Lifestyle archive

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not entirely sure what a lifestyle blog is. Apparently it’s what used to be called a personal blog, for those of us who’ve been doing this since the 90s. Either way, it seems to incorporate all the day-to-day life stuff. So here goes, my “lifestyle”...

The state of dry drinking in the UK

As I rapidly approach my 5th month sober I can’t help but reflect on the state of dry (sober) drinking in the UK.

I have a bit of a reputation amongst friends & it goes a little something like this… if I happened to find myself in a cocktail bar with a reasonable selection of cocktails, choice anxiety often meant the only logical conclusion was to purchase one of everything on the menu. I have dropped over £200 in a single transaction to save myself from having to pick a drink.

Luckily (for my friends and my liver) I like to share.

Photo by Helena Yankovska

My sobriety hasn’t ended my social life, far from it. I still visit pubs and clubs and bars. However, I can no longer drop £200 on drinks, though not for lack of trying!

My biggest problem these days isn’t too much choice but the total opposite: for the sober drinker, the choice isn’t “which of these expensive cocktails” but “pepsi or lemonade” and let me tell you, there’s only so many pints of lemonade you can drink on a night out before your stomach feels like it’s going to explode. Even worse, the introduction of the sugar tax means that now many bars are subbing full sugar soft drinks for the diet equivalent rather than put up their prices, and I think diet drinks taste like piss.

I thought that this problem was caused by living in a small rural town, but the bars in the neighbouring town of Shrewsbury have an equally shit sober selection. Further, a recent trek to London (which I anticipated as having a much greater selection) for a friend’s birthday left me just as disappointed. For the first time in my life the only bars I can rely on are Wetherspoons, who at least stock alcohol free Koppaberg, but as I’m anti-Brexit and their founder isn’t, it honestly pains me to support them.

The lack of selection for sober socialites is disappointing, especially as websites like Dry Drinker have a huge range of dry beers, wines and spirits. I don’t expect bars to stock every single thing offered there, but I don’t think it’s a big ask for them to have e.g. one alcohol free cider, one alcohol free beer and — at a push — an alcohol free spirit. Even better, a handful of mocktails (that aren’t just fruit juice) would make me as happy as a pig in shit.

There’s a ton of reasons for people to be sober (it’s not just for semi-crazy hormonal sorts like me) & I’m calling on UK bars and businesses to think of us as we approach the summer. Don’t make me drink lemonade all year, please.

Making memories: the ‘C’ word

The ‘festive’ C word, that is. I’m not sure I can bring myself to say it yet. C… Chr… Christmas. Aargh!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the darker nights, the frosty freshness of the morning air on the school run. I love seeing the people who clearly don’t have 6 cats putting up their Christmas trees up as soon as Halloween is done, and the scrooges who take to social media to lambast them for ruining the spirit (the irony of arguing over it which is far more spirit-crushing IMO apparently lost on them). I love the planning and the Christmas socials, especially the ones that end in someone getting terribly drunk and stripping off for Santa (usually me).

I love it, but I am not ready. I have bought one single present, which needs a very important “other part” which I can’t find enough detail on to purchase. I haven’t even thought about what the kids want this year, let alone what I can actually afford to buy them. My social calendar is packed with at least two events a week between now and New Year which is drastically reducing planning time, and I’m just not ready. However, despite this total lack of preparedness, this year feels different somehow…

I don’t know if it’s because it’ll be the first Christmas the kids are at home since Gaz and I got married, or because I’ve finally reached that stage of general comfort and ‘at ease’ with my life that has been lost for so long, but I decided early on that this year I was going to do a many of the things that I’ve always wanted to do as possible. When I feel like I’ve hit “peak Christmas” I want to immortalise the whole lot in pictures on canvas, to join our baby and wedding canvas prints, which eventually might become one of those trendy photo walls that you see all over pinterest. Truprint even have 8×8″ sizes available, which they reckon is great for showing off Instagram photos, which appeals to my lazy side & would fill in the big gaps on our wall:

So, I bought a real Christmas tree. It was actually a spur of the moment purchase on the way to Glasgow last weekend:

A post shared by Jem Turner (@jemjabellargh) on

But I’ve always wanted a real Christmas tree and although this isn’t the grand 7ft beautifully decorated tree of my dreams, it will hopefully serve us well this Christmas and can then be put outside in its pot until next year. I feel like I’m being somewhat optimistic given the aforementioned six cats (and the fact that it’s already shedding needles in our probably-too-warm living room) but it’ll be fun to see what happens.

While that is settling I’ve been looking at sourcing terribly kitschy Christmas decorations that I remember from my childhood, including these beauties:

Partly just for the fun of nostalgia, and partly because I’ve invited friends around for 70s themed Christmas drinks and if I can decorate for both in one go it’ll be perfect: another lazy box ticked. I actually put some paper decorations up for Izzy’s birthday recently, which is turns out is also a big 70s thing, so I reckon if we can find some more they can even stay up too.

I want a big Christmas feast, which is unlikely to pose a problem as I always overcook anyway. My sister and her partner are coming round to help us eat through a week’s worth of food in one day, and I will (as usual) extend the offer of Christmas dinner to any locals on their own this year.

Oh, there are so many things I want to do. I want to start traditions this year; stuff that we can do every year because we want to, things that the kids will look back on in 10 years time and remember as being a part of Christmas. Things that they’ll want to do with their kids. I want to make memories, and I want the kids to feel a part of something. I want them to feel that even though our Christmas might not be 100% conventional — split between two homes, with multiple factions of family to share their time with — that it was always about love, and laughter. I want them to be able to look back at the pictures of these times and feel like it was the best days of their lives.

No pressure.

Glamour, Glabrousness and Glad Rags

Glamour
I recently did a nudey/boudoir photoshoot for Gaz’s upcoming birthday. It was supposed to be a surprise, but there was little point in attempting to keep it a secret after he saw me in full make-up – he guessed straight up what I’d been up to. I can’t tell if I’m predictable or he’s a genius.

Either way, I was blown over when I got the pictures back this week. There are a couple I particularly like, but they’re all pretty good. Here’s my favourite (now featured in every social media profile I own):

jem-shoot

What particularly shocked me though, was that having been told that they’d “not done much” to the photos, I spent a couple of hours poring over them second-guessing which bits of me had been photoshopped, smoothed out and tidied up.

As someone who considers herself to not have any major body issues, it sure made me realise I have them in spades just like every bugger else. And all this because I thought I looked “too good”. Jesus wept…

Glabrousness

Glabrousness (from the Latin glaber meaning “bald”, “hairless”, “shaved”, “smooth”)

From glam to glabrous (OK, I only picked that word because it was alliterative): I completed my Brave the Shave challenge for Macmillan on August 31st. Supported by friends and family, they removed what little hair I had on my head, rendering me bald.

brave-shaver

With the online donations and collections on the night, I’ve raised about £350. I’d love to hit my target of £500 and it’s not too late to donate, so if you feel so inclined you can pop a few quid over via my Brave the Shave page.

Glad Rags
On Saturday night I did something I’ve never done before: I voluntarily applied make-up to myself and went out. AND I wore high heels.

Just so we’re clear here, the aforementioned made-up look for my boudoir shoot was only the second time in my life I’d worn make-up, and was entirely not my doing. (The first time was when I went on the tellybox and they PLASTERED me in the bloody stuff.)

The plan was a cocktail night with the gorgeous, glamorous Lilian and her equally gorgeous other half Gary (oh, and my other half). Not wanting to be out-glammed I threw on some heels that I’d bought from LASULA for SIX QUID (yes, SIX), a sexy AF peephole playsuit and a touch of badly-applied lippy.

I probably looked like an outtake from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I felt like Bambi on ice…

bambi2

but the buzz from doing something new and different was awesome. Even the waiter accidentally dumping two cocktails all over me couldn’t dampen (puns!) my party spirit.

Admittedly drinking half a bottle of wine and my share of 21 cocktails wasn’t a brilliant idea but that just gave me an excuse to eat a huge fried breakfast the following morning. Rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

And you never know, I could be a make-up blogger before you know it.

lolol

300ft is really quite a lot

Last week I told you all about Team SCA‘s bloody AMAZING all-female crew winning the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, and that in honour of their win I was encouraged to take part in a challenge that would test my boundaries. I picked the 300ft bungee jump: the equivalent of jumping off the tower of Big Ben.

On Saturday 6th February I set off to Tatton Park to complete my challenge. The weather was utter shite: freezing cold winds and torrential rain accompanied the journey, and at several points I honestly wondered whether the venue would let the jump go ahead let alone whether or not I’d be able to do it.

I was third in the queue for my time slot when I got there and third strapped into the various harnesses, which in my mind was absolutely perfect. Seeing someone else jump first would allow me to see the ‘procedure’: how it works, how high 300ft looked from the ground, how close the jumper got to the crane etc. All the little things that — as someone suffering from mid-cycle anxiety anyway — would help to cement a picture of what was going to happen in my head making it easier (mentally) to jump.

And then they picked me to jump first.

I wasn’t nervous UNTIL THAT POINT. Suddenly all my unanswered questions were swirling round in my head and I had no baseline, no point of comparison, nothing to steady my mind. At this point I wasn’t even thinking that “shit 300ft is quite high” I was literally just thinking I AM FIRST I AM FIRST WTF.

I’m not ashamed to admit that at THIS is when I started to panic. I started asking questions: what’s the likelihood that I would hit the crane on the descent? What does it feel like when the bungee reaches the point where all the slack is gone and you start to spring back up in the air? WHY DID I AGREE TO JUMP OUT OF A FUCKING HUGE CRANE 300FT IN THE AIR?

Anyway. We reached 300ft, and after a few false starts I knew I had no choice. I had to do it, or chicken out, and with a small crowd below there was no bloody way I was letting that happen. I let pride and ego take over and with a bit of a nudge from the guy in the cage I was away. See for yourself…

tl;dr: I jumped and would totes do it again.

IMG_7350

Risks, boundaries and a 300ft jump

Back in June 2015 Team SCA won the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race which in its whole, spans 5 continents and over 39000 nautical miles. The first all-female crew to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in more than a decade, the women battled across 647 gruelling miles, which saw multiple crew members suffering from sea sickness, sleep deprivation, hunger and fatigue but their win put them in the history books as the first ever female team to win a leg of the epic race.

Just before the win, I was contacted to see if I’d be interested in completing a challenge. Team SCA wanted to find out if I’d be up for a bit of boundary pushing of my own, offering me the chance to take part in one of several activities, including a 300ft bungee jump.

I’ve always wanted to do a bungee jump, but never really had a reason to do it. What better reason than doing so as a nod to some of the most badass women in the sailing world? I mean, a 300ft jump is not quite as impressive as winning a boat race against 6 all-male crews, but as I still can’t swim that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Unfortunately my first jump was cancelled by the venue, but we’re now rapidly approaching Jump Date Two: it’s this Saturday. And I’m starting to get a wee bit nervous. A 300ft jump doesn’t sound too bad when you’re blindly agreeing to blogging challenges in the heady summer days right before you disappear off on holiday, but when it’s February, and it’s cold and wet and you suddenly realise that the 300ft jump is the highest bungee jump you can do in the UK… a jump that is basically akin to jumping off the tower that houses Big Ben:

big-ben-elizabeth-tower

…well, that starts to seem a little bit more like something I should have actively thought about. A cursory google, for example, points out that risks from bungee jumping including popping eyeballs, muscle injuries, spinal fractures, herniated discs and even paralysis and quadriplegia. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, you can even die. (Apparently Noel Edmonds’ BBC programme The Late, Late Breakfast Show was cancelled in the year I was born after a bungee jump went wrong and a man died.)

But, Dr Google also thinks I have 4 different forms of cancer, so I’m not rushing to do a last minute cancel here. I’m no stranger to pushing boundaries and taking risks. Not many people jack in their job to go freelance with two kids and a mortgage to pay on their own; nearly completely stripping off on a beach in Spain despite barely exposing half a leg before; agreeing to marry a man despite being vociferously feminist and against virtually every wedding tradition… if I can do those things, push those boundaries, I can do this.

I mean, what’s 300ft between friends…

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Now that’s out of the way…

So now the introspective waffle is out of the way, let’s talk about the small matter of me turning 30 in a few days.

Not because of the turning 30 part, there’s nowt I can do about that (and I’m looking forward to being FABULOUS at thirty … or something) but the part where I set myself a list of things to do before I was 30 and have utterly failed to complete the list.

It’s not like I didn’t try. I did some pretty radical (for me) things in 2015, things that I never thought I’d cross off the list but managed anyway. I also have some list items “in progress”: Gaz and I are booked on a hot air balloon flight early this year, I did *cough2cough* random acts of kindness, I registered to give blood but had to cancel my appointment because of a bad flu-like illness, and I have sort of worked with other developers on a couple of things.

But… there are definitely items on that list that were doomed from the start. Read 100 books? I’m lucky if I read 10 books in a year these days. Earn £5000 in passive income? Take off a zero, pal. And how do you even define a pay rise when your employment situation does a complete 180. I might earn four grand in one month and sod all in the next.

I still want to learn to swim. I want to volunteer because I think it’ll be good for me to get out of my little bubble. But mostly I just want to continue taking risks and doing cool stuff, and I don’t think I need a list for that.

London take two: part two

Those of you anxiously awaiting the news of my second ‘big’ London trip (hi mum) will be disappointed to know that there was little in the way of drunken clubbing and strip clubs this time round. Unfortunately my flu-like-bug recovery turned into a sinus infection while I was away and I ended up pottering about feeling sorry for myself and having early nights.

That said, it wasn’t all snot and early bedtimes. I did get to meet Kip at the Tefal event thingy we’d been invited to (which I posted a couple of pictures of on Instagram) — as well as Alex and a handful of other bloggers — and it was exactly as awesome as I’d expected.

Gaz and I also did the Crime Museum exhibit, a bunch of other touristy stuff, left a shit comedy gig early and by some amazing fluke won £175 dropping £5 on 16 (the day we met) on the roulette wheel at the birthday thing on Saturday. This would be more awesome if I hadn’t spent £140 on a dress earlier that day.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY POUNDS ON A DRESS.

And I wasn’t even drunk.

Anyway, another good trip despite lurgies. See you next year London.

London take two

I’m in London tomorrow for a blogger event thing — something to do with cooking something, I don’t know, but I get to meet Kip and he’s as grumpy about “mommy bloggers” as I am — and as it’s a year since Gaz and I “did London” the first time so I figured I’d treat him this time and booked a hotel for a dirty weekend bit of tourist-ing.

I want to see The Crime Museum Uncovered, I have a client to meet, a birthday party on Saturday, and I bet there’s *somewhere* in London I can find a big poof-y ball gown to try on for my 30 things before thirty challenge but otherwise the weekend is very much a blank canvas.

Any recommendations, London-dwellers?

A what’s NOT in my bag post

After asking you beautiful people for blog post suggestions yesterday, you dutifully provided me with several of which I will no doubt make use of a couple over last few days of Septemblog.

Aisling‘s suggestion to do a “what’s in your bag” post would work well if I was like any of the other millions of lifestyle bloggers who do these things and actually have things IN their bag but “my purse” and “my phone” would probably be a short blog post. It got me inspired the other way though: I’ve raided a million “what’s in my bag” blog posts so that I can talk about what’s not in my bag. But first! Here is a terrible photo of my bag, nearly 8 years old, in all its glory:

crumpler-bag

So…

What’s not in my bag: make-up
Actually, that’s not strictly true. I have a red lipstick in there I’d forgotten about, which was gifted to me by the aforementioned Aisling, but as it’s intention was use for strictly private reasons I don’t count it.

I don’t wear make-up. I don’t own make-up. I definitely don’t carry around make-up.

What’s not in my bag: hair accessories
It’s still not long enough. Next…

What’s not in my bag: notebooks or stationery
I really should carry around a notebook, and I used to, but it inevitably got handed over to the kids for scribbling in which kinda ruined the flow. Plus, my phone has a notes app, what more do I need? (Tbh as most of my inspiring thoughts are in the shower and that’s the one place I don’t take my phone either, I mostly just forget stuff.)

What’s not in my bag: anything children related
I am the worst parent in the world and always forget things like wipes, and how glad am I that Olly is potty trained now and doesn’t need nappies? Thankfully he took to it well, too, because I never remembered a change of clothes. I make them carry their own toys and generally empty my bag of child-related detritus on a daily basis.

What’s not in my bag: food or drink
I live in fear of things exploding all over my phone, which is quite important to me as a point of contact for clients (nobody else ever phones me…)

What’s not in my bag: books or magazines
I only have time to read on the loo, and I rarely take my bag to the loo. (And also not many books or magazines fit in my tiny little bag.)

What’s not in my bag: enough things to warrant carrying a bag
Yes, I sometimes wonder why I even bother carrying a bag at all. As there’s so little in it, I might as well not bother. Except it comes in handy on the occasions I’m not wearing something with pockets and need to juggle kids and phone/purse at the same time. I have considered simply putting my debit card in my phone case and then tada, one less thing to carry.

I somtimes wonder if — now that I’m a grown up ~lady~ who wears grown up dresses — I might one day have a grown up bag with grown up things in (like tissues and reading material and … stuff?)

Nahhhh.

I have too many dresses

I nipped up Telford Town Centre today, because two invoices coming in on the same day made me feel rich meant I could get my haircut. I’m actually growing it out, but the back looked awful because it was about 5 different lengths thanks to a variety of asymmetrical cuts over the last 18 months.

Anyway, while I was up there I went into New Look for the first time in my life. I don’t normally feel fashionable enough to shop in there. I’m still not fashionable enough, but they had a nice yellow blouse that caught my attention. This was a slippery slope. Before I knew it I’d picked up the blouse, a warm top for the coming months (genuinely needed) and two more dresses.

Two dresses? No big deal you say.

O RLY?

dresses

Would you believe there are 41 dresses in that lot. FORTY ONE. Crammed into that tiny space. That doesn’t include the two that have fallen off hangers, the fact that there’s likely to be a couple in the wash, or the jumper that is long enough to be worn as a dress.

Or the two I bought today.

left-or-right

Is 45(ish) too many dresses?

Recipe: Eton Mess Cake

Yesterday was Gaz‘s birthday and in true birthday tradition (AKA any excuse for cake) I decided to bake, with the “help” of the kids. Normally for this sort of occasion I would find a recipe weeks in advance and fail attempt to make something spectacular. However, with work and kids to contend with, time was not on my side, so I thought I’d modify my basic victoria sponge and turn it into Eton Mess in cake form. Here goes…

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 200g butter
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the filling / decoration

  • 1 tub of mini meringues
  • 300ml (ish) double cream
  • 3 tbps icing sugar
  • 300g (ish) strawberries
  • A tablespoon or two of seedless strawberry jam or some nice strawberry coulis

Equipment

  • Two 8″ or 9″ round cake tins (I can’t find my tape measure)
  • Bowl and spoon or your nan’s Kenwood Chef
  • Greaseproof/baking paper OR butter for greasing

Top tip!
You can make a fantastic, rich & tasty sponge for the majority of occasions by using equal parts butter, flour and sugar with 1 medium egg for each 50g. Don’t be afraid to experiment: e.g. make a chocolate cake by replacing 50g flour with 50g of cocoa powder.


Method

Is it just me that thinks ‘method’ makes it sound like a science experiment?

  1. Stick your oven on to pre-heat at around 150-170C.
  2. Either by hand or with a magic mixing machine, combine the butter and the sugar in a bowl until it turns into a creamy soft sugary goo. Fish your childrens hands out of the bowl and remind them that nobody wants to eat cake that’s had fingers poked in it.
  3. When combined, slowly add the egg, mixing gently as you go. Remove the chunks of broken shell from the mixture. When the egg and buttery mix is combined, add the vanilla extract.
  4. Sieve in the flour and baking powder.

baking-eton-mess-cake

  1. Gently stir the flour into the mix until smooth and delicious looking. Fish your childrens hands out of the bowl and remind them that nobody wants to eat cake that’s had fingers poked in it.
  2. Line your baking tins or grease with butter. If I’m making a cake with butter as the ‘fat’, I just grease and don’t usually have any problems getting the cake out of the tin.
  3. Divide the mixture between the two tins roughly equally and using the back of your spoon, level it out as best you can. Give the spoon and bowl to the children for “cleaning” duties.

cake-mix-in-tin

  1. Pop the cakes in the middle of your pre-heated oven with the kid’s fish fingers that they’re having for tea, and cook for around 20-30 minutes. To test if the cake is done, stick a skewer / cocktail stick / piece of dry spaghetti into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s cooked. If it’s black, you’ve burnt it.
  2. Let the cooked cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Answer the question “is it cool yet?” 500 times a minute with the word “no”.
  3. Remove the cakes from the tin and allow to cool on a rack. I cheat at this point and stick the rack in the fridge because the cakes cool quicker, and cold cakes are much easier to trim…
  4. When completely cool, remove any bumps and lumps from the top of the cakes as best you can (it doesn’t have to be perfect, nobody is going to see it under the cream anyway) using a sharp knife or cake trimmer thingy (posh git).

cooked-cake

  1. Whisk the shit out of your double cream. As it begins to firm up, whisk in the 3 tablespoons of sieved icing sugar until the cream is fairly stiff and leaves a hole when you stick your finger in it (for “testing purposes”). Don’t tell the people eating your cake it’s had 3 pairs of hands in it.
  2. Slather your jam or strawberry sauce on the top of one of the trimmed sponges and then chuck a few dollops of cream on top. Spread it around using the back of your (now washed) spoon — or a palette knife if you’ve got one. If you’re really fancy, you could also pipe the cream on to the cake at this point. Snob.
  3. Break 2 of the merginues over the cake, sending lovely crunchy meringue bits everywhere.
  4. Chop up a handful of strawberries into quarters and chuck them on top of the cream meringue layer, resisting the urge to dip spare strawberries into the cream as you’ll need that later.

strawberry-layer

  1. Stick the other sponge on top, pressing it down slightly to make sure it’s not going to slide around (but not so hard that your middle cream layer spurts out the sides)
  2. Dollop lots more cream on the top, vaguely attempting to spread it round. Decorate with several mini meringues and whole strawberries. If you were able to buy strawberry coulis you might consider drizzling it over the top cream layer. I did not think it’d work quite as well with blobs of jam…

finished-eton-mess-cake

Tada!

If I inherited a million pounds

I don’t play the lottery (aka “tax on the poor”), scratchcards, or indeed gamble at all. It’s not that I have any ethical/moral concerns about gambling but rather I just seem to have awful luck. I’ve never won anything in my life, and regularly bemoan the frequent catastrophes that I seem to have to put up with (yes, I’m a drama queen). This means that my only hope of ever having a million pounds is inheriting it through some long lost rich relative. It’s unlikely, but I never give up hope.

So. If I inherited £1,000,000, what would I spend it on?

Firstly, on £1,000,000 I calculated I would have to pay £270,000 inheritance tax. I’m a law abiding, tax paying citizen, so without having spent a penny I would actually only have £730,000 to buy whatever my heart desires. That should be enough to buy:

A decent size house

It was only yesterday I was telling you all about my ideal house: big kitchen, play room, home office, etc etc. I don’t really want to move too far away from where I am now, and a cursory glance at Rightmove suggests I wouldn’t have to. A decent size 5 bedroom property, within a half mile radius of where I am now, that would meet many of my dream house needs currently retails around £450,000:

broseley-house
jackfield-house

Stamp duty on a £450,000 property costs £12,500. Solicitors fees etc would probably cost another £5k, plus moving costs and the rest, let’s assume that the total cost of purchasing one of these houses would be £470,000 which brings me down to £260,000 left to spend.

A new car

The next important purchase would be a new car. I currently have a Honda Jazz. I hate it. It’s an old lady car. It’s slow (although everything feels slow after I’ve driven Gaz‘s Celica), it’s not responsive when I need it to be and I have issues with it randomly jumping between low and high revs which can catch me out causing the car to stall.

I miss my old car, which was a Skoda, and have been lusting after a yellow Fabia for a loooong time. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Skoda do a new model yellow Fabia (or not one you can configure through their site) so I’d be looking at a slightly older model, like this 2012 Skoda Fabia MONTE CARLO TSI 1.2 5dr:

yellow-skoda-fabia

…which would set me back £7,495, bringing my inheritance pot down to £252,505.

Fixing up an ‘old’ car

Gaz’s Celica, to be precise:

celica-gt-four

I fell in love with this bloody car not long after Gaz and I met and that love only strengthens every time I drive it. I know that the poor thing has a few issues at the moment though: some minor rust above one of the back wheel arches, the exhaust keeps getting clipped by a concrete ‘lip’ on my driveway, apparently the suspension might be playing up and I’m sure there’s other things Gaz would like to do with it. I’d happily gift him £5,000 to sort it out.

Property investment

Having moved to my big dream house, my current property would of course be empty. I would pay off the mortgage on the house and get the decorators in to give it a fresh look from top to bottom (to deal with my half-arsed attempts at decorating, and the bodges left by the previous owner). With the current mortgage at around £96,000 and around £15,000 needed for early repayment fees and decorating that leaves me with £136,505 to play with.

University / job starter fund for the kids

I really wasn’t sure if I should put this one in here.

On one hand, I kinda feel like I started my adult life with nothing of value, no monetary support and no real job experience to speak of and I worked hard (and sometimes for free) to get where I needed to be so that today I can sit in relative comfort — albeit we have tight months (and months and months), an overdraft I regularly dip into and outstanding credit card debt — but I can raise my children fairly flexibly. I want my children to have to work hard too, so that they learn the value of the money in their pocket and know how privileged they are (comparatively speaking, we’re not middle class or ‘owt!)

On the other hand, if I were genuinely wealthy enough to be able to put money aside for my kids I know I wouldn’t be able to NOT do so. I want them to have a chance at higher education if that’s what they want to do. I want them to be able to enter the world unsaddled by massive debts or without having to worry too much about how they’re going to be able to scrape together their first months rent and a deposit when they set out in the big wide world on their own. I think I’d put aside £15,000 each for my kids, which means my total left to spend is £106,505.

And finally…

I think it would be quite easy to spend £106,505 on a bunch of frivolous crap. Dresses, good food, gifts for friends etc. However, it would make more sense for me to put it into some sort of high interest account and pay myself an amount from it monthly to cover my highest bills, which would allow me more flexibility (and security) in my self-employment endeavours. Nobody said I had to spend it all at once!