Tuesday, 25 September 2012

To be or not to be my lover

So 6 months single and I'm thinking should I dip my toe back into the internet dating game? To be honest in terms of fun it's up there with Ebaying. However of late I have been engaging with Kate who has bravely stepped out there and is dipping her toes in the whole scenario. A GOOD ON HER!  I think she deserves a medal. In fact there should be a medal for those brave enough to do it. How do you capture the essence of you in a few lines? How do get the good photos? How do you pluck the courage to send that first message, go on the first date? I have been there,seen that and got a Tee shirt ( although mine was a gift from Hot Date of Gene Hunt )

I would like to meet someone at some point but naturally and less manufactured. I'm  definitely old school believing that at some point I will just bump in to someone and relationship will thus develop. It could be Hugh Grant Notting Hill Stylee or maybe George Clooney Up in the air, or even Brad Pitt, think Thelma and Louise. I just don't fancy looking for the old maddog68 - silver fox seeking silver lady friend type banter that goes with internet dating.

Maybe it's because I can feel the clock ticking that I might give it one more try. Putting age as 46 instead of 45 seems like a slippery slope towards 50 and before you know my collar and cuffs will match the old silver fox's head of hair. No amount of cream will bring back the bouncy youthfulness of skin of yesteryear and yes my tits will be down my belly button. The joints are already creaking and a passionate embrace might break something by the time I get to 50+! By which point I will have been single for nearly a decade. *SOBS loudly!

So should I do it? I am quite happy discovering myself ( not in a pervy way) having been a child bride. And after 18 months of Hot Date fizzling out I'm feeling a little cautious to let myself in for what internet relationships might bring to my door step again.  Or shall  I continue in my own merry way bimbling along trying out new things occasionally and see where life takes me?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Hard Stare

I am in the midst of rare occurrence. Once every 3 -4 years I will summon up the courage and sell a couple of things on eBay. This time I have excelled myself. I put over 20 items in one go. It's a new form of torture. This should be a new form of punishment for wayward children,teens and even in-the-dog-house adults. Never mind the naughty step or no pocket money how about a whole weekend of collating. cleaning, weighing, researching, photographing crap followed by inane questions from dip sticks. This is then closely followed by the great pack up and dash to the nearest Post Office or courier. ( I have just discovered Hermes by the way so I hope their cheapo prices mean the items get there in one piece !) Or you may do collection in person on some items. This quite entertaining but also tying. Once I am told that I have to stay in for a whole morning or evening I will suddenly feel the urge to go out at exactly the same time. So far I have had a" try before you buy" lady ( unsuccessful bidding too -shame ), trying out my bikes. A man from the depths of the counties inbred community in gravity defying jogger pants complete with suspect stains who gave me useful advice on my sons custom built BMX. We've had the eastern Europeans and yesterday I had many conversations from Nigel, a very small Jewish man in his 50's, wider than he was tall,  "who was picking the item for his friend Richard. he certainly did look like he was in need of a universal bike rack, I don't think his feet would have touched a bike pedals. He said " and do you know my aunt across the road?" At this point I had to say "we wave at each other" as said  ancient aunt is rarely seen out although her husband is back and forth in his car all day long. They seem happy with the "just wave and smile" kind of neighbourly attention. I did have to bite my tongue though as they have a lot of inconsiderate visitors who block me in my drive way every weekend. I digress and now have the urge to write a blog on neighbours.

To assist the great eBay sales you need great eBay photos. She-ra is a mad keen photographer so I let her loose on a few items. I have to say that I am not surprised that Paddington is giving me a "hard stare" after what he saw.

50 shades of grey eat your heart out! These are yet to go on eBay so if anyone wants to make a bid on a randy genuine 1977 Paddington complete with the original labels, wellies,hat coat etc as made Mr Jeremy Clarkson's mother in Burghwallis. Or indeed the randy Steiff rabbit then get in touch. I meanwhile will be putting items on every weekend until I have achieved my objective of clearing the home of things we just don't use any/need any more. I just wish there was an easier way.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Student FEES - Some useful facts

This is not a sponsored post but I was asked if I was interested and I'm a bit of a Martin Lewis fan so here goes....Thursday (20 Sept) marks Student Finance Day – the day is a focal point for universities, schools and colleges to talk about student finance in England – and dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings out there. The second annual Student Finance Day is run by the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information (headed by Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert).

60% of prospective students have ‘worrying misconception’ about student finance. 

Student Finance Day is launched as new research shows dangerous knowledge gaps. As students face the prospect of £9,000 English tuition fees for the first time, while others visit Open Days for 2013 entry, new research released to mark the second annual Student Finance Day, shows a high level of confusion over the new student finance system remains. Students wrongly worry about repaying when not earning.The research found 63% of English 14-18 year olds and 60% of those starting university in 2012 are worried about how they’ll repay the loan if they are unemployed or a low earner after university – despite attempts to publicise that repayments only come into effect after graduation and provided you earn over £21,000 – and even then it’s proportionate to earnings.The impact of this is that 61% of 14-18 year olds admitted that the changes had made them think harder about whether to go to university, and 91% felt that if they did, they would need to work whilst at university to financially support themselves.  

Head of the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information (who co-ordinate Student Finance Day), Martin Lewis of said:“The tragedy is, it’s likely a good chunk of potential students are choosing not to go to university due to misplaced fear.  Worse is, I suspect it’s those from non-traditional university families who are most risk averse and most affected.

“Part of the problem is there’s too much focus on the headline amount being borrowed - a mostly irrelevant figure. What really counts is how much needs repaying and that depends solely on what’s earned after university.  You repay nothing under £21,000 and above that, the more you earn, the more you repay. Financially at least, it is effectively a no-win, no fee system. “Whether you support the changes or not, we must ensure that we don’t damage a generation of students through misunderstandings. That’s why initiatives such as Student Finance Day are so important. Universities, schools, colleges, parents, politicians, and the media all need to come together to ensure we communicate the financial facts – not the fiction.  After all, if young people don’t understand the true cost, how can they make an effective decision?” 

The results of the survey come as universities, schools and colleges across the country join together for Student Finance Day (20 September), hosting events and disseminating information to help prospective students and their parents get clear and accessible information on student finance. For more information on student finance, go to

Here's one of Martin's myth busters on student fees

Ten point mythbuster
  1. You don't pay up front to go to Uni.
First time undergraduate's fees are automatically paid by a Student Loans Company loan. There are also loans of up to £5,500 to live off (£7,675 in London) and those from families with income under £42,611 get living grants of up to £3,354. 

  2.Students don't repay, graduates do, but only if they earn £21,000+. 
You repay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 starting the April after graduation (2017 for most). This £21,000 will rise from 2017. Those who never earn over it, never repay. 

3. Monthly repayments are the same on £6000 or £9000 fee courses.As monthly repayments depend ONLY on earnings, the course fee size doesn't impact it.

4. It’s wiped after 30 years. 
Whatever you still owe, repayments stop after 30 years.

5.There are no debt collectors.
Repayments are taken via the payroll, just like tax. So you never actually handle the cash, meaning there are no debt collectors chasing. 

6.Repayments are £470/year LOWER than before.
Those asking "how can anyone live with such debts?" may be surprised that future graduates will initially have MORE disposable income than today's graduates as they repay above £21,000 earnings (under the old system, it was £15,795). This is also a mild improvement for building a deposit and getting a mortgage in the early years after graduation.

7.You will owe for LONGER and may pay MORE.
The bad news is compared to today's graduates, 2012 starters onwards repay less each year, have much bigger loans and pay higher interest (as much as inflation plus 3%), so it'll take MUCH longer to repay than now and depending on earnings, may cost a lot more.

8.Many will NEVER pay it all back.Even many starting on £25,000 graduate salaries (and rising after) won't repay everything owed within the 30 years (test your situation at'll often be repaying for much of their working life.
9. Many won't pay more on £9,000 courses than £6,000.
As even many £25,000 starters won't repay combined £6,000 tuition fees and living loans before the 30 year wipe, it won't cost them any more to take a £9,000 fee course.
10. Paying up front could be throwing £10,000s away
Fee fears means some parents aim to pay them upfront. For those planning to use savings, remember as many won't repay what they borrowed at today's prices before the 30 year wipe, you could be throwing big money away.  Don’t make knee jerk decisions to pay upfront, without doing research.

Managing money is one thing that everyone should get qualifications in! If you feel you need a bit of help in the finance area please see the links Martin has put together. Let's face it the new fee structure is confusing to all. Knowledge is power!

Martin’s 20 key facts on the new student finance system

Guide for full-time students 

Guide for parents

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Summer of Sport

I am not a natural athlete. I am late comer to the benefits of exercise and now am out of action due to doing in the other bleeding Achilles tendon pining like a love sick teenager for my trainers and the wind in my hair as I run with my dog. This aside did not stop my enjoying every blooming minute of the Olympics I wish now that we had bought tickets or even just gone to the Olympic park to soak in the atmosphere.For those of you who do not follow me on instagram I give you our summer of sports. I challenge you to guess the sports!

Silent Sunday

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Yurt, The Pod and The Facelift

We have just spent a few happy days in wet and sunny Lake District, in the midst of Grizedale forest. Those hard core campers amongst us called it glamping for we were not under canvas but in Pods ( a wooden shed with carpet) or yurts ( think Genghis Khan.) A happy party of 18 or so from aged 5 months to 40 somethings *cough. Firstly can I just say there was NOTHING!!!! glamorous about this camping experience. The facilities were basic, the pods no more than a shed and the yurts came with their own mould and existing tenants ( think mice, toads and other forest creatures) with a loose grasp on the term fully furnished. Oh and some of them leaked; not good when you read this in conjunction with my opening sentence. But all of this could be forgiven for the loveliest farmer/owner ever; Arthur, owner of seemingly 1 pair or trousers and tee shirt, rider of the best quad bike ever, kindly, breeder of champion cattle and loaner of a barn on last night for a great BBQ and disco. Our collective tips to elevate the experience were hooks in showers and a good clean of the yurts.

Believing the pods to sleep 4, when I turned up with 3 teenagers all of whom tower above me, he looked at us and said plainly. "they only sleep 2 plus 2 children" Pity the website doesn't say that but he rustled up a spare pod and we were saved. A delivery of logs later, roaring camp fire and chilli con carne were under way  with the biggest bag of Tortilla chips, 1.1kg to be precise, howge tubs of salsa and hummous, from Costco kept us all happy. Sister dearest was already on gin in a tin and the box of wine was going down a treat and the sun had not yet reached the yard arm. Decadent!

Despite managing on the sleeping arrangement front Arthur gallantly and repeatedly, almost forcefully, offered me his spare room with the added advantage of a new mattress. He certainly did seem to pop up where ever I might be and our fictitious relationship became the talk of the week.

Armed with the sense of humour that sometimes makes me wonder if we should all be locked up when the rain came pouring one afternoon we found ourselves trapped in the Yurt. Man we went stir crazy! With the gift of modern technology I give you The Facelift Game.
Minimum of 3 players
You take one small child, we used an 8 year old.
They  need to stand behind an adult. For best results the older the adult the better
They then need to pull at your flappy bits of your facial region
Other participant to take a photo
Eh Voila!
See here for results, saving the best till last of course.

 If you would like to know more about our collective inventiveness I can give you Sock Wars, Dobble with a difference, New market new voices, Dressing up like you've never done it before. I am expecting a phone all from Waddingtons any moment now!