Summer Review: 2021

This summer was amazing!

I didn’t blog much all summer because I had an excuse (the old laptop got very slow and I bought a new laptop but didn’t transfer the blog account over… I could use my phone but putting links in is a pita – so this post is link free (so no referral bonuses for me) but in general, I had more important things to do with my time. This blog is a creative outlet for me, and the time between thinking of something to write (sometimes funny), writing and then checking/editing and posting it means that I often lose focus. I also struggle knowing what is genuinely worth posting about and I’d like to post more about our life here – but I don’t want to spend the time.

I also don’t rely on the blog for any form of income – if you want to read a professional looking blog, read a professional’s – this is a strictly amateur affair.

So what did we do this summer?

I’ve written before about the Lady and my love for travel and Covid has made that difficult to do. All that came to and end earlier this year and we’ve been out and about. We’ve been to Edinburgh a number of times including to the Fringe Festival (my favourite), this weekend we climbed Arthur’s Seat (including the Little Lady all by herself starting in Holyrood. We took the train on a weekend to Newcastle and York (amazing!), we spent a weekend in Aberfeldy (och aye!), Callander (wet! But visited Stirling Castle – ar dóigh!), visited Somerlee (free and great), weekended in Glasgow (amazing seafood), had a highland adventure in Speyside (long weekend for my birthday), 3 night break in Ayrshire (surprisingly excellent), spent 10 days in England visiting Bristol, London, Birmingham and Drayton Manor for Thomasland, went hillwalking around the place (healthy!), visited Aberdeen (the granite city).

That’s quite a list and the Lady is considering producing a kids travel blog based on our experiences.

Work front

Work has been good without being too taxing. I don’t have the motivation to pull 40+ hour weeks but I’ve done it recently. The Lady is more or less ok with her work but does talk about hitting the FIRE button (and that’s why you should keep your own FIRE plans secret!) The kids are at school/nursery and we have a great balance of working from home to make it work for us.

Investments and Side-Hustle

I have to admit that since I’ve automated our share investments, I don’t really check nor care about the value. It’s a lot of noise. My side hustle is another topic altogether – it’s gone from strength to strength and the profit over the last year is about £30,000 – sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think of how well it’s going. I suppose it’s pay-off and far from passive – but it takes as much effort to almost get it right as it does to hit the jackpot.

Never Happier

I am not sure that I’ve ever been happier than I have been over the last few months. My kids are amazing – great company, funny, cheeky, adventurous and my best friends. The Little Lady is a Daddy’s girl and we have great fun together.

The Master is now in school – the prospect of which filled my heart with terror over the last few months. But he’s settled in no problem and avoided some of my worst fears. He’s no match to the street smart NEDs that populate where we live and I was afraid that he’d be eaten alive in school but not so (or not yet).

The Grand Finale

As part of our England trip, we planned for the last day to be at Drayton Manor for a visit to the Thomas Land theme park – the theme being a train called Thomas the Tank Engine. That was an excellent end to our holiday and his infancy. There’s something precious about the happy smile on an innocent kid.

Autumn & Winter

The weather in Summer was great, I even bought myself new shorts to look less dishevelled. Now it’s getting darker, colder and more miserable (this is Scotland!) and we’ll be indoors more, work will keep me busy and the drop-off/pick-up of kids gives me a bit of exercise. I joined the school parent’s/teachers association (PTA) – the only male non-staff member. So that should be fun. Our weekends are stolen by classes in tennis, drama and ballet (kids not me). We’ve holidays planned for the West Coast of Scotland (Fort Augustus) and Yorkshire for the 2-week October break (one of the benefits of going contract – holiday when you like!).

Could we BE any more middle class?

Final FIRE Thoughts

One of the benefits of having Financial Independence is that you don’t need to worry about money so much. I’ve felt that more than every over the last few months. Here’s a little secret for you – having your money work for you is a lot better than you having to work for your money. I have felt the stress of worry dissipate over the last few months – that’s helped make this Summer so great. I’ll try to write more again – post some thoughts, maybe even a graph or two, in the coming weeks.

Thanks, GFF.

10 Comments

  1. “The Master is now in school”: I should have tipped you off. My mother sent me to Primary School in clogs: my father said “if anyone tries to bully you, kick him on the knees”. And of course nobody ever did.

    Ever since I’ve been a great fan of deterrence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have raised a kind sensitive boy who will most likely be torn to shreds by the pack of wolf kids at his school.
      Or so I thought, but the school is one of the very few “good schools” and discipline is good – I met the parent of one kid who has been hitting kids and she was embarrassed by his actions and also unaware that her son was not invited to a birthday party this weekend.
      That’s deterrence for you!

      Like

  2. Wow, you have certainly been to and visited a lot of places. I’ve been to a grand total of zero places these past two years, although I do have my first trip away from home planned next month (London) – pretty exciting for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have read most of your posts over the past month since discovering this blog (and have enjoyed it greatly). I think I have missed what your side hustle is – what have you managed to get working for you?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha, very wise. Well keep up the good work on the blog too! I am of a similar age, have 2 small children and also quite close to my FIRE number so some of your thoughts / procrastinations have really resonated with what I am working through at the moment

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Daily money news definitely – free grateful that a rise in energy bills, food inflation are not an immediate concern!

        Doesn’t stop me worrying about the potential overvalulation of the market – a 30% drop in my FIRE pot with a market correction won’t be much fun (and bound to come at some point before I actually decide to retire!

        The hardest thing for me at the moment is motivation to generate money. I do contract work that is stressful and impacts work-life balance, and currently between contracts. When the financial need is not immediate the drive to get a new contract (and the associated stress) is a challenge!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know what you mean about motivation; I have been on a range of 20-30 hours a week recently but also did a few 40+ hour weeks since we were all busy, I could do without that added stress in my life but at least I choose to do it – not everyone is so lucky.

        Like

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