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Good housekeeping

Peaches on a market stall in Thiviers, France

Well bonjour mes amis! It’s been a long time. But I am delighted to report that this little blogger reached her target in May – £6,000 banked.

And a blogger with a penchant for markets is certainly not staying at home with £6K burning a hole in her pocket. There have been huge changes in the LoveRichCashPoor household in the last few months; we put the flat on the market, we took sabbaticals from work and we’ve temporarily set up home in France while we hunt for the dream house. Last week – oh joy – the sale finally completed and we’re all set to go wee, wee, wee, wee, wee and find our new home, wherever it may be.

Now we’re this side of the Channel (and the only money coming in is a small freelance wage I earn by typing my little socks off), the budget has become more important than ever. So stay tuned for cheap eats and free fun…

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love hearts: love rich cash poor

Well hello there. It’s been too, too long and I’ve missed you all dreadfully. I’m not just saying that; I really mean it. To be honest, I didn’t think anyone had noticed that I’ve failed to post for nigh on two months. Even my mum hasn’t bought it up. But it turns out there’s at least one person in the world who has clocked my silence, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Where have I been, you might well ask? I’m ashamed to confess I have been consumed, obsessed no less, with a new love…

Before you jump to conclusions, no, it’s not another man – my husband is still the one and only guy for me! I have a new job. I’m now managing editor of many, many wedding magazines. I have a new commute (the trusty bike had to make way for an extortionate train ticket), new responsibilities, a new salary and a new passion for my work. I love my new job. Not all the time, not everything about it (it’s terrible being the boss and having to be ‘mean mommy’) but how could I not adore looking at pictures of weddings all day, every day? It’s blissful.

Still, while I have completely failed on the blog front, I have not lost sight of my mission. I have £4,000 in the bank, and four months to go. We’re still on target baby!

I’m hoping that it’s true when they say ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Tell me, you lovely readers, am I forgiven?

Olympic Park, Stratford, London 2012

Reader, I’ve been bad. Not only have I failed to write my housekeeping report for nigh on three weeks but I have also well and truly blown the budget. However, the two are in no way connected – while it’s not exactly fun admitting my foibles on a weekly basis, you know I’m not afraid to do so.

No, the real reason behind the radio silence is that I simply haven’t had the time. Not a spare minute. I’ve been up at the crack of dawn and fallen into bed at midnight. I have barely even had time to watch Bake Off (see, it’s serious!). I hope you’ll excuse the departure from the usual format for one more week, while I catch up…

In the spirit of openness (albeit belated disclosure) here’s a taster of just how spectacularly I failed on the budget front during this little hiatus:

  • I spent an enormous amount on a pair of smart trousers and two blouses in Whistles (before you gasp in horror, can I add the caveat that it was a sound investment as it was an outfit for an interview? No? Okay, my bad! I just didn’t think H&M leggings with a couple of holes in where the bike chain caught would cut it).
  • I bought lunch on seven separate occasions. Once I even bought my lunch in Pret a Manger despite having a perfectly good tub of leftover stir fry in the work fridge because I just didn’t fancy eating it. Tut tut.
  • There was various hen do, wedding, holiday and new baby related expenditure, all of which was wildly over budget, all of which I’m placing firmly in the ‘essential’ category and none of which I’m detailing here.
  • I spent £7.99 on a serving slate because I wanted one.
  • I couldn’t resist the lure of a new novel in WH Smith (the new Adriana Trigiani, since you ask). No idea what it’s about as I haven’t had time to read it yet—I think I just wanted to kid myself that any day now, I’d while away an afternoon on the sofa, cup of coffee by my side. While we’re in fantasy land, let’s throw in an non-existent fire and a dog for good measure.

So there you have it. I won’t apologise, because I wouldn’t change any of those things for the world. Well, maybe the lunches and the novel, which are ridiculous expenses given that I live five-minutes’ walk from a library and several secondhand bookshops and am perfectly capable of making my own lunch.

Still despite August being a complete washout on the savings front, I’m giving myself a little pat on the back as the old bank account is looking pretty healthy. In the last four months, I have cleared all of my debts and managed to scrape together just shy of £2000. That’s right, I’m pretty damn impressed with myself.

All the above has got me thinking about my ultimate goal. Notwithstanding my many ‘slips’ since I started this blog, I seem to be ahead of schedule. Originally, the plan was to save £8,500 over 17 months (leaving me £6,000 in credit). Now, thanks to the fact that I’m no longer paying off my student loan and credit card every month, which has freed up a little extra cash, I could do it in a nice even 12 months.

And while I’ve mostly been adhering to the first rule of saving money (spend less), I haven’t spent much time exploring the second (earn more). That is until now… watch this space.

 

 

Postscript: congratulations this week go to the Smiths on finally tying the knot and the Browns on their gorgeous new red head. X

Friday

Wake up with: £80 + £28.86 (from last week)

Go to bed with: £80 + £28.86

At 6am, I am pacing in paradise. I watch the rosy glow of dawn spread across the lagoon from my hotel window, it’s going to be a scorcher today. And suddenly, there it is; the news I have been waiting for all night: my wonderful, clever, brave sister has given birth to a little girl. And so the waterworks begin…

The day has a dreamlike quality to it: breakfast with the client, a last wistful wander around Hotel Cipriani’s kitchen gardens, then an hour to get lost in the streets behind Piazza San Marco before I have to jump on the vaporetto to the airport. I get home to an immaculate house, and the husband has even bought me flowers. Did I mention how much I love the husband?

Saturday

Wake up with: £80 + £28.86

Go to bed with: £80.04

Can there be anything better than the utter decadence of a Saturday morning with nothing to do and no one to see? I laze in bed, conducting a multi-media, cross-channel campaign to get my poor beleaguered brother in law to send me photos of my new niece. Then transfer to the sofa for full Olympic immersion.

I was going to offer to take my long-suffering husband out to dinner with the £28-odd pounds I somehow have left from last week, but the Olympics coverage is too exciting and we settle on a takeaway instead so we don’t miss a second of the Gold Rush. Go Team GB! I am really not accustomed to this winning lark but I could certainly get used to it: three golds. THREE GOLDS!

Sunday

Wake up with: £80.04

Go to bed with: £64.31

I have a date with my younger goddaughter to check out her new tooth today. I know it’s a cliché but I just can’t get over how quickly babies grow. I see Tiz at least once a month, but I’m amazed how much she changes in that relatively short interval. She’s now at the delightful shuffling and gurgling stage. Heart-meltingly cute — it makes me ache to see my niece. In a mad moment, I almost get on a train to Lancashire on the way home, then I remember they are still in hospital; so I return home via the greengrocers and cook a tomato shorba soup for the week. I will have to be patient.

Monday

Wake up with: £64.31

Go to bed with: £45.62

Supper Club is back on now we have the full complement of facilities, but we’ve no food in the house and I was too distracted by the Olympics to plan a menu at the weekend, so I cycle home via Sainsbury’s. Monday night is definitely the night to pick up a bargain in Dalston. I get 12 sausages for £1.50 and can’t resist a rack of lamb reduced from £7.99 to £3.29; the freezer will have a field day. I use half the sausages to make enough sausage and roasted pepper cannelloni to feed four hungry boys and the husband and I for the rest of the week. Yum!

Tuesday

Wake up with: £45.62

Go to bed with: £45.62

Tuesday is a whirl of meetings and emails so I’m exhausted by the time I get home. I spend the night relaxing in front of the Olympics, whittling down the enormous ironing mountain.

Wednesday

Wake up with: £45.62

Go to bed with: -£19.08 (oops)

My sister and niece have been given the all-clear and are on their way home from hospital. I promptly break the cash-only rule and order her a Sainsbury’s delivery online so she can just concentrate on her new family of three and not worry about the shopping.

Tonight I’m booked in for dinner with the girls. Despite the fact that I spent all my remaining weekly budget at lunchtime on my sister’s surprise, there is no way I am cancelling an evening with some of my bestest girls in one of my favourite restaurants, so I peddle off to Gallipoli Again for gossip and mezze: at £17.70 including wine, it’s reasonable—I’m not going to lose any sleep about blowing the budget this week.

Thursday

Wake up with: -£19.08

Go to bed with: -£19.08

I am supposed to be meeting a friend for drinks tonight, but she is unwell – and the budgeting side of my brain breathes a sigh of relief. We re-schedule for next week, when hopefully I’ll be able to comfortably afford a glass of vino or three.

I end the week £19.08 down, but one niece up, so on balance, I think I must be the richest person in the country this week. Welcome to the world our little Golden Girl, I cannot wait to meet you. X

Friday

Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £41

Another £50 week, to account for the purchase of wedding presents this month. I am very much looking forward to next week, not only because it will herald the return to the full budget, but also the return to normality on the home front: the DIY project is scheduled to finish on Monday. Phew.

The week starts on a real high, a drink and a gossip with a former colleague at The Book Club Basecamp, a pop-up outdoor bar, kitchen and playground that is screening the Olympics everyday until 12th August. It’s awesome, but unfortunately everyone else thinks so too. We finally manage to secure a bottle of rose, (£18) and a nook to drink it in (free) and so the gossip begins.

As the wine peters out, I check in with the husband who sounds unusually strained for a Friday night, so I decide that I’d better head home to ply him with some food and cuddles. Plus, I’m really looking forward to seeing our newly-installed bathroom floor…

When I get home, I discover exactly why the husband is tense. The tiler we have drafted in, the self-same tiler who promised it would take just a day to lay our new bathroom floor is still there. The toilet and sink are disconnected and there is precisely one tile on the floor. We try to cajoule the tiler into calling it a day: surely he wants to watch the opening ceremony? Apparently he doesn’t.

I walk into the garden, take a deep breath and resolve to put on my happy face. I am zen personified. The husband and I retire to the sitting room to watch the show, which is enough to banish all DIY stresses. It’s amazing, transporting us to another world where London is a dream city and the UK a utopia of all things lovely and wondrous. And I really want a pair of those glow-in-the-dark wings. Good job Danny Boyle.

The husband has bought us steak for tea and, when the tiler finally leaves at half ten (curiously, no noticeable progress has been made), we sit down to enjoy it on the balcony.

On this night, I am proud to be British, at least until Paul McCartney starts warbling, anyway! 

Saturday

Wake up with: £41

Go to bed with: £41

On the plus side, this DIY business sure is cheap. I’m so busy sanding, painting and cleaning today I haven’t got a second to spend any money—as long as you don’t count all the pennies I have to spend in the local pub; our loo is no closer to being connected at the day’s close, although we have at least got a few tiles on the floor now.

Looking on the bright side, at least I’m here today to remind the tiler not to smoke in the house, use my kitchen worktop as a tile-cutting bench, or to wipe up excess adhesive with my shower curtain. Honestly, I have spent more time over the last few weeks desperately fire-fighting after spectacular carelessness than I have actually doing DIY. It took an hour to pick the paint off my jute chair covers (they were in a room where NO DIY was taking place!), I have washed, dried, ironed and folded endless amounts of towels and teatowels that have somehow leapt from the serried ranks in the airing cupboard into a bucket of plaster. Not to mention the irreplaceable and precious fabric I was using as a window panel in the sitting room, which is now liberally daubed with white gloss paint and consequently ruined forevermore.

Humph!

Sunday

Wake up with: £41

Go to bed with: £32.90

I am no longer zen. At 3.45pm on day three of the bathroom floor debacle, there is no sign of the tiler, ergo sum, the bathroom floor is no closer to being completed. The tiler said he would be here between 11am and 12pm. So far, so four hours late. I am not impressed. He finally turns up at 3.52. Grrrr.

I try to distract myself with a trip to the greengrocers and a bit of kitchen therapy, but it’s an ask with all the bathroom appliances and several toolboxes underfoot. Still, we’ve got to eat something this week so I persevere. I make a couple of moussakas (one for now, one for the freezer), a dame blanche cheesecake and some quesadilla filling, as well as a pot of chicken stock. By the time I have shopped for and made that lot, the floor is no closer to completion.

I should point out at this juncture that our bathroom floor is approximately two foot by six foot; I could have taught myself to tile and plumb in the amenities by now. The clock ticks on, the floor is grouted but the ‘conveniences’ remain in the kitchen. Curious. Eventually, at ten pm, when I am ready to weep with frustration, the tiler decides he is going to come back tomorrow. It takes every single ounce of willpower I have to nod and smile, and not punch something (or someone). As soon as the door closes the floodgates open. I can’t take this anymore.

Of course I am grateful that he worked through the weekend to finish the job. Of course I appreciate that you can’t have good, fast and cheap. But: builders please note: if you think it will take three days, say so. But don’t tell me it will take one day and then drag it out to four.  And yes, that is a newly-painted wall you have just smeared with grout. Thanks. I’ll just repaint that before I go to bed then.

Monday

Wake up with: £32.90

Go to bed with: £28.86

I’m not the greatest fan of Monday mornings, but boy is it a relief to be at work today. There isn’t dust on every surface and I don’t have to leave the office to relieve myself. Bliss.

One big shout out has to go to the husband, who got up at 6.45am to clean the bath so I could wash for the first time in three days. The husband is amazing. FACT.

It’s lucky I’m feeling buoyed up because the carpet fitter calls in sick. Oh joy! On the plus side, the husband tells me the tiler is on his way at 11am. All he has to do is re-plumb in the loo and sink… When I get home from work at six-thirty, guess who’s still there? Yep, the tiler. Oh joy! And neither the loo nor the sink are plumbed in. How is this possible? What has he been doing for six and a half hours? Reader, I am baffled – and furious. This is beyond a joke now. Maybe I should stop feeding him? The tiler eventually leaves at nine-thirty pm (after I’ve cooked him dinner), so another night ruined, but at least we have a working bathroom now. Thank god.

Tuesday

Wake up with: £28.86

Go to bed with: £28.86

Hurrah! The carpet fitter has been and I am going to sleep in a proper bed tonight. The husband and I spend the evening re-assembling the bed, and gradually shuffling the furniture into the right position in the right room.

At just after midnight, I climb into an actual bed, in the actual bedroom and delight in the clean sheets. This is the definition of bliss.

Wednesday

Wake up with: £28,86

Go to bed with: £28.86

To say I have a humdinger of a day at work would be an understatement. Luckily, I have the perfect antidote up my sleeve: we’ve been invited to cuddle the brand new supper club baby this evening over dinner. The tiny one is utterly gorgeous, and I scoop him onto my lap, apparently just in time for his evening ablutions. I quickly try to hand him back to his dad but it’s too late; he’s christened my dress. I mean, really, really christened my dress. His mum and I are so busy crying with laughter that we can’t even wipe it up. Luckily, it doesn’t put me off my dinner (I’m not sure what it would take to put me off my dinner!)—delicious chicken satay—followed by my dame blanche cheesecake.

On the way home, I reflect on the day: there has to be something wrong when the high-point of your day is being poo-ed on! Luckily, I am escaping from everything tomorrow: I’m off to Venice for a meeting with a client. No more DIY, no more ‘challenging’ work situations: just me and Italy. I need this, reader, I need this.

 

Thursday

Wake up with: £28.86

Go to bed with: £28.86

My sister has gone into labour. MY SISTER HAS GONE INTO LABOUR! It’s a huge surprise when I get a text telling me that her waters broke yesterday as she isn’t due until the 27th. I rise at 5am to catch my flight to Venice, frantically checking my phone every 30 seconds for news. I know this giving birth business can take a wee while, but I can’t stop myself.

There is literally nothing in this world that can rival the feeling of arriving at Piazza San Marco from across the sparkling lagoon. Venice is just magical and I feel my spirits soar instantly; now, I remember why I love my job. Our client is waiting for us at The Cipriani dock, and immediately ushers us poolside for lunch and a bellini—that’s what I call a welcome. We retire to the bar to brainstorm contents for the next issue, followed by an aperitif on the terrace and a tour of the hotel. After a magnificent dinner, I’m ready to sink into my five-star bed. It’s ridiculously comfortable, like  sleeping on a cloud, but I toss and turn, constantly glancing at my phone in case my new niece or nephew has made an appearance… To Be Continued.

Had any DIY dramas of your own? Dreaming of escaping the daily grind? Get it off your chest, or simply divulge your dream destination in the comments box below… Thank you, as ever, for reading.

 

Parklife: relaxing in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, London

Parklife: relaxing in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, London

Friday

Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £50

As predicted, the ‘team meeting’ is less about ‘team’ and more about the dissolution thereof. I am one of the lucky ones for now, and I leave work on Friday still in gainful employment, although the survivor’s-guilt sets in as I cycle home.

I’m almost glad for the opportunity to throw myself into some manual labour to take my mind off the whole thing: the new carpet has been fitted in two rooms, so we can start to put them back together. Cue much hoovering, dusting and heavy lifting. By ten, the husband and I are sat on the sofa, enjoying our tea (spaghetti carbonara cooked by yours truly), watching the TV in a sparkling-clean sitting room. With the door closed, we can almost forget about the rest of the flat.

Saturday

Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £20.70

We’re due at a friend’s wedding in Finchingfield today. The day dawns bright and promising: welcome back summer. We’re both up early to continue the endless shuffle of possessions through the flat. The husband does a run to the tip while I continue to wipe and clear and by 10am we’re walking to the station primped and preened in our glad rags (this is something of a miracle given the state of our flat). The train ticket is £19.30 return.

The venue is stunning, the bride looks beautiful and it’s simply bliss to sip champagne in the sunshine and catch up with old friends. The husband and I get a taxi back to the station (£20) in time to catch the last train back to London: I’m stupidly grateful to fall into bed.

Sunday

Wake up with: £20.70

Go to bed with: £16.56

It’s a scorcher. It’s hard to laze in bed with the sun streaming through the curtains, so eventually we capitulate and make a half hearted attempt to do a little more work, before we decide that the DIY will have to play second fiddle to the sunshine today. The husband is dispatched to pick up picnic supplies and we hop on our bikes and head for the park.

After a magnificent open-air lunch, I fall asleep in the sunshine and consequently get ludicrously sunburnt. Oh well, it’s not as if sun damage has been a prevailing feature of summer 2012. We spend the evening ferrying the husband’s record collection between rooms and hoovering up the debris from stage one of renovations. I cook up a vat of ragu to keep us going through the week ahead; it’s going to be another long one. We eat on the balcony and then collapse on the sofa for a Wallander before bed.

Monday

Wake up with: £16.56

Go to bed with: £16.56

Supper Club has been cancelled because the husband is going to see the new Batman film and I have resolved to spend the rest of this week’s money on food for my local foodbank, but when I go to the website, there’s no information on where or when to drop off supplies. I email the director enquiring about volunteering and/or donations, but get no response. Curious. My do-gooding will have to wait until next week.

I have earmarked the entire evening to pack up my clothes and dressing table, but it turns out all my clothes fit into a single suitcase and an hour and six minutes after I first started, the bedroom is completely devoid of my possessions. I’m not sure why I’m surprised: in the last 12 months, I have bought two new dresses (both for weddings), two pairs of leggings from H&M and nothing else.

Tuesday

Wake up with: £16.56

Go to bed with: £8.56

A friend offers us two tickets for Daniel Kitson’s pre-Edinburgh rehearsal at the bargain price of £3 and we practically bite his hand off in our eagerness to get out of the house (and see Daniel Kitson’s new show, of course!). We meet at nine and have time for a glass of wine in the sunshine before the show begins. It’s hilarious and we pour out into the summer night giggling and grateful for the opportunity to leave the DIY behind for a night. Tonight we will have to sleep on the floor, our bed has been dismantled so the bedroom can be decorated this week, ready for the final carpet fitting on Friday.

Wednesday

Wake up with: £8.56

Go to bed with: £8.56

Whether it’s sleeping on the floor, the sudden onset of summer or simply that I’ve caught the cold that’s been doing the rounds, I wake feeling anything but rested, it’s going to be a long day.

The husband offers to gather supplies for the re-scheduled supper club. When he gets home, he is incredulous: “When did food get so expensive?” He splutters. “I just can’t believe how much prices have risen since I last did a proper supermarket shop.” He resolves to adjust the standing order between our bank accounts to reflect the price rise (I am Chief in Charge of Household Expenses and we don’t have a joint account). I can’t really see the point as it’s all going in the same pot anyway, but then I remember my poor, undernourished wardrobe. Maybe an extra tenner wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.

The boys pile over for a dinner of lamb kefte, flatbread, tzatziki and Greek salad. The adrenalin that’s been keeping me going for the last two weeks must have finally run out as I can’t keep my eyes open over dinner and fall asleep on the sofa before the clock strikes 10.

Thursday

Wake up with: £8.56

Go to bed with: £5.12

Despite my exhaustion, once I actually get into bed, I cannot sleep. After a night tossing and turning, I get up at 5am, sweating all over with a splitting headache, and what feels like the beginnings of a cold. Great. I climb back into bed with a wet towel draped over my head and shoulders to cool me down but to no avail. By the time the alarm sounds, I am so exhausted that I feel like crying. I spend the day on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, but after a couple of naps and a good 12 hours doing absolutely nothing, I start to feel like myself again and decide it would be criminal to waste what is billed to be the last night of summer sitting on the sofa, when I could sit outside instead. At half seven I decamp to the park and lie on the grass, eating twiglets with my running partner-in-crime. We were supposed to be running this very eve, but luckily for me, she is similarly run down and exhausted so we just gossip and relax in the last dregs of sunshine instead. By the time the husband tucks me in to our make-shift bed, I feel more like myself again. Onwards and upwards.

Five minutes of sunshine at The Folon Foundation, Belgium

Five minutes of sunshine at The Folon Foundation, Belgium

Friday

Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £29.01

I’m returning to the fatherland (Belgium) to visit my dad this weekend, so I spend my first £20.99 of the week on a keg of beer for the old man and a top-up for my Oyster card; the bike isn’t equipped to lug huge suitcases half way across London. I donate the measely £1.52 I have left from last week to a homeless gentleman who has taken up residence by the cashpoint.

Today is indeed an exciting day: I’m meeting my beautiful, gentle sister at St Pancras so we can travel over to Belgium together. She is eight-months pregnant and I haven’t seen her bump for three months. I know it’s a cliché but she positively glows, radiating femininity like Venus in Botticelli’s Primavera—long, lithe limbs stretching out from the womanly swell of her stomach. We spend the journey gossiping and arrive in time for a very late supper. I miss my sister: I hate that we live so far apart.

Saturday

Wake up with: £29.01

Go to bed with: £29.01

No lie in for me today: the stepmother wants to buy some things for the bump, so we set off to the nearest retail park to look at teeny tiny things. We get back in time for lunch and—as it is pissing down with rain (quel surprise)—unanimously elect for Plan B: a trip to the Folon Foundation to admire the illustrator’s watercolours. The weather obliges us with a five-minute walk around the park before the heavens open once more so it’s back home via Leonidas.

The whole extended family pile round for supper and we feast on produce from dad’s kitchen garden, not to mention his wine cellar. Delicious.

Sunday

Wake up with: £29.01

Go to bed with: £7.56

There’s just time to pilfer some of the fruits of my dad’s kitchen garden before we have to leave for the train. He is mystified; why do I want to carry potatoes all that way? I neglect to tell him that I can barely afford to buy potatoes, so carrying them cross-border is the least of my problems.

I get the bus home and arrive to find the house in complete disarray and the husband covered in paint. I dump the suitcase in the only available space, don my decorating gear and start painting. After three radiators and a coat on all the walls in the hallway, I’m done in. I’m getting too old for this. We right the sofa and promptly collapse on it. The husband begs for a curry and I’m too tired to contradict him.

Monday

Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £7.56

I almost plead exhaustion and cancel supper club before I discover that the new season of University Challenge starts this very night. Yes, I am very cool. The husband is instructed to purchase a chicken and some salad. There is nothing quite like roast chicken and friends to cheer the soul and make everything alright, I find.

Tuesday

Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £7.56

The whole company has been summoned to a ‘team meeting’ on Friday. Oh great. Last time I got one of those overly cheery yet strangely vague meeting requests, I lost my job. Note to management everywhere: you only ever send out non-specific, yet bizarrely breezy emails when you are giving some poor bastard the chop. We all know this.

I get home in time for another scintillating evening playing real life Tetris with the furniture in our flat. Dinner is a leftover special: chicken salad. The decorating continues…

Wednesday

Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £7.56

The husband is supposed to have the day off, but business has finally picked up so we make an executive decision to get a builder in for the day to finish the painting. He does an incredible day’s work and when I get home, I discover the good news is that phase one of the painting is finished. The bad news is that the house looks like a bombsite, everything is covered in dust, there is paint on the sofa and the hoover has been blocked. This is a living nightmare.

Then I discover that SOMEONE has used the last loo roll without a) buying a replacement or b) telling the Chief in Charge of Household Supplies so they can buy a new one. Reader, this is almost the last straw but SOMEONE rescues the situation by paying for the new pack and a couple of peppers to boot, so I can turn the remaining chicken into a curry for tea. And thus another day of married bliss ends in peace.

Thursday

Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £0

Thank god for Marks & Spencer’s mystifying approach to customer service is all I can say. For if M&S had been able to deliver the elusive item I have been charged with sourcing for my best friend’s wedding directly to my work, home or even to my nearest branch, then I might not have had to go to Kingston tonight. And that would mean that I would have to spend another night in the house from hell, with no internet and no TV. I charge my Oyster card with the remainder of this week’s cash and set off on a blessedly dust-free mission. I get home in time to unblock the hoover and painstakingly pick the paint off the sofa before bed. The carpet for phase one is due tomorrow, so if all goes according to plan, my husband and I will have survived an entire week of DIY without having an argument. Miracles will never cease.

Tell me reader, how was your week? Thank you ever so much for stopping by!

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