Is it time to sell our house?


We lived in our first house 10 years before we  moved. Now 20 years on we still have the house as we decided to rent it out, thinking ahead that maybe it would be a pension asset.

We had great tenants but even the best people in the world can have financial hiccoughs, having a credit balance in your account is essential so any outgoings like insurance will always be covered.

We found our own tenants, well actually they found us, they have been long term and recommended by friends and except for some small financial difficulties we have received all of our rent, although sometimes a little late.

We found having a separate bank account for the house was a benefit, the rent was paid in and expenses out and when the tax year came around all the transactions were in one place and not mixed up with your own personal finances.

This has been a good decision for us and would recommend it, but you do need to be prepared for maintenance issues and be aware of the legalities involved. Electrics need to be up to code, gas safety checks every year and the correct insurance needs to be in place.

Finding tenants isn’t always so easy though and it’s good to have a bit of support especially if you are new to being a landlord. For instance HomeLet can vet potential tenants and gain references which can help give you peace of mind.

There’s nothing better than providing a home for a family that love living there, they could rely on us to maintain their home and in return they took great care of our property.

Now retirement is getting closer keeping our first house has been a good long term decision, and we still see our previous tenants who have gone on to purchase their own homes.

If you’re thinking of becoming a landlord do some research first and find what’s best for you. This is a collaboration and  I’ve contributed to the ebook ‘Landlords Advice with Regional Relevance’ containing tips that can be beneficial to all involved.

Landlord's Advice eBook badge-North West2

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Silent Sunday – silent dog

willow dog

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Learn a language/Apprendre une langue


Ahh, ‘clings to coffee cup,‘ dishes done, son  out with friends, I sit down in the sun with my drink and then BAM! I remember he has revision for a Spanish exam, no wonder he rushed out the door.

I panic, I have no understanding of languages so am not much help for GCSE. I try to help by copying a sentence and he writes it in english or vice versa, but I never actually know if it’s right, I just have to trust him.

As a language college his High School teaches 3 of the top 4 languages in the top 10.

And despite his initial excitement about learning Mandarin Chinese he has chosen to concentrate only on Spanish and French.

But what options are available in other schools?

It used to be compulsory for secondary school pupils to study foreign languages until 16, but this was dropped in September 2004, and they became optional for students over the age of 14.  When I attended grammar school in 1970’s  we studied French, I never really enjoyed it but it was compulsory to take the O-Level exam.

It doesn’t stop there, just 1 in 10 of people taking a GCSE in French went on to take an AS-level in the subject (the first stage of an A-level). That compares with about a third of those taking biology GCSE.

According to the CBI the UK’s education system is failing to produce enough people with foreign-language skills to meet a growing need from business. Even though nearly two-thirds of around 300 UK firms surveyed by the business lobby group said they preferred staff with these skills. Schools should teach a wider range of languages, with language skills given the same status as the sciences and maths.

Foreign travel is so easy now and it is true the world has become a smaller place, even venturing further with school.  Our son recently returned from a school trip to Switzerland, and with an annual trip to China for year 10 students they do get opportunities to use the languages.

What do you think, should studying a foreign language be compulsory?


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Talk about it Tuesday – 10 May 16

Dying Matters

Did you know this week is Dying Matters Awareness week?  This campaign aims to provide the opportunity to talk about dying, death, bereavement, and making plans for the end of life. This year’s theme is ‘The Big Conversation’.

I’ve had ‘The big conversation?’  After my Mum had been very ill and miraculously recovered (honestly the medical staff couldn’t believe it) we were talking about how ill she had been. The conversation turned to funerals, and I asked Mum if she would be cremated or buried, after a short pause she said cremated. She then added, we are running out of burial land and if coffins were interred vertically you could end up upside down forever, we then burst out laughing and that was that.

So years later when she did die, I knew she wanted to be cremated and her ashes scattered on the rose garden.


Dying Matters is a coalition of 32,000 members across England and Wales which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

Write your will
Record your funeral wishes
Plan your future care and support
Consider registering as an organ donor
Tell your loved ones your wishes

Join the twitter chat and ask any questions you have

It’s a hard conversation to have but you may find the right moment as we did, and we were glad to have had it.

I also asked her if she realised how ill she had been, she said yes, but I wasn’t ready to leave you kids.

This is Talk about it Tuesday

Share something with us, where have you been, what have you been doing, add it here

Add the badge, link your post below, tweet #TalkTues

Please read the post before yours, maybe a couple more if you have time.

The Uncheshire Wife
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Add colour to a white bathroom

Our house is 20 years old next year, I can’t believe we’ve lived here that long. We moved in with a 9 year old, 3 years later (and I was 40) our surprise boy arrived,  luckily there’s plenty of room for all of us.

Now the original bathroom fittings have become a bit dated we decided to revamp them on a budget, keeping what we could.

Deciding to update the sink and toilet, keep the bath and shower but add a new clear glass cubicle were the main changes, we had white tiles so they would stay.  Doing the work ourselves would keep the cost down, which is great if you can do it.

The changes made such a difference but the bathroom was a stark white, here’s how we added colour.

Colourful accessories


The cheapest way of adding colour is with your usual bathroom accessories, the hand wash and toothbrush holders. Lime green and turquoise really stand out and add to our theme.



I knew I was going to go with a colourful floor the minute I saw the expanse of white. We choose a thick vinyl, I’ve never liked tiles on the floor so this was perfect.



The plain back wall needed a focal point, I love this picture by Jack Vettriano.



I fell in love with this fabric at our local blind manufacturers, although I did initially think the stripes were going to be horizontal.

The finished product


We love our bathroom and we spent less than £1000 on the changes, have you made a big difference with a little budget.

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