The South-East squeeze

Just had to say no to interview for a very well paid job because a) I currently live too far away and b) if I moved closer I wouldnt be able to afford housing.

The property bubble in London seems to have bounced its way into other counties, leaving home ownership exclusive to the very wealthy.

Trouble is we cant all be wealthy can we? Someone has to drive tractors, teach kids, do civil service roles and all the many other needed, but not very well paid, skills that are sought to keep society ticking over. These people also need somewhere half decent to live.

What about those people who live in an area that is considered to be ‘commutable to London’ yet do not work in London? They get squeezed out of the area because they cant compete with buyers with capital salaries.

Then there’s tax…..

I am not sure after expensive accommodation and tax bills there is much left to cover rising food bills. I really wonder how people on low income salaries get by these days, no wonder there are food banks and appeals popping up everywhere.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

If in doubt…..

Our heads are exploding. For the first time in 14 years, my husband did an interview for an employed job having been a self-employed sole trader for years. He has been offered the job and is now doing what many people struggle with when balancing employed and self-employed pros and cons: tax, income, stress levels, paperwork, bosses, clients, pressure, staff..the list goes on.

Now the attention is shifted to me with an interview for a job with a good salary coming up next week but located in the opposite direction. We potentially face a stand-off over who gets o earn the bigger crust and who takes over the child-care and dog-sitting – another dilemma presented for many a couple.

In the meantime before you can make decisions on the future you have o deal with the here and now and I am already committed to other part-time jobs closer to home and I hate letting people down. Plus the biggest issue of them all when considering work is available child-care and costs versus salaries.

So for the moment we are both seeking buckets of sand for our heads……like I would imagine many thirty-something couples with young families are on the hunt for to.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Auction junkie?

Its late because I want to return the commitment my daughter demonstrated earlier today when she very carefully laid out all her unwanted toys, games and shoes and took pictures of them for eBay. My daughter is a capitalist. She wants to buy but knows her mum and dad wont turn her into a spoilt little brat and will only buy things if it is a) Christmas, b) birthday or c) a reward for a significant achievement. So in-between these events, she has to work for it.

I am an only child and I was spoilt. I received pocket-money from each parent (as they were divorced) and I grew up with no awareness of budgeting (as my mum wanted to ensure I never had to worry about money because of her own childhood experiences).

So on the flip side after a few debt car crashes, i want to ensure my children are aware of the value of things and what it takes to earn and therefore be more responsible about buying.

So in addition to housework my daughter is thinking up other ways to make money and has discovered eBay – hence why I have to keep hunting for my tablet round the house. The only problem is eBay is quite addictive – am I encouraging an auction room junkie?

Best go now as an item I am bidding on is about to run out…..

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading. 

Four on holiday

The wind blew us from boat to motorhome,

A surprising adventure was in store,

We found some sites that were spectacular and free

Others we had to pay alot for

The sea summoned us, her charms irresistible

A boat-trip or two fulfilled us more

Sky and space and freedom worth sacrificing

The pennies and pounds we had to withdraw,

Bikes and bells absorbed sites under pedal

Cream teas, ice-creams we kept asking for

Then family joined us for a day or two

In a convoy of campers we began to explore

Kayaks and wet-suits, sandwiches and beach towels

Beautiful views and scenes that dropped jaws to floor

A dotty dog accompanied the travelling circus

Her idea of adventures sometimes against the law

Reluctant goodbyes preceded further journeys

The jurassic coast and a windy ramble to Durdle-Door

All modes of travel we sampled, buses, trains,

And anything with sliding doors

At times the children were taxing

Sometimes we fought like a band on tour

We braved the beautiful beaches

Despite  goose-bumps and chattering jaws

We convinced ourselves it was still Summer

Regardless of all the coats and layers we wore

The adventure ended in the forest

Where we decided to take a tour

Of the ponies, pines and territory

That is protected by ancient law

We fed the children first to save money

And kept fuel costs low door-to-door

But the budget still ran over

Soon we were picking pennies off the floor

But time together is well spent

Gazing at our lives now so changed from before

Holidays as a couple were relaxing

But they are an adventure now we are four.

 

This blog is for Unicef. Nine days away from blogging = £9 to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

  

 

 

 

Yes woman

Unlike Jim Carrey’s character in the film ‘yes man’, I have the opposite problem – I find it hard to say no.

I am a change junkie, I love change. If my husband said tomorrow that the whole family were leaving for Australia, within minutes I would be researching flights without a backward glance. I was once told I have a higher than average sense of mortality (which is a bizarre observation when you think about it), I am not one of those people who say ‘it wouldn’t happen to me’, more like ‘what if it happened to me?’ So I believe in living for the here and now (you might have guessed by now that I am not a huge fan of saving, but surprised to hear that I have been paying into a pension since my early twenties……i am also an optimist).

The trouble with being a yes woman is that pretty quickly your life can fill up. Just in responding to adverts publicised in my locality since giving up my job because of childcare costs, I have said yes to: a job working from home for the council, an interview to be a cycling instructor and become a member of a netball team). This is aside from two children, helping my husband with his business and helping look after horses 3 times per week. Oh…..and I did sign up to bootcamp on the village green every Wednesday from September.

Thinking about it, the only time I say ‘no’ is normally in response to my husband asking me if I can do something……because I am too busy doing everything else. I am also (on the whole) successfully saying ‘no’ to sugar (although ate an eton mess for pudding earlier…..whoops).

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading. 

 

The careers race – who will win?

My husband and I are engaging in a careers race. His body is broken and he needs to switch into the slow lane, my career has ground to a halt as most of you know thanks to the HMRC. But to get a job that makes childcare worthwhile, i need an experience level that i havent had the chance to attain. No wonder most women leave it til their forties before they have children, because then they at least stand half a chance of earning enough after childcare to make it worth their while (assuming they spent their twenties and thirties climbing the ladder). I spent my twenties and thirties in labour/toddler groups and voluntary roles  sandwiched between two dead-end jobs.

So when my husband eggs me on to go for the ‘big roles’ that I know i dont have a cat in hell’s chance of even getting to interview, i start to get frustrated by what is expected – Mum and career woman – aahh! I give it my best shot while cursing i wasnt born with a willy.

Then i moan at my husband for not focusing enough on his career change because of the continued effort to bring the pennies in – you cant really blame him for that can you?

All the while i wonder how many couples are going through the exact same issues and what, if anything, can be done about it?

At the moment we are taking the machine gun approach to job applications – a fast-track route to feeling rather shit about yourself rather quickly.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Maternity leave or better pay?

Today I broke the news to my boss about HMRC’s decision. The option to improve the salary was quickly squandered and the other alternative that he offered was to work from home, although he later back-tracked from that idea. So, since receiving the news from HMRC last Thursday, i will now be leaving my job next Thursday after four years (because i was due to finish for the school summer holidays anyway). I have yet to find out from HR  whether i will be required to return to complete outstanding notice in September, I hope not as I will incur further childcare costs that exceed my salary.

I was also interviewing for the maternity cover post for my colleague. Three candidates were interviewed. Myself and my colleague favoured the woman with the most experience and skills set. My boss wasnt so keen, feigning surprise at her independent school background saying she was “a little rough around the edges”. What he really disliked was the lack of a posh accent and her short skirt. If I was to be brutally honest, the woman he preferred was very pretty and lovely but with nowhere near the same skills-set or experience. He felt that she would be a better ‘fit’ within the department – more like he has one eye on the hareem of good-looking women he has in his office. The only problem is that women have children and need maternity leave and money for childcare – damned inconvenient.

When my Mum had me in 1980, there wasnt such a thing as maternity leave, but she did at least get paid enough to afford childcare when she returned to work a few weeks later. Supposedly in 2014 we have ‘moved on’ but what is the point of maternity leave if most mothers cant afford to return to work anyway?

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.