Tag Archives: family

Student Lets and Landlords

This year has seen my eldest returning to uni but this time he will be house sharing with four other students, friends he has made while living in student halls last year. They have had a year of independence, almost sheltered in a way, by living in a corridor with 11 others and sharing a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms. They work out differences on their own and gravitate towards other students that they get on with or become friends with. As parents, although it breaks our hearts to see them go, it feels like they are still being supported if they are living on campus with all the facilities around them. My eldest goes to Sussex university and it was well equipped with a large Co op, a large cafe, launderette, bar, pharmacy and a GP surgery! I know not all uni’s are the same and some are spread around towns on different areas instead.

This  year my son got together with a few friends and viewed some houses and went through the process of securing one with no adult help at all. We had know idea of what to expect (except for a street view of the address on Google maps) but he had warned us that it wasn’t a very up to date place but they were happy with it for the price that they have to pay……………in other words it was probably going to be a shithole!

So, we took him down last week to settle him in (and get a proper look at the place) with all his belongings. When we arrived another student who had collected the keys was being taken around going over the inventory ( not necessarily with what was in the house but more a list of damage and marks!). As my hubby and I glanced around I literally couldn’t believe it, maybe I am being naive but I certainly wasn’t expecting a house who’s decor had not been touched many, many years, with  wardrobes that were definitely from the 1970’s. although, in fairness I think my son had probably the best room as apparently no one wanted to be downstairs at the from of the house- he didn’t care and so ended up with the biggest room (which would have been an original front lounge) with large shelves in the alcoves and a decent sized wardrobe (even though it had come from either a boarding school or an old sergeant’s/ officers mess it was labelled inside and had lots of smaller sections for clothes) and he was lucky enough to have a brand new mattress still in the wrapper.

room pic 4

If you open the wardrobe the whole thing wobbles!

If you open the wardrobe the whole thing wobbles!

Thankfully he was lucky enough to get a brand new mattress

Thankfully he was lucky enough to get a brand new mattress- and yes his curtains are that see through!

As adults though, we could not believe the state of the place. It was clean to the touch (which I was actually surprised about) but the nets were ripped and stained and the curtains were hanging off! There were no lampshades on any of the lights, their communal room/ lounge was an actual conservatory which had the scabbiest seats in there and an old dining table with only 3 chairs (for 5 people). There was a radiator in there thankfully but no plug sockets so that they could maybe have a telly or something in there to at least sit together. So I expect they will bloody freeze in the winter!

How rank are those chairs?

How rank are those chairs?

So, we made sure every bit of damage or stains were on the inventory as the lady doing it said that landlords will do anything not to pay their deposits back. She advised them all to take pictures of how the rooms were set out as they charge £20 to move a piece of furniture if it’s not in the right place let alone anything else! We took picture evidence of his room including any damage, and the kitchen and the communal sitting room too. Now I know for a fact this wouldn’t be the worst student let ever but at the same time it’s a far cry from the best too. However, we could not believe literally how little landlords have to do legally in order to earn big money from these houses. This was considered a cheap property as my son and his friends are only paying about a tenner more each week than they were in halls but even so with 5 of them paying this landlord is taking in almost £2500 a month from this let and yet we had to take my son out and buy them a shower curtain and bath set as it was a clear window in the bathroom with no shower curtain up for any privacy! We had to buy more clips from the hardware shop to hold his curtains up properly. They had to invest in a kitchen bin and some door mats (as it was lino throughout so on a rainy day like the day he moved in, the floor was in a right state by the time we left). Thankfully they actually had a washing machine, which looked fairly new, which I was pleasantly surprised about and was a brilliant bonus.

There were also no door locks on any of the bedroom doors which I was slightly surprised about as they are all encouraged to get their own insurance but how can you be held responsible if someone else forgets to lock up when they go out and you have no other security for your belongings!

Anyway, my hubby and I came away thankful we don’t have to live there but happy that they all seemed excited to be moving in, and wondering why we aren’t in the business of student lets as it seems a big money maker for very little in my humble opinion.

I can guarantee there are lots of you with your own nightmare stories about either your own student lets- seriously I would love to hear them as it might just make me feel better about my son living in the hovel that he is!

 

Devastated!

That really is the only word that describes it.

Yesterday morning we found our beautiful ‘Gorgeous George’ ( our 19 month old cat) across the street after a missing night. Unfortunately he had been knocked  down and killed.

I grabbed him in my arms wrapped him in a blanket and balled my eyes out for an hour and a half on the kitchen floor just giving him a cuddle.

He looked so tiny, untouched with injuries and in a peaceful sleeping position. I had my eldest at home as he was ill and off school who was just an emotional mess alongside me.

We cried, cuddled, cried and cuddled until we knew we had to do something with him. I had phoned my OH but was uncontrollable and just heard words about popping him down in the shed until he managed to get home. My youngest was at school totally oblivious to what had happened, so we wanted to keep him there until everyone had said their goodbyes.

My son and I must have gone down and seen him several times, each time having a good cry and just feeling so sorry for him as he was just a little one!

I had to brake the news to my youngest when he came in and then had another emotional trip to the shed so he could see him.

When my OH got home we decided that we couldn’t bury him in the garden so we opted to have him cremated via the vets.

So with our last goodbyes my OH and I took him and left him at the vets…………………this was so heartbreaking I cannot even put it in words.

We are lucky enough to have another slightly older cat though so this is great for all of us, but she hasn’t been herself since George went missing. She keeps looking for him, following us, sitting at the back window watching for him- it breaks my heart.

I just don’t know why we do it to ourselves!! It’s just a cat I can hear some of you saying– Er no, he was my little baby, totally part of our family and full of his own character……..SO NO HE WASN’T JUST A CAT!!!

JUDGE ME IF YOU WILL- I DO NOT CARE!

R.I.P My little ‘Gorgeous George’ – We loved you loads and miss you terribly!

in his cage in the pet shop as we chose him

I could just not resist his little face and to my OH’s horror refused to leave the shop without him!

We bought him on our anniversary – St Georges Day so we aptly named him George, or Gorgeous George!!

This was our most up to date picture taken only weeks ago and featured in My Silent Sunday posts.

Now you know why he was ‘Gorgeous George’!

 Goodbye and sleep well xxx

Spin Mania Review

I had the chance to review a new game out in time for Christmas. It’s not your normal board game with dice and counters ( OMG we have loads of them in this house!).

This one is more hands on and puts pressure on with a timer.

This game comes from Drumond Park which sell allsorts of games online check it out at their website www.drumondpark.com

Here’s the what they say about it

DESCRIPTION: A 2+ player game to test speed and agility by completing spinning plate time trial challenges in the fastest time. Includes 1 x motorised spin base with timer, 3 x spinning plates, 3 x plate bases, 1 x plate handle, 4 x scoring pegs, and instructions. Requires 2 x ‘C’ batteries (not included). Suitable for children aged 6 years upwards.

ASSEMBLY: No assembly is required other than putting together the three plate stands by pushing the posts into the three-legged bases. Batteries also need to be inserted into the underside of the Spin Base prior to play – a Phillips screwdriver will be required for this.

To play, each player turns on the spin base (via a switch on the underside) and, ensuring that the timer is set to the start position and the tip is spinning steadily, starts the timer and lowers their first plate onto the tip. Once the plate is spinning on the tip, the player must use their plate handle (or ‘spin spike’) to pick it up and transfer it to one of the positioned plate stands, following which they must then rush back and repeat the process with the second and third plates. 

Obviously players take part one at a time, and to make the game more challenging the other players secretly place the plate stands around the playing area (agreed in advance) prior to each turn, for example in a visible but slightly difficult-to-get-to location!

The plates must be spinning at all times during and after transfer – if they are dropped en route or they stop spinning, they must be ‘spun up’ again. Once the third plate is spinning on its stand, the player races back to the spin base to stop the timer. Coloured marker pegs are included for each player to handily record their time (via holes around the side of the timer).

The winner is the player who completes the challenge in the shortest time.

Here’s what we think:

So my boys are 12 and 14yrs old. This game is suitable for 6+ although to be honest it would depend on their motor skills at that age. We gave it a go and thought it would be probably too young for my boys! How wrong could I be LOL

The element of competition with the timer was brilliant and also the fact that they could place the plate bases anywhere in the room!!

It wasn’t as easy as it looked though and I would suggest everyone has a practice of transfering the plates before the game starts. Our boys are very competitive so it was entertaining in itself waiting to see where they had placed the base plates!!

The plates need enough spin to keep going until you can place the last plate but it’s a fine line between enough spin and wasting time.

 

All in all we found this to be an different style and very entertaining game, this one will definitely be played over Christmas and will be hilarious after a few glasses of wine ( for the adults of course!).

This game retails around £22.99 and is inkeeping with most game prices. There is no major set up but remember like most games the batteries are NOT included.

DISCLAIMER: we were sent this game free of charge for review purposes

OMG How the other half live!

No I haven’t won the Lottery ( I’m still waiting on that) however, I am getting the chance to drive something you may buy if you did win the Lottery!

Ok I will explain. I was recently offered the chance to ‘Review’ a brand new car for 3 weeks!!! YES a brand new car, from the lovely Volvo people, with a full tank of petrol( or actually diesel in this case) and both myself and my OH fully insured to drive it.

Well lets face I would have been a complete mug to turn this opportunity down- wouldn’t I?

So this car was delivered to my door yesterday evening and the driver took me through a quick brief of all the gadgets, buttons and controls.

To say this car has been pimped is an understatement!!

The car itself is a Volvo XC60……………I realise that will probably mean nothing to most of you so I thought I would show you instead:

I want you to overlook the rather BRIGHT blue colour!

This was a quick snap taken when I went out in it today……………yes I have already put it to use! This picture does not really do it justice so I will be posting better ones over the next few weeks, as I will be posting about how ‘we’ as a family find the car for town journeys, shopping and days out, how family friendly it is, and how we all get on with the gadgets…………..and believe me there are many!!!

Sat Nav

CD and DVD player

Digital TV ( I know……….AMAZING!)

Cruise control

Bluetooth technology to sync my phone ready for hands free!

Sun Roof

Tinted back windows

Heated Seats people!!! HEATED SEATS

That’s before I start on the safety elements on the car- all of which I will go into in later posts. Today on my 1st run out I happened to notice a little orange light on the inside of the door opposite the wing mirror???? Now I kept seeing this light coming on and off and couldn’t work out why!! Then the penny dropped…………………..its a warning light indicating that someone is overtaking and in my blind spot!!! GENIUS

Now as an ex driving instructor some of the available gadgets do go against the grain at first sight- the reversing camera for one! I’m a true believer that if you going to drive a car then learn to do it properly without relying on anything to do it for you!! HOWEVER, I’ve got to say I found myself looking anyway as it comes on automatically……….so I may get converted yet.

So, to say I am a happy chappy is an understatement.

Notice the BIG smile………I didn’t actually realise I had colour co-ordinated myself to the car!!!! DUH

For the next 3 weeks I will be looking as though I’m living like the other (rich) half do!! Blimey, who knows I could make a ‘Yummy Mummy’ yet……………………………………………………..OK don’t hold your breath on that one.

Journey 2 -The Mysterious Island


I was sent a copy of the newly released Journey 2 The Mysterious Island to review over the half term, however earlier in the year my boys and I attended the screening for this film. Having no real expectations for this sequel to Journey to the Centre of the Earth, we were pleasantly surprised to come away having enjoyed it!!

So premise of the story if you don’t know:

Sean gets crypted messages from a ‘mysterious island’, Hank ( stepdad) helps him uncover the code and accompanies him find the island. Gabato and his daughter help them get there by using their helicopter. Long story short…….they get there by default, find Sean’s long lost grandfather (Caine) and have to find a way off the island as it’s sinking!! Cue the Nautilus/ Atlantis slant.

Anyway, all in all a great film to entertain the kids over the coming half term. Action, adventure and a splash of comedy makes for a kids film that even the parents may admit to enjoying for what it is. Michael Caine is great as the long lost grandfather and the initial strained relationship between him and Hank will have you smirking. Look out for the taut pecs and berries routine………don’t say you weren’t warned!

The film has been rated as a PG and has a running time of 94mins

Prices will vary depending on both the retailer and package ( dvd/ blueray/ or triple play)

DISCLOSURE- I was sent the DVD free of charge for review purposes only, however, all views expressed are my own.