What a last few months!

December 16th, 2011

Well, I haven’t really update dmy log since the finish of our IVA in August.

The last few months have been just wonderful.  We were lucky to go on holiday in October and what a holiday it was! We went to Eurodisney for the week with my 3 stepchildren. We stayed in an apartment about 10 minutes away, but spent every day in the parks. I have never experienced anything like it at all. We had a wonderful time, and because we bought annual passes we are going back next Whitsun for another week.

Since we have been back we have started counting down to christmas.  it is a wonderful feeling to go christmas shopping and not worry about that payment going out to Debt Free Direct.

I just can’t explain the feeling of being Debt Free. We don’t worry about bills/letters/phone calls. It has just given us so much peace of mind. Anyone who is in trouble, I would say get help as soon as you can. The last 6 years have been worth it to finish with owing nothing at all.

I have to say, all credit to DFD.  They were wonderful throughout the 6 years of being with them. And then we received our completion certificate almost 3 months to the day of finishing.

We are so happy right now, and it feels great to finally start making plans for the future. x

Have a great Christmas.

Claire. x

Things are good!

June 15th, 2011

Well, I never thought I would be writing this, but we are 1 month away from the finish of our IVA. After tomorrow we will have 1 payment left and will then be debt free – hopefully for a VERY long time.

As we approach the end, our lives are starting to take shape. I have joined Slimming World and so far have lost 22.5lb.  I have a lot more to lose, but I am determined to get there.  I don’t really have a target weight, but I have a target dress size.  I am hoping I will get there for our 2012 summer holiday. The weight loss is really helping with my confidence – I feel like a different person already and I have so much more energy. Towards the end of the working day I am finding I am not feeling tired and run-down anymore.  Also, I haven’t been ill in a while now.

The last few weeks we have realised that there were some people in our lives who really haven’t had a positive effect. We have decided to cut some ties and start over.  Since making this decision we have been a lot happier, and I feel we have taken a huge positive step forward into our future.

Boys Brigade is still a big part of our lives and we are off to camp this weekend at Oswestry. I am not too optimistic about the weather, but we will have a good time no matter what. Some of our boys come from families that struggle to make ends meet, so taking them away for the weekend may be their only holiday.  The boys have been excited for a while discussing sweets they are bringing – although there seems to be a Pringles theme going on at the minute.

Work is going great too. In fact everything is going really well at the minute. Sometimes I worry that we are setting ourselves up for a fall, but I can’t see much that can go wrong.

I have been a bit lapse in blogging, but I am planning to do a longer post in a month when we will be celebrating.

Love Claire. x


April 6th, 2011

Well, I haven’t updated my blog for a while. Everything has been really busy here. We are at the end of the financial year for work, so deadlines are here. And at home, things are the same. We hardly have time to think.

Weekends are taken up by hockey – my stepson and stepdaughter lay for the local team at different age groups. It was the presentation evening last week. My stepson won ‘Most Improved Player for the year’. I was really proud of him, and he was totally surprised he had won anything. 

We are still at boys Brigade, and have started to have a new intake of lads, which means Monday nights are so busy but they go so quick. We are off to camp in June to Oswestry.

We have both started Slimming World. last night was our 2nd weigh-in. I lost 2lb last night and 6.5lbs the week before, so to lose half a stone in 2 weeks has left me more than happy. Hubby is doing ok. He has lost 5lb so far. I think he struggling with the diet more than me at the minute. I have a feeling he is craving Carling and BEST sandwiches at work.

And now onto the IVA. We have 4 payments left. Well, in 10 days we will only have 3 left. The time has gone so quick, and I think it has helped that we have been so busy. Sometimes I look back and find it hard to believe we have survived the IVA. I always thought we would be in the % that failed, but we have made this IVA successful, and have survived to tell the tale.

We have our celebratory holiday booked for October (final balance to be paid after the IVA has finished), and what a holiday it is. We are off to EuroDisney for the week, and I can’t wait. My stepchildren are also very excited. It will be the first time I have been abroad in 20 years. My stepdaughter is still musing over how we are going to be able to go on a train under the sea (we are travelling on the Eurotunnel to Calais and driving the rest of the way). She thinks she is going to see fish swimming above her head. Hehe!

So, at the minute all things are good. I am looking forward to a break at Easter. We both have the week between the bank holidays off, and we plan to relax. I have a few things on Sky+. I haven’t watched Marchlands yet – although everyone at work has raved about it. I have also started recording Candy Cabs starting last night. I think that will be one to watch when hubby goes off fishing.

I also have a few books that I want to get read. At the minute I am reading ‘The Lies we Told’ by Diane Chamberlain, and I am really enjoying it. Our house is like a library at the minute.

I will try not to leave it so long before I update again.

Love Claire. x

Half a year left!

January 26th, 2011

So January has arrived and nearly gone again! And with it another payment, which leaves 6 to go. The time seems to be going by so quickly. Work is really busy at the minute. Probably due to the fact I have been off work ill for a week. On my birthday (I was 30) I started feeling ill. Went to a walk in clinic (on the advice of the Dr’s receptionist) and they told me I had a wax buildup in my ears and to use olive oil. So did this for the weekend but with no joy. The following monday i went to the Dr and was told my ear canals were swolen with infection.  They gave some spray and a sick note for a week. Tuesday morning woke up to find my mouth had swolen. Off I went to the dentist and was told I had infection in mouth too. So over those 2 days I sepnt £14 on prescriptions and £16.50 for an Apt at the dentist. Ridiculous! I am back at work now – my mouth is back to normal but still can’t hear out of one ear, so i will be calling the Dr tomorrow to make another Apt.

You have probably all read my ebay happenings on the forum! I am rolling my eyes right now! What a rigmoroll! But the least said about that the better!

For my birthday (and my husbands) we were given vouchers for Frankie & bennys from our friends. When we opened the envelope we were surprised to see how much for. £40!! So tonight we are off out to have a romantic slap-up meal, all for free. YAY!

We have started to discuss trying for a baby and I think this will be happening very soon. We feel the time is right now, and as I am now in my 30’s I really don’t want to wait much longer. Although, if it doesn’t happen for us I know I have been blessed with my 3 wonderful step-children.

We had some bad news at the beginning of the month. Another of my uncles has died (he is my dads brother). He was a widow and has a son who they adopted when he was age 14. His son is classed as being autistic. His Social Worker is arranging care so that he can continue to live at home. We don’t really have much contact. My uncle decided to sever all ties with the family, and it wasn’t until my cousins social worker called that we knew. My mom and dad, and another auntie have all been supporting my cousin in arrangements and with his care. The funeral is this monday coming. As I didn’t really know my uncle well i am not too sure how to feel. I am sad, but not to the point where I am crying. I am thinking more of my cousin at the minute and hoping that he will be able to manage.

I have been thinking about my future after the IVA, and whether I want to stay working where I am. Its a good job and a cushy one but to be honest I don’t feel challenged. And I want to make a difference somehow and sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t seem to do that. I am thinking of maybe going to back to uni when I can. I think I would like to do Social work. My degree is in english and sociology. The course would be fulltime though so it would mean a cut in wages. There are a lot of decisions to make.

Love Claire. x

Snow Snow Snow!

December 22nd, 2010

Well, another payment has been made, so we are now down to 7 payments remaining.  YAY!

The snow is falling here in the West Midlands this morning. I am sat at work with not a lot to do – the reporting tools I use won’t be fixed until the New Year, so I thought I would come and do a blog entry. We have been told we should be finishing at lunch today, and then tomorrow I finish at 12.30 and don’t return until 4th Jan. So its all good.

I haven’t been at work for a few days though – had the yucky flu! I am still hacking away like an old man but feeling much more alive.  A lot of people at work are off with the same thing.

We are all ready for christmas – the last one in our iva.  We have booked a holiday for after the iva – paid the deposit and the final balance doesn’t need to be paid until after we have finished so YAY!  

Not much else is going on at the minute. We are just looking forward to a christmas at home with my stepchildren.

Love Claire. x

We made it to single figures!

November 10th, 2010

ok, so I know I am nearly a month behind with this blog entry, but i am so pleased that we are now in single figures. Just 9 payments to go and we will be done/kaput/finito, and what a celebration we will have.

I love Christmas, but this year I just want to get it out of the way and get on with 2011. Also, this year my stepchildrne are not with us Christmas Eve which is a bit of a bummer, as we have had them for the past 5 years. But we are going to go out Christmas Eve to the German market and enjoy ourselves, and then we are going to watch Christmas television (we never get a look in with the kids). Christmas day we are at my moms for dinner and tea, and then Boxing Day the kids are coming. 🙂 I don’t have to work all over christmas – yay – even though our office is open, so looking forward to having a few lie-ins.

On 30th December my stepdaughter has to go into hospital for an op as she has a perforated eardrum. She has been told she will be out the next day, and she, along with her brother and sister are having New Years Eve and Day with us, so its going to be a quiet one this year.

I got a bit upset yesterday. A work colleague announced her pregnancy, which is great, but I wish it was me so much. To be honest, I don’t think it will ever happen to us.  So right now we are starting to make plans for our future based on not having children, which is really sad, but I need something to focus on. The IVA does this too.

Went onto ebay the other day and have found a good and cheap ebay book shop, where most of the books are £1 and they give good discounts on mutliple delivery charges. So I think there will be a few christmas presents coming from there. Also, I have earned £20 doing surveys the past 2 months, so I will be those in Argos vouchers.  I have finsihed about 5 cross stitch pics and have one left for Christmas pressies. So I am off to hootys (a cheap warehouse) next week to get some frames.

Next week, I am on annual leave, so looking forward to that. Monday and tuesday hubby is with me, but then I am on my own the rest of the week. Wednesday i am going to have a day curled up in front of the tv chilling.

This Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, so i am out with Boys Brigade on parade. We are providing the band for the march to the cenotaph. I play something called the Bell Lire (its like an upright xylophone). I don’t mind the cold, just hope it doesn’t rain.

Anyways, I have prattled too much today.


Its been a while….

October 8th, 2010

since I added to my blog. We are over a month on from the last post and only have 8 days until we will be in single figures. WOWOWOW!! I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by.

Well, I have started Christmas shopping. I don’t usually start this early, but I have been after some bargains. And ebay has come up trumps. My stepdaughter is in love with High School Musical, and you can get just about everything on ebay. 🙂 And we are off out tomorrow to do a bit of shopping. I have decided for the ladies this year to do a gift bag/pamper hamper! I have been getting bits and pieces each week to add: handwash, showergel etc. So we are well and truly spreading the cost of Christmas.

Work is going really good at the minute. We are busy, which means I don’t have much time to think about not having any money. 🙂 Earlier this month we thought my hubby was going to lose his job, but thankfully its all ok for now. I was having kittens for a while.

Talking of animals, we have a new member of the family. His name is Sammie and he is a russian dwarf hamster. We adopted him. He was first brought with 2 female dwarfs but they kept picking on him, so the owner returned him to the shop. So we adopted him and he is fitting in great with us. He is just like my stepson though – only gets out of bed for food and drink, and then straight back into the pit. He doesnt seem to like doing much exercise either!

My stepson has had a great start to the new hockey season. His team have only been beaton once. FIngers crossed for a win this weekend. Hubby gets really excited at matches and is quite verbal (not swearing though). Anyways, he was reading the club rules the other day and has decided he needs to tone it down a bit to stay within the rules. When I am with him at matches I just tend to cringe with embarressment. I think he sees himself as the next Fabio Cappello (or however you spell it).

The menus are in circulation for the Christmas meal at work. We are not attending this year. The options are: one for £26 pp, or £28 pp, or £30 pp. Not thank you! Thats a lot of money just before christmas. But we will be able to go next year. However, we won’t be missing out. Me and hubby are commitee members for out TMO (tenant management organisation). It means the finance for the estate we live on are controlled by the comittee and not the council. Anyways, they are having a christmas meal and paying for us. YAY! We just have to decide now what menu to chose from – they all look soo goo it wil be hard.

I am progressing with my online surveys. I have decided to have Argos vouchers – it will help with the kids presents. My youngest stepdaughter has asked for ZhuZhu hamsters. (I am rolling my eyes typing this). The weekends now consist of her browsing the argos and making list upon list for christmas and birthday. She changes her mind every few hours. I keep finding paper with lists tucked away.

Tonight is food shopping and I can’t wait. Last night we had a mish-mash tea of rubbish really. Looking forward to having some nice food again!

I will try not to leave it so long next time.

Claire. xx

Another month nearly gone!

August 11th, 2010

Well, I can’t believe that in 5 days time we will only have 11 payments left. I keep giving myself targets to look forward to. The next one is getting to under 10 payments, then 5 and then 0!!!  The time is just flying by.  And this month we are not doing too bad. I have been able to calim back money for my glasses through work which is great cos they cost so much.  We are also having new fence courtesy of my mother-in-law. She is so generous.

We are off on holiday in just over a week – also a gift from my mother-in-law. Its only a sun holiday to Pontins but we are looking forward to the break. 🙂 My stepchildren will be coming with us. I am missing themright now. They are in Turkey with their mom for 2 weeks. 2 days after they get back we take them away. I just can’t wait to see them. However it has been nice having time for just me and Ian. If the weather is nice this saturday we will be going to Stourport. We are going to take a picnic and sit by the river. Maybe even treat ourselves to an ice-cream. We have also decided to have chip shop on the way home! YUM!

Well, after August’s payment we can reduce the standing order. For a year we have been paying of arrears after needing a payment break last August. So we are going to put the extra money away and start slowly paying for a holiday for next August (our first month debt free). We want to go to Weymouth for the carnival. I love it down there so much and my stepchildren keep asking if we can go again.  So  I have decided that after Southport I am going to cut down and try to lose some weight.

I break up from work this friday. I have a week off all to myself next week. Well I had planned on that but I am off out to different places. But I have made sure I have put Monday aside for me. So what am I doing? I am staying in with a DVD and some chocolate. Last week we went to CEX and traded some old Wii games we didn’t use. So i treated myself to a boxset of Dawsons Creek 🙂 . I loved to watch this when I was a teenager. Tuesday I am going to see a work colleague who is off sick. Wednesday I am picking Ian up early from work as he needs to have his hearing aid changed. Thursday I am up early taking Ian and my dad fishing and then friday my dad is off to have a bone scan so I am driving. Its a mad week but i am sure I will enjoy it.  Though I have loads of ironing to do for our holiday. 🙁  I think I might try and get it done tonight while watching the film beaches. I havent seen it such a long time.

So the big decision now is ‘what to have for tea?’. I am leaning towards faggots myself – I love them! Really thought I would love a takeaway , but they don’t seem to cater for people on budgets, unless there is a Big Johns near. We have a place opposite work called Big Johns. Apparantly its the first ever drive thru chip shop. We don’t drive thru though. They do 99p meals such as pizza slice and ships, nuggets and chips. And on Tuesdays they do 6″ pizza, chips and drink for £1.99. Ian says if he worked here he would be in there every day. To be hinest after the first few weeks of it being open it lost its novelty. We go there very occasionally now.

Anyways, now I have made your mouth water I will leave you. I will write more after our holiday as we don’t have a pc or laptop at home at the minute.

Love Claire. xxx


July 20th, 2010

Oh my life, I was chosen as ‘Blog of the week’. I can’t believe it. So thank you again Andy. It has made me smile at such a sad time.

My uncles machines were switched off on Saturday morning, and he passed away saturday afternoon. I didn’t find out until sunday as we were away at camp and my mom didn’t want to put a dampener on it. I just keep thinking at least he isn’t suffering anymore, and in a way I am sure its a relief for my auntie, as she just didn’t know what to do. Although she is so upset at the minute.

We had a good weekend at camp though – it was an experience I will never forget. I have never been to a BB camp quite like it. I will have to fill you all in with some of the stories when I have more time. It includes baths, wrestling and general craziness.

 Thank you again Andy.

Claire. xx

BIG milestone today!

July 16th, 2010

Today we have exactly 12 months left of our IVA! I can’t believe how quick the time has gone. And I am sure that this time next year I will be saying exactly the same thing. 🙂

 So in some ways I am so happy today. Also we are off to BB camp tonight which i am really looking forward to.

 but I also feel a bit down.

 Firstly I went to opticians last night. All was going well until they told me the price of the lenses. I could have normal thickness lenses for £79, but to have them shaved down to make them look thinner it would be £149 on top of the price of frames. Well i had to go for the cheaper option. I just felt a bit fe dup as it always seems like I can never have the best. But I know that in 12 months I will be able to afford it.

But then I got home last night and sopke to my mom, and things were put in perspective for me. My uncle had a colostomy bag a while ago after having bowel cancer. As he had recovered really well the Dr asked if wanted a reversal and he jumped at the chance. So he went ahead with the op, but a few days later contracted pneumonia. He has been on a ventilator ever since and today they are turning off the machines. I just can’t begin to think what my auntie is going through right now. I don’t know how I would cope if it was Ian ill.

So i am a mixed bag of emotions today, and not sure how to feel. One minute I am upbeat and everything is great, and the next I feel like I want to cry.

Sorry for the rubbish post today.

Claire. x