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18.5.17

My New Year

For me there is now only....*checks countdown app on phone*...13 days until the new year. Until MY new year.
The Isle of Man TT in 2015 was a big turning point in my life. It was the moment really that a lot of things that were going around in my head for the previous 6 months made sense.
Coming home was strange and a confusing time because life was the same but I was so different. I guess I didn't fit the life I had returned to. Or that life didn't fit me anymore.
It was scary. I wondered how I would cope or whether or not I was doing the right thing. I wondered if it was just a phase and if the novelty of having that free time to myself and experiencing that world would wear off.

I didn't really expect to come back being a fan of the TT. I say so often, probably because it still surprises me to be honest, I only went to spend some time with my brother. I wasn't interested in the bikes at all...I had a crush on William Dunlop...wasn't all that bothered about Michael Dunlop at the time. Then I was told that the bikes were on their way and before the first one was even in sight I was crying and having a panic attack as the atmosphere soaked through my skin into my blood.
The first bike went past and it was like I was shot. That adrenaline was in me and I couldn't wait for the next bike to go past, and the next one, and the next....

I remember looking at my brother and seeing him completely differently. Now understanding why this person who I thought was a bit of a loser for sitting watching Youtube videos of previous TT's got excited by those very videos. Why the sound of the bikes on those videos made him so excited.
I understood why he returned to the island every year, why he started counting down and why that holiday was everything to him.
I understood why he wanted me to be part of that.

I feel like I owe so much to my brother. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be this version of me.
Ok I have really tough days and sometimes wonder if my old life was better off, however, I wouldn't have been me.
Because yes, I do quite like myself. I am happy with who I am becoming. Someone who likes sport (holy sh!t, I never thought I would be saying that!!) someone who chooses a two week camping holiday on a rugby pitch over a two week holiday in a hotel in Spain. Someone who can name more than 10 TT racers (yes, I am ridiculously proud of myself for that. Total loser I know) and is passionate about who she supports and the reasons why.
The person who gets frustrated at people who say "I've always wanted to go" or "Yeah me and some mates might go next year". JUST BLOODY GO THEN! Life is too short to talk about it and if you REALLY wanted to go, you would.

I do get a touch of mum guilt. Knowing I am having this break from my children, and choosing to spend two weeks away from them. Essentially using two weeks of work holiday to be a bit selfish I suppose and do something for me rather than taking time off to have extra days with them.
But the thing is, it is my new year.
I know I will come back an even better version of me. I will be happy. Refreshed.
And a little more me.


3.5.17

Five Things | Buying a New Car

When I separated from my ex-husband and got a job one thing I promised myself I would treat myself to was a nice car.
My ex-husband had provided me with cars before we separated, and even got me a cheap run around after we separated as the Land Rover we shared would have cost too much for me to run as well as the up keep costs.
Buying my own car was one of the biggest decisions I had to make as a single person (other than finding a house to live in obviously) and, although exciting, I knew I had to research and really think about what I wanted prior to making the purchase.



Ask friends

I think it’s really important to at least ask other peoples opinions on certain purchases. I asked friends for recommendations on car brands. I already had a particular brand in mind which I knew and trusted and wanted to at least get an idea of other brands and other people's experiences. This was also the case when it came to car showrooms and garages.


Create a wishlist

The thing with buying a car is that we are all different. We all have different wants and needs. Ok, the basics are the same, we want a car that will move forward.
I created a list of what I wanted, and I decided that actually...I would be fussy and not feel guilty about the little things that mattered to me.
I wanted air con, I wanted 5 doors, I wanted a radio, CD player, two cup holders, and colour was important. I wanted nice interior and a nice steering wheel. Boot space was also important and leg room in the back for two growing boys. Not too old, in fact 5 years old max.
I only ended up going to one showroom. In fact I was window shopping whilst I tried to research what sort of budget I was looking at, and had such a good rapport with the salesman that I didn't go anywhere else. I work in sales so maybe I should have accepted that most salesmen would have a similar attitude as the man who I was dealing with, however with internet shopping now so easy I knew that I could visit one showroom and still look elsewhere.

Determine your budget 

This for me was the biggest aspect to get my head around. I didn't know what sort of budget I needed with the wishlist I had. And in all honesty, my original budget wasn't at all realistic with what I wanted.

Arrange financing in advance

I fell in love with a car before I knew the exact date my finances would be available. Not knowing whether or not I could put enough of a deposit down made me panic and realise that I had gone about it a little wrong. 
It's well worth finding out at first what kind of deposit each garage or showroom will take. If you know you can afford that, then it's worth then looking further into which car is for you. 
If you have money coming in due to a house sale, inheritance or work bonus then make sure you know exactly, or roughly when that will be. Or, if you are going down the route of using finance or a loan, make sure these are either in place or that you know about your credit history and chances of being accepted for a loan/finance before attempting to make a purchase.
As with the car, make sure you look into these options as there are so great, low-cost deals out there.

The important details

Before you drive your new car home make sure you have looked into road tax and insurance. Be aware of how much these will cost so you don't have any nasty surprises when it comes to arranging them after you have bought your dream car. 

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Plumbing Business

You've always enjoyed fixing little problems around the house. You’ve thought about what kind of career path you would like to pursue that will allow you to support your family. Owning a plumbing business seems to be right up your alley, as you'll never have to be stuck in a cramped office and will be able to help folks with all their problems. 
But before you embark on this great adventure, there's a lot of hard work and knowledge you'll need to accumulate along the way.

Industry Qualifications and Completed Apprenticeship

You will need to complete training courses for plumbing qualifications. It might seem that you're able to learn everything on YouTube, but the reality is you need experienced mentors to really teach you all the tricks of the trade. After completing your courses, it's a great idea to also enter into an apprenticeship with a successful plumber. Before you start taking your own customers, you really should be looking at four years of classes and hands-on training.

Understanding Liability

Of course, having the tools to do the job is only part of running your own business. You will also need to learn what kind of liabilities you face as a professional contractor working in the public sector. You will need to research various kinds of tradesman insurance that can protect you, your employees, and your customers against unforeseen accidents and incidents.
No matter how many safety precautions you might take, at some point you are likely going to face the reality of a flood or fire on the job.  A good tradesman insurance policy can take care of your clients while protecting the assets of your business and the future well-being of your employees.

Who Will Your Customers Be?

A good business person studies the local neighbourhood to determine who is likely to call for their services. Your marketing campaigns can then be targeted to large businesses and commercial properties, residential dwellings or industrial applications. You will want to take additional classes and work to add the type of jobs your clients will likely need done to your background. If you learned how to install a sewer system for a block of flats, it won't necessarily help you to repair a bathroom faucet and vice versa.

Basic Accounting Knowledge

You can't run a successful business without some good accounting knowledge. You need to be able to keep track of hours worked, cost of materials, employees, and any business loans. You will need to ensure that you don't overspend on the business leaving no cash to pay your own salary. You might need to hire an accountant who has an understanding of tax codes to make sure that the government gets their share. While there are several excellent software bundles that can "do it for you," nothing beats actually knowing how it all works to help you build your business toward success.

Upgrade Tools and Transportation as Time Goes By

It might be tempting to open your new plumbing business with a brand new transit van and a glistening set of tools, but if you're just getting started don't hesitate to buy used. You can save thousands of pounds and put the extra cash into a greater variety of tools, or hire an extra assistant for a more challenging job. Your customers are paying for your service, not the pretty van. Repeat business will allow you to expand your customer base and upgrade into the bigger van after a few years.
In the end, running your own plumbing business requires more than an understanding of fixing pipes. You'll need good money handling knowledge, tradesman insurance, a large collection of tools, a few reliable employees and the determination to build your reputation over time.

1.5.17

April Lust List

Although I've had a Pinterest account for a long time now I had mostly used it for quotes. Until two years ago when I discovered tattoos and then more recently I've become absolutely obsessed with it.
Pinning tattoos, nails, make up, hair, quotes and articles.

I wanted to put together monthly posts..."Lust Lists" sharing basically what I have been lusting after the most.

My best friend/life boss has her lashes done and it was one of the first things I noticed about her when I first met her.
I had been tempted to have mine done for a while and when an offer came up on a Facebook post from a local beautician I decided to go for it. 
With a skin patch test the very next day and lashes booked in the day after the patch test it was somewhat impulsive. 
I headed straight to Pinterest, a standard action for me know when it comes to anything like this, to see roughly what I was after.
I love Pinterest for inspiration for things like this. I am incredibly indecisive and tend to get myself in a state when it comes to decisions like this so I don't know what I would do without it!
I'm hoping the lashes will come in particularly handy for my holiday to the Isle of Man in 5 weeks time. Less morning faff time.


Last year I was massively lusting after a pair of Nike Air Max and when at the Isle of Man I decided to treat myself to some. I have pretty much worn them SO much and have loads of wear left in them,
I wanted to get myself another pair of trainers too. Either Air Max or something similar, in black.
I didn't realise how hard it would be to decide on a pair! Who knew there was so much choice. These are a few I've been lusting after.

*spoiler...I got the black Nike Downshifter 7 (bottom right) whilst on holiday due to my boots rubbing. Silver lining.....