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    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 7th Nov 17, 7:50 PM
    • 41Posts
    • 101Thanks
    Light the fire...
    • #1
    • 7th Nov 17, 7:50 PM
    Light the fire... 7th Nov 17 at 7:50 PM
    Hi All

    After lurking for a few years and having been inspired by lots of the amazing stories on this board I have decided that its time to join in and post my (our) journey.

    I am a mum of two (DD is 8, DS is 3) and have been married to my lovely DH for 10 years.
    We moved into our current house 4 years ago. We paid 150k for it and spent around 85k re-modelling and extending. Its now valued at around 300k with a mortgage of 135 900 outstanding, current term is 22 years 5 months. TBH the mortgage is only this high as we released 100k of equity to purchase a business 7 years ago. Said business is still going strong but there are changes afoot which I will explain later.

    Anyway the plan is to attempt to pay of the mortgage and business loan (83k) in 10 years so that we can both work part time in our little shop and enjoy a bit more freedom. I think this target is realistic but hope to shave even more off this timeframe with the help of you lovely people!

    Thanks for reading
Page 3
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 1st Mar 18, 1:41 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    Ventured out to our shop for cat food, ended up helping out serving for an hour as it was so busy! The village is virtually snowed in so everybody is relying on us for supplies! Thankfully our main order made it through as did our local butchers with the sausage delivery, however, it's not looking too promising for the bread delivery which is the main thing people want in the snow!

    Back home now in the warm, all fed including Puss Cat. No work for me at all today, too dangerous to drive. Contemplating making some bread to dunk in the stew later but do have a large baguette that needs eating plus potatoes and dumplings in the stew so probably ok for carbs . I think its the weather, it makes me want to hunker down and bake/cook and then eat it all......
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 7th Mar 18, 1:38 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    What a difference a week makes in terms of the weather! A mild spring-like day here so I have taken advantage and just completed a 5.5 mile walk/jog around the hills. Tired now but feeling better for it and hopefully this will kick start my "lose 1st" resolution.

    Lots of financials happening at the moment. I completed my VAT return this morning to find we are due a refund of almost 1500 which was a lovely surprise.
    The CC statement is in, hotel was within a pound of my calculations (paid in Euros) so all budgeted for and ready to be paid in full next week. I have also paid my PAYE and sent some money to the parent pay account for school lunches etc. This only leaves the accountant to pay and we are totally up to date on everything bar the flights for summer (on my 0% CC). I will start to chip away at the flights over the next few weeks and start saving some spending money too. Feeling very positive though at the moment on the money front.

    I kept the food shopping really low this week as I wanted to use up some stocks. I used a pack of YS mince in cottage pie on Sunday ready for Mon/Tue dinners when straight in from work. One portion left over too for lunch tomorrow. I have also just used up a jar of Thai red curry sauce that has been sat in the cupboard for months. Popped it in a pan with a jar full of water, some veg and frozen white fish and prawns. Bunged in some noodles that had been lounging in the cupboard (with the sauce ) and some soy sauce and its made a lovely curry soupy thing perfect to warm me up after my long walk. Loads left too for tomorrow.

    Might just go and make an OP
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 8th Mar 18, 11:48 AM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    What a difference a day makes! A completely unexpected snow day today. Set off to work at 7.30am, travelled about 3 miles in 1hr20 then word came through that only 4 members of staff had made it into school so we had to closed. Happily my childrens school is open so a lovely peaceful day to start the weekend.

    So I have spent a bit of time staring at the mortgage account, willing the figures to drop sadly, they are not for budging on their own so I sent 270 to the account to round it down to 132500. Scrolled back and noticed that the mortgage stood at over 140 000 this time last year so we are doing OK, despite having a 6 month break from OPing in that time.

    I am going to try to round down the figure each month so that we are paying exactly 1000 off the balance every month. Our regular payment is about 618 and then interest is around 200 so this needs an OP of about 582 ish depending on how many days in that month. Fingers crossed I can keep it up.
    In my dreams I would also love to save enough to be able to pay off sub-account 2 when the fix ends in April next year. It currently stands at just over 13k and will probably be around the 11.5k mark by next April and is on a much higher rate (3.69%) than the rest of the mortgage. To clear this would be amazing but is probably unrealistic, especially as DH is hinting strongly that he would like to buy a motorhome next year (apparently it will 'save us money' ). We will see.

    Hope everybody is warm and safe from the "Pest from the West" seriously, who comes up with these names???
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 27th Mar 18, 1:23 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    Wow, I am terrible at maintaining this diary!!

    In fairness though, a lot has been going on. We got a phone call at 4am last Saturday morning from the police to say that they were in the shop and we had been broken in to. Three theives had wrenched off some metal drainpipe and used that and a large rock to break down the door. The made off with the till containing some cash but caused thousands of pounds of damage in the process .

    Needless to say last week was then spent trying to put right all the damage and get quotes and invoices together for the repairs to the door, floor, chillers, electrics etc. Nightmare.

    The insurance is not yet sorted as still waiting on some invoices so a chunk has been paid by us in the meantime leaving us, once again, feeling hard up .

    So in financial news, not much to report. Hopefully the insurance money will come through quickly and we can move on from it. One positive has been that it has forced my hand on the till upgrade we were planning. Sooo glad we held off now as i would have been spitting mad if they had taken a brand new EPOS till!! We had a fancy till delivered yesterday, it looks a lot of work to set up but should be watertight in terms of not allowing a single item to leave the premises without me knowing about it, this is important as our staff work alone and although I do trust all of them, it can be too tempting for some people not to just 'forget' to scan an odd item. It will also speed up the ordering process hugely once all set up which takes hours currently.

    Hope everyone here is well and looking forward to a relaxing Easter weekend.

    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 8th Jul 18, 11:44 AM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    Harvest Time
    I've just realised that a lengthy update I wrote a couple of weeks ago hasn't posted!

    Our new machine has arrived and is currently being installed and I have only 5.5 days at work left eek!

    I haven't been updating very often but have been keeping an eye on the financials. All on track to meet my overpayment targets although I have held off for now actually paying the money across. This is mainly because DH's new venture means that we will have to wait a couple of months before invoices are paid and, therefore, before he can be paid. So holding onto our savings to tide us over in the meantime.
    I'm struggling a bit with the mortgage because i'm with TSB and during their well-documented system upgrade my mortgage account disappeared from my online accounts! I raised a complaint and although it has reappeared on the website version it is still missing from my app and I cannot see any details at all, just the balance outstanding. This is annoying as I like to check the interest etc monthly to see how we are progressing. However, it could have been worse, I know some customers are still really struggling and mine is a minor issue in reality.

    I am presently enjoying the produce from the veg garden. It is labour intensive at the moment in terms of watering but the dry soil is preventing too many weeds appearing which is usually my struggle at this time of year.
    This morning I have picked the last of the gooseberries for a compote that was breakfast with some yoghurt (albeit followed by sausage sandwich ). There are a couple of courgettes that need eating, so they will be spiralised and served with king prawns in a white wine/tomato/creme fraiche and garlic sauce for lunch (very summery). Finally, some rogue potatoes that were obviously left in the ground have grown and I left them to it. I checked last night and they have some decent sized new spuds on them so they will be dinner with steak and some homegrown purple sprouting broccoli. I hadn't bothered with potatoes this year as I was sick of them being riddled with slug holes, however, the hot dry weather seems to have kept them at bay and from what I can see the 3 plants we have look to be free of slugs, fingers crossed.

    I must confess, though, that this will be the first time we've had produce in every meal of the day! Sounds idyllic but in reality we usually have more courgettes than we can eat and a steady dribble of berries that mostly get eaten before they reach the kitchen (ditto the peas, i don't think i've EVER cooked a home-grown pea!!) I do love eating home grown though, I appreciate food so much more when you realise how much time, effort and space is taken up producing just a little. It makes me really wonder also, how we can continue to feed our growing population and how we must work to reduce the huge amount of food that is wasted each year. It's criminal. I think if everybody grew a little food, they would be a lot less wasteful in their habits. Anyway, I digress.

    I hope you all have a lovely sunny Sunday. x
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 10th Jul 18, 9:09 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    I am pleased to report (and a bit disappointed!) that the potatoes were pristine. Not a cheeky slug in sight. I wish I had planted a whole bed of them now as homegrown new pots are amazing! From soil to pan in about 4 minutes flat! They were so sweet and tasty and I could happily live off them! However, I must remember that it's only this freakish weather that has allowed them to survive the slugs and who could have predicted this kind of summer??! I hold onto the hope that the prolonged dry weather has killed off the population of keel slugs in our soil so I can try again next year.

    I/we have successfully eaten the fridge right down and had very little waste over the last week, i've been reading the Love Food Hate Waste thread on the OS board and there are lots of good ideas that I really need to adopt. I also really have to eat through some of the stores in the cupboards, its becoming hazardous to open the doors for fear of falling pasta/rice/spices/bubbles (the latter I keep out of the reach of the kids on the high shelves so I can control when and where they are used) !!

    Shopping day tomorrow, I must go and plan some meals to use some of said stores. A lot of it must be going OOD its been there so long.
    • Runders
    • By Runders 12th Jul 18, 11:29 AM
    • 192 Posts
    • 521 Thanks
    Hey Woodfired,

    I have just finished reading through your diary and I have to say that I am a little green-eyed over your Esse. When I was little my Mum had a wood fired AGA that heated the water, and she made the most amazing roasts in. It was always so toasty in the kitchen and I dream of having similar myself one day.

    I am intrigued by your gooseberry compote, is it just the same as a normal one - i.e. sugar, water and simmer down? I have never done anything with gooseberries before, but currently have a large tub in my freezer after my god mother took me out gooseberry picking.

    I was sorry to read your shop had been broken into, have you managed to get everything sorted now?
    MFW Start: September 2014 - 110844
    Current: 89,634.34 Offset: 15.162.13
    74,472.21 until mortgage neutral
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 15th Jul 18, 3:46 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    Hi Runders,

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Yes gooseberry compote is exactly as you described, heard it mentioned on the OS board and thought it sounded lovely. I adore gooseberry pie/crumble but am trying to be good as holiday is on the horizon and my bikini body is more of a onesie body atm! So I used half-spoon sugar and the compote is delicious with yoghurt for breakfast/pudding.

    Yes I love the Esse, thank you. We haven't had it lit for what seems like months though as it's just so warm. It cost quite a bit to install but I really do feel it will have paid for itself over the last few years and the cosy factor is lovely in winter.

    The shop is finally sorted thanks, ready for me to take over in just over a week! EEK.
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 16th Jul 18, 9:32 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    Ooh some lovely, much needed, rain here today. Been to work, seen some of my classes for the last time so a little sad. Only tomorrow and Thursday morning then I'm done!

    Had a fridge eat-up for tea along with some fresh-out-of-the-ground potatoes my neighbour kindly gave me. So nice and cheap and delicious too, win win.

    Tomorrow is a jacob's join at work so I grabbed 3 packs of last-day sausages that we had frozen at the shop (we try to do this so that we, the family, can eat them up and save wasting good food). I've defrosted these tonight and made into sweet chilli/hoi sin sticky sausages as my contribution. Very little cost and, again, delicious. I've filled a large tupperware for work and have a few left over which will be nice for dinner tomorrow with some other bits.
    • woodfired
    • By woodfired 23rd Jul 18, 10:23 AM
    • 41 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    First day of the summer holidays. I start work at the shop tomorrow. I'm on childcare duty for my niece and nephew today so lots of little mouths to feed. Breakfast for me has been a very brown half avocado (that I had forgotten about!) smashed on the last pieces of seedy toast with lemon and sea salt, yum!

    I'm preparing roasted veg from manky carrots/parsnips foraged from the back of the fridge and have also cut 2 caulis and the last of the broccoli from the veg garden. There were a few little green caterpillars on them but i'm confident i've found them all just don't tell DH So tonight's dinner is YS beef with aforementioned veg and sprouting spuds made into mash. Lovely.

    We have been away in our caravan this weekend, very MSE weekend, cheap site fees and took all food with us aside from emergency fish and chips when we realised the gas bottle had the wrong attachment. This was sorted cheaply on sat morning, just in time for our friends arrival.
    Our caravan came with a huge awning and two annex bedrooms that zip on. So our best friends (family of four) all came and stayed with us on sat night which was lovely. I had made a big lasagne with suffed mushrooms, salad, coleslaw, garlic bread and chips so lots of food for a bit of effort and little cost. Feels like we have been on holiday which is always nice. Still quite a cost-per-night for the caravan if you consider the purchase price but we are planning on making a trip to Norfolk our main summer holiday next year so that should offset the cost. Plus, we are making memories which is also very important when the children are still young.
    Hope everyone else had a relaxing weekend.x
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