Wednesday, 29 December 2021

2022 Goals: Survive and Thrive

 


When I first started this blog back in 2012, it was to document my efforts to save enough money to stay in the marital home once my youngest son turned 18.  The plan was to convert the house into 2 apartments, live in one of them and sell the other. There was also an annexe that could have been rented out.  I had 4 years to save/earn £40k to make that happen.  Unfortunately my ex husband changed his mind and that plan fell through.

Fast forward to the present and I find myself endlessly thinking about and working out how much money I need to be able to afford to retire.  And I think I've finally come up with a solid plan!

I've poured over this year's income and out goings.  I've identified the areas of over spending 😳, areas I can cut back on and things that simply won't apply if I'm not working.  I know exactly how much money I have/need to live on now and if I'm retired.  If I can save enough money over the next 4 years I should have enough to retire at 60.  I can live on those savings plus my teaching pension (available to me from age 55) until I collect my state pension at 67.  If I work and save for the next 4 years I'm also adding to my pension pots at the same time.

I'm setting myself a target of saving £10k a year for the next 4 years (see what I did there? 😉 )  It means being really frugal and going back to basics.  I'm planning a no spend year, only buying the barest of essentials.  I still have a little inheritance money left which will be my Emergency Fund (as you never know what might happen) but I won't use any of that.  I currently have just over £1500 in my savings account so that gives me a start.

2020 and 2021 were years we all survived and I suspect 2022 will be the same.  But I want to also thrive.  So I've decided my goals for next year will be Survive and Thrive!  I've added them to the side bar and changed the blurb in the 'Why 40kin4years?' at the top.

It'll be a huge challenge (I'm under no illusions!) but I'm feeling inspired already.  It feels good to have a solid plan in place and goals to work towards again 😊

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Cold potatoes and plans


I quite like this in between period although I certainly have no desire to start drinking at 10am! 🍸  I am however on my 3rd coffee!! ☕☕☕ It is a time when I have no idea what day it is and I eat cold roast potatoes for breakfast (doesn't everyone?)



I rather like this time to think and reflect uninterrupted on my life.  What do I want to do now and in the future?   What plans shall I make?  And every single time I think about it I always come back to the question "When can I afford to retire?"

A few years ago I had a solid plan.  I would retire at 55 in 2021, sell my house and travel with my long term partner who was going to do the same.  We would spend 6 months of the year in Australia and the other 6 months travelling/exploring Europe and the UK in our campervan.  Then when we were done we would buy a smallholding and become eccentric grandparents to our blended family.  Obviously that plan died a death when the relationship unexpectedly ended.

Then the global pandemic hit and the plan for the last 2 years for the whole world has been survival.  And it looks like next year is going to be more of the same.  So I've spent the last few days thinking and planning and working stuff out and researching.  I want to survive AND thrive!


I did my annual binge watch of The Good Life. I've spoken before about the influence this series had on me in my childhood!  Info HERE for non Brits!  It is of it's time (1975) and being more knowledgeable now about growing vegetables etc I can see the flaws in it.  But it's themes of self sufficiency, frugality and make do and mend still resonate strongly with me.  And it has inspired me.

So, doing what I do best, I got a pen and paper and went through my 2021 bank statements, credit card statements and salary slips.  I made (many!) lists of expenses, necessities and luxuries.  I investigated pension ages and pension amounts.  And after a few days of much adding up, I think I've got a solid retirement plan again.

A plan that doesn't rely on anyone else.  Just me!  I'm quite proud of that 😊

Saturday, 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas

 


May your day be peaceful and spent with loved ones in person or virtually.  Merry Christmas 😊

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Christmas loading...


Woohoo!! I'm on holiday for 2 whole weeks.  Yesterday morning when I got up I switched my alarm off for the next 2 weeks.  This morning I got up at 8.45am, that's a big lie in for me!  Of course I was awake several times through the night but 8.45am - WOOHOO!

So far this morning I've enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, de pooped the back garden and put the bins out as it's bin day here (oh the glamour!!)  The only plan I have for the rest of today is to start making plans for Christmas and beyond.

I'm starting to feel a wee bit Christmassy! 🎄🎅🎇🎉

Friday, 17 December 2021

Secret Santa

 


We do Secret Santa at school (the grown ups I mean).  Teachers, support staff and cleaners all take part and the idea was that it meant you bought one really good present and didn't need to buy loads of small gifts to thank all the support staff.  We exchanged presents this week (at a socially distanced meeting 🙄 and everyone loved it.  My gift was Prosecco, a personalised mug for my allotment and some GF chocolate shortbread.  All very thoughtful!

But then my Gin Queen friends (who are colleagues) each gave me a gift.  My Support for Learning Assistant gave me a gift.  And our Depute Head always bakes us wee individual Christmas cakes all beautifully decorated.  She makes a special GF one for me and another colleague.  She's bringing them in on Monday.

Last month I bought a case of Prosecco to give as gifts.  I'm planning on making bottle bags for them this weekend so I can reciprocate.  Saves me drinking it!! 🍸

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Too many tatties!

 


For some reason this morning I found myself with almost 10lbs of unused Maris Piper tatties.  Some of them were starting to sprout!  So it was a use it up kind of morning.  I baked some for the week ahead.  Always useful to have some to either reheat or chop up and sauté with with some veggies for a quick meal.


I parboiled a huge pan for making roast potatoes but then had the brilliant(!) idea of freezing some of them for Christmas Day.  I've never frozen them before so checked out the BBC Good Food website and followed their instructions.  You can rely on Good Food to have a tried and tested method so fingers crossed it works.  Freeze-ahead roasties recipe HERE.  I used GF flour and sprinkled it over them on the tray as my tatties were breaking up a wee bit too much.


I also did trial run of of veggie stuffing by defrosting some Linda McCartney sausages (these ones are GF but not all of them are) and adding them to some GF stuffing mix I bought online.

It tastes rather nice!  Today's Sunday lunch is sorted.  I'll make some gravy and do some veggies to go with the rest of the roast tatties (currently in the oven) and stuffing.  Might even do some Yorkshire puddings too! 😋

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Just 1 chicken

 

Sadly when I opened up the coop this morning I found my wee Penny Black had died overnight.  She was active and feisty until the last few days, where she allowed me to lift her back into the coop at night and even pet her.  I really wasn't surprised at all.  Her time had come.  She was the last of my original chickens.  She was over 6 years old which is old for a chicken and had out lived her 2 original pals and a rescued replacement!  In the above photo (from left to right) Merrida, Ginger Snap and Penny Black are enjoying their early free ranging days.

So I have just 1 chicken at the moment.  I was already registered with my local BHWT to rehome 3 chickens at their next rescue which should be in the New Year.  I can finally get rid of the old dog kennel coop.  Penny couldn't get up the ladder to the new Eglu so she still slept in the old coop and Tuppence used the Eglu.

Somehow I need to dismantle the old coop and remove it from the enclosure.  It's going to be tricky as the enclosure was built round the coop and has a sloping roof so you can't stand up fully unless you're at the edge.  I think some major power tools will be required!! 👷

Monday, 29 November 2021

Tragedy (trigger warning)


Every now and then something truly horrible happens and teachers have to deal with the aftermath of a tragic event.  School is the one constant for many children and they look to us to help deal with it.

Yesterday one of our wee pupils lost their mum in horrific circumstances.  She was murdered by her partner. Our school community is devastated and our kids are completely bewildered.  Today was a tough day for the adults in our school but we kept it 'business as usual' albeit more gently.

Domestic violence is still part of our lives.  It's 2021 and 2 women a week die in the UK die at the hands of a partner.  This is unacceptable.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Seeds and sky

 


My Real Seeds order arrived.  I've added them to my seed tins.  I spent some time over the weekend sorting them out.  I have quite a lot!  I added the the wee moisture absorbers that come in my lateral flow kits. Reuse a free resource!  So hopefully they'll be viable for a few years and my garden and plot will be full of vegetables!


We've sub zero temperatures here in the last few days.  I'm sure there's a great scientific reason but it meant we had a stunning sunset last night.  This is the view from the raised deck in my classroom's garden around 4pm.  Look at those clouds! 😍


And this is the same view from an upstairs classroom where my friend took this photo.  The colours were even more vibrant in real life.  Gorgeous pink/orange/blue/grey colours.  Both photos without filters!

In other news, more positive cases of you-know-what in both P1 classes. *sighs*

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Cost of a day/ night out

 


My son and his girlfriend (who are currently living with me to save money for their house deposit) had a rare day/night out yesterday.  They had a lovely time and were full of chat about what they did.

Today my son told me how much their day/night out cost them.  And frankly I was shocked!!!

They got the train into Edinburgh and went to Murrayfield to watch the rugby, Scotland against Japan.  The tickets were a gift from his dad so were free.  But thanks to Covid rules and security measures (!) they weren't allowed to take in any bags, food or drinks and there was nowhere available to store bags.  Luckily they knew this in advance.  But they were shocked that a 500ml bottle of water was £4 (just over $5 US).

After the match they went for a meal at Bella Pasta, a decent chain restaurant and not too pricey.  They had a meal and a few drinks then they came home.  I had driven them to the train station and picked them up so they didn't need to pay for a taxi.

The total spend for their day/night out was just over £130!!! About $175 US 😲😲😲

That seems like an awful lot of money for a trip into the big city to see a sports event with a bog standard albeit nice meal and a few drinks. Or am I so anti social and out of touch with the cost of going out???

Since lockdown March 2020, I've been 'out out' twice.  Partly circumstances and partly choice.  And I'm not planning on changing that any time soon either!! 

Monday, 15 November 2021

Some random stuff

 


For every problem there is a solution (except death and taxes!) and so the kitchen storage solutions are beginning to take shape.  Plate racks in the cupboard make easier access and have freed up some space.



Boxes with lids for extra pantry essentials storage.


New stool to reach storage boxes!!


The weather here has turned very damp and chilly so Emma and I have been enjoying the wood burner.  I coughed all weekend and I'm pretty sure it's from the dampness.  I did manage outside twice into the garden to clear 3 raised beds and I planted up one with tulips.


These ones from Sarah Raven, called Apricot Beauty Mix.  I don't think I've planted tulips before so fingers crossed they grow!  I also collected some seed heads to dry so I've got a good selection of saved seed from this year.  Real Seeds opened their order books today so I've ordered some squash, tomatillo and tomato seeds.  All heritage varieties that can be used for seed saving.  In fact this wee company actively encourage you to save seeds!! Link HERE for UK customers.

My YouTube wanderings have unearthed a fab channel called The Last Homely House and oh my, I'm loving it!!  Kate sews/knits/spins/writes/cooks and keeps bees/cats/poultry in the North of England.  She sells things on her website and I'm just loving her chatty vlogs.  Do check her out HERE ðŸ˜Š

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

More cases

 


After a quiet lull of a few weeks we've got an outbreak of positive cases in school again.  2 of them in my class.  One of them is a wee one who needs a lot of reassurance and likes cuddles and holding my hand.  Most of my kids were very cuddly yesterday as they'd not seen me for 2 weeks.  I'm being extra careful with my hygiene and doing a daily lateral flow test.

Apparently there was a recent local party where 12 adults have now tested positive and many of their kids are too.  It's not going away.

Stay safe everyone! 

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Back to work

 


I'm well enough to go back to school tomorrow.  Not 100% but good enough to handle my class for a day.  Tuesday morning is my non contact time so I can have a long lie and go in at lunchtime.  I'll be upfront with my Headteacher and tell her if I'm not up to it I'll be off again.  My long term health is more important!

Thanks for all your supportive comments on yesterday's post.  I try very hard to live well within my means and feel a wee bit guilty at spending all that precious money on something I don't actually like much.  But I'll make it work in the end! 

So, I decided to just crack on this morning in the kitchen and get meal prepping for the week again.  I had 2 pots of soup on the go.  Lentil on the left (all with grated veg) and a sort of tomato and carrot on the right (made with all sorts of leftover veggies hanging about!)  The tomato and carrot was amazing once it was blitzed with Alpro cream.  


The 2 pots yielded 14 soup mugs and were added to the freezer alongside 2 butternut and apple soup filled mugs already there.  Total 16 mugs of soup, enough for all 3 of us (me, DS and his GF who now lives with us) to have soup every day for lunch if we want.


I made a veggie lasagne that's actually vegan as I used non dairy milk/spread/cheese.  It was delicious and made 6 generous portions.


I baked some potatoes as the oven was already on.


I made sheet pan pancakes.  This is the second batch I've made.  These are a game changer as they're quicker than making a huge batch of them individually.!! They freeze beautifully and are great for breakfast/snack/dessert.  I'm putting the recipe below so I can find it again!  The first time I made them they weren't gluten or dairy free.  This batch were as I used soya milk and gf flour.  They worked just the same!


Everything is portioned up and in the freezer.  I feel very organised!  I am determined to eat healthily ie back on a strict gluten and dairy free eating plan and to stay vegetarian.

While I am looking forward to seeing my kiddos and (some of) my colleagues, there is a bit of me that wishes I didn't have to go back to work 😕

Sheet pan pancakes

Wet ingredients:
4 large eggs
zest and juice of 2 lemons
2tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar

Dry ingredients:
2 and 1/4 cup SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit

Mix wet ingredients and add sifted dry ingredients, mix gently to a batter.
Pour onto a greased sheet pan/baking tray.
Sprinkle fruit on top.
Bake for 10 to 15 mins at 200C.
Cool and cut into squares.

😋

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Waste of space aka how not to design a kitchen

 


I'm really not happy with my kitchen, now that I've lived with it for a wee while.  The design is not a good one.  Despite having more cupboards I've actually got less storage due to several areas of wasted space.  There is a gap of 30cm/12" between the top of the cupboards and the ceiling.  I couldn't get taller units to make better use of the space.


Due to the positioning of the holes for the clips to support the shelves, I've had to take out a shelf (on the right) because it couldn't even accommodate the height of a 1 litre bottle of oil or my salt and pepper mills.  The 'cupboard' above the hob houses the extractor fan but isn't much use and it gets hot when the lights are on.

Also notice in this photo that the tiny glass splashback is so useless there are already splashes on the wall above it.


This space saving caddy is just a gimmick.  This is a double sized cupboard with only 1 door because it's in the corner. And the caddy pulls out so you can reach stuff at the back.  Brilliant except it hardly holds anything and you can't store anything under it because of the huge mechanism.  I can just about fit 2 trays and these chopping mats.


This is the fridge.  There are only 2 door shelves and they only fit in 1 place.  More wasted space.  The vegetable drawer at the bottom is fixed and has 2 flaps on top.  If you put anything on top you have to move it to open the drawer.


They couldn't fit the shelf under the sink as the holes for the shelf support were in the wrong place for it to sit under the waste pipe.

I know this is a bit moany but I used some money I inherited to get something a bit special that I wouldn't normally have splurged on.   I've paid £13,000 (about $17,5000 US) for a quality kitchen and frankly it's not.  It's a very nice kitchen but has so many impractical issues.  I've never installed a kitchen before so went to experts to get their advice.  I spent over 3 hours in total with 2 designers who took my wish list (lots of storage as it's a small kitchen) and created this.  I couldn't actually see some of the things in the showroom (had to use CGI stuff) and was guided by them in my choices.  My chosen  dishwasher and fridge were unavailable at the time of installation so they chose a higher spec substitute for me for the same cost.

I'm going to name the company as Wren.  I chose them because their units were factory built and not flat packed.  But so many things came damaged I don't think that's necessarily a plus.  And they've STILL not come back to fix the things I mentioned previously HERE

So, I'm taking control of it myself and will work on it to get something close to the fabulous kitchen I thought I was getting.  I've ordered posh storage boxes and plate racks to maximise space.  I'm removing the stupid caddy thing and the glass splashback.  I'm tiling behind the hob.  I'm putting up some open shelving, then I'm going to decorate it in pink and black 😎 and put down a lovely floor.

There's still 50% of the 'extra installation costs' to be paid.  If they don't come back soon they can whistle for it!!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

COP26

 


Regular blog readers will know I'm a member of the Scottish Green Party and like to do my bit for the environment.  I'm not overtly political and this isn't a political post AT ALL.  But as COP26 is taking place 30 mins from where I live it's hard to ignore especially as there are major travel issues for the whole Central belt of Scotland.

I do find it ironic that all these world leaders and celebrities like Leonardo De Capri have flown into Glasgow and Edinburgh airports in private jets.  400 of them apparently ✈ I also read that 3 private jets flew from Prestwick to Glasgow which must have taken them about 5 mins!!! The train takes 53 mins 🚄

The US President is actually staying in Edinburgh and travels to Glasgow in a huge motorcade down a closed motorway.  Fair enough due to security etc.  But I did laugh heartily (then coughed for 5 mins!!) when I saw this headline Large Naked Man 😂

I also laughed when my youngest son sent me a message telling me that the hospital in Glasgow where he works had sent an email warning all staff that protesters have been attempting to block and close the motorway.  This would disrupt his journey to work. In all seriousness he asked me "Any word on your groups if there are motorway protests planned?"  I think he thinks I'm way cooler than I am belonging to some radical groups!! 😂😂 My local Extinction Rebellion group (mostly students and retired folks) unfurled banners on a bridge.  That's as radical as it gets round here! But don't tell him that 😉

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

The Perfect Mug

 


It's a bit daft but I truly believe that tea and coffee taste better from the 'right' mug.  Over the years I've had the perfect mugs for my brews but when my last perfect mug broke (as mugs inevitably do) I've spent the last year looking for it's replacement.  It has proved rather elusive and a wee bit expensive!

I regularly get given mugs as gifts from kids and colleagues.  I've bought a few from Etsy, trying to support small businesses.  But mostly they've been too small (capacity wise) or just too chunky.  I even bought a lovely Emma Bridgewater large teacup recently (it was a second) but it's too 'dribbly' and the wide mouth cools the liquid too quickly.


But my £2.50 mug from Te$co may be my current perfect mug.  It's big enough and not too chunky.  I've tried tea, hot juice and a herbal tea and it's all good.  When I'm feeling better and can stand the taste of coffee again it will face the ultimate test.

I have high hopes!!☕

Monday, 1 November 2021

No-vember


A few versions of this have popped up on my FB feed today.  I quite like it.  I'm getting better at saying no to things that drain me in some way but it's a work in progress.  I managed to speak to the Advanced Practitioner Nurse at my GP surgery today (it's practically impossible to get a Dr appt) and I'm now on antibiotics for a chest infection.  I've also been signed off work for another week.  Although she did say if I make a remarkable recovery I could go back earlier if I wanted.

I updated my Headteacher and Occupational Health but actually just said No I won't be back this week.  It felt good to know I've got time to fully recover 😊 I love my job but I need to be well to do it properly.

I popped down to the Pharmacy at Te$co to collect my prescription.  I had to wait for 10 mins so had a wee look at the magazines and the Homeware section.  I'm always on the lookout for the perfect mug (that's a long story) and found one costing only £2.50.


It's big, has a fine rim and is easily cleaned.  Looks perfect so I'll be testing it tonight!


I had 4 items so was rather shocked that my total came to £21!!!  I knew my Probiotic supplement was a tenner but the £5.99 was for the BBC Good Food's Vegetarian Christmas magazine!! It better have some amazing ideas!

It's been a while since I just browsed in a supermarket.  Obviously I need to practise saying no to myself when I pick things up!!!!

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Making time


My lovely friend who is my mentor/coach/counsellor posted this in our wee FB group yesterday and it hit home hard.  I've been forced to stop and make time for being really not well all week.  And I've said to my Headteacher and Occupational Health I'll probably not be back next week either.  No point going back to teach 19 lively 4 and 5yos when I'm not almost 100% fit and well.

When I fractured my ankle earlier this year I took the time to pause and reflect on life.  And for a while I did slow down and make more time for myself.  But oh how quickly I slipped into bad habits and let the job and teaching a new stage dictate my life.

Clearly the universe decided to give me another wake up slap!! 😂  Ok I'm listening and paying attention now!


Starting with breakfast this morning, I'm going to make sure I stop and eat one instead of grabbing something on my way out the door with my travel mug of coffee.  And because I've not been eating breakfast at home I stopped taking my morning supplements.  Taking them on an empty stomach with black coffee makes me throw up!  So I made some porridge and added home grown blueberries from the freezer, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, some nuts and turmeric infused honey.  Then I took my supplements.  Instead of coffee I had a herbal tea.  Cutting out coffee normally gives me headaches but since I've had a permanent headache for 8 days I figured a few more days won't hurt!

I wasn't hungry at lunchtime as breakfast was late so an early evening meal of gf toast, avocado and egg went down nicely.  I've slipped a bit recently and not been as careful at sticking to my gluten free and dairy free eating.  I think my body is telling me to get back to it!!

I also bought something a few weeks ago that will help with my lack of exercise.  Ironically I haven't even opened the box 😳 but I will soon and report back!  Eating well, taking my supplements, exercise and generally making more time for myself are the priorities.

So as we gain an hour tonight (clocks go back!) and head into Winter, I am making time for my wellness because frankly being unwell sucks!

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

A standstill

 


Yep, things are at a complete standstill here as I'm off work with a nasty virus 😢 I did a PCR test to make sure it wasn't you-know-what (it was negative) but I have all the classic symptoms of a flu like virus.  I'm double vaccinated and I've had my flu shot so it's 'just' the nasty virus doing the rounds 🙄 Like an eejit I tried to keep going all last week but by Friday I was burst and had to stop.  And I've been mostly in my bed since.

I've been binge watching Your Home Made Perfect on BBC iPlayer and anything by George Clarke on Channel 4 Catch Up. I'm getting loads of ideas to finish off my kitchen and bathroom then I can finally get the rest of the house and garden done.

In other news, my youngest son's girlfriend moved into the annexe with him.  They're saving their money for a house deposit.  Both have good jobs with the NHS and are very sensible with money.  They've got their eye on a new build development nearby that starts next year so hopefully they'll be able to get on the property ladder soon.  It's not as easy for the younger generation these days as it was for us in the 80s.  When I got married at 20 (I know!!!) we had a mortgage 4 times my ex's annual salary of £7,000 and interest rates were 15%!  But no deposit required.  Both sets of parents helped us out and now it's my turn to help my kids get started 💖

Friday, 15 October 2021

Sneak preview

 


The installation is finished!  Now I just need to decide on paint or wallpaper for above the tiles and flooring.  I'm leaning towards a yellow colour and have ordered samples of wallpaper and tester pots of paint.  


I rather like Daisy as it has yellow but on a white background.  All from Wallpaper Direct if you fancy a nosey.  I'm still undecided about the flooring.  Laminate or lino? 🤔

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Finally!

 


Finally, it got started today!  And they're working pretty quickly.  They had all the old stuff ripped out by lunchtime and some of the tiling started.


I decided not to replace the bath as it's a fabulous deep cast iron tub.  It may be original to the house (1967) or from the 70s.  It's actually in very good condition.  We've replaced the taps and plughole so they're modern.  The installer suggested re using some of the panelling taken from the sink cupboard to finish off the bath panel.  Fab bit of recycling!  All I'll need to do is sand and re paint. 

I chose white subway tiles, to keep it classic and to make it easy to sell if I have to at some point.  Don't want to put buyers off with my quote "wacky colour schemes." 🙄😂


The shower enclosure has been taken back to the bare bricks.  I'm assuming they're putting in a protective waterproof layer of something before adding the splashwall.  Can you guess what colour I chose???


Not a great photo of the colour but I hope you can see it's shocking pink! 😎

Monday, 11 October 2021

Dog, seeds and woodchip

 


I had an overnight doggy visitor at the weekend.  This is Molly, she's adorable and only a year old.  She happens to belong to my ex husband and his wife.  Long time blog readers will know how I feel about them (short version is I wish them no harm but I don't have to like them) but he's my children's father so I make an effort.  They'd been let down by their dog sitter and no one else they trusted was available at short notice.  So I said I'd have her.  They know how much I love dogs and have years of experience of owning labs.  They were suitably grateful and I gained some Brownie points.  Family harmony and all that!!


I ordered some some wee brown envelopes to store my saved seeds.  I finally got round to packing and labelling them.  It somehow made me feel like an organised gardener! 😁 


My bathroom installation was due to start today.  But it didn't 🙄 Fingers crossed it goes ahead later this week as promised.  My lovely mum came to help finish stripping off the woodchip wallpaper with 3 layers of paint (pink, yellow and lilac).  It was a terrible job.  I always knew it would be but kept avoiding it.  The walls under it are in remarkably decent condition so I'm thinking after a quick sand and filling some holes I can just paint it.

I have to keep telling myself that all this kitchen and bathroom chaos will be worth it!!