Archives for category: sustainability

My latest financial splurge has probably been the most sensible expense I’ve ever had. Night school.

At the end of September I embarked on (part time) student life, spending Tuesday and Wednesday evening in Illustration class & Figure Drawing class (after parting with £420 of tuition fees and £80 for art supplies- ouch!).

However, I truly believe that this is the best £500 I ever spent. The courses are 11 weeks long and cost £200 and £220 respectively. Each class is 2 and a half hours long so I really feel I’m getting my moneys worth

I have had something really fun to focus on, and have generated lots of work for my portfolio (more on than another time!).

I’m fortunate that my employers encourage learning and offer subsidies to those who wish to study, even if it’s not directly related to work, so I can claim 50% back on completion of the course (to the value of £250 per year).

Another great discovery for me was the ILA (Individual Learning Account), available to low earners residing in Scotland (terms are at http://www.ilascotland.org.uk/What+is+ILA+Scotland/Eligibility.htm ).

The purpose of an ILA is to provide up to £200 per year for a variety of courses, or £500 for a course towards a higher education or professional qualification. ILAs are available for people with an income of £22,000 a year or less, or those who are receiving benefits. Sadly it is no longer available to those living in other areas of the UK – sorry guys!

Fortunately or unfortunately, my annual pay falls into this lower category (hence, the need to budget) so it looks like I qualify for this kind of grant, which is fantastic news as I am already planning to book the next term!

Is there something you’ve been thinking of studying? Whether you fancy brushing up on your IT skills, or maybe baking cakes is more your bag, it might be worth looking into what funding opportunities are available to you. Maybe your employer would help fund a course? Particularly if it is beneficial to the company you work for.

Learning can really lift your spirits, and in these time of recession, I think we could all do with a little pick me up! For me, these courses fit into my grand plan, and sometimes you’ve got to spend money to make money, right?

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Rainbow over the old town

Nearly sunset, though the rain

The Balmoral Hotel as evening falls

Views like this are priceless. I was lucky enough to snap these pictures of beautiful Edinburgh on my way home from work. I really do love this city!

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Last weekend I visited my cousin Jane and her husband Andy at their lovely home in South Devon. It’s a fantastic house, but it’s the garden that I envied the most! Almost an acre of land allows them to produce all kinds of fruit and vegetables, whilst a small orchard to the rear of the garden promises to tend to all their cider needs in the future!
Sadly my own garden is far less substantial and shared with about 15 other properties so my vegetable patch will have to wait. I have, however, arrived home with a chilli pepper plant. My husband LOVES chillies and spicy food; he adds chillies to his pizzas and hot sauce to scrambled eggs, and well, anything actually. So I’m planning on having a sustainable chilli source! I presume it may take a year or so before the crop will exceed a small jar of chillies, but I’m starting small. This plant only cost me £1.75 at the Eden Project in Cornwall so if it gives me ANY chillies, I’ll be happy.
Also, if you’ve visited my blog today, a very big HELLO to you! This is my first post, hope it’s been of interest. Visit again soon!