Buying a Home-Gym

I can’t remember if I have mentioned this a small age ago, but we’ve decided to convert our garage into a home gym. Number one, we never use it. Number two, eventually a home gym will save us money on gym memberships and the like. Number three, I need equipment around me to start taking exercise seriously, without jumping into a car and losing motivation on the journey.

How hard is it to find bloody gym equipment though? I have been googling and ebaying for the last two days, trying to make sense of it all, but am getting no where. I’m even thinking about hiring the gym equipment, so at least if we break it, someone else will fix it. There are just so many options and a bazillion brands to choose from! I didn’t know there was so much money to be made in exercise equipment. I want it to be good quality equipment too, so if I wanted to use it everyday (you can stop laughing at me now…), I can trust that it wouldn’t break. From looking at the prices of the supposed non-breakables, I think it’s more than likely I’m going to have to save up for the rest of the year at least for one item of equipment!

What I need in my gym is this:

  1. A treadmill. I might not be running at the moment, but Jay is and I will be soon. Even if I start at home and work my way out onto the streets around where I live, I know this is the ultimate way of losing weight. I just can’t at the moment, because I’m too self conscious.
  2. A cross trainer. I love cross trainers. I could cross train for hours and hours on end.
  3. A stationary bike. I hate cycling in public.
  4. A rowing machine. Probably not a necessity at the mo, but I enjoy these too.
  5. Probably some weights, but I have no idea what I’m looking for in this respect.

I just need to speak to someone who’s not trying to sell me something to figure out what exactly it is that I need. So I asked my friend, Imran, what his criteria was when he bought his fitness stuff. He’s bought a cross trainer before, and when I asked him, he told me I could buy his! He spent £120 for his one, and price was more of a factor for his purchase. I’m kind of looking for something that’s more worth the money, I guess.

So Immy helped me to look at websites to get all my equipment and I’m a little bit closer to finding what I really want. I really think this’ll be a work in progress though. For quite some time.

Have you ever bought any gym equipment? Where did you start looking and what were your factors for what you were looking for?

Taking my Budget Seriously Now…

If you’ve been reading for quite some time (hello!!), you’ll have noticed that I am pretty crappy when it comes to money. I am a really terrible impulse buyer and I see something sparkly and grab it while I can. Well, no more, I say!

I have decided to start taking my budget a little bit more seriously than perhaps I have been over particularly the past year or so. What’s sparked this on? I am 25 years old on Saturday (sob) and thus I need to get a bit more responsible (and adult-like… technically…) with what I do with my money and where it’s going. I’m not saving for anything in particular, but if there was something that I really, really wanted, I want to be able to go and buy it without reservation, so what’s wrong with saving a bit here and there? At the moment, I make a point of saving 10% of my wages every month, however when I’m really stuck for money at the end of the month, I dip into it…

Honestly, I haven’t really been too bad with spending recently, but I am heading out to Lakeside tonight and I just know I’ll be so stupid with all the money in my bank account, regardless that my car insurance and car tax payments have gone out this month. I managed to survive Tenerife with £300 to last me for 7 days worth of food, (mostly) drink, and duty free shopping. Go me!

So what now? I am back onto my strict budget of £10 a day. I actually spent all £10 yesterday on my lunch and dinner (soup for lunch and fish for dinner – fish is expensive and Jay ate the cod I was saving for today). Today, I have spent a thrifty £2.70 on my lunch and I expect to eat at my Mum’s house for dinner, so I will *technically* be saving. Although I’m sure that’s cheating a little bit…

It’s not really difficult to save when you think about it. But when I don’t, I tend to splurge. So I have started to record my spending on my calendar on my iPhone. It’s something that’s always on me and I can just keep updating when I spend the odd pound here and there. I need to just be a little bit more aware of what I’m doing with my wages and remember that, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

This time next year, we’ll be millionaires…

Budgeting.

Yes, it’s that inevitable post where I start talking about all things cash-related. I’ve not been too bad with my budgeting recently and have controlled my spending somewhat. That and with my new part time job, I am earning more than I was last year (hooray!) so if I want to buy a round of drinks in the pub, I don’t feel like I can’t buy any food the next day to counteract it. Although I only got paid for half a month as I started working half a month into the payroll, it’s still better than nothing and I am looking forward to earning more than that every month.

This month was all about cutting down my direct debits. I have consolidated my accounts (savings, ISA, 2 current accounts and everything else!) into one current account for now, just to see what I can actually pay off. The massive pay off this month was my car – I have been paying instalments to Mum every month since she bought it on my behalf and I decided that I needed that extra however much it was per month. That’s what savings are meant for, right? I have also decided to pay off my credit card bill with my savings so I don’t have that hanging over my head every single bloody month! More monthly moneys for Franno!

January has been an expensive month for 21st birthdays of 2 close family members and other bits and pieces. And I feel I have had to tighten my belt a bit. Just a bit though. I have gone out and enjoyed myself, but not at a crazy expense. My biggest expense of last month was most definitely petrol for work, but I get that back at 20p a mile with my pay, so I’m hoping for a very healthy pay cheque for mid-February for both my petrol and my overtime.

So my expenses for the next month or so are basic ones. Food, petrol, bills and pet food. The end of March sees my car tax and beginning of April is the renewal of my car insurance, who I am thinking of changing anyway. Honestly, they don’t even use Autoglass, so I had to pay out £65 when my windscreen had a chip! And then, they charged me an extra £35 for the privilege of changing my address! I think I’m getting ripped off, so onto the comparison website I go… April will also see my phone upgrade time! I love phone upgrade time! I can change my current tariff to a cheaper one, receive a new handset and sell the old one to a mobile phone recycling site. I’m sure other people do this too, but I love the fact that you feel like you’re saving so much and earning something extra for recycling your phone. It’s freakin’ awesome.

I have not been splurging on clothes or make up so much recently because I spent all my Christmas moneys on that anyway so I’ve not needed anything different. Plus, I’m still losing weight and so quite reluctant to buy anything that won’t fit me in a couple of months. I’m sporting some really baggy leggings at the moment, but I don’t want to buy some new ones just in case.

I’m quite proud of myself for not buying stupid amounts of stuff. If this was me this time last year, I would’ve bought tonnes of stuff from all the high street shops, but I am showing some restraint – and it’s probably because I’m working all the time that I don’t get any time to browse around. I hope I can keep this up for at least another 6 months – then, maybe Jay and I will be able to go on a much deserved holiday! I am thinking of doing my £70 a week budget as I attempted last year, just to try that little bit harder… Maybe we’ll give that a go again :)

How’s your after New Year spending going? Have you had to tighten your belt?

Summary of 2011 Resolutions and New Year’s Resolution for 2012

I have my ‘What I Got For Christmas’ post in my drafts, but I’ve not had time to take pictures of everything yet, due to the brat of a dog running into every shot, so I’m doing this a bit backwards and publishing my resolution post first. Honestly, I will be blogging a bit better when I’m back at work and sitting at a computer for 8 hours with puppy running around my feet.

This time last year, I wrote myself a post of what my resolutions were to be for 2011 and, as it’s that time of year again, I figured I should probably review all of these to see what I stuck to and what I could probably carry forward to this year. If you want to read the original post, it’s here, but I will be going through each of them to see what exactly happened to my resolutions.

  1. It probably doesn’t surprise you that a massive part of my resolution was to lose weight, as I have been banging on about losing weight all year. You know what? I had a good start this year. Well. A start this year. To be honest, I could’ve done better, but I really didn’t want to control my life by a diet. From January, I will be hitting the diet hard. It’s my brother’s 21st at the end of January (which may be a bit too optimistic to lose, like a stone or something!) and I’m throwing a birthday bash in April this year. Eventually, I will be my ideal weight and look :)
  2. The second resolution of last year was to be nicer to Jay. I actually feel like I have been a lot nicer to Jay this year; maybe because it’s not really been as stressful year. I have generally been feeling happier and I think therefore I have been acting more positively :) I even pick him up from the station without moaning and groaning. Awesome.
  3. Don’t drink so much did appear on my resolution list. If you excuse the last few posts where I have been ‘drinking to get hammered’, I don’t think I have drank so often this year, but I do want to take this a step further and perhaps not drink for a certain amount of time and take regular detoxes this year. This will help with the weight loss as well, and my general well-being.
  4. I have taken more photos this year – some of it spurred by my new ‘Week In Photos’ posts (Christmas has made me slack on this!). I have taken over a hundred pictures of Ozzy since we’ve had him! But I definitely would like to keep this up.
  5. Lastly, we had to take care of my face. I have to say I have taken much better care of my skin since I made these resolutions a year ago. I don’t really break out as much anymore. Obviously you get those days, but really, I can’t remember the last time I had a massive spot on my face that didn’t magically disappear in a couple of days.

Generally, I think my resolutions went well last year. The ones to definitely carry forward are:

  1. Lose weight. Well, duh. 2 stone this year please.
  2. Don’t drink so much/Regular booze detoxes. I think I’ll have to look at my calendar and see when I get fit my detoxes in, but I probably won’t drink between New Year and lil bro’s birthday, and then the next big thing I can think of (off the top of my head) is my holiday in April.
  3. Take more photos. And make sure they’re not all of Ozzy.

More to add to this?

  1. Budget better. Hasn’t my budgeting been completely rubbish this year?! Hopefully, this will come naturally when my part time jobs finally get going (I have one of my first shifts on Monday day! Ahhh! And it’s on my own for 8 hours! Double ahhh!!), but I have really overspent in December. I think most people do though and, with Ozzy accessories and insurance and the suchlike, it was generally an expensive month.  A little saving goes a long way and all that jazz!
  2. Continue my girly phase. 2011 was the year that I got completely girly and I LOVE IT. I really do enjoy my Glossy boxes and playing with hair and make up, as sad as that may sound. I am really excited to see where it takes me in 2012.
  3. Get more organised. I noticed that my organisation at work was failing a little bit by the end of the year, so I want to brush this up when I start work again on Tuesday. I have already bought my 2012 work diary and have already a to-do list as long as my forearm to get on with when I get back. I am pretty excited to get back in my chair and get on with it, to be honest.

So that’s 6 New Year’s resolutions for 2012 to make a more awesome Franno. Is 6 enough? I can’t actually think of many more; that’s not to say I’m completely perfect as soon as these ones are all done! I’m sure I’ll think of more in time for next year.

Wishing everyone a happy New Year! What’s your New Year’s resolutions?

Weight Loss, Water and Plenty of Exercise.

Well, following my last post, I lost 1.5lbs last week.

This week, I gained half lb.

I have been stepping up my training, so I have reason to believe that its muscle, rather than faaaat! But I’m on my diet like no one’s business at the moment. I’m eating exactly what I should be eating. I’m not going outside my daily point allocation and, although I’m earning activity points (6 points per hour), I am not touching them either! Maybe that’s why I gained though… Because I’m not eating enough. I’m drinking 1.5 litres of water at least per day. Yesterday, I drank nearly 3 litres. Water speeds up fat loss, don’t you know. As I take a swig out of one of my 1.5 litre bottles.

Training has been going well. I am getting faster – well, as fast as you can for distance training. A 40 minute mile is my aim and that’s where I’m at right now. So it’s progress. I swam for an hour and a half the other day and didn’t really feel tired. But then, I had a shitty training session in the morning, because I hadn’t drank enough water. Lesson learned: drink tonnes of water when I’m swimming this for real.

Charlotte and I have joined the Zumba revolution. For those who haven’t tried it, do. It’s like aerobics to Latino music and Latino dance moves. It’s seriously addictive and we’re doing two sessions a week from next week! It doesn’t feel like you’re working out at all – but then you feel the sweat dripping from your forehead, so it must be doing something! On our Tuesday session, I’ll be swimming before hand as well! I must shift this weight… Particularly before weigh ins on Wednesdays!!

Today is a bit of an exciting day for me. My wardrobe is being delivered! Between the hours of 3pm and 7pm. FINALLY. I have saved and saved AND saved! And now I will have somewhere to store my clothes which won’t look like Primark railings. Seriously. Jay doesn’t want the wardrobe in our room, but God damnit, it’s going in there! I got up extra early to rearrange our room, ready for our new arrival. No, it is not a baby. I cannot wait to build it tonight. Ikea is like grown up Lego. I love it!!

So what am I doing this weekend, I hear you ask? Well, on Saturday, I have to swim, go to my Zumba class and teach swimming lessons for an hour. I might even push the boat out and go for a run! AND obviously, I’m gonna move all my clothes into my wardrobe! Yay!!

Sunday is Father’s Day. Yikes. I have donated my Father’s Day donation to Cancer Research. We’ve already gone through one of these and, although it doesn’t feel any easier yet, I’m sure it will do eventually. I felt really sad earlier this week and my head just kept flashing back to ‘the night’. I had a bad swim that day as well. I have to remember what I’m doing this swim for and what Dad would be saying now. Probably laughing at me, and thinking I would never be able to do it!

On Sunday, Jay and I are going out for lunch. We haven’t been out for a meal in a small age, so we’re living on the edge and going to lunch. And I have my discount card for 2 for 1 on all courses. So it’ll be cheap and cheerful!

My budget hasn’t been going as awesome as I hoped it would. I have been spending like a good’un. But that recycling phone website has given me £80 for my severely smashed up phone. Happy days! That’s going straight on a cover for my iPhone! And some new trainers. As I left my ones out in the rain the other day. Sigh.

So we’re starting our budget again! All my direct debits/savings have come out, I have paid friend for the iPhone and I’ve filled my car up with petrol. The outstanding direct debits are for phone bill, laptop and car insurance. I have to be super strict with my budget.

But alas, my dear reader, do not fret. Subway Subcard is all about earning triple points per sub that I buy and I have a low fat sub for lunch every day (9 points, in case you were wondering!). So, whilst this triple point thing is going on, I may as well use cash to buy my lunch and earn the points in order to get FREE Subway later on in life! HOOR-FRICKIN’-RAY!! Seriously, I have currently earned enough points for 3 free subs, but I’m going to hold out until the end of the month when I need free lunches! Also, you get the chance to win free things every day – I have won 2 free medium drinks or packets of crisps! SAVINGS!! I also am in for a chance of winning a Nintendo 3DS, which, if I do win, will be going straight on Ebay for more moneys to spend! Hahaha. I won’t win though. I never win.

I am feeling happy, Reader. Everything is going awesome. Don’t think I have not realised that I have not mentioned puggles in this post. We are still coming up with some awesome names. Yesterday, we were going through Harry Potter names. Fang is my favourite :)

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Channel Swimming and a catch up on my life!

I am so aware that I haven’t written since Newquay. Sorry, readers! I honestly don’t understand how people are doing this post a day in 2011 thing, when I can just about post once a week!

Anyways. What I’ve been up to. I’m blonde now! Hooray! Not even a subtle blonde. Bright yellow, almost white blonde. It took Nikki 5 hours – nearly 6! – to do all of my hair and my scalp is actually falling apart because of my stupid eczema, but she promised that she won’t have to do it like that again, so I’m happy. It was so blonde, in fact, that I had to tint my eyebrows to make me look a little more normal. Jet black eyebrows and bright yellow hair don’t quite go.

Other than that, I’ve been working hard. I reached my target – yippee! – and we currently have 322 babies swimming with us this term. This might change, as we do have a cooling off period, where people can still join over the second and third week, so we might even get to 350! We even have tonnes of babies on our waiting list for our next term in September! It’s all going good in work and we have two to four new pools for our September term too, which means we can have even more babies swimming with us! Hooray! Problem is that one current pool keeps faffing around, but this will hopefully be sorted this week and we can carry on as usual. It’s so quiet in the office today and I’ve done my jobs, so that’s why I’m blogging :)

I have up-ed the training for my super challenge this year. I have been training in drips and drabs for the last couple of weeks, due to already made plans at the weekend and stuff, so I am swimming a mile every single day and will attempt a one and a half hour’s swim before my recovery week in a few weeks time. I have somehow raised a whopping £1,270.00 and I’m still hoping to raise some more, as not all my relatives have put in yet! Training is going well when I actually do it – yesterday, I swam legs only for a mile in 50 minutes, which is less time it took me to swim full stroke for a mile when I first started this crazy thing. Tonight is arms only, which I am dreading. I am still sporting an old swimming injury and every time I swim front crawl, it hurts. So back stroke or breast stroke, it is. It’s only for a mile, that’s what I keep telling myself. An hour out of my life. And think of the weight I’ll lose. It’s fine. Eep.

Budget has been completely rubbish for this month so far. Bearing in mind, I got paid last week, I am down to my last few pennies, so I’ve had to dip into the wardrobe fund to help me out for this month. It’s only because my Newquay payments all got taken out after I got paid. It’s fine. I’m fine. This weekend, we have a man coming in to install a Sky eye into our bedroom and to put the TV up on the wall. It’s not going to cost too much and it’s another thing to do with the house, so I don’t mind putting some wardrobe fund towards it. Plus, online bingo’s on in the background and the jackpot is £25, so that might save me!

I kind of want to move out of our house now and onto somewhere new and perhaps closer to work, so I have been looking around on the sly – my God, houses are expensive. I want to make sure our current house is perfect before we leave though, so that’s why I’m getting all these jobs done. Painter/decorator is in at the beginning of June – no, that is not a euphemism!! – to cut in the paint jobs that Jay and I didn’t do so well and to sort out Jay’s study and to paint around the recently fixed light switches. And then I’ll have to reassess what else needs doing!

Jay has agreed that we need a puggle in our lives, so we’re looking into getting one around mid-December, so I can take off the rest of my holiday and train it before I go back to work and have to pop back and forth off my lunch breaks to check he’s okay. I am so excited about this fact, we are currently discussing puppy names. We’ve gone through Futurama characters and Nickelodeon programmes from when we were kids. Considering we don’t know if we’re going to get a boy puppy or a girl puppy, we’re coming up with some awesome suggestions. Jay said if it’s a girl, we have to call her Lola after the Kinks song, but then I told him that the song was about a transvestite and now he’s not too sure. I have bought a book on puggles so I’m waiting for that to be delivered.

So everything’s peachy with me. Will keep you updated on whether my hair goes green due to all this training and any awesome puppy names we happen to come up with!

“And it’s go, go, goooo…”

Last weekend, we went to Juan Les Pins. Literally, this is translated as John the Pins. Only joking, I don’t really know what it is translated as. We went for Jay’s Dad’s 50 something birthday and I really had a nice time with Jay and his family. We stayed in a real nice hotel, about a 5 minute walk from the beach (and beach bars) and actually spent most of our time in them!

Day one wasn’t all that bad – we landed at 2ish and were in a beach bar by 3. I got so drunk, I can’t really remember it. Jay had to take me home, although I was all up for going clubbing and had told Chloe (Jay’s sister) that we’re all going clubbing about 5 seconds before it was decided that I should go home. Woops!

Day two, we went to Monaco. One word: WOW. Although I had a day-long hangover, the sheer wealth of that place did not fail to overcome me! Jay wrote down a list of rare cars that he’d seen that day (I know, geek!) and there’s about 60 of them on the back of a receipt. We walked the Grand Prix track – Jay was so excited and he had such a nice day :) I did not drink until dinner, as I was feeling so disgusting. Chloe’s friend, Mark lives in France and he came down to meet us. I had to take him back to the hotel as he’d reached his alcohol limit at around midnight after a strawberry daiquiri and a few glasses of wine!

Day three, we watched the Turkish Grand Prix on a sofa on the beach! And then went to watch Man United v Chelsea. Jay drank all day that day, as when I took Mark back to the hotel, he and Chloe went to the nightclub and got (what I like to call) uber-smashed, and he basically didn’t want to get a hangover. Logical, eh? We had some Thai food and drank outside a cocktail bar, watching Brazilian street performers. I still didn’t feel 100% – I’m not cut out for drinking anymore! – so I was on the non-alcoholic fruity cocktails, which were lovely and refreshing :)

Day four was a pack up and go day. We walked along the promenade, catching our last bit of French sun and then went to the airport :)

Work today has been difficult. It’s hard going to Dubai one week, the South of France the next and then adjusting back to work life! Such as life, eh? I’m in the office on my own again today and I have worked really hard. I’ve only enrolled one baby, but the rest of it has been dealing with emails and voicemails and other problems that we’ve had with our other pools.

This weekend, I am going to Plymouth. I am so excited! I haven’t been there since January, but it feels like a lot longer! I’ve got a house party to go to on Friday night to celebrate Cat’s birthday and then on Saturday, we’re going to Newquay. I have never ever been to Newquay before! It should be good fun – we’re going down with a few friends and partying the night away.

I feel bad as I won’t really be spending any time with Jay this week. I have made myself too busy, even for myself! Tonight, I’m going to dinner with Charlotte, for a much needed catch up! Tomorrow, I need to go for a swim in the morning before work and I have WW in the evening. On Thursday, I’m swimming before work and I have this dinner in memory of my Dad (hmm…). And on Friday, swimming before work in the morning, half day at work and then heading down to Plymouth! No Jay time :( Next week should be freer, and I’m only busy on Saturday night next week for this Mason’s dinner with Mum!

I have decided I am going to buy a puppy at the end of the year. Ha! Seriously, I have been persuaded that I want a puggle after seeing how frickin’ cute they are! Jay and I are talking about moving house, maybe somewhere more into town, so I’m sure all will be completely fine to get a puppy dawg :) I just have to finish all my projects in our current house in order to put it up for rent (Yay, more income! Well, fingers crossed anyways!). I’ll start putting up some jobs on that builder website in June time when I have a little bit more money to spend on it. It only needs painting and putting up my TV on the bracket and things like that – easy things, really, but stuff I really rubbish at. The cutting in on our paint jobs are completely hideous so someone will have to go over them – and at a weekend, which the most costly thing about it.

Other than that, things are fabulous. My swimming training is going okay – I’m trying to fit in as much swimming as I can, but there have been a couple of occasions, like this morning, where I felt completely exhausted and haven’t gone. That will all change in the upcoming weeks, especially if I feel like I’m losing more weight than I have been. My budget has gone quite well actually, considering the holidays we have been on! I think that will all change, as I did have some birthday money this month, so next month will have to be a lot tighter. I have saved £200 from this month’s pay, but my next pay day is this Sunday — I’m hoping I’ll be paid on Friday to cover for my weekend! I will be buying my wardrobe in June or July, depending on how much I’ve saved altogether, which will make a huge difference to the house’s state! Clean washing is absolutely everywhere as I’ve ran out of space on my Primark rails (not actually from Primark, but that’s what they remind me of…) and Jay keeps stealing my hangers (but thinks I haven’t realised. I’m onto you!!).

This growing up malarkey is somewhat of a challenge! So much to do and so much little time to do it in. But I’m coping, sports fans. Just need one more to do list on top of the five current to do lists that I have!