directly to the distant memory bit, to be honest...!

    Plan for tonight is yet more kitchen emptying - can't believe that this time next week, all being well, it should be getting started! I've put together a rough meal plan for the weekend and start of next week that should tell us what we can now manage without from the kitchen cupboards, and also let me put together a shopping list ready for the weekend.
    Also need to go through the fridge to work out what can just be thrown out - you know, the odd scraps in a jar that lurk at the back... The freezer got defrosted on Sunday so that's one horrible job ticked off.

    Must start putting together a list for the builder of what can go where in terms of appliances too - the dishwasher needs to go into our garage as I'm hoping to rehome that, the fridge freezer will have to go to the front room until the new one is up and running - hopefully the old one will then be able to be rehomed. The oven is past it and needs disabling and removing to outside for the council heavy squad to take away (or more likely the local pikeys who can sniff out junk at 100 yards) and the washing machine will have to decamp to the garage until it's time to reinstall it I think.

    Need to go out at the weekend and buy:
    Paint
    Blinds
    Light Fitting
    Tap

    In other spendacious news, I've twigged that both our passports need renewing this year so we can kiss goodbye to best part of 150 there there. Got to be done - mine at least needs doing ahead of September (expires August) and might as well get done sooner rather than later as the extra time will just run on.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 1229.00/324.14
    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 31st Mar 17, 10:24 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    Passports are such an expense! I should have planned better than to have everyone's expire at the same time! I went through the new passport control at Heathrow last November and was impressed with the whole setup, though it was a bit like a sci-fi movie with the face scanning, etc.

    I hope you have a productive weekend, it won't be long now until your kitchen is taking shape
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 3rd Apr 17, 3:23 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Well kitchen is now 95% emptied with just the last bits to do this evening. We went out over the weekend and bought the blinds. Also went to try to get the tap we'd chosen only to discover that Homebase have discontinued it - would have been helpful if they'd bothered removing it from their display, too, then! I ordered the light fitting at lunch time so that should hopefully be ready to collect from store from tomorrow.

    Tiles are ordered - delightfully cheap at under 200 for the tiles for the inside of the larder, the wall and the floor. There will be grout to think about on top of that and the other finishing type bits but we've still got some grout left from the bathroom which will help.

    Also made final decisions on the appliances so now have those listed ready to order. Hoping to be able to find a discount code for AO when we come to order them.

    Found a local charity that sell electricals in their shop who will take the old dishwasher and fridge freezer away for us once those are done with - the old cooker is completely past it and just needs scrapping.

    Need to talk to the builder about adding an outside tap onto the spec for the works for us too - guess that's not a massive extra for him, and it'll make life masses easier for us when it comes to washing cars.

    Can't believe it's finally happening!

    Plans for food this week are last meal cooked in the old kitchen tonight - jacket potatoes, beans and cheese with salad! We know how to celebrate huh?! Tomorrow will be bolognese sauce with couscous - dead easy to reheat/cook just using the microwave and a kettle. Tomorrow we'll eat at the pub I think, or maybe grab fish & chips, we'll see. Thursday I'll drag the Shepherds pies out of the freezer and we can have those with veg of some description. Thankfully we're away from Friday right over the weekend which makes life easier.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 1229.00/324.14
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 3rd Apr 17, 10:40 PM
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    angelpye
    Yay! How exciting! Well done for being so organised! Frustrating about the tap but sounds like everything else is in hand. Good luck
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: 2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF 0/4200
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