Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Money Makes The World Go Round

There's not many things in this world that I can say I truly hate. Rapists, murderers, paedo's sort of go without saying. But the other thing I hate, in fact I despise.. is money.

I've always been fairly good with money. Okay, I will correct that.. I'm sickeningly responsible. I'm tight. I know exactly where my money is going before I even have it.

I know exactly what bill is going out, what day, how much and even if it will be delayed because of bank holidays. I know every incoming and outgoing and I nearly always know how much is disposable.

However, in the past few years I've begun to hate the sight of it. A letter through the door is just another reminder that there are bills to pay. My wage slip is a huge slap in the face that reminds me it's all already spent.

Out of our monthly income, we have on average £56 disposable income. That's after tax and all the bills being paid. £56 is NOTHING. Thanks to tax credits we are able to get by week to week buying our food shopping out of it. If anything were to go wrong.. we'd be screwed. Like royally screwed. There is no spare income. There are no savings.

Recently, we've been hoping to buy a car. We had a whole bunch of savings, more than we'd ever had. But personal circumstances changed and the money ended up being needed. It is all gone.

Back when Ross lost his job, the Job Centre messed up by payments. You may recall a huge, long, rant I had about how useless they were. Well, thanks to them, my credit rating is now equally as shit. Because Job Seekers decided not to pay me for 2 months, I couldn't pay my bills. Even my rent was late. Luckily our landlord is a nice bloke and he let it slide. A whole year later, my credit rating is in tatters and I can't get credit. Not a penny.

I don't blame them. Who wants to lend money to the girl who couldn't pay her bills in time? It might not have been her fault, but that might happen to us. She's not trustworthy.

The one thing that pisses me off the most?

I am trustworthy. I am responsible to the point it drives Ross crazy. I don't buy things for myself. Ever. Because that £20 spent buying a new handbag I spotted last week, is £20 I could have spent on the electric when it runs out. It's £20 less spent on something I don't NEED to live.

It's a sad way to live. No, scratch that. It's a shit way to live.

I know there are people out there far worse off than me. Even in my head I sound silly for complaining about it, but we just seem to be stuck in a financial dead end. It's hard enough to find a job these days, never mind one that pays well. Whilst the cost of everything around us goes up, we're still stuck here on minimum wage just about scraping enough to get by. There are no luxuries. We've never taken a family holiday. Unless you count Skegness.Without a car he can't get a job. Without a job, he can't get a car.

I hate money. I hate it a lot. I'm sure I'd love it, if I had some. But I don't. And that my friends, is what they call a catch 22.

Monday, 27 January 2014

holy crap.. I'm an adult!

At the grand old age of 24, I am classed as an adult.

I have been paying adult price in the cinema since 12. Adult price on public transport and on holidays. But I don't much feel like an adult.

Ever have those waves of astonishment when you realize.. holy shit, I'm grown up.

I have these moments of incredulous clarity most days. I will sit at my work desk and it will suddenly hit me.. I am a breadwinner. In my home, MY home, I am the main earner. If I didn't work, what would my family do? What would I do?

In reality, I barely look 16, never mind 24. I get I'D'd every time I buy wine, same goes for paracetamol. I once got asked for I'D buying leather cleaner. Most of the time, I'm not even taken seriously in my job, because I don't look old enough to be doing it.

But despite this.. despite my premature looks and my absolute immature humour.. I am a grown up.

My family relies on me. Then the realisation hits.. I have a family. I have a boyfriend. We have a child. I have a house to run.

Most days I still feel like a child. I still want my Mum, I still want her security and a lot less of the responsibility. I think that's what scares me.

Responsibility. I'm not just responsible for myself anymore and my main concern isn't about where my next pair of shoes will come from. My main worry is about what will we have for tea? Will my wages cover the bills this month? What happens if they can't? What will my family do then? Because ultimately if I let my family down, I have let myself down.

Some days I don't feel mature enough to handle the responsibility.

I still feel like a small child in a very large world. At what age did I separate myself from a child to an adult?

Don't get me wrong, I am appreciative of the life I have. It is by far from ideal, but I am proud of it. Sometimes, I turn to my family for help. Sometimes I admit defeat.

Sometimes, just sometimes.. I figure it out for myself.

But I know that I have a life worth living for.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The One Where Princess Starts Nursery

If there's one thing I've learned since becoming a parent, it's that kids often take you by surprise.

They're by far the most consistent of little beings, but sometimes they can just shock you to the point you're not sure how they quite achieved it.

The 9th of January saw Princess start her first day at nursery. Her first session was only an hour long and both Ross and I accompanied her. As we presumed, she took to the class like a dream, not one whinge, complaint or tear came from her tiny little face. Although she did cry when we had to leave.

Ross took her for her second session, an hour without either of us there. I was at work that day and I panicked. I was sat in work worrying about how our little girl was getting on. Was she okay? Had she found someone to play with? The thought of her sat by herself nearly set me off in tears. I needn't have worried though. A quick phone call from Ross and I found that she had played lovely with the other children and that she was looking forward to going back.


The week after was the real test. A full week of nursery sessions without either of us.. one of them a full day. Her afternoon sessions were much like the first. She wandered off to play as soon as she arrived, didn't complain for the whole afternoon and was happy when her Dad picked her up.

On Thursday came her first full day session. Ross and I were both worried. We were sure she would be fine, I mean she'd been fine for all of her other days.. but this was a full day. 9am-3.15pm. She would spend all morning there, have her lunch and all afternoon.

I was off work that day so actually managed to take her myself - the first proper session I could take her to. We got up early, got ready and walked to nursery. We chatted along the way. She was telling me all about her teachers, what they were like and what she hoped they would do that day.

Ross and I spent all day waiting for a phone call that never came.

By the time it came to pick her up, we were both full of anticipation. She was sat by the door in her coat, ready with her school bag and lunchbox and when her name was called to leave, she was so excited to see us!

I tell you, I could not have felt more proud of her at that moment.

She has continued to go to nursery for 4 afternoons and 1 full day a week. She is thriving beyond belief and couldn't be enjoying herself more.

She has made friends. She has learned nursery rhymes. She has eaten food she has always refused at home.

She needed this.

She needed this extra stimulus that her Dad and I couldn't give at home. She needed the socialization of other children. She needed another form of authority that could get her to do things she wouldn't usually do.

Even though I sort of knew this, I had always feared it wouldn't be the case. I had been worried she would be upset by us leaving her there and I was worried she would be by herself. I don't know why I was worried really.. I think I was probably more worried for myself. In my heart I knew she would be okay. I knew she wouldn't cry for us when we left and I knew she would have no problem making friends. But the fear that any of that might not have happened filled me with dread.

In a way, it didn't come as any sort of surprise.. but I am still shocked at how well she has accepted this huge change in her life. She has taken to school like a duck to water and I couldn't be more proud of her.

It saddens me that this is basically our life now for the next 15 years.. the "school run". I hope that for the next 15 years she continues to be excited by her upcoming days at school. I hope that she will still enjoy telling me all about her day.

It amazes me that after 3 years, I am still learning new things about my little girl every day. She is funny, beautiful and so, so kind. God knows where she gets it from!

I hope that her nursery visits continue in this way. I can imagine they will. I think the biggest change has come for myself and Ross. When she's not around, we just don't know what to do with ourselves. We don't spend much time away from her, and when we do, we feel lost.

It seems she has taken to the change a lot better than we have. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Worlds Most Amazing Blackhead Killer!

Through some sort of crazy miracle, I am very lucky to have nice skin. It isn't oily, tends to be a little dry but nothing a touch of moisturizer can't sort out.

I know how lucky I am. I have never really suffered with spots the way most teenagers do. I have the odd one that breaks out every now and again but it disappears just as quickly as it came. It is soft. Minus a few moles here and there, I don't have any complaints.

Ross on the other hand suffers rather badly with his skin. From a young age, he has suffered from what the Doctors call 'cystic acne'. I don't think they really know what his skin condition is, or what causes is, but it is something that doesn't go away. It isn't teenage acne that disappears after a few years and it isn't a 'break-out' that most of us have had to endure at least once in our lives.

He has scars. On his face, neck and upper back. He gets the odd cyst on his arm that bursts. Blackheads seem to appear daily and I will help him get rid of them. I must love him considering I can't even pop my own spots. But I see him suffer and I do anything I can to help.

Most people don't notice it when they look at him. I don't. To me, his skin tells a story and it is every much a part of him as Princess and I are.

Recently, StyleLux sent a couple of Blackhead Killer masks to try out. After relating to them my lack of skin troubles, I asked if I could use this on Ross and relate to you my readers his story and his experience. Basically, this is his review.

The face mask itself is a thick and sticky black like substance. Despite this, it's easy to apply. It's also helpful as you can see exactly the areas you have missed and where to apply more. After about 20 minutes or so, the mask will dry in to a rubbery texture which you can then peel away.

The one thing I will advise on this, especially for men, is make sure you shave before hand. This mask really gets in to your pours and will rip out any piece of hair you have on your face. I made sure I avoided eyebrows and hairline.

I couldn't tell you from personal experience, but Ross says it is quite painful to remove the mask. Not unendurable pain but definitely uncomfortable. However, because of this, you know it's working.

The result is instantaneous. Straight away I could see the difference in his skin. It was clearer and less red. Any blackheads that the mask failed to pull out completely, had been drawn to the skin and we were able to get them out easily.

Ross commented on how much better his skin felt. It felt tight and soft and after applying a bit of moisturiser, any pain he had felt went away.

It couldn't have hurt him that much because we have been repeating this once a week!

I'm tempted to try it on myself. I honestly would if I had any blackheads on my face but I really am lucky to not have any. I'm just a bit worried if I did apply it, with the absence of blackheads, what would I be pulling off my face!?

It costs just £14.95 for a 5 pack of Blackhead Killers from StyleLux. Usually I would only spend so much on a moisturiser, but I really would say that these masks are worth it.

Seeing the change in Ross's skin right before my eyes is proof enough to me of the effects the masks can have. We will continue buying these from now on, even if they don't cure his skin completely, any sort of relief they can give him is worth it.

We were kindly sent these Blackhead Killer masks for the purpose of this review.