Just a little update to explain my absence.
We have completed and moved into our first home together!
I’ll be doing a whole series on decorating and making it a home.
See you soon!
Yeah, this is the reason that I’ve basically disappeared for the last month. If I wasn’t at work I was talking to the brokers, filling out things for the solicitors, emailing my accountant and waiting for HMRC. Luckily I also managed to fit in some social bits too, but you know moneys tight.
So what we’ve done next in this journey.
We got our approval from the UK Governments Help to Buy which was a pressure off and made us happy, we’ve filled out everything for that, signed everything and that’s a go. Surprisingly this was a really easy bit.
So tip if your worried about the help to buy scheme; don’t be. As long as you qualify it is very straight forward. The government have some really helpful videos on their website too.
We sadly had a big delay with ordering my SA302’s from HMRC. We found out for some reason my accountant wasn’t registered as my accoutant with HMRC so we needed to wait up to seven working days for the code to come through to name her as my accoutant. After that we ordered my last two years worth of SA302’s.
These didn’t arrive after ordering the first time which felt like a wasted 2 weeks and a lot of pressure from the brokers even though I’d explained the situation to them there was nothing I could do; you don’t try to rush HMRC along.
So tip if you have an accountant, make sure that for whatever reason HMRC recognises them as such otherwise they can’t handle things for you.
Tip and again I cannot stress this enough, order your SA302’s before you even start looking into buying a house, just have them for the sake of having them!
As we’d had to sign a lot of things and you know people’s signatures change over time. MrGUINES has obviously changed since he got his driving license so we needed to get his signature verified and certificated by his bank for the solicitors to accept it (obviously they did, no problem). It is however little things like this that are niggly and can cause small delays.
So tip if your signature has changed and is different now from your license (as it very well may be, for us its 10 years down the line since we signed our licenses) but you bank has your new signature on their system, just pop in and get a certificated letter from them that says your you.
I do hope that this series is managing to help any of you first time buyers out there. Your really not alone is this scary, exciting step!
As we left off here I spoke about the hidden things that first time buyers seem to find out as their trying to apply.
Luckily for us that at the moment we’re not at a stage where we have to rush and time is on our side, but if you’ve got say 3-4 weeks before you want to complete? Watch out and act quickly.
We had our interview with our broker and she went through several different sections that took around 3 hours in total, make sure you have time for this appointment.
She spoke about 2 or 5 years fixed rates, luckily we had already discussed this beforehand. She did however make 2 years sound a good thing and to some, in different situations it defiantly would be, but after a 12 hour day and an influx of information we seem to have been going with what she thought would be best rather than what we’d discussed in-depth and agreed on. We later changed our mind and contacted her to change it to a 5 year like we’d originally wanted, not her fault but ours.
So tip , discuss fixed terms and percentage rates to know what you want to do and are comfortable with then unless something comes up that you didn’t know about and would make a major difference, stick to your choice, no one knows you or your situation better than you.
At the appointment she needed several different financial forms from us to take away. This wasn’t made clear to me, in the email it just said to ‘have the following information gathered for your appointment’.
So tip ; make sure that if they give you a list that you have copies they can take. She ended up having to spend a further 30 minutes scanning things and took some originals that she’ll have to return at a later date.
I am self-employed, this can further complicate things. From everything I’ve read and been told all I was supposed to have was 2 years of certified accounts and I would be good to go.
I don’t do my accounts, I pay a qualified accountant. It’s too much pressure and I’d rather not mess it up and get into trouble with HMRC. So long story short, I thought it was all fine. Until the appointment where I was told that my accounting books basically mean nothing and I needed to contact HMRC and get my tax year overviews and SA302’s from them directly to prove that I earn what I say I do and I pay tax.
Fine and understandable but to be told it on the night was aggravating especially since I’d double checked via email a week before and told that my books would be fine. Not instilling much confidence there. I contacted my accountant that said she can get these for me but they could take up to two weeks. Another big delay.
Tip if you are self-employed, I would recommend, as I’ll be doing now; that you get copies of these at the end of every tax year. This way you’ll always have them, it doesn’t matter how long they take to come and if say 2-5 years down the line you re-mortgage or re-locate you’ll have years worth if they want them!
I’ll carry this on in part 3.
Hope that you’re enjoying this and that some of you may even be finding it a little helpful!
Lately my life has been hectic, I’ve been feeling very stressed and unable to switch off. Lack of sleep until I’ve literally just heaped into an exhausted bundle that only my partner can wake me from.
So what do I do? To switch off? Unwind and ignore the world? I bake.
I’ve for years failed to bake a cookie. I normally get cake like consistency, they all melt into each other and/or they burn into a big tray bake. This has annoyed me for a long time but never deterred me!
So today as its sunday I normally like to watch re-runs of The Great British Bake Off and bake.
I had on my list today:
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!
I was determined to crack them and crack them I did. The recipe I used:
150g salted butter, softened
80g light brown sugar
2 small- medium eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g plain flour (I used self-raising and still turned out great!)
200g of mixed dark and plain chocolate chips
Preheat oven 190C/170F/Gas 5.
Cream the butter and sugar until very creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs.
Sieve the flour and bicarbonate. Add the chocolate chips and stir well.
I personally used a stand mixed and just wacked it on until I had quite a stiff mixture.
Using a teaspoon, I found this size best. Scoop a small mound onto a lined baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes.
I ended up doing 4 to a large tray and 3 to my smaller one. I probably made about 7-8 batches. The trick I found to this, be patient.
You really want to wait until they’ve cooled totally before taking off the baking paper so that the centres don’t fall out where they stick.
Hands down the best recipe I’ve ever used and I’m really happy with how they turned out!
My chilli is something I made for the first time about 3 years ago, I never had it growing up and it wasn’t something that my family ate. However I asked Mr Guine for some meal ideas and he suggested Chilli Con Carne, I said I’d look into it but made no promises.
I found a really simple recipe on the good ol’ interwebs and have been adding my own touch to it even since. I’ll give you the basic of what I do but this can be massively adjusted to taste, example I’m not good with spicy food, Mr Guine – the spicier the better.
Things you will need: Large Wok or deep pan, Spatula or large wooden spoon, Chopping board, Jug, Sharp knife.
Ingredients can vary, sometimes i throw in sweet corn, kidney beans, shredded carrot, obviously depending on allergies/tastes etc but here’s what I regularly use:
Onions x 1, Peppers x 2 (I only had 1 and 1/2!), Tomatoes x 2, Mince 1000g or 500g, Beef stock cube (I like the jelly ones), Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Mild Chili Powder, 1 x chilli or bell pepper, 1 x tin of chopped tomatoes, 2-3 cubes of dark chocolate (optional), Salt and Pepper, Sugar (brown is better for taste but white works fine), A frying oil of your choice.
Add all of the chopped up ingredients to a very hot wok or pan coated with your oil. Stir for 5+ minutes or until softened. Once softened its time to add in the spices of your choice, I tend to do this by eye as I’m used to how much I use now but if not try 2-3tbsp of chilli powder, 2-3tbsp of smoked paprika and 1-2tbsp on cumin. Stir this in well until all the vegetables are coated.
Once coated you’ll need to add your mince, I do this by ‘sprinkling’ it in, this helps it to break up and cook better without clumping. Its your choice whether or not you drain the excess fat, I normally leave it in for flavour, until I started eating healthier now I use 5% fat mince and drain any excess.
Once the meat is lightly browned add all of your wet ingredients – stock & chopped tomatoes. Allow to boil for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Now you can add in the chocolate if you want, you can’t taste the chocolate when you eat it but it helps to bring out the depth in the meat and stock. Salt and pepper as you wish and add 2-3tbsp of sugar. Allow to cook down for another five minutes and if you haven’t done so yet you can have a taste test, warning it’ll be HOT!
Let it boil down and reduce the liquid, lower the heat, cover with a lid if possible (don’t worry if you can’t) and stir regularly. Once your satisfied with the consistency you can take it off the heat and serve! Mr Guine likes his with chilli flakes, fresh chilli and jalapeno’s, I like mine with sour cream.
(Do you like my mums farm bowls?!)
I’ve seen several insane make up collections on YouTube, some beautifully stored, some that I didn’t think much to and some that just looked like pure chaos. Then I realised that there was no rhyme or reason to my make up storage but everything was neat, clean and in-date.
So I’ve decided to share my little collection with you all!
I have my large items, that are used regularly stored on a shelf of my bookcase. They’re pretty to look at, things that I’m proud of and reach for to often to store away.
My brush collection, hair bands and Kirby grips sit on the bottom shelf of my desk.
My second shelf is full of my ‘everyday’ make-up, this is stuff that I reach for constantly and never want to be too far.
My top shelf is generally skin care, these are creams/serums/moisturizers that I use nightly and in the morning.
On a shelf in the back of my room I have my more special, don’t use too often but like to have make-up.
What’s in your reach for make-up collection?
We have a very large cineworld in our town centre. This has the options of 2D, 3D and 4DX. There’s also a popcorn, hotdog and nacho stand. A loose sweet section and a Starbucks. I love going here so much that my parent’s gifted my partner and I an ulimited card each for Christmas. This was also where I experience my first 4DX film, Age of Ultron, and I loved the experience.
The shopping centre is very large and has pretty much everything that you need. It’s got high-end such as Micheal Kors down to things like H&M. Shops for everything that you could need so you really can go to just one place for everything, very convenient.
The Milton Keynes Theatre is somewhere that I go several times a year, there is nothing quite like seeing a live performance and I for one love catching a show, from fun things such as CATS to more dramatic things like Dirty Dancing and the real laugh of the Full Monty. Great night out!
We have a few different lakes in Milton Keynes, however my favorite is Willen Lake. This has a glorious large lake to wonder around, a pub/restaurant, a park, a climbing frame and is beautifully packed with extra’s in the summer months.
Do you have specific places in your own home towns/city’s that you love to do? Link me your favorite places!