At the very end of last year I set myself 18 goals to achieve in 2018. Most of them are ongoing, so I can’t necessarily definitively tick them off until the end of the year. However, I wanted to hold myself accountable so I thought I’d share my progress every three months, so I can see how I’m getting on. This is my half year update!
1. Have a baby!
B is now more than three months old. Can you believe it?!
2. Overpay the mortgage
In my first quarter update, I wrote that I’d been overpaying the mortgage by a token amount each month. However, after using the mortgage overpayment calculator on Money Saving Expert, I realised that I could make a much bigger dent if we overpaid more. This has motivated me to be a bit more savvy with our money.
Things have been less tight this quarter, now that Christmas is a bit of a distant memory. I’ve also been planning ahead and saving more effectively for larger annual outgoings like car insurance. It’s definitely worth phoning your insurance company, rather than just paying the renewal price automatically. A 15-minute phone call to our insurance provider saved me £180 on our two car multi-car policy. I just told them I’d had my renewal but I felt it would be irresponsible of me not to ask if they could make it a bit cheaper- so they did!
As a result, I’ve overpaid the mortgage by £100 per month, for the past three months. Hopefully that will have more of an impact in getting it paid off early!
3. LAUNCH A NEW BOOK AND ACTIVITY-RELATED SERIES ON THE BLOG
Pondering Playtime continues to be a thing! I’m particularly excited about this as I’ve managed to keep it going since B has been born, and M loves trying out the different activities that I’ve been coming up with. A win all round!
4. JOIN IN WITH THE LIVING ARROWS LINKY EVERY WEEK
Half way through the year, and I haven’t missed a week of Living Arrows yet! I admit I may have been cutting it fine on a few occasions, but it is definitely a Monday morning staple for my blog! I like it as it encourages me to take as many photos as possible of the girls, so I’m capturing lots of beautiful images of them as they grow.
5. LEARN HOW TO USE MY NEW CAMERA
Yep. Still in auto. Enough said.
6. WORK WITH AT LEAST ONE EXCITING NEW BRAND
I love this little hobby blog of mine as it means brands have been sending me products to try out. I love nothing more than feeling like I’m being helpful and I like to think that my reviews help other mums and dads out there to make more informed choices when they’re buying things for the most important little people in their lives. This year continues to bring more review opportunities my way – in fact I’ve had a very exciting brand email me just this week, which I can’t wait to share with you!
7. TURN THE SPARE ROOM INTO A NURSERY
I have to admit I’m actually feeling quite ashamed as B’s nursery has turned into a bit of a storage area again. She’s not using it yet though, so I’ll just have to keep decluttering and hopefully everything will have a home by the time she needs to sleep in there!
8. SORT OUT MY MATERNITY ALLOWANCE
Thankfully this was all sorted before B arrived! I’m grateful as it’s enabled me to step back from the blog and treat it as a hobby again for these first precious months with B.
9. READ A BOOK FOR PLEASURE
Before B was born I read The Power by Naomi Alderman* (*Affiliate link) and thoroughly enjoyed it! I haven’t picked up a book since. Says it all, really! Hopefully I’ll get back to reading soon but for now, my hobby is my blog and I barely have time to fit that in!
This is definitely ongoing! I went through my wardrobe and cleared out another two bin bags of clothing earlier in the month. I feel so much lighter for decluttering, although it still feels like we have stuff everywhere in some parts of the house. There’s a box in our bedroom which I know is full of stuff that hubby ‘tidied away’ before B was born. I don’t think it’s been opened since, so the contents of that is definitely a candidate for going in the bin or to a new home! I can’t even remember what’s in it.
11. GET IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
I’m still rubbish at doing this and I still yet to find a photograph of myself that hubby has taken that I actually like. I have had my tripod out occasionally, though, and took this photograph of me feeding B, which I love.
12. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE MORE
I’m still not very confident about going to certain places for walks and things alone, but we’ve increased our toddler class repertoire to include Bookbears and Hartbeeps classes as well as our weekly Bop Tots sessions, so that’s something! M loves going to classes and talks about them all the time.
13. HAVE MY HAIR CUT REGULARLY
Brace yourselves. I actually had my haircut and made my next appointment before I left the hairdressers. I know! Radical behaviour. If that wasn’t enough, I’m even having my hair coloured next week. Mainly because I have started to find white hairs growing out my head. I didn’t think that would happen until I was about 50. This is clearly what having two under two does to a woman! I’m slightly terrified that it will look terrible, but only time will tell!
14. PAY OFF THE CAR FINANCE
Yep, we paid off hubby’s commuting car in March. We’ve used half of the money we’ve saved each month to overpay the mortgage, and the other half to upgrade our big family car.
15. GET ORGANISED
To be honest I was doing better with this in March than I am now! My diary has gone completely to pot lately as I barely have time to pick it up! But I guess that’s part of the joy of being on maternity leave.
16. BE MORE PRESENT
This is improving. Mostly because I’m holding or feeding M or B (or occasionally both!) most of the time, so I have no hands left for my phone or laptop! I do think I have a bit of a phone addiction. I often pick it up and look at it without even realising that I’m doing it, so I have been making a conscious effort to just put it back down again. It does help that the battery is failing on it, so I’m having to put it on charge in the middle of the day. Enforced phone-free time. Perfect!
17. BOOK A HOLIDAY
We went away for my friend’s wedding earlier in the month, which was lovely, but very rushed. So not really what I’d call a holiday. I’m toying with the idea of booking Centre Parcs later in the year. We’re not going to bother with a summer holiday away as B will still be in her Pavlik harness (so no swimming for her) and I think with two small children it will be less stressful to just stay at home with all of our home comforts around us. We’re looking forward to having lots of fun days out though as obviously hubby will be off work/school for the summer holidays.
18. BE KIND TO MYSELF
Ongoing! I’m struggling at the moment with my tummy being bigger than I want it to be. I do wish I was one of those women whose bodies ping back after having a baby. It’s my own fault though as I don’t do any exercise. Perhaps I should have made that a goal!
One thing I have done for my own mental health though, is to employ a cleaner. I was getting really stressed about not having the time, energy or inclination to clean, and really fed up with the house not being clean and tidy. We now have a lovely lady who comes and spends two hours a fortnight making the house sparkle. I love her!
Have you set any goals or resolutions for yourself this year? How are you getting on with them?
*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.