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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 22
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 4th Apr 17, 10:20 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Cheers Angel!

    Last bits cleared out last night/this morning and when I left the first bit of cabinet had been ripped out and they were about to move the fridge freezer into the front room for us - having seen how much hassle the guys had getting it into the kitchen in the first place I decided that was a good point to leave!

    Can't decide whether to collect the light fitting tonight or leave it until later in the week, closer to when it will be needed. To be honest the last thing we need is anything else cluttering the place up but I'm a bit concerned about forgetting to get it and then it's needed in a hurry....hmmm.

    On the tap - I had a further look about yesterday and found a different one which we think we might go for - if we do it'll be a 40 saving on the other one we'd picked out to replace the discontinued choice.

    In other news I had 10 in from one of the survey companies so I've paid that to the 0% card - signature updated to reflect. Waiting for one item to be validated from Prolific and will have another 10 to claim there. Having some issues getting into Opinion Outpost at the moment, but got a little rush of Populus Live stuff yesterday which was nice. Now on 31 points on there so well past the half way point. All still ticking along.

    Spendiness: (Aside from the kitchen - that's SCARY spendiness!)
    Off to Bournemouth for the weekend for the Campaign for Real Ale Members Weekend and AGM - sharing accommodation with a load of friends, that's all paid for already so there will just be food to think about on top. We've agreed we're going to cover that from our own spending money rather than raiding our "fun" account as we'll be using that to pay for our Easter trip to Cornwall.
    I bought new walking trousers at the weekend as found a pair that I liked, and that fitted (in a smaller size than my old ones - yay!) in GoOutdoors - 30 but I'll get masses of wear out of them hopefully so I'm happy with that. Need to give some thought to what new stuff I'm going to need for summer - particularly if I can carry on shedding a bit of weight. I've got trousers that were previously a bit on the tight side so they should be OK, but guessing I'll need some tops and bits like that.
    I've also got to think about shoes for work for the summer I think - although having said that I do have form for losing weight from my feet (yes, really!) so it might be worth me trying my slightly tight ones on to see how they feel.
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 5th Apr 17, 5:47 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    It's safe to say that we've swapped a perfectly useable kitchen for an awful lot of dust... Did have a slightly "what have we done" moment when I got home last night, but that was hardly surprising. About half of the demolition is done and all the stripping out. Sparky has been in there today to get started on the electrics and I've paid the first 500 across to him as well. Hoping the interest will be paid to my old ISA tomorrow - if so then I can close that and transfer the money to clear off the card for the kitchen units.

    Light fitting got collected yesterday evening as that felt like a sensible thing to do.

    Dinner tonight will be fish & chips - cooking in the spare room yesterday worked out OK but not easy so we'll stick with our plan to have takeaway or eat out a couple of times a week while this is happening. Must remember to keep an eye on stock levels for the tap too - make sure there are still some about as last thing we want is for that one to go out of stock too! We've settled on the slightly cheaper one as really there's not much difference between them. Trying to remember to go through TCB for absolutely everything!

    Got a few small Prolific surveys this morning - only just over 1 all told but they were all pretty quick so that's fine. Also picked up a few on OnePoll today.

    Brain's a bit frazzled to be honest - probably need to sit down with MrEH and a list this evening to run through anything else that still needs doing - not only on the kitchen but on regular "life stuff" too.
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    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 6th Apr 17, 9:33 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    Oh the dust!!! I had forgotten about how much there is and how it gets everywhere. It will soon be over, I hope there will be photos somewhere for nosy people like me to drool over...
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 6th Apr 17, 10:40 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Well it was even more dust-city last night Misty as the sparky who'd been told to hang a dust sheet over the kitchen door, didn't. I spent pretty much the entire evening wheezing, coughing and cleaning. Not happy, and MrEH had a fairly "to the point" conversation with Dave-The-Builder first thing this morning. Hoping today will be better.

    There will be pictures on my Twitter but not at the moment (Twitter is the same username as on here, and there will be stuff going on the blog in due course too - pretty sure that's also linked from my profile on here). At the moment I'm leaving it to just written updates - will probably start putting pics up from next week.

    Fish and chips last night was lush - and we ended up with large pieces of Haddock as they had no small...no extra cost. Love our chippy! Also got the last 2 stamps on our loyalty card so my next one from there will be free.

    Stopped at the cashpoint this morning and took money out ready for the weekend - hoping that will see me through. I'll happily raid my "fun stuff" account for this weekend and next though.
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 10th Apr 17, 12:59 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Hey all! LOVELY weekend down in Bournemouth - I took out 50 cash and came back with 5 plus 2 x 2 coins, and only last night's meal went onto the CC so all good there! Also got down there and back without needing to put any more fuel in the car - aqlthough that will need doing before we head to Cornwall on Thursday.

    The event we were at ran a subsidised bar so we pretty much just drank there rather than going out around the pubs etc which worked well. There will be a contribution to the food costs for the house to pay but I'm hoping that's not too much - not that much of what was bought for the weekend actually got eaten so I imagine that those down there all week will be bearing the cost of the share that wasn't. That obviously doesn't include us!

    I have been spendy this morning as I've treated myself to a Fitbit Charge 2 - I've been debating about one for a while and spoke with a couple of friends using them over the weekend - their feedback convinced me. I'd promised myself that if I stuck to my increased walking etc for the first quarter of the year I'd look again at buying a tracker, so I've stuck with that - shopped around, and found the one I wanted for 99.99 at Curry's - and I went through TCB as well, natch! So I shall head along to the store this evening after work and collect my snazzy new purple tracker!

    Transferred another lump of money to the sparky who has now completed first fix - and we assume that the builder is going to want something at some stage although he's not said as much yet. I *think* we just have the appliances still to order now - I'm just waiting for the confirmed price on the worksurface to come through as well.

    Cornwall for the weekend then which will be another good break from the building site - need to transfer a chunk of money over from our fun account to cover our costs down there I think. Planning lots of free stuff and lots of limited cost stuff, and we're camping so that also helps keep costs down.
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    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 10th Apr 17, 3:29 PM
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    Scott_Weiland
    i have seen the twitter pics it looks like you have knocked seven kinds of shhhhhhhugar out of the kitchen mind
    Debts 16349.33
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 11th Apr 17, 10:32 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Yep - just a bit Scott! I just have to keep reminding myself that it'll be amazing when it's done!
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    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 14th Apr 17, 11:56 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    I hope things are going smoothly - I had a look at the photos and had to laugh at the wallpaper - I'm sure my auntie must have lived in your flat at some point! Her whole place was covered in it, and she had swirly brown and green carpet that was supposed match everything but never did! It used to make me feel quite dizzy.
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 18th Apr 17, 4:30 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    You should have seen the flooring Misty!

    The DD went out for the 0% card today, so I've adjusted my signature accordingly. I'm leaving Prolific Academic to get to 20 before I withdraw, hoping that won't take too long, I've got about 13 showing at the moment. OnePoll is now at just under 18. Opinion outpost has gone to Ess Aitch 1 Tee as it keeps telling me it can't load the surveys. I thought it might be something to do with Cookies but as I use a private browsing window for it and always have, that doesn't seem logical. Annoying though. YouGov is trotting along slowly, as is Populus Live, and Power of Opinions.

    Our weekend in Cornwall was ace - and it was SOOOOO nice to be away from all the dust for a few days. one of our absolute favourite campsites too - and at 12 a night, a complete bargain. We treated ourselves to Rick Stein's Fish & Chips from his chippy in Padstow on Friday night, and did lots of exploring and wandering too. Definitely didn't want to return to the chaos of the kitchen yesterday.

    After the bolognese tonight I'm all out of practical, easy to prep without a kitchen meals. I'd planned for the schedule we were expecting and as that's gone completely sideways we're now left without much idea of what to do from now. Mum has run a full load of washing through her machine today for us so we'll collect that on the way home - thank goodness they are close enough to make that doable!

    Main CC bill is in and I've managed to sort out the bulk of the transfers needed to it I think. I still have 1,400 of kitchen costs to take from the ISA and transfer over, and MrEH needs to sort his bits and pieces for me - then I just need to add up everything I have transferred and check it balances!

    The kitchen itself is going to go over budget but will stay within the 10% contingency I think. The worktops have proved to be the budget buster at very nearly 2k but the one we've chosen is gorgeous so I'll let them off. Hoping to find some significant progress involving a floor when we get home tonight - fingers crossed...
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 26th Apr 17, 12:39 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Apologies, had a bit of an AWOL week one way and another!

    The kitchen is trundling on - and I think there now may FINALLY be light at the end of what has become a rather long tunnel! for a while it looked like our planned holiday was going to be have to be scrapped - or at least that only MrEH was going to be able to go, however allowing that the delays had to happen, we have now worked them to our advantage as there has to be a delay on works in any event while the worktops are cut, so we're going to incorporate that to match our holiday, meaning that will work reasonably well, albeit I'm not looking forward to returning and STILL having no kitchen!

    The appliances got ordered last week and are now sitting at home - total came to 1280 but that included a total of 75 discounts using AO codes - I did chance my arm and go through TCB as well but as expected the use of codes has prevented that tracking - I rather thought it might. I also talked my way into a price match with one item after I'd ordered it which was handy.

    Tax changes have meant an additional 9 in my pay from this month which is nice - and frankly at the moment everything extra is welcome!

    "extra" spends over the basic budgeted stuff for the kitchen , notably food, are ending up higher than we expected due to it taking longer. Having said that we're finding some nice meal ideas now I've finally got my head around it a bit - the camping stove enabled a really nice stir fry on T's "stir fry for a fiver" deal on Monday - and while 5 is more than I'd usually pay for a stir fry, it was extremely tasty, very quick to throw together, and we might have that occasionally in the future we think. Another success was a gorgeous couscous salad last night involving a bunch of chopped parsley, chopped fresh tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, chick peas and a good slosh of lemon juice. We crumbled reduced fat feta over the top but actually agreed that something like cashew nuts might be a better match for it. Again that will be being added to the meal plan for the future.

    Tonight MrEH is hopefully being fed at a seminar he's presenting at, and I have a reduced price Lamb Tagine ready meal which didn't appear to be TOO horrifically high in salt...

    Clothes spending also occurred at the weekend - again budgeted for though - I've been looking for new work trousers for ages and finally found a pair that fitted, and also bought the trail shoes I've been half heartedly considering for a while as I felt it would be useful to have those ahead of holiday. (I've been wearing them for general walking all week and so far I'm thrilled with them too so happy with that purchase - 24.99 so they don't break the bank either). As we were at the place where I can get them I also bought a new pair of walking socks - they're not cheap but they are extremely good so I don't resent that. There will need to be more clothes spending ongoing as I'm now at the stage where as I fit into some of the bits in my wardrobe that haven't been fitting, others seem to be "stretching" to the point of being too big to wear...I *think* this is a good thing...

    Generally speaking under control.

    Holiday stuff is all budgeted I think - as usual we'll use the CC for fuel and the main shopping while we're there - that will get transferred out of savings once the bill comes in. Accommodation and ferries are paid for.
    Spending money is stashed aside ready to be taken out in chunks as needed.
    If we end up at the village with the Harris Tweed shop I'm considering a new bag - but will wait and see what they have - that'll come from my personal money though obviously.
    All good - and boy are we looking forward to two weeks "living" somewhere with a kitchen, and eating lots of REALLY tasty Hebridean produce!
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    • lucielle
    • By lucielle 26th Apr 17, 8:27 PM
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    lucielle
    Hope you have a good holiday, I need to get my northern fix. Sadly not till September, though do have a weekend in Oban.
    L
    Total Debt Dec 07 59875.83 Overdrafts 2900, Dec 08 39782.36 Overdrafts 3100, Dec 09 29304.84 Overdrafts 2820, Dec 10 16449 Overdrafts 2490
    Dec 11 12673.80 Overdrafts 1250, Dec 12 4591 Overdrafts 400 02/02/13 new debt figure 5831.00 New Debt Figure ZERO !!!!!! 08/06/2013

    DFD Before we Die!!!! Long Haul Supporter #124
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 27th Apr 17, 11:13 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Hey L - good to hear from you! Oban is gorgeous - don't tend to do much more than drive through it these days on the way off the ferry but we have spent quite a bit of time there in the past!
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    • MistyMountainTop
    • By MistyMountainTop 7th May 17, 10:11 AM
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    MistyMountainTop
    How is the kitchen coming along, it must be nearly done by now?
    Current Weight Loss: 2/ 96
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 16th May 17, 2:53 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    I'm REALLY not talking about the kitchen. There was a two week pause while we were on holiday, but we're back on track this week - except that the electrician is now telling the builder that he's unavailable to return and finish the job until the end of the month. Not impressed at ALL. However, all being well we will have worktops by the time we get home tonight, and at a pinch we'll use things off extension leads until we can get the electrics completed.

    Holibobs were marvellous - we had two weeks of astonishingly good weather, REALLY not what we expect from the Hebrides in early May! All within budget as well, so all good there!

    Now it's back to reality and I need to get my eye firmly back on the ball on the surveys I think, Got some TCB money I can claim, and am just a whisker away from having 20 on Prolific too so need to get that the the level and claim it. The others are trotting along - annoyingly I got a few Populus ones while I was away that I couldn't do, and now since I've been back, not a dicky bird from them! Pretty sure the DD should have gone to th 0% card today so I'll update my signature once I've confirmed that.

    Food spends will be up until we finally get the kitchen sorted out again - given the option between buying a lot of ready prepared stuff, or eating a lot more takeaways, I'm going for the ready prepped (healthier) option - even if I do feel like standing at the till waving a big sign that says "I've got no kitchen! I'm not really too lazy to chop my own veg!"
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    • Scott_Weiland
    • By Scott_Weiland 16th May 17, 3:02 PM
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    Scott_Weiland
    A new survey one too try essex

    ukhiving.com

    i have had 12 quid from it in 2 months every little helps
    Debts 16349.33
    • RosaBernicia
    • By RosaBernicia 16th May 17, 10:14 PM
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    RosaBernicia
    Yay, glad you had a fab time EH. Am just getting round to planning properly for my island escape


    Rosa xx
    Proud to be dealing have dealt with my debts - DEBT FREE May 2016
    DFW Diary - Balancing not just the budget
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4398229
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 17th May 17, 11:25 AM
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    EssexHebridean
    Ooh - visitors!

    Scott - thank you, I'll take a look at that one then!

    Rosa - I LOVE planning of that nature - we seem to do a bit more of it every time we're up there!

    The worktop (well most of it) is in and looks absolutely stunning - SO pleased with it! Hoping for exciting stuff like tiles today....Dave-The-Builder assures me that they're looking to the end of the week to get us something that essentialy works as a kitchen, albeit it will almost certainly involve running the washing machine on an extension lead, lighting the oven with a match and having two fridge freezers in the front room for a while - we can cope with that though! The electrician is being a fiend. How on earth do you "forget" that you have a fortnight's holiday booked, and then you're moving house?!

    Must sort the CC shuffle in the next few days - I think I'm going to need a bit of paper for scribbling purposes as I've already paid a lump off it for Kitchen stuff to make sure we didn't bounce the limit. The cashback over these few months is going to be delightfully high though!

    Must go and check OnePoll and Prolific for any odds and ends I can pick up...then tackle the likes of Power of Opinions later, and see if Opinion Outpost is working for me again yet.
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 17th May 17, 12:35 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    Signature updated to reflect the monthly payment going to the 0% card. REALLY close to 25% of that gone now - very happy with that! Might just bimble across to TCB to see what I can get paid from there...
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
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    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 19th May 17, 3:12 PM
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    EssexHebridean
    20.13 received from Prolific and straight off the card...which takes me to over 25% paid off. Woop!

    I've also just (literally just, I broke off typing above to have the conversation!) been informed that by the end of the day I will have a working washing machine and sink, and my cooker is now plumbed into gas so although it will need lighting with a match I'll have actual, proper cooking facilities at home for the first time since the works all started. See this face > < that's me, that is!
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    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 19th May 17, 7:45 PM
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    beanielou
    All coming along nicely at last
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.*** ***Keep plodding***
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