Sunday, 18 August 2013

#Spend20K Challenge

I just came across the #Spend20K Challenge. One of my hobbies is to enter a few competitions here & there as it's fun to enter & it's fun to dream when there is always the chance of winning. They always say that "you have to be in it to win it" so why not? Anyway as I like a challenge & often day dream about what I would do if I won a large sum of money, I thought this would be a fun thing to write about. Who doesn't want to win the lottery? or a big cash prize competition?

Well, the National Lottery is changing on 5th October, giving players more chances to win more prizes. Players will get £25 for matching 3 numbers in the draw (up from £10) and 4 numbers (from £60 to £100), and a new raffle guarantees at least 50 winners of £20,000 each draw! And the best bit? When the jackpot rolls, so does the raffle, meaning hundreds more guaranteed £20,000 prizes.

The challenge I have is to say how I would spend £20K if I had the chance, wow that would be easy to do several times over LOL!

Well for me the biggest dream if I had the money is to take my slightly larger than average sized family on holiday back to Turkey. Why Turkey you might ask?
Well, we discovered Turkey back in 2006. We booked at the very last minute for a 2 week holiday at a bargain bucket price staying in an apart-hotel in Marmaris. It was fabulous, we loved the food, we loved the weather, we loved the beach, we also loved that it was so cheap. Things I'm sure have changed now, but back then you got 3 TL (TL=Turkish Lira) for every £1 & each 1TL bought you the same as what £1 would buy you in England. I have to laugh at what I thought were rising fuel costs back then, I remember being outraged that fuel was 77p a litre & now its getting too close to £1.50! & I have to spend twice as much now to get the same amount of groceries as I did back then!
We booked budget flights & hotels planning a journey round the South West of Turkey taking advantage of the fact that all the prices were dropping drastically due to a decrease in tourism of 75% that year - why? It was 2006 & the World Cup so I guess everyone was visiting the countries involved in it instead.

We had a lovely holiday enjoying the sunshine, gorgeous Turkish beaches, boat trips round the Turkish coast, trips to Pammukule (translation: Cotton Castle) an amazing natural phenomena where the heavily calcium laden water has laid white deposits down making huge white travertines. There were Turkish nights with fire eaters & belly dancers & all you could eat delicious food & drink included. The Turkish people were friendly and the children had a wealth of new experiences. Travelling was very good for them. Breakfast was in the self catering apartment, honey & bread that we had bought, lunch was kebabs (about 50p each!) & we found the best Turkish food for tea in the places the locals went to, not the over priced tourist places.
A year later we had the good fortune of going back travelling in a big group made up of us along with my parents, one of my sisters & a friend of the family. It was amazing & while my parents were out there with us they loved it so much that they bought a house(!) & they have been back there several times every year, but since 2007 we haven't been able to go back & I have never seen their house.
We moved house & there has been a lot of ill health in the past few years so my dream for the first part is to buy passports for everyone & book a villa or an apart-hotel near my parents house & to go for a long holiday out there. Giving the kids fun, new experiences & having some recovery time after a very difficult, stressful few years.

Second on my wish list, would be to pay someone to sort our garden out. Our house is at the bottom of a slope & it is very difficult with a garden that is not flat & has a lot of drainage problems, it is often a muddy mess at the bottom & I long for the kids to have a lovely space to play in. I would like the very rough & ready patio extended, the fences mended & some kind of shelter built over the existing small piece of patio to extend the playing area when it rains. I would get a sensibly priced expert to help me with this. I have problems with sciatica & my husband has motorbike accident injuries so it's not something that we can do ourselves. I would also employ a friend I know to re-decorate the house because it desperately needs doing, but with all the little kids to look after there aren't any extra hours in the day for anyone to do it.

I'm not sure how much dream #1 & #2 would cost & how much would be left, but I don't think I would really want to buy anything else! I'm not greedy. I love fancy gadgets the same as the next person, but really I don't think we need any more than we have, maybe bar a TV in my bedroom! I would invest the rest so that we could take our kids to Turkey in other years & so that there is always something in the bank for emergencies, like when the car breaks down, when something breaks & needs replacing, when the kids need something important & to have enough for Christmas. I don't go overboard on Christmas, I shop in sales & keep it sensible, but toys aren't cheap & it would be good to know that we can afford it without worrying about it.
So dream #3 is to keep the rest to invest as a nest egg to cover eventualities & unexpected expenses.

Also I believe that if we were lucky enough to win a big amount, then something should also be given to those who are a less fortunate than ourselves. Maybe sponsoring a child in a developing country or donating some funds or buying some supplies for a local homeless shelter. Maybe an anonymous gift to a family member or friend who really needs it. Just a way of saying thank you & remembering that there but for the grace of God go I.

This post is an entry for BritMums #Spend20K Challenge sponsored by The National Lottery, with more ways to win more money on the new Lotto game. Find out more about new Lotto, which starts in October, here –

I apologise for the lack of photos but my own laptop as at the repairers & my mobile was stolen with all my photos on it!

Fabulous Blog & competition...

Just a very quick post! As I am determined to get my blog going again.
I came across this fabulous blog...

& they have an amazing competition running called We Want All The Dresses to win £100 ASOS vouchers. I love ASOS & I love dresses so it's right up my street! The competition is HERE

Have a look at We Want All The Dresses by clicking THIS LINK

Go quickly though as it ends 18/08/13 - All the best!

Summer holidays!

The Summer holidays as every parent knows can be totally crazy passing in a sea trying to keep the children entertained, trying to stay on top of all the extra housework, keeping up with cooking & washing, trying to get all next school years school uniforms, shoes & stationery all bought & ready, labeling them all & above all trying to stay sane!
To keep ours busy & give them a fun experience, we took our kids away for a week in a static caravan by the seaside on the Lincolnshire coast. It was total chaos packing for everyone & on top of that I also had to pack up the cat & take a couple of tropical fish in a bucket to my sister in Peterborough on the way - talk about over-load! There was so much to organize that I was sure that I would forget something!

We had decided to stay overnight in Peterborough to break up the 4.5hr journey & it was ideal to catch up with family. I hadn't seen my sister's new house & I hadn't seen my parents for months as they had only just got back from Turkey.
On the morning of travel I took the kids to a play scheme, because I find nothing harder than trying to pack the car up quietly while tripping over kids who are whizzing in & out of the house & up & down the street telling every random stranger that we are going away! I find it a nightmare & always worry that I will come back to find the place burgled! Although any burglar breaking in would be sadly disappointed as they would find very little worth taking, unless they wanted industrial quantities of washing powder, nappies or baby wipes!
Packing without the kids around was much easier & done in half the time. Once everything was in including the cat & fish (the fish were safely in carry bags inside the bucket), the plan was to collect the kids & then drive straight on up the A1. However with kids & animals, nothing goes quite to plan...
I packed my eldest son's 3DS but his favourite game was missing, he is autistic with ADHD & it was the end of the world to him that his game was missing. Knowing I would not hear the end of it for the next few hours & I wanted to drive up in peace, the only choice we had was to go back to the house & get the game... so far so good. Suddenly while I was in the house getting the game the kids started shrieking "Mummy the cat's pooed in the carry box & its all over him!" Argh! Yuk!
Oh help! I had never bathed a cat before & was not in the mood to start now! The old joke of "How to power wash a cat in the toilet" briefly flashed through my mind, but knowing it wasn't a serious suggestion I had to think of something else! Luckily I managed it in the shower (with the shower room door locked!) & not having "cat shampoo" I had to use "baby shampoo" instead. The cat didn't seem to object too much as he is pretty laid back (he has to be with our lot!) We wrapped him up in a towel to dry him off as best we could. I cleaned & dried the carrier & put the cat back in it. I felt a little sorry that Felix was probably traumatized by his first shower & then was going to be dropped off at the cattery for 8 days not long after. I really hoped that he didn't think it was a punishment!
Anyway after all that we finally got off on holiday OK!

I haven't got any photos of our holiday to hand yet because my first laptop went wrong & then my phone was stolen with all my pictures on it :-( I did take more pictures right at the end with a different phone, but I can't get them uploaded until I get my laptop back from repair. I'm borrowing my daughters' laptop atm & I am really not getting on with it at all! It is running so badly it needs a re-build!