Sunday, 31 May 2009


Well I am back from Greece and DH and I had a lovely time.

It was hotter than anticipated for that time of year, but we still managed to get some hiking in. I think we could all learn some lessons from the Greeks in term of quality of life and attitude. I felt a lot more relaxed being out of the city.

I did notice how expensive Greece had become. Certainly the poor exchange rate we were getting on the Euro did not help but there was something else going on. We were paying the equivalent of £6.00 for 2 pints which is about the same as we would pay here, if not more! Has there been a period of high inflation in Greece or were we just paying the "gringo" prices? It seemed to be that way right across the island.

Anyway, back to work and the boss has a surprise for me. He says I can stay, permanently, i.e. he wants to put me on the payroll as an employee as opposed to retaining me as an independent contractor. The money is less of course. Its great news. I will take the position of course.

I will be £1k worse off a month but it gives me certainty insofar as The Escape goes. Now DH and I can really put that 2 year countdown on the calender and just go for it. Actually, its less than 2 years, we plan on escaping in March 2011.

Although I will be losing in terms of less money, as an employee I will be entitled to paid annual leave and bank holidays. This does go someway to offset the drop in pay. Actually I am really looking forward to having paid time off again. When you are self employed it is tempting to take as little time off as possible in order to maximise income.

So 22 months and counting!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Off to Thassos

DH and I are off to the Greek island of Thassos on Sunday for 7 days.

I cant wait to go!

Its been so long since we went away, or even had a break. Our last break was September last year. Its really overdue.

So, this time of year, the weather should be mild but just warm enough to swim/sit outside. I don't like the heat so this suits me fine. Apparently the island is very green and mountainous and is great for cycling and hiking, both of which we will do.

I'm looking forward to a week of not cooking and sampling the delicious Greek foods such as dolmades, souvlakia, mousaka, stifado, tarama salata, souvlakia - the list goes on!

See you soon!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Buying a home

Is a home an investment or a liability?
Its a question frequently discussed in the personal finance circles.
Some say that you should buy a home because you want to live in it and not because it is an investment. I don't necessarily disagree with this statement but isn't it based upon the assumption that all things stay the same?
But things don't stay the same do they? Nothing remains constant, does it? People change, people lose jobs, change jobs, circumstances change etc.
When DH and I bought our flat we bought it because we liked the building and we wanted to live in that specific location AT THAT TIME.
Now, six years later, I need to offload the property to downsize. I have no idea whether it has been a "good investment". I can look up sold prices on other properties in the building but that can only serve as a guide. The flats in my building vary in size and detail and more importantly price. The variations are quite significant, on line sold prices wont tell me any information about the property, ie square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms etc.
My circumstances have changed, I've changed, my life goals have changed. Perhaps in hindsight I should have thought about the property more in investment terms.
So whether my home has been an investment or a liability remains to be seen.